Saturday, February 25, 2017

That was a Painful Week

          As I mentioned in my last post, I am up to two classes again. In one accounting class I am required to used QuickBooks online.  The other feels like a refresher course - though I think I'd get more out of it if I had the same instructor that I had for 101 and 102. 

           My payroll instructor wasn't exactly monotone, but his voice did seem unenthusiastic for the most part - as though he'd rather be sitting in a dentist chair getting his teeth drilled than having to teach a class.  One instructor that I have is at the other extreme - trying to compensate for the less-than-exciting material by being "overly" enthusiastic.  I almost feels like I am taking a class taught by my brother-in-law.

           The instructor I like listening  to the most is the one I have for QuickBooks.  He's not boring.  He's not overly enthusiastic (like it's forced) When I am listening to his lecture, it feels like we are one on one and he is showing me what icons to click on and is great as explaining why.  I think his voice is easy to follow.  I like his class better of the two.

           Before the class even started, I had received an email from my  dean to set up an account in QuickBooks.  In the event that my information was put on a permanent junk-mail file, I chose to open the account on hotmail - which I keep open to use as a unwanted email account.  Unfortunately, when I had created the final step I used my hotmail user name but with a yahoo attachment - thus making my user name at hotmail invalid.

           The problem I had been created by me, and couldn't seem to be corrected - at least not in the time frame I was looking for.  Much of the communication from their end was being sent to a non-existing account - at least for me.  Thus I created a brand new account from my yahoo but with a different user name.  I didn't figure I'd be able to do anything with that class until sometime today.  Boy, was I ever surprised to have my account activated the following day.
          And so I worked on that.  But I seemed to be missing some steps or couldn't take screenshots with the appropriate information as it was not being displayed.  It took me three days to complete my assignment (good thing I was able to start it earlier than I had believed)

          Meanwhile I seemed to be neglecting my other class.  I managed to struggle through that and turned in both assignments yesterday.  I probably should have saved my assessments for today, but decided to do them yesterday.  Unfortunately I didn't do well at either one.  Let's hope I receive a better grade on the assignments.  That has actually been the case thus far.

           Meanwhile I've been neglecting my blog - not to mention other blogs I've been reading.  Jenna was home from school yesterday and I had attempted to spend quality time with her so she didn't feel neglected.  I skimmed over my primary lesson but will need to go over it again.  In addition I've been attempting to clean the house - or tidy it up a bit. 

          After over three months of not having full time missionaries in our ward, they have returned and so we will be feeding them tonight.  I wonder if they have  A Voice from the Dust in their collection.  It was suggested to show to my primary class about the three witnesses.  I suppose I can ask.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Recognizing Effort

                My appreciation for art is so-so.  There are certain paintings that appeal to me for various reasons - and perhaps on a subconscious level, it is the lighting and balance and whatever other techniques are used by the artist.  Usually, it is the subject of the painting.  That is what I am focused on, not the colors, tones, hues or layers for example.  All the detail that is put into a professional painting seems overwhelming to me and actually seems to detract from the beauty that I had seen there initially.

            In college, I once took an art appreciation class - just to force myself to understand and hopefully appreciate it more.  It backfired. I was so put out by the symbolic gestures and the history, it's a wonder I didn't drop the class.  I would struggle with these foreign concepts and tried to apply them to whatever piece of work we were doing.  I tried really hard.  Or so I believed.  My work and effort were below average and therefore so were my grades . . . . until one assignment that we did in crayon.

            The subject was a milk can.  Our instructor said to pick out all the colors that were reflecting off the milk can and underneath the surface and this and that and lighting, shades and hues and . . .  my poor confused brain.  I really didn't understand what he was talking about.  As I wasn't doing particularly well in that class anyway, I decided to "fake" it.  I got out my box of crayons and started scribbling a variety of colors over what would become my milk can.  I scribbled one area with a white crayon and one with a black crayon to that when I went over the entire milk can with my grey crayon, some of it would appear lighter and some would be darkened. 

