Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Guys I Know

Last night I attended an Eagle Court of Honor. Last Sunday and again today I sat on Boards of Review for young men advancing in Scouting - from a 12 year old earning 2nd Class to an older boy earning his 3rd  Eagle Palm.

I know the most remarkable young men!

What makes them so different from the poor lost souls you so often see on the streets or hear about on the news? They are blessed with good families, the gospel of Jesus Christ, and Boy Scouting.

I often wonder why more people do not support Boy Scouts. Why don't more people encourage the boys in their lives to join Scouting? Scouting really helps boys become good men while having a good time.

If you have a young man that's important to you, support Scouting. If you want to help ensure America's future, support Scouting.

I believe in Scouting. I also have a testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ and his restored gospel in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- Day Saints. And loving families are very good things, too.

Sent from my iPod

The Latest Dirt - Upside Down Bird Cage and Old Window Screen

You may recall that a couple of weeks ago (or was it more?!), Joseph and I went on a small seed buying spree at Winco and also bought a seed starter system sans dirt. "We have plenty of compost," says he. 'Tis true. But somehow between this and that we have not managed to toddle around to the compost pile and transfer dirt to system. Yesterday the sun came out again and so did we.

We shoveled aside more recent contributions to get down to some real dirt. Not everything breaks down at the same rate - and some things don't break down at all. Our compost, at least, needs sifting. What to use? We turned an old bird cage upside down and shoveled in the compost. That worked. Sifted out sticks, a yellow plastic spoon, a broken red handled knife. Now our dirt needed fine sifting. An old window screen does a great job, although slowly. Benjamin sifted while Joseph and I broke up the last downings of Benjamin's one branch at a time tree felling project. When our time was up, about half our little
seed cells were full of (hopefully rich) beautiful soft dirt.

Hopefully, we will get our seeds planted before tine for fall harvest.

Sent from my iPod

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Don't Count Your Chickens

Another impromtu staff meeting - Apparently, there has been a change in policy somewhere so that now Accounting Technicians can lateral into Accountant I without testing or taking the classes required to qualify for the test.  Who knew?  Certainly not most of us Accounting Technicians nor our bosses.  Or some of us would have gotten promotions long ago.

Well, one person somehow knew.  Also found out about the office shuffle which did not include her -  in part because she has not taken the classess and the Accountant I test. She is also pretty big with the union.   She has expressed an interest in the Accountant 1 position.  So now we have a game of Musical Chairs - more people playing than chairs available.  The new contender's identity has not been revealed, but some of us have our suspicions of who fits the profile.

So, now in addition to 1) responding to the announcement of the job openings and 2) submitting our applications - which I did - we will be having real interviews on Monday. 

Based on our conjecture, it is my position that is most threatened.  The boss's boss says not to be alarmed, but, do well on the interview. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chapters from our book of eternal possibilites

Worth remembering and thinking about from Sunday

--High Council Speaker Jim Anderson -
Patriarchal blessing contains chapters from our book of eternal possibilities

--High Council Speaker Daniel Hunt
come ye out from the wicked and be ye separate

- conversion is not just 'knowing' it is acting and thinking, it is
not just knowing something, it is becoming something

- final judgment is not a summation of our good acts and our bad acts, it is an evaluation of what we have become

- we cannot just show up and go through the motions, we must “be”

-Sunday School
Abraham 1:2 “And, finding there was greater happiness and peace and rest for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, … having been myself a follower of righteousness, desiring also to be one who possessed great knowledge, and to be a greater follower of righteousness, and to possess a greater knowledge, and to be a father of many nations, a prince of peace, and desiring to receive instructions, and to keep the commandments of God, I became a rightful heir…”

What are our desires? and what are we doing about it?

-Relief Society
In discussion where they are saying if it feels good it is the right thing and from God, Sister P pointed out that sometimes when we are about to do the right thing, Satan tries to stop us by filling us with fear. (works pretty well with me) When we are fearful, we should look at what is causing our fear.

