25th of October

It has been quite the week.  We have replaced the sewer side of our plumbing, moving on to the feed side next week.  We had our ward Halloween Party last night with Trunk-or-Treat, Chili Cook-off, and Costume Contest.  We were there long enough to eat chili but not really do the costume part, even though we did dress up.  I had to walk across the hall and teach my 1.5 hour class on part two of the new FamilySearch website.  The fun part it was completely in my Fitzwilliam Darcy costume.  The class seemed to enjoy it.
Tonight we are having ourselves a Halloween Party at our house.  We have invited over 30 but only about 20 RSVP’d.  It should be fun.  It is for the most part buddies from school.  The interesting fact is that it falls on the 10th anniversary of the murder.  A couple joked they were going to come as an Idaho inmate, but have changed their mind as it was a little tasteless.  I am sure Amanda will post some of the pictures online on our joint blog of the occasion.
I took a mock exam this morning and feel I did fairly well considering only half way through the semester.  I know which areas I need to work on rounding out more of my knowledge and understanding of the specific torts and the elements of each.
This week I have been in contact with some old family friends who were kind enough to share some recollections about the Jonas side of the family.  Here are some excerpts from those communications.
“I woke up in the middle of the night when [Norwood] came home. Yelling, noises, thumping, screaming. I was scared, I had not met him yet. When I heard [voices], I peeked out the door. [Doug] was trying to pull his mother off his dad who was trying to stop [Norwood] from beating Jackie. She was 11 or 12. He was drunk and yelling that Jackie was not his child. Can you imagine the poor child. I had never been exposed to anything remotely like this. TV was not so graphic then. Wow. The next day no one said anything. Pretend it did not happen. I remember Doug suggesting hiding or removing the booze. [Colleen] said that would make him mean so she would not do that. I did not sleep well the entire time I was there. Norwood was cordial to me, even smiled and teased me. He was fine when not drinking.”
“Sandy was drinking and taking Motrin, she told me it was a “good high.” Motrin was prescription at the time and she took it for her constant pain. She had had severe head trauma and reconstructive surgery from the car accident where she totaled Doug”s Opel Cadet 2 1/2 years earlier. She showed me the pictures. Wow. You have probably seen them.”
“[Colleen] said she could not take Norwood’s drinking any longer and was filing for a divorce. Sandy was very upset. She said that if she divorced him they would never be together as a family in the Celestial Kingdom.”
“I must admit that Sandy’s remarks about the divorce struck everyone as being foreign due to her dislike of the church.  But remember it is how you are raised.  She knew nothing else.  I believe that she reverted to a child when faced with the divorce of her parents.  And that child believed in the Celestial Kingdom.  She can not be an atheist, that is just a defense mechanism.  She radically changed her memories of her father after he died.  She embodied him and fought hard with her Mom.”
“[Doug] was very stressed over the fact of his parents divorcing but supported his mother’s decision. In the following months Sandy moved back to Cache Valley. [Doug] used to get late night calls from her. She was usually drunk, unhappy, hated being a Jonas. Hated her mother. She took to wearing her fathers clothes. Right down to his boxer shorts. I don’t know how many times she was in jail for disorderly conduct, drunk in public, open container, drunk driving. The laws were not so strict then. She finally had to leave Logan. The law was not going to tolerate her behavior any longer.”
[Doug and Linda’s] wedding was planned for April 12, 1975. [They] mailed the invitations out on March 12th. Doug’s dad was no longer living at home. On March 14th, he was crossing the street and was hit by a 17 year old boy with his younger sister in the car. There are many versions of the story, no one really knows for sure. All I know for sure is…the day [the] wedding announcements arrived everyone was learning that Norwood was dead. It was a very tough time for Doug. He never had the adult relationship with his father that he always wanted, he grieved that loss for many, many years.”

