Top 10 Nuggets of iPhone Wisdom

iPhone wisdom10. iPhones are smarter than people over the age of 50.

9.   Using iCloud to keep a fleet of Apple devices in sync isn’t nearly as satisfying as eating apple crisp.

8.   Scrolling through the list of iPhone ringtone options is similar to strolling through the cereal aisle at the grocery store. Both involve way too many choices.

7.   Do not assume that apps available on your old iPad are also available for a new iPhone.

6.   The pedometer feature can become addicting.

5.   The earbuds that come with a new iPhone are excellent.

4.   If you buy an iPhone around Thanksgiving, it’s wise to buy an iPhone case immediately instead of adding it to your Christmas list.

3.   If you don’t buy a case immediately and if no one gives you one for Christmas, your iPhone might break when you drop it on the floor and cost much more to replace than a case does.

2.   On the other hand, the retro rotary dial phone case you buy using the Etsy gift certificate you mom gave you for Christmas is really, really cool.

1.   If you drop your iPhone on the floor and your very thoughtful spouse takes pity on you and calls the phone company to find the cheapest way to get a new phone and then goes to the store to buy it and tells you to quit being so hard on yourself because everybody does stupid things now and then and it’s okay, you can make that very thoughtful spouse’s day by giving him the excellent set of earbuds that come with the new phone.

Top Ten Conveniences to Not Take for Granted

Modern Conveniences

Modern conveniences make our lives so much easier. Here are ten I’m determined to not take for granted.

10.  Door knobs. Laura Ingalls Wilder did her darndest to make latch strings sound cozy in the Little House series. But have you ever tried to work one? Door knobs are a vast improvement.

9.   Comfy shoes. If your job doesn’t require much standing, this one sounds pretty lame. But teachers, sales clerks, nurses, and other people who stand most of the day never take comfy shoes for granted.

8.   Bedsteads. The older a person gets, the more a bed on legs is appreciated. For people who live where creepy, crawlies consider your castle their castle, this appreciation comes much sooner.

7.   Gardening gloves. A welcome replacement for fingernail brushes that scrub the skin raw and still leave dirt under fingernails.

6.   Heating and cooling units. They beat chopping wood all winter and sweating all summer to pieces.

5.   Running water. Need I say more?

4.   The garden hose. As contrary and twisty these snaky green wonders can be, they are much better than packing pails of water hither and yon across the lawn.

3.   Drain strainers. If you’ve ever poked a plumber’s snake down a bathtub drain, you know why this one’s on the list.

2.   Gas and electric stoves. How did cooks in the olden days regulate the temperature to bake cookies and pies with a wood stove? That’s a skill I’m grateful not to have learned.

1.   Window screens. Can you imagine the days before before air conditioning and window screens when people had two options in the heat of the summer? Open the windows to cool off the house and share your bedroom with hoards of skeeters, flies and other flying pests. Or shut the windows and cook all night in solitude. The thought makes me grateful every time I open the windows to let the breeze in our house.

What modern convenience do you not take for granted? Leave a comment.

Photo Credit: Gualberto107 at

Three Thoughts for Thursday


  1. Dealing with website issues for almost a week at has revealed two more personal character flaws: I have some unresolved patience issues, and I have as much chance of landing a job in the tech field as making the 2016 Olympic gymnastics team.
  2. The Japanese beetle’s mindset is the insect equivalent of a World War 2 kamikaze pilot mindset: leave no survivors or die trying.
  3. On almost every morning this week, I’ve crossed paths with a doe and her twin fawns. Each encounter is a reminder that God is the Master Creator. What signs of His creativity have amazed you lately?

Three Tech Geek vs. Writer Geek Thoughts for Thursday

writertechie person

The Cedar Falls Christian Writer’s Workshop is underway. Wednesday was devoted to learning about online social media. Today through Saturday are all about writing. Here are 3 observations about the differences between the inner tech geek and the inner writer geek.

  1. Writer geeks talk a lot.                                                                                          Tech geeks, not so much.
  2. Writer geeks tend to be very expressive. Dramatic even, especially if they write fiction or screen plays.                                                                                                     Tech geeks are more like my German grandfather who did not wear his heart on his sleeve.
  3. Writer geeks consider tech stuff to be magical.Tech geeks consider tech stuff to be logical.

Photo Credit:

iFeel Like an Apple iDiot


The first four items on my weekend to-do list

  • Clean the bathrooms.
  • Vacuum bugs in the guest bedroom.
  • Put finishing touches on speech for next week.
  • Make apple pies for church camp scholarship auction.

were a snap to finish. In fact iWas so pleased with my skill and efficiency, my mom would have warned me not to break my arm while patting myself on the back had she been here to do so.

Then, iTackled the last two items on the list

  • Research iCloud.
  • Research iPad 3.

