Thursday, May 27, 2010

24 Minute Fitness

Saturday I did something I thought I would never ever do in my life.  I went to a gym.  

Miriam belongs to 24 Hour Fitness and every now and then they have days when members can bring a guest.  I went with some trepidation, but I not only survived, I pretty much enjoyed it – of course, I was with Miriam.  We worked out on the elpiticals for about 300 calories for me.  She worked harder and I think did 400.  Then she showed me some of the weight equipment.  I dodged the salesman – although now we are getting phone calls. 

This week I checking out the Downtown Plaza club – can I realistically go twice a week after work or modify my schedule to go during lunch?  Is it too crowded to make it worth it?  They have a 14 day one location free pass so I can look it over this week.  I am thinking Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Then maybe go to the Fulton and Hurley club (where Miriam and I went) sometimes on Saturdays.  Costco offers a 2 year membership for $300 which is cheaper than any of their other memberships.

If I go after work, I have to worry about safety downtown in the evening and what to do with all my stuff I carry back and forth to work.  Even walking there on lunch time is not entirely comfortable.  Lots of homeless and questionable looking people hanging about.   I am not walking or biking there after hours.  The light rail does not come close enough or often enough for me to feel safe using that either.  Besides, the clientele after hours is much the same as on the streets. ,

 If I go during lunch, my stuff can stay at the office and I will feel safer, but I will have to start work earlier so I can take a longer lunch.  30 minutes won’t get me there, do anything, and get back.  Not to mention I cannot work out in work clothes or go to work in work out clothes even though the word work shows up everywhere. 

It takes me about 5 minutes to change.  So I need half an hour before I even start exercising.  This week I have been starting work 15 minutes early.  That still only means 15 minutes of exercise (not counting the walking/biking – my warm up and cool down?) Am I willing to stay at work another 15 minutes later (if my boss approves it)? Probably.

The good news is that they have bicycle racks out front.  Interestingly, it seems to take about 10 minutes whether I walk or unlock, bike and lock up.  So, I will probably walk.

I am hoping this does work out (well, PART of me is) and that it will significantly help my diabetes.  I hate to admit it, but I do feel good after spending even 15 minutes on the elliptical – as I do when I bike. 

It has been suggested that I simply climb stairs in my building, but I have found that is too hard on my joints to do much regularly. And boring. Or that I simply ride my bike at lunch time.  The bike is already there and I could see a bit of Sacramento, but there is too much traffic and too many lights for really good riding until I get too far out to get back on time – unless I do extend my lunch time which for some reason I am less willing to do if I am not going to the club.  And I don’t really want to exercise with any great enthusiasm in 100 degree or winter weather.  At the club I can also plug in headphones and watch their TV.     

I think I like the idea of the club.  Enough to pay that much money and keep going?  Still thinking, but leaning toward yes.  I might decide next week.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Sacramento Satisfaction

Last week I became aware of and seriously considered a job opening in Fort Bragg a place where I have loved camping - living, in fact, in my favorite state park!  With some wistfulness, I have decided for many reasons that this is not for me - at least now.  As much as I love Fort Bragg and MacKerricher Park there are a few things I love more.  Most especially my children and proximity to them.  One benefit from this experience is an increased awareness and appreciation of what I love about my life in Sacramento.

Like I said, proximity to my children.  6 of 8 children, 2 (soon to be 3) of 4 (soon to be 5) grandchildren are here.   Sariah lives a straight shot on I-5 in Vancouver, WA and comes down at least once a year.  I can keep in contact with those who are not here by phone, Facebook, and blog.  I don't see/hear from David and Teresa nearly enough, but I keep hoping he might find a job somewhere not too far away.

The Sacramento family group gathers for birthdays, high holidays, occasional Sunday dinners, and now and then just because.  If someone needs help, we are there for each other.  We live our own lives, but we all know the others are here.

I enjoy the blessings of a cell phone with my kids on the same network so we can talk freely.  We don't use it nearly enough! But it is there.  In Fort Bragg cell phone reception is almost nil, computer is dial-up and TV pretty much by satellite or maybe a phone company bundle.  I have free TV here.  What about radio?  I enjoy classical music on NPR and Armstrong & Getty on the am dial.

Here I can bike to work or, after a short drive, catch light rail to my building.  I am 10 minutes from church, close to shopping, Kaiser, and the Sacramento Temple.  Fort Bragg has an LDS chapel, but for anything including more than just our congregation, they go to Ukiah.  Costco is in Santa Rosa.  They attend the temple in Oakland.  I don't know where we would go to get to Kaiser.  Everything is easily accessible here.

