Enough talk!

product review: JimmyCase for the iPhone 6s

Full disclosure: this is an honest product review written in exchange for a complimentary case! Read on.

We’re a house divided; Ralph is partial to the Samsung Galaxy, and I’ve loved iPhones since he bought me my first. One thing I get to have, that he doesn’t though? Is a JimmyCase. I don’t remember the year I got my first iPhone, but I do remember splurging on my first JimmyCase two years ago exactly. I wanted an iPhone card holder that was compact and simple – something for my ID and the handful of debit and credit cards I use. I dunno, I have this dream of never ever having to carry a purse around (this is one reason everything I sew for myself has great-big-DEEP-pockets!) – and one thing I love is having this phone and my cards in one hand, all day long. The Pacific Northwest hipster in me approves of the mahogany detail; and the fiber artist in me adores the bright, thick elastic, too!

gifts

Phoenix sits cross-legged in the straight-backed chair and takes her turn as she, A., J. and I read from Trivial Pursuit cards. My daughter knows a surprising number of answers, but what’s more notable to me is how excited she is to stay up late (until about 2 AM as it turns out) and hang out being a Grown Up. Later at home she gives herself a bath and puts on camisole and panties and we join Nels (where we’d found him at my computer, watching original “Pink Panther” cartoons and laughing like he discovered the first joke) then queue up an Australian mermaid teen drama for a few episodes.

I can’t tell if the show is good or not. The kids love it though. “That makes sense,” Nels sagely nods when one of the characters makes a decision involving who to invite to her birthday party. Phoenix agrees. For all their smarts and worldly know-how, they are still as simple and loving and straightforward as children ought grow up to be (and as I often wish I could easily reclaim). I love that my seven year old son has no problem identifying with and celebrating femme-identified heroines. I love the kids cuddle tangled up in one another’s arms, happy I’m watching their show with them. A few moments later: “Her hair looks like Top Ramen,” my son says in the same judicious tone. When I’m sleepy I ask the children to turn off the show. Nels runs off to join his dad for sleep (Musical Beds, in our household, including feline members as well), and Phoenix wraps herself around me and we whisper how much we love one another, and I’m into sleep.

Life has been so busy and full for me it’s a wonder I keep track. I write lots of notes in my moleskine and that helps. I have one of those cool phones but for some things I like putting pen to paper, it’s more efficient. Today in my son’s possession is a small bronze coin that means more than other currency, and he carries it tenderly in his pocket as he runs off to play with his sister. I buy a cup of coffee and greet the well-known baristas who at 11:30 AM I see in an aura of clear divinity. In the evening I emerge from a church building to a pouring rain that’s warmer than any I’ve felt; I’m taken aback. Then for a friend who quite suddenly lost her companion kitty today, we buy flowers and a card (the flowers roses on Nels’ insistance, the card quite tasteful and sweet and chosen by Phoenix). I smile and say “excuse me!” and mean it and make eye contact in the shop when a cart crosses my path (or vice versa).

Today someone told me “I love you” in a way where I knew they really meant it,

and that was pretty amazing.

im-a-mother-fucking-creeper

“Pull in your navel! Relax your shoulders! Is that the best you can do? Really?”

I feel sheepish about how little I understand some of my children’s computer activities and passions. Currently Ralph and Nels are discussing the best way to learn Java in order to write class files for modifications to Minecraft. Daily the children install mods and texture packs with fluency; they discovered, installed, and self-taught usage of an inventory editor (I’m told this is no big deal, by Ralph) and get into very excited conversations with one another, or other teens / grownups when the opportunity arises, about these features and their own methodologies and – of course – gameplay and strategy. I think of all the goatee-stroking and chortling grownups are wont to do, thinking they’ll top-down “teach” kids some skill, while anyone who’s been around a freechild for long soon is humbled at their dexterity, perseverance, logistical skills, and flexible intelligences – and, often, how quickly they surpass us when it’s something they’re interested in.

