Monday, October 31, 2016

Blog Makeover and Unfinished Ideas

          Recently I had gone through my flash drives in search of a scrapbook that I had scanned.  During my search, I came across the following unfinished thoughts and added covers.  This is what my blog used to look like

 It's been nearly five years since I started my blog.  I wonder if it is time for a new makeover.  I created this cover near the end of 2012:.

and here are some thoughts that never got posted as they felt incomplete at the time

2012 March 19
Apple Pie & Coffee

            Roland often tells the experience of a man he had worked with several years ago.  The man had come from another country and knew very little English.  But he could place an order for “apple pie and coffee” – just “apple pie and coffee”.  His mouth became weary after eating so much apple pie.  He wanted to order something else.

            One day he sat down at the counter and decided he would order something else.  He listened to someone order “a ham sandwich” and decided that he would order the same.  He practiced saying, “a ham sandwich” so that the waitress would clearly understand what was being ordered.

            When the waitress finally did come to take his order he clearly spoke,  “a ham sandwich”.  The waitress then asked if he would like white or rye bread. He just stared blankly at her before he changed his order to “apple pie and coffee”

            As with the man in this example, each of us needs to learn things for ourselves – and not always rely upon the knowledge or experience of another.  We can attempt to imitate and mimic – but there will come a time in our lives when it will be our own experience and knowledge that will make a difference.

counting back change

paper money

Shortly after my brother Corey was born, my mom took on a part-time job at an ice cream parlor just to make ends meet.  It really wasn’t her intent to become a supervisor – but the alternative was that someone else would continue to supervise and the choice of candidates that were left seemed less than average.

            There weren’t the computerized registers that most stores have today – where the clerk punches in a number and the register tells how much change to return.  Employees were required to count back change and my mom was appalled with the number of employees who were unable to figure it out.

            I remember her setting down my brother Patrick and me and teaching us how to count back change.  We were seven and nine – and I wasn’t even that great at math, but I got it.  Counting change was NOT that difficult.  Her point exactly.  Surely if her seven-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter could do it, the hired employees should also be able to figure it out.

            I continued counting back change even after the computerized registers – “9.40 is your change.  40 makes 11 (as I hand them their change) 12, 13, 14, 15 (as I count out the ones) and five makes twenty” which was disturbing to customers who had no concept of counting out change either.  They’d recount it in front of me as though I was trying to cheat them.  Duh!

2012 August 5
Gays and Jews

There are several versions of “The Jazz Singer” – I happen to like the one with Neal Diamond – who in the beginning of the show performs his music in an all Black Club with his three African-American friends who need a fourth group member.  

Knowing the strict rules of the club, he tells the other three that he cannot assist them as he is definitely NOT of the same race.  But with some help of make-up and a wig, Neal Diamond is transformed into a passable looking black man.  But the make-up is on his face only and not on his hands.  He gets caught and the four end up in jail.

            Laurene Oliver plays the father to Neal Diamond’s character, Jess.  He is the one who posts bail for Jess and his friends.  The disappointment on his face is rather obvious and he says one of my favorite lines from that movie, “Isn’t it hard enough just being Jewish?”

         My ideas were to include:   Putting on a fa├žade for others rather than being happy with who we really are.  Closed Gays – compare to the Jewish markings in WWII
          I still have many Unfinished thoughts.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Simplicity vs. Electronics

When Jenna turned three, we bought her a play yard set which I have mentioned here and here.  Before that, she used her imagination, making the broken lounge chair her slide and the Norditrack Glider her swing – unless we were at the park.` 

Jenna was always so excited to spend time with friends or to go to birthday parties.  She especially enjoyed the company of a cousin she would see only once or twice a year.  She was especially looking forward to seeing her the year Melody turned eight. 

Jenna had hoped to spend more time with Melody after her party, but as I mentioned in this post, there seemed to be some behavior problems on Melody’s end. Evidently, she had purchased a kindle or an I-pad or some kind of electronic device.  She had earned all the money herself and was quite proud of her new purchase.  Perhaps that was one of the downfalls of her attitude that day; the party had taken away precious time she could have been spending on her new tablet.

When she brought the tablet out, there were a lot of “oohs” and comments made and requests to take a turn.  Jenna was crushed.  She felt that she was less important than an electronic gizmo – not even  secondary, not even noticed.  It hurt not to be noticed.  Melody would have that device even after Jenna returned home.  It wasn’t often that she and Jenna were given the opportunity to get together.  The situation had put even more distance between Jenna and Melody.  The fact that Melody desired a material item over her own cousin – or having acknowledged Jenna’s presence at all had influenced Jenna to the point of actually despising electronics.

