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.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Health As I See It: Adolescents, Familial Break-up and Grieving.

When I was in graduate school, I wrote a paper on separation issues in adolescents.  It was titled “Adolescents, familial break-up, and grieving.”  I wanted to share a few excerpts and ides based on those.
In my experience working at Utah Boys Ranch I have noticed a common theme among many of the boys.  A majority of the boys come from families which have experienced loss of a parental figure; or have lost both parents.  Many are form single parent families or from reconstituted families. … It is estimated one third of all children will experience such a loss before they are 18.
Although impossible to predict each time some correlations have been made between loss and adolescent behaviors.  Some of these are: increased delinquency, lack of self-esteem, taking on more responsibility and reduced intellectual ability.  Henry Epstein (1955) found a correlation between delinquency and family life.  He studied to life histories of delinquent and maladjusted persons and found an “unwontedly large proportion of individual separated from their families for an extended period in their tender years.”
Another study by David Offord (1979) had similar results.  The control group of young women showed 22 percent came from broken homes, as compared to delinquent young women 66 percent came from broken homes. 
Eric Poole and Robert Regoli (1979) also conducted a study, but concluded that in addition to lack of parental support at home, the influence of peers also needed to be considered. 
Other problems besides delinquency are the result of family problems.  Alec Roy (1981) found parental loss before age 17 was the most constant predictor of adult depression.  Reduced intellectual ability was noted by Laus Bergman (1981).  “The most important influences on intellectual development are found in the early home environment.”  He noted males were more susceptible to decreased performance due to family disruption than males.  He also noted the effect was diluted depending on the individual’s ability to catch up.
Another aspect of a broken home is that the children have to grow up faster.  Adolescents take on increased responsibility with the loss of a parent, often taking on chores, nurturing younger children, being a parental confident, or in the case of abandonment actually taking on the parental role.
Adolescence has been described as a river through which a child must cross to reach adulthood.  How the child handles this crossing is based on preparation and inner strength. (Charnley 1955).  The youth is dealing with a changing body and increased sexual drives, emotional emancipation, social influence of peers, and values clarification.  Eriksen says the crisis of adolescence is identity vs. diffusion.  The question facing the teen is “Who am I?”  This question has many aspects: sexual, social, vocational, family, and personal.  Inability to answer these questions leads to: rebellion, cliques, breaking laws, and defying societal standards.  Children of loss have a harder time answering these questions.
Another task of adolescence is emancipation.  A stable home can facilitate this process.  A missing family, or family that has experienced loss, is a less effective springboard for launching children into adulthood.
Overlaying these concerns is how the child has handled loss.  Claudia Jewitt (1982) feels healthy grieving can take up to two years.  Jewitt describes three stages of grief: early grief, the initial shock, denial and alarm of a loss; acute grief, yearning and ping and searching for the lost person, strong emotional feeling, disorganization, despair and reorganization; and subsiding grief which includes integration of the loss and a sense of mastery.
Yorick Spiegel (1973) notes that with grief there is regression.  The person’s self is deflated.  Following this loss, there is a period of reintegration, where the child adapts to the new environment.  After this the child’s functioning could actually can be improved, about the same, or less functional than before the loss. 
In conclusion it is important to remember that a loss does not equal delinquency.  However it does indicate that someone is at risk.  This is a population for whom prevention services would be beneficial.  Family break-up, grieving and loss added to adolescence is a good predictor of behavioral problem if adequate steps are not taken to provide social support and help youth deal with inner feelings.

Health As I See It: Pamphlet Review: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

National Institute of Mental Health: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: National Institutes of Health.
This is a free pamphlet available from NIMH which you can order through the internet.  If gives a very good description of what is PTSD using the criteria set for in DSM.  PTSD is an anxiety condition which manifests after someone has experienced a dangerous event, either personally or through others who are close.  The diagnosis requires one re-experiencing symptoms such as flashback, bad dreams or frightening thoughts; three avoidance symptoms such as, staying away from places, event, objects which remind you of the event, feeling numb, feeling guilt, depression or worry, losing interest in activities that were previously enjoyable and having trouble remembering things about the event; and two hyper-arousal symptoms such as being easily startled, feeling tense or on edge or having difficulty sleeping or having angry outbursts.  While it is normal to have some effect from living through a dangerous event, PTSD symptoms have usually lasted for more than a month.  In young children symptoms may include a regression in learned behavior—such as wetting the bed when they did not before, forgetting or not being able to talk, acting out the scary event in play or being unusually clingy.
There are risk factors for PTS as well as resilience factors.  Risk issues include getting hurt, living through a dangerous event, history of mental illness, seeing people hurt or killed, feeling horror, helpless or extreme fear, having little social contact, having extra stress.  Resilience factors include seeking support from other people, finding a support group, feeling good about your own actions, being able to respond effectively despite fear. 
PTSD can respond well to talk therapies.  Cognitive Behavioral therapy, with cognitive restructuring, stress inoculation and exposure therapies can help.  In some cases medications can help with feeling of hopelessness.  Zoloft and Paxil have been approved, but need to be taken with care as they have been shown to increase the risk of suicide, especially in young people. 
Mass trauma (such as an earth quake or large event) is a special incident where many people have been traumatized at the same time.  Psychological debriefing, where you talk with a group of people, has not been proven to be effective.  However helping people regain some control over their lives is helpful.  Efforts should include: getting to a safe place, seeing a doctor if injured, getting food and water, contacting loved ones and leaning what is being done to help.  In this instance, educational support can be beneficial.
Another aspect of mass trauma, is that the helping community will also be traumatized.  Special care should be taken so those helping do not break down from the stress. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mormon Movie Review: The Prodigal Son


The Prodigal Son is a movie produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1991.  Many organizations help open houses that year to introduce the video.  This video tells the story of three men, father and two sons.  (It is based on the traditional Bible story, but has a modern setting.)  The younger brother has been away for some time, pursuing a life of sin.  During this time his mother passes away.  He finally hits bottom, gets into rehab, and starts to turn his life around.  His older brother goes to get him, but knowing the type of person his brother is he hardly talks to him on the ride home.
This is a movie of forgiveness, and forgiving.  Sometimes we begrudge forgiving.  I like the theme of the movie, reminding us that we all come up short and need the Savior as our redeemer.  He died for all of us, equally.  There is no good in trying to determine who is the greater sinner.  His atonement is for all.  His atonement can overcome our personal pride, we have to turn our hearts to Him.
I really like this movie.  My only complaint is the men are so handsome, it almost makes it so I can't relate.  However the theme is timeless. 

Life in Manteca 69: Restaurant Review: ****Athens Burgers

Athens Burgers makes a mean patty melt.  Patty melt is one of my favorite sandwiches, I love rye bread, especially when is is grilled in butter.  That is the case here.  You can't eat it without getting your fingers dirty.  They asked if I wanted onions and pickles, and I said yes; pickles are grilled right into the sandwich.  It was very good.  I dipped it in ketchup for extra flavor.  There fries are also very well done, not under fried as sometimes happens, but nice and crispy.
It is a bit pricey, but not too bad.  I ate for under eight dollars.  I drank water being cautious of sugar.  The fries don't come included in the meal.
I didn't venture into the Greek burgers, but may have to try.  They said they have ingredients molded into the burger.  I would also like to try their mushroom burger. 
The decor is somewhat old.  The atmosphere could have been nicer or redone, but I go to a restaurant to eat, not look around.  They had a big t.v. with the sound low so you could watch but not real
ly listen.

