Saturday, August 29, 2009

Last Saturday was the 2nd anniversary of my divorce being final.

I have some mixed feelings about that because I am a believing member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints which teaches the importance of marriage and the family. Marriage is a sacred covenant ordained of God. Prophets affirm and I do believe that.

Few things delight me more than seeing a couple who obviously love and care for each other - especially an older couple. A good marriage is a most wonderful thing.

It was however, a prayerful decision and I did counsel with my spiritual leader, who while he could not suggest or encourage divorce in any way, was certainly understanding and supportive. I know that when I made the decision, I felt lighter in body, mind and spirit. I believe that was a confirmation that I was doing the right thing for myself and my family, possibly even for Glen.

What a good two years it has been!

Peace in my home. Indescribable the difference! There had been almost no "fighting," but there was constant stress, tension and unhappiness. Our home is happy and peaceful now.

I am no longer constantly fearful for my finances. No more threatening calls and letters. No credit card debt, interest and late payment charges. No more threat of another bankruptcy. I can pay my bills and handle minor emergencies. Thanks in good part, of course, to a regular decent support payment in addition to my own earnings. Glen has been good about that. Now I am in charge of my finances and while I could be better, I am no longer sabotaged by secret spending.

We have made great strides in decluttering and organizing our home- although much remains to be done. As we have progressed in physically improving our living environment, I have come to better realize how depressed and crippled each of us had been. How dreary and unhappy our emotional and spiritual environment had been. Somehow I had thought for years that my children were not so deeply effected by the unhappiness in my marriage. Wishful thinking!

Yet, I cannot say I regret waiting as long as I did, either. For myself alone (and setting aside religious guilt whether justified or not) I would have been free possibly decades before, but I wanted my children and I was counseled to try to stay until they were raised. I didn't quite manage that. Yet, I think that the divorce probably happened at the right time for me.

I am so grateful for the years I had at home with my children. How I miss that now! Even though Benjamin, my only remaining minor, is a very good, competent, self-reliant young man, I miss being an at home mother for him and I know that sometimes he does, too. This was something we had discussed beforehand. We agreed, and still do, that the price of divorce - my having to leave the home to become a working mother was worth the benefits of the divorce. It is still a hard thing.

If I have any bitterness, it is about the loss of time with my children and home. That and that our home needs major repairs that I do not know have money, time, energy or knowledge for - what needs doing most urgently and how to go about it. Not that G had any interest or was any good at that, but while married I could tell myself that it was primarily his responsibility. Ok, and that I am beginning my working "career" at an age others are retiring.

I have found that the burden of being solely responsible for the house (I was always pretty much solely responsible for the children) feels pretty heavy sometimes. On the other hand, humble though it is, I feel a thrill of joy and pride knowing this is MY house (ok mine and my boys!) where we really finally feel at home. That Ben, at least, feels the same is evident in the incredible work he has done around here - sorting, cleaning, organizing, creating order, wrestling the front yard into some semblance of decent shape - all self-motivated and self-directed. Ben inspires and encourages me.

I knew that one of my children battles depression. I have since learned that others have and do. It is partly my failure as a mother, probably partly genetic, I think part of it is the spiritual battle between what we think we ought to be and what we perceive ourselves to be, and probably other factors. The divorce has helped some of us a great deal. For some, it came too late.

Almost daily, I feel a thrill of joy and think "This is MY home!" (I hope the guys feel some of that, too, - it is not an exclusive selfish "my" but a feeling free of oppression) or when making a decision, "I can do what I want to do." -meaning, I can do what I think best and not worry about someone overriding or undercutting me.

A good marriage is a great thing, a bit of heaven, a godly thing. A troubled marriage is worth trying to save. I say this by way of counsel to the unhappily married: Seek help and try to work it out. I do believe that two righteous people who truly live the gospel and honor covenants can create a happy marriage despite differences in taste, style, background, etc.

To the still single: choose very carefully. Being single is better (way better!) than being unhappily married. There is no loneliness like being trapped in a bad relationship and unhappy home.

If I could do it over, would I NOT marry Glen? Only if I could be guaranteed my children. - Or guaranteed that they would have better lives without me. ;( - I would go through a great deal to have my wonderful children, their spouses and their children. Maybe it would have been better for THEM to have been born to different homes, but they have been and are some of the greatest blessings and joys to my life.

