Working Wednesday, April 23, 2024

I have FINALLY got my kitchen organized. There’s something about a kitchen, especially one you’ve never worked in before, that’s really tough to arrange, especially if it’s smaller than those ginormous magazine kitchens. As in, is there a logic to plates, bowls, cups and glasses storage? (Yes.) How much of my limited cupboard is going to go toward pantry? What the hell do I need in a pantry if I can get groceries delivered every day? (Because I don’t want groceries delivered every day.) And do I really need all these pieces of equipment? (No.) I’m still not done, I still have to work with the equipment I’ve got to see if the pieces are worth finding a place to store (my air fryer is under a table behind my couch right now), but I’ve got things mostly sorted. Big helps: buying a small freezer to add to my already overstuffed kitchen and putting up a pot rack on the wall over that. I’m feeling very adult about the whole thing.

What did you work on this week?

127 thoughts on “Working Wednesday, April 23, 2024

  1. I’m working on getting out of a funk that just won’t go away.

    Wondering – does anyone here chant? If so, how did you start? Do you have an altar? I am an atheist. My cell memories are at least 75% celtic so goddess – nature worship-y so not really wanting Buddhist chants. I want a practice to remind me what my goals are & help me focus. AND to send light & love out into this ridiculous country we live in.

    As to my kitchen – I rarely cook now. My daughter does the cooking. When I endeavor to do anything in our current kitchen it’s not easy because all the storage is up very high or down very low.

    Good luck with the organizing thing, Jenny!

    1. For me, the most successful antidote to any funk has been to incorporate daily writing of positive thoughts and 15 minutes of meditation every morning. Again, for me, it takes discipline to think positively when surrounded by media that is skewed largely to the negative to attract ratings.

      I started by writing 5 minutes of simple positives: the sun is up, I like the painting on the wall, the kitties are snuggling with me, I get to see so-and-so today, flowers are nice, etc.

      After writing, I listen to a white noise app of a stream flowing, setting the timer for 15 minutes. I picture a golden ball of light in my solar plexus region and then “watch” it grow. My mind is not blank during meditation because there is a lot to watch as the golden ball expands. I can feel the lift and the shift within to a lighter place.

      I can imagine that repeating any personally appealing, sonorous sound could be a similar type of meditation, aural instead of inner-visual, and could facilitate the lift and shift to a lighter state of being.

    2. My practice is very goddess-oriented (although my genetic background is 100% Jew, and they disappeared any goddess that might have been in that religion so long ago, no one remembers her name). I have an altar, and I do chant sometimes. On one visit to the beach in San Diego, I connected with goddess by walking at the edge of the surf and chanting to her for ages as I was saying goodbye for another year. Many Pagan chants are goddess oriented, or related to the elements. One of my favorites is something like, “Water am I, Fire am I, Earth and Air and Spirit am I.” You can almost certainly find it online.

      I also try to practice focusing on the positive, no matter how small. Sometimes I have to turn off the news for a bit, because it can be so overwhelming. I try to do good in the little ways I have power over, like being kind to people when there is nothing in it for me, or picking up trash along my road on Earth Day.

      If you’re on Instagram, there is a woman there who is a hypnotherapist and a brain training expert, and she has lots of great suggestions. https://www.instagram.com/emilieleyes/

    3. Thanks for reminding me I need to chant more. I started doing that in yoga class (forty years and counting) and now that I don’t have classes any where near me (and in recent years the ones I did have were very exercise-oriented) I let it slip. One of my first two yoga teachers was Buddhist, so my chants are pretty Buddhist-y, but the words don’t really matter. It’s the tone, and the concentration.

      1. I do an online gentle yoga class through the Los Angeles parks and recreation department that I really enjoy. (I’m not in a Los Angeles—anyone can sign up. It’s like $60 for 8 classes or something.) No chanting in that one, but maybe there’s another online one somewhere that does have it?

    4. I don’t chant, but I do sing along to music. Even if it’s bluesy sad music, still makes me feel better if I’m down when I start. 🙂

    5. I’ve cut out all news and almost all social media and it has helped tremendously. The thing is, whenever I dip a toe back in, it’s the exact same tragedies it always is. So while a part of me feels guilty about opting out, pragmatically speaking, I know being exposed doesn’t change anything except my personal stress level. I’m still sending a little money to organizations doing the work on the ground, and still voting, so…

      1. If you want further support to not feel guilty, check out Stop Reading the News by Rolf Dobelli. It’s a quick read and well supports the decision. I quit about 6 months ago and it’s been really great.

    6. I took a class on “Peace Breathing” where we started with “Inhale: World. Exhale: Peace.” Before the pandemic I used to go to drop in meditation once a week, where they also did a few other chants that I found distracting, but the feeling of joining with others was calming and helped me feel like my participation mattered. When they switched to online classes, I stopped participating, but I do a little peace breathing every night as I lie in bed before sleeping.

