Wednesday, April 27, 2011


From the Computing Dictionary:

hacker definition - person, jargon (Originally, someone who makes furniture with an axe) 1. A person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and how to stretch their capabilities, as opposed to most users, who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary. 2. One who programs enthusiastically (even obsessively) or who enjoys programming rather than just theorizing about programming... 8. (Deprecated) A malicious meddler who tries to discover sensitive information by poking around. Hence "password hacker", "network hacker". The correct term is cracker.

OK, so I might have the technical term wrong, but according to PSN, they were the victims of a malicious computer attack in which their security was breached and the personal information of its users was compromised. Which means that because someone was having a little "fun", millions of users now fear for their credit safety... and we're unable to watch Glee.

Tim realized last night that we can get Netflix on the Wii. Well, sort of. Some of the streaming videos available elsewhere are not available on the Wii... like Glee. We're batting 1000.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Oh, no! Not the network!

We discovered the PlayStation Network was down for "maintenance" in the middle of last week. Most notably, we couldn't watch any streaming videos on Netflix. Tim hadn't been on to play team death match recently, so that wasn't an issue. It seemed that it kept logging out of PSN, and our videos would run for a few seconds and buffer again and again. Grrr. I'm GLEE deprived!

Really it's not so bad. Apparently they had a major virus or hacker something-or-other that downed the network, and they've been tirelessly working to restore it. They're taking their time with this one to make sure it doesn't happen again. My question is, if my Netflix is through PSN, and it's not working because of PSN, what are they going to do about it? Some of us just can't live without GLEE!

Oh, look they're bringing me my white coat with nifty buckles!

Just kidding.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Over the weekend

We spent a fun-filled weekend baking and preparing for Easter. I had cupcakes for a special Easter edition of "Singing Cupcakes" in primary that were all shades of the rainbow, a last minute cake order for a white cake with coconut filling, Tim's Mounds birthday cake (for Friday), and an angel food cake for choir practice. Whew!

We had a steak dinner at the house for Tim's birthday. We had a full house and plenty of food. Tim grilled some awesome steak, and I made herb and garlic mashed potatoes and corn on the cob. Mom even brought some veggie pizza that was really very good as an appetizer. I was made with croissant rolls rolled out for a crust, cream cheese spread out for "sauce" and a mix of shredded carrots, broccoli (or green beans for those with a green-tree aversion), and shredded cheese. Tasty!

Saturday night we colored eggs with all 5 kiddos. I didn't know this, but this was Christian and Connor's first egg-dying egg-sperience. :) (you liked that didn't you!). We had 5 colors (one for each kiddo) and we rotated through. Each one got to dye 4 eggs. We made deviled eggs and egg salad sandwiches out of them later. Sunday we went to my parents' house after church and ate tasty ham and had an Easter egg hunt. My sister was the "bunny" and had a "bunny manual" so that she could make sure we found all of the eggs. Don't laugh. It worked.And as promised, progress pics of the cross stitch. Since last Monday, I've completed the third color (darkest in the moon) and have since completed a fourth (med-light on the moon), fifth (darkest brown on the branches) and started on #6 (med-brown on the branches). So what we have here is an (almost) full moon and the beginnings of branches for the eagle to perch. I actually had to scroll over to the left to reach the left most branches. I'm going to finish them and do their outlines before I complete the moon and finish the bird. Then I get to scroll to the right and do that half of the picture. :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Getting ready for Friday

Tim turns 27 tomorrow! I've decided I'm not throwing a surprise party this year seeing as it is impossible to do anything without him finding out. We're having steak and corn on the cob for dinner, and I'm making his favorite cake (mounds cake) tonight. The kiddos and I already gave him his birthday present - Crysis 2 - so we're not doing much else besides invite family over for dinner.

(and then I just remembered that I forgot to wake him up, oops, better give him a call)

I'm totally looking forward to having Friday off from work. I plan to vegetate as much as possible before the kiddos and I start cleaning for dinner, and I am SO sleeping in!

Oh, oh, and we have good news! Tim received his acceptance letter from Blue Ridge!!! He has orientation in the next week or so, and classes for summer start May 31st. :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A beautiful baptism

I needed to get out of the world.

There's been too much noise recently about finances, work, commutes, school, kids, family, friends... I just needed some quiet time. Sure a bubble bath works for a few minutes, but I felt drained. Nothing I did seemed to work. Then last week I heard about the youth temple trip.


