Sunday, January 21, 2018

When it Rains, it Pours

            It’s been just over three and a half years since we had made the purchase of our reclining couch and chair – something that had invited comfort in the showroom.  We didn’t realize the furniture had been created over extremely heavy frame that would misshape each time it was moved.  Thus, coming out to Oregon really took a toll on our misshapen couch each time it was moved.  It’s sad that it’s value had depreciated so quickly.  We feel so gipped.  But what can we do? 

We have looked to replace our pathetic couch, but it’s not a priority.  There are two other issues at hand.
            First there is the matter of the car that my mom had purchased brand new, however Roland and I put more miles on the car than she ever did.  We had borrowed it to go on long trips thus it had quite a bit of mileage on it before we had purchased it.  We have worn the poor baby going up and down hill;

I don’t think our car was designed for climbing. 
            Saturn checked the car each year as part of their service.  I don’t think it got as much attention after Saturn went out of business.  It currently needs a transmission.  A car seems more necessary than a couch.  Also, more expensive.  A second car would be imperative.  Of course, it costs much more than a couch.
            And now we have an additional problem.  One of our toilets leaks. 

We don’t from where exactly.  Our carpet was wet and we dried it out, but we noticed the carpet managed to get drenched again after another flush.  So, for now, all of us must use the master bath.  What moron decided carpet in the bathroom was a good fit anyway?  We’ll be contacting the insurance company on Monday to see if we are covered.  We’ll have to cut the carpet out (which had actually been our plan since before we moved in, but still don’t have the finances for) and redo the floor (in addition to plumbing expense) 
           Then there is the matter of medical bills - not even sickness but check-up routines. 

I can't imagine how outrageous it would be if any of us were actually sick or hospitalized!  What a nightmare!

            Oh, the joys!

Friday, January 19, 2018

I Need to Take a Breather

            I had quite a full agenda yesterday.  After the sun rose, I drove to Riddle as Jenna had a dentist appointment.  On our return, I stopped at Dollar General for just a few items to add to her lunch and then I took her to school.

            I meant to turn in my assignment before my assessment, but I somehow had allowed myself to become frazzled and instead of submitting the assignment I clicked my assessment and started the quiz. 

            Once the quiz starts, there is no turning back, there are no retakes.  Most tests are timed. I had less than two hours.  And though it is open book, the e-book appears on just one third of the screen and I have to control plus each page I am on in order to view something bigger.  As I had explained in my last post, it is very time consuming.  And while I thought I knew the answers to some of the questions, there were a few that had stumped me. 

            It took all of two hours and I started marking answers just to have them answered but still hadn't checked on whether they were correct.  Time ran out before I was able to find them all - plus I knew I had a luncheon to attend.  I should have waited until this morning to take the assessment!  I doubt I would have gotten a much different score however - but perhaps I would have had a few more right.  I don't guess I'll ever know for certain.

            I had misunderstood the meeting time, for I thought I was assisting with cleaning the church before going out to eat. I have not assisted with cleaning a church building since I lived in Utah.  It is quite different here as it is a smaller building and only one ward meets there.  In Utah the cleaning was always done on Saturday - sometimes by different families, sometimes by organization.  The ward I had attended in Kearns split the work in half with one family cleaning  the chapel and the other the rest of the building.  In West Valley the chapel made about a third of the work (bigger building and three wards)

            This ward is cleaned on Thursdays.  A couple alternates weeks with two sisters - or at least that is how it has been.  But health issues have complicated matters and so there have been requests made for others to volunteer their time.  Aurelia had started at 10:00.  On the average, I am not even available on Thursdays until noon - so I was not there when the workload started.

            Aurelia had invited me to lunch because she wanted me to meet with one of the sisters that she visits teach.  We met at the restaurant that serves Mexican food before returning to the church.  They had the majority of it cleaned already.  I was asked to dust and wipe down the kitchen and doorknobs. 

