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: In high school I had a friend - well, more of a friend-of-friends - named James. He got punched during the Senior picture because he was wearing a shirt that said "I love Satan". Much ado followed. I thought about this today because I was reading about Korihor, the "antichrist", and how the law could have no hold on him because there was no law against a man's belief.

Another little story about James: One time he walked home with me and we sat on the porch talking until Mom came home. (We weren't allowed to have boys in the house if no one was home.) We hung out for a few hours, and after he left Mom said, "that's the kind of boy I used to bring home to my parents."

: I really do have things to say. I just keep forgetting them.

I went to Jamie's last night, to print domestic shipping labels and box up the international stuff for me to take to the P.O. I also took all of Tammy's kits and brought back stuff for Jamie's November kits. More work!

Poor Tyler has croup. Like I told John, I'd never seen a three-year-old with bags under his eyes before.

Noelle: There's always a way sometimes. ... Just maybe not this time.

[Comments] (2) : The password for my weblog is a random set of characters given me by Leonard when he first set the page up in 1999. (Yes, I had a blog before anyone knew what a "blog" was.) If I think too hard about it, I have no idea what it is, and the characters get all mixed up. I just have to type without thinking.

On the other hand, I recently had to change my password at work and I am having the opposite problem. I have to think very hard before typing my password to remember that it isn't the one I've been using for the last 3 months. We have to lock our computers when we step away, so I have to do this all the time.

In related news, my 90 day review is coming up, a bit early since Andrea is going on a cruise next week. Hmm. Is she really going on a cruise and leaving me as the Responsible Head of HR for a week? I hope they hire an HR manager soon.

: I am page #14 in a search for "chocolate gummy shark".

[Comments] (1) Am I behind the times?: The other day I noticed that the only powdered laundry soap Von's had was a few huge boxes. I figured it just didn't have a great selection because it was a grocery store. But when I bought soap at Target I was again met with a dismaying selection. I am wondering if maybe people don't use powdered laundry detergent anymore. Or maybe just not in California.

Also, I have been stubbornly not rinsing off dishes when loading the dishwasher to prove that the point of a dishwasher is to wash the dishes for you (not after you). What do you know: it works. And, by the way, we have the most ancient, low-tech dishwasher.

[Comments] (5) Free Sample: Sometimes at work when I am bored during lunch or something, I sign up for free samples on the internet. I was thinking about writing this today while using the Pantene shampoo and conditioner samples I got last week. Then today when I went to check the mail, I got two more samples, including two Quaker granola bars. Yum.

Basil Update #2: I have four remaining basil plants (I picked the rest out). They are over 1 foot tall and I have used the leaves in three things: BLTs, grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato-zucchini pasta. Very yummy. I'm glad we moved to a place where I could grow happy basil.

: Yesterday, when I got home from the Post Office, I took a nap. I was so tired I decided I would just not worry about being grumpy when I woke up (I always am) and just get some sleep. I didn't wake up until John got home. Luckily I wasn't grumpy, but I was very confused for about 1/2 hour.

Andrea is on a cruise to Mexico. She gave me a two-page list of things to do in the meantime, including prepare for an audit next week. Noelle and I have both been very busy all week- we've been working hard. *gets out list* Should be a busy week.

Pizza Dough: I thought I had already posted this- I mean any recipe John likes has to be good. But apparently not. The dough part is a mix of two recipes, one from my sister-in-law, one from the internet.

1 c. warm water
1 T. yeast
1 T. sugar
2 T. oil
3 c. flour
2 t. crushed garlic
1 t. oregano
fresh basil leaves, torn

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add sugar, oil and spices. Mix well. Gradually add flour to form a stiff dough. Knead until smooth. Rise in covered, greased bowl until double. Pre-bake at 375° for 5 minutes before topping. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes.

I don't always let it rise; it turns out ok if I just put it in the pan, top it and bake. If you do this, you don't have to pre-bake it.

Anyway, this makes two pizzas, so I usually divide it in half after rising, and put half in the freezer, wrapped in plastic wrap then foil. To use, it thaw overnight in the fridge, then sit on the counter for an hour to warm up, then roll onto the pan and let rise for another 1/2 hour. Two pizzas for the work of one.

Postbreak: On Tuesday I asked our postman if he'd had a nice holiday. He told me that he went to the dentist in the morning, and when he got home, said to himself, "I wonder if the mail's here yet..."

[Comments] (2) All Dressed Up and Nothing To Do: We are have a theme-by-department Halloween contest at work. Noelle and I spent some time looking on the internet for cute ideas for three people. Any suggestions?

With no kits to make and no new books to read and no scrapbooking to do, I found myself at a loss this afternoon. Of course, if I had more energy I probably would have put it to use better.

