What's In This Blog

I created this blog for my journal. I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In this blog I keep many of the things I come across as a member of the church. I also share my experiences on the ACE Train and getting to work, my experiences in Manteca where we have lived for three years, and other things I think are noticeable.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Life in Manteca: 8, Tony and I Continue the Park Review.

Tony and I traveled to Mountain House yesterday to check out more parks.  We had heard there was a web park there, and we actually discovered two web parks.  The first was ***Wicklund.  It had a very pretty lay out, and lots of cottonwood trees to block the wind.  The had some spinning toys, a couple of which needed new grease, but one spun really well.  I spun Tony, and he insisting on spinning me.  I thought I might die.  Tony also tried the webs.  They were scary to me, as their was a big jump from web to web.  The funnest was the rides and slides Tony gave to his toys.  They also had a pioneer type layout set and Tony played there.  I also gave him a swing.  

We met a couple with a with a two-year-old and I ventured to give them a Mormon.org card and discovered they were members and his father is the bishop of the Chester ward in Tracy. 

The couple we met told us about another web park, ***^Central park.  This park had lots of palm trees, but not as much wind break as the first.  Mountain House is at the base of the Altamont Mountains, and the wind farm.  It is very windy there.  Tony loved the sand park at this park.  They also had a couple web toys, one for younger children and one for older.  Tony had fun climbing.  There is a water park here, and Tony took off his shirt to make a run through, but then didn't venture in because the wind was making it very cold.  There is a nice teeter totter. 

We see the climbing, but also Tony's reaction to the wind

What I Heard in Sacrament Meeting Sunday, and what it made me think

Caleb sang and Miranda played, "I do believe."  They set a good mood.

I have been mulling over how to respond to my older two sons for some time, who have both given themselves to "riotous" living as in the words from the "Parable of the Prodigal Son."  I have been wondering if I should send them something, calling them to repentance. 

In sacrament meeting Brother Joe Cazier spoke.  He quoted a story from Russel M. Nelson.  It was about a rafting trip his family took.  Elder Nelson, going over the first rapid, held to his family, and himself ended in the water.  The next rapids he held to the ropes of the raft.  He explained that as parents, we need to hold fast to Jesus and the iron rod of the gospel.  In so doing we set an example for our children, and then the can cling to us or the iron rod, and make it through troubling times.  http://lds.org/general-conference/2001/10/set-in-order-thy-house?lang=eng&query=russell+m+nelson+rafting

Elder Nelson tells us:  Parents are to be living examples of “kindness, and pure knowledge, which … greatly enlarge the soul.”  Each mother and father should lay aside selfish interests and avoid any thought of hypocrisy, physical force, or evil speaking.  Would it be evil speaking to call my sons to repentance.  Or is their a better way.  Elder Nelson says, "All of us can cling to the Lord."

I have been looking at myself.  Are their areas I have fallen short?  I know my sons would probably say yes.  And so I need to rededicate myself, and some how find a way to overcome weakness.  

Memorial Day: Helping Hands and Breakfast

Mormon Helping Hands in the morning.  We cleaned Woodward Park after the big celebration on Sunday.  We were all there but I only have pictures of Tony.  I tried to get Marin and Tony together, but Tony didn't want his picture with her and took off to the playground.  This is Tony's "orange" park that he really likes.  I had to leave early, which is why I don't have pictures of the other kids.  There was a large group there.  I know they ran out of trash bags for everyone.

We put Mark's picture on the table

The high-priest sponsored the memorial day breakfast.  We served pancakes, sausage and eggs, with milk orange juice or water.  There was a very large crowd.  Sister Chance presented on Memorial Day and the sacrifices made by fallen heroes.  It was very moving.  There was a flag ceremony.  Caleb carried the flag.  A group of women sang "The Star Spangled Banner."  Then there was conversation.  Tony had a great time "playing with his friends."  He climbed trees, ran around, climbed hills, and rolled lemons off the hill.  There was a tree with lemons falling on the ground, and more on the tree.  I tried my hand at juggling, and was good for maybe ten juggles.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day: Manteca

Concerts, playground, and memorial, helicopter, fire engine, fireworks, etc.  The had kids play section with bouncy obstacle courses, and Tony enjoyed the "orange park."  It was a fun time.  Late concert by Josh Gracin of American Idol fame.  The kids went to watch. 