            I was in the midst of covering all the scribbles with my gray crayon when the teacher came around and complimented me on my good work.  Was he for real?  Did he really believe that I had really seen the blue, orange and green scribbles in the can?  I wasn't even trying.  I hated creating "art" and I just didn't even care anymore.  That was the day I stopped trying to better myself in that particular class.  My grade point average had gone up after that.  It felt like a slap in the face, really. It didn't seem appropriate that I would receive the message: "you'll do a whole lot better if you don't try"  That's not right!

            I did not post last week as I had devoted so much of my time to my payroll final - which by the way, I never did finish. I did try.  Boy, did I try.  I burned out more hours on this one assignment than I had any other in my entire lifetime - or so it seemed. My final grade for the class came as a surprise. I was pretty certain that my instructor would not be going through each and every single answer of each and every single student.  Apparently, I did enough that he did know I had at least tried (on the final, excel would not accept the wrong answer - so it was either come up with the correct answer or leave it blank)

            I am more satisfied with my grade and my accomplishments that I earn.  I'm not an accountant yet.  I don't like numbers.  I don't like business.  But I do enjoy learning.  I'm grateful for the opportunities I have been given that I may accomplish even more.  Perhaps one day I'll actually develop a love for my "career".  Right now I'm just tolerating it.

            I've finished payroll and am now taking two more accounting classes.  I think they will be easier than payroll.  I don't know if my instructors will be as easy as my last instructor.  I suppose I'll have a better understanding later this week.

Monday, February 20, 2017

My Hair Loved WEN, my Scalp . . . Not so Much . . .

          I had heard that a lawsuit had been brought against WEN® Hair Care Products,  although I hadn't known when or why.  I recently looked it up on line.  I don't know how many articles share this information as I read through only a few.  I personally haven't had a problem with the product itself.  If there was any hair loss, it went unnoticed.   I LOVED the product.  I immediately felt a tremendous difference with the texture of my hair and Jenna's hair.  I could actually attempt to style our hair without cringing.  I loved the feel of my hair and heard that it smelled great.  I wasn't happy with the "build-up" that seemed to be forming on my scalp - though I never blamed WEN.  As I have stated in several posts before, I have a LOT of hair.  Often the thickness gets in the way and my scalp doesn't always get a proper rinse. 

          The WEN ads made sense to me - why do we feel the need to have a shampoo to clean and then a conditioner to tame the blow of the harsh shampoo?  WEN claimed their product (the cleanser cream) replaced 5 bottles (shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, leave-in-conditioner, detangler) but then they mail you a kit with SIX containers.  I was interested in their conditioneing cleanser, not their anit-frizz or treatment mist . . . come on!  Why are you sending me six things to replace five?  And that hurtful brush!  They must have had an overstock and started including those in packages.  No thank you.  I wanted the cleanser ONLY

          I don't know how many packages arrived before they finally got it down to just two bottles of cleanser only, but they were still sending them too often.  I think if I used the product two or three times daily, I may have run out, but I finally called and put a permanent stop to it.  I said I'd be moving to Oregon and may provide my address at a later time.  I have moved twice since leaving Utah and have run out of cleanser but do have two tubes of the anti-frizz left.  Do those things expire?
          I don't plan on starting back up again.  I do miss how my hair felt.  But my scalp does not miss it.  Attorney Amy Davis (here) explained it this way, " It’s like using lotion to wash your hair. So instead of removing the product when you rinse it off, it just becomes impacted in your hair follicle.” Okay, I can agree with that comparison - although I think "lotion" would have been gentler to my scalp.  Build-up made it itch.  But I've always had dry scalp.  It wasn't just when I used WEN.   though the itch seemed to be more present when I was using WEN.

          Everybody’s scalp is different.  We all have different hair types.  We all have various reactions.  I Things happen.  Sometimes we have control.  Many times we do not.    I’m not trying to endorse the product, nor do I defend them.  There are things I loved about the product, there are some things that didn’t work for me.  That’s life.  

Friday, February 17, 2017

In the Event that Heidi may be Searching . . .