I battle the feeling that it is a sin to say so, but, What a blessing my divorce has been in my life!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tree Killer

This message was sent using the Picture and Video Messaging service from Verizon Wireless!

he, he he, I thought I was emailing myself, not the blog, a picture.

Ben has been working hard around the house and yard attempting to bring order to chaos. He mows 2 or 3 times a week. Has weeded the entire front "garden" and put down wood chip mulch from SMUD. (Now there is nothing in the front garden but wood chips and the apple tree - my bulbs were sacrificed. sigh I need a plan for orderly re-introduction that will not allow weed take over.)

Now he is attacking the trees that are too close to the front of the house. He got the one is working on in the picture out last night.

In the foreground is a branch that he took off the big tree. He plans to demolish the big tree bit by bit. We hate killing trees, but these are too close to the foundation, unsightly, and the big one is killing a little tree in the front yard by depriving it of shade. It is also full of mistletoe.

Bad Poetry Day

Hooray! Hooray!
For Bad Poetry Day!
I wish that I had more time to play!
Oh, the bad poems I could say,
If I had time to write today!

When I posted Thursday, the 14, Benjamin was beginning to recover from a stomach/headache thing that had incapacitated him since the middle of the night Monday. Friday he was his old self again. Leaped from his sick couch and did some straightening in the family room. Was back to telling those outrageous stories he makes up.

Actually started the crazy stories Thursday night. I was wondering why Joseph was late getting home. Ben told me this whole story about Joseph stopping at Starbucks, getting a cup of cocoa, dropping his glasses in said cup, then somehow getting jostled around and ending up at a different table digging in some guy's coffee cup while the other guy wonders why his coffee tastes like chocolate and where the glasses came from.

Friday he and I went to SMUD for more woodchips and to City College to pay our fees and get his text book. (He is taking a Basic Psych class - 4 hours on Fridays. I am taking Governmental Auditing 11-1 Tuesdays and Thursdays downtown. No text listed for my class. ??) Anyway, Benjamin went from laying like a dead thing with a pillow over his face to full recovery with just a little convalescent time late Thursday. It is good to have him back!

Saturday we rented a U-Haul because Debi gave us her 8 foot black leather sofa. Her house is too small for it. It is big. Most houses are too small for it. It sure fills up the family room. But as each end is a recliner and it is pouffy, it is very comfortable, although actually a bit big for me. I will probably use the beat up old love seat more and leave the recliners to the guys - when I find time to lounge around! So, we moved the big beat up old couch to the front room, the love seat from the front room and put it in the family room with the new couch. No, they don't match, but we chose comfort over style. The old furniture badly - very badly - need re-upholstering. We just throw sheets over them. Do I need to get black sheets for the one in the family room. Shiny black sheets, I suppose, to match the couch. We shall see.

I was impressed by 1) how well Debi and Benjamin work together - a very effective team while Joseph and I were feeble helpers (of course, I also had my split-top thumb to be wary of) and 2) how strong they are. The two of them could lift and move even the heavy couch and needed very little help. The team work thing - Both Debi and Benjamin are good organizers and good self-starters. Also, they have had a special connection ever since he was born. She was a little second mother to him and they have always been friends. I am glad the connection is still there even though she has been out of the house for a long time now.

As we drove back and forth delivering the couch and returning the truck, I noticed that the line at the Squeeze Inn was not very long - rather unusual since the ADA law suit. So I offered to buy Debi lunch there. Of course, by the time we delivered the truck (I was so glad to be rid of that big lumbering thing! but glad to have had the use of it and glad NOT to have to use the $14 insurance I paid for!!), there was a good little line - not a lot by Squeeze Inn standards but enough to give Debi a real Squeeze Inn experience. ; ) The wait for your order was about half an hour. Whets your appetite. We all enjoyed our hamburgers and fries back at Debi's house - while Chloe (her Dane) looked on jealously.

Last night we cooked individual pizzas on the grill in the back yard. Ben made one for Anna which turned out best - thin crust and not too much toppings. It was fun and tasty.

I would write a bunch,
But the time for my lunch
Is over.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I have opinions of my own -- strong opinions -- but I don't always agree with them.

George Bush 41st president of US (1924 - )

Some time ago I decided to give myself a birthday present of going to MacKerricher State Park this year. I love it there and haven't been there in ages. Last year my kids spent a week there having a special time together. Great for them. But it was really hard on me. Selfish of me? Immature? perhaps. It was one of the hardest things in my life. (I guess I have had a pretty good life.)

