September 30, 2009

Adventures in Cell Phones (aka I Are Smart!)

Over the weekend I bought a new cell phone.  Verizon keeps sending me these notices saying I'm a VIP and eligible for this that and the other thing. (remind me to send in the rebate stuff...).  This makes me feel important - or not.  In any case I decided a change was in order. 

After a while phones annoy me and I want to take another shot at finding one that works as expected.  I'm still searching for one that does what I want without having hissy fits. Anyhow, my Blackberry had become annoying. 

First in that it would randomly turn itself off which necessitated the battery to be popped out for it to restart. 

Second we are too far from the local cell towers. The search for email ensured I had to charge the battery nightly. 

Third, I'd plug it in by my bed.  This meant the first thing I did in the morning was check my email... this is never ever a good idea.  Trust me on this one - keep the data out of the place you sleep!

(I learned when I had my office in an upstairs bedroom at the other house... I will "stop for just one minute" to check my mail - then I will discover 3 hours later I never took a shower, or ate anything and suddenly I'm too busy to leave the desk - not good!  Little did I know this should apply to cell phone email too)

I think that's enough of the list - although it does go on.  Since I have an iPod touch with a decent calendar, I decided to go with an LG Env3 (in the Maroon color).  It will be a phone and a text message catcher, nothing more.  I like the fact that the buttons on the front with the numbers are large.  I love the keyboard inside.  Couldn't have gotten this phone if I didn't have the ipod - I need a calendar.  

I've had it for 2 days now and I'm finally getting it set up the way I want.  I pulled my old ringtones onto it yesterday so I have something other than the defaults to listen to - if they ever go off.  (just 2 - one for phone one for messages).   

I like the fact that I can change the ringer volume from a side rocker switch from silent, to vibrate, to loud - much easier than the bb.  It's easy to lock the keyboard, although I did reset the "unlock" to 2 clicks of the "okay" button - the default is 1 click - a bit dicey in my opinion, especially if you're like me and throw it in the purse.

Haven't taken any pictures with it yet.  I also need to get the sync software so I can sync my contacts via outlook although the phone numbers were synced up by the Verizon guy.  I've received 3 text messages from my Remember the Milk todo list, but haven't sent any so I have only used the keyboard to fill in my family contact info. 

Nice thing about the contact list in this phone - it has an initial entry for ICE (in case of emergency) you can put in up to 3 people to contact.  I like that.

I'm on day 2 since I charged it (right after I got home with it) and the battery isn't even down to half yet!  That's freakin' awesome! 

Today was the real challenge.  I wanted to pair my bluetooth headset with it.  Took me all day to figure out how. 

Of course I was working for 99% of that time.  But still... I had no recollection of pairing the thing with the bb.  I couldn't even remember the name or model number of the headset.   I thought it was a Plantronics - but wasn't 100% sure.  (it's not on the stupid thing at all - HEY THERE headset makers - put some little bit of branding on your sets!)

I went to Cnet and searched the bluetooth head sets.  Lo and behold - it was a Plantronics Voyager 510.  Whew - found it! 

Next I had to search for directions on pairing.  No wonder I couldn't figure it out.  One must push both the "call" button and the "volume up" button to get it in pairing mode.  (I really have no recall of this part at all - none).  Therefore at about midnight tonight - I finally got the headset to pair with the phone. 

Now I'm feeling very smug.  This will last until I actually try to USE the phone and fail.  Then I'll be in hiding for days.  I'll have to wear a disguise to Starbucks so no one laughs at me.  But I'll figure it out eventually... never fear.  I Are Smart!

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 12:12 AM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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September 27, 2009


Fall is here and the colors are trying to make themselves noticed.

The reds always seem to come out the earliest and then are gone the quickest.  There is little overlap.  Not sure why this is, but that's what seems to happen

We did notice on this walk, that someone had been verrry thirsty.

I thought these cute little flowers would be gone by now, but they still hang out in certain areas.

Of course the mums are out.  They'll hang on til the bitter end of fall.

There was even a very hardy pansy hangin' in there.

