Sunday, May 26, 2013

Cutting the Rug

I bought a new rug!

That's not it.  This is it:

I moved all the furniture I could, yesterday, out of the upstairs bedrooms.  Getting the tile and grout cleaned in the bathroom tomorrow along with the carpet in the bedrooms and the hall.  I dusted, dusted, dusted.  Bought an air purifier as the dust gets to me - but then I remembered I found out one of the windows wasn't latched so had been ajar for a long time, contributing more to the foray than normal.  That was as a result of checking everything the day after I heard a cell phone right outside the bedroom window at 4:11 a.m.!!  All I could muster until I fell back asleep, was lying there frozen, staring at the clock, listening for any other noises!

So at any rate, moving the magazine table and the back door rug into the "library", made me decide to buy one, a tad larger.  Will make the magazine table look better, in my opinion.  I actually had looked forever at them, online, but couldn't find one that fit the decor, not trusting that a solid would be the same color in reality.  Tried to find this exact one but larger, after I realized I'd like it, no luck.  Hopefully I feel the same about the new one when it arrives.  If it does, I may do a little dance to justify the blog title.

Hopefully I won't reget putting off my visit to the cemeteries, and get there tomorrow.  Not much to use - the peonies are long gone, though beautiful while they lasted.

The snowballs still look good.  No roses yet.  

I do have one hearty iris grouping.  Moved the rest of them this spring, to a better location, and they, not surprisingly, didn't bloom.  So white snowball and purple iris, it is.  I'm actually not very fond of iris but I'm fond of the former occupant(s) who were.

Got to see Lucy and Hazel briefly when they came up with Ruth for her sister's missionary farewell.  Going to Winter Quarters, the lucky duck!
Went to a posh dinner with great entertainment, earlier in the month at the Salt Palace in celebration of Best of State - our fourth year in a row.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Failure Farmer & Other Joys

There's a difference, you know, between farmer failure and failure farmer!  And I'm the latter!  Sigh.

Every year Mother Nature points this out to me, some years louder than others.  This year it's the fact that all the years of pre-emergent treatment for crab grass was not only a waste of time and money but not the right diagnosis.  Not even!  Turns out I have Bermuda grass.  I could have gotten rid of it back in the beginning when it was few, but it's too far gone now, in the front.  And yes, I will kill it off in the back.  Crazy annoying!  Tops the cherry tree aphid attack I didn't notice in time to effectively treat, and yes that year was embarrassing, but at least it was one season and will never be repeated.

Have my garden planted.  Cross your fingers!  And I found someone to cut my lawn, which includes edging, for $20/week.  Woo-hoo!  Dont you just love springtime!

I gave myself an early mother's day gift.  Not needed to earmark it myself of course - my kids are great to remember me.  There is a jewelry store in town, down by Walmart.  I spied it one day and it made me think about the ring I have with a missing stone, and how lovely it is and would be if I could wear it again.

So now I can count it among the rest of my birthstone rings I can wear.

(My kids gave me the one in the middle - opal, garnet, ruby.)

I have the best daughters in town!
(Well, "out of town," but you know what I mean.)
Hope all my female loved ones have a great Sunday!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

BYU big plus, ACA big minus

It's been a long time since I've been on BYU's campus.  The Wilkinson Center has changed.  (No doubt, more than once!)  I checked out the restroom that had a back room with comfy cots - no windows - totally dark - much preferred as a freshman - a nap vs. study while I waited for my ride home.  Walked down the hall past the theatre and the reading room is gone!  In its place - offices.  Used to be able to read various and many national newspapers, or check out music and headphones to while away the in betweens.  Obviously the internet made it obsolete.  Looked for the office, also long gone, I did secretarial work for some studentbody officer - who/when/what I no longer remember.

