Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Wear Star Wars, Share Star Wars

Just a quick fly-by as things are crazy crazy crazy - the weekend should bring a different nature to my month as all goes into holiday mode....

I hope you all get the chance to observe a very special event this Friday!  Friday December 16th marks the 1 year anniversary of the internet community response to the Star Wars related bullying of Katie.  We even addressed the issue here on Paper Napkins.  This year we are honoring the spirit of that event with Katie, her family, her school, and the internet community at large, with Wear Star Wars, Share Star Wars Day (or Proud To Be Me Day - if Star Wars isn't really your thing.)  If you are able, wear a Star Wars shirt this Friday, or something that reflects your interests, and share it with others.  And if you are financially able, take a toy that reflects your interest and donate it to a local hospital or toy drive - make sure you specify with a post-it note or taped note that your gift is for a girl or a boy, otherwise they will follow the manufacturer's advertised gender only (which is usually unnecessarily divisive - and what caused the bullying of Katie in the first place!)

Check out Katie's Mom's blog for more information!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Paper Napkins Ver2.0

I have several long posts (and rambling ideas) in the works for you, but that will wait until next week. Here is a gem to tide you over though:

After breakfast at the table with me, Ver2 wanted to color for a while in her notebook. What she really did, was draw an elaborate collection of pictures and scribbled inscriptions on her napkin.

I am not sure exactly what this means, but it looks like a grand idea in the making. Rest assured, the next generation of Geeky Paper Napkins writers are hard at work.

Welcome to the future, Paper Napkins Ver2.0

Friday, December 2, 2011

Random Tabs of Holiday Cheer

It's snowed here.  It's gotten cold.  There's a girl wearing a festive red hat with white trim every day at school.  The calendar confirms it, December and the holidays are here.  This random tabs will focus on some holiday events happening around the web.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

REVIEW: Skyward Sword - A First Impression

For the last week I've been playing Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, on Mommy time.... definitely not the same as a hard core gaming weekend, but I think I have enough hours into the game to give you a few thoughts. They will be in the spoiler-free format you can count on here at Paper Napkins.
First I need to get some disclaimers out of the way:
  • This is the first Zelda game that I've played for a whole week.  I love RPGs, they are my favorite genre, but it's sorta been that I play the Final Fantasy titles and my husband gets the shorter Zelda titles.  This play is all me, so far.  We'll see if I get to be the one that finishes the game, I had my doubts in the first boss fight.  I watched every second of Wind Waker and Twilight Princess - running clues from the book for the later, some of Ocarina of Time and various others, but never have I, myself, been at the controls for more than the first bit, or the occasional mini-game.
  • This is the first Wii title I have played that makes use of the motion plus that came out last year or so.  I did get two new motion plus controllers last year for Christmas (in anticipation of this game!), but have not used the new feature until now.
  • When I play an RPG I do EVERYTHING.  I get very frustrated when I can't do something, and I do my best to make sure I don't leave anything undone or behind.  This is slowing my progress doubly, because I have yet to purchase the guide book since Amazon has yet to get it and I ended up preordering the game from bestbuy.com and the box was completely beat up when it arrived.  Since I keep these sorts of things for a long time and I like my stuff in nice crisp condition, it'll be a bit before I trust them again.
For those who aren't familiar with the Zelda franchise here is a 8-bit summary:  Link is a kid who wears green, he has pointy ears even if no one else does.  He is the destined hero of legend, usually working for a higher power such as a deity.  He is the character you play.  Some girl you know will be in danger, usually kidnapped, she may or may not be Princess Zelda, you will take up a training sword and venture forth to find her.  Eventually you will get the Master Sword which is cool.  You start with crappy wooden shields and then are able to get cool stuff later.  You also use a sling shot, bow and arrows, bombs, boomerang or other flying device that returns to you, grapplers, and some kind of musical device.  You are after the Triforce and new skills. You will get something cool to help you move around the world, a boat, a horse, a bird.  You have to get good so you can rescue Princess Zelda from Gannon (or whatever he calls himself this time).  Gannon also wants the Triforce so he can bring his darkness to the world as it's ruler.  The world has a long history and your time is usually not the peak of its existence.  The past is important to the present.  For more of an overview, see our 25th anniversary post, here and here.

Like my other reviews, you can hit the jump and scroll to the end for a pro/con summary or read through all the dialogs in spoiler-free safety.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Being Thankful For What We Do Have

As I have blown past my personal deadline for wrapping up house projects for the year (although not past the last possible deadline, yet) I have put my laptop into storage mode to keep it free of the construction dust - which now covers everything not protected in my living room, dinning area, and kitchen. As a result I am pecking this out on my phone, can't really call this typing (and I'm not ready to wrestle with Dragon Diction again, yet.)

Sometimes it's really hard to remember to be thankful for what we have. It's especially hard when what we have is old, needs work, and feels like so much more of a burden than something that may be newer, bigger/smaller, or not used by someone prior.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Special Thank You to Frugal Girls

Gosh, it must have been forever ago now, but it was probably September, Frugal Girls, told me I was the winner of their $100 Kohl's gift card giveaway.  Maybe I should back up though.  I've been following Frugal Girls for over a year.  Since we obviously reside in different parts of the United States, I frequently miss out on cool deals they post, because besides the fact that I, personally, live in a void of shopping, I've barely heard of many of the stores they mention.  But, I think they are a cool group of gals and I'm very glad that they offer giveaways and craft blog hops and a variety of other things for when their deals don't reach my local area.  I also only sign up for a giveaway if I can use it, OR as in this case, I know exactly what I will do if I win. Most of the time, I can think of something silly, but I never actually expect to win.  So I was very surprised to see my name on the winners post.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

11 (1011) Ways to See Another Binary Day In Your Lifetime

So, the last "Binary Day" we will see in our lifetime (11-11-11) has come and gone. Binary Day, you know, when the date uses only 1's and 0's. The year 2011 has seen several of them. These same 1's and 0's are used by computers and electronic devices at their very basic operating level. For most people this is a quaint little thing, but for geeks its a fun day to celebrate. Geeks will use any excuse to have a party, so ignore the fact that the year starts with a 2, we are just looking at the last two digits here.

The next binary day will come along in January 1st, 2100... 88 years from now. That's just to far away for most people alive today to see (baring those who are exceptionally healthy of course). Most of us will be dead before then, unless you take charge of your own destiny.

What is a Geek to do when they are told something is out of their reach? Why apply creativity and science to make it happen, that's what. So, here are my top 11 (1011) ideas for...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Thankful November: Day 7

I know it's really cliche, but I am so very thankful for my children.  Oh sure, they are expensive, always wanting and needing stuff, and lets not talk about the food they consume.... but they are also a true joy.  They're brilliant minds playing in the world with their bright shinning eyes.  I'm so immensely thankful for every time they hug me.  For all the time they want to be with me.  My life would be so much emptier, even if I did have time for more of my hobbies, without them.

(I wanted to write a lot more about this, and maybe I'll come back to it when I get to an associated thankfulness, but right now I am simply too tired from being needed as mom to my sick little boy.)

Thankful November: Day 6

I'm thankful for my weird dreams that give me things to think about and movies to enjoy in my sleep.  In fact, on Saturday I had a dream about ovens (must have been feeling better if I wanted to bake) and woke up thinking of sponge cake in eggnog syrup.  It was very good!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thankful November: Day 5

I'm thankful that I took the day to sleep and heal and hang out with my family and watch Sarah Jane Chronicles which is a favorite in our house.  And thanks to the extra hour we let the kids watch an extra episode and stay up late!  Always great for an excuse to stay up snuggled together on the couch.  (even though I personally think the idea of Daylight Savings time is stupid)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Thankful November: Day 4

Let's see today's Thankfulness..... I'm thankful for my pillow.  Almost 2 years ago I spent a lot of time in the hospital.  Even when I came home I couldn't sleep in my own bed, I couldn't lay down flat.  I had a hard miserable hospital bed and stuck on my back.  And through a mix-up I still didn't have my pillow, but just a random pillow from the house, it smelled more familiar, but it still wasn't mine.  Now admittedly, my pillow is getting pretty beat up, but it's my pillow, and it smells right, it feels right, and it can get just comfortable enough.  Having been so happy to have my pillow back that I've cried, I can in all honesty say, that I am thankful for my pillow.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thankful November: Day 3

First off I am NOT thankful for the cold that has kept me from doing anything but sleep today.  I am however, very thankful that even though I don't have sick leave, I can stay home in my bed knowing my husband can look after my children (some of whom are sick as well) and that my job will still be there tomorrow.  When hopefully, I can be thankful to be functioning again......... I hope!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Thankful November: Day 2

Instead of systematically naming all the people and objects that are indespensible to my daily life, I thought I'd really challenge myself to trying to think of things about myself I am thankful for as well.  So today I will take on that challenge.

