Monday, May 23, 2011

Sometimes stuff does make life better, but only to a point.

I'm naturally drawn to some kinds of possessions. Kitchen gear that lets me make good food for cheap, for example. My mom gave me a used stick blender recently because she wasn't using it. We've been making frozen lemonade with strawberries blended right in. It even came with a processor adapter that I use for hummus. It gets far more use than my blender, but it won't replace my food processor.

I'm also a fan of useful technology. We all use the Wii, whether for gaming or for streaming good stuff on Netflix for $8/month. The iPod Touch I got for my birthday is an enormous blessing! I do almost all of my web-based activities on it. In fact, I usually thumb-type my blog entries on my iPod. The sad reason for the lack of photos on my blog is this: I can't get photos from my iPod to load onto my blog, boo! However, most other apps work fine. I love that my email, calendar, recipes, Facebook, skype, music, Netflix, pregnancy tracking, grocery shopping, weather, maps, and google talk are in my hands any time. The kids ask all kinds of questions, and I'm always looking for information to satisfy their burning desire to know whether bumblebees make honey (yes, but it is thinner, in smaller quantities, and ferments easily), Chancellor Palpatine's sith name (sidious), and where we can find a book about poisonous creatures (Amazon, of course!). The best part is that I can do this while sitting with them instead of going to the computer. This works anywhere with a wireless signal, like boring doctor's offices!

I love the This American Life app especially! It keeps track of which episodes I already have saved and lets me save one at a time for off line listening, which is great if I know I'm going to be waiting somewhere for a while. It's my favorite radio show, and the app let's me search for favorite stories or contributors. Great for insomnia! When we're home, Pandora's app is a fun way to enjoy a stream of music based on one song we type in. I leave my iPod on the speaker/charger and let the tunes roll!

On a more practical and low-tech note, I still love the Fuzzibunz diapers! M is not interested in potty training, and I'm so happy not to spend $$ on her diapers beyond the cost of washing! They're currently on a quick hot soak with 4T of Charlie's Soap to prevent stinky odors from settling in, a phenomenon that's more common with hard water like ours. I spend 2 minutes rinsing out the dirty ones at change time, 2 minutes loading the cold wash, 2 minutes about half an hour later to restart the load as a hot wash with an extra rinse and some detergent, but I leave the lid open or turn the washer off for the soak if they need one. After the hot wash and extra rinse I take 2 minutes to load them into the dryer on low or 10 minutes to hang them outdoors. Once they're dry, it takes 10 minutes to stuff them and put them away. An hour a week, maybe. Good deal!

So some possessions do make me a wee bit happier because I find them useful or meaningful. That said, I am likely to use things I like until they're worn to bits. We still hold onto grad school furniture because kids are hard on any furniture, and we don't want new stuff to get trashed. I like focusing on simplicity and utility rather than on chasing the next purchase. I like to bless my family with fun and useful things. I like to have some stuff, but I don't want my stuff to control me by dictating how much space we need or by requiring more time than I want to spend. I've known people, including relatives, who are really trapped and ruled by their possessions, and I don't want that feeling. I know someone who regularly accuses people of taking her stuff because she has so much that she can't keep track of it. There's just no reason to let my stuff come between me and my relationships, you know?

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