Friday, February 16, 2007

Snow Day!

Two days ago we had our first official snow day of the winter. The young man thoroughly enjoyed sledding. Pops and I did not have the same enthusiasm for snow shoveling...
Also, the sweater is almost finished! Just have to sew it up now and knit the collar.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


I was just about to write about yesterday's snow day, but then I got tagged by tinatheseamonster.

The rules are as follows:
1. someone tags you,
2. you post five things about yourself that you haven’t already mentioned on your blog,
3. you tag people you’d like to know more about.

1. I'm not a citizen of the U.S. I have a "permanent resident alien" card that looks very 007. It has my thumb print and photo on the front and microfilm under the lamination on the back.
I was actually born is Scotland. My parents moved to the states when I was about 7. We used to go back to Scotland every summer for three months to visit our family, but after my parents divorced we weren't able to get back as often.

2. (on the same topic, kinda)In college, when I was about 20, I chose to miss my final exams so that I could visit my grandfather one last time before he passed away (lung cancer/ non-smoker).
I arrived just in time. He passed away a few hours after I got to his hospice. I thought it was extremely wonderful that he was able to hold on until we could say "good-bye".
I still wish I had hugged him more, but he was very frail and I was told that the tumors would hurt him if I tried to hug him closely. I still think I should have hugged him anyways.
He is the only person close to me that has ever died.
I didn't return to Scotland again until about 2 years ago, 9 years later. I was 5 months pregnant and my cousin, Matthew, was getting married.
It's amazing how bonds you create as children transcend time. I see my cousins rarely, but it always feel comfortable and normal when we do get together.

3. I love being social and meeting new people, but I HATE making sales calls! I really think FocoLoco could be much more than it is if I wasn't such a weenie about sales calls. I would rather poke pins in my eyes!

4. My first real job was as a telemarketer. I was 16. It sucked, big time.
People yelled at me. Sometimes you'd ask for someone who had died. Sometimes you'd get stuck on the phone with very lonely elderly people and then the manager would snatch the phone away and still try to squeeze a few bucks out of them. It sucked.
I worked in a tiny, smokey office with about 9 booths that all faced the center of the room where our manager stood, chain-smoking, greasy and dripping with sweat. This guy always had huge yellow pit stains on all of his shirts.
Everyone that worked there were teenage girls except Vicki, the middle-age, amputee that was always trying to sell us her meds....I'm totally not making this up.
This job, I'm quite sure, has an awful lot to do with my sales call phobia.

5. I am obsessed with knitting. My mother taught me this summer. I have 2 suitcases full of yarn. I crave free-time for knitting. I am almost finished with my first sweater, a tiny red/black striped one with a jolly rodger pattern on the front. I really hope it fits my son when I am finished.

okay, so now who to tag...
andrea, jen, marie...I'll have to think of 2 more later.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Form or Function?

Over the past few months, we have accumulated several of the Parents' brand toys. More specifically, the bath-time tug boat, the instrument set and the "palm pilot".
I was immediately drawn to these toys because of their funky, appealing colors and achingly lovely appearance. Honestly, I kinda wanted to buy every darn toy they were offering. I'm a sucker for good design.

Then we actually played with these toys and suddenly all the pretty colors and cutesy characters in the world couldn't make up for how poorly the toys functioned.

The boat's portholes were so close to the base that the slightest splash in the tub sank the whole thing AND(this one kills me) the life preserver is made of thick rubber and plastic and doesn't float!

The palm pilot is sort of an etch-a-sketch type devise, BUT the drawing surface is so saggy and unsupported that it is difficult to actually draw on without permanently indenting the surface, and even then, you can barely see the image.

The musical instrument set, by far the best of the bunch, is not without flaws either.
The ladybug chime instrument has the exact same notes on both sides so instead of 6 different notes/tones(?) you get just 3, and the bumble bee clacker thingy is bound so tightly that no matter how hard you shake it the wings don't slap together.

I found all these flaws really surprising considering these toys are branded with the name of a magazine that I have always considered a good source for recommendations of educational toys that functioned well.
It felt like they designed these toys and then never even tested them to see if they functioned properly. Form over function....and that isn't good design!

Maybe I'm alone in this opinion? I don't know...