Tuesday, October 30, 2007

oh, the shame of it all

Months ago I got a Blockbuster coupon from a co-worker, a leader type even, and began happily passing it on to almost everyone I had any electronic contact with.  Recently, one of my co-workers to whom I passed it, told me that when she tried to use it, she learned it was a hoax!  Then I finally did what I should have done in the first place, and checked it out on one of the myth busting sites, Scope.com, this time, I think.  False, false, false.  I am so sorry that I passed this hoax on to you.  If you haven't taken it in, but plan to, don't.  Sorry about that!  Next time, I think I will check first.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Ta dump!


The Hinds Halloween Party and Picture Show Friday was, as usual, great fun.  The Hinds came as Toy Story Characters – Tom was Buzz, Ruth was Jessie, Esther Bo Peep and Jared Woody.   Hannah K wore a 50's outfit with full circle skirt and bobby sox. One of her daughters was a pink poodle.  The other was Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz.   There were other fun costumes, good food, and visiting.  The Picture Show was Toy Story 2, but I was so tired, I went out to sleep in the car.


As we were leaving the party, Joseph spotted a black cat in the parking lot.  This was a matter of concern with Halloween so near.   He and the cat made friends immediately and we brought her (we think her) home for safe keeping.  Saturday we took her to the SPCA to check for a microchip.   (none, of course. Our Princess Attila the Mouse Hun of Kitty Hen Spoiled Cat Face doesn't have one either.).  This morning I put up some signs around the block during Seminary.   I need to make and put up more.  Meanwhile, she is living in Joseph's room with a tendancy to cry when he leaves.   Last evening she came out exploring.  She is considerably less eager to meet Anna than Anna is to meet her.  What she is interested in is the cockatiels.   If we don't find her family, Joseph has a cat (whom he is teaching to leave the birds alone). 


Saturday was dumpster day!  The dumpster arrived Thursday and the boys put a few things in, but Saturday was the big day.   We did manage to get the old freezer out and the new old freezer in. Hooray!  We also took down the old tree play deck.   The boys had more fun demolishing the deck than they had playing on it. More junk went in from around the yard.  By  the end of the day, we were tired and dirty, but proud, and the dumpster almost full.   Sorting stuff to go from inside the house is harder, but hopefully a few more things will go before the dumpster does.  Progress is slow, but it is forward.


Perkins Ward continues to put itself together.  Still little to no word on Scouts. Ben tells me that Andrew is the only Priest who is an Eagle, but that 2 Teachers are Eagles.  (So there must be some Scouting program, right?!) Ben is determined that soon there will be 3.  Also, I still have no calling.   It is hard to relax and enjoy the freedom, while 1) wondering what I am going to get called to, 2) being totally out of any loop. I miss having keys.  Of course, what I really want are keys to the Dover building.   It is hard for me not to regret turning them in as instructed. Sigh





Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Wonderful Weekend


Saturday, the 13th the boys and I drove to San Luis Obispo to see David and Teresa.  As we approached she sent a text message asking how the journey fared and assuring us that the castle servants were working to have all in readiness.  We texted back and forth in a pseudo medieval vane until we arrived at their (rather smallish) castle and saw the banner flying from the rampart – or scarf attached to the door.   They are in a little mother-in-law cottage in a lovely backyard of some very nice people.  We had a wonderful time visiting with them, exploring a pier, roasting hot dogs and marshmallows on the beach, playing In10sity (a Simply Fun game), attending church, watching movies, and eating their delicious food.   They were charming hosts – comfortable, fun, gracious.  A delightful visit. 


Monday, we went to Monterey.  We had packed sandwiches at the castle.  As we drove through Monterey towards the Aquarium we were intrigued by an interesting looking playground – Dennis the Menace Park-  so we decided to eat our sandwiches there.   The guys liked it there so much that I left them to play – and imagine Capture the Flag games – while I went walking for a couple of hours.  I enjoyed visiting buildings that are part of the Monterey State Historic Park, walking along cannery row, drifting through Ghiradelli's and breathing very deeply, just walking along the recreational trail that runs along the shore.


Reunited with the boys, we learned that I had left my car lights on again! The battery was dead.  Fortunately, the people in the next parking space kindly gave us a jump.   This led to some scenic driving.  Andrew and I expressed great sympathy for the poor people in their ugly little houses in that awful place where they look out the window and see the beastly ocean every day.   Must be rough.  I was surprised at how many nice big houses with real yard were there in such prime real estate.   Also, being a dedicated State Parks employee, we drove by or through a couple of State Parks just to be sure that they are really there.  Once I felt we had charged up the battery enough to safely park, we headed back to Monterey Bay Aquarium.


The Monterey Bay Aquarium had sent us free tickets for Homeschoolers Day.  I had originally thought that Hinds might go or even that we might take the kids if the parents couldn't go, but then I decided to make a whole weekend get away of it and that seemed like to much for the Grandma bit.  There was barely floor space for the 4 of us as it was.  Sorry, E&J!  Oh, they are very small. MAYBE next time.   Anyway, so we had tickets for 1 student (Ben) and 2 children, plus 3 adults – one per child.  However, I expected to pay for 2 of us since the children didn't' come.   I explained it to the ticket lady, but she said 3 adults were authorized, go ahead.  We thoroughly enjoyed a rather brief visit to the Aquarium – only a couple of hours.   Spent most of our time at Wild About Otters. 


