Prairie Home Companion

Well, I just put out a whole philosophical e-mail and thought I would take a moment to do an actual update on life.
I am sitting here listening to Prairie Home Companion enjoying a few good laughts.  Earlier I listened to Die Frau Ohne Schatten (The woman without a shadow) by Richard Strauss.  It was fascinating to listen to.  Made me want to learn my German.  Funny how music can take us other places.
I have just finished my second week at Bank of America.  Things are going very well.  I am learning many more things about mortgages and all the documentations that attend.  The lessons mostly center around learning the DOS-based system they use for processing all these loans.  I have to admit it is a very detailed system that handles thousands of people working on it at all times with large amounts of information.  Impressive as that it, they tell us it has only gone down once in the last 10 years!  They have replaced one or two systems with Windows applications and they crash regularly so they are not in any rush to be replacing the old DOS-based system.  Therefore, I have to learn the codes and names to navigate the system to check and update information.  They teach us how to check the documents and how to put it into the system.  We were done covering the documents within the first week.  I have found out the position I will be in is basically an assistant underwriter.  It has a whole host of names, but currently it is Home Servicing Specialist (HSS).
Last Saturday and Sunday we had Stake Conference.  I think it was the most powerful Stake Conference I have ever been to.  I have been to some very good ones.  Two were in the Logan Tabernacle (one for the Logan University 4th Stake the other for the Logan University 5th Stake), another in the Springfield Missouri South Stake Center, and the last I can think of was a Stake Conference for the Chester Stake in Wrexham, Wales.  The most impressive part in Missouri was the music and the unity I felt within the congregation.  The Chester Stake was powerful for the fact of some amazing talks given, one particularly by our mission president.  The one for the 5th Stake at USU was that it was basically turned into a stake testimony meeting.  That in and of itself changed the tenor of the meeting but all were invited by name by the Stake Presidency.  The last one for the 4th Stake, I can think of two conferences in particular.  One had Elder Burton, the Presiding Bishop and the other was all the Presidency’s remarks.  President Cherrington usually gave a great talk at all conferences.  So this conference is in good company.  It wasn’t the first conference I have been to with an apostle, but this one had an apostle acted as we expect them to.  Elder Holland gave some powerful comments.
In Priesthood he taught us about Satan binding our tongues, the difference between lips and hearts, and the difference between forms of power and the real thing.  He basically told us we are doing too many things without our hearts and without conviction.  Time to step up to act in the name of the priesthood like we are expected to do.  In Saturday evening, we were taught how we live in a broken world.  Whether you like it or not, things are not perfect.  He taught us about the Atonement and how all broken things will be restored to their proper order at the right time.  Then he pounded out the importance of not whining, not complaining, and going forward in our lives with faith.  He was very direct in those who complain or say something is wrong in life.  He said nobody has the right to complain or wallow in the misery when the Savior took care of them for us.  Time to walk in faith, get up, and be about doing good.  The Sunday session proved to be just as good.  He spoke about his personal experiences of President Hinckley and his prophetic calling.  It was fascinating to learn more about the personal life of a prophet.  He spoke to us about the importance of the gospel and the role of the church.  Again, the topic had to do with looking beyond ourselves and seeing the big picture.  He ended with the importance and the role of the Holy Ghost.  How as latter day saints we live below our privileges and don’t claim the rights that are ours.  We do not appreciate what has been given to us and need to wake up.
Even though I have heard similar talks, the basic point is the power by which he spoke, namely the Spirit of God.  It literally took the message directly to my heart.  I noticed at a couple of points how my bosom literally trembled at what it was he was speaking.  I recognize the power which he conveyed.