So yes, I am *practically* caught up on my scrapbooking. I still have one Christmas page to do, and Grandpa's funeral. I am waiting until Sunday when I can get some inks from Jamie. I want to use my cute leaf stamps, but I don't have any leaf-colored ink. So that's the holdup. In the meantime, I thought I'd write a bit. Very little physical energy required at least.

Personal History: I was reading an article, in The Ensign I think, about a grandparent who is writing down his personal history in vignettes rather than trying to, you know, write his personal history. So I thought I would do the same with some of my memories I've been wanting to record. Once I got started I kept thinking of so many things I wanted to add. I had to make a list so I wouldn't forget anything.

So if you've been wanting to do anything like this, trust me, it's easy. All you have to do is get started, and type fast enough to keep up with the ideas.

[Comments] (8) Yard Memories: Our house on Napa Rd. had a huge yard. It was plenty big enough for my many outdoor adventures.

I remember Leonard teaching me how to ride a bike. We had an old blue dirt bike - that one was the best, until of course I got my ten-speed. We’d ride around the yard, up the hill on one side, down on the other. I fell and scraped my right knee pretty badly going up the hill one time. I had three huge, nasty cuts that hurt when I washed them in the bathtub. But I thought I was pretty cool wearing shorts to school to show my scabs. We’d also ride down the road to the reservoirs. The guys in trucks checking on the fields were all ok with “we live down the road” when they found us wandering around.

Leonard also taught me how to place tennis, over by the palm tree with the owl. I was so proud that I could hit the ball over the pool.

We loved to go around the yard and find treasures – anything little piece of metal. My collecting spot was in the fenced-in pool filter area.

We grew a beautiful garden into what used to be a horse corral. I remember corn, watermelon, and berries. Leonard also grew loofah on the fences. In other areas of the yard, we had orange, lemon and grapefruit trees and later grew peaches, apples and nectarines. In the summer, I would make a bowl of macaroni and cheese with peas and a big glass of milk and eat it on the hammock under the lemon tree.

When we first moved to the house there was an old “shack” in the corner of the corral. It was probably really just a piece of tin with two sticks on one side and the fence on the other. Leonard was the only one big enough to get up there. That was where he stored the treasures he found. I remember being upset when the “shack” fell during a storm, before I was big enough to climb up on it.

One year, Mom built us a beautiful treehouse. It was big enough for slumber parties and had a hole with a rope through it so we could climb down. It also had a little “porch” with a sign that said “Our Precious Kitties.” And the kitties would actually sleep there! Our two Preskool chairs were up there, and a little white shelf to hold our treasures. The trees it was built on grew collections of seeds with red needles sticking out of them. We used to pretend it was pepper. There was also a beam across with rings and a swing. I used to go out and swing on the swing and sing Primary songs to myself. I remember doing that while Rachel was riding her bike by. We also had a tire swing (how cool was that) and a giant wooden spool – I think the spool was inherited with the house in Arvin.

One of my favorite spots was a tree in the northwest corner. I needed our little Playskool chair to climb up to the main branch at first, but from there I could scamper up the branch and lean myself against it while looking out over the fields. I could see cars coming down Rancho road. I could see across the grapevines to the orange groves. I could see the birds flying across the sky. I could see the mountains to the east. I loved to climb up there and rest myself against the branch and just think. I’ll admit there were some initials carved into the branch, where no one but me could find them. But I don’t remember what they are.

Ah the pool. Elizabeth Velez and I had a synchronized swimming routine that we practiced for years. I also loved spinning around with my fingers just grazing the water. Leonard was famous for his backflips, with his long hair trailing out behind. I remember learning how to dive – and trying to teach Rachel. She was too scared to just lean forward. I loved to swim all the way across underwater. I remember filling up the pool every year and having a little party. It seemed magical, for some reason, when it was only half full. I even remember swimming when the pool was nasty and green. We were just jumping in and getting out, jumping in and getting out. We always had pet frogs, which were thrown over the fence without dismay. But I would go around and carefully “save” any ladybugs, ink bugs or caterpillars I could find.

We had two water tanks, one new and one old. I am pretty sure I remember climbing on them, although that can't have been allowed. There was also one of those cement wells. I always wanted to climb up and see inside of it. I think I saw inside of a different one and it was just dirt on the bottom. But so intriguing!

4,000 year-old noodle?: I'm suspicious

I love living in California!!!: We went to California Adventure last night; the rollercoaster is open! We went on it twice, getting Fastpasses for the second time and going on Triton's carousel in between. John was on a seahorse; I was on an otter who was "swimming" tummy-up. Anyway, the rollercoaster is open just in time for the Chadwick Disneyland Trip next week. Hurray! It's an awesome ride. I mean, who wouldn't love going upside-down in between Mickey ears? No one.

