Thursday, December 10, 2009
Hands Free Toothpaste Dispenser
Now, Touch N Brush is the revolutionary new hands-free, mess-free toothpaste dispenser that works with just one touch! It's the great new way to dispense the perfect amount of toothpaste every time. Just a gentle touch of the pump arm with the brush, and a nice, neat strip of toothpaste comes out instantly! Featuring Vacuum Force Technology that cleanly squeezes every available drop of toothpaste, Touch N Brush works with virtually any size toothpaste tube, totally eliminates bathroom mess, uses no batteries or electric, plus it's incredibly easy to set-up & refill. What's more, it looks great! No more messy sinks, no cleaning up after kids, or fighting over the last drop of toothpaste. Just a simple gentle touch and a perfect, even strip of toothpaste is on the brush in one second!
(As opposed to the 1.01 second it takes to do it by hand.)
Motion Sensing Tetris Game
Rather than pressing keys, you alter a Tetrimino's direction by simply tilting or turning the handheld console, allowing blocks to be dropped on any side of the 2" x 2 1/2" monochrome LCD grid. Tetriminos may also be rotated with the push of a button.
(Because pressing keys can be so stressful.)
Ultra-sonic Denture Cleaner
Proven to eliminate up to 99.9% of germs like E. coli and Staphylococcus, the unit vibrates 8,000 times per minute and uses tap water to clean dental aides in five minutes without the need for chemicals.
(If you buy this, what will you use your Hands Free toothpaste dispenser for?)
I do, however, believe my workplace has reached the height of automation overload.
1. Our bathroom doors open automatically. That is totally understandable, it was requested by a disabled person and is necessary for several patrons. But read on.
2. The toilets flush automatically before and after use. It is probably meant to save water but because it is movement activated (no pun intended - ok I intended it) it often flushes when it doesn’t need to. When it does flush, there isn’t enough water that it flushes completely so you have to flush it again manually using even more water than one normal, manual flush would have used.
3. The soap dispensers are electronic and when they run out of soap they beep continuously until they are refilled. The person who refills them only comes in the library a couple times a day. So once one of them is out of soap, everyone in the library hears it beeping every time the door is opened.
4. The water is motion sensitive. The problem is, you have to wave your hands under it for several seconds before it comes on and then it continues to run for several seconds after you’ve finished and moved on.
5. The paper towels are dispensed automatically. That is fine but it is often empty and you drip dry, anyway.
I realize that manufacture, sale, and installation of all this automation provide the economy with jobs, GDP, taxes, etc. But I can’t help but wonder how many good old fashioned, low tech library books could have been bought with the money it took to automate the outhouse.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
I know they are nicer than alot of stuff people buy and wear and I know they are one-of-a-kind and I'm very proud of the work, love and artistry that goes into them, but I still get this pit in my stomach when I think about going out and convincing other people to buy - or even display - them. It is like saying to a total stranger, "Here is the best I can do. Is it good enough?" I've always sought other people's approval more than I should and I'm sure there are 100 psychological explaination for why. I'll leave those as the topic of another post. (Heck, I just read the top of this post. Even in it I'm begging for approval. How pathetic!)
To me, selling my art is a very tangible way to know whether people approve of what is inside me. It is very scary. It's uncomfortable. It makes me...
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Yesterday, she e-mailed me and the other two sisters a long 'to do' list. It is full of things like "rent tables and chairs", and "clean the patio". I was very relieved to get this list. I've been spending the week since my last conversation with John feeling his loss, but not knowing what to do about it. Glenda's list helped give me "little chores", as Mother used to call them, to help focus my grief.
It reminded me of the days after Mother died. Each evening we four girls would gather at the kitchen table and go through our 'to do' lists. We took comfort in the busy-ness of cleaning, writing thank you notes, making phone calls.
As I reflect on this, I think we react to grief in this way for several reasons. One being that we have the good old protestant work ethic that makes us want everything just right for our guests. But deeper than that, I think we need these chores because they are something over which we have control. We can make decisions about how the chores will be completed and we can see that they are completed on our schedules. These situations follow a time period where we had no control. Sickness and Death pay no attention to our schedules or decisions. We are swept along into the world of dying with few options, none of them pleasant. We need the 'to do' lists to help us regain some semblance of control. And control has always been a pretty big issue with the women in my family.
Thank you, Glenda, for sending the list. And a special thank you to Tori and Royce who will be the List Czarinas. I, for one, am grateful for this way to channel my grief and regain some control.
Monday, May 11, 2009
My family lost a member Sunday morning who helped teach all of us to stretch. My brother-in- law John passed away. I met John when I was in seventh grade. He was as opposite from me as anyone I'd ever met. He stretched my mind by helping to introduce me to Chinese food, Asian art, Car Talk and Mozart. He gave me my first driving lesson. He accompanied me on the piano and coached me as I learned my solo for UIL contest. He showed me shiatsu. He taught Jack card games and talked football with him. He stretched my faith by challenging me to think about what I really believe and why I believe it.
My life is richer due to the directions John helped me stretch. I'm grateful.
