urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
The boiler repair guy came and went by about 10. [personal profile] vatine kindly stayed home to deal with him, and I managed to sleep through the whole thing. (Besides the social awkwardness thing, after getting one really skeezy-acting meter reader I'm still pretty sure didn't attack me because I was bigger than he was--and still kept sizing me up--I do not like to let strangers into the house while I'm home alone.)

You may have hard water when it takes two or three years for your boiler to get limed up to the point of cascading failure. Yep, we had to replace it not too long ago, and it's again to the point of "as much to fix it as replace it". (To the tune of about £2000, IIRC.) They didn't suggest any regular maintenance on the current one, but maybe some kind of preventative care will help the next one live longer. One drawback to the otherwise pretty cool and space-efficient combi boiler approach: it's complicated, with very little that is user serviceable. And you're not supposed to open them up and poke around without being Gas Safe certified. I was hoping there was some kind of minor flushing we could do or something to get some of the limescale out, but apparently not.

Ah well. It could be worse. It's June, the shower heats water (besides the dishwasher and washing machine), and we've got a space heater just in case.

And I'm reminded of this one: 50% of Americans Couldn’t Come Up with $2,000 in an Emergency (and I was surprised it wasn't more). Ghost poverty had me automatically half-panicking and hoping we'd be able to get heat and hot water back before winter, but, yeah, that's not a major problem now. As much as I still near-literally nickel-and-dime myself to death, even with me unable to work now, we're apparently in the top 20% of UK incomes.* (Which says a lot about inequality, actually.)

We're also on the second replacement washing machine in a few years. Even with regularly using sodium carbonate in the wash and running empty hot loads with lots of vinegar or citric acid, they've gotten crudded up with lime internally. But, you boil a pot of water and get lime scum on the top and a ring around the pot. I grew up on limestone karst, where there used to be a lot of mineral spring resorts, and never saw anything like the liquid chalk you get in London. I guess the softer stone makes a huge difference in ready solubility.

* This really struck me when we knew we needed at least an £800 boiler system flushing (no, insufficient after all!)--and Ingvar suggested going out and looking at Xooms. (ETA: And he's hardly prone to wild spending sprees. /ETA) I think my jaw was honestly hanging open for a minute there. I mean, I knew we weren't poor, but I'd been cutting back on food expenses and putting off buying things like a new pair of £50 walking sandals and a couple of shirts. Different assumptions and expectations based on experience, indeed. :-|
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
It is frustrating to have to choose between (a) taking a shower, (b) cleaning the fish tank, (c) going grocery shopping, (d) getting some writing done, or (e) cooking a decent supper, as a plan for the afternoon.

Today I went with the grocery shopping option (not entirely happy without the shower first!)--with a GF frozen pizza, some pre-cooked chicken to help balance it out, and some broccoli to dip into dressing for supper. On the brighter side, as of today Ingvar is now using up holiday time instead of losing it for the rest of the month before starting the new job, and he came along to help carry stuff home. Also, the bus drivers for both trips were less maniacal than I've come to expect, and I at least managed to get braced before the bus jerked into motion. So, less resulting pain (and/or falling over). And the post-shopping pain meds have kicked in now.

I'm looking forward to spending more time with Ingvar, with less stress. :)

On the not-so-bright side, Neighbor Weasel has the devil's own luck at avoiding the cops. Four of them were looking for him this morning, so he's up there now making a lot of noise. I may not like the legal system (or the whole "let's set up a state" thing) much, but I hope he is gone before long--whether they pick him up or he runs off to avoid them. Not quite enough to call them and say, "Hey, you were looking for the guy upstairs? He's up there now, being a noise nuisance. Please come and get him ASAP," however. :/ I just avoid him as far as possible.

Oh yeah, from another hard-not-to-overhear phone conversation, he apparently also does have a drug problem as suspected. (This is not a reason to look down on him, per se, but when it's some kind of stimulant that seems to make him act more violent and generally obnoxious? Yeah, I'll object.) From the way he keeps suddenly starting hacking and then bouncing off the walls--literally, a couple of times--I suspect meth. Whatever it is, it really doesn't seem to do him a lot of good.