      I once went back to talk to the teacher about my difficulties with moving on to the more advanced chants and she said that that was far less important than using whatever mantra or posture that worked for me. The advantage, for me, of sticking with the most basic chant is that I can’t distract myself with internal critiques of how long my breath lasts or whether or not I am on pitch.

    7. I’m not sure what you are up to Judy, but I credit regular short yoga sessions with my improved mental health this year. My husband likes it too. We use Yoga with Adrienne which is free on Youtube and has a lot of choices. And she uses some words of affirmation or setting an intention.

      Or Tai-chi. My aunt and I took a class at the library through the local office of the aging and she loved it. She has pretty significant back problems that makes yoga painful, but she said that she reached a spiritual/ meditative place with it. I’m sure there are guided videos online as well.

    8. Sending pocket-hugs for when you need one! Don’t have any useful chanting-tips, but sympathies, I do have.

  2. We are moving this summer from Brazil back to Europe. Am trying to persuade DH to open up the boxes that have come with us unopened from various moves and actually shed the contents. So far, limited success (i.e. no boxes opened at all…).

    As compensation, I keep watching desk setups – am planning to get myself a lovely MacBook Air once we are settled and am hoping to have what I do not currently have – a room of my own…it will probably be the guest room with sofa bed, but nonetheless, a space where I do not have to try and write with political podcasts as background interference…

    1. If the boxes contain anything better than white elephants (and depending on shipping costs, especially if you yourselves are paying for the move), a rational argument for not discarding might be waiting to see what your housing situation is like after the move. Sometimes the once useless become useful in a new environment.

      1. Deb, Once in a Lifetime, by Jill Shalvis is on sale for $1.99 for a limited time. I know you like her writing. It’s a Lucky Harbor novel, and I’ve read it and it’s good.

        1. Thanks! Is is very sexy? I did see the sale, but the description made it sound spicier than the later novels I’ve been reading. Thanks for thinking of me!

  3. Big changes in a home take time to organise, it took me years. Lots of adulting though and it is good to recognise it as such and not just “tidying”, nesting is way more than that.

    I am now 7 days post hip replacement operation and doing well. Was only in hospital overnight and the first night home alone felt pretty scary but the morphine they supplied helped. 🙂 Am now working on going up and down the 30 steps from my flat to the pavement everyday – I can do it but feel the need of security of someone watching me do it. Fortunately I seem to have acquired a lot of visitors – and they all bring food or flowers (run out of vases quickly), which is really nice but all I really want is a little company for a while and someone reassuring walking in front of me down the stairs and at my back when I come up.

    Have to say that having a Physiotherapist for six months prior to the op has put me in a much stronger position than others I saw in the hospital. There were gasps and not a little indignation, when they got me out of bed less than 4 hours after the op and I could walk with elbow crutches (and not a zimmer frame) putting my full weight on the new hip. My fellow patients were quite envious and a bit perturbed. But my blessed NHS physio had had me doing all the post op physio exercises for six months and my muscles just did what they had been working at doing. It also helped that my surgeon said that my hip had been really degraded and I would be in less pain now than I was before – and so I am, testament to how much pain i was in pre-op though.
    Off almost all of the painkillers and getting staples out on Friday.

    Working on getting ready for a much more active life and less pain than I have been in for the last 4 years. Very grateful for all the help I have been given, and the love I am continuing to receive.

    1. Congratulations! I had mine done one year ago (4/27) and wished I had been smart enough to do MORE PT. I had about six weeks of it before surgery and I know it helped me. Just wonder why more surgeons don’t recommend it?

    2. Congratulations, Christine re your post hip replacement recovery. So good that your pre-op exercise prep has been so effective. Super progress in 7 days to be managing 30 steps. Best wishes for continuing reduction in pain, increasing mobility & confidence & joy in your body & life.

    3. That is really great! I’m so glad it went well, and the preparation paid off.

    4. Congratulations on all your hard work! My sister also did PT before her knee replacements and said it was very helpful.

    5. Hurrah! So very very happy to hear the OP went well and that you’re healing up nicely and get so much love and flowers. Sending extra healing-vibes to support you the rest of the way!

  4. I’m not really sure what I am doing. I’m in the last week of prep for my little art show and I seem to have run out of steam for the paintings. Need to push through that. The house feels overly messy and cluttered again and the garden needs started and I just can’t seem to think about that yet.

    My trainee is gone, which is good, but we are short handed at work again because someone had a family emergency and the last two days have been challenging. I blame the full moon. Maybe it’s just me, but there seems to be a lot of manic energy in the air.

