Monday, April 30, 2007

I am No Longer a Pregnant Lady

April 27, 2007, 9:00 am: Tim's alarm rings. He gets up and says, "How are you? Is it okay for me to go to Boulder to work?" I say, "Yes. I had four contractions last night strong enough to wake me, but I think you can go." He walks out. I lay there for 10 minutes awake and have three more contractions and decide I wish he hadn't left and I'd better call him. I go to find the phone and hear him turn off the shower. He doesn't go to Boulder.

10:30 am: I take a shower. I realize while I'm washing my hair that the sooner I call the doctor, the sooner I don't have to feel any more of these annoying contractions. My mantra changes from "Not again" to "It's short. It's short."

11:00 or so: I call the doctor and the nurse says come in--to the office. Seems like one extra step to me, but we go to the office. It takes us a while to get to the car and get everything sorted out. The doctor's office is literally right around the corner.

11:30 or so: I get to the doctor's office and by then I'm pretty miserable. Doc checks and says I'm dilated to 5 and go on down to the second floor of the connected hospital to the birth place. Tim asks for a wheelchair for me, but we're told it would take longer to get the chair to us than to walk. It's a LONG, slow walk. Mantra changes (involuntarily) back to "Not again!" with each contraction. A hospital volunteer sees us slowly making our way down and brings a wheelchair. She's an angel. Even when she smashes my foot by accident.

12:00 pm: We get to the Birth Place and get to skip triage because the doctor called ahead for us(hooray!) and they take us right to one of their nicest rooms, with two windows that look out on trees. I don't care. I'm just mad that the nurse takes more than 10 seconds to get into the room with us. I ask how long until I can have an epidural (forget my idea that if the labor was going fast, I could do 2 hours without one!). I start telling Tim I can't do it, and discover that coughing through a contraction is easier than trying to breathe through it. They can't get the IV in because I fail to tell them to use the small needle in the first place, so my left hand hurts like crazy and is bruised, and the IV goes into the side of my right wrist--a very annoying place because I can't move my hand without it hurting.

12:30 pm: Kim, our nurse, informs the anesthesiologist that 20 minutes is WAY too long to wait for him to show up to Start the epidural. He listens and shows up within minutes, despite the fact that I'm not in the computer yet and he's not supposed to start anything without me in the computer and signing a consent form (which I don't think I ever did sign).

12:45 pm: Only the right side is numb. This is not pleasing enough to me. He ups the dose twice.

1:00 pm: My right side is number than a rock. My left side is barely numb, but I'm not crying and whimpering anymore. Everyone relaxes.

1:30 pm: My body relaxes too much, and my blood pressure bottoms out. Ooops. They give me two doses of epinephrine, plus oxygen, and warn me that the baby will have to come by C-section if his heart rate doesn't come up fast. This is the first time the docs have actually TOLD me what was going on, even though I've had this problem twice before.

2:00 pm: Heart rate is up, baby is fine, they break my water to hurry things. There is a crisis of some kind in triage (someone might be getting transferred to Denver--bad sign for her) and my doctor has to go back there.

2:15 pm: Tim is going to get a snack, go to the bathroom, etc. I say, "Oh. A baby is coming." Everyone thinks, "Yeah. We know." I, having had three epidurals previously, have not ever felt this sensation before and don't know to be emphatic.

2:25 pm: The nurse comes in to check me and suddenly starts moving really fast. "You could sneeze this baby out" she says. She runs to get the doctor. I tell Tim he MUST close his laptop now because the Baby is COMING.

2:30 pm: Doctor is back, dressing for the birth. The nurse almost shouts for the doctor to get her gloves on. They tell me I don't have to push--the baby is coming out anyway. I push once and his head appears. I can see the reflection in the TV and it's a little startling. I've done it before, but I've never SEEN childbirth.

2:35 pm: One more contraction, and the baby literally pops out--the doctor just catches him. No "easing" him out or anything. He even has one arm wrapped around his neck and STILL just pops right out.

Welcome Benjamin Max Jones. 7 lbs 8 oz, 20 inches long. Purple and wailing like a banshee. Really purple. So purple the nurses go give him oxygen and shots and he wails himself pink. He is healthy and looks very small to me. He looks just like Anda and Dan did. He LOVES to nurse. He's very quiet--we hardly hear him make a peep. The nurses coo and ooh and aah and swear they Don't Tell Everyone this: he is the cutest baby in the hospital right now (of 11 babies born that day). His temperature remains a little low and nobody believes me that this is normal for our babies--even MY temp is running low.

Unfortantely, rushing the epidural made it very strong, and I can't feel my legs until 9:00 pm.

I get to walking around and feeling "well" much faster than with other babies. I even shower at the hospital! The bed is unbearably uncomfortable, and I hate how the nurses start making their rounds at 6:00 am poking needles into people, since we've only been asleep for an hour or two at that point. Still, everyone is nice. They say I can go home after 24 hours but I'm too tired to think through it and agree to stay 48 hours to "rest".

After 48 hours of no sleep and missing my family, I come home to a nice place to sit, wonderful joyous chaos, people making up songs and running in circles. The baby quietly sleeps in his car seat, nurses nicely, or looks around all day. The kids are gentle to him and not distressed. Dad has gone home, but he's made our home and our children feel calm and happy about everything before he leaves. I look around and listen to Anda singing a book and to Dan singing a book and to Caleb talk about "Cars" over and over and I think: THIS is where I belong. Not "resting" in a hospital, but surrounded by my wonderful children and husband, being loved and loving, and introducing a new sweet spirit into what it means to be part of a real family.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Viruses--of a different sort

So I was pondering why mentally ill people seem to be increasingly turning to mass murder and violence to express themselves. It doesn't seem like it has always been the case that someone without all their faculties thinks to get a gun and go into a public place and shoot as many people as possible. So why are people doing this?

