Friday, February 28, 2014

Blessed with Power

On 8 January 1981, prisoners on a work assignment burning trash and debris at the Utah State Prison in Draper, Utah, accidentally caused a major power failure when something they were burning exploded, causing a fireball that shorted out transmission lines above them. 1.5 million people lost power, in almost all of Utah, as well as parts of southeastern Idaho and southwestern Wyoming* and I believe parts of Nevada as well.  

I was listening to a radio station from another county when the power first started to flicker.  The DJ had made some comment about the power going off. 
“Wow.  Ours just went off, too” I thought, never imagining that the outage was created by the same source.  

I remember finding a transistor radio looking for something that would give us some kind of indication as to why the power went off.  We were on a different transformer or power unit than our neighbors across the street.  Usually when side was without power, the other side still had it.  It was rare for both sides to be without power.  I would have never imagined ithe same power outage would affect the entire state.
I remember Aunt Alice telling me that she and Uncle Lynn had tickets to see “Annie” at the Capitol Theatre but it was cancelled.  Everything was cancelled.  Everything was dark.

I remember Patrick holding up a newspaper announcing, “I am going to read my horoscope – just fof the fun of it”

It said something along the lines of having to experiencing problems with electricity.  We all laughed.  And then the power came back on.  Well, it did at our house and surrounding houses.  I don’t know why.  It seemed like Utah was still without power.  We joked that we must have it because we were a Celestial Ward.  It was 4-6 hours before others would start to regain power.  Freaky.


I actually hadn’t thought about that for years.  I just remembered this morning when a friend and I were discussing the power outage that had taken place last night.
Roland returned home from work and commented that we still had power.  I found that puzzling.  But I turned on the news to see what the deal was.  

Apparently a transformer was knocked down.  It kicked off the power to over 3,000 homes and businesses.  The major intersection which surrounds our homes.  How is it that we had power when the businesses right behind us did not? 

I feel blessed.

* from Wikipedia List of Power Outages

Monday, February 24, 2014

Learning Geography part 2: South America and Flags

Jenna and I have played “Crazy Countries” a game much like Crazy 8  Of course the Africa continent deck has a lot more cards than say Oceania or South America deck and so we of course don’t play with all of the cards.  We’re not learning countries so much as continents – for I have told Jenna that whenever we use a wild card to change suit, we have to say by continent rather than color.

I took Spanish in 9th and 10th grade.  In my first year, part of our lessons included studying  the countries in South America.  We were also assigned pen pals to correspond with in hopes that it would help us learn our Spanish and assist our pen pal with his or her English.

The map of South America looks the same way I remember it looking in 1975.  It looks the same way today.  And I am impressed by the stableness of the boundaries.  It makes geography so much easier to learn (and share).


After playing “Crazy Countries” (the only game we have played thus far) I thought I would impress Jenna with my knowledge of what countries fit where.  I got half right, and although I remembered all the names (except for Suriname) , I wasn’t able to match them to their appropriate shape until she showed me the flags.  Not that I remember learning the flags.  It was through a different source that I thought I might have enough  material for another post although I would like to just tack it onto what I started yesterday.

My ability to recognize flags did not come from geography.  It actually came from the Mahjong tiles found on the Internet.  I wanted to know what flags belonged to what countries, which led me to the cards, which led me to an imaging index (as I could not find four of the flags among the cards; and I also learned that some of the flags were out of date) 

Even though Czechoslovakia had changed its name to Czech and Slovak Federal Republic  the flag on the card still remained the same as when the card was first printed. Somehow I allowed myself to obsess over knowing all of the flags I could find.  I don’t even know how long ago.  I have since moved on to other things and probably couldn’t even make a proper guess with just a forth of them. (I don’t know how many countries I came across that I had never heard of before this obsession)



You know what fascinates me the most?  Places like Egypt and Rome that have been around since the old testament seem solid somehow and then there are surrounding countries that can’t seem to settle I love the consistency that I have explored with South America – though I have questioned this map:





Is that an upcoming proposal?   or is the map purely bogus?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Learning Geography part 1: What Frustration

World geography has got to be one of the most frustrating subjects as it is constantly changing.  Should Jenna ever learn about the names of countries and border locations and such, I think for the most part will be quite different from what I learned. Creating maps is an endless task – but I suppose if that’s the field of work you’ve gone into, well, then you will never be out of work.