            When commercials come on, Roland will usually watch them and critique them.  Depending on the station, he will sometimes tire of them and start changing channels.  Recently during his channel hopping, he landed on a program focusing on individuals searching for  biological connection.  As the story unfolded, a connection was made due to a facebook post in which the biological mother wished her unknown daughter a happy birthday.  It matched the same birthday of the child who was seeking her mother.  It got me to wonder if the boys half sister on their mother's side might be looking for her biological past.

                About six months before Roland met his first wife, she had given birth to a part white/part Asian daughter.  She'd given her up for adoption and said that the adoptive family had named the baby Heidi.  Roland said he was willing to raise the baby as his own, but Deborah said that it was too late - which I find odd as almost every adoption I have known about has had a one year wait-to-see-if-the-biological-mom-may-change-her-mind requirement.

            I remember Tony having mentioned it first.  He was hoping to establish some kind of connection.  I don't know if that will ever happen in this lifetime.  Heidi would be about 33, I think.  Possibly turning 34 by the end of the year?  Roland does not have many details to go on, and I have even less, I'm sure.  I suppose if Heidi were to look for answers about her biological mother, she would have to ask Aunt Judy - as she seems to be the family matriarch, but I could be wrong.  She may have at least some clue to who the biological father might be.  Roland doesn't have any information.

            Clyde & Barbara Walden [not their real names] gave birth to eleven children. Five are now deceased along with mom and dad.  Judy is their eldest daughter.  I met her for the first time after Jenna had turned two.  We had missed Clyde's funeral by only three days and had been invited to the family barbeque (here) - which is when I met at least eight of  Deborah's siblings and their families.  Waldens are truly hospitable people.  If indeed, Heidi is looking, they will definitely embrace her.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Quality Customer Service?  A thing of the past

          I'm actually quite impressed with Roland's phone skills.  I got rid of cable as we were paying outrageous amounts each month.  We have been able to pick up six stations with an antenna we purchased, but there was a day when I'm assuming the weather had interfered and we were only down to two.

          As mentioned previously, Jenna and I could live without the TV or cable.   We watch it because it's there, but would not miss it if it wasn't.  But Roland likes having the TV and had called another company to see how much cable would run.

          So our internet was with Charter.  We NEED the Internet.  Roland works from home online.  We both go to school online.  We need the Internet.  We do not need the cable.  Nevertheless, Roland found a great deal in which Frontier promised a cable and Internet package for the same amount that we were paying Charter for Internet only.  The first call placed was answered by a young guy from California who was living in Salt Lake.

          Why the heck would we be calling Salt Lake?  I had never even heard of Frontier until we got to Oregon.  The guy was friendly and after the information was exchange, we got a little personal (which I know is how he's from California) and he told us some jokes before he hung up.

          Our cable contract is through Dish and NOT Frontier.  And of course we are locked into it now because apparently Roland's electronic signature proves that.  The cable box was sent - but Roland wasn't sure how to connect it.  Someone came out to connect it and we had a SLOW connection.  Not even 12 full hours. Fortunately we had not cancelled Charter.


          I don't know how many times Roland has been on the phone with Frontier - asking employees for their first and last name and employee identification (because thus far none of the employees have been willing to give his or her last name - which I don't blame them.  Most have been good to give their employee number - or a number anyway (how do we really know) as Roland explains for the umpteenth time that "I need this for work . . . I was very clear about that from the beginning"  He always tells the employees to make notes on file and asks for the supervisor and that supervisor's supervisor.

          He is calm.  Although he is frustrated, he doesn't express anger.  But he does become more irritated with each call explaining himself again and again.  We still have the box.  We have asked for a box to return it in.  I have even taken it to the two locations here in Myrtle Creek - a warehouse downtown and the communication center? in Tri-City.  It was closed.  I wonder if it ever opens.  Or why it's there. 

          Frontier will probably go out of business.  We heard that from an employee.  No kidding.  I don't guess their exceptional customer service would have anything to do with it.

          I've been dealing with crisis of my own.  We're doing our taxes.  Need I say more?  No matter how prepared we believe we are, we're always missing forms.  At least three 1099s.  And so I've been trying to make contacts with each of the companies getting nowhere fast. 

