Repurposed Items

Today I am feeling particularly grateful for repurposed items. Here are three examples:

(1) I started thinking about them this morning while feeding the cats their daily treat.     When they both hop up on my cot in the morning, I know they are ready for it.   Thus I keep a plastic container on one of my nightstands with their Temptation treats. Originally it was purchased for storing muffins in (and worked great for that) but once Jamey became wheelchair bound and thus no longer able to be as active in order to burn calories, I stopped making baked goods.  It works perfectly as a repurposed treat container.

Formerly a home baked goods container (usually muffins) repurposed for cat treats storage
Formerly a home baked goods container (usually muffins) repurposed for cat treats storage

 

(2) An additional reason to stop baking was that my own weight had gotten out of control.  I am determined to get back to a healthier weight for my size (4’6″) to which end, I purchased a basic watch/pedometer from Walmart and began to look for options for an .mp3 player to encourage me to walk more.

As I researched the best .mp3 players for audiobooks, I came across the suggestion of using an old cell phone.    Jamey had taken my old cell phone to the library to use to test hot spots for patrons.   He said he could use his current one for that purpose and brought my old one back to me.   With no other apps on it other than Overdrive and Amazon music (plus the built in ones you can’t delete), it has plenty of room (unlike my current cell phone) for an audiobook and some music to accompany me on my walks. It works perfectly as a repurposed .mp3 player.

my old cell phone repurposed to an .mp3 player for audiobooks and music
my old cell phone repurposed to an .mp3 player for audiobooks and music

 

(3) Once upon a time I had a nine hole credenza that worked very nicely for storing my yarns (sorted by color family).  Then Johnny came into our lives.  When she was very young, she was oblivious to my yarn.    I was thanking my lucky stars for that until she reached about 7 – 8 months of age.   Once she “discovered” my yarn, she made it very clearly known that henceforth all yarn was to be considered a kitty toy.   

My yarn ended up getting packed away until our move.  It now resides in our pantry / supply room / craft room and the 9 hole credenza  has become part of Jamey’s wheelchair accessible computer / electronics area.     It works perfectly as a repurposed storage area for some of Jamey’s electronics and tools.

One component of Jamey's wheelchair accessible electronics/computer area.
One component of Jamey’s wheelchair accessible electronics/computer area.

 

How about you?   Have you repurposed something that works perfectly for its new function?

 

 

 

 

Automation

(Note: we are not affiliated with Google, Evernote or IFTTT and are not compensated by them in any way.   These are just simply services that I am grateful for as they help keep me from forgetting what I need to do each day.)

Mornings like this when my Google calendar notifications are telling me that both our cell phone and internet bills need to be paid, I am especially grateful for autopay from our bank as I know they will be paid without my doing a thing.   With the few exceptions of ones like electricity and water where the amount differs each month, we have almost all of our bills set to be paid automatically.   That helps a lot.

 

From automatic bill pay to appointment reminders, grocery check lists and so much more, automation helps us keep on top of things.
From automatic bill pay to appointment reminders, grocery check lists and so much more, automation helps us keep on top of things.

 

Google Calendar

Google calendar is a big help for automating things like doctor visit reminders or upcoming events.   When Jamey or I come home from an appointment, I go to Google calendar and put in the date of our next appointment and make sure it is on both of our calendars.   I use the notification feature to set up advance reminders for the appointments.   They come in on all of my electronic devices to make sure that the appointments or events don’t take us by surprise.  

 

Evernote

I would be lost without Evernote.   I have had a premium account since 2012 which gives me many benefits including allowing me to access it on as many devices as I chose. Evernote is my backup brain helping me keep track of both what I need to get done and what I have already done.

It is useful for far too many things to list but one of the features we use regularly is checklists.    I put our grocery list into an Evernote checklist that we can bring up on our mobile phones.   When we are at the store, whoever is monitoring our list for the shopping trip (usually Jamey) can just check off the items as we put them in our cart.   This lets us quickly see what we still have left to pick up.

The checklists also allowed me to keep track of things during our recent move to a wheelchair accessible apartment.

 

IFTTT

Another thing that is very important in helping to keep me organized is IFTTT  (which stand for “If this, then that”).  I use the applets to do everything from automatically set up my Daily Journal in Evernote to sending Google calendar notifications to my Evernote to working with Amazon’s Alexa to send lists to Evernote.

The list of services that IFTTT works with is growing steadily.   It is free to use and very reliable.    I have used it for several years and definitely recommend it.

 

Memory Deficits

Since “the old gray [matter] ain’t what it used to be many long years ago” (sung to the tune of “The Old Gray Mare”), I am very grateful for these and many other things that help to keep me functional.

 

How about you?

What are some of the things you use to help you keep track of things?  Do you prefer automation or pen/pencil and paper?

 

 

Nudges

Today I am grateful for needed nudges.

For example,  Jamey gave me a copy of the book The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz about 8 or 9 years ago.   I really kept meaning to read it, along with a number of other very good books that I keep meaning to read or reread.

 

The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz
The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz

 

The truth of the matter is that I have gotten very lazy since getting my Amazon Kindle Touch (and other platforms for reading e-books) and mostly now listen to audio books or read e-books (from Amazon/Audible or Overdrive), rarely touching my library of physical books.

