Dad Retired!

I thought I would try out this new e-mail address for updating our joint blog.  Amanda is somewhat offended that our joint blog has not had an entry from me.  She was contemplating removing the “Paul and” part from the blog.  I guess I will start updating both of them from here on out.

While I am wasting a perfectly good couple of minutes during study time, I thought I would write a little bit.

The big news I received today is my Dad retired yesterday!!  Typical AgExpress in being shortsighted brought up another issue that was the last straw.  He replied to the e-mail and stated he was leaving the keys, the cell phone, and was taking the rest of his life off from work.  I am interested to see what AgExpress thought.  We probably won’t really know.  My own experience with AgExpress and the ‘sacred cows’ as we referred to the condescending, disagreeable secretaries is consistent.  Dad in working at the temple just couldn’t maintain having such a disagreeable work environment.  Good for him!

Back to studying.  We are working on bilateral and unilateral contracts.  Which is odd since this doctrine isn’t really used anymore.  They feel we need to know the history of our present condition, which makes sense.

Birthday Week

On Saturday we planted three new trees in front of the house.  I have great hopes for them and their rising high in the next three years.  It will be interesting to see what our home looks like when and if we move away from it after law school.  We went and purchased them, along with an ax and other tools, from a birthday gift card.  Thank you!  I have been slowly whittling away at the stump in the front with my new ax.  I also removed all the above ground roots behind the garage.  There is one or two I missed, but I will get them.

We went out to eat at Outback Steakhouse Friday night.  They did not cook either of our steaks well enough and we had to send them back.  Accordingly they only made us pay for one of the steaks for our trouble.  Of course, it was the more expensive!  I did not mind too much.  It was really good once I got the steak back and it was not rare still.  Amanda is not a big seafood or fish fan so I try to eat up.  I enjoyed shrimp and mussels with my meal.  Interestingly, the waiter asked if we were from Utah because I used a Zions Card.  He had been to Utah and seen the banks everywhere.  I was offended at the Utah notion but he recovered quickly.

The rest of the week brought other gifts, cards, money, and wishes.  Thank you to everyone!!

I continue through school.  No complaints.  I see there are a number around who are getting a little stressed.  For the most part I think everyone puts on a brave face.  I don’t feel like I am in full comprehension of the facts.  However, I don’t tend to get anxious.  I hear there are a few who are pretty stressed.

I have been watching the news and am a bit disappointed in our good government.  As we remembered the Constitution’s Birthday last week it appears the Capitol District didn’t have much of a remembrance celebration.  They are off working out a bail out for an estimated $700,000,000,000.  That equates to more than $2,000 per person.  Forget the whole per person, I am talking per living citizen of this country!  So much for refund checks.  They are going to take them back with tremendous interest!  How about we put our house in order?  How about we take care of our collective debt before we begin helping others out with their debt?  Who will help us out of our debt?  China?  In reading last night I stumbled on the following scripture, “For the Lord thy God blesseth thee, as he promised thee: and thou shalt lend to many nations, but thou shalt not borrow; and thou shalt reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over thee.”  (Deut 15:6).  Does that mean if we borrow over many nations we shall not reign?  Does that mean we shall not be blessed?  In what way?

It certainly seems like time we paid our dues, debts, and other obligations.  I feel so strongly about the whole bail out thing I want to swear.  This seems ridiculous!  Outrageous!  Okay, Wall Street may fail.  So the argument I will get taxed either way.  I would rather take my chances than to help a bunch of whiners who live in the corner office.  They should have been prepared.  They should have not gone into debt.  They should have been wiser.  Why do we have to bail them out?  Rather than shutting down the Fed, they will probably just create another department.  The Department of Finance.  Socialism, here we come!

Well, back to reading torts.  The one class I feel like I am actually getting.  Maybe that should say something to me.

Livin it up in the Hotel Oklahoma

I don’t know why I thought of the line for the subject.  I was quietly singing Hotel California to myself and it just came out that way.  Who knows who will stumble our way because of it.  I am simply amazed at who finds my blog from searches on the internet.  The one time use of a word seems to draw people.  My blog has absolutely no interest to them, so I would think.  It was a fluke the searching of a word brought up my blog.  Even more than I ever used the word.  My vocabulary is not typically not used.

I felt I should offer and update but really don’t have any particular reason.  Therefore, just a few random thoughts before I close.