We can choose our actions, but actions have consequences. Look ahead and choose your actions by the consequences you desire.

One Branch at Time

Benjamin is cutting down the trees that are growing up against the house in front - one branch at a time. (He has a picture on his blog). When I was talking to Ron B he offered to help, but Benjamin looked like I was trying to take away his puppy. This is his project. Will he finish before Andrew comes home?


Saturday, Joseph and I took light rail down to the Secretary of State's office building. We had heard that Bob Fletcher was being honored. During WWII when the Japanese were being put in internment camps, Bob took over the management of 3 farms. Ran the farms, paid the mortgages, and faced the prejudice and even persecution from his neighbors. When these Japanese families were released, Unlike so many others, they had their farms and homes and Bob gave them half the profits he had earned working their farms. When one grateful farmer, Mr. Tsukamoto, wondered at how he managed and what he sacrificed, Bob said oh, I just worked hard. Mr. T and his daughter Mary found bullet holes in their barn where people had shot at Bob as he cared for their farm. Yesterday Mary gave he a plaque on the behalf of the 3 families and the Japanese- American community. He also got a standing ovation and lots of hugs.
What we didn't know until we got there was this was part of the Time of Remembrance. We saw a one man show,  "Dawn's Light" - the  true story of Gordon Hirabayashi who said "no" to the 1942 curfew, evacuation, and incarceration of the Japanese Americans.  During WWII in Seattle, University of Washington student Gordon Hirabayashi agonized over U.S. government orders to forcibly remove and imprison all people of Japanese ancestry on the West Coast. Struggling to reconcile his country's betrayal with his Constitutional beliefs, Gordon journeyed toward a greater understanding of America's triumphs and failures. It was moving, educational, and surprisingly funny. Both the man and the actor, Ryan Yu,  seem to have wonderful perspective and sense of humor.

Admission to the show also included admission to the California History Museum next door, with an invitation to visit the exhibit about the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII. 

While this Time of Remembrance is dedicated to remembring the Japanese-American experience during WWII, it does not come across as resentful, angry, or poor me.  Ultimately, the attitude is mostly patriotic to America's highest ideas and a lesson not to let this kind of thing happen again.  Particularly that in the wake of 9/11, we must not judge and convict an entire people, but judge individuals by their actions. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Office shuffle

With the encouragent of co-workers and Facebook friends, I decided to try for an in-office promotion as Accountant Trainee. Pros - It would mean a good raise which would help offset a little the cutbacks from
state budget woes &; the reduction in support payments in December when Benjamin turns 18. On the flip side- leaving my boss L; getting a higher responibility &; stress position. I had looked at the test - a self evaluation of skills &; knowledge - and felt pretty overwhelmed.

My co-worker, R, not only is very smart & an accounting major, but her dad helps write these tests and coached her when she took it. She got ranked level 4, the lowest passing rank. But she thought I
should try. I figured it was a win-win situation. Promote and get more money or stay where I am comfortable - nothing to lose. So, I decided to try. First, the test website was down. Then our computer was too
old and slow. Then a dentist appointment eliminated time to take it atvwork. Finally, the day before the promotion application deadline, I worked up the nerve, got to the office early enough and logged on to
do the application to take the test to qualify to apply for the promotion. And was rejected. Not qualified. As nearly as my coworker friends and I can deduce, I need to take Cost Accounting.

Although, this was supposedly a win-win situation, I felt a loss and felt like a loser.  Leave it to me to lose in a win-win situation!  Even though I had been pretty afraid of what if I did get this promotion - would I be happy?? I was feeling pretty down about not getting it.

Then came an email from my boss's boss - staff meeting in 5 minutes. Those of us summoned were anxious.

Domino effect. Maybe 3 or 4 levels up, our office had openings. Qualified employees in the office are being promoted- leaving openings. Another level of workers are back filling their positions. That is happening two or three times. R is promoting to Accounting Officer - still in our unit! : ) and I am promoting to Accountant 1 in her place!! (I took that oral exam months ago and really thought I embarrassed myself - I knew almost nothing - but they wanted me to pass, so they passed me)

It seems very odd that that Accountant 1 is much lower and less paid than Accountant Trainee, but that's the way it is.

