Thursday, May 31, 2007

instead of doing my banking

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I just read in Elder Larson's letter about the kids having to go to
school half day on Memorial Day in Louisiana. hmmm I wonder if it has
anything to do with Memorial Day originally being to honor the Civil
War veterans as I imagine that most of the country meant the boys in

We really enjoyed the Mt Vernon Memorial Day service as usual. This
year ended with a skydiver coming down towing a large American flag.
Quite a sight! I wondered how they were going to deal with the flag
touching the ground thing. He landed behind a big wall of whatever
you call a wall of graves, but we could see a crew of people running
to get under the flag as it came down.

We didn't see the whales. As soon as I decided that we would try to
go see them, they turned their noses downriver and started swimming.
When we went to the beach, they were actually near Benecia and lots of
people did go to see them, but I thought that there would be little
chance of spotting them in the more open water. I don't think they
have gone out the Golden Gate yet, but they are looking healthier and
going in the right direction. Happy day!

Our trip to Rodeo Beach was not all I hoped for. Joseph got a bit car
sick on the ride in and never quite got over it before the cold got to
him. Andrew and Ben had some fun climbing on rocks. Then Andrew dug
a nice hole. I had thought I would do a little hiking, but felt too
lazy after all and wanted to stick near Joseph who didn't look like he
was up for a hike. I just sat on a blanket and tried to read a novel
while Anna repeated tangled her line on us. Instead of going out the
curving road up and down hill, we went out through the little tunnel
and through Sausalito. Maybe a little slower, but pretty and no
nauseating curves. Next time, I need to remember to go in that way.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

No one has seen the whales since Tuesday night. We hope that means
that they have gone out to sea.

Life is just crazy busy. This will sound like complaining, and it
sort of is, but still life is good, because despite the lack of time
and energy, there is peace, ease of atmosphere, and happiness.

At work, I am usually putting in an extra 45 minutes a day to earn my
days off to go to Acadia's baptism. I also frequently work through
morning and afternoon breaks, although I sometimes take part of them
with my lunch. (Then, again, once in awhile I short cut lunch, but
not often.) My boss would have fits if she realized. It is the law
that we get breaks and lunch. Sean (my workstation-mate) is doing the
same thing. (how many others? I know several always take their
breaks, but...) We just cannot break the flow and walk away from some
of these tasks. And some of them HAVE to get out on time every day.
I am still not quite keeping up. And it will probably only get worse
with "year end" - oh the dread words. Mostly what year end affects
for me is more office revolving fund checks (ORFs) to process
reimbursing employees for travel claims mostly. Rangers and other
park officers seem to need to do a lot of travel (within the state,
mostly for training, either giving or getting). Often they save up
their small claims. They turn them in in October-November, hoping for
a Christmas bonus (but sometimes we get so many we cannot process them
all before Christmas - or so I understand - I came in Dec 18) and they
turn a lot in in June because of fiscal year deadlines. Most of my
utility bills should be steady. I just have less time for them
because of all the ORFs. Also, year end reports will be hogging the
computer, making it harder for us to print our regular reports.

I push at work to get the job done, but when I leave the building, I
leave all that until the next day. No worries. Plenty of personal
business to keep me occupied.

At home, we are either rushing off to a meeting or I have dinner to
fix, and before I know it the evening and my strength are gone.

Last night, all three guys were scheduled to meet at the church to
render service helping empty out the Snelson's storage unit. I was
looking forward to an evening alone - dinner and catching up on some
computer chores. Well, Joseph had gone out with his bike, bike cart
and lawn mower to earn money mowing lawns. (He did get one for $18).
Got a flat on his bike and on his bike cart. Didn't get home in time
to go do the service. I drove Andrew and Benjamin to the church and
came back for Joseph. Almost to the church, we got a call from Andrew
telling us that the group had left for the storage unit. In West
Sacramento. I drove Joseph out there. Stopped at the grocery store
for milk on the way home. Made myself a nice dinner and was enjoying
it when the boys returned. The evening was up and no computer time.
or anything else.

Tonight I got on the computer to do some on-line bill paying and my
credit union's on-line banking is down. Is there a conspiracy
against me?

My current family bookkeeping is now with Google documents. I think
this will work. As long as I can snatch computer time once in a
while. The nice thing is it can be any secure internet computer. I
would not, for instance, do my on-line banking at a hot spot cafe even
if I did have a lap top (which I come dangerously close to coveting)

Actually, I am currently writing this on Google docs.

I am becoming SO computer dependent!

When I am working or riding RT or cooking dinner or driving, I often
think of many many things to blog or write to you about. Get keyboard
time and the brain goes blank.

