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.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Broadway Review: Don't Miss it Next Saturday

I don't grow a beard very often, and only when it is part of being in character for a show.  I am growing a beard, and looking forward to shaving next weekend.  In the meantime there is a show to put on and they have consented to let me sing a song.  You don't want to miss this.  I went to the tryout, and there are some very talented people in the stake, especially from Tracy.
And dinner too.  You can't beat this.  Sister Christine Papworth is coordinating so you know it will be good.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Mormon Movie Review: Greater Love

This movie was produced in 1980.  I guess if I wanted to be critical of the acting, I could probably be so with this movie, bur I am more interested in the message and how well it is presented.  I hate to give the twist of this movie away, but it is impossible to talk about the message of the movie without doing so.  The crux of this movie is when the little girl says “When do I die.”  This movie begins with showing the brother being mean to her sister, teasing her at the dinner table.  However to make amends, he takes her to the pet store where the buy a humming bird feeder.  However he is hit by a car on the way home and ends up in the hospital needing a blood transfusion.  He has a rare type, and only his younger sister is available to donate.  She says she will do it, if her father wants her to.  After her brother is recovering, she asks “When do I die?”  She explains that her understanding is that when you give blood, you die.  In this we see the depth of her love for her brother. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Caleb Is in Iowa.

I talked briefly with Caleb Wednesday morning.  He was at a layover in Denver on his way to Iowa.  I guess there were many missionaries in line for the phone, so he could only talk a couple minutes.  He did get to sing in the missionary choir for devotional.  He sat by Ben Tolman in the tenor section.  He also saw Phillip and Clayton at the MTC, and met Scott Dye's cousin as he was flying with Caleb to Iowa.  He was not in the same district as Caleb at the MTC, but is in the same mission.  Caleb said a trio of sisters in his district left for Washington State last night.
Caleb really enjoyed the fireside.  Neal A Anderson talked.  It was at the Mariott Center.  It rained after.  He saw the mission president who said they could wait for the rain to die down.  However the were anxious to get back for district meeting, to process Elder Anderson's talk. They were soaked.
Tonight, Caleb will be in his first area.  I wonder where he has been assigned.  Is he in rural Iowa, or in an urban area.  Could he be in the parts of the mission in Illinois or Missouri.  We should get news in a week.

Mormon Movie Review: Joseph Smith: The Man

This is a short video, just over nine minutes, produced by the Church in 1980.  This movie presents Lethe Tatge, as she welcomes a group of Primary children into her home, feeds them cookies, and talks to them about Joseph Smith.  She recounts how her great-grandfather had met the prophet Joseph Smith, and then had passed this experience on to her, and she in turn to the children.  Lethe saying, “You have had your hand held in a hand that was held by the prophet Joseph Smith” is very effective.  Her message is that Joseph Smith was a real man and a prophet of God.  She also says Jesus was a real man, but not only a real man but the son of God.
The Spirit has born witness to me that these two things are true, Jesus is the Christ and Joseph Smith was a true prophet.  I invite those who may be seeking for Jesus to check out Mormon.org

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Book Review : People Who Need People Are the Healthiest People: The Importance of Relationships

This book was co-authored by someone I use to know, Brent Q. Hafen.  He did his graduate studies at SIU when we lived in Carbondale, Ill.  His children were a bit younger than us.  He became a professor in the health field at BYU.  The other author is Kathryn J. Frandsen.  It is published by Behavioral Health Associates, Provo, Utah, 1986.
The idea behind this book is that those who have good relationships are more healthy.  It takes several chapters quoting studies that talk about the health benefits of those who have good relationships, such as marriage, friends and children and grandchildren.   Of course the opposite of having good relationships is loneliness.  It says there are two types of loneliness, predisposing—characteristics of the individual and values—and precipitating—such as loneliness that follows an event. 
“No one is immune from loneliness.  Depending on your needs, your relationships, and your life circumstances at any given time, you may fall victim to feelings of loneliness and abandonment. 
Knowing the issues, and the benefits of good relationships, the book presents several strategies for improving relationships.  This include communication and touching, holding and hugging.  They present an introduction into how to communicate effectively—which includes listening.  They also introduce the topic of touch, and how touch is so important to our human journey. 
The authors also present a good description of a family which is meeting needs for relationships, vs a family which is showing signs of tension. 
This book was written in 1986, but its message is still relevant. 

