Tech Minimalism

Simon in his superhero cape

Most of my technology hails from the mid-2000s. My running IPod is from 2007. My laptop is from 2009. I still have the original IPhone only because of the pictures that are on it. In 2018, I purchased a Chromebook for $125 so that I would have something more modern to go on the internet and work on my blog.

None of this antiquated technology was a problem until I lost my job last year in the middle of a global pandemic. If you want to know how essential technology is to day-to-day life and to survival, that was my wakeup call.

When I completed grad school in 2015, I backed away from technology and things online. After 25 years as a professional college student and constantly being online, I needed a break. In 2015, I did not just downsize my digital footprint – I deleted it. 

I deleted my Facebook profile in 2015 and have not looked back. It was the best move for my mental health. I was not sure if the move would be temporary or permanent, but now in year 6, I am happy to announce that it is permanent. You can read a year without Facebook, two years without Facebook, 3 years without Facebook, 4 years without Facebook and 5 years without Facebook to follow that journey. 

Flash forward to 2022. We are living in a global pandemic. I have lost my family and many friends to COVID-19. I can literally count on one hand the people I knew before the pandemic who are still alive today. That is not an exaggeration. I am on year 3 of medical isolation as an immune compromised person who has a high risk of death if I get COVID. I am completely a 100% remote worker for as long as I have my current job, which I am hoping to hold until retirement. I found my dream job (part two).

Now that I am back online in a huge way, it is time to evaluate my digital footprint so that I do not reach the point I was at in 2015 when I had to completely unplug.

First of all – hello, internet. It’s me again.

Social Media

My social media consists of this blog, which I started in 2015 (the same year I deleted my Facebook). I have since added a Twitter account. Twitter is one of the best things I have done in a long time. I have made many new friends all over the world. It’s lonely living in a pandemic when everyone you know and love has died. I have made some amazing friendships on Twitter. I am so grateful for that platform.

Actually, I should clarify. My cats have made a lot of friends on Twitter. They are more popular than I am. Seriously, though, the cats are the highlight of my life and my reason for living, so who wouldn’t love them?

Social media – blog and Twitter. That is all of the social media I can handle. That is okay. I have people I can talk to and reach out to if I need so that I do not feel so alone.


Now when it comes to the actual technology of it all – the hardware and software – I struggled last year when I lost my job. The technology I have did not always meet the technology requirements for jobs I was looking at applying. Luckily, I was able to find employment with the technology I have. One of my jobs actually provided me with all of the technology I need to perform that job. 

However, now that we are in a global pandemic and technology is literally a lifeline, I do not want to be in that position again. For example, last spring, I had to fire up the 2009 laptop to update my resume because it was the only thing with word. However, that laptop is way too old and outdated to go on the internet. I had to save my updated resume on a thumb drive, then access that thumb drive from my Chromebook, which was new enough to go on the internet.

Many jobs I was looking at applying specifically stated you could not use a Chromebook to do the work. My Macbook was too old to go on the internet anymore. I did apply for some jobs using just my phone, but that was low paying gig work. 

I did update my cell phone just before the pandemic. I typically change cell phones every 4-5 years. It all depends on when they start to break. In fall 2019, my cell phone was starting to break after 4 years. So, I do have a new cell phone. 

However, the whole decade old Macbook, thumb drives, Chromebook routine got old really quick. I need updated technology. I need to be able to have one cell phone and one laptop that can do it all. I also received a message that my Chromebook is basically going to be a paperweight after June of this year. Chromebooks are only made to last for so many years and apparently this spring is when mine will stop working.

I have been saving money this past year since finding my new job to update my tech equipment. I bought a new laptop.

I am now in the process of migrating everything from my old technology to my new laptop so that I can achieve my one cell phone / one laptop goal. Once I have things migrated, all of my old technology will be wiped and recycled. 

The hardware goal is one cell phone and one laptop. When I put all of my technology in one place this winter, I saw that I had 4 boxes of technology hardware. That’s right. Four boxes. What do I have? I have a broken DVD player, broken CD players, old cell phones, a 13 year-old Macbook, the Chromebook, and a -ahem – potentially 15 year old windows laptop.

When I’m done with all my migrating, wiping and recycling, the goal is one cell phone and one laptop. I do not need four boxes of technology hardware.

I made sure I have word on the new laptop so that I no longer have to rely on the 13 year-old Macbook for that. 