Fort Bragg has the College of the Redwoods (I do like the name!) which I hear is very good.  We have 3 community colleges, a couple of universities, and uncounted career/business schools.

Sacramento is on a freeway hub with wonderful roads going in every direction. "Only" 2 hours to the coast or the mountains.  While I am 2 hours from the beach, Sacramento is a city of trees and parks.

I like the people with whom I work.  I would probably like my new co-workers, but I do like these people.  Same things with friends at church.

(The credit union and) I own my own home.  It needs MAJOR repairs, but it is mine.  I  have my orange trees.

It is expensive living in California, even more so in Fort Bragg.  Transportation costs, technology costs, the damage wet, salty air does to homes and cars.  I need to pare down my expenses (or increase my income) $800 to survive, not find ways to increase them!

But this is about the blessings here, not the problems there.  I enjoy many blessings here. Most joyfully, Miriam, Ruth, Tom, Esther, Jared, Naomi, Debi, Joseph, Andrew, Benjamin.  Priceless.

In many ways I am already living a dream come true.  Other dreams can wait.

Mother's Day weekend

Last weekend I did have a Furlough Friday. I did errands in the
morning and spend the afternoon getting ready to feed missionaries.
Benjamin cleaned, organized and worked his magic. I really should
check with him when to sign up for the missionaries because he is the
one that mostly makes sure the house is presentable. He also sets up
a table in the family room, decorates and sets it. Then he usually
helps with the food prep, too. His wife is going to be a lucky woman
for many reasons.

He also made sure we invited his siblings. I didn't think they would
necessarily be interested as the family was gathering for Mother's Day
and they might think it too much of a good thing. Hinds were busy,
but Debi and Miriam came. ; ) Baked Potato and Salad Bar. yum!

Saturday morning Benjamin and I joined the rest of our Stake on our
Mormon Helping Hands service project at East Lawn Memorial Park. Some
of us wonder why we were working at a business instead of a city,
county, state or national park like other groups. I suspect that they
were leaning on the word 'park' in their name and that people from the
neighborhood do go walking and jogging in the cemetery. People coming
to tend and put flowers on their mother's graves thanked us. (Ben and
I were cleaning dirt and debris off headstones.) I wondered, but on
the other hand we were following the counsel of called leaders,
enjoying a lovely spring morning, getting mild exercise, spending time
together, and doing something good. They had donuts and orange juice
in the morning and were going to have hotdogs, chips and soda for
lunch, but we didn't eat either. (Later that day I threw a package
of hotdogs on the grill because they had gotten me in the mood.) Ben
wanted to keep a vest, but they were collecting them. Later I learned
that a friend asked and was allowed to keep TWO. Sorry, Benjamin!

We watched Jared and Esther Saturday afternoon-evening. The boys
played with them on the tire swing while I worked on diminishing a
pile of tree branches that have fallen, been trimmed by linemen,
and/or been trimmed by neighbors who didn't want the over hang and
tossed over the fence. This will be an bit of an on-going project. I
also keep wondering if I should invest in a small power saw. The kids
played with the Wii and made their own pizzas. My original plan was
to drive the kids and the uncles back over to Hinds, put the kids to
bed, and then leave the guys standing watch while I went home.
However Benjamin had gone off on a couple of more service projects
which kept him much longer than anticipated and an hour past the kids'
bedtime, he was not yet home. I took them home, eventually got them
to bed, and then napped on the couch.

Sunday was Mother's Day! Debi had sent a dozen tulips to my office
on Thursday. They came in a sturdy box which fit nicely in my bicycle
bag when it was time to go home. They looked very pretty in the
middle of the table for Friday's dinner. Sariah ordered flowers, too,
but they had not yet arrived by Sunday afternoon. Benjamin made me
breakfast Sunday. Joseph did my morning chores. Miriam came to
church at my ward. All the young children sang to the mothers. The
youth handed out Hershey Kiss roses they had made plus a little packet
of more Hershey Kisses – in case the mothers now wanted to eat
chocolate but didn't want to mess up their roses? After church
Miriam, the boys and I had lunch at a park – croissant sandwiches and
fruit. Yummy. Then we hurried over to Ruth's where everyone one
would gather for Andrew's phone call and dinner. (LDS missionaries
only get 2 phone calls home a year – Mother's Day and Christmas – it
is much anticipated!) I got to talk to all 3 of my out of town
children, but unfortunately our missionary phone call was shorter than
I expected and they didn't get to talk to each other. The Sacramento
group enjoyed BBQ chicken, a great pasta/artichoke heart salad,
pineapple, strawberries, and killer chocolate truffle brownies. Ruth returned my camera which she has borrowed for ages.  I got a Stampin'Up order in. ; )  When
I got home, Sariah's bouquet was waiting on the porch. It was a
lovely day.
; )

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Weekend a week ago

Weekends!  Weekends! Much too short.

