A Bit of Tech Humor

“I didn’t really know how good I was with technology until I met my parents. My dad told me, “You’re really good. You should be a computer programmer.” I said, “You’re bad. You should be a caveman.”

– Mike Birbiglia, (awesome) comedian


Be kind to your elders…uh, self

Ever try to teach an elderly parent how to perform the simplest task on their new tablet or computer? My mom (ok, she’s 92), is notorious for having documents “just disappear.” She has repeatedly told me and my siblings that her “writer” isn’t working. (What does that even mean?)

My father-in-law swears his new tablet doesn’t respond to the touch of his fingers. And although my husband set up a contact list and showed him all he has to do is touch the white envelope with the @ sign to send a relative an e-mail, he keeps his tablet in a drawer. It’s “too much to remember.”

Fast forward to this Blogging101 enrollee. Continue reading

Social Anxiety Disorder (not social disease)

“I hate days when I have to go places and do stuff.”

2016-01-04 18.55.08I’m not what you’d call mentally ill, but let’s face it, there are days when I’m not exactly mentally healthy either. Usually days when I have to “go places and do stuff.”

Because I have an actual magnet on my frig with that quote, I know I’m not the only one. (Magnets, Inc. probably didn’t make it just for me.)

Luckily, my life can often be contained within my cozy home. Blue Apron can deliver meals. I can order other essentials at Box.com and have them dropped off on my porch within two days. So, my self-diagnosed social anxiety (not social disease as one unnamed relative refers to it. Ick.) often goes unseen. But yesterday was not that day. Errands. Sigh.

Continue reading

Simply Living

  1. Experience new foods and drinks; create food that nourishes your senses
  2. For every complaint, say five things for which you’re thankful
  3. Choose experiences over possessions
  4. Speak to mean people as if they’re being kind to you
  5. Sing aloud to the music in your car…or in your head
  6. Go to the beach or look into a starry sky and feel small as often as possible
  7. Grow as much food as you can or at least know your farmer
  8. Have at least one friend who brings out the crazy in you and makes you laugh till you cry
  9. Get rid of things that don’t give you pleasure or you don’t use

20150727_100745         10. Share something you love to do with a child


Social Anxiety Aside…let me introduce myself

This is how I spend my time: I attempt to teach myself to paint by using Youtube tutorials.  I organize my suburban home, embrace simplicity, and abhor clutter. I ride a roller coaster,  ranging from devoted foodie to telling my husband he’s eating cereal for dinner…yes, again.

There are blocks of time when I binge Netflix movies, fill  my Pinterest boards with lofty ideas that will never happen, and fall into sulky silences. But, generally,  you, my blog  reader will not be subjected to that. You are welcome. Continue reading

Angela Anderson’s Painting Lesson

20151229_144546Artist Angela Anderson is photo bombing my newest acrylic painting. OK, more accurately,  her Youtube tutorial,  Red Oak Fall Landscape.

Despite my lack of the correct size canvas and hardly any of the suggested colors, I had the urge to use the supplies I had and give it a try. (Delayed gratification,  not a strong suit)

One of my first attempts at painting was Angela’s daisy tutorial. She had immediately put me at ease with her easy going, conversational style. Oddly enough, just as I started stressing out (it may have been 3 hours in, with all of my “pauses”) she literally stated, “At this point you may be stressing out. The best thing to do sometimes is to walk away…come back and look at it with fresh eyes…”

Creepy. I believe she also reminded me to get a drink of water at one point. And possibly suggested a pee break when I was too focused on painting to hear my bladder screaming for attention.

Then, just when I rationally convinced myself that Angela couldn’t read my thoughts during the painting struggle, she did it again. My painting looked awful. I mean, nothing like hers and much more like a four year old, or a monkey, had done it. Maybe even a four year old monkey. And at that moment, she explained that there’s a ugly stage in every painting.

