Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I Hate to Exercise

I hate to exercise.
 I do not like calisthenics. 
I do not like/have exercise clothes.   And no one deserves the pain of seeing me in them.
I do not have the time or want to spend the time changing, exercising, changing again.
I don’t like looking and feeling clumsy, awkward, stupid, inept, etc as I do when attempting to exercise.
I don’t want people laughing at me.  If they do, I think I would rather not know about it.
I tried a gym & did not like it on many levels.   
I need to stick to low impact because I sometimes have trouble with my joints.
But, of course, I need to exercise. 
I do enjoy riding my bike to work.  But that is not enough.
Any helpful suggestions?
Any exercises  I can do at my desk a minute or two at time without attracting attention from my co-workers while waiting for the computer to do something?
Or something fun, easy, quick and not too sweaty or embarrassing?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Movie Was Too Short, But Cold Water Is Good For Getting Out Blood

It's not that we weren't warned.  The weather man predicted rain.  But come now, rain in Sacramento in late June?? nah.  I didn't really pay attention.  I thought maybe in the foothills.  Or, perhaps some brief light showers in the afternoon.  I did not pack my rain gear.

Solid, drenching rain all afternoon and on into the night.  Including when I biked from work to the BloodSource and three hours later biked home.  As they prepared to set me up to donate platelets, one of the (I think they are mostly all nurses?) asked me if I was drenched.  I confessed that I was a little. She offered me a dry shirt.  I declined at first, but she pretty much insisted that I put on a dry shirt lest I become too chilled during the procedure.  To donate platelets, blood is taken out, put through a machine which removes the platelets, and cycled back to you.  The blood is cooled during the process and many people get chilled a bit and need a blanket.  I have not noticed the cooling factor. But I did put on the Tshirt.

The donation went well.  I had taken Cary Grant's "I was a Male War Bride" which ended a few minutes before the procedure did.  So when they bandaged my arm, I pretty much immediately got up, grabbed my bicycle bag and camel back that I always wear on my bike ride, and headed for the ladies room where I dropped my bags in the corner and proceeded to my business.  And noticed drops of blood on the floor.  I thought some poor woman had been caught off guard and not realized she had left a mess.  Until I glanced at my donation arm which was covered with blood from the donation site down.  The bandage was saturated.  I wiped away the blood and more flowed out.  I tried to straighten my clothes, abandoned my bags, and sought help leaving behind a blood splattered bathroom and possibly a trail. 

What happened apparently is that while usually my movie runs a bit longer than the donation and I sit there finishing the movie for a few minutes before getting up, this time I got up quickly and picked up my heavier than medically recommended bags which blew my still clogging clot.  I felt pretty much ok.  I stayed in the chair for a bit after they rebandaged me just to be sure and to reassure them.

I was not happy that one of the workers went to get my bags out of the ladies for me because, as I feared, she thought they were too heavy for me to handle after donating.  But she just helped me on with my camel pack and I picked up my bike bag with the other hand. 

One of the gals tried to clean up my bloody skirt with peroxide while I sat sipping some hot cocoa. (They treat you so nice at the BloodSource)  She couldn't get it all out.  But I had a plan: Bike home in the rain.  Lots of cool water.  Except I donate on the leeward side.  I was pretty drenched all over except not so much on the left side.  That's ok, I put my clothes to soak when I got home and it looks like they will be ok.

It was raining pretty good, but I enjoyed the ride home surprisingly well.  It was definitely cool, but I was not cold.  I found the situation slightly amusing.  And I was going home where I could get dry clothes and cocoa.  : )

My Benjamin is in Lasson Volcanic National Park with the older young men tonight and the rest of the week.  Rain / snow / thunder showers today, tonight, and tomorrow. Temperatures in the 30s overnight. They should get sunshine Thursday and Friday.  They are probably having character building experiences.  I am trying not to worry much.  He is, after all, an Eagle Scout.  He likes it cool.  And he relishes experiences that make a mother cringe.  He will probably come home full of hair-raising stories and tickled to death with himself.  I won't really rest easy until he does.

But I will go to bed and hopefully to sleep.  Good night.

