February 29, 2004

Lemon Tree Update

Spring must be near. My lemon tree looks to be on the verge of a breakthrough.

lemon tree buds

Posted by heather at 07:54 PM | Comments (1)

February 23, 2004

Grocery Shopping 5 Year Olds

From the Washington Post today:

The world's largest association of psychologists said that studies have shown that young children are unable to critically comprehend televised advertising messages and, as a result, are likely to accept commercials as "truthful, accurate and unbiased. This can lead to unhealthy eating habits as evidenced by today's youth obesity epidemic," the APA said in a news release.
I agree with the first sentence, but the second...?! what the...?!?! Where are the parents when these under-8s are grocery shopping?

Posted by heather at 11:16 PM | Comments (2)

Now THAT'S Good Service

During my trip to Washington State a couple weekends ago, cousin Kim and I stopped in an Eddie Bauer Outlet store for a bit of shopping. An hour later we left with our purchases in hand. The next day on our way to Seattle, Kim popped her new Eddie Bauer Christmas CD in the player so we could all hear what she got for $2.79. We were pleasantly surprised. I decided I would try to find one for myself.

The following week, I checked the Eddie Bauer website for the CD and for the socks I had bought as Bob decided he really liked them. No luck.

Fast forward to yesterday. I finally remember to call Eddie Bauer (found the receipt as I was cleaning out my wallet) to inquire about the CD and see if they can send me more socks. A pleasant-sounding man (I believe he said his name was Ed) answered the phone. After I ask about placing an order over the phone, he tells me he would be happy to help me, but he is with a customer and could he call me right back. No problem.

Ed called me back about 10 minutes later and happily took my sock order. I asked him about the Christmas CD and he informed me they had just sold the last one a day or 2 before. Oh well.

Imagine my surprise when, this morning around 10, Ed called to tell me he was about the ship the box out, but that they had just received a package from some other Eddie Bauer stores and he found a Christmas CD. Would I like it?

Now I don't know if Eddie Bauer employees work on commission, but if they do

  • The item costs $2.79, so his cut isn't much

  • He knows I live out of state, so the likelihood of my buying something from him at that store is pretty slim

In my mind, his actions boil down to good ol' Customer Service. I knew I liked Eddie Bauer, and now I have even more reason to like them.

Posted by heather at 04:43 PM | Comments (0)

February 22, 2004

The End of an Era

I finally did it. After 11 years as an AT&T Wireless (McCaw Cellular) customer, I finally switched carriers. After doing some research and on Rich Tong's recommendation, I went with a BlackBerry 7230 from T-Mobile. So far, so good.

Posted by heather at 10:31 AM | Comments (2)

February 17, 2004

Taking an Oral History

I spent this weekend in Washington State visiting family and friends. It was great to be back 'home' and see everyone. The main purpose of my trip though (aside from Bob being in India, allowing me the opportunity to visit people with pets!) was to take an oral history of my grandparents, who are 91 (grandpa) and 83 (grandma).

We used my video camera and asked questions listed in The Well Trained Mind, ad-libbing a bit as we went along. I enjoyed learning things about my grandparents that I never knew before, and I think they enjoyed talking about their childhoods to an interested party. I learned that my grandma walked 4 miles each way to school as a child. My grandpa told me about working in the garden with his uncle, who he was very close to. (He also made his political views well known. He really should consider having his own talk show on TV!) Now, as I sit at SeaTac recalling our interview, I am thinking of so many more questions I wish I had asked. For example, my grandma didn't know she was having twins until she was in the delivery room; I wonder what kind of prenatal care she had—what kind of prenatal care was standard for that time (early 1940s). I forgot to have my grandpa tell the story of how he wanted to tell his boss that he quit, but by the time he had walked all the way to the office, he had cooled off and his boss told him how valued he was (I think that was what happened!).

My plan is to create DVDs of our interview so they can be viewed by future generations. (Based on my track record though, I don't know how successful I will be.)

When I told my friends of my plans for taking the history, they all reacted positively and said it was a great idea. Those who don't have living parents or grandparents said they really wished they had done something like that while they were alive. If your grandparents are still living, an oral history interview is a fantastic way to keep your family history alive.

Posted by heather at 01:54 AM | Comments (2)

February 02, 2004

Down with competition (unless I'm winning)

Some parents in the Nashville public schools have complained that their children's self-esteem is suffering because they consistently fail to make the honor roll. And the Nashville schools have caved in and stopped recognizing the achievements of their "A" students, on the advice of their lawyers.

The parents of the kids formerly on the honor roll are up in arms, defending this tradition, but who knows whether they will regain the lost ground. Our society has so distorted the real meaning of self esteem, and made hurting someone's feelings an actionable offense, that I'm not convinced that our schools can regain their lost sense of perspective.

A little healthy competition, where kids can test their skills, learn ways to improve themselves and enjoy a real sense of achievement for a job well done (or even for giving it a good try) is one of the main avenues to gaining real self-esteem. People respond to recognition! Incentives help some kids to work harder! That's a good thing!

I'm not personally a big fan of public education, but I don't want to see it fail, either. I think if they can't put a lid on this type of oversensitivity, they will only drive more people out of the schools. My sister is homeschooling her children; one of her reasons for doing so is that she can't put up with the bureaucracy that caters to a few malcontents at the expense of everyone else. And I can't blame her for not wanting to subject her kids to this kind of nonsense.

Posted by kathy_o'quigley at 06:05 PM | Comments (3)