Thursday, September 27, 2007

One and a Two and You Know What To Do

I spent much of last evening going on to KS (young married adult in River Park Ward) about how great Scouting is and how perfectly it matches the purposes of the Aaronic Priesthood. Well, he asked. He has NO Scouting background. Deprived fellow! I am sure he got more than he bargained for! He was glad to escape when someone called him to particpate in planning meals and such for Scout Expo to which he is going.

Last night Troop 40 met for the last time as we know it. They ended the evening with root beer floats and then sang the Troop 40 song. That choked me up. It's a good song:
"We put the out in Scouting, so we'll continue shouting, we are the spirit of Troop 40! We welcome all the boys and all their hopes and joys. We hold the Scouting torch on high.(high high high)" hmmm, I cannot remember the rest at the moment. Is it "Roll out the Scouting thunder! We'll win, we won't go under! We are the spirit of Troop 40! HEY !" ?

I like it because it sounds good and spirited and it speaks to what Scouting is about. The guys always sound great singing it.

(Joseph said he heard a bagpiper playing the tune once. He asked what it was and found out it is an old Irish song, maybe a national anthem? )

A few of our guys will be going to Scout Expo this weekend, then on to our new troops, whatever they are and whenever they get going.

Most of us agree in our speculation that River Park Ward will probably keep the Troop 40 name. I can think of a couple of guys that I hope get called to lead there.

Brighton Ward is Troop 740, apparently that's old La Riviera's Troop.

I told our old Scoutmaster that as Camellia City Ward pretty much singlehandedly financed the Troop, he should take custody of Troop 40's things to redistibute when we know what the new Troop set-ups are going to be. I told the Primary president the same thing about Cub stuff.

Our Scoutmaster who is now in Brighton said that his Bishop, Biship Dyck, has already activated Ward Activites and has a new ward activity/party scheduled. Awesome! Also, he is getting his YM/Scouting leadership in place and in his ward the Scoutmaster is part of the YM Presidency (as should be). I have heard nothing from or about Perkins Ward yet. I am trying not to be a little jealous. Just because I am not in the know, does not mean things are not happening in Perkins. I imagine I will learn a lot come Sunday.

I hope our new Troop can come up with a good song.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Best News!

I just got this great news from our Camellia City Ward family about our Scoutmaster's baby:
We just got home from the Oncologist.  There are soo many dead cells in the tumor samples they are having trouble getting definitive results!  What does this mean? - The tumor is breaking down on its own!  Halleluah!  The Lord heard and answered all of our prayers.
The scans showed no other tumors in the body or spine.  The bone marrow is clean.
Treatment now:  watch it.  In one month we will do more scans to see what its done- continued to break down or growth.
We love you all and thank you again for all of your prayers.  We ask that you continue to pray that the tumor breaks down on its own.

6 out of 7

What an emotional day Sunday was! Camellia City Ward's very last meeting, last meeting in existance. Plenty of work for hankies and tissue - and not just the women, either. The songs all fit the occasion. Songs like "Press Forward Saints," "All Is Well," "Each Life That Touches Ours," and, of course, "God Be With You Til We Meet Again." The Bishopric each spoke in Sacrament Meeting, bearing their testimonies and urging the members to faithful service wherever they ended up. Sunday School was pretty normal, but Relief Society was hard. President Keller gave her farewell address, friends clung to each other wondering if they would be together next week. We finished with ice cream floats with soda left over from Saturday's party.

At the beginning of the meetings, we were instructed to turn in our keys. It truly was an emotional wrench, but after church I did turn them in.