I promised myself a trip there. Also, I realize that the nature of life is that I need to learn to be on my own more and not family dependent. It seems that all my life my plans (most especially any remotely fun plans) have always depended on someone else. What they want or don't want or can or cannot do. Too much so. I am trying to learn to live my own life. If I want to do something (I can afford to do), go for it. Whether or not loved ones join me.

I requested time off and made camping reservations. My children were invited to join me if they wish. I figured the guys who live with me would come. And if not, my dog and I would have a good time anyway. So far no bites from the grown and flown. But that's ok, I didn't really expect it, was just open to the possibility. Only reserved the one site, anyway.

Then Benjamin and I and his school adviser all agreed it would be great for him to take a class at the community college. Scheduling proved difficult. He ended up getting a class that meets 4 hours on Friday. (He misses Friday Forum at Institute (LDS Institute of Religion where students can take religion classes and/or hang out) But at he still has Seminary (Rumor is our until recently Home Teacher is going to teach. Seminary, that is.). Doesn't get out until 2.

Dilemma - Does he miss a class? Not a great idea. 4 hours is a LOT of class to miss. Especially as we have to work out our schedule to go to DAVID'S GRADUATION FROM CAL POLY in December. Ben might miss time then.

Do I go without him? Will Joseph go? Do I go alone? Do I cancel?

Joseph said he would go. (This is the young man who does not really like camping. Chivalry.)

Then my slow brain finally kicked in. Benjamin is well worth the wait. We would all be happier if we wait and hit the road promptly when his class is over. We will have way more fun one day less with him than one day more without him.

Besides, he makes a mean foil dinner! and is good with fire. And tent setting up. Etc. Not that I just love him for his skills, but they are many.

Now what am I going to do on my birthday? What I want to do is Stamp. What I will probably do is get ready for camping. And not skip my class which meets on Thursdays.

Looking forward to it!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Progress Report on Boy, Bike and Bird

Should a progress report be its own post or a comment to the one it follows?

Benjamin is doing better. He has eaten some jello and a plain slice of bread. Although he is being patient and polite, he is getting a little tired of me offering him something to drink pretty much every time he shows any sign of life. I don't think he has thrown up at all today. I ate a sandwich and did not cook anything for lunch to make upsetting smells. I have actually seen him up walking around a bit. At the moment he is napping again - his body's response to his attempt to study the Sunday School lesson he is scheduled to give Sunday. Dilemma - will he be well enough in time to prepare and give the lesson, or should we make some phone calls?

I pulled precious few of the many weeds. I may pull a few more later. I am not as good a worker as Benjamin is. My thumb hurts. And I waited until the sun was on the garden - not so smart.

While I was off to the store for Gatorade (which I do not like at all, but fortunately Ben tolerates) and jello, the bird flew into the kitchen and tried that window. As Ben attempted to figure out how to get the screen off, the bird flew into the garage. Why?I wonder. It's dark in there. You would expect the bird to head for daylight. Benjamin opened the big garage door and is "pretty sure" the bird got out. Hope so! Joseph's cat (who mostly hangs out in the garage or outside because our two cats do NOT get along) was quite interested it.

I am definitely feeling a bit sore here and there from the morning bike crash. Methinks the dog is going to miss a few days of walking. Apparently part of the bike hit the back of my ankle. That big toe hurts, too. Not too bad, but I am not up for power walking. I only wish she understood why.

I think that nap idea is a good one.

Boy, Bike, Bird

My boy is still sick. I am staying home again today. I don't really do much to help him, but I want to encourage him to get some fluids. And, today, I am not going to cook anything. Yesterday, the smell of lunch and again of dinner, set the poor guy off. He hasn't eaten anything for 2 full days and managed only a little fluid. He mostly sleeps and pulls the covers over his head in even a little light.

A few days ago I was caught up at work and looking for things to do. Not for long, mind you, but it did happen. Now my desk is full and I am not there. Oh, well. I do hope that we don't get any more shut-off notices while I am gone! We have had a rash of them lately. I think the State budget mess and IOUs have made the vendors understandably jumpy. Puts the districts in a panic. You cannot have parks open without water and electricity.