I talked to Tim about going down early and doing an endowment session and then meeting the youth down there, and we tentatively agreed. Then Sunday he talked to those in charge of organizing the trip and decided that we'd be there at the church instead in case they needed more seat belts. He felt that Heavenly Father would appreciate that more.

OK, fine. I can deal with that.

While we're getting everyone ready to do the baptisms, could I at least sit in front of the mural and ponder for a while?

No, we won't have time.

My hope dashed, I felt like I wasn't ever going to get the peace I needed. We met up with everyone at the church. It turns out that they didn't need the extra seat belts after all. Oh, well. We started the trip down, and Tim and I got to talk to each other without interruption for the whole trip. It was nice. When we got there, we met up with everyone and waited for the last few adults to get there from work locally. One of the sisters decided to go in early so that she could get the family names she'd submitted for work. I decided to go in with her and see if the store was open so I could exchange some items (6 months later and I'm still trying to figure out what is most comfortable for me), but the store was closed. Disappointment again. Wow, I'm batting 1000.

I finally approached the brethren at the desk, showed my recommend, and asked if I could just sit by the mural. One smiled at me and said, "You can do whatever you want to in the temple." Finally, some encouragement. Once inside I sat down and just looked over the faces in the painting. What are they thinking, I wonder, looking at Him. What is He thinking as he looks on. He has a serious expression, but it's not sad or angry, just there. Like when I come home and the kiddos come to me to say hi. I just hold out my arms and they give me hugs. :) Maybe his expression is more 'Here I am, come to me.' It felt good to sit there in silence. I didn't hear anything about outside. No traffic or finances, kids or work, just silence. It was wonderful.

I met up with the other sister a few minutes later, and we went downstairs to meet everyone else at the font. I was excited now because I got to work this time. I even brought my own clothes and everything. :) I was amazed at how much further away the world seemed while I performed my tasks in the temple. I felt like I was contributing to something bigger and better than outside had to offer.

Our group was joined by a brother and sister I didn't recognize. I didn't know it was possible, but I truly saw a beautiful baptism when he baptized her. I just sat in awe and watched. She never touched her face when she went under the water so I had a clear view of her peaceful expression as she arose each time out of the water. She was angelic almost. There was a different feeling there. I don't know why.

The youth on the trip were awesome. They were highly complimented by the temple workers, and I'm very proud of them. We went home after 10pm so it was a late night, but it was worth it. I feel relieved, and I think I'm ready to face the world again.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Over the weekend

We had some rain this weekend. In other areas of the country, this storm produced a record number of hurricanes. Here, however, we got hail and plenty of rain. The back yard turned into soup, we had a stream flowing along side the house, and the bridge flooded. We received so much rain so fast, that it almost backed up into the basement. Tim and I spent two hours in the pouring rain digging up landscaping rocks (sorry, Dad) to dam up in front of the basement door so that it wouldn't flood with Cindy and the boys down there. We even had to go so far as dig down the path to the social circle because it was holding up the flow of water (sorry again, Dad). We've decided that to fix the drainage issue, we're going to dig down even further and run some culverts along the bottom of the ditch. Then put the path back over top of it. That way the path will still be there without hindering the torrent. As for the basement door, we're going to bring the level of the walkway there up a few inches and slope it away from the house to encourage drainage without collecting water at the door. We were seriously within 1/2 inch of pouring in.

For the first time in the 2.5 years we've lived in the house, I saw flood damage to the road at the bridge.It actually lifted sheets of asphalt 3/4" thick and the size of my desk and just slid it off of the road and onto the shoulder. I've never seen it do that before.On another note... how about creation instead destruction? I started a new project. Cindy has been cross stitching words as part of a project she's working on for Christmas (I think), and it renewed my interest in counted cross stitch. My unfortunate curse is that I'll start a project and work on it for a while, get bored with it because I don't see any progress, and put it down for weeks (or months) before I pick it up again. Sometimes it's because the project (i.e. the quilt) isn't portable so I can't take it on trips like I can with knitting.