Thankful for roof and bed! and cocoa and for being able to donate and for a bunch of other things!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Good Mormon? Bad Mormon?

Am I a good Mormon? (Member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) 

I often feel that I am not.  Of course, I am not nearly as good as I should be.  In so many ways and things I fall short.

I am very far from perfect, yet at the end of the day, I can’t really think of many things for which I need to repent. Or do I CHOOSE not to?  Do I refuse to face them?  I admit to being a bit reluctant to ASK. 

One sister testified that we should be careful what to ask for.  She asked to be shown her failings and was nearly overwhelmed!  Let me tell you, from my vantage point, I would not have thought so about her. 

When I do get up the courage to half-heartedly inquire, I generally ask to just be shown one or two things I should work on now and not the whole list.  Most of the time, I do a brief remembrance of the day and not having gotten drunk,  murdered anyone or robbed any banks, feel like I don’t have too much for which to repent.  Obviously NOT a good Mormon attitude. 

Despite not having much need to repent,  -) (an sign an old friend and I used to use for tongue in cheek),  (A quick on line check says I should use : P  or  : ?, or  : J)

Anyway, despite little need for repentance (pick your symbol), I often think I am not a very good Mormon. 

My home and yard are not beautiful.  (although we have made great improvements.  By “we” I would have to primarily mean Benjamin, but many of us have worked on it.)

Nor am I.  Not particularly well groomed and well dressed in attractive, inexpensive self-made clothing or stunning outfits put together from thrift store finds (preferably Desert Industries) draping a trim and healthy body (gag) . I am basically simply not naked (for which the world is profoundly grateful!) 
I am not constantly cheerful.  

I do not often serve gladly.  I neither serve often enough nor gladly enough.

My children, although wonderful, are not all dedicated, active members, and do not all get along.  In fact, although wonderful, they are not quite perfect, either.

I do not have a flourishing garden from which I preserve our year’s (or more) supply and bestow bounty on my neighbors.  The only things which really seem to flourish are weeds. 

Oh, the list is endless! 

So, am I a BAD Mormon?  No, I don’t think so.  I hope not.  At least not a very bad Mormon.

 I 'do' and 'don't do' many of the things that people think of when they think of Mormons.  But....
I think of Lynn G. Robbins address What Manner of Men and Women Ought Ye To Be?

What does it mean to be a good Mormon?  What does it mean to be a good Christian?

Believe in our Savior, Jesus Christ, and daily try to follow him.  Really try. Then recognize failures, repent, and try to do better. 

I try to follow Christ, but do I REALLY try?  Do I do my best? Doubtless not.  Best?!  Seems like there is a simple fix to that, but in practice, it does not seem quite so simple or at least not quite so easy.  

I do think that most of the time, I am facing the right direction and fighting the current that would sweep me along the wrong direction.  Most of the time. Hopefully, that counts for something.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Yosemite Trip - 3

Friday, our last day at Yosemite National Park!

Good news, everyone was well and able to spend the day in Yosemite.

We were so glad to have had this much time in the Park, but four days is not enough! I do wonder how much time would be enough in such a place!  There is so much beauty and wonder to see and experience.  Miles and miles of trails - even of easy trails for babies and grandmas, to say nothing of the difficult trails for serious hikers and climbers. Towering granite monuments to tiny delicate flowers -everywhere you look there are lovely marvels. And this is certainly not a look and run on kind of place.  There is so much to see, hear, feel, savor.  I felt that in four days, we had barely made a beginning. 

Mirror Lake.  The shuttle driver said it was a moderate hike.  The trail is paved up to the lake.  Part of it is a bit steep, but people can even bike up there - with their own bikes.  Rental bikes have a stopping point part way up just before it gets really steep. And I could not bike up that hill.  But supposedly some people do.  People with amazing leg muscles.

Of course, Mirror Lake was beautiful. The reflected images were lovely.  Several of us were even more fascinated by a rock amphitheater full of little inukshuk-like rock sculptures.  A few of us added to the collection. 