            The "dusting" reminded me of dusting in the temple.  One has to have a recommend to clean in the temple.  I haven't done it often.  Maybe three times in West Jordan.  It seems like it was a very long time ago.  A white cloth will remain white by the end of the night.  I used a blue micro cloth at the church yesterday.  I did finally manage to find some dust on the piano used in the Relief Society room.  All the dust I had gathered yesterday amounted to less than the size of a fingerprint. 

            One tiny piece of glitter sparkled over the piano keys.  I was excited that there was only one.  I saw glitter ALL of the time when I was cleaning in West Valley. I don't think there was any week I cleaned that I didn't see glitter.  So finding only one glitter speck was really quite refreshing.  I think if they assign workers - even more so specific jobs (that's what they had done in my mom's ward;  my nephew and niece had been assigned to clean the blackboards; someone else was assigned vacuuming and so forth) also I think they might get a better turn out on a Saturday than a Thursday.  Cleaning on a weekday just seems weird to me. 

            Then again, my mom's ward had several hindered people who were/are active.  Those that attend this ward may already have multiple callings.  I do.

            I did not return to the house until just before 4:00.  Today I've been managing online billing, account balances and other information required for credit.  Jenna will be home in one hour and though I have accomplished a lot, I still need my breather.   Tomorrow we'll be going shopping for a car.  Dang! I feel so overwhelmed with missing hours.   

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

I Need More Analogies and Less Pauses

   In this post I made a comment about how a survey is sent out during the final week of an online class and that we are expected to fill out said survey before we can continue with program.  I have now taken 4 or 5 classes in which I either haven't had a pop-up or else it popped up later than usual.  I don't know if I'm through with the surveys as I am halfway through my program, if it's a fluke, or if there have been bugs in the system when the school changed its format.  I'm guessing the latter.
          Currently I'm taking the first of six intermediate accounting classes.  I signed on to the live lecture and was asked how I felt about last week's assignment.  O.K. I guess.  In the chat box I wrote, "I didn't hate it but I didn't love it either."  The instructor laughed as she read my comment.  She seemed to agree because of the subject matter.
          Seriously?  If you actually agree with me, why not liven up your lectures?  Why present something boring in an even more boring manner?  Why does accounting have to be so boring?  At least try to fake some enthusiasm.  What are you doing teaching a course where there is no passion?  Are all accountants boring?  When I type accountants in Google imaging, for the most part they don't look boring.  They're smiling.

They're laughing.

 Maybe at an inside joke that has nothing to do with accounting? 
These silhouettes make accountants look like super heroes.  Hey, there's an idea: make the boring profession appeal to children.

So here are my ratings for my current class.

Overall, I am satisfied with this course.

 I think not; It's accounting. 

The work required for the course is reasonable.

 So far.  It seems relative.  Finding the correct page number on the ebook has been a major pain!  I think it's consumed more of my time than just doing the dumb problems!

The instructor is organized and prepared. 

No, Not really.  I would think there would be less pauses and shorter ones.  I don't know that she has ever taught online before.  I sense that she is not experienced with this.

The instructor is knowledgeable about the course subject.

Honestly, her voice indicates that she is more bored with the subject than I am . . . if that is even possible.
Instructor teaches concepts in a way that is easy to understand. 

Okay, I'll give her that one. She did make more sense of the chapter at one point.

instructor holds my interest 

Not hardly.  Again, it may just be the subject.  I find CrashCourse videos easy to understand;  however they don't seem to deal with accounting.  SwotSmart does put out a more entertaining video than do most accountant videos I have seen.

I  hope I may view the next two weeks with more gusto as I haven't found it thus far.  Why was it I chose to major in accounting?