My lack of understanding when it comes to computer programming is largely a function of personal disinterest. It’s a position I can afford to take, since there is another person in the house who serves as a mentor and assistant (don’t ask me why the kids are so hopped-up on computers but have shown only passing interests in sewing – my equivalent passion, I suppose, to Ralph’s mad tech skillz; I suspect, however, the kids are learning to sew and will sew well and at least semi-regularly in the future). I know in the end I don’t need to be an enthusiastic fan to still be a supporter and advocate for the kids; it was in fact me who squawked rather loudly and uncharacteristically, knowing a while back laptops were the best next tool for our family. And, of course, our entire life is structured around supporting them in the exploits they choose whilst not wasting their times with ones they have no use for.

But the truth is my ignorance and slow-wittedness serve to imbue me with unease. Several times today Nels asked if I would look at his newest installation. I kept saying “no”, not because I was so busy but because there’s something in the whole business that panics me. It isn’t that I think I won’t be able to understand the tech aspect – the other day my daughter patiently explained the horse breeding schema she was using within the game mod, including genetic values and a complex series of stables (read through this and tell me if it makes sense) and it was like this dim lightbulb flickered and I kind of got it – it’s that I’m worried upon my grasping more I’ll feel even worse for not previously knowing more about what they love, and why. So I sit here on the fringe dithering about it, I guess.

Gee, when I write it out I sound like a tremendous assy coward.

[ * cough, cough * ]

Tonight my mom literally rescued me from an intense case of ennui by taking the kids and I out to a burger joint (where I had my all-time tired-ass choice, a veggie burger and fries). It was pretty funny (to me) that we ordered all this food, and they didn’t have what my mom wanted (a corndog), so she said, “That’s OK!” and sat with the kids and snuggled and loved up on them, and after the lady rang me up I said, politely and all classy-like, “Are you paying?” and my mom said, “Oh!” and grappled at her wallet, and I laughed because I got one over on her and I always feel appreciative when she helps support us but it’s also just kind of funny, like she’s getting screwed, which is kind of how I feel about this whole having-kids business, although I love them dearly of course, and it just is what it is, including Grandma’s generous support. The bill was a little over twenty dollars and my mom waved at me to give a few dollars tip (which, judging by the near-empty jar, is not something most customers do). Speaking of the tip bit, she’s always like that. Really an incredibly kind-hearted person.

Her car wouldn’t start so we walked home in the light rain. Nels was dismayed about this and wailed loudly for about a block, then soon he and Phoenix were running full-tilt down the wet and scary sidewalks in torrents of musical laughter while my mom and I hoofed it behind them and I texted Ralph to help her out with her new and temporary car-ass scenario.

After we got to my house my mom headed home and the kids and I settled in; while I await the opportunity to purchase carbon chacopy paper I am sewing a decidedly-custom coat for Phoenie. Ralph arrived home late after his class and brought in Jasmine – they have a drag act they’re performing on Friday, my birthday (not for my birthday, just a coincidence). As they got started on the choreography I made coffee and watched for about two minutes before intervening. Look, Jasmine had one hundred percent talent but Ralph’s dancing concepts and skills in moving less like a huge energetic man were just not cutting it. I’d been thinking about how often I don’t claim my talents and you know what? I can dance OK. What followed was an intensely funny, as in peeing-our-pants-laughing, two and a half hour series where I am not lying when I say I turned into a sweaty and intense dance monster and at practice’s end frenetically smoked on the porch while seething the show acts were not open to the general public and even considering some kind of sabotage. Later in the evening, after Jasmine left, Ralph would be washing dishes or something and I’d say, “Look, let’s try it again, don’t move the rest of your body, for a shimmy just punch one shoulder forward then relax, let the other one follow.” He eventually told me I’d worn his body and mind out and that he wasn’t sure if he had it in him anymore to do even one more move.

Hee.