Life in Manteca 74: Restaurant Reviews

Sheri and I, and tony visited Luu's Chicken Bowl for date night.  Sheri and Tony and Caleb all talked highly of The Chicken Bowl.  Their specialty is teriyaki chicken over rice.  Tony loves to go there to show off his chop stick skills.  I have never been.  I must admit, they enjoyed themselves, and it wasn’t to my liking.  I guess would should go with what someone does well.  I had my heart set on sweet and sour pork, except they really didn’t have a sweet sauce, and so it was left bland for me.  I tried the teriyaki sauce, and I didn’t much care for that either.  Everything was too salty for me. 
Dairy Queen.  I went to the Dairy Queen in Campbell after doing overtime Saturday.  There is Dairy Queen in Manteca, but without butterscotch dip.  I have had my heart set on a butterscotch dipped cone.  Something was not quite right with the cone.  I ate this before my meal.   I think the butterscotch may have been too thin.  However I discovered something that was really good.  They served me a killer mushroom burger.  This burger had mushrooms falling out of it there were so many.  On top of that was Swiss cheese.  It is probably the best mushroom burger I have had.  There fries were good as well.  Only disappointment was the cone.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Mormon Movie Review: Uncle Ben

This is a very good Mormon Movie.  Sure the acting isn't the best, but the message is one that reaches the heart.  The power of repentance is the message in this movie, and that power even applies to an old drunk.  Ben is a drunk, and borrows money from his sister, and is often arrested.  However when his sister passes away, he stands up as their only living relative, to ask that the court allow him to take the children.  The judge gives him a 30-day trial.  Later he was asked how he could keep sober.  He says as soon as he got home with the children, he bowed down to pray with the children to offer thanks.  "I promised God that if He held onto me, I would hold on to the kids, and the five of us have being on together ever since."
this is the movie on You Tube.  It is in two parts. 

The Sealing Power, Church Video

This is the story of Elizabeth and Brady Powell.  Brady was killed at the Pentagon on 9-11.  Elizabeth tells their story of temple marriage.  This makes me cry.  I know the sealing power is real.  It has been restored to the Earth for our benefit.  It is an expression of eternal love.  This clip tells this story in a beautiful fashion.
When I think of Sheri's and my first son, I realize that even though we did not hold him in this life, some day we will hold him, and love him, and he will love us, because of this power, I am eternally grateful.
This movie was linked with this last week's Sunday School lesson.

My Thought On Caleb's First Couple Letters

I have had some thoughts on Caleb's first couple letters, and then a bit of missionary advise I found in the Deseret News.  First Caleb said he is going to be singing in the choir, on of 1300.  I imagine he is singing today.  He may also be singing at a fireside.  Caleb loves to sing.  He is much more accomplished than I.  Where I at his age was always a follower, he has been a leader, and usually leads with the right notes.  Lack of confidence makes one a follower, and that is where I often was in singing; however now I usually have confidence singing bass an less so tenor.  Caleb is a natural tenor.
Caleb also said there are 3000 missionaries now at the MTC.  That would mean almost half sing in the choir.  However, I think he is short on his number.  They were up to 3800 a couple months ago, and there are more missionaries now than then.  Maybe he meant to say 5000, I will have to ask him.
He has had nothing but positive things to say about his experience.  He keeps leaving subtle hints for Miranda, encouraging her to join him in the mission field.  Miranda will find he own path.
Caleb has been serving as the district leader, which he says is hard, as he prays of how best to serve the other missionaries in his district.  He did meet the mission president at the MTC.  He is having a good time.  He says the food is good, but runs through him.  I had the same experience there 35 years ago.  It is different eating institutional food when compared to your momma's cooking.
As for me, I have missed Caleb.  We are redistributing his chores.  I think Tony has missed him the most, but we are all adjusting.
Caleb is flying to Iowa this Wednesday, 28th.  Sheri says he gets to call.  Even though it has only been a couple days, it will be nice to talk with him. 
Now as for missionary advise.  This article list 11 things.  Five of them have to do with obedience.  Be obedient, have faith that obedience will lead to blessings etc.  It also talks about being loving five times in different ways: don't judge other missionaries, serve you companions, give praise, love those you teach, love everyday.  It concludes with "Be yourself."