I really am thankful that I have the ability to pick up new skills and do a vast variety of things.  Sometimes I think my inability to specialize and be exceptionally good at any one thing is annoying and limiting.  I was never that good at music, I could play technically alright, and I could put some emotion into it, but I was never that good and I just couldn't get any better.  I feel that way about a lot of the things I do, draw, house projects, programming.  However, I am very thankful, that I can do that many different things.  It does let me have a lot more options for things I can do, even if I'm not the best at any of them.  I like that I know I can do just about everything, as long as it interests me.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Thankful November: Day 1

Ok, I've been dwelling on this for a couple days.  I'm not going to be doing NaNoWriMo because I have too many work and life commitments right now, and while I'd like to take some extra time to finish my short story, it too may have to wait.  I have some content here I want to write up here, I think I will still do this in between.

Every year many people take the November Thankfulness challenge.  Where they are thankful for something each day in November and they share it with their internet friends and family.  Well I think I will try to do this here (and maybe cross-posting, I'm still undecided on that).  These all will probably not be full blog posts and may not be more than a paragraph or two.  Since I've got all this set up, I'll start day 1 after the jump.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Random Tabs (rnd)

I forgot which number we are on, and I don't want to go look as I'm only writing this as I take a brake from staring at code which is going much better than it has the last couple months.

First off I want to say Welcome Back to all the Parent Hacks readers who are dropping in.  I hope you enjoy the three part on our costumes!  Feel free to dig around, some parenting bits and other projects lurk on some of the napkins around here, sorry it's such a mess - even the site is constantly under construction :)

Now on to the tabs.  Hit the jump to see what I've got bogging down the ram on my poor abused laptop now.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Writing Again & The King of the Frogs

Not intentionally abandoning you all.  I am happy to announce that I have started writing again.  As in non-blog writing.  I'm hoping to complete a short story with the current idea (as opposed to all the books I've started in the last three years and haven't gotten anywhere with).  I'm very happy to be writing again even if I am also still busy with physical projects (currently moving slowly thanks to a very sore back).  I will let you all know if anything comes from the story (other than my own exercise in getting thoughts on screen - which apparently needs a lot of work, because I'm putting several hours into not so many pages, hmmm).

I'm also privileged to be able to be helping out in my oldest daughter's class once a week for reading time.  This last week I was privileged to get most of an hour with my daughter and her reading group.  All four of the kids are voracious readers and I know that finding appropriate difficulty materials to challenge the kids while keeping the stories thing that the kids can understand has been a real struggle this year.  In fact they've called in councilors from the junior high to assist.  That's why it should be no surprise that so much in the story we read was just not comprehended by them, but maybe this was a good thing.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Why Halloween Is My Favorite Holiday, Even Though I'm A Christian

I LOVE Halloween!  I think it's just one of the most fun holidays of the year.  Sure there's the whole demon and scary angle, but that's not what I love.  I love the community, I love the costumes, I love the ability to go door-to-door, I love being able to pretend, and I love that we are all encouraged to face our fears.  I think Halloween is a great equalizer.  Oh sure if you're rich you can have whatever costume you want, but ratty clothes and thrift store finds are the hallmark of some of the greatest costumes ever.  I remember one Halloween reusing a worn out duct taped pair of my Papa's (grandfather) overalls for at least three different costumes, a country girl with mismatched pigtails and brown make-up freckles, a psycho-ax murder with some fake blood and grease, and a redneck (kinda like the country girl minus the cutesy elements and added a trucker hat.)

Unfortunately, among the Christian community, Halloween gets a really bad rap.  It's a pagan holiday.  It's demon worship.  It's satanic.  As a result we are encouraged to turn off our porch lights, shunning our neighbors, and instead take our kids to "Harvest Parties" where we play fall games in scary-free zones in the basements of our churches, hiding from the evil outside.  Pretending that we are so much better than our neighbors because we don't practice such ridiculousness and we don't stoop to horror, to acknowledging the scary in the world.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Star Wars Cosplay, part 3

Costumes and armaments are only most of the story.  To really bring the costumes together it's the little extras that are the essentials.  It's amazing how many little extras were all but impossible to find and things like children's white boots really really put my painting skills to the test (or maybe that was my patience).  Needless to say, everyone needed a belt (well except Yoda) and there were holsters and pockets to make.  Death Star Leia needed extra special care as her belt not only is specially shaped but is accessorized with 3D metal plates. 

I took responsibility for only half of these items as Orcrist rocked the rest.  As such we are going to share this blog post.  I will start telling you my part and he will finish with all the amazing bits he put together to bring our costumes to completion.  We'll dive right in after the jump.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Star Wars Cosplay, part 2

Armaments are only half-way to a Star Wars costume make.  Sure a guy in a robe can pass as a jedi as long as he has a lightsabre, but let's just say I'm not the kind to take a shortcut when making costumes.  Costumes are some of my favorite things.  I love coming up with creative ideas and I've made many a Halloween costume for myself, and last year I sewed cloaks for my kids'.  With the promise of GeekGirlCon, I was not going to slack on these, and since my husband let me buy a new sewing machine which just happened to show up on woot.com at exactly the right time..... well they aren't epic, but they're darn close!

It's been a long time since I've done any clothes making.  Sure, I've made some cloaks, and I made curtains, but making stuff to fit bodies is a whole other game.  Especially when your kids aren't average (ultra skinny and her sister no-fat) and they need costumes that haven't existed in patterns since the 1980s.  So, with the exception of McCalls M6203 which gave me the guidelines to making a pair of military-esque pants for Endor Leia, everything else needed to be drawn out from scratch. (oh and I bought a khaki shirt for Endor Leia, it was a time issue.)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Star Wars Cosplay, part 1

As you have seen I took a couple weeks and smashed together some reasonably alright Star Wars costumes for the family.  While cosplay is as much being the character as it is the costume, the threads are vitally important to selling the character.  So in addition to watching Star Wars (the three real episodes) and me deciding to go in my internet persona (that's pretty easy to play), we scoured the web for detailed pictures, cosplay ideas, and accessories to bring Princess Leia and the jedi we would portray to life.

First off there is always one thing you never think will be that big of a deal to find and it always ends up being the biggest of struggles.  With so many costumes there were a few of these moments, but the most universal was the weapons.  You wouldn't think it would be hard, after all Star Wars is a major title.  There are mounds of Star Wars kids items, right?  Well, yes and no.  You see it's all "Clone Wars" now, not actual Star Wars and the variety of things that are offered are almost pathetic enough to make a long time fan cry.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

GeekGirlCon: Pictures

Ok, I don't usually post pictures of people here, especially not ones of myself, but with all the work into the costumes (which I'll talk about soon) and since I've already linked to pictures, why not!  Hang on for a the pictures we remembered to take while at GeekGirlCon 2011 (which wasn't much!)  Also I'll include a couple from the Mandalorian Mercs, and maybe borrow from a couple other people too.

All for your viewing after the  jump of course!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

GeekGirlCon Reflections (a guys perspective.)

Actually, that title is misleading. It should really be more of a "GeekDad Perspective".

