My ultra-boring life

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Bookers Dozen 2013 -- featuring ME!

Sorry so long no post.  Bad blogger girl.  Bad, bad. 

Anyway, here's the scoop: last year I took a Book Arts class where we learned how to make different kinds of books (not just writing: more the art and crafting of binding, making, etc.).  For our final project we had to make 18 copies of a book, so I made some flower fold books that contained a synopsis of part of the theme of my novel.  As part of the final, these books were entered into a competition to be part of the Booker's Dozen 2013, a display of the best handmade books from Idaho.  Well, I found out a couple of months ago that my book made it into the exhibition!  Isn't that exciting?  Today I found out the schedule of venues, so I'm posting about it here so any of you in the areas can come and see the books, including mine, if you happen to be in the area.  Squee!

February: Moscow City Hall Gallery
Shipment to be received by January 21
Ship or transfer to next venue by February 27

March: College of Southern Idaho
Shipment to be received by March 1
Ship or transfer to next venue by March 29

April: Mountain Home Public Library
Shipment to be received by April 1
Ship or transfer to next venue by April 29

May: Hailey Public Library
Shipment to be received by May 1
Ship or transfer to next venue by May 28

June: The Community Library, Ketchum
Shipment to be received by May 31
Ship or transfer to next venue by June 28

July: Twin Falls Center for the Arts
Shipment to be received by July 1
Ship or transfer to next venue by July 29

August: Ada Community Library
Shipment to be received by August 1
Ship or transfer to next venue by August 30

September: University of Idaho Library
Shipment to be received by September 2
Ship or transfer to next venue by September 27

October: Idaho Falls Public Library
Shipment to be received by September 30
Ship or transfer to next venue by October 30

November: Coeur D'Alene Public Library
Shipment to be received by November 1
Ship or transfer to next venue by November 29

December: Boise venue TBA

January 2014: David O. McKay Library,
Brigham Young University Idaho
Shipment to be received by January 3
Ship or transfer to next venue by January 30

Friday, August 10, 2012

Because I'm white and nerdy....

OK, sometimes a girl just wants a little peace and alone time to slay her own dragons. 
No, I'm not speaking metaphorically. 
I'm a little bit of a nerd.  To those who would say I'm a lot of a nerd, I say: HUSH, YOU!
Anyway, because of this mere trace of nerdiness, I occasionally like to play video games.  (Occasionally even get a little obsessive about them, even.)  I've played a number of them.  One thing holds true about most of them: I really suck.  RTSs, RPGs, FPSs, at all of these my suckiness shines.  But still, against all reason, I still like to play many of them. 
So, in 2002, a game came out that I loved.  Neverwinter Nights.  Dungeons and Dragons in video game form.  It was awesome!  I played it completely through and many custom modules as well.  One thing that made it so irresistible to me was that it was solo-play.  I didn't have to PvP with kids who could kick my trash with their mouse hand tied behind their backs.  I could go forth and slay dragons at my own retarded pace and beat the game and feel good about myself. 
So this last week, after much putting off, I bought me a copy of Neverwinter Nights 2.  The interface isn't the greatest, but after some getting used to, I'm having fun by myself, slaying lizardfolk and thugs. 

But then my husband asked to play. 

Sure, I said, we'll just download a module to play.....uhhh....
There ARE no custom modules.  No live community forums.  No support.  Nothing.  Apparently a lawsuit killed it, or something.  Details are sketchy.  However, the website claims, never fear!  You can now play D&D online!

What?!

Sure, it has some draws to it....my undead-hating cleric that I always play can still exist and go about turning undead to her heart's content.  However, just like World of Warcraft or Lord of the Rings Online or any of the other dozens of MMOs out there, it will have this one great flaw: I will suck at it and suck publicly for all the world to see. 

Um, game industry?  Could you occasionally cater to those of us for whom video gaming is not easy, and make something that is fun for 'the rest of us?'  Besides Sims, I mean.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Ahhh, nostalgia

I'm in Norman, Oklahoma right now, preparing for my 20th college reunion.  The town has changed.  The institute has changed.  I'm sure some of the people have changed too.  But there is just enough the same that it's bringing back a flood of happy memories.  This is where I gained my testimony of Christ.  This is where I learned that I am lovable.  This is where I learned to love and serve others.  This is ... my birthplace.  Oh, how I loved the dorms, and the institute, and that little apartment on Cruce St. that is no longer there.  This is where I gained some of the best friends a person could ever have, whom I am overly excited at seeing again tomorrow.  I know that God sent me here 24 years ago and I can only hope that everyone gets a chance to have such a wonderful eye-opening experience sometime in their life.  Age brings with it perspective, though, and I know those years weren't perfect and I wasn't perfect (still am not).  But they were a delight.

