Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Pardon My Mess...

...as my blog undergoes some construction! I have been looking at the same template since I started blogging (well, almost since the beginning!), and it is wearing on me. My blog needs new clothes! For the next few weeks, I will be tinkering with things. While I wish I were clever enough to design my blog from the ground up, I'm not. So please bear with me while I move things around and try to freshen it up some. Therese started a book review blog (Absolutely Booked) and it's beautiful. She made me realize two things: first, my blog is tired and second, maybe I ought to move to WordPress. The second realization is too daunting to consider right now, so I chose to address the first! My first review (for a typing program!) posts near the end of February, so be sure to check back!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Kindle Oasis

I had already received amazing Christmas presents (I'm looking at you, beautiful pink Coach purse), and many of my family had chosen to buy Kindle Paperwhites with Christmas money, when Henry told me to order myself a Kindle Oasis for my birthday, but to open it now.

Photo from Amazon.com

I have been eyeing the Oasis since its first incarnation, but couldn't imagine spending so much on a Kindle (which is actually kind of ironic, since I was an early adopter of the Kindle and spent more than half the cost of the Oasis on my first Kindle Keyboard!). I have owned just about every Kindle since then, including the Fire (multiple Fires, in fact). Now, I love my Paperwhite, but as a left hander, I have to make certain adjustments when reading it (actually, I'm largely ambidextrous, but when you read anything for hours, your hands get tired!), namely, if I want to hold it in my left hand, I have to stretch my hand a bit further over to hit the screen for a page turn. Then there's the fact that I read so fast that those page turns can get awkward and annoying. Still, it's a wonderful, wonderful device. The Oasis, however (I'm speaking specifically of the 2017 version), is reversible! In other words, if you flip it upside down, the whole screen flips and you can just hold it in your other hand! Left handers rejoice! Also, while you still have the choice of a screen tap to change the page, the Oasis has actual buttons (under the dude's thumb in the picture) to change the page - no more manipulating hands in the right position to change the page! Again, when you're a very fast reader, the little things make a huge difference. Also, see how this Kindle is wider where you hold it? It's also (how do I say this?) raised in the back there, making holding it a very natural feeling thing. I can't read on the Paperwhite without a case. It doesn't feel right just holding it. The Oasis feels very natural just holding it. Oh, and the 32 gb storage? Awesome. Don't ever ask me how much I spend on books. There are some facts of life I just can't face: that's one of them.

So, is the Kindle Oasis worth its luxury price tag, especially given that during the holidays you could get a Kindle Fire for something like $29? I would say that if you are an inveterate, passionate reader, yes. If you read for hours a day - definitely yes. If you buy the majority of your books on Kindle (or Nook - I don't discriminate - I just go for the lower price and then run it through Calibre to convert it to the proper format), you might want to consider it. For me, it's definitely worth every penny. If you are a casual reader, but still want a back lit Kindle, I think you'll absolutely love the Paperwhite - mind was well-loved for years.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Long Time, No Blog

Wow. I don't think I've ever been away so long since I started this blog around eight years ago (I think!). I don't know about you, but when things aren't going particularly well in my life, I don't have the heart to blog. I really don't have the heart to do anything I normally enjoy, and writing in any form is something I really enjoy. 

I am always grateful for everything in my life. I always start and end every day by thanking God for giving me life, health, and my Catholic faith (to be honest, I also thank him for my bed - I have an unreasonable fear of being homeless, so I never, ever take my warm, comfortable bed for granted. Also, given that my parents' home was flooded in Harvey and they're still out of it, and my heart absolutely aches for my mother who is as much of a homebody as I am, I am even more grateful for my home and my bed. If you're wondering about my obsession with my bed, I spend far, far too much time in it given my chronic and unrelenting migraines. Some weeks I see it more than I see my children -- and I homeschool! - end of parenthetical explanation). Having said that, 2017 was a bit of a challenge for our family and for me. The majority of it is too personal to post about, but prayers are always appreciated. Like everyone else in Houston, I was affected by Harvey personally, but I continue to be affected as I watch my parents deal with the aftermath of their home loss. I have bad dreams about it at least once a week (I mean, I have nightmares every night, but they haven't typically involved my parents until recently). I *still* feel like I haven't gotten our homeschool year off to the proper start. Thankfully, my high schoolers are self-sufficient and on track.

2017 also brought scary health news for a very close family member. The diagnosis came on the twins' 13th birthday. Again, prayers would be appreciated.

For obvious reasons, I can't speak as candidly about my children's lives on this blog as I once did. Suffice it to say that raising four teenagers is, as I know many of you know, heartbreaking. Watching them make questionable choices and having to deal with the natural consequences of their actions is harder than having made many of the same mistakes myself. I have been telling them since they were very young that every decision matters, and that sometimes you don't get another chance because some decisions are just that consequential. Turns out I'm right.

As for me, I wish I could tell everyone what I tell my own kids every day - extend grace. Know the heart of the person you're dealing with. If they screw up, judge them by their heart and their intentions. Look past their mistake to the person that they are. There have been so many instances this year where I have been judged, not by my heart or by my intentions, but by my mistakes. It seems like, as with every aspect of American culture these days, people have lost the forest for the trees. I'm losing heart in so many aspects of my life. Am I the only fallible person out there? It feels like it. 

And now we see why I don't blog when I am bogged down like this! It devolves into a pity party. I dislike pity parties. I'm an introvert: I dislike all parties. However, it's a new year and a new semester. I firmly believe in yesterday's Wordless Wednesday post. I'm ready to jump back on the wagon of my life and begin blogging again (sans pity).