Thursday, April 24, 2008

"I think it would be a good idea. "

Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization
Indian political and spiritual leader (1869 - 1948)

A friend updating me on his family seemed to mention with almost everyone that they wanted out of Utah. So, I wondered:  Why does everyone not want to live in Utah? 
My Utah experience is extremely limited – a year and a half at the Y.
Here's my ignorance about Utah - 
Pluses – church is real handy.  Addresses are easy to find.  The mountains.  The towns look pretty tidy.  Stampin'Up is headquartered there, as well as the Church.  You probably get church on TV/radio even if you don't have cable/satellite.  The Pioneer Day makes more sense than Ceasar Chavez Day, but it's too close to Independence Day (what were they thinking?).
Minuses –almost everyone is Mormon, but you can't tell by looking. Hanging out with Mormon kids may mean pressure to lower your standards.  I don't know if that is really so, but that's the impression one sometimes gets.  Too far from the ocean! And too dry.  Real winters.
I never had a burning desire to live in Utah, but I just wonder why the burning desire NOT to live in Utah.  
I do have other friends who left California to live in Utah and seem to like it very much.  I can hardly imagine!
Of course, compared to the Pacific Northwest!!!!!  Pretty much my ideal.
If I had my druthers I would live on the Pacific north coast -  northern California or Oregon or Washington, don't know if I have a preference, except for wanting to see whales -  with the ocean in front of me and an evergreen forest at my back.  Except, most of my children are here, with the one daughter and her family almost next door, so even if I had billions of dollars I would live here.  Unless, of course, I could get them to come live by the ocean with me!
I loved Oregon growing up there.  My oldest says she will never leave Washington. 
But I am rather fond of California, too.  We have almost any kind of place you could want here.  It tickles me a great deal that working for State Parks I am part of preserving and making available to the public  some great natural beauty. A small, rather insignificant part, but still a part.  Sometimes,  I get to talk to people from all over California.  A ranger was telling me today that I simply must go to Angel Island.   A gal on the North Coast was touting the beautiful weather they are having today in the redwood forests. California has many kinds of beauty and I enjoy much of it vicariously.
I like Sacramento. It gets hot in the summer, "but it's a dry heat."  Thank goodness for the Delta breeze!! We have a beautiful state capital, lots of parks, a wonderful diversity of people and culture. Some very nice and special people live here.   We can easily drive to the mountains or to the ocean.   We have lots of trees, more than Paris, I have heard.
If I had all the time and money, I would wander these United States, mostly the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, and especially spend ages in early American history sites.  I would, probably, pay almost duty visits to early Mormon history sites, but early American history would be my passion!  I would like to drive all over the country, stopping here and there as something caught my imagination, and staying maybe an hour, maybe a month.   My son Andrew would be the perfect companion. He and I dream of taking road trips together.  I would want all my kids, but he is the one who would love to go.  Eventually, I would return to my coastal cottage.  Once I had my chance to see America, I don't know if I would travel more or not.  I might just stay home forever – except for visiting kids when they weren't visiting me.  Or I might see America more and again.  I might also like to visit the British Isles and Portugal, maybe Germany. 

Sunday, April 20, 2008


I have been feeling overwhelmed and told my Bishop's Counselor so last week. Today after church, he extended my release from Cub Scout Committee Chair. Sadly, I accepted. He did ask me to stay on as a committee member in either Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts. I said that as Ben is still a Scout (although not the way the ward does it now), I need to be on the Scout Committee anyway and usually attend committee meetings. So there it is. I love the Scouting program - Cub and older Boy, but I don't have what it takes right now.

I now only have one calling, Ward Activity Committee Member. That is, as of next Sunday, when they make the release official. A pretty soft calling. I hope I don't feel like a slacker.

I HOPE they call Vivian S to Cub Chair.

I WISH they would call Frank M or David A, both of whom served as Scoutmasters and as Bishopric members in Camellia City Ward, as Scout Chair. Someone who GETS it! Not that Vivian doesn't. But they might have more clout because they are men and because of past positions. Although, neither of them are really very feisty. I could wish for feisty there right now. Sadly, though, I think the Scouting problem is fairly widespread. It may be a Stake as well as Ward attitude. CCW Troop 40's last Scoutmaster, now Brighton Ward's Scoutmaster is facing the same battles. He keeps trying to do some of what we did in Troop 40 and is told NO.