Thursday, May 7, 2009
I use all these lists to help make purchasing decisions for my library, help recommend books to patrons and to help build my own “need to read” list. Some titles appear on many of the lists, but none of the lists are exactly alike. Literature is, after all, a matter of taste.
Since I know you are all eagerly awaiting my list of favorites, I’ll share it. Tomorrow night my list might be different. These, though, are books that come to mind right now that I enjoyed or that made me think. Some of them even changed my life. Let me hear yours, too.
- Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (It's a good thing my children were girls because I would have named boys Augustus and Capt'n Call)
- Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (Students read her The Bean Trees in English class, but I think Poisonwood Bible is her masterpiece)
- The Believers by Janice Holt Giles (I read it the first time in seventh grade and I love it more every time I read it.)
- The Good Old Boys by Elmer Kelton (I've known men like the main character. The best and worst of manhood and the American West.)
- Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (I don't know if I'd feel the same way if I read it today, but it changed the way I looked at the world.)
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (A really, really great book about friendship, regret and responsibility.)
- One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest by Ken Kesey (The movie is good, but the book rocks.)
- Shane by Jack Schaefer (The ulitimate western novel. Every Hollywood gunfighter owes his existence to Shane.)
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (She may have only had one book in her, but it was a great one.)
- Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (One of the only books I actually got spooky scared as I was reading it.)
Friday, May 1, 2009
Other Texas things I love:
Drill Teams and Twirlers
Mexican Food (mostly Margaritas)
What do you love about being from where ever you are from?
A special thanks to the nice neighbor who didn't call the police when I went in his yard to take this picture.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
How do elementary teachers stay "on" all day long? They never get to relax. I begin to lose my "teacher voice" after class two and my feet hurt in the middle of class three. I would think that every muscle in an elementary teacher's body, including their voice, must be absolutely worn out at the end of each day.
How do jr. high teachers deal with the adolescent eye rolls and apathy? I quickly develop a profound dislike for students who display a, "This is beneath me" attitude. I would imagine that is a specialty of seventh and eighth graders.
How do high school teachers teach the same material six times in a day? Don't they forget what they have said? By my last class I wasn't sure if I was repeating myself to this group or just remembered having said it to the 2:00 class.
How do college teachers remember students' names? I've always been glad my co-workers wear name tags or I'd have to call them all sir and ma'm. There is no way I could remember all the students' names if I taught four sections with fifty students each and only saw them a few hours each week.
Though it doesn't sound like it, I really like the teaching portion of my job. It is a nice combination of performance and scholarship. However, days like today make me very grateful for the days I get to sit at my desk and buy books with tax payers' money. I send a hearty and heart felt THANK YOU to all of you who have dedicated yourselves to teaching all day, every day so I don't have to.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
I am perplexed by, yet envious of, these twenty-and-thirty- somethings who are so brave and who are willing to step off into adventures without the security of extended family or childhood friends. For heaven’s sake, I was so homesick and lonely when I went to Abilene to go to college that I came back and finished college in Canyon, where I grew up. And they almost speak the same language in Abilene as in Canyon! Then it took me two years to get over the trauma of moving from Amarillo to Fort Worth and I was thirty and had two kids by the time that happened. As I was growing up I barely knew anyone who had traveled overseas, much less lived there.
Young people have a very different relationship to the world than my generation had. They feel a global responsibility that never occurred to me. They have created circles of friends and surrogate families which provide support and care. They also provide support and care not only to their circle of friends, but to a great many strangers. They feel genuine concern about the citizens of the world. My concerns when I was thirty involved how many square feet could our mortgage provide and where would I find a good hairdresser in the new neighborhood. These young heroes are maintaining power grids, planting trees in deserts, teaching the poor and healing the sick.
Many other young relatives I haven’t mentioned are staying closer to home and family and have chosen careers of community service. They have taken on responsibility for parents, family and community far beyond their years. I am so very proud to know these men and women. I have great hope for our communities, our nation and our world as their generation assumes the seats of power.
God Bless Them All.
Monday, March 23, 2009
We've had lots of "lasts" this year; last cross country meet, last Youth in Government trial, buying the last formal for a dance, last Youth Sunday and soon we'll have the last CTCYM Mission Trip. In typical Jo (and Holladay sister) fashion, I've cried at each one, embarrassing Angie and giving Jack and Addie something to razz me about.
I think I am taking these lasts so hard because I am so very proud of what they represent. They represent the woman she is becoming. Angie is everything I was not at eighteen. She is confident, committed, intellectual, sweet, funny, unpretentious. I could go on and on but Roget's Thesaurus only has a finite number of words for the concept.
If you see me in the next few months with tears streaming down my face for no apparent reason, just know that I have probably realized another "last" has just happened. Just pat me on the shoulder and remind me that I won't have to do this again for five years. Poor Addie, I will be a total basket case when it is time for her lasts.