Apparently I'm not alone, other "sleeping at BYU" pictures:

Picked up The Universe, April 20-May 6 (above from the digital version), and enjoyed reading it thoroughly while I waited.  Came early to avoid the hike a further-out visitor parking lot would entail. I'd told my friend I'd be waiting in the East Lounge but the wait was long because the emailed instructions were not actually absorbed (and I'd left my cell phone in the trunk)!   Want to read along with me?

Big Crimes at BYU few but notable:

Pranks and bike thefts are common items in The Universe’s Police Beat, but BYU has occasionally been affected by more notable crimes.
An interview with University Police, along with a search of BYU Police media releases archived in the Harold B. Lee Library and court records, details some of the more infamous criminal episodes connected to BYU.

Airline hijacking
A BYU student hijacked a plane and about $500,00. (Image courtesy the Harold B. Lee Library Archives)
An FBI wanted poster for hijacker Richard Floyd McCoy. (Image courtesy of Harold B. Lee Library Archives)
April 7, 1972: BYU law enforcement major Richard Floyd McCoy, armed with a hand grenade and an empty pistol, hijacked a Boeing 727. He then parachuted out near Provo with $500,000 in ransom money. McCoy was arrested at his home by the FBI after it was learned that he discussed hypothetical plans for a hijacking with highway patrolman Robert Van Leperen and asked his sister-in-law for help with the hijacking plot. A duffel bag with $499,970 was found in his house. McCoy was a Sunday School teacher in the Provo First Ward. One of McCoy’s Sunday School students said, “All he ever talked about was sin.” In an ironic twist, McCoy was on National Guard duty flying one of the helicopters used in the search for the hijacker. McCoy also wrote his thesis at BYU on how to prevent hijackings.
March 11, 1974: BYU student Barbara Jean Rocky’s body was found in Big Cottonwood Canyon. Rocky had been raped and was shot five times. Her murder went unsolved for 33 years until Salt Lake City Police were able to use DNA evidence found in a soil sample to charge former BYU student Gerald Hicker with the murder. Hicker confessed to her murder in 2010 but said he shot Rocky in self-defense, claiming she took off her clothes, began to pray to the devil and then threatened him with a revolver, which he took from her in a struggle and used to shoot her. Rocky’s family denies Hicker’s claims and asked Hicker to simply tell the truth about Rocky’s killing. Hicker insisted his story was true.
Serial killer kidnapping
June 28, 1975: Ted Bundy kidnapped 15-year-old Susan Curtis when she left her youth conference group at BYU to go to the dormitory and brush her teeth. Curtis was never seen or heard from again. Before his execution, Bundy confessed to killing her and burying her body by the highway in Price. A search of the area failed to locate her remains.
Large-scale art theft
June 1986: The Museum of Art discovered 900 works of art had been stolen after art donors asked where some of their donations had gone. The dollar value of the missing art totaled in the millions. These works of art included priceless pieces by Claude Monet, Winslow Homer, the Weir family, Norman Rockwell, Mahonri Young and others. This case is still active, and many works have since been recovered.
Church president threatened
Feb. 7, 1993: LDS Church President Howard W. Hunter was giving a Devotional address in the BYU Marriott Center when Cody Judy rushed up to him holding a briefcase he claimed was a bomb and a cell phone that appeared to be a detonator. Judy handed a note to Hunter to be read to the crowd that announced Judy as the new president. Hunter refused to read the note and stayed silent with his eyes looking down at his notes. The audience spontaneously began singing “We Thank Thee O God for a Prophet,” at which point a man ran up to Judy and pepper-sprayed him. A mob of people then rushed up to Judy and tackled him. The mob subdued Judy by punching and kicking him while they waited for police to take him into custody. Afterward, President Hunter resumed his speech. Judy served six years in prison and was released Aug. 3, 1999.