Actually the pay range for Accountant 1 starts below what I am earning now. I am pretty sure they don't put you back though! I should at least start earning what I am now, and maybe with a small raise. The pay range will go higher than the range I am in now, however. Not a lot, but higher. And I will be finaaly able to take government accounting classes. (yippee)

Probably around March 1, I wil change jobs and cubical, but I will still be under my good boss, L. Change is hard and scary, but it will be good. I think.

I will move from the gold fish bowl - or if you prefer - open airiness - of the front desk - which I pretty much like - to a smallish cubical with a fax machine and a copy machine on the other side of one of my cube walls and a co-worker who often cries and is rumored to burp alot on another. ( The third side has a pleasant and quiet co-worker.  The fourth is the open side.  Across from me is a man who works half days.) Not exactly a big move up, cubical wise.  The gal who was in this cube is moving WAY up, a big cube by the window!  R, who could have moved to my future new cube for some strange reason opted not to. I wonder why.  -)   I am sure I will adjust.  One plus - sitting at the front desk as I have been I realize that it might be bad form to take a nap at my desk.  In my new and future cube, I can if I want.  Then again, there goes valuable online time.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Personal Key

“Learn to pray. Pray often. Pray in your mind, in your heart. Pray on your knees. Prayer is your personal key to heaven. The lock is on your side of the veil. And I have learned to conclude all my prayers with ‘Thy will be done’ (Matthew 6:10; see also Luke 11:2; 3 Nephi 13:10).”
Boyd K. Packer, “Prayer and Promptings,” Ensign, Nov. 2009, 46

I 'say' my prayers often, but how often do I really pray?

Talk to your best friend.  Listen to your wisest adviser.  Confide in the one who loves you most.

I need to and want to learn to be more like Tevye and really talk to God.

So, one wonders why don't I?  What's stopping me? 

Resolving (again) to do better.

Can't Even Grow Dirt?!

Can't Even Grow Dirt?!
Sometime in the dimly remembered past I bought a "seed growing
system". You place a watering mat over an insert in a watering tray
and put a planting tray on top of that. Put the special growing
pelletts in the individual cells of the planting tray. Add water and
the pelletts expand into planting medium filling the cell. Most of
them did, some even over the top, but some of them are only about half
full. I can't even grow dirt? How will I do when I actually get seeds?

Sent from my iPod

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Able and Eager

When I read this today, it touched me.  It is good to be reminded.

“I testify that the Savior is able and eager to forgive our sins. Except for the sins of those few who choose perdition after having known a fulness, there is no sin that cannot be forgiven (see Boyd K. Packer, “The Brilliant Morning of Forgiveness,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 19). What a marvelous privilege for each of us to turn away from our sins and to come unto Christ. Divine forgiveness is one of the sweetest fruits of the gospel, removing guilt and pain from our hearts and replacing them with joy and peace of conscience. Jesus declares, ‘Will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?’ (3 Nephi 9:13).”

Neil L. Andersen, “Repent . . . That I May Heal You,” Ensign, Nov. 2009, 40-41

Monday, February 15, 2010

No Offense, Guard against Wolves, Float Your Boat

Sacrament Meeting

-Alice L - consider your words and your actions. Choose not to offend nor to be offended. Ask yourself if you would do or say what you are doing or saying if the Lord was in the room. Do we not desire to have His Spirit with us always?

Former Bishop Young gets to sing in choir now. New Bishop Adair does not.

Bob E - Satan has been trying to destroy the family forever. He tries to drive a wedge between you and your family like wolves separating a deer from the herd. Brigham Young said our families are not ours yet. The Lord is giving us a chance to see how we treat them. - The gospel is about change and love. If we want to become like God, we must learn to change and to love.

Family Home Evening is one tool to strengthen and defend our family.