If You Are Mormon, Why?

April McMurtrey has posed an interesting question.  A question that takes some thought.
The first reason that comes to mind, is the feelings of peace and recognition that comes to me when I hear inspired talks at church, or at conference.  When I hear the prophet speak, or for that matter any of the conference speakers, but especially the prophet, I have that feeling inside that says this is a prophet, or this is a man or woman of God, and what they are saying will help me be a better person. 
Along with this, comes the assurance that the story of the Church is a true story.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is in fact a restoration of the ancient Church of Jesus Christ as established by Jesus Himself in Jerusalem and in the new world.  The gospel message of Faith, Repentance, Baptism, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, Endure to the End, and Eternal Life is God's Good News. 
I know this message is a true message, because I have prayed about it, and received the witness of the Holy Ghost that it is true.  God Lives, Jesus is the Christ, Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, we have a living prophet today.
The great thing about this message, is that others receive the same assurance.  Through prayer, study of the Book of Mormon, and earnest desire, millions have reached the same conclusion and testimony.  God speaks today.  He has a prophet on the Earth with twelve apostles.  His Gospel has been restored and rolls forth in glory.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Restaurant Reviews: My Thoughts on Chocolate Dipped Cones

I love chocolate dipped cones, and they are especially nice in the summer.  The only thing better than a chocolate dipped cone is a butterscotch dipped cone.
There is chocolate dipped cones at the McDonalds by work.  I have noticed that this is not their specialty, and the cones show the result.  I had one there that was really good, and a couple that were small, the chocolate didn't really set, and was thin.  It is lucky if you get the right person making the cone.
I tried out Foster Freeze.  It was very good.  There ice cream is particularly delicious.  One interesting note about Foster Freeze in Manteca is the calorie display is more prominent than the price.  I was worried for a second thinking a peanut butter ice cream cone was like eleven dollars.
As for Dairy Queen, there dipped cones are very good.  The very best is the butterscotch dipped cones available at the Dairy Queen on Winchester in Campbell.  The Dairy Queen in Manteca does not offer butterscotch other than on their Dilly Bars which are dipped elsewhere.  Sometimes Dairy offers a cherry dipped cone, but I have never ventured to try.
As near as I can tell, Sonic doesn't dip their cones.  I Purchased a Breyer's Ice Cream called "Crispy Chocolate."  It seems is have the same effect as a dipped cone but you can't hold it in your hand.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Three Missionary Farewell Talks and a Baptism in One Day

Caleb is not here this week, so it becomes my job to report on all the missionary goodbyes he is missing today.  There were two in our ward, Clayton Williams and Phillip Herrera as well as one in the Ripon Ward, Ben Tolman.  I must admit I skipped part of priesthood meeting to go and listen in.
In our ward the theme was covenants.  Clayton after given and overview of covenants through our lives, focused on the baptismal covenant.  He told a cute story of his own baptism, and having to be baptized twice because his toe came up.  I guess that is embarrassing when you are eight.  However he gave a good idea of the obligations we take upon ourselves at baptism, commiting to help those who stand in need and being willing to witness for Jesus in whatever circumstance we might be in.
Phillip focused on the oath and covenant of the priesthood.  He read to us from D&C 4, the list of things which qualify us for the work.  And faith, hope, charity and love, with and eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work.  
Remember faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience,  brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, diligence.
He focused on faith from that point.
Ben talked more on choices and free agency.  All three missionaries expressed gratitude for those who had helped them get to the point where they are leaving on missions.
A couple weeks ago we had a returning missionary speak, Elder Joe Ekland.  He also talked about covenants, with a focus on missionary work.  He indicated it isn't hard to ask some one if they would like to see a presentation about our religion.
This pm I went back to the church for a baptism.  The missionaries have been teaching Darrin Williams and he was baptized today.  Caleb had visited him with the missionaries, and I express his desire to have been there. 
It was a very beautiful service.  Sister Smith played for Sister Ward.  They sang "I know my Redeemer Lives" but to the music for "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief."  Sister Dees visited from Oak Grove where she is now serving.  There were lots of visitors.  I talked with grandmother, and she set up a date to visit with the missionaries.  Another young lady was also there who has been investigating, as well as Darring

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Health As I See It: Mental Illness and Premature Death

I came across and article on Fox News suggestion that bipolar disorder result in an earlier death rate of about ten years.  This articles contends there are a couple reasons for this.  The suicide rate is high among people with bipolar disorder.  However this is not enough to contend for the entire loss of ten years.  Other contributing factors may be, the nature of the disease, side effects of medications, and lack of health care.
However this earlier study contends that the life expectancy of those with mental illness can be up to 25 years shorter than the average life span.  This points out a much bigger problem.  The increase in morbidity is attributed to several factors:
Preventable risk factors including: smoking, alcohol consumption, poor nutrition and obesity, lack of exercise, "unsafe" sexual behavior, IV drug usage, and exposure to TB in a residential setting.
Vulnerabilities including: Homelessness, victimization, unemployment, poverty, incarceration and social isolation.
Impact of mental health symptoms: impaired reality, disorganized thought processed, impulsivity, paranoia, mood instability, lack of motivation and hopelessness.
Issues as the result of medications: masking physical health symptoms, metabolic syndrome, reduction in pain sensitivity, side effects, weight gain, high tryglicerides, diabetes.
Lack of access to health care.
Lack of coordination between mental health and health care providers.
This article does not indicate if there are underlying physical issues as a result of the mental illness.  However negative effects of a mental illness result in less motivation to engage in needed health care services.
This article proposes a three prong attack to solve the problem.  The first proposal is encouraging families and the community to develop a vision of integrated care.  By integrated care they mean getting physical health care and mental health care in the same place. care
Next to actually achieve integrated physical and behavioral health care through advocacy and education.  And finally to pursue client centered care that is recovery and wellness focused.
This article is a bit dated, and some progress is being made, but very slowly.  There are still mental health clients to lack access to physical health care.  It is also too easy to gain weight on certain medications, and this can lead to other health issues.

