Wednesday, December 31, 2008

oh, Shoot!

After years of being cameraless, Andrew, Benjamin & I got cameras for Christmas!
Benjamin with his camera

I would love to share lots of pictures with you, but my system is old and outdated, and very, very slow. I cannot do slideshows like Sariah does.

But here are some Christmas pictures :


Andrew with the Uno Flash game Benjamin gave the family
Andrew with a game Benjamin gave us

Andrew using his Christmas stocking as a sock puppet
Andrew using his Stocking as a puppet

Esther and Jared at their new easel
Esther & Jared at their new easel

Debi & Miriam all cozy and warm in their new scarves and the wonderful blanket Teresa crochet for Debi
Debi Robarts,Miriam Robarts,Teresa Robarts,hom

Ruth with the beautiful jacket Miriam bought her
Miriam Robarts,Hinds, Tom and Ruth

Benjamin exploring the personalized clipboard Ruth made for him
Robarts, Benjamin,homemade gift


Have you seen these people?
The Pelletts

My good friends here (seen as they appeared some years ago), through a series of moves and a bit of miscommunication, lost their storage unit where all their family photographs were being stored. Can you imagine how devastating that must feel?!!

If you know them and have any pictures of them, please let me know so we can get the family copies.

If, by some miracle, you got their storage items or know who did, PLEASE let me know so we can get their pictures back to them.

Justice will be well served

Juror # 1 remains in the box.
Well, actually, he was just dismissed for the weekend, but Andrew has been seated in an actual jury in a trial that begins on the 5th.

In The Box

Andrew got called in to jury duty yesterday. He is back again today - in the jury box. They are still doing selections and he may yet be dismissed, but for now Andrew is Juror # 1.

Coats, Scarves and Sweaters

I had taken Friday after Christmas off as well as Christmas Eve. Joseph went to work. The other guys and I worked hard on our house shifting and actually made some visual progress. When I picked up Joseph, I informed him that we had something now that we haven't had in years - a coat closet!

We all worked on sorting and shifting again Saturday. There is some hope of actually finding the family room someday. Of course, the "office" is filling up much faster than the stuff is disappearing. I had hoped on putting at least one set of shelves in there, but that's not happening anytime soon. I also wanted to put up a rack to hold my Stampin'Up punches, but I can't find wall space!

I unburied my sewing machine - last seen when I made my skirt for David and Teresa's wedding reception. Can't get it to work. That's too bad.

Among other things, I was hoping to sew across the scarf that Debi got. I had crocheted 3 brown scarves with different stitches. I didn’t want to decide which was for whom, so I wrapped them without names and put them in one bag for Miriam, Ruth, and Debi. Debi ended up with one that was much longer than she wanted (but she liked the stitch). They had to be pretty long because the girls wanted pockets for their hands. I was thinking over the head, around the neck once or twice and then arm length – nearly 12 feet. Debi’s was one that I chained the entire length and then crocheted the width, unlike the others where I chained the width and crocheted the length. The girls had seen that stitch on the infamous elf sweater and requested it, and they wanted it in vertical, not horizontal pattern.. Naturally, this is the one that needed shortening. I couldn’t just rip out the amount not wanted. I ended up hand stitching across the scarf, cutting it off, and hoping that I sewed and crocheted it across well enough that it won’t come undone. The seam is buried inside the connection between the pink pocket inset and the scarf and hardly shows. So, MAYBE it will be OK.

Which reminds me of the gorilla sweater. The first half of 2008, I crocheted a sweater for my secret homemade gift. But, I thought it came out a bit too small. So the second half of 2008, I worked on a larger version. As it turned out, the much larger, two-toned, gorilla armed version. Pretty hopeless. I had David try on the first one when he was up for Thanksgiving. He got it on well enough and just thought the waist was a little small. But David is the biggest of my guys, so I decided to go with it. I haven’t heard whether or not it fits though, which worries me that perhaps they haven’t the heart to tell me. Now I am ripping out the gorilla sweater, which takes longer than one would think! I really secured those end joinings! I don’t think I will try another sweater any time soon.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I Think I Must Have Blinked

One minute I was frantically trying to finish up my Christmas presents and the next minute I was back at work 4 days AFTER Christmas.

As usually Christmas arrived a little too quickly for me and was over a lot too quickly. But it was lovely while it lasted.

I was so glad that I had taken Christmas Eve off from work. Bread to bake and fruit to buy and prepare for Christmas Eve supper, last minute shopping to do(Including cross town trips through heavy traffic thinking "He had better like this present!" He did.), and gifts to hurriedly wrap. Somehow most everything got done in time to go to Ruth's for Christmas Eve.

The house glowed softly by the light of I don't know how many candles. Everyone brought something - we had loaves of homemade bread, various cheeses, sausages, and mounds of fruit. We talked a little about the birth of Christ and watched either Luke 2 or The Nativity produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love this sweet moment of quiet remembering.

After we left Ruth's and hauled out the stocking stuff for "elves" to take care of, Joseph and I decided to see how much one could procrastinate Christmas shopping and get away with it. Although there was plenty of traffic, we didn't find any stores open. Big surprise. Fortunately, this was not a necessary trip, but a last minute thought.

Before we went to bed, we agreed that early risers could wake up layabeds at 7am. I woke up in the wee hours and could not get back to sleep, but spent hours trying. I did not wake up the boys! I expected Benjamin and Andrew to wake up fairly early, play with their stockings and watch a Santa-brought movie before waking up their brother. Surprisingly, it was Joseph who got up first, a little after 7 and He got to wake up his brothers. Nice switch.

Our Christmas stockings were, as usual overfull of fruit and chocolate - but no one complains, stickers, and a little toy car. The boys also each got Screaming Monkey Flingshots with which I expected them to drive me crazy, but although they liked them, they quickly set them aside. Andrew and Benjamin each basically got one present from me - a pocket digital camera! I gave myself one, too. ; ) From me and Joseph, actually, as I relied heavily on his expertise. As soon as I can manage time and computer time! I will put up some pictures! : )

It was not the kind of camera Joseph likes though, as he likes more control. However, after seeing how much the rest of us have been enjoying ours, he may change his mind. Especially as we cannot find the paperwork to send his camera in for needed repairs. It is probably not worth it to him to pay to repair it himself, so he may be in the market for a replacement, after all.

I gave Joseph a nifty magnetic wristband for holding tools and stuff. It is so cool, I may put it on my own wish list. Handy for bike repair, working around the house, sewing, probably crafting, and even at work. He holds paperclips on his arm through his sweater even. I also gave him a Network Security Staff shirt he wanted. And a book about How To Live With a Neurotic Cat. fun stuff.

We spent the middle of Christmas day back at Ruth and Tom's opening the Elf Exchange Gifts. I was surprised how interested and excited we all were to see the mystery gifts. Everyone was delighted with great gifts both homemade and purchased. They were wonderful. Hopefully, I can get some pictures up later.

The Hinds had Christmas dinner with Tom's family.

Miriam and Debi came and visited at our house for a bit.

At some point we watched Wall-E.

We just relaxed and enjoyed.

Too soon it was over. And again, I am telling myself to plan better and start earlier next year!

