Monday, July 26, 2010

Weekends / Judy

Why is it that weekends are the only times worth blogging about? It's sure true in our case. So let me begin with Friday. Lloyd and I went to Avila's Fish and Farmer's Market and had great time. It was a beautiful day in Avila and the whole front street is the "market." Actually, there are only two or three actual farmers' booths and the only fish is sold in the restaurant booths.  And food booths of all kinds abound so it's hard to choose. A live band is playing and with the beach in the background, it is a sensual delight. We walked around with a a ripe, fresh mango-on-a-stick, then had other stuff for dinner.

Afterwards we came back to town and saw, "Inception." WOW. It blew me away. One of the reviewers said, "You will be confused and disoriented but trust the director. All will be explained." Very true and I would give that advice to anyone seeing it.

On Saturday we went to Paso to have lunch at the Odyssey Cafe because they have paintings for sale and we are looking for one to put on our wall (replacing the picture of the lighthouse). We didn't see any we loved, but we had a good lunch with Kristen anyway.

Sunday morning I picked up Marilyn at the airport and she will stay with us for a few days. Always a treat.
In Church Barbara led the music in Sacrament Meeting. She and Ben have been called as ward choristers and they will take turns. She went first because Ben was singing in church. He sang a Primary song called, "I Will" and I loved it.

I feel funny just "talking" with no pictures, but I do want to keep everyone updated. Just remember I'm older and not used to this new-fangled technology stuff. That excuse is as good as any.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Lloyd's Job / Judy

Lloyd sure has an interesting job. Last night he had to wrestle a patient to the ground, then with the help of a couple other staff members, held him there nearly 20 minutes. As you can imagine, poor Lloyd is pretty sore today. He says he can keep this job as long as he can physically do that when necessary.

I think he's amazing; he can do things, not only physical things like that, but dealing with all kinds of people, that very few people can do. Last night Michael and Yvonne came to visit and they said several people at their party last Saturday mentioned Lloyd and what a great guy he was.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Days Off / Judy

I love Lloyd's days off because then I also have permission to have time off. I already told about Friday so here goes about Saturday. As usual, Lloyd spent the morning at the prison with his support group of inmates. He gets home around 11:30 and we often go out to lunch. We went to Tahoe Joe's, which we like a lot, but it's a little pricey for dinner so lunch is the better option. Afterwards we spent some time in the library (one of our favorite things to do), then of course nap time.

While we were sleeping, Ben took a call from Lloyd's nephew, Matthew, who said his parents were coming to town to help him move back home. (He just graduated from Cal Poly's five-year architecture course and will be going home while he looks for a job.) So they invited us to go out to dinner with them: Matthew, Sidney and Mike. It was a VERY nice evening; we sat outside at a great Italian restaurant and had a wonderful visit. It was good to sort of have closure after looking out for Matthew while he was here. We really don't usually go out to eat twice in one day, but this was unexpected and a special occasion.

At night, we watched the old movie, "Marty" with Grandpa. I highly recommend it, although kids won't like it. It was made in 1955 and is in black and white, but it won four oscars and is a very simple, very touching story. They really don't make them like that any more. One thing I found interesting about it was how it showed what life was like in 1955.

Tonight Lloyd is at work, of course, and Ben is getting ready for tomorrow. He is going to be the director for Camp Melodrama for the next four weeks. It lasts from 8:30 till noon five days a week and there will be 53 kids ages 7-17 expecting great things. Ben is excited about doing this, but tonight is a little nervous.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Updates / Judy

I've decided I like other people's blogs so much that I want to contribute too. (Besides, I am disappointed when they don't update for long periods of time.) I think my life is pretty boring, but I'm sure other people feel the same way about their lives. However, I still want to hear about their lives so I'm assuming someone might feel the same about mine. One problem is that I probably won't have pictures very often--even though they are what make a blog especially interesting. In my case I'll have to rely on text.