In other news, we have been looking for a second car.  With Amanda needing to travel long distances for school this fall, it isn’t going to work to have one car.  So we are looking for a nice little car under $5,000.  So far it has been a miserable failure.  There are very few cars that are below that limit and what we are finding feel like questionable deals.  We went to look at a little Audi A4 for $4,700 and he sold the car at noon.  So we took a little Passat for a drive that he said he would sell to us for $4,000.  It only has 103,000 miles on it.  We took it for a test drive and something about the transmission raised all sorts of red flags for me.  We will have to see if something else pops up.  I may be too picky.  I don’t want a car that smells of smoke or animals.  I would like one which runs well.  I would like one that isn’t completely ugly, like a stationwagon.  Most people take such bad care of cars.  Many have rips in the seats, big marks in the doors or dash, and more.  I keep waiting for someone to give us one so we don’t have to take on a little more debt, but that probably won’t happen soon.  We will have to keep you updated.
Well, I believe that is enough of an update for now.

Hiroshima

Another crazy weekend.  However, I am proud to announce I received 8 hours of sleep on Sunday!  It was the first time in what must have been months.  I woke up with a hang over though from something.  Perhaps the body was not used to having so much rest.  Who knows.  Made my way down to Richmond again on Friday night.  I took Erika to Twin Falls this time, rather than dropping her at Jerome or Burley.  I stopped in Logan to pick up some books I ordered online.  The autobiography of Burton K Wheeler and Huey P Long, also a biography of Frank Church.  I am looking forward to reading them, although the one stenches of BO.
Amanda was able to come up and meet me in Logan so we went out for some World Famous Aggie Ice Cream.  The line proved that there were plenty of people desiring ice cream that late at night.  It must have been 9:30 and the place was crammed full of people.  Then to top it off, this lady stood and chatted with everyone at the cash register.  I had partially eaten my toffee crunch ice cream cone before she finally departed the store.  If somebody wants to get rich, they should invent an ice cream scoop that puts the ice cream clear to the bottom of the cone.  Unless of course, you like your cooled air inside the cone, slightly condensed with diary moisture.
Out to Richmond, moved in for the nocturnal visit, and spent some quality time together.  The Lundgreen’s had already gone to bed!  I had to get to bed early so that I could rise and be ready for Brad to arrive at 6:15 for work.  It seems I didn’t even fall to sleep the night went by so quickly and the alarm clock was off.  Up, breakfast, and off we go to Preston.  Sprayed lawns in Malad again.  A great day.  Visited St Johns, Pleasantview, and Malad in our spraying adventures.  This lady up on the hill had a cool horse drawn buggy in her garage.  We sat and visited with her about Grass Valley, California for a while.  It was pretty interesting.
Now, I have to tell one of the highlights of the day.  Lunch at the Dude Ranch Restaurant, Main Street, Malad, Idaho.  By the look of things, it looked a bit dingy and run down, but good friendly hospitality  Brad and I took our seat in a booth which was probably one of the originals from 1945.  Definitely enjoyed the old bottle bottom glass separating the booths, which seems to have faded since the 70’s.  We ordered a bacon cheese burger and I added a nice pineapple shake to my order.  I had to get my fruit somehow and didn’t think the potatoes in the fries counted other than as a vegetable!  They hand cut their fries.  I had a curly fry that when I picked it up must have stretched out over a foot in length!  Oh, they were delicious.  The burger, home made patty, with everything freshly cut was so good.  Oh yes, I have a new favorite in dining.  Too bad it is so far off of my normal routes of travel.  Eddies in Smithfield, Utah has some pretty darn good fries too!  Not to mention their Bar-b-Que.  Anyhow, Brad and I departed happy individuals from a good down home meal.  Sometimes I get so darn tired of the other foods.
Made our way back to Preston discussing the problems of the world.  Faith, diligence, and decision making in our lives.  We discussed politics, Supreme Court, Presidential Appointment, Idaho, Franklin County, Utah, and the role of law.  It was interesting.  We discussed other things, but due to my age, have now slipped from memory.