We just got back from our GeekGirlCon 2011 weekend in Seattle early, early Monday morning. It was a wonderful experience and will probably be the Geek highlight of my year. My kids (ages almost 7, 4.5, and pushing 2) are still talking about it, even my toddler ("We rode the train and SpAAce need!")

I wanted to write this yesterday while the Con was still vividly fresh in my mind, but my brain just couldn't pull itself together out of the mushy state it was in. So what you will get is a slightly more reflective version of the weekend as I have had more time to think about it in a tired reflective kind of way. My wife has already posted three times about the Con, so a lot of this might be familiar.

What they're saying

Not only did we have an amazing time at Geek Girl Con, but we were noticed by lots of people.  If you follow me on Google+ you know we had a bit of a paparazzi issue once the kids were in costume.  People coming up snapping photos (although many asked if they could - and I generally allowed it), people talking with my daughters - which they opened up to a lot more than I thought they would.  Well, I guess we made impacts on others as well.  Several bloggers have mentioned the "little girl in the white Leia dress with a giant blaster and a baby doll", well that's our beloved Ver2 there, who just by being herself seems to epitomize what it means to be a geek girl.  You are both a geek and a girl, you don't have to give up the girl side.

When my kids made fast friends with "Star Wars Girl" Katie (a person I was really hoping they'd get to meet, and was amazed by), it was inevitable that we'd be highlighted on her blog space.  Go ahead and look, it's a great picture!  Here's a great photo with a lot of the kid cosplayers from the con too, we played with all of them and a pair dressed as Dr. Horrible and Captain Hammer.

EDIT:  Another picture :)  I knew this was coming when I was asked to hold a pink flamingo named Verne.  We are at the end.  You will notice Ver2 is missing.  She is hiding behind me because she was done with people asking for her picture.

Just thought I'd share  :)  Picture post here when I get the camera downloaded.... It will be a first on paper napkins :)


Monday, October 10, 2011

Geek Girl Con: Reflections

Geek Girl Con was amazing!  It wasn't just amazing for the couple of panels we got to attend.  It wasn't cool because I had Cherie Priest sign my Kindle.  It wasn't even amazing because I got to hang out in Seattle dressed as a jedi and feel perfectly normal about it.  It was amazing on a completely different level.

I've discussed a few times the idea of culture, community, and our place in society.  Where exactly I fit in to all of that is still a bit of a mystery to me.  Being a 10+ generation American of European decent means I have no ties to Europe to speak of.  My friends in the Asian community were nice enough to include me in their culture, but it will never be home (especially now that they are so far away from us).  Being in God's house and in the church is great, and it gives me a family that I know will be there for us, but I also know I will never fully fit in there, like the black sheep I am - I will never fully relate to my brothers and sisters there.  But at Geek Girl Con, I felt safe.

Geek Girl Con: Day 2 - All Good Things Must End

Day 2 of Geek Girl Con was a post drizzle morning with just a bit of chill in the air.  My kids were a little sad I didn't want to wear my full costume again, but I did bring my cloak.  The girls opted out of their geeky woot tees and returned to the con in their full Princess Leia garb and I'm happy to say my skill with their hair was better the second time, by Halloween it'll completely rock!!!!

After breakfast we made it out of our hotel room and into the con (well the girls and I did) just in time for the Women of Science panel that we have been looking forward to since the panels were listed.  The kids missed out on making Labrynth sock puppets since Orcrist had to take care of the hotel room and moving the car to public parking, but at least Ver1 liked hearing from the scientists and they eagerly talked about not only getting into the sciences, but stuff even elementary school kids can do.  One of the panelists even gets contacted about having her research used at elementary science fairs.  Since we loved the science fair last year, we may start asking some local scientists for ideas and to use their research, I guess I never thought of that.  On my own personal mission to figure out if what I should do now that I have to grow up (at least enough to provide for our family), I was encouraged to take advantage of Mom's return to grad school scholarships and to harass professors to find where and what I really want to do.  Apparently, most professors don't find this annoying, so that's great news!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Geek Girl Con: Day 1 - Nerves -> Geekvana!

Day 1 Geek Girl Con is over for us. Wow what a day! We had a rather rough start, while Orcrist had a blast designing a game, they made a little squares based board game called Farmers vs Killer Bunnies. They had one overly analytical team member, but the team leader (industry volunteer) kept her from running away with the game. A little bummed I couldn't compete too, but Ver3 was a handful and the girls would have gotten bored.

We made it to a whopping two panels and regrettably missed the steampunk panel, but I did get my Kindle signed by Cherie Priest, who wrote Boneshaker, which was awesome! My daughters also shot her with their blasters.

Geek Girl Con: Day 1

Up and moving with just enough time for a quick hotel breakfast. I have butterflies! I hope our Orcrist does well in the game design contest this morning!!! I also hope his hearing aids aren't a problem.

Last night was fun and relaxing, although my nerves about being surrounded by a mob of women, even geeky women had already settles in for the event. We were able to walk to an Irish Pub by Seattle Center where we all shared some dingle pie. Afterwards we watched the fountain in the dark (including a silly guy who went down to smack the globe only to get drenched as the show started over - much to the amusement of the kids). The leisurely stroll through the park was just what I needed! Now if I can just handle the kids in a foreign environment all morning! Wish me luck.

I'll report back in when I can!


Friday, October 7, 2011

On Our Way

We are on our way to GeekGirlCon!!!
The costumes are finished, and I even managed to make a cloak for my outfit. All of the kids are excited and there is talk of a trip up the space needle if the weather is good. Only minor cuts and a few headaches on the crafting injury report.

My husband was selected to participate in a game building contest. It starts first thing on Saturday. During that time I'll be solo with the kids. We are really excited for him though! He figures it will be the most he gets out of the con because we didn't think to ask for a captionist, and he doubts he will be able to hear the panels. Maybe next year he will know enough sign language to understand an interpreter.

We will be showing off our costumes at the Mascarade, so if you are at the con loom for the Jedi with Yoda and two little Princess Leias!

I'll try to post from my phone as time allows. You can also follow me on Google+ and possibly in Facebook.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Looking For A Few Good Books

Looking for a little geeky reading to kick off your weekend (and wrap up litterary awareness week aka banned books week aka reading freedom week)?  Two very quick links might be of interest to you!

First for those on the parenting scene:  Geeky books for kids (or life with kids) can be found on this top 10 list by ohdeedoh.  I haven't investigated these books personally, but some of them are on my to-read list.

Next, if you love science fiction, but aren't sure what to read next, NPR has a massive 100 book flow chart with over 325 decision points to help lead you to the favorites voted on by over 60,000 readers.  You can check it out at the link above, or after the break.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Written Word

It's banned book week.  It's just after Tolkien week, which is also literary awareness week.  And yesterday Amazon announced it's new line of Kindles (not getting rid of the Kindle 3), which includes their anticipated color tablet, and a touch kindle.  Seeing how I am really enjoying the Kindle 3 I got for my birthday in July, and I enjoy books that make me think.  I thought I'd share some observations on books and kids.

You see, I decided that one of the geekiest endeavors is to raise geeky kids.  I mean my kids don't have to be geeks, but how could they not be, they are surrounded by that culture every single day.  It's not the only things they are surrounded by.  They are surrounded by all the things that my husband and I feel are vital for a chance at a successful adulthood.  Seeing as my oldest is only in 1st grade, I'm going to focus on what that looks like from her perspective, and I'm going to start with books.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Importance of Touch

A little something different for you today.

The Importance of Touch

Your hand glides across my back, envolping it in touch
Instantly I feel so small
I know my place in the universe
How little I truly am
You make me safe in this place
In this time
Here I am safe
I am loved

You bring me to my senses, grounded in reality
Brought back to myself
I am reminded of who I am, my life
Of where I am important
You provide me with comfort in this exsistence
In the past
In the future
Here with you

You reach for my hand, clasping our fingers together
I am grounded in our committment
I know I will never walk alone
How we are united
You garantee security through all of our travels
For this moment
Anywhere we may go
You complete me

---- KtC

Thursday, September 22, 2011

There and Back Again, my childhood adventures with Bilbo.

