the secondary market for nanny cams

We never did invest in a nanny cam.  I can see the benefit, especially if someone else spends all day with your kids, but we never felt the need for one in our home.  Or, more accurately, the discussion of having a nanny cam never even came up between BrightSide and me.

There were plenty of times when it would have been advantageous to have a bird’s eye view of what went down in the other room.  Knowing exactly how Sharpie got on the carpet.  Being able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt who threw the first Lego.  These would have saved valuable brain cells spent sorting through denials and accusations, brain cells that might even have fired up to make a dinner or two.  But alas, we went old school.

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my car yells at me (and other reasons advanced technology might not be for you)

I don’t remember being particularly jumpy as a child.  I don’t actually remember not being jumpy either.  I’m gonna assume it was a nonissue.

I’m not sure exactly when this changed, but somewhere along the way I became a bit more high strung.  People startled me by walking into a room, and by “startled” I mean said hi then watched as I peeled myself off the ceiling.  Slamming doors made me jump, and going into a dark basement then searching for that chain to turn the light on?  Forget about it.  You could have a secret chocolate fountain down there and I still wouldn’t go.

I mean dang, who hasn’t had nightmares about their grandparents’ root cellar?  No?  Just me?  Well.  Okay then.

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gratitude: here in the 21st century

I’ve been known to utter things like this to the kids when I feel like sounding a hundred years old:

  • I remember when I’d leave home for the day and that was that – I was out of reach.  If I didn’t make plans to meet up with my friends the night before then I was SOL.
  • Before we moved I always made sure I got my friends’ addresses.  No, not their e-mail addresses, I didn’t have one of those until I was in college.  I got their actual addresses so I could send them actual letters.
  • There was no such thing as online shopping.  Needed a new pair of shoes?  I was out of luck until my mom had a free day to go to the shoe store, and there was a fifty-fifty chance that wouldn’t happen until one of my siblings needed shoes, too.
  • Driving required dependance on the kindness of strangers.  If you ran out of gas, there was no OnStar or calling AAA.  You’d be hoofing it to the closest gas station (and hoping it was open).  Being stranded on the side of the road meant hoping a helpful neighbor happened by.  Getting in an accident dropped you off the map until you were towed somewhere; then you could ask to use the phone to call your parents.
  • There was a time when it wasn’t a choice between a flip phone, a smart phone, or an Android.  There was one phone, and it was plugged into the wall in your house.

Folks talk about the cell phone being both a blessing and a curse.  That constantly being available to the world makes it difficult to back off and refresh.

As for me, I land on the blessing side of things.  I handle roughly 90% of my scheduling and such while I’m out and about; I can’t imagine having to come home to a voicemail filled with messages to return.  I love being able to reach out to my sister with a question or a silly thought, and knowing my kids can reach me in an emergency is priceless.  (Granted, they think a headache and icky feeling at school constitutes an emergency, but the premise holds.)

Plus I know how to turn the phone off to go underground for a while.


My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.

The Tween Whisperer and Other TV Proposals

I gave up cable TV for Lent two years ago.

Well, that’s not exactly true.  It was more like Christmas day.  We’d installed our Apple TV, and my ensuing cable boycott may have been largely due to the fact that we dislodged the infrared receiver during that installation.

Anyway, that was definitely the day I gave up cable TV.

At first it was mostly due to inconvenience.  I missed all my regular shows, the ones I recorded and watched on my own time, but I stuck to my guns.  Sure, the DVR was still doing its part, but to access it I had to go around the corner, use the remote on the cable box, and hope I managed to hit the right series of buttons without having the screen to guide me.

Besides being ridiculously cumbersome, there were some glaring problems with this system.  I couldn’t pause the TV when young people entered the room without hurdling the coffee table and skidding around the corner.  A lot can happen in those 5.2 seconds, things I might not necessarily want to explain to my kids.

Plus, there was Netflix.