There are standard chores I need to do each weekend – which, sadly is not to say that they actually get done. Wash clothes, gas the car, restock food supplies, sort my medicines, check my bike tires, change my sheets, clean house, make my work breakfasts.  Sometimes, however, the weekends are just too busy to get them all done.

A week ago, for one thing, no Furlough Friday.  I suppose we should get used to that, they only last through June.  If I could be sure we will actually go back to full pay, it wouldn’t be so bad, but there is a good chance we will have pay cuts.  Not so good.

A week ago Saturday morning I went hiking with the Single Adults.  A few family and friends have expressed surprised that I would go to any Single Adult Activities.  One tends to think of it as a less-than-successful meat market for less-than-successful desperate singles.  There may be aspects of that in some activities, I don’t know.  The singles groups are to help meet the needs of single (for whatever reason) indiviuals -  a place to get support, have fun, serve, grow, - to belong etc. in a family oriented church.  Not that we are excluded from any other group or function.  I am not interested in “finding someone” right now for many reasons.  Which is probably just as well, as I am not a prime commodity in an already unbalanced market. 

This was my 3rd singles activity, if you include a Meet-and-Greet they had after church so we could meet the reps.  The male and female representatives were at the Meet-and-Greet with lots of something – donuts ?  I don’t remember.  The entire Bishopric was there. Also, a recent convert who is also divorced and me.  That was all. The whole idea was just for the singles and the reps to lay eyes on each other and to let the singles know what’s available.  They are not (just) a place for singles to ‘meet’.  Supposedly not at all, but …  I am sure that there is the hope that singles will join the everlasting covenant.  They do have dances to which I have no intention of going any time soon, but they have other activities simply for fun, support, service, etc.  – some of them family friendly.   The first thing I went to was back in December when I helped wrap gifts for some charity.  Oh, Tiffany (our Stake SA Rep) counts Museum Day, too.

I had hoped that the boys would go on the hike.  Scout Expo took Benjamin.  Joseph wanted to go to some Bike Month thing in West Sacramento.  He wanted me to go with him.  The plan was something like bicycle to the rally or whatever it was, hear speeches, maybe see booths, maybe even get stuff, then join some bicycle ride to somewhere before bicycling home again.  I figured I could get to WS eventually, although Joseph would be frustrated with my lack of speed, but it would be too humiliating and useless to attempt to ride with real riders (who didn’t love me and wait for me).  I wouldn’t even be eating their dust because it would all be settled before I got to it.   Each of us kept hoping the other would give up his/her activity and join the me/him. 

As I said, Joseph ended up missing his bike thing, but I had a great time on the hike.  Ok, part of the time I was not enjoying it as much as I would have if I were fit, but it was beautiful and the company was good.  We hiked about a mile and a half mostly down hill to Hidden Falls on Deadman’s Creek.  Ate the lunches we had brought.  Some people waded in a stream pool or did a little exploring.  We took a group picture.  Then I headed back ahead of the others.  I knew I was going to be slow going up and I didn’t want to slow everyone down or kill myself trying not to.  It was pleasant going down with the group and it was pleasant walking back alone in the woods.  I sang as much as I could remember of “How Great Thou Art” – not very loudly in case other hikers were near.  And thought about how much Andrew would enjoy it and how we would probably sing out loud if we were together.

Then I went hiking in a more urban setting – Winco, then Costco.  Didn’t buy any of the cold stuff I normally get at Winco because I was going to go to Costco, so I am not sure if the two trips in one is really a great idea. 
Joseph was very good about helping bring in the food. (Usually Benjamin does the lion’s share.) In fact, he brought in most of it while I put away the little bit of cold stuff I got at Costco.  Then the non-cold stuff just sat around the front room and dining room because I was tired. 

Benjamin called for me to pick him up around 10pm.  He had a good time, mostly hanging out with a couple of guys named Ethan.  He didn’t have all that much to say about the Expo.  