    1. Mercury has been retrograde for the past three weeks, stationing direct today. Forward motion soon.

        1. Yes, are we sure? Because I had to flag a customer for $20,000 in potential fraud before lunch and there was a plain clothes officer waiting in the lobby to serve the bank with a search warrant when I got back. And that is on top of two previous days of crazy. MERCURY NEEDS TO UNSTICK ITS SELF RIGHT NOW, SO HELP ME.

      1. Thank you. I painted this morning. The day job is just demanding a lot of mental and physical energy right now. And I couldn’t settle on a theme for the show until the end of last month. My brain just wasn’t in gear.

  5. I’m still packing things for the move and getting rid of things too, although that part is slowing down.

    My next big goal is to get all wall art and photos packed or donated. And all the nails removed. I’m still debating spackling and painting the holes.

  6. I used to dream of having a huge kitchen. But after declutterring my medium-sized one, I just hope to never accumulate so much stuff again.

    1. We downsized kitchens by more than half when we moved from Big Midcentury Apartment to Tiny Postwar Tract House and I haven’t missed *anything* I got rid of then.

      1. I would love to declutter my kitchen . But DH keeps buying more restaurant sized equípement. And condiments he uses once and never again.

        I may start tossing condiments when he travels.

  7. Yay Jenny new freezer in new kitchen.
    The kitchen for me is about possibilities.
    I could bake a cake, I could make beef Wellington. Therefore, I have three plastic bins full of cooking tools. I have a very large Tupperware full of spices which aren’t used daily. I don’t have gadgets or single use machines. And in our last move I traded in my large kitchen for a “hello, we want our 1980’s kitchen back!” With a total three linear feet of counter space.
    I feel your pain. But, we persevere.
    P. S. Which cashew chicken recipe did you finally decide on? Please share.

    1. I’m actually still working on that one. I thought I had it, but I think I can do better.

  8. We renovated our kitchen late fall and are still sorting out where things go. A friend suggested drawer separaters (Amazon) and they’ve worked well to define spaces within the drawers (especially plastic containers and lids).

    I’ve been in a funk the last couple of weeks too. I know the causes – difficult situation with a long-time friend and my mother’s BD at the end of the month. My mom’s birthday is harder for me than the anniversary of her death because our birthdays are relatively close and we always celebrated together. So this week is putting one foot in front of the other and being as kind to myself as possible.

    1. Sending pocket-hugs for when/if you need some extra support. Must be a tough time. <3

    2. Sending virtual hugs. I’ve found my mum’s birthday hard as it’s two days before mine, so I’m in a similar position to you and it’s very difficult. I’m considering picking a random date later in the year as a second birthday, where I can celebrate with fewer bittersweet memories…

  9. I feel your pain in some respects, Zeba … we have 34 years of life stuff accumulated in the same home that we will be moving from at the end of this year. It is now nearly the end of month 4 of the 10 month period we allocated to review every item we own & do away with what we don’t need or want to take into our smaller retirement home. Neither of us have achieved any significant progress. I do wonder what it will take to take to get either/both of us to focus & commit. And whilst the new house is smaller, there is a very large machinery shed which I really don’t want to end up as the home of hundreds of boxes that haunt me into the future. I wonder if hypnosis might work 😳.

    1. I don’t know if this is helpful, but sometimes chunking out the task into really tiny, easily achievable bits helps me. So I’d make a to-do list with the intent to cross off one item each day, and the items are small things like
      —pick 1 box to go through
      —open box
      —pull stuff out of box
      —sort stuff into keep/donate piles
      —pack keep stuff back in box
      Sometimes the tasks are so easy and simple that once you get started and just do one, you find yourself doing the others as well because you’ve already made the effort to get up and you’ve done the first task in about 5 seconds so it seems a waste to go back to doing something else haha. I find that scheduling a specific time and setting an alarm can sometimes help too, but the chunking is the biggest thing for me. It makes an unsurmountable-seeming task manageable and even easy (at least to start, but once you get started you realize it’s not actually as big and overwhelming as you thought)

    2. If it helps (and disregard otherwise), what worked for me to declutter (same basic idea as downsizing) was really tiny baby steps. I committed to getting rid of one thing a day (toss/recycle/donate/rehome), which is eminently manageable and less overwhelming, so it’s easier to stick to. In the beginning I did way more than one thing a day, because there were so many options to choose from (and no cheating by carrying over the excess to the next day, still need to get rid of one thing the next day, no matter how many the previous day, but also no need to make up for things if you miss a day), and it took a while to make a visible difference, but it does add up, and then seeing the difference helped to motivate me to keep going.

      1. Such great suggestions for decluttering/eliminating etc., thank you as always aargh. One thing I’ve found useful has been to prepare for the single task I’ve decided to do (as suggested by Gin) by setting up the day before. That could be as simple as digging out my cleaning tools and placing them where they are easily reached for the floor scrub the next day OR bringing the storage box in from the shed and situating it where I plan to sort through OR removing all the ingredients for a recipe and placing them in order of use on the kitchen table OR you see what I mean. May seem simplistic for some but for me it sets the stage.