Now, a warning if you’re planning to check out an Angela Anderson tutorial. While she starts with an artsy, everything goes attitude, she transforms into perfectionist, gotta just do one more thing….and one more thing…and one touch of red here…and goes on and on and on…in short is so much like my self-diagnosed OCD self, it’s scary.

But, I appreciated her intuition, trusted her guidance. And I did push through the four year old monkey stage and  kept going.

Full disclosure: I painted the daisy three times, varying colors, sizes, and types of canvas before painting one that I was happy to display. And, it’s one that truly makes me happy every time I see it.





Can it be done…obsessing in acrylics

Setting up a “studio” that looked like I knew what I was doing…very important step for me.

My plan was to become a painter, my medium, acrylics.  “Plan” is such a benign word. It was a plan for about five minutes….then it  became an outright obsession.  I was scrolling through Amazon looking for painting books, making lists of supplies, looking at scenery in a new way, thinking about colors, possible projects and imagining  painting on the beach, outside my Outer Banks beach house. (I would first need a beach house) And direction.

Sadly, Kindle’s teeny, tiny pictures on my tablet were not much help.  I needed to purchase real, hard copy books. So, my first investment was “An Introduction to Acrylics In Association with the Royal Academy of Arts” by Ray Smith, “Acrylic Painting Step-by-Step” by Wendy Jelvert, Carole Massey and David Hyde, and “Acrylic Painting for Dummies” Colette Pitcher.

Some of the giddiness of dreaming of being a painter was sucked out of me as I poured through the books. Painting looked like work. And, other than the desire, I wasn’t overly confident that I could make a painting happen, at least not something I would want anyone else to see. However, true to their descriptions, these books covered the basics of how to buy paint (still overwhelming once in the paint aisle), brushes, and canvases.  And, they had enough information and inspiration that I felt that I could jump in and give painting with acrylics a try.

For weeks, I played with mixing colors (found out you don’t just use colors right out of the tube. Who knew?) And, I tried to copy paintings from books in order to figure out techniques. I wasted lots of paint, I warped lots of paper (tried to use the cheap stuff). And, I actually produced some stuff that I wasn’t embarrassed to show a few, non-judgemental people in my life.  I made the leap of feeling as if I could never do this and I  wished I hadn’t told anyone about my endeavor, to feeling ( I know this is cheesy) that this is what was missing in my life. Obsession is not too strong of a term here.

It was time to advance. Next steps: Use actual canvasses (so scary), and try some online tutorials.

Simple…Let’s try this again

Why do I feel like I’m breaking every Blogging 101 rule with this first line? OK, jumping in anyway…

Things to celebrate…I remembered my password and user name. (You will learn that this truly is something of a miracle, as you get to know me.) So, I find my site and apparently my last post was not a few months ago, but…wait, TWO YEARS? Really? 2013?

I’m not deterred, lucky for you. (You will also learn that I lean towards sarcasm.) I found the posts hidden in the archives so I could see how this used to be done. So, now I’m on my way to fulfill my blog-writing goal.

Do you also feel us bonding as I tell you my endearing persoanlity traits in such a non-egocentric way? I don’t even feel the need to add “winky face” or “haha” following that comment, since we now know me so well.

😉 haha (for anyone not feeling it yet. Hang in there. You may not lol at  me but maybe you can be my friend, and smile when you see my name, and stalk me…no, don’t stalk me. There’s no stalking…but best case scenerio, you might want to check in every once in a while. Very appropriate.)

Apparently, two years ago, my posts were all self-righteous about how I can live “Simply, By Design.” Let me tell you, it didn’t really work out that well. But, as they say, New year. New start.  (Yes, I am also annoyed with the people who say that and not necessarily feeling it but letting my actions go before my feelings here.)

Let’s be honest. I’m not without doubts. My concern is that my authentic life is not a page turner.  (Scroll downer?) Don’t people with blogs usually have something to say? (I almost HAVE  to do a little winky here, right? Because, I’m thinking the answer is probably “no” but I also don’t want to offend you, my new friend who most likely is into this blogging thing.)