It's Tolkien Week this week, something I ought to mention. We usually observe Hobbit Day as well (September 22nd), a celebration of Bilbo's and Frodo's mutual birthdays, because you can never really have too many birthday parties in the Hobbit tradition.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Sky Rail, Not Quite the Jetsons

One of my favorite pastimes is dreaming up ideal solutions then bringing them back to something that is almost but not entirely a feasibility.  It's a great pass time with friends and a glass of wine, which happens less and less often nowadays.  Several years ago, my work from home job became a work from home and commute 45 mins each way twice a week job.  Commuting sucks, even if it's on mostly open highway.  It feels like such a waste of time.  That was almost 2 hours (when you count incidentals) every day that I could have been doing something else, even working!  It was such a waste!

Now, I used to love driving.  I started driving when I was 6 years old (in the field while my parents loaded wheat straw bales onto the car trailer the pickup I was driving was pulling).  I used to drive for my Papa on the back roads with the same pickup loaded down to twice it's weight capacity with grain.  He was a farmer, but he hated driving and since I liked it, he let me - as long as he was sure we wouldn't get caught and I was safe about it.  He taught me to drive tractor during the summers on his farm as well.  When I finally got to take drivers ed, I had a pretty good handle on what I needed to do, and my uncle, it turns out, was way more picky about my stopping than my driver's ed instructor - absolutely smooth all the way to the light.  I thought about getting a racers license for a bit, debating becoming a rookie at the local circle track.  My dad would totally have hooked me up with a stock car, although my mom would have preferred if I'd gone for an open wheel division.  I never did it though.  You get the point though, once I used to love driving.  Now, I could take it or leave it.  Sure it's a convenient way to get around, but for any routine distance, it's time I'd rather spend reading, writing, working, or playing with my kids.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Catching Money as it Flies Out the Tailpipe

I have been giving a lot of thought to the efficiency of my car over the past few years. Yes, I agree with the "green" movement when it comes to transportation. I think we drive too much and waste too much gas in vehicles that are bigger and faster then we need. However, this is much closer to home for me.

You see about 2 years ago, before my third child was born, we realized there was a need for a better family car. Our existing vehicles (a Jeep, a small truck, and a small Kia Sephia) couldn't hold 3 kids at once. Small kids have to be in the back seat and in a safe and properly installed car seat. We needed a new car.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ye Pirate Ship Hercules Set Sail - Pirate follow up!

Fer those what can't read it:  Welcome aboard the Hercules (name of school mascot)
formerly a frigate of the Brittish Navy
Now under the command of Captain Axman <-- and don't ye ferget!

There is also a found hook that appears to have been lost by someone.

Ahoy Me Hearties

Again she be Int'l Talk Like A Pirate Day.  It be the silliest internet tradition in these here parts.  I be plannin' a treasure fer them land-lubbing bilge rats at me school. Arrr.  Me mate, t' art teacher, be bringing in some scurvy melodies. I be looting ye dollar store fer rations and tar.  We'll swab the decks, me hearties. We be capturin' the signage to parlay with the locals.  Notices t' be kind be goin' t' be changed t' "Mind yer Capt'n ye scallywags or ye be headin' t' Davy Jone's Locker, ye is."  I be also thinkin' t' be makin' signs fer stuff like Ye Galley, fer ye food. I hope t' sprogs enjoy it.

What be ye doin' fer today?  Need ye some ideas?  T' official website if full o' learnin' and fun pirate booty!

Orcrist's guest post that was scheduled for today, will be up tomorrow!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Free Awesome Game now until Sept 20!

More and more educators are embracing the math and science in modern games to help with learning in the class room and get kids engaged.  Even if your teachers don't have an after school Minecraft class (more on that later), or you are a bit beyond the age for public school, doesn't mean you can't enjoy this fun learning environment.  This weekend, until the 20th, Valve is offering their award winning game, Portal, for free.  If you love it I recommend buying the sequel!  Check out Learning with Portals, for more information.  I personally have a Steam account and it's not intrusive at all.

This is a first person computer game that changes the way you think about space.  By using portals you can move through space in a unique manner.  Walls don't simply become doors to a new room, but can change the way you access the room you are already in.  With all my projects and new games from the Humble Bundles I haven't gotten very far yet, but not because it's not an intriguing game, it is!

EDIT:  You do not need to be an educator to reap this deal.  It's free for anyone!
Also links added so Orcrist can stop whining about not enough links :)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Prepping for Our First Family Con

If you've been following me on Google+ or Facebook you already know something is up.  You know that in addition to making over my living room (yes I'm STILL working on that!) we've got something exciting in the works.  It's true.  We are getting all geared up and have our tickets for what will be our first family trip to a convention.  We are all going to Geek Girl Con in Seattle WA and we couldn't be more excited!  The kids have never been to a con and I haven't gone to one since high school and I'll guarantee it wasn't as big or as cool as this is going to be.

Geek Girl Con reports that the idea for their convention started at Comic-con (the mecca of all cons).  It's intention is to highlight women in geeky pursuits and the fact that more than ever girls are geeks too!  This is the first year for the con, but that isn't stopping it from having a pretty stellar guest line-up (I assume, I wouldn't recognize most celebrities if they were wearing name tags, it's not one of my skills) and a large variety of panels that all sound great!  Seriously, I'm already trying to decide what to do about two panels in the same time slot Sunday morning that I want to attend (Geeks Raising Geeks, and Girls Make Games Too - hey, my husband loves the time he gets to spend making a video game and it might solve that whole - what do I want to do with my life - issue).

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Speak Out With Your Geek Out - RPGs

This week I have been challenged to share my geeky hobby with you all.  Wow, when I signed up to do this, I didn't think it would be a challenge.  I mean I'm a geek through and through, I even have the license plate!  I have a biology degree, but have spent more time doing cartography and programming than actual biology as a job.  I love science - all sciences,  I love debate especially with my husband (in a scholarly sense - that political/business nonsense can take a flying leap!),  I read all kinds of geeky literature (see here, here, here, for a few reviews posted previously), I enjoy writing here and on novels that never seem to get very far (although I keep making goals to change that my crazy schedule doesn't seem to cooperate), I like to make things, geeky things - things with just a bit of steampunk flair or a hint of geek, or my current foray into all out geek costumes for my kids (and possibly my husband and myself), I watch sci-fi and fantasy tv and movies and the occasional anime, but if I had to pick my biggest geek hobby, RPGs would win - every single time!

What is an RPG?  RPG stands for Role Playing Game.  How generic is that right?  I mean what isn't a role playing game (ok, maybe that's just my world)? RPGs are games where you play through a story, you take a role, you interact with the world.  Some RPGs have more story and less open characters, some have more open characters and less story.  Some RPGs come in a box, some come on a disk or a download, some come out of a book (or set of books) and some just pop out of someone's head.  RPGs can be a solo event, like my favorite series Final Fantasy, or they can be extremely social - think Dungeons and Dragons, although in my personal experience it was a White Wolf game called Exalted - I sooo miss our storyteller and circle!  But it doesn't have to be that fancy and fleshed out of a world, it can just be a great game of Harry Potter Clue.  -- Ok I love ALL Clue boards and grew up playing Clue Master Detective, which is by far the best clue ever, but Harry Potter Clue is a close second, it's just a great game!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Princess and Popstar

My kids and I wrote this review for the VeggieTales Princess and the Popstar that came out last month.  If you are still thinking about here were our early view thoughts (this was also posted on another site).  Enjoy.

(EDIT:  Hmm I meant to schedule this (okay I meant to post it just before the video came out) oh well BONUS POST for you!)

More Random Tabs

I have more than 70 tabs open in my main browser, so that means it's time for another random tabs day!

I bring you lots of distraction (I think I'm pretty loaded up here). So if you are watching the woot-off and need something to engage your senses, and occasionally your mind, then I've got some links for you!  If you're just having a boring day at the office, home, or whatever, these should hook you up as well.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Lying in Bed....