Monday, December 22, 2008

So Well Expressed

When Eva Aurora described the demon on her shoulder, it sounded oh, so familiar!

Do you have a Shoulder Demon, too? Read her post. Power to the Shoulder Angels!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas card

I am taking a break from working on my Christmas cards to show you what you haven't and very well may not get in the mail.

Looks rather simple doesn't it?

I have been working on them off and on for weeks. But I am not nearly done with what I intended to do. Although, my card is a simple one, my problem is that I want to make too many (and I don't start early enough). I know too many wonderful people who have touched my life, and then there are several others to whom I "should" send cards. If you don't get a card in the mail, I prithee, do not be hurt or offended. If you do, do not think I thought of you as a responsibility. What happens will not be entirely random, but....well, somewhat so.

I even had help. Granddaughter Acadia helped with colorizing during her Thanksgiving visit. Grandchildren Esther and Jared; as well as the home team Joseph, Andrew and Benjamin; helped with texturizing the "craft paper" which is to say crumpling the paper bag paper.
Christmas card 08

While the rest of us were working on a soft leather-ish look, Benjamin achieved a nice parchment effect.

And some remained smooth.

Which look I prefer depends on the mood of the moment. I keep changing my mind.

Whether I manage to get you a card or not, I send you warm and sincere wishes for well being and happiness today and always. My life has been richly blessed by good people - wonderful family, real person to person friends, good acquaintances and associates, and friends I have only met online. You all uplift and enrich my life.

"Are you willing to believe that love is the strongest thing in the world -
stronger than hate,
stronger than evil,
stronger than death -
and that the blessed life
which began in Bethlehem nineteen hundred years ago
is the image and brightness of the Eternal Love?
Then you can keep Christmas."
Henry Van Dyke

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What He Said

Tom told us about a little conversation that he and his children had Saturday. It had something to do with Ruth is a mom and I am Ruth's mom and now I am a grandma. Esther said she was going to be a mom when she grows up.

Jared said, "When I grow up, I am going to be Uncle Joe."

What She Said

Please read Sariah's post and do what she says.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Come, Let Us Go Up and See This Thing Which Has Come To Pass

“Come up and see our Festival of the Nativities. You would love it.” Sariah invited.

Every year, the first weekend in December, their stake (group of wards - similar to a diocese?) puts on a Festival of Nativities. Hundreds of nativities on beautiful display; a Joseph’s workshop where kids can make a craft or color; a “Little Town of Bethelehem” a cleverly decorated room, including starry sky, with hands on nativities and puzzles, dress up and life size manger scene where children of all ages can “be there” or have their picture taken; musical performances by community groups; and, on Saturday, a live Nativity. This was the 8th annual and it is growing every year. It has gotten so big, that the wards (congregations) that normally meet in that building are kicked out for the weekend and meet with other wards.

What a good excuse for a visit! And how sweet that the Rosers actually wanted us
to visit them within days of them visiting all of us down in Sacramento! Acadia gave up her room and slept on the floor in Rori’s room. I know the girls sometimes like to have “sister sleepovers,” but it was still very nice of her. They even let Anna come. Not only that, but when we got ready to leave Monday, Sariah said that Anna could come again – despite her barking at and threatening their friend and my siblings who came to visit while we were there. She even barked at Ryan a couple of times. Other than that and wagging her deadly tail, which is at an unfortunate height and strength for toddlers, she was pretty good.

We had a lovely time. Visiting, hanging loose, playing Wii, enjoying the Nativities, eating Sariah’s good cooking. Not worrying (much) about all the things we have to do at home.

We enjoyed the journey, too.

Three young men, a big black dog and me in a little Chevy Cavalier. You wouldn't think it would be a very pleasant road trip, but it was. Ben sat in the back seat in the middle with Anna next to the window. She laid her head on his lap and and he used her for a drawing desk or a pillow. He made sure we knew when she needed a pit stop. What surprised me was Andrew and I didn't spend hours singing. I think Andrew was trying to be nice to Benjamin.

On the way home, somewhere near Roseburg, OR, all southbound traffic was stopped for miles. We were held up for 2 hours. I was grateful that nobody had been eagerly anticipating the next rest station! We played Uno, Joseph read aloud from Hackers and Painters (or is it Painters and Hackers?), Andrew passed notes with highschoolers in a bus in the next lane until the bus driver told him to stop (why??). Whenever I get stuck in traffic like that I am thankful that I am merely inconvenienced, and not part of the cause. A little prayer of thanks for our safety, for emergency responders, and for blessings on those involved.

We decided that we really enjoy the first half of the trip a lot, but after that it gets a bit long. And there are so many places we would like to stop and see! We would love to take 2 or 3 days driving up and/ or back, but who knows if that will ever happen? We never have too much visiting time, either.

I am learning that sometimes it is good to do the things you want to do, to take time to enjoy, even though I “don’t have time” and have too much to do. We enjoyed and were refreshed by this little visit. Thank you, Sariah! (and Ryan, and Acadia, and Aurora, and even Simon)

But, I really do need to get on the stick! I have gifts for my out – of – town children and in-town girls, but not my guys at home! Nor have I made, let alone addressed my Christmas cards. And don’t talk to me about meaningful personal messages!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The particular human chain we're part of is central to our individual identity.

Elizabeth Stone


Sariah and family arrived the Saturday a week before Thanksgiving and did their usual juggling act between his and her families and a few visits with friends.   I think they did pretty well with it. 


It was great seeing them!  The girls have grown so much! And get prettier every time I see them.  Acadia is tremendously popular with her young cousins and very patient about it.  She is helpful with her little sister and volunteered to help with many things.  She helped me work on my Christmas cards – still a ways to go!  And helped David roll the dinner rolls for Thanksgiving dinner.  I never saw her acting grumpy.


Rori is an adorable, lively 2 year old.  I was afraid she would be shy around all these relatives she hardly knows, but she seemed quite comfortable and confident.  Although, she was much too busy playing most of the time to care who was around.


Esther and Jared were delighted to have their cousins visit and stay with them – especially Cadi, whom they greatly admire.  For the most part, they were kind and generous hosts.


We at first expected David and Teresa (they stayed with us)  not to arrive until late in the evening, but sadly for one of T's co-workers, travel plans were delayed, so the co-worker worked Wednesday and happily for us T got off, so they came in the middle of the afternoon.  They picked up Joseph from work to maximize his David-Joseph talking time and minimize the amount of vacation time he had to take off.


Thanksgiving Dinner at Debi's was great with a lovely table set by Debi and decorated by Teresa and lots of yummy food from everyone.  It was good to have everyone together, something that can't happen very often anymore.  It is fun to see the siblings all enjoying each other so much.


Another rare treat was spending the morning with Debi after popping the turkey in the morning.  I had planned to go home and do what I don't know, but when Debi indicated that I was welcome to stay, I was happy to do so.  We just sat and talked.  Fun stuff


Friday morning David and Teresa left. : (   then the guys and I went to Apple Hill – finally!  Did a little Christmas shopping. ; )   Sipped cider.  Very pleasant.


