Sunday, September 25, 2011

Scrabble anyone?

I'm enjoying playing a Facebook game called Words with Friends. Its basically an online version of Scrabble and you can play it with your Facebook friends or even with a random stranger if none of your friends want to play with you (which may be a problem you should look into some more...). This enables me to play Scrabble with my mother and brother-in-law in the UK, my brother in Saudi, as well as my son who is in the same room as me. Who ever said that computers destroyed family-time? This is just the good-old board game taken to the 21st century.

MAc or Windows?

My Dell laptop is on its last legs. The hinge on the lid/screen is loose so it won't stay vertical. The Q and the V keys are missing so I have to press a hole in the keyboard and hope for the best, and the M and K keys stick so I often find those letters have been issed out when I type quicly. To add to all that frustration, the fan is noisy and whirs constantly. But its obviously not working because the laptop gets burning hot underneath and occasionally shuts down because of it.

Everyone is trying to persuade me to get a Macbook Air. I'm not sure about these Macs. For a start, it takes me ages to close the window due to the buttons being on the top left instead of top right. I also don't know where the equivalent of "My Computer" or "Control Panel" is. Or how to set my desktop background as I like it. But I am tempted by the fact that it does not take 10 minutes to start up, and I don't have to wear a back support to lift it up...

However the real deal breaker for me is the fact that the Macbook Air only comes in silver. Where's the individuality in that? Where's the self-expression?! Unless I can get one in Orange or Turquoise then frankly, I will have to side with Mr Gates...

Run rabbit, run rabbit, run, run, run

I've started doing some running in over the past month or so. Disheartened by how out of condition I felt when I ran a 5K road race earlier this year, I decided that I needed to do something more regularly to build up my stamina. I must say I am enjoying it although it is very weather dependant right now - mainly because I find it impossible to run in humidity or heat, both of which seems to be affecting us currently. I don't run far, only about 2-3 miles each run but I feel like I've worked hard at the end so it must be doing something.

I use a great website called which allows you to trace out a route in an area. It then tells you the distance and the elevations that apply to that route. Heres an example of a route I run:

Unpredictable weather

What on earth is going on with the weather in my part of the world? Last week it was starting to get chilly at night, and I got my jeans out and considered packing up my shorts for the year. Then this week its been either pouring with rain, or so warm and humid that we have the A/C at full blast. I don't know whether to wear shorts, or raincoats or sweaters. September is meant to be dry, sunny and warm, somebody has obviously forgotten that this year!

PS. Like the pic? Something to do with Hurricane Irene apparently. Nice shorts...

Good riddance Samsung

After 2 years of hand washing dishes after our Samsung dishwasher had supposedly washed them, we have finally lost patience and bought a new one. We are trying a Kitchenaid this time, which supposedly, along with Bosch, is one of the best mid-range dishwashers. So far so good, and it is unusual as it is one of the few dishwashers we saw that has retained its heated drying cycle.

I am starting to get a bit frustrated with the latest energy-saving, low water-use appliances. Its not that I am not energy conscious. I am as careful as the next person and I recycle everything I can. But if the result of these energy-saving measures is a dishwasher that doesn't actually wash because of the low water usage, and doesn't dry because of the lack of a heated drying cycle, then I would prefer to be an energy hogger. Its the same as the low water usage toilets that need to be flushed 2 or 3 times in order to prevent them getting clogged.

So fingers crossed that this one will work, and my dishes come out sparkling. I can say for sure that we will never buy another Samsung dishwasher, what a piece of junk. The racks were obviously designed by some intellectual who had never loaded a dishwasher in their life - I did not possess one piece of dishware that would fit in those racks. And the Samsung customer service was bad enough to make us think twice about ever buying any Samsung appliance again.

Bottom line, Energy efficient is not always best. Oh and Samsung - you suck!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Fangs for the memory

Its hard to believe that it's been two and a half years since my son, Robert first started his orthodontic work. The first year he tolerated a Herbst appliance in his mouth (An instrument of torture), then he put up with a full set of train tracks on his top teeth. Then just at the point where we thought the orthodontist was going to declare him done, instead he slapped a set of train tracks on his lower teeth too. Two and a half years of adjustments, elastics, brackets and wires.

Yesterday we finally heard the magic words; "Robert, you can get your braces off, you're done!"

Well, he whooped and cheered and danced around the room with glee, hugging the orthodontists, his assistants and high-fiving everyone in the waiting room (OK, I exaggerate, in reality, being a typical teenage boy,  he grunted with slightly more enthusiasm than normal...)

I will post a picture of the perfect teeth when he returns from his 'removal' appointment

Now on to the next child...