Reading with iBooks

I used to love to read. However, these days between my children, husband, school, my business and household, I barely have time to cook let alone read for pleasure. When my husband recommended I try the iBooks app on my iPhone, I scoffed at him. As if reading on my teeny-tiny iPhone screen was going to fill that void of pleasure reading… HA!

Screenshot of the "bookshelf"

Every once in a while I’ll go into the app store and try on a new app for size. Give it a go so to speak. I saw the iBooks app and decided I’d try it. I downloaded the trial version of Eat, Pray, Love. The trial version probably gave me the equivalent to 10-15 pages but of course on a iPhone screen it was about 198 pages.

Boy do I stand corrected! After about 5 pages I was hooked. Not only on the book (yes, the book was amazing!) but on the app. Since the only time I ever have time to read is in strange 5-8 minute bursts, like say pumping gas, waiting for water to boil, or in a doctor’s waiting room I can read a few pages, and since I always have my phone on me its super convenient. I can highlight, or bookmark something I want to remember, and every time I open the app it goes to where I left off.

Now of course it’s not as cool as the kindle and the screen is not nearly as easy on the eyes as the kindle, but if I had a kindle I doubt it would always be on my person. Whereas my iPhone never leaves my side. Sure it’s not as relaxing as sitting down with a glass of wine and a good book, but considering I love reading, I enjoy my little 5-10 minute stolen moments.

Thank you Steve Jobs and all the wonderful people at Apple… keep ‘em coming!

Works for me!

Works-For-Me Wednesday

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Respect

This week’s Spin Cycle is Respect, and I’ll admit I’ve been having a hard time trying to pinpoint what I want to talk about. Like, we all want our children to be respectful, of both adults and other children, but we don’t want them to become mindless followers who don’t think for themselves. Where do you draw the line between respecting your elders (so to speak) and appropriately questioning authority, like if we have a second incarnation of Hitler or something? I truly hope that Mouse grows up to be someone who can follow his conscious, particularly if he’s being asked to do something wrong, even if it’s by an adult he’s supposed to be respecting. But who wants to raise a defiant, entitled spoiled brat? And where does respect intersect with things like politeness, manners, and just plain common sense? Want about inclusivity and tolerance? Respect and compassion?
How the heck do we raise kids to be all these things when I can’t even really define respect myself?!

For more R-E-S-P-E-C-T, head over to Sprite’s Keeper for the Spin Cycle!

Letter to My Kindergartener

My Dear Kindergartener,

You were the joy of my life before you were even born. The fact that you almost didn’t make it into this world made your daddy and I appreciate you even more. We have watched you grow from a tiny, helpless preemie into a bright, healthy, and extremely inquisitive boy. We are so proud of you, Rocky! Now off to school you go, I know you’ll enjoy the ride.

When you come home each day, please share some of your adventures with me. Not the part about how Billy won’t stay in line or how Olivia is always interrupting. No tattling, remember? I want to know the parts that gave you glee, the stuff that surprised or confused you. Maybe you asked a question and got a silly answer. Maybe you said something that made the class laugh. Did the teacher recognize your good behavior or did you get in trouble for not listening? What was the weird thing that Mackenzie brought to school? Did you get to try a new instrument today? Did you learn about an exciting new book? What about that cool science experiment you tried? Do you love school like I did as a child? I hope so because you’re going to be there for a while!

Be kind to your classmates and seek out those who are kind to you. Help others when you can and ask for help when you need it. Don’t give up if there is something you can’t do right away. Keep trying! Respect your teachers and let me know if there are things that bother you that I can address on your behalf.

Your mom will have many feelings about you going off to school. Perhaps a little sadness that you are no longer a baby, but mostly excitement and good feelings for you. You are ready, kid, I’ve given you the tools you need. Take them and continue to build with them. Yesterday you wanted to be a scientist. Before that the best piano player in the world. Tomorrow, who knows? Whatever you choose, your parents will be there to guide you and support you.