Now if only my nostalgia didn't translate into buying too much OU gear....

Politics: integrity vs. 'relatable'

I've heard a lot of arguments against Romney because he's not a 'common man' or that he is 'too rich' for the voting public to relate to him.  And I got thinking -- since when do we want leaders that are as flawed as the 'average Joe'?  Sure, Romney is a multi-millionaire (though he made his millions, he didn't inherit them).  I'd rather have someone managing the economy who KNOWS HOW to make millions rather than someone who doesn't.  And yes, he's sacrificed tons and tons of hours of service to his church and other charitable causes.  Wouldn't you rather have a leader who sacrifices of himself for the greater good rather than someone who doesn't?  I think it comes down to integrity.  We need a leader who has proven himself to be a man of integrity -- someone who does the right thing when no one is looking.  Or when people ARE looking.    Only in such a man can we be assured of having a leader who will do what he believes to be the right thing even when it is 'politically incorrect' or difficult.

Now, I don't believe in everything Romney wants to do.  But I believe that he is a man of integrity, who will do what is right.  I believe that he has our country's best interests at heart, rather than his own personal gain (and he's proven that he doesn't need the money or the power of the presidency for himself).  I think he's in the race for the right reasons.  I hope I'm right.  I hope other people believe it too.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Fred









Fred is my kitty.  I love him very much.  We've had him since he was a kitten 12 years ago.  About a month ago he started getting sick.  Cats get sick sometimes, so we didn't call the vet for a week.  He had a fever and vomiting and bloody diarrhea so when the vet came he put him on antibiotics.  But Fred didn't get better.  We've tried special foods and more antibiotics, but nothing seems to help.  The vet thinks it may be lymphoma so he is doing an exploratory surgery tomorrow, and if it is lymphoma we will probably put him to sleep without waiting for him to wake up from surgery.  I am unbelievably sad about this.  Fred is MY kitty.  He's not supposed to die yet.  But sometimes God has other plans.  Please pray for us and for Fred. 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Grades for the semester

OK I don't have ALL my grades in, but I'm pretty sure I have an A in my writing class and I got an A- in my lit class, which is a miracle!  HOORAY for extra credit!  I really struggled with the papers in that class, but apparently my teacher is awesome anyway. 

HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORAAAAAAAAAAAAAY FOR SUMMER!!!  in which I must finish writing my novel.  send me your e-mail if you want updates on that.


Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Heroes

In an effort to avoid finishing my take-home final essay, I am blogging for you, lucky people. 
We went and saw The Avengers this last weekend.  It was, of course, most awesome.  Joss Whedon does a masterful job of balancing each character with empathy, all while packing it full of action and comedy.  But that's beside my point -- my point being it had a hero for everyone. 
There's the anti-hero types, the altruistic type, the 'born-to-it' type, the accidental type, the duty-bound type.  But what really makes them heroes are what they all have in common: not their love of adventure and excitement, not good looks, not brains or brawn, though all those things help.  It is their proclivity to put the needs of others ahead of themselves, to the point of sacrificing themselves for the good of others.  This is an understated gift that is essential, in my mind, for a good hero.  And we need good heroes.  Our world, our society, needs people who give themselves up for the good of others.  We don't see it often -- certainly not in world leaders, or most public figures.  I have seen it, though.  In occasional airline pilots, or mothers, or joes on the street.  Some people do it in dramatic risk-their-life-in-a-flash fashion, others through personally draining, daily life choices.  It's never easy.  It's rarely that public.  But these people are heroes and we need them.  We need them to keep the world moving, we need them to give us hope.  The good thing is, EVERYONE can be a hero.  It's a choice we all can make. 

SPOILER ALERT for Avengers: I keep asking myself 'who was the main hero in the Avengers?'  Joss Whedon did such a great job of balancing the supers that you couldn't name just one -- but there was one, Phil Colson, who sacrificed himself for the greater good.  He was the hero of that movie. 

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Almost done for the semester!

