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Thursday, August 30, 2012

One more political rant- privacy violations

I already semi ranted about this on Facebook and Twitter. But I'm going to go off a little longer... I am REALLY frustrated that the political campaigns feel the need to constantly violate my privacy.

I started realizing it with the political popup ads. I have a popup blocker and I constantly have to temporarily disable it to do my banking. But... when I am surfing the web, minding my own business, I get political pop up ads.

Here's what bothers me about this. I honestly think that popup ads, especially ones that are this aggressive, are serious violations of privacy. I've purposely set my computer to not receive them, and yet they still appear. I'm tired of the tracking cookies that watch the sites I visit, and when I visit political sites because I want to research the candidates so I can vote based on education, I find that future sites I visit have ads for the political party I was most recently researching.  I'm sorry, but I do not trust a candidate who is willing to SPY on my internet activity to have my best interests at heart. Someone who is willing to disregard my decision to not have popups on my computer does not care about me or my family.

Now, for those of you who want to say, "but my political party or candidate isn't doing that," let me tell you that you are probably wrong, unless you are for a third party. Both Democrats and Republicans, as well as their supporting PACs and special interest groups, are doing this. In addition to the Internet ads, I am bombarded with phone calls. We get at least 5 political calls a day, and we're on the "Do not call" list. Apparently, it doesn't apply to political calls, and I think that's wrong. If I don't want people invading my space with their calls, I should have the right to say no. I should also mention the political candidates who ring my doorbell and wake me up from my nap to ask for my vote. Since you aren't capable of reading my "No Soliciting" sign, I'm not sure I trust you to be capable of reading the information necessary to properly represent my interests. And yes, I consider the candidate who left flyers on my door (right next to the "No Soliciting" sign) also violating my privacy. How can you "care about the environment" when you just wasted paper and ink on those glossy full color brochures that are going directly to my round file?

I understand the candidates are trying to get the word out. But honestly? When you invade my world with things I have specifically asked not to have (popups, tracking cookies, phone calls, visits to my house), you aren't getting the word out. You're pissing me off. Last presidential election, I commented that I was voting for the person who called me the least. This year, I'm voting for whoever violates my trust the least. Right now, the third parties are in the lead. It really is too bad that Ralph Nader isn't running this year, because he probably would have gotten my vote.

Candidates, if you want to restore whatever it is your campaign slogan says you're doing for America, start with restoring respectful treatment of the people you're supposed to be representing. Don't let your advertising and efforts to get elected cross the line into areas where people have asked you not to go. This year, I will not vote for it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I'm back!!!


Part of me feels compelled to add the bad version of beotches, because I remember seeing it in a movie and it was funny. Plus, to be perfectly honest, I've been in a mood that can only be described as a cross between hysterical, foul, and vainly trying to keep my chin up.

Here's the lowdown...

I've been having some trouble with my laptop, which is my primary computer. A few weeks ago, it got worse, and the main issue was with the screen. On a laptop, this is a big problem. It kept getting worse, until I was finally forced to accept that I needed to buy a new laptop. After lots of research, crowd-sourcing, and finally biting the bullet, I am now working on my new laptop. It is a HUGE adjustment, and for someone who doesn't like change, it hasn't been a lot of fun. However, I'm working really hard at trying to stay positive, so here's my list of ups and downs:


  • I had to transfer all of my files over. Just my documents and images took over 24 hours. I could not use my computer during this time.

  • Because it didn't transfer my email, I had to do that separately. Which took another 10 hours, then failed, then we tried again, which took another 6 hours. Yes, I have a lot of email. A lot of it is stuff I have to keep for work.

  • I also had to transfer my web stuff separately. Fortunately, this only took ten minutes. :)

  • All of my programs have to be re-loaded separately. I am still working on this. It's been a pain. I have to find old passwords, old logins, keycodes from purchases, etc. I know they say not to do this, but I am seriously considering putting together a notebook with all of this information in one place. If some dummy wants to rob my house and steal a notebook with all of my passwords in one place, they can have at it. It's not like they'll get anything great. Just my peace of mind, and I think I lost that a while ago. ;)

  • Learning a new keyboard, new keystrokes, and a new touchpad. I don't use a mouse. Number one, because I typically do use my laptop on my lap on the couch, and it's not conducive to using a mouse. Number two, I tend to get tendonitis in my mouse arm, and using a mouse makes it really bad. The point of all of this is to say that I keep messing up sooo much using this new touchpad, and I have to re-do almost everything I start. Like this post. Dagnabbit.