We also went to see the show, Golden Dreams. It was an interesting little movie about the settling and development of California. Starring Whoopi Goldeberg as Califia, inspiring the hearts of men and women throughout the ages! It made me cry.

Princess Count: 6 at California Adventure and 2 at Disneyland (we wandered over to go on Indiana Jones). Each of the past two Friday nights at Disneyland we only saw three little princesses.

: John took me to dinner at a place called "Lee's Sandwiches" over by UCI. Afterwards, we walked around campus with our strawberry smoothie. The afternoon wind brought in some evening clouds, but no rain. We went in the hot tub, I made Texas Sheet Cake and John has studied the rest of the day, like the good boy he is.

: Nursery today. Even though we were a bit unprepared with the lesson (my fault) we actually managed to have a little one, because we had kids that could talk this week! Although I was exhausted and drooled on, I think I will enjoy this calling. By the way, the drool thing totally grossed me out. I guess it's just different when it's your own kid. I didn't have a problem with it when it was "my" little Romanians drooling on me. I also had a girl cry all over my new shirt for 10 minutes. That'll teach me to wear new clothes to nursery.

Spent some time at Jamie and David's. John asked if I was bored because I didn't do any work there today, but I wasn't. I enjoyed talking to Jamie and helping with dinner and playing video games. I was actually winning at "Mario Baseball", but Tyler didn't like that and started crying so we left.

We are very excited for this week. The Chadwicks (all of them!) are coming down on Wednesday night. We are spending Thursday and Friday at Disneyland and Saturday at the beach. Besides having fun with my nieces and nephews, that means only three days of work this week! This is good news because we're having an audit and it's "business professional" and I don't have quite enough really nice clothes. Plus short work weeks are always nice. Plus, Disneyland!

[Comments] (1) Gloomy Day: The weather outside agrees with me. It has been rainy since yesterday evening. Noelle has the flu, so I got to sit at the front desk and look at the yucky weather all day. I'm sure she won't be back tomorrow, but hopefully later this week, because I am taking Thursday and Friday off! I did her work all day because it is do-able at the front desk, so not very much of my work got done. Even still I ran out of things to do around 3:15. I lost a record 9 games of Spider in a row. I won the tenth one, just in time to go home. Actually, late, because the 4-5 person forgot and I had to call her and wait. I have also had a headache since this afternoon.

I gave a ride to a lady who walks to the train station, since the weather was yucky and we were leaving at the same time. It made me feel a little better. I think I was blessed for it, because I went to the store to buy spice cake mix to make John's famous muffins, and they were on sale.

I made Chicken Satay for the Elders tonight. Such nice boys. I hope they had a good meal. We enjoyed talking with them. I hope I get more sleep tonight. I just enjoy having John around during those hours I should be in bed, I can't help but talk to him!

[Comments] (5) : John and I got new cell phones last night. I got the old one out so I could program phone numbers at lunch, and I had two messages. One was a wrong number, the other was Linda Wren! She called because they couldn't find some training records I had boxed up and put in storage. It was nice to talk to her and hear about her almost grandbaby.

I have begun reading Lemony Snicket's The Penultimate Peril. It is already very good, especially compared to the earlier books in the series. You can read the first chapter online here.

The Chadwicks are all on their way to California! I am so excited for our weekend o' fun!

[Comments] (5) : We had an excellent "vacation" with the Chadwicks in town. Thursday and Friday were spent at Disneyland and California Adventure, where we did just about everything and only lost two kids. Saturday we spent a few hours at the beach in less-than-ideal weather. It was a really great time. Here are some highlights:

The Never-Ending Birthday, Part 4: Nathan and Ashley, and Brook and Erin brought me birthday gifts. It's like the birthday that keeps on giving! Ashley picked out some cute Disney scrapbook paper, stamps and stickers. Ember picked out a teddy bear dressed as a witch. Her official name is Mrs. Gitzy Potter (As in Mrs. Harry Potter, Gitzy because it's printed on her paw and I can't get away from it, and also as in Mrs. Potts, the teapot.)

I've never noticed the effect of having a fall* birthday before, but aside from my costumed teddy bear, there is the dark orange spatula David picked out (I have already used it like, ten times) and the pumpkin bundt pan. Anyway, I'm spoiled.

*I don't actually have a fall birthday. It is right at the end of Summer.

