Wednesday, July 26, 2017

It's a Slow Process but We're Getting There



            There was a magic show last night in Riddle but I missed it as I had told one of the girls that I would fill in for her at the library.  She hadn't been feeling well for a few days and my schooling is not as demanding when I have only one class.

            Last night I worked my first shift at the library.  I felt bad for not having received proper training or retaining those few things which I had learned.  I really think we ought to have a training session and will mention at our next meeting.  As of now, we are using cards and pockets as was done before computers.  Everything is filed by date - which presents a challenge when the book is returned without a date - or a pocket for that matter.  I think some books just get put in the drop when users have finished looking at them in the library, but had never been checked out, just returned.

            Somebody decided it would be a good idea to transfer the information to excel and look the information up that way - still we are finding that there are more steps involved than I think are necessary.  I know how to alphabetize excel so that it will work for me rather by date, title, client, or whatever . . . I'm just afraid it may be too overwhelming for some of those that I work with who may not even be familiar with how to turn a computer on - let alone be familiar with the programs.

            Starting tomorrow through Saturday is the Myrtle Creek Festival.  They have it every year about this time.  I think their official holiday is either the 24th or the 25th.  Jenna and I will be working two or three shifts this weekend.  The library will offer a game and rock painting - I'm thinking in two different booths.  I suppose I will learn more about it tomorrow.

            We had planned to walk in the parade on Saturday morning, but don't feel like we have enough support as we did on June 17th.   There is only 30 minutes between the time the parade ends to have the booth set up and ready to go.  It's a good walk from the school to the park.  Can't drive while the parade is going on.  Since we won't be in it, I don't know if we'll even make the parade this year or not.  We didn't go last year.

            It felt busy to me with book returns and patrons dropping by to either check out books or inquire about our existence.  There were a few who didn't seem to know that the library had ever existed in this town - some who were not aware that the library had ever closed and some who are not aware that everything is now volunteer run and we are still learning and trying to work out the bugs.

            Yesterday the pool area was decorated for Christmas in July -- which has nothing to do with the library. The pool is located near the library and some of our patrons had stopped in on their way to the pool or on their return.  I took these yesterday morning.




Monday, July 24, 2017

“When It Rains, It Pours”

    

          I never quite got the gist of that saying.  I tried to find out it’s origin and came across this post – and there were others that seemed support quote being related to the Morton Salt company – which actually explained the iconic picture of the girl with the umbrella.  But still the saying of “When It Rains, It Pours” was supposed to reflect a chain of positive and not negative.  Perhaps it’s the misunderstanding of “When it DOESN’T rain, it pours” but comes out “When it rains, it pours” - I don’t know.  There are several old sayings that I’ve heard used and have sometimes used myself, but now I want the origin to back up what I’m saying. 

          The reason I had even thought of it in the first place is because our house is slowly falling apart – but that was expected I guess before we moved in.  Instead of correcting whatever mistakes currently exist, the previous homeowners decided to “hide” existing flaws by gluing cutting board to top of counter to hide the marred countertop and carpet all throughout the house (surprisingly not the kitchen, but have in both bathrooms) and now we have the displeasure of having to deal with so much of it at once.

          First it was the knobs on the tub – the hot side was not tightening, and finally came off altogether.  I have already posted about the leak in the backroom which connects to Jenna’s bedroom (who is still without furniture and most her clothes.  Oh, but she does have her stuffed animals who are currently living in her closet.  I think clothes and furniture are more important) and the seal plate broke off Roland’s shower door. Last night it was the knob for the overhead light and exhaust fan.  I did finally get the fan to go off after taking the plyers to it three or four times.  This morning I learned that I am not able to get it to go back on. 