Our burning bushes in Chicago never had these berries on them.  Must be a different type here.

Not near the peak color yet. Still, it's looking nice.

There are lots of these poke berries (thank you Sissy!) along the roadside.  Oddly enough the ones in the shade seem to be the ripest, those in the sunniest spots are mostly green .  I did find 2 sets of different ripeness next to each other.

Colors, we have colors!  (Maybe I should say - the people at this house have colors - it's not our place)

For those afraid that "someone" is reading their mail... I bring you this - the tin foil mailbox.  Something to consider if you want to keep "them" from tracking you through the USPS...  really.

However, the rays may be bouncing off the mailbox and creating problems elsewhere - have a look at this mushroom.  Maybe we should be worried!

Nope - not gonna look!  I'm gonna look at this instead...

Or maybe this...

Or even this...

I'm not going to say that life is like a bunch of flowers.  (I have no idea what that would mean anyway), but I'm running out of things to say.

So, I hope you all had a great weekend.

Posted by: Teresa in Photos at 09:04 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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September 26, 2009

This and That

A wandering post... because I have floaty thoughts and they need to land somewhere.

Sorry, I've been so busy this week the blogging - it has come to a near standstill. There are some weeks like that, much as they annoy me. Lately it seems to be turning into chunks of months like that.

Much as I would love to be able to create a site and blog in the style of The Pioneer Woman this will never come to pass. What she does is the equivalent of a full time job and she excels. She knows her audience and is able to provide an incredible site for them. I admire that tremendously.

Me, I just noodle around and throw out the odd post or so as often as I can. Lately it's all been lacking. Work, plus an outside organization conspired to take up every bit of my time and energy.

Actually, the outside organization has been worse than work. Last year I was handed a job in a completely disorganized mess. I've spent nearly a year dragging out bits and pieces of information I need to do the job from the prior holder. I dislike working with people who are so disorganized that everything is a perpetual emergency. It is especially irritating because it is unnecessary.

All I really needed was a single document, possibly in Word or even in Notepad with information about what was done in prior years, who the contacts were, the associated costs, and any prior arrangements that I need know about with others. But no - that would be too simple. Far better to keep doling these things out in bits and pieces not to mention having palpitations because "I promised these people [this], we need to keep them happy".

There are many people who seem to enjoy this state of everything being a near disaster. I do not. Therefore, while I've been pulling things together this year, I've been documenting everything for whoever follows me in this job. The goal is to make it far less daunting than what I walked into. It's quite a lot of work without any of the drama.

Last of all, I stumbled upon what looks like a terrific calendar app for my ipod touch! It's called Pocket Informant. It looks very much like my beloved Datebk6 that I had on my treo. If it works the way I hope it will, it will take care of all my calendar problems which would be a wonderful thing indeed. After reading the description and looking at the screen shots, I decided it was definitely worth the $12.99 to buy it.  We shall see, so far it's sounding great.

If I can get the gmail thing figured out on this itouch - I'll be very happy.  Then I can go to a simpler phone and use the itouch like the old palm devices. 

Now I'm off to do some necessary shopping. Must brave the mall and hope for the best. I'm not optimistic, but maybe I'll make it through unscathed. One can always hope. Heh.

UPDATE: I lied about the shopping... when I got upstairs I realized that there were millions of weeds that needed to be removed from the various gardens.  Tonight the rain is supposed to start. 

So - I have deferred shopping until tomorrow and just finished pulling about 3/4 of those million weeds.   Now we're going for a walk.  The leaves are turning - maybe I'll get some good pics!  One can always hope.

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 11:24 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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September 22, 2009

Because Caffeine Is Important In My Life

I nearly forgot to blog this, then read this post by Laura and for some reason it reminded me.  No idea why.  No stabbing was involved in the making of this post.  

We got to Chicago an hour earlier than I thought we would. (those fun little things that download from airlines to your computer calendar... yeah... they stay within the same time zone so when you look at the times on the calendar they don't adjust for losing an hour - I miss those things - I am lame like that)

So after we got to the hotel and checked in, the first place we headed was Starbucks.   I don't generally head out the door first thing in the morning so I find travel early in the day to be very exhausting.  Extra caffeine is necessary.  Very necessary.