My walking partner has had to beg off this week as she is at work early and late. Yesterday, I decided to give the dog a treat and run her on my bike. It went well. Today, not so well. She started off running and pulling like crazy. When I tried to stop for a stop sign, she didn't. Flipped my bike and me over. Fortunately, I did not go down on my head. But I split the top of my thumb open, I can feel some pretty good bruising in my lower back where the bike hit me (hope it doesn't seize on me! I have a mild history of back trouble), and I suspect a myriad of aches and soreness are going to develop. End of run. Dumb dog still thought I was going to walk/run her. We only got half a block. I don't think she really has a clue what went wrong. Next time I head out that way, I am probably going to get a prong collar like Debi has for her Dane. These big stubborn dogs need more handling and training then I have time for, so a little help is needed.

Benjamin pulled all the weeds in the front "garden" and put down as much wood chips as we had. (We are supposed to go get more on tomorrow's Furlough Friday.) Almost every day, he pulls the new weeds that pop up. Until our trip to SLO and then him getting sick. I need to go pull some weeds before he gets better and sees them all. He will be so discouraged!

Goodness! There is a bird (young scrub jay?) in our family room - flying madly from window to window and trying to get through the blinds. It flew against the screen door once, but now that I have opened it, the bird won't leave the windows on the opposite side of the room. The cat and dog are all excited. Mrs. Cotton, the cockatiel, had a bit to say until closing the drapes and blinds made the room so dark.

Ben got up to help close window blinds so, hopefully, the bird will move away from them and try the door again. Does that mean that he is feeling a little stronger or just that his compassion is great?

Poor bird is determinedly staying by the darkened windows - it saw the tree through them before and is convinced there is a way out. The only window that we might be able to open has a hard to reach and hard to remove screen. This won't work. Even though the blinds are closed now, the bird keeps trying to get through them. Why not try the door again? I think the tarp over the patio, which darkens it is not helping now. Stubborn bird.

Come on, foolish bird! We are afraid it will hurt itself or even just run out of energy and die. How long can a bird go without food and water? Silly thing is hunkered down with intermittent fluttering behind a stack of games and outdated personal 72 hour backpacks in the darkened corner by the window - up on top of a shelving unit away from the cat and dog, at least, but also out of our reach pretty much. At one point, the bird was up on a bag of something, that Ben tried to slowly move toward freedom. It looked like this might work, but the bird panicked and returned to the window. Now we just sit quietly, waiting, watching, and willing the bird to find its way out.

Another good sign. Ben brushed his teeth. Is he better enough that I should go in to work after all? OR had I better get out there and pull weeds?

I will go out and pull weeds while Ben does the bird watch. After a bit of breakfast - but no frying up some potatoes!

I hope your day is going better!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

stolen from an email to my aunt

Today I am home with a sick boy. Benjamin was home alone yesterday and sicker than I realized. Worrying about a sick kid is not good for productivity especially as yesterday was a day I kept seeing stories about people dying of the H1N1. What he has doesn't seem like that. More like either migraine or a viral thing. Kaiser almost had me bring him in last night in concern over dehydration. That's one reason I am home, so I can encourage liquid consumption. He seemed to be doing better today - retaining liquid taken in small amounts until I made myself some lunch and the smell roused his nausea again. Some help I am!

Not getting much else done either. I am trying to figure out a better bookkeeping system so that I can know how much money I have, how much is already committed and how much I have left in each budgeted item. It sounds simple enough, but, well, I need a better way. Currently I
am pretty good at knowing how much of my budgeted allotment I have spent and figuring that means overall I am ok, but not knowing exactly where I stand. Needs work. As the budget tightens and reserve drains, this becomes less acceptable. All those college accounting classes and I am sill pretty hopeless!

I just got approval to take Governmental Auditing. One of my co-workers encouraged me so we can be study buddies. We were unable to recruit a third and another couple of the old team have left the office. : ( This time the State will go halves with us. Pay half and give us half the time. So I either will be working late to make up time or burning up all my vacation as fast as I earn it. I think I will be making up time. Last time, it was State time and my dime. I appreciate the help!

Today the car is in the shop. I dropped it off and biked home to my boy instead of biking on in to work. Brake work to the tune of about $500. Biking is not saving me money either. I think it must be costing me as much or more in bike maintenance as it costs me to commute although I think that is getting better. Biking isn't about money (although that would be nice), it is about health and quiet time.

Too much money talk! I am doing fine. Better off than a lot of people I know. I just have to be careful. I count my blessings.

I have been riding my bike to work a good month now and am MAYBE losing OUNCES. I tell myself that slow weight loss is best. I don't know what I am going to do when school starts - all too soon! - and Benjamin has early morning religion class. We are even talking about him biking there so I have time to bike to work, but that makes me uncomfortable. MAYBE I can manage to bike if he leaves promptly. (HA! usually one of the last out) Or I could drive him and his bike to church and let him bike home which for some reason doesn't seem as bad as having him bike both ways. Go figure. Still thinking. Of course, neither of us will bike in bad weather unlike Joseph who bikes year round.

