Monday, February 26, 2018

Home Away from Home

Are you a traveler or a home body?
In the last 5 years I have been able to do things I never thought to do in my life.  I spent 2 weeks in England, Scotland and Wales, and I went to Walt Disney World TWICE.  (Two of those trips were GIFTS, can you believe it?!) In fact, I just got back from WDW with my oldest daughter, Sariah,  and her family.  While in England and in Orlando, I attended church there locally.  What a wonderful thing it is to be so physically far from home and yet to feel so at home there.  The same gospel is taught.  The same sacred ordinance of the Sacrament. And although I do not know the people’s names, I know their core values and know that they are my brothers and sisters, and potential friends and helpers.
          It is possible to sit quietly in the back, go unnoticed and walk away without talking to anyone.  I have done it. Although Mormons are friendly, they all have concerns and responsibilities and don’t always see.  Or, like me, are basically socially backwards and awkward.   I get to know people rather slowly.   I tried once to overcome my natural reticence.  I walked up and introduced myself – to someone who had been in the same ward with me for years but I didn’t know well and she had changed her hair!  Now, I know it’s better to just say “Good to see you” and let things go from there.
          It is almost easier when you are the visitor or the new one, because then you aren’t expected to know anyone.  Then you can go up and say, “Hi!  I am visiting.  Where do I go now?”
          Sariah, is great at getting to know people.  She chatted with people very comfortably everywhere on our trip.  Once early in her marriage she accompanied her husband on a training trip for work.  She called me when she landed and said she was going to take a nap.   It wasn’t all that much later – that evening or the next day? That we spoke on the phone and she said she had to go because they were going out with friends.   I said, “You don’t know anyone there!”  After her nap, she had looked up the local ward, called the Bishop, went with his wife to some Relief Society function, met and made friends with another young married gal.
          But whether we are outgoing or shy, wherever we go in the church we can find brothers and sisters who truly are friends we simply haven’t met.  We have to stretch just a little and we will be at home wherever we are.
          It is one of the blessings of the church – besides that little detail of the Gospel and Plan of Happiness and Salvation.   

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


  It had only been a few months since our  Cindy, a wonderful family dog, died, but it seemed longer. I am one of those who believe you honor your pet's memory when you recognize you need that kind of love and friend in your life - and also save another life. I decided it was time.
   This time I wanted a dog who would be my dog first and the family dog second. I started looking at pictures and bios of shelter dogs online. My daughter Debi found me sitting in front of a computer screen of dog pictures crying and said , "Let's go."
   Debi, Benjamin, and I visited every shelter in the area. I was drawn to a number of dogs, but for one reason or another felt they were not for me/us. There was a lovely female pitbull I nearly chose which is funny because while I think pits are wonderful dogs, it is not a look I especially like. But there was the concern about the grandkids and not knowing this poor girl's history. I am not am experienced enough handler to be confident with a dog that  might need expert handling. Besides, I had had to carry Cindy a few times near the end of her life and I realized that in 10 plus years I could have difficulty unless I had a smaller dog. Of course, you know how well that went! But I left the pittie and all the others. Each dog I did not choose tore at my heart as if I were personally responsible for killing them.
  We reached the last kennel at the last shelter - the kennel for sick dogs. I couldn't face it. I stood outside sobbing. Poor Benjamin tried to comfort me while Debi went in. She insisted I come in and see one particular dog. It was one of the pups I had bookmarked on the computer! She was the one. A sweet Black Lab.
  Benjamin and I had been reading Black Beauty. He suggested we name the dog Black Beauty. I countered with idea that we name her aft the author Anna Sewell.
  I don't remember if we met her in the yard that day or when we came back. We decided to ask Ruth to meet her because we wanted her to be comfortable about the dog and her young children. Ruth told us that she would trust our judgement.
  I adopted Anna on my birthday.

Monday, December 18, 2017

2017 "annual" (ha ha ha) Chrismas letter

Every year I think I should do a nice Christmas letter like so many others do.  Every year I am overwhelmed and behind and think, well, wouldn’t it be nice to start the New Year with a keep in touch letter.  Or a nice Valentine to loved friends.  … Next thing you know it’s Christmas time again and if the mail box had to rely on me, it would have starved to death.  

There are problems with me and the annual letter
      1. As you know, I have time/energy management problems.   
2    2.   To write an interesting, amusing, and/or inspiring letter it really helps if you and/or your life are interesting, amusing, and/or inspiring.
3.       3.When you get so far behind, it’s hard to know where to start.

However, never-say-die – let’s give it a whirl –

I am still living in the same house I have lived in for the last 38 years.  Both of us are showing signs of age.  Most of our time together, I wanted my house to have a name, but nothing seemed to suit.  About 10 years ago, it came to me.  I live at The Patch.  

The Patch is indeed a work in progress.  Many repairs need doing, but she still stands and shelters.  With the 5 year California drought, we let the rough weed patch that we laughingly called a lawn die.  Andrew tore out the sod.  We are slowly, very slowly and, hopefully, surely replacing it with rockscaping.   We do not really know what we are doing and are making it up as we go along, slowly in our spare time.  Ha ha.  Fortunately, neighbors are extremely patient. 

Currently also at The Patch are 3 of my children.  Miriam returned home a little over 2 years ago when we finally all realized that her Lupus was making it impossible for her to work and maintain her independence.  Joseph and Andrew have simply never left as we all find it mutually beneficial to be together.  The guys are especially good at helping Miriam.  

Miriam is now on disability.  She is active on her computer when energy allows.   She helps coordinate family plans by email, researches questions, and is studying art.

Joseph works for Department of Consumer Affairs, Bureau of Automotive Repair, is interested in guns, and mildly in local politics.