Being home all day solo with the kids, and having to wake up early (so I could wake up my partially deaf husband and sometimes Paper Napkins contributor - who now has his own blog about being partially deaf and dealing with the world) after going to bed late meant that once again I slept like rubbish.  I woke up every couple hours and I know I was putting so much pressure on myself to get sleep while I had the chance that I couldn't sleep (don't you love how that works?)  However, unexpectedly, I was given the ability to stay in bed this morning.  Not comfortably and restfully, but laying there pinned by my hair (and subsequent scabs from hitting myself in the head with a crowbar last Monday) as my 19 month old son was laying as close to me as possible, fully on my hair.  With the scabs in my hairline so tender I couldn't move, I could barely breathe and even shifting my position was all but impossible.  So, I did what I normally do, I thought about stuff and decided to share it in a blog.  Normally, I'd save this to post automatically on Monday, but my posting is so irregular I figure there's no point, plus I'm hoping to get some more stuff polished up for you, we'll see.

So first you need some background.   For those of you are faithful readers or real life friends, you know that I had an emergency appendectomy with some serious complications 19 months ago.  You also know that I can't do anything about most of the complications, partially because I also lost my insurance - which is a long and drawn out story that if you are curious you can email me about at papernapkinsedgeofinsanity AT gmail.COM or ask in the comments and I might feel up to discussing it later, love reading comments!  Anyway, I have serious lower back pain that goes from annoying to really uncomfortable, and you think, well that's easy to help get some massage/chiropractor time (no money, but thanks) and do some ab exercises. I'm all for the exercises, the basic ones only need a flat surface, but then you run into painful daily issue number two - the doctors were in such a rush to push me out of the hospital that they made the decision to close my incision early and that left me with a surgical umbilical hernia.  When I first had the hernia measured by the doctor who had done the actual surgery, not his partner that chose to close the incision early, it was 2cm wide, it is now at least double that (from two fingers fitting in the hole, to 4 if you aren't so good with centimeters)   To understand what that means, look at your belly button, now push on it with your first two fingers.  Imagine now instead of tight resistance that you are able to push through right in the middle and that the resistance falls to the side of your fingers.  Also imagine that your intestines fall out through that hole every time you stand up pushing on it like a lodged object in an open wound.  Also imagine that if you have eaten recently, that pain is magnified, and the only way to make the pain go away is to lay flat on your back, and even then it takes until the wound is no longer aggravated from the pressure. Oh, and it also looks disgusting... I used to love my naval, it was tight and cute even though I'd had three children, it never bulged, and I loved it.  Now it looks like it's been through a war and is always red and miserable and has this wide red raised scar down the lower half.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Views Differ on Shape of Planet: Politicians


As life has sped up and I keep chugging away at fixing my house, being a mom, and working 2.5 jobs and applying for more (heh, there is a chance at getting half insurance with this one, we'll see) the last thing I want to break the silence with is a political post, but Wil Wheaton on G+ (here), Mike Lofgren (here), the New York Times info-graphic (here) and a variety of other posts and personal comments from friends over on Facebook to which I do not have links (although I thought I was saving some, but they are gone now) have pushed me over the edge into needing to discuss this at more length, especially since I have already explained this system to many in real life.

I think it is fairly safe to say that large sections of Congress are rather corrupt.  It is easy to say that this probably extends to the Supreme Court (Clarence Thomas anyone?) and into many government organizations and agencies.  It's also fair to say that we've built a system that promotes corrupting these agents and that system is very well funded and extensive.  The idea of discretion seems to be almost purely Victorian.  What we have is a mess.  A financial, social, cultural blob of mess that even Mickey Mouse and his magic paintbrush aren't equipped to make a dent in. Once again I have a hypothetical solution, but it's not minor, it's not really on the table, and it's definitely a drastic reorder of the way things are done, but hey what do you expect from the girl who wrote up multiple copies of the Empire's Guide to Government to bring for discussion on "Let's Make a Government Day" in high school? <-- "Fear will keep the locals in line"!

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Trip to the Solomon Islands - Book Review

Lets see, I haven't done an actual book review since the Millennium Trilogy, maybe it's fitting that I have another Trilogy for you today (although it's not finished yet - and I've only read the first two books.)  These books are Cutting the Net (Vele and the Tanifa) and Talking to Trees (Vele and the Tanifa) by Lisa Bird.  As always, I will try to keep the spoilers to a minimum.  I bought both of these for my Kindle my husband gave me for my birthday, although both are also available in paperback from Amazon.  I read each book fairly quickly.  I learned about these books from the author herself.  She is an amazing woman whom I've seen around the local area for a few years and her son is friends with my daughter.  When she mentioned having written some books I definitely wanted to see what they were.  Now you can too!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Link and Zelda More 25th Anniversary Happenings

We've been receiving  a constant influx thanks to our February (actual anniversary date) post about the anniversary of Legend of Zelda.  Mostly I think it's the cool graphic I found of the evolution of Link on a Google image search, but hey, we might as well talk about this iconic video game some more right?  After all Nintendo finally got their 25th Anniversary gear going!  In fact they have an entire website dedicated to the celebration.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Brighton Update, New Miracle Needed, and you can help!

In additon to being Mito Awareness week, Brighton's mother needs a mito miracle and is willing to make cards or scrapbooking items in exchange for the help.  You can get all the amazing details about the new doctor, and the cards she is making on her blog Blessed on the Bright Side. Brighton is almost a year old and needs to get to a specialist in Atlanta, GA. The problem, she just moved and doesn't have much left over, nor a current insurance (90 day wait thanks to the move) and she needs to get this baby on new medications/food now! If you love homemade cards, scrapbook pages, or just want to help this amazing little boy. Head on over to her site. Thanks!

I know many of you have prayed for Brighton in the past, and those prayers are needed again.  Feel free to share her blog with any and all friends, prayers and a little financial help could mean many birthdays for this chraming little man.  There is also a facebook group for this cause if it's easier to share for you.  Join Cards for Brighton there.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What's the Point of Live TV?

Ok, I was going to start a long discussion on social networks, but I want to write all the pieces first, and I got distracted, ok sucked into Felicia Day's TV of the future discussion on Google+.  <-- I think that link is viewable for anyone even if you don't have a Google+ account yet, and if you don't, why not?  Anyway, before you go lose a few hours of your time, read the rest of this!

I've never paid for TV, I currently only get PBS over the airwaves.  I wish we got networks sometimes, becuase there are occassionally shows on the networks that I enjoy and I'd watch them that way if I had the option, but I wouldn't set my life around it.  I did and do watch those same shows on Hulu, or ABC.com when they had their TV broadcast thing, back in the Pushing Daisies days (even though that software was riddled with spy crap).  Shows I enjoy get canceled every year.  For a while my online friends asked me not to watch certain shows just so they wouldn't get canceled! (it was mostly a joke).  My other coast online friends and I can't discuss shows after they air, because I have to wait until they are on the web AND the coasts still have a 2 hour time delay between them on shows.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Random Tabs 3

It's time for another tab dump.  If you are having a boring Monday, this might help you work your way into the groove for a few hours.  If not hang on and save them for when they are needed later this week ;)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A conversation between the insane

I don't usually do the weekend post thing, but since I didn't write at all this week, I thought I'd give you a glimpse into what an actual conversation between two people walking along the edge of insanity looks like.  We do not share political or religious views, but we still find common ground to discuss the roots of bigger problems facing society and impacting our lives.  Unfortunately, neither of us is in a position to do anything about it other than talk and continue the spread of ideas.

It's also very timely as the conversation which happened last night.  No names, and I'll let you try to guess which one is me.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Introducing A Classic

My parents are here and we are all prepped for the big paint tomorrow.