Two paragraphs into the first online article, iWondered if it was written in a foreign language. The article was peppered with phrases like like

iOS device,
wireless pushing,
4 GB,
retina display,
oleophobic scratch-proof glass,
slick interface,
blazing LTE hotspot.

iDidn’t understand any of them. My iCloud and iPad research made one thing perfectly clear. When it comes to technology, iFeel

iN need of an iNterpreter.

So tomorrow, off to the Apple Store iGo where, hopefully, a perky iGenius in a bright, blue T shirt will refrain from laughter while answering my iCloud questions, respond with kindness when a blank look is my response to his answers, and exhibit great patience while conducting my iPad tutorial. iN short, iNeed an Apple Store iGenius who can do the iMpossible. iNeed an Apple Store iGenius who can make me feel

iNstead of
iDiotic when navigating the

Otherwise, iAm coming home to unwire my iUniverse and launch an apple pie baking business iNstead. Like my mother always said after she warned me about breaking my leg by patting myself on the back –

iF you can’t conquer ’em, cook ’em.

Time for a Facelift

Apparently, I didn’t think getting ready for Christmas, scheduling a blog tour for Different Dream Parenting, doing a half-dozen author radio interviews, and helping the kids move to Wisconsin was enough to keep me busy this month. Otherwise, why would I schedule two major facelifts in December.

No, no, not cosmetic surgery.
A refinishing project.
And revamping this website.
The kind of facelifts I was sure would be quick and painless.

My husband thought refinishing Mom’s old red and white stool was craziness. “Don’t ask me to help you with it,” was his response when I dragged it onto the porch. But when all by myself, I found someone who would sandblast and prime it for $20 bucks, he relented. Pretty soon, he was removing screws and demonstrating the finer points of spray painting and sanding. Near the end of the project which took much longer than I expected, when it was evident the stool was going to be bright and cheerful in it’s new life as a plant stand, he even said, “It’s kind of fun doing a project like this together.”

No, no, revamping this website was not very fun.
Even with the nicest tech guy in the world doing the tricky stuff.
Even though I hoped he could take care of the WordPress part while I ate bon bons.
But instead I needed to learn to do it, following “simple website tutorials.”

On the back end of the revamp, my personal opinion is that the words “simple” and “website” should never appear next to each other in a sentence. Or in the same sentence. Or paragraph. Or tutorial. Also, one of those two words should be banned from the internet.

Even though I’m still working through some emotional issues related to revamping, the website is up and running. It may take a month or so to work out some snafus. For example, to have daily posts delivered to your website, you’ll need to sign up for the RSS feed on the home page (near the top, on the right) as the old feed and the old site no longer exist. And you’ll need to get used to typing the new, short and simple address – – in your URL bar. Hopefully, the revamped site will be so much easier to load, read, navigate, search, and make comments that you won’t mind those minor, one time inconveniences.

No, no, this is not a sales pitch.
You pay no money, and you comments are appreciated.
I’ll even reply to them, which often was prevented on the old site due to tech glitches.
And because of my tendency to overschedule, which won’t happen in January.

Sheer Torture – Recycled

Today’s recycled post was pulled from the August, 2009 file. It’s a snapshot of the month before the release of A Different Dream for My Child, complete with technical challenges, and hot weather. Reading through it, I was struck by how similar this August is to that one. Preparations are underway for the release of Different Dream Parenting, a nice techie guy is patiently helping me revamp, and the weather is hot and miserable.

Sheer Torture – Recycled

For most of my life, August has been a torturous month, and not just because of the almost unbearable heat and humidity that makes the corn in these parts grow while the people wilt. For my sixteen years as a student and my twenty-five years as a teacher, it marked another unwelcome event: the return to school.

When I left teaching six years ago, August became one of my favorite months. No return to a hot, sticky classroom for me. No abrupt loss of freedom, piles of papers to grade, endless teachers’ meetings to attend, or reluctant students to corral. Every August I kicked up my heels, said a few prayers for my teacher friends, and typed away, though it took three or four years before my stomach quit twisting into knots at the sight of the back-to-school ads.

So far, this August has again been sheer torture. Why, you ask, when A Different Dream for Your Child will be released September 1? Isn’t your life exciting and fun now?

No, and I’ll tell you why. Preparing for the book’s release, which is the only thing on my to do list for the month, and more specifically, getting, the book’s companion website, up and running, is sheer torture. And to make matters worse, I’m paying a web designer good money to enter the torture chamber and turn the screws. He’s a very polite and knowledgeable young man who has yet to snicker at the inane questions I ask him, though there’s no hidden camera recording his behavior after our phone conversations end.

But, he’s a pretty tough task master, none the less. He even offered to assign homework and deadlines if I needed more motivation. I declined since September 1 is plenty motivating. Under his insistent, patient tutelage, this old dog is learning a whole lot of techie tips, and the website is taking shape.

Will it be up and running by the book release date? Yes, in fact you can go to it now and see how it’s progressing.

