Monday, April 30, 2007

she huffed and she puffed

Long lean Lisa stopped by my desk. "Is everybody getting their
exercise today?" (Breathing slightly labored by coming up the stairs
from the 8th floor.) (We are on the 10th.)

I said, "I came up the stairs this morning, but I haven't done
anything since." (Not entirely true, I did one flight on morning
break, but only one flight.)

"Oh, up from 8?"

"No, coming in. Of course it nearly killed me."

She was impressed. If she heard me huffing and puffing, stopping to
rest by the window every other floor, she would be less so!

It is only the third time in 4 months that I have walked all the way up.
Good timing.

why I will always be a lowly clerk - if I am lucky!

The first thing I do each day at work is process Automated Checks. I key in documents that have been reviewed and approved. The computer creates checks which I print. A co-worker puts them through a check signer and returns them to me to be matched up with the requesting document. Then to my supervisor to be initialed before going to the recipient. This sometimes takes half the day, depending how the size of the batch and any problems encountered along the way.

This morning was a small batch and all went smoothly.

So, when Eli said, “Don’t print the checks yet, I have another one for you.” I told him, “Too late, they’re all done.”

He was astounded.

“Sorry,” I said, “It’s over.”

“Ruth Coleman wants this one.”

“I don’t know any Ruth Coleman!” I tossed over my shoulder as I sashayed away.

5 steps later, it hit me. Ruth Coleman, DIRECTOR of California Department of Parks and Recreation.

I scurried back. “Come to think of it, I do.”

Eli grinned, “I thought so.”

Eli typed up a manual check. (which I will key in at the end of the day).

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Adminstrative Assistant's Day

Our unit chief gave the ladies at the front desk (Ruth and I) lovely mini rose plants and our fella, candy. We were pleasantly surprised.

All day long we heard carryings-on in the conference room on the other side of the wall, but we are used to that. There are often meetings and some of them sound fairly jolly. Supervisors tend to bring treats to staff meetings. We have nice bosses.

This afternoon one of the gals from another section asked if I was coming into the conference room. No, I'm not in that meeting. Next thing you know one of supervisors rounds up Ruth and I (Sean had to leave early). The room was full with a table full of goodies. When we walked in everyone started clapping. The perks of working the front desk, I guess. Any excuse for a party. Nice cards signed by everyone in the office, too.

We never suspected a thing. They are very pleased with themselves.

I miss my blog time.

I miss my boys! and the grandbabies. and not a few other things
I am really blessed to have the job I have, but I do sometimes have to remind myself how lucky I am, because no job is as good as being a full-time Mom.

Does that mean that I regret the decisions that made it necessary to go to work? No, no, NO. I am not home nearly enough, but home is a happier more peaceful place.

Recent news - Not so good - after a couple of good months, I had another battery failure. I thought I had learned to make sure those lights were off!! I have now used all my 4 free AAA calls for the year. sigh. since February. The truck driver who got my car started first thought I could get a relay rigged so that the lights would turn off when the engine turns off, but NO. The left headlight, the right headlight, and something else - parking lights? turn signal? I dont' remember are EACH ON SEPARATE FUSES. He looked at the diagrams and finally said it was too much. He also said that I am going to be classified as an over user and not be allowed Plus membership at renewal. Unless maybe if I had another member or two. I need to talk to someone and maybe add the boys.

Good news - Andrew's Eagle project is underway! Last night the troop distributed flyers - eventually. There were a couple of distractions first - an unscheduled brief flag ceremony for the Viriginia Tech victims, and "planning" meals for the overnighter/yard sale. Andrew assigned other Life Scouts as team leaders over the younger Scouts and assigned them blocks to cover. They didn't get nearly as much done as he had hoped, so he asked those who could to come again tonight. Still, we found a message from an excited young lady who was very excited about the flyer she found on her porch. Next week, the boys go back to pick up donations.

I have put up about a dozen flyers around work and gotten some good verbal responses - hopefully the weary workers will remember and actually bring me books. I fantasize about having to drive back after hours and filling up my car.

Break is more than over, must go earn my daily bread.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Life is a Test

So is this.

I am trying to learn about emailing posts in to my blog.

Then I want to learn whether my family members can email in to the
family blog, Keep In Touch Everyone.

When is it better to email a post than to post from the blog site? I
don't know at the moment, but who knows? it may come in handy.

If you are familiar with blogging by email, please tell me stuff.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Word of Advice

If you don't visit regularly, you are cheating yourself .