Then I thought about my computer virus, and how it quietly opened and door and inserted itself everywhere in my hard drive, and the kids wondering if people can get viruses. So here's my question:

Can cultures get viruses?

I think perhaps they can. Our culture, in fact, seems to have thousands of copies of the "Selfishness" virus saved in obvious and covert places all throughout it. And it downloads related, more visible viruses into the culture: obsession with appearance, divorce, abuse, road rage, Violence, murder, etc. These are not new problems. But they seem to be increasingly self-motivated, increasingly popping up throughout our culture as behaviors that people find acceptable. Why is that?

As I thought, I switched analogies from viruses to seeds. I was thinking about Alma saying we should plant the seed in our hearts and water it and see if it's a good seed. He doesn't say all seeds are good. He says if it is a good seed, you'll know. But there are bad seeds out there, too, that we can plant and then kill or nurture. And violence as a viable alternative is a seed that has been and continues to be planted in the minds and hearts of the people. Especially the children. Even Disney movies are full of violence. I am not the only parent who doesn't allow "Power Rangers" in my home because it trains children in violence. Computer games (in all their forms) gives kids a chance to even practice violent responses to things. And they're addictive, so the adults keep on rehearsing. TV, movies, books, internet, advertisements, cartoons, etc--it's prevalent. Everywhere they turn, even very small children are taught that aggressiveness and violence are okay if you are defending yourself.

The trouble is, that's not true. But the more violence the kids (and adults) ingest, the more normal it seems. The more we see, the more we digest, the more our brains have "rehearsed" it and our souls accept and think of that first when faced with insult or injury. So we plant the seeds everywhere, and then we wonder at the fruit we get, and are shocked and appalled when people kill each other over "stupid" things, or in defense against minor, or even imagined, attacks.

It's not just violence. It's all kinds of sins. We plant the seeds. We see them begin to spring up and, instead of rooting them out, we say, "Oh I wish that plant weren't growing in my garden. But, you know, somebody might like it, and I just hate to kill it, and it's so deep-rooted, and I'm not sure where the seed came from anyway, and [insert reason we don't fight evil]."

So then my next thought was, "Clearly ingesting violent media, in all its forms, is wrong. So then what about my books? They are full of people trying to do mean, bad, evil, and, yes, sometimes violent things to each other."

But here we find another trick of Satan. He acknowledges that some people recognize that violence is wrong to practice, mentally or physically. So he convinces them that we should ignore that it exists. And this, too, is dangerous. It is a way that he gets to feed the people anything he wants, but he stops the good guys from feeding counter-intelligence, so to speak (and to add yet another metaphor).

The fact is, while we do not need to feed on violence, it DOES exist, and good people DO encounter it. Frequently. And the question is, "What do we do then?" There are righteous ways of handling violence. Just like every other evil, temptation, and sin in the world, we actually DO come in contact with it. And if we have pretended it's not real, or doesn't touch righteous people, or we must act with extreme shock and horror (and have one more peep), we haven't done anyone any favors. Instead, we have forced them into either voyeur or victim roles, neither of which is good or necessary.

So the goal is NOT to excise all violence and evil from writing. The goal, instead, is to clearly identify it as wrong (in a realistic way, not in a dogmatic way), and then show (not preach, just show) realistically how good people, righteous people, respond. How do we fight violence in our society? At what point is it okay to use violent means to defend ourselves (think Title of Liberty, here, not Feuding with the McCoys)? How do righteous people feel when they are forced to resort to defending themselves with force (like Nephi, or Joshua)? Not everyone is required to lay down and die, you know, or Satan would win right out by massing his armies and murdering all the righteous people. End of story. Really, the scriptures explain all these things to us. A writer need not muse and guess what the Lord thinks about all these questions.

To a great extent, the Way you talk about the violence is the key. It is acceptable, and even good and necessary, to show reality in literature. People have a hard enough time accepting reality. They don't need portrayals of "reality" sugar coated or modified to make it more "palatable" to those who don't want to see that the meat used to be a cow. On the other hand, you can make it pornographic by the details you use, how you employ them, and the general approach to the subject matter. Some things (many things) really are better left unsaid. And the impact and usefulness in the story is NOT diminished, although the shock value and titillation value may be diminished, by treating reality without splatting blood and guts on the faces of the readers.

So it's okay to tell a story about an ex-CIA mommy fighting terrorists who might kill her family (and lots of other people). The bad guys even can, and should, be believably bad. And the good guys can (and should) have flaws that makes it hard sometimes for them to do right things. It's probably not okay to go into graphic detail about the bad guys torture methods. Or to make bad people or violence the ideal.

People would have you believe that you cannot tell the truth, and show reality, without it being hard, gritty, negative, and awful. They want you to think that truth is hard, and "goodness" is all fluff. It IS necessary to tell the truth and be in touch with reality. And reality is often unpleasant if you are unaccustomed to it. But Richard Dutcher is wrong: it's not necessary to tell the truths in an R-rated way.

So, back to viruses: if we feed the viruses to everyone, is it too late to save the system? I think not. But, just like I could not possibly even SEE all the problems in my computer, it's not possible for us to root the viruses out of our culture simply by hard work and diligence, or by telling the truth and showing good conquering evil. We need someone who has anti-viral capabilities. We need Christ. We have to do everything in our power to make things right, and then we have to rely on Him to fill in the blanks.