Free at last!  Almost...just a take-home final to finish and then I'll be done.  What a relief!  As usual, I LOVED my writing class but struggled with my other class.  I think I'll be satisfied with a B in that one, especially after that last paper.  Ugh.  I was so frustrated with it I couldn't even look at it again before I turned it in. 
I'm excited about the summer.  Seeing family and friends and working on my novel!  I got great feedback from some of my fellow writers in class and will be working with them a little more over the summer, so I'm pretty excited.   I'm taking Advanced Fiction writing in the fall, from my favorite teacher even, so I'm pretty stoked.  It's nerve-wracking working on this stuff for me, but having positive feedback that is helpful helps SO much. 

And I'm still excited about going to Disneyland next year.  If you want to go with us, comment on this post and I'll see what I can do!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Charity

This is embarrassing (and yet I'm telling it to the world on my blog wheeeee) but some of my church friends came by today and helped me clean my house.  With depression, school and barbershop lately it has just gotten out of control and I REALLY needed the help.  This made me think about a lot of things.
  1. It takes humility and guts to ask for and/or receive help.  All of us need help every now and again, but how many of us are able to ask for it?  And really, how can we love and help one another if no one is willing to admit they actually need the help?
  2. Charity (being the pure love of Christ) is a wonderful thing.  I'm so grateful to those women who came by to help me today.
  3. Pure religion is a great way to show Charity.  I mean, I REALLY wouldn't have felt comfortable asking school mates or barbershop members to come help clean my house.  But when you're part of an organization based on teachings like loving and serving one another, it makes things a lot easier.  
  4. One of the humbling parts of receiving charity is you can see some ways you can do things better.  Boy I saw a lot of things I could do better today!  Mostly my homework, but oh well.
Then I turned around and called a friend of mine who has been struggling and hopefully I was able to be a good listening ear.  So it all comes around.  Hopefully as I do better (see #4), my capacity will increase, and as my capacity increases I will be able to help others more and need less help myself.  But if not, it's still okay, because God will make things right in the end.  If I didn't believe that, I would be quite miserable with how behind I am. 

Friday, March 09, 2012

What ifs

I woke up early (toooooo early) this morning with a sudden and intense case of the what ifs.  What if I were younger than my husband?  What if my dad had finished grad school?  What if OU had had a good creative writing program?  What if I had more confidence in myself?  What if my husband had finished his degree in 4 years instead of 8?  It's driving me nuts.  Not only is it a fruitless exercise, but it makes me realize the utterly mind-boggling omniscience of God.  If I were younger, all of my acquaintances growing up would have been different.  If my dad had finished grad school, we probably would have grown up in a different state and everything would have changed.  Some things may not have made much of a difference, but others would have changed the very fabric of who I am.  All of my trials, all of my blessings, all of everything I've gone through adds up to what I am now, for better and for worse, but by far mostly for better.  Some may say I'm silly for believing it's anything but random chance, but I like to believe that God is looking out for me, guiding things I can't control for my betterment.  Because He cares about me.  And that's a comforting feeling. 

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Mitt Romney and Religious Prejudice in the U.S.

First thing I'd like to say is, I'm only a mild political hobbyist.  I watch the news and read a few articles, but I have no stats to back up what I'm about to say.  So take it with a huge grain of salt.

I've been watching the 'race to the white house' with interest.  A lot because I don't like a lot of the things Obama has done or a lot of his positions.  I'm a moderate though -- won't even listen to Rush or the other extreme right-wing pundits, and I believe certain financial regulations and taxes can be good things.  So though I don't completely agree with all his fiscal policies, I voted for Mitt Romney at the republican caucus the other night.

Now, anyone who watches politics knows that, in general, the extremists don't win national elections.  The Republicans will always vote Republican, the Democrats will always vote Democrat, it's the moderates you need to sway one way or another, and you don't do that by being extreme.  That's why in wisdom the primaries and caucuses usually go to the more moderate candidate -- not because more people believe him, but because more people believe he can win.  This time, though, that's less the case than normal.  It could be because our country is becoming more polarized.  But watching where the voting trends are makes me think it is more because of religious prejudice. 

I grew up in Oklahoma, often called the 'buckle of the Bible belt.'  I believe it, because I grew up with a lot of ignorant anti-Mormon sentiment.  So I find it no surprise that Oklahoma, along with many other Southern 'Bible belt' states are voting against the most moderate Republican candidate, Mitt Romney.  Few political supporters will come out and say that religion is why they voted against a candidate, but when it comes to social issues and Republicans, religion is a huge factor and with the blind hatred I see against Mormons down south, I would be surprised if it wasn't a factor. 

