Monday, August 16, 2010

My New Baby is Acers

I had every intention of being good and blogging and writing.

My computer had other ideas.

First it moved slow. Like, lets read a book while I wait for things slow.

Then it crashed.

When I got it back after half of it had been amputated, it moved slow as in, let's get a sandwich, wash the dishes and sweep the floor while I wait slow.

I made sure I got all my valuable stuff, like my writing and my grandkids pictures onto my external hard drive.

Then it got slow like, lets watch an episode of Smallville while I eat that sandwich, do some laundry, run some errands, bake cookies, and organize my filing system while I wait slow.

Last year everyone popped up at school with those little netbooks that had all the same memory and capabilities of my 900 pound laptop. I wanted one. I craved one. Yes, I coveted one. But I couldn't justify getting one when I had a perfectly fine laptop.

I think a computer crash and a laptop so slow that I have to shave my legs in between wait times justifies getting a netbook. Especially since I'm a student and a supposed writer.

So now I have a little netbook. It doesn't require a bag the size of a microwave, it weighs less than the fillings in my teeth, it has all the capabilities and more that my laptop had at it's coming out party, and it's purple. Yes purple. The geniuses that created computers were like Ford who said that people could have any color car they wanted as long as it was black. Computer companies were like that too, although they went with grey and beige. But now we can have computers in all kinds of colors and some even come with designs.

I loved my laptop when I first got it. It promised mobility that I didn't have with my previous desktop, and I did take it places as long as I didn't have to carry it too far, and it was better and faster than my desk top, but computers don't have a long life and their tickers slow and down and stop working and by then new computers come along that offer so much more for half the price.

Yeah, the netbook is less than half the price that I paid for my laptop. Computer prices have dropped dramatically in the past three years.

By next year I'm sure my little netbook will be obsolete. But I'm happy now.

One change, I would make it so that I could rotate the programs on the screen so I could read it like an ebook sometimes.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

General Conference Online Bookclub: You Are My Hands - President Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Take a moment to read the following and then come back here.

You Are My Hands

There is so much in this beautiful talk that I don't know where to begin. I'd like to cut and paste the whole thing but there might be copyright issues with that.

I've always loved the story of the Christ statue without hands and the one President U. told of the two brothers was touching.

We are Christ's hands. People ask, especially atheists; How can there possibly be a god when so many bad things happen in the world? People are starving, why doesn't God fix it? People are oppressed, if He can do anything and loves us why doesn't He stop it?

But if God did fix it, if He came down each time and rescued the poor and destitute, the oppressed and suffering, then we wouldn't. We simply wouldn't help if we knew that He was going to just come along and fix everything. We would not learn how to care for others, how to sacrifice, how to work and solve problems and think for ourselves. And is that the kind of people that God wants to create? We are His hands, for if we always expected him to use His hands, we would cease to use ours.

I loved the following quote in this talk:

One woman who had been through years of trial and sorrow said through her tears, “I have come to realize that I am like an old 20-dollar bill—crumpled, torn, dirty, abused, and scarred. But I am still a 20-dollar bill. I am worth something. Even though I may not look like much and even though I have been battered and used, I am still worth the full 20 dollars.”

We are all battered and bruised, some more so than others. It irks me to no end when I hear "they are blessed because they follow the gospel" or something similar. It insinuates that those who struggle, who face hardships, often continual hardships are not righteous. That they create their own mess. And yes, some people do create their own mess. But many, try to live righteous lives and still face one difficulty after another. You can exercise and eat right and follow the word of wisdom and the law of chastity, and still get seriously sick. You can get an education and still not find a job. You can love your spouse with all your heart and treat them the right way, and they can still walk away from you. You can teach your children in righteousness and they can still go down wrong paths making unwise choices. You can take care of your home and earthly goods and have it all taken away in a moment by a fire or tornado. You can walk in safe places and be a victim of a crime. You can manage your finances wisely and a disaster can leave you bankrupt. You can even read your scriptures and pray every day and not hear God sometimes.
There's the story of how Jesus wept when his friend Lazarus died. I've often wondered why he wept when he knew that Lazarus was fine even if he did stay dead. But by example Christ taught: and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, - Mosiah 18:9. Christ wept not only because he had an earthly body and would miss his friend, but also because his friends mourned.

I read on someone's blog that they learn more from people who have struggled and suffered, and maybe that is why some seem to have the lives of Job. They struggle and suffer so that others may be His hands.
We don't know.

I know I don't know. But then God never promised that following Him would be easy. I can only cling to what I know. That He lives, that Jesus died for our sins and paid the price, all I have to do is accept.

General Conference Talks Bookclub was started by Diapers and Divinity. You can read and comment about what she says about this talk here. To join you can click the button on my sidebar or go here.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Bill Rancic Wants My Son

It came in the mail. An invitation to my son to attend a seminar that will teach him to buy bankrupted properties for pennies on the dollar. And just for attending he gets a free digital camera too. Plus Bill Rancic, the winner of the first "The Apprentice" with Donald Trump will be there or at least his picture will be there with appropriate quotes.

Does Bill Rancic know that my son is is 12 years old?

"Have you been running an entrepreneurial business that I know nothing about?" I asked him, trying to picture this. His idea of hard work is taking out the garbage.

"Not that I know of. But we should go. We get a free camera."

"It's not that I don't want to learn how to get a half million dollar house for 20,ooo bucks, but I don't have the 20,000 bucks either."

"Yeah, but we get a free camera. A free digital camera."

"Honey, it's not what it promises to be."

