I’m researching how to get off the grid on my iPad

By RB from San Mateo, CA, USA (Outhouse) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Simplicity is elusive, but oft sought by us humans, particularly the overworked, underpaid, overtired generations who rely on the technology of incredibly complex devices to do the simplifying for us. I go back and forth between a desire for and abjection of technology, craving life off the grid in the middle of nowhere, meanwhile blogging about it and managing it with online budgeting tools.

I’ve always had an affinity for old things. I love vintage appliances, Aqua Net, and Betty Crocker’s Cookbook. My tastes are at odds – I’m drawn to a time period that was intensely focused on convenience, but today feels like a simpler time in which kids went out to play, Mom cooked dinner, and astronauts did math by hand. Lately I’ve been wondering: if I was an adult in the 50’s, instead of the 10’s, would I be nostalgic for a “simpler time,” before cars, refrigeration, and lightbulbs? If I lived in the 1910s instead of the 2010s, would I tout indoor plumbing as an extravagant, unnecessary construct built by a generation seeking only to protect its own interests and indulge a desire for convenience? Continue reading

Dreaming of Vegetables.

Source: Wikimedia Commons, By Cslucas - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

I don’t know about you, but this time of year my fridge is completely bare. At the moment, I’ve got a sad, lonely egg sitting in there with a container of leftover slaw salad, a bottle of white wine and a whole bunch of half-filled dipping sauces.

Maybe it was the state of the fridge that brought me to one of my favorite moments in the sloppy, early spring thaw out: purchasing the CSA share. Hooking up Midnight Sun Farm with a big fat check means we’ll have a fridge full of green (and red, and yellow, and purple…) all summer long, and a pantry of potatoes in the fall. I can barely contain my excitement – seriously. Continue reading

Dear Lincoln Park Conservatory: I’m sorry I ignored you for 15 years…

1898 Postcard image of Lincoln Park Conservatory | source: Wikimedia Commons

Most days I feel comfortable saying that I’ve seen pretty much everything my home city has to offer. I’ve been to the tourist traps and the holes-in-the-walls. I’ve ventured to all corners of the city, and after 15 years in Chicago I thought I’d pretty much nailed down what to do and what not to do here.

But then I went to Lincoln Park Conservatory.

I have no idea why I’ve never been there.

It was a stupid cold and sleeting winter day in spring (read: late March in Chicago) and the weather threw a monkey-wrench in a scheduled pre-wedding “Meeting of the Moms.” In searching for indoor, get to know you activities, the conservatory seemed like a great alternative to window shopping in Andersonville, because moms like flowers, right?

Right. Continue reading

I’m Joining January.

Selfies are just like resolutions: a somewhat contrived, slightly unrealistic reflection of how we want others to see us.

Happy 2016!

The time has come for an obligatory blog post about a fresh new year, and making resolutions about how I’m going to drink less and exercise more, have fewer typos and see friends more, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

For me, 2015 wasn’t a bad year – quite good, actually – but it was a year of extreme highs and extreme lows. I’m craving a bit more consistency, so I made some pretty drastic life changes to better serve my personal and professional goals. While it’s just a coincidence these changes are lining up with the new year, like a January Joiner at the gym I’m going all in – starting now (or, Monday). Continue reading

Old School

By Mr. Granger (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

The other day I bought an address book. It’s a tiny one that fits in my handbag and has a few notes pages in the back for important dates.

The thing is, I kept losing all my contacts when updating my phone. And, it’s annoying to try to give someone contact information in a text or over the phone when that contact information is, well, on your phone. So now I can just pull out my little address book, and bam. Everything is right there.

I know what you’re thinking… what if I lose my antiquated little address book? Well, I’ve managed to keep a passport, a set of keys, and a gaggle of cats within my grasp for 15 years, so I think I can handle an address book.

This was the most recent in a string of attempts to return to less electronic, slightly less complicated ways of doing things. Technology is great (I mean, this is a BLOG after all…), but I’ve been craving an increasingly unplugged life.

Ultimately, I’m preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse.

Wait, that’s silly and probably not going to happen. Continue reading

Call Me.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

I’m having an internal debate about how technology might be hindering my social interactions. It’s probably hindering yours too.

I remember the first time I got a text: I was standing on Michigan Avenue looking down at my Nokia brick phone in wonderment. It seemed totally weird to type something that could take a fraction of the time to say over the phone. Fast forward about 15 years, and I’m talking to most of my friends through bitmoji’s… so, not, actually, saying anything at all. Continue reading