Tag Archives: keeping it simple

What In The Hell Does THIS Button Do?

Geez. New technology around the home is such a love-hate thing. It’s so wonky adjusting to new things.
I remember the old days of the ’70s, when you’d walk into someone’s home, there was ONE TV, if any, and that TV had a few dials and knobs you could turn, and that’s that.
You just flipped past three channels.
The “tint” dial you only used as your tube was about to die, to adjust the red/greeny-ness of it until you could take it to an actual repairman.
Not rocket science to watch anything. Click, crank, click. And you got exercise doing it, too. If you didn’t like the show, you had to actually walk eight feet to do something, AND walk BACK.
Now, you need a fucking degree to figure out which remote does what and your back gets sore from sitting so long while you’re doing it.
Don’t worry, kids. Granny Steff will figure it out.
I got the PVR thingiemajobber, it plugs into the fancy hi-def TV doohickety-theatre thingie, and then the theatre thingie plugs into the humongogianticus TV screen. Right. There you go. THAT’s simple.
That took a while to figure out, and I had to ask for advice on the interwebs, but five hours later I had sound.
Today, I’ve figured out how to play music. How exciting. I’m finally in 2012 after 18 years with the same stereo.

We’ve Come A Long Way, Baby

It’ll take me a month or so to make peace with how COMPLICATED it needs to be to listen to music and shit now, BUT I’ll be fine.
Because it looks pretty and sounds good, right? That’s how we think. We sit on the “how frustrating it is” to operate the digital world because once it gets going, it’s awesome(ish) [if graded on a curve].
But all new technology is an adjustment, and our feeble human minds don’t always adjust as quickly as we’d like. And what’s different from our expectations is often voted disappointing before we give it a big chance.
As much as I grumble about the learning curve with my fancy new shit, I think it’s amazing how far we’ve come since my childhood.
We were the first kids on the block with an Atari game system. My parents did up the guest room at the same time and picked out this wicked green carpet that felt like velvet. I remember the kids coming over to play the ONLY SYSTEM ON THE BLOCK and how we’d all park our asses on that velvetty carpet and the tweed sofa-sleeper and crowd around the Atari, playing Asteroids until the end of time.
Pew! Pew! Pow! Whizz! Pew! You’re dead. Crushed by space rock! SUCKER.
I love the tech I’ve picked up and can’t wait to master it all. I just figured out another thing with listening to music on my phone docked to my stereo. How exciting! Maybe I’m not pushing 80 after all.
I suspect I’ll be living with my new purchases for five years or more. Except the laptop. But the rest, probably a good long haul. I’m not married to the newness. I just want a stereo that works, a way to enjoy all my music in one place, and a TV that doesn’t take five minutes to warm up to a picture.
Pretty simple. It’ll be great for my new nesting life across the pond. Less of the restaurant scene, more of the hanging at home. I’d like to entertain more. Friends over for dinner, movie, chatting. I think everything I’ve got is conducive to that.

A Brave New Fiscal Entertainer’s World

Everyone’s making a fuss about the restaurant scene and griping about how expensive it’s become, and, OH, the horrors of cutting back, and the punishment it is to stay home with a movie.
When I grew up, going to a restaurant was a special occasion. We only did it once or twice a month as a family, if that. Having a movie night at home was exciting. We’d do that weekly. Popcorn! Mom’s brown sugar candy! Extra milk to drink! SKOOKUM.
Somewhere along the way, we as a society started feeling entitled to eating out and seeing movies and all that. For a while, it became kind of affordable. Then we got hooked, and then we fell for the lie that life was better with it all.
Not as many people cook as there used to be. You can get by without those basic skills now, since food’s omnipresent at stupid prices.
But once upon a time, you cooked for your friends, you watched a movie, you hung out with a bottle of cheap wine, laughed till 2 in the morning, and enjoyed the simple things with others.
There’s getting to be a return to this, but I see some people acting like it’s some kind of penalty for life choices or something. Restaurants are a status symbol now. The hipper it is, the pricier it is, the more cachet you pack for having been a part of that scene.
Me, I’m excited. I’ll make new friends soon, live in a nice central place for entertaining, and hopefully I’ll get back to the way I used to be — a host for fun nights of food and chatter, which is how I lived my first three years in this apartment.
I feel fortunate I could make these purchases and capitalize on sick sales for decent quality. I’m looking forward to a return to the kind of lifestyle my parents raised me with — friends and family over, great food, tunes, and entertainment, wonderful hosting, and real engaging with others.
This is the first step in my throwing on the brakes and doing a 180 in life. What fun.
What does THIS button do?