Officer shot
May 20, 1998: A bank robbery was in progress at a Wells Fargo bank branch at 66 E. 1650 North. University Police officer David Adams headed to the crime scene. When he arrived at the intersection of Canyon Road and University Parkway, the robbery suspect got out of a car and started shooting at Adams. The officer was hit in the head and in the chest; however, the rounds first hit the steering wheel, which slowed their velocity and saved Adam's life.
The Police Beat was always interesting and often good for a laugh, even back in my day (revisited often when Grant would report from his years there); not so much this list other than maybe the harassment section:
April 9 Damage to a stairwell in the Grant Building was reported. An officer checked the area but found no suspects. An investigation is ongoing.
April 16 Graffiti was found all over downtown Provo, including businesses, fences, alleyways, garage doors and a phone box.
Criminal Mischief
April 9 A fire was seen at Helaman Halls. Upon investigation officers found that gasoline had been poured on a cement pad and lit on fire. The fire starters have not been found, and the crime is under investigation.
April 15 A liquid was poured down the Spencer W. Kimball Tower stairwell. Officers responded and checked the area, but no suspects were found. Custodians were contacted to clean up the mess.
April 9 A locked bicycle was taken from the Heritage Halls bike racks.
April 13 A bicycle was secured outside Centennial II apartments. Upon returning for his bicycle, the victim found his lock cut and the bicycle missing.
April 15 A person’s clothing and wallet were stolen from the Smith Fieldhouse.
Vehicular Theft
April 13 A vehicle was stolen from 100 S. Freedom Blvd.
April 13 An individual’s scooter was stolen from a BYU parking lot. Officers filed a report and put a county-wide lookout for the scooter.
April 11 Individuals were found trespassing in LaVell Edwards Stadium. They were warned and escorted from the stadium.
April 9 An individual reported receiving unwanted texts in the Harris Fine Arts Center. An officer talked with both parties, and the texting stopped.
April 11 A victim reported receiving a harassing phone call in the Richards Building. The phone call is under investigation.
The Tweet Beat was actually humorous:
@karlyscastillo  ”Next to my friends, what I’m going to miss most about #BYU is all the attractive men. But really.”
@bekiweki “The commercials on #BYU TV are so weird that at first I thought they were part of the skits on#StudioC.”
@danlefevre89 “To the man who tried and failed a backflip at the graduation ceremonies today…glad four years of school made you smart #byu #graduation”
@Brit6363 “Ps I go to the most amazing school in the world. #proudcougar #BYU”
@BrettTwinGonna stand by the road with my guitar and a sign: “will play sappy graduation song $5″#BYU #graduation”
@haileynoelleeeI just took 30 shots of #byu chocolate milk. Not one of my better decisions.”
@brookay13 “Wait I didn’t know #BYU had frats!”—Quinn after reading Magna Cum Laude in Megan’s graduation program.”
@kyote_g “those ducks walk around like they own the campus!” Sorry random girl, they do. #BYU#ducks”
@cmacmitch “So is this church or is it not church? Because it felt like church but…more clapping. #BYU”
@cierrabrooke I don’t recommend ironing your gown on high #whoops #BYU”
@Kaderd “Waiting in line for 3 hours is worth it!!! I love splash mountain! Jk I’m at the testing center.#byu”
@tylerpsays “They’ve got rent-a-puppies in the testing center line. I’ve seen everything. #BYU”
@tylerpsays What happens when you’ve been in the finals line so long that your facial hair is no longer an acceptable length? #BYU”
#Ygrams seem to be fully in tune with the self-mocking BYU humor I best remember:

