Long story short

Yes, this post breaks all the “bloggy” rules. No images. No fantastic headline. Not posted as part of a schedule. And somehow…I’m not getting struck by lightning.

The reason for so much radio silence lately is that things have just been overwhelming. I’m just now back from a hastily-scheduled two-day trip to DC to help my parents out when overlapping medical appointments (including an emergency oral surgery) made things really difficult for them. I’ve now been to DC twice this month, once for my father’s heart surgery and now for this trip, and I’ll be there in two weeks for a work trip. JetBlue kinda loves me right about now.

I got promoted at work – and then spent the first two days in my new role working remotely from 500mi south. Thankfully I have the best boss ever, and I have coworkers who are very tolerant of teleworking.

I’m helping organize a massive event for my employer, and that’s taking up many of my brain cycles – not even including those that are occupied by a very high-profile project that has become even more involved than I’d ever imagined.

And then there was the start of Kindergarten and 2nd Grade for the kiddos. Never, ever assume that the start of a new school year won’t come with its own challenges, including kids that won’t sleep well and fights over what’s for lunch.

But the marathon walk for The Jimmy Fund was awesome, and between me and dh we managed to raise $2,000 for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. So there’s that. I’d say that we’re both over the moon about that, but it would be an understatement.

On the other hand, I’ve started getting hot flashes, so I guess this means perimenopause for me! Yeay? I thought everything started breaking when I turned 41, but I didn’t realize HOW RIGHT I was.

And with all that quickly and quietly off my chest, not even baring half of what’s on my mind, I’m going to bed. Sorry if this isn’t all that exciting, but when your life seems to be spinning like one of those dreamworld tokens in the movie “Inception”, it’s pretty hard to figure out how to explain it all in the span of one blog post – or explain it without collateral damage of spilling things that people may not want in public.

So off to bed I go. Nighty night.

Ereader analysis paralysis

The future of my reading?

Let me start this off by saying that I don’t love ereaders. I love READING. My very first paying job ever – at the tender age of 13yrs and 9mos old – was shelving books in our local library. Books hold a very special place in my heart. So why would I consider buying an ereader, and why would I even have angst over ereader vs tablet?

The short version of the long story is that I received a tablet to review (forthcoming!), and I used it as an ereader for the copy of Divergent that I got free when we bought tickets to the movie. I used it on a couple of trips, and while I won’t say that I got hooked on ereaders as a useful tool, I would say that they have some merit (the same way an iPod is far more convenient than walking around with a stack of CD’s). But the screen resolution on this particular tablet isn’t really optimal for reading, so I wanted to see what else is out there. Any device I consider WILL NOT completely replace reading paper books – but for free books, ones that I don’t intend to purchase in paper form, this could be helpful. It’s also nice not to have to carry a stack of books when I’m traveling, which I’m doing more frequently now.

What’s on the consideration list:

  • Amazon Kindle Paperwhite
  • Amazon Kindle Fire
  • iPad Mini
  • …{generic Android tablet}

Kindle Paperwhite reviews are fairly positive, and the e-ink display I saw at our local Best Buy was very easy to read. [SHOUT OUT to Best Buy for showrooming Amazon Kindles - it makes it a lot easier to decide when you can SEE a product in person!] Big pluses appear to be: backlighting, touchscreen, e-ink display (lower eyestrain), and reasonable price. You can spend a few extra $$ to get a version that doesn’t have any ads, which is totally worth the expense, in my mind. Minuses: screen size is really small by comparison to a tablet and there’s NO color. AT ALL. I realize it’s a silly thing to some, but the color on dust jackets and book covers DOES attract my attention to a new read; it’s hard for that magic to work when I can’t see the color.

Kindle Fire is a little more expensive than its e-ink cousin, but it has the benefit of having color (yeay!). Pluses are bigger screen size, color, and the ability to do other things besides just reading; after all, it’s a tablet! Minuses are potential for eyestrain or that annoying thing where the screen screws up your sleeping, as well as a higher price tag.

It would seem logical, as I type this on my MacBook Pro, with my iPhone sitting to my left, that the right choice would have to be an iPad Mini, right? Well, maybe. Big pluses here in terms of it being able to do plenty of other things and its connectivity to the things that make me ME in the Apple world. Minuses are pretty much the same as those for the Amazon Kindle Fire, in terms of potential eyestrain/circadian rhythm disruption, but the price tag is MUCH higher, and that’s really something that gives me pause. How did a simple “Hey, ereaders aren’t so bad!” turn into “Let’s spend $400 on a new Apple device!”?

And then we have {generic Android tablet}. I saw an Acer tablet, for example, that was priced comparably to the Kindles and it looked basically like a souped-up version of the tablet I received for review, with a nice crisp display and a lightweight, compact body. Pluses are similar to the iPad Mini, in that it can do other stuff; also, I’m now more used to the Kindle app than the native Kindle interface (which I actually found a bit overwhelming with all its “TAP HERE AND THINGS HAPPEN” action), so the learning curve is lower. On the other hand, I haven’t heard that Android devices get the updates and upgrades that iOS devices receive, which makes me wonder if {generic android tablet} is disposable technology.

