Friday, July 30, 2010

progress, sometimes slow, but progress

As of my commute home tonight, I will have 280 bicycle miles for July.   

Speaking of my head hurting. I have been having a little headache and nausea since my bike crash Monday, I think.  Teresa asked me how I was doing this morning as I was running behind getting ready for work and acting mildly stressed.  I felt fine! No headache, no nausea.  My purple-y bruised thumb base on my hand is looking better.  My knee (just below the knee, actually) is scabbed nicely.  I am on the mend.

Sister S (Scout Committee Chair) has approved Benjamin’s project proposal on-line, so he just needs to get it to her to sign on paper.   Then he needs to get signatures from Effie Yeaw Nature Center.  After that, he goes to the District Advancement guy. And then we can get to work!  He hopes to have actual work days August 17-21.  Between approval and then, he has to go around and get material donations and organize his work force.  (and I have to think about refreshments)

Also, between now and then, the Priests have their Super Activity – going to Yosemite for most of a week.  They are going to climb Half Dome.  Benjamin can let us know what to expect. ; )   They are also going to do service for the park and general guys in the wilderness stuff.

He’s going to be busy!  And I really want him to find out about going to SCC this fall –even though I am going to have trouble with the money.  Classes begin Saturday, August 21, so it would be best if he can get his project done before then.  (no pressure, right?)

My Bishop is looking into having the ward help me with my condemnable wreck of a kitchen!  Makes me cry.  That would be so wonderful! 


Monday, July 26, 2010

Weather Watch

I was a little anxious going into the weekend.

I knew that there was change in the wind and I was unsure how much of a storm there might be. Like so many others, my son, David, and his wife, Teresa, have been unable to find work since graduating from Cal Poly. My daughter, Debi, who has her own home offered to let them stay for a bit while they get on their feet. Unfortunately, in the month they have been there, she found that the loss of privacy and added stress of extra people (no matter how much she loves them) aggravated personal health issues she has been fighting. I knew she was going to tell them they cannot stay any longer and I was not sure how hurt or upset they might be. To the credit of all involved, they had a calm conversation with understanding, caring, and mutual respect all around - from all reports I have gotten.

David and Teresa will be staying in my family room - or maybe - the cluttered office/craft room for a couple of weeks while they sort out other options. I wish they could stay with the boys and I for the duration, but I am not their best option. Sadly for me, it is quite likely that they will be staying in her father's spare room down in LA. He is as excited about having them close as I was and as I am disappointed to see them go so far so soon. But I am glad that it is PROBABLY not going to be farther. Texas is also being considered.

I am proud of how my kids handled a potentially difficult and sensitive situation. Good people.

Lights, Sirens, Fire Trucks

Safely back at my desk after an emergency evacuation.  It was real, but pretty much a false alarm. Two rumors right now 1) burnt popcorn on the 11th floor (I am on 10) or 2) something a construction worker did.  

First we had to go to the 5th floor, which I dislike.  I do not feel necessarily safer on a different floor and it upsets the 5th floor workers who have not been evacuated.  It is uncomfortable standing around in the hall. 

 Happily (or unhappily because it meant they were really serious), they soon sent us out to the park on top of the GS (?) building across the street.  Much more pleasant!  We had fire trucks.  
Like I said, I am safely back now and about to go check my lunch which I had just put in the microwave (No, that is not what caused the evacuation)

The important thing is, that these things always remind me  of 9/11, how much I love my family and want you to know it.  So, let me tell you again.  I really do love my family and my many very good friends.


First Crash (and hopefully the last)

Good bike in this morning - up to a point. I left a little later than I like, but had good biking in - hit the lights right, got a good rhythm going, and made great time. Until just about to my building where I cross the light rail tracks. I was looking towards the crossing I would take next, watching for peds, light poles, the back of the light rail train and adjusting my angle toward a good open space - forgetting I was just crossing the tracks. Hit at considerably less than perpendicular, the track grabbed my tire, and I went down! Hard. With my foot stuck between the pedal and the tire. Fortunately, I mainly hit on the very narrow grass strip between the tracks and walkway. Fortunately, kind people were immediately there helping me. A nice man wearing a Cal Fire shirt got my foot free. A nice lady picked up my scattered things. My bike appears undamaged. My right knee is skinned, but my left hand and right elbow which were also main impact points, although sore, did not break skin. So while mildly embarrassed and a little shaken and anticipating some bruises and residual soreness , I am not greatly worse for wear.