In Richmond, I completed my online class, visited with the family for a bit, and headed out for the Jonas family reunion in small Mantua, Utah.  Pulled in, drove around in circles at the Fish Haven Campground, and finally settled the car on a nice piece of grass.  Thought to myself, “Self, visit a few, catch up, get some e-mails, and get the heck out of dodge.”  Well, I appeared and various people came up and said hi and next thing I knew everyone was asking about Amanda and the rest of the year.  I never knew I was in the loop with the Jonas clan.  I thought I was descendant of a long dead brother whose family had fallen from the planet.  Trying to gain some information and knowledge of the family had been difficult in the past.  Now somehow, I was the center of attention and did not even come prepared.  Well, I went and located my car (it was not where I swear I had just parked it!) and pulled out my computer.  Sat down at the picnic table and started showing photos of the beloved Amanda.  After two pictures, I caught them all by surprise by moving it to the Jonas and Coley pictures.  Yep, had them then within my grasp.  They were chatting and talking about old times.  Laughing and identifying people in the pictures which I had given up hope on finding out who they were.  After a good half hour of changing the subject from me to the Jonas pictures, I opened Personal Ancestral File and started showing what I had.  They oohed and awed and started lining up to make sure I had the information correct, and gave me more.  Well, by the end of my 4 hour stint, I had gathered the contact information for 8 separate families, and loaded into PAF 6 entire new families!  I was pretty excited.  So over the next months, via e-mail, those names and families will be fleshed out with dates and places.  It turned out to be more productive than I though.  I had thought the Jonas family was not interested in their genealogy and I was a lone sentinel trying to amass information.  Alas, they are already lining up for me to put together a book and have it at the family reunion next year.  The best part, the bond increased amongst us and for once, I felt a part of the extended Jonas Clan.
The moment arrived when I had to depart from Mantua.  Off to Tremonton, I met Brad Hales again and we headed up to the Kasota home of the Ross’.  We crashed the night there and Sunday morning arose for our final leg to Nampa.  Brad was kind enough to prepare me a bowl of rolled oats.  I love rolled oats, don’t get me wrong, but the amount of so much I could not place any milk into my already oversized bowl was a bit much.  I felt like I had eaten too much afterwards.  The honey in it was really good though!  Hey, I lowered my cholesterol today!
We then made the trek to Nampa, and then Kuna, Idaho.  On the route, we discussed Brigham Young, being led and inspired of heaven, recognizing that guidance, and Oliver Cowdery.  Interspersed with our personal adventures, experiences, and stories.  It was interesting.
Nampa we arrived at the Hales Homestead and enjoyed some quality family time.  Really good Jello, and seared chicken too!  Then off to church for the baby blessing, of which I was even invited to stand in!  That was exciting.  No relation whatsoever, but I got to stand in for the baby blessing.  A very good testimony meeting, and then it was good bye.  Brad and siblings all headed back to Utah, and I headed to Parma.  Oh, I must comment, Brad’s sister, Amy agreed to go to Eastern Germany with me sometime to travel and do family history work.  I am excited!  Now just have to find that buried box of money…
Parma, Idaho was an experience finding.  I thought it was just one of the next towns from Nampa.  Nope.  A few miles to Caldwell, then to Notus, then to Parma.  It was like 30+ miles.  Oh well, it was a beautiful Sunday drive.  I was tempted just to go to Nyssa, Oregon too, but decided against it later.  I found Parma, and took a stroll around the Roswell and Parma cemeteries for the Ross Clan.  I don’t have a direct link to them, probably don’t but feel so compelled to assemble their family history.  Hopefully the future will reveal why.  I found 4 in Roswell, and 10 in Parma, including Charles Benjamin Ross.  That I was excited about.  Took a good drive around the area.  They must be raising something like grapes or something.  I have never seen the vines growing like that.  The Roswell Cemetery was surrounded by them.  There were also plenty of onion fields.  I swear I could smell spearmint too, but never got out to go into the fields to see if I could find a field of spearmint.  I also never realized Parma was the home of Parma farming implement.  Learn something new every day!
Headed back to Eagle, and crashed for the rest of the afternoon.  Did some catching up on the family history from Mantua, and visited on the phone.
On a sad note, I found out my 3rd Grade teacher, Ella Suhr passed away in June.  I was hoping to at least write her and say thank you for the influence she had on my life.  I suppose I will have to wait a while now.
Well, I will close.  Hope it was not too long and tedious of an entry.  It was a fascinating weekend, even though I am exhausted.  The usual state I am in as of late.  It is all worth it though.  I only hope my body will endure it for a very long time.