September 18, 2017

Lesson 236: I Have an iPhone

This past weekend, I went on a church retreat with 100 women equally spread between the ages of 23-80+. We played a mixer game where you have to find a person in the room who fits each category listed in small boxes on a sheet. I and one other lady were the only two able to initial the box labeled: Does not use a smartphone.

It was a glorious way to end an era.

Because today, my friends, my husband switched me to an iPhone.

I've spent the last 13 years (since 2003) as a contented flip phone owner. I could kind of text (remember T9?), take fuzzy pictures, and dial 911. And as long as I knew where my phone was (which was not to be assumed), I could answer your phone call and we could have a nice chat.

It has been enough.

About a year ago, my little brother passed on an old iPhone, but it has just sat in a drawer, because when given the choice, turns out I didn't want one.

I guess I sort of had reasons, like wanting to be able to deny Julia one when she hits middle school. "No honey, actually everyone does NOT have one." But other than that, there's not much to say.

It's a little like the persistence and purposelessness in a scene from Forrest Gump.

"That day, for no particular reason, I decided to go for a run. So I ran to the end of the road ... and I figured since I run this far, maybe I'd run across the great state of Alabama and that's what I did ... I kept on going. I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there ... might as well keep going ... when I got to another ocean ..." You get the picture.

When he was asked for a reason, he said, "I just felt like running."

I got you, Forrest.

So, why today?

Welp, two things happened to render the old flippy unacceptable.

First, it stopped allowing me to open Group Chat text messages. In the past, when I received them, I could (painstakingly) open each, one at a time. I never saw pictures and all emojis showed up in the shape of a box, BUT I could read the text.

About two weeks ago, all Group Chat messages became un-openable. I missed a few important messages and felt like a bad friend. I want to be a good friend, not a bad friend.

Second, (and this one is super weird) something internally switched, so that whenever I'd hit "reply" to a message, it would send my text to my friend, Allie. No idea why. No idea why her. She's not the first contact. But every so often (everyday, multiple times a day), I'd forget to enter my info correctly, and she'd receive a text from me, intended for my gardening buddy, or making plans with my mom, or asking Mark to pick something up. She'd roll her eyes and text back "not for me."

What patience! Y'all give her a round of applause.

But so annoying for her, because, well, think about it. And so annoying for me, because texting (remember T9?) took some effort!

It was time.

Smartphone time.

There were, of course, conditions. For now, I can access the weather app, camera, text messaging, FaceTime and GPS. (And also the calculator, alarm, et el.) Mark has blocked everything else, so it's like a dumb smartphone.

We'll see.

Friends, I've been using a lot of sobbing-face emojis today!

I wrote all this, because it feels like a momentous occasion. It is not, in fact, a momentous occasion because, I am talking about cell phones. But cell phones rule our lives, it feels momentous, and I posted.

Lesson Learned: The robots are winning.

Enjoy a pic of me on a flip phone, circa 2006. You're welcome.

May 22, 2017

Lesson 235: Mark's Garden 2017

If you had told the four-plant gardening novices of 2012 that just five years later, we'd be planting year-round crops, we would have laughed in your face.

But friends, that's what this hobby has progressed to. Edible plants. All year.

Now I'll try not to exaggerate too much about the winter's yieldings, seeing as our lettuce and spinach were enjoyed predominantly by the neighborhood squirrel population. And perhaps the baby broccoli's full-grown size isn't exactly what Mark had envisioned.

But our greens mix did produce a variety of greens (none of which we could initially identify) and on one very exciting afternoon, our children discovered turnips in the bed. (Turns out that no, we don't like turnips.)

All in all, not a complete disaster. Plants grew, and then they were eaten.

Each gardening year we've grown a little: in size, ambition / determination, and well, skill.

And so, though the first attempt of seasonal vegetables did not keep me from having to grocery shop, we're satisfied enough to try again next fall. Maybe squash and cabbage, beets, and next time, the correct species of broccoli.

The spring seeds and bulbs went in sometime around March, so we've been eating fresh lettuce for over a month now, which makes me happy! Everyday. Every salad.

And by the end of June, we'll picks carrots and harvest enough onions for the rest of summer.

Finally, Mark has (yet again) rearranged his raised beds and put the summer plants in the ground. Zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, corn, peppers, and oh so many tomatoes! He's also attempted to animal proof the corn (since those darn furry friends ate every kernel last summer!)

As a family, we've adopted the pleasant pastime of chasing the bunnies across the yard with a rake, yelling wildly, and telling them to "get out of our garden!"

Y'all, Mr. McGregor gets a bad rap, having to deal with all those greedy, unhelpful bunnies. We Ashbaughs empathize.

A few pics for perusers and progeny.

Also, Mark's passion has rubbed off a bit on me, and I've taken to it as well, with flower gardens. Maybe another post ...  
Lesson Learned: Everything really does taste better fresh.

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