Concerned that he didn't have much time, Bob gave us the condensed outline for successful family home evenings:  OP,OS,L,FSS, CS, CP, G, R

Opening prayer
Opening song
Family scripture study time
Closing song
Closing prayer
Minutes - MIT most important thing that happened - different family members may think different things were MIT
Journals -journal sharing time?
Grandfather's coloring book - find or make pictures from family history and making coloring pictures
Family Service - each other, neighbors, singles , elderly, sick, Bishop'sStorehouse etc etc

You may see bored faces, however they are listening but don't want to admit it. They are getting more out of Than you think. They are certainly getting more out of it than if you didn't have Family Home Evening.

Sunday School
- Elder W. Don Ladd: "When it starts raining, it is too late to begin building the ark. ... We ... need to listen to the Lord's spokesmen.  We need to calmly continue to move ahead and prepare for what will surely come. We need not panic or fear, for if we are prepared, spiritually and temporally, we and our families will survive any flood.  Our arks will float on a sea of faith if our works have been steadily and surely preparing for the future."  Conference Oct 1994
- When Noah built the ark "his warnings were considered irrational. ... How foolish to build an ark on dry ground with the sun shining and life moving forward as usual! But time ran out. The ark was finished.  The floods came. The disobedient and rebellious were drowned.  The miracle of the ark followed the faith manifested in its building." (Spencer W. Kimball 'Faith Precedes the Miracle')
- blessings may cone more from obedience than from 'successful' gardening

-- Lots for me to work on!

Warm Frost Welcome

 I have been feeling badly about not managing to get a package out to Andrew since Christmas. Saturday was do or die day. I baked some brownies, stirred up a big batch of Ranger cookies and started baking. I had baked a few sheets of cookies when suddenly the oven door handle came off in my hand! The inside part of the door sprang shut. The outside and the top dropped to the floor. The handle has often come loose and we have had to tighten the screws (bolts?)   Last time Joseph had mentioned that he feared that the screw holes were getting  stripped. He appears to have been right.  Cookie baking stopped. The oven turned off. I called Sears. No parts here in Sacramento. I had to order a new handle. It will come around the 22nd. When the oven cooled, Benjamin managed to put it together again for now. And, fortunately, I had enough cookies to put in a package which I actually got to the post office.

Later, after the oven cooled, Benjamin managed to unbend a part that had bent out of shape and put the oven door back together.  The handle is loose again already (Monday) so I am glad the new part will be coming.

My mother's mother's 'baby brother' and his wife invited the Sacramento contingent over  for dessert. When I called Kathryn to be sure she really wanted all 9 of us to invade her little home, I mentioned my oven mishap. She insisted I bring the dough to finish baking the cookies at her house.

Not only did we go for dessert, but around 4 they called and invited the boys and I to join them for Chinese. They order take out and always have enough for 3 days. It was delicious!  Later the rest of the kids came and we had Costco chocolate cake and ice cream.  Family stories. Work stories. Esque is a war buff - lots of war memoriblia - helmets, swords, books, movies. 

Kathryn asked Esther if she is in kindergarten. Esther answered no. Kathryn said, 'Not yet?' at the same time Esther added ' I am in first grade.' Kathryn said, 'Oh, I'm sorry.' Esther said, 'That's ok, you don't need to be embarrassed.'

Kathryn gave the kids  stuffed Mickey and Minnie Mouse (mice?) as big as they are and a 'Fox In Sox' book and Matchbox car.

The others left  at a reasonable hour to get the kids home to bed.  We stayed a bit longer, then started to leave.  Which meant Kathryn and I talked out by the car and the guys talked in the house for well over an hour.  Maybe two?

We love each other and enjoy each other's company. One wonders why we let so much time go by between visits.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Sacramento Museum Day

I had mentioned Sacramento Free Museum Day to the guys, but they were not interested.