 In my sixth grade history class we were given blank maps as part of our world geography – or so I’m assuming that’s what was being taught.  I specifically remember working on a European map, but for whatever reason, our time in the classroom was cut short and so we were allowed to take the maps home and fill them out there according to our own resources as we were not allowed to take the text books home.

We didn’t have the resources of today where one can go to Google and pull up a large variety of maps and find information on each country with just a click of a button.  We had encyclopedias and a series of “Let’s Travel to” books and a couple of atlases.  I started with an atlas and the frustration set in.  The map in the atlas did not have as many boundary lines as the map I had brought home.  What the flip? 

 I don’t know what led me to check the publication date.  1935.  Oh, no wonder.  The European boundaries had surely changed boundaries a few times in the 40 year period that took place between the atlas publication and my homework assignment.  I went in search of another atlas.

A few years ago I purchased a second hand game called, “Where in the World
that came with six maps.  I figured that if Jenna ever learned geography, perhaps the maps and maybe even some other included information would be useful.  I would definitely have to pick it through to see what actually may still apply today.

Almost 200 cards are included with the maps.  Each of these cards are numbered and have a picture of the country’s flag (or the flag which represented said country at the time the game was created) the capitol, population (dated) monetary unit, literacy rate, major languages, regions, export, import and seacoasts.  Though several cards may contain information that still applies today, many of them don’t.

Three of the maps have had major makeovers from the time that I learned them to when the game was manufactured to today.  And a lot of the card information could be correct, though I have not checked any beyond the flag.  Countries may have the same capitols that they did when the game was created.  But I know not all of them do. There are countries that didn’t exist back when the game was created and there are others that existed then that are only historic names today. Names and boundaries have changed all over the map.

Let’s go to the African continent on game map.  Western Sahara  is number 29 on the map.  The country was disputed territory for many decades – the majority is now ruled by Morocco from what I understand. And that’s just one example.  There are dot sized countries in Europe that I don’t remember ever having learned about.  It appears that there are two dot-sized countries within the country of South Africa – or were.  I’m certain that this map is not even close to current.

But this one is the same as when I learned it

and is the same today.  I like that.  And will go into more detail in my post tomorrow.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Baking Donations: Another Fund Raiser

Ben and Khonnie Andrews are professional auctioneers – who just so happened to live in the ward where I grew up.  I remember several fund raisers featuring cakes or baked goods which Ben and Khonnie would take turns auctioning off.  It was wild.  A lot of competitiveness among certain ward members.  Some with deeper pockets than others.

I remember doing two cobblers one year – a blueberry and a cherry.  One sold for 35 and the other one sold at 5-10 dollars less.  And that was one of the lower priced items.  There were cakes that had sold for 80 dollars or more during various years.  It kind of put my second ward to shame as 25 was actually among the highest bids and the hand-picked auctioneer had little experience at auctioning. My second ward was a poorer area than my first homeward.

We attended an auction for the third time in this ward.  The last two times have been fund raisers for the Young Women, but last night’s event was for the cub scouts.  Hawaiian haystacks were the featured dish for all who showed up to eat.  It didn’t seem to be well attended from my point of view – well, perhaps the dinner itself was, but not so much the auction that was presented afterward.

First there was a skit about Peter Pan and the lost boys making plans to rescue Tiger Lily from Captain Hook’s lair – but they couldn’t follow through with their plans because they hadn’t attended scout camp and so were unprepared.  If we raised enough money through the auction, we would be able to send each of the boys to camp and the skit would turn out much differently – for they would have the needed skills to not only save Princess Tiger Lily, but be prepared for real life situations as well.