Documentary:The Bridge (Suicide) and my Thoughts (to health)

This is a documentary that was presented on HBO.  It was a bit difficult to watch. I had to do it in several parts.  If this subject is a problem for someone, it would be best they not watch.  The Bridge is a 2006 documentary film by Eric Steel that tells the stories of a handful of few individuals who committed suicide at the Golden Gate Bridge in 2004.  They had two cameras filming the bridge  during daylight hours.
This movie was introduced to me at a training I attended this week at work dealing with "Mental Health First Aid."  In the training the presented just one story, of the individual who jumped and survived.  They trainers were making the point that perhaps if someone how, there were times when, if a mental health first aid intervention had been offered, the individual may not have jumped. 
This movie is very impactful.  I don't know how many suicides were taped in the making of this film, but there were several, and many were shown.  The movie becomes more personal as they talk to survivors of suicide, and then show the suicide.  There is one case where someone is able to pull someone back over the railing.
The movie contends that more suicides have taken place here than any other place in the world. 
I was impressed with the showing, and telling of the stories of people in pain.  Some suffered from depression, or other mental illnesses.  Some were homeless, some with substance issues.  There abuse were 24 suicides in 2004 off the bridge.  There were those with relationship issues, and those with loss issues.  It helped me as a mental health worker to step back, and see people as individuals in pain, rather than just callers, or clients. 
Before leaving this some words of advice from someone who has manned the suicide and crisis line, and after-hours line for most of my professional career, 30 years now.  Do not be afraid to ask someone if they are contemplating suicide.  Don't no be afraid to ask, because the asking might save someone's life.  But also be prepared to give some assitance if the answer is "yes." You can refer to a crisis line:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-talk
Santa Clara County Suicide Line  1-855-278-4208
You can explore self-help resources: a friend, a parent, a church leader, a coach whoever.
However: always take it seriously.  Do not minimize how someone else feels.  People hurt, and need support sometimes to make it through a rough period.  Professional help is available: 911, nearest emergency room, county mental health Santa Clara County 1-800-704-0500.
If you would have trouble seeing someone jump to their death, do not watch this movie.  It shows several jumpers, and follows some as they fall.

Pray for the Missionaries

As Caleb prepares for his mission, I have become more interested in what is happening to other missionaries.  The stories about missionaries and danger seem to jump out at me.  There was a missionary on the train in Spain.  This story does not say what happened to his companion.
This story is about a motor vehicle accident that took the life of a missionary.  The missionary was in the back of a truck during a service activity and the truck rolled over.  The other three missionaries were OK.
So please, lets keep praying for our missionaries.  They are not immune from danger.  Let us pray for their success, and for their safety.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

What Does Pioneer Day Mean to Me

Since yesterday was the 24th of July, pioneer day, I have been putting thought into what significance this day has for me.  When I lived in Salt Lake it was a day to have off work.  Growing up it was a day to head to Mendon in the evening and watch some good softball and maybe visit the snack shack. 
However, as I have become more involved it has become a time to become more nostalgic and remember my forbears.  This includes many who crossed the ocean by sail boat, and then the planes by foot.  There are those in the family who did not make it.  Little babies buried in Saint Louis, or Boston, and on the planes.  And also great great great grandmother Ashton who passed away shortly after giving birth, and is buried in the vicinity of Winter Quarters.  These babies and children and adults have not been visited after their burials, in fact, in most cases, burial sites are not known to the family. 
And then of course there are those ancestors who survived, and provided a pioneer heritage of fortitude, and perseverance, and faith in God.  Who dared come to a new land, take on the life of farming, and make a living for themselves.
It is to these ancestors I am grateful for the heritage they have left me.  I try to respect that heritage in my daily activities.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Health As I See It: ADHD France vs USA: Two Views

Stimulant medication for the treatment of ADHD is prescribed much less often in France than in the United States.  I have seen at least three explanations for this, all of which very likely contain part of the truth.
This first article from Psychology Today" points out that in the U .S. nine percent of children take stimulant medication.  This compares  to half a percent in France.  This article contends this is due to the different definitions of the disease in the two countries.  In the U.S. it is considered the result of brain function; while in France the focus is on psycho/social dynamics.  This different concept leads to looking for underlying causes for behavioral issues, and the use of therapy to look at and resolve these issues.  The differing result is psychotherapy vs medications as the first treatment choice for this illness.  The article contends the more holistic approach of the more holistic approach of the French allows for consideration of dietary effects.  Also different approaches to child-rearing may contribute to the difference.
On the other hand, other articles contend the difference is lack of awareness or diagnosis outside of the United States, however, the rate of ADHD seems to be similar to many other countries.  Another idea is that in the U.S. with mythologize behaviors, so as to pass responsibility.
This last article indicates that governmental restrictions around the use of ADHD medication in France might cause much of the difference.  He points out that in France it takes over two years to be diagnosed with ADHD.  Also prescription of stimulant medication has to be started in a hospital setting.  With different regulations, it is evident why there would be a differnce in the prescription rate.
I think all of these ideas have some merit.  In working with children, I have seem some who were severely effected by ADHD symptoms, and to deprive them of medication would have been catastrophic.  However, it is important to look at holistic health, and use this concept as a spring board to improve the lives of these children, without neglecting those who are truly in need.  Maybe medication should not always be the first answer. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Religion: Is it Beneficial?

I saw a post on Facebook purporting the evils of religion.  It was saying people who are religious are more racist, more adulterous, more divorces, more murderous etc etc.  (I wish I could find it again so I could include the whole list, it was really long)  The bottom line was religion made you a worse person rather than a better person.  (I wanted to find it again so I could respond.  This is what I would have said.)
I know, from my psephology days, that you can manipulate data to say what you want.  You can manipulate the sample, the people you are sampling, and even the questions.  I don't know their process, nor do I know the pool, so in the end this data doesn't mean much.
What I do know I know is religion is personal.  I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I live it and love it. For me religion has made me a better person.  I am kinder, I find peace in the eternal nature of families.  I find peace in the feelings of the Spirit in my heart.  K
nowing that the family is eternal, and that the sealing powers have been restored, brings me love and peace.

Movie Time: ***^Battle for Terra

Battle for Terra is a 2007 computer animated movie.  The drawing are very similar to "Ants."  This movie bits the remainders of the human race vs the original inhabitants Terra.  At first they arrive in a large space ship as explorers, collecting some of the native inhabitants.  A group of small ships come collecting.  Mala seems them take her father, and tries to get them to also take her, but she is left, so she pursues a ship.  She is seen as being hostile and the ship begins shooting at her.  Using her knowledge of local terrain, she causes the ship to crash, but then rescues the pilot, Stanton.  She and the pilot form a relationship, as she nurses him back to health.
He takes her to the human ship, to inform the people of what the natives are like.  The humans are torn about how to proceed, with the military wanting to bully their way in.  The military effects a coup, determined that the only choice is war.
There is some logic to this.  The air of Terra is not suitable for humans.  It has to be changed, which would make the air not suitable for Terrians.  The humans have only a three month supply of oxygen, not enough to go elsewhere.  There is a tremendous battle as the humans employ a machine to change the air.  The air is almost changed, when Stanton realizes what exactly is happening.   He turns on the machine, blowing it and himself up.
 The movie ends, with a few of a domed city on Terra, where the humans are able to live, while also allowing the continued existence of the Terrians.  A win for diplomacy.  This won the Toronto Film Festival for animation.  I found it mildly entertaining, but Tony was drawn to it when I started watching, and watched it with me.

Sanborn Camping 2013

This last week Sheri took the kids camping and I made it up one night, they only stayed two, but had planned three.  Sheri said there were a couple deer close to camp, but they had not issues with raccoons.  Caleb saw seven dear in the meadow when he went down to get breakfast from the car.  They were by the bathroom, and he decided not to go so as to not disturb them.  here were a couple bucks.
I later changed his story.  There were seven deer lined up waiting for the restroom.  Caleb tried to cut in front of them, and which point one of the bucks said, "No way buddy" so he had to hold it as deer take a very long time in the potty.
We were in campsite 24.  If you no Sanborn, it is a pretty good hike to the campsites; not far, but the trail is steep.
Jeremy and Kayla spent the night with us, and Charity and Anthony came up for dinner.  Sherie was just finishing wrapping the tinfoil dinners and getting them on the coals when I got there.
Tony and Anthony built a fort in a hollowed out redwood stump, and we all played mafia after dinner.  Smores were also available.  It was a no fire night, but we did throw one log on for the marshmallow roasting.