David A and I had a lamenting the state of Scouting and missing CCW Troop 40 session after church while I waited for Ben who was actually at what they called a Board of Review, but wasn't because there was only one person, but it was still a good thing. A this is where you, are this is what you need, keep going kind of interview. Yippee! Glad they were doing that!

David A says we only have 2 Deacons (active). TWO guys in our troop???!!! What kind of fun is that? Yet, they will neither combine ages nor wards. How are guys going to build friendships and learn teamwork and leadership?

They keep wanting to have a YM activity program as well as pretend to have Scouting. HELLO! Scouting IS the official activity arm of YM. Why don't they understand? As it is they make more work for themselves and hamstring Scouting.

I wish all the YM leaders had been at the Aaronic Priesthood and Scouting Conference a bit over a year ago. It was fantastic!

Anyway, I am about to be released from Cubs. That's a bittersweet relief. I have at least 4 boxes of stuff to dump on someone. (This building has NO storage space. Well, VERY, VERY LITTLE.)

Must go. I have letters to missionaries and to at least one relative to write. And dinner to fix.

Nice Interchange at the Elevator

I don't get showered with compliments (who really does?, more's the pity), so when I get one, I like to keep it to look back on.

I was waiting for the elevator on my way to class the other day. Encountered a gentleman I have sometimes helped at my desk. I don't know who he is, but I think he is one of the "higher ups" (whom I probably SHOULD recognize). Seeing my textbook, he asked about class and what I want to be "when I grow up." I confessed that I am quite uncertain of my career ambitions as I don't want a lot of stress and responsibility. He made sympathetic noises and said something about it being good to keep options open - like by taking classes to help qualify for promotions. I said something about maybe staying a lowly tech, except money is handy sometimes. He scoffed, said don't say lowly, you are the ones who get things done. Then he said that if he had his own office, he would want to hire me because I was so helpful. He may have even indicated that he thinks I am smart. Certainly perked up my day!

Friday, April 18, 2008

I took a speed reading course and read 'War and Peace' in twenty minutes. It involves Russia.

Woody Allen(1935 - )

Since last posting -

Saturday, Perkins Ward had a very successful family dance and game night, modeled after the Dance and Game nights Camellia City Ward enjoyed so much. Of course, Wojohwitz d.j.ed. We found that Perkins Ward seems to have more dancers willing to dance to more types of music than Camellia City Ward did, which W appreciated. Lots of people brought yummy treats. Some played games, some sat and visited. Everyone seemed to have a good time.

Sunday, I gave a talk in Sacrament Meeting which was very well received which is always nice. Lots of nice people said they liked it or good job. In fact, Bishop's Counselor H wrote to me, "Also, I didn't get a chance to tell you yesterday, but you're talk was really really good. In fact, the Bishop leaned over to me when you concluded and said "Perfect". It was exactly what he was looking for and about as good a talk on repentance as I've heard." (Wow!) Now, if I could learn to live it as well as I apparently said it!

We also had Joseph's birthday dinner - baked potato bar, yummy!, chocolate cake and chocolate Moose Tracks ice cream. I gave him promise of the Speed Reading program which he has been wanting, but I procrastinated ordering for him, so his present is late.

That made at least the 4th Sunday in a row that the Sacramento family were together. I think most are looking forward to a Sunday "off" this week.

Good news and bad news about Joseph's new job –

bad news first - Whereas I work downtown just steps off the light rail, Joseph works in the opposite direction about 2 miles from light rail. He bikes to light rail, then bikes to work. Unfortunately, he had a blow out this week on the way to light rail. Fortunately, I was home because I had to take Ben to STAR testing before going to work. There went my extra hour that morning! I took Joseph to work and picked him up after work - he had to work late because we both get off at 5, I had to light rail from work to car and then drive to his work. The last couple of days, he has been borrowing Ben's bike which is really too tall for him. (Ben has been very worried about his bike.)