So, I’m stumped. I really like the Kindle store – the variety of options and pricing fit me really well – but I’m not sure which direction I should take.

*waves cash in the air and waits for personal shopper to appear*

Baby boys and blue nail polish – a Kindergarten journey begins

blue nail polish on my 5yo son's nails

Yesterday was ds’ first day in Kindergarten. And he wore blue nail polish.

It was just on two fingers – but it caused enough of a stir in our household that I wasn’t sure how it was going to play in school.

Two days before Kindergarten, as I was getting dd’s nails ready for her first day of second grade, ds came over and excitedly asked, “Mommy, can you do MY nails, too?!” He looked so eager. Honestly, why shouldn’t he want his nails done? It looked like fun, it meant you got attention fawned on you – at least for as long as it takes for the paint and top coat to be applied – and it left you with colored, shiny nails. Who wouldn’t want that?

And then there’s society. Stupid, *phobic society. Society says only girls wear nail polish. Society says there’s something wrong with boys who wear nail polish. (Unless the boy in question is Steven Tyler. Or Johnny Depp. Of course.)

DH and I tried to convince him that he didn’t need nail polish for his first day of Kindergarten, hoping that holding him off with the excuse of “most boys don’t…” would be sufficient. We didn’t do it for us. We did it for him. And he totally ignored us.

There was pouting and confusion, and ultimately I gave him “shiny nails” – a coat of Seche Clear base coat, followed by a coat of Seche Vite top coat. I wanted him to see how he did with clear shiny nails first, I explained.

After he went to bed, I did some looking around on the Internet, trying to see what other parents did. Mostly, there was a lot of concern about kids being gay or transgendered. Um…SO WHAT? Nail polish love doesn’t mean you’re gay, transgendered or anything other than someone who likes to decorate their body. Most parents seemed to fret somewhat, but various behavioral health specialists pointed out that this was totally normal behavior for a young kid. The boy likes to wear stickers on his shirt, whenever offered one, so what’s the difference between that and nail polish?

As his sister put it, “Nail polish is for girls.” THAT’S the difference. People think nail polish is for girls. And if a boy wants nail polish (unless said boy is Mssrs. Tyler or Depp, natch), said boy must want to be a girl. OH. WE FEAR GIRLS and GIRL BEHAVIOR BY BOYS (except Steven or Johnny) is BAD BAD BAD.

The night before Kindergarten, he approached me again: “Mommy, where are the colors?” (they’d been out when I did dd’s nails)

“Mommy, I want you to paint my nails!”

I sighed and sat him down. I explained that not every kiddo would understand his nails and there’s a chance that they might laugh or make mean comments. He promised he’d say “Gee Whiz!” to them and that he didn’t care, but I know my sweet, sensitive little guy – and he’d care. It would bother him. I steeled myself and told him, “You know what, just tell them you’re a rock star.” He looked at me funnily and agreed, and then I let him pick from a curated selection of sparkly and shiny blues and greens.

He chose an electric blue Wet’n’Wild nail polish dd had gotten at a holiday swap. One coat of that on each thumb, and one more coat of Seche Vite to hold it all together.

But what would hold ME together if someone tried to make fun of my little boy?

I tweeted to my sister about it, showing her the picture, and telling her how fantastic they looked. Being the awesome auntie that she is, she totally approved. I suggested that she get bail money set aside, in case any of the kids in ds’ class decided to make a big deal out of it. Her response, “I’ll tell [my husband], since I’ll be right there with you, kicking ass.” See, I told you: an awesome auntie.

And then the day came, and I went off to work while ds waved to me from the living room. Off he went to his first day of Kindergarten, with his blue thumbs. I had remembered, as I painted his nails, that kids of MY generation often painted our nails with magic marker when we were younger. Boys and girls did it. We were decorating ourselves, as much as we decorated our binders or Trapper Keepers. Would it be the same for him?

When I finally got home, just before dinner went on the table, ds was beaming and couldn’t get out enough “Guess what?!” questions to satisfy his retelling of the day. So many friends, old and new, so many fun things, so many new discoveries, so many hopes for a great year.

The polish was still intact, and when I asked dh if there was a note from the teacher, he said no. Apparently, he’d asked ds how things went with the nail polish, and ds pronounced it as no big deal. Everything went fine.

I know it was just the first day, and I realize that there is always the threat of someone doing or saying something stupid to him about it, but I really hope that this bodes well. Whether he decides to wear nail polish on two fingernails or all ten, whether he decides that this nail polish does or doesn’t mean anything more than body decoration…it’s all up to him.

And what do I think of the nail polish? I think it’s freaking awesome. And I think he’s awesome. And anyone who thinks otherwise…well, the door’s to the left, and don’t let it hit you on the way out.