It’s just not what it use to be

English: iPad 2 with Smart Cover running iMovie.
English: iPad 2 with Smart Cover running iMovie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was at the university today in search of actual books. The kind made from paper, glue and ink. The kind of book you open up and sniff that distinctive smell of book. 

It has been a very long time since I read a paper book. I have become the new generation of reader – ereader. I have to admit, I love it. I love having 500 books on my shelf that I carry in my purse. I love that my carry on for airplane trips was light and had room to bring stuff back. In my bag for my last trip I had my iPad, charger cord, tissue, hand sanitizer, and a pashmina. My iPad had a couple of movies and tv shows loaded on it, my New York Times Crossword puzzle, pdfs for university, photo editing software and 500 photos before my trip, 682 hours of music and my beloved book collection. I felt like Arthur from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. All I needed was a towel. I know there are a lot of you who will tell me you love your books and can’t convert. I am not trying to convert you, but I caution you not to close your mind of because books are going the way of the vinyl album, betamax and vhs tapes, cds, typewritters, tube tvs, space shuttles and Concords. This is just the way it is.

I had a hard time at the campus book store finding the required reading material needed for my next class. Seriously, those dudes are USELESS. I left empty handed and went to Tim Horton’s to drown my sorrows in a steeped tea (because Timmy’s coffee is VILE) I had my iPad with me and I started to google. I discovered the chapters I needed were available for download. SWEET! Into my ereader they went and now I have the added benefit of highlighting, adding notes and working right from the tablet. I found the other book I needed available at the campus library and now it also is installed on my ereader. The best part is, I don’t have to lug around a heavy bag filled with text books and note pads. I don’t worry about pens without ink or other crud I don’t need.

This was true of my kids this year as well. Both my kids have some sort of electronic device for school. The oldest has a lap top, the youngest a iPad. The youngest uses apps that connect her with the smart boards at school. The notes are available on-line, so time is spent exploring the topic rather than copying copious amounts of notes. They both email in their assignments, communicate with their teachers via email and have access to on-line learning labs. My youngest understands her need for some hands on work and notes so I bought her pens, pencils, a binder and some paper. The oldest didn’t need anything but his laptop and an ereader. His library has ebooks that he downloads on his reader. When the due date is up, they disappear. This is also possible through the public library. The need for text books is also going by the wayside. This style is perfect for my eldest’s learning style. He reads it, he retains it, he discusses it in chat rooms or clusters with his peers. It’s all very appealing to my children to learn this way. If they have their laptop, they have their homework. Things are saved to clouds and flash drives. Gone are the days of “I forgot to bring it home”.

Don’t bother telling me they way you use to learn is better. Things evolve and change. There is a huge debate on texting versus spelling out the entire word. Let me just say if we always did things they way we use to, I would be writing this blog on the walls with a chisel. Embrace change, maybe even marvel at it. Sure it isn’t the same but it opens up blocks of time for other things that expand the mind. Less time on core details opens up more time for extra curricular creativity. This helps my kids explore things I never had the opportunity to try.

Wednesday I have a class that takes place in my home. I will fire up my laptop, don my headset and microphone, and discuss stuff online, live with a visual of what my classmates look like. Technically I don’t have to change out of my pajama bottoms, shoulders up is all they see, so I’ll brush my hair, wash my face and wear a clean shirt. I can sit on my deck if it’s nice out. That’s right, I will be living my high school dream from 1984. I will have class outside in the sunshine on Wednesday at 5:00 pm and get stuff done. Give me wifi and I could be by the pool.

Who do I thank for this? Steve Jobs? Steve Wozniak? Bill Gates? If you ask me, they are worth their weight in gold because THIS is awesome. I don’t have to drive in rush hour to get to my class. I don’t have to pay for parking. I don’t have to pack a lunch. I don’t have to wear socks.

Now, I cannot WAIT for work to go all electronic so I can do it from my lounge chair while soaking up the sun.

I know where I am going – Liar! and other tales

Dear Universe,

Why is it when I travel with friends, it is relatively normal events happen? But every time I travel with family, a gong-show ensues? The day trip to Calgary was no exception. Chaos, hilarity and puke happened in epic formation.

I best explain…

My sister Annie and her daughter Squid, drove my cousin The Travelocity Gnome (TTG), ChatterBox and myself to Calgary for a fantasy filled Saturday complete with a stop over at Tiffany’s to buy myself a ring. TTG posted this on facebook:

– 1.5 hour flight, up @ 6:30am, 3 hour drive, 2 malls, 2 hour search for dinner, 1 road side puke stop near the jail (where just happened to see 2 guys running from the ditch in the dark), all to save $12 PST on items I could have bought 3 blocks from home – but it was a great day with my cousins and their kids.

intriguing isn’t it? Where shall I start? When I travel with non-family members, the trip is lovely and fun. When the entourage is involved we always end up crying. Not because we are sad, but because it seems to bizarre to be true, yet it IS true.