But as long as we embrace our viruses, or label them as merely annoyances, our culture is lost.

Friday, April 20, 2007

How to get Zone Alarm

Apparently others of you are starting to have the same virus problems I had--popups, blank popups, etc. And, like me, you didn't DO anything considered dangerous to get them (didn't open any attachments or download mysterious files or get on a public network, for example). All I did, as far as I remember, was delete some spam, which I almost NEVER get. Anyway, however you get the viruses, they are nasty. Julie reports hers put porn popups on her computer. I could have had it worse!

Anyway, to get Zone Alarm, click on the link :
and look at the box on the right side--15-day trial. Click the box and download the free trial version. You can also go to the website and just buy the whole suite (about $50) or get it at a store like BestBuy (Consumer Reports said expect to spend about $70 at the store).

Hopefully, nobody will steal any of our info in the meantime. ZoneAlarm DOES have an identity theft-protection program included. I haven't tried it yet, but it's part of the suite. And, so far, Zone Alarm has actually blocked people from accessing my computer. Leaves me wondering how often they did before.....

The only problem I've had is that I set the privacy settings to high, and I had to modify the settings for because they use mobile code and personal headings and popups to access the site. But it was easy to "edit" that site only and still keep the rest of it on high. It also shows me what sites I'm "visiting"--turns out reading the Deseret News actually has your computer "visit" something like 20 sites, each of which has the chance to download cookies, etc. Denver Post and Daily Herald are the same way. So my list says I've visited Hotmail every day this week--and I've never been to the site. It's linked to the newspapers I read!

Anyway, I'll stop rambling. But I do advise everyone to get something on their computer to protect it, since this virus is apparently spreading far and wide, and quickly.

The kid's latest games all deal with chasing viruses around the house. And the funniest question I've heard in a long time: "Mom, do people get viruses, too?"

Wow. Their world is so different from the one I grew up in...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Viral Saga Continues

So I I was fairly satisfied that I had found the virus in my computer. But then Dad sent me a list of the top picks on anti-virus and anti-spyware software from Consumer Reports. I was thinking about whether or not to get one of the products when I noticed that Jon (or maybe me, I don't know) downloaded McAfee Freescan, but I had never seen the results of the scan.

So I ran it again.

It found something like 20 files infected with a new virus that was identified on April 12 for the first time. Of course, they wanted me to buy the software in order to remove the files, so I printed the list and removed them myself. The virus had embedded itself in Mozilla, which we downloaded AFTER the computer was infected, so that couldn't be the actual SOURCE it was reloading itself from. And, stupid me, in the process of finding the files (all images!), I clicked on one and accidentally unleashed all the viruses I'd already removed. Back to square one.

Aware that I had not solved the problem now, I went to the CR top pick for all-around security, the Zone Alarm Security Suite. Turns out they have a FULLY FUNCTIONAL 15-day trial version. So I downloaded it.

The computer panicked and made the download corrupt, and opened all kinds of screens, and more than once I had to pull the battery out and unplug the computer to force it to shut down. I had been intending to leave all the viruses that I knew how to remove as a test to see if Zone Alarm could find them, since most other software couldn't find all of them. But the viruses were virulent, and they wouldn't let me run the program or re-do the download, and they finally made it so my computer couldn't access the internet. I did a system restore to earlier that day. It said it couldn't restore: "There was nothing to restore", but it reset enough that I could access safe mode and delete the stuff I could find.

Then I fixed the download and ran the virus scan, leaving it going while we went to bed.

Zone Alarm found 376 infected files. 376. When McAfee found about 20. And the other programs found up to 455, but all spyware (400 tracking cookies, for example). It only found ONE spyware, but it was a vicious Trojan that was allowing someone else to see everything done on my computer (bills, filing taxes, etc.). So this is what we found: a new virus, VBS.Small, which had saved itself something like 350 times all over my computer. This was the one that, no matter how often I deleted it, it was somewhere else and reloaded. There were a dozen or so Trojans. A back door was open through NetMeeting, a legit windows program. A couple of "worms" or "trojans" I had identified before were identified again (including Scvhost.exe). So pretty much anyone could access my computer to get any information they wanted. Zone Alarm took care of everything.

But the little icon that started all this was still on the screen. And the c:\temp\svchost.exe by Sydinar Software that caught my attention in the first place was still running--putting up panic screens that showed every program I had opened in the last hour or so, and causing Windows to put up false error messages--so many that I had to unplug the thing again to get it to shut down. So, despite the 376 things removed, I knew the virus was still there. And angry.

I managed to get into safe mode and get the temp folder that held the viruses (at least 2 that I had previously identified) into the recycle bin and deleted. Then I used the windows search tool and searched my computer for all occurrences of the letter "svc" and "scv". I found the virus had hidden itself in a couple of other places, with another thing that looked suspicious and had the same icon as the DUP2 virus. SO I deleted all those nasties. In the process, I noticed that the first infection was recorded as being "created" around 9:22 pm on April 9. So I did a search for everything created on April 9. With what I learned from looking at the McAfee and Zone Alarm results, I had a pattern of how the virus hid itself, and I deleted probably a hundred more files created on April 9 and 10 that fit the pattern. Then I undid the changes in the config.sys (thru msconfig) that the virus had made.

