My ultra-boring life

Monday, December 29, 2008

Post Christmas wrap up

First, just to get this out of the way: You know you take too many pills when you open EVERY bottle by 'pushing and turning'. Bleah.

Anyway, I had a good Christmas. Did you have a good Christmas? We went to our resort in Bear Lake and it snowed all day and it was AWESOME! Though I ironically had 'there's no place like home for the holidays' in my head much of the time, it was nice to get away to a clean place for a few days and lounge in the pool and stuff. Yes, you heard me, the biggest difference there was that it was clean. Dang it I WILL have a clean house someday!

My new hard drive came in while we were gone and we just got it installed and it seems to work splendiforously so far. Took some time to move everything over, but we found a great free image maker called Macrium Reflect on www.download.com and it worked quite well. Now I have a full Terabyte to waste! Hurrah! Shall I put every CD I own onto my drive, and scan every picture I've ever taken? Hm. It's a possibility now. Just have to decide if I'm un-lazy enough.

In the meantime, I need to exercise today and do the dishes. Fighting the depression we are, fighting always fighting.

Hope everyone has a great new year!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Passion

Of all the things I miss in this depression, I think the thing I miss the most is the passion. Being able to feel things strongly and express them used to be so important to me. It is really reflected in my writing -- with the passion deadened like it is now, it is nearly impossible for me to write in a way that brings emotion to the reader. And who wants to read stuff like that? Certainly not me! While reading the Twilight series recently, that became evident -- while I didn't fully appreciate her writing, one thing she did well was passion. And look at how popular she was for that! So...how do I bring the passion back? How do I feel it again? I know I could write it if I could just feel it again....

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Music -- Christmas and otherwise

I have rediscovered music. Through imeem and emusic I have been introduced to some new artists and sounds and it has made a huge difference in my life. It's amazing how much music inspires and lifts me. Sometimes I hear a song and whole scenes of books come to me, I just wish I could put it to paper with the strength and clarity that the image comes. It touches through the thick protective shell I have around myself and brings up parts of me I thought long dead. It's a marvelous thing.

Christmas music brings the spirit of the season to me especially strongly; I am so glad that we have the tradition of buying a new Christmas album every year. I highly recommend that tradition to everyone. The Sarah McLachlan Wintersong CD is especially nice. I'm listening to it right now.

Find the people you love and tell them you love them. Every day. It's so fleeting.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Well for all of you who would rather receive a Christmas card, I'm sorry, I'm too lazy for that. This is what you're getting.

I've already received one Christmas present, on accident. I got home from scouts one evening to see a nice big Brother box on the porch which Jake hadn't noticed and hidden. Amazon had shipped my new laser printer (yay!) in its original box (boo!). It's really nice. Prints faster than our old one and hooks directly to the network so we don't have to leave the computer on to be able to print. Whee! Technology!

We're going to one of our resorts in Bear Lake for actual Christmas this year. I've already put a plethora of Christmas music on a CD for the long drive and I'm so excited!

Jake should be getting a double raise and some back pay this Friday so we'll have enough money for the holidays. Overall I'm just plain excited. I love Christmas. I wish I could spend it with my family but we'll have to just save up to be able to do that next year. I wonder how that will work with foster kids? I don't know, I guess I'll have to ask at our class next month!

Three things to update you on news-wise: 1) We've almost completed the process for fostering. We have to take a class next month (like 30 hours of class) and my mom is coming next month to help get the house ready and then we'll be done! I hope to have a kid or 2 in the house by February. 2) I've been working a lot on my book. It's getting better, if you ask me. Silly anxiety. Why did I ever listen to you? Anyway, if you are interested in reading it, let me know and I will e-mail you a copy! I could always use more input! 3) I'm back in counseling, which is helping with the writing and getting the house ready. It's hard work though. Stupid depression.

Otherwise, I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas! See you around!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Well, igleast it's cool for we studious types. =) Go to www.arcticowlsoftware.com and download the free software for learning the states, or the countries of Europe, or even the Canadian provinces. They are small and fun little programs for learning those things most of us tend to forget or never learned. I even find the knowledge pretty useful when it comes to current events in the world. So go over there and download that stuff and play with it a while. It's good for your brain!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Catchup (no not ketchup)

We had a GREAT time in Canada last week for our anniversary trip. Totally gorgeous! This week I started out Monday with a job interview that immediately turned into a job. I'm now an administrative assistant for Kuna Counseling Center, which is a bit wild and disjointed but not bad. It's the closest thing I've had to using my degree since I graduated in '92. :) The people there are really nice and the schedule is very flexible; they have given me all the time I need off for the summer which is most awesome. It's still a bit nerve-wracking for psychologically wimpy ol' me, but it's good mental exercise. Jake gave me a blessing the other day and since then the Lord has been helping me a lot.
With the income from that and the savings we have from refinancing our house, we have been spending a bit much lately. We bought a 2007 Toyota Prius (which we LOVE), are replacing my dead laptop, and upgrading our satellite to HD. Can I just say that I am excited? Whee! I love spending money! Bad me! But with the refinance we are COMPLETELY out of credit card debt! Now that IS something to cheer about! Hooray!