Jenna had gone to an auction only a few weeks ago with one of her brothers.  She is the one who suggested that we make a campfire cake – which Roland looked up on the internet and found a picture.  Jaime and I made a practice cake on Monday;  Roland and I decorated it Monday night.  It looked good.  I wasn’t as impressed with the taste of the cake.  But it did go rather quickly.  The last piece was being eaten while the donation cake was being cooked.

Overall, I liked the appearance of the first a lot better – although I did borrow the marshmellow idea from this blog and liked the way it enhanced the look of the cake.  So thank you,Jessica for sharing this. Your cake looked the most impressive. 
I think we might have found a better choice of candy as we never had a true orangish look.  I thought the flames on the second cake appeared more like Dorito’s chips with chicken pox.

Roland decided to match the price that the cake sold for – thus ours was the highest sold item at 51.00.  Had he not matched the price, the highest bid-on item would be the éclairs that went for 35.00 and apparently were devoured as the auction continued. And I think the auctioneer had actually paid 40 for chocolate chip cookies that she wouldn't even give opportunity for the rest of us to bid on.

There was a large variety of desserts and more than enough to bid on.  Some sold quickly – some not so much.  Our auctioneer has a really great sense of humor. It wasn't professional like Khonnie and Ben's, but it was fun. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Crazy Weather All Around


There are at least eight
states covered in snow
right now. 
States that don’t usually have
such a tremendous amount
of snow. 
Many cities without power because
the storms have knocked down
the lines. 

My blog received over 200 views
two days in a row. 
By those who were bored and holed
up I would imagine. 
There have been several who haven’t
been allowed to drive anywhere as the roads were
closed and cars were
abandoned, traveling reduced and messed up more than
I remember Utah ever being.  

And I feel bad about my post titled
“Killer Snow” when
I would imagine those living in
said states thought,
“That is nothing, sister. 
Not compared to us”

The weather forecast keeps saying that
we’ll have snow in Utah. 
Every time the wind blows, a promise has
been made. 
But I have learned, the louder the
sound of the wind, the less likely it
will snow.  

Yesterday the wind did not make a
sound though it never let up its blowing. 
And then there was snow. 
Big thick flakes
I don’t know how long the snow fell. 
It covered the ground. 
But then the sun shone through the
clouds immediately after. 
It wiped all the snow away. 
Even our neighbors on the
south side. 
But we are told we’ll get
more snow.

Wouldn’t it be more beneficial for all
if those suffering in snowstorms and
damage could just send their snow our way? 
But keep it in the mountains. 
And send it into the rivers so that
we will have water this summer. 

I don’t want it dry and hot as it has
been mostly dry and cold.

Monday, February 17, 2014

There is a Difference

 There is a great difference between
Black and white

Day and night

Sunshine and Rain

Happiness and Emotional Pain

There is also a tremendous difference

Between the church and the gospel of Jesus Christ

Sadly there are those who base their testimony upon historical figures or other members of the church, and when imperfection is revealed there are many that have gone astray.  There appears to have been some big hoopla lately about the plural marriage among some of the brethren in Church history – particularly Joseph Smith who doesn’t appear to have been honest with how it was done.

Joseph Smith was the first prophet in this dispensation.  The Church of Jesus Christ had not been on the earth for 15 centuries.  Cut the guy a break.  What example did he have to follow?  God had given him instructions.  Sometimes he followed them to the letter.  Sometimes, unfortunately, he felt that he knew better than God and would follow his own fears.  We all make mistakes.  Perhaps his seem more severe because of the position he was in.  

There were a lot of mistakes made in Church history.  Some that have been kept hidden from Church members – or so it seemed.  Like the Mountain Meadow Massacre,  the fact that the four men in Carthridge jail were given weapons to defend themselves,  or the sisters involvement in women’s suffrage movement or some of the hostilities that took place among polygamist wives.