Then I discovered that some more suspicious files were located in the Java folder. So, with some work, I found the right Java folder (there are tons of them scattered throughout the computer) and discovered that Java downloads and saves on your computer all the little images and sounds it finds in things like games kids might play. So I had multiple images of the train cars from Candy Train and the characters from Mummy maze. Zipped folders from Sesame Street games and coloring pages the kids had done and deleted online. Audio files of Spanish words from sesame street (or possibly Sound effects from candy train. There were close to a THOUSAND of these taking up memory on my computer, plus the viruses that had hidden it the folder with them. So I wholesale deleted them all. I don't need that kind of crap taking up space. All these things SHOULD be in the temp folders for the internet (and therefore cleaned off when I do my daily disk cleanup), but they were made with javascript, so Java saved them in its own temp folder, which it recommends you don't delete unless you are a computer expert. Bah humbug to them. Besides, I read online that if Java isn't completely updated, it is an open door for viruses.

So then, hoping to speed it all up, I removed all the extraneous anti-spy and anti-vi software from the computer, leaving on only what CR recommended. And I redid the config.sys again so that Messenger doesn't automatically run on my computer, since I never use it and I read that it's also an open door for viruses--and, in fact, one of my viruses was masquerading as Messenger in the Task Manager's running processes, so I didn't know it was a virus running.

The computer is still running rather slowly, but a whole lot faster than it did (doesn't take half an hour to turn on anymore). I need to search for suspect sets of files from April 11-now just in case, and run defrag (we've had so much stuff on and off the computer in the last week--and it needed to be defragmented before!), and see if that helps. Also, now that I'm online again, I'll see if Zone Alarm really DOES catch the spyware.

I suspect that within a week Zone Alarm will be able to find all the occurrences of the virus that I've been digging up by hand. It's a brand new virus.

This has been a wacky week for computers. I went from "Oh, yeah--I've heard of safe mode!" to digging through files and modifying msconfig. And I'm STILL a beginning. Wow.

In the meantime, my recommendation: Always look at Consumer Reports. And everyone go download the fully functional trial of Zone Alarm ( and run it on your computer, just in case.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Great Quote

"It is in accepting our lot and moving forward with what the Lord has asked of us that we discover that the Holy Ghost enjoys our company, angels feel constrained to join us, and the heavens open to our vision."
Joseph McConkie, from BYU Magazine, Spring 2007, page 42.

Labor? no.....

I woke up this morning with a large wet spot on my nightgown. At first I thought maybe my water had broken in the night.

A quick inspection of the bed and the rest of me let me know I was wrong....Dan peed on me in the night. Amazingly, he only peed on me. HIS jammies were dry. So were the sheets, mattress, pillows, and everything else that was touching him. He only got me..

Now tell me how he did that!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Viral Saga

On Wednesday, I was really proud of myself. I paid the bills. Early, even. And checked my bank account to see how much money was left. I was so responsible. I even ran Spybot S&D to clean everything up.

Then I noticed the new icon on my taskbar--that had no name and wouldn't let me click on it or anything. Then I started getting Explorer windows opening randomly to Happy888 and Happy1000 webpages that were blank but always "logging in" or loading. Not so good.

So I opened my Windows Explorer and immediately noticed new files and folders that were mysterious. I googled the names (Scvhost.exe, svchost.exe, sydinar software, dup2.exe, etc) and discovered VIRUSES on my computer. Various websites cited them as annoyances, spyware, hijackers, viruses, trojans, or worms, and the security risk from negligible to "close all your bank accounts if you accessed them with this stuff on your computer". So I read and printed lots of stuff from Geek Forums telling other people how to get the same stuff off their computers, and I started to work.

First, I turned the computer on in safe mode and deleted all the files I found that were bad bad ones. But the popups (Happy888) kept coming. So then I started downloading free spyware and virus removers. Some even promised to get rid of the Happy888 virus/spyware that apparently is very difficult to remove because it keeps changing its name. I downloaded and installed and uninstalled TONS of stuff, and every program identified different problems. The ones the identified the most problems were the ones that you have to pay to access the solutions.

But they all agreed that I had a bad program: c:\Windows\scvhost.exe. There is a legit program needed by windows called svchost.exe, so this was hard to identify, and I had to be careful to only delete the right ones. The problem was, every time I deleted it, I rebooted the computer and it was back. I finally got wise and rebooted with the internet disconnected--and it STILL came back. That let me know I hadn't deleted the source of the problem. Plus, now my computer kept asking me to install drivers for "new hardware," called SBHR, which I had never installed. So I refused to put it on.

Thursday, Jon was in Denver so we went to get him. We'd intended to just visit, but he spent the whole time he was here working on my computer while we visited. That was really nice of him. He also got my kids convinced that Linux is the way to go with computers. They like the Linux penguins. He also introduced me to Google Home Pages, and Mozilla, both of which are very cool. Anyway, we discovered that the guy who sold me my computer (from Nephi, UT!), put a pirated copy of Windows on it, so we couldn't really update Windows, which was part of the problem. Downloaded more and more stuff, and cleaned off old stuff, and the popups were still there.

Finally, we thought we had it licked and Jon went back to Denver to his hotel. And I went down to the secure computer and changed all our online passwords, just in case. (Then today, I went to the bank and reported the problem there just in case it really was hijackers or a trojan or a hacktool (all variously cited) or a keylogger or any of those other tools to steal your identity.)

When I got home from Denver, I checked the virus scan we left running, and it found nothing. And the popups were there, and the Sydinar Software virus that attracted my attention in the first place was back. And the "control panel" on Windows had a new icon: Administrator settings. No more searching for new hardware, though. We did have to recover from a couple of fatal errors, unfortunately.

