Friday, January 27, 2012

Kindle vs. Paper

I may have mentioned that Dave got me a Kindle Fire for Christmas.  I have now read about 5 books on it and think I have a good handle on the book versus e-reader debate.  Here is my take:

There is really nothing like a real book.  I love the way they feel and smell.  I love turning the pages.  I love having Dave guess how many pages I have already read.  He is freakishly good at this.  I love being able to see the progression of the pages as I read the book.  I love going to the library and looking through the shelves to see what might catch my fancy.  I also love reading the book jacket to see what the book is all about.   A book never runs out of batteries.

I like that I can carry more than one book in my purse.  I really like the convenience of not having to leave my house if I want to read something and I am out of material.  Sometimes I just don't have the time to go to the library.   I like that my kindle also has apps and Internet access.  It fits nicely in my purse so when I am out and Ryan wants to play a game, it keeps him occupied for about 10 minutes which is usually all I need.  It does not require me to move my hand to turn the page, and you can change the font size if you need it a little bigger. 

Here is what I don't like about the Kindle Fire.  First, when they added the color and bigger screen, it is kind of heavy.   I also find that I am having a hard time looking for books from the library.  I have not mastered the search engine yet and it is not as enjoyable as going to the library and browsing.  I have it on good authority that our local library is adding many more titles and copies of e-books, so I am sure this will get easier.   In the meantime, I have found a website called where they offer about eight free books a day that cover all genres.  That has stocked my Kindle with a ton of books that are not authors that I have ever read before and I have found some that I like. 

All in all, I am enjoying my Kindle, but I don't think it will ever replace a paper book in my heart.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Three Phrases that are Driving Me Crazy

There are three phrases that are currently driving me crazy.  They are so overused they are becoming trite.  They have been bothering me for quite a while and I just heard one and it put me over the edge. Because I was in front of my computer when it happened, I will share them with you. 

1.  Journey.  Everything is a journey lately.  From the "Biggest Loser" people on their weight loss journey to anyone navigating a personal crisis.  I think it started with the "Survivor" reality series.  With the explosion of reality TV it has gotten out of control.  I propose we all start saying adventure instead. 

2.  Blessed.  This is totally overused to describe anything from giving birth to finding your favorite pack of gum on sale and you have a matching coupon.  The birth of a child is a blessed event.  Witnessing or being involved in a miracle is a blessed event.  Having a tissue handy when you sneeze is not a blessed event.  That is called planning ahead or a coincidence.  On the other hand, I will say "God bless you" if I am around when you sneeze.  Here are some examples of "blessed" being over used.  I think we can all agree that what you are really trying to say is that you are happy. There is a big difference. 

"I am so blessed to have you for my friend."
"I am so blessed that you were available to change my tire."
"I am so blessed that the dog finally decided to stop eating socks."  (This is a shout out to my friend Susan.  Here is hoping that it will be true sooner rather than later.)

The ultimate is when someone says they were on their journey to the grocery store and they were blessed when they found their favorite gum on sale.  Can we all agree that these words are losing their impact when they are overused?  Can we reserve them for the time when they really apply?  Awesome!

3.  This is somewhat unrelated, but I hear it all the time in the professional world.  We have gotten away from "thinking out of the box", but people still feel the need to "reach out to me".  People, please just say that you will contact me.  I don't need to feel the personal touch.  We all know that I don't like people touching me anyway. 

I will thank you in advance for making all appropriate changes to your vernacular.  I will do the same for you.  Please tell me what they are (without reaching out to me) so I can work on those changes immediately.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

We Were All Crying Over Spilled Milk

While I was on the phone with my sister last week, I heard a ruckus break out in the kitchen.  A ruckus you say?  What kind of ruckus?  It turns out that Colin was getting himself some chocolate milk and Ryan was being Ryan and irritated Colin.  Colin knew that Ryan wanted some milk, but since Ryan was being a brat he ignored him. 

As Colin was coming out of the kitchen to tell me exactly how Ryan was being a brat, Ryan decided to get himself a glass of milk.  Did I mention that it was a brand new carton?  Do we all see the path this milk is going to take?  You guessed it, it went all over my counter, down the front of the dishwasher, on the carpet in front of the sink, and even under the dishwasher. 

Yes, I was mad about the milk, but I was more mad that my children continue to battle over who can be the bigger brat.  We have been talking about choosing kindness when dealing with each other, using basic manners that I have been teaching them since the day they were born.  If they treated anyone else the way they treat each other I would be mortified.  We have had numerous conversations about what I expect and they continue to treat each other in such a deplorable way.  In this case it takes two to tango, and each of them need to take some responsibility in this quest.  Each of my kids are kind in their own right, but when you put them together, it is mayhem. 

So that was last week.  Today they are working together like the team I have always wanted them to be.  I have watched them play in the snow out the window and they have been making snow angels and such, and then I saw them having an intense conversation where they were obviously planning something.  It turns out that plan is to make our porch steps a sledding hill.  My question is, do I live in the moment and enjoy the fruits of my hard labor to get them to be kind, or do I yell at them and make them stop?  I think I am going to go with the first option.  I can make them move it when they are done, and since Dave pulled out our landscaping over the summer, there is nothing there for them to kill.

LOL means Laugh Out Loud...

It has been a bit hectic here for the past couple of weeks. It seems like the boys are off school every other day due to some teacher work day or Martin Luther King day or some other reason that isn't coming to mind. When they spend large amounts of time together they tend to start bickering like an old married couple. We have been working really hard on using kindness and respect with each other, and I have only lost my cool on them about three times. This is a huge improvement.

