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.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Tony's Portrait

Sheri took some Tony pictures in his new Sunday outfit.  I took a couple the next week (this Sunday) showing him after his haircut.  Tony hates haircuts, but his sister is very gentle with him, and he looks so handsome. 

Tony likes to make people laugh

Tony this last week, after his haircut, which do you like better?

Recreating the Role of Matt Foley

A couple of years for the Bishopric's skit at Young Women's Camp I recreated the role of Matt Foley.  The year before was probably better, as the entire skit was based on Matt Foley.  This skit starts half way was we were singing YMCA to begin with.  This is also a platform for me to make a fool of myself in front of my daughter.  I guess that is OK as it is all in fun.  I'm glad someone put it on You Tube to share.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

TV Time: *****Doctor Who Season Six

Dr Who Season 6 is now available through Netflix DVD.  The other seasons are on instant Netflix.  This is a terrific ride.  The season starts with Doctor Who's Death, then goes back and explains things on the road to this event.  There are some incredible turns in the general plot, for example we see the Doctor's marriage to River Song, discover who are her parents, and are introduced to the "Silence."  The Silence are evil creatures who you don't remember when you are not looking at them.  They are like a great conspiracy, manipulating things without anyone knowing about them.  They are still around at the end, and it is the Silence who have decided the Doctor must die.

This series has a greater use of poetry which is highly effective.  It also has a way of bringing back old characters.  In this case the characters are often old nemesis who now owe the Doctor.  This is especially true with the kidnapping of Amy and Rorie's baby girl.  She was conceived in the TARDIS which causes her to have time lord characteristics.

This is a show you have to see.  I watched Doctor Who as a youth, staying up late to watch it on PBS.  The plots and stories were fun then, but the special effects were always lacking.  That is no longer a problem, and the stories have just gotten more intriguing.  I LIKE DOCTOR WHO.

Movie Night: ***Matchstick Men, **^Howls Moving Castle, ***^Water for Elephants

Matchstick Men we watched through Netflix DVD.  This is a Nicholas Cage movie.  It is a con man movie, and has the twist at the end, that although not turning out the way you think, in the end turns out well.  Nicholas Cage's character has a nervous disorder, as a result of his business.  In the end he discovers he cannot be a con man and feel good about himself.  I think you have to like the genre to enjoy this movie.

Howls Moving Castle.  This is available through Instant Netflix.  It is Japanese Animie.  The story is somewhat strange, but it does portray a love story.  I have always wonder about Japanese animation and the way the add significant highlights to the eyes.  This animation has that characteristic.  The story is of a woman who is cursed with being old, and how she overcomes this curse.  This movie I don't think will appeal to those except those who like anything animated.

Water for Elephants we watched through Netflix DVD. This is a classic circus film, but of a minor circus struggling to keep going. It has Reese Witherspoon, the star of the circus who performs with an elephant, and Robert Pattinson, from the Twilight series and the company veterinarian .  They have a love affair, even though Witherspoon is married.  Her husband is the antagonist who abuses the animals, has circus performers or staff thrown off the train when he can't pay them.  Sometimes this results in death.  The climax is when some who have been thrown off, catch up with the circus and let the animals out.  The elephant ends up killing the circus boss, who is killing his wife.  This leaves his wife free to marry and the run of to Ringling Brothers and raise a family.  This movie doe have general appeal I I mildly recommend it.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Movie Night: ***Joseph, King of Dreams

I watched this on Instant Netflix.  This is a Dreamworks animated film.  As I watched there were a couple things that struck me, first is I really didn't enjoy the art.  They tried many times, especially with the dreams, to give it a Van Gogh flavor.  The people were all long and angular, mostly skinny and tall (except the bread maker who was killed.)  The other thing I kept saying to myself is, I prefer the music from Andrew Lloyd Webber's version more.  (Donnie Osmond singing "Close Every Door to Me" gives me goosebumps.)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVWpgmiIbas&feature=fvsr
However, this movie did get to me in the end.  I think that is because of the story of forgiveness and family.  These win out over Joseph's anger towards his brothers.  This is a story that is timeless.