          Manufactured homes were not designed as permanent homes to cater to several generations.  Most our neighborhood is made of manufactured homes.   For as moist as it gets during the year, the manufactured home seems to be more practical than the stick built – which brings me back to the saying: “When It Rains, It Pours” – it rains quite often in Oregon (but not during the summertime) but rarely ever pours from my point of view anyway.  I remember downpours in Utah.  Those were wet – like standing under a bottomless bucket.  The rain in Oregon seems lighter and airy.  I don’t believe what those in this county may consider a downpour mirror my own description of what a downpour is.  “When It Rains, It Pours” – except for maybe Morton Salt's play on words, that’s just weird saying.




Saturday, July 22, 2017

ABC Quiet Book . . . Improvements Overtime



           I remember signing up for a Relief Society activity where we were given pictures and pastel paper to make books for a quiet activity that our children (or grandchildren, whatever the case) might be entertained by the pages of words and pictures depicting a spiritual alphabet.  I must have spent the majority of my time cutting out squares and gluing thoughts and letters to the pastel paper.  I don't even like pastels - not since I was five or six.  But I kept them anyway. 

           Though the paper and majority of pictures were provided for us, we still had to come up with our own binder and sheet protectors.  We could do 8X8 or 8X12.  The 8X8 actually seemed to work up better as there seemed to be a lot of empty space on the 8X12 - but as I already had the supplies, I used those rather than make a purchase for 8X8.  I made a book for Jenna and presented it to her when she was three.  I obviously did not use a rule for any of the pages I had actually created before returning home:


           As I was searching for other pictures to fill it occurred to me that I could just create the pages in my new founded scrapbooking program that I could do on the computer.  I could also add or substitute words to fit the ones given.  For example, the letter B was for Baptism but I had added Brothers as well. C was for Church; I added Children and Creation.  H was for Heaven, and I wanted to make it for Hymn Book as Jenna one of Jenna's favorite books at the time really was the hymn book as she realized it was associated with singing.   I traced her hands and copied several hymns which I made into a collage.  It is one of my favorite pages:


            I have since made books for my niece, Anna, my oldest granddaughter, Ester and am now working on books for my granddaughters Devin and Ally whose birthdays are next month.   I'd done all of Anna's pages on the computer.  With Jenna, N had stood to Noah and O had stood for obedience.  I had added nursery to the letter N and Organ to the letter O (Jenna had a special relationship with the organist in our ward at the time; I had put her picture on the same page as the organ) and had also used Nursery and Organ when I made Anna's.  Jenna's book ended up being 36 pages, but I had managed to cut Anna's down to 32.  I cannot find anything I did for Ester.  The other two are 40.  I have gotten rid of Nursery and Organ and have added other prophets to both sides of N and O.  



 

          I don't know what my initial S word was.  Scriptures, I think. That ended up being a two page  creation along with C, F, G R, and T but only C, R and S have double pages now.


          
         
         I had actually done two pages of family photos to illustrate our "at home" family and extended family.  I included one with her sisters.  Ironically we had been standing under a sign that  said "Families are Forever".  We have neither seen or heard from her sisters since before Jenna turned four.

         I had added Temples to Tithing for both Anna and Jenna.  I don't know what I kept for Ester. These are three different tithing pages I had made:



          Y for you was supposed to be a mirror;  I used a reflective material that didn't really work.  For Anna and Ester I had just filled in with pictures.  But Jenna found a reflective notebook cover that I cut in half that I think may work.  I visualize Ally thinking it cool to view herself in each circle.  But it doesn't carry over on this post:





          Many of the pages I have kept the same, but I did change Vision to Voice.  Jenna's book is the test.  Each time I do another, I improve.



Thursday, July 20, 2017

Quotes from Puzzle Books




          On April 6, 2015, as we waited in the Portland airport for our return to Salt Lake City, Roland purchased what he believed was a crossword puzzle book.  It had actually turned out to be a book of fill-in puzzles, something I was not familiar with, but found enjoyed.  I have purchased many fill-in puzzle books since, and even some variety puzzle books. 