Finally, the BIG MEETING. What a turn out! More than Stake Conference. First, some inspiration, beginning with a video depicting this story from LDS history:

The account of Heber C. Kimball and Brigham Young leaving their homes for England certainly shows the sacrifice they were willing to make for the callings they had received. The account reads:

"September 14th, [1839], President Brigham Young left his home at Montrose to start on the mission to England. He was so sick that he was unable to go to the Mississippi [River], a distance of thirty rods, without assistance. After he had crossed the river he rode behind Israel Barlow on his horse to my house, where he continued sick until the 18th. He left his wife sick with a babe only three weeks old, and all his other children were sick and unable to wait upon each other. Not one soul of them was able to go to the well for a pail of water, and they were without a second suit to their backs, for the mob in Missouri had taken nearly all he had. On the 17th, Sister Mary Ann Young got a boy to carry her up in his wagon to my house, that she might nurse and comfort Brother Brigham" (quoted in Life of Heber C. Kimball, 265).

Heber C. Kimball's family were also ill. Charles Hubbard sent his boy with a team and wagon to help them on their way. Elder Kimball records: "It appeared to me as though my very inmost parts would melt within me at leaving my family in such a condition, as it were almost in the arms of death. I felt as though I could not endure it. I asked the teamster to stop, and said to Brother Brigham, 'This is pretty tough, isn't it; let's rise up and give them a cheer.' We arose, and swinging our hats three times over our heads, shouted: 'Hurrah, hurrah for Israel.' " Sister Young and Sister Kimball came to the door and waved a farewell which gave Brother Brigham and Brother Heber much comfort as they continued "without purse or scrip" towards England. (See Life of Heber C. Kimball, 265–66.)

From the video we were to learn that our sacrifice is small. And yielding to the Lord brings blessings and joy. We are a people who obey the callings of the Lord.

More words of encouragement from Stake leaders.

Finally, President Fisher. I don't remember much of the details. He showed us a map of the then current ward boundaries. (What strange looking boundaries, they were.) He read the opening sentence from a letter from President Gordon B. Hinckley and Thomas S. Monson which disbanded Camellia City Ward. President Fisher talked about how much Camellia City Ward meant to him - the ward of his nativity and many important life events. But there it was, Camellia City Ward was gone. We had "known" it was coming, but, still, hearing it physically hurt.

In a way, all the wards of Sacramento Cordova Stake were disbanded. From 7 wards we went to 6. Every ward has new boundaries, a new name, and some have new leaders, new times and a new building. Last night, each ward got a Bishop. This week and next will see some busy organizing! Sunday we will attend our new wards for Sacrament Meeting only. The week after that is General Conference. During the coming weeks, most of us will receive our callings. On the 3rd Sunday, Oct 14, we will be a fully functioning ward.

I now belong to Perkins Ward. An amazing number of people I most "missed" in advance of the reorganization are actually in Perkins Ward, too. Not, alas, our Scoutmaster. He is in Brighton Ward.

Of course, he is not officially the Scoutmaster, now. At some point in the meeting, we had a mass releasing. We released every person in every ward position in the stake. We sustained all the Bishops, some new, some former Bishops. My Bishop, Bishop Barrows was called to the Stake High Council.

(Of course, some I wouldn't have minded being in different wards are also in Perkins Ward, but so it goes.)

nothing to do th above comment! - The Roger Perry family, talented and popular are in Perkins Ward, as is Cousin Alice, Glen's cousin Carol's oldest daughter.

Our Bishop is Ron Young. I have no clue, but some of my older children know him via his daughter Susan.

For those who know the geography and are interested, here it goes for my new ward:

Perkins Ward is bounded on the west by Hwy 99; on the north by 14th Avenue out to Perkins Road; jog north on Perkins to Keifer Blvd where the boundary contiues east to Bradshaw Road our most eastern boundary; south to Jackson Road to South Watt which is our eastern boundary down to Fruitridge, the southern boundary to the railroad near Power Inn: then follow the railroad south again to Elder Creek Road, our most southern border; Elder Creek to Stockton which is the western boundary up to Fruitridge Road, then west to the free way.

The new ward boundaries are much more tidy and reasonable looking than the old ones were. Some debate in our family about what the ward is shaped like. Camellia City Ward looked somewhat like the side view of a small airplane. I think Perkins Ward is shaped roughly like maybe a small dinosaur. One of my charming and delightful daughters said it looks like a snub nosed gun opened at the butt for loading.