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gratitude: mufflers

Growing older has been an odd development (although a good one, considering the alternative). So many things I thought were game changers – positions firmly held, opinions screamed from the mountaintops…well, it turns out some of them have shifted.

Which is really weird sometimes.

Take silence.  Silence used to freak me out.  I don’t mean freak me out like it was uncomfortable so I’d turn on some music.  It was more like freak me out so thoughts ran furiously on hamster wheels in my brain, every single sound in the house rang out like gongs, and I’d startle so easily I pulled muscles jumping sideways.

I guess you could say the quiet made me a bit skittish.

Yet here I am, the proud owner of a pair of noise canceling headphones.  And it wasn’t even by chance – I actually asked for these as a birthday present.  I actively pursued the silence.  This may be a sign of End Times.

All I know is this: here I am in 2016, and sometimes I crave the quiet.  Unfortunately, sometimes I still have the hamster wheel brain, too, which is where the beauty of the headphones comes in.

I pop those babies on, flip the switch, and the noise around me dampens.  Shrieking kids become less shrieky, construction noises become less grating, and lunatic dog barking becomes a distant roar.  It usually even slows the hamster wheels enough for the thoughts to present themselves in a civilized manner.

Bless you, technology gods…


My post as part of Colline’s Gratitude Project.

Pokémon. Pokémon Go. Nope, I just don’t get it.

As someone who’s been known to hide in my car, scribbling madly in a notebook while skulking behind the wheel in a parking lot, I don’t have much room for mocking others’ pastimes.  People who live in glass houses and all that jazz.  For all I know there are lots of folks who think writing so you can send your work out onto the internet is a spazzy way to spend my time.

The thing is I’ve never understood Pokémon.  Not when it was playing cards that caused such an uproar in class we had to ban them from third grade, and not now when grown ass adults are veering off the road trying to catch these things with their phones.  While driving.  What the hell?!?

But I can always count on Sass & Balderdash to have a fresh perspective on things.

“…Aside from the frequent technical glitches that only seem to happen after you’ve wasted 17 Pokéballs wooing a CP 767 Tauros that won’t be saved to your Pokédex when you relaunch the game, the biggest struggle of Pokémon Go is finding a good variety of Pokémon to catch.  Where are the rare Pokémon?

At first I thought the often unimpressive Pokémon selection was a flaw in the game, but perhaps all of us Pokémon Go players just need to get more creative.  We need to channel our inner Pokémon.  We need to ask ourselves, ‘If I were Magnemite, where would I hang out?’  To help guide your thinking, here are a few places where you might be able to find uncommon Pokémon while playing Pokémon Go.”

Where to Find Rare Pokémon in ‘Pokémon Go’ – Without Discovering a Dead Body: Sass & Balderdash

a eulogy for my iPhone

You’re gone far too soon, though I’ve got nothing but my bumbling Barney Fifeness to blame for that.  Curse you, uncontrollable urge to keep my purse off the germy bathroom floor.  Double curse you, auto sensor sinks.  Triple curse you, heat induced delirium that prevented me from connecting the sound of water pouring down my purse with your endangered life tucked in an outside pocket.

Prayers, petitions, a sacrifice to Steve Jobs himself…my best efforts can do nothing to revive you now, my friend.

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the life of an SOS text

I love when morse code shows up in a movie or tv show these days.  Somebody starts clicking or tapping away and, much like speaking in tongues, someone else instantly knows what’s going on.  Not only do they cry out “It’s morse code!” like Galileo discovering the principle of relativity, but they also have the ability to instantly translate the message.  Because apparently morse code is being taught on the sly to teens and tweens around the country.

Me?  I don’t have enough brain cells left to master the art of dots and dashes in a message. But texting?  That I can do.

None of that nonsense texting that flies back and forth, acronym filled, without really saying anything.  Nope, I believe in meaningful texts that use (gasp) actual punctuation.  I know, I’m a dinosaur.

But when it comes to BrightSide I’ve noticed an interesting transition in my SOS texts over time. And shockingly enough, the kids have an awful lot to do with them.

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