She hates it when her friends are constantly texting or paying attention to their electronics – leaving Jenna to wonder how it is that she received enough attention to become friends with them in the first place.  I understand where she’s coming from.  I have always put my children before the television or the cell phone.  I haven’t been as good at leaving the computer when I’m in the middle of something – but I will.  I don’t want Jenna to ever feel like she did at Melody’s party – I think the last one that we went to actually.

On Tuesday afternoon, Annett’s mother called to see if Annett could spend the night Thursday and go with Jenna to the school dance.  She asked if we would take pictures of the girls in their costumes – though I wondered why as Annett is hidden in hers.

Her mom’s been good about allowing Annett to stay overnight with us – up until now anyway.  This may actually be the last time this year as a situation seemed to get out of hand.

Nora (Annett’s mom) likes to keep a tight leash on her daughter (which is one reason why I have been grateful for the amount of times she’s been able to come over after school and occasionally spend the night) but requests that Annett call and say good-night – something that Jenna either didn’t understand or didn’t want to. Jenna does need to show more respect to others who are on the phone- because at times they really are necessary.  Apparently, she was yelling at Annett while she was trying to talk to Nora – as to whether the phone got knocked out of her hand or not, I don’t know.  I wasn’t there.  Nora says that is what happened and she won’t be allowing Annett to come over anymore.

I understand where Nora’s coming from.  I also understand Jenna’s frustration.  I’ve tried to teach her to better understand the situation.  She needs to have respect for whoever is on the other end of the phone.  She needs to understand there are many sides to the same situation. 

    Nora isn’t happy with some of the choices she has made in the past.  She does not wish for Annett to make the same bad choices that she did.  She says Annett is a good girl.  She doesn’t swear.  I know she is a lot like my daughter.  I have heard them laugh and play together.  They are good together.  I have not heard Annett swear.  Jenna says she swears at school, but her mom  doesn’t know it.

Annett wants to have a boyfriend.  Both Jenna and Nora have told her she is too young.  Annett told her mom about a boy she likes and Nora texted the boy that Annett was at school to learn not date.  The boy made rude comments about Nora and Jenna defended her.  I don’t think either Annett or Nora knows that.

I don’t understand how a family of five living in a small trailer (that appears too tight to hold five at a time) can afford to pay for the service on the cell phones.  They don’t have a permanent address.  Nora wants Annett to have a cell phone so that they can keep in touch.  I get that.  But at what cost?

I don’t know Nora.  She doesn’t know us. I am saddened by this situation.  I don’t think anybody knows the full story of why Annett isn’t allowed to stay with us anymore.  I don’t know that telling Nora about Jenna’s lack of desire to compete with electronics will make a difference.  It doesn’t seem to make a difference to Jenna why Annett won’t be coming over anymore. I don’t know if Annett will fully get it either.

It’s such a shame when we make snap judgments without fully knowing or even trying to understand the other’s viewpoint.  It’s sad when only one is willing but the other refuses to even consider another option.  I’m sure that I have done that a lot of times – well, I know I have.  I’ve made snap decisions without knowing all the facts.  I wish I would shut up and listen more.  Many opportunities have been lost because at least one person has refused to listen.  Sometimes I have been that person, not always.  I hope I can make it Never.

Allow me to return to the simple things. Jenna had asked if I would take her to Stewart park in Roseburg so that we could feed the ducks.  I looked at the clock and asked if she could wait until Roland got off work as he’d be punching out within the hour.

On the return home, we saw a zebra painted limo.  

 Jenna was enjoying the view of the sun and the clouds and I handed her the night vision no-glare glasses that I had on my face as told her how different the view was behind yellow hues.   

Halfway past Roseburg and Myrtle Creek and all the way to Tri-City, Jenna yabbered about her discoveries in the sky.  “Oh, look how cool this is.” “I really like ___”  “Hey . . .”  It was so fun listening to her joyful enthusiasm and I thought how grateful I am for a daughter who has such a great imagination and enjoys simplicity – and always has, really.  I’m grateful that she would rather grow up in my era than her own (as mentioned in this post)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

I didn't realize I was Signing Up for a Foreign Language

       I couldn't sign into my lecture last week; it doesn't appear anyone did, and so my instructor found a new way of getting in to see if that would make a difference.  There were two students who joined the morning lecture this week.