Health As I See It: Diabetes, Foot Care and Flip Flops

Flip Flops the Most Dangerous Footwear
I thought this movie was going to talk about the danger of sores, but is just talking about flip flops in general, and the pressure they can put on your feet, which results in foot injury.  Flip flops should be worn only sporadically.  Flip flops do not give protection, and the are vulnerable to pokes; however the also cause people to walk differently, curling up their toes as they walk.
Being diabetic I have heard many times that I need to watch out for my feet. Diabetes causes neuropathy.  This means nerve damage, which can make it so you do not feel pain from a blister, or sore.  The other problem caused by diabetes is a lack of blood flow to your feet, called peripheral vascular disease.  This makes it harder for your feet to heal.  Another issue, if your blood glucose is high, this cause your sores or wounds to become infected more quickly.  
I have gotten the message I should be doing a couple of things to care for my feet.  I must admit, I am far from perfect in this regard.  The first is to always wear something on my feet, whether shoes or slippers.  Someone with diabetes wants to protect their feet.The second thing to do is to regularly check your feet.  I generally check mine as I dry in the morning.  However I am also rushed, so probably could be doing a better job.
  The bottom line is care for you feet is important for someone with diabetes.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Billy Wardle You Tube Passes 10,000

I know it doesn't say much, but it is a milestone for me.  I have surpassed 10,000 Viewers on my You Tube channel.  I invite you to check it out.
It features Tony story over the past year or so; Caleb's music, Jazz, choir, Hot Spud and other music; some family happenings; Your Heart Will Burn, a handcart musical; my music; Jeremy's wedding; Christmas music and other assorted videos.  Over the next couple years, I will not have Caleb's music to add, but will find something interesting I am sure. 

Ace Train 40: 580 on Stilts

 This is part of the Altamont Pass 580 Freeway.  From the Freeway you can't tell, but from the train or the old Altamont Pass Road you can tell that there is a section that the road is supported by beams rather than dirt.  Jeremy he says one night when he was on the road late, they were working adding additional beams.
There is some progress on the Earthquakes Stadium, but they are still doing preliminary ground preparation.

 However the 49er Stadium is a thing of beauty.  They have finally added some color to the stadium this past week.

Health As I See It: CANS Training

I attended CANS Training at EMQ Families First in Campbell a couple months ago.  CANS stands for Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths.   It is a comprehensive multisystem assessment for children.  It is “communimetric” in that it facilitates communication between children, parents and therapist, as well as between therapists as a way be on the same page in communicating.  This provides a set of different area for which a score determines the course in therapy.  Basically for need items, a score of 0 indicates no action, 1 indicates something to keep an eye on, 2 calls for action, and 3 for immediate action or intensive action.  Strengths are scored differently with 0 indicating a centerpiece strength, 1 a useful strength, 2 an identified strength, and 3 no identified strength in that area. 
The scaling is done in six different area.  Only Youth strengths use the alternative scoring mechanism.  These areas are: Life Domain functioning; Youth’s Strengths; Acculturation; Caregiver’s Needs and Strengths; Youths Behavior/Emotional needs; and Youth’s risk Behaviors.  Each area has a series of questions to define what might be a need or a strength in each particular area.  Additional there are individualized assessment modules.  These modules are only completed based on a response to previous question.  These modules include: developmental Needs; Trauma; Substance use Disorder; Violence; Youth Emotional/Behavioral risks; Resiliency Factors; Sexually Aggressive Behavior; Runaway; Juvenile Justice; Fire Setting.
I liked this module because you could go quickly from an identified need to formulating a plan to address that need.  This way counseling could be goals oriented and a child and parent could actually see progress being made. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ethics and Striking