    3. I recommend getting a quote from the movers to let you know how much moving those extra boxes will cost. My father refused to go through his stuff before the move and so we ended by throwing his personal stuff into boxes in a storage locker. After the move, when he wanted to find the letters my mother wrote to him when he was overseas in WWII, they were very hard to find and he was in no physical state to paw through boxes.

      1. Thank you Zoe, Gin, Aunt Snack & Beth in Quebec for your suggestions. We are both quite organised & goal oriented in our professional lives but this seems to have us flummoxed – which is somewhat confronting 😦. However I am now thinking lots of small regular actions might harness the panic & achieve results.

  10. Congratulations, Christine re your post hip replacement recovery. So good that your pre-op exercise prep has been so effective. Super progress in 7 days to be managing 30 steps. Best wishes for continuing reduction in pain, increasing mobility & confidence & joy in your body & life.

      1. But I’m not selling them smutty M/M hockey romances. Although, honestly, a couple of them would be improved in a major kind of way if they read them.

  11. Behind on admin work, both personal and annual charity report. But I will get it done. This morning I started the NYT spelling bee with the perfect pangram. Topiary. Some days I think will never find any words. Then the brain clicks in and I am determined. Must buy a couple tomatoe plants too. Very behind in the garden work. The rogue plants are a beautiful display of bluebells this year. Next year will be even more lovely.
    Body is protesting a lot. Physio appointment to book.

    1. I found topiary first too, and that never happens! I am good at finding the smaller words first and then building up to the longer words and pangram(s). My cousin who also plays is the opposite, and the longer words jump out at her first. It means whenever we compare answers, we can usually help the other out and get closer to Genius/Queen Bee.

      1. I’m all over the place. Sometimes all the short words and then longer words. I try to get as many words as possible before I get the hints. But crosswords are made up of hints. Sometimes it looks impossible.

  12. Congratulations, Jenny! My youngest son built me a large cabinet, to my specifications, that holds the seldom-used appliances, like a bread baker and a Vitamix, plus the large baking pans. It doubles as a feeding platform for the cats, since a very large dog visits here, often. Your life will go smoother because of the organization.

    I continue to clean up the yard. There was a long article in the Washington Post this week on how to help insects and bees survive the winter, and leaving the stalks and leaves and other debris is part of it. But it makes for a busy spring.

    I want to thank Jenny’s alter ego, Jenny Smith, for posting the photo of Kali! I missed it, and my lurker brother told me about it, and how to find it. The funny thing is that she often sticks her tongue out partway, and my statue of the Goddess Kali has her tongue sticking out. I didn’t know my dog was going to do that when I chose her name. Thanks to all of you who commented, too.

  13. Six months in this house and I still want to move the bowls and mugs to be with the plates, but there’s not quite enough space, and then the mixing bowls will be in an awkward place instead of the the bowls and mugs. And the coffee would end up far from the coffee maker….

    Otherwise, getting on. My boss was out yesterday, so his boss asked me to run a report and make some calls and get a definitive answer about a thing that…. No one has a definitive answer on. At least that I could find. The 30 days appears to be rule of thumb, ok? Sigh. I’m happy to be the drudge, not the analyst.

  14. I spent Friday afternoon and Saturday prepping for and sewing with friends. The result – I have two blocks made (out of 50). I’ve got lots of pieces, but I was starting to rip out more than I was sewing, so I stopped. I’ll pick it up again at some point.

    Sunday was spent with DH’s family as they said goodbye to a dear cousin.

    On either side of the weekend I’ve been working on the blanket border. I finally finished three rows of border, read the directions and found I’d done the corners of the last row incorrectly, so I added another row. (It was either that or rip out the previous one). I finished that up last night, and am now working on the final touches. I’m so close to finishing, but I just couldn’t last night. Hopefully tonight, and I will post pictures when it is completed.

  15. I haven’t been working on much this week. Mainly cursing the statistics office for really bad labelling of data which is making stuff hard to find, and for lack of consistency in the order of data in downloads.

    I did go into the office and recycled most of the files, if I haven’t been using the hard copy stuff in the last four years, no need to keep it.

  16. I’m still working on reorganizing and getting rid of stuff. It started with the intent to make space to have a housemate. The friend who moved in with me during the pandemic for a year and a half didn’t really cook, so I didn’t have to make much room in the kitchen. Apparently even after I got rid of a bunch of pottery, beautiful but never used teapots, and out-of-date food, I still have completely full cupboards. I have no idea how that can be possible…

    Working on trying to get the garden up and running, in between many rainy and chilly days, and too many appointments. I did organize my seeds, and theoretically organize where each thing was going to go in the various raised beds. But I now need to plant a bunch of things and I’m really too tired and my cranky shoulder isn’t enjoying it. Maybe later in the week? Or later this afternoon, if the sun decides to come out.