"But Mom, it's a free camera, just for showing up."

Yeah, like I'm going to trust a free camera from a group of people that thinks my 12 year old is a multi-millionaire.

Boy, working for Trump has rubbed off on Bill. And that can't be good.

Check out my latest book review. Beastly by Alex Flinn.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Not Writing

I now have time to write.

Instead I blog, I discover new blogger backgrounds, I think about doing my family history, I think about that book of poetry I want to put together, I find a really cool Jane Austen book in Chapters that looks like a scrapbook and wonder how I can get my journal or poetry book to look like that, I think about those blog backgrounds and I end up looking up digital scrapbooking.

Big mistake.

Because now I want to play with that instead of writing something that might sell.

I love writing once I get into the "zone", but getting to that zone becomes something I put off. It's like a journey I know I want to go on but the packing is overwhelming, so instead I clean, organize, surf the net, exercise, surf the net, oh who knows what I end up doing instead of real writing.

I only have myself to blame.

I have a guest post on Blog Segullah. Chasing Rainbows

I also discovered that an article that I wrote for my college newspaper is on the net. An Old Dog Learns New Tricks

And to read about what I said about Phyllis A. Whitney and a review of two of her books, go to Views from Hobbit Hole.

If I type in my name to a search engine I get me, which can be disconcerting because it also brings up everything I ever said on other people's blogs.

And for those of you who remember momsense from Anita Renfroe, here's another. This woman is brilliant. I showed it to my 10 year old daughter who's a Tayor Swift fan and she was horrified. "Bad Mom!" she exclaimed. "That's just wrong."

Friday, May 14, 2010

Motorcycles, Vampires and Spike and Snarl

Okay, folks, she's back. Aunt Madge is back offering her advice. Sigh.

"Sigh, you sigh? Like it's a bad thing? I give great advice. I knew I should have stayed and run your blog while you were off at school, but no, I had to go travel the world..."

"You did not travel the world."

"You don't know what I did. You were too busy not learning Spanish."

"Can we not talk about the Spanish please?"

"We'll talk about motorcycles instead. Just go over to my blog at Ask Aunt Madge.

"Motorcycles? You're giving advice on motorcycles? Have you ever been on a motorcycle?"

"I had one."

"A motor scooter that you have to pedal to get going is not the same thing."

"Just go read the post."
Things that make you go hmmm.

First time novelist Elizabeth Kostova received an advance of 2 million dollars for her 2005 book, "The Historian", a novel about Vlad the Impaler.

Where can I get that deal? Because I can't think of anyone who needs it more than me.

A story of mine will be featured at Blog Segullah on Sunday.

Cindy Beck mentions me in her blog post about Spike and Snarl. Thanks Cindy!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Hey Mom, Can I Have a Beer?

I had an interesting conversation with a teenage girl.

According to her, many of her friends are raised in homes where alcohol is served to them at fairly young ages. We're talking 1o year olds here. Having a can of beer or a glass of wine with your parents is just a part of life for these kids.

Now I'm aware that many parents will give their underage teenagers alcohol because "they're going to drink anyway and I'd rather they did it under my roof where I know they're safe." I'm not even going to discuss that logic. But giving alcohol to 10 year olds is a new one to me.

I come from an alcoholic home. My parents found it amusing when I was 5 to see my reaction when I took a sip of beer or wine. I figured out at a fairly early age (12) that if I didn't want to become an alcoholic then I better just stay away from the stuff altogether. I firmly believe that although alcoholism is classified as a disease, unlike other diseases which you can get no matter how many precautions you take, alcoholism is completely preventable simply by never partaking. You can't become an alcoholic if you never drink alcohol. Pretty simple.

But what if you're served alcohol at a young age? What if you're not old enough to make an informed decision? What if you don't know that there is a choice?

I'm not suggesting that everyone who drinks is going to become an alcoholic. Many people are able to enjoy a glass of wine at dinner or a beer at a football game without a problem, but the thing is there is no way of knowing who will be able to handle it and who won't.

And parents who think nothing of giving their children (and I do mean children) alcohol don't strike me as the type of people who drink responsibly and within moderation. I admit I could be wrong on that but it doesn't sound responsible to encourage your children to drink. If a child is wired to become an alcoholic then you can't teach them to drink responsibility and before you know it you've got a teenager with an addiction.

Out of all the drugs that are a problem with teenagers, alcohol is the number one with tobacco as two. Both legal substances that are easy for kids to get their hands on.

Now, I'm not the type to advocate entering people's homes and playing Big Brother. But I can't help but wonder what these parents are thinking.

I realize that not everyone has my aversion to alcohol nor my absolute no-drinking stance no matter what age, but what's wrong with waiting until your kids are legally adults and bear the responsibility themselves?

Monday, May 3, 2010

I'm Back

Yes, I am back. Now if I can just remember how to do this.

I've gone back to school. I'm an English major and just finished my first year. Why go back at 40 something and hang around a bunch of people who are not only younger than some of my children, but younger than shoes I have? Well, it ain't easy finding work, and writing, unless your Stephen King, J.K. Rowling or Stephenie Meyer just doesn't pay the bills.

So there I am writing poetry, taking drama classes and trying to learn Spanish and not writing in my blog because who has time? But my first year is finished, my exams are all done, the final marks are in and I even squeezed in a weekend playwrighting workshop where my play was read by professional actors.

So now I'm back. Back to real writing, back to blog writing, back to Aunt Madge and book reviews and back to rejection slips, at least until September when it's back to school.