Friday, February 27, 2009
I confess that when Daddy Shortbread received his first iPod and went into raptures about how awesome and life-changing it was, I may have discreetly rolled my eyes a few times and/or mocked him to my friends. A bit. (Sorry). I mean, I have a iPod, too, and it's cool for the gym and all...but, dude. Get a grip.
Then I got my Kindle and realized that God had made an ultimate gadget for me, too. Because Daddy Shortbread : Music, as Jenn : Books.
I will read just about anything, unless it sucks or I get bored. Life is way too short to ready crappy writing or lame plots, and I sometimes have a mild panic attack when I think about all the well-crafted, beautifully written books that I will never have the chance to read. Really, this keeps me awake at night. I am that dorky. Knowing that there is an unlimited supply of awesome books out there makes me completely ruthless when I encounter a crappy one. I'll give it a couple of chapters, check the ending to see if things improve, and then ditch it if they do not. No mercy. Next!
The Kindle revolutionizes reading for me. How? I'm so glad you asked because I was going to tell you anyway.
1. It's sexy. I look cute holding it.
2. It holds 1500 books.
3. You can buy new books FROM YOUR KINDLE using the same basic technology as a cell phone. Don't ask me for details. I haven't got a clue how this works. Let's just pretend a magical fairy named "Whispernet" lives inside the Kindle and flies off to Amazon to get me new books when I order them, K? And Whispernet is a fast little sucker because the new books show up in less than a minute.
4. You can buy these books with one click of a button. This is also kind of dangerous, if you tend to be a somewhat "spontaneous" shopper like myself. (But it's in the name of KNOWLEDGE).
5. It talks to me. Seriously. If my delicate lil' peepers are fatigued from reading, I push a button and it reads out loud to me. I can even decide if I want the robotic female or robotic male voice to read. Bug is enchanted by this feature.
6. I can change the size of the type. This is huge for me, since I can see about as well as a platypus, which Daddy Shortbread assured me has terible eyesight when I just now ordered him to name an animal that doesn't see well.
7. It's environmentally friendly. E-books mean no paper, no exhaust pollution from shipping, and no chemicals from ink. See all the cool ways I can rationalize buying books now?
8. The screen is not back-lit like a computer, so it's easy on the eyes and you can read it in bright sunlight. I didn't believe this either, but it's true.
9. There's a bunch of other cool things about it, but I'm getting hungry and there are cranky short people kvetching about wanting dinner, so you'll have to go to Amazon.com if you want to know more. (And, nope, they're not paying me to review their product, but I'd happily accept some e-books as thanks, if they're reading. Hello? Amazon?)
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
But two storms ago, I was inspired to go on a photography spree around town to shoot the beautiful fresh snow. Which I now hate.
We started in our own backyard. I love the pop of color from the girls' playhouse against the snowy woods.
We drove down to an old mill by the river. The sky was a rare thing for February in Maine: blue. It was so wonderful to be looking at something other than the typical monochromatic palette of leafless trees /gray sky /white snow, that we hung out and took quite a few shots despite the cold that left my fingers numb. I told Bug to hop in the van, so we could warm up while we drove to the next vista.
Monday, February 23, 2009
-blue and brown color scheme
-NO flowers or floral designs
-neater and less messy (which I was quick to point out was, um, kind of HER deal. The whole Webkinz Warehouse After a Typoon effect was all her doing.)
I agreed. Nana signed on as Chief Painter. Most of her gifts this year revolved around her new bedroom decor: comforter, curtains, mirror, nightstand, desk set, etc.
We ordered and returned eight comforters before finding The Ultimate Comforter. Bear pored over paint samples, taping them to the wall for consideration. She winnowed them down to two: teal for the walls and chocolate brown for the trim. She wondered whether we could do polka-dots on the walls. I thought not. We compromised on a stripe and one wall painted in contrast colors (brown wall, aqua trim). Bear's Bedroom, Version 3.0 was a go.
And, now, not quite four years later in her newly redone bedroom:
Friday, February 20, 2009
Wii Trainer Voice (melodic and gentle): You're swaying a little bit. Lean farther forward while keeping your back straight and your abdominals tight.
Bug: Yeah, that's not going to happen lady.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Yeah, I'm delusional. Whatever.
Despite the fact that it was an unseasonably warm weekend, and we'd lost quite a bit of our snowpack, we didn't get far (um, about two feet) before we realized that there was more snow left than we'd realized. Sinking in to knee-depth or beyond, we discovered that our boots functioned much like soup ladles, scooping the wet snow neatly down into the boot whenever we lifted our foot to take another step. After three steps, our socks and our tucked-in pant legs were soaking wet.
No one was laughing out loud.
There was actually quite a bit of grumbling and and stopping to tip snow out of boots.