Debi had a nice trip to Washington (state) last weekend and, here's a
surprise, totally fell for her puppy, Chloe. Resistance is not
futile, it is non-existent. She will get Chloe in July after she moves
into her house and Chloe is old enough to leave her parents and

Andrew is going up to Girls Camp Friday with Bryce, a great guy from
Sutter Ward, and a cool Sutter YM leader. They will sleep over and
work on getting camp ready for the summer. They will work hard and,
no doubt, have a wonderful time.

Andrew may miss a Graduation Party that Alizet (I have no idea how to
spell her name), a Sutter Seminary student (she is a cute girl in
several ways), is throwing Saturday. Swimming and fun. I hope he gets
back in time for part of it. Ben might go to the party.

This will be fun because Saturday I have an appointment to go to the
temple for the 8:30 am session (I am considering this for a pre-fast
Sunday tradition) and I am watching grandkids from noon until after
bedtime. Hopefully, Ruth will let me use her car-seat car and/or
Joseph will watch kids while I taxi boys.

SOME TIME, I need to figure out what and get Andrew a birthday
present. We are FINALLY going to have his birthday dinner Sunday
after church and before Seminary Graduation. This will be his
birthday/graduation dinner, so I really should get him something.

The Publishers Clearinghouse Million Dollar Sweepstakes would be very
nice, but I would really like to win $1000 / (week)day for life.

Most of the Scouts are hurting for camp money which is already past
due, I think. We are planning a movie night - Free Movie,
refreshments for sale - June 15. I am in contact with Feature Films
for Families for permissions. Tom wants us to do "Windwalker." FFF
has to check with legal. "Buttercream Gang" and "Paper Brigade" are
ok to use. I want the boys to bake cookies to sell. They also want
to sell nachos and hotdogs.

A gal at work told me that her probation is over. We started the same
day. I emailed my supervisor - is it 1) she is a transfer and I am a
re-reinstatement so I have longer probation 2) my supervisor is just
too busy to take care of these things 3) she hasn't decided whether to
keep me yet? Turns out to be the other gal was started earlier and
then was on vacation (which I guess she could work because she was
already a state worker) and also my boss has been crazy busy. I
should have had 2 probation reports already. My probation is up June
17. Boss is going to put in some overtime Saturday and hopes to do
mine and some others probation reports. She said I would pass.

Brief chat with some co-workers included the ever-fascinating fact
that I have 8 children. (People are stunned and amazed.) Carmen
asked, Are you Mormon? Yes, I am! The conversation didn't get far.
We have plenty of work to do! and the moment moved on. I also feel a
bit odd having that as the identifier as to many people that is a
negative. Chris has a friend or relative who is married to a woman
from "some strange religion" (not Catholic or Mormon, he thought) that
does not believe in contraception and has 14 children. He added "I
have three and that's plenty!" I said, "They are all blessings."
That is as close to a missionary moment as I have had lately. Gail
and I sometimes manage to mention how important faith in God is. We
sometimes run into each other on RT. She struggles mightily with her
only child, now a young adult who has been in trouble with the law and
drugs. She suspects mental illness, but it has so far not been
diagnosed. He has been in juvey and in jail She keeps hoping he will
hit bottom and change, but .... She always looks so sad and tired,
but she still has faith. I told her that God put great trust in her,
giving her a child that was such a challenge.

oops We are almost an hour late for family prayer, scriptures and
bed. Will we still do Reading Club after scripture? (Dances with


  1. Wow, what a post!

    I can understand the convienience of Google Docs, but I'd be careful what information you put there. Definately not the place for account details. I'm not even sure I'd be comfortable with transaction details as sometimes they are used to confirm that you own an account. Google has a much better reputation for helping people find information than helping them protect it.

    As far as online banking goes - the greatest threat at a wifi hotspot would be someone shoulder surfing to get information from your screen and keyboard. Always assume anything you send over the internet is in public, which means if it needs to be secret then it needs to be encrypted. Address bar doesn't show https: then anyone can see it as it passes by.

  2. Yeah, "Wow, what a post!"

    Neat opportunities with your co-workers, hopefully. :)

    We appreciate all the extra work you are doing so you can come up here! :)

    We love you!

  3. Hi Barbara,
    My name is Christopher Lawton. I am a technology reporter for the Wall Street Journal, based in San Francisco. I am writing a story about how Google apps are being used by parents to help their kids with their homework, and I came across your blog post where you mentioned that you use Google Apps for banking. Forgive me for the odd question, but I wondered if you have ever used Google Docs to help your children with their homework. If so, would you be interested in interviewing with me about that. It wouldn’t take too long. I just had a few questions. If there’s interest, please let me know. You can email me at or call me in the office at 415 765 8200. Thanks so much. I hope to hear from you.

    Christopher Lawton