The day starts with no coffee and traveling to Red Deer for the customary pit stop, which means a visit to the Ladies and coffee. For some reason I  was talked into have a tea instead of Tim Horton’s Coffee. Mostly because I don’t prefer Timmy’s. I must be the only Canadian out there who is not in dire need of a Double Double. (Not at 230 calories a pop thank you very much!) We pile back in and realized that by stopping, all the people we passed on the way down, must be passed again. No wonder dad never ever stopped to let us go to the bathroom.

By 11:00AM we arrive (unscathed and still friendly to each other) to the hallowed halls of CrossIron Mills. The Shopping Capital of Alberta – that’s right, I said it – Calgary has BETTER shopping venus than Edmonton, however – that is it – that is the ONLY thing they are better at – except for being closer to the mountains but that is just geography and has nothing to do with hockey or football or Universities or parks or Art Galleries or Skylines or Pizza or million other things. We practically run at a full on sprint to get inside. First stop is Coach Factory. I have a list for family I must fulfill and then I make a major impulse buy for FABULOUS red leather gloves. We shop all day, laughing at fashion and try on stripper heels that nearly break our ankles, compare sparkly shoes and walk away bogged down with copious amounts of bags. My purpose for going was to buy boots. Did I? Nope. But I did make my very first visit to the Gap and was pleased to discover I CAN WEAR GAP where I bought a shirt for Chatterbox. THAT was THE highlight until Tiffany’s…

When we exhausted all shops at CrossIronmills we travelled south to Chinook Mall. The BEST non outlet mall in the universe Calgary. We parked underground in the most technologically advanced parking lot EVER. The lights on the ceiling tell you where there are empty spots! Red is full, Green there is space. I spent more time marvelling at this than was necessary, I took 10 pictures ( remember a time before digital photography? 36 pics and would I waste them on parking lots? I think not) I walked like a girl with a purpose, straight to Tiffany & Co. I made another impulse buy – Tiffany Notes Ring – size 8  – to remind me of all sorts of things to be shared at another blog. Annie was flashing pics of the engagement rings for her fella and for the Universe, tell the Universe her preference. I walked out excited with the pupils dilated while we then shopped for TTG and Squid.

At 4:00PM it was decided that we don’t eat dinner at the mall – no Joey’s for us! Annie use to live in Calgary and declared that SHE knew we could travel Mcleod Trail and find a proper NON Fast food entre for us. FAB! Lead away Sista! We pile in and instantly become frustrated. Calgary is filled with stupid one-way streets with no left turns. Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine. We make a million right turns and continue heading north on Mcleod. I was feeling particularly hyper and felt the need to read aloud every single sign and shop I saw. Annie asked me if I ever shut up, I replied with I am only being helpful by listing possible eateries. The only restaurant we saw that we didn’t feel we needed to pack heat was Hooters AND kids eat free! Woohoo! Saturday night in Calgary was lookin’ fiine… We held a vote and by unanimous decision, kept driving. It did lead us down the road of speculation – a rich and honourable tradition in my family. Who takes the wife and kids to Hooters? Do they then travel to the Bass Shop and buy the lifetime supply for cheese doodles for dessert? It was interesting and lead to comments that are not suitable for posting – but funny none the less. As we traveled on Mcleod, the downtown core unfolded before us.

We saw the Calgary tower, Calgary’s largest phallic symbol. We wondered what it was like standing on the observation deck watching other people work at their desks. I don’t know about you, but I’d pay $50 bucks to ride up there and see that! Chatterbox had told the Universe that she wished to see the Calgary Tower. So, the universe led us there via Annie getting lost. We pulled in front and the girls piled out. Chatterbox took pictures of the tower and Squid took pictures of the buildings that were NOT the tower.

I helped out Squid by pointing to the tower…but this made no difference. So we all piled back in with Annie at the helm. She drove and drove while I continued to read every sign and building. We passed actual Hobos – they were sitting by the tracks, we passed an actual hippy love bus – it had flowers and peace signs painted on it, we passed the saddle Dome where we speculated the province would give Calgary arena money and not to Edmonton, and then we drove to places unknown. At this point my sister was frustrated with me and we magically turned into my mom and dad. My head was playing music and singing “lalalalalalalala” and Annie’s head was playing “Oh for crying out loud ET you are a WORST NAVIGATOR EVER!” In my defence, I didn’t think I needed to navigate because ANNIE LIVED IN CALGARY AND BRAGGED ABOUT KNOWING WHERE TO GO! I AM NOT A MIND READER – I am an anticipator and influencer, but in this instance, I TRUSTED HER. It is well documented how hard it is for me NOT to be in control. Did I boss her around? NO! Did I tell her what to do? NO! Did I trust her when she said she knew? YES! To be fair, without ANY HELP from me, other than my sign reading prowess, we she found our way back to the Deerfoot Trail. Still without food in our bellies. Luckily I am a mom and packed snacks…

Stay tunes for part II Where you will learn how to recognize a Moose and escaped convicts.