Sunday after church I put away a lot of the food, which involved putting it in the family room as food storage and taking older stuff out of the family room into kitchen.  Since it was food storage, I hoped it was not a serious Sabbath violation.  Just a few more little faggots on the fire this time.    I hope.

Is It Heaven Without The People You Love?

Is It Heaven Without The People You Love? Of course not.

Although I have not completely ruled it out, I am probably not going for that job in Fort Bragg.  Oh, I might apply.  But I don’t think I really can take it.

Number one reason: 8*3*5

3 of the 8 might go with me, but what future would they have there?  We have several colleges and universities here.  Fort Bragg has College of the Redwoods – that’s good, but much less than the opportunities here.   The job situation is grim here, but I would be surprised if it were better there. 

It was a blow to me when Ruth moved from almost next door to 20 minutes away. When neighborhood sounds drift in, I wistfully remember listening to my grandchildren playing.   4 hours seems like a bit much. 

Sariah says they would come to visit. How often? Right now they are a straight shot on I-5.  Of course, on the other hand, when they come here we have to share them with his family and the friends of their youth.

Additionally, there are the practical matters -
The job comes with a mobile home pad (with a big yard, the best in the park she says), but I cannot afford to buy a mobile home right now. Or afford to rent a place to live if I could find one.

The credit union and I own my house, mostly the credit union.  I am not totally confident that I could sell it if I wanted to.  I would be lucky to come out even. And I am still of the old mindset that home ownership is a small measure of security.  My kitchen really could probably be condemned, anyway, which makes sale difficult and pretty much rules out renting the place which I might consider otherwise.

Right now I bicycle commute or drive 2 miles to light rail.  In Fort Bragg I would drive 16 miles each way.  Plus driving to Ukiah almost 2 hours away for any major shopping and larger church events. Even trips to the local chapel are further than I have now and that happens several times a week.  Plus driving to Sacramento to visit my kids. Tremendous increase in transportation costs.

And yet… 
I had email business with my prospective boss in Fort Bragg again today and as a PS asked her where people who live in Fort Bragg go on vacation.  She said, “We visit family out of state.  Otherwise we fish, play, dive, and hang out in paradise where we live.” 

It sounds wonderful.  Yet, I don’t think this is the time for me.  If my circumstances change (which I rather hope they do NOT if that means my kids moving away), I hope I get the chance again.

When Sacramento spends day after day in triple digit weather, I will think wistfully of my missed chance.  I will then think of my children and my grandchildren and count my blessings.  

Next time I make it to Fort Bragg, I will pop in at the office and also check out 'my' pad. 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


 Lucy, District Administrative Chief, Mendocino, upon learning that I was newly working in the Revolving Fund Unit, said "Welcome to Mendocino."

To which I replied, "I wish I were in Mendocino!" 

She responded:  "I have an opening for an accounting MST advertised in the bulletin with a double wide mobile home pad located at MacKerricher State Park in Fort Bragg if you are interested. It is a beautiful place to work and I’m planning to retire in a few years."

The bulletin item to which she referred:

The reporting location for this position is the District Office at Russian Gulch. This position will work under the direction of the District Administrative Chief. The incumbent will be responsible for the district’s fiscal section. This includes auditing and processing purchase documents, reconciling expenditures with CID and preparing expenditure reports. The successful candidate should be proficient in Microsoft Excel and Access. State housing may be available. For further information regarding this position, please contact Lucy Johnson at (707) 937-6128 or

 It is seriously tempting. The pay range is less than I am in now as an Accounting Technician, but I would go in at the same monthly and simply top out sooner. Fort Bragg! MacKerricher - possibly my favorite state park!

Questions - mobile home or just the pad?  What would I do with my house? Could the boys have any future there?  Could I stand moving away from all my other kids? What if the boys wanted to stay in Sacramento?  Would I be ok leaving all of them????? Even for Fort Bragg?  I have done the Sacramento - Fort Bragg drive (4-5 hours) and back in a day - lunch dates would work.  Would they make the drive to visit if they could stay with me? Could I get a discount (free??) camp sites for visiting family? - when there are too many for the trailer.  What about the dog and cats?  And the drive from MacKerricher to Russian Gulch (the office - in a State Park??!!) when it's foggy. 

Even my boss says I should think about it. 

I love MacKerricher.  How much?  To live on the California North Coast would be a dream come true. What dreams would I have to give up?

Also, my only Microsoft experience is here at work.  But I could learn.

I might not go online every break if I was there!  Walking in the forest or on  the beach! sigh

Break is over.  Back to work buried in a building downtown.