Friday, May 02, 2008

It's sad when...

You're home all day and end up checking online to see that something has been delivered and is sitting on your doorstep.


I'm just sayin'.

Caveat Emptor!

I have lost the 2nd Compaq laptop in 3 years due to motherboard failure this week. No warning, just suddenly dead and every boot attempt results in a beep code saying that the CMOS can't write to RAM. Replacing the CMOS battery and removing/testing the RAM didn't help, leaving the motherboard as the culprit. AGAIN. Last time it was the onboard video card. My MIL lost her Compaq to a motherboard problem about a year ago as well, so this is not a rare occurrence, apparently. Now I have to save up for another machine and pull data from my little hard drive again. So to those of you out there who are shopping for laptops: avoid the Compaqs! Anyone have a brand they particularly recommend? I'm looking at Toshiba or Lenovo, but I would rather have XP than Vista.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

We're failing our children

This is something that has been bugging me for a while. I've seen it around a bit, but the most profound examples of how we are failing our children seem to come from my sister who teaches high school in Oklahoma. Over a third of the senior class in her high school are flunking out. OVER A THIRD! And from the tales she has told me of so many of her students, it's not a surprise. The kids just don't care, and their parents don't care, to put even the slightest modicum of work into their education. They won't bring their books to class, they won't even bother to read the questions on tests -- she actually had a student who prided himself on getting through an important test quickly by guessing on every single question. The kids are beyond apathetic and rude and cheating is second nature. I could tell you many stories but I will spare you the gory details. And lest you get the impression that this is just her school or just Oklahoma, I have heard similar stories up here in Idaho. It's appalling. These are the people who are going to be running our businesses, working on our vehicles, helping us in stores, and working on our homes. Not to mention the ones that will be helping us in hospitals, flying us across the country, and other life-threatening situations.
Where do these kids come from? Answer: lazy, apathetic, or self-absorbed parents. I've seen many parents try to absolve themselves with statements like "I didn't teach them that" or "I don't know where they get it from, must be from other kids at school," but the bottom line is the kids learn this crap from their parents. Responsibility, love of learning, integrity, all good things are learned from the smallest age, way too young for blame to be placed on the schools, not to mention that it has been proven in study after study that parents have the biggest influence by far out of any factors influencing children. And many parents are just plain too stupid to realize what they are teaching their children when they do things like get mad at a kid for asking questions ("curiosity and learning is bad") or attempt to justify a dishonest behavior ("as long as I get what I want, it's okay").
Please, people, pay attention to your kids. If you don't HAVE to work, stay home with your kids and love and teach them the things that they need to grow up smart and strong and good. It's hard work. REALLY hard work. If it's not hard, you're not doing it right. But it's worth it. Not even the best schools or daycares can make up for what you are teaching or not teaching your kids right now.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Why Facial Hair is Not a Sign of Manliness

OK, first, for the sake of argument, we must define manliness. I will give two criteria that will be difficult to dispute for my definition: 1) The ability to conquer, and 2) the ability to attract the ladies.

For the first point, I bring up three of the most conquering societies in history: the Romans, the Mongols, and the English. The Romans were one of the earliest societies to make clean-shaven men the norm, and they are commonly acknowledged as some of the greatest conquerors of the ancient world. Surpassing them in conquering ability, however, was the Mongols, who ruled land from Bavaria to the Pacific Ocean. While commonly portrayed as bearded heathen, they actually eschewed facial hair. Then surpassing them, and everyone else, in conquering ability, was the British. The sun didn't set on the English empire as during the 19th century they ruled land clear around the globe. And everyone knows that they are a traditionally rather clean-shaven bunch. Therefore, according to our powerful examples, facial hair is typically negatively associated with the most powerful conquering peoples.

As to attracting the ladies, most women do not like the scratchiness of beards and other forms of facial hair. Ask any marketing specialist and they will tell you that all of the studies in the Americas find clean-shaven men to be far more attractive to women than their bearded counterparts.

Therefore, based upon scientific evidence, facial hair is not a sign of manliness.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I lub dis song. And I'm testing out imeem's embed features so maybe you can learn to love it too.