Life in Manteca 7: three restaurant reviews, and our weekend

This is the start of Memorial Day weekend.  Sheri and I went our on Friday, but not before I had stopped at Round Table to get pizza for the kids.  **^Round Table is in the shopping center by Big League Dreams.  It is situated in a corner, and I actually went to the wrong door.  I must admit I snacked on the pizza and it was very good.  Our kids pretty much just like pepperoni. 

Sheri and I went to ****Chili's, which is pretty much Sheri's favorite restaurant in the world, but we had never been in Manteca before.  It is in the same shopping center as Round Table, but in an opposite corner.  Sheri likes Chili's for the chips and dip.  It is very good.  We had the two for $20 deal.  Sheri usually has beef fajitas, but this time went with the ribs.  She had the original.  I also had ribs, but with the bolder sauce.  They were very good, but very messy. 

Saturday we attended a funeral as a family, and after drove to Ripon, Sheri had never been there before.  We just drove through, and I showed Sheri the New Hope plaque.  We decided to try **Sonic, which they have in Ripon.  It was the old fashioned drive-in style--not a great choice in Sunday clothes.  We had difficulty getting the order right, as selections were different than we are used to.  Miranda never did get what she wanted.  I liked the idea of tater tots as a choice in addition to fries.   Sheri had onion rings.  Tony wanted a banana drink, and they had a banana shake.  My complaint with Sonic, is we spent more than we do at a regular fast food joint. 

We went to the temple in Oakland with Anthony and Charity.  We also visited the distribution center and bought books and stuff.  Sheri had french dip for dinner. 

Sunday at church Caleb sang and Miranda accompanied.  We are now headed to Woodward Park (Tony's orange park) where they are having memorial day concerts and festivities.  It is a great weekend.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Life in Manteca 6: ****Woodward Park and **^In and Out Burger

Tony and I found a really cool park, which I think is probably the biggest park in Manteca.  It is only a mile from our house.  Caleb, Tony, I and Sparky (on a leash) went there to have fun and so Caleb could walk his dog.  Tony had a ton of fun.  He calls this the orange park now and is always wanting to go back for another turn.  We went twice on Saturday.  They have a very large play structure, and a smaller play structure.  Lots of opportunities for climbing.  Tony has been looking for some webs, and I think he decided the "hot dogs" are enough like a web.  (Calling them a hot dog was his word, and when I looked at them again he was right.)  The park is the major place for outdoor soccer.  There were three fields set up, and another large grassy area not in use.  It also had five basketball hoops, and one set up for full court play.  The back boards were a bit loss, but that could  have been the clunkers the players were throwing up.  Tony could get really high, and I think that is why he wanted the picture of him up high first.  There were lots of different ways to get up to the top, and most involved climbing which he really loves.  This park must be newer as the trees are not very well developed yet.  When they are, it will be very nice.  Woodward Park has been in the paper talking bout parking.  We had to go around again to find a place to park in the parking lot.  There were many on surface streets.  It would be nice to reconfigure the street for more parking.

A couple things happened while we were there.  When we got there there was a band of young people playing.  Later an older people band played.  I discovered it was a foster parent appreciation event.  The young people were foster kids (or had been.)  They were very talented, but their voices where very young.  GK music provided the sound.

The other funny thing is someone approached me and gave me a card for dog grooming.  Caleb and I were talking about how Sparky needed a hair cut. 

Caleb went to a dance rehearsal, big dance festival is June 11 in Stockton, and then a dance after.  I took him to In and Out where he met the Larsens who gave him a ride.   As for In and Out, I guess if you've been in one you've seen them all.  It is the most similar to the other  franchises of any store I have been in--same color, same food, same aprons with a big staple pin.  The only thing I wish about In and Out is a wish I new the lingo to make special orders.  I had a modified monster fries (the sauce in a package.)  It would have been better had the put it on for me, but i didn't know how to order.