It was a gorgeous day and there were quite a number of people out and about.  The Starbucks closest to us was at Division & Dearbourn - think busy - especially Division as it's a major East-West. Although Dearbourn is no slouch either.  We're crossing with the green and in about the middle of Division when we hear a girl shreaking off to our left. 

Of course everyone looks that way.  We do too and keep walking.  The shrieks resolve to a girl (maybe early 20's I don't know didn't see her too well).  She's running down the sidewalk on Division.  She's wearing what looks like a bathing suit with a strapless sundress over it.  She is barefoot.

She's screaming and waving her arms "Help me!  Help me!"  Over and over while running flat out.  She gets to the opposite corner from where we are and, without stopping or looking, proceeds to dash diagonally across the intersection to the opposite sidewalk and up Dearbourn, exactly where we had been walking 30 seconds earlier. 

She's damn lucky she wasn't hit by a car.  Just sheer luck that it was a switch over time and no one was jumping the light in either direction. (almost a miracle by Chicago driving standards - I think the drivers even heard her yelling and wanted no part of her - especially adorning their front bumpers).

Oh... what was she running from?  Right behind her leisurely pedaling their bicycles were 2 Chicago cops.  They weren't chasing her down so much as following along until she ran out of steam. 

Everyone saw the cops, shook their heads and went about their business.  We laughed and went in to get some lovely caffeine. 

Welcome to Chicago. Heh.

Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 08:57 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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Calling District 41 Voters in Illinois!

I meant to blog this yesterday, but didn't quite get to it.  Matty O'Blackfive is running for office!!!  I'm so excited. 

I'm pretty sure I have no readers from the above district... but you never know. If you do live there, you will have a most outstanding candidate to vote for in the next election! Hit the banner to get to his campaign web site.

I am very proud to call Matt my friend and I'm not at all surprised he decided to get in the game and take on the entrenched politicians that inhabit the swampland called Illinois politics. (I hope he's had all his shots - he'll need them!)

Matt is one of the few people I've met who is up to this enormous challenge. It is not for the faint of heart or for those who do not have a clear vision and firm principles. If a person lacks any of the above, they will either be absorbed into the status quo or they will be trampled by the mob.

However Matt is one of those special people who gets things done. Not only that, but he gets them done right. Since the inception of Blackfive Matt has accomplished incredible things for our military many of which are not even listed on his campaign site.

He is well versed in current political affairs and articulate (something people have lately come to realize might be a good thing for those representing us in government). And best of all he has a terrific sense of humor, a trait sorely lacking in far too many people he will be up against.

If you can't vote for Matt because you don't live in his district, please consider a small donation to help him in his election bid. If a donation isn't possible (because times are tough and many people just can't) then stop by Blackfive and wish him well.

We need men like Matt representing us. Even if the representation isn't quite direct.

Posted by: Teresa in Politics at 03:32 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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Chicago When the Weather is Fine

The best part about last weekend - the weather was just fabulous the entire time.  Just as we were flying out, the clouds rolled in.  Couldn't ask for better.

Out the hotel window we had lots of buildings creating lots of lines (please be assured that any curves you see in the building lines are lens distortions... no the buildings do not curve in real life - heh).  Pretty cool looking...

Lots of people out even on a weekday. And lots of dogs!   Lots.

Meet Annabelle, she was being walked without a leash and wanted to sniff everyone's feet. 

Blue sky, beautiful water.

Bikes and... whatever one might call those things.  They are rentals and we always see a bunch of them on nice days.

Everyone likes the view.

Or they like to sit in the sun.  As for the guy swimming - that water had to be about 60 degrees - I think he's nuts.  But we did see a few people out for a swim.  (now I'm cold just thinking about it)

Of course it's an excellent place to fly a kite.

And oh how I wish for a sailboat on these days! 

There appeared to be a sailing meet of some sort happening quite a ways off shore.  Looks like they're lined up to start a race or something, but couldn't really tell.