ETA: We also had a power cut overnight, which killed an aquarium filter powerhead. Thank goodness that wasn't the main filter on the tank, or I'd have been heading to Tranquility Aquatics (good independent shop!) up the road instead of buying food. And I finally picked up some bird seed today, and want to make another feeder or two tonight, which should actually be pretty fun.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
OK, ugly as they are--especially with one, brown, color available--I think I'm going to go ahead and look for a pair of Karrimor Shuttle shoes. Hopefully, they'll work.

A little while ago, thanks to the lousy depth perception, I dropped a glass full of iced tonic water (for leg cramps) straight into the floor, trying to set it on the edge of the desk here. Most of it went directly into one of my fuzzy slippers, so I opted for thick socks and walking sandals. (The floor is cold.)

My back had been acting up, and it improved almost immediately. The difference was amazing. By now, my calves are happier too.

Now, I know I've got the "Morton's Toe" variation, and that the instability from walking around balanced on your second metatarsal and your heel like a skate blade can lead to some problems, including lots of hip and back pain and sciatica. (Actually, I've run into pretty much the whole pattern described here--lots of ankle sprains, "plantar fasciitis" which was really from knotted-up calf muscles, knee pain, and all. I'm guessing it's trickier if you've got hypermobility anyway.) I tried the "little pad of Molefoam" workaround, which didn't want to stay put, tried some alternate materials (didn't stay put any better), then gave it up as a bad job. Even though that's probably helping perpetuate a number of musculoskeletal problems, I've mostly just been ignoring it.

The summer before last, I picked up a pair of Karrimor Grenada sandals, because I wanted a pair of walking sandals, and they were on sale at Millet's. I've basically been wearing them ever since, any time it's even vaguely warm enough outside (possibly with socks for insulation, dorky look be damned!). They are probably the most comfortable shoes I have ever bought, and I can stay on my feet much longer without getting knee and back pain. I was wearing them around the house most of the time, too, even though we usually operate a "no outdoor shoes" policy. (Maybe I just need to get a house pair.) I noticed again today that they act like a Morton's orthotic, shifting the weight onto the first metatarsal; it felt kind of weird at first, not having worn them in months.

When fall set in, I switched over to fuzzy slippers, because these floors get cold. Now, I think I'll pick up some insulated hiking socks if necessary, to wear the sandals without getting toecicles!

Sandals are a really bad idea for outdoor wear with the wet winters here, but looking at Karrimor's site before, I ran across the Shuttles, which are actually put on the same page as the sandals, and appear to be based on the same sole (and hopefully footbed) type. The ugly color put me off, but they definitely look worth a try. If those don't work, maybe some other Karrimor model will.

Another reason the sandals are so comfy, though, is most likely because they're adjustable in so many ways--unlike the closed version. (Though it does have a similarly flexible lots of eyelets reaching way down the shoe arrangement to Chucks, which fit me pretty well but are not much better in cold rain than sandals.)

My feet are consistently hard to fit. Most of my family's are "wrong-shaped" in the same ways, but I had no idea it might be a wider pattern until Nike launched their Air Native shoes a few years ago. (Hell, my mom looked for Central and South American-made shoes, so the trait lumping is maybe not as ridiculous as it sounds--sort of like the "Asian fit" glasses, I guess.) The ball is a lot wider than the heel, and the foot is thicker from top to bottom than most shoes want. My Nana used to wear almost exclusively Aigner loafers because she could (somewhat expensively) special-order different widths in the heel and ball, to the tune of AAA and C; looking at the ones available now, they also don't come up high enough on the foot to dig in and rub where the foot is higher than expected joining the ankle (another persistent problem).

So yeah, adjustable shoes are good.

It's Nike, FFS--I agree with most of Klee Benally's points in Nike Opportunism: Turning Native plight into profit?--and the "help these unhealthy fat slobs get some exercise" approach made me really angry. As did the still-limited availability; a lot of people who could benefit just can't buy them, not just me. (I did like the "fitting for special order" approach, though!) I was merely irritated by the fact that they're also ugly as sin. Still, I would be tempted to try some if I could.

As one commenter summed it up:
As soon as I heard this news I knew I want to try these shoes. I have spent a lifetime wearing ill fitting shoes. Speciality and orthotic shoe makers tell me there's nothing 'wrong' with my foot, it just doesn't conform to the standard shoe designs. My foot is exactly as they described the fit they are aiming for: short, very high, very narrow heel; a foot shaped like a v.