    1. Contrary wise, I recently pulled two mugs that have seen better days out of our mug cupboard and seem to have created a perfectly working storage situation now… I marvel at the change every day!

        1. Ha. I feel better. The mug cupboard is the only one I’ve managed to make some space in. Mind you, I live alone and rarely have company and still have over 20 mugs…

          1. I was telling my daughter that we need a system where you have, like, four basic mugs and different decorative sleeves to put on them when you feel in a particular mood.

  17. I did accomplish multiple smallish things in the week, but what I today best recall is what I did yesterday. (On rereading, I think all of the below is pretty routine and uninteresting, but perhaps I can offer it as a baseline of my normal chores that I need not repeat in future.)

    I had postponed a supermarket trip several times for various reasons, and finally made it yesterday (Tuesday).  I had planned to go the day before, but by the time I was ready, it was 3:00 and I would have hit rush hour on the way back.  On Monday I did descale the coffeemaker, and also finish unloading the dishwasher, and reload and run it, and do other useful chores, though.

    All of this postponing meant the grocery list kept getting longer.  In the event, I didn’t even look for quite everything on my list, since I stopped when I had a large-size cart full and when I was tired of shopping.  Between my many purchases and the increased price of groceries, I think it was the largest supermarket bill of my life, at least for a cart with little in it besides food.  (I think it’s the same in many other countries,  but large US supermarkets can fill entire aisles with non-food items, some with high per-unit prices.)

    When I got home, I had to get all that stuff upstairs.  I have a sort of entryway, up a half-story of porch stairs shared with my neighbors.  Then there’s a full story’s worth of inside stairs to my main floor, and one more flight to my upper floor, although of my purchases,  only some multipacks of soap had to go that far.  A few bags contained nothing that would spoil, so I left them in the entryway for the moment (but later went down for one bag since it held a jar of nuts, among other things).  My other purchases got to the main floor in multiple trips.  Everything frozen did fit in the freezer compartment,  barely, and it took some rearranging to get the things that just needed refrigeration to fit into the fridge.  (I also sliced up into portions and froze what was left of my pot roast, since it was near the limit for refrigeration and anyhow I had hit my red-meat quota for the week.)

    Today I’m not completely wiped out from all that carrying upstairs,  but I’m feeling it.  I’m planning on a day of mostly sit-down chores, and do not guarantee that even all the groceries on the main floor will be properly stowed by nightfall.  Tomorrow is my rescheduled specialist appointment,  assuming it comes off this time.  That will put me in the vicinity of still more stores, but I’ll likely pass up the opportunity this time.

    1. This sounds so much like my days off, except with added laundry. I am very grateful that I live on one floor, with two steps up to it. I have a basement, but I do not need to do the stairs to it as often as once a week (although I should be down there more often sorting papers–many, many papers–and fighting cobwebs.)

  18. Last week was post-concert, taxes, sciatica, prep for company. The weekend was a really fun visit with my two brothers, with much laughter and some help with some house maintenance, finishing an editing job, raking out the flower beds. And sciatica. This first part of the week has been flat out on the bed mostly. The house is horribly cluttered. There’s a dead beaver in the middle of the small field. Can’t bring myself to move it yet. I can’t sit at my desk. But I did get a hair cut.

    1. Do you have Opossums in the area? You might not have to move the beaver. They might move it for you.

      1. Huh.  Any (o)possums in my vicinity are keeping out of sight.  (Squirrels seen constantly, deer and chipmunks occasionally, a fox sighted once, skunk odor fairly often sniffed in the air, but skunks not seen.)  But the repeated mentions of the marsupial here got me wondering about the variant names.  One dictionary asserted that the spelling possum, which I have always used, is colloquial,  which was news to me.  The internet knows all things, and the link below pretty much disputes that characterization, but admits that opossum is often considered more formal.  It also says that some people spell it opossum but pronounce it possum.  This was interesting because one of my memories from early grade school is that I was reading a text aloud in class and came upon the word opossum,  which I had never seen.  This was, thank goodness,  in the days before phonics went out of style, so I had no trouble in sounding out the word.  Opossum was meaningless to me, but I had heard possum and it fit context, so I said that.  The teacher praised me for getting it right.  In later years, I long suspected the teacher was just cutting me some slack, so only now have I learned that that is a recognized pronunciation, if not exactly a standard one.

        https://www.merriam-webster.com/wordplay/possum-vs-opossum-difference-pronunciation

        1. Patrick, my research showed that American critters are called Opossums, and those in Australia are called Possums. Of course, there is that colloquial American possum pronunciation.