Today is Garrett Lee Smith’s birthday.  I have to admit, I really miss him.  He was a good lad.  I believe he would have been 27.  He died 5 years ago yesterday.  What a sad and tragic waste.  Then again, we see through a glass darkly, do we really understand?  I dropped an e-mail to his good parents to send my love and best wishes.  Sharon seemed very glad to read my feelings.  She appeared to be needing a boost.

Somehow I find myself attending Bible Study on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  Baptists on Monday, Methodists on Wednesday, and Saints on Friday.  Honestly, the free lunch accompanying the study was the initial draw.  I am a lover of the scriptures so I enjoy the lessons.  I wonder about the wisdom in taking that much time.  Then again, I hope for the spiritual blessings, mental dexterity I will surely need in neglecting other study, and some physical sustenance I receive while there.  Friday’s will no longer have food since the local CES can’t seem to figure out what they are doing.  Then again, I am not really there for the food.  It really is just an excuse.

As the weeks continue, when we are found out to be LDS, how will the mood change?  I have been in instances with Baptists where it is quickly manifest we are not welcome in their gatherings.  We are ‘sheep stealers’ and ‘children of the devil’ as I have previously experienced.  The Methodists really don’t seem as passionate about their doctrine or their religion.  That is obvious at their Bible Study compared with the Baptists.  I am definitely generalizing, but we will see how things pan out in Oklahoma City as we continue.  Hopefully time will permit our attendance.  One thing is for sure, you can sure tell many of these kids don’t have very much experience with the scriptures.  Then again, we can’t always say more generally for our religion than these others.

In a similar vein, I am amazed at how quickly the brotherhood is felt amongst some of us bought together solely by our religion.  There is about 5 of us who study together regularly, we discuss a myriad of topics, and share our experiences.  In some cases we tell jokes, some fluff a little air none of us appreciates, and share thoughts about professors probably best not revealed.  This extension to a lesser degree opens to a variety of others in other years of the law school and in other parts of OCU.  All due to religion.  This is what the true community of Christ is like (was that a plug for RLDS?).  The association and connections are in place because of our membership in the church.  That gives us the basis for all else.  We instantly have those connections.  To me it is a miracle.  Another evidence of the hand of God in his great and marvelous work.

The best joke I heard this week, “You know I took my viagra the other night and the pill got stuck in my throat.  I had a stiff neck for a week!”

Law school is a great experience.  I am really enjoying OCU Law.  The cases, the intricacies of the cases, and the interplay of rules.  It is like a giant game or mind puzzle.  While I don’t like having a set schedule where I cover large amounts of material, it is a welcome nuisance (knowing the definition of nuisance, is it really??).  The material is interesting and challenging.  I feel really badly for some who are stressed out and don’t appear to be enjoying much of anything.  Then again, they get the joy of self-medicating at the local bar with a group of others on Thursday nights.  Talking with some, that seems the best part of law school.

Well, time to sign out.  Keep the penny, my thoughts are free.  Not that what was offered tonight would be worth a penny anyway.

Visitors in OKC

I have uploaded a couple more pictures to the 2008 album.  The first is of our first visitors to our humble home in Oklahoma City.  Pete and Heather Schultz stopped by on their way to Louisiana.  They could not stop long so we treated them to dinner, a little conversation, and they were on their way.  They were so quickly in and out I don’t believe they even used the restroom.  But hey, they got some of Amanda’s great home cooking.  I hope they travel safely.  They were planning on crashing (not literally) somewhere between Dallas and Houston.  It has been at least 10 years since I last saw Heather.  She graduated two years before me.  Pete looked and seemed familiar to me but I don’t know when I would have met him.  He seemed to remember me as well.  Anyhow, it was great to catch up with them.  I cracked a joke at one point I learned might have been very insensitive.  I really don’t know, I hope not.  It probably will be the last time they come to visit.  Hopefully it is due to location and not my bad humor.

The next three photos are some of my soon-to-be world famous mushrooms.  I have been growing quite the crop of them.  I think we had so much dead matter in the lawn from a very dry summer and then the watering every day for the reseeding helped the crop.  As you can see, some of them were up to about 10 inches across.  I haven’t a clue if they were edible, but I am sure I could have sold them either way.  Good money if they were the magic kind!  In the one picture you can see me pushing my little reel mower.  Yes, I purchased a reel mower brand new!  I have to admit, I believe it is the most novel thing in the neighborhood.  At least a half dozen people have stopped and asked me where I got it.  One guy even wanted to know how it worked.  I explained it and he went on his merry way.  The one neighbor across the street who asked to mow our lawn regularly, commented it would be great for saving gas.  That was one reason I purchased it.  Next, it would be an instrument of exercise.  I also know they are supposed to be much kinder on cutting the grass.  Rather than whipping and ripping the grass, this slices it nicely.  It promotes happy grass!

