Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Same Names or What Are The Odds?

I have 8 children and 3 children-in-law:  Sariah, Ryan, David, Teresa, Miriam, Ruth, Tom, Deborah, Joseph, Andrew, Benjamin. 

My work unit has 8 people besides me: Jalpa, Natalya, Joseph, Mary, Rachael, Theresa, Matthew, Ruth.

One set of 11, another random set of 8 -  4 match/near matches.
It seems unusual to me that such small name pools have so much similarity

Monday, November 29, 2010

Two day work week, five day weekend. That’s more like it!

I took Wednesday off for preparation time, of course had Thanksgiving off and state workers still get the Friday after Thanksgiving.  Sweet!

Esther and Jared came over Wednesday while their parents and some of my other kids went to see Harry Potter.  They did a little bit of art.  We (Esther, Jared, Joseph, Anna & I) went out to the parkway, played Frisbee, and (they, but not Anna) climbed trees.  Esther, Jared & David played Wii.  We had fun.  The movie goers had fun, too. I also roasted turkey number 1, went shopping, and tried to get a few (very few) other things done.

Thanksgiving morning turkey, Benjamin and I went over to Ruth’s around 8 to start the (second) turkey cooking and help Ruth & Tom (especially Benjamin) with last minute preparations.  Others started coming over a bit after noon – bringing tasty bounty with them.  All my kids, except Andrew who is on his mission.  Five fun grandkids – cousins are so cute together!  Sariah’s in-laws. Lots of tasty food. It was a lovely traditional Thanksgiving dinner and very pleasant day.

Then came Forced Family Fun Friday (mostly planned by Debi, I think.  Good job, planner(s)!).  David and Teresa were off to her family’s traditional chocolate dipping, but the rest of us got together for family activities.  The grown-ups gained a new respect for Esther and Aurora and their teammates’ endurance in our family soccer game.  I mostly was on the sidelines with Naomi, Anna, and Sariah’s camcorder.  Unfortunately, I did go in briefly as a goalie – and let two goals get past me.  Lunch was turkey, rolls, coleslaw and chips.  Then stew went into the slow cooker for dinner.   After I took Anna and Joseph home, I joined the others in a letter-boxing expedition discovering the California First Public Library Series.  A nice walk through a lovely neighborhood.  I think I heard plans being made to read to the kids the books we found stamps representing: “The Black Stallion”, “Lad, a Story of a Dog”, “Smokey”, “Bob, Son of Battle” and “Misty” – all books I, like the letter-boxer, read in my youth.  After dinner (Joseph back with us) we played a great all-family sketch and guess the word game.  Much laughter and some incredible guessing skills.

Saturday was a chores and catch up day for us while Rosers hit the road back to Washington. 

Best quote Sunday .. to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven.” Thomas S. Monson, October 2010 General Conference.

This long (but not long enough, of course) weekend was a bit of heaven.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What Say You

Benjamin is in the process of applying for the highest award Boy Scouts of America can bestow upon a youth member – the rank of Eagle.  He has worked for several years and if he is approved he will have earned a nationally recognized achievement that he will be proud of all his life.  Additionally, the rank of Eagle Scout will open many doors for him while at the same time placing upon him the expectation to set an example of high values and ethics.  It is awesome to be an Eagle.

Soon he will be called before the Eagle Scout Board of Review, a group of citizens of the Golden Empire Council, BSA to determine if he is worthy to be an Eagle Scout.  If you personally know Benjamin, I hope you will help the board as they make their decision by writing a letter of recommendation.

I apologize for being so late with this request.  We were so caught up in so many things, that this slipped our minds completely.  It would be best if we could have the letters as soon as possible - by the end of the month for him to turn in with his application.  The absolute deadline for the application is November 30 - before he turns 18 on the first.  He is hoping to turn it in Sunday the 28th.  Since the letters are actually for the Board of Review which will be scheduled after his application is accepted, late letters would still be appreciated.

Eagle Requirement # 2 is “Demonstrate that you live by the principles of the Scout Oath and Law in your daily life.”  Please give your opinion.  Does Benjamin live by the principles of the Scout Oath and Law?  Can you give some examples?

Scout Oath – “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”

Scout Law – A Scout is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean and Reverent.

I would appreciate if you took the time to write what you think about Benjamin as a potential Eagle.  Tell how you know him / what your relationship to him is.