       I am such an airhead during the morning.  For some reason, I can't find my chat box unless I shrink down the screen.  When I tried to stretch the screen, apparently the image was magnified, but not the box itself and so I couldn't see all the demonstrations.  I did try to answer questions.  I know my eyes may be looking at something right or left, but my mouth always says the wrong thing.  Always. 

       I don't know how I've lived this long and haven't been able to distinguish my left from my right.  I know what they are when I'm driving - but if I'm not the one behind the wheel, I can still sometimes get it wrong.  If I am giving directions to someone, I will say, "Pay attention to my hands and not my mouth" and still manage to point right when I say left or vice-versa.

       In Utah, I would say, "East, West, North or South" to  avoid my left/right slip of tongue.  I can't do that here.  With all those twists and turns on the  roads and an overcast sky, I honestly am more confused by e,w,n, and s than I am with l and r.

       Thus far, the assignment seems a lot easier this week than last, but I was quite lost as I tried to follow yesterday.  The instructor asked if we had questions and I did, but I thought I ought to get a better handle on whatever language she was speaking so that I could process it in my mind and translate it into something I could make sense of.

       My instructor said she had always wanted to be an accountant.  That is such a foreign concept to me.  Why would anyone pick said career at such a young age?  I don't foresee any glamour associated with being an accountant.  I don't think I ever had any concept of it before.

       I was going through a bunch of youtube videos hoping to find one that would help me believe that accounting could/can be fun.  There were a couple that showed different accountants telling their favorite accounting jokes.  I would like to understand the jokes and learn why they are funny;  as of now, I don't understand any of them - nothing about accounting makes me laugh.  Even the idea of a child saying, "I'd like to be an accountant when I grow up," leaves me speechless.  

       I signed onto my laptop during the afternoon as I can't seem to type as fast as I can vocally ask.  Like most people, I hate the sound of my voice when I listen to a recording of it.  And there it is - for not only all the class to listen to, but my instructor puts her videos on youtube for some reason - oh, joy.  But perhaps it's an accurate representation of how I feel - like I'm in a foreign land and I haven't yet learned the language.  And this is just the first in a series of 23 accounting classes.

       On the plus side, I don't have to waste my time looking up references just for the sake of looking them up.  No wordy essays for this class.  No APA format.  It's all excel and exams.  Ironic that I like to write and I don't like numbers.  This election year must have ruptured my brain or something.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

We're Not Financially Rich - We Are Richly Blessed

It's been raining almost non-stop for a week now.  Many cities have been affected by the storm and knocked down trees at least 37,000 people have been without power in at least seven different counties.  How fortunate or blessed we have been that Douglas County has not been affected in that way.

Our youngest son, Randy, used to spend time with a friend whose family was more well off than we.  By allowing Randy to stay overnight and hang out with his friend's family as much as he did, Randy was given opportunities to some finer things that we, ourselves, could not provide.

When we lived in West Valley, many of Jenna's friends referred to her as Rich - believing her parents had money - as though we would have purposely chosen that neighborhood if we were financially well off.  But we did live in a house.  Most of Jenna's friends from West Valley lived in condos and apartments.  Jenna did have her own trampoline while many of her friends shared community playgrounds.  They also had access to a pool which Jenna thought gave them an advantage. 

Jenna's best friend in Oregon (this post) doesn't even have an apartment.  There are five family members living in a camper/trailer that would fit in our front room.  They have lived in at least five locations just since school started and continue to pull the trailer around as their finances sink even deeper.  

Roland and I have struggled financially most of our marriage.  His ex-wife saw to that.  How blessed we have been that we have always had a roof over our heads to protect us from the elements. I worry about Annett's family in this current weather.  Already the car  has broken down - which has made it more difficult to move.

Aside from already having been burned by trying to assist others, we're not in a position to help them escape their burdens.  We have had Annett stay with us at times.  She has had the opportunity to enjoy some "finer" things that she does not get at her home.  The situation reminds me a bit of when Randy had spent time with his friend - only what Annett may consider "rich" for me is rather simple.

It's all a matter of perspective. 

fairytale addiction

Lately, when I can make the time, I have been watching reruns of "Once Upon a Time".  I see more darkness than I had the first time around, and lots of symbolism - though I don't know if that was the writers' intent.

"Magic" represents a force greater than ourselves.  Most of it reminds me of addictions.  We are addicted to alcohol, drugs, tobacco, sugar, gambling, sex, pornography . . . the list seems almost endless.

You've got your fairytale characters like Rumpelstiltskin and Regina (the evil queen) who have each tried to stop the consumption that has eaten away at them, but hard as they try, they each give into their weaknesses and somehow resort back to who they are.