I had an interesting religious experience at the end of this movie.  Joseph was a true prophet, and was prepared to save his family.  Israel, his father, likewise was a patriarch and a true religious man.

Life in Manteca 32: Caleb's County Choir

Caleb started his high school choir career in Manteca this past Saturday.  It is different here because at Sierra High School the are on a block schedule where they take four classes at a time, but a different class each semester.  Consequently beginning choir is the first semester and advanced choir the second.  Caleb took advanced choir, and did not start in choir until this semester.  However he did try out for County Choir, and this is his first concert.  There were two men from Sierra High School in the choir and ten women.  Caleb sang with the tenors.  Alyssa, Caleb's girl friend sings alto and was in the choir.
German Aquilar was the guest conductor for the County Choir.  He is the regular conductor at San Joaquin Delta  College.  Amy Dahlstrom, who conducts choir in Lodi, was the guest accompanist.  The performance was very good.  The highlight was the last song, "Dubula."  This is a South African song with choreography.
There were also band and orchestra presentations.
Choir at the high school this year is going to be different.  There are about 12 men in the choir.  Last year there were no men in the choir.  The choir director is Mr. Talcott.  Many of the songs selected are for women only, and the men are having to create their own part.  Their first concert as a high school choir is next month.  It will be fun to see how they do.  The links below are to county choir.
Summer is Icumen
entire concert

Sheri's Trip to Utah to Meet the New Baby

Rexburg, Natalia and Ty

With Baby Elliott

With Lizzy and Mark

Three boys, Sevi, Elliott and Oli

family portrait
Pictures from Sheri's quick trip to Utah to meet the baby.  She drove to Idaho with her father, and then South with Natalia meeting Mark and Lizzy half way to Logan.  She stayed with my mom in Logan.  Jeremy was in the process of moving to his own place.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ace Train 16: Agnews State Hospital

Between the Diridon Station and Great America Station is the property that use to be the Agnews State Hospital.  This was once a large State Hospital, which came into little use with changes in policy and efforts to keep persons with mental illness at home.  When I first moved to the California, it was mostly a residential facility for those with profound developmental delay and retardation.  Now most of the property has been privatized.  Much of it was turned into low-income housing.  Oracle has a large section of the property.  I once visited the property doing crisis work and visiting a family living in the low-income housing.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

To the Movies: ****Hugo

Tony and I visited the Marketplace Theater where all movies are three dollars.  Hugo 2011 is a movie directed by Martin Scorsese and with Ben Kingsley who of course is better known for playing Ghandi.  It features a couple young actors, Asa Butterfield and Chloe Grace Moretz, Huge ad Isabelle in the movie.  The story is very intriguing.  It never developed into the all powerful revelation I was expecting, but was surprising in the revelations and conclusions it did make.  The show is more about relationships of the boy with those around hi.  He is living in a train station watching the clocks.  This is in fact his Uncle's job, who took him in when his father died.  However his uncle has disappeared.  There is an inspector who likes to grab kids and send them to orphanages.  The boy's father left him and automotron, which together they were trying to repair.  An automotron is essentially a wind up robot.  Tony liked the robot, even though he only moves and works properly once.  This once is enough however to provide the clue that leads to the adventure for Isabelle and Hugo, and in the end changes everyone's life.  This is a feel good movie, which has a happy ending for everyone, even the inspector.  I enjoyed myself, as did Tony.