Yesterday was Lloyd's day off. He spent it working on stuff for his volunteer position at the prison and I worked around the house (translation: I read most of the afternoon). Jonathan is painting the outside of our house (Christopher helps sometimes, but it's mostly Jonathan). We used one back wall to try three different colors of paint before we settled on one and I really like it. It looks gray when he puts it on next to the white primer, but when the whole wall is covered, it looks like a light blue.

Last night Lloyd and I went to the melodrama and thoroughly enjoyed it--it was classic melodrama and vaudeville. In fact, I think it was one of the better things they've done for a while. Ben is working there at the box office during the day, but he stayed and saw it with us last night. One of the things we always look forward to is the food there. We always get a polish sausage and potato salad and Lloyd said he started salivating for it as soon as we were inside the door.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Gold Country--The Mother Lode / Judy

It's been so long since I did a blog, especially with pictures, that I hope I can remember how to do it. (Click on the pictures to enlarge them and see the details better.) Here goes: Last week was Lloyd's annual vacation so we went somewhere we've always wanted to go, but never had. It's called the California Gold Country and it's between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe and it's all about the Gold Rush. I guess I'll tell about each day, then try to put the pictures in somehow.

We left on Monday and it took about six hours to drive to a little town called Sutter Creek, where we stayed all week at a wonderful Victorian-style bed and breakfast called The Foxes Inn. That first night we ate across the street at the Palace, which obviously used to be an old saloon.

In this picture of the Inn, our room was the one in front on the second floor.

And here's inside. It was full of antiques and wonderful little touches and a large bathroom with a big, claw-footed tub AND big shower.

I have to say something about those gourmet breakfasts we had. They looked beautiful and were such a work of art we almost couldn't eat them, but we managed. Usually we ate out in the garden, (where Lloyd is in this picture) but a couple times we had it in our room. Check out those fruit cups, which were the first course.

This is my French toast one morning. Look at the tiny butter dish with the tiny blossom on the right below the (heated) syrup pitcher.

Anyway, on Tuesday we explored Sutter Creek, which had lots of quaint stores, including antique stores (they always just look like Goodwill to me), tea rooms, a museum of a turn of the century store, and a music box store.

We lingered there quite a while and for Mother's Day Lloyd bought me a music box and had them put in the tune "La Vie en Rose," which is what my Grandma Hansen had in her music box. We had lunch at the ice cream emporium and afterwards drove to El Dorado Hills to a big shopping center because I'd forgotten to bring any sox, of all things, and had to get some. Then we had some soup at Chili's and went to see "How to Train Your Dragon" in 3-D at the IMAX theater. Awesome! Why can't we have an Imax here?

Wednesday we went to the Sacrament temple, which was only a little over an hour away and went to two sessions. Since it was Cinco de Mayo, for dinner we had fajitas at Chili's.

Thursday we explored more of the area around Sutter Creek. We toured the Sutter Creek Gold Mine and learned what a hard life miners had, and probably still do. The guy above was our guide and has spent his life and still is a gold miner. He says when you see pictures of groups of miners they are always frowning because they always have a headache. And, besides a shortened life, that is just one of the problems with the profession. You can also see the veins of white quartz in the side which is what they dig out and find the gold inside. At one place we saw little pieces of gold winking in the middle of the quartz.

The sluice above is where we panned for gold. We bought a bag of sand guaranteed to have a few gold flakes in it and they showed us how to swish it around in the plate through the water. It was fascinating how the gold, tiny as it was, shone through the sand and was not too hard to find. SO much fun!

Also, that afternoon we explored a big deep cave with lots of weird stalagtites (above) called helictites.

That night we went to a smaller town called Plymouth where we ate at an incredible restaurant called Taste. The town looks run down and a little seedy, but this restaurant looks very urban and would have fit right in in San Francisco. I understand people come from all over, including Sacramento and the Bay Area to eat there. I should have taken pictures of that food because it was amazing to look at as well as incredibly delicious.

