Wednesday, September 22, 2010


When the Amazon Kindles came out a couple of years ago, I thought they were cool, but way too expensive. Then I got my iPhone, and Amazon offered the free Kindle for iPhone app, and I was able to read ebooks on my phone. I had gotten used to reading on a handheld device when I had a Palm Pilot, and I enjoyed it. I also didn't really want to carry around an ebook reader; if I was going to do that, I might as well carry around a book.

But the newest generation came out recently, and they now had a wifi-only version that was priced at $139, which I thought was a much more reasonable price, so I was thinking about getting one. Then I was in Target over the weekend, and they had them, so I bought one.

I got home with it, took it out of the box, and plugged it in to charge. Then I got online and tried to register it at Amazon, but just got an error message. From what I could tell, it should be possible to register through the website, so after trying a couple of times wiht no luck, I called Amazon customer service. At first, I got someone in India, of course. She got the same error message I did, so she put me on hold and transferred me over to some uber-Kindle customer service support department.

The guy on the phone talked me through getting to several hidden menus, and tried several different things, but he wasn't able to get it to work, either. I asked him if I had to have WIFI on to make it work, but he said I didn't. We have WIFI at home, but for some reason, I'm not able to connect to it. Bob is, so in the interest of not breaking his connection, I'm willing to be wired.

Anyway, the guy finally decided that there was something wrong with the Kindle, and said that he could overnight a replacement to me if I wanted. I said that I would rather try to exchange it at Target first, but would call back if I couldn't. So I packed it back up and headed to Target. I went to the electronics department first rather than customer service. I took the box out of the bag and said, "I bought this here a little while ago," and before I could finish my sentence, the guy waiting on me said, "We don't have those."

I said, well, yes, you do, I bought it here, and he said no, we don't, you couldn't have. So I just stood there and looked at him, and he sighed and said, "Let me see the receipt," like he was going to say, "Aha! You didn't buy it here, you moron." So I handed him the receipt, and he said, "Well, this is my store. They must have gotten them in while I was at lunch." I guess it was too much to expect him to apologize, and he didn't. He just said, go over to customer service and I'll bring a new one over. Fine, whatever.

When I got home with the new one, I got the same error message. Of course. So I called Amazon customer service again, but this time the person I talked to first told me that they had been having trouble registering the Kindles from Target. Apparently they hadn't done something to them that they should have before they shipped them out. This time we went through a few menus, but the customer support guy eventually said that he could register it remotely. He said it might take an hour or so, but just to leave it plugged in, and it would eventually register.

So I waited awhile, restarted it, and sure enough, it showed that it was registered to me. I read the manual and discovered that I could mount it as a drive on my desktop computer and import documents that way, so I did that.

Then on Sunday I went to Panera Bread for a late lunch, and holed up in an easy chair and downloaded the rest of my books, organized everything, and basically spent a couple of hours getting it just the way I wanted.

I haven't really read a lot on it yet, but I like it, and I do see why it's so popular. I still like the option of reading on my phone, and I like that they sync up, so no matter which one I pick up, I can start reading at the spot where I left off. I don't like the fact that it isn't backlit, and I can't read it in low light, but I suppose that's actually good, since it's probably better for my eyes, but it is inconvenient. But I basically just treat it like a book, and sit by a lamp, and if I wake up in the night, can't go back to sleep, and want to read and not wake Bob up, I read on the phone.

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Monday, September 06, 2010

Holiday weekend

Usually during the week I have granola (Kellogg's Low Fat Granola with Raisins) and yogurt for breakfast. I put the granola in a zip-lock bag or one of the littlest plastic containers, pack it with my lunch and take it to work to eat when I get in. If I eat breakfast too early, i.e., at home, I'm starving before lunchtime, but if I wait until 9:30 when I get to work, then it will carry me through to noon.

Once in awhile, maybe once every two weeks or so, I'll drive through McDonald's on the way to work and get an Egg McMuffin or bacon, egg and cheese bagel. I'll do this if I'm running late and didn't have time to pack my breakfast/lunch--if I have McDonald's for breakfast I probably won't eat much for lunch, maybe just some snacks from the kitchen at work. Or if I have a meeting right away when I get to work, and know I won't be able to eat my breakfast, or if I know it's going to be a hard morning.