We trudged doggedly across the yard. "It won't be as deep in the woods!" I told the girls cheerfully, "The trees keep the snow from getting as deep back there." Seemed like solid logic to me, unless you fail to consider that the trees have no LEAVES this time of year.
We had just picked our way down the back slope when Bear turned to me and said, "Mom? This kind of sucks. "
I had to admit that, yeah, it kind of did.
Bug, wet to the thigh, moaned, "Why won't you let us walk on the street?"
I conceded failure. We turned back and re-slogged across the yard. Side note: This is my rhododendron, which we passed en route to the street. You're going to have to take my word for it that it's a lot more impressive when it's not buried in snow. Because looking at it right now, the word that springs to mind is "pathetic." Or maybe "stubby." (Also I had my white balance set all wrong when I took this picture, so really this photo irritates me on a multitude of levels).
Moving on.Now THIS is much more our speed. And while it was a lot less picturesque than I had envisioned, we wound up having a terrific walk. We chatted and laughed. The breeze felt warm on our faces, after weeks of days in the teens. The sky was a clear light blue.
It did not suck.
Friday, February 13, 2009
I walked into Bug's class to help set up for their class party. The classroom was abuzz with excitement, as the kids flitted desk-to-desk delivering Valentines. I opened the containers of cookies, cupcakes, sliced fruit, and doughnut holes sent in by their parents. Table by table, the teacher sent them to fill their plates.
Shockingly, some children actually took fruit. (Note: not my kid).
I watched one little boy survey his paper plate of goodies with the seriousness of an Iron Chef competitor. He pushed up the sleeves of his sweatshirt and moved one hot-pink frosted cupcake to the center of the plate. From his stack of Valentine candy, he selected a packet of Fun-Dip, tore open the top, and poured the acid-green sugar powder onto the cupcake. He paused and considered his next step, then delicately flicked four candy hearts into the frosting. Finally, he placed a single doughnut hole atop this confection, using his thumb to mash it in firmly. With equal measures of awe and revulsion, I watched him peel off the wrapper and savor every bite.
He caught my eye and grinned happily. Sticking out his tongue, he called, "Hey, Mrs. M.! What color is my tongue?"
And THAT is why teachers deserve higher pay.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
His parents sat on either side of him, smiling and clearly grateful for the community support. His mother's eyes looked tired. I can only begin to imagine what she has been through, and where her mind must take her late at night when her little boy is sleeping.
At the end of a day like today, you make sure to give your kids that extra hug, to say "I love you" out loud instead of just thinking it.
I'm going to stop bitching about minutae long enough to give thanks that little insignificant things are really all I have to complain about. Things like the drearily persistent winter weather, my favorite pants not fitting the way I think they should, or the fact that my cat was apparently born with an extra chromosome that enables Continuous Shedding...those are gravy, baby.
I'm pretty damn lucky, and today I'd like to both acknowledge that and say thank you.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Bug wanted a chocolate chip pie for her Real Birthday, and gazed happily into the candles' glow while we clustered around and sang to her. Really, it doesn't get much better than being a kid deciding on your birthday wish in those seconds before you blow out the candles.
Bug's new camera from Daddy S. & I was a big hit. She's showing the makings of being as completely obnoxious as I am about taking photos. Common refrain around here is now Bear crabbing, "Bug keeps taking my picture!" I imagine this is how most paparazzi get their start. As evidence of my continuing genius (you've started a file with these examples I give you, yes?), I submit The Sledding Party. Points to consider:
a. cheap (like, FREE)
b. completely exhausted children by end of party
c. at no point was I required to wear a bathing suit
c. did I mention the free?
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Sunday, February 1, 2009
1. I know very little about football.
2. In junior high, I once made a touchdown while playing flag football in PE class. I can still remember the feeling of exultation, and vague surprise that no one was catching me, as I raced down the field to the sound of my teammates screaming my name. I ran over the goal line, turned, and realized that they'd been screaming because I had just made a goal for the opposing team. This turned me against football for life.
3. I have had "downs" explained to me an easy hundred times over the course of my life and have made peace with the fact that I will never ever understand what they are.
4. My best friend's husband did successfully, and patiently, explain what "offsides" means to me. I basically sit around the whole game and wait for this to happen because it's the only thing I can comment about without sounding like an idiot.
5. I like the shiny, tight uniforms, but I can't tell one player from another with their helmets on. And, yes, I know their names are on their shirts, but I'm too blind to read them.
6. Super Bowl Sunday is an excellent time to go shopping. The stores are virtually empty. Ditto restaurants.
7. I'm a big fan of wings, chips and dip, and other football-type food. I feel this should count in my favor.
8. I watch the Super Bowl for the commercials.