Note to self and other bikers: always cross tracks completely perpendicular!

First crash commuting to work, not my first crash ever. My dog crashed me last time I tried biking and running her. The running part went fine. Stopping was an issue. I did, she didn't.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A Lean and Hungry Look

Benjamin made me breakfast this morning. ; )

I mowed the lawn, did some errands.

Including going to Michaels for black cardstock and for some black and white paper to make notecards to give my boss. I had better get going on that little project! Yesterday (?) I dug out several stamp sets I might use. Today I got cardstock. So far, it all just sits on the "dining" room table, somewhat to Benjamin's frustration. Tomorrow is D day.

Looking at the craft supplies at Michaels made me miss Stampin'Up. I like Stampin'Up's stuff and the prices are very competitive (especially as I got a 'mother' discount!) Ruth isn't officially off the books yet, but it is only because so many of us did our last order when she announced she was quitting that it made her quota to stay in another quarter. We cannot keep doing that. (Drat!)

Benjamin and Joseph went with their Dad to see The Hubble at IMax and go to the State Fair. When I first heard about that, I planned to go with Anna to the coast for the late afternoon and evening.

That was before Naomi!

Instead I spend a couple of hours at the hospital. Ruth (and Naomi and Tom) have a private room. I think all the maternity rooms at Kaiser South are private now. They have a chair that makes into a cot for the Dad.(Not real comfortable according to Tom) When I arrived, Tom's sister Heidi (who has Esther and Jared until Ruth comes home) was there with the kids and most of her family - spouse and 2 of 3 children (I am pretty sure). Esther was snuggled up against Ruth. Jared was sitting at her feet holding Naomi. After a bit, Tom's folks arrived. For a short while there were 10 visitors there! The official rule is 3, I think, but the nurses are pretty lenient if Mom and baby are doing ok. I think everyone got a turn holding Naomi except Heidi who didn't mind because she got to hold her a long time yesterday. Heidi had brought Esther and Jared to see their baby sister before Hinds let any other visitors come Friday. Jared has great big brother/daddy instincts! He seems to love to hold Naomi and does so very competently. He is amazed by how little she is, but not frightened by it. Esther is less comfortable holding her and seems to need more reassurance about her place in the family. She will be fine. She is a good big sister to Jared. They are great friends.

When it was time for Naomi to eat again, everyone was politely shooed out, but Ruth let me stay. Afterwards I got to hold Naomi for a long time. Like Jared, I am amazed by her tiny perfection. When you think about this little creature being inside another not so large person and getting out without a zipper, she might seem pretty big. But when you look at her as a complete, perfect little person, she is so tiny! She is born already with the eggs with which she will conceive her children! (Plus a million or so) Isn't that amazing?! Babies are miracles. This one is particularly sweet and beautiful.

I had promised Anna some time together. It was a good bit late for a trip to the beach, so we took a short walk along the American River. Lots of people enjoying the river! When we got away from the people and found a place where the trail was right at the bank, I took Anna off lead and let her go down for a quick dip. A few Canadian geese watched warily, but without great concern. Back on the trail, I kept Anna on lead. Good thing, too! Heading back while Anna was excitedly checking out the brush where a hare had disappeared, I noticed another animal out of the corner of my eye. Too big for even a large hare, too small for a deer. What? I moved and looked again. Coyote! Not a terribly healthy looking one. Not that I actually KNOW what healthy coyote looks like, but I think not that. Very, very lean and rough looking. I was not quite sure if it was looking for the rabbit or Anna. As Anna and I moved on, I saw it again, or a second one, going along parallel to the trail in the brush not far from us. A bit further on, I turned around and there it was on the open trail definitely following us and not all that many yards behind us! Not as much as the length of my front yard. Twice I stopped and moved back toward it (threateningly, I hope) and told it "Sorry! not your dinner! Go away!" The second time, it was a bit further back than the first. Each time it only slightly turned away, with a snarly face. I felt both compassion and a little nervous. I am sure that if Anna was loose, despite her being a good bit bigger, Coyote would have decided it was feast time, especially if there were two of them. As it was, it even crossed my mind to wonder how hungry a coyote would have to be to attack a person. Anna only seemed slightly interested showing no inclination to investigate or to flee. I was not "scared" but I was happy to get back to the sounds of happy people frolicking at the water's edge.

