Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Three Cheers!!

Today was the best day I've had in a while. Three cheers for the following:

  1. I got to come home three hours before my normal shift ends. That means time with my family and (hopefully) to bed at a decent hour.
  2. I tried sushi today for the first time and I loved it! We had lunch at a place called Simply Sushi in Salt Lake City and it was fantastic. I can't wait to take my husband there-- he's never tried it before, either! :)
  3. I found my iPod!! I shut the back door of the van for my daughter and glanced down at the space next to the driver's seat (where I looked before, for the record) and THERE IT WAS!! The gremlins have retreated, the poltergeist been vanquished and the stars are back in alignment. As I had visualized myself doing an extreme happy dance, complete with joyous squealing, this is exactly what happened, much to the embarrassment of my 17 year old son. "Mom! Stop! Mom! Get in the van! You're killing me, Mom!" Ha ha, then I laughed my head off all the way home. My son is so funny, and I am truly overjoyed at finding my iPod. It's just a thing, I know, but it's my favorite thing, so I'm very, very happy. And relieved. 
This was me:

Or maybe THIS:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


For the rest of this week, I will be out of action. Probably. I get to go to the Utah Library Association Conference in Salt Lake City for three days. I'm really excited to attend classes and get free goodies and food and meet people (well, not really the meeting people part, but I'm supposed to look forward to that) and I'm absolutely terrified about being asked to give a presentation on marketing your library. I feel rather underqualified and only just barely prepared, but it will, no doubt, be a good experience.
So I'll be back in a few days after ULA craziness and a family Pre-Avengers Marvel Movie Marathon on Saturday. :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Internet is Fun

I'm constantly amazed at the clever, funny, intelligent things I see on the internet. Humor makes life so much more enjoyable, doesn't it? And when that humor is also clean, it's just that much better.

I follow a group on Facebook called "Very Clean Funny Pics". Many days, I think they over-post and a lot of what they post is crap. I also think they caption the pics WAY too much. A lot of funny pictures don't require captions, and, in fact, their funniness is reduced by an attempt by some overzealous blogger to make them funnier by captioning. However... once in a while, they post gems. Here are a couple of such photos, the first of which is my new motto:

Lament for a Lost Luxury

Yesterday, much to my personal misfortune, my iPod went rogue. I remember it like it was yesterday... because it was... I was sitting on the loveseat and I tapped over to Facebook, whereupon I discovered a note from a friend arranging a time to come pick up a book I'm loaning her. I realized I had forgotten to hunt down said book, and, leaping up from the loveseat (no, really, I leap all the time. What!?) I dropped the iPod into my hoodie pocket.

I went first to my sons' room-- a Bermuda Triangle swirling with books, papers, clothes, and mysterious boy items such as a papier-mache mask and fishhooks. I thought one son might still have my loaner copy on his dresser. No luck.

I crossed the hall to my own room, where most of my books are on shelves stacked two-deep. I found what I sought, but wanted to make sure I knew where my keeper copy was, so I took the book in my hand and trudged (what? I trudge...) down to the basement, where the majority of the boys' books are. I found my other copy, and thinking it is a great deal thicker than the other, though both are paperback, I wanted to compare them.

I returned to the kitchen, where I opened both books to the same page number and compared. I was surprised that they are the same... so why was one thinner? A mystery, no doubt. But I was out of time. I had to return to work. I set my copy down on the desk, writing a short note-to-self about the whereabouts of the loaner copy (so that in 3 months, when I've forgotten loaning it out, I can recall the borrower's identity) and I grabbed another sticky note to write a quick message to my friend, should she come while I was at work. As I was doing this, I realized I wasn't sure where my iPod was.

I went through my pockets quickly, but it wasn't there. I didn't have time to look, as the clock was yelling it's tick-tock at me by this time (okay, not really...) and I had to go.