Social the Networks

OK, I don't know what's up, maybe it's because it's Spring, but I've joined three social networks in the course of a week. sparkpeople, facebook, and imeem. It really makes me wonder about today's kids, with all this shallow socializing on these huge specialized networks! Imeem seems great for music and sparkpeople is interesting for health and facebook is just...well, facebook -- but if this is the way people socialize today, I'm really feeling old! How do you keep up with it? How do you resolve and determine REAL friendships? Or do you just use the online to supplement?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Funny Kitties

This video is somewhat like how we are with our cats. Have I mentioned that we love our kitties? They are our children. I don't know how I will cope when they aren't around anymore. And if you ever doubt me, just look at our vet bill!




Does it make me lame now that i posted about kitties on my blog?

Monday, April 14, 2008

SparkPeople

I'm not generally much of a person for online social networks. I mean, I belong to a few, but I just don't get INTO them. I think I'm too old. :b But my sister pointed one out to me yesterday that I thought might be helpful, so I joined it. We'll see how it works out.

For those who have never met me in person, I have to confess: I am very fat. VERY fat. I have a metabolic disorder which has ALWAYS made it difficult to lose weight, but over the last 10 years a few bouts with serious illness have pushed me over the edge from overweight to very obese and it has been very discouraging. It makes me tired, aggravates my depression, aggravates my genetic predisposition to insulin resistance, makes it hard to move around, etc., etc. Until you've actually been this fat you have no idea how hellish it is. With the depression it is even harder to fight than it used to be, so most of me has just sort of given up. And I find normal diet and health plans to be such a huge amount of bother and effort and so full of chipper, happy, gung-ho people that they just make me want to run away. So I'm afraid of trying this, but I'm going to try it anyway. Not anything high-falutin', just trying to exercise more and eat a little less and eat a little healthier. Just being more aware, not calorie-counting. Hopefully it will make a difference. We'll see. I really don't want to get gastric bypass surgery. If you want to try the site out for yourself, say hi to me there -- my username is mouriana.

Why I Blog (or, why I don't Blog So Much)

I'm not a very good blogger. Obviously. Other people have a hobby or interest that they blog about. News comes up on that topic, then they comment on it and bring it to people's attention. I don't do that. Blogging to me is generally an effusion of emotion, something that has built up for a while that I feel I need to say something about. Then, IF you are lucky, I will remember that I even have a blog so I have a place to raise my voice, and I will post here. But it seems like most of my good ideas are lost to the sands of time.

Honestly, I blame my depression for a lot of my silence: so very very little seems worth interest, let alone talking about. It's very difficult. But a lot of the blame comes from backlash from the overwhelming diarrhea of the mouth I had for so many years. I grew up without many boundaries. Throughout college and for a few years afterwards I just said whatever came to mind. This got me into serious trouble a few times and lost me some friendships. It reached the point where I became very wary of my tongue, not just because of the hurt it could cause and the inappropriate things it would say, but also because I realized I was annoying with my endless chatter. I grew to hate my mouth. So I have gone in something of an opposite direction...unless I have a good reason to say something, I keep it to myself. Good or bad? I guess that's for you to decide. But for you blog addicts, I guess it could be considered a bad thing. :)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A New Blog Post -- so stressful!

I was called on the carpet today for blogging so infrequently. So I am posting a post.

I was watching Cranky Geeks with my husband (yes I occasionally feed my geek roots) and they mentioned that the honorable (snort) NY Times is talking about how stressful blogging is, since there was some evidence of three deaths of bloggers. I say, of course it's stressful! Why do you think I blog so infrequently?! Oh, the pain! Having to think of new things to rant about! It's not easy! Especially if you are like me and you want to say something meaningful. How can I say anything meaningful if we're still suffering the repercussions of the writer's strike on TV? I mean, really!

Seriously, I guess some of my news was that I didn't get accepted to the Master's program in Creative Writing at Boise State. Turns out they wanted something unique and original, not necessarily well written, who knew? So now I has to write something new and original for next year. And grammar be darned.

Other than that, I have finally joined the ranks of social networking and jumped on Facebook today. I didn't want to. But tons of my friends and family are there. I couldn't help myself. It's not my fault! Stop looking at me like that!