10pm No boys back yet. Soon I suppose. Do you think they will have tried any of the exotic foods at the fair like alligator or python or chocolate-bacon what ever it is or deep fried twinkies?? Hopefully not just before going on any rides!

For me it is dreamland, however fitful it may be until my chicks, young cocks really, come home to roost.

A Very Good Day

I expected Friday to be a very difficult and sad day because it was the day we had Liz's good-bye luncheon. Most of us in her unit and a few others wore black or black and white because those are her signature colors. Some of our people were dressed up very nicely. A small tribute.

Lunch was not the emotional affair I expected it to be. There were 20 or so of us, not just Liz's unit. There were several people from the department she was in before she came (back) to our unit and she sat mostly amid them. We were fine with that because we were going back to the office with her. They were more full of happy memories and less full of separation anxiety. No emotional good-bye speech. She would only say, "Thank you for coming."

Most of the day we kept to business and only lightly touched on our impending doom. When I left, Liz was in conversation with someone who used to be in our unit - mostly joking about the joys and trials of grandparenthood. Not nearly as traumatic as Thursday when I checked out and said "Good-night, Liz" as usual, then went through the office door, closed it, and started crying. Monday we will have potluck treats for Liz's last day. It will be hard to leave Monday.

Except Liz is going to go on Facebook and we will get to be her friends.

3 things made Friday a very good day.

One, the gulf oil spill was capped and the cap appeared to be holding. At last! It isn't the end of the trouble, but it may be the end of it getting worse.

Two, Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Patrick Marlette ruled against state workers being paid minimum wage - at least for now.

Three, the BEST thing that happened Friday was the first thing. At 0015 Naomi Elisabeth Hinds was born. 7 pounds 11 ounces, 20 inches. A beautiful little angel!

Early Thursday Ruth had wondered whether she was feeling 'real' contractions. Shortly before 8:30 in the evening she was admitted in the hospital. Tom texted us when she was admitted, when they broke her water around 11, and not long after Naomi was born. (Thanks, Tom!) Ruth only had to push about 10 minutes.

After work, the boys and I went over to Debi's where David and Teresa were making pizza. We ate some with them, then took some to the hospital for the Hinds.

Each of us got to hold Naomi. So little and sweet. And very pretty. Naomi has dark hair. My first brunette grandchild. At least for now. I wonder if her hair will go light as so many children's do and then go dark again. She was very quiet. Ruth and Tom say she is pretty mellow.

It was already my bedtime or later when we went back to Debi's and watched "The Jensen Project" - well, I watched most of it. I was asleep before it was over. That little nap made me safe to drive home.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bike Riding Can Be Dangerous

T street does a little jog at I think Alhambra. Going east, you very briefly turn south on Alhambra then east again on T.  Last night as I was biking home, just as I began to go east again on T, a car cut in front of me turning to go south on Alhambra.  Right in front of me!  I actually hit it with my front tire.  At point of impact we were nearly parallel so my front tire slid and bounced along the side of the car which did not even slow down.  Actually, neither did I much.  I was quite surprised to keep my balance and most of my momentum.  A northbound car waiting at the light saw the incident and honked at the offending car which I appreciated (including an angry gesture which did not offend me as much as usual as it was in my defense). 

That nothing serious happened is another tender mercy. 