That being said, the 'Mormon vote' in Utah and Idaho and other Western states is also prejudiced.  Mormonism is so much beyond a 'go to Sunday meeting' religion and lifestyle that it tends to be exclusive.  So much so that many Mormons vote for Mitt because they think they know what to expect -- someone with their same beliefs and values.  And who's to say it isn't that simple of a reason down south too?  Bible belters believe Mormons are far more different from them than we are, so they think they  are voting for the same beliefs and values too. 

I know this is natural.  I just don't know whether it's a good thing.  I do know that I want Barack Obama out of office, and I would find it a shame if he won again because of religious prejudice based on ignorance.  I mean, Mormons are Christians too.  We believe in the Ten Commandments, in Jesus Christ's atonement for our sins, and in the Bible.  We don't believe we are saved by our own works, we don't consummate our marriages in front of witnesses in temples, and we don't worship Joseph Smith.  So please don't vote against the man because of his religion.  If you don't agree with his political stance, fine, find someone you like better.  But don't make religion a factor in the upcoming election, please. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Flaws

I'm struggling with an important aspect of my novel.  I had a good workshop in class on chapter 4 yesterday and this didn't even come up, but it's something that I need to address.  I need to give my primary protagonist a flaw.  I've never liked flaws.  Crud, I'm a certified perfectionist, that much should be obvious.  All of my early crushes (and many of my later ones) were on fictional, almost flawless characters.  But an important part of this story is about dealing with suffering, and so it is vitally important that I flaw my main character.  It's not just difficult because of the logistics -- some flaws will interfere with who he is or what he has to do -- but because I am my mother's daughter and it's difficult to put my fictional 'children' through the things I need to put them through.  But they need it not only to be real and more easy to relate to, but to grow.  Flaws are necessary for all of us.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sometimes life throws you curves

Well the new semester has started, and I'm already stressed.  I'm good at being stressed.  It's one of my talents. 

18th century English lit is neither 18th century (it's actually 1660-1860) nor English (it's mostly Anglo-American and British) nor lit (it's interdisciplinary).  It's all about the question "What is nature?"  Which left me with a cacophony of emotions, from annoyed to stressed to bummed to everything in between.  There are weekly seminars which are mandatory which take the place of class, but are an hour AFTER class, which means I can't attend any of the Thursday seminars because of my other class, and of course most of the seminars are on Thursdays.  So.  I'll be spending many hours watching the seminars online.  Why, you may ask, do I not drop the class?  Well I was actually going to.  But then I went to class, and the teacher seems really good, and it seems mondo informative and good for my brain.  Plus we don't have to read ALL of Moby Dick.   Heh.  Besides, I already talked to my professor about my creative project and she loves my idea (I'm going to do a presentation at the Discovery Center, where I volunteer). 

Then my intermediate fiction writing class is NOT being taught by my teacher from last semester as originally planned, which bums me excessively.  He just had some major opportunities come up that are going to be taking him all around the world, so he's passing up teaching for 1 semester.  I'm happy for him but bummed for me.  The young lady they have replacing him is supposed to be good, but she's requiring a ton of outside things, like readings and poetry slams and service learning.  Which I would love if I weren't so busy this semester already and if I didn't live so far away.  She seems SUPER nice though (almost too nice) and she's open to different writing projects, so it'll be good. 

The other thing that is stressing me out is barbershop.  My perfectionism really hurts me here, because there is SO MUCH to do to sing well -- breathing/supporting properly, controlling your throat and keeping your voice in the right place, staying on pitch, keeping the right tempo, enunciating properly, on top of memorizing the music and the words and the choreography.  ET CETERA.  And I don't practice as much as I should, so every time Andy (our director) says anything I get stressed because I take it all so personally.  ARGH.  Next weekend we have retreat where we will be intensely cleaning up the choreo and music, February I'm in a quartet doing singing valentines, and we go to Spokane for competition in March, right at the beginning of Spring Break.  It's crazy. 

So basically, I'm doing the same things I did last semester -- 2 classes and barbershop.  But all of them involve so much more than they did before that I am scared, because I don't believe in myself, that I can do it.  I think Heavenly Father is trying to help me grow and teach me that I CAN do it.  I just need to have faith and stop being such a lily-livered chicken.  And pace myself, prioritize, do my homework and my practicing, and I can do it.  baby steps baby steps baby steps.