        2. They are nocturnal, so you might not ever see them. They sometimes come out in the daytime for mating, or for other unknown Opossum reasons. But not often.

          1. Jan, yes. I live well up into a residential development, and I have to get into the nearby forested walking paths to see most mammals, which I do in daylight. I did encounter that fox on a sidewalk, but it was at twilight. I regularly saw deer from the walking paths, but only occasionally closer to buildings. So there are probably possums in there somewhere fairly close. If I lived closer to the forested area, I’d also likely occasionally see a skunk instead of just smelling them.

          2. I have been seeing more oppossum lately. Although mainly flat and not moving on the side of busy roads. I never saw them a decade ago but now not uncommon. In Minnesota.

          3. If you want to see them regularly, just go on a road trip in New Zealand. Since they were not native, they have no natural predators and flourished greatly. Thus they become roadkill quite often.

      2. We do! One night a few weeks ago I saw a white object I assumed was a hummock, but which walked away and got under the house crawlway. It was an apparently pregnant possum. Haven’t seen it since, but it’s probably around. Without our big old dog around, they survive pretty well.

  19. I’ve been working on quilts again! I’d been in a slump for months if not years (with respect to quilting, not other stuff so much), but I finally finished two baby quilts and started a high school graduation quilt that I absolutely, positively need to finish by early August so she can take it to college with her (it’s in the school colors, at her request). Here’s what the block looks like (although now I think I’ll separate this block into four quarters and mix up the fabrics instead of keeping each block all the same fabric, because reasons): https://www.instagram.com/p/C589rDKxrtR/

    Beyond that, I’ve been working on finding a handyperson to work on some long-ignored projects around the house, and the first one didn’t get back to me, and the second one doesn’t do the type of project I thought he specialized in (but at least he got back to me quickly), and now (fingers crossed) I have an appointment with someone who seems promising on Monday (and at least responds to messages quickly). In addition to some boring repairs, I want to see if he can rework some stairs that are too high for me (each step’s rise, I mean, not the distance from ground to top of the flight), so they’re smaller rises, and then I’ll be able to use that entrance again. At some point, I’ll need a ramp, but I can still do small stairs for now, and it’s good for me to keep doing them as long as possible, so I’m hoping this will be a sort of halfway measure that will work for several years.

    1. Can the steps be reworked with a ramp on one side and the shallower stairs on the other? That would be cheaper in the long run than tearing them up twice and a visitor may need the ramp before you do.

  20. In yardkeeping, I’ve worked on approximately four handfuls of weeds, because rhinovirus. It’s been so long since I was genuinely sick, I’d forgotten how being sick feels!

    In yardkeeping done by others, yesterday two neighbors I’ve never spoken to came by with a weedwhacker and tidied up the hell strip. They wouldn’t accept payment, so I showered them with Thank Yous. Now my yardkeeping hours next weekend can go to grooming the rest of the front yard, where I have 10+ kinds of flowers blooming.

    In writing & writer bizness, I completed edits for the Regency M/M/M, which is coming out May 4 as a single-title novella and in a 3-story collection with other JMS authors. Also submitted & contracted a recent novelette.

    In personal bizness, there was nothing I really owed myself, but I did sweep my workspace (between my hair and Scruffian’s, the dust bunnies were epic). Oh, and downloaded the camera so I could send some pix to Mom, who has been feeling well enough to get outside and plant things again. After her miserable winter, that’s a VERY good thing!

  21. I did the kitchen thing a year ago when we bought a larger house so there would be room for a couple of grandkids.

    I enlisted the help of my very logical 15-year-old grandson and later made adjustments based on feedback from the other residents of the house.

    What really helped, though, was adding an island and 6 upper cupboards.

  22. I’m working on plotting the second half of the YA novel. Although I went to a writing lunch yesterday that ended up being mostly talking with the new-to-me writers who showed up, so today will be a catch-up day. I baked and cooked all day Sunday to fill up the low-histamine freezer. Not doing much weeding since the pollen count is so high, but I did pull the huge dandelions and biggest grass clumps out of the front yard. Most of what is left is California poppies and what I consider attractive grass… (in addition to the planned landscaping).

  23. I have two interviews this week. I’m really hoping something works out. Memorizing lines, have an audition at the end of the week. It’s my birthday today so I’m trying to take the day off from what’s going on in my head.

    Most of my work this week is trying to decide whether or not to take the prison job, which should have the formal offer happen next week after my fingerprinting and TB test go through. I’m TERRIFIED to take it and also terrified NOT to to because it may literally be my only job offer and I would need to take it ASAP because all state jobs and jobs at my current organization will be shut down very soon but nobody knows when. I’m especially freaked since they have a no electronics rule (and probably no yarn crafts either) and how am I going to get another job if I can’t take calls during the entire work day for interviews?