As the Union moves closer and closer to a strike.  Last I heard, negotiations did not take place last weekend as promised.  County administrators said they would be negotiating all weekend, but because the Union had voted to authorize a strike, the county negotiators all left in protest.  Makes them seem a bit juvenile, but then maybe they are with their unwillingness to negotiate a fair deal, after devastating the SEIU members the last six years with take aways, while always giving better contracts to other unions.
Anyway, I came across something else to consider.  I was finishing my CEU ethics course on line, and came across this bit about ethics and labor issues:
Mental Health practitioners are generally allowed to engage in organized action, including the formation and participation in labor unions, to improve services to clients and working conditions.  When involved in a dispute, job action or strike, workers should carefully weigh the possible impact on clients and be guided by their profession's ethical values and principals prior to taking action.
Now I have to ferret out what that means and how it applies to my situation.  Is the Callcenter a position that has to be manned at all costs.  It seems like it is.  We cannot not be there for a caller in crisis.  Also people need to access services (if they are not closed because of a strike.  Something to think about and pray about.  I;m still praying something will give to improve our prospects.  I really do not want to strike.

Life In Manteca 73: Lathrop and the 99

Reminds me too much of the Northridge Earthquake and the collapsed freeway

As part of widening State Route 99 from four to six lanes, they ar also redoing the Lathrup and Main Street from partial interchanges, to one full interchange at Lathrup.  They have taken out parts of the Main Street to 99 interchange.  It also looks like Lathrup mat be expanded to four lanes. 
clover leaf?

Lathrup widening

new overpass

big crane at Lathrop

Health As I See It: Movie: Love Poem and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

This video is a poem, that demonstrates the pain OCD can cause.  It is very popular on Youtube, and worthy of sharing here.  For a more detailed summary of OCD please see my blog on the topic

Health As I See It: Pamphlet Review: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: When Unwanted Thoughts Take Over, NIMH.  This article gives this definition of OCD.  “People with OCD feel the need to check things repeatedly, or have certain thoughts of perform routines and rituals over and over.  The thoughts and rituals associated with OCD cause distress and get in the way of daily life.  The thoughts are called obsessions, and the behaviors are compulsions.  People with OCD generally have repeated thoughts or images about many things such as germs, dirt, intruders; acts of violence, such as hurting loved ones, sexual acts; conflicts with religious beliefs; or being overly tidy.  They also do the same rituals over and over such as, washing hands, locking and unlocking doors, counting, keeping unneeded items, or repeating the same steps again and again.  The individual cannot control the unwanted thoughts or behaviors.  They don’t get pleasure from performing the rituals; they spend at least one hour a day on the thoughts and the rituals.  These thoughts and rituals cause distress and get in the way of daily life.
As for a cause for OCD, this is something that is very well understood.  Several different parts of the brain are involved.  Stress and environmental factors may also play a part.
Treatment options include psychotherapy.  Particularly useful is cognitive behavioral therapy.  This involves teaching different ways of thinking, behaving and reacting to situations that will help the individual feel less anxious.  Another form of treatment is with medications.  Medications usually used for depression are the most helpful.  Sometimes anti-anxiety medications are also used.  Anafranil, an antidepressant, also has an anti-obsessive characteristic, and is beneficial for this disorder.  Of course with medications there is also fear of side effects and it is important to work closely with a doctor.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Health as I See It: Suicide: A Major, Preventable Mental Health Problem