More bad news. In my hurry from dropping off Joseph, to dropping off Ben, to catching a train into work, I forgot to take the bike rack off my car (we had quickly stopped by home and asked Andrew to take the bike). While I was off work, the bike rack was stolen. This is especially bad because on Wednesdays, Joseph goes straight from work to Sac City College. I don’t want him biking and on light rail at night, so I pick him and his bike up after class. This week he came home and I dropped him off at light rail without his bike on the way to YM/Pack Meeting.

I tried at 3 places to get a bike rack after dropping Ben off at STAR testing Wednesday, but none of them had one in stock. Now, I am thinking about taking a little more time (and money!) and getting a hitch and a bigger bike rack – one that could hold all 4 bikes. The good news - Joseph likes the people, especially Bonita. Also, they have a label maker and a computer, but couldn’t figure out how to make them talk to each other. Joseph’s trainer worked on it for at least a day. Joseph worked on it for an hour and got it to work! On top of that, Joseph questioned a procedure and suggested a slight change which met with approval. Way to go, Joseph!

More good news - I won $100 on Blingo! We were excited in times past when we won a movie ticket. Just imagine! (Of course that was the day I got the bike rack stolen, so we know where the money is going.) If you haven't joined yet, click the Blingo thing at the top right of my blog. If you do and sign up through that link, when you win, I win too! If you invite a friend and he wins, you win. Once you join, all you do is use Blingo whenever you want to search the web.

I just had my last Pack Meeting as Acting Cubmaster. Rod K was called as Cubmaster Sunday. I told him he didn’t have to do Pack Meeting on 3 days notice! He came and seemed to enjoy it. Vivian S. did her magic act which impressed everyone. She interspersed her tricks with Cub Scouts who wanted to perform and gave them great encouragement and support. She is good!

She wants my job as Cub Chair. She is discouraged as Scout Chair and would like to swap. I am willing to let them give her my job, but I don’t think they or I want me as Scout Chair. She feels the men don’t respect her as a woman and that she is largely ignored. I am also female, so would face the same problem, but might give them more fight. Except I really don’t have time or energy. I am totally not happy with the way Scouting is run in this ward. Only the Deacons really do Scouting. I don’t think the leaders or I want to get into this. Unless they listen to me, of course. Not real likely. Also, I think the Scout Chair has more responsibilities than the Cub Chair and I don’t have what it takes right now, as much as I enjoyed that position with Troop 40. How I miss old Troop 40!!!!

And the Dover building!!!!

Other than that, I love Perkins Ward. I loved Camellia City Ward, but Perkins is great, too. Except for Scouting. And the building. I really am not a fan of the building.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Books Are Bad For You

I knew when I went over to babysit Wednesday, that Ruth had finished reading her birthday present, Before Green Gables, because Anne of Green Gables was on the couch.  Sure enough, when she came home, she loaned the book to me.  I am ready to pass it on to Debi now. 
Books! make it hard to sleep and to concentrate on one's work and studies.   They do make the trip back and forth to work on light rail go quickly! 
Of course, last night I did read a little when I first went to bed and should have been sleeping.  Then I woke up about 3 and resolutely DID NOT READ because I needed to sleep.  But I didn't sleep either.  I worried about things - including never having enough time at home or with my kids and never having enough energy and should I ask to be released from a calling - and I tried to sleep - and fend off the cat.  Finally, shortly after 4, I decided that if I wasn't going to sleep, I might as well enjoy myself, and read a little before taking a shower.
We have a stack of Anne books.   I am nearly half through Anne of Green Gables already.  But, here's a problem.  The next book is Anne of Avonlea and we don't have that one.  Ben told me when he showed me where the Anne books were (organizing books was one of his recent self-chosen projects).  He was right.  I don't have long to find it.
Sunday is Joseph's birthday.  We want to have his birthday dinner, but he doesn't know what he wants.  Another problem, I haven't figured out what to get him yet.   Quickly after that come Tom's, then Miriam's, then Andrew's birthdays!   I wish I was a better gifter.  Some people have  talent for knowing or finding or making good gifts.  Me, not so much.  It isn't that I don't care.  Even with wish lists, I have trouble.  Part of that is procrastination.  Joseph has things on his wish list that you don't just pop into a store and get.  At least I don't know where.  You can get them online, but that takes planning ahead.  sigh.
Remember, my mishap with not paying my credit card?  They charged me $39 late fee and $8.something and half finances charges.  And the terms of service say that once you miss a payment, you no longer get the 20-25 day grace period. Finance charges start as soon as they get the transaction.  !!  I checked online to see what transactions I already had, added the ones they didn't know about, and arranged an epayment by my credit union.  I contacted Citi to ask what my horrible fate would now be. 
They replied "However, if we do not receive your full payment by the payment due date every month, the finance charges for purchases will begin to accrue from the date the transaction is added to your balance. They will continue to accrue until payment in full is credited to your account. This means that when you make your final payment on these balances, you will pay interest for the time between the date your last statement prints and the date your payment is credited to your account.