That night, we tore the house apart looking for it. I even pulled back the lining on the loveseat, but I don't think it's in there. There's no thump when I tip it on its back. I even looked in the garbage, though, admittedly not very well. We tried "I'll send you a text and we'll all listen for it". I think the battery was almost dead when it disappeared, so it's likely RIP now.

In daylight, I looked again. No luck. I will probably have to paw through the trash again. Yuck. Thank heaven for latex gloves. Thrice. Wish me luck.

Too bad I can't listen to my audiobook while I'm hunting. I consoled myself by having an entire can of salt & vinegar Pringles for breakfast.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Facebook as Therapy: What's On Your Mind?

The other night, I clicked over to Facebook and actually noticed what the blank status bar asks. "What's on your mind?" I could hear a TV therapist with a gentle voice asking this. Or a telephone counselor, answering a call... or even Lucy VanPelt as she plops her nickel can up on her desk. "What's on your mind?"

I haven't ever been to therapy, (not that I would tell you if I had... but maybe I would...), but I think it would be so nice to occasionally have someone sincerely ask me what's on my mind. Unless it's been a particularly brain-melting week. Then I just want silence, not to talk.

It's an interesting commentary on our modern society that our favorite website (oh, come on, you know it is-- don't deny you love Facebook. Even lurkers love it, they just don't want anyone to know they do!) asks us every day to share our thoughts. With the world, mind you, but still. Interesting that some people virtually thrive on this, posting every banal or empty thing that crosses their mind. Teens and tweens (especially girls) use it to "vent" or passive-aggressively insult each other. Other people use it to post random lyrics to songs or movie quotes for the entertainment of their friends. Still others, like me, consider themselves "Facebook Mature", using it to share only those things that might interest many other people, such as excellent links, uplifting thoughts, photos and amusement, but not posting all the negative, ugly thoughts that pop into their heads.

Do you find Facebook therapeutic? Do you use it just for entertainment, or for communication? Do you use it to promote a business or service?

On a side note, would you even notice if the Facebook powers-that-be changed the verbiage in the status bar?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Apostrophe Abuse

Today, not for the first time, I wished I had an iPhone. I was at the Valley Fair Mall in West Valley, UT (and may I just interject that being there at opening time, while the mall was quiet and the elderly walkers were doing their thing and workers were prepping their various stores took me back in time a little to when I was 16 and 17 and worked at a mall-- the smell, the hushed sounds... kind of like a time machine) 

ANYWAY, so I was at the mall, it was about to open, and I thought I would hurry to the ladies room to "freshen up" before I did my shopping. I walked through the food court, knowing there is always a restroom in that vicinity, and busted up laughing when I saw the signs for the restrooms. On the left, a piece of paper taped crookedly that said "men's" in simple font printed in black ink. On the right, in the same black font, also taped skiwompus was a sign that said "ladie's". I almost cried from not having a camera handy! I have a cheap phone with no camera and an old-school iPod Touch without one either. Sadness. I could have started my much-needed "apostrophe abuse" blog... sigh... Disappointment clouded my walk back to the shops. But I survived, and even found two shirts (TWO! That's unheard of for me) that I liked and could wear to work. 
Since I couldn't provide a photo, I found an even better one online for you. Enjoy:

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friendly Games

I really enjoy playing games with friends on my iPod Touch. I used to play a lot of Words With Friends and Hanging With Friends and Scrabble until life took over and I wasn't able to make time to play. 

Now, though, I'm back in the game (har har) and I've found a new favorite. 

I'm usually a little behind everyone else in discovering awesome things, but with this game, I hope I'm catching up. It's a little like Pictionary, and a lot like awesome. If you want to play there is a free download, or the ad-free version costs 99cents. I think it's worth a dollar to both support the game makers and to avoid the annoyance of ads popping up when you least expect them.