He is not supposed to see the letters before the Board of Review.  It is up to you if you want him to see your letter afterward.  You can send me the letter and let me know if he can see it later.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dreams Can Be Risky

This summer I had the opportunity to apply for a “dream job”  - still working for State Parks and living in one of my favorite places.  As I weighed my options, practical matters won out and I stayed where I am. 

A few months later, my well-loved and respected supervisor announced that she was retiring from Parks to pursue a dream of moving to Wyoming. Almost made me wish that I had made the leap to Mendocino County!

time goes by…

My dream of living on the coast deferred meant the stability of staying in my home of 30+ years.  Finances are always a concern, becoming more so now, but they would have been VERY challenging had I moved.  As it is, I have been able to help children in need that I could not have if I had made the change.

Sometimes dreams conflict and choices must be made.  When we are living a dream we sometimes fail to recognize it. In my case, the bigger dreams are being close to my children as much as possible and striving for financial stability. 

My super left California to pursue one dream for herself and daughter, but it didn’t work out.  We don’t hear from her, but the word is that her aged parents needed her and she came back to California.  Rumor is that she tried to come back here to Parks, but (Alas!!!) it was too late and the hiring process had begun on her replacement.  

So, what about dreams?  When do you follow and when do you play it safe?  It is good to have dreams, but dreams must be balanced with reality.  Risk assessment.  And, as I said, we would do well to recognize the dreams we are already living. 

Sweet dreams!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I have ow-ies.

Minor ow-ies, thankfully.

Biking to work on garbage day on T street.   I tried to go around the curb side of a recycling can instead of going out into the street.  There was not quite enough room.  I clipped the can, bounced off it into curb and went down.  No major injuries.  My right elbow and forearm are scraped up and I have aches developing here and there.  Could be worse, glad it's not!

I am grateful I didn't go down the other way into the street in traffic.  Grateful that although battered, neither my bike nor I are greatly damaged.  Grateful for the bit of grass that took part of my fall.  Grateful I was wearing light gloves which protected my hands. Grateful for the little old Asian lady who asked if I was OK.

So far, the weather has been pretty favorable for us bicycling commuters.  What rain we have gotten thus far has been at night or on weekends.  I know the day is coming when I am going to have to face biking in the rain - I have a Costco rainsuit - need to something about my feet, I think- and leaving my poor bike to sit out in it all day.  I sure wish I had one of those bicycle lockers!!  I might talk to a gal I know who has one.  Maybe she would let me use it for the winter?  I think she hardly uses it.  I think I could bike in rain, especially light rain. Mix in the wind and I think I will light rail. Joseph bikes 2miles - light rails - bikes 2 miles year round. What a guy!

(I also wish I could put my arm rest down.  My arm keeps getting blood on it. And repeated contact and wiping my arm with disinfectant is slowing the natural sealing off process.  aww, poor me)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

San Simeon Weekend

An on-line work conversation led to an offer to comp me a campsite and Hearst Castle tickets.  It’s great working for State Parks for many reasons!

I managed to get a little lost on the way Thursday and arrived at camp tired, discouraged and a little grumpy with poor Benjamin and Anna as my prisoners.  Fortunately, David and Teresa in their car already knew the way and got there an hour ahead of us.  They checked in and the ranger gave us a great site!  in probably the best site in San Simeon State Park – best for us at least.  

 Roasting hot dogs over a campfire helped restore my spirits, although there was more of a nip in the air than I had anticipated.  We had family prayer, scriptures, and reading club by phone with Joseph.

Anna enjoyed camping, but she thinks she would have enjoyed it more if I had let her run out to explore the interesting things she heard and smelled.  She spent much of Thursday night bouncing around the tent.  Around 2am, she actually managed to get out the back.  Benjamin and I scrambled for our shoes calling her name, but by the time I opened the front flap, she was there and we got her back in.  Smelling funny.  as in not good and not the way she smelled when she left.  Not full on skunk, thank goodness!  I don’t know what it was, but it was definitely something.  Later in the night we heard coyotes yipping.  She whined to join them, not believing me when I told her they would most likely eat her.  Friday night was less rowdy except for barking at other dogs barking in other camps and a little whining for the wild life.

Friday morning we took the Hearst Castle Tour 1. What an amazing place!  A bit much for my personal taste, but breathtaking.  There are several tours which each show different parts of the castle (although I think they all begin and end at the same places).  I strongly suspect that even if you took all the tours, you would not see all the castle.

