Monday, October 31, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

The BEST Thing About Kindle

I love to read. I am sooo addicted to books. Not really the best thing when you have to pack up every few years and move, and every thing you and and family owns has to weigh less than 7200 pounds. As anyone who has ever been to college can attest, books are heavy. Very heavy. So you would think the best thing about my kindle is that this little electronic gizmo that weighs only fourteen ounces (including cover) has more than two hundred books on it. Two hundred books and only 14 ounces? That is COOL, but it's not the best thing about my kindle.

You might think the best thing about the kindle is the near instant ability to get new books. I will freely admit that it is wonderful to finish a book and be able to click on Amazon (assuming the internet is working) and get the sequel without having to drive to a bookstore (if there is such a thing near you) or waiting weeks for the Amazon box to show up in the mail. Getting books in minutes instead of weeks is is GREAT, but it isn't the best thing.

My husband thinks the best thing about the kindle is his ability to surprise me with new books anytime, even when he isn't home, as long as he has access to Amazon. I LOVE fact that my husband understand and supports my literary addiction. That's one of the reasons I married him, he spoils me rotten. Admit it you are jealous and wish you had found him first, sorry he is mine and I'm not sharing him. Or the kindle. But it's not the best thing about the kindle.

So what is the best thing about my kindle? It is one little feature that is really on Amazon not the kindle itself. If I try to buy a book I have already bought in kindle format, Amazon warns me and reminds me when I bought it. If you don't think that is awesome you have obviously never gone book shopping with kids, quickly grabbed a likely book by a favorite author and realized hours later, half way through chapter one, that it was a book you already owned, just with new cover art. Deja vu in a really sucky way.

When I was cleaning out my bookshelves before we moved out Frankfurt I sorted my books by author and suddenly realized how many duplicate titles were in my library. I had at least a couple dozen titles for which I had two (or more) books. Yes, some books I had three copies of, and I think I had four copies of Dragon Singer by Anne McCaffrey. I blame Dakota for at least a few of those doubles because we have similar taste in Sci Fi/Fantasy books, but most were my mistakes. Do you know how much money a couple dozen books adds up to? I could have spent that money on books I didn't already have. So you see the BEST thing about my kindle is never accidentally buying the same book two (or three) times.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Rules of the House

I'm an only child. I am a girl. The rules of the house when I was growing up were a bit different the the rules I find myself making around the boy filled Cyberbones household.

House Rule #9422 If you are not at the beach or a swimming pool you must wear a shirt.

Could someone explain to me why little boys feel the need to run around all flipping day long with their scrawny little plucked chicken chests hanging out? When I was a teenager I thought guys ran around shirtless to impress girls with their manliness. Well I'm telling you I am the only girl in this house and I'm not impressed. Put some clothes on already!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

This and That and Where to Next

I picked up the computer hoping to check my e-mail. The internet has been flaking out all weekend. I haven’t been able to get e-mail since Friday (it’s Monday) but at times I can get to Facebook (if I wait 10 minutes for it to load). Earlier today I received a phone call from Dakota who apparently had the good timing to catch the only 20 minute interval in 3 days that would support the Vonage line, but I still can’t access my e-mail. Bah humbug! I also can’t get to Cyberbones so I am typing this in word hoping I can upload it later.

I am hiding in my bedroom with a throbbing headache and backache hoping this isn’t the onset of malaria or the stomach bug that Dave has had since last week. I took tylenol and it isn’t working at all, maybe I will try Motrin next. I decided to take a nice hot bath hoping that it would ease some of the muscle pain. I started the tap running, retrieved my cup of tea, and returned to find the water in the tub was a shade or two darker than than the tea in my cup. Ewww! Dave suggested that I look at it as a mineral bath and climb in anyway. After the initial yuck factor I did take my bath and the hot water did help the backache, a little bit anyway. Moments like this I am ready to pack it up and head out of Africa.

Debating the topic of where to next, next as in where to live after Malawi, has become the newest hobby in the Cyberbones household. Real Post Reports is probably the most visited site on our internet. See a show on TV about Istanbul, head to Real Post Reports and check out Turkey. Get an e-mail from a friend new serving in Dubai and loving it, run look up the UAE. There is no single favored post, instead it is more the post of the day. You can pretty much measure how the day is going by where we want to go next. On a good day we are looking at exotic sounding hardship posts. Does anyone want to come visit us on Mauritius? Has anyone even heard of Mauritius? On a bad day we are looking at any place that is closer to home, has fewer mosquito born illnesses, and more access to Starbucks. Starbucks will be a major bidding consideration this next time. Have I ever mentioned there is NO Starbucks in Malawi? I really need a caramel macchiato people!

