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Tracey Columns

Last week’s column on cooking for two, after cooking for an army during my childrearing days, seemed to hit a nerve for many of you. This lifestyle shift is quite a transition and clearly, it’s one many of you have experienced.

However, I’ve also received some inquiries about the social media site I now use for cooking inspiration, Pinterest. While I think this is a great tool, some of you were quite skeptical about its value. One woman wrote, “Really, why do I need to another computer thing to frustrate me?” Another chimed in that she felt “too many people waste time roaming around the internet. Pick up a good cookbook or just be creative. Cooking for two is not that hard!”

Let’s get one thing out of the way … I am the first to admit that what works for me may not work for anyone else. I approach my entire life using this philosophy. I encourage you to do the same. So please remember that if you read something here that isn’t for you, that’s just dandy in my book. I feel my job is to present information and offer an opinion when I am asked. What anyone chooses to do with this information is entirely up to that individual.

Now, back to Pinterest. What struck me about the majority of these notes, phone messages and even emails, was the instant dismissal of all things related to computers. (The emails struck me as a curious contradiction.)

I’ve heard this complaint many times before, especially from people of a certain age and I can’t blame them. I recall the first time I sat down in front of a computer. I believe I was in my forties, long before computers became integrated into every corner of our lives. It sat on my desk like an alien from a different planet. I didn’t even know how to turn the blasted thing on! Not only had I never taken typing as a kid, much to my father’s dismay, but I had absolutely NO comprehension of anything remotely connected to the quickly evolving world of computers.

But over time, I came to fall in love with my computer. (Most of the time. Sure, there are days when I want to chuck it right out of my window, as nothing can frustrate me more than being unable to understand something!) I still marvel at the world my computer delivers, the endless information. I do research for my columns and I also used it for my novel. (I wanted my heroine to receive a very special gift at one point in my story. She did, thanks to my computer.) I plan entire trips on it and follow friends’ adventures wherever they are in the world. Thanks to SKYPE, my husband and I had face-to-face conversations with our youngest when she lived in Zambia. I’ve been inspired by the wonderful TED Talks on every topic imaginable and am thrilled to discover the Khan Academy, an educational site for every age. As a resource, I truly value my computer.

Again, this is just my little ‘ol opinion. It may not be for you. I’m the first to admit people can, and do, get lost in too many different internet activities, thereby wasting precious time they could be using to pursue other aspects of their lives. Is it a danger for some? Yes, parental supervision is a must these days, moderation is best for some adults. Are people of all ages  vulnerable to internet scams? Most assuredly. The lesson? As with so many things in life, computers are to be used in a logical and safe way.

Last week I said I’d tell you all about Pinterest in today’s column. I’m sorry not to have delivered. But I was struck by how easy it is to discount the validity of something when we don’t fully understand it. While it’s perfectly natural to fear the unknown, I’ve certainly discovered that life can be enhanced when I stare fear in the eye, take a deep breath and open myself up to possibilities.

P.S. Why did I post this picture of my cat? Because, as cute as she may be, Miss Rita would never try something new!

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