Ace Train 15: Poor VTA Service

I don't like to talk negative about things, but the VTA (Valley Transportation Authority runs the Light Rail and the buses in Santa Clara County) is getting on my nerves.  When I started the connection between the light rail and the bus 25 worked.  But then they changed the Light Rail schedule.  They now have the light rail, and the bus 25 arriving at the exact same time at the connection I use to make (Fruitdale and the Light Rail.)  It is impossible to get from the Light Rail to the bus stop in 0 seconds, and so I always miss the bus. Besides the bus IS usually early as the driver is more interested in a longer break than picking people up.  (At least it seems that way to me.) The next bus is always late as it is the bus that goes through to De Anza, and they have all the college kids on the bus in addition to the people the earlier bus doesn't pick up.  The connection worked for a while, as there was a driver who would try to accommodate people.  Then the drivers changed, and now it doesn't work at all.  I called to complain after watching the bus drive by and just ignore us (me and other worker at the hospital.) The phone operator would just say, "I wouldn't make that connection."  I guess they thought I should get up a couple hours earlier to take an earlier train from Manteca.  I was lucky to find another connection that works better, by staying on the Light Rail another stop, and taking the bus going up and down Bascom.

However my complaints against VTA go deeper.  I left a bag on the Light Rail.  I realized it within a couple minutes after getting off, but couldn't catch the Light Rail at the next station.  So I called the VTA, to see if I could recover the bag, but also so they knew it was a bag of pillows and not anything to worry about.  The operator was nice.  She called the Light Rail operator and came back on the line and said he had the bag.  Did I want to meet the Light Rail on its return trip or get the bag at lost-and-found.  I had to catch the train so chose to get the bag at lost-and-found.  My mistake.  That was December 29.  I called the next day, and they said it takes longer to get there.  I called the next week, and every couple of days after.  No bag.  They now say they never got the bag, and it is never coming.  There was a gift card to Target in the bag.  I guess the temptation was too great.  I knew when I left the bag, my chances of recovery were slim.  It's just there was that ray of hope, when the VTA phone operator told me they had the bag.  It just doesn't go with the current message, they never had the bag.  Of course they won't let you go through the lost-and-found stuff yourself, so you are left to their whims.

If there were another option, I would be using it.  VTA is a government sponsored monopoly.  They do not have to provide good service, or even be accountable.  So the bottom line, is I continue to use their service, knowing that the service is not good, but for the most part it gets me to and from the train.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Family Baby Pictures

These are baby pictures for all of us in an effort to decide who most looked like Baby Elliott.  Please cast your vote in comments.  Lizzy, if you could please send me a baby picture we can add you to the contest.





Lizzy (Elliott's mother)

Sebastian (Elliott's brother)

Oliver (Elliott's brother)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Life in Manteca 31: New Years Weekend

Leading up to New Years, Grandpa Scoresby came to visit.  We didn't do any special activities, but it was fun to have him here.  We watched the BYU-Saint Mary's basketball game.  BYU did not play well.  Grandpa was hoping to watch the BYU bowl game, but we got the time wrong and his missed it except the last few minutes of the game.  He said he didn't want to go back and watch it because he saw the deciding play when BYU came back and won.

We took down Christmas so most of it was down before Grandpa came, except for the Christmas Card door. 

We generally make a pilgrimage to the beech New Years Day, but this year made the visit New Years Eve.  We had Jesse with Tony, Brooke with Miranda and Alyssa with Caleb.  Also Charity and Anthony were there as well as Anthony's parents and all of his brothers; his sister was not there.  Caleb had the camera, so pictures of everyone are scarce. 

Caleb went to party Christmas Eve, Miranda went to work, but as for me I watched a movie and waited for Caleb to let me know when he needed a ride.  We aren't much for staying up and making noise.

Sheri went with Grandpa Christmas Day.  She plans to see the new baby before coming home  She is also going to Idaho to visit Natalia and Grandpa.  In Logan she will see the baby, Mark, Lizzy, Grandma and Jeremy.

Secret Santa at Work

An email came by suggesting we do a Secret Santa.  As there are two meanings for this, pick a family and be their secret Santa, or do secret Santa gift exchange for each other, I made the suggestion we sponsor a family.  The response was to do secret Santa for a family, if we could come up with an appropriate family.  I suggested a family that is the birth family, and back together family, for children we had in foster care.  They had been living in less than optimum conditions, the room of a friend's house.