          With the puzzle variety I have learned that my favorite kinds of puzzles are fill-ins and brick-by-bricks.  There are some puzzles that I haven't been able to figure out how to play, some that seem more challenging and will take up more time than I am willing to give.  And there's some I just refuse to do as they involve math and I am so not in the mood (though I have been okay about sudoko - but not fill-in numbers.  What's up with that?



          Lately, however, I find that I have been becoming quite good a cryptograms (Roland says the reason for algebra is to think logically;  well world, these word puzzles are better than algebra for me.  They help me to think logically) and I would like to share some of the quotes that I have translated.  They weren't given in alphabetical order - I know there's a better way to put them order.



Actually there's only a slight difference between keeping your chin up and sticking your neck out, but it's worth knowing.



Grandparents are the people who think your children are wonderful even if they're positive you're not raising them right.



Great thinkers are so constituted that they do not know their own thoughts until they hear them issued from their own mouths.



I feel that the essence of dance is the expression of man - the landscape of his soul. - Martha Graham



If you smile when no one else is around, then you really mean it.



No one is useless in the world who lightens the burden of it for somebody else.



One of the advantages of being young is that you don't let common sense get in the way of doing things everybody else knows are impossible.



Science has been producing so many substitutes lately that it's hard to remember what it was we needed in the first place.



The best kind of friend is the one you could sit on a porch with, never saying a word, and walk away feeling like that was the best conversation you've had.



The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely to be preferred to the presence of those who think they've found it.



The real difficulty about writing poetry is filling up the other twenty-three hours of the day.



We Act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements  of line, when all that we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about



Why pay money to have your family tree traced?  Just go into politics and your opponents will do it for you.



Yosemite Valley is always a surprise.  A glitter of green and golden wonder in a vast edified of stone and spade - Ansel Adams



You don't really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around - and why the parents will always wave back.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

I'm Out Of A Job, But Hey, I've Got a Cool Shirt




After we arrived her over two years ago, we learned that Myrtle Creek has a celebration very close to the time when Salt Lake City celebrates Days of '47.  The ward in Myrtle Creek offers a service project the week prior to the community.

The first year we had gone to Riddle Cemetery and used power washers to clean the stones.  There were several who brought weed whackers to  spruce up the grounds.
Last year we went to the high school.  We brought weed whackers and power washers and paint brushes.  This year our service project was at the VWF.  We cleaned up the outside as well as the inside (at least some members did;  I was bothered by all the cleaning chemicals and chose to stay outside) This year we continued to build upon the equipment of weed whackers, power washers and paint brushes - carpentry was also added to the agenda.  So here are some pictures of what we did:



  
















We returned home long enough to unload the car of the equipment we took and to run in and get a shopping list of needed supplies.  K-Marts have been closing throughout the country.  I remember my sister saying that about a K-Mart that was not far from where we had lived in West Valley.  We had also seen a K-Mart close before we left Kearns.  It is now time for the Roseburg K-Mart to fold.

Several workers have been hired to move merchandise and to serve the public for the next month and a half.  We took advantage of the clearance items to fill our cart.  I think it's sad seeing companies forced to fold - mostly because of the increased number of the unemployed - not that I believe retail is the greatest job - but it's something. 








We had left the house at 7:30 that morning and did not return home until 7:30 that night.  I was exhausted.  It has taken a couple of days for me to recuperate. Meanwhile I have only one class on my agenda right now.  For some odd reason I seem to prioritize my time better when I have two.  But I like having just one class in order to spend more time with Jenna.

Young Women's has been cancelled for tonight and she is quite bummed about it.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Unexpected


            Have you ever made plans to do something only to have your plans fall through so whatever you had planned falls into the cracks and ends up not being done at all - but in the long run it turns out to be for the better?  Let me give you an example:  After our backyard neighbor had passed away, his wife has been getting rid of tons of stuff.  I don't know if she's sold anything or if she has just given it away.  In our case it has been given.

            Roland and I had built a hot house (here) and used concrete bricks to line our beds (both donated by the neighbor) Roland started cantaloupe seeds in the greenhouse before moving them to this bed.  They seem to be doing well. 