Much of what was once Sutter Ward is now River Park Ward. They got my beloved Dover building ALL TO THEMSELVES. And kept their Bishop.

Between Perkins Ward and River Park Ward lies Brighton Ward/

Perkins Ward will meet in the Stake Center. A nice building, but, oh! I love my old building. So strange, when we drove up for Seminary, this morning it already felt different. My home for 30+ years was no longer home.

And there were contractors there! The tears have hardly dried from the change over and already Sutter/River Park has contractors there! What are they doing to my building?!

Seminary continues unchanged for now. Until things get organized, at least. I don't know if the geography of high school attendance will affect Seminary location assignments.

Our Scout troop will meet this week at least. A good bye and also the ones going to Scout Expo need to do some planning.

I think that Sunday is Fast Sunday. Testimony Meeting will be a good time to start to get to know our new ward family. I am looking forward to it.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Last Dance

As Camellia City Ward shares boundaries with 3 other struggling wards, rumor is rife that it will be totally disbanded, chopped up, and redistributed. Veiled hints from those who likely know do nothing to quell these rumors. CCW has been my home for well over 30 years. There are still a few families left who have been here much longer. Some who have been around since the old Homestead Ward. We have been in mourning since the announcement last week of the boundary changing meeting tonight.

CCW has its weakness, challenges, and failings, but it is home. Our ward family has its misfits, oddballs, annoyances and deadweight, but it is our family. Even the ones which we might not mind too much being in different wards, we worry about a bit. Will they be welcomed, tolerated and helped? And what about our Lao and Mien people?? Although they live all over the city, some quite far away. CCW has been their home, too. We have the special missionaries who come and learn the language here in the field. We have spent ward money on translation equipment and extra materials in Lao and Mien - without getting extra consideration in our allotted budget. We have tried to provide a place where they are welcome, have someone to help with the language, can share a little of their culture, and also learn to live in America. Where will they be going now? Troop 40 has at least 2 more Life Scouts I was looking forward to seeing make Eagle soon. I am sure that we will be separated from at least one of them. What will happen to our Troop? Hopefully Troop 40 will survive the restructing, whether or not we are part of it. It is like the 2nd oldest troop in our Council. Some many questions and so many memories.

Then, of course, the question, what challenges will we face in our new ward?

We have to believe that the changes are inspired and, therefore, the best for everyone.

We (one or two of us) are looking forward to meeting more youth, especially hopeful of meeting new, worthwhile, opposite gender youth. The dating pool in CCW is not very deep.

New friends, new callings, new leaders, and the same true gospel. Still, I woke up crying this morning and have experienced occasional light showers since.

How fortunate and inspired that our charming, creative, delightful (as well as beautiful, intelligent and fun) Ward Activities Chair had scheduled a Ward activity for last night! The Bishop said, Forget the expenses. full speed ahead! - He who is always counseling thrift and creativity and worrying about the budget. - Go ahead and shoot your wad. The ward bought pizza and sodas. ( And lots of balloons. ) The members brought salads and desserts. It looked like a lot of food. Several people exclaimed at all the pizza. It was all devoured. Good food, good music, good fun. From time to time some of us would turn a bit wistful and melancholy, but we would shake it off, remember our faith, and party on a little harder.

Part of the fun - Family Feud starring the Foell family and the Hamaker family! "What do children do in Sacrament meeting?" "What qualities must a Bishop have?" "What makes you late for church?" "What do people use to keep their place in their scriptures?" "What should a missionary have before going on a mission?" Lots of laughter and audience participation.

We had a great party. Now it is over. The last dance.

Today in Sacrament Meeting, the Bishopric will bid "farewell to the troops." I think I had better bring a hanky. or two.