Heavy Bars for Tonight's Cook-Off

                I think the young men and young women have a combined activity each month.  Once a year (I guess in January) they have a cook off.  Jenna had wanted to make the "cupcakes" that we had at her last birthday party - sure she is combining three ingredients to make something else, but I don't really think it should count if Reese's, Pillsbury and Duncan Heinz are really doing most of the work.  The rules are that it needs to be a recipe and not from boxes.  We didn't happen to have brownie mix, cookie dough and peanut butter cups hanging around anyway and so Roland had talked her into making an apple pie.

            Pie for an armature cook-off?  Really?  I could sense that Jenna was not that thrilled with the idea of making any kind of pie. Nor did she wish to start it last night but rather after she returns from school today.  However, Roland was able to assist last night and will be working when she returns from school.   I don't want to make pie!  I looked for a recipe that would work with ingredients that we already have.

            From years' past, I can remember when Peggy Bird was in her domestic mother earth stage.  The woman was always baking.  I loved going across the street because her kitchen was always filled with pleasant smells of baking.  Molasses cookies seemed to be the number one staple.  But I do remember my first encounter with Peanut butter squares (or peanut butter fingers as the boys called them) coming from her house and had searched for that recipe so that Jenna could make them.

            She found all the ingredients and placed them on the table and then measured each one out and really did do most of the stirring and combining and baking herself.  We didn't have the right size pan and so our bars came out thicker - and heavier.  I don't recall ever having such heavy bars before.  We could have made the frosting, but chose to sprinkle on chocolate chips as soon as the pan was removed from oven.

            I turned the oven off and returned the pan to the warm oven to allow chips to melt as the oven cooled down.  After a few minutes we spread them over the bars. I cut them into rectangles this morning, but thought better of it and cut each rectangle in half - not only because it would give Jenna more bars to take, but because they are heavy and a long bar might be too much sugar shock for some.  

            So here is the final product minus what we sampled and the oversized edge that she ended up taking to school.

            The recipe we used is found here, though there are others.  I might have used a different recipe the last time I had made them (recently as October) or had used two different pans as mine were not as heavy.  I think these ones that Jenna made are definitely the most heavy I have ever eaten.  I am assuming there will be leftovers.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Return to Grants Magic

                It was at the end of August or the beginning of September when the library treasurer mentioned a grants program workshop she had signed up for and said the tuition would cover up to four participants.  I don't know if she had mentioned it in hopes I would volunteer - but I did.  She said the program would start in October and I would be receiving email from the instructor - and then I forgot about it.
            In September I attended a meeting in which clipboards were passed around in order for us to sign up for teams which would guide financing, library training, public relations and one other.  There were two that I definitely didn't want to belong to and signed up for training.  But wait . . . what happened with the Grants Magic (here) I had been signed up for?  I told the treasurer I had not received an email.
            This is an eight session class - the great thing about the online sessions is they can be watched at the participant's own pace.  This is good since that by the time I was finally able to log on, the workshop was halfway over.  I started watching the sessions in November.  I wasn't even halfway through the course when I received the final session.  There's so much I need to review now - but I at least have that opportunity.

            It was easier to go through the process when I had only one class, it was easy to take several minutes out of my schedule in order to review the videos and workbooks required for the Grants Magic course, but when I had my Psychology and Programming class side by side, even the bonus "Christmas goodies" had to be put on hold.  Oh, my goodness.  It's a wonder I remember any of it really.

            Now that I take only one class this mod and the lecture doesn't take place until Wednesday afternoon,  I have some free time to continue through these sessions - which I really am enjoying.  Hopefully I will gain more confidence that I am able to assist in an efficient way.  Thus far I haven't practiced methods with anyone else on the financial team - which initially I hadn't signed up for, but had received one email that indicated I was on the financial team.  It does make sense, but I have not met with the team as of yet.  I've pretty much been out of the loop with the library since the Children's Summer Reading Program came to its end.  But now that the holidays are over, I need to get back into the swing of things.  Hopefully I'll be more focused and become a leader in my field. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Somewhere Between Walter and Sheldon

                There is a student in my accounting class who thrives on accounting.  She LOVES accounting.  Her interest is consumed in accounting.  It is her primary focus.  I don't know if she has any other interest. 