Andrew takes classes and works as a writing tutor at Sacramento Community College.

Andrew and I teach Primary children at church.  He has 8 or 9 year olds.  I have 3-4 year olds.  Hard to say which are the least orderly.  

I have been working at California State Parks, Accounting Services, Travel and Revolving Fund for about 10 years.  Most of the time I have liked it well.  We are going through a rough spot now as the department transitions from CalSTARS (California State Accounting & Reporting System) to Fi$Cal  and also my unit has a new supervisor.   Work is less joy than it once was.  Surely, this too shall pass.  But I do have great co-workers.

Some fun stuff. 
This last spring, Andrew and I went on a road trip visiting up north.  Quick visits with my sister Lainee in Klamath Falls, Oregon on the way up and my aunt Robin in Florence, Oregon on the way down.  Visiting lay overs with Sariah and family both ways.  And a few short days with my friend Pam up in Oak Harbor in Puget Sound, Washington.  We went on a whale watching cruise which was quite cool in more ways than one.  Saw gray whales and lots of other lovely wildlife, but, alas, no orcas.  I think Pam has yet to see orcas, but we know they are there.   We saw also lots of tulips (but not while on the cruise).  Washington is major tulip growing country.  Who knew?  

In July we enjoyed the Elk Grove Strauss Festival made all the better because my daughter Ruth, her husband Tom, and their 3 oldest children Esther, Jared, and Naomi all danced in it.  In return, for helping watch the little guys Samuel and Peter, we got premium blanket seating at the Festival.  Beautiful music, costumes and dance.  A wonderful summer tradition.

My ex-husband passed away in September.  To my great surprise, he had left me as beneficiary on his life insurance!  This enabled me to pay off my mortgage at long last.  I am grateful that he did right by me financially at the end.  Now, I can use former mortgage money to do some repairs. 
My daughter-in-law, Bethany, graduated from college, became a qualified aircraft mechanic, and got her pilot’s license this year.  This girl loves airplanes almost as she loves Benjamin and almost as much as Dieter Uchtdort  loves planes. 

We enjoy many Sunday dinners with David and Teresa, not a few with Benjamin and Bethany, far too few with Ruth, Tom and the kids,  and Debi, Lucas and Molly.  To say nothing of my daughter of the north, Sariah and her family whom we don’t see nearly enough.  I really need to learn to Skype and to give up on me or the background looking good.  Then we have to coordinate schedules! Argh.  Speaking of Sariah, her oldest, my oldest grandchild Acadia went away to college – BYU Idaho.  

I am getting old.  In fact, that was part of of the reason for our Disneyland trip.  I had dreamed of driving on at least part of Route 66 for my 66th birthday, but that was not reasonable.  So, I thought I would spend time on Route 66 in Carsland in California Adventure, sister park to Disneyland instead.  The timing didn’t work for my birthday, so the week after Thanksgiving Miriam, Andrew and I spent 4 fun-filled days at Disneyland!  Sariah flew down to join us, so we had our own personal guide.  She knows her way around!  With her skilled use of Fast Passes, knowledge of what and where and how long, and Miriam and I on scooters getting a little bit of special treatment, we spent very little time in line.  We got to play and see and ride pretty much everything we wanted to.  Miriam likes the thrill rides.  Andrew gamely rode them all with her (whether he wanted to or not).  I rode a couple, but I don’t love being terrified nor feeling ill for hours afterwards, so I like to stick to mild roller coasters and other less wild rides.  We had great fun.  Two of our favorite rides were Radiator Spring Racers in California Adventure Park and Big Thunder Railroad in Disneyland (as wild as I like roller coasters to get – Andrew, too, I think).   It was great fun seeing characters out and about among the people and meeting the Mouse in his house.  And eating a Mickey Bar every day. 

I wish you a wonderful year and hope that you tell me a little bit about it (wonderful or not).

Saturday, October 14, 2017

appreciation breakfast

So, Monday is Boss's Day. Right now the work atmosphere is stressed and toxic.  Has been for months.  No improvement in sight.

Not much enthusiasm or gratitude for how management is running things. 

Someone, however, (special assistant to the Section Manager, I think) has attempted to organize a section wide Boss Appreciation Breakfast Potluck. I looked at the sign-up sheet. Little over a dozen sign-ups (20 tops, but I don't think so,  out of somewhere around 50-60 employees) (Some of that is the natural indecision about what to bring perhaps, but ...) The only one from our unit who has signed up works apart in both space and duties from rest of us.  You should see the faces when Boss Appreciation Day is mentioned.  or maybe you would rather not

What to do?

Besides not feeling especially appreciative of my boss(es), part of the problem is that we are only allowed to work on our regular work on Mondays and Wednesdays.  So we have 2 days to try to do 5 full day jobs with which I had trouble keeping up full time.  I do not want to give up any of my "real" job time.  People are counting on us and we are causing hardships because we cannot keep up.  If it was one of the 3 project days (plus some Saturdays) I would not mind so much.

Members of our team have heard the supervisor say we do not have too much work, we are lazy and too laid-back.  (to the faces of two and overheard by another)

Either management does not understand the work load or it does not care.  Or both.  My supervisor says neither, of course.   

The bosses say "make time."  Would that I had THAT skill!

I do not feel appreciative.  I do not want to spend the time.  

What would Jesus do?   I don't know.  

What would you do?

What does God say about you?

     I saw an article titled "What does God say about you?"   I started thinking and remembering some of the messages I have received.

I am a child of God.
I have inherited divine characteristics which I am to learn to recognize and develop.
I have to potential to become more like God.
He wants me to come home to Heaven.
God and Jesus Christ love me so much that Christ suffered unimaginable pain to redeem me from death and sin.

Psalms 82:6

I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.