“After the wedding and [the] open house in Richmond, Sandy [went] back to CA. Doug needed his sister and she needed him. She was very depressed and drinking an awful lot.”
“Colleen definitely softened in her memories of [Norwood] after he died.  Occasionally she referred to him as “a son of a bitch.”  With such a tone uncharacteristic of her.  I remember the yelling in the Jonas household.  It was almost like if [the family] did not yell you could not hear them.  I never experienced [Colleen’s] wrath, she always spoke calmly to me.  At least that is what I am remembering today.”
“I found her to be a very loving woman.  People seemed to flock to her because of that twinkle in her eye when she smiled.  She was up at 3 am to put every hair in place.  Men started arriving around 6 or so for coffee.  A man she called “big brother”, 2 or 3 others, I do not remember their names.  I remember I always got dressed before coming down because you never knew who would be there.  It was always fun to watch her laugh.  She could light up a room.”
“When I met her she hugged me and kissed and treated me like I was her friend.  She shared herself with me as if we were close girlfriends.  I wore rings on every finger, she loved my jewelry, I gave her a very special fish ring.  It was silver and kinda wrapped around the finger.  Needless to say she created her signature look beginning then.”

“I really am surprised you had not seen the pictures of your mom after the accident.  She had reconstructive surgery.  They show the rebuilding of her nose and cheek bones.  I was told that her cheeks were plastic.  There was orbital damage.  It truly changed her overall appearance when you look at before accident and after pictures.  I wonder where these pictures are.  They were Colleen’s.  They were pretty gruesome I remember them pretty vividly.”

“I still cannot smell blackberry brandy without fully remembering when [Sandy] rolled the jeep and we were searching the field, in the dark looking for you, terrified.  You were with Grandma and we did not know.  The jeep had the blackberry brandy all over in it because she was drinking from it when she rolled.  She could not remember where you were, she was hurt pretty bad and I think her dog was killed.  No cell phones at the time or we would have found you quicker.  You were an infant, maybe Oct or Nov.  [We] were living in Paul at the time.  We all worked for Circle A, we called it Circle J.”
Anyhow, some interesting insights from an outsider!

Family History Class #1 Outline

I have received a number of requests for an outline of sorts for what is being taught in the new FamilySearch classes.  Mostly overseas, here is a quick summary of the first lesson. 

The first class deals with the basics of the program and what its strengths and capacity is.  Most of the individuals who are attending the classes already have signed in a played with the program to a certain degree.  I still walk them through the registration process.  Once we enter the program, the first thing we touch on is claiming submissions to Pedigree Resource File, Ancestral File, IGI submissions, and other various submissions.  I have them search an individual they have submitted in the past, find the contributors, find the one that is them, click on it, and click on the link to declare the legacy as their own.  For the most part, this will claim all submissions the person has submitted.  I have heard of being required to find other submissions done under a maiden name or under another address.

Next, I take them through the program generally.  I look up an individual and give them an overview of the pedigree view and then of each of the tabs down the left side of the program.  We work through the summary page discussing how to make certain information dominant over other information.  We discuss the notes at the bottom, the sources button, and the combined records button.  We don’t spend much time on the first page since much of the manipulation possible here is done more on the Details tab (the tabs are available there too).  But I do point them out.  I point out that if information has been made dominant then we can click on the individual who made it dominant and can e-mail them with suggestions, questions, or complaints.

On the details page we discuss the information listed and available.  How sparingly we use the dispute option except for blatantly wrong information.  If it is that off, perhaps we should check to see if we have a merged individual who should not have been merged (on the summary page for unlinking).  On the details page I show them how to make a dispute and how to remove it.  I show them how to add a source and how to remove it.

I show them the LDS Ordinances tab.  I point out what the ordinances needed, ordinances in process, and ordinances completed buttons look like.  I show them how to reserve ordinances and explain that only the oldest ordinances for a person show.  We don’t spend much time on the map or timeline tabs since they don’t have much value for genealogy and the maps is often wrong (It doesn’t always pull the dominant information, or assumes information sometimes).

We walk through the Parents and Siblings tab along with the Spouses and Children tab.  I show them where how they can merge siblings who are the same individuals.  I show them how to merge parents and spouses.  I emphasize the fact that very, very rarely should we dispute an individual.  Rather we should dispute the relationship to the mother, the father, or both.  But if we dispute the person, even if linked into the wrong family, we are disputing the person in all families in which they fall.  Only dispute the relationship, not the individual.