There was a tristake dance after the rehearsal.  Caleb said he met someone from San Andreas, wherever that is.  I looked at the map and it is was over North of Angel's Camp.  Other than family stuff, that is pretty much our weekend.  Caleb met with the Bishop with regard to turning 16.  We had company over, and really had a good weekend.

Monday, May 23, 2011

ACE Train 7: Drawbridge


I go through Drawbridge a couple times a day on the train.  This is the By's ghost town.  Originally it was a train town to man the Drawbridges.  It became a hunter's paradise, and most of the buildings were gun clubs.  

It is very hard to get good pictures of Drawbridge from the train, but I have taking a few and wanted to share them.  It is trespassing to visit the island, but others do it.  I have included a link to see some better pictures close up.

Caleb Turns 16: Sunday Dinner and Cake

The Normans (who came in three cars) the Larsens, the Halls, and Ty were all here for Caleb's birthday cake.  Charity again made the cake.  She made a dinosaur with scales.  Sheri prepared Navajo tacos, made our way (with scones instead of fry bread.)

Tony, Anna and Caleb blowing candles

Tony's blue tongue

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My Talk in Sacrament Meeting Today on the Keys of the Priesthood

This is the talk as I wrote it.  I of course added some, and left out some based on what I was moved to talk about and the time.

Talk  5/22/11

Tony likes superheroes.  His favorite is spider man.  He plays with his toys; and sometimes he becomes a favorite character.  He also assigns characters to those around him.  I have been Iron man and Superman and sometimes I am the bad guy with the evil karate chop and he uses his web powers, or his fire powers to ward me off.  

A worthy Priesthood man, in the eternal nature of things, has more power than any super hero.  I loved Elder Uchtdorff’s talk during General priesthood meeting.  He asked, “Are we as priesthood holders living below our privileges when it comes to the sacred power, gifts, and blessings that are our opportunity and right as bearers of God’s priesthood?”

Elder Russel M Nelson said “Priesthood is the authority of God delegated to man to minister for the salvation of men. The power of directing these labors constitutes the keys of the Priesthood.” 

 Joseph F Smith said, “It is necessary that every act performed under this authority shall be done at the proper time and place, in the proper way, and after the proper order. The power of directing these labors constitutes the keys of the Priesthood.” (Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. [1939], 136)

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught “the fundamental principles, government, and doctrine of the Church are vested in the keys of the kingdom.

This month we celebrate the restoration of the Aaronic Priesthood; May 15, 1829.  John the Baptist laid his hands on the heads of Joseph Smith and Oliver
Cowdery and prayed,
 D&C Section 13: 1Upon you my fellow servants, in the name of Messiah I aconfer the bPriesthood of Aaron, which holds the ckeys of the ministering of dangels, and of the gospel of erepentance, and of fbaptism by immersion for the remission of sins; and this shall never be taken again from the earth, until the sons of gLevi do offer again an offering unto the Lord in hrighteousness.