You are, speak up and let him know how much he brightens your day.

Update 4/23 - no longer electromouse56, now the Asylum.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What Kind of Flower are YOU?

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

"When your friends think smile, they think of you. There is not a day that goes by that you can't find something good about the world and your fellow human."

"You stand up for what you believe in, even if it gets in the way of what other people think. You are proud of yourself and your accomplishments and you enjoy letting people know that."

Does this still work even if I am not particularly drawn these flowers?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

In the Lair of the Bear

Tuesday, Andrew met with the infamous Brother T. L., acting District Advancement Chair.

We already knew him somewhat. He was DAC for a long time, then had a health break - during which he merely cut back on his Scouting service, not quit altogether, back is back doing Advancement because his replacement suddenly quit. We mostly knew OF him in that capacity.

We have had more personal dealings with him at the Stake Center.

Our first memorable encounter was when we first started going to the Weismann Building for General Conference. Boundaries had recently changed and we were newly part of the Cordova Stake. Also, recently they had stopped broadcasting General Conference to our own building at 51st and Dover. On our first conference weekend there, between sessions, some of the kids went walking around exploring the building. A gruff Brother L seemed to think they were possibly up to no good and gave them a bit of interrogation and talking to.
He also seemed concerned out our family "picnicking" in the building. Over the years, as he has seen how well my family cleans up afterward and has seen us feed the missionaries between sessions, he has become our helper, advocate and we share friendly mutual respect. He always makes sure that the kitchen is available and makes sure we have anything we need. He sometimes comes and has a bit to eat with us.

We had heard that as Advancement Chair, he could be gruff and demanding of the boys. He cares about the boys and the program. Anything he passes has to totally up to standard. He wants everything to be just so. It is true, he seems like a growly bear, but then after awhile, if you brave it out, you see the real caring behind the roughness.

Andrew had a bit of a rough time. Nothing was really wrong with his project preparation (except his Troop committee chair - me- had overlooked an important page that needed signing), but his book was not in the precise condition Bro L wanted. Some of it, they fixed then and there. Some of it Andrew had to promise to fix.

In the end, Brother L signed it off for Andrew to begin!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Cat food at the front desk

Friday the 13th can be fun.

What kind of food is "lucky"? especially food to take to work?

I got Lucky Charms and put them in a bowl (dry) out on the front desk to share.
Berry Flavored Lucky Charms.

All day long - What is this, Dog Food? or more frequently, Cat Food?
Even though the box was next to the bowl.

A couple of people came by, looked, and simply burst out laughing.

One lady had to try the "crystal ball" " marshmallows". I got out some milk so she could see the secret message appear.

At least one gal kept just sneaking the "marshmallows."

It took a few people a while to make the connection between Lucky Charms and Friday the 13th.

My station pal, Sean, who so far has steadfastly resisted candy and almonds, visited the bowl repeatedly. He happily took home the "cat food" at the end of the day.

Joseph is 21 today!


Joseph, himself, is somewhat incredible.

Generally quiet, but like those still waters, he can run deep. He cares mightily about right and justice, sometimes to the point of frustrating himself and those around him as he reads about possible wrongs and injustices about which we can do little or nothing.

Slight of build, he is surprisingly strong.

He is patient.

He is very good with and kind to children and animals. Other people, too, I suppose.

He tries to be honest and fair minded.

Joseph is very intelligent and has a sound technical mind. He is fascinated with the science of technology, a world I little understand. It is fun to see Joseph and David get together and have a field day discussing things no one else understands (or really cares about).

He is a supportive son.

He is our techno-geek. If anyone here has any computer related problem, we holler for Joseph and 9 times out of 10, he can take care of it.

He also mows our lawn sort of regularly.

Joseph is a good listener, and usually gives thoughtful responses, or at least a sympathetic ear.

He has a quiet, but rich sense of humor.

Joseph is pleasant to be around. (Unless he gets going too much on one of his techno talks or justice crusades.)

On Friday the 13th we think about luck. I feel lucky to be his mother!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Fashion sense

I was just complemented on my pretty skirt - again. This skirt in a former life was an unwanted pillowcase!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I consider being ill as one of the great pleasures of life, provided one is not too ill.

That quote applies if you can stay at home in bed and enjoy it. Not if you have to work.