I am going to HATE giving up my keys to our beautiful building!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

All things must change to something new, to something strange. - Henry Longsworth Longfellow

Sunday next will somewhat rock the world as I know it.  That evening all of Cordova Stake is invited to a special meeting where new ward boundaries and names will be announced. 
New wards, new leadership, new callings, and even a strong possibility of changing buildings. 
Rumors, speculation, nostalgia! 
Indications are that this will be no minor adjustment, but possibly an entire new shake up.  We are all considering our friends, neighbors and leaders - wondering who we will be sitting with next week -  and where.  We know there are people we will miss seeing and working with regularly.  I am thinking how fond I am of our particular building. 
There is a little anxiety and maybe a little excitement.  We have long known that our ward and our sister ward have been struggling in many areas.  But, we are,nonetheless,  fond our of our ward, our ward family.  We are praying to accept the changes with faith and trust in our leaders.
Plans, programs, neighbors, and leaders may change, but the gospel remains eternally the same and true. 

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Morning Shift

Last week, we had hardly been at the dog park long, when Anna attacked another dog! (Approximately equal size, at least) They had been approaching towards each other and retreating like dogs sometimes do. She had expressed what I thought was her excitement, but may have been some anxiety, by jumping on me - which she is not supposed to do! Then suddenly, without apparent provocation, Anna went after the other dog.  Of course, she wouldn't listen and I had some difficulty pulling her off.  Fortunately, she didn't actually hurt him.  I gave the lady my number; thankfully she has not seen the need to call.

Anna has not been to the dog park since.  I do intend to take her back.  Probably tomorrow.  I think when she goes to the dog park now, she will wear a harness.  I hope that such an incident does not repeat itself, but if it does, I hope her harness gives me a better chance to get a grip on her.

Other reasons for not going to the dog park include gas prices, early morning weekend obligations, and a shift in the Seminary schedule.  Seminary is 15 minutes earlier now, so I don't catch my friend who also frequents the dog park.  Anna and I play in the church parking lot or walk the neighborhood.

One morning recently, she did another no-no and chased a cat despite me calling her off.  So she had a time-out in the car while I played with the ball in the parking lot where she could see me.  What I forgot was that my ever low battery cell phone was in the car charging.  She jumped around and broke off a bit of the charger inside the phone.  I think my phone and I are soon to part company.  Of course, that was days ago and the phone that starts beeping low battery after sitting for 9 hours doing nothing, was still fully charged until I called my aunt this afternoon and talked for nearly half an hour.  Strange. 

It is time for me to study phone plans anyway.  My phone is on my ex's family plan.  That's not quite right to keep.  I just haven't had time to study phone plans and budgets yet. Any recommendations?  Until then I am carrying my old Virgin Mobile, when I remember.

Barely Managing Accounting

 I know I am always saying that I am busy, and truly believing it; then it gets busier!  I am far behind in reading and even further behind in writing my correspondence.

My Managerial Accounting class is in session. Wow-o-wow.  Sacramento City College has shortened its school year by a couple of weeks and, consequently, lengthened the time in class each day.  Instead of being in class for about 2 hours, we are in session for 2 hours and 40 minutes each time we meet, which is twice a week.  Add in collapsing on my desk, gasping for air recovery time from the mental exertion plus painful commiseration and peer therapy among classmates and I lose nearly 3 hours of work time.  Ok, minus the 30 minute lunch break, I lose being in class, and the breaks I sometimes take on regular days.  oh, Liz, Hi, I mean the state mandated breaks I regularly take.  There seems to be a slightly frantic air about the professor to make sure we cover the material in the time alloted.  He seems to be feeling the pinch of those 2 weeks.  The homework takes hours and hours! Not just for me, the pretty much the whole class is struglling.  Thank goodness that with homework being on-line, we can click "how am I doing" and find out if any of our answers are right yet.  We do a step or two, check, re-work, check, re-work, check, and eventually cheer!, then move on to the next step.  This semester is requiring more thinking, and, well, some of us find it real work.  I know, I can hear the rude comments. 