After lunch at picnic tables near the parking lot, we went to Vernal Falls.  This is the same trail that goes on to Nevada Falls, the Mist Trail and, for the hardiest, on to Half Dome.  It is slightly less than a mile to the bridge below Vernal Falls.  A steep-ish fairly rugged mile despite it being all paved.  If there ever had been any doubt, this little trek clearly established that I am not Half Dome material. I barely made it to the bridge.

When we were planning this trip, we thought that some of our hardier members would climb Half Dome.  Perhaps fortunately for the park and environment, but unfortunately for us, permits are now required to climb Half Dome.  A couple of us were on line as soon as permit registration opened, but we were not quick enough.  All the permits were taken for the entire week of our trip before we could get to it.  As it turned out, it didn't matter anyway.  There is still snow on the dome, the cables are not yet up, so nobody climbed Half Dome permit or not.

After being in Yosemite and seeing Half Dome from various vantage points, and having struggled to hike less than 1/8 of the trail, I am vastly more impressed with Benjamin and others who have made the climb.  It is most certainly an accomplishment of note!  Also, having seen it and having heard more about parts of the trail, I am retroactively frightened.  Especially as a couple of weeks ago a hiker slipped to his death on part of the upper Vernal Falls portion of the trail. Too bad for me.  Andrew hopes to return and climb Half Dome some day.

Most of the guys along with Sariah and her girls continued up the trail a ways.  Sariah and Acadia turned back, but Ryan, Tom, Andrew, Benjamin AND Aurora (!) hiked to the top of Vernal Falls.  Those of us who stopped at the bridge didn't know they were going so far.  Eventually we went back down the trail intending to reconfigure the car/passenger line-ups and leave them to follow whenever.

Joseph and I left the others briefly to go visit the fen (marsh).  Pretty and lots of birds, but evening was falling and the mosquitos were becoming active.  On our way to the fen as we passed by some garbage cans along the road, we met a slightly distressed young woman trying to look inside the bear-proof containers.  She had lost a little stuffed bear she had had since a child (and who frequently posed in her pictures) and thought someone might have picked it up and thrown it away. (I thought about my sorrow at losing my purple cow.)  Joseph figured out how to open the bear-proof cans but there was no bear. (Of course! - the garbage cans were "bear proof")  We parted company a little sadly, but she went check to see if it had been turned in at the Visitor's Center.  Just as we were about to get on the shuttle heading back into Yosemite Village, she popped up smiling and showed me that she had her bear! I was happy for her and glad that we bumped into each other again and could share her joy. 

Incredibly, somehow we all managed to reunite at the shuttle stop and catch the same bus back.

We stopped at Yosemite Store, then walked back to our cars savoring our last few minutes in Yosemite. It is a hard place to leave. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Yosemite - 2

This incredible week just flew by.  The condos are so comfortable and convenient.  I slept a murphy bed - partly for the novelty, partly because it has a great firm mattress, and partly so I could hear my guys coming 'home' from hanging out with their siblings after my bedtime.  Which wasn't much of an issue for long, because we all came back from Yosemite happy but tired!

Tuesday Jared was sick so he and Tom stayed 'home' while we visited Mariposa Grove and Bridalveil Falls. We took the easy hike to the California Tunnel Tree.  We took the stroller on that hike, but the trail was not completely stroller friendly.  Benjamin carried Naomi in the stroller over one rough stretch.  You do a lot of looking up in Yosemite!  At Bridalveil Falls it was like standing in a rain storm. Mist is hardly the word for the water in the air.  Beautiful and awe-some.  When we returned Jared was all smiles and playing.  : )

It's was Debi's turn to be sick Wednesday and Thursday which was overdoing it just a bit.  This is supposed be vacation, not sick leave. She slept in and tried to come down later on Wednesday, but still felt so sick, she just slept in the car in the parking lot.  Not fair! Thursday she stayed at Worldmark and fortunately Friday she was able to enjoy Yosemite again.

Wednesday morning we did a service project working as volunteers with Ranger Tom, Ranger Molly, Ranger Lindsey, and Fire Service Kelly.  Oh my horror when I learned our job was to KILL BABY TREES!  Apparently the conifers grow faster and require less sunlight than the Black Oak and will take over the meadow if not stopped.  Fire - either natural or set by the natives - used to thin out the undergrowth and kill the baby conifers giving the Black Oak (which produces superior acorns for eating) a better chance. (Also, if the conifers take over, it will spoil a lot of tourist views) It wouldn't do to let fire have free rein in Yosemite Valley, so we were the fire.