It had been a lovely weekend, but we were ready to go home.  So we did.


I was pleased to find Anna well cared for and, while clearly delighted to have us back home, not at all distressed.   I had hired a pet sitting service (Wags-2-Whiskers) for the first time.  Only met my sitter the night before we left.  She did a great job and left notes at each of her twice daily visits.   And reasonably priced.


Dumpster Delayed


Miriam needed help moving, so we re-calendared the dumpster.  It comes tomorrow.   We don't really have a master plan, but we have so much junk, especially around the yard, that we can fill it pretty good before tough decision making time.  The most ambitious goal is to try to get our old freezer out.   First, the kitchen is crowded and cluttered with stuff that has to be moved in order to have room to maneuver the old freezer.  Second, the freezer is pretty full of food that should remain frozen.   Third, the freezer is stuck in place from sitting there for several years, during which there has been more than one spill.  This will be interesting.



I Spilled Cocoa All Over My Desk!


A whole cup.  Now I have papers lying around to dry so they won't stick together.   It is a little embarrassing, but oh, well.  Now, do I allow myself a new cup of cocoa?


I didn't have time.  Life at work is crazy busy.  We call it job security.   I am so far behind, that I am starting to stay an extra half hour if I don't have to be home for something.  I hope to take it against my time off Wednesday before Thanksgiving.   My boss didn't ask me to do overtime, but she didn't object when I told her I was staying the other day.  So, I don't know if I have approved overtime, but for my own peace and sanity, I will do some even if it is donated to the State.


I found out that one of the other gals under my boss is #1 on the Acct Tech list.  She is also being promoted in place.   We have a terrific boss.




Trying To Have Faith


One thing is very distressing about the ward realignment.  Scouts.  We loved Troop 40.  We were a small but happy troop.  The Bishopric was pretty supportive of Scouting although the YM leaders were missing in inaction.   Sutter YM leaders were highly supportive. 


Still, the Scoutmaster and I wondered if we were really doing what we could.  We compared ourselves (although we told us not to) to the super troop, 380, I think.   A big gentile troop with huge parent participation.  In fact, many of the parents and grandparents stay on in troop support long after the boys have grown up and out.  


Now, we are looking at things the way things appear to be in our new wards. Man, we were doing a good job!


At first glance, it appears that basically only lip service is given to the idea of Scouting and what little they do, they do completely differently.    For instance, the boys are separated by quorum and actively discouraged from combined age campouts etc.  Our troop enjoyed the age mix.  The older boys were tremendously helpful in guiding and teaching the "munchkins" as they called the younger guys.    I hope I am wrong, but the word I get from my friends who have been called as YM counselors / "Scoutmasters" in the new wards that encompass what was once Camellia City Ward is pretty discouraging. I was so excited when I heard that they were called as both YM counselors and Scout leaders.   However, we are learning that they didn't really mean much by the Scoutmaster part.  We are hoping that we can have some influence to bring Scouting to life.   (To Eagle, actually)


I need to try to find out who was behind the wonderful Aaronic Priesthood and Scouting we had back in January  and try to get them to come educate our Stake and Wards.


My poor Scouts!



Out of Character
Yesterday as I left my car to dash for the train, I actually checked my headlights.  (and went back and turned them off)
When I returned at the end of the day to a nearly empty parking lot, I found a lady asking a gentleman to jump start her car.  Neither of them had jumper cables.  But I did! And my car started!  So, he got out his instruction book, and (not that much of a gentleman) instructed me on how to connect the cables (with constant warnings not to touch any metal).  We got her going again.  For once I came to the rescue instead of needing to be rescued!
(I sure hope I turned off my lights again today.)

I have been trying off and on all day for days to write – but breaks go by so quickly!  The last one is up for the day.   So this is it.




Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I don't think anyone from work reads my blog

email to my boss
I got the results from my Acct Tech oral exam. It concerns me for the welfare of the State that I actually passed. Barely, but passed. Ranked #2! Jackie says she is number 3 so I suspect that no more than 3 or maybe 4 of us took the exam. Before conversing with Jackie, I assumed only 2 people took it.
Thanks for all your help and encouragement!

from my boss:
Congratulations!!!! That’s great!! I’ll talk to Dorothy and see if we can do an upgrade in place. Please keep this confidential until I have spoken with Dorothy.

a little later from my boss:
We are going to upgrade you in place. I will start working on the paperwork to do this, I’m not sure how long it will take but hopefully they will back date it to the day you became reachable on the Accounting Technician list. I’ll keep you in the loop. Keep this to yourself (around work I mean…of course you can tell your family J ).