This guy came in the closest, nearly to the marker buoys (they mark the area for swimming).  In the background is Navy Pier.  One of the new rides seems to be a helium balloon that takes passengers up and then pulls them back down after a bit.

And this last one is just because it looked interesting.  We were on the way back to the hotel by then.

Ah yes, it was a terrific weekend.  If you want the "culinary itinerary" it's over at the other blog.  With all the places we ate and drank. 

It would be wonderful if every trip turned out so well.  I'll happily take the occasional few that do.

Posted by: Teresa in Photos at 12:15 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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September 20, 2009


Exhausted.  Had a great time. Didn't look at anything online including email or websites so I'll be playing catch up for a few days - don't care.  It was nice to get away from the inbox and nearly all the ridiculous news of the world. Heh.

BTW. You should know, we increased the coolness factor of parents everywhere by hanging out with the kids at several bars around town.  The only thing I would have done differently would have been to purchase earplugs before hitting the final bar where the decibel level was off the charts. 

Now I need to rest up from the long weekend.

Posted by: Teresa in FUN at 07:53 PM | Comments (10) | Add Comment
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September 16, 2009

Leaving You With a Few Pictures

I may blog just a bit while I'm gone, but probably not much.  I'd be more likely to twitter, but you never know. 

So here are a few pics to glance upon while I'm away.

It's beginning to look like fall.

Lots of these berries are out - I'm guessing they're poisonous or they'd be gone.

And here's a cat we encountered on one of our walks.

Everybody have a great weekend!

Posted by: Teresa in Photos at 10:08 PM | Comments (7) | Add Comment
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Commence The Tearing of Hair

Tomorrow we're off to Chicago for a few days.

Easy right?  A nice 4 day weekend get to see the kids. 

Oh not so much.  Everyone has either work and/or school schedules.  Making plans to get together with my boss and his wife for dinner... who can come when?  Or not at all. 

Then of course there is a TON of work before leaving town. 

So are a few days off worth all this?  I'm really wondering.  Geeze.

Posted by: Teresa in Ummmmm at 01:25 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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September 14, 2009


I am beat. Pilates done did me in today. Unbelievably hard class. This means it will be a real bear getting out of bed tomorrow. It's a bear tonight getting out of my chair in front of the computer. Wow.

Sadly I must get out of bed tomorrow because I have an all day meeting.


(can't you just see the excitement) I've spent half my day finishing up meeting details and the other half doing real work.

Thursday we head to Chicago for a long weekend. One that seems to be getting shorter by the moment with all the things being added to the calendar. At least I remembered to book the hotel room tonight - I nearly forgot.

While I sit here with my brain running in neutral and coming up with absolutely nothing... here are a few things that have wandered into my brain and are trying to get out again quickly.

Mr. Bingley noticed that some fun stuff disappeared from my sidebar! I see this darn blog every day and I missed it. heh. There is an email in to the wonderful Pixy to see if he can figure out what I did. I don't see why it won't display.

Saw this headline

Your shower may be blasting you with germs: study

My question... how long have showers been in existence?  Since we figured out how to pipe water using pressure -right?  Before that we had baths and before that baths from water pumped and warmed over a fire - everyone using the same water.  How the hell has humanity survived for this long???

Life will kill you people.  It will indeed.
And since I'm slowly forgetting what I'm trying to blog (my daughter keeps emailing me about restaurants we might go to I think she's hungry)... I must say that I have my eye on Google lately.  I think they may just take over the world and no one will notice.

Gmail -well okay I use it.
Calendar - all your dates belong to us. 
Apps in the cloud - all your business data belong to us.
Chrome - all your browsing belong to us.
Phones - we see where you go and what you do.
Medical info - we know what drugs you need


Need I say more?

It's rather creeping me out.

Yes I tend far more toward paranoia when I'm tired. So I'm off to read a bit and then to bed.  Can't go to bed too early or I'll end up staring at the ceiling. 

So exactly what age is it that I'm supposed to suddenly become an early morning person?  I'm still waiting.

Posted by: Teresa in Ho-Hum at 10:02 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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