Saturday was another day for Rosers to spend with us.  Game day pretty much all day.  Monopoly, Lord of the Rings Risk, UNO, Cranium, Clue, I don't remember what all.   I mostly worked on my cards. But I did play some UNO, even some Killer Uno.  A good time was had by all.


All the visiting was over much too soon.


Christmas is coming much too sooner!  I need to get some elf magic going!


The time to relax is -- when you don't have time for it.

Sidney J. Harris


Wednesday, Thanksgiving Eve, between email conferencing with my study group about a quiz due on Thanksgiving (!*###*!), trying to find space for the guest bed for D&T, minor gift panicking, working on veggies for T-day, and I cannot remember what else, we FINALLY went to lunch at Sariah's best friend Heather's who has been inviting us since we baby and house sat for her a couple of years ago.  45 minute drive each way, plus lunch and visiting time.  Time I could not afford, but oh, so delightfully refreshing.


Heather grew up in pretty comfortable circumstances and married well.  When she and Sariah were friends in high school, I thought she was a bit spoiled and worldly, but nice and a good friend.  Well, the "spoiled little rich girl" and her husband have adopted 7 children from 3 different families, some with special needs.  They are incredible.  Their home life is crazy busy – therapists coming and going all day everyday, doctor appointments, the kids who are in school are in 4 different schools -  but the home atmosphere is relaxed and happy.  It is clearly a loving home.   A joy to know people like this.


Lunch with Heather's and Sariah's families was a relaxing interlude in a busy day week season  life.


The great art of giving consists in this: the gift should cost very little and yet be greatly coveted, so that it may be the more highly appreciated.

Baltasar Gracian


I haven't written about problems with my gifts for over a week, but then I haven't written about anything for a week.


The overweight gorilla.    I finally decided (with the help of secret consultants) that attempt number 1 MIGHT not be too small after all, while attempt number 2 is totally hopeless.  (I will unravel it some future day and maybe make slippers  as #6 has requested.)  Oh, Eva Aurora, I only WISH that I had made an afghan.   I attempted an article of clothing.  Big mistake.  Too late now,  It is wrapped and "secretly" delivered.  It's the thought that counts, right?  It was made with more love than skill, that's for sure.


I had hoped to have all my out of town gifts ready to deliver when everyone gathered for Thanksgiving.  I managed the gifts for the two SLO people.  Plan B was to finish the northern gifts before that family branch left early Monday.  Not.   Plan C is to get them ready to take up with us when we go to visit and see their Stake's Festival of Nativities this weekend.  Frankly not looking al that good, but we haven't started the car for the drive yet.


Then there's the in-towns!  I have, so far, gifts for gals, but not for guys. Especially, the home team.  Of, course, the best of my few ideas of what I would like to give them are a little unreali$tic. 
Only 3 weeks (with a fairly full schedule as usual) until Christmas!  bah, humbug!

Friday, November 21, 2008


I learned this from Trying to Stay Calm! who reads Sariah Says who is my 1 of 8.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

'he that hateth gifts shall live" Prov 15:28

Maybe I don't need life insurance then.
This gift exchange thing was supposed to be a stress reducer.  Maybe if you do it right.  Which, apparently, I don't.  Nor my housemates.  Around my house the tension, frustration, and pressure are mounting.  Not looking good for being ready to hand off our gifts on Thanksgiving.
Which is worse? Procrastinate all year and come into November with no idea of what you are doing OR have a "great" idea, work on it all year, and come into November with a minor disaster and no idea of what you are going to do about it?  Seems that you end up in much the same place.
Remember my famous, accidentally bi-colored project?  As I THOUGHT it neared completetion, I realized that it looks like it was designed for an overweight gorilla.  No reflection on the intended recipient who is definitely NOT an overweight gorilla!   Nor do I consider him/her to be a big ape. Trying to reduce the damage now.  I feel sorry for my recipient! 
This is why I opposed the drawing.  This poor person is going to get one homemade gift that is comic at best and one store bought gift thankfully not from me. If everyone was straining his/her meager budget to get gifts for everyone else, my recipeint would have had some chance of getting a decent gift. As it is.... (s)he may well envy poor street urchins who don't get anything.  At least THEY don't have to try to be kind and polite to someone who gives them a really lame gift.
Also, as I was not in the store bought drawing, I am now beginning to panic about what to get a large handful of dear ones in that department. 
Bah, Humbug!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


"No matter your opinion of Proposition 8, we should all agree that it is wrong to intimidate and harass churches, businesses and individuals for participating in the democratic process. We call on our governmental leaders to urge all citizens to respect the rights of everyone to express their views on marriage without fear of reprisal and recrimination"
Ron Prentice

I made the news

My boss heard my name on the news yesterday.
Long time husband-wife anchor team, Dave and Lois are retiring the end of this month.  Viewers have been invited to post their well-wishes on the KCRA website.  I did and they read it on the news.  Wow, almost famous or something.  Boss said it sounded like me.  I am pondering that a bit.
The famous quote:
"Happy news for Dave and Lois! Not such happy news for us viewers. We will miss you. I particularly enjoyed watching a husband/wife team. Wishing you a very happy retirement!"
You can see why it was newsworthy.
Slow news day.

Slider Puzzle, Sweet Slider Puzzle

All three of the the boys are sleeping in their new room!  For all of them there is much more light than they are accustomed to.  I am hoping that for at least one of them, it helps improve health and spirits. 
They are taking to the change with enthusiastic good spirits.  It is definitely a step up for the two guys who had a corner of what is supposed to be the family room.  For them, now each having his own corner of the room to claim as his own space is a new treat.  Guy number 3 is giving up a room he has had to himself for a few years now.  With amazing good grace.  He has way more stuff than will fit in his corner.  Hopefully some will be weeded out.  Some will stay in the old room, soon to be "office."  Even he seems happy with the change, content with his little corner,  and glad to be with his brothers (most of the time).
We broke a piece of the closet system in the boys room.  I must say that Rubbermaid has not been very helpful in our efforts to try to replace it.  I may give up and get a new system from Home Depot or Target or something.  So they are running all over to the old places for their hangable clothes.
You would think, seeing all the stuff being crammed into their room, that great empty space is being left in their wake.  It ain't necessarily so.  True, whence the first bunk bed came, there is actually some clear floor space.  (Not quite enough for the guest blow-up bed, however.  Yet)  At the other site, it looks like some of those tornado aftermath scenes. 
Now, the enormous task of clearing out the disaster scene and making it into the office/storage/craft? room.  Which will hopefully lead to actually claiming the family room.  We also have to try to unbury the "dining room."  It is still a bit of a long road, but we are beginnig to see it.
The floor in the boys room (what we can still see of it!) looks so much better than the rest of the house (as poor a job as we did), but I have yet to work out the logistics of doing the rest of the floors.  or the courage.  It wasn't much fun and took so long!
However, progress is being made and we are excited.  (It is so easy to make simple people happy.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Americans are a free people

Americans are a free people, who know that freedom is the right of every person and the future of every nation. The liberty we prize is not America's gift to the world; it is God's gift to humanity.
George W. Bush, State of the Union address 2003
43rd President of US (1946 - )
Americans are a free people because of the gift of God and our veterans.  Thank you from the depths of my heart!

a small sampling, clumsily and inadequately expressed,  of the freedoms and pleasures for which I thank you Veterans -

The right to vote - Little over a week ago, we cast our votes to help determine the government and future of our communities and the nation.  There were great differences in opinion - high feeling and raised voices.  Debate, argument, protests.  We voted and now we move forward.  Whether our side won or lost, we move forward peacefully (for the most part!) together.  It is all really wonderful and amazing.