I don't care what they call it, No Name or Nike or N7. I'm just glad someone is making it. I have already called and asked to be put on a contact list for when this shoe is marketed here.

Shoes that don't cause and exascerbate pain? Priceless.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
OK, I'm feeling pretty silly now.

It's been relatively cold here the past few days--as in, it's been hovering right around freezing, with more expected the rest of the week--and the house has been staying chilly. I usually run hot rather than cold, and dress like a beach bum around the house, but I've been huddling into yoga pants and a sweater and basically keeping a cup of tea going all the time--and have still not been feeling warm. Good reminder to drink more of the delicious hojicha I picked up, though. ;)

When I went to clean the (unheated) goldfish tank earlier, the water was much colder than I expected--with the added heat from the lights, it usually stays stable near 75F/24C in the winter, and this afternoon the water was 68F/20C. With a big (double-glazed!) bay window, that room isn't usually the warmest, but when I took a thermometer in there the air temperature was 62F/17C with the thermostat set to 72F/22C (turned up some in hopes it would help). Not great. I set up a space heater in there, especially since there are also a few tropicals in that tank. :-|

We have a combi boiler which is only a couple of years old, and of course I started thinking "oh crap, there's something expensive wrong with it, just in time for a cold snap!" It's never had a problem keeping up with not-actually-that-cold weather before. We've had plenty of hot water from the faucets, but I took a peek at the pressure gauge to make sure it didn't need more water let in again.

No, the boiler pressure was fine. But it has separate temperature controls for the hot water and the heating, and somebody had apparently knocked into the radiator system control knob at some point. It was turned almost all the way down, to 113F/45C. I turned it back up to 158F/70C.

Yep, it's already feeling warmer in here. *facepalm*

And I'd been cold for days without checking the boiler.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Yesterday was my grandmother's birthday. I'm really, really bad with dates, so was glad to get an incidental reminder even if it means that I'm a day late rather than forgetting entirely. :( Yeah, a PDA is probably an excellent idea.

So, for much quicker delivery, I put together a card for her through Moonpig, since that was the first site that popped into mind. That was fairly quick and painless. Sending a card to someone in the US, mailed within the US, from someone with a UK billing address? Not a problem. (It would be rich if that were a problem, considering they're doing business both places, but I wouldn't be too surprised by now.)

Then I figured I would send her some flowers. She really enjoys getting them, and I think it means even more now that the dementia won't let her garden anymore. I decided to send her a nice, big arrangement, since if there is a good time for getting chintzy with this kind of thing, your only remaining grandparent's 87th birthday is not it. Erm, especially when you're feeling like crap about being late anyway. *shakes head*

I managed to forget how much fun that was the last time. (And which site I ended up using then, which would have been good to know!)

Maybe I should have tried a UK-based one first, in retrospect. In theory, it makes no practical difference, what with FTD and the like, other than paying in USD being less expensive. You'd think this would be about as easy as sending the card.

The first site I tried--one of the bigger US-based ones--helpfully informed me when I was trying to check out that they specifically do not accept European billing addresses. Bzzt. Even trying to weasel around that by using Paypal didn't work. I tried another fairly big one, but thought to check into that before even adding anything to the basket. Bzzt, you must be in the US or Canada for them to take your money.

By this point, I was having to remind myself that I really, really wanted to send the damned bouquet.

The third try was the charm--if by "charm", you mean "it vaguely works, with a really crappy interface and a tendency to scramble address information so that you have to quadruple-check". I was too fed-up to try to find something better by then. That one decided--based on what, I don't know--that even though I filled in an explicitly UK billing address, I must really be in the US. It honest-to-goodness changed the country (the second correction did it in that case, so it wasn't just me choosing the wrong one). And even after I fixed its weird interpretation of what I'd entered, I had to just make up an obviously fake phone number of the 111-000-0000 variety. The form claimed that field was "for US and Canadian customers only", but... The format certainly was.

I finally did get the freaking order placed, and barring further weirdness, it should be delivered sometime today. I really, really hope she likes the flowers. Hmph.

ETA: For "bad with dates", read "I'm lucky if I remember what date or day of the week it is at any given time". Ah, dyscalculia! Just because I've "forgotten" my own birthday more than once doesn't make it any less embarrassing to do the same with other people's. :-|
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Note to self: An egg shampoo is not sufficient for washing out a hair treatment involving coconut milk, unless you're wanting that certain greased ramen noodle look.