I'm gonna go be unproductive elsewhere. See yas.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Happy Quote

Happiness is a thing to be practiced, like the violin. -- John Lubbock

This quote has become one of my main life mottoes. As regular readers and those who know me already know, I suffer from chronic depression. However, in general, I think I have a much better attitude than I did 10, 15, 20 years ago. Why? Because I have practiced. I'm not naturally talented at being happy, but I have practiced it. Now many aspects of it are like second nature. Aside from medication, part of the practice has been 'cognitive' -- that is, I just find better thinking patterns and practice them until they are more natural -- and part of it has been from sort of 'psychotherapy' -- that is, I find the causes of my unhappy thoughts and change or root them out. This has been brought to mind while I am here in Utah helping my tragedy-ridden friend again. I couldn't do what she does. I just couldn't handle it, I am sure. But SOME of our struggles have been remarkably similar, and it's been interesting to me to see how differently we deal with the struggles. She plows through them, working and working and working to make them better or manageable. I stink at that; I tend to phyisically collapse or withdraw from extreme stressors. But she is at the same time very angry and bitter about the circumstances, and I find that this is something that I have learned to be better about. I have learned and gained enough faith that the trials are for my good and I must find good in them, because Heavenly Father loves me and as long as I do my best, He will protect me from things that are actually eternally bad for me. That means that even though a situation sucks, I have to remember that it's not only going to be okay, but it is somehow the best thing for me. Even if I die; even if I suffer. This causes me to have to rethink many, many situations to match this background eternal truth. But rethinking these things has never led me wrong, as long as I keep the love and grace of the Saviour as my unyielding rock of Truth. My friend struggles with this. She has other ideas that take precedence over this truth, so she is very unhappy as she plows nobly through her trials. My heart bleeds for her. I could not do the great things she does. But I want her to be happy.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Trials

It has been an odd month. I won't go into details about the 3 people I know whom I have found out have cancer/probable cancer. But it's freaking me out. They are all young -- one is just eleven -- but it's making me feel old and scared and very, very mortal. The thing that has been getting to me the most, though, is an old friend who was in a snowboarding accident Christmas Eve and broke his back, among other things. They have been working to keep him alive since then (which has gone blessedly well) so we don't know many details on the status of the back, but so far he has not been able to feel anything from the waist down. For some reason this sort of thing gets to me more than even death itself. The thought of losing functionality absolutely terrifies me and it terrifies me vicariously in this situation. In fact, I don't want to talk about that much anymore.

This family is full of gems. The Mom is brilliant; she is my best friend from college and she is incredible with all she is able to do. The Dad, who had the accident, is also brilliant and an incredibly hard worker who only recently was able to get past the post-doc world and become faculty at the U of U. Their oldest child (who is far too old :) ) is a great help AND very smart, and the youngest child is a spitfire full of laughs. Their middle child unfortunately has some fairly severe handicaps, but I know this has brought blessings to the family through the struggles, and I think it has brought blessings to many others as well because the Mom fights so hard to make sure the legislature passes laws to help children like him. I mean, tell me, who has the strength and energy to raise 2 normal children AND a severely handicapped child AND lobby the state along with the other jobs she does on the side? She's incredible!

At any rate, I will be going down there in mid-January to help, but if anyone would like to contribute to gifts for this amazing family, please contact me at spamcatcher AT cableone DOT net in the next week or two and I will be happy to put any contributions into the kitty. The Dad is going to be in rehab for probably about a year, so any help would be greatly appreciated.

Logic and Blaming Religion for Evil

I was talking with an acquaintance the other day and he mentioned that 'all wars are because of religion.' I was so shocked I didn't know what to say for a moment, then I rebutted, 'of course not ALL wars are because of religion. Many are about power, or land, or ethnicity, etc.' I wasn't very convincing, though I brought up a few examples, and I found myself disappointed with the conversation. It got me thinking again, though, about the common argument that 'religion can't be real/true because it is the source of so much evil.' This is a common fallacy that is put forth, surprisingly, often by intellectuals, even though it violates some of the most basic of logical arguments. You cannot hold up an example of the worst of something and use that as the complete representation of that thing. I believe it is called the straw man argument.

To put this in other words -- if religion is evil because so much of religion has been used as an excuse for evil deeds, then you must apply the same argument to all things that have been used as an excuse for evil deeds -- power, money, possessions, love. I can see many people falsely believing that power, money, and possessions are purely evil because of this (ignoring all of the good that can be and has been done with all three), but few would try to argue that love could be purely evil. Yet ask any homicide cop about the motives for the murders he has seen, and I can guarantee that love -- or some semblance thereof -- will be in the top three. It's just bad logic to take the worst examples of something and use it as the representation of that thing. So stop doing it. If you don't like religion, fine. But you'll have to use some different argument than 'it's evil'. There have been far, far too many good things done in the name of religion -- why, even in the hideous dark ages, religion was the reason we had writing and history preserved -- for it to be pure evil. We don't even have to get into the argument of what constitutes 'truly following God' for me to win this one. So I'll save that one for another day. :)