Here you see the Enchanted Hill from the Visitor's Center.

It's a 5 mile bus ride from the Visitor's Center to the castle along the same road the Hearst and his guests used.   People would train in to San Luis Obispo or fly to Hearst's own landing strip not far from the Visitor's Center and be driven up by limo.

Oh, great.  I am out of storage space for photos.  I didn't even know I had Picsasa, but apparently that is where my photos go when I put them on the blog. ?  must learn more .  kater ,   when I have time.  (ha)

Meanwhile you can see more and better pictures of Hearst Castle here:  http://www.hearstcastle.org/  Hearst enjoyed collecting art, building this place to showcase it, and sharing the art, the place, and good times. 

Julia Morgan was architect for both Asilomar and Hearst Castle. Each has its own style and beauty.  My personal preference runs towards Asilomar.

We spent most of the day at Hearst Castle and Visitor's Center - tour in the morning, movie and visitor's center in the afternoon. 

Later, I made a post office run with a missionary Christmas package, followed by a visit to the Elephant Seal Boardwalk.  Then Benjamin, Anna and I enjoyed the beach at sunset. 

Saturday morning we all, David, Teresa, Benjamin, Anna and I, spent some time on the beach again.  Then lunch and a game of  Phase 10 before heading home.  

We had a lovely weekend.  Joseph enjoyed quiet time having the house to himself and working on cleaning and organizing his room - trying to refind Andrew's space which he had taken over.  (Before Benjamin finds the space for him!) 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pictures from Asilomar

My room - I had the bed by the window
Deer Lodge - I was in the upstairs room you see

Looking out my window. 

The Boardwalk - looking from the road by the beach towards the conference grounds

20-25 deer live at Asilomar

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Long and Short

It's been a long time away from family. Eased by nightly telephone conference for prayer & scriptures. And by learning Internet access is not as limited as I had been told. For instance, Asilomar does not have Internet in its guest rooms, but the Mott Training Center has the Internet which reaches to our lodge & my roommate told me the password. Love Facebook!

It has been a long time away from my own home, my own bed, & my own shower. But it has been a short time away from all the responsibility. It has been a short time having someone come make up the bed with fresh sheets everyday!

It has been a short time living amongst the pines by the sea with black-tailed deer for neighbors.

It has been a very SHORT time away from the stress of my office.

Tomorrow we check out before class begins. I do not look forward to packing up and returning my key. Class all morning and then it's over. I haven't decided whether to stay for lunch or not. It has been a short time not worrying about shopping, cooking, or dishes. I have planned all along to take my own sweet time before leaving the coast. I probably will as this is so rate an opportunity, but I feel the pull of home.

Tomorrow I will trade in the sound of the ocean through my open window for my ocean cd I at at night. But tomorrow I will trade in my nightly telephone text hugs for real ones.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Refuge By The Sea

Asilomar means "refuge by the sea". It is,indeed, a peCeful & beautiful place.

This week I am in training, taking "Introduction to State Parks" at the Mott Training Center at Asilomar Conference Grounds and State Beach in Pacific Grove near Monterey. It is beautiful. The weather has been perfect. The surf wild, beautiful & dangerous.

It is wonderful to take these classes in this remarkable place - and enjoy a respite from the stress at work. And get paid for it!

The classes are interesting & informative. I have learned many things! Including about the laws which give Parks it's authority & some of the legal questions & challenges Parks faces. We have learned Parks history and philosophy. Department organization. Somethings about various programs within the department.

Parks people really do believe in Parks' mission: "...to provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state's extraordinary biological diversity, protecting it's most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. My classmates are from all over the state & many parts of the department They all care about Parks and what it stands for.

Today I was surprised to learn - among other things - how Off-Highway Vehicle Parks help the environment. Yesterday's stunner was the danger of drowning and how hard the Department's Aquatic Safety Program - our Ranger Lifeguards - work to save lives.

We are really sad that Prop 21 failed. Today our director Ruth Coleman has a video conference with all Parks employees. She tells it like it is, but she doesn't quit. She reminded us that the vote was not onthe VALUE of Parks, just on how to fund them. We are in to hard times, but we will strive to be true to our mission. We will go on looking for creative ways to manage. We will also look to all the Prop 21 supporters for help.

I know that time this week at Asilomar is solace to my soul. Living the mission.