My Aunt Kathy visited us from Florida to take advantage of the amazing health care that we have here in Northeastern Ohio. We have some of the best hospitals in the world within 45 minutes from my front door. While she was here I got to spend some time with her explaining how Facebook works. My cousin had sent her a private message and had used LOL causing my aunt some confusion. I then had to explain the basics of abbreviation. It was great to see her and Uncle Ted and I look forward to the next time we see them.

In the middle of all that, My Aunt Mary Lou passed away. We spent every Christmas at her house while we were growing up. I can remember the smell of her house and how fascinated I was that she had two ovens. Her house was the first one that I had been to with a garbage disposal and I thought that it was sooooo cool. Most of her silverware had some sort of mark on it indicating it had fallen victim to said disposal. The thing I will remember most about Aunt Mary Lou is her amazing laugh. It seemed to come from her soul.  Just thinking of it now is making me smile. 

A quick update on Quinn.  She developed a really bad kind of pneumonia and needed to be intubated.  This is really bad because not only does she develop blisters on her skin, she also develops them internally and the trauma caused by the tube is really bad.  The good news is that she seems to be battling back again and they hope to have her off the ventilator by the end of the month.  She is one strong and stubborn little girl.  She also had her 5 month birthday! 

The laundry is calling so I must attack it with vigor, otherwise I will have to suffer the consequences.  It seems to multiply when I am not looking and then mocks me when I try to get it back under control.  AAUUUGGGGHHHHH!!!!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Quinn's Caring Bridge Website

I had a lot of people ask how they can find out more about Quinn's current condition.  With Marc's permission I am posting a link to her Caring Bridge Website.  You can even see some pictures of this beautiful family.  Did I mention that they also have a 2 year old son?  Camden is his name and he is a cutie.

It does ask for an e-mail so Marc can keep track of who is visiting and he can reply. 

Here is to Quinn and her butterfly army!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Amazing Strength of Butterflies

One dark and stormy night over the summer the paramedics went up our street.  A few minutes later a second ambulance followed.  They went to the house at the end of the street where our neighbors were expecting a baby.  I didn't really know them all that well, but knew enough to know that the baby was not due for several more weeks. 

It turns out that Quinn was born four weeks early, but seemed to be in relatively good health, all except for a few blisters that were on her hands that they thought were from her sucking on her fingers.  We saw her when we were going for a walk and her dad, Mark, was walking her up and down the driveway. 

Turns out that her blisters weren't from sucking her hands.  They are from a rare, genetic disorder called  Junctional Epidermolysis Bullosa - Herlitz, or EB for short.  Basically, the layers of her skin do not fuse together like normal skin causing blisters that are then treated as if she is a burn victim.  It is intensely painful and causes scarring wherever a blister has formed. They call these kids butterfly children because their skin is as delicate as the wings of a butterfly. You can get more information here. 

This beautiful baby is the youngest person to undergo a Bone Marrow Transplant for this disease.  She is amazing in her strength and  determination.  She has done better than we could have hoped for in her progress but is now experiencing a setback.  What is as amazing is the faith that her parents are displaying.  I am not one to say that someone is in my prayers.  I think it sounds so trite when people say this.  I always wonder how many people say that and then go on their way and never really think about it again.  Mark and Mandy have shown me what it means to really have God in their life to give them strength.  Every day they are in a hospital room with this child who is in a horrible amount of pain, and they face that pain and do everything they can to make it better.  They do not flinch when doctors come in and tell them they don't really have the answers they need, and are not really sure what is coming next.  They are dealing with the helpless feeling of knowing there is not a lot they can do for Quinn but to be her voice. 

As much as this post is about Quinn and the need to raise awareness to this horrible disease, it is about watching my neighbors show me how to walk in faith; to not question how the God they so love could inflict this pain on their beautiful baby.  They have shown me that life is not fair, but that it is what you make of the situation that is presented to you.  It is by watching them that I can actually see one of God's plans in action.  There are no parents that would be better able to deal with this than Mark and Mandy, especially with the grace and patience that they are showing.  This baby is also touching thousands of lives through the Caring Bridge website that they have working to get the word out on her condition. 

I am proud to be part of Quinn's butterfly army but it is my prayer that I can resign my post when they find a cure, or at least a way to manage it better then they currently do.  It is my prayer that Quinn can have a day without pain, and that Mark and Mandy can have a moment to enjoy their daughter instead of worrying about what is over the next hurdle. These are really my prayers, and I am not just saying that. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Here is to Stronger Stomach Muscles!

Today I went back to the holistic chiropractor, aka Voodoo Doctor.  As you may recall, this is the same man that told me that my stomach hurt because I was sensitive to all the foods that I like to eat. 

My stomach was killing me and I was sure it was not because I was eating anything off my diet.  In fact, I went all the way through the Christmas/New Year holiday with only having two days where I cheated.  It seems that I have a weakness for cheese and crackers.  Oh, and YumYum salad.  I only ate three Christmas cookies. 

So I went to the doctor and told him that I thought he might be mistaken.  I think my exact words were along the lines of, "I have followed your plan and my stomach still hurts.   I am not happy.  I think you are wrong."  He had me stand on one leg and tried to push me over.  On one side it took one finger, on the other he couldn't do it.  It turns out that my problem is really a weak abdominal muscle.  It starts at my rib and goes around my side and hip and down my leg, all the places that I have been complaining have hurt me for years.  He worked some voodoo magic and it stopped hurting. 

I am not totally discounting the food sensitivities as I feel better in general, but I think I am going to allow milk back into my diet so I can eat cereal again.  Oh how I have missed cereal.  It has been calling to me every time I pour a bowl for Ryan.  I think I missed it more than I missed soda. 

I also like that I managed to lose 10 pounds since Thanksgiving.  I have lost most of the muffin top that used to hang over my pants.  That is a good thing indeed.