May 24, 2018

Lesson 237: 2017 Book List

This is the 2017 Book List. I still have not had time to comment on it, but I'm thinking I need to publish before we're halfway in 2018.


* The Rocks: A Novel by Peter Nichols

* The German Girl: A Novel by Armando Lucas Correa

* The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines


* Breathless: An American Girl in Paris by Nancy K. Miller


* The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell

* Irena's Children by Tilar J. Mazzeo

* Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith

* The Tea Planter's Wife: A Novel by Dinah Jefferies


* In This Grave Hour by Jacqueline Winspear

* Without Reservation by Alice Steinbach

* Night by Elie Wiesel

* Beautiful: All-American Decorating and Timeless Style by Mark D. Sikes

* Invincible Summer by Alice Adams

* Cooking for Picasso: A Novel by Camille Aubray


* To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

* The Invitation by Lucy Foley

* Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler


* The Girls of August by Anne Rivers Siddons

* Susquehanna by Harriet Segal

* A Gentlemen in Moscow by Amor Towles


* Rules of Civility by Amor Towles


* Saints for All Occasions by Courtney Sullivan

* The Patriots: A Novel by Sana Krasikov


* Word-Filled Women's Ministry. Edited by Gloria Furman and Kathleen B. Nielson

* What We Lose: A Novel by Zinzi Clemmons


* Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

* The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness by Tim Keller


* Habitat: The Field Guide to Decorating by Lauren Liess

* The Lifegiving Home by Sally Clarkson and Sarah Clarkson

* One Man's Folly by Julia Reed

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.

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