          Actually, I did make progress with one company.  I've listened to at least 7 different recordings for another.  I finally left my phone # when I was given the option to leave with a promise of a call back within 24 hours.  Oh, they did call back alright.  But it was the WRONG company.  I was contacted this morning by one who received my phone number.  It took us a few minutes to realize that the number I retrieved from the other website had been connected to the other at one time, but was no longer a part of them - therefore she couldn't help me.  (Ugh)

          And the one human I get has an accent so thick that she had to slow down when pronouncing "Annual Summary" because I was hearing "Animal Movie" and I knew that is not what she was saying.

          I wish I had the patience and control that Roland does when he is speaking over the phone.  I am just too dang emotional.  Customer Satisfaction really hasn't seemed very satisfying this century.   

       I told Roland that one of the things I really like about living in Oregon is that I feel like a person and not just a statistic.  When I am calling corporations I feel even less than a statistic.

Back Off!

            Roland comes off as a domineering parent sometimes.  Jenna absolutely hates it when she is told to comb her hair or wear a coat or dress nicely or what have you.  The more he makes suggestions or "harps" on the subject, the more rebellious she is about it.

            I will admit that I am not as observant.  For three and a half years I have tried fixing her hair and seeing it wreck before we get to school.  I stopped fighting.  Richard has only begun.  Although he has been a teenager, he's never been a girl.  We have hormones.  There seem to be chemical imbalance just before that time of the month.  Let it go.

            The rain in Oregon is different from rain in Utah.  Desert rain is wet.  It soaks you.  Oregon rain - even when it falls hard - feels more like a mist.  It hasn't soaked me the way Utah rain has.  We purchased a coat for Jenna.  Cute coat, but she refuses to wear it.  She doesn't like being told what to do and what not to do.  I've been there.  I get it.  I've told Roland that he needs to back off as she is rebelling and an accessory in her hair or a warm jacket has to be her idea, and if he's always harping, she is never going to come up with the idea on her own.  In fact, she'll do the opposite.

            Her zipper's broken (that child is HARD on zippers.  I don't know what she does, but she has not owned a coat or backpack yet in which the zipper hasn't broken) and because it was raining outside, Roland threw a rain poncho over whatever she was wearing.  She was crying and claimed she looked like a condom.  I've never heard anyone compare themselves to a condom before, and started laughing - which brought even more tears to her eyes.  That's silly.

            I noticed that Jenna removed the poncho between the driveway and the street.  She stuffed in near the bushes.  I know she will learn if Roland will just back off and give her some breathing room.  I think he's overcompensating - not having had the opportunity to raise his oldest two girls and being gone so much from knowing the boys - although I recall his harping on them too. 

            We learn at our  own pace.  We're not all equal.  I think Roland needs to realize we're not all him.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Where I'm at With College

            I am now in my eighth mod (school credit courses crammed into a four week period) at school.  I have taken thirteen classes (ten credited), have had twelve instructors, 33.6 credits and have maintained a 4.0 average (which for me is quite an accomplishment)

            For three weeks we are required to post and participate in a discussion. Only five of my classes offered a discussion during the fourth week.  Thus far all of my female instructors have made comments to each student on the discussion board except for one week my English instructor (see here). I think that week was just an exception for that class, or so I am guessing.

            Each week for three weeks students are graded upon discussion, an assignment, and an assessment.  References are required when posting discussions.  I spend more time researching for references.  I don't like how time-consuming it is.  I like to post as soon as possible so that I don't use the same reference as another classmate - as though I wasn't able to find one on my own.

        The fourth week is generally the easiest (for me anyway).  Before the student can even start the fourth week, a survey is required for rating the class and instructor. One cannot sign into Canvas until the survey is filled out.  We also have to fill out a career integration and take a final assessment (usually it's a quiz, but I have had a few on either excel or word).  That is usually all there is. 

             5 of my classes have had a fourth-week discussion and I guess about half of my classes have had a fourth-week assignment in addition to the assessment.  Only three of my 'fourth weeks' have had four things to turn in rather than the usual three or the fourth weeks normal two.   

         I notice that the female instructors (thus far anyway) have been very different from the males, and while I've only had three assigned male instructors, I've had exposure to four.