OK – it’s almost 3:00 AM as I type this and I suppose I should go take a look at what that Nels has been making a fuss about.

Deep breath.

im-a-mother-fucking-creeper

salir a caminar

The rain let up today so I knew we were bound outside for an adventure, or at least a longish walk to who-knows-where, as yet undecided. After all, we have everything we need in-home right now and the days and nights just run together in what feels like oppressive darkness and seaside walks or wooded hikes are almost out of the question as we don’t have the gear unless you can find a day that isn’t rainy and cold and dark and near-miserable. You can imagine today with only a half-a-fuck!-level cold I planned to get out No Matter What even if we had nothing much to do.

As I was toasting homemade pumpernickel (d/l!) and peeling oranges and pouring milk for the tousled-kids’ breakfast, my mother called in and offered to bring us a hot dish for dinner. My evening meal responsibilities shelved, the kids and I brushed teeth and scrubbed faces and bundled up and took to the streets – fine, let’s take back library books and stop at our post office box.  Out the door –

where we were snooped by no fewer than five or six cats as we walked, starting with our own little Josie and continued by a relay-method of curious felines.

JOSIE SNOOP

Phoenie was looking sharp in her new Jack Skellington hat as I continued to fail at phone-picture-taking.

Phoenie Under The Tree

And as always we found lots of little piles of refuse!

Pile Of Refuse

I am old school HQX as I can mess about with the phone while walking in the near dark (you can watch it fall during these pictures) and wetness and treacherous walkways. I need a tag just for the Hoquiam sidewalks because they are jagged and scary and mossy and slick and there are portions dug out entirely and without warning and tonight, a huge stretch along fifth street where the streetlights didn’t work and Nels fell into a cinderblock hole.

Little Ones

As we walked down M street darkness was falling… onto the creepy but cozy weirdness of my childhood home…

Chlidhood Home

Nels navigated the way with his new compass (ala his aunt Jules):

Checking His Compass

And some Christmas lights were still out (yay!).

Christmas Lights

I suspect my liittle mobile camera uploads will continue to improve – I’m new to this. But I figure if I can make my $100 point-and-click shoot pretty good shit for this journal, I can do it on the camera. App hunting is actually not too much fun for me, but a necessary business I suppose.

At the library we were (literally) hugged and kissed by one of our librarian friends and the kids played and chatted while I turned in books and picked up holds. Our library is awesome in that they are very kid-friendly and inclusive and we have a great regional system. It was dark as hell when we left but I turned on some music and the kids sang our way home through the chill.

You’re welcome, west-side Hoquiam.

I don’t need too much / Just need somebody to love

You’ll probably never see me again as one of my Christmas gifts from Ralph was a nice phone – and because he’s all S-M-R-T it came completely set up with my tweeter and texting and chat and contacts and music service and every single thing I could ever want besides another human life and heartbeat – and this development is concomitant with a hardcore case of BIEBER FEVER* (yeah, I know I am late to the game on that one) so I’m mostly located in the kitchen making bread or washing dishes and listening with very perky pop at volume 11. Bieber gave way to some New Wave about the time I was rolling out some pumpernickel bread while the kids ran through the lights-out house playing hide and seek – donning caving lights on their heads. Of course.

I have been out and about a little bit.

Amore In Aberdeen

The darkness means photo-opportunities have been slight. And since this is my first ever mobile phone (seriously… I’m like a frikken corny commercial here) I’ve taken pictures of my own finger and all that, blah blah, oh well.

Here’s Ralph this morning. He recieved several gifts from my mother and I that were entirely PNw-clothing related, a lined flannel and handknit hat and neoprene boots and such. He accused us of exploiting his new beard and trying to dress him all sexy-lumberjack. I am SO GLAD I did not opt for those Carhartts with the buttcheeks cut out!

My Husband The Stoic Lumberjack

Not everyone’s too thrilled with my new gadgetry (Phoenix has intuited the awesomeness of my phone but Nels is mentally comparing it to an iPad and finding it lacking).