My mother gave me a couple counted cross stitch kits that I showed Cindy last week while we were discussing cross stitch. She took one look at this one and said that her husband would love this one... so I decided to do it for them for Christmas.So I started working on it on 4/11/11. One week later, this is the progress I've made...I've decided to work 1/2 at a time, so I started in the middle with the black on the eagle, then moved to the moon to his left with a second color. You can see at the top that I've started in with a third color and filling in more of the moon with the darker gray. Unlike the last cross stitch I did, this one is going a lot faster because it has about 10 fewer colors and they're not tiny bits here and there with a stitch or two in places spread out so far that it takes forever. Another thing I like about this project is that it is on black Aida cloth so the moon really comes out of the fabric. :) More progress on this in a week!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My latest knitting adventure

Right after I finished the blue baby blanket I did for my S-I-L and her first baby, I started on this one for another first-time mom in our ward. Even though they knew they were having a boy, she asked for a green blanket. I chose Caron Simply Soft Collection yarn in pistachio for the main color and cream for the trim of her blanket. The best part is, that was her favorite shade of green. The whole thing was knit on circular size 6 needles. The pattern called for alternating a plume panel with a cable panel and measured approximately 3 ft. x 4 ft.
I love how soft this yarn is even before you wash it, and the colors are georgeous!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I've been visited!

My visiting teachers came to see me last night! Yay!

I know, it doesn't seem like it should be a huge celebration, but this is the first time I've been visited this year (only the 3rd time since I joined the church). I even dragged Cindy up from down stairs so that she could be visited, too. It was nice to catch up and just talk. We also had a nice lesson on personal revelation.

I know I might joke about how busy our house is sometimes with the addition of two very energetic boys, but I would be remiss if I didn't also say that having Cindy at the house is a blessing for sure. I mean, I talk to Tim about everything, but it is nice to have another woman/mother/sister/wife/daughter...'s point of view - someone that can relate. It's really a relief to be able to get some of these things out and feel like I'm understood. I think this might be cause for celebration... a bubble bath might be in order. :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Which was more painful?

Before we fell asleep last night, Tim and I were talking about a recent news story from Utah. A man accused of multiple counts of rape, sodomy, and sexual assault of children was deemed too mentally unstable to be held accountable for his crimes, but he wasn't sick enough to be remanded to a mental institution. They released him. Why would they let him go? They know full well what he is capable of.

That conversation segued into Lucifer's predicament. Why would Heavenly Father allow the conception of a son he knew would oppose him unless he planned for it? It almost seems like the 'son of the morning' was doing exactly what he has born to do. Tim didn't like me in the role of "devil's advocate" (no pun intended), so we agreed that there's more to this than what has been revealed to us. For now we agree that Lucifer has made is choice and continues to be angry that his plan wasn't chosen.

So my rhetorical question to ponder last night was this: Which was more painful for Heavenly Father to endure - the suffering and sacrifice of Christ for the benefit of the rest of His children, or the disappointment in the decisions and actions of His other son? How exquisite, I imagine, is the pain He suffered as Christ suffered, longing to comfort Him but unable to interfere lest He negate all that Christ was doing for us? But this pain was only for a finite time, mere moments in the grand scheme of things, and never to be done again. On the other hand, as a parent I have felt deep disappointment and sorrow in some of the choices my children have made. Other parents have experienced greater pain for more serious disappointments. Sometimes it makes me question if I am teaching them enough, if I am loving them enough, if I have failed them in some way. How much more has Heavenly Father suffered for His other son? This isn't years as we know it; it is ages - eternities - each with new acts of rebellion, more of His children led away in Lucifer's acts of defiance, a constant and lasting reminder. Just wondering.

Monday, April 11, 2011

An interesting conversation

We learned two songs in Primary this Sunday. One was #277 from the green hymn book called As I Search the Holy Scriptures. I had the junior primary help me come up with hand movements to help us learn the song. We're also doing the movements when we sing the song in the primary program. We taught the senior primary the song/movements as well. Their favorite movements were "spirit" - where you start with your pointer fingers and thumbs interlinked like a chain and pull one hand away from the other in a floating spirit like movement - and "study" - where the left hand is flat and the right fingers are pointed at the left hand and wiggled like you're casting a spell on the book in the left hand. We even had them stand in the front of the room in front of the teachers to practice their song. This way they can become accustomed to performing in front of other people.

The second song we learned was page 77 in the primary song book called Did Jesus Really Live Again? It's a 3-verse song we wanted to learn so that we could sing it in primary on Easter as an Easter song. Not many of those out there. So the junior primary learned the song as just a song. No big deal. It was fun and that was all. The senior primary, on the other hand, was a little different. The first two verses just ask if he really came. The third verse said, "And there were nail prints in his hands and a spear wound in his side. Did Jesus really come again after he had died?..." One of them said, "I didn't know he was wounded by a spear. That sounds painful. Why do we write songs about that?" Such a deep question from our youth just floored me.