Speaking of rude comments,  The first day of class our professor was not of clean, respectable, and business-like mouth.  I think he gets away with it at college because some students are likewise and others are intimidated.  Our class organizer contacted the school and he has behaved himself gentlemanly since. 

I am truly grateful for the opportunity.  I could not do it, taking classes for 3 hours in the evening after a full day of work like a couple of our younger workers.  I do not have the stamina, nor the free evenings! 

My boss encouraged me to apply for a promotional exam.  The truth is that I am not fully qualified in experience or education, so will probably be rejected. At least if that happens, they will tell me why so I know  precisely  where I stand there.  And! if I am rejected, I won't have to face the exam which is an oral and terrifies me.  I am not sure when we will hear.

I really like my office.  If I want to stay, I had better earn a promotion.  They are hoping to upgrade my position.  I have no idea of the timeline.  I don't THINK this is a clever ploy to get rid of me.

Everyone Knows Boy Scouts Help Little Old Ladies Cross the Street

Yesterday was Andrew's Eagle Court of Honor!  It went very nicely. 

The cultural hall floor had just been polished - beautiful.  We decorated the stage with trees, tent, fake campfire.  A few Norman Rockwell Scout pictures and the few surviving wooden fleur-de-lis artfully placed.  We set up a few round tables in a arc half way back in the room, with a rectangle table in the middle of the arc for Andrew's Eagle notebook, a troop scrap book (not well maintained, but what is there is fun to look at), and a few items that reflect Andrew's interests - a red towel, a Rubics cube, a block flute - I forget what.  Ruth had made some great scrapbook pages - pictures of Andrew the Scout, Andrew the family fellow, Andrew the unique.  Kudos to the hardworking teams who worked diligently and creatively on planning, preparing, setting up, taking down and helping out in between - which is basically all the family in California.

This is how it went:

Eagle Scout Court of Honor

Master of Ceremonies - Logan    (former Senior Patrol Leader)

Opening Prayer - Glen (Dad)

Flag Ceremony by Troop 40 led by Benjamin

Welcome and Recognition of Honored Guests - which included our District Executive Ricci Dula; the Council Eagle Adviser, Til Lethco; & our Bishop.

Scout Oath and Law led by Riley (former Senior Patrol Leader)  - All Scouts and former Scouts - actually pretty much everyone

"One Hundred Scouts"  by  Til Lethco  Golden Empire Council Eagle Advisor, who prefaced that piece with an amusing bit about boys and the raising thereof

Scouting Memories - Benjamin Senior Patrol Leader and brother - more later

Eagle Scout Charge -    Bishop Michael Barrows

Presentation of Eagle Scout award -  was going to be by Scoutmaster Chris Pena, but his baby is in the hospital (more later), so Frank McClure, former Scoutmaster and current Bishop's counselor

Eagle remarks - Andrew

Troop song by Troop 40 past & present -  Good song!  It moves me to see and hear the guys - boy and men - sing it.  Although I smile to see them extend their arms as if holding a torch and lower them while singing "we hold the Scouting torch on high"

Retire the Colors - Troop 40

Closing Prayer by Tom  (brother-in-law and Bishop's counselor)

After Party with DJ Wojohowitz (Tom)

I know you want to hear more.

Baby Pena has a tumor.  I thought it was in his brain, but Sister McC said shoulder.  Well, that is probably better!  The confusion is because it was discovered because of symptoms like a perpetually droopy eye, inability to sweat on one side of his face and some other things - caused by pressure the tumor put on nerves and things.  Wednesday he had exploratory surgery.  When all the tests are back, a course of chemotherapy will be determined.  I don't have much information because I didn't want to bother them and was not able to help them, so I just have been leaving them alone.  What little I have heard is that it is going pretty good for a bad thing. 