Guess I could post about the movies I watch on Netflix except that I immediately forget everything about them about the time the ending credits scroll. Ditto, with e-books and news articles. I know this because as soon as I begin to recommend anything to anyone, I go into old people mode, something like this:

Me: Saw a great movie on Netflix.

Them: Oh, yeah? (At this point, they’re still hopeful I can  impart the information) Would I like it?

Me: You’d love it! It had….oh, what was his name? He was in….ugh…that show with the two guys we used to watch…they were funny…

Them: Ummmm. (This is generally someone younger who is unsuccessfully trying not to roll their eyes.)  So, you don’t know the name?

This launches a guessing game that goes on way too long, ending only after both parties are completely frustrated and ending with…

Me: You probably wouldn’t like it anyway.

Somehow I don’t think this is the way to go with the blog. (I am fairly certain I would feel the eye rolling, even though you aren’t directly in front of me.)

I am counting heavily on the tips from  Blogging 101 to find something of interest (that I can remember) so you, my new friend, and non-stalker, will come back to visit.

The only thing I’m certain of at this point, is  that  I’ll scratch the past’s “Simply, By Design” idea.  Maybe just “Simple” would be more accurate. And, I mean that, not necessarily, in the nicest way.

Well, happy blogging to me, and happy reading to you. Thanks for showing up.





Pavlov’s Diet for the Obsessed

I love food. All food. I know, everyone says that, but you ask, “What about anchovies?” “No, but everything else.” What about…”

Nobody loves food like I love food. Sauteing makes me swoon. I take pleasure in the crunch or the explosion of flavors when I sink my teeth into it and can’t help but make mmmmm-ing noises. I roll in it (ok, I don’t really do that, pervs. I’m making a point.)

As a kid, I’d say something like, “Yummmm, I love pizza.” To which Mommy Dearest would reply, “You can’t love food. You can only love people.”

False doctrine, 89 yr. old mom. Just like someone day I will appreciate my given name and probably even use it. I will always despise the name Esther and I truly do love food. 

But, here’s the catch. Too much food makes you fat. Oh, that’s not good, you say. I know, right?

Lately I realized (surprise, surprise, it happened around New Years when 89% of Americans had the same realization) that my obsession with food was causing a bit of an issue. (And, yes, I made up that stat.)

My love affair was not only causing some weight gain, but also taking over 80% of my time. (I don’t know why I feel the need to keep making up percentages) I spend my days gawking and pinning food on Pinterest, finding recipes, making up menus and grocery lists, planning parties around menus, searching for grocery specials and matching coupons, then chopping, peeling, grilling, roasting, whipping…you get the picture. And this was all before the actual eating part. 

So in the blur of blaring horns, midnight kisses, and showering confetti, my resolve began; to stop the food obsession. 

My app called my new diet “The Healthy,Tasty Diet,” but I see it as Pavlov’s Diet for the Obsessed. I chose it because it was so boring and mindless that I wouldn’t give it another thought.

My tablet dings. I check what to eat and grab it from the frig. Ding! Breakfast is 3/4 cup cereal, mixed with an apple and yogurt. Ding! It’s 10:00. Eat an orange. It even came with a grocery list, so the food I needed was always at my fingertips.(No planning) Dinners are pretty much either a grilled chicken breast or grilled salmon with a ton of lettuce. (Next to no cooking.)

The first week I dropped 2 lbs of Christmas weight and decided to go for another week. One week at a time, they say (well, “they” really say “day” but I’m adapting). I gained the realization that every meal doesn’t have to be an event and when it’s not, I have much more time on my hands and a little less weight.

I’m not naive enough to think this can be my new lifestyle. (I may have mentioned that I love food.) But as times goes on, I can live with the mindless Pavlov eating most of the time. (Let’s say 89%) And then sometimes, maybe just because I feel the need to be creative or because it’s Friday and I deserve it, I can pull out the stops and truly eat for pleasure. With no morning after regrets.

In other words, food can be used solely as fuel, except when it’s not. 

That’s living simply, by design.