Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Old bones and smart phones!

I have long cherished my smart phones, and before that, my PDA, for remembering tasks and schedules. I'm 68 now, and as I get ever older, my memory sometimes frustrates me. If I let a mental request set for a bit, the needed piece of information always appears, though sometimes beyond the time of usefulness.  Smart phones seem a perfect tool for older (or younger!) people when they begin to forget names and tasks. That can be embarrassing.  I love my smart phone; I refer constantly to the brain in my back pocket.  I can look up pretty much anything I need.  But there are even more advantages.

I have been reading 1776 and John Adams by David McCullough , and told son Scott how exciting it would be to see the places in Boston mentioned in the books..........  Scott called this morning and used Tango on his smart phone to show me, between conference meetings, the Boston streets as he jogged along the Freedom Trail.  I got on my laptop and looked at Google maps to follow his course. When he could give me street names, I could see his exact location on my map and give him tips to navigate. My IPhone doesn’t allow data searches while I talk, as his Droid does, but tracking him on my computer w Google maps, and talking to him on my cell phone worked fine.  I love this. The technology gets more fun all the time. My IPhone told me he was 2400 miles away, but we talked as though he were across town.  I saw the State House, Bunker Hill Monument, Paul Revere’s house.

On Scott jogged through the heart of the historical city, and came to the Atlantic Ocean. Just two days before he had been at the Pacific Ocean near his home. And now the Atlantic. It seems pretty darned remarkable to this jaded techy granny, that I could be there electronically.   My smart phone buddy keeps my grocery list and reminders for paying bills, has my schedule, the up to the minute stock market report, weather report, all my photos in gorgeous high resolution, Google maps, my IPod contents, a compass, a flashlight, a dictation app, a bar code reader, some kids’ games, Google Earth, Netflix, all my contacts, and a lot more. I can watch movies or the news on it. The images are clear and crisp.  It’s a gol-darned computer. There’s nothing missing that I can see. And when I want to look up any fact or detail about any topic, I have an Internet search app. Oh yeah, and it’s a phone.

And the kids and technology!  Oh my!  My 3 year old grandson is very well acquainted with his parents smart phones. Tech is part of his life. And this morning my grandson and I had story time via Skype and my laptop and his Mom’s laptop. He is only 3 and he knows how to stay on screen, and how to put his show and tell item within camera range.  Today, story time over, with him in CA and me in WA, we “blew” good bye kisses to each other. I’d blow at the screen and he’d “fall” off his chair, and he’d blow at the screen and I’d “fall” off mine. This worked an adequate number of times. Now what part of the brain, heretofore unaccessed in all of human experience, was awakened in us? Blowing kisses to a screen and reacting as those we were together.  Mind you, this little boy is 3!  For the granny side, I’m thinking those new tech synapses, heretofore lying dormant, will fill in the gaps for those poor fading connectors in the deep byways of my noggin. Hope so.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

October: time to work and play smart!

Little Lemon Cakes
My 401(k) just dropped thousands of dollars. (Aug-Sept 2011) I refused to look at my account until the end of September and had a wonderful birthday month!  (I’m now 68.) It was full of friends and excursions, swims in the pool, creative cooking, hosting one graduation party, sewing projects, massive room rearrangements with the help of nephew Gregg Hardy, a trip to Mt. Rainier, some overdue furniture repair, and great good life changing news from relatives and friends. The weather was calm and warm, with only mild hints of the Fall to come. I really settled into the retirement thing this month.

One major inspiration for all that energy was a birthday present from son Scott and daughter-in-law Kimberly, Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, a #1 New York Times best seller....... Gretchen’s (I feel I know her!)  writing style grabbed me and held me til I just had to get up and try some of her ideas.  In a way it’s hard to finish her book because her ideas take me away from reading her book!  Her credentials as a lawyer and published writer inspire my respect. She does not profess to be an expert, however, just a detective in finding what really brings happiness.  She tries this and then this, and takes note and proceeds. The creativity is immense and rubs off on me. And she collaborates with her readers, an attractive to me method.

Find handy baskets for storage of sewing items?  Buy a comforter on sale? Get rid of unwanted stuff? Finally get a new bicycle helmet?  These things all lead to larger projects via the energy created from simple accomplishments. And the projects and rewards are endless.

Gretchen’s discussion of the rewards of creating her blog   brings me back to mine. The effect of imagining others reading my words makes me take myself seriously, a very good thing. I don’t like being wishy washy in public and a potential observer brings me increased drive for clarity.  I come to better know my own mind. Also, as I looked around in Blogger, my blog creator, I easily experimented with a new template.  I want to make a good looking blog.  And what the heck, if it doesn’t work, I’ll try something else!

I’m poorer now, but still ok with the finances. And October is a blank slate.  The challenge of being more cost conscious in October and November will bring its own creative aspect. I intend to work and play smart!  (Read Gretchen’s book—you’ll talk like this too.)