Tony's Art 2

I was so impressed with Tony's penguin, I had to do a Tony art page.  These are things he has drawn this summer.  He is six and going into first grade.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Goodbye Angie and Children

We thought this might happen.  With the passing of Gary Norman, Angie has decided to return to Cache Valley.  They are shortly moving to North Logan.  Gary and Angie have been stables at Christmas parties, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas day ever since we moved to California 21 years ago.  Many other occasions we would also get together when we did things with Dianna's family, boating lake house trips, camping etc.  Angie is hoping to be in Utah for school.  The girls and Tom are all moving.

Tony enjoying himself on the rings at the Normans. 
He also told me he went down the water slide by himself with no one catching him at the bottom.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Movie Night: ****Grease, Musical

This movie was on AMC.  Grease was first released in 1978.  It is one of those movies which does not loss its charm over time.  It stars John Travolta and Olivia Newton John as Danny Zuko and Sandy Olsen.  They have fallen for each other over the summer, and never expect to see each other again.  However by chance, Sandy is enrolled in the same school as Zuko.  They meet again, but now Zuko is so interested in maintaining his image with the boys, greaser leather jacket types, that he almost chases Sandy away.  Sandy joins the cheer squad, and they are in two different worlds.
Zuko, takes some self thought, overcomes his pride and apologizes.  He decides to become a jock, like what Sandy likes.  They get back together for a time, but a dance night with national Bandstand on hand spoils everything.  Zuko wins with a past girlfriend.  Now what will Sandy do to keep her man.  She reforms bad, which is what Rizo (one of the pink girls was hoping for all along.)
This movie is fun, and the music is catching.  I think the theme in the end may be wrong, that you give up your standards for a guy.  I know there has to be give and take in a relationship, but there still needs to be some standards of behavior.
The songs that work for me: Grease, (Sometimes when I try to sing Saturday Night Fever, this song comes out.  I know why now as it is written by Barry Gibb.)
Summer Nights: Travolta sparkles when he remembers his summer love, especially at the end.
You’re the One that I Want: This song summarizes the relationship.  This song really brings the house down as the sing going through the fun house at the same time.
We go Together:  This song summarizes the last day of school and graduation nostalgia.  This same nostalgia besets every high school every year at the end of the year as people move on.  I only complaint is that Travolta and John get lost, and come back at the end in a car as they drive off into the sky.

This is a worthy movie, as long as you keep in mind you don’t have to lower your standards to get what you want.

Book Review: Puppet Masters; to MMBOE

This is a George Heinlein book published in 1951, originally as a serial.  This is my first time reading a Heinlein book.  Dean Meservy mentioned him and Facebook.
Sam and Mary are called in by the “Old Man.”  The Old Man is the head of a spy agency, outside of the CIA and traditional agencies.  He makes it clear that Mary is much more important than Sam on the mission.  They are headed to Iowa to investigate a UFO sighting, which has some suspicious things around it in that after a few hours local authorities said it was just a prank, but several agents have disappeared, who had gone to investigate.
They find the cover-up, but more importantly they find a group of people whose minds are being controlled by parasitical alien slugs on their backs.  They get out of there, and report to the president. 
At first no one believes the story told to them.  However, the spy agency is very wary.  The Old Man is very wary, and orders everyone to strip down so they can make sure there are no slugs among them.  The Old Man’s secretary is last to undress, and she is carrying a slug.  Sam pursues her to not let her get away, capture her if he can, but get the slug at all costs.  However, the slug attaches itself to Sam, who instantly becomes an agent for the aliens.
He gets away, and joins a group in converting a country club, with many prominent people to the slug way of thinking.  He is recaptured by the "Old Man." The agency tries to get information from him.  Finally, they attach a living slug to him, so they can interview the slug.  This experience is terrifying, but they get enough information to determine origin, a moon of Saturn.
Sam and Mary take a break a break from the agency.  They have fallen for each other.   They marry and head to Sam’s cabin.  However the world goes to pot in the mean time.  More and more areas are infected.  Finally there is an attack on Mary.  Sam pushes her into the fire to get the slug off.  They both get burned, but are free of the slug.  They hurry back to head quarters, and are invited to a battle surrounding an alien spaceship which has been captured.  The Old Man leads Mary into the ship.  Sam goes as protector.  They see people suspended in fluid.  They hope that this will trigger memories for Mary as she had previously been a captive, and suspended for over ten years.  She had escaped when the slugs died of a disease.  She did not die.  They need this information to know what to use against the slugs.  What will kill the slugs but not kill the human host.
This leads to a last big battle to kill the slugs.
This book though written in 1951, and taking place in the early part of this century, captures some aspects very well.  In some things we are more advanced, (cell phones and satellite t.v.) while others we are less advanced (flying cars lazer guns).  An interesting side light is steps taken to curb the spread of the infection—going around naked or with hardly any clothing.  However they also spread through animals, which changes the game.  So even controlling the slugs, are you ever really safe?  For this reason an expedition is sent to Saturn.
This poem was quoted at the end.  I sort of like it:
Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite 'em,
  And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Book Review: The Sacrcrow of Oz (to MMBOE)

Cap,n Bill and Trot

The Scarecrow of Oz is a delightful read. It is the ninth Oz book published in 1915.  It is entitled after the Scarecrow, who is the rescuer, but tells the story of Cap'n Bill, a former sea captain with a wooden leg, and Trot a young girl, who are sucked into a whirlpool and sent on a journey.  They meet an ork, a flying creature whose tail is designed like a helicopter blade.  They also meet Button Bright, a boy, who joins the party.  They are traveling trying to find their way to someplace where the can live.  A few early quotes:
Cap’n Bill to Trot before they go through the whirlpool:  Those as knows the least have a habit of thinkin’ they know all there is to know, while them as knows the most admits what a turr’ble bit world this is.  It’s the knowing ones that realize one lifetime ain’t long enough to git mor’n a few dips o’ the oars of knowledge.
The Ork explains his reason for traveling, even though he has lost his home:  ‘It’s a big world, Flipper, my son,’ he would say. ‘and I’ve heard that in parts of it live queer two—legged creatures called Men, who war upon all other living things and would have little respect for even an Ork.’  They come to an island and meet Pessim, who has been left on the island as he makes others feel bad.
Pessim:  “That’s all you know about it!” broke in the little man.  “The trees are altogether too green and the rocks are harder than they ought to be.  I find the sand very grainy and the water dreadfully wet.  Every breeze makes a draught and the sun shines in the daytime, when there’s no need of it, and disappears just as soon as it begins to get dark.  If you remain here you’ll find the island very unsatisfactory.”
“I didn’t come; the neighbors brought me,” replied the little man, with a frown at the recollection.  “They said I was quarrelsome and fault-finding and blamed me because I told them all the things that went wrong, or never were right, and because I told them how things ought to be.  So they brought me here and left me all alone, saying that if I quarreled with myself, no one else would be made unhappy.  Absurd, wasn’t it?