Monday, February 16, 2009
I don’t often find myself quoting Lady Bird Johnson, but I ran across the above quote from her that I really love. It especially spoke to me because I’ve been spending a lot of time on my art lately. “My” art is stained glass mosaics and fused glass and recently, singing. I’d neglected them for quite a while but for the past six weeks I’ve been neglecting housekeeping and cooking to spend time cutting and melting and warbling. It is very satisfying to see or hear something that didn’t exist ever before and then it does exist because I created it. I thought it up, I shaped the pieces and I put them together differently than anyone else might have. Though the process is different from visual art, the song I sing won’t sound like anyone else’s, either. For some people, the creation of the art is enough, and it is powerful for me, too. But I guess I’m insecure enough that I also really enjoy the feedback I get from my art. Seeing someone wearing a piece of my jewelry or driving by a house and seeing a large piece of my mosaic hanging in the window is very rewarding. Hearing applause after a performance is the ultimate high for me. I guess I think it means the world approves of my “man within.” Sometimes I need that.
Monday, February 9, 2009
I am surprised the Academy overlooked this film for the Oscars. It got some good reviews. I think the Hmong boy should have gotten a nomination for Best Supporting Actor. His character grew and matured beautifully through the movie. Here is a website with some reviews. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1205489/externalreviews Some of them are spoilers, so if you haven't seen the movie, choose the reviews carefully.
The reviewers all have different opinions regarding what the film “is about.” I think it is about loving your neighbor, your enemy and yourself and about being givers rather than takers. It is nice when Hollywood reminds us of those things rather than how many household power tools can double as murder weapons. By the way, I'm not going to go see the remake of the remake of Friday the 13th.
Monday, February 2, 2009
My initial reaction has been to protect myself and my family. I’ll lock the doors, not go out after dark, etc. But these protections are only temporary. If we are truly going to protect ourselves, we have to look deeply and seriously not at what causes individuals to be victims, but at what causes individuals to be criminals. I’m not a criminologist or sociologist but I have some theories. Economic hopelessness, the media glorification of the “gansta” image, the punitive rather than rehabilitation emphasis of the courts system, insidious drug use, out of control materialism and consumerism are a few of the things I think contribute to crime in our country.
So What? What can I do about these mammoth problems?
- First, I have to remember that it isn’t just PROBLEMS that cause crime. It is PEOPLE with problems who commit crimes. At the beginning of every crime statistic is a person who is addicted to drugs or money or who is economically or spiritually hopeless or who has any of the thousands of excuses we’ve made available to criminals.
- Next, I can support leaders and public policy that recognize criminals as people and that employ methods to address deficiencies in society that cause criminal behavior.
- And lastly, I can pray for the criminals and the public officials dealing with the crime. "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6:27-28.
So, here is a challenge, friends. Go to this web site http://www.dallasfortworthcrime.com/ or your local newspaper, find a crime that has been committed in your neighborhood and pray for the victims, the accused and the officials who have to make decisions regarding the crime. Even write one of them a note letting them know you are praying for their wisdom or peace or healing. If everyone did that, every week, I can’t help but think the world would change for the better.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Monday, January 19, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
Thursday, January 8, 2009
I had an experience Christmas Eve of which I can't let go and I keep asking myself and those unfortunate enough to have to listen to me if the rest of the world is right this time and if not, what can I (and we all) do to avoid situations like this. So maybe if I put it out here in blogsville I can let go of it and quit annoying my family and friends with this story.
My family went to the movies on Christmas Eve. We rarely go the movies as a family and I had great hopes of it being a special family time. We could talk about the movie and what fun we had over hot cocoa and it would become a Christmas Eve tradition. Okay, I have a very low bar for meaningful family experience.
As we were getting our popcorn, the young woman serving us was quite grumpy. Not overtly rude, it was just clear she did not want to be there. As she gave me my drink I smiled and said, very sincerely, "Thanks for working on Christmas Eve, we appreciate you being here so we can have a family outing." I try, during the Christmas season or when I shop late at night, to express appreciation to retailers and service people because I've been in their shoes and know it is no fun.
Well, she just looked at me, which is fine, but the young man beside her snottily said, "It's Hanukah, too, you know." Now I don't know if he was Jewish or if he was missing some important tribal gathering to get paid minimum wage at the movie theater, but I took a deep breath, decided his motives didn't matter and said, again very sincerely, "You're right. I'm sorry I didn't mention that. Thank you for working during Hanukah."
Now during the exchange I had been handed all my movie snacks. One of which was a pickle juice pop. For those of you unfamiliar with this delicacy, it is what the name implies, frozen pickle juice in a little plastic cup to be eaten like ice cream. Yummmmmm! I asked for a spoon. They had no spoons. I looked at the cup and once again very nicely and sincerely said, "Oh, well, maybe you should have told me that before I paid for it. How do I eat it?"
A third young person working behind the counter turned around, looked me straight in the eye, and said, "Suck On It!"
My question to you, gentle readers, is "What should my response have been?" Do we live in a world where teenagers who are being paid to do a job should be allowed to treat paying customers like this? Was my mistake trying to be overly nice in the first place? What can we, as a society, do to reintroduce civility and manners into our little corners of the world?
This is not a rhetorical question. I truly am asking you what I should have done. I won't bother you with what I did, it wasn't particularly interesting or effective. Please let me know your thoughts in case, heaven forbid, I should be presented with a simular dilemma again. Let me know if this was, indeed, one of the times when the rest of the world was right.