At one time those in authority painted the church in a certain light – perhaps lifting it to a higher pedestal than it deserved.  Oh, certainly the church endured its hardship – but it was always the fault of the outsiders, never the members of the church.  The authorities would call the gospel perfect when they referred to the church and so many members would assume they meant the church was perfect.  And it was not.  It still is not.  The church is run by imperfect leaders who (hopefully) strive to live perfect lives – but let's face it: Only one man who has lived upon the earth was perfect.  Nobody else fits into the perfect category.  No one.  And thus church itself can never be perfect if run by imperfect humans.

Roland and I were married by a bishop who (at that time) happened to be state auditor by profession.  I had once asked him: “What is more organized?  The state? Or the church?” 
His answer bothered me a lot because he said “the state” and I think the government in this state is so severely flawed that it almost makes me ashamed to tell people what state I live in.  So what does that say about the Church?

For many the church is just for show.  That’s how it was for the Pharisees of old.  Church history does NOT represent the truthfulness of the gospel.  Sadly, there are several who seem to have a hard time separating the two.  But then again, why should we have to separate them?  If everyone lived according to the gospel, wouldn’t the church itself be perfect?  Think about it.

Why is it that everything has to (or should) be approved by the brethren?  Too many Inaccuracies or opinions given that are taken as gospel truth – though that was not the intent.  Even the best of intentions can sometimes have negative results.

Let’s use “pioneer Trek” as an example – an activity that has become popular for the youth of the Church.  The program has evolved into something more than what it was when I was a youth.  There was no “Woman’s Pull” – there was no “reenactment” of the Mormon Battalion.  What many participants don’t realize is that not all the men left the company nor were the women left alone.

         At the time Pres. James Polk sent for a recruit of 500 volunteers from Pioneer crossing party, the year was 1846 – the Pioneers at the time were crossing in Wagons.  They weren’t pushing handcarts.  Perhaps there’s a great metaphor and lesson in store for those involved – but in the minds of many they believe that’s how it actually was in Mormon history.  And granted, there probably were a few woman who had lost their husbands, sons and fathers who may not have had the support of the brethren per se– but not as an entire company.  There was always leader support.  Or so we assume (We do have the story in which Mary Fielding Smith is believed to have crossed the plains on her own; some part (or perhaps all) is based on true story that has become Mormon folklore – another part of Church history that we need to separate)

         So where am I going with this?  Nowhere really.  I used to be one of those who would take everything on face value and never actually research it out on my own.  Fortunately for me I have learned that “the Church” does not “the gospel” make and hopefully I may continue to be active in both but always keep in mind that even leaders (past or present) have faults just like me.

         I’ve always been taught to pray about my understanding of things to know if it’s true or not – as far as the gospel goes anyway.  I don’t think it’s necessary for me to pray about my understanding of Church history or what saints were involved doing what because whether this pioneer story or that hand-me-down passage really turns out to be true or not, what pertinent difference does it make to my own Salvation?  My testimony needs to be based upon the truths that Christ taught and not what happened in the personal lives of our forefathers.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Here’s an Example:

Every year my family would go on vacation.  Mom and dad would sit us down and ask us what we’d like to do and we were allowed to give our input.  I think Corey was only eight or nine the year that we decided to go up through Canada.  We decided what Providences we would visit, what sites we would see and the route we would travel.  

I think we hit Seattle, Washington the second day and Corey had added seeing the Space Needle to our agenda.  Corey had obviously researched it out.  Apparently he had a map in his head and kept on saying: “We need to do this.”  “We need to do that.”

None of us had ever been there before and didn’t know what to expect – but Corey was determined and it was because of him that we were able to explore the shadow room, and the echoed phone, and the pulley and a bunch of cool stuff that we would have not even known was there – but Corey was well read.  He became our tour guide.  I was always impressed by his skills of having never even been there before and because of his young age.