They fly to the land of Mo, where there is a man in the mountain.  It snows popcorn, and it is in this popcorn that they find Button Bright.  The next fly over the dessert to Jinxland.  Jinxland is part of Oz, but cut off from Oz by a tall mountain.  They have an evil king, who is not really the king at all, but Princess Gloria is the rightful heir to the throne.  She has fallen for Pon, a gardener, whose father has also been king.  She teaches Trot about love:

“You don’t understand, my dear,” said Gloria as she wiped the tears from her eyes with a dainty lace handkerchief bordered with pearls.  “When you are older you will realize that a young lady cannot decide whom she will love, or choose the most worthy.  Her heart alone decides for her, and whomsoever her heart selects, she must love, whether he amounts to much or not.”
Jinxland is not good to our heroes.  The Ork has gone to look for his country.  An evil witch turns Cap'n Bill into a cricket, and freezes the heart of Gloria with payment from the king and a man who is courting the princess who refuses him.
The Scarecrow visits Glinda the Good, and they discover the plight of our friends.  The Scarecrow comes to rescue them. 

Scarecrow to Pon: “Why, we must be polite, whatever we do,” explained the Scarecrow.  “It would be very rude to conquer a King without proper notice.”
Initially, it is the return of the Orks who rescue our friends, as well as the scarecrow himself.  But the scarecrow with a few tricks given to him by Glinda, conquers the evil witch.  
Scarecrow to the evil witch Blinkie:  “Believe me, it is more fun to accomplish a good act than an evil one, as you will discover when once you have tried it.”
This story is fun.  It uses the same formula that Baum uses over and over, a traveling group, who meet with peril and interesting circumstances and characters along the way.  He adds his wit, which is what makes his stories work.  His stories have been duplicated, but never equaled.

At the Movies: ****The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

This movie is the prequel to Lord of the Rings.  It has a couple of the old characters from Lord of the Rings including Ian McKellen and Gandalf and Cate Blanchett as the elf Galadriel.  It also has Bilbo Baggins, but a younger version played by Martin Freeman.  Some how the hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, becomes part of a group of Gandalf and twelve dwarves intent on recapturing their native town, which has been inhabited by a dragon for the past 200 years, along with the riches of the dwarves. 
Baggins in brought along by Gandalf as the burgler of the group, to get into tight spots, even though he has no experience as such.  This movie does not include confrontation with the dragon, as it is split into two parts.  It does have classic scenes of the trolls, as well as terrible fights between our party and the goblins.  The trolls capture our group of travelers, except for Gandalf, by threatening to kill Bilbo.  They are in the process of cooking a few of the trolls by slow roasting, when they are encouraged to argue by Baggins about which dwarf would be the best tasting and which spices to use.  Then suddenly, Gandalf moves a rock out of the way of the sun, the sun shines on the Trolls, turning them to stone.  There is a battle between stone men along their route which makes it very treacherous, then they are assaulted by trolls on wolves, and take refuge in an elf kingdom.
They leave and travel through a mountain, confronting the trolls again, while Bilbo is separated and has his famous confrontation with Gollum, which is a confrontation which changes the life of our Hobbit friend.
My major complaint is that with the riddle confrontation between Gollum and Bilbo, it is hard to understand the questions posed by Gollum with his accent.  It was hard enough with this section reading the questions as presented by J.R.R. Tolkien, and this just makes it even harder.

ACE Train 37: Lightrail Derailment, Stadium Update, Shark Tank

There have been some happenings along the train route the past month.  The first involves derailment of the Light Rail.  This was Monday.  I didn't  know what happened, only that the trains were off schedule.  Actually, going to work, ours was on time.  Coming home the train was fourteen minutes late.  The derailment was on my line, but closer to the 49er stadium in Santa Clara.  They created a bus bridge, with the trains turning around at the derailment.  They did not cross until after 3:30 in the afternoon.  The actual derailment was at 7:30 in the morning.  Link to Mercury News article and pictures:

The other happening is a bit more tragic.  This actually took place a month ago.  An elevator worker was killed at the 49er Stadium construction site.  A co-worker told me about this this week, so I  thought it was new, but it actually was the first of June.  He was working under the elevator, and the counter weight got him.  They actually closed the work site for a couple days to investigate and to grieve.  Mercury News again:

The article above reminded me that the 49er Stadium is Levi Stadium.  In similar fashion the Shark Tank has sold their name.  It is now the SAP Center.  SAP is a software company.

The 49er Stadium appears to be coming along well.  However there is over a year of work to go with the goal for completion August 2014, or for the season 2014.  It has been selected to be the site of Superbowl 50 in 2016.

The new Earthquakes stadium is coming along very slowly.  They are still working on ground preparation, and have some good piles of dirt and old crushed concrete.  But I don't see any actual building.

If Major League Baseball would ever get their heads out their butts there would be a third stadium built along my route home.  The new A's Stadium is scheduled to be next to Diridon Station in San Jose.  They just keep waiting for word from the commissioner.  They have been waiting for many years now.  Last word is the city of San Jose is suing Major League Baseball feeling they are abusing their monopoly status.

With regards to my trip to work, Kade and I noticed that the sun was up when we got to the train station on June 23.  However, it is already now coming up shortly after leaving the station.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Book Review: Memorable Stories with a Message

This book was written by Boyd K Packer.  It is
One of my favorite stories draws upon his military experience “Follow the Bean.”  He explained that pilots during the war would follow a “beam;” a steady signal from the airport, that would let you know you were on course.  “If you moved to one side of the steady signal, it would break up to a ‘dit-da’ the Morse code for the letter A.  If you strayed to the other side of the signal, the beam would break up into a ‘da-dit,’ the Morse code signal for N.  In stormy weather there was always static and interference.  But the life of many a pilot has depended on his hearing, above the roar of the engines and through all the static and interference, that sometimes weak signal from a distant airfield.”
President Pack then draws this gospel analogy: There is a spiritual beam with a constant signal.  If you know how to pray and how to listen, spiritually listen, you may move through life—through clear weather, through storms, through wars, through peace—and be all right.”
May we all learn to take advantage of the spiritual beam, and draw upon the Spirit to guide us in the way we should go and the decisions we make.
a book of sixty short snippets from the discourses and writings of Boyd K Packer.  They cover a broad range of topics.  Some I have heard before during his conference talks.  He draws upon his military experience, experiences in the field of education, church work, and farm experiences to related many different stories.  He talks about his wife and her influence in their home, and ability to head of problems before they became problems, he gives advice to bishops and priesthood leaders on how to make a call using the Spirit “Call instead of Invite”, he talks about encouraging young people with a few words, and of how we are all important in Heavenly Father’s eyes. 