Ah well, worth a try. :) I was going to leave it for tomorrow, but just couldn't stand the grease, so just washed my hair again with some baking soda and a vinegar rinse. With any luck, that will do the trick.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
The Sainsbury's grocery delivery came, and I was glad to see it. They made an interesting substitution again.

What I ordered: Genius GF brown bread (amazingly good stuff, for commercial GF bread). What they claimed to have substituted: store brand GF part-baked baguettes (OK, not what I wanted, but edible). What they really sent: a big loaf of in-store bakery wholemeal bread (which also costs less than any of the GF stuff).

I forgot to add bread for Ingvar to the order, but it looks like he has some anyway. *shakes head* Ah well.

ETA : OK, now I'm less irked and more baffled. I also found the baguette in a bag. The rest of the stuff seems to be what I ordered, so they didn't just mix up bags or anything.

Further ETA: Tonight's fairly easy supper plans: an adobo-seasoned baked chicken with potatoes crammed in the pan around it. And probably more frozen veggies.

I am also hoping to do a coconut milk amla treatment on my head, in the meantime. (Mixing it with coconut milk keeps it from drying my hair out.) I absolutely love the results, but keep putting off sitting for half an hour with muddy stuff and a plastic bag on my head. *g* It might give my mood a boost.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I tried to post this before supper, but the ADSL was acting screwy again.

Earlier, I made it across the street to Iceland again, so we don't have to get takeout. (The fridge is down to condiments, pickles, and fresh veggies I don't feel like messing with right now, and the rest of the food stores are in about the same shape.) What we ended up with was frozen cottage pie with some frozen broccoli mix on the side, but I was really glad to find something easy-and-almost-nutritious that wasn't full of gluten. (Other than a little barley malt in the gravy, which has only been a problem once from a salad dressing made with malt vinegar.) Annoyingly, I had to get a few "meal for one" size, since the larger ones were apparently from a different manufacturer and full of wheat flour. If we don't eat the third "meal for one", Max will be more than happy to.

Special dietary requirements (GF diabetic here!) can be a huge pain when you don't have much energy available. Usually, I do a lot of scratch cooking, which is tastier and better for us anyway. But, especially with the kitchen time anomalies (an hour can, and frequently does, pass in the blink of an eye), that takes a lot of time and energy. Sometimes it's really nice to be able to just grab something frozen that's not twice the price in the small Free From section. (Which I am glad exists, don't get me wrong.) Something that's available not 300 yards up the street? Even better!

Last night, I finally had the sense to place a rather large Sainsbury's order online, which I'd been putting off. I had to set up a new account, but I think most of it was the old "should be able to drag myself to the store". :( I also had the sense to be less, erm, frugal and get some things that require less prep time and effort. So we should have plenty of food tomorrow, without anyone having to lug it home. That's worth way more than the $3.50 delivery fee for the £100+ order!

Even better: today I've mostly been managing not to kick myself over Not Trying Hard Enough. Bah.

Oh yes, I've also been having surprisingly good luck with just using water and a lot of scalp massage to wash my hair. After about two weeks, it's not greasy and smelly, which shouldn't be a huge surprise since that didn't happen when I switched over to conditioner-only washing. *wry smile* (People managed to have clean hair before this stuff was invented, after all.) My scalp was acting up again in spite of not using shampoos I'm apparently allergic to, so I decided to experiment, hoping it was an allergy to something in the conditioners. Especially since it totally cleared up when I was trying the ultimately too drying baking soda with vinegar rinse approach. That's improved a little, but it's early days yet. It may just be eczema, since it's the time of year for that to really start kicking in--even so, putting fewer chemicals on an existing allergic reaction sounds like a good idea!

The big surprise there? My hair seems to be loving it so far. It's shinier, and even the crown is holding more curl once it's dry, without added gel or anything. (Thick, fine hair with Botticelli curls is kinda renowned for weighting itself down and going flatter on top.) I think even the conditioner was drying it out too much, which is darkly funny since I avoided using much conditioner for years because it make my hair look "stringy"--i.e., less dry and frizzed out, with some curl definition. Using the CO wash method, I could tell it was time for a wash because it started to get dry and frizzy on top. (I think my thyroid conversion is a bit wonky again, and drying my hair and skin out more.) And I was using a heavier conditioner after the cheapo light stuff for washing!