Please note that not only the Aaronic Priesthood was restored, but also the keys.  In like fashion, when the Melchizedek Priesthood was restored, so were the keys of the priesthood and the apostleship. 
We celebrate the restoration of the Melchizedek Priesthood somewhere between May 16-29 of 1829. In section 27 we read,   12And also with Peter, and James, and John, whom I have sent unto you, by whom I have aordained you and confirmed you to be bapostles, and especial cwitnesses of my dname, and bear the keys of your ministry…
In the Ensign of 1996, Larry C Porter noted  
That Joseph and Oliver had previously received the keys of the Melchizedek Priesthood under the hands of Peter, James, and John is further affirmed by the proceedings of the organizational meeting held on 6 April 1830. Without those keys, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery would not have been authorized or would not have had the priesthood power to take the actions they took on that day. Although each already had received the keys of the Melchizedek Priesthood and apostolic authority, Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery ordained each other to be an elder to “signify that they were elders in the newly organized Church.” 1
When Peter James and John restored the priesthood to Oliver Cowdery and Joseph Smith, this included the keys of apostleship.  Additional keys, however, were restored after the dedication of the Kirtland Temple.  Joseph and Oliver first saw a vision of Jesus Christ.  We read in DC 110 11After this avision closed, the heavens were again bopened unto us; and cMoses appeared before us, and committed unto us the dkeys of the egathering of Israel from the four parts of the earth, and the leading of the ten tribes from the land of the fnorth.
 12After this, aElias appeared, and committed the bdispensation of the cgospel of Abraham, saying that in us and our seed all dgenerations after us should be eblessed.
 13After this vision had closed, another great and glorious avision burst upon us; for bElijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said:
 14Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come—
 15To aturn the bhearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse—
 16Therefore, the akeys of this bdispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful cday of the Lord is near, even at the doors.
It is important to have a testimony that these keys have been restored, and are active today.  Henry B Eyring said in a conference address in 2004, “We have to know by inspiration that the priesthood keys are held by those who lead and serve us. That requires the witness of the Spirit.  And that depends upon our testimony that Jesus is the Christ and that He lives and leads His Church. We must also know for ourselves that the Lord restored His Church and the priesthood keys through the Prophet Joseph Smith. And we must have an assurance through the Holy Ghost, refreshed often, that those keys have been passed without interruption to the living prophet and that the Lord blesses and directs His people through the line of priesthood keys which reaches down through presidents of stakes and of districts and through bishops and branch presidents to us, wherever we are and no matter how far from the prophet and the apostles. (Henry B. Eyring Oct 2004, Faith and Keys)
The apostles and prophets have been given all the keys of the priesthood, however only the prophet is given the right to exercise all of these keys.  In the Basic Manuel for Priesthood Holders we read, “The President of the Church, therefore, is the only man on earth who has the power to exercise all of the keys of the priesthood.  However, he delegates certain keys to the leaders who preside in the Church. These men include mission presidents, branch presidents, temple presidents, stake presidents, bishops, and Melchizedek Priesthood quorum presidents. They in turn delegate a portion of their authority (but not their keys) to men and women in their units by setting them apart to different offices and callings.”

In reviewing, the priesthood and the keys of the priesthood are two different things.  The priesthood being the authority delegated to man to minister for the salvation of man.  The power of directing this authority pertains to the keys of the priesthood.  For example, my son Caleb has just turned 16 and will shortly become a priest and have the authority to baptize.  However he will not have the right to baptize, as these keys lie with the Bishop.  The bishop must give permission for this ordinance to be performed.  Similarly, as a high priest, I have the authority to set him apart as a priest, but not the keys. 

When someone is confirmed to the Melchizedek Priesthood, he has been given all the priesthood.  An apostle, bishop or other office does not have more priesthood than a recently confirmed Elder, but they do have more keys.  There are only two priesthoods, Aaronic and Melchizedek, but different offices and keys within that priesthood.

I am reminded of a story told by my stake president growing up, Elder Garth P. Lee.  In stake conference, he brought a black powder rifle which had belonged to his grandfather, and then told this story, which I loosely relate.  There was a proceeding with regards to a property matter which was heard in church court, which was common in that day, between President Lee’s Grandfather and Brigham Young.  The matter was decided in Brigham Young’s favor.  As the meeting dispersed, Brigham Young said something along these lines to this individual, “I imagine you will now just leave the church.” This gentleman’s response was, “I think not.  The church is just as much mine as it is yours.”  This brother knew that, although they had different callings and different keys, they had the same amount of priesthood, and the same claim to priesthood blessings.
Some rights are given to a man automatically when he is given the Aaronic or Melchizedek Priesthood. For instance, when a man receives the Melchizedek Priesthood, he is given the authority to give father’s blessings, to give blessings of comfort, and to administer to the sick. He will hold these rights as long as he bears that priesthood. Even death cannot take this authority from him.
However, there are certain rights that one can be given that are only temporary. A branch president, for example, holds the keys of his branch only for the time he remains branch president. When he is released from that position, he no longer holds these keys.
Those positions which include keys in the church include, in the Aaronic Priesthood, Deacon’s President (it is interesting to note that in our last stake priesthood meeting it was mentioned the deacon’s president will take a larger role in caring for the church buildings), Teacher’s President and Bishop.  The Bishop while an appendage of the Melchizedek Priesthood, presides over the Aaronic priesthood in a ward.