This coming week's ... but I put this up because there was an amusing caption about this BYU statue getting a shave to comply with BYU grooming standards (a myth).  Which no doubt means a former typical BY statue completely replaced by this one!  (I wouldn't even know who it was absent being told.)

Not a myth:  BYU ranked fourth most 'stress-inducing' school in the country, surpassing Harvard, the Naval Academy, Columbia and Princeton.  The article claimed that BYU's strict honor code (for those who feel guilty or felt pressured into keeping it) and tough requirements for major programs contribute to its high-stress atmosphere.  Cornell was #1, West Point #2, MIT #3.

Janeil clued us in, back in her Nauvoo days, on this therefore unsurprising news:

Black and her husband, George Durrant, are currently waiting for their assignment.

Susan Easton Black at her last class as a professor. Photo by Gabriel Meyr.
Susan Easton Black at her last class as a professor. (Photo by Gabriel Meyr)

Susan Easton Black finished her final class at BYU to a standing ovation after 37 years and a prolific career as a religion professor.

The class was an exam review for REL 324, Pioneers and Persecution, and before she launched into the kind of detailed, note-free lecture she’s known for, Black asked students to stand up if they were going on a mission.

“You’ll notice that I’m standing up too,” Black said.

Brent L. Top, chair of the Church History and Doctrine department, rose and spoke after Black concluded the class.

“I just wanted to let you know that Sister Black is probably the most recognizable woman associated with BYU,” Top said. He also explained that she begged to always be available as a substitute teacher in the future.

“(So) I’m planning to be sick a lot when she gets home from her mission,” he said.

But he may have to act fast, because Black hopes she and her husband will be serial missionaries that serve multiple missions.

Black leaves a towering academic legacy behind her. She has authored 134 books, traveled the world and spoken in all fifty states. She is glad the books make her scholarship available to people who cannot attend BYU, but she pointed to one thing in particular as her most valued legacy.
“My students, look what they’ve become,” she said. “I’m thrilled about that. … Every time I come to this class, I feel like I just walked into sacred space, sacred ground, because of what you will do for the Lord serving in the Church.”
Last one:  Front page article captioned:  Missionary age change linked to 500 unfilled BYU campus jobs.
So why was I there?

Got recognized as an Employee of the Year, along with others out at the schools.  (There were several men named as well, but they didn't come - wives possibly not impressed enough to let them come to an employee-only dinner.)

These ladies came from our department:
(Our Table)

A few more:

(And two more who dodged the camera.)

It was rather an odd event.  The district has just determined that our six-hour employees will now be 5.5 max as a result of the ACA taking effect in 2014 (early because we can't switch midstream).  Likely also (will be announced by May 30th), any future non-licensed employee (teachers are licensed) will not receive any leave nor retirement benefits due to a USR ruling that anyone with leave benefits (which all non-licensed get, in time) must also receive retirement benefits (which only over four hour/day non-licensed get).  Current employees will be grandfathered.  My hours/benefits are the same (for now), and of all the persons pictured, only two others, because we have contracts.

This event was lobbied for in negotiations almost a year ago (but only recently announced).  Non-licensed have been getting decreasing benefits for the last two years (prior we always got the same as teachers), so this event was supposed to be a morale-booster.  It was well attended, I give them that.  Every attendee also got a $10 gift card.  I'd guess several hundred attended.  They didn't define it by hours, so it included every non-licensed person, from working less than an hour per day (yes, there are a few) up.  It really was fun (even though I thoroughly dislike this kind of attention - have occasionally been nominated for various things and the forms go straight to the trash can).  I have to go to the next School Board meeting, and it for sure won't be fun, but I'll get money so that will soften the blow. *wink*

I used to attend monthly non-licensed board meetings - for ten years, representing our department.  I finally bowed out of all that stuff so that others could get up to speed before I disappeared.  Still get lots of questions and confusion from our association officers, but it's getting better, with time.  We make our money by hosting restaurant-quality kitchen supplies sales, which are very popular.  If I last that long, I'll get to participate in our very big fling spending down the CD I bought with the association surplus eight years ago, and it will cover the registration (which is pricey) and hotel rooms for ALL of us (100±  in our department), when the national School Nutrition Association convention is held in Salt Lake City the summer of 2015.  Normally only officers can go (well, can afford to go, courtesy of our fund), and we send them biannually.  (I got to go to Los Angeles in 2006.)  That will be a laugh in itself, if I "make" it.  I'll be 70.  Not likely, but then who'd have thought I'd still be working at 68!