Friday we drove up to Placerville, a little bigger town with an historic downtown and lots more shops where we spent most of the day. Then we went back to El Dorado Hills because we'd bought tickets to see "Iron Man 2" in the IMAX. Before the show, we ate at a Thai restaurant that gave us so much food we brought a lot home and were still eating it several days later. Fortunately it was so good we wanted to. We enjoyed the movie a lot, although I still think the first one was better, but frankly, ANYTHING is fantastic on that screen.

Saturday we went south instead of north and saw the towns of Jackson, where we spent a couple hours in a used book store, Murphy, which looks a lot like Sutter Creek, and Angel's Camp (above), which is famous as the site of Mark Twain's story about the jumping frog of Calaveras County.

I was about to take a picture of this carving when this big guy comes out of the store and asks, "Do you want a picture of the artist too?" I said sure so here he is with his artwork.

 On both sides of the sidewalk, every few feet they have these plaques with the year, length of jump, and name of the champion frog for that year.

We ended up that evening in Copperopolis. We were able to see a very local version of a melodrama which was a fund raiser for the volunteer firemen. The play was written by a local woman and everybody knew everybody else in the audience and the cast and we were obviously the strangers in town. But it was a fun play and we had corn dogs and sloppy joes there.

Sunday we went to church at the nearby Jackson Ward and people were very friendly. We even met an older man who'd once lived in San Luis and knew my dad and remembered Lloyd as a red-haired teenager.

The Inn had fixed us a fabulous picnic basket, even including the tablecloth, which we took to a place called the Amador Flower Farm. (Lloyd was really happier than he looks, but he was eating.) It was drizzly and most of the flowers weren't in bloom yet, but it was an interesting place, like this little house below, which is part of the corn maze during the Fall.

Then we drove further north to Auburn, quite a big place but which had more of the same flavor of all the little towns around we'd seen. Hint: if you go, don't drive up Highway 49, which is steep, narrow and full of twists and turns.

The whole trip was fun and relaxing and wonderful. We enjoyed seeing a different part of California that we'd never seen before and listening to books on tape as we drove around. But most of all, we enjoyed being together (Lloyd is always a fun date). And on Monday we came home, where it was nice to sleep in our own bed again.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Poetry on the Sabbath / Lloyd

All my life I have been careful to avoid employment that required me to work on Sundays. In our family, Judy and I made it a church and family day. And I think it helped us create a culture that celebrated interpersonal, family relationships at the center of our lives. The Sunday difference became an important core value even though my employment frequently uprooted us, and we had to keep starting over again in new communities and schools. It helped especially when I had to commute far distances and work long hours--unable to be home for dinner every night.

So it was gut wrenching experience this month when new management at the maximum security forensic psychiatric hospital where I work, arbitrarily and totally unresponsive to my pleas for accommodation, reassigned my days off from Sunday/Monday to Friday/Saturday.  Level-of-care hospital service is 24/7; and so I realize now how fortunate I have been to have had Sunday’s off these many years.

To set Sunday apart I proposed and was granted permission to facilitate a Poetry Reading and Writing Group. We only have a few participants each time, but the subject matter provides an opportunity to indentify and discuss values; and surprising enough, they are often spiritual and intensely personal.

We’ve been talking about relationships. And to illustrate the dynamic nature of relationships, I offered the following observation about couples: Your girlfriend may become your wife, your wife may become pregnant, but everything changes when she becomes a mother. Here’s the poem with illustrations:

“When Girlfriends Become Mothers”

I married my girlfriend.
And when she became pregnant
she moved about clumsily,
but we were much the same.

Then my girlfriend gave birth.
She became a mother
and I, a father.
And we had to become reacquainted.

When I worked in a New York City Methadone Maintenance Clinic, clients told me, “We don’t have friends, we have associates.”  One of the participants in our poetry group told me that “friends” differ from “associates” in that the former is “motivated by love,” and the latter by “selfish gain.”  Through the years I’ve asked street people to differentiate the two but never received such a succinct and thoughtful response.

The same respondent put together the following poem:

Policemen love felons,
Psychiatric nurses love psychos, and
Heart surgeons love heart patients.
They have compassion on the patients
as they treat them,
But not the same kind of compassion
that made them heart surgeons.
The compassion becomes complete
(the two compassions become 1).
Husband and Wife.