On the other hand in the Melchizedek Priesthood the Stake President presides over a stake.  There are the Elder’s quorum Presidents, patriarch and Stake President.  The stake President is the president of the High Priest quorum. Other church positions with keys are: Mission President, Temple Presidents, apostles and prophet. 

The concept of keys is vital to the Gospel, to prevent confusion, and so all things can be done at the proper time.  Again in the Priesthood Manual we read, “Because the priesthood is sacred, we are told to use it with care. The priesthood is therefore governed in an orderly way to avoid confusion and prevent its misuse. “Behold, mine house is a house of order, saith the Lord God, and not a house of confusion” (D&C 132:8)
One is reminded of Moses who set apart some to be rulers of hundreds, some to be rulers of fifties, and others to be rulers of tens. He then taught them how to preside over their groups. (See Exodus 18:17–22.)
Today our priesthood leaders—bishops and stake, district, mission, branch, and quorum presidents—are given the keys of the priesthood so we can be led in an orderly way and receive the necessary ordinances of the gospel. Church leaders have many responsibilities because they hold keys of the priesthood.
There is a combination of the use of priesthood keys, and the keys inherent in the priesthood.  For example it is with the use of keys and priesthood authority that a couple is sealed in the temple.  However inherent in the role of husband and father are priesthood keys to preside and be patriarch of the family.  Also inherent in the family are the sacred roles of wife and mother.  We are not set apart in these positions, but priesthood plays a vital role in the family.  President McKay said, “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” 
Mission Presidents are called and given keys, our proselyting and ward missionaries are set apart to act in their roles.  However as President McKay said, “Every member a missionary.”  We all can receive insight in how to conduct ourselves to be a light to others, and to invite them to the gospel.  However missionary work is conducted through proper keys and authority.

Another concept is that we all should be anxiously engaged in a good work.  The church is managed by priesthood keys, and home teaching and visiting teaching are instituted for taking care of the temporal needs of church members.  However we all should be sensitive to doing our part.  In Mosiah we learn that as members we should bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; Yea, and mourn with those that bmourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort
When we are called to a position, and set apart, we are in essence borrowing the keys from the person who has keys.  Sometimes we use these “borrowed keys” in fulfilling our duty to help others.  However at other times we use inherent keys of being a priesthood holder or church member in blessing the lives of others.  This can include a priesthood blessing, a word of comfort, or just being a friend.
The Westward migration was organized as near to the organization of the church as possible.  It also looked very much like the organization of the Israelites.  A company President with two counselors, and other company positions as needed.   Bishops were called to lead each group of 100.  These groups of 100 were organized into tent groups of about 20, and wagon or handcart groups of a family or four or five persons. 
My Great Great Grandfather, Isaac Wardle,  as a young man of 19, was part of the Martin Handcart Company.  He had responsibility for his handcart group, setting up his groups tent, and helping with burials.  He used his inherent keys to bless the life of another handcart member.  A member of his handcart group, Langley Bailey, became very ill, and Isaac, helped pull him on the handcart  across the plains.  60 years later, Langley wrote a letter to Isaac.
“I can remember one morning every tent was blowed down but ours.  You did stake our tent down strong and firm.  My dear brother I honor and respect you much more than I can explain.  You and my brother John (he was a boy 15) hauled me on the handcart for hundreds of miles.  Can I forget you.  Can I ever repay you, your kindness.  No.  No.”
Before the snow fell on these Saints, Brigham Young organized a rescue party, knowing they were late and headed for problems.  He sent a call out over the pulpit at general conference in October.  Many men responded to this call, and within just a few days were headed East.  They did not take time to set everyone apart, but they did organize after they had gotten started, and elected a captain. 