After an email from another exfoster parent of the kids, we decided the easiest thing would be a gift card from Target for the family.  Every one at work donated, and in the name of secret, I won't reveal the amount of the card, but it was way more than I had ever dreamed.  We delivered the card, along with gifts some had donated to the mother of the family a few days before Christmas.  At the same time we saw the kids.  The mother was extremely grateful and appreciative.

It felt good to do just a little bit more than usual for Christmas.

The family is moving to their own residence in January, so things are looking up for them.

Stake Conference thoughts, and a few other ideas.

Paul Pieper, of the Quorum of seventy was the visiting general authority at our stake conference.  He talked about having hope in Christ.  He concluded "No one is beyond the reach of Hope in Christ. ...There is brightness of hope in the Savior."  He  mentioned two ways in which Satan tries to destroy our hope in Christ.  The first is by telling us that there is no Christ, or the Christ did not accomplish the atonement.  He talked of Korihor, who represents many anti-Christ people in the Book of Mormon.   "How do ye know of their surety? Behold, ye cannot know of things which ye do not see; therefore ye cannot know that there shall be a Christ."  (Alma 30:15)  Of course this was before Christ's coming, rather than after he has come.  But we have witnesses in the scriptures of his coming.  Still, for many this is not enough.

President Monson said something in this last conference that I have been pondering.  It has to do with receiving truth that is spiritually discerned, rather than intellectually or physically.  I think this is a struggle for many people, as they want to see, and know intellectually, and not have to exercise faith.  These are his words:

"It may appear to you at times that those out in the world are having much more fun than you are. Some of you may feel restricted by the code of conduct to which we in the Church adhere. My brothers and sisters, I declare to you, however, that there is nothing which can bring more joy into our lives or more peace to our souls than the Spirit which can come to us as we follow the Savior and keep the commandments. That Spirit cannot be present at the kinds of activities in which so much of the world participates. The Apostle Paul declared the truth: 'The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.' (1 Corinthians: 14)  The term natural man can refer to any of us if we allow ourselves to be so.  We must be vigilant in a world which has moved so far from that which is spiritual. It is essential that we reject anything that does not conform to our standards, refusing in the process to surrender that which we desire most: eternal life in the kingdom of God. The storms will still beat at our doors from time to time, for they are an inescapable part of our existence in mortality. We, however, will be far better equipped to deal with them, to learn from them, and to overcome them if we have the gospel at our core and the love of the Savior in our hearts. The prophet Isaiah declared, 'The work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.'"  (Isaiah 32:17)

I like the part about things being spiritually discerned.  My father, in his older years, gave up discerning things by the spirit, and decided to rely on his own abilities.    He would not read the Book of Mormon but relied on worldly wisdom.  As a result, he became a bitter man.

I have listened to a C.D. of Jeff Goodrich songs many times, ****"Back to Galilee."  There is one song I have enjoyed particularly called "Beyond the Sun."  Jeff Goodrich talks of his experience of visiting the tomb in Jerusalem, and the feelings he was having.  "From beyond the Sun, beyond the moon; beyond the stars where the galaxies bloom, there come the whispers of heaven, that tell my my Savior lives; He lives."

I know some people would say that these feelings are not real, they are manifestations of ours own desiring.  Or perhaps like Scrooge they would say they are some gastrointestinal action, some undigested undone potato.  Jeff Goodrich also answers this as the song continues.  "From deep in my heart, deep in my soul, deeper than mortal has strength to control, I hear the whispers of heaven, that tell my my Savior lives; He lives"

There are spiritual powers.  They are real, and the testify that Christ lives.  If you have doubt of this, I invite you to read the Book of Mormon, which testifies of Him in written word, and in spirit.

Elder Pieper talked of another way in which we separate ourselves from the hope of Christ.  This is by deciding that we personally are unworthy of receiving his atoning sacrifice.  However if we feel this, we again deny Christ.  While there is no happiness in sin, there is repentance, and the atoning cleansing which comes from Christ  Remember, He has gone below all things, and has paid the price for all, if we accept Him as our Savior.  "...though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.  (Isaiah 1:18)

God lives, and we have hope in Christ.  In this troubled world, we have hope in Christ.  This is my testimony, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.