So I ran all my scans again, deleted the stuff I knew was bad, and let the computer work on finding stuff all night. Nothing.

After working on it most of today, too, I realized I would have to give up and pay someone to fix it, wipe the hard drive and go with Linux and hope it could do what I wanted, or get some help from someone who knows everything.

So I prayed about it. The computer and internet are important to me because they are my connection to other adults and the way I get to use my talents (writing). I figured Heavenly Father taught me how to fix the dishwasher, and the cooler, and the car. Surely He could teach me how to fix the computer. So I prayed, and then I got back on the web and googled all the stuff I now knew about the viruses (names, company names, etc).

This time, I noticed that there were a couple of companies that had the viruses catalogued in their "encyclopedias" and "research engines." Both companies had virus scanners. So, with a great deal of trouble because the viruses kept trying to stop me, I downloaded the programs and ran the scans.

One program was a great research tool, telling me my viruses occurred in 111 patterns (no wonder it's hard to find!). But it scanned my computer and only identified as "possibly dangerous" and mozilla. No good. The other program was one that would scan for free but costs $30 to buy the software to clean any problems. I did the scan and got a screenshot of the results: 10 problems none of the other programs had identified. It cleaned the ones that were not dangerous, but insisted I buy the program to get rid of the bad ones.

Instead, with the screenshot available, I turned the computer on in safe mode and found the files they identified as evil and deleted them myself. It was the same files I had deleted a million times, plus two others hidden in a "system" folder and with a slightly different name (svchost). My research had let me know that the necessary svchost was in the system32 folder, so these were NOT real. So I deleted them. Rebooted. Ran an hour long scan to identify if the problem was gone--and it was.

I rebooted the computer and checked again. Still gone. No popups yet. No running slowly. No annoyances. So far it looks like I licked it, with help from Someone Who Really Knows Everything. Now I just have to find out if I can delete the dangerous entries from the register if I know exactly what they're called (apparently you can really screw up your computer if you delete the wrong things from the registry).

So, a review of the software I tried. I don't remember all of it, but here's what I found:

Spybot Search and Destroy: Catches some stuff, but didn't even notice this stuff.

Dr. Cureit: Caught other stuff than Spybot did, but not my virus. Also slow.

CounterSpy: Caught a few things, but not my virus AND it has no uninstall option, so you have to use windows uninstall and then search out the individual folders and delete them, too. The "found new hardware" message appeared after I installed this, which is run by a company that includes the initials SBHR, and the "new hardware" messages stopped once I finally got rid of the program.

Ad-Aware Away: Their ads promised to get rid of the Happy888 popups. Found some stuff, but not my virus AND you have to pay to get rid of things.

Ad-Aware SE Personal: Found a lot more stuff than most programs, but not my virus. DID clean everything off for free, though. It cleaned off 455 things that no other program identified as evil, but left my virus.

Spyware Doctor: Found some things. Not my virus. Installed itself to load on opening the computer and loaded REALLY SLOWLY. Could only remove the thing in Safe Mode because it wouldn't stop working even if I asked it to, and it's uninstall program stalled multiple times.

XsoftSpyXE: Found a lot of stuff. Makes you pay to remove it, so I wrote down what it found and deleted it by hand. Found most of the sub-viruses (the ones that deleted but reloaded by themselves), but not the source virus that was letting them all reload when I rebooted.

ATF Cleaner: Does the same thing as "Disk Cleanup" on Windows

AVG Suite (Anti-Spyware, Anti-Virus 7.5, and Anti-Rootkit): Highly recommended by EVERY forum I found. Didn't find a single thing. Not anything.

System Spyware Interrogator: Great research tool. Identified as potentially dangerous. Didn't find my viruses even though they were in SSI's encyclopedia, with all 111 variants.

Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool: I had to download a nag screen reminding me that my copy of windows is pirated (not my fault!) and let the computer update windows, which took over an hour, to get this. It doesn't work with Mozilla turned on, even though it's supposed to run in the background all the time and do an additional scan once a month. (Typical of microsoft, you can't even access the help page for their download programs without running them through Internet Explorer). Didn't find ANYTHING, and you have to download a different version in addition in order to scan through their online page OR scan more than once a month--and downloading the programs froze the computer. Typical microsoft quality and thinking.

SuperAntiSpyware Free Edition: The second one that identified my virus, calling it the "scvhost worm". It also found 32 MORE things that Ad-Aware Personal missed (I ran the scans one after another). Removed the "worm", but not the core program that was installing it. Very slow, but thorough.

e Trust PestPatrol: The only program that identified the REAL problem. I only did the quick scan, even! It scanned for me, but wouldn't clean everything for me (only inocuous things) unless I paid them. Couldn't block and copy the list of problems they found, but I could get a screen shot and open that in Word and use it to delete the source virus, as far as I know. So far so good. Now if I can just get rid of the registry keys it found.....

There may have been a few more. I also read a few reviews of software that said the best on on the market is called Max-something (maximillian?). The free ones are not any of them very thorough (the best only catch 70% of the problems). Most people recommend running more than one anti-spyware program in order to catch everything if you insist on using free stuff.

So there you go. I'll let you know if I'm really done working on this problem or not.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Turns out I have junk on my computer--viruses (scvhost), hijackers (I think I got rid of them), malicious adware (happy888), and it keeps detecting new hardware that I didn't install and refuse to load the software for until I know what it is, etc etc etc. Any advice on getting rid of these things is appreciated!