That changed for Benjamin and I Saturday when we learned that Ruth and Tom were taking the kids and Debi was going with them.  We drove, light railed, and walked to the California State Park Rail Road Museum to join them.  Surprisingly, parking was not that hard to find downtown, but none of it free, so we did not regret taking light rail.  As it happened, we didn’t have to walk much further from and to light rail than they did their car and we already had monthly passes, so that worked fine. 

Some of the group had never been been to the  RR Museum .  We were impressed by the size of the locomotives and the work that went into building the railroads.  We thoroughly enjoyed going through the various cars and imaging riding on them. The Hinds took the train to San Francisco for their week-long vacation there and quite enjoyed it.    I have never traveled by train, although I have often thought it would be a pleasant adventure.  It wouldn’t be the same as on those old beauties, however.  The dining car displayed the china used by the various lines and people were choosing which train they wished they could ride based on their favorite china.   Debi has posted some delightful pictures on her blog and I am sure that Ruth will, too, as she was using a nice little camera.

Tom had a meeting to get to, so the Hinds and Debi went home and got some lunch.  Benjamin and I light-railed to back to our car and then drove to the next museum the kids wanted to see - The Discovery Museum.  Their little parking lot was full.  The overflow parking in a park about half a block away nearly so.  The traffic directing volunteers told us that there was an hour and a half - two hour wait to get inside.  Benjamin and I got in line.  Ruth had mentioned that Esther really wanted to go to the planetarium show, but signs along the waiting line said that there would be no shows that day.  It was sprinkling.  Still, we held our place in line and slowly crept forward.  Really, it was not at all unpleasant. Kind of fun.  The people were pleasant and polite. The volunteers started announcing that for that day only people could buy a 6 month membership for 5 for $25 and go right in.  We called Ruth and Debi every few minutes with updates.  We were getting pretty close to the door when they arrived.   Ruth got the membership - she wanted to bring the kids back when they were doing planetarium shows anyway.  (They were letting whole groups in even if there were more than 5 people.  One group in front of us for a while comprised 2 or 3 families and 8 people, but the membership purchase got them all in.) Despite the crowded conditions, the kids really liked the museum.  (The grown-ups did, too)  They had large pettable baby dinosaurs that reminded me of Little Foot and Sara from “Land Before Time” but Debi didn’t want me to bring that up.   There were dinosaur eggs, and wooly mammoth hair! 

From the Discovery Museum, we went to The Aerospace Museum on the old McClellan Air Force Base.  Proud airmen told us about their craft.  Lots of planes - and a helicopter - to get in.  Lots of cockpits to try on for size.  People even got to sit in a Blue Angel.  Jared seems like a natural in the cockpit, eagerly grabbing the controls.

Museum Day over, Debi volunteered Benjamin to make pizza at Ruth’s house, but by the time I went home to pick up Joseph and called to see if I should bring anything, it had changed to Debi cooking Chinese.  Very yummy.  After dinner, she and the kids made Snickerdoodle Cupcakes.  Debi is becoming quite the chef.   She was a good cook  before she watched ‘Julie and Julia,’  but I think it had some effect on her.

It was a great day.  Of course I stayed up too late.  Which I just did again writing about it.   Good night.

Learn. Then reset.

Words of wisdom - there are always good things to learn at church. one of the reasons we go.  My favorite last Sunday was from Allison H’s testimony.  She had told Tom (yes, our Tom) about some mistake she had made and he told her, “Learn.  Then reset.”

Isn’t that great?

Don't fret about something you cannot undo.  Learn and move on.

Isn’t it wonderful that our Savior made repentance and forgiveness possible?!

10 Feb 10 - comfort zone challenged

Wednesday, February 10.  Fun to write if you do it this way -  10 Feb 10 -
Wow! I can do that several times this year. ; ) (with minor variations, of course)

Today my co-worker, Mary suggested that I try for a promotion (and a job change) in my bigger office, but out of my unit.  I have been messed up all day thinking about it.  I am slightly afraid of going for it and failing - embarrassing myself.  I may be even more afraid of going for it and succeeding - then failing when I get myself in a job with more responsibility and stress.  I am also afraid of  change - I really like my boss; I like my cube and my cube mates.  I made a number of dumb mistakes today because I was so rattled.  I posted about it on Facebook and got some very kind and encouraging words from my friends.  Much appreciated.