While working through the whole above scenario, I answer the wide variety of questions people pose.  How to merge a couple when the same individuals are listed as male and female (an example of my own is a Pleasant Bayes, some list him as a girl, but he is a male).

I had to interrupt my writing to eat dinner.  Amanda made some amazing Jambalaya and steamed broccoli.  It was very, very tasty.

Anyhow, I will have to write more another time.  I finished my first memo today, but now I should be reading Contracts.  I should sleep well tonight!  Hopefully no nightmares with the mix of jambalaya and contracts!

Family History Haunting

Life continues to go well for Amanda and me.  Another week has flown by with little more than a blink.  It is alarming how quickly they seem to be going.  There are a couple of notes to make besides that of school and work.

I received an e-mail this morning letting me know we now have well over a foot of snow at the homestead in Idaho!  How exciting is that?  We are still in the 80’s here.

Amanda and I have organized a Halloween Party on the 25th of October.  We are pretty excited to have a little get together of about 25-30 here at our home.  We are really looking forward to it.  We are even going to get our sewer half of our plumbing done before then so we have our main bathroom’s sink and toilet available.  Baby steps!  Hopefully they won’t look behind the shower curtain to see the missing bathtub and rotten floor.  One of the guys at school has joked about coming as Mom.  It will be the 10th anniversary.

I went to another little auction yesterday up in Guthrie.  If you wouldn’t believe it, I found another couple of steals.  I came home with some Shakespeare volumes (from 1881!) and about 150 other books for $2.50.  Some of the other books included a Hemingway set of 3, a Dickens set of 4, and 1930’s Treasure Island, and other random interesting books.  Looking online, I could make over $100 for my $2.50.  However, most of the volumes I could sell I wanted for my own collection.  We kept about 20.  The other 100+ will be going to the thrift store.  I did find a little hall table for $2.50.  We will have to sand it down and clean it up, but Amanda has already declared she loves it.  I walked away with a bow saw, a water cooler, and other little random things.  It was worth it.  Holt, from school also went, and he picked up some great deals too.

Today was a busy day.  We didn’t set our clocks for getting up so we missed the first 15 minutes of church.  We missed Amanda being sustained on the Enrichment Committee.  We also missed the Sacrament.  I am feeling a bit inactive since we have now missed it for two weeks.  Apostasy setting in!  I made up for it after church.  I went with the missionaries and we tried to find about 15 lost sheep for more than 3 hours.  We were able to locate some good information.  I was happy to report about 15 individuals to the Elder’s Quorum President with address updates for at least 8 of them.  Most of them are not in our ward so they will have to be sent elsewhere.

I haven’t told anyone, but I have been asked to teach some of the family history classes for the new FamilySearch.  My first class was on Friday night.  There were about 50 people there.  I was slightly deceived on what I was teaching.  I thought I was teaching a small number of family history consultants for the Oklahoma City Stake.  Nope.  I was teaching Family History Stake Directors for the entire Oklahoma City Temple District.  There were individuals there from Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma.  All over the temple district!  The class was apparently such a success they delayed my teaching the second class for a week.  Rather than teaching the second lesson this coming Friday, I am now re-teaching the first lesson with the entire Stake’s Membership invited.  Yikes!!  Meaning, we are setting up the cultural hall for the lessons!!  So much for keeping under the radar for callings in Oklahoma City.  Here I am teaching all who choose to attend from the entire stake.  Not to mention with the temple district’s consultants invited to come back for the second lesson and third lessons.  The funny part was my Bishopric told me they would let me coast a little since I am in law school.  They just wanted me to help with lost sheep and Home Teaching where needed.  Somehow I ended up with a class teaching a stake??  Oddly, it isn’t even a calling, I was just asked to teach the class.  This family history thing is haunting me!  It just won’t leave me alone!

Time to sign off.  I need to read a little bit for my torts class tomorrow.  Yeah for negligence.

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.