Now I'm tempted to try using a little coconut milk instead of conditioner to wash with, and see what happens. On the whole, I'd rather get away from commercial products again if it's feasible, anyway.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I'm taking a break after washing a clothesline full of clothes in the kitchen sink. (We have no bathtub; in a strange "post-War house to up-and-down duplex" conversion, our bathroom looks remarkably like the cupboard under the stairs. The phone booth shower is almost a squeeze.) We really, really need to set up delivery of a new machine.

This is an even more strenuous job, since even small traces of detergent left in the clothes will break me out. (Soap, too.) That's a lot easier when you can just run the clothes through an extra rinse cycle or two. I'm still kind of amazed that it took me so long to figure out that maybe my "seborrheic dermatitis" was contact dermatitis from shampoos. *shakes happier head*

But, glad that batch is done, since I've been putting off washing the accumulating pile. :) When those have dripped enough to come back in, I can do another load.

Last night, I made a Thai-like red curry with butternut squash, chicken, and some onion/sweet red pepper/chunky frozen mixed vegetables for variety. (Baked brown rice? One of the best ideas I've ever found. I like the texture better using a scant 2.5 parts water to 1 part rice by volume, though, at least with the Basmati I've been using.) It turned out absolutely delicious to me, but I didn't remember how much Ingvar dislikes winter squash. Oops. Hopefully the chicken-and-veggie pasta tonight will be more edible, without anyone needing to fish half the dish out. :-|

Today I'm mostly focusing on physical work around here, to help balance out the recent brain overload. "Chop wood, carry water", indeed--even if sometimes it does feel like I'm trying to chop water. :)
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Urgh. I just had to transfer a large slug back outside. One keeps coming in to eat Max's food, I think through a foundation vent and then through some crack in the floorboards and into a kitchen cupboard. Given the size hole they can slither through, I'm not optimistic about finding it, much less blocking it up effectively. That one can get through the tiny crack of a closed and latched cupboard door.

They may be important in their own gastropod way, but I really wish slugs would stay out of our house. *shudder*

L*zy day

Oct. 1st, 2010 04:13 pm
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Last night, I tried my hand at making makki ki roti (a lot like a corn tortilla, with plain, non-nixtamalized flour). The results were thoroughly edible, if a bit strange. :) Even after I started getting the hang of handling the dough--even being used to handling hot-water corn dough (yummy!)--I never really got the hang of getting the breads into the pan intact without making them about twice as thick as I wanted. That was better than I'd managed trying to make tortillas before, at least.

I'd originally planned to wrap stuff up in them, but they were thick and stiff enough that I wound up piling it on top. I threw together some spinach with onions and mushrooms fried with a little bacon, dill, mixed pepper, and lemon, and some vagely-fajita-seasoned chicken. (The big jar of "fajita seasoning" we've got is tasty, but more like fajitas via South India; this is the UK.) With some assorted cheese, it was pretty good anyway. :) In a little while, I'm going to chuck some of the mixed leftovers in with a little GF pasta, with maybe a dollop of Greek yogurt.

I was hoping that my infernal back would straighten out some overnight, but instead I woke up with a really obviously subluxated sacroiliac. (That's one dubious benefit of having basically no padding there; I can feel with my hands that the sides of the joint are uneven!) It has been that way for probably a week to a lesser extent. Waking up in a weird and uncomfortable position from Max crowding me didn't help at all. (But he's so cute...) Some stretching exercises have helped the unhappy muscles some, but the joint hasn't wanted to pop back where it's supposed to be so far--and I really don't want to overdo the stretching. This is getting really, really old.

And I'm irritated at hesitating to ask Ingvar to pick up more Nurofen Plus on his way home, since I've gone through the last batch pretty quickly with that joint staying subluxated. (It's pretty weak compared to, erm, most of the pain I get, but I'm so glad there is something available without a prescription when I'm having doctor avoidance! No, total lack of pain relief is not enough to force me past the PTSD, as I found when I was back in the US.) Funny--if that's the word--how the "raving dope fiends making shit up to get that great 8mg of codeine" thing gets internalized so it can pop back up occasionally. (Who am I kidding? More than occasionally.) Grrr.