                When posting to the discussion, we are suppose to use at least 150 words (some classes say 300;  it depends on the class) and she always uses over 1,000.  At first I thought it was an attempt to show off her knowledge, but after having at least two other classes together, I can see that she is not only knowledgeable but passionate as well.  She wants to share her passion.

                I do not share her passion.  Accounting is a complicated language.  I don't think it needs to be.  I can pick out words that make sense to me, but overall I feel like the character on the outside of the "nerd-circle".  Two television shows come to mind.  Both series of CBS.
The first is a drama/crime show called "Scorpion" which is about four geniuses who work for/with a government agent to solve problems that the average human mind wouldn't be able to grasp.  Walter is the over achiever who is academically gifted but totally lacks in reading emotions.  The only person he has ever seemed to be attached to is his sister who had a disability that he wanted to make better. He basically heads the group - or believes that he does.

Happy is the mechanic of the group. She is comfortable with infusing things together and making them work.  She is estranged from her father or any other relationship for that matter.

Toby is the doctor of the group.  He seems to understand what is needed to fix the human body, both physically and emotionally.  He uses humor as a defense mechanism.  Toby likes to gamble.

Spencer is possibly my favorite character of the four.  He's overweight, loves comic con,  excels in any and all forms of arithmetic, is germaphobic.

The first season introduces Paige and Ralph.  Ralph is a boy genius who excels beyond his peers.  He's eager to learn on a college level and understands complicated words - more complicated than accounting.  Paige is his mother.  She doesn't understand her son's mind.  She doesn't understand academic complication.  She doesn't seem to have a great handle on relationships as there have been complications with her mother and Ralph's father.  She does understand emotion and ends up working with team Scorpion even though she is far from being a genius. She has emotional intelligence.  I seem to identify most with Paige as I go through my courses of study: overwhelmed by the complexity of the trade, but understanding the personal aspect of self.
"The Big Bang Theory", a situation comedy, also focuses on four nerds who hang out together.  They are Leonard, Sheldon, Raj and Howard.  All four work at the same University in California.  Three are scientists and one an engineer. All four love comic con, "Star Trek", and "Star Wars". I would be most interested in going out with Leonard and Raj.  I would not want to date anyone like Sheldon or Howard.  Sheldon thinks quite highly of himself.  He's a gifted know-it-all who does not recognize emotions, sarcasm, or why people might find him offensive.  He's a highly exaggerated character who also loves trains.

 Howard can also be offensive - usually to the opposite sex.  He is overly insecure.  He lives with his mom for most of the series.

Penny is their neighbor who, for the most part, has no clue what the others are saying.  The expressions she wears are similar to the ones I wear in accounting.  It seems like she will sleep around with almost any breathing guy.  But even she is revolted by Howard.

I think the classmate I refer to at the beginning is somewhere between Walter and Sheldon.  I don't know that she gets emotions.  She has them, obviously, but they seem to be tucked away far beneath her intellectual passion.  She's asked me for "answers" to other class projects outside of accounting.  I've tried explaining to her that she should not expect to receive a grade based upon my opinion; rather she needs to have her own.  I think the idea of sharing emotional opinion is as foreign to her as accounting is to me.

 Have you ever seen those questionnaires on BuzzFeed or Zimbo that ask "What Disney Princess are You" or "What Scorpion Character" or "Big Bang Charter are you?"  I don't see how anyone can honestly end up with Sheldon or Walter.  I don't believe that either one of them would take the quiz seriously enough to sit down and actually take the time to take the personality quiz - which of course is only done in fun and has no relevance - which is another reason that neither one of them would take it.

Monday, January 8, 2018

To Be a Kid Again

         My mom had given Jenna a pillow pet for Christmas seven years ago.  Jenna loved that pillow pet and treated it as though it were a living breathing creature.  I had recently been reminded of this when I read about her first day back to school after the new year. 