When my mother-in-law died, I thought that would give me a good two hours a week that I didn't have before and that I would use it for letter writing and blogging. Somehow, it hasn't worked out as easily has I had hoped. The last couple of weeks have been special, what with General Conference and Easter, but still.......

well, here's for a quick midweek catch up...

My cold is doing better. Or, rather, I am doing better and my cold is diminishing. That's a relief.

Easter was nice even though I was not up to snuff. More like snuffles.

Last year I was so happy to start a new tradition for April 6th - a dinner of pulse - which we actually enjoyed. Unfortunately, it takes a little thinking ahead - soak the beans and grains overnight - and in my wake-headed and tired state, I didn't. The good news? The kids actually noticed. and kind of missed it. I need to soak those beans and have a late dinner. Maybe April 16th instead of April 6th?

Despite my cold and with the help of drugs, I went to the temple Saturday for the first time since I started work. It felt so good to be there. I had at first thought that I wanted to save Saturdays for the boys and try to go during one of their weekday quorum meetings. That didn't work because their meetings aren't really all that long and I am just too tired, anyway. I think I may take one Saturday morning a month for the temple and one for the BloodSource.

Friday morning, my front tire was flat. So, instead of taking my dog to play at the dog park, I took her to the gas station to pump it up. After morning family prayer (another benefit since the divorce), the boys and I went out to change the spare. AFTER emptying the junk from the trunk and starting to remove the lug nuts, it occured to me that we might be able to wait. The tire had not measurably lost pressure in the last 10-20 minutes, so we re-tightened and re-loaded, so I could go to work on time. The guys were worried about me. Could I change the tire alone if it was flat when I got off work? They promised to ride their bikes to the light rail station if I needed them. Luckily, it was a little softer, but not flat.

After the temple, I spent the afternoon hanging around PetSmart and Costco while they replaced all 4 tires. I feel much more confident now. and a little bit poorer, but I had saved it up.

Despite Ben's protests, the boys all got hair cuts. "I miss my hair!" I think they look nice. How is he going to serve his mission? Let's not think about him and the military!

I was lazy for Easter. I didn't fill our plastic eggs. The boys hid them for each other and for me. Come to think of it, I still have one to find. We just put the big bags of candy in the middle of the room 0 out of dog reach - and the boys divided them between us later. The Easter bunny did bring us some See's candy (kids of co-workers fundraisers) and 2 movies - "Pursuit of Happyness" and "the Nativity." Which one do you think we watched right away? sigh It is a good, uplifting movie.

Church was ok, but I am sometimes disappointed that we don't make more of a special day of special days. Glen spoke (I think he is staying in the ward through the summer) and his talk was about the atonement and resurrection and the choir sang a couple of songs. But, really, I could deal with the whole meeting and meeting block being focused, really I could.

We had a nice dinner with the usual family Sunday gropu - all my local (not NECESSARILY loco) kids and Glen. Everyone brought something, a not-too, but- fairly recent family Sunday dinner tradition which I really appreciate. As usual, Ruth and Tom let us use their house. Someday! someday, sadly not too soon, we will have the option of meeting here. Miriam borrowed "Testaments" for a friend for us to watch - in between the boys debating the relative strengths of their fantasy super heroes and Debi speculating on and anticipating the Amazing Race.

This week at work is going much better than last week. It helps to have this cold abating!

Time for prayer, scripture, Book Club, shower and bed. Sweet dreams!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

The sad truth is that excellence makes people nervous.

(a quote by Jules Renard)

The sadder truth is that I am not going to make anyone nervous that way!

I am so far behind in everything!

Ok, not everything.

I think my bills are up-to-date, but not my bookkeeping.

My desk at work is pretty current - if you disregard my trouble file.

I haven't written to my missionaries or my granddaughter in weeks! Not entirely true, I have written letters and started letters - if only I had mailed them! or knew where they are now!

And the house - what a mess!

So, what's new in life?

I came home from work the other day - last Friday? - to find a note on the door of the room that is going to be mine - "The bed is finished!" The boys made an all-out effort to get it put together before I got home and surprised me! It took another couple of days before we got the mattresses on the bunk beds, but now I am sleeping in there. It is more comfortable than my old mattress. Still old, and not quite enough support. Replacing everyone's old mattresses is on my list.

I have so far only moved one dresser and most of the clothes out of the closet. There is a lot of stuff to sort out. It all will NOT fit in the new room. Some will eventually go into the "office" but that room will be Joseph's room for a while. I should sort quickly (ha!) in case there is anything worth sending to the Scout yard sale this month.

