Saturday, April 03, 2010

No One Here But Us Users

My iPad arrives today, after much hemming and hawing on whether or not to even buy one. I've read lots of press, both good and bad, about applicability for both the power user and the casual one. I'm hardly a power user (that'd be my husband, who's hoping to use it for presentations and on airplanes, skipping the hassle of cramming that clamshell laptop onto the tiny airplane tray table); I am, though, a longtime user of various "technologies" to keep my "life" "organized." I put all this in quotes, because it seems bloggers think Apple and Microsoft don't know quite what to do about the users that aren't "power users," as if there were such a thing as a “casual” user. At this point I’d say that we’re all just users, some more intense than others. Seems the same as people who watch TV or cycle or ski or listen to music or who do anything… some of us are waaaay into our gadgets, while others consider them to be more utilitarian. I mean, I could buy a $3000 bike to tote my kids around on slow Sunday bike rides if I wanted to, or I could use a $200 version – just depends on where my priorities are.

Just this morning I've been reading various blog posts about how the iPad is designed for "your mom" (,2817,2358599,00.asp), by which it appears the bloggers mean their mom, who is older than 55 and is just trying out this new Facebook thing. I'm curious to see how it works for this mom. My dad gave me my first pocket PC when my husband and I adopted our three nieces, bringing our family at that point for 4 kids and two adults. We've since added two more kids, as well as two iPhones, a family Mac Mini, an HP laptop for me and a work-issued laptop for my husband. I use those devices in all the ways people would expect: to manage calendars, shopping lists, to-do lists, photos, correspondence, music, research, word processing, etc. Why my use is considered different than my husband’s is interesting to me – he does all of the same tasks, with more word processing and powerpointing, but somehow my use is considered different. Is this because I don’t use my devices all day every day, because I actually have to converse with people face-to-face, cook, take care of kids, drive, etc.? Oh wait, my husband has meetings, cooks, takes a lunch break, drives to work… Or because no one has figured out if men and women actually do use these devices differently. Or does it have more to do with the fact that my husband has a job out of the house, while mine is home-based…

I’m unsure on all counts. But I am interested to see if, as one who is dependent on her laptop, iPhone, and GPS, if the iPad can fit in there somewhere. I’m pretty sure it will, and not in a “mom” way – but in a dominant-use kind of way.

And by the way, I don’t let my kids play games on my iPhone, and I’m not so sure they’ll be using my iPad, either.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Get Your Brave On (tm)

In order to encourage our six-year-old daughter to be brave about an upcoming trip to Disneyworld (and the associated water parks, roller coasters, scary adults dressed up as characters, etc.), my husband told her to "get your brave on." Repeat ad nasuem, at swimming lessons, new encounters with adults, strange activities, etc.

Fast-forward to Disneyworld: other parents hear him talking to her in line for various rides, saying "get your brave on!" over and over. Soon he hears other parents telling their kids to do the same. Voila: a family catch phrase is born!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Sunday, August 03, 2008

This was front page news

From Burlington, VT on July 18, a story called "Yo, ho, ho and a long, long wager to go" ( Two guys are competing to see who can stay dressed as a pirate the longest. At that point it'd be going on for a month; the winner gets $500 and a black powder pistol... the loser gets Tasered. My favorite part:

Graham said his girlfriend broke up with him since the contest began, but that it had nothing to do with piracy."I was kind of surprised, but a lot of girls seem to like the pirate attire," he said. "I think it would be different if we were dressed up as 'Lord of the Rings' or something."Abraham said he has become involved with a young woman since the bet started and that she is all for his participation."I keep waiting for him to get a life for (the bet) to interfere with," Graham said."That it will not," Abraham shot back.

On that note, there were a couple guys interviewed in Entertainment Weekly a couple weeks ago about how they dressed up as Batman characters and waited in line for like 15 hours to see the new movie. A quote from one of them: "This sort of explains why I don't have a girlfriend right now." Why yes it does, my man...

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Baby books for busy moms

When I was born my dad had a darkroom in the basement, a setup for his SLR that let him take hundreds of photos of me, blowing them up to 11x17, changing the exposures from crazy light to way dark. Most of these experiments survived, and I remember being in high school, digging through two good-sized boxes of photos of mostly myself, lamenting the fact that he'd gotten rid of most of his camera supplies. There was another, smaller box of photos of my sister, who is three years younger. And my brother, born seven years after me? His pix could probably fit in a shoebox.

You know how this story is going to go, without even considering the onset of digital photography. But the topic for me is baby books: You get a baby book for your first and do a pretty good job of filling most of the pages until age one, then it tapers off. You get another baby book for baby #2, and do a mostly pathetic job of getting even the basic information in the pages. For baby #3... all bets are off, you might not even buy a baby book.

I'm trying to make sure I get at least the basics for #3 done within the first few months of his/her life. For my first two, I bought "Oh Baby! A Journal" (, which is actually a very easy book to use; I just never bothered with the repetitive information such as family tree, etc., for my second child. Maybe I'll do that once he's in kindergarten.

The other day, I bought "The First 1000 Days: A Baby Journal," by Nikki McClure ( I've seen her artwork before and find it charming, warm, emotive. Instead of lots of lines and forms to fill in, it has mostly blank pages for each month, other pages with things such as "first boat ride, first city, first swim." McClure's artwork is sprinkled throughout. My thought was that without the format to follow, I might actually just jot down my train of thought on certain topics as I get to it. Since this is actually kid #6 to come into the house, I'm sure all bets are still off... but my intentions are good.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

No one ever said it would be easy

And they were right. S's friend drove her home the other day... he's had his license for a week and is supposed to wait six months before driving a non-family member around. Now I'm scrambling to develop a carpool for all of the rule-breakers (might also add law-breakers, here). It's much less stressful keeping the toddler out of the knives. I do think, though, I have a triple carpool worked out with two other moms. Just chatted with one of them about how it’s good to let the kids know we’re a community looking out for not only rule-breaking, but for them as people. Ha!

Take that, teenagers.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Suburban housewife takes kids skiing

Last Sunday was everyone's first ski lesson of the year. Me, 8-yr-old and 5-yr-old were scheduled for 10am lessons; we brought along 12-yr-old and 15-yr-old, plus two 15-yr-old friends. Left at 6:30am in the pouring rain, feeling fairly pessimistic about the day but not wanting to ruin it for O's first time on skis. Made it almost all the way up the mountain, as usual, but had to stop and chain up -- my first solo attempt, and an immediately successful one, much to my great appreciation.

The day was my worst ever... I got soaked putting the chains on... freezing rain and sleet fell the entire day (of course when we left it started to turn to snow)... by the time I got the kids (including crying O) into their lessons, I missed mine... we were soaking wet in the first 30 minutes... when I took my coat off for lunch I inverted the sleeves to let them dry a bit, and as I put it down the sleeves fell into a 1 inch puddle on the floor (which I of course didn't notice until we left lunch)... I actually rang out the water before I put it back on... needless to say, everyone was thrilled to leave at 2pm. Here's hoping the next one is a bit better : )