I know you worry about me being alone but it’s only for a few short hours, I’ll find a good way to spend that time. And don’t forget I’ll be volunteering in the classroom every now and then. As for you, you won’t be missing me much and that is just the way it should be. Embrace your new friends and this new part of your life. Some days will be harder than others but focus on the good times and carry them with you into adulthood. Before you know it, you’ll be the parent sending your child off to school! Please no rush on this one.

Love you forever,

Mommy

***The Gen X Moms are no longer writing as a group (too many scheduling conflicts) but you can continue reading about my adventures with Rocky on my new blog at:

http://www.jedismama.com

Close Encounter of the Rude Kind

I went out with my family the other night to dinner.  We just went to Ruby’s, a family-friendly diner with very standard diner fare.  I picked it because of its location at the end of the Seal Beach pier.  Oceanfront dining for cheap really can’t be beat!  And, I really like the variety of lighter, healthier fare on their menu for being a diner.  And, it’s a great place to take the kids.  Anyhow, soon after we ordered, a group of 6 was seated next to us.  And one of them (I shall call her Mouthy), sat down right next to me.  I was sitting on a long booth, so we were literally cheek to cheek.

Of  course, I dislike Mouthy from the instant she sits.  I mean, really – is personal space THAT hard to understand!  She and her partner are pretty loud and overall annoying, but I can overlook that.  Then, our food comes.  Bugster was jumping up and down in her high chair with excitement when her meal of macaroni and cheese with apple slices arrived.  Once it cooled, she dug in to the mac and cheese.  (I want to pause here and remind you that Bugster is 17 months old.)  She dug in with her hands, and, as to be expected, was making a huge mess of her face.  But she was quiet, calm, and completely engrossed by her meal.  Likewise, The Big Cheese was on her absolute best behavior.

Then, in my left ear, I hear Mouthy.  “Oh, gross.  That’s so disgusting.  I can’t even look.”  I look over, and she is staring at Bugster.  She continues to make comments to her partner about how nasty Bugster’s face looks and the crime her parents are committing for letting her eat with her hands.  She literally goes on for several minutes.  The more she talks, the madder I am getting.  Dear Hubby doesn’t know why I’m fuming (he thinks I’m REALLY overreacting to the personal space thing), so I very softly clue him in.  Now he’s fuming, and all the while, sweet Bugster is enjoying every bite of her meal.

I run through all the things I can do or say to Mouthy.  I contemplate saying something immediately, but I was still trying to eat my meal.  I also think about “accidentally spilling” my sticky Cherry Coke on her lap. But, I was trying to balance standing up for my daughter without embarrassing Dear Hubby or setting a bad example for my kids.

While my wheels are turning, Mouthy leans over to get an even better look at Bugster, puts her hand over her mouth in disgust, and starts right back in on her tirade.  She even says,”I wish I had my camera.”  “Hello?,” I’m thinking, “I’m right next to you.  You aren’t quiet.  Do you get that I can hear you?  Do you really think I’d let you photograph my kid?”  Still, I take the high road for a minute and stay quiet.  I ask Dear Hubby to gather up the girls, and I address Mouthy on my way to the door.  “I can’t believe the awful things you were saying my daughter.  You are the rudest person I have ever met.  Did you think we couldn’t hear what you were saying?”  And then, I walked away.  Mouthy began to sputter that she hadn’t said anything, and her partner chimed in with something I didn’t hear.  All the while, I just kept walking.  I stood up for Bugster, and I did it without embarrassing myself.

I seriously want to know if she thought I couldn’t hear her every word.  If you’re going to be a nasty, rude gossip, shouldn’t you know that you are being loud?  Thanks for letting me vent!  Now, I can forget about Mouthy and move on with my life.

Books You Stay Up For

As moms, we often don’t have a lot of time to read. Allow me to put in a plug for the wonderful genre known as Young Adult literature. You probably remember YA books from your youth, but just because your youth has passed, doesn’t mean you have to stop reading. The best part about YA books is that the writing and story are still high quality, but they’re often half the size of adult novels.