I will need to take a test to get on an available list.  Fortunately it is an on-line test.  Mostly self-rating experience and abilities.  argh.  Rachel who is a very smart and capable young lady only ranked level 4.  I think you have to make level 3 to apply for the position.  I do not think she undersold her abilities.  In fact, her father helps write these tests and helped her understand the questions and decide what to put down for herself on each one.  If she only made level 4, I would be totally astounded to do better.   But I suppose it doesn’t hurt much more than my pride to try and there is a certain amount of non-pride in being too scared to try.  So, I suppose I shall. 

Thursday, February 4, 2010

See How They Run - Come Running, That Is

Yesterday a Park Ranger came in with his dog. ( If I said a Park K-9 Ranger came in, I am not sure to which it would refer.)  The way people reacted, the K-9 officer came in and incidentally his man came along, too.  Without much fanfare, the word spread and workers gathered to meet Thor (or possibly Thorn), a 2 year old German Shepherd (from Germany, even)  A lovely, calm, friendly dog.

That was nothing compared to today when a former co-worker came in with her husband and 2 month old baby.  Forget the husband, although he was friendly. pleasant and attractive.  The word 'baby' brings them running.  Then baby made a little noise and even more showed up as if by magic.  How we cluster! ooohs, aaahs and almost reaching out to touch, but not wanting to overstep. What an adoring crowd surrounds any baby or small child that makes its appearance!

It is exciting to share in a co-worker's happiness.  A break in the routine is always welcome.  But, I think there is something more.  Something we do not want to acknowledge out loud because it is too sad and painful.  Despite all the talk about 'getting out in the world,' I think there is a deep yearning in many, if not most, women to be with children, to be home.  (Although, it is admittedly very nice to be able to enjoy cuteness and freshness, but not have to deal with the mess and the fuss sometimes.)  I think most women work more because they think they have to than because they want to.  Or maybe I just am putting too much of my own feelings into this eager gathering. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sacrament Meeting / Ward Conference notes

Sunday January 31 - Ward Conference begins!

The new Bishopric is:
Bishop D. Gene Adair, 1 C Ronald Brown, 2 C Clyde Patterson

No hint about why Brother Hammond was made a High Priest.
Remembered from last week: God does not necessarily call the equipped;  He equips the called.

One thing one learns during sustainings is that a lot of people go by their middle names. : )
talk notes:
-(former) Bishop Ron Young:

Our ward consists of 333 households with 603 members but we have only an average of 175 Sacrament Meeting attendance. We need to friendship more.

"I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances. "   Martha Washington (1732 - 1802)
Stand Tall.
Too many of us put question marks instead of periods after what the Lord says.

-Ward youth (and youth leaders) choir sang a lovely song with the message - we will be strong and courageous – I would like to get the words.
-Clyde Patterson - joined 10 years ago with a desire to serve. Be careful what you ask for.

-Bishop Adair - a testimony is a living thing, it needs to be fed.

-Pre. Fisher – process of choosing a Bishop:

Former Stake Pres Pebbles said one of the most terrifying parts of being Stake President is the responsibility of recommending a Bishop.

Pres Fisher dedicated much of his weekly temple worship to prayerabout our Bishop. After receiving name by inspiration, he presented name to his counselors.. Then present name to 1st Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Receive letter authorizing.

A little story that tells a bit about the kind of man Bishop Adair is: Anticipating climbing Half Dome for the first time - nervous and afraid of heights, Pres Fisher told Gene Adair about his concerns. Bro. Adair said, "Just put one foot in front of the other and keep going."

Short Answer

Our new ward bishopric is.....

 drum roll, please......

 ta da!

Bishop D. Gene Adair, 1st Counselor Ronald Brown, 2nd Counselor Clyde Patterson