We can express our opinion freely and openly.  Talk, blog, write to the editor and to our government.  Compliment, complain, criticize, counsel.  Say what we will, we have that right.

When I see a police officer, I see a public servant who works to keep me safer, not someone who will drag me away in the night.

I look up at airplanes and think of vacations, visits, and business trips, not fear of being bombed.

I can move travel across the country without asking state permission.

I live, work, recreate where I wish, not where the state dictates.

I cannot begin to list the blessings and privileges I enjoy as an American (especially as there are dozens of things I ought to be doing right now!) and I am sure I do not even realize many of them, but I am truly daily grateful to live in this beautiful and free country brought forth and preserved by the hand of God, inspired patriots, and our brave veterans. 

To all who wear or have worn our country's uniform - Whether you served in war or peace, THANK YOU.  To those who did have to go to battle, I honor and thank you even more.   I realize that I cannot thank you enough.  God bless you always.

Thank you for the good life you have given us!

Monday, November 10, 2008

the righteous need not fear

"The righteous need not fear" seems to be a recurring theme in recent church meetings.  The general theme being that these are frightening and perilous times, but the righteous need not fear.
A couple of my thoughts and feelings on this which, sadly, reflect my weak faith.
1) the righteous need not fear - because no matter what happens in this life, God will reward the righteous and make everything right EVENTULALLY.  We have read too many stories of martyrs in scriptures and history for me to have complete faith that we will be preserved and protected in all ways here on earth (I fall short as an Army of Helaman mother). The list of righteous who have suffered is pretty long indeed.
I have heard, but cannot remember where,- If you know, please tell me-  and pretty basically believe that God has said that in the end all who have suffered, who have been abused, whatever, will say that it is ok.  That God's judgements are righteous and just.  That the rewards make it alright.  When I hear about some of the horrible things that have and do happen to people, I count on it. 
2) the righteous need not fear - Yes, the wicked will perish and the righteous need not fear, but what about us pretty good, but not totally righteus people.  I mean, I try, but I fall WAY SHORT.  Way, way short.  Of course, the answer is repent and progress.  But, I am afraid it's a little like losing weight.  Easier said than accomplished.  The distance between what I believe and what I live is embarrassing at best.  Hopefully not damning.
This is not to say that I am prepared to give up and turn away.  As the disciples said in another quote I cannot place at the moment, Where else is there to go?  God is God.  Jesus Christ is the Savior, the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  His gospel has been restored to earth.  A living prophet speaks.  I have had personal witness to these things.  Not great earth shaking, trumpets blaring, lights flashing experiences, but real personal witness.  I am grateful for it.
I am weak (and maybe a little fearful), but I will stand.
I am also grateful to recieve word that members of other churches who in times past have prayed for the souls of us lost Mormons, are now praying for our comfort and safety as opponents vilify, protest, and attack us for standing for what we believe, particularly on the subject of marriage. 
on a related note -  I don't like it when I hear Mormons downgrade other faiths any more than the reverse (well, maybe I dislike it a little less, but not much).  I believe that we have the fullness of the gospel while other churches have pieces, but I respect their faith and belief according to their light. We should share our light, but not denigrate others.

The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head.

Mathew 8:20
1) Let us always have room in our heart and our home for the Savior.
2) I am hoping that this quote will not also be true for David and Teresa this Thanksgiving.   Because, they don't get to sleep in the sea room after all! 
Saturday we actually started the bedroom move!  We are so excited.  Even Joseph (who is giving up his own solo room) seems enthusiastic.  So far we have moved in the first bunk bed and miscellaneous personal possessions.   Andrew and Benjamin have started sleeping there, although, when we get the other bunk bed in, Ben will be in the 2nd top bunk and Joseph will be sleeping where Benjamin is sleeping now. (got that?)  There is a lot of work to do.  The biggest immediate concern is making sure we have a decent clear space somewhere for the blow-up bed for David and Teresa.  I think that we are postponing (again) our trip to Apple Hill tomorrow to work on it. 
A couple of problems yet.  We haven't yet been able to replace the support poles for the closet system.  Or figured out the window treatment.  We may have to just settle for something temporary, but more permanent than the pressure rod and sheet. For now, the pressure rod and sheet.
Benjamin was none to pleased at having to share the room with Joseph's cat, Vellox.  Until Joseph explained to him that as the two cats hate each other , Attila will not be allowed in their room.  No more jumping up on Benjamin in the middle of the night. (Of course, that means more of her attentions for me unless I start closing my door.)  Andrew didn't mind Attila, but she cannot get up to his top bunk anymore anyway as 1) the bed is slightly raised on small blocks of wood, and 2) not next to any shelves for her to use as steps.
Saturday, we also did some dry pack canning at the Storehouse - somewhat randomly.  If someone else wanted a certain product, we did leftovers.  I need to inventory and make a plan before the next canning day in January. Now. where to put the stuff??!!
Andrew and Benjamin also spent all afternoon helping someone move while I did some bookkeeping. 
Break is over.  More, no doubt exciting, news later.  sometime.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.

Sir Winston Churchill
British politician (1874 - 1965)

Election day is over.  I won some.  I lost some. 
California Propostion 8 - Marriage is between one man and one woman - passed.  To my pleasant surprise.  Ben says, "O ye of little faith."
Prop 2 - Standards for Confining Farm Animals -  passed.  Again a pleasant surprise.  It may hurt the pocketbook, but cruelty is not justified by cents, dollars even.
I was disappointed that Prop 4 - Parent Notification Before Terminating Minor's Pregnancy - went down. 
We passed a few more bonds - more debt!!  Good causes, no doubt, but when will it end?
Everyone knows, of course that Obama won.  Resoundingly.  Both McCain and Obama gave speeches last night that gave me hope and reminded me how grateful and proud I am to be an American.  Isn't it wonderful that we can fight with words and not violence, that we vote, accept the will of the people,  and move on together regardless of  whether the outcome is what we would have chosen?! 
So now the election is over, but our job is not done.  Every few years, we rant and rave, wave signs, complain a lot and eventually vote.  Then we go back to business as usual. Which often  includes a good bit of complaining amongst ourselves.  I think however the business of citizenship is not confined to voting every election.  In between times, we need to communicate with our elected officials and tell them what we want and what we think.  If we want a representative democracy, we need to inform our representatives of the will of the people - preferably before they make the big decisions. 

Friday, October 31, 2008

Irrigation of the land with seawater desalinated by fusion power is ancient. It's called rain.

Michael McClary

It was late in September when I went to Weatherite about replacing our windows. (my broken bedroom window and the 2 in the boys soon(?) to be room, the sea room)  As October drew to a close, I began to feel a bit cranky about the length of time from order to delivery. 