We had a doctor's appointment today, and our doc was surprised at how low the baby's head is--right at the gate, so to speak. And we're dilated to 2 or 3 already. I guess if I stood up a lot, with the pressure of the baby's head right there, it might hurry things along. The trouble is, standing up causes contractions and one really sore spot on my tummy (something that's happened in all my pregnancies, but in a different spot for this baby). I know that contractions is what we're after, but, despite the fact that I am anxious to be done being pregnant, my "avoid pain" instincts are rather strong, and too many contractions in a row sends me to my comfy rocking chair, which usually kills contractions. Conterproductive for labor, but putting myself into labor is actually counterintuitive in a lot of ways.

Likely, standing up a lot would just make me uncomfortable and unhappy and not put me into labor anyway. That's what usually happens.

Anyway, the doctor was surprised that we are moving right along, and she said, "You'll have this baby within the next two weeks, I think." I was all excited about that, until I realized that we're due in 2 1/2 weeks anyway. So I already knew that. Hmmm. Also, while Dan at this point measured 2 weeks ahead, this baby is measuring 4 days behind his age. So who knows what will happen next. I suppose going to my due date wouldn't be SO bad, as long as I don't have a 10 lb baby in the process.

Other, more delightful surprise happened last night. I told all the kids, "GO potty before bed." Dan looked up all excited and said, "Potty?" and ran into the bathroom. When he found Anda was on that potty, he ran into the other bathroom. So, not to lose an opportunity, I pulled out the potty chair, put it back together, took Dan's diaper off, and explained that he needed to pee in his potty. He was excited! And even more excited when I explained that when you pee in the potty you get a treat--a candy. He sat on the potty and aimed right, and practiced, and I went out to check on the other kids while he played. When I came back to the hall, Anda was standing there and said, "Dan peed on the floor." I looked over, and, from the shape and location of the puddle it was clear that he had moved the potty into the hall and then realized he needed to pee after all, and he sat on the potty and peed. Unfortunately, he forgot to aim into the potty, and he peed on the floor. I gave him a treat anyway. He actually got the concept and tried! And he's only 19 months old--2 years younger than Caleb was when he finally agreed to just try it, and 18 months younger than Anda when she potty trained.

I DON'T think that Dan is ready to potty train. But I'm excited that he's exploring the possibilities, instead of avoiding them like the other kids did.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

New ways to make mommy uncomfortable

This one really made me laugh because I'm not seriously pursuing anything but a new baby right now--not even publication:

I got rejected by Inkwell Management with a form letter from the staff about two weeks ago, four months after I queried them (that's two months longer than it's supposed to take, by the way, but it was the holidays). Now, today, two weeks later, I got ANOTHER rejection from them, this time from "Charlie". I only sent one query. What happened? My idea was that bad?

This one made me very unhappy:

Daniel has a new habit, apparently. Again last night we all went to bed together. Again, after four hours, Dan woke and came to my bed. And again, to my dismay, he didn't go back to sleep. So we slept from 4:00 am (grrr--it took the kids 2 FULL HOURS! from "bedtime" to "lights out." I hate that) until about 8:30 am. Then Dan was awake until 11:30 am. Wide awake. Fussy. Playing on my bed. Talking incessantly. He even got a book and read to me. Apparently it was a book about pickles because I lay there with my eyes closed and listened to him say, "Pickle. Pickle. Pickle. Pickle." for half an hour. Then he lay on my shoulder and fell asleep mid "Pick". At 11:30.

And then the other kids woke up at 1:30, which I'm glad about except it meant I didn't get sleep. Anda went back to sleep. Caleb couldn't sleep, but he agreed to leave me alone so I could. That amounted to him only coming in with a question every 15 minutes, instead of every 5. Finally I got up.

We call this torture by sleep deprivation, I think. And when we add someone who wants to eat every two hours to the mix? What happens then?

Monday, April 09, 2007

Bad Night

I woke up finally to a beautiful, warm sunny day. That was a relief after last night:

Start back a few days. Friday night I didn't get enough sleep because there was an Easter Party for the kids Saturday morning. I didn't go to the party, but I got up to get everyone ready. Saturday night I didn't get enough sleep because Church was in the morning, and then nobody napped all day Sunday, so we were all running on about 4 hours of sleep all day. When I'm pregnant, sleep is more precious than gold because I get weird anxieties when I haven't slept enough (like worrying that the 65 year old who was hit by a car in south Denver was actually Tim). So Sunday night I jumped at the chance when Dan and Anda both started to sleep at midnight--4-5hours earlier than usual. I had everyone in bed asleep by 1:30.

When Dan woke up at 4:35, I didn't think much of it. Sometime every night he wakes up and comes to sleep in my bed. He toddled over and climbed into bed with me, had a milk bottle, and snuggled up. But he couldn't get comfortable and get to sleep. He tossed and turned and fussed and played and fussed and got up and went to bed and got up and went to bed and jumped on me and jumped on Tim and made us get up and down and up and down. We gave him tylenol. He seemed unusually itchy, so we gave him benadryl, too. Tim got up and helped Dan find Dogdog. I'm always wary of giving more than one bottle in bed because then the kids wet the bed (even Dan's diaper leaks with that much fluid). But at 7:30 we were STILL up, so I figured it had been long enough and I gave Dan another bottle and snuggled him until he fell asleep.

He drank the bottle, fell asleep, and then threw up 16 oz of curdled milk all over the bed.

