Category Archives: iPhone

Headed West and Finding Butch Cassidy

It’s been thousands of miles
since we last met

A few days ago we took off from Boston, left the big city and headed west

Let us digress for one moment and say that I’ve discovered instagram
Has life ever been so exciting?
I wanted my secret code name to be Maisymak, but someone had already TAKEN MY NAME.  So I’m going by something even more creative…amymakechnie.
Find me there and follow my every move
and then I can follow your every move

I’m quite thrilled with the quality of the little iPhone.  I’m snapping pictures left and right.  Don’t you love clouds?  I had one small moment of panic when I looked out the window – it was like extreme vertigo – and everything was small and I was so HIGH.  Some self-therapy talk snapped me back to reality.

We had a delay on the tarmac – 45 minutes of waiting. I watched this mama in front of me look at her husband.  I thought she might cry.  I remember those days – both the kindness and inconsiderate comments about having to sit by my crying brood.

The mama was utterly exhausted; bags under her eyes from late, sleepless nights and crawling, sweating, crying babies all over her in a tight, confined space.  This is the rule:  NO ONE complains about the babies.  I would have to glare you into a shrinking spot on the airplane floor. 

Flying over the ocean; leaving Boston Harbor

Newark was cool.  Because of the cupcakes

Flying over my homeland; the vast midwest.  That’s where your corn comes from!

And then we decided to fly to the HOTTEST place on the planet:  The deserts of Arizona.

Where we have spent hours by the pool just to stay alive.  I was reminded why I feel sick for three days every time we come to the desert in July; it’s just heat acclimation.  Last year I actually took a pregnancy test I was so convinced nausea meant baby… 

The kids love grandma and grandpa’s.  They discovered my old toys and cabbage patch baby. Her name is Annie Bessie.

The day after we landed I boarded another plane all by myself and flew to Provo, Utah

Flying over Utah Lake, a vast expanse of water in the middle of another desert

And saw my aunties who were best aunties during my childhood.  Margaret is suffering with the gene her and Angelina share.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t caught early.  But Margie is a trooper and Joanne is the sister you want by your side in such cases.

The next day I got in the car with my sister and four of her children for an 11-hour road trip.  We headed back down to Arizona…and drove through Butch Cassidy country.  He was from a nice Mormon family with 14 kids.  Actually I don’t know if they were nice.  I have a slight obsession with Butch after watching Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid about a million times.  This is southern Utah, with lots of bluffs and rocks for shoot-outs with the law.  Just in case the need ever arises, you’ll know.

Now.  You are allowed to complain about children if you go on an 11-hour road trip with them.  But they were angels and I never needed to complain.  We heard, “Are we there yet?” at least 200 times.  No.  We were never there yet.

The red rocks of Utah; taken with an iPhone in a moving car.  That’s pretty much what I did the whole time.  I couldn’t help it.  We drove past Brice Canyon and Lake Powell – gorgeous.

We passed into Arizona country where the flags are lowered to half-mast to honor the Prescott Arizona Hot Shots; the 19 firemen who lost their lives fighting a treacherous fire. 

There was a long detour through utter desolation.  This is Navajo/Hopi country and I can’t believe anyone lives out here.  My father thinks I live in the sticks, but this – there wasn’t even a stick.  
Finally.  HOT BRKFAST in Williams, Arizona!  We arrived on Cope’s 14th birthday…is it really true?  Did I really bring her home 14 years ago?  Time is too short.
Paige had suffered greatly without her Mama

I gave my oldest, underwear for her birthday because it’s a long story about her asking me for some for her birthday and me writing an article about it.  “Look super thrilled about your underwear!” I said.  “Thanks, Mom – this is the best present ever!”  It’s so good to see you.  And my hair isn’t all that horrible – even after three days of traveling without a shower.  Yes, this time I was wearing deoderant.

Then we hit the road again and headed to the Grand Canyon.  But that’s a post by itself.

Happy trails! 

The iPhone: Frodo’s Modern-Day Ring

My husband gave me a present on the eve of Father’s Day.

“I have something fun for us to do tonight,” he said as I snuggled down into the covers with the girls.  8 p.m. a blissful bedtime.  (yes, I am loads of fun.)

I opened one eye.  “How fun?”

“You’ll see,” he sang-song.

“Will I have to use my brain?”


“I’m tired,” I whine. anything to get me out of health saving account planning or ew, a summer budget.

He shrugged to let me know I’d be the one missing out.
“How long will it take?”

“About an hour.”

Hmmm.  How fun could this be?

“Tell me!”

An hour later, curiosity pushed me down the stairs and stumbled me onto the couch.

He was like a kid on Christmas morning.  Slowly, he handed me a cardboard box.  “This is for you.”

Happy clap!  Presents!  This is fun.

Inside the cardboard box was a black box.

And inside the black box was an iphone 5.
Husband of mine was grinning from ear to ear. 

Let us pause a moment and say I would probably not know what the internet was if it weren’t for my husband.  I would probably still be using a phone with a curly-cue cord.  Technology tends to be over my head and so I stay scared and ignorant of it.

When Gregor starts talking about “routers” and “gigabytes” I’m likely to break out into a cold sweat.  When he wants to browse the Verizon store I start snoring.

I am always behind.  A couple of years ago I called my brothers and said, “There’s this really cool thing on the internet called Facebook and if you sign up we can be friends and talk and post pictures and stuff!”

Long pause.

