Category Archives: Dealing with Tech.

Look Elsewhere


For years I recommended a book search engine to people who wanted to evaluate whatever books they had. Today I did a search there and noticed something, it was basically an amazon search engine. Not surprising, as Amazon bought the site a few years back.

It had been balanced. Most of it was Amazon, but you could still find things elsewhere. The major used book site was bought a few years back by Amazon too, so that’s there, but I stopped buying from them when Amazon bought them.


Sometimes I think I’ll be the last person in America who won’t buy things from or sell on Amazon. I don’t buy things at Walmart or use self-checkouts either. I’m just weird.



I Assume This Counts!

I had 89,000 unread emails acc. to my phone.  My phone wouldn’t pick up new mail. So I started deleting the unread emails/spam and getting myself off email lists.

I’m down to just over 86,000 32,000 this morning, I think.

Tonight I removed emails and my subscription from 3 more mailing lists. Should be several hundred less unread emails, if not another thousand now.

spam folder

This is just crazy! I don’t have time to read them, but the way my email account handles it, all these emails are put into either an in box called “promotions” or “social.” I almost never look at either category. Maybe I look 1 day out of 100 — which is how I got into this mess to begin with.

Be mindful when/where you subscribe. It can create a completely different type of clutter!





Always Unplanned

I picked up a load of stuff from my car last night and brought it in. Remembered, just now, that my phone’s battery needed charging. Phone wasn’t in any of the places where it gets put away, no ringy-dingy when we called it. Thought I’d left it in the car?

Nope. It had fallen out of my hands onto the ground last night. And it poured last night and poured. My phone is almost certainly dead. DH said, “Well, maybe those $60 waterproof cases are worth it?” because my case cost $20 and as far as I was concerned it should have been $10. We’ll see. The phone currently sits in a bowl of rice. My bet is that it’s fried.

sick cell phone from

I guess I need to do a spot check, every night: phone, wallet, and keys. I usually do that as I’m walking out the door. Too late then if I’ve left it somewhere or dropped it, like this.



Phone was in its case. We removed it and put it in a bag of rice. Last time we tried this, it didn’t work. But this time, it did! My phone is working.

Been Working on the Paperwork

My first tax appt. is this week, so I’ve been going thru paperwork.


This morning I’ve culled/filed coupons.

Culled/filed misc. paperwork.

Culled/filed receipts.

I’m not sure exactly how many papers I’ve tossed, filed, or put in the shred tub, but it’s an hour+ of sorting things. I’m going to count it as 30 papers out. I’m sure it was likely more than that, but as I said, I didn’t count so I don’t have an accurate number.

Other agenda related to the tax appt. is to clear my desk and the area around it. The old computer needs to be plugged in so I can get some data off of it.

I ran out of the envelopes I use to file receipts. One thing I learned long ago is that I purely hate the mess that misc. piles of small bits of paper create. My first solution was to tape the receipts to college ruled notebook paper and file the stuff in notebooks. Works, as long as you keep it up. I did (and didn’t). Last year, when I shut off the old computer (it had completely died doing the 2014 taxes, then started to again doing the 2015 taxes!) I had the first quarter’s worth of data in the data base. I figured when we got the new computer, I’d just upgrade the data base, and I’d be good. Something we’ve done before. No, the company has gone to a monthly subscription fee rather than expensive upgrades. Okay, in our old age I am working really, really hard at REMOVING monthly fees and autodebits — so I decided that after 20 years or so with the data base, I’d stop using it. (Also, I’d finally (!) zeroed out the book stock, so didn’t need to use the same medium any more.)

Okay. I started filing receipts and tracking what I was doing in a different way. Like all things, it has its pluses and minuses.

However, I’m still using that system. But I need to get the 1st quarter ‘s data from the old data base . . . .

After that? I have 20 years worth of research for the kitchen book (mostly) in a few data bases to convert to some other system. Now you know why I haven’t tackled this already; it’s daunting!

Minimalism in Food Storage: refrigerator & freezer space

Because our big fridge broke earlier this year, we’ve learned to live with a 10 instead of 18 foot fridge. Having one copy of the 18′ refrigerator die three months or so after we bought it, we don’t have a lot of faith this one will keep working for long, after these repairs. We’re planning to replace it in the next year. We think we’ll buy a small, 8 foot or less fridge and perhaps a 10 foot or so convertible fridge/freezer.

We get produce from a farm, 6 months a year. The idea has always been that we’ll put aside food during the months we get farm food to help feed us the other 6 months. So our need for fresh and frozen food storage varies hugely.

The used commercial freezer we bought this year works, not as well as we’d like, and it’s a dedicated freezer. It should be nearly empty by winter’s end.

We have decided on counter depth units, as they’re shallower; there’s less space for food to “hide.”

We’re working on our minimalism. This includes making the best use of the farm food, something we haven’t managed.

  • The first year I had no idea how much food we’d get.
  • The second I tried but got overwhelmed.
  • This year I managed at the beginning of the season, but the fridge dying being fixed then dying and being fixed again and other factors made it impossible.

In the meantime, our 18′ 4 year-old fridge/freezer is working again and we’ll use it.