Health As I See It: Gratitude and Health

As I have been studying health, it becomes clear that our attitude affects our health.  One of those attitudes is gratitude.  I am taking most of this from an article in Spark People by Ellen G. Goldman.  She describes attitude as a “personality strength.  If you possess a high level of gratitude, you often feel an emotional sense of wonder, thankfulness and appreciation for life itself.”  President Hinckley defines gratitude this way, “When you walk with gratitude, you do not walk with arrogance and conceit and egotism, you walk with a spirit of thanksgiving that is becoming to you and will bless your lives”.
Gratitude is good for your health.  Quoting Goldman, “Individuals who exhibit the most gratitude are happier, healthier, and more energetic.  Grateful people report fewer symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, nausea, even acne, and spend more time exercising!  And the more a person is inclined towards gratitude, the less lonely, stressed, anxious and depressed he or she will be.”   
She list for things to help in practicing gratitude: Keep a gratitude journal; Express your gratitude; Look for what is right about a situation; and Practice gratitude with your family and friends.  As I look at these four goals, I see some room for self improvement.  I think the last is the area which would make the most difference in my life.  If I could practice gratitude with my family, I think it would create a much better atmosphere around home.  However, gratitude can be a habit of politeness, rather than an attitude of gratitude.  By this I mean, expressing thanks, without the feeling of gratitude behind it, will not suffice.  I think people can see when you are being false.  So the key is to actually feel grateful. 
My mother use to always quote the hymn, “Count Your Blessings” whenever I was getting down.  Sometimes it pays to stop and count blessings, really enumerate what is right in your life.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Magazine Article Review: Ensign June 2013: Dear are the Sheep that Have Wondered


I have been thinking and meditating on an Ensign article from June 2013.  The article is entitled "Dear are the Sheep that Have Wandered" by James E. Faust.  It is reprinted from April 2003 Conference and May 2003 Ensign.   
As part of his discourse, he quotes the words of Joseph smith with regards to children who have wandered.  "None of Joseph's children would partake of the temple ordinances:
I believe and accept the comforting statement of Elder Orson F. Whitney:
'The Prophet Joseph Smith declared—and he never taught more comforting doctrine—that the eternal sealings of faithful parents and the divine promises made to them for valiant service in the Cause of Truth, would save not only themselves, but likewise their posterity. Though some of the sheep may wander, the eye of the Shepherd is upon them, and sooner or later they will feel the tentacles of Divine Providence reaching out after them and drawing them back to the fold. Either in this life or the life to come, they will return. They will have to pay their debt to justice; they will suffer for their sins; and may tread a thorny path; but if it leads them at last, like the penitent Prodigal, to a loving and forgiving father’s heart and home, the painful experience will not have been in vain. Pray for your careless and disobedient children; hold on to them with your faith. Hope on, trust on, till you see the salvation of God.'"
Elder Faust further goes on to tell how this is done.  True, that the redemption of the family is based on conditions of the atonement and repentance.  However to quote president Faust, "Perhaps in this life we are not given to fully understand how enduring the sealing cords of righteous parents are to their children. It may very well be that there are more helpful sources at work than we know.  I believe there is a strong familial pull as the influence of beloved ancestors continues with us from the other side of the veil."
I must conclude that the work of restoring wayward children to the fold is a worldly, as well as other worldly endeavor.   I wonder what influences there are in my own family?  Who are the sources of pricks (Acts 9:5) from the other side.  I have been writing the history of my ancestors, and I must think they are influencing me, but they are also whispering to my children.  Grandparents, and great and great-great grandparents are turned to their descedents, and worried and influencing them.  In similar manner, are those who have passed away more recently, Sheri's older brother, Mark, who died as a youth, and our still born baby, Billy Boy.  There is also mother's brother who died after living a short time, but was remembered at the temple and was sealed to the family be proxy.  There are influences for good  "“They that be with us are more than they that be with them” (2 Kgs. 6:16).  Elder Faust further said, "As we get older, the pull from our parents and grandparents on the other side of the veil becomes stronger. It is a sweet experience when they visit us in our dreams."  So my advice to my children, please let these ancestors have place in your hearts.  Please listen to the Spirit of God. Please don's kick against the pricks.

Movie Night: ***^Column South

Column South is a 1953 movie starring Audie Murphy as a Calvary Lieutenant, Jed Sayre, at an outpost watching the Navajo Indiana, during the period of time leading up to the Civil War.  This movie has the Native American conflict, overlayed by maneuvering of the pending war.  The Navajo are at peace, but the new Captain and her sister don't see things that way, and are distrustful of the Native Americans.  This distrust almost leads to a battle.  In the end it is the Confederate sympathizers who almost screw up the peace, as they are stealing supplies, and blaming it on the Navajo.  They are also trying to force a conflict, so as to require more supplies they also hope to steal.  They are also preparing for the war and hoping to steal the West and the access to California gold.
As luck would have it, Sayre, and the Captain's sister don't like each other, but this is only to disguise their true feelings of love for each other.
I found this movie entertaining.  I didn't recognize Audie Murphy as I watched, other than knowing the actor was familiar. 

Movie Night: ***Three Wishes

This is a 1995 Patrick Swayze movie in which Swayze plays a transient, Jack McLeod, whose leg is broke when he is hit in a car accident by a mother who has two children.  They subsequently take him in while he heals, and this is the story of the effects he has on the family.  The father of the family is a pilot who was shot down in the Korean War and listed as missing.  Consequently, the boys have a "less than" feeling being with out a father.  The oldest son is usually picked last at baseball, and his team is really poor; while the younger son has excessive fear of the night.  The story tells how they are both able to overcome these problems.  They have some ides, that he is an angel and can grant wishes.  The oldest son, Tom, won't tell his wish, so McCloud says he will choose one for him.  Tom doesn't want him to leave, but he does all the same, and on just about the same day, father comes home having been released by the Koreans.  Many years later, when Tom is a father, and facing financial issues, and not enjoying his family vacation as a result, he confronts McCloud again, who hasn't aged, and McCloud says he got it wrong, the wish wasn't for his father to return, but that he would be happy with his blessings in life.
I just admit, I wasn't into this movie that much.  If you want to see Swayze, "Ghost" is a better choice.

Friday, July 12, 2013

New Dress Standards for Missionaries

Caleb has been preparing for his mission.  He has already purchased his suits, so these new standards won't affect him that way, but still fun to look at.  No back-packs, shoulder bags are in.  More colors for sisters.