I took one break this afternoon to take my kids to see The Wizard of Oz with the free tickets they got from the library summer reading program.  I forgot how incredibly long it has been since I've seen the movie.  I rented it (from Redbox) once to listen to in the car while my kids watched it, but the DVD player on my laptop stopped working and we never got around to watching it.  My kids loved it!  Well the two that stayed awake did :)  Ver3 stayed awake longer than he normally does and I know he liked the songs.  I was surprised at how much I had forgotten over the years.  It really made me want to watch Tin Man again.

Tin Man Trailer. Watch more top selected videos about: Tin Man (TV miniseries), Richard Dreyfus

Humble Indie Bundle 3 Now Available

I wrote this as a spec piece for a gaming site, they aren't going to use it (someone beat me to the punch, I think) So I hope you all enjoy it, after the jump.

(In other news, not quite ready to paint, but very close, I hope my parents aren't too mad, I already have to make up to my dad for hurting his feelings by not being more concerned over the phone - see yesterday's post)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Gifts Aren't Always A Good Thing

Sometimes I know things.  Sometimes I know things because I'm really observant and I like to study the way people act (still can't figure out why I got a D in psychology, it must have been the scantrons!)  Sometimes I know things because I have dreams about them.  Sometimes I find myself thinking about something and someone at different times, but for no obvious reason.  Sometimes I have a combination of the above.  Most of the time these things only make sense in retrospect.  Sometimes I can see a hint before things happen, but the details are never there.  Usually, it just sucks.

Christians call it a gift.  Science fiction treats it as a gift, a bridge, and a curse.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I Rock!

Well sheet rock that is!  Anyone remember that huge hole in my ceiling?  I posted it HERE on the window treatment blog.  Well,  it's gone!  Long gone really since we tore down the ceiling and put up sheet rock in the middle of all the traveling, but this weekend I got it textured.  While it'st got some issues, I'm thinking it turned out rather well.

The ceiling we replaced is low, really low.  It's only 6.5 feet at the most optimistic, and for the first time since we've lived here it's flat!!!!  When we moved in it was one of the first things I wanted to fix.  It was all warped and horribly patched and just U G L Y!  Having the ceiling flat, even without the texture was just so nice.  Now it looks so much more complete!  I can hardly wait to get the paint on it and put my new bronze ceiling hugging lights up!  Did I tell you all that I wired a new light and switch for it too?  We did!  It was an adventure (did you know insulation can act like rubber with a drill bit?  Well it can!), but we overcame and I didn't even mess up the circuit!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ongoing Projects

This week and next are going to be a flurry of activity.  The culmination of many house projects crashing together at once.  While I long to write, and have a few writing assignments on another project to finish, it will be the wee hours (if I can get my nose out of my kindle/books) that it would be accomplished.

So in fairness I am displaying my open ended todo schedule for all of you!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Random Tabs 2

Since I haven't had the chance to write lately (and I got somewhat admonished for it in the comments on the last post), I thought I'd link some of my random tabs again.  Now I was offline most of last week, so I don't know how many tabs I have open, lets see what I can find.

No More Vacation

Since we had planned to help our friends move out of state, we took the kids out of school for two weeks.  We then didn't end up going with our friends, so we did the next best thing.  We went over the hill, through the woods, and to grandma's house (for those of you that think we should have gone over the river, well there wasn't a river, ok!)

First we went up to a local butte and went camping with friends.  I haven't been camping with friends since the first summer my husband and I were married.  It was an interesting time to group camp with friends with kids.  Some very nice things about it, some different things... all-in-all something to do again.  Then we went "through the woods" or rather on wooden roller coasters at an amusement park with the word "wood" in the title.  This was sort of my birthday party.  My cousin has a daughter who has the same birth date as me and we went together.  It was loads of fun, but I did come home with scrapes, bruises, and exhaustion.  We took my actual birthday to rest, and then we were off to Grandma's!  It was a good time, but I am just now home and queasy and exhausted.

I've also been working on a plethora of home projects and my parents will be coming to assist with some of the bigger ones so I've got to spend the next week getting ready.  I really miss writing, but tonight I am too tired to focus.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

More on Brighton

I've been asked to post an update on Brighton, the little boy who needed three attempts to get a G J tube placed to help him get nutrients so that he can start to grow.

Brighton has managed to keep down his feeds, mostly because his stomach is no longer used, but instead the food goes strait into his intestines.  He is currently receiving 4 times the calories and nutrients of a child his age, but still has not gotten bigger.  At 9 months he is measuring the size of a three month old.  The good news is that the pump is working as it is designed to do and it is getting nutrients into Brighton's little body, into the place where they have the greatest chance of being absorbed and used.  Mentally, Brighton has gorgeous engaging eyes.  He flirts with the ladies, and readily smiles.  He is such a joy to be around and to hold.

Tomorrow Brighton is moving away from me to begin a new adventure in a new state, and a new beautiful house.  His family is blessed daily and has so very much to look forward to.  Thank you all for your prayers, love and support.  Brighton's mom posts updates on her blog at Blessed on the Bright Side.  (She also posts some amazing cards that she makes.)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Little PSA

Here's a quick link to a Comic-Con PSA that hightlights a critical difference between girl gamers and boy gamers.

Unknown Title - Watch more free videos
*note:  Nerd Machine is sponsored by Best Buy
*note2:  Video link may not work in Google Reader or other RSS readers, please come to the site if you can't see it.

You see, girl gamers would never ever resort to one handed gaming to avoid swamp ass!  We'd know better than to go through long gaming sessions on a leather couch, we are also smart enough to wear a sanitary napkin if needed.  :)  Still watching Nathan Fillion being all serious is just so cute I had to share.  Not to mention you have to love the "The More You Nerd" at the end.

Just got unpacked from spending the weekend camping.  I also finally added a copyright to the blog, you can still share stuff, but make sure you link back here.  If you want to use something that you can't link me, please email me at papernapkinsedgeofinsantiy (at) GMAIL . COM

More fun stuff and more offline time coming up!  


Friday, July 1, 2011

I Feel Like Baking

Ok, I think I've been bit by the bakers bug.  After not a little pressure and some "OH my Gosh those look good!" pictures from my friend's facebook page, I started baking sandwich bread for my family.  It is soooo good and the kids for the most part agree.  Ver2 (my middle daughter) who has to be contrary loves it and then doesn't really like it.  Maybe she'll become a believer.  All my kids love to help in the kitchen, stirring, mixing, measuring, so as I get more adventurous I'm sure I'll find something she loves, for more than 4 days.

Well, the bread wasn't enough to fill my baking bug.  I may not cook often, but I love baking and BC (before children) I used to make all kinds of cookies and candies and treats before Christmas.  My sister and I grew up making cookies for months and putting them in the freezer for the pending "Family Vacation" - in quotes because it meant driving all day to go see relatives in another state.  Always a good time for us kids and sometimes my parents would shake up the route and we swing through National Parks and other scenic fun stuff!  My sister and I even baked so many cookies (and she was a cookie ration-er) that we drove from Crater Lake, OR through the Redwoods, the Sequoias, and into San Diego and back without running out of cookies!  I love baking!


So I finally got some one-on-one with my husband to help me get focused back on the 'ol day job.  And it worked.  I do so much better when I can explain what I'm doing to someone, teach it as it were.  Well, I sat down and since my husband doesn't understand perl or MatLab, nor hydrology, all things that are the essence of my day gig, I was able to explain to him in a way that made me understand what exactly I was trying to do again.  He even inspired a revelation!

You see, the section I've been staring at, crying over, beating my head on every available surface because it just doesn't make sense.  The one I tried to brute force my way through...... it's trash, don't need it, not usable, crap! Two months of anguish into the trash file.  Cyber bits into the great bucket in the sky (as my 7th grade computer teacher always told us happened when we didn't save.)  I was able to not only nuke that, but plow through another whole section of code.

The breakthrough - "So what have you gotten done that you said was already translated?"  Going back and looking what I had already translated paved the way to moving forward again.  Ironically, I'd been looking right at the answer, but not seeing it (I was already referencing my earlier translation for variable understanding, but just didn't see it until I explained it today.)  I hope this keeps up, I have a lot to finish and they want to see something actually working (not just translated) soon!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I Hate ADD, I Don't Care, I'm Sick of It!