    I’m SO scared and both options seem really bad in the opposite directions from each other. My odds of finding another job before all shutdowns happen are next to nil. I’d rather work at a prison than in a job where you only get 10 hours a week and are lectured that “if you have time to lean, you have time to clean” and that may be the best I can do if all hiring options are gone soon. I’m so freaked out.

    1. Have a great day! I hope you can decide. I make two columns, one Pro and one Con, when I have a hard decision. I keep adding things to each column for a while, until I have to decide.

    2. Happy birthday! I hope you can find some happiness and peace and good things to focus on for today at least. Keeping fingers crossed the job-situation will sort itself out for you soon. <3

  24. I’m cautiously optimistic my new cat defences are working, after spending Sunday wedging cylinders of clematis netting between the low Victorian garden walls and the fence panels above them. I also drove the last of the 55 bags of rubble to the tip, plus the deconstructed old compost bin, and transferred the contents of two hefty bags of soil and garden compost back to the now coal-less new bed. Then carried the remaining old bricks and pieces of paving slab out to the front garden, ready to offer them on Freecycle, and took some lighter bricks & the unrotted material from the old compost heap to my allotment.

    Got another friend coming to stay tomorrow for a couple of nights, but after that I must get back to sorting my gardens: lots more planting to do, plus buying and carrying more soil/compost through the house to finish filling the new bed (the coal took up a lot of space).

  25. I feel like I have peeled enough apples to feed a city when it was only enough to make charoses for a small seder. My sister’s peeler is one of those with an ergonomic handle so of course it felt odd in my hands. I also have arthritis in my hands, but I find the old fashioned models easier to use.

    In anticipation of Passover I called 2 of my out of town nieces and had a wonderful talk with the one in Minneapolis. I really have to get in the habit of calling her more often because she has a very unusual mind and I forget how many wonderful things she can bring into a conversation. I often call her the Queen of Tangential Thought, but a lot of those tangents can be really interesting. She was talking about her plans for the community garden and I advised her to start reading this blog for inspiration. I’m sure Jane B and the rest of the gardeners here can offer her much better advice than I, a certified plant killer, can.

    1. Community gardens are a big thing now – in Britain I’d point her to the RHS, but I’m sure she’ll have local sources of good information and support. (Gardening is very dependent on local conditions.) Hope she has lots of fun with it.

  26. I FINALLY(!) ordered new clothes! And, mostly on my own! It took me 3 days and a big bite out of my savings, but I’m so happy I did it. I agree with most that AI is a disaster and scary in many many ways, but as assistive technology, it’s amazing. I could now get descriptions of the clothes, and even though the program I use doesn’t offer the option to ask follow-up questions right now, it made me so happy to feel this independent. I picked out most of the clothes myself and only showed my Sib to get confirmation I’d understood the descriptions correctly, because sometimes they were contradictory or didn’t match the product name, and they said they could definitely see me in those shirts and tops, then helped me pick out some skirts. The skirt I wanted the most wasn’t available in my size, so I might try to get it from someplace else. It’s just…not very cheap. Then again, when did I last buy clothes and care about what I bought? So long ago I can’t even remember. Anyway, it felt amazing to be able to “look at” clothes on my own and pick and browse at my own pace. It was surprisingly fun, and empowering! Now we just gotta wait and see how the clothes look/feel/fit in real life. Will take some days before they get here. I’m amazed how strongly I felt about this; it’s all connected to my newfound respect, acceptance and love towards myself. I deserve to feel confident in and happy about what I wear, too.
    I’ve also been out doing groceries with MIL twice and went to the physiotherapist to check my left side. I’m a bit better so yay! I asked her if she knew somewhere where they offer tai chi-classes in the area, or if she knows someone who does it, and she said she has a client who’s a tai chi-practitioner, so (provided she remembers) she will ask him for tips and ideas. She said she could definitely see me do that kind of exercising, which felt pretty good. I’m looking for good, blind-friendly online-instructions in the meantime.
    Slow progress on the plushie-project again: Emailed some printing-companies to ask about upscaled patterns. One answered very fast and said they’d love to help. One hasn’t answered yet, and one replied today and said they only print and won’t help me adjust any sizing. So now it’s up to me to make the next move.
    Very tired today. Not not-doing things, but just feeling very worn out on several levels. Trying to give myself slack and stay in my new mindset. I’m reminding myself that I have been and still am making a lot of progress, it’s okay to slow down.

    1. I look forward to hearing about the new clothes, and I hope you find a skirt you like. That process seems very difficult to me, as a seeing person. But you are doing well at managing daily tasks.

    2. Well done Shass, online clothes shopping is daunting (as one who has yet to master it). I am so glad tech is moving in the right direction for you and allowing you access the information you need to make your own choices. Yes do try Tai Chi, it is a gentle martial art that helps build stamina, so I think it will be good for you.