Next week they want to explore “Dignity.”  While these men may all be felons and suffer from a variety of serious and persistent psychiatric disorders, I have learned they are not throwaways. I expect to learn a lot and come away buoyed up on my Sunday’s. And hopefully I can provide a venue for them that is decidedly different from the intently secular institution.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wedding Brainstorm: How To Ensure The Marriage Ceremony Isn't Lost In The Shuffle Of The Wedding / Lloyd

My nephew called to say he was planning to get married, and the going rate for a full wedding in their area was about $28,000. We've enjoyed 8 wedding celebrations with our children without being overwhelmed by expenses. He wondered if he could bounce a few ideas off us. So our family put together a Blog: Wedding Brainstorm to facilitate the conversation.

Many of us have recounted our personal wedding experiences. But Tuesday I posted an article from a community that bewails the expectation to have wedding budgets in the six-figure range--typically from $150,000 to $300,000.

Although reading the article gave me the feeling that I was eavesdropping (like a fly on the wall), this extreme example of expensive weddings and the pressures and resulting negative emotions expressed (especially in the comment section) helped me get a better grasp of the dynamics involved even for weddings with much smaller budgets.

If there's a wedding in your future, you may find the postings at Wedding Brainstorm interesting, even helpful. Please feel free to comment and join in the conversation. Rules for keeping the discussion upbeat and constructive are posted.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Tender Feelings Of An Adoptive Father / Lloyd

Tonight, while researching questions I have about adoption and becoming the seed of Abraham, I came across this short and personal article by Elder Theodore M. Burton. He and I worked together on several issues while I was stationed with the Army in Germany and he was the general authority for Europe with headquarters in Frankfurt. Two issues were: 1) official coercion of military medical personnel to perform abortions in military hospitals, and 2) intimidation of single female members of the military to thereby terminate their pregnancies. Little did I know of his own deep feelings about the issue as may be inferred from the following article (Theodore M. Burton, "A Special Child," Liahona, Jul 1980):

Once upon a time a husband and wife who loved each other very much wanted to have a child of their very own to hold and to cuddle and to love. As time passed and they had no children, they prayed to their Heavenly to send them a special child. Heavenly Father heard their prayers.

One day this husband and wife received a telephone call to go to a distant city to meet with some people who said they had a tiny baby that this man and his wife could adopt. Excited and filled with anticipation, they made the journey in their car. When they arrived at the city, they went to a certain home and there they were taken into a room where they saw a tiny baby laying in the middle of a big bed waiting for them. There really is such a thing as love at first sight, for when this husband and wife saw that little boy lying there all alone, they immediately loved him. They took him home with them and loved the baby so much that they talked about him as their own beloved son.

Yet in spite of great love for that little baby, they had a fear in their hearts that they might not be able to keep him as their very own child. They first had to see a judge and ask if they could adopt this baby according to law. Because the judge wanted to make sure the little boy would be properly cared for, he first had to find out if the husband and his wife loved each other, if they had a good and happy home, and if they had enough money to feed and clothe the baby.

It took time for the judge to decide all these questions and all the while the love of the husband and his wife for the baby grew and grew. Finally, the judge gave legal consent for the couple to adopt the baby and this was done. Now the baby was their very own special child and their fear was gone that he would be taken away from them. Still, the judge could only give them permission to have the child during their lifetime on this earth. But they loved that baby more than that! They believed in Jesus and knew that Jesus had more power than the judge. Jesus could give them the child forever and ever and not just for this life only.

After the adoption papers had been signed and the baby had been given a name, the couple took their son with them to a temple of God. There they dressed in white clothes and dressed the little boy in white clothes too. Then they all knelt down at an alter in the temple. A man who held a special priesthood sealed that little boy to his new father and mother so that the family could be together forever. Now this boy really was their own special child!

