Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Brightest Bulb in the Book: Simplify Auto Light Replacement

I'm not sure why the numbers in my car's auto manual never match the brands that my local auto parts store carries. I carry in the book, but usually end up resorting to the print or electronic directory. The whole process takes at least five minutes. With a toddler and perilously stacked columns of wiper fluid gallons all around, those short minutes allow a lot of opportunity for movie montage style chaos.

With the right replacement bulbs, I copied the maker and bulb number into the manual. After both bulbs were used, I put the cardboard backing into the manual by the replacement instructions.

This time, when my brake light indicator lit up the dash, I pulled the cardboard out of the manual. It took me less than a minute to find the right bulb even with a change in packaging.

When the new pack is empty, the new card will replace the old one.

***Baby Toolkit is the independent opinion of a couple geek parents.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Mountains Beyond Mountains: Medical Relief for Haiti

A few years ago, I read Mountains Beyond Mountains, Tracy Kidder's excellent biography of Dr. Paul Farmer. The book (like Farmer's life) reminds me of the immense power of a determined individual.

Dr. Farmer found his place and purpose in an impoverished place not so far from our own borders.

His organization, Partners In Health, has been serving rural Haiti since 1987. Now, although two hours from Port-au-Prince, earthquake victims are arriving for treatment. A local church is being used for additional treatment space.

Partners In Health is an American foundation born out of Haiti. This organization is one of the most knowledgeable and prepared to serve Haiti. Within hours of the quake they were already working to route critical supplies through the Dominican Republic. Their Stand with Haiti site offers news from their Haitian clinic.

Please consider helping them help others. Giving (according to psychological research) is one of the most gratifying ways to spend your money.

Stand With Haiti

The Amazon links in this post benefit Partners in Health as will any additional Amazon shopping through these links.

***Baby Toolkit is the work of a some opinionated geek parents. Partners in Health is an AMAZING non-profit humanitarian organization created by a hard-working doctor with genius and compassion. These opinions are freely given and we have no undisclosed relationship with Partners in Health (beyond the sizable intrinsic benefits in giving). These are good people with insight; Help them change lives.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

New Prepositions: Dancing with the Squares

You wouldn't guess it to see us (or to see us dance), but Jim and I have taken years of social dance classes. As generally graceless people, we've been able to endlessly repeat beginner's classes without arousing any suspicion of prior experience.

Over the years, Jim and I have taken lessons for everything from sewing to stained glass to guitar to greeting card writing.

A few weeks ago a small roadside sign caught my eye. A new course? I called Jim, he looked up the website, and before I knew it, he had signed us up for square dance lessons.

Those who know me would suspect this to be something I resist (like romantic comedies) or something undertaken solely for snark value (like watching regional beauty pageants on television). But peeling back the layers of this onion, one can find a wide-eyed girl who secretly adored every moment of square dancing in 5th grade gym class.

The $5 weekly fee (per couple) for a 2 hour class appeals to my inner (and outer) cheapskate.

On the way to our first class, we talked about the sheer pleasure of some colorful new prepositions in our lives. "In square dance class..."

Yep. Colorful lives are drawn from a wide array of colorful prepositional phrases and experiences.

What's new in your lexicon?