Righting the Wrongs at Casa de Steff

Hi there, readers. I’m just popping in for a boo. How are y’all?
It’s been a slog of a few weeks. I just haven’t been sleeping well.
I’m the postergirl for cunty-when-sleep-deprived. Creatively, I evaporate. My life becomes a little chaotic on all fronts, and my writing has nothing to show for all the frenetic energy that abounds.
Finances have also been thin after a number of little issues dragged on for weeks and weeks. It’s gotten stressful in a “I just want this over with” kind of way, and I think it hasn’t helped the sleep, or the ability to focus. I was slowly unhinging.
Still, while around the homestead, I’ve been picking away at life in an effort to unravel the sleep issues and get back to happy nights.
Lately, I’ve done everything from writing life goals, fitness plans, and cleaning house, all in an effort to generate momentum in a better direction.
I finally slept well last night, so my “solve the life and sleep will come” approach is starting to work. Upon waking this morning, I realized the solution for my stupid money woes is staring me in the face. Thus, problem solved.

Perspective helps

Those periods where the money gets all tied up can be a gift, and I chose to use this past month as one. When you can’t control your life externally, take control internally. Hence the housecleaning and cooking of late.
This month, I’ve finally done that thing I’ve always wished I had the focus and preparedness to do — I’m taking healthy smart lunches to work daily. I haven’t been spending money on coffee. I’ve worked through all my lunches so I get out  of the office earlier. I think I’ve not bought lunch in nearly 3 weeks. That’s a record. Shit, that was a record 10 days ago.
Also because I’ve been strapped for cash, I’ve been spending weekends at home trying to get my house back to the place it was at last summer before I got sick all fall then blew out my back. I’m spreading it out on weekends so it’s not too taxing. I take lots of breaks and rest when I need to. My cupboards are getting cleaned up, my floors, everything’s slowly coming together after three weeks of picking slowly at it.
The further along I get, the less frustrated I’m feeling. It’s only been the last two days that I’ve started to feel like I have a little more control in life, so it’s nice that I feel this way at all, and I know there’s more to come.

It’s not over… thinking ahead

I’ll be picking through my life for the foreseeable future. I’m hoping I have the opportunity to move this winter, and I want my life pared down before I do, as I suspect I’ll have to downsize — they just don’t make modern apartments as big as these ’50s places, and I’ll likely have to have 10-15% less square footage, so I’m planning ahead.
I’ve also been exploring cooking, and my freezer’s full of good food for lunches for a while to come. The master plan is coming together, and I like the direction it’s going in.
Housework is not the kind of thing someone with a back injury tends to spend a lot of time being able to do, so the fact that I’m finally at the point where I can spend a few hours each weekend undoing the chaos of the last several months is a big, big deal. I cannot stress enough how much the chaos interferes with my writing brain and my ability to rest mentally/physically/spiritually.
I figure one more weekend of less strenous, little finicky things and order should be fully restored to Casa de Steff.

Ready for the season, maybe

Last weekend I redid my kitchen and really took the time to think “What’s not working, where does the mess start from, and how can I fix it?” and then I made organizational changes. Then I spent a whole day doing end-of-season cooking, from jam and bruschetta to pesto and butters, all frozen for fall bounty eatin’ now.
Yep. Fall is coming. A season of cocooning, cooking, writing, and resting lies ahead as the reward of all this work.
For today, though, my home’s as clean as it needs to be. I’ve already prepared my day’s work at the office, so I can get right at it when I arrive. Tomorrow, an early start and a long day. But today? Shorter, and bike rides before and after, to enjoy the end-of-season sunshine.
Ahh, autumn. I’m ready. Almost.
So glad I’ve begun recharging. Last year, I never got to enjoy fall. This year’s looking great. Onward and upward.