The only help I have been able to give has been to take over some of mom Pena's Cub Committee Chair duties.  There is a big Scouting event coming up at the end of the month and the firm-no-kidding-you-must-be-registered-in-advance deadline was today.  I took her paperwork Tuesday and finished that work as best I could.  I had to do Scouts anyway. Which meant finding leaders to replace our Scoutmaster for the event.  I got to make a lot of phone calls, track down applications, track down the Bishop to sign BSA applications, confirm info, and borrow T'Ruth's computer for a few hours.  Lots of stress and worry This while working, getting ready for Andrew's Court of Honor, having David and Teresa come in from out of town, etc.
I still don't have all the information that we supposedly need and found out that yet one more boy who signed up to go still needs to be BSA registered.  Only a few boys are actually going.  Which was good in a way because of the totally lame, slow, and redundant registration process.  Poor programming.  We do what we can.

Back to the Court of Honor.

Glen and Andrew set up the mirror ball Thursday.  When we came in to set up Friday morning, we found the ball had been taken down by early morning basketball playing missionaries  who forgot to put it back. oh, well, the guys hooked it back up.  We did most of the setting up in the morning.  I use the term "we" loosely, because it was really, David, Teresa, and Joseph, Andrew, and Benjamin, while I was off to Council office to take care of some of the Scout Expo business.

Andrew and I went shopping at Costco for the goodies.  Keeping it simple, keeping it fun. I didn't do much food prep myself.

Time for the Court of Honor.  We were finally on our way after picking up ice and just commenting that we were a little later than we would like.  We saw an old man jay-walking across 65th Expressway, stumble at the divider curb and fall backwards into the street.  Fortunately, there was a break in the traffic!  We stopped dead where we were (on the other side of the divider). Andrew, dressed in full uniform including sash, leapt out of the car and helped him up.  A lady from another car and Benjamin followed, but Andrew was first and the main helper.  Andrew steadied him and walked him to the side of the street while I stopped traffic.  Andrew escorted him up to 21st. Ben and I got back in the car, drove up to where we could turn around, went back and picked them up.  It wasn't far to his house, thank goodness.  He mostly spoke Spanish, but with his few words of English and our Sesame Street and Pero Pepi Spanish, we did ok.  It gave Benjamin a story to open with.

With the doing a good turn delay, I had resigned myself to getting the refreshments laid out and ready to go AFTER the Court of Honor and during the party, but helpers like Tom's mom and Teresa pitched in and everything was ready just in time for the Court of Honor to begin.

My favorite story Ben told was about the time the troop was sitting around camp trying to get Jared to laugh. The Scoutmaster promised a candy bar to anyone who succeeded.  There were jokes, stories and goofing around, but Jared would not laugh.  A Scout from the neighboring troop came over and said, "What did the fish say when he hit the wall?"  (Ben said, "please pardon my language")  "Dam!"  All the guys laughed - except Jared and Andrew.  Talk went on for a couple of minutes, but Andrew was puzzled.  "I don't get it."  So, they retold the joke.  "Oh!  I thought he said 'YAMS!'"  This time EVERYONE roared, including Jared.  Andrew and the neighbor Scout each got a candy bar.

What I remember most about Andrew's Eagle remarks is him thanking me and saying that I deserved to finally have an Eagle.  (not that I am not proud of my older boys, younger boy, and my girls!)

The after party was great.  Not only Wojohowitz, but the debut (I think?) of The Silk Lady (I think that is what her brother-in-law-in-law - Tom's sister's husband - dubbed Ruth - or Lady Silk, or something similar) - two great DJ's!  Good food, good people. I chickened out on the chocolate fountain.  Too much work and mess.  I am not a night person and I didn't want to make the evening harder.  We had 2 cakes from Costco, chocolate and vanilla.  Cheesecake from a Ron B. Brownies from Holly F.  Rolls, meats and cheese, veggies, and strawberries.  I saw Kissables for the first time (and yes, ate a few), thanks to some kind contributer. Not much dancing actually took place, but everyone enjoyed the music and visiting.

Everyone, especially Andrew, was happy.