(surprisingly, Dorothy, our acting unit chief, sat on my oral exam, so she knows how really badly I did)

How the Lord has blessed me with this job!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

MBA Weekend and more

This weekend the boys and I are driving to San Luis Obispo. We are going to visit David and Teresa, get to the beach for the first time this year (that's criminal!), spend Sunday with them, and go to Monterey Bay Aquarium Monday (we have free tickets for HomeSchoolers Day)

The week after that, I have a dumpster coming. We are going to get rid of some of the junk around the yard and house. Not nearly all, because we have so much clutter and collections of stuff to wade through, but some.

Accounting Class is going well, but I humiliated myself at an Accounting Tech oral exam. It was really bad. I forgot the answers to basic accounting questions. I don't get the results until the end of the month, but I think they will be something like "You have got to be kidding!" When I came back, I told my boss that I was surprised I got hired as an Account Clerk II. She pooh-poohed that and said I am good, but she was not at the interview. Unfortunately, our acting section chief was. I am embarrassed every time I see her now. Another gal said that only three of us took the exam and she thinks they might just pass us all. If so, what a dumb exercise in meaningless effort. But, if they do, I will take it! She said one of the guys in my office came out of the mail room with no experience, did lousy on the exam, and here he is working away fine. Is a puzzlement.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Pay Back Time

Last Thursday, we had an Off-Site Administration Picnic. We went to Marshall State Historic Park in Coloma where gold was discovered. An interpetive ranger in period dress showed us our to pan for gold, had some pioneer games to play, and took us on hikes before and after lunch. Volleyball competion between units was fierce, but had a time conflict with the hikes, so I didn't see much of it. After lunch, we had a K-9 demonstration. I didn't know that State Parks had dogs! We have 11 state-wide, I think they said. Lunch was great! Beans, salad, and tri-tip. I didn't feel too badly about eating lunch since I did go on both hikes. It was a great day in one of our wonderful state parks. It reminded us what our paper pushing jobs are really all about. California State Parks are awesome.

Friday was pay back. What a rough day. Everyone seemed to have extra problems to handle. It was a pain. But Thursday was worth it.

another payback story - Almost a year and a half ago, I borrowed money from my aunt to hire a lawyer so I could file for divorce. We didn't discuss when I would repay her, it was a when you can kind of thing. When the divorce was nearly finalized and it had been a year since she gave me the money, I finally sent her a check and added a little interest. She wrote back that we never talked about any interest and that I could expect a check in the mail. I figured she was giving me back the extra money, but instead she gave me a substantial gift and told me to get something that I wanted for myself. I thought about several possibilities. Finally, I took the boys to Sleep Train and we all got new mattresses. Ours were all very old, saggy lumpy awful things. Mine the least bad. I think it is the first time in my life that I have had a new mattress. (Except when Glen got us a waterbed which I never really liked. It was bad for my back. Great for his. Go figure) I could have gotten cheaper mattresses elsewhere, but I thought this is a once a life time opportunity, get the best you can. Besides, they delivered and took away the ones we were replacing. That was Monday. I have had a couple of delicious nights sleep! The boys say it feels good, too.

not all pay back stories go so well - Before the divorce, we borrowed money to do much needed house repairs. G borrowed just slightly more than 60% of it to get a new Prius. I was foolish to let it happen. At the time he said he would pay it back plus $50 / month interest. Nothing in writing because I am STOO PID. I was stupid to let him borrow it at all. Also, that was a few months before I realized that I had to get the divorce, so, neither of us knew that was coming. Now he says he is (eventually) going to pay back 1/2 the value of his car minus 1/2 the value of the car I had when I filed - about 40% of what he borrowed! I don't think it is right, but we see right differently. Meanwhile, I have a kitchen that I think honestly could be condemned.

If I had a smidgen of my sister's talent, I would fix the kitchen up myself and spend about 50 cents doing it. Ok, maybe 50 dollars. But I am worse than clueless.

I love General Conference

Several times over the weekend, I heard one of the boys say, "I love conference." Oh, the joy!

It is a wonderful blessing to sit electronically at the feet of living prophets and hear their counsel! I took notes, but don't have time to transcribe them here. I will cheat and refer you to Sariah's great notes! http://www.sariahsays.blog-city.com/conference_notes.htm The great recurring themes seemed to me to be *be a missionary, *repent, *love, *family.

Admittedly, part of our love of conference involves feasting on more than the Word. We have strong food traditions that help us enjoy conference weekend. I make croissant breakfast sandwiches for us to eat there. Some ward used to make breakfast for their youth to encourage them to attend conference and smelled up the building. That was tough, if you came hungry or after having an inferior breakfast. (They also threw candy at them during session, I think for answering questions.) Also, if I feed the family at conference, we have a better chance of being on time. Between morning and afternoon sesssions both days, we share a picnic lunch with all the full-time missionaries in the building. This conference, we fed a dozen Elders and a pair of Sisters. They really appreciated it, too. Saturday between afternoon and Priesthood session, we go to Leatherby's for ice cream. General Conference can be hazardous to your waist.

But despite all the good food and good company that we enjoy, the heart of conference weekend is the joy of the gospel and seeing and hearing the General Authorities. Almost every time one gets up to speak, I start to think, "Oh, good, he's one of my favorites." I am delighted to see again, that these leaders, these men of God, are human, warm, and have a sense of fun and humor as well as providing words of wisdom and counsel.