Monthly Archives: July 2009

the great google contact cleanout

I went through all the contacts I had in GMail Contacts this weekend.

(I got a G1 phone. It had to be done.)

I deleted all the email addresses of people I don’t know, who ended up in there from “reply alls” or similar. That took it down from nine hundred and change to about three hundred contacts.

I also deleted people I’m not likely to call or email in the future, which took it down to 280. This included some work contacts, like vendors, since I keep those contacts on my work phone & have no need for duplicates in my personal contacts.

And then, finally, I merged all the duplicate entries, and updated them with the phone numbers and addresses from my BlackBerry address book. The end result was 209 contacts. 80 of which show up in my Contact List on my new phone.

And there we go – I am all organized.

BTW, for those of you who want to know why I got a G1 instead of another BlackBerry, it’s because T-Mobile has two choices for those of us who want the 3G network. It’s either the G1, or the Dash. I want to stay away from Windows Mobile, so that left the Google phone. Or switching to Verizon. I like the service & the price I get from T-Mobile (I have loyalty unlimited minutes), plus both my husband and my mom are on the same carrier, so we all get free minutes to each other. Therefore, I had to “settle” for a G1, which, although not universally well reviewed, is still a major improvement over my clunky, trackwheeled (not even trackball!) BlackBerry.

Oh, and Gmail Contacts “Merge these contacts” function is PURE GENIUS. I love that Google recognized that the system seems to register each individual email address as a separate person, and gave an easy way to fix it.

combining the annoyance of a four wheeler with the recklessness of a toddler!

This four-wheeler for toddlers is on sale at Toys’R’Us this week, for $59.99.

Yeah, that looks like a GREAT idea. It will combine all the motion of a tiny car (even if it goes only 2mph) with the recklessness of a toddler. Especially when its MY toddler, who has one of the Highest Injury Records At His Daycare. I think we can safely say that Ben is not getting one of those.

Speaking of tiny boy, he is getting smarter every day. He also imitates us more and more. We make tank engine noises, he imitates us doing it. I say “Nana!” when he’s on the Skype webcam chat with my mom, and he says, “Na-na!” and grins at her. He actually recognizes my mother when he sees her on the computer screen. And we’ve firmly established that he is smarter than our golden retriever, because when he fetches a runaway toy, he brings it back, unlike Riley, who gets distracted and wanders off mid-retrieving.

Ben is actually asleep right now. I’m up early wrapping up a PowerPoint for client visits today…also, I have to be at the office extra-early for said client meetings. As soon as I finish my second cup of coffee, I’m hitting the shower – it’s also HOT in L.A. this week, and even at 4am, my apartment is so warm that I can feel drops of sweat rolling down my midriff. I miss the Pacific Northwest.


Upon inventorying the fridge, I realized that we still have vegetables from LAST week’s farmer’s market in the fridge, in addition to what I bought yesterday. I neglected to cook all of the summer vegetables last week, or even make a proper note of what we had. Hence, I have crispers full of green peppers and onions, extra celery, extra okra, and golden beets and turnips I wanted to mash up for Ben. Plus, enough lettuce to make a week’s worth of salads, and random things like leeks, artichokes and fresh corn on the cob.

Therefore, it’s time to pull a chicken out of the freezer (I buy organic free-range chickens on sale and freeze) and make some food for the week. I must find ways to combine all these vegetables into stews and casseroles that Paul, Ben and I can eat this week. The challenge for me is to always cook everything I buy, and not let anything spoil. American families throw away 14% of the food they buy, which is literally hundreds of dollars. I’ve become very good at using vegetables as much as possible, even if it means throwing the spotty ones into the food processor for Leftover Vegetable Gazpacho.

You know what’s awesome? Trying to add Being Environmentally Conscious Housewife onto the list of Things to Be. At least I like cooking. That makes it easier.

Thomas the Tank Engine Is Ben’s Heritage

Ben’s favorite show is Thomas and Friends. He started watching it when we went to visit his cousin Oliver in Savannah last year, as Oliver is two years older than Ben and able to express opinions about TV shows in English. Ben expresses his opinion about Thomas by clapping enthusiastically when the theme song starts up, and grinning his fool head off when he sees the opening sequence. And as a TV show, aside from Sesame Street, Thomas is the only other program we let Ben watch. We don’t think he needs to watch very much TV, but Thomas and Sesame Street give us a nice mix for when we do need to park him in front of it.

Recently, Paul did a little research on Thomas and the books the TV show is based on. I always figured that the Island of Sodor, the setting for Thomas, was actually based on Guernsey or one of the Channel Islands. It turns out that it’s based on the Isle of Man. The Isle of Man is dead center between the two regions that 50% of my genetic material comes from, in Northern Ireland and south Scotland/Cumbria. “Sodor” is a Norse term used to refer to the diocese of the “South or Sodor Isles”of Scotland, or the ,a href=”” target=”_new”>Diocese of Sodor and Man. In order to explain all the ruins and old castles and legends on the island, the Rev. Awdry also created an entire history of the island of Sodor that parallels the history of Man and the surrounding region.

