Updates, Schmupdates: or, if it ain’t broke, do an update

I’m old.

Old enough that I don’t always like to check my age category, because it’s too far down on the list.

Old enough that my time left is precious, and I don’t want to spend it re-learning what I thought I already knew.

Old enough that I believed the lie that technology is supposed to make our lives easier and simpler.

Lately, I’ve been fighting technology, and it’s wearing me down…

Quote on technology by Richard Foster

First there was Windows 10 on my office computer. Now I have to put in a password every ten minutes when the screen goes to sleep. (Is that why it’s called Windows 10?) Oh yes, I’ve set and reset the settings. Ten times at least. The screen is not supposed to go to sleep — ever. But there it is, every ten minutes it starts snoring. Does exactly what it wants. I think I’m going to start calling it HAL. (Proof that I’m old.)

Then there was the new iOS on my iPhone. Now the blue tooth in the car just circles around and around, and I can’t play the music that is on my phone. I used to be able to do this… And yes, I’ve uninstalled my phone and reinstalled it. Three times. Nothing. No music. I’ll have to go back to CD’s I guess.

Then there was El Capitan on the MAC. Yep, the wireless printer stopped working. This is actually one of the success stories, because after uninstalling and reinstalling the printer three times, it has finally started working again. But my new writing program Scrivener — advertised as El Capitan ready — has frozen repeatedly. It is frozen as I write this (which is why I’m doing a blog post instead of writing on my novel).

And then there is the WordPress update. For a year now, they’ve been telling me to switch to  the improved posting experience, but I’ve always been able to get around it. Because the old way of posting had commands right at my fingertips. Easy. Visible. But today I tried to get in the back way, and BAM, the new dashboard is the only one to be seen. I was beyond frustrated…

New and improved rarely means improved. It means frustrated and irritated, which quite frankly, I don’t need in my life. Is there anyone who does?

cat and computer

I’ve learned my lesson. I’ve turned off automatic updates. I’ll just have to put up with those annoying little numbers on the App Store. And those banners on the Mac that make me feel like I’m way behind the times? I’m blind to them.

I can take it.

Because, yeah, I’m old.

(If you are a frustrated WordPress user, here’s the workaround, courtesy of  Life in the Realm of Fantasy. Go to My Stats; click on WP Admin; click on posts; and Voila — you are at your old familiar dashboard. Thank you, Connie!  NEWS: And just this morning I noticed that from my home page drop down under My Sites, WP Admin is actually one of the tabs. Yes! Eliminate extra clicking!)

148. The Cure for Christmas Scrooges

I’ve been feeling rather like a scrooge these days.

The world’s a mess,

it’s dark december,

and why should i buy more stuff to give to people who already have too much stuff

when so much of the world doesn’t have enough…

The cure?

Christmas ornament

Decorate your tree with old ornaments and don’t buy a single new one. Be sure to take pictures of the beauty.

Christmas angel

Go Christmas Caroling at a nursing home; spend your Christmas money on local kids who won’t get many presents; buy hats and mittens and scarves and donate them to the local Salvation Army; buy food for your local food bank; if you go out to eat this season, tip your server generously as a Christmas present; make gifts of food to give away instead of buying things; or alternately, give gifts from Kiva, World Vision, or Heifer International; visit that friend you’ve put off visiting, because you will regret not doing it someday.  I know this to be true.

the cat's tree

And thank God for your blessings. Your health, your wealth, your family, your house, the food on your table, the beauty around you…

Including a well-behaved kitty cat who loves the Christmas tree, and doesn’t bother those low-hanging ornaments.


I’m joining up with iPhriday today. Use your iPhone to take some pictures and post about them.

142. Skip the Cleaning Aisle: DIY easy green clean recipes

Earlier this summer several of us were cleaning a commercial kitchen at a children’s camp before camp started for the summer.

There was a lot of grease… everywhere.

My friend Joey introduced me to her recipe for an all-purpose cleaner that cuts grease better than the expensive, commercial, stinky stuff that contains “who knows what unpronounceable ingredients.”

I had been using a natural cleanser of my own — orange vinegar, sometimes with baking soda — which I like a lot, but this one is way better! I liked it so much, I went to the dollar store and bought my own clean spray bottle for it, instead of just using a hand-me-down bottle.

All purpose cleanerAll-Purpose Cleaner and Degreaser:

  • 1 teaspoon washing soda (not baking soda)
  • 2 teaspoons Borax
  • 1 teaspoon Castile liquid soap
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 10 – 15 drops essential oil (Good oils for cleaning use are cinnamon, lemon, orange, melaleuca, peppermint, and lavender.)

Mix all the ingredients and pour into a 16 ounce spray bottle, and get to work on that greasy stove top.

Green cleaning

Dishwasher Detergent

I’ve been using a green cleaner in my dishwasher, but I really don’t like it much. The glasses are cloudy when they come out, and the silverware doesn’t always get clean, even though I rinse my dishes in hot water before I load the dishwasher. I know it’s a waste of water, but I don’t want food collecting in the bottom of my dishwasher. And that’s the bottom line.

So I was delighted when I found this oh-so-simple recipe for dishwasher soap. I remember reading that homemade dishwasher soap was an issue, because Mother-in-Laws come to your house and inspect your glasses for spots. Well, guess what? This is a mother-in-law proof recipe! Here’s my glass bowl, fresh out of the rinse cycle.


Dishwasher Detergent:

  • One part Borax
  • One part washing soda
  • White vinegar in the rinse-aid compartment

We have city water and I’ve used washing soda with great success. I have also heard that citric acid is a great addition to the rinse aid compartment if you have sediment on your plastic ware. But even the commercial dishwashing detergents leave sediment on my plastic stuff, and that’s just one more reason for getting rid of your plastic stuff. If you have citric acid, by all means try some with the vinegar. I was so astounded at how well this worked that I’m not going to bother with it. (If you are someone who wants research behind this, you can go to the blog post “10 things you should know before making homemade dishwasher detergent” by Little House in the Suburbs. Or you can just make this recipe, and be amazed that it’s so simple, and it works so well. Now if only I could discover a shampoo that is so simple and works so well…


And here’s one more cleaner I love to spray on my countertops — both wood and soapstone. It is also a disinfectant, so it’s good for sinks and toilets too. And it is reputed to keep ants away. I can’t say about this for sure. What I can say is that it might work. I sprayed around Henry the Cat’s food bowl when I started seeing ants there, and now the ants are gone. But I’m also being careful to keep it cleaner and his food swept up better. Not only is he the King of Cats, he is the King of Slobs when it comes to the food bowl department.

Cinnamon Disinfectant:

  • 12 oz. hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon oil

Mix together in a spray bottle and shake well before every use. I use a bottle that has a mister option, and I love this cleaner for two reasons: the cinnamon in it smells terrific, and the peroxide in it foams up on contact with dirt, so you can tell it’s working. Use an opaque spray bottle — there’s a reason peroxide is sold in brown bottles. It’s a great addition to your green cleaning supplies. Use it as a disinfectant, on your tile grout, on your floors, or as a bleach replacement in your laundry. I’ve even poured it down our bathroom sink drain. Here’s a great article about using hydrogen peroxide as a cleaning tool.

But I’m not giving up on my orange vinegar — it’s the best on a linoleum floor.