But will the site be perfectly complete? No. And something I learned during my teaching days keeps my perfectionistic self from imposing unrealistic expectations this torturous August. One long ago day, when I was stressing myself out by trying to be ready for the entire year before the first day of school, the realization dawned that I didn’t need to be completely ready. I only needed to be ready for the first day, or maybe for the first week. Immediately, my stress level plummeted, along with my blood pressure and crabbiness. The last bit made my family very, very happy.

If I can keep that lesson in mind this August, maybe the whole month won’t be sheer torture. Maybe the web designer and I will even become friends, though that’s doubtful. In my opinion, he’s in the same category as my gynecologist.

Enough said.

Sitting at the Genius Bar

Sunday afternoon, for the first time ever, I bellied up to the Apple Genius Bar.

Now don’t get the wrong idea, silly. I wasn’t on the genius side of the counter, though I’m flattered by your faulty thinking. No, I was on the side where the ignoramuses sit, the side upon which the rays of genius fall rather than emanate.

So why was I schlepping to the Genius Bar on a sunny June, Sunday afternoon?

Looking for some genius to perform some techie CPR on my MacBook Pro which was dead, dead, dead. I mean really dead. No lights twinkling anywhere. Not even on the power cord. No matter which outlet I plugged into. No matter how much I fiddled with the cord or pushed buttons. Yep, my sweet, little laptop was a goner. Until the genius at the Genius Bar (did I mention the nearest Apple Store is 45 minutes away) plugged it in. Then it started charging like crazy and powered up without a hitch.

Confirmation that I was appropriately seated on the ignoramus side of the Genius Bar.

The genius was really nice about it. He ran some diagnostics to be sure my turncoat of a laptop was functioning properly. It was. And he gave me a new prong thingy for my adaptor cord, since the prongs on the old one were acting funky. So the trip wasn’t a complete waste.

But I don’t think he’s going to recommend I join him on his side of the Genius Bar.

Which is perfectly fine by me. Because the Apple Store was absolutely packed, even on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon in June. Kids working the iPads, iPods, and computers with ease. Geeks in blue shirts patiently showing people our age how a touch screen works. Think Sesame Street and Big Bang Theory meet Grumpy, Old Men and The Golden Girls.

Who would want to work in a place like that anyway?

From Technologically-Challenged Dog to Skypette

I don’t want to get all gushy about this, but I think the little Skype chats between the web guy and me have become a bonding experience. These days, we talk almost daily – me with my list of new questions about problems I created while working on the Different Dream website assignments he gives, and the web guy with his ready list of answers and solutions for my missteps. He’s either remarkably patient or a glutton for punishment. I’m not sure which.

Without a doubt, he’s a good teacher because I’m actually starting to understand what I’m doing. And, when I log into the admin dashboard, (Don’t I sound all techie throwing around words like admin dashboard? I know lots more techie lingo, so if you need some, let me know.) I no longer feel like throwing up. If that’s not a sign of progress, I don’t know what is.

And yesterday, an amazing thing happened. I figured out how to do something before the web guy did! Please don’t get the idea I’m bragging and don’t hold your breath waiting for it to happen again. But certainly do take heart. If this old technologically-challenged dog can build a website, become a Skypette, and have a video on YouTube, there’s no limit to what you can do.

With that bit of encouragement, I need to stop blogging and log into the Different Dream website again. I have a lot to do before me and my web guy bond via Skype this afternoon.

The way I’m feeling right now, the first thing on the list will be to throw up. Hmm…am I backsliding already?

Prairie Mamma vs. Technology Woman

In the past few days, my personality’s been split wide open. Half of me is this woman who lives on the edge of town, swept into a prairie woman persona due to circumstances beyond my control.

Since Friday this half of me has photographed a late summer fawn down by the bridge and scared up oodles of goldfinches, larks and cardinals during morning walks. Neighbors keep thrusting tomatoes, cabbages, zucchini, and fresh eggs at me, so our kitchen is a frenzy of cooking and freezing fresh veggies. And don’t get me started on the five dozen ears of corn we’ll get from our CSA today, along with who knows what else. Not only that, but Saturday our farmer son took us touring through every livestock barn at the State Fair. Pretty much country, don’t you think?

But the other half of me is taking a a crash course in technology under the tutelage of my web designer guy, who happens to be the same age as the former fourth grade students to whom I once taught long division. Now I wouldn’t want to meet all this technology alone in a dark alley, much less use to promote my book. But the web guy insists I have to learn Skype, Gravatar, Twitter, and how to update my own website. He refuses to let up. My only option is to bear down and deliver the goods, an adventure I thought I gave up after my daughter was born 21 years ago. Pretty much techno-savvy, don’t you think?

So here I am, being pulled apart by my inner warring factions: prairie mamma versus technology woman. By the end of the week, if one of the two doesn’t let up, things could get ugly. But if I can lasso both personalities into one cohesive whole again, my website will be up and the freezer will be stocked for the winter.

But for now, I better get a move on. Prairie mamma’s getting nervous with technology woman on a role writing this blog entry. Time to calm my inner granola crunchy without stifling my emerging techno-wizard. Life is so complicated sometimes.