I like the idea of the underground fridge thing, but I think it would likely be expensive and impractical here. (Look for underground refrigerator, it’s a plastic bubble which is buried, with a walkway out of it.) I want a California closet (Not the brand of closet organizers but a form of unpowered food storage.). I would love a root cellar, but that’s not practical here.

We’ll see!



Wanted to read a new book. My way of finding out if a book is worth the $ to buy it is to check it out of the library. This state has a great interlibrary service. Except my local, small library got computerized, I don’t (now) remember my user id (I could get that tomorrow) and we don’t have the necessary software to read books on my desktop computer. I don’t remember what the issue was, but DH didn’t want to load the reader software. I can’t read the book I “checked out” on my phone. So, I checked out an ebook, but can’t read it.

Just found 2 more books I wanted to look at. Solution? I’m going to bite the bullet and just buy them. This will make like 6 books I’ve bought in the past 2 months — for me, that’s nothing, but it’s irritating when I thought I wouldn’t have to buy anything at all.

Not that it’s a hardship to have books, it’s just that I already have so many and then I’ll have to get rid of that many more if I decide to keep these. And, I’m spoiled. I’m used to buying books wholesale, not retail. (Yes, I know, you have no sympathy — and why should you?)


I’ll look into the problem again, but I don’t remember what DH’s issue was, only that he had one. It could have been a software update was needed first or he didn’t have time right then, but I think it was technical. Until that gets straightened around — I guess I’m stuck with paper and ink books!

Saving Money: where and how?

I’ve decided that I definitely need an automatic “next generation” mindset more than what I was raised with (everything disposable ’60s).

Many of my ideas about this are simply to buy less, use less, or store less. Buying concentrated consumables, shampoo concentrate rather than bottles of shampoo (I can’t do this anymore, alas, but you can!), Better Than Bullion rather than broth, etc.

But many of the items so affected are consumables. What about nonconsumables? Some of my ideas are to go back to older tech (wood stove, grabbing my broom before the vac, etc.).If we owned a place that would be passed along, I’d make it a family “rule” to make at least one improvement, each generation, that would be permanent or last longer than 20 years. Like? Like unpainted red brick exteriors — they need to be washed but never repainted. Good wrought iron fencing, slate roof (metal roofs are good, but not quite as good). Along that line, slate kitchen counters, brick (not tile) flooring, an Aga stove, etc. All are expensive, more expensive that the short-term fix: tile, asphalt roofing, painted exteriors, whatever. Also, trees, like fruit trees, or perennial flower and vegetable gardens fit as well.

My childhood home had a Mexican tile roof. It still has the same roof. As far as I know there was never a problem with the roof. Everywhere we’ve lived since, until here, had asphalt roofing, which needs to be replaced every 20 years or so. We moved a lot before we got here so we never had to replace a roof. I’m sure our home in the desert has needed its roof replaced by now, as well as the home we built in Florida. We passed along the problem: the first home it was passed along to us, and the second we passed it along. Again, it never occurred to me when we built the second house to have a different roof put on. We upgraded the appliances, all dead long since by now I’m sure, moved some features around in the house, replaced one vinyl floor with tile, but other than that, we had built a “disposable” house. The hearth should last: it was stone, but the rest of it was pretty at the time and probably looks like hell now, if the paint, carpet, walls, roof, water connection, windows, whatever —  hasn’t had to be replaced long since.


Likewise, when we bought this place, it was the “prettiest” of the houses we could afford, had the least needing to be fixed right away, but the long-term things we were alerted to we didn’t change, mostly because we couldn’t: we moved in and 6 weeks later DH was laid off. Suddenly every dime we had was precious. The main fix we didn’t do later cost us a lot more to repair and replace the damage.

Things we need to do here to make it less “disposable” and likely to fail: replace the wall to wall carpet with decent flooring and area rugs. Insulate the attic to keep that heat suck away. Upgrade some of the systems more of the windows. Finish the other insulation projects. I’d like to put in brick walkways, don’t know if that will happen, I’m pretty sure if it does, it won’t be soon. I have some concrete stepping stones now. They’ll last for a while yet.

My stuff is being culled, daily, by my asking myself, “Will I want this in 10 years?” and if the answer is no — it goes. But the repairs and upgrades to the house need to be made with the idea that they should last 30 years or more, when we can afford it. That mindset has changed a few decisions we made about painting the living room and likely will affect more.

I was telling someone about our coffee pot. We’d already done this shift for that. Got tired of electric pots breaking, breaking carafes, etc. So we got a French press, glass one. It broke. To heck with that! Our next pot was insulated and metal. Not this one, but you get the idea.


And, yes, re housewares, I’m not the only one who’s gotten here. If that describes you, you might be interested in this site. However, I need like nothing they sell, because either I’ve got equivalent (some of it was my Dad’s) or I’ve bought stuff used. Buying used is even better to my mind that buying new. . . of course, I could be (?) biased . . . as I sell used durable goods for $. ‘Ya think I might have an opionion? I’m not the only one. The last two things I sold at the booth are a cleaver and toast rack. (I didn’t get either of them when they were new.)