As far as my digital footprint, I have documents and photos. Almost all of my documents and photos are stored in the cloud. However, I like to have things stored in two or more places in case one storage place fails. All of the old technology hardware in my house is the second storage location.

Over the next several weeks, I need to migrate the photos off the 13 year-old Macbook onto my new one. I need to migrate the photos off my original IPhone onto my new Macbook. 

I have two old IPods and a brand new mp3 player that I cannot figure out to save my life. I need to figure out how to have one item to listen to music when I run. Both IPods still work great with the exception of battery life. My running pod (an original IPod shuffle from 2007) seems to have an extremely short battery life now.

Somehow in the past 10 years I ended up with all of this technology clutter. In the future, I will save things in 2 or more places and try to update my technology once it becomes obsolete. I think what happened was that in 2015, I completely dropped out of the digital life. All of this technology stuff just piled up. Then with the pandemic, I was suddenly and unexpectedly thrown back online again.


So, hello internet. It’s me again. I’m back.

The next few weeks and months I will be migrating, wiping and recycling all my old technology to reach my one cell phone and one laptop goal. My new laptop can do everything that I was previously using at least three other tech devices to do. My new laptop is new enough that I could apply for pretty much any remote job I wanted if I needed to now. Hopefully, that won’t be necessary. My goal is to stay at my current job until retirement. 

How much technology hardware is in your house? If you put all of your laptops, cell phones, cords, etc, in a pile, how much would you have? By the way, I found 5 house phones, almost 10 landline phone cords, and multiple internet cords in my search. I am keeping two of each. I am one person with one phone. I do not need 10 telephone cords. I will keep two in case one breaks so that I have a backup.My goal is to get all of this technology migrated and downsized so that I can focus my online activities on what I like to do – working on this blog and interacting with our Twitter friends.

The 3 Deaths


The theory of the 3 deaths has been attributed to multiple sources. Typically, if an idea can be traced back to three or more sources, it is considered to be common knowledge. The first death occurs when the body stops functioning. The second death occurs when your body enters the grave, by burial or cremation. The third death is the moment when your name is spoken for the last time.

If Kip was still alive, today would be his 23rd birthday. Kip and Kitty are still both alive today because I keep their memories alive. While they have both experienced deaths one and two, they have not yet experienced death three. I have a feeling that when I die is when they will experience the third death. There won’t be anyone left to remember them. There will be no one left who still loves them.

My goal right now is to outlive Jude, Simon and Jolene so that I can keep them together. I worry about what would happen to them if something happens to me. They know their names. They know who they are. I know all their likes, dislikes and quirks. 

In addition to taking care of Jude, Simon and Jolene, I keep the memories of Kip and Kitty alive by still loving them. When I die, they will die with me. My purpose in life is my cats. 

There have been cats and humans throughout time. Many have been lost to history. Millions have experienced all three deaths. Yet in this period of time, I have loved and saved five lives. I am caring for the three I have now. The two I have lost are still loved in memory.

I don’t worry about experiencing the 3 deaths myself. My life has not been memorable for anyone but me. I just worry about what happens to the cats without me. 

Maybe it’s presumptuous to think I am so important in their lives. If I am gone, they will be rehomed and their lives will go on, right? I love them so much I just want the best for them.

Today I am remembering Kip on what would have been his birthday. I am also remembering Kitty, who is in my heart also. They have not yet experienced the third death because my love keeps their memories alive. 

Tales from my Surfboard Part 7: Lake in Winter


It wasn’t always me going back to Massachusetts. Sometimes Lily came to New York to see me. The biggest difference was that Massachusetts tends to be more accepting than New York. New York is extremely conservative in comparison to Mass. 

Many people may wonder why we didn’t just choose – Massachusetts or New York? Pick a location and move in together. We had that conversation many times over the years. In the end, I think we were both scared. Lily was afraid to give up her life and family in Mass to come to more conservative New York where we would both struggle and everything feels so precarious. I was in New York for a specific purpose – education – and it took me a lot longer to reach my goals than anticipated because life happens. In the end, it came down to fear and economics on my end. I could not afford to live in Mass and I didn’t want to be in a position of living with someone if I was not able to pull my own weight.

Probably our biggest experiment in this dilemma was the year when Lily rented a house on Cayuga Lake here in New York for 5 months of the winter. It was the off-season for Lily at work, so the only thing she was technically leaving behind was her family. She did travel back to see them. 