Ephraim Hanks was not at conference.  He was fishing commercially on Utah Lake.  He spent the night at a lodge, and heard someone call his voice.  He woke and asked the owner if he had called him.  It wasn’t until the third call that he perceived, “Ephraim, the handcart companies are in trouble.”  The next day Ephraim was on his was to Salt Lake, and from there joined the rescue.  He was behind the other rescuers.  He took a wagon of provisions.  When the rescuers became snowed in, he traded his wagon for a couple of mules, and continued on his way.  He happened to see a buffalo, and shot it and filled it out putting meat on his mules. He then was inspired to shoot another buffalo, and left it.  It was the evening of the next day that he ran onto the handcart company, now mostly in wagons, wending their way to Salt Lake having left Martin’s Cove a couple days before.  He distributed buffalo meat to the company, and the next day they were able to get the second buffalo.  Even though Ephraim came late to the rescue, he is one of two rescuers mentioned in the history of my great great grandfather.  He blessed the Saints and restored many to health.  One brother he brought back from the brink of death.  Those he couldn’t heal, he operated on with his knife, cutting away dead frost bitten flesh.  Many said they didn’t feel pain as he operated.  Ephraim was prepared to exercise his priesthood for the benefit of others.  He lived in such a way that he could hear the voice of the Lord calling him, so his special skills could help the handcart Saints.

Returning to Elder Uchtdorff’s talk, he suggested three things to more fully use the priesthood. 
Read  the owner’s manual
The holy priesthood of God also has an owner’s manual. Let us commit to reading the scriptures and handbooks with more purpose and more focus. Let us begin by rereading sections 20, 84, 107, and 121 of the Doctrine and Covenants. The more we study the purpose, potential, and practical use of the priesthood, the more we will be amazed by its power, and the Spirit will teach us how to access and use that power to bless our families, our communities, and the Church.
Seek revelations of the Spirit
Think of what a glorious thing it is to reach beyond our earthly limitations, to have the eyes of our understanding opened and receive light and knowledge from celestial sources! It is our privilege and opportunity as bearers of the priesthood to seek personal revelation and to learn how to know the truth for ourselves through the sure witness of the Holy Spirit.
Find Joy in Priesthood Service
You may want to ask yourself if you are merely going through the motions as a priesthood bearer—doing what is expected but not experiencing the joy that should be yours. Holding the priesthood gives us abundant opportunities to feel the joy that Ammon expressed: “Have we not great reason to rejoice? … We have been instruments in [the Lord’s] hands of doing this great and marvelous work. Therefore, let us glory … in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice.”(alma   26)
Brother Uchtdorrf concludes, “As you read the scriptures and listen to the words of the prophets with all your heart and mind, the Lord will tell you how to live up to your priesthood privileges. Don’t let a day go by without doing something to act on the promptings of the Spirit.”
This is the Church of Jesus Christ.  He is its head.  I bear testimony that the priesthood keys have been restored, and are used to administer the church.  May we use the keys properly, in doing a good work and being an example of good, In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mr. Aron for Teacher of the Decade

sorry, the pictures are from other concerts, but we had no camera last night
The Spring music concert is always a fun evening at Cupertino High School, and this year was no different.  The four choirs take part in a non formal entertainment, dawning costumes and dance steps.  They perform to recorded music without the voice track.  Two of me girls, Miranda and Charity, and I atended.  Caleb also wanted to be there, but had commitments he couldn't break, including his first official date.

The beginning women's choir, Cantible,  got things started.  Their soloist were very good.  They sang a set from Hairspray.  My only complaint is their costuming.  If they were singing songs from the 60s they should have dressed more modestly than they did.  Their costumes distracted from their music.