            She'd also given a doll house kit to Jenna.  Now Jenna is not nor ever has been into dolls - she didn't care about the doll house itself, but we both viewed it as a summer project like putting a puzzle together.  The theme for the Summer reading program this year is



 and we thought: "Hey, build our house alongside our activities and watch progress of "build" - and since Jenna had no desire for keeping the finished product we thought we could offer it as a prize to whoever read the most books, or maybe as a raffle fund raiser for the library.  And just as the creator or business where this originated, our project of putting it together is now a thing of the past.






            I had posted this picture to facebook inviting her friends who love puzzles and crafts and such to "come on down . . . err . . .  up" but there were no takers (at least that I know of) We had gone out of town before the final day of school.  After our return and several loads of laundry, Roland called the insurance adjuster to get an estimate on a leak in the floor - or above the wash - or wherever.  A team was contacted to demolish our floor to a catwalk and made holes in the wall connecting to Jenna's room (see here) the washing machine and dryer ended up on the back porch.  That is where I had planned on setting up shop for the doll house.

            I don't know how long it's been in our living room.  Jenna certainly didn't have room to put it in her bedroom or else it would have been packed up sitting in a storage somewhere in Winston. 

            Jenna enjoys yard sales and is always asking if we can do one but I really don't believe we're in the greatest location of traffic flow.  Guess I was proved wrong as we have seen more traffic on our street in the last two days than we have in the entire time we've lived here.  Our neighbors to the west of us were having a yard sale.  We took the box of house pieces and directions over and asked if we could leave it there.  She asked for how much.  I said she could just give it away for free for all I cared, and if she thought she could make anything, she was willing to keep it for herself.

            Jenna and I were getting ready to go to my water aerobics class and had just pulled out of the driveway when my neighbor approached us and told me to stop by her house on our return as her mom was purchasing the dollhouse.  I don't think it was in her yard for an entire minute.  Wow.

            Now I suppose the house/kit may be considered an antique and could possibly be build and sold for more money.  But Jenna is ecstatic with the twenty dollars she received for someone else's "junk".  It's true that one man's junk is another man's treasure.  Wow.  Good luck to the buyer whatever her intentions are.


Our Refrigerator Box-Sized Shower


                When we first looked at our house, I was thrilled with the large tub in the master bedroom.  Evidently I had not even looked at the shower. The shower in my mom's house was made of pink tiles.  There was a 4 to 5 inch lip that we could step over to be in the shower.  After daddy had his strokes, we put a plastic chair in the shower and invested in a shower hose. The hose split shortly after he had passed.  It hadn't seemed like a great investment.

                Because I can't always make the time for the luxuries of a bath (not to mention the many gallons of water)  I have taken more showers. For a while I was using the shower in Jenna's bathroom.  Her tub is more shallow than the master bath, but there is definitely more floor room in the tub than there is in the master shower.

                We don't have any kind of grip or mat in the tub, and so it is easier to slip in the tub than the shower.  Thus far I haven't fallen, but rather than risk it, I decided to take my showers in the refrigerator box. Unless I fall out the door, there is really nowhere for me to go.  I haven't slipped in the refrigerator box shower (it is difficult to call it a master when it is that size - though tall - nine feet perhaps;  All the space above the door is wasted). 

                I do like that the refrigerator box-sized shower has a hose.  I can move it to my body parts rather than try to lift my body parts to the spray hoping it will get rinsed after I wash.  Unlike the one at my mom's house, we haven't had problems with this hose - thus far anyway. 

                Instead of climbing over the tub, which I measured at 13 1/2 inches high, I now have to step up a 9 inch lift to get into our refrigerator box-sized shower, and remember I have that same 9 inches to step down after taking shower and am wet and slippery. We would not be able to fit an adult chair inside.

                I can't complain, really.  It's more than many others have.  It's just different.

how it looks without a person

I asked Jenna to stand in the shower for more accurate view
and I'm twice the size that she is.


notice all the space above the door

Friday, July 14, 2017

Baby Duck







        Nobody calls me baby duck,

        but that is how I feel for

the most part when I am in the pool

with my class. 