[Comments] (3) Rave about Vons and soup: I shop at Vons. Not only is it closer, the people are nicer. I went to Albertsons and they were rude and wouldn't take my coupon. At Vons, several people always ask me if I'm finding everything alright, and they actually help me if I say no. The Vons I shop at recently remodeled and is having a grand reopening. I like that store so much I shopped there through the remodeling, even things were moved around a lot. One time 5 of the items I was looking for were missing prices!

Anyway, today continues the grand reopening and they were having free samples. I also got a book with $80 of coupons on Vons brand stuff and some coupons for some free items. I got a sample of their yummy Signature soup, all the free items, and used three of the other coupons. I have finally succeeded in "saving" over 50% using my Vonscard and coupons.

I was going to buy the soup anyway because I had a buy-one-get-one-free coupon and John had been eyeing it earlier. But after I tried the Tuscan Tomato Basil Bisque I had to get it. It was so delicious!!! I have finally found a soup that is comparable to the Soup Kitchen in Salt Lake. It's not the same, but equally yummy. I also bought a container of the Fajita Chicken Chowder. Shall post a review once I try it.

: John is in Cleveland for some training. He called me while he was waiting outside in the cold for his shuttle. In the cold. So glad we live in SoCal!!

I thought the world was awfully dark this morning with out him. But then I realized it was probably because I had gotten up to go to work 1/2 hour early. I am leaving work at 3 and going in search of cheese-costume making materials. I would prefer a nice piece of foam, cut a hole for my head and some "cheesy" holes. But I don't want to spend more than $10. I will make a sandwich board out of foamboard if I have to.

[Comments] (2) : The foam at JoAnns was green, so I ended out with 2 yards of "costume felt". I don't think I needed the whole two yards, but at 70% off I paid less than $2 so I can hardly complain. I made a tunic-shaped thing (ok I cut a hole for my head in the middle of a rectangular piece of felt), but I am debating making Swiss-cheese holes because the felt is very orange. It's more like Kraft Singles colored, so maybe I will wrap myself in plastic. I also made a little headscarf out of an extra piece. It's actually kind of cute. You know, for a bright orange piece of felt tied to my head.

After over a year and five tries, I have finally finished my scrapbook page of Grandpa's funeral. I kept having a hard time when I sat down to do it and I'd end up staring into space. Or I'd want it to be perfect and put it off so I could get the right supplies. Anyway, it's done. I'm not 100% happy with it, but it tells the story I want it to.

Why did the train cross the road? To get to the other side.: I drive over some railroad tracks on my way to (and from) work. I thought they weren't used for several reasons:

1. Someone at work said the ones behind our office aren't in use.

2. There are none of those gates that come down for when trains pass.

3. People always stop on them.

The other day the lights were flashing red and the cars were all stopped but there was no train. Then I looked and saw one with, like, two cars slowly making it's way away. If anything this proves my theory.

[Comments] (1) : Grandma Mary died this week. As her second husband, my Great-Grandpa Call, has been dead for 15 years (?), I'm sure she is much happier. So I am glad for her getting to go to a better place. I remember visiting Grandma Mary's house when I was very young. She had toys in her cupboard, some toy that was pulled along with a string, and I remember her kitchen.

: I am having a lovely time visiting Mom in Bakersfield. I got here around 7 last night and we sat and talked and looked at pictures, played with Gretel etc. Rachel got home late and I was in bed reading, but she made me stay up and talk to her. (I guess I really didn't mind that much.) This morning Mom and I worked in the front yard for a while, getting it ready for more bulbs to be planted. I saw 22 worms.

We went to a baby shower for Jenifer (James) Griffin's new little boy. It was really good to see her, Bobby and Nancy James. Also saw Tim Overturf's mom. And it was at Fresh Choice, can't beat that. And the baby was very cute.

Mom is napping and I am picking up something for Rachel's halloween costume. We are eating dinner together then Mom and I are going to visit Grandma Rosie. She fell last week and is in convalesence. I hope she will be glad to see us. Rachel wants me to stick around and hang out with her after MLI, so I will get home late tonight. But it will be a good trip!

Jellybean snores.

[Comments] (5) MArk: MArk, are you there? I don't know if he's there, are you, MArk, Mark, are you there? I don't know, If you're there, please email. your. button.

: Our costumes (Cat, Mouse and Cheese) at work, while not being great costumes, were very creative. Everyone laughed hard when I said I was "Cheese!" We didn't win, but we hardly expected to. There is always some overachieving department. Today was no exception - they even decorated their cubicles. They deserved it.

Very busy busy week. I have a lot of work to do for Jamie, and I'm going back to Bakersfield on Thursday night. I will probably be taking a lot of this work with me. We'll see.

Tonight (after the Post Office and grocery shopping, and John getting back from LA) we are going to a Halloween party a young family in the ward is throwing. I will still be cheese.

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