So we got up again. I bathed Dan; Tim took care of emptying the gross linens from the bed. Then Tim gave up and went to work and I fixed up fresh bedding and went back to bed. But Dan wouldn't go back to bed. He cried and screamed and made me get up and take him down to Tim. Then he cried and screamed when I went back up to bed. After a while, he came to get me and screamed and cried and said, "Up. Up. Up." So Tim came and held him near the foot of the bed until Dan finally fell asleep.

He did get in bed and stay asleep at that point. But he wanted to sleep on my arm, and he kept gagging in his sleep, so I didn't sleep Really well. At least I slept, though.

So much for changing our sleep schedule permanently: we finally all tumbled out of bed at 4:00 pm, LATER than usual, despite going to bed earlier.

Link to fun story

You never know how the Lord will arrange it so you meet that one special person:

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Kids' takes on Pregnancy

The kids have been pretty sympathetic lately. We reached 37 weeks yesterday, so the baby is now officially full term, and I'm officially sick of being pregnant and trying to force myself to anticipate at least 20 more days, gettting me to my due date, the 28th or 29th (I forget which).

Anyway, as we left church today for the walk home in the snow (yes, it's been snowing for two days here--not sticking, but coming down cold), Anda took my hand and all the boys in the family darted ahead (some didn't have enough coats/hats to keep warm). Anda looked at me and said, "Don't worry, Mom. I'll waddle home with you." And she did. She waddled all the way with me, walking with a swagger with her feet spread wider than usual.

When we got home, we all were really tired, and I am increasingly uncomfortable when I'm tired, so I sat down and didn't want to move. Even sitting, I have contractions every 15-30 minutes. Darn Braxton-Hicks! Anyway, Caleb was reading and Anda was using the couch as an oven and the large cushion as a cookie sheet, and I was checking my email. Suddenly, Caleb hopped up and said, "Mom, it says you're supposed to get plenty of exercise. It says you're supposed to exercise every day."

I said, "Yes."

Caleb said, "But you don't exercise at all. And it says you should be exercising every day."

"What are you reading?" I asked, finally tuning in and trying to figure out how to explain that people who are 9 months pregnant often don't feel much like exercising, and besides it hurts to walk.

"Chapter 1: Getting Pregnant," he said.

I'm glad he asked only about the exercising part. The rest of chapter one could have been a little hairy to explain.....

Anda has now explained to me that SHE is mommy and has a tummy baby, and I just ate too much. She also said, "Um, Anda, could you hand me my baba?" I guess when I'm the kid and she's the mom, she still needs her bottle.

Daniel, meanwhile, has taken to tucking in my belly and giving it kisses. He acts like if I want to pretend my tummy is a baby, he'll go along with it. I'm still not sure how he will take having to share my lap with TWO other people. And I'm not sure how I will nurse with Dan and Anda both up on my lap.

(Oh, and a side note: Caleb informed me that he actually still has 20 pages of Oz left. So I was premature in my bragging. He'll finish today or tomorrow).

Travellers on I-70 this summer

A crack has appeared in an underground mega-complex (used primarily for monitoring I-70, but also to protect the president and for spies) on I-70 in Glenwood Canyon. Unfortunately, a tunnel and part of I-70 go through this complex. So the road will be closed and all traffic will have to share 2 lanes all summer.

So if you are planning to travel from Utah to Colorado (or vice versa), consider taking I-80. If you are coming by our place, I-80 is actually faster, anyway. If you are going to Denver, I-80 and I-70 actually take about the same amount of time. Just think about it.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

May I Brag About my Kids Again?

I really think my kids are the greatest kids everywhere. Hopefully every mother thinks this, though, so I don't think I'm abnormal.

But, to brag: I've been trying to get Caleb to read novels for a year. I've known he was capable of reading the language, but it was too scary for him, and he didn't have the sustained attention to really devour them. Anyway, I finally gave up trying, until yesterday. I sat on my bed and saw the shelf full of novels I'd picked out for Caleb right there and mentioned to him that there were a bunch of books he would like to read.

He surprised me by saying, "Like what?" instead of "I'll never read those."

So I pulled out "The Wizard of Oz," the original L. Frank Baum version. "Like this," I said, handing him the book. "We've read it before and you liked it." (Often the kids won't touch anything they haven't experienced before, including movies and foods).

"Okay," he said. He took the book and curled up on Tim's pillow under the blankets and began to read.

And he read and read and read and read and read. And, despite everything else we've done in the last 2 days, he finished the entire novel. Devoured it. And can answer comprehension questions, and read me sections he liked, and told me about stuff that he didn't remember from last time. He read 156 pages, not in the original printing style (so smaller print and almost no illustrations), in less than 2 days.

So now I'm thinking, "Sequels? CS Lewis? Edward Eager? What else would a kindergartner like to read?"

I didn't choose "The Wizard of Oz" randomly. It was a carefully calculated choice when he said, "Like what?" Last time we read it, I realized it is a "novel," but it is structured exactly like a well-told picture book. There is a great deal of repetition of scenes and dialogues, just like in a folk tale; the chapters are short and something happens in each one; the scary stuff is resolved fairly quickly but there is enough tension to keep a kid reading; the characters are easy to grasp, easy to visualize, and easy to love or hate; the language is simple, for a turn of the last century book, but beautiful to read. It's the perfect first novel.

But what's the perfect second novel?