They came and put in the windows Wednesday.

The rain came Thursday.

Right on time, after all.

The difference between a manager and a leader is the difference between control and inspiration.

You remember my recent disappointment that we are no longer allowed to listen to the radio via the internet at work. It subtly changed the atmosphere in the office for many of us.

But wait, there's more.

Yesterday, my supervisor informed us that from now on there is no more make up time.

Joseph and I have been carpooling - it started when his bike was broken down. We carpool to the light rail. Then from his light rail stop, he caught a bus. That evolved into him riding to light rail with me even when he has his bike and then biking to work from his light rail stop.

As my commute to light rail from the office is much shorter and easier to his (right outside my building), I get back to the car earlier. So, I started staying after work to get caught up - I have not fully caught up from being sick a week in August - and also to earn time so I don't have to use vacation for little things.

A new coworker who doesn't have vacation yet has been earning time so she can have her son's 21st birthday off. Another earns time so she can get off early on other days to pick up her kids. It has been very nice.

Apparently, my boss's boss has come over to our unit a few times and noticed people missing. She confronted Boss about it. Boss tried, she really tried to stand up for us, but the boom was lowered. The law was laid down. Flat. By the books. Only by the books.

No more make up time, not for kids, not for a little extra lunch time, nothing. Boss feels very badly.

I am none too pleased with the powers (or power) that be.

There's more. There has been a lot of office re-organizing. Cubicles taken apart and reconfigured. Among the changes, they moved Boss from her window cubicle to as far away from the windows as you can get. Like me, but I am not a supervisor. And, being at the front desk, I can stand up, lean over the counter, and glimpse the window down the aisle. Boss is walled in. It is a biggish cubicle, but not light and airy. In fact the overhead lights directly over her cube are off for conservation purposes.

I am beginning to wonder if there is something personal going on. Boss is the ONLY supervisor away from the windows. There are several non-supervisors with windows. Admittedly, Boss's original cube was far from her staff and now she is in the midst of us. However, there are non-super occupied window cubes near her unit.

Although Boss is short staffed, they have been slow to authorize her hiring and yet they have been pressing her because travel claims have been backlogged. Short staff and the record late budget apparently are no excuse.

Last week Boss was really down and stressed. I don't know what it was - personal and/or work or ? I think a lot of it was this garbage from above.

Having to take away our make up time really hurt her, too. And she had to try not to show any of her own feelings or blame the upper. But we are not stupid.

Today her staff gave her a card in which we each told her how much we appreciate, respect and like her. Hope it helps. She is a great boss and a very nice person.

Trick or Treat

As you may recall, Joseph has been having a good bit of trouble with his bike. We took it to the Bicycle Chef where he nearly left it for a $100 worth of work. Then I asked if the bike was worth it. Nope. So, he just fixed the then current flat. He got a flat again a week or so ago. I planned on stopping by the bike shop on the way to Dave's Pumpkin Farm where we went through the corn maze Saturday, but Joseph opted not to go with us. So, he has been bike-less.

He has chatted with a co-worker about maybe buying a better bike. She said, "Wait. Maybe Santa will bring you one." Well, Santa has never brought big gifts nor usually individual gifts to our house, so that hardly seems likely. He was afraid she was thinking of getting one and, truth is, he can afford it better than she can.

Today, a supervisor called Joseph into his office. No, he wasn't in trouble. They talked about a project they were working on. When Joseph returned to the file room, there was a NEW BICYCLE! Stunned, Joseph started to ask B if she had bought it. Then the doorway filled with people. The whole office had taken up a collection. A pretty GOOD collection, apparently.

This bike is the same as police use. Strong, light weight street bike. They made sure that it has very good brakes, fenders so he won't become striped in wet weather; they put on a rack and bought him lights for it. It is a nice bike.

Earlier, under the pretense of considering buying a bike for his son, one of the conspirators asked Joseph's opinion and learned all about what Joseph likes in a bike.

When Joseph started talking about buying a bike, B told T, the lead conspirator, that he had better speed things up. T, casually chatting with Joseph, suggested Craig's list was a good place to get a bike - especially at the end of the month - especially at the end of November - the rains have driven some riders off their bikes and people are wanting extra money for Christmas. Stall Joseph.

I am proud of Joseph for being the kind of person that his coworkers wanted to do something so nice for him. What generous and kind coworkers he has!

I don't expect that he will try to change jobs any time soon.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Special Fast November 2, 2008

Thank you for expressing this so well Tessa. -

This November's election will be one of great significance for each one of
us and our country as a whole. It is suggested that the Sunday before the
election, which is November 2nd, we take the opportunity to fast for our
country and the leaders who will be elected and the voters who will elect

Whether you are of a political persuasion or not, this year's election will
be significant. I personally encourage you to learn about the people who
want to lead our country and make a prayerful decision.

Should you feel to pass this on to those you love I would encourage you to
do so. Our fasts and prayers will make a difference and at this time, more
than any other in our lifetime, our country is in need of the Lord's

To our friends and family, whether in or out of California, I might suggest
that we also fast for the passing of proposition 8, the marriage initiative.
If it fails there will be drastic changes to our lives here as there have
been to those who live in Massachusetts. May God help us all.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Upstairs, Downstairs

During the break in my intermediate accounting class (Redwood Conference room 14th floor), I decided, as often, to go back to my office (1040) and refill my water bottle. I decided to take the stairs as I sometimes do. I hit the stairs at a good pace, but after a flight or so, I started to flag. I hadn't gone 2 floors when I was quite tired. I thought, "I have done this before, I shouldn't' be so tired. I should be about to the 12th floor." I looked up at the wall and saw that I was headed for the 16th floor!! I do not now know whether I thought I was going from my office to the conference room or whether I truly do not know up from down. That's the effect this class has on my brain.

Speaking of the accounting class, as of the quiz submitted today, I now have 142 points, enough for a "C-". What a relief to know that I am passing this class, even though I do not understand most of it. Together the study team should be able to get a solid "B," maybe even an "A". This will be, I think, my last accounting class. I have passed the level of my incompetence. Next semester, probably Business Law.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

the Virtue of Tolerance

(thank you, Sue A!)
This address was given at the BYU Women's Conference, May 5, 2006
Boyd K. Packer
              "The virtue of tolerance has been distorted and elevated to a position of such prominence as be thought equal to and even valued more than morality. It is one thing to be tolerant, even forgiving of individual conduct. It is quite another to collectively legislate and legalize to protect immoral conduct that can weaken, even destroy the family."
                "There is a dangerous trap when tolerance is exaggerated to protect the rights of those whose conduct endangers the family and injures the rights of the more part of the people. We are getting dangerously close to the condition described by the prophet Mosiah, who warned:"
    "Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law—to do your business by the voice of the people."
     "And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land."  (Mosiah 29:26-27)
"Tolerance can be a dangerous trap."
As always, Boyd K. Packer says is so eloquently!
The Prophet Joseph Smith said at the first Relief Society, "There must be a decision of character, aside from sympathy."

Friday, October 17, 2008

Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress.