So, today I'm taking things a little easy. I need to clean the goldfish tank anyway, since I've been putting it off for days with my back acting up. :/ But, I'll be extra careful about the way I'm moving doing it. That and some reading comprise my plans. :)

Between the rainy weather and everything else, it looks like a good night for some quick and easy potato soup! Maybe cheesy potato soup. I can find some kind of easy protein to gnaw on to balance things out, maybe some tuna. I was wanting to experiment with ground almonds in the oaty topping for an apple-and-pear crumble--sounded great!--but I think that will wait for another day.

ETA: Oh my. Poking around a bit in the nixtamalization search results, I ran across one, erm, interesting recipe: Soft Polenta: Soaked, Nixtamalized and Delicious. This blogger (who seems to be in the US) went through multiple steps involving cornmeal and lime water--not rinsed out!--to make grits. Without, AFAICT, knowing that's what she did. (But it's not déclassé if you call it polenta!) I guess if you wanted it Nourishing Traditions-styley, you could buy a bag of grits and soak them overnight. And have odd-textured, mushy grits. OK...

What with the trouble getting non-instant (urgh) grits here, I have considered picking up a bag of African samp (kept an Algonquian name, lost the lye treatment) and messing with lye or lime water, and then grinding it up. (Then I saw some Mexican hominy.) But that's kinda different.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I posted the last one right before I went out the door earlier, and didn't have time to go into anything more serious. I'm mostly rambling here, and certainly not expecting any kind of answers. *wry smile*
Ramblings on conflict )

A classic set of problems which nobody has found a good solution to thus far. Sometimes I really, really wish they had.

May as well laugh at those "black tricks" gotten over on someone with delusions of superiority. *shakes head*
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I just roasted some hulled sunflower seeds with a little soy sauce and garlic powder, and they smelled so wonderful when I took them out that I had to resist grabbing some while they were hot. :) Really easy, just drizzle the seasonings on them in a bowl, stir to coat, and stick them on a baking sheet in a moderate oven for about 5 minutes. Glad I set the timer for 5 instead of 10, because they were really toasty as it was!

Even though I've been trying to eat more sunflower and pumpkin seeds for both the yumminess and the magnesium content, I almost forgot we had a 500g bag of the sunflower seeds! They're still good, though.

ATM I'm eating some leftover enchiladas I put in the oven with them (microwave is kaput). Not forgetting to eat lunch is a good plan anyway, but I need to head out in a while to pick up a package at the postal depot, and would prefer that my blood sugar not dip too low. *shakes head* Max can go along, since it's a nice walk for him. We've been trying a front-clip harness to deal with his pulling--actually, [personal profile] vatine made one!--and it should be a lot easier on me to take him out. Bit of a vicious circle, that: he gets excited and super-pully, so Mommy can't take him out without pain, so he develops a lot more pent-up energy and turns into Pully Bully no matter what we do. That opposition reflex? He's got it in spades. If he weren't almost 12 now, he'd sooo love to do some weight pulling. (Well, I'm sure he'd still like it, but I'd feel kinda cruel to the old man dog, healthy as he is.) His walk is totally different with the harness, with none of that head-down, hunched-shoulders pulling posture. :) Hopefully this will improve the situation! This will be my first solo run with the new harness.

I'm looking forward to getting the benfotiamine in particular (not "just" preventative; I had a deficiency). I'd put off ordering more, out of false economy, since it's £20+ for a month's bottle here that goes for about US$12. But the muscle spasms have been getting worse again, and I really should know better by now, with the continuing polydipsia/polyuria. :-|

ETA: I was just about to flip because I couldn't find the "sorry you were out" slip for that parcel. That would be because I handily pinned it to the kitchen bulletin board. *facepalm*
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Oh my. I really, really hope that the Snappy Tom called for in the first chili recipe here is actually Snap-E Tom and not the Australian/Canadian kind. :) Which works conceptually in a disturbing way.

Yesterday, I finally got the pot-and-pan cabinets in the kitchen cleared and cleaned out so they're usable again. Yay! When there are too many empty jars and plastic containers to fit what belongs in the cabinet in there, it's probably time to get rid of them. (There were mice in there too for a while. Urgh. Now spotless!) Just one more cabinet to dejunk now.

I haven't been doing much that's interesting to anybody outside this household recently, which has helped with the lack of posting.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Argh. Last night, I found a little water on the bed from the 150L bowfront aquarium where my nightstand used to be. (Limited places to put them, and it's easy to watch there! *g*) That one has a nasty habit of drips running down the sides from the hood, so I wasn't that concerned.