I know that this story is true, because I am that father who loves his very own special child more every day and, as mothers do, my wife loves him even more. Every child who lives in such a family where love is can also feel he or she is a very special child.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

When girlfriends become mothers / Lloyd

I facilitate a Poetry Reading and Writing Group at a forensic psychiatric hospital. We were talking about relationships, and I wrote the following to illustrate how relationships are dynamic. Your girlfriend may become your wife, your wife may become pregnant, but everything changes when she becomes a mother.

I married my girlfriend.
And when she became pregnant
she moved about clumsily,
but we were much the same.

Then when my girlfriend gave birth,
she became a mother;
I became a father.
And we had to become reacquainted.

dynamic relationship--lloyd

Sunday, February 14, 2010

A Unique Gospel Culture --The Law of Adoption / Lloyd

The Law of Adoption is a Fundamental Doctrine of the Gospel
There is a unique gospel culture, a set of values and expectations and practices common to all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This gospel way of life comes from the plan of salvation, the commandments of God, and the teachings of the living prophets. It is given expression in the way we raise our families and live our individual lives. The principles stated in the family proclamation are a beautiful expression of our gospel culture. . . The traditions of culture or way of life of a people inevitably include some practices that must be changed by those who wish to qualify for God's choicest blessings. . . This requires us to make some changes from our family culture, our ethnic culture, or our national culture. We must change all elements of our behavior that are in conflict with gospel commandments, covenants, and culture. (See Dallin H. Oaks, "Repentance and Change," Ensign, Nov 2003, 37, and  "Priesthood Authority in the Family and the Church," Ensign, Nov 2005, 24)
Bringing our lives into conformity with the gospel culture often requires rejecting or repenting of behaviors and practices that are tolerated, expected or even endorsed in the world in which we live, such as mistreatment of women, dishonesty, and sexual immorality.

Bringing our lives into conformity with the gospel culture usually includes developing a refinement of the spirit as evidenced by increased modesty in our clothing and speech and by choosing uplifting music, literature, and other forms of entertainment, with a general shift in the amount of the time we spend pursuing entertainment and material goals to education and service.

Bringing our lives into conformity with the gospel culture will almost certainly include expanding our vision and the active development of opportunities to love and serve family members, both past and present, and friends, neighbors, and strangers--especially the poor and needy among us. Examples are doing quiet acts of charity, sharing the gospel, performing family history and temple work, contributing to the perpetual education fund, and responding to the special needs of others in times of natural disaster.

One of the greatest forms of love and service that is absolutely central to the purpose of mortality and is the most refining of all mortal activity is having and raising children, including reaching out and adopting children whose parents put them up for adoption or who are orphaned. When children are born under the covenant, or subsequently sealed to their parents, they receive extraordinary blessings and vital protections that can be obtained only through temple ordinances. (See Posting  "Our Wandering Children are not Lost," April 19, 2001)

The Law of Adoption is at the Heart of the Gospel and is Required by All who Inherit Eternal Life
In setting forth that all men must be born again to gain salvation, . . .this means they must be "born of God, changed from their carnal and fallen sate, to a state of righteousness, being redeemed of God, becoming his sons and daughters. " (Mosiah 27:25) Whose sons and whose daughters do we become when we are born again? Who is our new Father? The answer is, Christ is our Father; we become his children by adoption; he makes us members of His family.  (Mosiah 5:7) (See Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah, 1978)
Furthermore, there is process and order in organizing the familial lines of those who qualify to be heirs of eternal life, the sons and daughters of Christ, and joint heirs with Him. Men and women of whatever literal blood lineage become, through adoption, the seed of Abraham and the elect of God as they receive and magnify the covenants of the temple, especially the new and everlasting covenant of marriage. (D&C 84:33-39 and D&C 132: 19-21)

Therefore, to paraphrase King Benjamin, will we suffer little children to remain orphaned when we ourselves are also completely dependent upon the law of adoption for our exaltation. King Benjamin does counsel, "It is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength." (Mosiah 4: 16, 19, 27).  Perhaps if we have the means of extending the blessings of the temple to children at risk, we shouldn't dismiss out of hand the idea of adopting them.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Peace of God, Which Passeth All Understanding / Guest