We visited shops in the afternoon which was nice, but not nearly as nice as working with the rangers.

At some point Wednesday, Benjamin realized that his flashlight was missing and probably had fallen out during our work in the meadow.  He determined to look for it the next day.

Thursday morning got off to a slow and shaky start. Debi was still sick and kid critical clothing needed to finish laundering.  We made our way by separate groups to the park, did our own thing for a bit, then met up at Yosemite Falls.  The boys and I did a like bike riding in the valley.  Awesome! (Isn't everything in Yosemite?)  First, Benjamin biked back to Cooks Meadow, scene of the tree removal.  We had worked a fairly large area. What were the chances of finding his flashlight??  But Benjamin knows Someone who sees and knows everything.  A quiet little chat, a bit of inspiration, and Benjamin not only found his flashlight, but a lopping tool that had been overlooked. 

We did the easy little hike to Lower Yosemite Falls.  Spectacular.  Then we drove out to Glacier Point.  Talk about a view!

That is Some Artist!

Yosemite Trip - 1

For me a vacation usually means tent camping or sleeping on a relative's floor or couch  (That's not totally true - Sariah always has a nice airbed for me.)   This week we were spoiled! Tom's folks have membership (ownership?  whatever) with WorldMark and arranged for us to stay at Bass Lake.  3 two bedroom units, with murphy bed in the living room.  Most of my children gathered for a week at Yosemite!

We really packed my little Cavalier.   Four adults, clothes and toiletries.  Four bikes and helmets.  Four camel packs.  Food for the four meals we were doing for the group plus our breakfasts and some snacks during the week.  A couple of  laptop computers.  We stuffed that little car.  But were confident we would have a little more room coming home.  After all, we were going to eat the food.  ha ha.  Somehow it was more crowded coming home and we barely got it all in.  But it was certainly worth it!

The Worldmark units were lovely, comfortable and came with fully stocked kitchens.  (Not the food, but pots, dishes, blender, etc)  Nothing like camping!  2 and 1/2 bathrooms.  Plenty of towels.  A small washer and dryer in the unit.  Gas fireplace. Heated swimming pool, spa/sauna (whatever), playground, basketball hoops, tennis courts - and equipment at the office.  Each unit got a coupon for a free movie rental. The units were lovely.  But we were not there much!

 I slept in the murphy bed - partly for the novelty, partly because it has a great firm mattress, and partly so I could hear my guys coming 'home' from hanging out with their siblings after my bedtime.  Which wasn't much of an issue, because we all came back from Yosemite each evening happy but tired and they didn't stay out real late.

Saturday was travel and check in day.  A bit rainy.  More rain on Sunday.  That was ok with us.  Get the rain taken care of before we hit the Park.  We settled in and relaxed. Sariah and I went to the grocery store where I bought more than we needed and later had to figure out how to get home.

Sunday after church we just hung around the condos.  Tom & Ruth's place was the gathering spot. That worked best for the baby.

Sunday afternoon, the kids played hide and go seek.  A good trick, I thought, as they were restricted to the lower level and there were not too  many hiding places.  I thought! The kitchen cupboards were popular. Behind a plant.  In the coat closet.  At one point  Aurora hid in the coat closet, but was none too quiet about getting in so Jared, who was counting just feet away, naturally heard her.  When Jared opened the closet  door, he saw Acadia standing there, not Aurora!  He wasn't playing with Acadia at the time, so he closed the door again.  With much encouragement, he looked  there twice more before finding Aurora who had been behind Acadia! (by  this time, Acadia had left the closet).

Tom decided to hide.  He lifted up the couch cushion and curled up  under it.  Ruth sat on it.  As you can imagine, his body was quite visible below the cushion and Ruth was sitting nearly two feet higher
than normal.  Jared and Esther looked for something like ten minutes -  with the adults laughing nearly hysterically and a couple of people  taking pictures.  They looked under the coffee table in front of the
couch without seeing him.  It was a bit amazing.