So we inadvertently gave Ben a favorite show to watch that is actually his heritage – at least, on my father’s side. The trains in Thomas & Friends are also models that my father would have been familiar with – they date to the 40s in northern England, a time when Dad was working in the local steel mill in Workington. And when I realized all that, it just made me cry, because Dad LOVED anything related to the era he grew up in, the end of the Industrial Revolution in northern England, including trains and coal mines. And he so would have enjoyed watching Thomas the Tank Engine with his grandson, with, no doubt, a running commentary on technical details that the Americanized version of the show got wrong. And the fact that Dad isn’t here to do that with Ben breaks my heart.

Still, learning all this about the story behind Thomas made me feel better about Ben watching it. Someday, we can explain all this to him. And for right now, I will have to ask my uncles, Dad’s brothers, if they have ever heard the word “Sodor” in the local Cumbrian dialect. I will see them in two weeks at Dad’s ashes-scattering event in BC, and if Sodor is a Norse term, then it may well have survived into the specific, unique dialect that my father and his brothers spoke until they moved to Canada.

Here is a map showing the Isle of Man, in relation to Workington, and to Barrow-in-Furness, the starting point of the Sodor railway:

is it fall yet?

There’s a whole lot of stuff on the Interwebs about a Daria series DVD release coming out in 2010. Look, if they can release my husband’s 90s memories (MTV’s “The State”), they can damn well release mine. Even though, by the time Daria came out, I was already a nineteen year old college dropout, I still manage to think of it as closely associated with high school. An added factor is that I strongly identify with the acerbic, sarcastic, cynical nature of the main characters. When asked to describe me, still, to this day, my friends often say “cynical” as a leading verb.

Now, is it fall yet? Because it’s starting to get REALLY FREAKING HOT here in Los Angeles during the day.

a walk on Beverly Drive

Just saw large female tourist go by wearing “Cooters Car Repair” t-shirt. Probably meant as Dukes of Hazzard reference. I doubt she realized its a slang term for vagina.

I’m out because I was going to get lunch at San Sai…and then I remembered hor godawful I always feel. after eating there. The food is just so salty and there must be MSG or something in it that makes me sick (not bad sushi sick, just headachey and bloaty sick). Have decided to eat my salad from home, which is canned tuna with lettuce,celery and flax oil/apple cider vinegar dressing. I will save the money and not feel dreadful. Nothing really seems appetizing today anyways, except Chipotle, and I’d just get a salad there anyways.

Wednesday’s going fast. Time to get back to work.

hey, that chef looks familiar…

Paul is watching Top Chef Masters. And we have actually been to the restaurants of two of the chefs: Campanile here in Los Angeles, and Restaurant August in New Orleans. I only clued in when I noticed that one of the chefs looked familiar and asked, “hey, haven’t we eaten at his restaurant?”
Apparently, at some point, we must have started going to good restaurants.

Oh, and now they’re holding the competition at the Magic Castle, where you have to be a member to get in…or have a landlord who invites you to his magic show. Which is how Paul and I got in there. Ha.

another sunday with a tiny boy

For some reason today, I feel hung over. Headache, lethargy, everything. But since I had zero alcohol last night, it doesn’t make sense. The only thing I can figure out is that it’s habit from being out. Or it could just be lack of sleep (my wake-up call went off at 5:30am. I went to sleep at 1am. Paul let me sleep until 8am, but STILL)

We’ve been having Family Time Weekend. Well, except for my junket out to Bootie last night, and that was after Ben went to sleep. We’ve done the grocery shopping, started tidying and de-cluttering the house, and now we’re working on cleaning out our cars. We are TURNING AROUND BEN’S CARSEATS this weekend, so we may as well get out all the Ben-generated dried food & grime while we’re at it.

Oh, and we are celebrating several Ben related milestones this weekend as well. Ben can…:

– eat his own cut-up food off a plate (he’s eating an all-natural turkey hot dog, with chopped tomato and pickles on the side right now for lunch)
– stand for at least seven seconds on his own
– walk while holding onto only ONE HAND
– mimic words closely
– follow along with “Thomas the Tank Engine” plot lines, interjecting “uh-oh!” when appropriate

In short, Ben is really becoming a toddler, not a baby. He’s a tiny boy! And he is no longer the wee-est baby in his immediate surroundings! We have joined the legions of people who shop before 10am, because we’ve all already been up for five hours with our children, and in doing so, we see lots of babies now SMALLER then Ben. He used to be one of the littlest guys wherever we went; now, he’s bigger. Actually, he’s both older AND taller than many babies we see. I took him to the playground on Friday, and he was taller than the 14 month old girl that he was parallel playing with.

Oh, and now, the Tiny Boy Summer Vacation Countdown:

– 18 days until Grandma & Grandpa get in from Pittsburgh to visit! YAY FREE CHILDCARE!
– 25 days until we go to Victoria!
– 46 days until we return to Savannah!
– 61 days until we have our very first day at DISNEYLAND with Cool Aunt Naf (and possibly Aunt Forestry Kate!)