The last picture is of an intruder in our home.  You will notice by his size, he is more than 3 inches across.  Yep, he is a little Wolf Spider.  Harmless, but enough to make Amanda on pins and needles for weeks.  Spiders are usually friends, not enemies.  Amanda is not so sure.  Therefore the poor little creatures meet an untimely end in our home.  The best part about wolf spiders is they will eat cockroaches.  That argument still doesn’t convince Amanda we should keep them alive, even if I transport them from the home.

Amanda found herself a job.  She starts on Monday.  She will be working at the Dental Depot just a few blocks from our home.  She will be administering anesthesia full time.  The one thing she thought she would never need or use is now her first full time job.  I just hope it isn’t mind numbing work!!

I continue pressing along in school.  I am very much enjoying civil procedure and torts.  Contracts is a bit dry and we haven’t really got into legal writing and analysis.  Apparently it will be a doozy.  I am enjoying Ambulance Recognition and look forward to Ambulance Pursuit next year.

Starting in Earnest

What little tidbits could I update you on this day?  What has been happening in life?

I finished reading the Book of Mormon for the year.  I was a few days ahead of schedule and pretty excited about that.  I have dedicated myself to answering the questions about LDS doctrine from Lee the Lowe’s Delivery Man.  I just haven’t had time to respond, plus I have been doing some research.  If you want to help, I posted the questions on an earlier post a week or so ago.

In church, oddly enough, I saw a lady walking out of the chapel about midway through the Sunday School lesson.  My first thought, “She reminds me of a Wall”.  I quickly dismissed it as I am in Oklahoma City and surely a Wall would not be here.  After Sunday School as we were walking out, I looked at this lady sitting in a pew near the back.  We looked at each other I am sure with the same degree of puzzlement.  She made the comment, “I heard you reading and thought that sounds like Paul Ross.”  I commented about seeing her facial silhouette as she was walking out and thinking she reminded me of a Wall.  Sure enough, it was Luann Wall who I graduated high school with.  Who would ever have thought.  Right before we left to drive out here we were visiting friends.  One of the friends said he was going to see Rick and Kathy Wall and I asked him to tell them hello for me.  Since Luann has a twin sister, I sheepishly asked which one she was.  Erika, her sister, had been in my stake at Utah State.  Since I was in a Stake Calling then, I would see her regularly in the halls of when I attended that ward.  Luann told me who she was and then I went to call her Leann later.  I am such an idiot.  Anyhow, exciting days.  I have a girl from high school, whose ward I attended in Acequia, and who I had a definite interest in for a good while in about junior high.  Her husband is in the Air Force and is based here.  We have agreed to do dinner when her husband is back in town.  Oddly, the thing that bothers me is this; after serving in England and living all over the country, she recognized my voice.  I doubt it was my accent as it is has been mutilated by cultures.  What was it that was so distinctive that Luann Wall thought across the chapel, “That sounds like Paul Ross?”

Law school is providing some interesting a quick insight into myself.  I can be diligent in studying.  I always knew that.  I still have the old struggle of getting the ball rolling.  I am easily distracted.  Once I get down and dirty, I roll in it for hours at a time.  But somehow, maybe it is the age and bad knee, I just struggle getting down into the mire.  Perhaps it is too long away, but I always had this problem before.  Now is the chance to conquer it.  After all, I am making the decision to pass the bar now.  Every decision of every day is determining that passing rate a little more.

This evening we had a foundation man and a plumber here to crawl with me in our dank crawlspace.  One finds a quick brotherhood in dark spider infested places.  We got our lowest bid yet for the work on the foundation.  All cracks fixed with mortar, more joists to support a sagging bathroom and utility room, and some quality piers.  All for roughly $1900.  The plumber told us a rough estimate for the materials alone would be about $1000.  We have to pull most of the plumbing out for the foundation men since the joist in need of reinforcement is in the plumbing heart of the home.  I am pretty excited to get all the work done.  He said we could pay him as we have the money for the labor.  For which I am glad to hear.  We can pay for the materials up front and then probably pay him the rest within a week or two.  We have one more plumber to come and give us a bid.  He was supposed to come tonight but did not show.  Guess he wasn’t all that interested in the job.