Ruined my pantyhose, though.   My right leg is still a little lumpy from the run I had with a car door a few weeks ago.  Bike riding can be dangerous.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Project Planning

I took Last Thursday off for family business. 

The main thing was going with Benjamin, David, and Brother B and meeting up with YM Pres.  McC and his two boys at Effie Yeaw Nature Center to get advice on Benjamin’s proposed Eagle project.   Brother B and David told us that it would be easier to build a deck than to level the ground.   Which is what the director (I think) of the nature center wants, anyway.  Brother McC told Benjamin to contact Brother H about concrete disposal, because he works at the county disposal site.  OR alternatively, since he is now building a deck, he might just smash up the concrete and leave it spread out under the deck.  They measured and re-measured – working out the size of the deck and where wheelchair access will be.

  Benjamin has sketches, rough measurements, and pictures.  He presents before our troop committee this Sunday. It is an ambitious project, but I am confident he can handle it. One thing that will make things a little difficult getting going is that the county just quit running the nature center and it is being transitioned over to a non-profit.  How much they can afford to have people there is still unknown.  Benjamin has been having trouble connecting with his contacts.   I personally think that the worst part of the project – besides going around to businesses asking for support – is going to be sanding all those benches.  The guys will probably love smashing the concrete.

I am a little disappointed that depending on the timing, Brother McC may not be around for much of this.  Not that this is his kind of work, but he is good to have around and inspires the boys. He is going to France for a while with a bunch of his students and then later the family is going camping.  What is left of it.   Before he returns from France, Sister McC is flying to Hawaii to leave T at BYU-H where his older sister already attends.  E will return and probably help with the project – when he isn’t camping.  Brother B will probably help a lot.  David probably will, too. Unless he gets blessed with a job (wouldn’t that be great?! – especially if it is not far away.  Tom wants him to get a job in Massachusetts so Tom can go back there and visit again (with a place to stay).  I would prefer they be close by.  But this is between David and the Lord and I am sure that they will get it right for David and Teresa.)  Actually, I have no idea when the work will begin.  Benjamin is planning on 3-4 work days. But first he needs to get all his approvals and line up material.

We saw plenty of deer as we drove in.  In fact, as we drove into the nature center’s parking lot, a buck ran across right in front of us.  We saw even more turkeys.  I am not sure, but I think Brother Brown was drooling.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fourth of July Weekend

Friday, the 2nd, I worked an hour overtime in the evening which made for a cooler and more peaceful bicycle commute home.  After the usual mucking around, we headed out to West Sacramento to watch the after-the-Rivercats-game fireworks, stopping at McDonalds on  the way.  I had heard on the radio that McD is going to drop the Big'n'Tasty soon - which I think is their best hamburger. : (  Joseph and I ordered Big-n-Tasty's, Benjamin a Big Mac.  We also bought a couple of large fries most of which I think I ate on the drive there. And smoothies.  yummy.

We got a nice spot by the field from which the fireworks are shot - with the reassuring presences of fire trucks near by. Fortunately, there was nothing for them to do but watch.  David and Teresa joined us.  We all enjoyed visiting while we waited. We also enjoyed the sounds from Raleys Field and wished we knew what they signified.  Sometimes we guessed that the Cats had just scored a run or that the crowd was trying to distract a Grizzly batter.  The game went into extra innings extending our wait.  It must have been a good one! Eventually the Rivercats defeated the Grizzlies and we enjoyed some beautiful fireworks.

Saturday morning our ward had a pancake breakfast.  All my kids in the area came except Miriam, who has been feeling a bit poorly lately as she adjusts to a change in her medications and deals with fiscal year end stress at work and maybe a few too many late evenings with her siblings. It was a pretty good breakfast even if I did get only one little sausage and one pancake.   I enjoyed getting to know the new Primary president and her husband.  Where she served her mission they really did have 2nd breakfast and 2nd lunch.  They would typically have 5 meals a day - not as big was we do on our 3 - a healthier way to eat, but doesn't preparing, eating, and cleaning up begin to take up the whole day?  He is left-handed and crochets.  They are expecting their first child later this month.  The announcements had said their would be a bicycle parade, so I decorated my bike and Ruth helped Esther and Jared decorate theirs.  The parade never officially materialized, but the kids rode their bikes, Debi and Tom each rode mine, and some other kids on bikes and scooters rode around a bit.  Some parents even pushed their little ones in decorated strollers. We enjoyed it all.