General Conference was, was always, a delight for body and spirit. How wonderful it is to be able to listen to living prophets! and they're nice people, too. We shared picnic lunch with at least a dozen missionaries both Saturday and Sunday. All the family brought something for the picnic, making it much easier for me. As it was I shopped Wednesday after work, and did prep work Thursday and Friday evenings. No fried chicken this time. What I think of as Super Salad - greens mix, with lots of options, including grilled chicken strips (I get if frozen from Costco) , and also chili and franks. Easier and well received.

I don't have time to post notes from conference. Sariah posted excellent notes, and of course the entire confernce is available online.

Andrew is actually making real progress on his Eagle project. After considering several ideas, he decided to collect books for underprivileged kids/schools in the Philippines. Which led to some concern about the cost of shipping! He contacted the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco to find out 1) could they really use books, and 2) would they help with the shipping? The Consulate directed him to Books for the Barrios in Concord who would be happy to receive the books and ship them on. He has gotten signatures from them for his Eagle Project Workbook. Still needs to get the Scoutmaster's signature. Scoutmaster refused to sign until the shipping issue was resolved. He has an appointment with the substitute District Advancement Chairman tomorrow evening. Andrew also interviewed his person for one of the Communications merit badge. I don't know if he did the write-up on it or not. He interviewed Tom about being a good father. So, he needs to do his write-up, and one more requirement - he's going to do a flyer for his Eagle project, meet with a counselor, and he will have his last needed merit badge. It's a race to the finish, but I think he will make it.

I have a cold. a not very nice one. So far, I am managing to crawl to work and, relying on the miracle of modern drugs, basically function, but my head is clogged.

Oh, yes, I adopted a couple of rescue birds. My friend, Carolyn, from the dog park sometimes walks her neighbor's largely neglected dogs and cares for them when she is away. Last time she was watching them during a 4 day absence, she heard a noise in a dark corner. A pair of cockatiels. She told her neighbor, "I didn't know you had birds! You forgot to tell me to take care of them." The neighbor responded that she hadn't forgotten, she has been leaving them, hoping they would die. Carolyn took them, of course, but she didn't really want them. Remembering how we loved Rosie, I told her that we would adopt them. One is yellow-ish white, much like Rosie, the other is standard grey. They both look thin and bedraggled, but come over to the side of the cage when someone visits them.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Reading List

Look at the list of books below:
*Bold the ones you’ve read
*Italicize the ones you want to read
*Leave blank the ones that you aren’t interested in.

*Cross out the ones you are so not interested in that you would never read.
If you are reading this: tag; you’re it!

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown) - line through
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)

8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon) - I don't recall hearing of this one
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry) - I don't recall hearing of this one
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown) - I don't recall hearing of this one
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald) - I don't recall hearing of this one
18. The Stand (Stephen King) - I don't recall hearing of this one, but probably totally not interested
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit
22. The Catcher in the Rye(J.D. Salinger) - Might have read it in school, don't remember, not interested
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold) - I don't recall hearing of this one
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel) - I don't recall hearing of this one
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams) - not interested. I hated the movie.
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)

29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert) - I don't recall hearing of this one
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand) - I don't recall hearing of this one
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley) - I don't recall hearing of this one
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett) - I don't recall hearing of this one
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb) - I don't recall hearing of this one
39. the red tent(Anita Diamant) - I don't recall hearing of this one
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven
45. Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)

48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb) - I don't recall hearing of this one
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver) - I don't recall hearing of this one
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence) - I don't recall hearing of this one
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger) - I don't recall hearing of this one
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand) - I don't recall hearing of this one
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice) - I don't recall hearing of this one
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis) - I don't recall hearing of this one
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez) - I don't recall hearing of this one
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)

71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez) - I don't recall hearing of this one
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay) - I don't recall hearing of this one
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence) - I don't recall hearing of this one
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley) - I don't recall hearing of this one
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)

84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind) - I don't recall hearing of this one
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)

87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields) - I don't recall hearing of this one
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago) - I don't recall hearing of this one
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer) - I don't recall hearing of this one
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje) - I don't recall hearing of this one
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce) I think I read this in school.

I am surprised how many books I never even heard of. But, then, there are a lot of books out there. Some of them I read in school, but barely remember now. I may have read some of the others and have forgotten completely.

The question is which ones would you recommend and which would you read again? Not time for that, though. Break time is over.