TV Review: Classic Doctor Who:****The Carnival of Monsters (to mmboe)

John Pertwee stars in this series as The Doctor.  He is the third Doctor and this is the tenth season.  He, and his companion, Jo Grant, find themselves in trouble when they and the TARDIS get caught by a Miniscope.  This is a device, previously outlawed, which catches things, entraps them, and makes them smaller.  This one is owned by a circus performer and his assistant.   In the machine is the carnival of monsters, which includes, They are visiting a planet with political intrigue, but after making their presentation are told their contraption is illegal as it harbors alien races, Tellurians (humans) on a ship from 1914, Ogra (related to Dalek's), Cybermen and Drasheks (a dinosaur type monster).  All these creatures are in a machine the size of a box, with no way of escaping.   Most of the residents don't realize they are captive, but the Doctor and his companion do, and they start trying to escape, which gums up the works.  They wander into the Drashek's territory, and get the Drasheks chasing them.
The circus performers are showing their machine off to a planet, where the ruling race is very worried about being effected by alien races.  When they see the show, it is declared illegal, and subject to be destroyed.  However the exterminator does not destroy it.  It is intended for organic matter only.  There are a couple men, who are willing to do anything to get ahead.  They want to sabotage the supreme ruler by creating a disaster.  They see that the circus performer are having some problem, with things getting out of their space, and in fact, the Drasheks, which eat anything including metal, are getting out.  These two help them, while sabotaging the exterminator.  When they get out what will happen?
This series was very entertaining.  I enjoyed the story, and the adventure.  The monsters were corny, and the men of the planet had bald spots, with lines showing in their bald wigs. But that is part of Doctor Who.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Book Review: Tik-Tok of Oz (To mmboe)

Tik-Tok of Oz
This is the eight of the Oz series and is an enjoyable read.  However the title is a bit misleading.  This book is mostly about The Shaggy Man rescuing his brother.  His brother is called “The Ugly Man” because the Nome King had put an ugly curse on him.  He was captured by the Nome King when he was digging and prospecting for precious metals.  Shaggy Man was transported by virtue of the Nome King’s belt to the area, and then Tik-Tok was also transported to help.  Unfortunately Tik-Tok landed in a well, but with good luck the party came upon him and he is rescued.  A couple more members of the part were Betsy Bobbin and her mule. Also the Rose Princess Ozga, and Polychrome, the Rainbow Princess.  They come upon Queen Ann Soforth of Oogaboo and her generals and officers who are intent on conquering the world.  There was some protest from the wives of the officers when they left Oogaboo.  “Ann commanded them to keep silent, and that was the hardest order to obey they had ever received.” 
The army, Private Files resigned protesting over the request from the Queen to capture the party of travelers.  He established a relationship with Ozga, the Rose Princess. Tik-Tok becomes the army.  Then together they travel to confront the Nome King, but he used a trick, and sent them through a tube to the other side of the world.  However, this only angers Tittiti Hoochoo, the great Jin-jin, who rules the other side of the world.  He is the ruler because he is the only inhabitant who is not a King or a Queen..  “One who is Master of himself is always a King, if only of himself.  In this favored land all Kings and Queens are equal, and it is our privilege to bow before one supreme Ruler—The Private Citizen.”  He had told the Nome King not to use the tube.  He sent back a dragon with our travelers form Oz.  After everyone tried to conquer the Nome King, and failed, they called the dragon to help them.  The dragon first took away the Nome King’s magical abilities, and then sent him outside his own cave kingdom by chasing him with a few eggs.  (As we remember from previous episodes, the eggs are poison to the Nome people.)  Kaliko, the second in charge, now became the ruler of the Nomes.  They knew Shaggy Man’s brother was in a special forest, but didn’t know how to get to this forest.  The Nome King came back as he had been promised to be able to take his pocketsful of gems before being sent out to the cold world.  It was in following him that they discovered the secret forest, and “The Ugly Man.”  However, in his cursed state “Ugly” does not want to meet anyone.  The Nome King performed the magic, but has forgotten the antidote when he lost his magical powers.  He only remembers that a kiss is the cure, but who will kiss one so ugly?

Restaurant Review: * Long John Silver's

Long john Silver’s
I had a choice to make, knowing that I was going to have to eat out for lunch.  There was a Subway available, but also a KFC.  I prefer the taste at KFC, but knew I would have a greater caloric intake.  When I got to KFC I discovered it was combined with Long John Silver’s, and not knowing there food but being game for seafood I gave it a try.  I ordered a platter, which must have been intended for a couple people because I had lots of shrimp, one piece of chicken, to cod filets and a couple hush puppies.  Everything was cooked in a similar fashion, breaded and deep fried.  The filets were dripping in grease.  I thought, ”This is going to kill any chance of having a sensible diet today,” and I was right. 
I checked to caloric values later, and they really weren’t terrible.  However when I added the condiments, I was looking at a meal with over 1500 calories.  That is way over half of my daily goal.  As for the taste, I didn’t much care for the hush puppies, nor did I care for the dripping grease.  I guess they were going for the English fish and chips idea.  There fries were really pretty good.  The shrimp would have been very good, but they were too hot to enjoy.  After I ate the first shrimp, I had to let my food sit for a while, while it cooled off.  My final analysis, I don’t think I will eat this type of food again.  I would have been happier with KFC.  I did enjoy the chicken strip by dipping it in the KFC honey mustard.  That stuff tastes great, but it too has its caloric value. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Family History Work/Genealogy

Sister White presented on family history work at our recent high priest social.  Since then Sheri has really been touched with the spirit of Elisha and has been busy filling in her genealogy.  He also discovered some errors in the genealogy that comes up when I og in.  Sister White presented on the church website: http://www.lds.org/topics/family-history?lang=eng
From this website you can connect to family search.  This is the church's site that shows people's family trees.  
Since this meeting, Sheri has really been excited, and has started entering stories into her family tree.
This is the local Family History Library where Sister White is a director.  She is not there everyday, but is there many days to answer questions.

Address 6060 Northland Rd, Manteca CA 95336 
Phone: 209--239-5516  
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday: 10 am - 1 pm
Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday evenings from 6 pm - 9 pm

Movie Night: ***^ Sunset Boulevard (1950)

This is not the musical version of Andrew Lloyd Webber, but is the source material for the musical.  This is the original black and white 1950 film, which tells the story of a deluded silent-film star, Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) and the man who comes to live with her, Joe Gillis (William Holden).  This movie is unusual, because it tells the story of the murder of the leading character, with the leading character providing the narration.  It was nominated for eleven Academy Awards, and won three.  However more recently it has also been nominated for a "rotten tomato."
This movie is fascinating because it shows the inner cultural of Hollywood from a couple different angles.  The first angle is that of down-on-his luck writer.  He is avoiding the men from the bank who have come to repossess his car as he is three months behind on his payments.  The second angle is that of a famous actress, who is no longer desired, but she is still full of her own importance, and going to make a comeback.   At one point she travels to Universal Studio to talk with Ceil B. Demille. He plays himself.  We see her respected for her past, but her present and future do not look good.  She commits murder when confronted with this reality.  However in her deluded state she maintains her balance, and thinks the reporters have come for her comeback, not her murder.  "All right Mr. Demille, I'm ready for my close-up" is her concluding line.

Friday, July 5, 2013

The Wardle Fourth of July

We started early with a Fourth of July Breakfast at Northland Ward.  Caleb helped lead kids on the Bishop's horses, and then helped with the retiring of a flag.
We then hurried to Cupertino, to swim in the Blackberry Pool where Charity works.  We made good time, and were able to get in free.  The pool was crowded.  It was a hot day and it was free for the fourth.  We ate lunch at the park, barbeque hamburger with chips.  There was a band playing old rock and roll songs.
We went back the pool, and decided we had swum our fill, and wanted to get out of the sun.  We drove by the high school to see the addition, and went to Valco Mall to get out of the heat.  While at the mall, Tony drove cars for a bit.  He gave everyone turns.  The car was very sensitive, which made it hard to steer.
we then headed to the park for a picnic dinner, and the fireworks.  Charity and Anthony joined us.  Kayla and Jeremy were also at the fireworks, but with Kayla's family on the North field.  We decided to try the south field.  Tony made some new friends as there were some members from Anthony's ward there.  They kept him supplied with caps and shiny things.  I took Tony to the park to play.  There was a band of old people playing older songs, jazz style.
The evening concluded with fireworks, goodbyes and a long ride home, which went rather quickly with no traffic.