The night before we left for SLO, we were at Ruth's for a combined Debi & Esther birthday dinner. We had to dress up Fancy Nancy style. what fun! Ruth put pictures on her blog "Red Hot Mama" (links in the right hand margin)

I need to get back to my "bookkeeping"

Monday, August 10, 2009

SLO and Easy, but Too Short

We took advantage of the Furlough Friday weekend to visit David and Teresa in San Luis Obispo.

Not wanting to intude too much, I managed to get camping reservations at Lopez Lake, a county park. David and Teresa came camping with us Friday.

When we first got to the camp site, we were all a bit disappointed. Small. Open to the access road. Then we realized that it was one of, if not the, best in the campground. Most of them are like parking spaces - no natural division or “privacy screens” between small sites, but nicely open to nature in back. Ours had a bit of a hill to one side and no camp for a good distance there. At our entry end, was parking for us and the neighboring site which was back around the hill just a little. So we had no one on either side, just a row of neighbors across the street. (Who all had to come to our site for water, but I like having the water right there!) Despite the close proximity, most people seemed to be enjoying themselves. Most of them are there for the lake – fishing, boating, and, I think, swimming. It was pleasant enough.

We saw several deer and wild turkeys and birds, several red-headed woodpecker types. Fun!

I haven't been camping since the old van and trailer days when we carried a full kitchen. This time we had a fire ring and not even a grate. It was coal cooking and setting the canning pot in the coals for hot water. It worked.

Ben had made us foil dinners which turned out great. We had Woofums and one or two people had S’mores.

Saturday we were rather lazy. After exploring Lopez Lake a bit, we went to El Chorro where David and Teresa have camped (but you cannot make single site reservations). It is a better campground in some ways. Natural growth between the sites and much nicer restrooms. We hung out there a while. We were too lazy and too warm to go to the beach. We wanted to be where there was shade.

We spend Saturday night at David and Teresa’s - cleaner, softer, and closer to church. By then, they had decided that Anna was not too unruly and gotten landlord ok. I am pretty sure they will even let us come again. They are very comfortable to be with – even if their place is tiny.

Sunday, we left Anna in the car parked in the shade during church and checked her every hour. All went well.

The ward choir (and anyone who wanted to) sang, what did David call it? I forgot, anyway, unrehearsed. David is the choir director and Teresa, the organist. David worked out the dynamics of the song with a little input from Teresa, photocopied the notes, and handed it to the people who responded to the invitation to sing. "I Know That My Redeemer Live" It was quite good! Better than many rehearsed performances I have heard. One thing is that "they watch the director more when they are terrified". They did not look terrified. They seemed to enjoy singing and looked pleased when they finished.

One speaker, a returned from serving in New York missionary, shared some bulletin board quotes his mother sent him. among them - "If you don't like the life you were born to, try being born again." "The church is not just for perfect people, remember Moses was a basket case, too." and my favorite "Need a life guard? Ours walks on water."

The concluding speaker shared powerful experiences from his life of when he did not and when he did heed the guidance of the Holy Spirit. One time, in college, he chose not to follow the promptings in making a decision. The spirit left him and he was in some degree of darkness, despite being active in church and doing the right things, for a couple of years. Finally, he could stand it no more and pled with the Lord how to make their relationship right again. Within a week he lost his job, his girlfriend, and his educational course was finished. He was without attachements or responsibilities. He tried to find a job without success. Finally, he decided to use this time of unsual freedom to go on a road trip including visiting his mom. While there he met a friend who was, although he did not call it that, a kindred spirit. They attended the temple together had some good experiences. This person's friendship and spiritual insight helped him find the answers and spiritual peace he was seeking. Another time he was dating a really wonderful girl who loved him. He prayed about their relationship and whether he should pursue her as his eternal companion. Despite her being a great gal, he felt frustrated with her and their relationship. He broke up with her. She was heartbroken. He was lonely. They got back together. He got frustrated and broke up. She was heartbroken. He was lonely. They got back together. He was frustrated. Finally he realized that the frustration was the Lord's answer to his prayer about whether she was "the one". She wasn't. They broke up a third and final time. Not long later, she married a man much more suited to her and he found his wife who fits him wonderfully (and whom the Lord confirmed.) The Lord has guided him in career decisions he might not have made otherwise. His message Act on the directions you get from the Lord. Trust God and allow Him to guide your life.