Now, I'm pretty sure it's got a very slow leak at the front bottom corner. I've left the second filter than causes the dripping off--no real need for it, low as the fish load is now--and there's no sign of water running down the glass from up there. But, there is still some dripping down the side of the cabinet onto a towel on the edge of the bed. And examining it a few minutes ago, a little water seemed to be welling up from under the bottom edging at that corner. I wiped it away a couple of times, and more welled up. Bah.

On the brighter side, at least if we have to spring a tank leak, it's one that's very easily noticed before all Hell breaks loose!

Good thing there aren't many fish in there now, just a couple of corys, a paradise fish (whose more aggressive brother lived with a goldfish, no problem), and 3 otos; I've mostly been using it to grow out plants. All of those are potted or on bogwood or rocks, at least. Guess I'll get to move the fishies into the library tank with the goldfish temporarily this evening, try to find places to stick all the plants, and drain the tank dry. Unfortunately, I can't think of a workable way to move all the tiny (2mm long at most!) freshwater limpets that showed up with the last batch of plants!

We just got a tube of aquarium sealant last weekend to use for something else, so that's something at least. I am tempted just to get the plant-choked 60L with snails and cherry shrimp in it sorted out, move the non-goldfish into it, and not set the bigger tank up again since I'll need to break it down at some point in the somewhat near future before we move anyway. But not this evening!
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
I'm fighting feeling l*zy# today, showing the sense not to mess with the Nitromors with my asthma and chemical sensitivities. That means that [personal profile] vatine has been stripping the radiator, while I avoid that part of the house. Including the kitchen, with stuff I could be doing in there.

Sticking him with tedious, fumy work doesn't feel great. But, I'm trying to bear in mind that I do a lot of tedious work on my own--and this particular division of labor doesn't seem to be bothering him. And I trust him to let me know if it does, instead of just getting resentful.

BTW, the new paint stripper is working much better. It's still a fiddly job.

# This deserves disemvowelling about as much as any other term. Thanks to Stepping Out of Squalor for pointing this out.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
It's been a pretty lazy day here. [personal profile] vatine had to head to Bracknell this morning for work, and is still not back. Extra fun, trains weren't running between here and Liverpool Street, so he got to leave earlier to deal with rail replacement buses. So, I've had the day with the cats and Max.

There's been some improvement there! Mirrors and Max have spent several days with free run of the house at the same time, with only one faceoff so far. Mirrors just stared at Max, who finally went away whining--it's no fun when the cats don't try to run off so you can chase them! (He doesn't seem very clear on what to do if/when he catches up with them, so it's a lot less worrying than it could be.) With any luck, this will soon work with Punkin and Feist too. Mirrors has been the least impressed by Horrible Dog all along.

Some cleaning and reading got done, and antihistamines made me zonk out for a couple of hours. I tried to get some writing done, but got distracted listening to music. (Not my day for multitasking, oh my no.) At least Max got to go for a walk a little while ago, which he greatly enjoyed. The exercise probably did me some good, too.

Since I was alone for supper, I felt compelled to pull out items [personal profile] vatine doesn't like: today, some really nice zucchini/courgettes and sweet yellow pepper. :) The way I love summer squash and peppers, he is liable to be horrified at what happens when we get enough room to grow them. >:) (In a better climate; I've tried growing squash here, and was underwhelmed. I haven't dared to try any kind of pepper, even fairly cold-night-adapted varieties. Cloches? Bah. Snug little tents for slugs.) I was originally thinking of a quick pasta dish with veggies and some feta, but stared into the fridge and wound up throwing together the tastiest leftover casserole I've had in a while.

We had some leftover tomato pasta sauce, and some buckwheat with onions and mushroom (basically gluten free, no pasta kasha varnishkes). So I sliced the squash lengthwise, fairly thick, and seared it in a pan with a little olive oil and salt and pepper until it softened a bit. Ditto with the sliced pepper. Plonked a layer of squash in the bottom of a pie pan, and proceeded to layer it with the kasha, tomato sauce, and cheese (we had mild Cheddar and Emmentaler, so that's what I used). Ended with a layer of squash and peppers, covered it with foil, and baked for about half an hour. Pulled it out to add more cheese, put it back in uncovered to brown a bit. Yum, light fresh-tasting supper with a salad.