Mahatma Gandhi Indian political and spiritual leader (1869 - 1948)
A beloved and honored relative wrote to me a week or so ago:

 Sorry, Barbara, but I don't agree with the position that your church has taken on Proposition 8.  If I could (it's not on the ballot in Oregon), I would vote NO on it.  I believe that there are all kinds of people in this world, with different beliefs and ways of living their lives and we all need to be tolerant and accepting and understanding of people.  Teaching of diversity of life should be experienced in the school system so children can learn to be accepting.......especially if they won't see the tolerance in their own home.  We all have to live in the same world.  Gay couples or straight couples should be treated with the same respect.  I find it sad that there is still many people that believe that children should be taught that diversity is a bad thing, it just perpetuates problems in the world.

The first time you mentioned Prop. 8, I decided not to say anything but after receiving the email on Sunday, I felt my position should be stated. 

 I finally replied today.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I hope you realize that my long silence is because of my time management problems and not because of any ill feelings.  I love and respect you very much.  I don't think a disagreement here and there will ever change that.

Thank you for telling me how you feel.  I suspect that we are going to have to agree to disagree on this. 

When the subject first came up, I followed my church based on my personal testimony but without any real feeling of urgency.  I almost wondered what all the fuss was about.  To each his own.  The more I learned, and certainly not just or even mainly from church sources, the stronger my feelings became.  It upsets me a little that 4 judges can overturn the vote of the people. (Maybe more than a little.) It upsets me tremendously that schools will be (and in some places, including California, already are)  actively teaching morals many parents believe are wrong.

Believing in certain moral values does not mean disrespecting or hurting other people. I know it happens on both sides, but it is wrong.

 We affirm the right of people to believe as they deem best and to act on those beliefs.  We do not want our rights to teach our own children trampled on.  One can teach respect for other people and their right to choose while teaching ones own moral values.  (We do it all the time on the subjects of drinking and smoking, for instance.)  We do not want other people teaching our children values we disagree with and teaching intolerance for our morals and religion.  That is what is happening already and what we are trying to stop.

I would share some friendly personal news now, except there isn't much and I already spent more than my allotted break time in study group. (again) The good news is that the group got all the answers right on the quiz due today.  Sigh of relief and on to the next one which has already been released.  Another area of disagreement between us – I just might hate accounting.

Love you!  Have a great weekend!


No, No Nano

One of my beautiful and delightful daughters convinced me that an iPod Nano would be adequate to my needs and cost much less than a Classic which costs too much.  $150 is a lot of money, but… do-able. On my last trip to Costco, I happily picked one up.  I was so excited.  I looked forward to listening to the Satellite Sisters podcast a day late at work as other wonderful radio offerings.  Alas! And wouldn't you know it.  The Nano and our computer refuse to talk to each other and I have to take it back.  It's not just me, my best computer tech geek gave it his best shot and went down in defeat.  No Nano for me.  I really miss the Satellite Sisters!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

If you scatter thorns, don't go barefoot.

Italian Proverb

I have the bad habit at work of slipping my shoes off. Sometimes I run around the office stocking foot – usually late in the afternoon after the exodus has well begun. A co-worker has expressed great concern that I might step on a staple, get an infection, and DIE. A beautiful and beloved daughter concurred this is a dangerous practice. So far, I have had no problem.

This week for some reason, I have worn strap-on shoes that don't just slip off. Yesterday, shoes firmly on, I felt a prick in the side of my foot. A STAPLE - inside my shoe..

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Daylight follows a dark night.

Maasai Proverb

Saturday we went to Jared's birthday party - "Cars" theme -what fun! The kids got to decorate license plates to put on the cardboard cars Tom had made for them. They had races complete with tire changing and gassing up pit-stops. Jared's cousin was the greatest pit chief. The kids had a blast.

I took my Christmas project to work on, of course. When I went to show Nana (Jared's other grandma) and a daughter or two my duo-color diaster, we could NOT see it. The color difference does not seem to show up in daylight. Part of the reason I went months without discovering it. I will have to tell my recipient to never where it around flourescents!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

What is General Conference?

Father of Five, thanks for asking. Sorry this took so long. I am having even more time management problems than usual (cursed Accounting class!). Everything and everyone is being sadly, grossly neglected. I shouldn't be here now, in fact. So, shoot me. defines General Conference this way
"A bi-annual world conference of the Church, held in April and October, where members gather for five two-hour sessions to listen to instruction from Church leaders. General conference is broadcast via satellite from the Conference Center at Church Headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah."

Now for the personal part -

General Conference is the opportunity to sit at the feet of a living prophet of God, apostles, and other church leaders (electronically via satellite) and hear the Lord's message for us, for me, today.

Although we are abundantly blessed with communication from on high - the holy scriptures, of course!; inspired leaders, local as well as general; weekly meetings of worship and instruction; monthly magazines from the church; and personal revelation and answers to prayers (although I need to greatly work on my reception) - there is something special about seeing and hearing the General Authorities speak in real time. To us now.

Ben (15 and 5/6) was sitting next to me taking notes. Almost every time a speaker came to the stand, he would whisper something like "I really like him." "He's great." That's how I feel.
I love to see and hear them. They radiate joy. They teach great truths. They encourage and inspire.

Whenever I see President Thomas S. Monson, prophet and president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I again feel a witness of the Spirit that he was truly called of God.

The other authorities, as well, but most especially President Monson.

Even now, as I share this with you, I am overcome. I have a testimony that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, our Savior and our loving brother. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His gospel restored to the earth. Thomas S. Monson is his living spokesman on the earth today.

They say dreams are the windows of the soul--take a peek and you can see the inner workings, the nuts and bolts.

Henry Bromel, Northern Exposure, The Big Kiss, 1991

I dreamed again about Andrew and driving.

Andrew was driving an old station wagon along a hilly country road. I was following in my car with at least one passenger. All was going well until a car traveling in the opposite direction tried to pass the vehicle in front of him without enough room before meeting Andrew’s car! Fortunately, the road was wide on Andrew’s right. The passing vehicle sped around Andrew on the outside, but cut back too sharply and clipped his rear quarter panel on the way back to his own lane. I don’t remember what happened to that car. I think it stopped diagonally across the road. Andrew continued on a bit. I signaled to him to pull over. Amazing that he could see my waving my arms inside my car from so far away! He pulled over and started backing up. That was a little scary because he was backing toward the drop on side of the road. I waved and yelled. He stopped in time. As I was getting out of my car to start getting the accident information, it hit me - Andrew doesn’t have his license yet! I was supposed to be with him. He was drving illegally. We were not at fault in the accident and I don't think anyone was hurt, but we were going to be in big legal trouble. The end.

I partly woke up from that dream and then immediately had another related dream which I completely forgot.

Other recent dreams - I keep dreaming about my accursed Accounting class. (When I first started my job, I was doing it all night in my sleep for weeks.) In these accounting dreams, I am always studying and trying to do the homework,but I don’t understand any of it. True to life! Except I have don’t have nearly enough time to study. Sadly, these are not the kind of dreams where you solve the problem that has been concerning you. No “aha”. I am as lost in my dreams as I am when awake with no better understanding gained from my tortured sleep.

I am surprised I don’t remember any dreams about the fridge smell. It is still there. Fortunately, not overwhelmingly. Unless you are right there. Hopefully this weekend, we will manage another attack.