This is another flyer on Suicide.  This flyer is produced by NIMH.  I like the title “Suicide: A major, preventable mental health problem.”  It starts by talking of the significance of suicide, as the third leading cause of death for persons 15-24.  I was curious what are the leading cause of death (accidents) and 2nd leading cause (homicide).  Of note is that almost half of all accidental deaths are vehicle related.
This flyer talks of risk factors (that that might be correlated to suicide but not always, and signs.
Risk Factor: depression or mental disorder, substance abuse disorder, prior attempt, family history of suicide, family violence, physical or sexual, incarceration, exposure to suicide of others.  Signs for suicide: Talking about wanting to die or kill oneself, looking for a way to kill oneself, talking about feeling hopeless or no reason to live, acting anxious or agitated, increased use of alcohol or drugs, withdrawing, showing rage, displaying extreme moods, talking about being a burden to others.  If these signs describe you, or someone you know, it is good to remember seeking help is a sign of strength.  The national suicide helping can help.  1-800-273-TALK.  They can also be found online at suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Mormon Movie Review: The Mail Box

This is a classic BYU Movie made for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  It shows Lethe, a widow, living in her house alone.  The highlight of her day is to walk to her mailbox and wait for letter from her three children.  But they never come.  Even a bill is better than nothing.  She does have association with her neighbors, five-year-old Rachel and her mother.  But that is not adequate because they are always having to go home.  Lethe makes cookies for cookie day, and Rachel comes by to eat them.  She is getting up in year, her husband leaving her a widow long ago.  The most poignant line is "I am so lonely."  It really touches you.
Now the movie was made to help us not forget our older parents and grandparents.  It is easy to do while we go about our daily lives.  Life is so busy at times, there is hardly time to do anything else.  But just the same, we cannot forget those who have given us so much.  As Lethe points out, a letter is so much better than a phone call, because you can read it over and over, and make it last.
My mother is now the age of Lethe.  We have been struggling with what do do.  She so much wants to be independent; but she isn'e any more.  She has been losing her memory.  Some days are better than others, but most are pretty bad.  My sister, Connie, who still lives in Cache Valley, visits her daily.  She ends up with the greatest responsibility.  We would have her come and live with us, but she does not want to.  She likes her home, even though most of her friends have passed away or moved on.
This movie is excellent to get one's priorities in line.  I highly recommend it, but not too often.  It left me very emotional.

Life in Manteca 74: AMC Pricing

I don't know if this is just our AMC, or if it is the same with all theaters.  I can no longer say how much a movie costs, because it seems like the price for a movie ticket is always fluctuating.  We went to "Paranoia" yesterday at $8 a ticket.  This was not full price.  Earlier was $6 and later was 10.75.  Of course the 3D movies are more.  Even the children's ticket do this same kind of bouncing around routine.  I saw a 10 p.m. movie that was a bit older for only three dollars.  It is getting confusing.  I also think that the day of the week also effects the pricing structure.  My wife also has an AMC card, where every so often she gets a free movie ticket. I don't know how it works.
The thing that is consistent is the high price of concessions.  We spent $16 for the movie, and then $14 for the concessions, popcorn and a drink to share.  It adds up fast.  My thought, the varying ticket prices is to keep butts in the seats so they have a larger market of people having to pay their high prices for snacks.  It's a racket.
for the review of "Paranoia"

Mormon Missionaries hit 75,000

The Deseret News announced Thursday that the church now has more missionaries than ever, 75,000; and since Caleb entered the MTC on Wednesday, it is possible he was the 75,000th missionary.  This represents an increase of 21,500 since the age announcement in October.  The number is expected to increase to 85,000.  What an exciting world we live in.  How fun to be a participant.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Santa Clara County Strike Looming