My friend Bill Sydnor gave me permission to share his talk on "Peace" from Sacrament Meeting this Morning:

Sometimes when I wake up quite early, I go for a walk around the neighborhood. It's still dark. The streets and homes are quiet; everything is calm and still. In the east there is a hint of sunrise and the tree branches sway gently in the light breeze. I enjoy these early walks for the fresh air and for a sense of tranquility. It's a peaceful way to start a new day, and I usually find this invigorating and refreshing.

There are several kinds of peace: political, spiritual, and inner peace.

Political or Worldly Peace
The quest for enduring political peace is as old as civilization; mankind has a poor record of keeping treaties that promise an end to conflict. Over the past four or five thousand years, there have been wars in countries all over the globe, millions of lives lost in warfare, and untold suffering. Despite man's sincere effort to achieve lasting political peace, I believe this will be impossible to achieve until the Prince of Peace returns. Until we put off the natural man and become as a little child, until we learn to follow the will of the Father and not our own, we cannot enjoy world-wide peace. We cannot issue a mandate declaring peace and expect it to be followed. We begin to understand that lasting peace comes from within, not from without.

However, we can find peace in our personal lives, and promote peace within our home, amongst our family members, within our community, and wherever we are. We can be emissaries of peace. How is this to be accomplished? We must seek the Peace of God because it is a gift of the Spirit.

The Peace of God
If we are constantly concerned about such things as money, employment, and physical health, we are without the peace of God because we have become self-centered instead of God-centered. We are not placing our full trust in Him. We are saying, "Thank you God, but I can handle this myself." The Savior knew that there would be no peace on earth. In the book of John, he told his disciples, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 12:27) In Isaiah, the scriptures read, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee." (Isaiah 26:3)

From this sense of inner spiritual peace will come a sense of well-being and increased self-confidence. These are spiritual skills that need to be developed and come to us when we learn to put ourselves in his hands.

If we cannot legislate world peace, if we cannot make it come by decree, what can we do to bring peace into our lives? To feel the peace of God we must draw closer unto our Heavenly Father. We do this through prayer and meditation, seeking the gift of the Holy Ghost. We must stop what we are doing for awhile and turn our thoughts to our Father in Heaven. As we do so, the concerns of the world fall away for the time being.

Inner Peace
Prayer is essential to developing inner peace. When we offer prayer, we humble ourselves, acknowledge our weakness, and learn what we need to do to put ourselves in harmony with his will. If we do this regularly, life becomes more tranquil, more peaceful because we have the gift of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter. We have an inner knowing that our Heavenly Father cares about us, and that our lives are meaningful to him, and that he cares about each one of us individually. We are his spirit children. He knows our needs, our sorrows, and our joys.

Through prayer and meditation we learn to let the spirit flow into us, to comfort us. Each morning let our thoughts drift out over the coming day. Visualize each expected event and situation and the spirit prompting us each step of the way. We especially feel the Comforter by attending Church and by entering the Temple, truly away from the world for a time, to provide great service.

As an inner harmony and tranquility develops within us, others notice our increased ability to handle things, and peace spreads to them. A sense of compassion for others may arise, and we find ourselves in service to them.  We become more accepting of those about us and less judgmental.

In Paul's epistle to the Philippians, he closes with these words, "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7) [Emphasis added]

This deep sense of endless peace is ours as a heritage. All we need to do is reach out for it, and it will become ours.

After the meeting Bill said that he chose the hymns for the service and especially appreciated the second verse from Hymn 114: Come Unto Him with emphasis on the second stanza. (Text by Theodore E. Curtis and Music by  Hugh W. Dougall.)

When I am filled with strong desire
And ask a boon of him, I see
No miracle of living fire,
But what I ask flows into me.
And when the tempest rages high
I feel no arm around me thrust,
But ev'ry storm goes rolling by
When I repose in him my trust.

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