Fire at Altamont Pass and Grant Line Road

As we were just heading up Altamont Pass on the Fourth, heading to Cupertino, we came upon a fire in the hills.  It had just started.  There was a hill blocking our view for a time, but as we came past the hill, we could see the cause.  There was a car on fire, which had started the grass on fire.  Caleb said he saw the car explode.  Caleb called 911, but there were people already headed to the fire.  They were able to keep the fire small.  Miranda also took some pictures, and if hers are better I will add them.

news story

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Movie Night: *****Rudy

This is one of my most favorite movies.  It lets you know that it is what you do with what you got that is important.  This movie is based on a true story of Rudy, Daniel Ruettiger (Sean Astin).  Rudy does OK on his high school team, but has no college prospects, just dreams.  He takes a job a the mill like his father.  When his friend dies, he decides to follow his dream at Notre Dame.  He doesn't get in, but attends a smaller school, while he prepares to get in.  There is a cute scene where he participates in the ritual of painting the helmets, reserved for Notre Dame students.  He finally gets to Notre Dame, and makes the practice squad as a walk on.  His job id to be a target for the regulars.  He takes his knocks, waiting for his chance.
This movie tells a few basic concepts, you should always pursue your dream, and sometimes it takes help from a third person to get there.  This show has an incredible ending.  I watched this game live in 75, and saw the team carry Rudy off the field, not really knowing the story.

Movie Night: **^The Life of Pi

I think I didn't get this movie.  I watched it through Netflix DVD.  The point of the movie is that a man and a tiger were shipwrecked on a boat.  The tiger saved him from the hyena, be killing it.  It is assumed he also ate the chimpanzee that was on the boat.  The man had constructed a temporary float so he could float a ways from the boat.  Over time, the tiger and the man develop a relationship of sorts.  They finally land on land, emaciated and both barely alive.   The tiger wanders alive into the wilderness and disappears.  This man lost his family in the shipwreck, as well as his livelihood, all the zoo animals.  However he feels depressed for losing the relationship with the tiger.  I didn't get this movie.

Jeremy's Wedding (playlist)

My tongue feels like a thousand ants crawling all over it.

This is Caleb talking to his sister on the phone after his wisdom tooth surgery.   This is a right-of-passage for young Mormons.

Health As I See It: Stress and Diabetes

I came across an article about stress and diabetes from everyday health.
It says that if we stress too much, it can raise the blood sugar of someone with diabetes.  This is because the reaction of our body to stress is to release sugar into the blood stream in preparation for a flight or fight response.  For someone who process sugar normally, this is good, however for someone with diabetes like myself it can lead to increased sugar levels.
I wonder if this contributes to my high blood sugars at times.  I can go very well with my sugar numbers, especially if I have set routine, like on regular work days.  However when I am not at work, weekends and vacations, my numbers  rise.  There is something to be said for routine.
Another contributing factor to increased sugar from stress is forgetting to take your blood sugars, medications or eating sensibly.  I don't know if it is stress, but this describes me on the weekends when I am away from routine. 
These ideas are presented as ways to combat stress:
  • Exercise more. Increasing the amount of exercise you get is a great way to burn off stress. Exercise can also help you reach or maintain a healthy weight and control your blood sugar. "If you can, you might want to bump up your exercise to about 60 minutes a day," Garcia-Banigan advises.
  • Eat well. Maintaining good nutrition when you’re stressed helps control blood sugar levels. "You need to make sure to get the right nutrition so you have the energy to deal with stress," Garcia-Banigan says.
  • Improve your coping style. Try replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts, reducing the stress triggers you can, and being good to yourself. "Learn to manage your time well and make yourself a priority," Garcia-Banigan says.
  • Learn stress reduction techniques. Breathing exercises, meditation, and progressive relaxation are all techniques that people have found to be helpful for stress management. Practice stress-relieving activities that work for you.
  • Get support. Having a chronic condition like type 2 diabetes is stressful in itself. Talk to friends and loved ones about your feelings. Ask your diabetes caregivers about stress management assistance, and consider joining a diabetes support group where you can share feelings, ideas, and advice. 
In my case, the first two suggestions are very important.  I do not  as well one weekend.  There is food around all do, and I grouse with the luxury of being able to do so.  The second issue is exercise.  I do not.  I sit on my butt and don't do much of anything, while weekdays I walk to get to work, and get my exercise in that way.  I should be engaged in positive activity on the weekend, but usually I am not.
Of the other ideas, using meditation and relaxation techniques sounds appealing.  Prayer is a great relaxation tool, with the added benefit of communicating with He who gives life.
This article is beneficial to me.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Documentary Review: It's Incredible How Deep the Hooks Go: Methamphetamine Addiction

I watched a documentary on Netflix Instant, "National Geographic: World's Most Dangerous Drug."  It indicates methamphetamine is 3.5 x more addictive than cocaine.  It talks about the cost of this drug, which has really burst upon the scene in the past 25 years.  This corresponded with the use of ephedrine in cold medicines.  Now most states limit the access to this medications, and some require a prescription.  This had the desired effect of limiting manufacture in the United States, but has not reduced the supply, as Mexican drug cartels have filled this void.
This documentary showed what happened to one's health over time with the use of this drug.  I showed this by showing different mug shots of the same person over time.  The sores and the emaciated faces where undeniable.  They also interviewed addicts, who talked about the delusions and hallucinations that accompany the use of methamphetamine.
The told the story of a young couple that became disoriented with their first use.  They were driving in a storm, and because of illusions and paranoia, and poor thinking as a result of the drug, they did not survive the storm.  This was likely their first use.  The effects of methamphetamine last longer.  The high can last for twelve hours.  This makes the drug more desirable but also more dangerous, because the drug messes up you logical thinking.
It also tells the stories of a couple people with recent sobriety.  One woman destroyed her good looks and her teeth.  The other was putting his life back together, after being in a fog for twenty years, and basically twenty years behind his classmates from high school.

Movie Night: ***^Silverado

Silverado is a good western, made after westerns were popular.  Because of that it had to be twice as good, and it lived up to its billing.  It stars a quartet of heroes taking on a land baron and his sheriff and deputies.   The quartet are made up of two brothers Emmett (Scott Glen) and Jake (Kevin Costner), a drifter with a past, Paden (Kevin Klein) and an African America traveling to join his family. Mal (Danny Glover).  This movie has its share of violence and killing, but also has a few tender moments.  The brothers are visiting their sister to say goodbye before they try their luck in California.  While there old feuds, as well as their getting in the middle of a land war.  Mal's father is killed by the same land war, while Paden is hired by the side perpetuating the problem.  Everyone is effected by this.  Emmett and Jake see their family effected, brother-in-law shot and nephew kidnapped.  As mentioned Mal's father is killed in efforts to run him off his land.  His sister becomes an ally.  Paden sees what is going on, but worries about his friend, Stella (Linda Hunt) who will get hurt if he takes action.
This movie has good action, and it entertains, which is its motive.