  • I really hated spending the money. Really. Really. Really.


  • I really am grateful for a new computer. It's new and nice and pretty.

  • I am VERY grateful that I had the money set aside to buy a new computer. And I'm grateful we could afford it. Even though I'd have liked NOT to have spent the money, I'm really grateful we had it.

  • My new computer is a lot faster than my old computer. It's been nice to have my usual large number of windows open without this thing getting bogged down.

  • My new computer is also a lot lighter than my old computer. Another plus.

  • So far, everything seems to be in perfect working order, and I'm really enjoying that. My old computer ran hot, and so far, this one doesn't, and I love that.

I'm thinking that in a month, I'll be on the other side of the learning curve and much happier. I don't like change, but I'm trying to embrace it as best as I can. How do you handle change? Any tips for making computer change easier?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Time to get political... and think!

I'm fairly intentional about not getting political in public. I've got too many online friends on both sides who tend to make jerks of themselves and alienate the other side with their political comments. If you're looking to read that Obama is the antichrist or that Romney will end democracy as we know it, you should probably find some other blog to read. I don't think people on either side are stupid. In fact, I'm getting tired of educated adults calling people names because they happen to think differently than others. I wish I'd thought to make copies of the different infographics going around. I'm amazed at how many of the Republican ones look almost exactly like the Democrat ones, and how they've both used the same distorted figures to prove opposite things.

A lot of my friends are saying that this election, they are voting for the lesser of two evils. I graduated with a degree in Political Science, so I totally understand this. I've always heard the philosophy that a vote for a third party is a wasted vote, because no third party will ever get elected. But I'm starting to question if that's really true. If so many people are merely voting for the lesser of two evils, what if we voted based on who we really want in office, regardless of political affiliation? Right now, this is just a question of "what if." I actually don't know if it would change things or not. But I've heard so many people argue that voting for a third party takes away from what could have been a win for the primary candidates, so why couldn't that logic work in reverse? Could enough people not vote for the two main parties that the rest of the population takes someone else seriously?

I don't know. I'm honestly just tossing ideas out there right now. But I'm tired of not feeling like I have a choice and not voting my true conscience. Before I vote, I'm going to take some time to do some serious thinking. I have great respect for all of my friends on all sides of the debate, and as I continue my own research into my decision, I hope everyone can continue in that respectful discussion.

So I've been researching... examining the candidates, and doing my homework. I found a quiz that I thought was very informative, so I thought I'd share.



Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The dog days of summer

I'm working on some more thoughtful posts, but right now, all I can think about is how much I miss my dog. He's at the groomer's today, getting a much needed shave. It's weird not having him next to me. He spends his days right by my side and I'm sure he inspires me to get more work done. It's also getting harder, because a little voice inside me reminds me that he's 12 now, which is old for a dog, and I wonder how I'll handle the days when he's gone for good. And then I try not to think about it. :)

So since I'm missing my dog, here's a picture from a couple weeks ago, when my good friend Cheryl Wyatt stopped by with her family on their way home from Yellowstone. The three little ones are her dogs, the big  black one is mine. Okay, he's not that big, but compared to her dogs, he's a giant.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Sending your kid off on the next adventure

[caption id="attachment_4018" align="alignleft" width="300"] Daddy and his girls on the night his biggest one is leaving.[/caption]

Our eldest daughter just left for boot camp. A lot of people keep asking us, "are you upset?" or "are you worried?"  My honest answer is, "no. We're excited for her."

Sure, I understand that she's going in to the Army, and yes, that means she'll be around guns, and potentially going in to conflict. But I'm a firm believer in kids needing to get out of the nest and away from friends and family to see the bigger picture of life outside of what is known. She's also following something she's passionate about. She's a very talented photographer, and was able to get a job doing photography for the Army. Since graduating high school, she's been a little adrift, trying to figure out how to make photography work, but not being excited about the options. She's finally excited about this option. It's a cool opportunity. One of the guys she talked to who has the job she'll be doing told her that over the past six years, he's visited every continent except Antarctica.

So am I worried? A little. But that danger exists out there for everyone, not just our daughter. Watching her grow up, I've learned that I can't protect her from every danger, and she's going to make her own choices. The one thing that got me through it has been praying for her. I am firmly convinced that prayer has made all the difference. So I'm going to keep praying, and let the rest take care of itself.

I hope you'll join me in praying for our kiddo. She's pretty amazing, and we're excited and proud of her new journey.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Okay, fine, I admit it...