I must say the Men's Chorale (largest class at Cupertino High School) stole the show.  The sang a series of "Old and New Pop."  Their dance numbers were the cutest.  There was one choir member, whole wowed the crowd with his butt shaking.  It was very fun.  But the best part of their set was when they turned serious and melancholy with a two song set from, "Plain White Tee's."  The sang "Hey there Delilah" and "1-2-3-4."  I was totally convinced that each of those young men had a love someplace in the world they were singing to.  This is a stretch for me, but I even enjoyed the rap song they sang, "Billionaire."

We were pleased to hear a quintet not in the program sing, "Send it On."  The vocalist did a very good job and it was very pleasing to listen to.  They projected well, and it seemed a present for the graduating seniors.
The advanced women's choir, Cantos, sang a set of songs which had been part of "Glee."   They too sang a more mellow song, "Like a Prayer," which was very moving.  The dancing was most enjoyable for a Madonna song, "Vogue."  The young women were really in character.  The used glow sticks effectively for their last number, "Firework."  When they spun the lights in circles it created an eerie effect.

Capella did a set from "Grease."  They of course had the best vocals, singing more intricate harmonies, and reaching the farthest.  Their men's only and women's only pieces :Hopelessly Devoted" and "Greased Lightning" were not my favorite.  Their set was slowed up with too many costume changes, and too much dialogue (to facilitate the costume changes.)  The singing and dance moves for "Hand Jive" were very intricate and entertaining.  Their last number, "We go Together," was also very good.  It had lots of energy and lots of intricate vocals.

The evening included tributes and honoring of the seniors.  Had we not moved, Miranda would have been on stage and honored as a four-year senior.

The evening then ended with a traditional song for Mr Aron, "Seasons of Love" from Rent.  My girls, Charity and Miranda, who were with me, sang with the choir.  It was fun to watch as many of the choir members were in tear and could not sing.

It was a bitter sweet moment for me.  This is the first choir concert that Mr. Aron conducted at Cupertino that I did not have a child in the game.  If I am not mistaken, that is eleven years.  Natalia was already in the choir when Mr. Aron took over.  In fact, she sang many solos her senior year, and received the first vocal music award Mr. Aron gave out at he school.  There have been four concerts every year, Debut, Winter, Classical and Spring.  There have been other performances such as baccalaureate and graduation.  That means I have attended close to 50 concerts,with my children singing.  This was the first without, and it felt different.

The evening then ended with the choir members chanting, Mr. Aron, Mr. Aron, Mr Aron... as a tribute.  It is amazing how a good man, doing his best, can influence for good so many people.  Mr. Aron has had hundreds of students each year, and I know most of them will say they are better people for the experience.

The past decade has been fun.  I know, having choir as a place of refuge, has kept my children going to school, and even enjoying it at times.  Miranda, as we drove away, talked about how choir was a life saver for her.  I so I say, "Mr. Aron for teacher of the decade." 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Caleb is 16, ***Red Robin

We walked over to the Red Robin to celebrate Caleb's 16th.  We had Ty and Alyssa went with.  Tony was a little dramatic with crossing the rode.  He was lallygagging playing on the wall and such, and didn't get to push the button and then everyone went across without him.  He insisted they come back so he could push the button, but he still wasn't happy. 

It is good to have a restaurant within walking distance.  We can walk and not feel as guilty about about the burgers.  We have been to Red Robin in Dublin and San Jose.  This one is very similar.  Hamburgers is their specialty.  We started off with the onion rings.  I prefer mine with the barbeque sauce.  I also ordered the bottomless root beer float.  They even brought me an entire extra float with ice cream and everything.

I had the mushroom burger with Swiss cheese.  It didn't need ketchup.  I think everyone else had different burgers, except Sheri who had the French onion soup.  She said it wasn't as good as Mimi's.  I tried it and liked it fine, but the bowl was a different size.

Toni had the mac and cheese, but didn't touch it. He was more into playing with the race car arcade game.  I hope he never realizes it's more fun with money put into the game.  I did have to try to get him a stuffed toy with the game thing.  The hostess gave him a couple balloons to keep him happy.