            Females seem to put more passion into their lectures, and they comment on every post. They are also strict about posting on different days and creating an actual discussion.  My male teachers haven't seemed to care when anything is posted. Most of my instructors have been female. I had one male instructor who would comment on every post - it was the computer training class, and I think he was required to set an example.  Though I only had been assigned three male instructors, I have had exposure to four.

           I had one professor (here) who enjoyed class participation but was very hard to follow.  I usually sat through the lectures of another who taught the same class.  He would spend 40-45 minutes reviewing the last week's work.  Often it seemed that he was just going through the motions and would rather be most anywhere than at the computer giving a lecture.

            The instructor I have now DOESN'T cover anything from the last week.  It hasn't been graded yet.  He doesn't grade until the following Tuesday (the morning after his lecture).  For the most part, I can understand what he's saying - though sometimes he sounds like he's either bored with the routine or the subject itself.  Overall, I think he is probably quite lenient with the grading. The subject at present is taking taxes and other wages out of payroll (as mentioned here)  

              This is where Roland wants my focus right now.  I'm not bored.  I am angry.  I have tried so hard to keep my emotions out of it.  Surprisingly, there are very few in the class who haven't expressed emotion.  Also surprising is that I am doing very well in this class.  It's my third accounting class and I believe the best grades of the three.  So evidently I am understanding it.  Not agreeing with it, but understanding the concepts, I guess.

            Only 147.5 credits to go.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Keeping Accurate Records - or Trying to Find Them rather . . .

I have an ancestor named Robert Stuart Stirrat Purdie.  That's his name.  Both middle names are pronounced "Stew-ert".  My mom had told me that it was a custom (whether in the family or community is unknown) for the parents to name the child (in this case middle name) after the first visitor who calls after the baby was born.  Friends Stuart and Stirrat (whose last names are unknown to me at this time) arrived together to call upon the family - thus Robert was given two identical middle names, although different spellings.  Comes in handy when trying to piece together if various records do indeed belong with the ancestor you're trying to find.  I have not run into any juniors or seniors on either side of my family (well, not until the lines of royalty - which thus far are just names - the accuracy of their relation is also unknown.  They didn't actually use Junior and Senior but I, II, II, IV, etc.)  

My grandmother wanted to name her youngest son after his father, but my grandfather did not wish to have a "junior" in the family, thus they gave him a middle initial but not a middle name.  I have a daughter-in-law who has a rather common name.  Her father is a junior and his father is the senior, thus when ancestry presents hints, it is very important to pay attention to the dates as both names will come up as suggested matches for either.  It used to be if you deleted one name on the branch, it would wipe out the entire line.  That doesn't seem to be the case with this new format - which may be easier to understand, but one I am certainly not used to and don't find it at all convenient.  

I was given a great number of hints for those I believed were already in my system.  They were.  I discovered I had duplicates.  I don't know if I removed them all or not.  I have actually been finding names that don't seem to be connected to anyone in particular.  So why are they still in there?

Years ago we had learned that my brother-in-law bill is not only an uncle to my boys by marriage but also their sixth cousin once removed on their blood line.  We had his line and the boys line as two separate lines and thus had duplicate names and that bugged me.  In family search, you can connect the two rather than resubmit them as new people with duplicate names.  I like that much better.  I'm getting really tired of the duplications.

I notice that there are a lot of names that get used again and again honoring the grandparents - and it is nice when the names skip a generation, or when the names given are so unique that I don't recall ever having had heard it as a name before, like Thankful and Remembrance Fish.  When the name is so unique like Robert Stuart Stirrat or Priddy Meeks - it's gratifying.  Oh, yes.  That's got to be him.  Whereas Brigham Young, Joseph Smith, Jose Rivera, Roberto Martinez, Jennifer Anderson . . . say what? 

Family History can be very time consuming - and I think the most common names actually require the most attention.  I want to thank all of those from my tree who gave unique names to their children and putting distance between the more common names . . . well, many of you anyway.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

There's Much Drab in the Air Right Now

I went outside to put a card in the mailbox.  The air is so bleak right now.  It's a stay-at-home-and-cuddle-at-the-fireplace day.  I could hear this song (the tune itself) describing more than just the weather