I'm sick. I have a weird summer cold that has me doing nothing but sleep or want to sleep. I had grand plans for my blog this week, and lots to talk about, but I have the attention span of... hmm... is there even a comparison? People like to say gnat, but honestly, the gnats around my house have a very looooong attention span, because they won't leave me alone. Me, on the other hand... I don't remember where I was going with this.

Right. My blog. Now that all the chaos I wanted to blog about has died down, is there even a point in blogging about it?

So instead of some more weirdness that has you wondering just how much cold medication I'm on, how about I leave you with a pretty, shiny picture from my summer adventures? I am exceedingly proud of this picture. I can't believe I managed to capture a butterfly sitting on a flower with my cheapo camera? Well, it wasn't that cheap, since cameras these days are kinda expensive, but it certainly wasn't a fancy model. So be sure to say something nice about my picture to make me feel good.

OH!!! I know, I have the attention span of a butterfly! Because butterflies don't stick around in one place for long, do they? I can't remember. Hopefully, I'll be back to my old self soon. In the meantime, anyone have any good get well tips for a summer cold that has you exhausted all the time?


Thursday, August 09, 2012

Embracing different talents

The thing I love most about my little girls is that they've taught me to appreciate different talents far more than I ever could have imagined. Growing up, I was always the one who was different, and didn't fit in with any of my family. I always wished I could be more like them, more of what they wanted me to be, and yet, I was just... me.

So when I was blessed with two little girls who were like me in some ways, but really different in others, I decided to embrace them. I love them for their differences and their different talents.

This is my princess.  She has two main goals in life: 1. To be a varsity cheerleader, and 2. To be a singer on stage. In this picture, she's living her dream because the part you don't see are the varsity cheerleaders around her doing their routine. Her dance instructor is a cheer coach at one of the local high schools, so my little one gets to meet lots of cheerleaders. You also don't see that she is on a stage, and after her routine, she was up there, dancing and singing.  She is learning to play the piano, and even though she'd much rather sing, we're hoping that this will teach her the notes and the discipline needed to be everything she wants.

I never signed up to be the mother of a singing cheerleader. My friends and I groan at the thought of being cheer moms, but we never do it in a way that discourages our girls' dreams. And who knows, maybe one day, she'll have a hit like "Call Me Maybe," her favorite song, and my friends and I can laugh about these days while sitting on the beach, drinking Mojitos.


This is my cowgirl. She's the one standing on the horse and waving. Her dream involves breeding and training horses. We spend 2-3 days a week at the arena, where she takes care of horses, rides, and hangs out with her horse buddies. I never thought I'd say this, but hopefully someday, we'll have a place where we can own our own horses so she can spend every day living her dream.

If you know me, you know that I'm not terribly fond of horses. Scratch that. I like horses just fine. But they stink, they poop, and I'm allergic to both them and hay. So to have a horse-loving daughter is a pretty interesting experience. I could let hubby take her to her rides every week, or like many parents there, drop her off with a kiss, and go about my business. But let me let you in on a little secret. There is something magical about watching my daughter ride. I come home every Saturday exhausted and barely able to breathe. But the big grin on her face makes it worth it.

I think about how I have such different little girls, and how much joy they bring to my life. Sure, there are a million other things I could be doing besides listening to my little one play "Fuzzy Wuzzy" a thousand times a day. (I wish that were an exaggeration.) I'd love to attend more local writer's groups that meet on Saturdays when my daughter rides.

But one day, they will be gone... hopefully one will be touring the world like the diva she is, and the other will be on top of a mountain somewhere, riding her horse. Or maybe these are just phases my kids will have outgrown, and they'll be doing other things. Either way, I hope I've given them the tools they need to succeed. I hope I've communicated to them that it's okay to be different, and that I embrace who they are. Even the smelly parts.








Wednesday, August 08, 2012


To my new website!!

I have to admit, I forgot to post here that I'm finally on my new website. Silly me!!

So join me here:

It's all in the interpretation

We had a crime spree over the weekend. Someone decided it would be a nice gesture to go around the neighborhood, moving people's front lawns. Crime spree, you ask? Well, that's what I wondered. Personally, I was glad that someone besides me noticed that it was high time our lawn got mowed. I was beginning to fear for the neighborhood children. Because of my allergies, I have to wait for hubby to mow the lawn. So having someone else do it for us- bliss!