“Uh, yeah…we’re on Facebook – like two years ago!”  And they laughed themselves silly.  I am left to wonder why I never got a friend request in all those 730 days.

I have been using my little dumb phone (if that isn’t brilliantly annoying marketing I don’t know what is) for a good long time.

It was driving my husband crazy.  Yes, not me crazy, my husband.

I am married to the man who loves all things technology.  My ineptitude is like a personal insult aimed right at his heart.  His great aptitude does work to my benefit when I cry AT the computer for being so obtuse.  And then he will slowly push a button and it works perfectly.  “That’s what I did!” I’ll cry.  Smug-smile.

My perfectly good dumb phone was driving him crazy because it was old and because I had dropped it in a rain storm and miraculously found it (God is good and must be often annoyed…it’s her again – she lost something ELSE!)  but the rain ruined the text feature and I couldn’t see the messages I was typing.  It was like braille.  Kind of.

iPhone.  Game changer.

I read that there are more iPhones than toothbrushes.  Which has to be a flat-out lie, as everyone I know has a toothbrush and not everyone has an iPhone.  Or maybe I’m still behind on the times.

But then.  Gregor placed it in my hand and I immediately felt the power.  I became Frodo carrying the ring.  When Cope came into the room she gasped, looked at me enviously, inched her way over to me.  Ever so carefully she took it out of my hand…

my precious she said in her best Gollum voice.  me wants it, me needs it…  

“Give it back!” I snatched it and held it close to my chest.  She limped away, wounded, watching it a coveted way…

iPhone training began.  If you need a visual, it was like me teaching Paige how to read.  “la, la, la, la…look at the first letter…sound it out.  Okay, what comes next?  La-la-lamp – Good girl!”

“Turn it on,” Gregor said in his patient teacher voice.  “That big button.  Good girl!”


“Next,” he whispered.

And so I began the discovery.

He did some fancy typing and now, with the tap of my finger I can check email – I don’t even have to log in!  I can SEE the text messages I write and the entire stream before.  

Internet, blog posts and oh my gosh – the weather!  It’s all there.  If I knew what a stock was, I could check.  I took that app off. 

Everything is stored in this cloud thing.  I don’t know exactly where the cloud is but it follows me and lets me put things in it.

Google Calendar for family and personal was set up.  At the orthodontist I didn’t have to scribble down an appointment and shove it in my purse or call them back later – I put it in the phone.  “Would you like a card?” they asked.

“No thanks,” I said with a smile and an iPhone wave.  it’s all here!  

Now my husband has to share his friend, Siri, with me.  She talks to me and gets me places with a GPS that’s right on THE PHONE.

Instead of wandering down Route 4 or Route 11 or Route 4A or the old Route 4A by the big white house past the goat farm next to the old apple orchard, I just follow the little voice in my head…make a right hand turn.  NOW.

When I told Siri she was my best friend she said, “Thank you.  I would like to be your friend.”
Grocery lists

Packing lists


And this amazing device takes PICTURES.

“Look at this,” Gregor said, “You can take notes instead of having all your little pieces of paper and lists all over the place.” Ah-ha!  You see, this really was a present for him!  He was looking so pleased – Amy would finally be organized!

Now I can even send reminders to myself like children starving – buy milk.
Finally, at 11 p.m, the roller coaster iPhone training high was beginning to crash.  “I’m tired now.”

“Focus,” Gregor said. 

“Can I get a case?” I asked.  “A pink glitter one?”

“Here,” he said, googling…I just never knew what a big business this really was.

We picked out a case.  It’s a rather classy sea-green.

I gazed at the phone.  “This,” I said.  “Is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Gregor smiled.  Had he ever looked so happy? Maybe our wedding? Maybe?  “I’m just so glad you’ve jumped into the 21st century,” he said.

I went to bed, my hand wrapped around the ring phone, a smile on my face.
The next few nights involved more iphone training.  “There’s a whole bunch of things we need to talk about,” he said.
I laughed.

“I’m serious.”

Yes, Sir.

For instance, there are banned activities such as:  No throwing phone in purse.  It could get scratched!  He brought me home a screen protector because I cannot be trusted.  No children allowed on phone.  Ha.  They’ve become my personal assistants.

The day after that he brought me home this arm band so I can stream music from itunes or Pandora.  And there’s a Nike app that tracks mileage, pace, and distance.  He suggested I could use my phone instead of my beloved Garmin.  WHAT???
We talked about data usage versus Wi-Fi.
It’s been a week.  It’s still the coolest thing ever.  I’m on a steep learning curve.  Gregor is talking about Evernote.  And sending me links to apps like the Pomodoro Technique.  Yes, a little red tomato is going to make Amy so productive!

What’s the best app you have?  Please Tell! 
Now I understand.  All those articles about moms addicted to their iPhones.  Now I get the addiction.  I GET IT.  Who ever needs to look up again?
I’ve had to impose personal boundaries.  Like turning off the dings and whistles for email alerts.  The temptation is so powerful…

my precious…

This isn’t an iPhone advertisement.  I don’t think.  Maybe it is.  My life has changed.  I think for the better.

Perhaps you are like my brothers.  Laughing.  Perhaps the iPhone was so two years ago for you.  But don’t rain on my parade.  It just takes me awhile to come around to such things.  Who knows, maybe next year I’ll get a Kindle. 

Oh – one last thing.  Have you heard of this thing called Instagram????  If you haven’t seen it, it’s like totally awesome.  Dude.

P.S.  For Father’s Day, Gregor got socks and Cream Soda.