In British Columbia we saw the Butchart Gardens, Vancouver Zoo and Nitobe Memorial Garden to name a few.  I remember being highly entertained by the penguins at the zoo and being at Nitobe right after it rained.  The several inches of water covered the garden so perfectly.  We would not have known that it wasn’t part of the garden if our hostess hadn’t told us that it wasn’t.

By the time we got to Alberta, Canada was celebrating its Independence Day and whatever we had planned that day fell through due to closure - I think we reached the states a day ahead as we had left Canada early.  We did not get to see Alberta Temple, but we did make it to Idaho Falls – not inside though.  Unless mom and dad went and Patrick and I watched Corey and Kayla. I can't remember.

There was one year when my family decided that we would just stay home and see the sites in Utah.  We went to the Alpine Slide in Park City.  Lagoon Amusement Park, Rice Stadium for really cool fireworks.  What awesome fun.  What great memories!  

I love that mom and dad always included us and helped us to explore (research) on our own and made us feel a part of it from the beginning.  And not just with vacations.  We were able to contribute to family conversations and have meaningful discussions if we chose to.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Valentine’s Didn’t Happen

Earlier this week, Jenna came home
all excited and
folded an open box into
a closed one,
added a face and
the hearts that she and
her friend had cut out of
colored paper. 

She said there was a contest and
she came up with
the idea of turning her box into
the school mascot.

On Wednesday she was crying when
I picked her up – disappointed
that one class did not
collect all the needed points and
thus they wouldn’t be having
the Valentine’s party she had so
looked forward to. 

On Thursday I said she should take
 her box and prepared Valentines anyway –
just in case.
She threw up in class and so
was taken to the office and
put in the sick room
to wait until somebody arrived.

My phone was in my pocket.
  Unfortunately it had been turned off. 
Roland was on his cell phone
talking to someone. 
Randy was in class. 
Carrie was at work. 
Evidently the staff had gone through
every single number I had provided for
emergency contact – some outdated
I guess. 
I felt bad that they had gone
to all that trouble. 
They said they had tried everyone
 on the list.

Jenna asked,
“Who is Dora?”

that’s when I realized
the list was outdated. 
“She taught you in primary
a couple of times when
we attended our old ward. 
You used to call her
Dora, the Explorer”

“Oh, yea. 
I sort of remember her. 
Why isn’t Corey on the list?”

“Corey is in Las Vegas. 
I had him and grandma on
the list when you
were in first grade.” 
I had eliminated contacting grandma
for the year that I started
my blog.

Jenna had a fever. 
She stayed in bed all day –
except for once in a while after
she would drink something,
she would make her way into
the bathroom to throw up. 
But we brought her fever down in time and
after long her stomach wasn’t hurting anymore either. 
But she still felt dizzy whenever she stood.

I had given her the cards that
arrived in the mail. 
Two of them:
a Valentine from her
activity days leader and
one from our former next door neighbor whom she called
plus there had been a box of
chocolates that dad brought home.

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. 
She didn’t deliver because
she still felt dizzy when she moved.
  We stayed home.
We both took it easy.

Roland used to do Valentines for
the women in my family.
 A box of chocolates, flowers,
 one year we made red doughnuts. 
Another year he purchased heart
 shaped pizzas. 
I think that was the
last year.

This year he purchased candy bars
for all the RS and primary presidency. 
He printed up the note

“All Classy Ladies deserve
chocolate on Valentines Day 
Even if they are a little nuts” 

They have not been delivered, however. 
Perhaps he is just planning on
handing them out at Church tomorrow.

There was a knock at the door
sometime after Jenna had gone to bed. 
Whoever it was had walked away
after leaving a sack of
candy for Jenna. 
This morning I learned that
it was/is from Trume. 

So we did receive Valentines. 
And Jenna created three more.
 They won’t be received until
next week. 
Valentine’s Day is over. 
Jenna feels better. 
Outside is still grey