The house was a fully furnished rental that was someone’s lake house. The rental was reasonable in the off season. It was on a seasonal road that was never plowed and when not blocked by snow, was often blocked by trains passing. It was directly on the lake and had a gorgeous sliding glass door that opened directly onto the dock of the water.

There was a canoe and other boat apparatus at the cottage that we used on the water. Lily made sure to teach me that the water and the lake was beautiful, even in winter. 

Perhaps the water was even more beautiful then. Whenever a storm came up the coast, it produced good wake. We put on wet suits to help protect against the cold and even took our shortboards out on the waves. 

Cayuga Lake is inland, so the wake is not as good as the ocean. Winter waves move slow, small and lazy. We were were able to catch some. We also took the surfboards up to Great Lake Ontario. There the waves were better – more comparable to the ocean on a good day. 

Lily was able to find some temporary odd jobs to do while she was in the cottage in New York. I was working full time and going to school, so of course we could not spend every minute together. The experiment was to see if Lily would be interested in moving to New York to be with me permanently. 

Having Lily in Ithaca for 5 months allowed me to see the city through her eyes. It was like playing tourist in your own city. We went places and did things that I never would have seen or done alone. I remember we got to see Rusted Root in concert at The Haunt. Rusted Root was the band who did my graduation song. When I graduated from high school, we were the last graduating class allowed to have a song. When our song played, we all stood up, hugged each other, and shook hands. When the song ended, we sat back down. The administration said we were “disruptive,” so no graduating class has been able to have a song since unless it is an original song made by a member of the graduating class. 

Lily and I saw Rusted Root in concert. We visited the wineries and attended many plays of live theatre. We spent time together and Lily helped me to fall in love with the beautiful Finger Lakes region all over again. 

Sunday mornings we would wake up lazily. I remember sitting in an overstuffed recliner right by the sliding glass door with a good cup of coffee watching the snow fall gently on the lake. Lily helped to open my eyes to good coffee and taught me that life is too short to drink the cheap stuff. Go for the gourmet coffee, you will be happier for it. It is the small indulgences in life that matter the most.

Saturday evenings I would arrive at the cottage after work. We would walk the dog (Lily had a dog then), and play some flag football in the yard. Well, as much flag football as two people and a dog can play. 

At the end of the 5 month rental, I remember Lily saying that it was a beautiful area and that she loved it. New York was not for her. It is too conservative and stifling here. She went back to Massachusetts. 

Well, we can say we tried. 

On my end, I was even more in love with the natural beauty of the area despite all of the challenges of living here. Lily taught me to love the lake in winter. Sometimes the lake is more beautiful in winter than it is in summer. Winter is not something to be feared, but to be embraced. It has a beauty just as brilliant as the summer, even if in a different way.

Stay tuned for more Tales from my Surfboard … telling stories of lives of loved ones lost to COVID. 

The Great Clean Out


When I bought this house 3.5 years ago, the gentleman who owned it had passed away after living here for 60 years. His family cleaned out his personal effects, but there was a lot left in this house when I bought it and moved in. 

Over the years, I have been gradually going through what was left in this house in addition to my own minimizing and downsizing. I have recycled and donated as much as I can. Some of the items were quite interesting. For example, I donated a 1940s era fire alarm to the Historic Society. There were a few other historic items donated also.

I finally came down to the point where everything that could be donated, recycled, or reused had been. All that was left was junk. There were old tools that were rusted and that no one would want or use because we now have power tools to replace the old hand tools. There were old tools from the days when Americans would travel by horse and buggy before there were cars. This house was built in 1911. There was just a lot of stuff.

Winter is typically the time I declutter and work on all my indoor house projects. In the spring and summer, I donated everything. I took a week off for my birthday to complete my house projects.

This week I hired someone to come get all the junk. I was looking at renting a dumpster, but did not want all of this stuff to end up in a landfill. Instead, I hired a small family business who came and picked up everything. They will try to recycle things as much as possible in ways I simply could not recycle them. For example, they have a way to recycle all the metal that I simply don’t have access to. I’m not sure exactly what recycling metal is all about, but I know that they are going to try to recycle the items as much as possible to keep them out of the landfill. That makes me feel so much better than if I had simply put everything in a dumpster.

This week, all the junk left as part of the great cleanout. Everything else that is left in this house, I can either donate, recycle, or dispose of one by one if needed. All the junk is currently gone unless something happens to break beyond repair.

I am getting ruthless on cleaning out this house for a few reasons. First, someone is going to have to clean out the house when I die. I don’t wish that chore on anyone. I am trying to make the house as easy to clean out as possible when I die. 