Once you have paid your account in full by the payment due date for two consecutive months, you may again be able to take advantage of the 20-25 day grace period.

As a goodwill gesture, we have credited your account $39.00 for the late fee assessed. This credit should appear on your account within two business days. We must receive your payments by the due date in order to avoid late fees in the future."
With my payment and the goodwill gesture (that was nice), I am now actually a few dollars ahead on my account.  Hopefully, I will avoid more finance charges by authorizing payments immediately after charging something, restore my good name, get back the grace period.
Joseph is doing well in his class at SCC - I think he said he aced a recent test - and at work.  Yesterday, he figured out a  problem at work that had stumped his trainer for days.  Another happy thing for him, his friend Bonita just finished probation, always a relief.  Did I tell you about Bonita?  She is the other person in the file room. (For some reason, of the two of them, Joseph is the "lead" although he is not sure what that means.)  Bonita is an older Asian lady who says Joseph reminds her of her grandson.  They have adopted each other now.  She is probably the main reason he didn't jump at the chance to interview at the Stanford Mansion.  That and not wanting to back on his agreement to work there.
Speaking of work, it's time I get to it. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Sorry, Fred

Joseph started working for the California State Department of  Consumer Affairs Bureau of Automotive Repair yesterday.  Great!
Yesterday, he got a message from the Department of Parks and Recreation, Stanford Mansion.  Are you still interested in the position? 
Great groaning irony!!!
Now, that was not a job offer, just a do you still want an interview contact. 
oh, the dilemma.  At least in my mind.  I would love for him to work next door. But would it be bad form to go out on a job interview so soon?
I asked at work.  Eliza, our team lead said, "Go for it." Liz, my super, was kind of on the fence. 
Joseph says he is sitting tight.

The best way to keep children home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant--and let the air out of the tires.

Dorothy Parker
US author, humorist, poet, & wit (1893 - 1967)
It was nearly a month ago when I had my car serviced.  As I paid, the man casually mentioned a nail in one of the tires.  I thought to myself, "I need to take care of that, but I am too busy right now."  I put it in the back of my mind. 
Yesterday morning or the day before?,  I noticed that one of my tires was looking squishy.  "Oh, yeah, one of my tires has a nail  I wonder if it is that one."  What kind of bad things might happen if you force more compressed air into a tire with a nail in it?  I don't want to know.  I started to get nervous about the tire.
Last night, Andrew had the Eagle Recogntion Dinner for guys who earned their Eagle in the last year.  At the Radison. Around the block from Costco Expo.  Pretty convenient.  I dropped him off and took Goldie over. 
The service bays were empty and chained off.  It didn't look promising.  I had expected them to be full of working persons' cars.  Which would also be a problem.  Happy surprise, they were open and not at all busy.   They said it would take about 45 minutes.  I think it took almost that long before they called me to tell me that the tire was irrepairable and must be replaced.   Fortunately, most of the cost would be covered by warranty.  I sent my time enjoying the birthday present I was finally able to find for Ruth on the way to the Eagle Dinner.  (I hope she likes it; I do.  I almost gave it to her last night when we got home, but it was late.)  When they finally called, they asked if I was nearby.  Right outside, beginning to wonder what in the world I was going to do if they didn't finish!  When I tried to go in, the receipt checkers told me, "Sorry, we're closed."  I told them I was going to the tire center, but they still said, "No, we closed at 8:30"  Finally, I told them they have my car, so they let me go in.  It only cost me eight and a half dollars to redeem Goldie. 
A little more time with Ruth's present in the Radison parking lot and my Eagle called for his ride home.