So, I explained about crucifixion, what it was, how they did it, and how painful it was. How if they wanted you to die quickly they would break your legs, but they didn't do that to Christ. How the spear was used to make him bleed out as another form of torture. Then I took them through one of my favorite sacrament hymns, Behold the Great Redeemer Die, and read through all 6 verses focusing first on the pain and suffering of the Savior (including the crown of thorns they didn't consider), and then on what his suffering meant for us. It was amazing to see the eyes light up with understanding as they realized that we write songs like these to remind us of what he did for us. These songs start as teaching tools for the kiddos, then turn into discussions and reminders as they get older.

They become more than just songs. I am humbled to be the one to have these conversations with them when singing time becomes more than music and turns into a true Gospel teaching moment. Just wow.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Auction of the year

We went to the auction last night that benefited the young women. Oh, what fun!!! My Triple-C cake was the first item up for live bidding. It was heated at first, but in the end it went to the Carpenter family. The White Chocolate Strawberry Cordial was in the last group of the silent auction. All I know is paddle #17 won the bid, but I don't know for how much. We were worried that the Eagle Scout Cake wouldn't sell, but it came down to two families battling it out. Once the winner was announced, I offered a second to the other bidder for the same amount. They accepted. Congratulations to all the winning bidders!

The only two things we seriously bid on were a scrap booking basket I won for $40 (and split with Cindy) and Sister Cas's carrot cake. I had to fight Joe Kemer for it, but at the end of the bid it was mine. Mmmm, tasty. I've been looking forward to that cake for months! I had a piece as soon as I got home, and I brought a slice with me this morning to work. Sweet victory!

Speaking of sweet, Tim going back to school reminded me that I still have GI Bill money to use for college. I tried to transfer my benefits to him under the 9/11 program, but you can only do that if you are active duty, and you have to sign up to serve another 1-3 years. Nixed on both accounts. So, I have until 2019 to use them up before I loose them. Yay. I did look into the degree programs at Blue Ridge and discovered they have 2 I am interested in. One is a 73 hour Associate of Applied Science in Food Service Retail Management that would give me the foundation I need to open my own bakery. The other is a 67 hour Associate of Applied Science in Baking and Pastry. If I complete the FSRM degree and take an additional 19 hours of B&P courses, I could have that one as well because most of the classes required are common between the two degrees. I'm hoping that some of the courses I took at HCC and ITT will fulfil some of the GENED requirements and that some of my work experience will allow me to test out of a couple more. It would save me time (about 1 semester's worth) and money making it possible to finish both degrees in 2 years. I suppose the first step would be to get my transcripts and talk to a counselor.

Tim is already getting his stuff together and filling out applications for school and financial aid. He's really excited to start. He told me yesterday that his goal is a 4.0 for the time he's working on his degree in criminal justice. I'm so proud of him!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Back to school

Just when you think you understand what's going on, the Lord shakes things up! Tim lost his job earlier this week because of an admittedly stupid mistake. He's learned from it, and that's all that matters. In the mean time, we're adjusting fire. We're taking a look at budget cutbacks (wow, I just sounded like the government didn't I?), looking into college for Tim, getting things straightened out. We'll be OK... I just know it.

After so many messages in General Conference about searching the scriptures, studying out issues, and then going to the Lord for answers, I felt that I needed to seek comfort in my scriptures. Tim was understandably upset and worried about our future and finances (before we decided on school). I said a prayer requesting words of comfort for us both, closed my eyes, and opened my scriptures to a "random" spot that turned out to be Matthew 24. As I read the chapter to myself (and later Chloie when she sat next to me) I felt the Spirit strongly as I read verse 13, "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."

So the lesson here? Stay strong, stay faithful, stay focused, and everything will be alright.

And it will be. We've figured out what we're going to do, and going to school makes Tim happy. He's wanted to do this degree in criminal justice for a couple years now. He wants to be a police officer or something similar. While I'm not happy about the safety concerns that arise from such a profession, its been his dream to do this kind of work. Who am I to say no? We've been talking about him going to school for a while, but we couldn't figure out how to do it with him working the hours that he does. Something tells me that this was our answer. So we're looking into different schools, part time work options, financial assistance, GI Bill options, and so forth. Hopefully we'll have something figured out in time for the summer semester.