We had a nice lunch with David and Teresa. Too soon, it was time to go home. We left not too long after that. Arrived home safely to find the house still standing and the cats and bird apparently well. (I think Joseph has seen his cat)

Mark your calendar. David graduates this December! I think he “walks” the second weekend. I do not know where we can all stay, not a particularly good time of year for camping, but I have already called dibs on D&T's little place. Teresa graduates in March. She could walk in December, but that just doesn’t feel right to her and I think she deserves to have her walk when it feels like the real deal. That means June. (Good time of year for camping. If you can come, let me know, and we can reserve space in El Chorro - dutch treat, of course, I am afraid)

I am hoping to help with any celebration they want in SLO and then to also have a Sacramento celebration. (for each or both of them as we all can work it out) I THINK they might come to Sacramento for Christmas, so maybe right after Christmas for David (and maybe Miss T if we think we can't work her own in June or so which would be better of course)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Tiger Attack at the Water Hole

Saturdays! So much to be done. At the end of the day, when so much was NOT accomplished, is the glass half full or half empty?

I did get my bed linens changed (always a delight!) and my laundry done. We did some planning for our visit David and Teresa/camping trip next weekend including setting up and checking out a couple of tents. I cleaned out my trunk and washed my filthy car. Joseph and I ran some errands, including a DI adventure trip - clothes, books, ties, fancies. We missed getting to Costco by minutes, so I will have to go Monday or Tuesday. We planned our Fancy (think Fancy Nancy) dinner outfits for Debi & Esther's family birthday dinner Thursday. (That is going to be fun!)

While I was getting my bedside water bottle, Joseph was pacing as he often does. I called him Pacing Tiger as I sometimes do and asked if he remembered Star Tiger - his Cub Scout Indian name when I was Cubmaster. Of course, he did. As I turned to leave he suddenly approached, said "Tiger attack at the water hole!" and gave me a hug.

My cup is pretty full.


Director of the California Department of Parks and Recreation, Ruth Coleman, held an all department meeting Friday wherein she gave us a brief history of the California budget problem, let us know where it stands now, answered questions, and tried to bolster morale and encourage creative problem solving.

She began with a story, I think from her youth - A friend babysitting 4 very active boys sent them outside to play. Sometime later they came in alarmed and dismayed. In their running around, they trampled down their parents' sunflower garden. Sunflowers now lay broken on the ground. "We're finished! Mom and Dad are going to kill us!" the 12 year old was in despair. The 4 year old asked, "Can't we get some super glue or bandaids and fix them?" Ruth told us that when faced with challenges and problems, people often respond with one extreme or the other, neither of which is realistic or helpful. What the babysitter and boys did was go out and pick up all the sunflowers, make several lovely bouquets and place them in vases around the house.

She said that they in administration are and asked us throughout the department and the public who cares about Parks to help pick up the sunflowers and find vases. Look for ways to save, to find support, to be creative.

Parks has lost a bit over 21% of its budget, including, I think, anticipated revenue loss from closures. Some of our parks will be closed. The creativity comes in minimizing how many or how long. They are hoping that many parks can go to reduced days and hours rather than fully closing. There is great concern about what happens to a park that actually closes. There is talk about getting sponsors. National Parks may temporarily care for state parks that are within their boundaries. Volunteers and donations will help. California State Parks Foundation is on the front line there.

With the earlier budget - which was dependent on the voters passing some constitutional changes which were never well explained to us and all failed (whether they should have or not, I don't know. I sure didn't understand them) - Parks would likely have had to close 50 parks and probably absorbed all job losses in vacancies and attrition. Now, it is almost inevitable that people will be laid off. They are working on minimizing that.

Ruth tried to put the best face on it while, at the same time, being honest with us.

Most of us who work for Parks and Recreation see it as more than just a job. Many of us feel a deep pride and connection to our mission: The mission of California State Parks is to provide for the health, inspiration, and education of the people of California (and I would add, the nation and the world) by helping to preserve the state's extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. We love our parks, value our resources, and know that people in California and all around the world come to them for refreshment and recreation.

We do also want to keep our jobs! There are a few people in our office at greater risk than I. Small comfort. I do want to keep my job, but I don't want to see them lose theirs!

Ruth says no whining and no attacking someone else's program. Improve and defend your own. Go pick up the sunflowers.