The staff sang for Caleb's birthday, and brought him a Sundae. 

We had an enjoyable walk home.  There was a good breeze blowing, but when we were among buildings it wasn't a big deal.  We had a good time.

We then watched the most part of HOOK until it was time for bed.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

ACE train #6: Harvest, Drawbridge

Just a few quick thoughts about the commute.  I have been watching the fields as the come up.  Already there has been alfalfa cut, and hay bailed and hauled.  I noticed a field with new corn poking through the ground today.  This excites me as I am very anxious for corn on the cob.  There are plenty of fields that I don't recognize the plants, and wish I did.  One is planted in rows with two different crops.  There is what I have thought is winter wheat, but it could be rice.  A field by the river was flooded over, and not near as green as some of the other similar fields. 

The river is very impressive.  It still appears to be swollen.  People talk about the snow pack, and I wonder if it will ever come down.  It at least to me, looks to be beyond its banks.

Everyday I drive by the lakes where the Manteca Water Slides once where.  It advertises lake-side properties, but most are still vacant.  I think the turn in the economy effected someone's dream of having lots of hoes around the little lakes.  There are some homes there however, about 25 percent filled in. 

Today, after getting off the train, and driving home, I noticed a green truck with the word Cannondale, run two stoplights in succession by our house.  I am glad there were no people in the cross walk, but wish they would respect our community a bit more than that.  I guess they were headed to Bass Pro Shop, but they should realize they were next to a residential area where there are small children. 

I am trying to collect pictures of Drawbridge, but the train is fast, and often there is a glare on the windows.  It is hard to get anything good.  However I am going to post what I have soon.  I wish there were a tour to the island, but I called the Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge and was told the best there is, is a van ride to opposite the river where you can see some of the structures.

Book Review: **Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories My Mother Never Told Me. (to mmboe)

Book Review

Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories My Mother Never Told Me.

Editor, Alfred Hitchcock: numerous authors.  1963 Random House, New York

I like to read short stories, and found this book on my shelf.  I am not sure how I came to have this book.  It is actually 23 stories, two novelettes and one novel.

The stories all have an Alfred Hitchcock theme.  He was too centered on cannibalism, as three stories end in this way.  “The Wall-to-Wall Grave” was the story that left me with the strangest feeling.  This story is written by Andrew Benedict.  It portrays a father who gets even with her daughter’s lover, who had jilted her, which resulted in her suicide.  He locked him in a room with a minimal amount of dripping water, and 30 days supply of bread.  And then he just leaves him there.  It is stories like this that trigger my claustrophobia.   

Other stories of note, Ray Bradbury wrote a story about the wind, and its being out to get people.  Witch’s money by John Collier was very humorous.  In back country Spain where people aren’t familiar with checks, the still some form an artist and assume they are real money.  It creates a boom to the economy, but in the end they are not worth anything.

The Arbutus Collar by Jeremiah Digges is worthy of mention.  His philandering daughter-in-law shouldn’t have done so with the beautiful collar made for her.  He warned her it was tricky to get off; he just hadn’t mentioned it might take her head off without his help. 

One novelette was very disturbing, “The Idol of the Flies” by Jane Rice.  From the start I wanted to take the boy in the story and whack him up the side of the head with a 2x4.  I guess he got his in the end.  He would sick flies on people and lay traps for them.  He called for billions of flies to help him, but instead they smothered him. 

“Courtesy of the Road” is a story I remembered, I think from high school literature class.   It testified of the grief of a parent, and his getting even with those who had run over his little girl.

The novel, the final selection in the book, was too much for me.  I enjoyed it as I read it, but did not like the twist at the end.  I think the author must have been sick his self--  “Some of Your Blood” by Theodore Sturgeon.

Overall I would recommend these stories.  I think they are out of print, but I may just donate my copy to the Deseret Industries, as I am pretty sure no one else in the family will want to read it.