This morning Bob was going fishing and he needed to take a few things from the grocery store, and he also had to pick up something somewhere else, so I went to the grocery store for him. I almost never get going that early on the weekends, or on my day off! So after I went to the store, I drove through Wendy's to try their breakfast. I had a coupon for a free breakfast combo. I chose the Artisan Egg Sandwich on ciabatta, with potato seasoned wedges, and it was great!

Aw man. I just went to the Wendy's website, and it didn't mention breakfast at all, then I went to their Facebook page, and apparently the Kansas City area is a testbed for breakfast items. I hope it does well and they keep it, I thought it was really excellent. And no more expensive than McDonald's -- the sandwich, side and drink would have been $4.34, if I had had to pay for it, which I didn't. Now I'm worried. I might have to get it tomorrow, too, just in case it goes away . . .

We got Friday off as well as today, so I had a four day weekend. It was really a nice break. I didn't accomplish a whole lot, I guess, but I got somethings done that I'd been needing to do. I got the oil changed in my car, and got my hair cut and colored. I bought a new clothes hamper for the bedroom, since Dinah has destroyed mine. I got out the sock that I put away in March after I got out of the hospital, and started knitting on it again, and I had a great nap this afternoon. It was a good weekend.

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Friday, September 03, 2010


September might be my favorite month. I've always loved Fall, and I always loved going back to school. It wasn't so much the school part that I loved, I guess, but all the accoutrements. New notebooks and notebook paper and pencils and erasers. I still have a cardboard pencil box that I had in gradeschool, maybe 2nd or 3rd grade. I loved getting my school supplies and putting them in the box, putting paper in the notebooks, getting everything ready for the first day back.

After weeks of temperatures in the high 90's and low 100's, it's cooled off, and last night it almost felt like Fall. When I got home tonight I opened the windows and turned off the air conditioner. Bob may want it on again tonight when we go to bed, but for now, I'm enjoying the breeze through the windows, and Dinah seems to be enjoying it, too. She spends a lot of her time now between the drapes and the sliding glass door in the back, just watching. So now she can smell the outdoors, too, as well as watch.

I've been struggling for awhile with notetaking at work. I tried to move completely over to digital, with the iPhone, and iCal, etc., on the computer, but it's really not possible to take notes on the iPhone. Sometimes I would take my laptop to meetings, but I think that's distracting to the other party, and, again, not really conducive to taking notes.

So I'd been using a spiral notebook, pretty much a page a day, making lists of the projects I'm in charge of, staffing requirements, things like that. But a couple of times lately I've wanted to refer to a calendar, and the iPhone calendar wasn't really what I wanted. So I bought a datebook, just a month on a two-page spread one, so that I could have a calendar in front of me when we're making scheduling decisions. But then I end up carrying the spiral notebook and the calendar, and it was getting kind of cumbersome.

So I decided to go back to a day planner. I'm definitely not abandoning the iPhone, far from it, but I'm conceding that sometimes, paper and pen are just better. I still have a beautiful leather Franklin Planner binder that I got a few years ago. I went to look at their fillers, though, and didn't find anything that I wanted. I used to use the "Blooms" fillers, but they changed them and they're incredibly ugly now. And I need a certain layout that few of their fillers were using. So I looked around some more, and ended up buying a Day Timer filler. I haven't used them for years, but so far it's working out well.

I couldn't find any 2010 fillers in town, so I bought one that starts in January 2011, and also some undated month pages, and I've been using them, but this morning I went ahead and ordered a July 2010-June 2011 filler from Amazon. It was discounted a little bit (not much) since half the year is over, but I decided it was worth it just to save aggravation.

What I found with the spiral notebook/calendar system was that it was hard to find specific things when I was looking for them. With the Day Timer (or Franklin Planner, or any other system), there's a place for appointments, a place for phone calls, a "to do" list, and a page for notes (I use the two page per day system). It's heavy to carry around, but honestly, it makes me happy, so I'll deal with that.

It feels a little like buying new school supplies, and that makes me happy, too.

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