Monday, March 31, 2008

Flickr and Stuff

I just finished a conversation with my father. He was talking on his cell phone using Bluetooth while driving in his truck. I was priming him on the merits of flickr. It's one of those conversations that daughters didn't have with the fathers last decade. We were comparing notes about sharing and storing digital photos.

"I just bought some DVDs to use to store my pictures and get them off the hard drive."

"Dad, I use flickr and I don't have to worry about losing my photos or storing them anywhere special. And it's so easy to upload them. You'd love it. Granted you have to pay twenty-five dollars a year, but consider how much time and money os spent trying new ways to store your photos or fretting about it." These were not my exact words, but if I was more immediately eloquent that's what I would've said.

I simultaneously love and hate telling my dad about new technology. If you're my age you might know of what I speak. There are all these things out there that make life so easy and manageable: Google, Flickr, blogs, youtube, yahoo, eBay, craigslist, etc. These are all things that did not exist ten years ago. (The writer pauses and thinks, "Ten years ago it was 1998. These things might have existed. I always think it's still the early 2000s.") People talk about the digital divide. I live the digital divide with my father.

My dad is technical and capable and smart. He's a tinkerer who loves to fix things. He can fix many things. He is good using computers and the internet, but it's not like second nature to him. I grew up with computers and while I am no expert I am able to figure lots out on my own. I just, well, tinker. But much of this stuff can't be explained. He'll ask me questions over the phone and it is then that I have great respect for customer service professional in India who get phone calls from people trying to figure out how to fix the Word document formatting so the outline doesn't automatically indent the following line when they no longer need it to do so (c'mon, you know what I'm talking about). I cannot for the life of me conjer the proper vocabulary to instruct my father with computer issues over the phone.

I joke about this idea I have: The Technological Fallacy. Technology is supposed to make our lives easier. However, it usually requires a lot of work to get it going: uploading photos somewhere safe, digitizing all your movies or music. The universal remote. The fallacy is that it isn't always easy. It's especially difficult for people whose parents call to get help retrieving all the lost music from their holiday playlist that they programmed into their iPod shuffle three hours before their holiday party. You can troubleshoot for a max of ten minutes and them you want to hang up the phone before you lovingly scream obscenities at your beloved parent because you have no clue what happened. And yes you did follow the directions, you understand that. But how do you explain that sometimes it doesn't make a difference? IT JUST DIDN'T WORK AND I DON'T KNOW WHY I'M SO SORRY FOR YOUR DIGITAL LOSS.


I wish I made commission from flickr, however, because darn it if they're not user friendly and helping to narrow the generational digitized divide.

"Can I drag all my photos from iPhotos into flickr and drop them there?"

"Yes. You have to download the flickr Uploader though."

"Oh. OK."

"I'll send you a link."

"Well, then. I'm excited to go home and pay twenty-five dollars to join flickr."

"Well, I'm excited that you're excited."

I'll have to remember my excitement in case he calls me this evening with a question that starts out something like this, "OK, Alish, I'm in flickr. I've joined. Now, where did all my pictures go?"

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Obscure Memories: Memora Obscura (That's made up Latin)

My brother commented on the fact that I remember obscure things. To prove him right I'm going to offer up more obscure memories. I used to ask my mom and dad for stories from their childhood all the time. I loved it. I loved imaging them as little dopplegangers of their adult self conducting life in the 50s and 60s. I'm going to record my memories for my children's later referral:

My first friend, Michelle Nissler, and I once planned to carve flutes out of sticks to give to her father for Christmas.

My brother was a huge KISS fan. He had a little copper square that he had banged the word KISS into and wore it around his neck on a string.

I used to feed our family cat, Buffy. She was technically my brother's cat. I remember thinking what a good citizen I was for feeding his cat for him.

Once I sent away for Picture Pages and forgot to put a stamp on my envelope. It got sent back to me.

One time when Nate was really mad at Dad, he threw a Fudgesicle at him. It hit Dad's chest sideways and left a Fudgesicle skid mark in his chest hair. This really impressed me. I was even more impressed that Dad just chuckled at his foolish son instead of soundly beating him.

I once brought a roly poly into a restaurant with me. I didn't want it to die in the heat of the car. And then I lost it in the cracks of the booth.

I used to pretend that it was "snowing" in the kitchen by using my mom's flour.

Mom taught us how to make her coffee so that we could get the pot brewing and bring her a cup on Saturday mornings when we were home from school.

That's all for now as my husband is reading over my shoulder. Always stifles my creativity.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My Fourth Grade Subterfuge

I was a member of Columbia House Record Club. I was ten and I was seduced by the idea of twelve for the price of one. I still remember some of the titles I ordered:

Rocky IV soundtrack
Back to the Future soundtrack
El Debarge ("Who's Johnny?," she said...)
Thriller (I need not name the artist. You really should know.)