All the fun in half the time! What’s there not to love???

So let me tell you about three books I absolutely could not put down. You may have already heard of them–The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. The final book in the series was released last Tuesday. I had it pre-ordered on my Kindle and read it immediately. Loved it.

The Hunger Games starts out in a post-apocalyptic United States where the population lives in twelve Districts controlled by the Capitol. In an effort to intimidate and quell any possibility of rebellion, the Capitol holds their annual Hunger Games, in which two teenagers from each District are sent to participate in a battle-to-the-death. They’re thrown into a big, complicated arena to battle it out and the last person alive at the end wins. Oh, and it’s all televised.

I know, cheery, right?

But trust me, it’s really, really good. Our intrepid heroine, Katniss (who takes her sister’s place in the Hunger Games) tries to find a way to work the system–to game the game, so to speak. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but she’s the star of the second and third books, so I’ll let you draw your own conclusions there.

The second book, Catching Fire, is just as addictive as the first. And the third, Mockingjay, well let’s just say I read it in one day.

Whether you like speculative fiction, dystopian societies, or just a good read, I promise you won’t be disappointed. And I read a lot of YA literature. Trust me.

Help! I'm Lost!

Mouse and I love to go to the Anaheim Public Library, which is located at the intersection of Harbor Blvd. and W. Broadway St. And for some mysterious reason, this intersection is like the Bermuda Triangle of Anaheim. Compasses stop working, GPS craps out, written directions to the place you want to go disappear, and internal sense of direction ceases to be accurate.

How do I know this?

Because I have been asked for directions at this intersection no fewer than FIVE times. No joke. At least 5 different people have either rolled down their window as we were both waiting for the light and shouted their request for directions, or I’ve been stopped at the library for the same. Here’s a visual:

Where the hell am I???

I honestly don’t recall anyone ever asking for directions at a different intersection. Why is it here?

Well, as you can see on the map, I’ve indicated the direction of Disneyland. This intersection is about halfway between the 91 freeway, a major East-West freeway in Southern California, and Disneyland itself. The majority of direction requests have been from people getting off the 91 toward Disneyland, then thinking they should have seen it by now, when in fact they haven’t gone far enough. Or vice-versa–people coming from Disneyland toward the 91, then thinking they should have seen it by now, when in fact they haven’t gone far enough.

Today I was stopped in the library parking lot by someone asking for a certain address*. Turns out they got off the 91 and turned right instead of left. Interestingly, they were halfway to Disneyland…

I was pondering this, and I realized that when I lived in Missouri, there was another intersection where a lot of people asked for directions. And even when we lived in Hamburg, Germany, where I apparently looked like a local, there was an intersection near our apartment there where multiple people asked me for directions.

So I’m wondering, is there a Bermuda Triangle intersection in every city, town, or wherever you live? One particular place where people consistently seem to stop and ask for directions? What do you think? Leave your comments below :).

*Before you freak out about my safety, it was an elderly gentlemen and there were about 5 other people in the parking lot, so it wasn’t like I was going to get knifed or something.

What's Your Child's Most Irritating Toy?

The whole room gets to hear this phone! Neato.

Do you have toys that get on your nerves after your child has been playing with them incessantly? Of course, you do and you are not alone! With the exception of musical instruments, most of the truly irritating toys are battery-operated so it’s worthwhile to try talking your child into playthings that don’t require batteries.

Sometimes, though, kids get gifts or they get fixated on the noisiest toys possible. All you can do is grin and bear it until the next great thing comes along. Or suffer the guilt that comes from “losing” or depriving your child of something he loves.

Here are some of Rocky’s favorites that I would nominate for most annoying toys. Think twice if you are considering any of these. I have had thoughts about “accidentally” breaking some of these but there are just too many of them!

The Librarian