Rumplestiltskin has many names: Crocodile, the Dark One, the Beast . . . Belle sees Rumple the way God wants each of his children to see one another.  She constantly believes that there is something locked up deep inside that needs to come out, just as Snow believes in Regina.  She actually has a first-hand account of how good Regina was before Cora (Regina's mother) intervened, believing that power is what makes one happy.  Power can never make one happy if misused.

Not many characters trust Rumple or Regina.  Hook wants to kill him; Bae (aka Baelfire and Neal; Rumple's son) does not trust Rumple.  Often the queen and Rumple try working together, and it's a wonder if anything gets accomplished as they don't trust one another. Nobody trusts the queen (Regina)

Red Riding Hood turns into a wolf and Peter Pan is not to be trusted.  I think Jenna had tried to watch the show with me initially.  She showed no interest, however, once Peter Pan was introduced.  Seeing Peter Pan as a bad guy did not set well with her.  But this morning as I watched an episode for the second time, I realized that the shadow is dark and playing tricks with the intent to deceit.  He doesn't wish to grow up or accept responsibility.  His goal is to bring other boys to Neverland so that he may rule over them.  It makes him feel powerful. 

Wendy believes in the magic.  She is delighted by the idea of "the large and spacious building" per se; Baelfire had warned her to stay away - just as our prophets, parents, teachers, friends have warned us to stay away - but for some of us, the temptation is just too great.  We have to give in.  We have to see if it's as awesome as we have led ourselves to believe.

I feel blessed that my sibs and I were always able to learn by example, and not have to experience certain dark events for ourselves.  Some people get cocky and don't think the rules apply to them or that they won't be swallowed in the way that others are. How many of us have heard, "I can quit anytime I want?" 

Once we have crossed over to the other side, we realize that it was just a facade.  We feel trapped, ensnared - and some of us are fortunate enough to get out and stay out.  Others get out for a while and then return - hoping to feel that same high sensation, hoping for better - only to find our situation is even worse than it was the first time around.  Some attempt to get out again and find it even harder than before.  Some go down even further on that road to destruction - seeking vengeance, seeking something greater, seeking  the dark one to change their blackened hearts - which only become blacker.

Despite Snow's attempts to believe there is good in Regina or Belle's belief in Rumplestiltskin, they are not perfect.  Each fairy tale character is flawed in one way or another.  Each of us can possibly relate and identify our own strengths and weaknesses against another or against ourselves.  We're really not different from Fairytale characters overall.  They were, after all, based on one of us. Perhaps we know a real life fairytale character.  I know a real life Donald Duck.

Fairytales can teach us.  I love seeing fairytale characters painted in a different light, giving a new spin to the plot, giving new meaning to the character that we thought we knew but perhaps don't.  I think that's how it is in real life.

Friday, October 21, 2016

It's a Surprise - Don't Tell Grandpa

          Recently I had dragged some blankets out of the shed.  On one, there was a picture of a deer in a snow covered wood.  I smiled as I held it out, not because of the picture, but rather the memory of getting it.

          It was a gift to Roland from Tony, Rochelle and Ester. I don't know how hold Ester was at the time - two, probably. She is the one who presented the gift to Roland (I'm thinking on his birthday) and beamed as she watched him open it.

          "It's a blanket!" she announced before he had it completely unwrapped.

          I wish I could bottle up that joy and enthusiasm and take it out during those times when I am really not feeling joyful.  Currently, I am taking an accounting class.  It is my only class and so I have more time for just one class then I have with every other mod taking two classes. 

          Accounting: the language of business.  Oh, gag me with a fork.  What in the world possessed me to pick a major associated with business.  Admittedly, I think I like it better than my management class - but then again, I've only had one week of it.  I'm struggling a bit - I think more with the concept than the work itself. 

          I'm actually not the only one in my accounting class that has these emotions.  I can sense some tension amongst my other classmates.  At least two are more troubled by the concept of the course than I am.  What have I gotten myself into?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Constitution Day - My First Online Assembly Experience

Well, the assembly was mostly on our voting responsibility - or at least that's what I got out of it.  The instructor asked.  What is November 11?  Here are some of the answers:


"the best liar wins"
"Election hot mess, the day of voting"

We were referred to this website and quote.

John Adams said:

"There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution."

