For Grandma Z

When I was little, not much beat going to my Grandma Z’s house and seeing the Cuckoo clock go off every hour. I have been thinking about getting one for my kids for awhile and after a long Friday – I went out and bought an authentic Cuckoo clock made in the Black Forest of Germany. All three kids run to it on the hour to hear/see everything.

On the hour – the Cuckoo bird comes out, the man chops wood, then the people at the top dance around and the water wheel turns. All in all – it is really cool and one of the first things I have ever bought that I thought will make it down multiple generations (hopefully). On top of the enjoyment I get watching the kids get excited – I am also reminded of the same excitement I experienced when I was little.

Side Projects

Between normal day to day work, maintaining a house, spending time with the family and pets, exercise, relaxing, and enjoying life…there is not too much time for fun side projects these days. I have been trying to complete a few really cool things over the last few months without much luck…but I think March will be a big release month. I have some cool WordPress plugins, templates, and an interesting little project in the works – so assuming I can get some time…look out! Stay tuned…

Generation Social

As a history major – I tend to look at everything and find trends, think about what historians will write about our time, and all kinds of fun things that drive Amy crazy. The other day while I was thinking about playing Super Mario 3 on my Wii, I thought about the definition of being social (“interactions between people”) and then thought that my son Evan’s generation will most likely view our generation as very unsocial. We wrote letters that took days to deliver, interacted with people very limitedly, played games by ourselves, and worked independently.

Our definition of communication has completely changed. When I thought about it, I went to college before cell phones were really popular. If you wanted to get in touch with someone it was by phone, email, or by the chance of meeting someone. No one had digital cameras so most of our college pictures are tucked away in a shoebox somewhere in one of our friend’s closets. We had the beginning of networked games, but our interaction there was limited to typing in “hi” or “Don’t go in the dungeon without me Ken!”.

Now – we have instant access to other people’s statuses and whereabouts by the second. SMS, email, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, cell phones, etc – people share what they are doing that moment, while other people can comment, look at your whereabouts, get notified the second any change has been made (RSS, etc), read about what you are doing/what you have done all in a community setting. People take photos and videos now and within seconds share the photos and video with family and friends…and even “strangers”. If you want to get ahold of someone – you can do so electronically and it is a good chance I will be talking to whomever I want within a matter of moments, not minutes, hours, days, weeks, or months.

The definition of face to face communication has also changed. The majority of us have high speed connections which allow us to chat via video so we can see our friends and family at any time, any place within seconds. No more waiting to see cousin x until our yearly trip to Germany. Same goes with business. Why have your office fly to somewhere to sit in a room with others while you could save money and time by doing business via video? Of course it is still nice to meet in person on occasion, but it is not always needed or the best solution.

Even gaming – all of my favorite games are highly interactive with my friends online. I cannot even tell you how many times I had to explain that I was a girl and not a 10 year old kid playing So Com II because we planned our attacks and defense using voice. I have friends online that I know I can play games with at almost any time…from scrabble to planning a sniper attack on the enemy.

On trips, I take photos with my iPhone and send them instantly to family members so they can see their grandson in his latest cute pose. Sharing no longer waits.

I look forward to talking to Evan about how he perceives me and my generation compared to what he knows and understands about the world. I am sure he will one day comment on how crazy it was to not have instant or almost instant access to everyone and everything.

Back From Vacation

For the first time in over 10 years – A, E, and I took a week and went on vacation. We usually take weekend trips to see family but have never taken anything longer than a weekend trip (vacation) together…until last week. We flew down to Florida to see some of my family and then off to Walt Disney World where we sent seven days at the for main parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney Studios, and the Animal Kingdom). The trip was great except for the fact that I sprained my right big toe on day two and ended up seeing most of Disney in a wheel chair. (I would tell you how I sprained it, but you would never believe me.) I never realized how much you need your big toe for walking/balance.

I have to say – I had a whole new appreciation for Disney this time around and I am excited to go back. A big thanks to A’s aunt and father for everything 😉

Hopefully next week after the 4th of July, things will settle down a bit so I can get back to regular blogging!

Back to the Snow

I just returned from a four day trip to FL to visit some family…and to play some golf – both which were enjoyable. I am not much of a warm weather person, but I did enjoy the break from the snow here in Chicago (the most we have seen here in ten years). I am hoping to now get caught up with work. I will note that having my iPhone with me on the trip was extremely key. Not only was I able to keep on top of most of my email, but it entertained Evan on the plane with the video iPod and photo browser capabilities without needing to open a laptop. On the golf front – I played extremely consistent and had a lot of great shots for not being out on the course since November. I feel like this is going to be the best golf year I have had in a long time if I can master my chipping! Watch out!

Post Holiday Hurrah

I am back from a few day vacation in Washington DC with my family. We had a nice time in a great city! My grandparents were with us and I had the pleasure of going to the World War II monument with my grandfather who fought over in Europe during WWII. It was quite touching and a nice way to spend the holidays. A special thanks to my sister and her husband for putting us up and putting up with us. She did a fabulous job at getting meaningful presents and also making us feel at home!

Now that I am back in IL – I have a number of things to take care of before the new year, but I will be back to a normal posting schedule in the next few days. I have been working on some really interesting projects and have some great tips to share in the next few posts.

Happy holidays!