        I  seem to lag behind.  Either I

am all over the pool (that would be

when we're supposed to stay in place)

or don't move at all (that would be

when we are going to or returning from

        the deep end)

        Yesterday was overcast until about

2:00.  The pool was warm, but the air

was not.  About 56 degrees.  Possibly

warmer.  But there was a breeze that

seemed to make it feel colder.




        The lifeguards wore sweatshirts and

        jackets.  They often do. 

Our regular instructor was out and so

one of the lifeguards demonstrated movements

        as she stood outside the pool.

        She did not wish to get in - nor

even be there at all - I would think.

        Class members visited more than

        usual.  Jenna was with us

        in the pool.       

4:00 was probably the warmest part

of the day. 
        Jenna and I returned to the pool
later in the evening.

        It had gotten up to 76.  I would

love it if everyday

        the weather would be like it was

yesterday.
         

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Where My Discussion Post Ends and My Blog Post Begins

          When I was in my twelvth mod, I had two classes.  I would try to attend the live lecture of each class.  I think I had attended all four lectures in my algebra class - perhaps only three.  Fortunately there was no problem with the hook-up system (the school uses a program called Zoom) but the instructor in my management class would always have a problem with the system cutting out or recording only audio or video, but not both.  It generally happened whenever she played a video in addition to her lecture.  I told her to stop showing videos and just send us the links.  I don't know if it would have made any difference.

          Last mod I also had two classes - two accounting classes.  I still don't understand the language, but I actually did well in both classes.  That is amazing considering what torture it was trying to get into a live lecture or (in most cases) listen to the recording . . . as it wasn't just one or two instructors having issues with Zoom;  the entire school was affected.  That is what Roland had told me anyway.  Not only is he a full time student at the same online school as I am, but is employed with them as well.

          This mod I am taking only one class (hooray) again in accounting (boo) and I don't know if Zoom has been fixed or not.  Thus far it does not look promising.  No one in the class appears to have been contacted by our instructor - usually he or she will introduce self or remind us of upcoming lecture or something.  There was supposed to be a live lecture yesterday, which starts at the same time as the children's summer reading program. I had already made a commitment to summer reading.  In addition, it seems I have been recruited to be the story lady - for the last two weeks anyway. 


          Yesterday the library (or the one in charge of the program rather) decided to celebrate SpongeBob's birthday and shared some trivia while children were coloring.  I shared Allison Jackson's "There was an old lady who swallowed a pie" - only I changed the wording a little bit and used SpongeBob as the character instead of an old lady, asking the children between each item of food, "do you think he'll die?"  they would always answer "No"  and they were right.

          I like Allison Jackson's version better than the original "There was an old lady who swallowed a fly"  because (with the exception of one item) her story deals with real food and no one dies.

          Neither Jenna nor I are avid SpongeBob fans - in fact we'd be okay with knowing that he had croaked.  But the idea of a sponge and some of Allison Jackson's rhymes gave me an opportunity to educate rather than just read or tell.


          So back to my accounting - I was hoping to watch the lecture before posting my discussion to perhaps get a better idea of what is expected.  As of now, I don't even know if my instructor tried to give the lecture or if he has started working for the university this week or is on sabbatical or what.  His discussion post was created on Saturday before the class had even started.

          Our topic is on importance of accurately accounting for costs in Job Order Cost Accounting.  Also, discuss the consequences of errors in this area. From what I understand, overhead charges and cost of labor that must be paid by the company is figured in the cost that a consumer must pay.

          The video example that had been given is building a burger and breaking down the cost of said burger.  There is the obvious cost for the meat, the bun and other ingredients, but the breakdown also includes the employee's wage.  Just suppose he was getting paid 10.00 an hour and it takes 3 minutes for him (or her) to build each burger.  That is 3 minutes to every 60 or 5% of 10.00.  and a predetermined overhead cost.