Three things bothered me about this trip.

1. Leaving my animals, especially Anna.  But Janet from GoFetchPetSitting relieved my mind there for the most part. We had pretty much daily email/text messages, which helped me feel comfortable.  We returned to a warm welcome from pets in good shape.

2. That David and Teresa did not come.  It's complicated.

3. And that we missed the Mt Vernon Memorial Day service Monday which we have attended regularly for years and which is always deeply moving.  Tom found a video for us to watch about the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner.  Then we went geo-caching. Debi organized it on her smart phone and we did 2 easy ones. Our first cache was at the local cemetery.  A charming old cemetery beautifully decked out with large flags lining the roadway and small flags on veterans' graves. Very appropriate.

Before geo-caching, Joseph and I went into town to get him swim trunks, but the only swimming actually happened while we were there.  : )  I think Tom took a dip one evening when we came in from hiking, but that was it that I know of.  It was nice to have it available, but who had time?!

We had decided to wait to go into Yosemite until after Memorial Day because of the crowds.  A good call, but later we felt that 4 days in Yosemite was great, but not enough. We have a video about Yosemite in which a ranger says that if he had only one day to spend in Yosemite, he would sit down and cry.  I understand now!! We couldn't really have done much better, though.  Being in accounting, Miriam and I had a hard time getting time off during June because of fiscal year end.  Since it was only a few days at the very beginning of June, we got it, but more any later and we would have been denied.  At least, I would.  It took my boss months to relent and ok my time off.

Yosemite is incredible.  Words and pictures do not begin to do it justice.  More than the incredible sights, there is a special feeling there.  I think we all fell in love this week.

More later, but like I said, it won't do justice to Yosemite.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Trailer Tale

My little old utility trailer purchase reminds me of the story "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie".

If you buy a trailer from Craigslist, you need to get it transferred.  When you go to DMV you will find that you did not purchase from the last registered owner.  Call the seller for information on who sold it to him, but he doesn't have anything.  Go back to the seller and have him sign a statement of fact.  Back at DMV sign a statement of fact of your own.  Good.  Now, it's your trailer.

But the lights don't work properly.  You signal left and the trailer signals right.  If the lights are wired backwards, your son might try to fix them.  If your son tries to switch the wiring, the lights stop working at all.

If your trailer lights don't work, you might go to an auto shop to have them fixed.  The shop will tell you that the whole thing is a patch up job that really should be replaced, but they can fix it up for now.  If the shop does some good patch work on your trailer light wiring, they might offer to check the air in the tires.

If the wiring guys check the air in your tires, they might tell you that 1) the wheels don't match, 2) one is actually are car spare, 3) the other is rotten.  You need to replace the wheels and tires.  But they don't do that.

If you need your trailer tires replaced, you will make several phone calls to find a shop that carries and hopefully installs trailer wheels.

If you find a shop that carries trailer wheels, they will tell you that they only have one but you can pay for two and go to their warehouse to pick up the other one.  They will ask the shop guys if they have time to put them on.  When you get out to that shop, they will tell you that the shop guys are too busy, but anyone can change a wheel actually. Or they can recommend the place down the road.  Before sending you to go get the 2nd wheel, the tire guys nicely will come out to check your tire size.

If the tire guy looks at your trailer, he will gasp in horror and exclaim that you can NOT drive that trailer any where.  The spring hooks or spring hangers or something like that are broken and the whole trailer could drop down onto the wheels if you go over a bump.  I was lucky to get to them.

If the trailer wheel guys spots the broken spring hangers, he will send you down the road to another trailer guy who will also gasp in horror.

Instead of loading the trailer up with bikes to ride out in park trails, you will leave the trailer to get an estimate next week. "Don't worry, it's not a big problem."

I don't know if I saved any money or wasted money buying from Craigslist.  The cost is adding up.  Would it have been better to buy new?  I THINK it is still cheaper, but I am not sure.

As Jospeh said Judge Judy said, Sometimes cheap can be pretty expensive.

Someday I will have a trailer.  And hopefully my transmission can handle it.