    3. Wow Shass those are great accomplishments! I’m so glad you are feeling better emotionally. Now if the docs could just sort out the physical…

    4. I am delighted and impressed! I think you have made an enormous amount of progress and would like to remind you that the skills you take your time learning are the ones you will remember more easily. I think the extra time spent discovering them imprints them a bit more firmly in our memories, or at least that’s what I tell myself.

  27. Added to my above activity list: I descaled my electric kettle today for the first time in a while. (I don’t use the kettle as regularly as the coffeemaker, but it does see a fair amount of action.) For the past year or so, I have been using vinegar rather than detergent to wash the less soiled part of my laundry. Per the Internet, vinegar loosens dirt, but by a different pathway than detergent or soap. It also helps with detergent build-up in the washing machine, which after decades had gotten noticeable in mine. I’ve found that the used white vinegar solution that I had employed to descale the kettle and the coffeemaker is about as effective in laundry (using double volume to make up for the dilution) as is new vinegar, so I’m saving it for that use.

  28. I finally put the roof on the outdoor shed I’ve been building for (* checks notes *) quite a while. I’ve never installed roofing before, so I’m pretty pleased that it looks reasonably good and that my only injury was a hammered thumb (bad aim on my part). My thanks to all of the random guys out on YouTube for their how-to videos.

  29. I got the hummingbird feeders out of storage and washed and filled them so now I am ready for their annual arrival. I don’t usually see them in my area until after the first weeks of May but I prepare early, in case there are early arrivals passing through.

    I also found a landscaping guy who will trim my 8 foot high hedge to a more reasonable height (he’s going to take a foot off of it) so I will be able to trim it again down the road. It had grown (even being trimmed twice a summer) so high and wide that I could no longer reach the center, even on a 6 foot ladder.
    He’s also going to trim some other shrubs for me, all for a really reasonable price.

  30. Working through vet and doctor appointments, primary election work and meetings.

    Today’s get together was with one of my senators regarding senior health care. Basically six of us sitting around bitching about drug costs, home health care availability, problems accessing medical procedures, etc. The senator took notes so it must have been effective.

    It pays to should up politically because you get invited to participate in this stuff.

    Took the last of this year’s book donation to the library sale. I’ll have to figure out what I can declutter next. Maybe the bits and pieces of ‘craft’ stuff I’ll never use. And, of course, yard cleanup I mowed the lawn for the first time this season. Only another 25-26 times to go.

    1. Why not leave it a couple of inches longer and mow less often? Wildlife will like it, plus it’ll be more drought-tolerant.

  31. I’ve been doing lots of work writing — many deadlines. Complex stuff conceptually, so it interests me. But tomorrow I have to write grant reports and proposals which I hate . Sigh.

    And we keep working on trying to get that divorce settlement for DH’s friend in a way that protects his disabled daughter. Very upsetting.

    On a brighter note I did prepare for a virtual seder which we held Monday with our son and daughter and son in law
    And that was lovely.

    1. Debbie, I’m almost scared to ask if things are going well-ish and I’ll set off a wave of disaster, but it’s been a while since you mentioned your mum… how are things on that front? And how’s your sleep, are you getting a bit more rest?

  32. I’ve finally learned to crochet! My friend taught me the basics on Saturday night when we were away at the book festival. I’ve watched the same YouTube tutorial about 17 times but am now confidently making a ripple stitch blanket. There has been much swearing, and my confidence is probably mistaken, but I am enjoying it and taking crocheting away on trains and planes will be easier than knitting. I think…

    1. Congrats! Skill level up, achievement unlocked! 🙂 Don’t forget to show us all your crochet-creations. <3

    2. Well done! You might like to check out Expression Fiber Arts. They offer free patterns each Friday in both crochet and knitting. I think you have to subscribe to email, but I haven’t noticed that they have sold my email address.

  33. Drowning in work at my day job – three big projects at the same time are fraying my nerves.

    Many Boxes still unpacked in the house we live in now for almost 6 months.
    No room in the garage for the car as there’re even more boxes stored. A lot of important stuff in there somewhere.

    It doesn’t help that dh is drowing in work as well, as is dd with weeks of exams until the next school holidays starting at the end of May.
    Only ds is relatively free as his year of volunatary service is coming to an end. But without direction he’s not able to do much and should instead focus on when to enroll at uni.

    1. “Many Boxes still unpacked in the house we live in now for almost 6 months.
      No room in the garage for the car as there’re even more boxes stored. A lot of important stuff in there somewhere.”

      This is me, exactly.

  34. My kitchen was also small and I really wanted an air fryer, but had no room. When I replaced my oven/stove, I replaced it with one which had an air fryer option and it was wonderful.

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