Even better than those titles is this fact: I chose to order records instead of tapes because of the following edict set forth by my older brother. He declared that if I got records I would be able to listen to the records while at home and enjoy the utmost quality that they could provide. In addition, I would be able to make cassette recordings of my records and have a portable version for use on my walkman when I was tooling around town on my bike. The best of both worlds.

I'm leaving a minor detail out of this story. I joined this club on my own. I funded it with my own money. "How did you pay with a check?" you might be asking. I didn't. I would save my money and ride to the Circle K on the corner of Camelback and 82nd Street in Scottsdale, Arizona and I would buy money orders! Even better is the fact that I used my own money that I earned from my job at the bookstore dusting bookshelves. Five dollars a week.

The sad fact is that I can't imagine a fourth grader being allowed such autonomy today.

Did I mention that my mom didn't know. She didn't know. Now she does.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Some Easter Cheer

A little dancing with Stella's new Side Snap signature move.

And a little doll quilt that I made with a kit purchased from etsy. It's an Easter treat for my girls.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

While Helping Around the House: Or How We Know It's Been Awhile Since We've Cleaned the Place Up

Helping me in the yard:

"What's that, Mom?"
"A weed. Can you help me pull them?"
She exclaims, "Yes!"
"Mom, there's an unner one. An unner one, Mom. An unner one, an unner one."
Ad nauseum.

Helping Jamie in the yard:

"Poop, Dad! Yuck."
"Yep, there's poop. I'm picking it up."
"An unner poop, Dad. An unner one, an unner one, an unner one."
Ad nauseum.

Helping us finish the prayer before dinner:

Jamie says, "Amen."
Stella says, "Oh, man."

Sunday, March 09, 2008

More Words

Upon awaking:

"Mommy, did you sleep? Well?"

"Yes. Did you sleep? Well?"



At breakfast:

"I want some."

"Some what?"

"Some showmy."



"Show me what you want."

Points at yogurt and says "showmy."

I realize that she now calls yogurt "Show me" because I never understood what she wanted with her frantic grunts and pointing so I would open the fridge and say, "Show me." And she always wanted the yogurt during these exchanges. Thus yogurt = "show me."


After returning from an outing with her dad.

"Did you have fun?"

"I had bun."

"Did Dad have fun?"

"Yes. Dad have bun. Gigi have bun. Mom have bun?"


Friday, March 07, 2008


"What is my sister doing?"

This is a classic Gianna posture: craning around me to see what Stella is up to. And, of course, a small little smile acknowledging how cool her big sister is.

I thought it was high time for some major Gianna face time on the stellarstories blog.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Kind of Thing Her Aunt Will Appreciate

The continuum of emotions that a baby experiences throughout the day are many. The same, I believe, can be said for adults. However, babies are not as good at masking them. Here Gianna is incapable of masking an emotion. Just what it is I cannot put my finger on.

In Other News

Gianna likes to eat food. She doesn't want baby food. She wants apples and macaroni and peas and eggs and all kinds of stuff. She doesn't really want me to feed it to her either. She wants to be left alone. She deigns to allow me to spoon-feed her yogurt in the morning.

The dogs enjoy this tremendously.

Also, did you know that most hoses have lead in them? Apparently so much so that they're required to put a warning label on the hose. I noticed this right before I unwrapped a new hose to water my, supposedly, organic vegetable garden.

You aren't supposed to drink out of these hoses. Neither should you use it to fill your child's swimming pool or a tub for a waterbirth. I will be returning it to Target.

Lead is known to have caused cancer in the state of California. (This is what it says on the warning label.) Especially when the water is warm does the leeching factor increase. I read this while in the state of Arizona with summer fast approaching.

Sunday, March 02, 2008


Originally uploaded by alishialinn
With the advent of speech comes many new stories:

In the car this morning Stella is yelling, "Stop it!" and throwing her hands up over her face. We're trying to figure out who she could possible be yelling at. Jamie reasons, "The sun is getting in her face."

And she's telling the sun to "Stop it!"

When she finds something of mine she wants to play with I say no. When that doesn't work I say, "That's Dotchie's"




That settles the matter. She leaves it alone.

Our household's new favorite cereal is Kashi's Autumn Wheat. Stella loves eating cereal. She always says she wants, "Some."

"Some what? What do you want?"

"Some!!!" And she gesticulates wildly toward the box.

"That's called Autumn Wheat. You want some Autumn Wheat?"

"Awnum Wheat?"


"I want some Awnum Wheat."

This is now a very familiar refrain.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

While Standing in Stella's Bedroom

"Stella, three years ago this wasn't your bedroom. We didn't have any kids. We were able to come and go as we pleased. But now we have you and Gigi and we're happy. Well, I'm happy. I can't speak for your father."

"I'm happy."

"I happy. Mommy Daddy happy?"

"Yes. We're happy."

"Gigi happy?"

Gigi grins.