In other conversation with the foundation and plumber men.  Mr. Foundation emphasized getting gutters on the house and getting water away from the home.  That is certainly on the plans.  He emphasized sooner than later.  He will just have to wait until we can afford it.  I have no idea how much new gutters and drip caps will be (which I found climbing on the house to actually be missing in some places!).  What is worse, I have a few eaves that the wood is rotten and it will need to be replaced to even put on a gutter!  Ugh.  One thing after another.  The plumber was kind enough to point out that it was as hot and steamy as a sauna under the house.  That happens to be from the fact Amanda was doing laundry and our dryer vent goes below the house.  Not out, under.  He attributed the dryer vent to the destroyed floor joist right next to the vent.  Since I told him I wanted a spigot the back of the house, when he makes the hole in the foundation to just put in the vent and duct as well.  Two stones killed with one bird there!  The plumber said he could solve my freezing pipe problem as well.  Oh, he even will install the new bathroom tub, to boot!  We will have a new house here.  Now we just have to get an electrician in here to take a look at things too.  I have found more wires laying on the ground under the house, none of which I dare play with too much.  Some of them have connections held together by electrical tape.  We will be poor when we are done, but hey our house will supposedly be worth more!

Law School Orientation

The Sprinky post received quite a number of comments.  I appreciate hearing from you.  For those of you who have requested, there is a photo of Sprinky available in motion.  He is in the 2008 album.  If you look closely you can see the water swirling in front of him.

On to other business, it has been a crazy couple of days.  I am starting to get my feet wet in the practice of law.  They are breaking us in quickly with a week of orientation.  They might as well call it, “The Crash Course in Writing Briefs”.  I am sure I have little or no idea what is really in store but I am enjoying it so far.

We have heard from the President of the Oklahoma Bar Association giving us advice.  Justice Yvonne Kauger of the Supreme Court of Oklahoma swore us in.  Our professors have done all they can to get the point across we need to study hard.  I have found 4 other LDS students with whom I have already studied and car-pooled.  Things are looking good.  The comments of one professor already have me thinking in my moments of down time.  He told us that we have to make the decision we are going to pass the bar exam now.  Every decision from this point out will be in conjunction with that decision.  Shall I watch TV or study the law.  Shall I do this or study the law.  Pointing out every indiscretion could keep us from learning and weaken our position of passing the bar.  Wow, for a test more than 3 years down the road, my seconds now will matter?  Looking at it in that light, we have either been preparing or not for the past 20 years haven’t we?

Then again, the scriptures teach us to think like this regularly for the bar exam, the Final Bar.  With a capital F.  Every day, every thought, every action, every desire is making up our constitutions for the final day.  The thought of our little moments now making a big difference later are not new to Saints.  D&C reminds us to labor in what is called today, not for tomorrow.  Alma refers to live as a probationary state.  Even President Monson in his maxims talks of acting today for in living for tomorrow we end up with a bunch of empty yesterdays.

I head back to my studying.  Just this night, I have learned TB centers are considered nuisances in close proximity to others.  Undertakes as well.  Cemeteries and mausoleums are not.  Slaughterhouses are not.  Who knows what the next case will teach me.  Obviously we are learning about nuisances and the legal rules applying.  This is just a class to teach us how to read cases and brief them, this isn’t even a real class yet!  However, the most hilarious line tonight was about how the people wanting a mausoleum don’t have the grounds to sue.  Obviously, if they had the grounds, they wouldn’t want a mausoleum!  I went back and reread the statement and saw I read it wrong, but dang it was funny at the moment.

You want to know what is even more sad?  I have been doing some genealogical research on a couple of lines in Washington.  All the cases I referenced are from the State of Washington.  This mausoleum is from Tacoma, Washington and the case is in 1920.  My first thought was, “I wonder if there are any Andress’, Jonas’, or Carpenter’s in this Mausoleum?”  The slaughterhouse case was from south of Colville, Washington.  Colville just happens to be the town where I have several individuals who disappear and I cannot find where or what happened to them.  Not to say the slaughterhouse is my answer, but I have personally been to all these locations in the past 6 months!  Perhaps that is what is making the first few days so interesting.