Unfortunately, our neighbors did not agree. I actually thought they might have been behind the drive-by mowing, since their yard is always pretty neat, and ours goes way too long behind mowings. But when they mentioned it to us, they were less than pleased. To be fair, they had just gotten their lawn fertilized, and you have to wait several days before mowing it. Well, our friendly neighborhood mower didn't know that, so they mowed it too soon.

What surprises me the most about our neighbor's reaction is that they're so angry about the surprise mowing that they aren't willing to acknowledge that whoever did it was at least attempting to make a kind gesture. The neighbor is certain that the person who mowed their lawn must've been staking them out, waiting for them to leave, and maybe the mowing was just an excuse to case their house to rob it. I tried telling the lady that our lawn (which was mowed either right before our right after) was mowed WITH US HOME. Yes, we were home when our lawn was mowed by a mysterious figure. We were so wiped out after our daughter's ride that we were all napping on the couch and missed all the excitement. Oh, how could we!!

Maybe I'm naive for thinking that someone mowing the lawns of a few random houses in a neighborhood is nothing more than a random act of kindness. My initial thought that it was a not-so-subtle hint that we're in the suburbs, not the jungle.  But in my mind, I picture a person who saw that there were a couple of lawns that needed some TLC, and was tickled to be able to do something nice without anyone knowing or expecting something in return.

So was this a random act of kindness, or some kind of evil horror brought about by a villain determined to destroy us all?

However, this got me to thinking. How many times do we do something we think is a very kind thing that someone else interprets as being terrible? Does a bad result (ie: messing up someone's fertilizer) negate the kindness behind the action? Do these negative reactions keep people from being kind? I admit, that as I've been thinking about doing more random acts of kindness, which I believe should be done in secret, that I'm really thinking more about how my actions will be interpreted. Will what I intend as kindness end up being a burden for the other person?

What about you? Have you ever had a random act of kindness go horribly wrong?

(OH... And if you happened to be the one to mow my lawn, THANK YOU!!! If you're interested in coming back, my back yard is about three times the size of my front. AND, we really need some edging done. :)  )

Monday, August 06, 2012

The posts I'm afraid to write...

I've been having a quiet spiritual crisis over the past few weeks. Not in a bad way, or even in a way that has me questioning my faith. I've talked to a few friends about it, and I've been praying about it. But today, in church, after listening to the pastor preach about being obedient to God's call, I realized that it's time to share what I've been thinking about.

There's a lot going on in my head, and in my heart, about faith these days, and things I want to say. Things I'm afraid to say to anyone except my closest friends. I know that if I say it publicly, some people will be happy about my words, but a lot of others will be mad. I've faced enough rejection in my life that I don't want to say a bunch of stuff that'll make people mad. Which is a safe way to live, I guess, but it's not very honest.

The truth is, I'm angry. And I'm hurt. And I'm caught in this place of trying to reconcile a faith and a God that I love with a bunch of people who act like jerks in God's name. I don't think they mean to be jerks. I think that they think, in their own way, that they're doing what God wants them to do.

So I'm going to be more honest... and I'm going to talk about the real things going on in my heart that I've been afraid to share. I'm sorry if it pisses anyone off. But if I want to live more like Jesus, then I can't be afraid of upsetting people. If he'd given in to that fear, would we be here today?

In the spirit of sharing the things I'm afraid to share, here's the thought that's keeping me up tonight: Today, some nutcase shot up a Sikh temple. Not one of my friends, Christian or not, has posted any sympathies or anything to indicate that they care. One person did post a scathing comment blaming it on intolerant Christians- but that's it. (And I find the intolerance comment offensive, BTW. Not only has it not been said that whoever did it was a Christian, but let's not use one person's actions as an excuse to attack an entire religion. That's what causes hate crimes to begin with.) When Aurora shooting tragedy happened a couple weeks ago, my Facebook was filled with posts from all sorts of people upset over the tragedy. Why aren't we all more upset over this shooting?

Today, families lost people they dearly love. There is a community of people devastated by a horrible crime. I really don't care that they aren't Christians. They are human beings, and God loves them just as much as He loves us. I've never been one of those people who goes out and tries to comfort shooting victims. I'm not really good at that. But right now, I'm so angry that we're not more angry about yet another shooting, that if I lived in their community, I'd be bringing them meals or whatever you do in these situations. I am a Christian woman, and I love that Sikh community just as much as I love anyone else. God loves them too.

Compassion isn't just about loving people who are like us, but it's about daring to reach out to those who are different, and accepting them anyway.  I have yet to find any information about donations to help those affected by this tragedy, but I personally plan on doing what I can to help. I hope you will consider doing the same.