We watch a less-than-exciting video and then the conversation starts up again:

"I've heard that many reports say that the voting system is rigged, can be hacked, is faulty, that is fixed, that we just show up with false hopes in that the decision is already made by the 5 big families"

"The election is like, you have to pick your poison. My question is this. If the votes do not go the way that the ones who govern our land. Who has overall finally say so?"

"Trump is going to make our country file for its own bankruptcy"

"you can vote for any one even Mickey Mouse"

"there is a city in Georgia in which it's illegal to vote for Mickey Mouse - I don't know how they enforce that as our ballots are supposed to be private"

"what happens if someone gets the most votes to be president and they weren't running or don't even want to be president?"

The instructor didn't know, as it has never happened; perhaps we'll learn this year?

"So basically make sure you complete your ballot and won't no one vote for you, pretty much is what you are saying?"

"I get my ballots mailed to I'm definitely voting"

"When did the popular vote start?  Article II Section I talks about electorates, equal to the number of reps and senators per state, and they vote.  So why do we even have the popular vote?"

"Utah is a Republican State.  I only know of one time when all 5 electorial votes weren't all Republican.  One time.  If I were to vote Democrat, I feel like it's such a waste.  It's like my vote doesn't even count.  Heck, just in my own household we seem to cancel each other out."

". . . but if almost the whole republican state vote democrat than what? because i know Idaho is a Republican state but I remember a year we were blue so that confuses me a little"

"At the Constitutional Convention, Ben Franklin stated his belief that public servants should not be paid a salary, for in paying the civil service, our government would not be made of "the wise and the moderate ... the men fittest for the trust" but instead by "the bold and the violent, the men of strong passions ... in their selfish pursuits.'"

"funny how I learned all of this in government and i don’t remember anything and everything you are saying right now is like a reminder of oh yah we learned about that."

Our instructor asked the question, which constitution states: “all persons born or naturalized in the United States,”


"i honestly have no idea"

"How 14"

"the one in the Constitution"


The next set of comments were made during the second video.

" i like Donald Trump's hair!"

" Isn’t that awesome??"


"Donald Trump and Martin Van Buren.  Fine hair."  

"This is true; They might be related lol"

"There is a lot of awesome Presidential hair out there- Van Buren and Buchanan both had Presidential hair!"

"What happens to the money left over after they get the job? It is not going towards the US debt. Which I think It needs too. Since getting a government office is just pretty much based on
how much money you can raise."

"It goes onto a server in their basement..."

". . . fine haircuts"

"Elvis has left the building!"                       - I don't know why that got put in there

Now, this video and comments

"blast from the past"

"Please say that is the Steven Crowder video..."

"now that takes me back"

"I love this!"

"omg i member watching this in government class lol"

"i watched this in high school"

"Really school house"

"I love SNL version better lol"

"This used to be on Saturday Morning cartoons.  I loved this!"

"i watched  this as a kid every sat morn"

"Saturday morning cartoon were the best!"

"yea i watched in a history class my Junior year"

"I know they should put these back on for our children"

"yup...good ole Saturday morning cartoons...and Reading Rainbow...<shutting up before my age starts shining thru"

"LOL…me, too"

"great and fun way to learn"


"Everything I know about history, I learned from schoolhouse rock"
"The good way to Learn"

LOL…. I hope you learn more here!"

Of course that was only just some of the dialogue.  Conclusion.  Class members said their good-byes and the assembly was over.  90 minutes after it started. 

"Hey, it's Barbie Girl!"

            Coffenberry Middle School (the school that Jenna currently attends) starts each morning with a meeting.  To make it fun and entertaining, they often call for volunteers to perform skits or lip sinking songs or what have you. Two weeks ago, Jenna and her friend Annett performed "Barbie Girl" Just last week, I drove her to the school to pay a lunch fee.   Someone recognized her as we got out of the car.  "Hey, it's Barbie Girl!" 

            I find it ironic that Jenna hadn't played with Barbies that often - they were just too girly.  There is very little about Jenna that seems girly - and yet she takes it as a compliment when someone calls her Barbie Girl.

            Jenna is not afraid to be herself.

            When Jenna met Elena on the bus last year, I was so excited.  We both thought since they both took the same bus that perhaps a friendship would form.  Not really.

            Turns out Elena is a target for bullies,  and though Jenna has tried to console Elena and assist her with self-esteem, Elena refuses to listen.  So why would she listen to those that bully her?

            Those who have tried to bully Jenna become frustrated as  she doesn't allow words to bother her.  She usually turns words or snide remarks around and says, "Why thank you." Or else she'll agree, which actually irks the bully.

            Jenna is definitely her own person.  I think that's awesome.