Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Text in the City

People who've known me since college might be shocked to know that I do not text.  That right now for another few days, I have a dumb phone that doesn't even have a web browser.   If it even does texting, I'm not sure how. I'm borrowing my Dad's old cell phone until my new one gets here.

I've always liked being an early adopter.  Heck, I took my own answering machine with me to summer camp (pre-voicemail days!).   I've carried a cell phone since 1996.  I've had an email account since 1992, a web page since 1995.  I had a Palm pilot in 1999, from there, went to the early Palm Phones and never looked back.    I've had Trios and Samsungs and I don't even remember what else.  Let me tell you, nothing out there now is as cool as my first Palm phone was to me, back in 2001.  It meant I didn't have to carry two devices.  So my phone from 10 years ago was better than the phone I have now! 

But from having a phone with internet access, it always seemed silly to text.  Why would I want to get a text when I could get an email instead?  Which someone could type out from any computer without hurting their thumbs to do?   Since I didn't text other people, it was always surprising when I would get a text out of the blue.  My friends Jason and Lisa liked to send "Happy New Year!"  "Happy Arbor Day!" etc. messages.  While it was nice that they were thinking of me, I had to pay 20 cents for the privilege of hearing from them, like a collect call.

Then the spam texts started.  Somehow my cell phone # got onto some list of people looking to refinance, and I got many messages a day and worst, in the middle of the night, barraging me with "rates have dropped!" etc.  I contacted Sprint and they set up my account to block all texts except for a special list of friends' numbers which I manually added one by one.  I added my friend Steve, who is really not the type to do "Happy Arbor Day" messages, and Jenna and Jill, who I would frequently meet in loud public places where we couldn't hear our phones.  And one other person (is it you?  did you make the cut?!).  And that's it!  

So from now on, anyone who is trying to text me, well, they might THINK I got their message, but I'm blissfully unaware of the attempt.  And this block has been set up for YEARS, but every so often, people will mention that they texted me and act hurt that I never got back to them.  So occasionally I wonder what I am missing out on.  But I get every single email, Twitter message, Facebook posting, LinkedIn mail, etc. and I don't pay 20 cents each to read them.  If someone spams my inbox, I hit delete and move on.  It doesn't rouse me out of a deep sleep the way texts do, or cause me to pull the car over to see who needs to urgently reach me (oh!  rates have dropped again!).

Monday, December 05, 2011

Food pantries

Quick little post!  Last night, I went to the MomsLA Holiday party, where we were asked to bring food for Westside Food Bank.  I went through our cabinets and came up with a whole box of stuff, which I then promptly FORGOT on the kitchen table, and showed up at the party empty-handed!  Whoops! :(

But all is not lost because I remembered that UCLA is still doing their food drive until December 14, and they've made it very easy for you to donate.  There are several locations around campus and some of them don't even require getting out of your car! I will be heading to parking kiosk #2 this morning with my box.  Here is more info if you are a Westsider and want to donate there:

Map of drop-off locations:

Of course, the food banks are in need all year, not just now!  But let's take this holiday season of excessive shopping and merriment, to especially remember those who are struggling just to get their next meal, and would not care if, say, the Annie's Organic Macaroni and Cheese was accidentally the green box instead of the purple box.  (Ahem, Lauren!)

Oh, and even without me, MomsLA still managed to fill 3 bins of donations, what generous bloggers!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Guest Post from my Dad: Christmas Hints 1 Through 10

This is from an email my dad sent to the family:

Coming from a large family, I picked up a few helpful hints for saving money at Christmas over the years. I thought I would share them with you...
    1.  E-mail each of your relatives individually and tell them that we had a drawing of names for Christmas gift-giving at Thanksgiving. Then tell each one that they got your name.
     2.  If you are sending Christmas cards, address them to yourself and write the name of the intended recipient on the return address part of the envelope.  Then don't put a stamp on it.
It will be returned to sender for postage and you'll save a lot in postage.
      3.  Find a store that offers free Christmas wrapping and buy the biggest item they have.  Have it wrapped for Christmas.  When you get home, unwrap it and return the item to the store.  You will have enough wrapping paper and ribbon for all the rest of the gifts.
       4.  Never buy live trees until after Christmas. On Christmas morning, tell your kids or grand kids that Christmas is still a few days away.  Then go out and get a bargain on an unsold tree.
This works really well if you keep them off the phone and away from their friends for a few days before Christmas.
       5.  Gather the little ones and read them Santa's obituary a couple of days before Christmas. You will lower their expectations and save on toy purchases.
       6.  Drop subtle hints with people for a month or so before the holiday.  For example, I sign most of my e-mails to vendors and colleagues with "Jim S., shirt size 17 X 35" Or "Jim S., who uses Titleist Pro Vx golf balls." 
        7.  Whenever a vendor at work asks for my address to send the staff a holiday basket, I give him the name and address of a friend who I want to remember at Christmas.
I simply ask them to write "From Jim" on the card.
        8. To get out of assembling that big, artificial tree you store in the garage for 48 weeks out of the year, simply tell the wife that the rats got into it.  Women hate rats.  They hate to have anything in their house that is remotely associated with rats.  You won't have to spend the day putting all those color-coded branches in the stem and fluffing the boughs and spacing the lights.
         9.  Gather all the little kids in the house a day or so before the big night and tell them that Santa won't bring them anything unless they leave a case of Budweiser and a roast beef sandwich on rye with lettuce and mayonnaise.
        10.  For a really fun-filled Christmas morning, sneak downstairs the night before and switch all of the tags on the gifts.
      I hope these suggestions will brighten your holidays.  If not, may a sacred camel leave a holy relic under your pillow.

Jimmy who wears size L golf shirts

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Homework Help

Willie decides he is tired of all this homework talk, so he's just going to help "Tister" do it himself!

But seriously, I do think she has way too many assignments. When I was in kindergarten, I don't remember having much, if any, homework. And if we did, it was probably something simple like "come back and tell us something in your house that starts with 'A'."

These nights, Lauren usually has to read for 5-10 minutes, practice "high frequency word" flashcards, do 2 pages of math worksheets, 2 pages of "word" worksheets. Tonight's were "circle the pictures that show a short i sound" and "trace, cut out "w-h-y and write a sentence using the word 'why' ". I wish she had written "WHY is there so much homework?" or "Why couldn't I be playing right now or doing anything else except this?".

And don't even get me started on the math homework. Because I did not understand the directions and had to have her skip one of the pages until Ryan got home. Even he had to read it several times before this sunk in: "Have children: 1-2 trace a line from each cube in the first column to each cube in the second column, count and trace each number, then circle the number that is greater; 3-4 repeat and then circle the number that is less."

KINDERGARTEN, people! Can't wait until a few years from now when she comes home and asks me to help her conjugate French verbs. Sheesh!
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