I seldom remember dreams or having dreamt. So why, when i do, do I remember unsettling ones?

PS - Andrew is a pretty good driver. (Needs to learn to think ahead a bit more and gain confidence. ) I think I want him to get his license. (and an old station wagon?? no)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

If at first you don't succeed, failure may be your style.

Quentin Crisp

I had an idea for my homemade gift for the exchange.

I worked on it for a few months. Despite many false starts, every now and then having to rip out portions and do them over, it came out pretty well, but I think it is the wrong size. Good thing I started early in the year.

I began again. I am slow enough to begin with – I have literally been working on this for months – in the moments I can find, but since this Intermediate Accounting class began I have hardly been able to crochet a stitch. I actually thought I might finish in August, but then I got sick and then the class started. I am about ¾ done. Don’t get excited, it is not that it is such a big wonderful project. MAYBE medium. But I am slow.

Last night I discovered *la gasp!!** that somewhere in the early middle of the project, I USED A DIFFERENT COLOR YARN. Not obviously different, obviously! Except in decent light.

If I were not at work, I would be bawling right now. I did cry last night, but not as much as it deserves!

The good news is - My sons are learning what to do when a woman cries – just go put your arms around her and let her cry.

There is no way I have time to rip it all out to where I messed up and do it over. I thought maybe I could remove a section so I would have to undo less, but I cannot figure it out. Joseph tried to research the possibility of dyeing the whole thing. Not good.

The only thing I can think is to keep on keeping on. Someone I love who deserves much better is going to end up getting a defective - or should we say, unique - gift.

This may be my worst Christmas ever.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Conference Feast

Eva Aurora - isn't that a pretty name? - asked about conference food. Those of you who have been with me awhile, you already know.

Even during the brief period of my life when we had cable, I found that staying home to watch conference didn't really work for me. The children would wander off to play - they were much younger then. The house and all my many responsibities kept yelling at me. It was hard for me to really BE at conference.

So, almost for always, we have gone to the Stake Center for the satellite broadcast. We attend every session.

Even though we are only 10 minutes or so from the Stake Center, it also didn't work for us to go home and eat between sessions. Even before gas prices got so high. It took too much time to round everyone up, go home, fix something, eat, round eveyone up, and get back for the next session. STRESS, not rejoicing.

We wanted to enjoy conference. We decided to make a day of it. When the children were little, we brought "quiet" toys for them and let them play in the back of the room. Now, it's the grandkids in the back of the room. Traditionally, we ask them to come sit when the prophet himself speaks. As they grow, they start sitting and coloring or doing conference activities - listening for words and such. Eventually, they are sitting and maybe even taking notes, without ever haven been told they have to stop playing with Legos during church. We usually are in the Relief Society room with a tv instead of in the chapel. We want light for note taking - and not dark for napping!, room for the kids to play, and a slightly more relaxed atmosphere.

I started by packing lunch for just our family. One conference, my family was sitting there eating a nice lunch, including fried chicken when we noticed the missionaries with their Ramon. Ramon?!! I consider ramon akin to styrofoam with broth, although some of my kids seem to like it. Anyway, it was just so sad, and I vowed, Never again.

I started fixing lunch for my family and the full-time missionaries for between sessions both Saturday and Sunday. Nothing really fancy, it just takes me forever. I usually just bring sandwich fixings and let them make their own sandwiches. Traditionally, we have egg salad, tuna salad, ham , turkey, (presliced deli meats, not I roast and slice), cheese, lettuce, and PB and J. I also bring strawberry jello with sliced strawberries, a 7-layer type dip and chips. I spend a small fortune, but we think it is well worth it. On Sunday, I usually bring beans and wieners, too. My grown children in the area often bring something to the table too, even if they watched conference in another location. This conference we fed a dozen missionaries both days. We enjoy it.

On Saturday, we go around to a nearby park - if the weather is good. On days when it is wet or windy, and on Sundays, we eat in the multipurpose room next to the kitchen.

The old guy that watches over the building used to be leery of us, but soon he learned that we always leave it cleaner than we find it. Now, he is very welcoming and helpful. Of course, we invite him to lunch too, and sometimes he has something.

One ward used to entice their youth to morning session by fixing them breakfast at the church before meetings. It was hard to sit through conference with the smells still wafting through. I started making breakfast crossant sandwiches for my family so we wouldn't feel like we were missing out on something. Although WE eat ours at the beginning of morning session. I make them the day ahead. When I get up in the morning, I pop them in the oven to warm while I dress. yummy! We look forward to them every conference. It also helps get slow pokes out the door, because they know they will have breakfast at church.

I like to think that feasting on the food helps us to feast on the Word as well. My kids always seem delighted when it is conference time again. There were times when they were disappointed that when someone said "conference," they meant Stake Conference, even though Stake Conference means a shorter meeting than usual, instead of General Conference's 8 hours of church on the weekend- or 10 for the priesthood.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Ability will never catch up with the demand for it.

Malcolm Forbes
US art collector, author, & publisher (1919 - 1990)
Mine certainly doesn't!  ability catch up to demand, that is!!!
Catching up a little :
We got a refrigerator brush and we brushed and vacuumed a lot of dust and gunk out from under the fridge.  Another serviceman came out. He didn't do a lot more, but he was much more helpful.  He said that there is a metal plate that prevents any rodents going up into the works where I thought one might have gotten.  He found no dead rodent where one could (and has) gone which is where we were poking and vacuuming.  He said the smell is from rat urine and that the first service man was not far off when he said it needed to be hosed down.  He admitted that hosing it down probably wouldn't do the job; the underworks need scrubbing.  I am going to try scrubbing it with the refrigerator brush dipped in cleaning solution.  – as soon as I can make time!


My options are – 1) somehow get it clean enough to eliminate the smell,  2) replace the refrigerator, or 3) live with the smell –popping popcorn does a fair job of covering the smell, but how much popcorn can one family pop?


It still seems very strange that the smell is worse when we open the fridge if the source is under it.  Oh, well.  Of course, we do tend to avoid that end of the kitchen unless we need something from the refrigerator.  We also tend to hold our breath.


Meanwhile –


Oh, yes, my DMV-is-going-to-suspend-my-license-because-I-have-diabetes appointment.  Went well.  Kaiser check my eyes with a wall chart thing – without glasses: right eye 20/60, left eye 20/25, both eyes 20/20.  With glasses: everything 20/20.  Ok, the appointment went well except the doctor deciding I was due for a mammogram.  At least she said I can wait a couple of years for an up yours.  I faxed the form in to DMV.  I am not sure, but I think they may contact me later for a hearing in addition to the doctor check.  Sigh.  We shall see.


Recently, I leaned slightly against my bedroom window as I was opening the other side.  The window, being old and decrepit, broke.   Also, the window in the someday-to-be boys' room is cracked – has been for years?  I figured we probably could replace the glass ourselves, but this seemed like a good time to replace the window.  For something more reliable, less brittle!, easier to open, better insulation, better looking, etc.   So, a week ago Saturday Andrew and I went to the Weatherite Window Showroom (as advertised on Armstrong and Getty).  David, the estimate guy, came and did an estimate the following Monday.  It took well over a week before Mike, the measuring guy, came and it may be 4-6 weeks bfore the windows are ready.  I am going to have both windows in the boys' room replaced and the broken one in my room.  That's as much as I can afford right now. 