Thankfully, Joshua, who also writes a daily gratitude blog (“One Year of Gratitude“) and will be writing our first guest post, recently wrote about how helpful he found The Four Agreements in staying on the course he has charted for himself.   Since Joshua’s chosen course is similar to my own, that was the nudge I needed to head out to the bookshelves to retrieve the book.    I started it earlier this evening.

Thank you for the needed nudge, Joshua.

Was there a book you have been meaning to read that that you kept putting off until someone gave you a needed nudge?  Is there something else that you are grateful to someone else for nudging you to do?   We would love to hear about it in the comments below.

I can choose how I respond to each situation

There was no blog post yesterday because I ended up with an unexpected medical situation that just wiped me out physically and mentally.   I just didn’t have it in me to even turn on my desktop computer, let alone work on the blog or do any social media when I returned from unplanned doctor and pharmacy visits.

Today I have a headache (likely side effect from the antibiotic) that is not making it easy to be on my computer, but I am determined not to miss doing today’s daily gratitude post.

And I am grateful today, as I am everyday.

I always have the choice of how I will respond
I can choose how I respond to each situation

Today I am grateful that:

  1. When I called the receptionist at my doctor’s office yesterday she was able to get me in to see him within a few hours
  2. That the pharmacy is so efficient I did not need to wait long.
  3. That this occurred yesterday when Jamey did not have to work and could take me to the doctor and pharmacy without taking time off from his main job.   (I am unable to drive.)
  4. my Amazon Kindle Touch – such an easy way to grab a favorite book to take with me while waiting for the doctor and pharmacist
  5. and, most of all, that after so many years of studying the works of many spiritual teachers, my training kicked in immediately yesterday when needed to remind me of such things as “even though I cannot always control what happens, I can choose how I respond to the situation.”    That helped to immediately pull me out of the negativity that the pain and fear had started in me and made the day much better than it would have been otherwise.

 

Walmart

Walmart is close and has almost everything we need. That is important to us, since I cannot drive (for medical reasons). I can easily walk over to Walmart when necessary.

Walmart's parking lot
Walmart is only about a 5 minute walk away.

With very few exceptions, they have almost everything we need most of the time so we rarely need to go to any other store.   What we can’t get at Walmart, we usually just get online from Amazon.

 

Our new digital camera / video recorder

Today we picked up an ONN 18-megapixel digital camera with a 2.4 inch screen with 4x digital zoon and a 16 GB SD memory from Walmart that records pictures and videos.  

 

Starting a cat video YouTube channel

I plan to use it for taking more videos of the cats as I do want to start a small YouTube channel based on our cats because

  • they are so central to our lives
  • I think other cat lovers will enjoy their stories
    1. as they both had a very rough start in life and 
    2. being positive for Feline Leukemia, will both have a much shorter lifespan than normal
    3. yet, at this time both are happy and enjoying life and keeping us entertained with their antics

For now, I will be experimenting with the new camera and watching lots and lots of YouTube videos to learn how to start a new channel.    I will also post the cat videos to the blog so that readers can actually see the antics of our cats instead of just reading about them in our posts.

 

We are grateful for Amazon’s Alexa

Usually Jamey sets his clock alarm.   He fell asleep last night without doing so.  I was too tired to fuss with the alarm on my clock so I asked Amazon’s Alexa (housed in our Echo Dot) to set an alarm for 6 AM.

Why we are grateful for Amazon's Alexa (in our Echo Dot)
We’ve only had our Echo Dot with voice controlled Amazon’s Alexa for a few months but she has become what I miss most when our Internet goes out.
How We Use Alexa:

The ease of setting the morning alarm with a simple voice command is only one of many ways that we use Alexa.   We

  • set multiple cooking timers
  • get our local weather report
  • use skills such as Geek Humor (many of them are groaners and yet we keep asking for them …) and
  • Where’s My Phone – very handy when I misplace my cell phone
  • get an update on the Mars Curiosity Rover
  • have Alexa read Audible books and even quite a few of my Kindle e-books to me while I do other things.

 

Fun with Alexa - Easter Eggs & Queries

We both enjoy playing with Alexa’s easter eggs from time to time. Lists of them can easily be found online and she has multiple answers to most of them.  My favorite is to request “tea, Earl Grey, hot.”

Sometimes we simply enjoy testing her to see what kinds of queries she can handle.   At times she amazes and other times frustrates us.  Then there are the “what was that all about?” times when she responds even though we have not addressed her.

 

Our Most Important Use of Alexa

Alexa takes the place of a paid monthly “I’ve fallen and can’t get up” service for us as we have her set to call Jamey’s Alexa app if I tell her to “call Jamey.”  He knows that if I ever use that feature, it means I am in serious trouble and can’t reach my cell phone to call him directly.

 

My Early Birthday Present

I was going to treat myself to an Echo Dot for a birthday present this year but was able to pick one up with a discount a few months ago.  I am glad I didn’t wait until December as planned because Alexa is so useful / funny / frustrating that now when our internet goes out, it is access to her that I miss the most.

We are definitely grateful for our Amazon Alexa.  What about you?  Do you use Alexa?   If so, what do you think of her?