Killed a hen

There is a big whopping achievement I want to report.  It has been an entire year in the process.  It would not have taken so long if I would have really knuckled down to do it.  It probably would have only taken three months.  I finished typing up my Great Grandmother’s journals!  Well, there are only three years worth, 1961-1963.  I have been told there are more, many more, but nobody seems to know where they are.  Well, actually I have been told they are located in the missing trunk that I reported on here some months back.  I don’t know if this trunk really holds all these treasures, of if it is to blame for the loss of family priceless jewels.  I hope someday we can find out.  The journals amounted to roughly the equivalent of 120 typed pages.  Yea, I know, it doesn’t sound like much, but it was a long process.  I really enjoyed the walk through time.  The death of my Great Great Grandmother is in there although a small, undetailed account.  The assassination of President Kennedy was another interesting read.  While she records no emotions on the death of her mother, for days afterward she is sickened by the assassination.  She comments seeing Mr. Oswald being shot by Mr. Ruby and how horrible that felt to her.
I learned quite a bit about myself in the process.  Every week contains some reference to my Grandparents, Norwood and Colleen Jonas.  Sometimes it is as common as every day for a week.  There are references to operations on my Grandmother, Colleen and her having what was believed to be a cancerous mole removed.  There are references to my own mother losing her finger, which story I have also included in past postings.  Grandma Lillian references babysitting often my Aunt Jackie.
All in all, I gained a greater testimony of daily journal entries.  Her example is powerful.  The most mundane of activities are in some ways completely foreign to us 40 years later.  She visit teaches 10 (!) different households every months the entire three years.  What is more, she comments about it the beginning days of nearly every month, meaning it was done early and regularly.  It is strange to hear of the chickens being killed for Sunday dinner.  That is something you never hear of someone just deciding to kill the chicken for dinner that evening.  Telephone calls are still referred to as a novelty.  The insurance was incredibly cheaper.  I don’t know of anyone who mops the whole house every Saturday.  I don’t know anyone who regularly bakes several loaves of bread and puts up literally dozens of jars of goods every fall.
So I am glad that is completed.  I will return these three journals to my Aunt Lillian when I am visiting Utah in the beginning of April.
This week has been Amanda’s Spring Break but it hasn’t been much of a break.  She has been going to all these different schools telling the children how to take care of their teeth.
This week I was informed we found the marriage date and place for my Great something Grandparents.  William Sharp and Mary Ann Bailey Padley were married at Laurel Loup, Nebraska Territory 10 Jul 1853.  Leanne Maynes got a copy of the divorce papers which gave the information.  I am glad to have a copy of the papers and the marriage date.
I also applied to George Mason University Law School this week.  That leaves only William and Mary to apply to.  Their deadline is the 1 of July, but I hope to get it in within the month.  No point of waiting and have it surprise me the day before.  So far I have applied to Washington & Lee, University of Virginia, and George Washington.  I didn’t even see the point of applying to University of Richmond.  They required several additional documents and I don’t have any desire to go there.  I am not impressed with them at all.  I will tell you, it is an expensive process applying to these schools!  Anywhere from $70 to $90 a school!  I will have to make sure I save some money for applying this coming year.  If I apply to 10 schools, and they each charge that range, that is $700 to $900!  The good thing is some of them do not charge.  LSAC does for the report to send to them, but that is only $12 per school.  That is much more feasible.
Temple cards continue to trickle in from all over the world.  I have forgotten where so many of these cards go.  I have to leave it completely in the hands of the people who have them to return them.  I got some from a lady a month or two back from Seattle!  I wrote to her asking where she got them from.  She gave me the name of a woman who I did not know so the chain is longer than I have the capacity to follow in some instances.  This week I received about 30 completed cards that were first baptized in 2002.  I don’t have many cards that old out there anymore.  But they still are!  I fear some cards may have been lost forever.  I hope not.
Last week I taught the first lesson of the latest string of family history classes.  It went very well.  I am excited for this class and group of students.  They all came prepared and have actually done some work.  I don’t have to try to light the fire of family history in them, they already have it.
Time to sign off.  Life goes well.  Just wish I didn’t have to sleep.  How much more could I accomplish in a day!?

LSAT is past

I thought I would give an update. The LSAT is now passed. RIP That is most surely what I shall do!I went into the test with no worries or anxiety. Well, that is only partially true. I did not know where the place was I was taking the test at the University of Richmond, so I was afraid I would not be able to find it.  Alas, I did find it and showed up just as they were seating everyone. So I did not lose my $$ and it kept me from thinking about the crazy thing I was about to do.

The test went smoothly. I don’t have any concerns. I did have about 4 questions on each section that I did not have time to answer (except one, I
had like a minute left) so I filled them in with the guess that kept the pattern going from the rest of the section. As it goes with the LSAT, I don’t know if I did good, I don’t know if I did badly. All I know is I passed through it without getting the block, anxiety, or even cold sweats that accompany most events like this.

I went home, took a nap, and then went to enjoy a Priesthood Session of General Conference. Life went on as if it had never happened. Hopefully it can go on that way…