Second, on a more positive note, if I am able to survive the pandemic and outlive the cats, I want to leave the country. It is going to be easier for me to leave the country with less items. I am downsizing with the idea that I am going to leave the country. 

Third, this house is difficult for me to handle. The more stuff I can get rid of, the easier it will be for me to take care of the house. My true goal is to get everything onto the first floor of the house, but with the bathroom and my office on the second floor, I don’t really see that happening. I’m doing what I can to decrease my possessions as much as possible.

All that stuff that we keep “for an emergency?” The emergency is now. We are living it. If a global pandemic and what looks to be World War Three is not an emergency, I don’t know what is. If you haven’t used something over the past 3 years, you aren’t going to need it. We are living the emergency now. Get rid of it. Only keep what you need and what truly makes you happy. 

As spring approaches, I am winding down on my decluttering project for this season. With the exception of some ongoing projects (like my CDs), I tend to take a break of several months once the weather cooperates to be outside. Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed. I have things to do other than declutter and maintain my home.

I feel so much lighter now that the great clean out has occurred. All of the items in my garage and basement are items I use and need for the house. All of the rusted metal and weird horse and buggy items are gone. I am still on my minimalist journey, but with this clean out have made significant progress. 

Will Run for Peace


Ukrainian President Zelensky announced that if anyone wanted to go to Ukraine to help them fight, they would give you arms. I would love to go. The only things preventing me from going are my cats and the fear that they would not take me to fight in Ukraine.

Ukraine is worth fighting for. Their freedom is worth fighting for. Would I fight for America? No, I would not. America is not worth fighting for anymore. America put me on their euthanasia list.

Both the President and the CDC say that I am they type of person that should die in the pandemic. They want me to die. As part of the vaccine mandate, there was a euthanasia plan for those medically unable to be vaccinated. My euthanasia appointment was immediately canceled as soon as the Supreme Cout struck down the vaccine mandate. The hospital told me that as medical professionals, their first duty is to “do no harm,” and they did not want to euthanize anyone if they were not mandated by politics.

In America, I am condemned to die. In addition to the euthanasia list, we have not had a single mask mandate or lockdown. America is trying to make our COVID death toll as high as possible. I don’t want to die of COVID. I would rather die fighting for something in which I believe. I would rather die fighting for Ukraine. Those people deserve freedom.

I try not to get political on this blog, but it is hard with the times in which we are living. However, it’s a wonder Putin does not have the chutzpah to invade the USA. If the USA was invaded, I would not fight. A country that has condemned me to death for my medical conditions is not worth fighting for. If we were invaded, I would surrender. The healthcare as a POW would be a significant improvement over American healthcare. It would be free.  

Healthcare in America is not accessible. It is not affordable. Whether you realize it or not, as soon as the USA declares the pandemic over or downgrades it to an endemic, millions of Americans will lose their healthcare coverage. We will all be back to paying for healthcare 100% out of pocket. We will continue to die because we cannot afford basic care we need.

My life goal is to leave the USA once the cats are gone. If I could figure out how to leave sooner and take the cats with me, I would leave in a heartbeat. I am 100% willing to relinquish my American citizenship to leave the country. 

Immigration to other countries is impossible for low-income Americans. The immigration regulations for American citizens moving to other countries is strict because other countries know we are leaving because we don’t have access to healthcare here. We can’t afford healthcare. I would love to be able to access the NHS or any other functioning health system. As I stated earlier, even healthcare as a POW would be better than what we have available in the USA.

I digress.

I want to help Ukraine. They are worth fighting for. Since I can’t take my cats to a war zone, I need to come up with something else. So, I’m going to do the only thing I know how to do.

I will run for peace.

I have registered for a virtual half marathon this spring benefitting This non-profit organization helps provide medical supplies to Ukraine. 

I am a fall racer. I don’t typically run spring races, but when I do, it’s a charity race.

Medal # 21 will be arriving this spring as I prepare for another half marathon. Please consider a donation to to support my efforts and assist the people of Ukraine.

Ukraine is worth fighting for. Their people did not ask for this. If I did not have 3 cats depending on me, I would volunteer to go fight. I doubt they would accept me, since I am on the American euthanasia list. Or maybe they would, since the USA wants me to die anyway. However, my cats are my only family. I can’t abandon them to fight.

So I will run. I will run for peace. Here comes another half marathon training. This one is for Ukraine.