          Before she left the house, she had made me promise that I'd watch her pillow pet (Fudge) and told me what movies it liked to watch and what kind of game it (he) liked to play.  I had actually placed "Fudge" back in her room with a coloring book and crayons.  I decided it would fall asleep and continue to "nap" until she got home.  I did not play games with it (him).

          When I shared this experience on facebook one commenter suggested that I shift things around a bit, mess up the room and tell her that Fudge did it and she would have to make him clean it up.  I did not think about it nor received his message until after I had gone to school to pick her up.  She grilled me on the events of my day and had not been pleased to hear that Fudge had spent the entire day on her bed napping.

          Yesterday I read this following conversation between my niece and my nephew.  I think it's hilarious.

Anna:         All of them were killed by an asteroid and volcanoes.

Gary:           Were more good ones killed or bad ones?

A:                I think more bad dinosaurs were killed

G:               I think all the bad ones were killed

A:                I think all dinosaurs were bad.

G:               I think there were some good ones.

A:                But all the dinosaurs were killed when an asteroid hit the earth in the 1980's

G:               And Volcanoes too

A:                The asteroid made volcanoes when it hit the earth in the 1980's.  It may have been the 1970's . . .  way back then

Thursday, January 4, 2018

New Year to Finals

            It is really a sad thing to have finals right after a two week vacation.  Instead of having just one assessment or assignment - all of it is expected from here on.  Every week will be the same.  That is fine for the times I have just one class, but it seems quite challenging this particular week when I have two and have not bounced back with my mind.
            Theoretically I should be working on my assignments or posting a comment to a fellow student on discussion, but I first need to clear out my brain.  Perhaps if I brainstorm here I will have  a better understanding about what to write for my class assignment.
            We're supposed to set goals on improving our self-management.  Yesterday's daily check point had us watch a video on sleep hygiene.  Now there's my inspiration.  I haven't been sleeping well.  I KNOW I need to sleep  better to control my emotional intelligence.  I slept much better as a single person than one who is expected to share a bed.  Forget my disability to find comfort on a flat surface.  Roland and I have never been able to agree on room temperature.   If he's comfortable, I am too hot.  If I am comfortable, he is too cold.

            The air doesn't seem like it will push through the vents unless the thermostat is above 72.  There's another brilliant error design that came with our home.  The thermostat is set between the back door and kitchen and so never does get an accurate temperature of the entire house.  Duh.  Of course we never have the finances to fix or change anything.

            So last night we used a space heater that plugs directly into the wall and is not on the floor. 
The instructions are quite simple and say that the temperature goes from 60 to 90.  Who in their right mind is going to set it to 90 degrees?  I think 75 is too hot.  At the advice of a column I will reference for my assignment, on suggestion for better sleep is to keep the room cool.  I think 65 may have been a bit too cool - especially for Roland.  He was pleased to see me this morning as I usually wander into the living room during the night;  the air quality in the living room has been the right temperature for me - but the couch is a beast to sleep on.
              I don't know that either one of us really slept any better than we have been.  I usually wake between 1:30 and 2:00 because I'm hot.  My bladder woke me up at 2:30 - ah, the drawbacks of cool verses warmth.  My pipes don't leak in the warmth, but when I'm cold I've suddenly got water bursting through me.  Where does it even come from.  It's not as though I am sipping on Big Gulps during my sleep

 I've also noticed that electric heat seems drier than natural gas.  We don't even have a natural gas option in this house.  I wonder if that is what has contributed to my stomach rash.  It doesn't make sense to me, but is the only thing I can think of that is different from my normal routine - or what started out as routine anyway.
            Still searching for answers.  I do need to eat better, and that will help me sleep.  But I still need to find that perfect t temperature for both of us.