I think I'll try something similar again with rice, possibly brown for the extra texture and flavor, but the buckwheat worked better than I thought it would. And as these things usually go, it won't turn out nearly as good again. ;)

Not surprisingly, cooking is a lot more pleasant now that I've got the clutter cleared off most of the counter space in there! Especially since it's not the biggest kitchen ever. I'm hoping to get the rest of the junk cleared off the counters tomorrow, and start decongesting the cupboards more seriously.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
Gosh, we seem to have totally new people upstairs again. AFAICT-Polish speakers with a Jack Russell who keeps yelling at Max. (Who hasn't been yelling back, but whining and crying at the rudeness.)

That was really quick after Boomer's human apparently cleared out.

Edit: Yep, there's a moving van in the driveway.
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
It's been a pretty productive day so far. And I've even managed to pace myself so that my back isn't in too bad a shape. :) Working with a totally non-scary approach to lists has been helping again. Right now, I'm doing pretty well with the "Working in Threes" strategy; doing three things and thinking of another three I'd like to do isn't overwhelming or resentment-inducing. And it adds up.

Now it's time for some rest, and then to throw together some supper.

And, via [personal profile] the_future_modernes, France rounding up and deporting Roma to Romania. *sigh*


Jul. 9th, 2010 02:18 pm
urocyon: Grey fox crossing a stream (Default)
It's beastly hot today, for here--87.3°F/30.7°C right now, with a couple more days of the same forecast. Upminsterweather.co.uk comes in handy, again; it's close enough that their readings usually agree with the ones here. After we get settled in after the (still nebulous) move, I'd like to get a full weather station set up myself. Just because I can. :)

Better not to worry about what the bedroom will be like, even with the curtains blocking out the sun. It has no cross-ventilation whatsoever, which is handy in winter; when it's unusually hot, not so much. It's been staying about 79-81°F/26-27°C lately. I woke up burning up this morning, about three hours after hitting the sack, but thankfully managed to get back to sleep after drinking some tomato juice for electrolytes.

I need to do some grocery shopping in a bit, but even if Max's cooling vest were finished, I don't think it's a good idea to take Mr. Overheaty along today. (It might come in handy for a walk this evening, though, if I have to use a few safety pins.) Glad I'm off the meds that kept me from sweating properly, or I might make another one for myself! I may bus it anyway, though the psoas aren't acting up too much so far, and the sun should feel good if I walk it.

To try to stretch the spoons, I'll probably do a water-only change (no messing with filters, no algae scrubbing) on the bedroom goldfish tank later. Unfortunately, these days it's either make a trip out or do a full tank cleaning--and they really need clean water! I do kinda miss having a car, since walking uses up a lot of resources, and public transport just wipes me out. I was able to get a lot more done, when I was back in the US and driving.

Thank goodness, I'm getting more used to having upstairs neighbors again, and am not startling every time I hear a noise from up there. They seem OK so far.

I hope I didn't overstep my bounds a little earlier. It's hotter than I'd have expected, and their puppy was out on the deck in the sun while they were gone. The poor thing was panting like crazy, and I wasn't sure when they were coming back--so I went up there and cooled him down with some water. (Sweet pup!) The guy came home not half an hour after that, and I explained why the pup was wet while he was getting puppy inside. It's not like he wouldn't have noticed a wet dog, eh? I was very careful not to make it sound like they were being neglectful, since I didn't think they were. But, he seemed surprised. No matter, I wouldn't let a puppy overheat if I could help it.

And yeah, not always being so great at the realtime social thing, I tend to rehash interactions. Not always helpful, really. :/

At least it's not as bad as when we ended up taking the neighbor's cat for neutering, out of exasperation, when Mirrors went in. He was spending 99.999% of his time at our place, and was turning into a real pest toward our cats. And sometimes us humans. :-| Yeah, I knew that wasn't great at the time, but they're still speaking to the presumptuous weirdos next door. And Charlie is not humping anyone.

Time to think of something cold to eat later, and soon pick up ingredients. Maybe some dilly chicken and broccoli salad, some sliced cucumbers, and a fruit salad? *scratches head* Good weather for it. Ingvar can have some bread if he wants more carbohydrate. It's tempting to pick up some precooked chicken bits, to avoid further heating up the kitchen, even though I'll still need to blanch the broccoli. Maybe just set it out on the patio for a while. ;)

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