Happy Easter Everyone

First, businessy stuff: We switched our phone service from Cricket ($50/month) to Vonage ($25/month). Consequently, we no longer get text messages, but we forgot to tell everyone. We're fairly happy with the change (the phone battery doesn't die anymore!), but twice now the internet has gone down, leaving us with no way to call and complain that it's down, and leaving me concerned about what if I go into labor? Even if Tim is home, we still have to call the babysitter and the hospital. So we're working on that. We actually switched to Sunrocket first, which had better voice quality and cost something like $12/month, but they wouldn't port our "denver" number into their system because we live in Longmont. Anyway, call any time--same number--and talk as long as you like, but don't try to text us anymore. We won't get it.

This weekend has been hairy for me. We had an unfortunate convergence of multiple holidays, and all require cooking on my part, so I'm a little tired.

First, we had April 6, which we celebrate as "White Cake Day." Tim and I have always struggled with the fact that, no matter what anyone says or how hard you try, Christmas is NOT about Jesus. It's about family and stuff. Even if you say, "Christmas is about giving," like Veggie Tales do, the focus is still on stuff! Further, all the commercialism and "magic" of Christmas then gets associated with Jesus, and it's just a mess. Think about Christmas--is that how Jesus would really want to celebrate his birthday? It's not that Christmas is all bad. As Mom pointed out, anything that draws families together is good. And Christmas does that. But we wanted a day during the year when we could really spend all day thinking about Jesus, celebrating the fact that he was born and died for us, and Not doing anything else--no gifts, no "events" that we're obligated to go to, no spending money out of the ordinary.

And so White Cake Day was born. We decided that celebrating Jesus on his birthday was really appropriate, so we have a birthday cake for Jesus on April 6. It's always the same cake: Angelfood cake torn up and layered with strawberry cream sauce (strawberry jello, real strawberries, and whipped cream stirred together before the jello sets up). It's the best, tastiest cake I know. And, while we eat it, we talk about the symbolism of the white and red in the cake (Jesus' birth and death; perfection and the chance for us to become perfect; his life and the Atonement).

I didn't have an Angel food cake this year, though, so April 5 I got out my cookbooks and made an angel food cake from scratch. It wasn't as light as I hoped, but it worked. And it left me with a dozen egg yolks I couldn't bear to throw away. So I put them in a bag in the fridge.

April 6, White Cake Day, I assembled the cake and put it in the fridge to set up. Then I realized I had to make a full dinner or we'd have fighting from eating that much sugar. So I tossed a ham in the oven and made scalloped potatoes and, you know, dinner stuff. Then I realized I had a dozen egg yolks I needed to use right away, so I dug up a recipe on the internet for Creme Brulee that used 6 yolks and no whole eggs, doubled it, and made that. I didn't have cream, so I used milk and sour cream mixed together. The custard came out REALLY yummy. Creamier than flan, but the same idea. I'll post the recipe sometime if anyone cares. It was really easy. So then we ate dinner, and custard, and I realized we had Easter Saturday the next day, so I had to boil and color eggs. So we did that while Tim napped, and then ate our White Cake, and by the time it was bedtime, I was having back labor and could hardly walk and was grumpy--and the kids had a primary party at 10:00 am.

So, Easter Saturday came along way too early. We don't believe in having parties on Sunday (not the egg-finding variety, anyway), so we do that on Saturday. So we all got up and Tim took the kids to the Primary Easter Egg Hunt, and, mercifully, nobody felt bad even if they didn't find a lot of eggs. They just had a lot of fun. Then we put everyone back to bed.

When we finally woke up, I realized once again that I had to cook dinner because we were facing a lot of candy later. So I made a "crustless quiche" from a Kraft Foods Magazine that really was just baked scrambled eggs with ham and cheese but tasted good. We fed everyone and then Tim went down to get the internet working (he had 4 songs he's doing contract work on that were due today, and the INternet went down! extremely frustrating for me--he seemed rather calmer than I felt about it). The kids and I stuffed plastic eggs with candy (Dan mostly ate candy--he didn't get what was going on), and they took turns hiding eggs for each other. We don't do the Easter Bunny thing. Too much work--and why associate yet another holiday "for Jesus" with an imaginary magical being? (How did that happen, anyway?). Dan DID get the "find the eggs" thing. Caleb and Anda had to work to find theirs, but they had fun. And then they ate a lot of candy. I'm glad I bought the candy and stuff last week. We managed to not put Easter away at all last year, so we had to start over and buy everything (except baskets--we found three baskets somehow). Still, even with buying everything fresh, I spent less than $15 on all of Easter--and most people spend more than that on one kid. It's because we don't do TONS of candy and no presents at all.

Miraculously, nobody is fighting yet, and they're all happy with how things turned out. And I survived not one, but TWO intensive holidays right in a row. I know Easter is really tomorrow, but that is a "no-party" holiday. We'll eat the left over white cake. Have our usual soup and sandwiches, listen to the choir at church, and call it good.

And no, I'm not in labor. Having lots of contractions, some very strong, but not in any pattern that makes me think we're going anywhere right away. I now have great sympathy for women who have back labors. Even the "soft" contractions of back labor are awful.

So Happy Easter to you all.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Here's to effective communication!

Anda's primary teacher told me a few weeks ago that Anda is good in class, but she likes to touch the other kids, so they have to be careful where she sits so she's not disruptive. But she said it's not a big deal, so don't worry. So I forgot about it.....

....Until yesterday, when I heard Anda talking to Dan over lunch. "Keep your hands to yourself," she said. "That's what they tell you in class."

I paused in what I was doing and said, "Do you know what that means?"

Anda looked at me. Clearly she had never thought about it before. Finally she said, "Um, don't take your hands off and give them to someone else in class?"

Well no wonder touching others was an ongoing problem in class! It really helps if, when you give instructions, the kids understand what you're talking about, you know?