            I hadn't made the connection of exposure to light.  The article discussed getting out in the natural daylight.  There haven't been many hours of light for several days at a time.  It's been overcast, foggy, dim, kind of depressing.  The daylight effects the moods of almost all people.  All the sudden it has made sense to me.  I don't know if this post does, but I plan on posting it anyway.  Take a shower, say a prayer, get on with my day.  Hopefully I will become more alert than I am at present.

Monday, January 1, 2018

New Years Jar

104.9 the River is a radio station in Ohio.  My sister shared this post and I thought:  What a Cool idea!  I have added three "notes" to my jar already.  Think positive!!!!  Yeah!!!!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

No! Not the Tree!

I'm really not much of a decorator.  I do put more thought into decorating for Christmas.  It is always so hard for me to take down the decorations - especially the tree.  Jenna must take after me as she is also having a hard time with it.

This year I have decided to make it just a bit easier on myself by taking down something just a bit at a time.  On Tuesday I packed up the books that I had only attempted to look at.  I don't think anyone else did.  On Wednesday I removed the cards from the door.  On Thursday I took down the plush toys that hung around the frame of the mirror.  And each day I would also remove ornaments from the tree.

Last night Jenna went to Roseburg with Roland and I decided to remove the remaining ornaments while they were gone.  I should have waited until daylight.  What was I thinking?  And why has every house I've lived in had such poor lighting in the front room?

The decorations from the outside trees were removed on Friday.  the lights no longer adorned our house.  The inside tree still stands with its light which we will remove tomorrow.  It makes the end of Christmas so final.  And Tuesday is back to school.

Crazy Dreams

I haven't been sleeping well and I somehow seem to remember more detail about my dreams - though I don't fully understand why I would dream them.

The house across the street really is for sale.  Earlier this month I had a dream that my sister-in-law's sister moved in with her daughter and that Jenna and Alex became really good friends.  I knew that Deb would need a job and remembered that they are always looking for teachers but then remember Deb had not gone into teaching but had gone to beauty school and helped her to get a job at a local salon.  I have no idea why I dreamed it.

The dream I had this morning made more sense - except for one part. But I could understand why I had dreamed it as Biff and his living situation has been on my mind and I had just recently  looked at photos that his girlfriend had posted.

I was having lunch with his girlfriend Clarissa and a friend from her photos - I'm guessing her sister. I asked Clarissa to tell me more about how she and Biff had gotten together, and she proceeded to rip some pages out of a booklet or magazine that apparently went into more detail about their  relationship, and then I told her about how Biff and Jeanie had gotten together. It felt strange to have dreamed both.

Friday, December 29, 2017

White Chocolate is an Oxymoron

top is white chocolate, bottom is actual chocolate
even before taste, sight can figure out the difference.

            Those who enjoy a great martini or daiquiri may think that taking the alcohol out and calling it "Virgin" does not make it worthy of calling the drink by its alcoholic name.  I don't know as I have never had an alcoholic beverage on purpose.  I had been invited to a cocktail gala once.  I had ordered a mocktail pina colada I believe. When my glass looked empty, a waitress had asked if I would like a refill.  She hadn't realized my drink was alcoholic free nor did I figure out right away that my second drink had rum.  I didn't like it nor did I finish it.  The first had tasted so much better.  That was my opinion anyway.
I cannot tell a mocktail from a cocktail by sight
            The word "white" in "white chocolate" must mean the same as mock or virgin - for those who can't or choose not to have real chocolate, "white" is their alternative just as "virgin" is my alternative when I choose not to drink. I still think it's wrong to use the name "chocolate" when leaving out the main ingredient that would make it chocolate.  But I think I may have a better understanding.
This is a cocoa plant
This is a chocolate mocktail

            White chocolate does taste better than carob.  At least carob never deceitfully tried to pass itself off as chocolate by its name.  Why somebody had tried to pass that off as a chocolate substitute is beyond me.  That would be like not only taking the rum out of the pina colada, but using mud instead.
this is a carob plant; it seriously tastes worse than it looks