Yesterday Dave was in the living room folding clothes and absently staring at the computer screen saver, which is just random pictures from our iphoto files. Several pictures in a row of Germany flipped by and Dave muttered “I could go back there.” Wow, not something I thought I would ever hear him say. I stared at him until he finally shrugged and said “What? It was easy to live there.” Of course today he is all “Let’s go to Italy.” Probably because we celebrated Columbus day by watching Under the Tuscan Sun over coffee this morning while the kids were at school.

Alonzo’s only request is that where ever we go it should have a commissary. Apparently he is having Pop-tart withdrawal issues, and I didn’t include any in our consumables. Bad mommy! The other day we watched a show about Korea. When it was over he looked at me and asked very seriously, “Does Seoul have a military base with a commissary. “Yes” I answered. “OK Let’s got to Seoul.” Hmmm....I may need to look that up, wonder how the schools are? I am with him though, a commissary is sounding darn good to me right now, frozen pizzas, Pop-tarts, squishy white bread, and mac and cheese...yummy!

Colin simply wants to go to Tokyo because that is where his best friend from Germany moved to, failing that he wants to go back to Germany or maybe Jakarta. I think he may be tired of new experiences and is looking for the familiar.

Grayson seems to care the least, probably because he thinks he is Indonesian and can’t remember living in the states anyway. As far as he is concerned we move every few years. That’s just what our family does. Poor confused kiddo.

As for me I just want to go someplace easy. Some place without really loud birds that wake you up before 6 am every flipping morning. Why can’t the wildlife understand I’m NOT a morning person? Someplace where I don’t have to go to every store in town to do my weekly grocery shopping and still come home without some stuff because those items are simply out of stock everywhere. Butter anyone? Some place where a Coca Cola shortage would be ludicrous. Yes, we are having a Coke shortage, and yes I realize that sounds trivial but some days I just want an ice cold Coke! Besides if a country can run out of Coke you can imagine what other things we run out of. So yes DC sounds lovely and so does Frankfurt. But then again so do Taipei, Mexico City, Bangkok, and Hong Kong. All that awesome food just waiting to be eaten.

All this speculation is a bit premature. We don’t get our bid list until sometime next July or August, and even after we submit our bids it will be wait, wait, and wait some more to find out where we are going. Still playing the “what if” game seems to be hard to resist. I think it is part of human nature to want to plan for the future and that can be hard to do when you have no idea of what continent you will be living on in 2 years time.

Nice hot mineral-bath spa treatment anyone?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Homework Woes

*Rant Alert, don't say I didn't warn you.

I hate homework. I mean I really hate it. As a kid I hated it, in fact I often refused to do it. As a teacher I hated assigning homework, I did because district policy required it, but I didn't like it, and refused to count it as anything more than a completion grade. As a parent my relationship with homework has hit a whole new low. Homework is public enemy number one in the Cyberbones household causing daily battles and disrupting the family peace.

As a former student, former teacher, and current parent of school aged kiddos I am familiar with all the reasons for assigning homework. It (supposedly) reinforces the skills covered during the day. It (is supposed to) promote responsibility. It (theoretically) teaches study skills and time management. And it is often one of the only ways that parents know what the kids are learning at school.

Now I don't know about you, but except for when I was a teacher, I simply didn't work on work outside of the work place. Work was for work, home was for family, chores, hobbies, romance, love and laughter, food and fun, but it wasn't for work. I say except as a teacher because the dirty little secret of teaching is that for every assignment you give to your students you have assigned the grading of that work to yourself, as homework, multiplied by the number students you assigned the work to. If you LOVE homework teaching may be the gig for you. If we as adults generally aren't willing to spend our leisure time on work, why do we expect kids to?

Of course I think there is a time and place for homework. I actually don't have huge problems with older kids having regular homework, although I think it is best reserved for special projects and studying for tests. But daily homework in kindergarten or first grade?? Seriously? How is giving a 6 year old homework at all helpful? Is it teaching time management or responsibility when he can't tell time or even read the instructions for himself? If you want me as a parent to know what is being taught try sending newsletters and weekly packets of graded work. That would be a lot more effective and I would have an idea of how he is actually doing in class so the report card wouldn't come as such a surprise.

I know that I should write a conclusion summing up all the points I have made into a nice concise paragraph but as this is a rant I find myself either repeating myself or going off on a tangent. I will instead simply thank you for your attention and go see if the oldest boy is finished with his homework and send him off to bed.