What are your favorite with-friends games? Do you regularly play any single-player games? I LOVE Bookworm for those moments when I'm waiting to pick up a child or on a quick 15-min break at work. I can listen to my audiobook and play Bookworm at the same time, so that's double awesome!
Oh, and if you want to start a game of Draw Something with me, my user name is stephmil1010. Happy gaming!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Kindle Conundrum

Over at Film Critic's Daughter today, I wrote a little entry about why I returned my Kindle. If you're interested. :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Ten Rules of Maturity

  1. Never, ever start a sentence with "No offense, but..."
  2. Ask for what you want. Always and without fear! No one can read your mind except God and even He wants you to ask so you can get to know Him! You never know whether you can have something unless you ask. (This includes applying for jobs, requesting training or schedule changes, asking the waiter for a take-home glass because you hate for them to dump out that refill of strawberry lemonade that you really didn't need and requesting a discount on... anything!)
  3. Be okay if the answer is "no". It's usually for the best.
  4. Be kind to everyone. Especially your spouse.
  5. When you have to say no, say no. Don't dither or string people along. Just be clear and kind.
  6. Wisdom comes through mistakes. If you aren't making mistakes, you aren't trying hard enough.
  7. Allow others to make their own lives-- you actually can't control any other person.
  8. Tolerance is not embracing or adopting others' choices. Rather, it's understanding, accepting and defending their right to make them.
  9. The most important things in life are relationships. The second great commandment was to love each other. The first was to love God.
  10. Live life like you mean it. You aren't the center of the universe, but everything you do matters.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Are You Pinterested?

It took me a while, but I have become a regular Pinterest user, checker and pinner. If you haven't started using it yet, Pinterest is actually a lot of fun and very useful! I pin recipes, organization ideas, home decor, useful quotes, etc.  It's a perfect resource because it's always there, accessible everywhere, and links to the original pages containing the information. It took a short time to feel comfortable and familiar with the format, but it really is fairly easy. I've even pinned a couple of things I have done myself that I thought were ideas worth sharing. I enjoy it-- a little here and a little there. It's like an online filing system for everything you want to remember to do, try or think about again.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Children's Games

My daughter and I watched "Annie" yesterday, which, in a sideways way, brought to mind a game my siblings and I played when we were young. But this is how we played.

To begin with, there are 7 kids in my family, and I'm thinking everyone participated in this game. The youngest was probably not older than 2 years old, and the oldest somewhere between 12 and 14. My memory is a bit fuzzy about such details. But I digress...

No, the photo is not my family, but it could have been! One dad, three brothers and four sisters. Only they lived a long time ago. And we're much cuter. :)

We lived in a large-ish house with a long hall on the main floor and in that hall was a long linen closet, with two accordian-style doors and 3 or 4 long shelves. Not having much money, we didn't have many linens, and I remember the shelves being empty except for a few folded sheets and maybe a tablecloth. We would take turns, but usually our oldest sister would be "Miss Hannigan" and she would yell at us to get to bed and we would run screaming to climb up on the shelves-- I don't recall how we all fit, maybe the smaller kids laid two to a shelf. I loved this part, though. Then Miss Hannigan would come and close the closet doors, telling us we had to be silent (if I recall, I think she had a "date" coming and didn't want him to know about the orphans??) We giggled and laughed and tried to make each other talk loudly so they would get in "trouble". I can't remember exactly what the penalty was, but we would try to listen for her to come down the hall, and she would try to sneak up on us and open the doors in a flash to catch us talking. I mostly remember laughing and really enjoying my brothers and sisters.

Any childhood made-up games you remember?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Parenting 101: A Visit to the Library

It's a relatively quiet Saturday afternoon in the library. Mom, acting as though she is there alone, and Toddler Girl (no older than 3) are wandering the stacks. Mom is in the movie aisles. Toddler Girl is looking for something more interesting to look at than Mom's calves. While searching for said interesting thing, Toddler Girl wanders farther and farther away from Mom, realizes this and begins calling, at megaphone-decibel volume, "Mo-om! Wheyaaaayoooo?" Adorable. But loud. She also stops by the Circulation Desk to show me her drawing and again at a shelf of Reference books to shift things around.