          The cost of electricity (for instance) is not figured into each burger, per se.  Utilities, indirect labor [that would be the supervisor making certain the employees are working, or the time spent cleaning (or idling) after all the customers have been served], indirect materials [someone has to pay for the cost of that grill] and property taxes or rent) are all part of that predetermined rate.  All of those costs are all added up together for the year and then more math is deducted and combined and made into a percentage that is also added to the cost of the burger.



          One of my class mates used auto labor as an example which I was actually able to understand a little more and have been trying to come up with my own examples using my false lawn care service from my former management class, or the cost of labor that we have seen (and will expect to see more) for the demolition and restoration of our floor, walls and spaces in between.  Thus far we've had to dole out checks for the plumber, the electrician and the pest control.  All with overhead costs - though we don't understand why on the electrician.

          Roland had asked for a card and wondered if he would be able to make a deal with trading services for a future project.  Wiring in the front room to put in a ceiling fan for new cards and marketing.  This area really needs to be educated in marketing. They either don't believe about it or know about it or care.  The font on the business cards was very hard to read.  Roland thought the shape of the font looked like an anchor.  I thought it looked like an open mouth - like perhaps a dentist would use.  I don't know what the overhead would be.  There is no sign on the truck.  I don't know how their pricing breaks down.  I suspect they can charge what they want as there doesn't seem to be any competition.

          I personally am not impressed with big vans and trucks bearing fancy names - especially now that I know it is part of my cost and I don't wish to support brand names when they have so many employees that the company has lost sight of them as well as the consumers.  Let me give a "for instance" which I wasn't planning to call by name, but because of my dissatisfaction, I want to warn others about why I stopped using the services of a certain company.

          Whipple Plumbing and Heating is a chain in Utah (Salt Lake/Ogden areas) which I believe has gotten too big for its breeches.  I don't know how many employees it staffs nor do I understand why we tried their services several times.  We ALWAYS had to call them to return to finish or correct a job and then ended up calling someone else to permanently fix it.

          I think they were called three times while we lived in Kearns and twice in West Valley.  For the poor plumbing issues (one project, never resolved by Whipple) we had three different guys, none which corrected the mistake of the other, we finally called an elderly man that Roland had been in contact through some clients of his. 

          Elwin Shipley arrived in his unmarked truck and fixed the problem.  He was awesome!  He fixed problems one time.  If you were to contact him again, it would be for a different problem.  Unlike Whipple, who got it right only one time (which will be my next paragraph), Elwin didn't charge an arm and a leg.  He didn't need to.  He didn't have the extra overhead cost.  I wasn't paying for the logo on his truck.  (Whipple had definitely figured a LOT of overhead expenses - had I continued to use them, I would have probably ended up paying for an entire fleet of trucks)

          Whipple had a promotion on toilets and as ours had to be replaced, we gave them another try (first one in WV).  The plumber who came out was very friendly toward Jenna and the dog and just a down to earth wholesome guy - or so it appeared.  He said that when I called, I could ask for a specific plumber.  That was our exception.  That was the only thing that we didn't have to have work redone on.

          Because I had liked the plumber, when another situation we had required plumbing services, I called Whipple with another opportunity and the name of the plumber who seemed to have the attitude "I've got you in my snare now, I don't have to be nice to you."

          Perhaps he was just having a bad day - perhaps there had been a recent death in the family or someone in his flipped him off on his way to work . . .  who knows.  The point is he just rubbed me the wrong way.  That was the last time we used Whipple.



          My discussion post was about Gil's heating and air conditioning - a business that relies on word of mouth.  I just thought of another.  Remarkable Rooter also gets the job done.  WITHOUT THE OVERHEAD!  Why pay more?  Really?  Because the competition has a brand name and drive a fancy van?  My consumer attitude may get me into trouble with my classes . . . although they haven't so far.  Did I mention that I LOVE living in a small town with an ignorance to marketing?  Well, I do.