Post Sleep Marathon

However, despite the grouchy mien, some people are thrilled with their Christmas robe. We’re past 24 hours wearing it.

Christmas was incredible and beautiful but also exhausting. Oddly enough I need a break. Fortunately I’m getting one soon; a day with just the kiddos and I, tomorrow, when our sleepover guest goes home.

Gadgets, gadgets, more gadgets.

Post-Christmas Computer

* Here

off to the apple store again

My children – who get along so well and play together so much not a day goes by that someone doesn’t reference their kitten-like gamboling – chose the inopportune moment of a friend’s brief visit to fight with one another: yelling, throwing (a rented DVD of Kung Foo Panda), big tears, stomping, a slammed door.

After my friend left I sat my children down to talk about it because a couple of us – specifically, Sophie and I – had residual hurt feelings over the episode. I skipped any lectures and simply asked them to tell me what had happened. When they first started talking the familiar dynamics were in place: Sophie the tearful “victim” and Nels the completely remorseless perpetrator. In a very short amount of time Sophie’s tears had dried and Nels was owning his behavior: they were telling me exactly what occurred, blow by blow (because in truth I hadn’t seen it all). They were in total agreement over the events and not making any excuses.

By letting them tell me what had occurred it became obvious there was no need for me to explain my perspective on their fighting (and throwing). They both identified that it wasn’t fair to distress me with a potentially broken item nor an interruption during a relatively rare visit with a friend. This led – again, with almost no influence on my part – to a discussion about their occasional tendency to fight over the computer (IM time with their father had precipitated the conflict).

At this point my son started describing detailed scenarios for better computer systems for the family. This meant, in his view, each person should have their own. The funny thing is, what he was saying made sense. Both Ralph and I use computers a great deal and our children have grown into these tools as well. After Nels detailed exactly who could use what computer and where they would be set up (and believe me when I say Nels has a hardier grasp on our home technology than I do – just like the children also know how to do housework and laundry better than Ralph does), Sophie said – with no trace of greed or flippancy but with a set in her brow that indicated she’d considered the matter carefully:

“I want my own computer, with games and my own Gmail – and I especially want to paint it light blue.”

At this point our adult negotiations broke down entirely because I finally started laughing. I can’t quite express the mixed bag of emotions I felt – a combination of wonder and nervousness that Ralph and I, as technophiles, were raising little technophiles; pride at my children’s abilities to problem-solve, unaided by me; happiness I’d had the wisdom to avoid a lecture and whining and instead we’d tripped on a completely merry discussion.

I apologized to Sophie for my harsh actions over the fight. And I asked the kids to stay off my computer for the remainder of the afternoon. I am unsure just how much to tell Ralph about Nels’ plans because, knowing Ralph, he’d probably happily make them come to fruition.

handcrafted with a dash of love and sleep deprivation

This morning finds me making soothing sounds to and careful motions around my LAZR printer in hopes it will do as it’s told and print my little zine out without eating a lot of paper or making me cry with it’s weird paper handling voodoo. I’m eking out copies at this point, but at least it’s working.

Today I got up about two hours earlier than I usually do, at 6 AM (OK – I slept in a bit, it was more like 6:20 AM) to start making foccacia for my daughter’s kindergarten class in our Thursday morning ritual. OK, yes, it’s kind of a grownup recipe for little kids. But honestly, I had no groceries in the house except my breadmaking staples, some lovely roma tomatoes, and garlic. The best part will be when one little one pipes up about their hatred / fear of tomatoes (the ones I sharpened and re-sharpened my knife for and cut so carefully) and the whole class catches the bug and also start vehemently professing violent tomato antipathy. I mean those children are used to me and my food – they trust and eat whatever I make – but wee picky eaters are a contagious lot.

Tonight: helping a friend sew, crashing out early to a bad movie.