I'm a temp.  I mean this whole blog thing was first dreamed up while I was temping (the most boring job ever too! - seriously, it was boring! really really boring!)  I'm working a different gig now, but I'm still a temp.  Heck I once turned a 9 month temp gig into a 7 year temp gig (that was cool because it was a benefited position so I didn't mind that I was capped at 30 hours a week, sometimes I filled my extra time with a second temp job, sometimes with just being a wife, sometimes being a mom, sometimes writing or gaming).  Honestly, if it weren't for the insurance issue there are tons and tons of things I love about temping.  If I could temp permanently, that might be a good thing.

I've been wondering all year what I should do for a "real" job.  I mean temping is great, but it's hardly consistent, it rarely offers insurance (something it looks like my husband will not be able to provide for our family), and it doesn't lend itself to planning for any kind of future stability and long term family plans.  I've sat down many times to write asking for career advice.  I mean I'm good at lots of things, I have varied interests, I have a bachelor's degree, and I'd love to pursue a career that catches my interests even if it means going back to school.  Unfortunately, I have a tendency to get bored.  Really bored.  Unworkable, employee block, bored.  The kind of bored that just can't be pushed through.  I'm really reluctant to admit I'm there again.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Today: Brighton

Hopefully, if all goes according to plan Brighton and his Mom will be flying to Seattle Children's hospital in the morning.  He will go in for surgery once again in the afternoon and he will hopefully be finally getting food into his intestines and digesting the nutrients and start to grow!  Please pray for this.  If tomorrow's surgery fails the next step is so scary, a central line would have to be put in.  These can have so many complications and Brighton is so small still.

Thank you all for your prayers.  I hope to write about our trip to Seattle and all sorts of crazy off the wall stuff soon.  Things have just been so crazy!  I got to help settle a friend after her kids got caught in the middle of a police raid that resulted in gunfire!  So glad I missed that bit of crazy!

UPDATE:  As of one hour ago Mom and Baby are in the air with my Uncle.  The skies are clear with no more than scattered wisps of clouds along the mountains.  The flight will be direct and mostly uneventful through the grace of God.  I will update this post again when I have more information!

UPDATE 2:  They landed safely and Brighton is at Children's Hospital.  They are prepping him for surgery.  The doctors are very nervous and will not be putting Brighton under as it is too risky.  He will be awake for the surgery like he was last Friday.  Prayers are needed for this crucial step!!!

UPDATE 3:  Brighton's surgery has been declared a success.  I don't have details at this time, I believe this means the J tube is fixed in place.  4 doctors participated in this delicate surgery.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Prayer Request for Brighton

Last fall my friend had a baby boy named Brighton, he is a beautiful happy boy, but he is suspected to have MITO (mitochondrial disease), and as such his body is failing him.  He can not digest normal foods, he has a feeding tube into his stomach and even this is failing him as he vomits most of his feeds.  Last week it was my honor to take him to Seattle for surgery for a better tube, and my great saddness that this surgery (attempted twice in two days) was not successful.  Both times they went into his stomach and noticed problems with his organs.  They pushed a new tube in, but were unable to get a tube into his small intestine as the valve was closed firm and would not open.  Without that valve opening food can not be digested properly and he will not be able to grow bigger (he looks like he is only a couple months old he's so small already).  The stress and actions of his organs as observed at the hospital were also worrying.  Please pray for healing and comfort for this little boy.  He is home with his loving family right now, but next week he and his mother will be traveling back to Children's Hospital in Seattle to try once again to complete this surgery.  He is being given feeds, but they are not all going in.

Friday, June 10, 2011

With This Ring I Thee Wed

Once again, Orcrist has written a wonderful piece about a special event we shared this week! I'm so blessed that he is not only my husband, but so wonderfully thoughtful and thought provoking!

For our 10th anniversary my wife and I gave each other custom designed, matching wedding band tattoos on our left ring fingers. It is something we had talked about earlier in our marriage and we felt it was the right time to do it. We won't stop wearing the gold wedding rings we gave each other when we confirmed our vows on our wedding day though.

The design is a three stranded cord, which separates with each strand working to form part of a heart and then coming together to reform the cord. It is taken from the bible verse we used as the theme of our wedding: Ecclesiastes 4:12, "A cord of three strands is not easily torn apart." It represents the three relationships in our marriage that we need to keep it strong. My wife, Myself, and God.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


For mother's day my family got me something I was going to get a while ago and never did, custom plates for my new-to-me (2 years ago) car.  Every time I walk up to my car it's just weird, it looks so different, so odd not to have a random string of numbers, but something with meaning, and of course it makes me smirk and laugh just a little!

My silver Toyota Sienna minivan now boasts tags that proudly declare 
(read Geek Mom)

Let me step back a bit though and share how all of that happened.  You see, a minivan was a huge move for me and one I fought tooth and nail to avoid.  I did not want to be just another mom in a minivan, I did not want to be wasteful driving around in an over-sized vehicle.  

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Plans vs Reality: Date Night

Before my husband and I married 10 years ago, we did lots of research on to what a good marriage looks like.  We did premarital counseling, we read books, and we talked frankly and honestly with each other about what we expected and the things we were going to do to make out marriage work when both of our parents marriages didn't.  We spent a full year and a half engaged where with both worked out some individual issues we had (ok mostly me), dealt with spiritual struggles, and I finished college.  It wasn't easy, but it did give us a head start into a strong marriage that many of our peers just didn't get.  We weren't only goo-goo in love, but our heads were in the process as well and we knew full well that there was a whole life after the wedding and it wasn't always going to be a stroll in paradise.  Happily ever after takes planning, coordination, and effort!

Even with all out looking ahead and laying out of good strategies, even practicing those strategies when we didn't feel up to it, once we had kids... well it didn't all go out the window, but many of the things that we both crave and know are good for us, seem to be the most difficult things to have, especially continuing to date.  Even on the rare occasion that things come together to allow us to go out (which seems to get farther and farther apart and definitely not the twice a month we used to have before kids) things never seem to quite work.  On Monday, for our anniversary, was no exception.  

Friday, June 3, 2011

Random Tabs

I haven't really had a lot of time to write, which is starting to wear on me mentally, so get ready, as some point the floodgates will be opened.  I feel really sad that I let all of Hearing and Deaf Awareness Month pass and I didn't write a single thing about living with a Hearing Impaired spouse and comparing it to my own vision struggles, because it's seriously different and it's obvious when you are dealing with the situation, that no one realizes how very different it is, and part of that is because the deaf prefer to live in a subculture of society rather than integrate with society.  Also, we've been battling a wonderful spring cold/virus/cough/nasal nastiness, and quite frankly I'm almost as overdo for a date with my pillow as I am with my husband!

Oh and our game is in live beta over on facebook, and I definitely need to write something up about that!  But it is sucking my life away, because if I'm not playing it, we are talking about it.

However, I thought I would take a moment to share some of the stuff I've been reading and thinking about while it's relevant.  So after the jump get ready for some links and videos!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Get Your G33K On!

Well it's here!  I have a horrendously socially busy day today, and I'm desperately fighting an internal need to withdraw from society and hide in my home watching movies and playing offline games.  Still we'll trudge onward.

Just a few graphics after the jump to help you celebrate your Towel Day / Star Wars Day / Geek Pride Day / Glorious 25 May

Monday, May 23, 2011

Make Sure You Know Where Your Towel Is!

T-1 day guys!

Towel Day! (wiki)

Star Wars Day! (wiki)

Dia del Orgullo Friki! / Geek Pride Day! (wiki)

Glorious 25 May (Discworld wiki)

May 25th is going to be a glorious, yet busy day!  We may just have to celebrate all weekend long!