To think that once I thought the boys would be in their room by my birthday.  Which year?   Now, I am losing hope for Thanksgiving.  Maybe David and Teresa get to use the sea room one more time.  Hopefully, we will move the boys by Christmas.  Everything tokes so long!  Of course, we have hardly begun to tackle the sorting of the mountain of stuff in the "family room".


Life is not all work, worry, and bad smells. 


Saturday, the boys and I went to Old Sacramento for the "Great Sacramento Duck Race"  (to benefit Special Olympics).  We bought a duck 013007, but I haven't gotten any phone calls, so our lucky spy apparently didn't win any prizes.  We had lunch at Roundtable Pizza – all you can eat salad and pizza lunch buffet, got chased off the Capital bridge for a boat to go through, and finally got to watch the Duck Dump at the up river bridge.  3 what looked like bulldozers or something dumped a yellow stream over the edge of the bridge.  Bathtub type rubber/plastic ducks, not live ducks, of course!  Once in the water, the ducks were held back by fire boats for a bit.  Who knows why.  They weren't really allowed to "race" on their own, but were herded by the fire boats – in between inter-boat water fights.  When the ducks got pretty much to our bridge, officials netted the winners – not necessarily the leaders ( ! The race is rigged, I tell you.) and the fire boats got serious about their water fights. 


We had a fire drill in our office building yesterday.  Hundreds of people pouring down the stairs.  Thoughts of 9/11.  I thought of the people who didn't make it out and how they wanted to contact their families one last time.  I thought about the brave firemen going up into danger.  When we got to the waiting area across the street, I sent a text to my children.  (Except for one or two whom I accidently tried to text their house phone – that doesn't work!)  Then, I relaxed and enjoyed the fresh air with my co-workers for a few minutes.  We cleared the 16 floor building in 15 minutes.  Pretty impressive, I think.  Of course, we knew it was coming.  However,  I don't think it would take us much more than 5 minutes longer if it was the real deal.  Maybe not even.


The fire drill made us late for our Accounting Class (held in our building).  We picked up the computer and projector and headed for the 14th floor.  No one was there.  But we figured it was probably taking a bit for people to get processed after the drill.  We rearranged the furniture for our class, then decided to do some study group while we waited.  We ended up with the entire class time for study group.  Not one person from outside showed up, including the teacher.  They had known the drill was coming and no one said anything about cancelling class.  The teacher didn't post an announcement on Blackboard.  We didn't really mind.  We get more out of study group then we do from the class, anyway.  And we worked on Quiz 4.  When class time was over, we put the furniture back and returned to the office.   Do you think we will get credit for attending?  We did a sign-up sheet.


Oops, Break is more than over and I have some work to finish before leaving early to work on conference food for the weekend. 

Monday, September 29, 2008

The past is the only dead thing that smells sweet.

Edward Thomas, Poems (1917) "Early One Morning"

There is something dead in the works of our refrigerator.   There has been a growing awareness of some smell.  We thought it might be compost not taken out,  potatoes gone bad, or any number of things.  Alas, no.  Nothing so simple.

Last Friday, we realized it was none of those things – more like a dead thing.  Definitely a dead thing.   and the smell is worse when you open the fridge or the freezer.    So, after my doctor appointment, I took the rest of the day off work.  We completely emptied the refrigerator and the freezer.   We washed the inside.  We pulled out it out and cleaned behind and under it.  We removed the little panel at the back and cleaned what we could.  We did not discover the source of the stench. 

Finally, I called Sears service.  Unbelievably, the thing is still on a service contract from when we first purchased it!  A service man is coming this afternoon.  (Andrew will be the responsible adult. I left him a blank check.  ! ) Hopefully, the service man will find and eliminate the problem.  Also, replace the tubing to the ice maker (which we think "the problem" or a relative chewed through long ago).   I hope it doesn't cost much.  I HOPE he can take care of it.  I don't want to have to replace the thing.  $$$$!

*** Monday, late afternoon  - the technician came and did no more, possibly less than we did.  I think he suggested to the boys that we take it out and hose it down.  (?!)  He didn't open any thing we couldn't open, much less actually probe the inner workings.  Quiet rage and frustration. ok, maybe not so quiet.   I called Sears again, but as the tech has not filed his report, they cannot do anything yet. (more ! !)  I need to call tomorrow.  Meanwhile, my kitchen reeks. And Andrew feels like he has let me down.  Not him, the "service" man!

Friday, September 19, 2008

I wanna hang a map of the world in my house.

I wanna hang a map of the world in my house. Then I'm gonna put pins into all the locations that I've traveled to. But first, I'm gonna have to travel to the top two corners of the map so it won't fall down.
Mitch HedbergAmerican comedian (1968 - 2005)

Where in the States have you been?

I have been to:

not counting airplane touch downs and drive throughs asleep

visited 12 states (24%)

Create your own visited map of The United States or determine the next president

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dreaming permits each and every one of us to be quietly and safely insane every night of our lives.

William Dement, in Newsweek, 1959

Sariah recounted a weird dream she had last night. So I thought I would share mine.

I "don't dream." That is to say, I almost never remember dreaming. Wednesday night I had trouble sleeping. It seems that nights like that I am more likely to remember my dreams. (?)

Andrew (who did not look at all like Andrew. His hair was even very blond, much lighter than Benjamin's. But it was Andrew. How do you "know" these things in a dream?) and I were in our car (which also didn't look like my car, but maybe? A small station wagon.

Well, first, I think we were walking in this very large (but rather well mown) field. He was going on about how great a place it would be to play some game or other (no doubt one of the on-line role playing games or some such thing of which he is so fond) (The only thing at all like Andrew in this entire dream).

Next thing, we are in the car and he is driving it around VERY FAST and BACKWARDS all over this field. First, I calmly told him that I didn't think it was a good idea because he wouldn't be able to see any holes or other hazards. He just kept driving around crazily. For some reason, I was in the back seat, not in the passenger seat as I should be with a permit only driver. Anyway, soon I am yelling at him to stop, threatening to take away his license, and telling him that I am going to call the police.

After quite some time, we are finally stopped at the side of the road. I am furious. I tell him to give me his keys and his permit and to get out of the car. It takes him a very long time to comply. Before he gets out, he shifts slightly and repeatedly, deliberately spits on the driver's seat. I told him he had to walk home. The end.

The guys thought it was pretty funny when I told them the dream.

The dream in no way reflects what I truly think of Andrew's driving and certainly not his character.

PS – he is recovering well from his oral surgery now and the stitches have dissolved. He still must eat very carefully. If he is eating "real food" he must cut it very small and eat very slowly. (I should be on that plan!) He did scare himself by taking a flashlight and examining his mouth in the mirror. "I have BIG holes in my mouth." He is worried about things getting stuck in there and causing trouble. I told him that the wholes do pretty much fill in eventually. For now, my advice, brush, but gently.