Besides the obvious noise issue, there is also a safety issue here that I shouldn't have to point out (but frequently do): little kids alone in public places are in danger from strangers. Even the library isn't necessarily a safe place. Anyone can come into a public building.

Mom, realizing *TG is being too noisy in the library begins hollering across the library in a just-lower-than-megaphone-decibel, overrought-Mom voice, "Tanny! You get over here! You want to check out a book? Get over here or you'll get nothing!" This is where I sigh. This continued for about 20 minutes, until Mom finally made her selection and tried to collect TG, who preferred wandering the library to standing with Mom at the Circ. Desk. Her last words to her daughter before checking out a movie for herself and a book for TG are, "You aren't getting anything, then!" After which, she turns to me and checks out a book for her.

I comment that TG is adorable, which she is, all tiny blond pigtails and sweet, high-pitched voice, little fingers and tiny toddler shoes. Mom tells me, "No she's not. She's just rotten." I sigh again, thinking Poor Toddler Girl.

Mom said to me, "We did the game**, she just lost the paper, does she get a sucker?"* in a moderately rude voice. I said, "Would she like to choose, or are you going to choose for her?" Thinking it's a good excuse to get TG back with Mom. She replied, "Just give me one. She doesn't deserve it anyway, but oh well." You can guess that she then grabbed TG roughly by the hand and dragged her out of the library. There are so many things wrong with these parenting choices...

This is a not-uncommon scenario in public places. I submit that if you are a harried mom, over-worked and tired, with a toddler (whose very name designates their favorite activity), it is easy to become short-tempered and frustrated with your children. I remember having toddlers pushing me to the edge of sanity. HOWEVER...

If you have (especially only one!) a small child in a public place, it is not difficult to work some magic and keep them happily with you the whole time. Especially a girl, whose budding social skills will be entranced if you simply talk to her. Here's a better version of the scenario:
Mom and TG walk into the library hand-in-hand. TG wants to wander, but Mom wants to look at videos. Mom takes TG to look for a picture book first, then over to the movies, still holding TG's hand and talking with her all the way. Instead of acting like TG is a dog that should stay leashed, Mom engages (key word) TG in a little conversation in the movie aisle. "My goodness, TG, do you see the colors on this box? Can you see the blue flowers? Oooh, there's a car on this one, look at that! What color is the car?" And such. If this fails and TG still wants to wander, there is a simple solution. Mom either quickly grabs whatever movie she sees first, or opts not to take one at the moment and scoops TG up in her arms, saying in a soft voice (example, anyone?) "Oh, we're in the library, sweetie, you get to stay with Mom. Let's go check out your book" and they leave.

It's difficult, not always getting what we moms want. I know. But the relationship with the child actually matters most.  A small child who is being loud and running around is a small child acting normally. Not rotten. A small child who is scooped into mommy's arms and loved is a lot less likely to ransack the library while you are there. If this fails and small child is just too ornery for a visit to the library, LEAVE! You can try again later, after they have had a snack, or a nap. With most children, if they are uncooperative on an outing, it is usually one of three things:
  1. They are pooped and need a nap or a change of scenery.
  2. They are hungry-- their little bellies digest food quickly, they can't go as long as we can between meals and snacks!
  3. Mom/Dad is disengaged and trying to be "Jane or John" instead of "Mom or Dad". Re-engage with your child. Actively parent. Lovingly teach, show and talk to them, and magic happens. 
I'm not an expert, but I do know a thing or two about children. This has been Parenting 101. Now, go hug your little one. The toddler years feel like ages, but are gone in a flash. You have one chance to do this right. And everything you do, from hugs and sweet whispers to name-calling and scowling affects your child. Everything.

*Toddler Girl = TG
** Our library has a little game the kids can play to earn a sucker, they just have to fill in a small paper and give it to the librarian.