A few years ago, Arnold Schwarzeneger took on the public unions in California, and lost.  Now the conflict between my union and my bosses has me scared.  The members of the union voted for a strike next week, if things do not improve in contract negotiations.  We have been working past our contract since July 1.  Sheri and I live paycheck to paycheck.  We are not like some who have large amounts of savings put away.  A strike, even for a short period of time would be devastating.  But that threat looms over our head. 
My only hope is prayer.  Prayer has been holding us up.  I pray for overtime, and it seems to come just in time to make the next pay check.  Prayer is a remarkable thing.  So I will pray that some county manager will see the worth of what I do, and offer a fair contract.  They have offered a raise, but taking back more than they offer in medical insurance payments and additional payment towards retirement.  This when the county is doing OK.  The last time we negotiated, we too furlough, and less vacation days.  It is time that sacrifice is recognized, as well as the service we provide.  I work hard, and help thousands of people each year (about a hundred every week.)  We have had to do more with less for many months, and still we get the slap in the face.  Out county administrators in the past have always negotiated our contract first, and then give better deals to management, doctors and nurses.  It is time the focus on line staff and a fair contract.  Just my thoughts anyway.

Life in Manteca 72: Downtown City Upgrades

New animal shelter

New public works garage
Manteca has a lot of new buildings since we moved in 2 1/2 years ago.  This is part of 17 million in improvements.  The new animal shelter was needed badly, as the old one was in sorry shape.  This is across the street from the public works garage, which is just up the street from the old animal shelter, but where you still take your recycles if you get too much for the bin.

Life in Manteca 71: Transit Center

Train Station for no train, but if we call it a transportation hub; taxi and buses, maybe we can justify the millions (7.3 million).  We should call it a community gathering place rather than a transportation hub if that is what it really is.  As for now it is a really expensive clock tower. I don't know how we will ever use all those bus stops.  Perhaps it is also intended to be the hub for Yosemite park and ride.  The money did not come from the City, but it must have come from some taxpayer someplace.

Five bus bays with covered seating

Parking with solar panels

The train track and Tide Water Trail

The bell tower

Transit Center

Those responsible

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Health As I See It: Suicide Prevention Poster

Each Circle adds something you might watch out for: Increased alcohol or drug use, Reckless behavior; Anxiety or agitation; Changes in sleep' Withdrawal; Anger; Sudden mood changes; Talking about wanting to die or suicide; Putting affairs in order; Feeling Hopeless, helpless, desperate; no sense of purpose; Giving away possessions.  The number given is the national suicide line.  The line for Santa Clara County is 1*855*278*4204

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Up at 3, Airport at 4:45; Flight at 6:15

Not much sleep in our house last night.  We had to get Caleb to Oakland early to make sure he could clear security.  He made it with time to spare.  Last goodbyes and hugs.  We were six who went out, myself, Sheri, Tony, Miranda, Jeremy and Caleb.  We were only five for the return trip.
I went to the Pleasanton Station to catch the train, getting there 50 minutes early, and then the train arrived 20 minutes late, so I was waiting 70 minutes.  However I did entertain myself with hundreds of geese flying over in the little V-shaped flying formations and their honking.  I was tired all day.

Caleb Is Set Apart as a Missionary

Tuesday evening at 7:30 we were in the stake president office for Caleb's setting apart.  Those who attended were Caleb's friends, Matt Elliot, Simon McHenry, Annie and Maddie Banks.  Uncle Mark, Aunt Dianna and Natalie, Jeremy, Kayla and Skylar (who slept), Bishop Eklund and us, Me, Sheri, Miranda and Caleb.  Stake President said that after being set apart, hugging sisters and sisters-in-law was OK, but not cousin and friends.  After taking a few pictures, some left fast, we went home and to bed. 

As for President Maxfield's blessing, he blessed Caleb with good health.  He also said that he would be able to use in skills and abilities in counseling bother other Elders and Sisters, in uplifting their spirits.  He would also be able to find those seeking the gospel.  Miranda kept some notes.  I will ask her to post more detail in Caleb's blog.