Time to Take 5

We had a most wonderful visit with my inlaws, even if it was ridiculously short for how infrequently we see them, oh well.  As a consultation to all the activity and changes going on I planned a nice relaxed, nothing planned weekend, except we still ended up hopping from on function to the next on Saturday.  It was my four year old who truly humbled me on Saturday night around midnight.  She was up with her usual nightmare (honestly sometimes I think she just rests so well that she gets that middle of the night wake up time), and she was sad because she had not seen me during the Daddy-Daughter Dance (which is one of her favorite events of the year) and then I left to help a friend who needed a grocery run made, but couldn't go because her husband is out of town and she couldn't leave her kids (who can?).  In fact even though she went with we didn't really get to hang out at the picnic meeting we'd had at lunch time.

Anyway, it was at that exhausting hour that my beloved four year old princess asked, "Mommy, can we just stay home and do nothing tomorrow?"  So my friends, with the exception of one non-stressing work exchange I already had planned (and only lasted a couple hours), that's exactly what we did.  It may not have been enough, but it sure felt good.  It's making me crave summer when my oldest won't be in school and we won't have to drive to her school 3-4 times a day.  I see a long list of things we need to do, to get working on, to finish, and to keep working on, but I think we are much busier than I tend to feel we are.  In this light, I think I need to listen to the wisdom of my four year old and just stay home and do nothing, at least somewhat regularly throughout this coming summer.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Don't Panic

Ok, it's true, I've been in and out of a state of panic for most of the year.  I suppose panicked is probably my normal state (anyone else hearing the voices of those nurses asking "Do you have anxiety issues?") It's more-so now.  It seems all my best laid plans have been pushed aside to leave me cramming in the last minute, playing catchup as the clock runs down, running around like a chicken with my head cut off.

Mom-in-law arrives in T- well I'm not exactly sure.... I guess Thursday though and for the sake of timeliness we'll call it less than 24 hours, ok.  After all, I hope to be sleeping any of those extra hours I'm off by and realistically I probably only have maybe 4-6 hours of real ability to get anything ready time left (see I am rather realistic about this stuff, or a try to be, 4 may even be the high estimate, but I'm trying to be an optimist and flailing.)  

Friday, May 6, 2011

Change of Plans

So I had planned on getting ahead at work yesterday, and cleaning the church, and getting my kids ready for pictures today.  Instead I spent the day in labor and delivery at the hospital where my children were born.  I friend of mine who had no local support had a beautiful baby girl at 1:56am today.  Mom and baby are doing wonderfully.  It was so amazing to be her support, to cheer her on, even if it was a long tiring day (we were there all day!)  It was very different to be involved in a birth and not being the one in the bed.

It was also weird walking past room 106.  I took my friend's bags to her recovery room, and while I'd gone the other way when I'd left (mostly to walk past the nurses and say something, not to avoid room 106), I walked right past it - I even looked in.  I spent 4 days in room 106 last year.  I was in room 106 when I had my closest experience to death.  The room didn't scare me.  It didn't make me feel bad, or anything.  It does make me remember, it doesn't help that my sweet, now 4 year old remembers, even though she doesn't.  Just knowing that I was at the hospital was enough to scare her.  I came home twice today (to nurse my son) and I reassured her that we were fine and it simply took time for most people to have babies.  She's asleep right now, but I'm sure she's fine.  If not she should meet me in bed about the time I get there.

I still hope to leave town to take pictures today, we'll see if plans change again.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Room With A View

Wow, what a crazy year.  We replaced our washing machine, which led to a pantry reorganization scheme (mostly using pre-existing materials), then the dishwasher got replaced, but my desire to make over the kitchen was tabled when the couch and love seat we were given, but I ended up being allergic to, went to a new home.  Instead of just bringing a futon back and putting it where the couch had been, we decided to reorganize the entire living room layout.  Including moving the table to be by the front door and opening up the living room area.

Unfortunately, the first problem to manifest itself, was now the futon faced the only two windows in the room, and they were U G L Y!  Ok, maybe they aren't that bad.  They're those curtains that everyone had in the 80s.  And in our case they matched the walls (also ugly) perfectly!

Ugly window to the left
Ugly window to the right

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

May the Fourth

Ok, I really feel obligated to say something.  Not just because I haven't posted this week, but because it is May 4, or as some lispy Star Wars fan once said, May the Force.  Now, I've been a Star Wars fan ALL OF MY LIFE.  I was gifted my first lightsabre before I was born!  Of course I smashed it to pieces on my little sister's head and it was years before I got another one, but that's a moot point.  The point stands that instead of celebrating the day the trilogy that has affected multiple generations on the date of the launch of the first movie, May 25th, in recent years a new generation has moved the celebration to the 4th of May, because they can't be bothered to remember.

Now admittedly, May 25th is already a huge day geek wise.  It is kinda nice to peel a holiday off that calendar day, to free our attention to amazingness that is the art of Douglas Adams (Towel Day), to enjoy everything that is geek culture world wide with Geek Pride Day, and Glorious 25.  So moving Star Wars day to May 4th I guess aleviates the pressure to compact so much geekness into the 24 hours of 25 May.  It still just feels wrong.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Boneshaker - My first foray into steampunk literature


Three weeks ago my loving husband grabbed Boneshaker by Cherie Priest (official site :  Amazon page ) off the new release wall at our local library.  He figured I'd enjoy reading it as I've burned through most of the stuff I've been reading (new books coming, but not fast enough).  Things have been so busy that my three weeks were almost up (that's our local book check out length) and as return day approached I hadn't started the book :(  I did however get it renewed and finished it in 3 days!  I also learned that it's not the best thing to read for hours right before bed.

I'm not really huge in the steampunk scene, I mean I like it!  and I love the style, but I'm not really involved, yet.  Still, if you remember my longing for an airship that I posted about - still totally want one!, and if you've taken me seriously about how I write about ideas I've had that I haven't shared with you for designs, well you can tell that in my heart there is a part that is very steampunk.  While I mostly read fantasy/sci fi and epic tales, I have enjoyed several historical fictions and alternative history stories, which at the heart this is!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Product Burn

Since you're all too shy (or no one reads this stuff anymore) to share your burn stories.  I thought I'd shamelessly plug a friends blog about his nightmare with the Delta Touch Faucet.  My friend who has a wonderful sense of humor, when not being tormented by faucets with exceedingly erratic and uncontrollable behavior wants the world to know the torture he experiences daily from this device and all that Delta is not doing about it, including the erasing of unfavorable reviews on sites like Lowes.  I don't know about you, but I count on unfavorable reviews!  They let me know what people really can't stand (and if there are no whiners, you may not want to trust any product, because no matter what there are ALWAYS whiners!)

So hop on over to Kenny's Groovy Blog, and tell him KtCallista sent ya!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I like a good deal as much as the next person.  Especially, when I can get something nice for my kids.  Currently the small town we live in does not have much to offer in the area of cute and quality kids goods.  Two years ago we were wandering in the slightly bigger town South of us and I found the cutest shoes for the girls and they were cheaper than sorta cute shoes at Payless!!!  The kids wore them all summer and we loved those cute shoes.

Last week I thought I'd found another great deal on super cute Easter shoes, and bonus, my second daughter's birthday is this coming Sunday and while I couldn't get the pink shoes in her size, I could get purple which would be close enough and would go with both her Easter dress and her birthday dresses (play dress for the princess party).  I found them on a site I used to promote - www.kidsteals.com.  But I have been reminded of that crucial lesson - Buyer Beware!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Farewell Sarah Jane

It is with great sadness, that I write to you about the loss of a true icon in our house.  Today, Elisabeth Sladen left our world.  No longer will her character, Sarah Jane Smith, be there to guard the Earth from alien invaders when the Doctor is not around.  No longer will she be teaching junior high age kids to think beyond their little troubles and imagine a world of all of space and time.

I didn't get introduced to the work of this amazingly likable actress until she had a guest roll in an episode of the new Doctor Who, even though she is probably the most well known of the classic Doctor Who companions.  However, after her guest appearance, she was able to reprise her character into a new series, The Sarah Jane Adventures.

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