After breakfast, most of the family went to see Toy Story 3.

Not David, Teresa and I.   I think we are the poor ones.  I will probably get it when it comes out in DVD at Costco.  David and Teresa started working on my house! : )  Some time ago, we had painted the main bathroom blue, but not done the door.  We dug out the old paint and the paint from doing the boy's room.  Actually, maybe only the paint from doing the boys' room.  I had thought we might paint the half bath the same blue as the main bath, but we didn't have enough of the paint we thought was it.  We had a whole can whose lid said bathroom paint, but it was white.  I should have remembered not having bought white bathroom paint.  After we (by we, I mean David and Teresa) painted, we realized that it was probably primer.  Over the course of Saturday and Monday, David and Teresa painted the main bathroom door white with the inside panel blue - almost the same blue as the bathroom.  I didn't want to have the door white because I didn't think the white towels would look good hanging on it.  They look good against the blue panel.  The half bath got the same light blue for the ceiling and a blue-green for the walls and inside of the door.  The cabinet under the sink got painted white.  Looks good.

During the painting, the doors were without doorknobs, just big holes where the knobs go.  It was like that over Sunday when we had the family over to dinner.  We managed not to have any problems.  For part of Monday, the main bath didn't have a door as David was painting it out on the driveway.  He hung a sheet.

Saturday afternoon every when to Ruth's for a hotdog BBQ.  Some people played in the pool.

I didn't want to stay late because I still needed to sweep the patio which was inches deep in dried tree blossoms and what not and the backyard weeds needed mowing down.  As I was considering that, Joseph came to me.  "Are we leaving soon?  I don't feel well. I'll be in the car."  We left!  I tried to drive not too roughly, but at least half a dozen times, Joseph groaned "stop" and I pulled over. At least twice he heaved by the side of the road, poor guy.   We THINK it was not enough sleep or water, and too much junky food - several sausages at breakfast (I was in the WRONG line), popcorn at the movie, hotdogs, chips, and cupcake in the afternoon.  Not that we can fault Debi's cupcakes!!  He was one sick puppy. He felt much better in the morning, but stayed home from church because it had come on so suddenly before.

My girls have always been fine dessert makers.  Recently, Debi discovered the joy of cupcakes and has become something of a cupcake queen.  She makes all kind of delicious and beautiful cupcakes.

Benjamin mowed down the backyard weeds and helped me sweep the patio.  We filled a quarter of our big yard waste container.  Then before BBQing on Sunday I had to sweep another half inch or so.  wow, that tree is prolific.

Sunday people bore their testimonies that the founding fathers of our country were inspired, that the Mormon pioneers were faithful and brave, that the youth Pioneer Trek was a great experience, and that the Gospel is true.  All true.  Elizabeth, the young lady whose foot was broken by a handcart running over her the last day, bore her testimony and said that until the handcart ran over her the Trek was a good experience.

Our Relief Society lesson about the US Constitution (the document not the ship) was taken largely from an excellent talk by Dallin H Oakes "The Divinely Inspired Constitution."

Everyone came to our house for BBQ - hotdogs, chicken, and tri-tip!  Watermelon, corn on the cob, and potato salad.  Teresa brought some fruit mix with fresh apricots.  Debi brought (try to guess) (yes!) cupcakes.   People played games like UNO and played on the Wii.  I stamped a card for my boss who is leaving us.  :..(  When the children started acting tired, we realized it was past their bedtime (and rapidly approaching mine!)  Tom and Ruth moved the party to their house.

Ben went along, slept on Debi's couch, helped David and Teresa with Debi's backyard weeds Monday morning, and they brough him home when they came back to finish painting the bathroom projects.    They painted all afternoon and we ate leftovers from Sunday.

And then the weekend was over.  Always too soon!