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De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021

Stilly River Sage 28 Dec 20 - 06:43 PM
Donuel 28 Dec 20 - 07:31 PM
Stilly River Sage 28 Dec 20 - 07:56 PM
Sandra in Sydney 28 Dec 20 - 08:19 PM
Raggytash 28 Dec 20 - 08:19 PM
Dorothy Parshall 28 Dec 20 - 10:20 PM
Stilly River Sage 29 Dec 20 - 12:14 AM
Charmion 29 Dec 20 - 07:34 AM
Charmion 29 Dec 20 - 10:18 AM
Stilly River Sage 29 Dec 20 - 11:29 AM
Donuel 29 Dec 20 - 06:27 PM
Raggytash 29 Dec 20 - 07:08 PM
pattyClink 29 Dec 20 - 09:37 PM
Donuel 30 Dec 20 - 12:29 PM
Charmion 30 Dec 20 - 07:45 PM
pattyClink 30 Dec 20 - 08:49 PM
Stilly River Sage 31 Dec 20 - 12:00 AM
pattyClink 31 Dec 20 - 11:11 AM
Stilly River Sage 31 Dec 20 - 11:36 AM
Stilly River Sage 31 Dec 20 - 02:11 PM
Dorothy Parshall 01 Jan 21 - 12:47 PM
Charmion 01 Jan 21 - 04:45 PM
Stilly River Sage 01 Jan 21 - 07:55 PM
Dorothy Parshall 02 Jan 21 - 01:22 PM
Charmion 03 Jan 21 - 10:43 AM
keberoxu 03 Jan 21 - 01:01 PM
Charmion 03 Jan 21 - 01:39 PM
Stilly River Sage 03 Jan 21 - 04:33 PM
Jon Freeman 04 Jan 21 - 02:15 AM
Dorothy Parshall 04 Jan 21 - 10:01 AM
Stilly River Sage 04 Jan 21 - 12:41 PM
Charmion 04 Jan 21 - 04:50 PM
Stilly River Sage 04 Jan 21 - 06:48 PM
Stilly River Sage 05 Jan 21 - 11:39 AM
Charmion 06 Jan 21 - 09:14 AM
Stilly River Sage 06 Jan 21 - 11:56 AM
Stilly River Sage 07 Jan 21 - 01:27 AM
Stilly River Sage 08 Jan 21 - 11:41 PM
Stilly River Sage 10 Jan 21 - 12:36 AM
Charmion 11 Jan 21 - 11:20 AM
Stilly River Sage 12 Jan 21 - 12:51 PM
Steve Shaw 12 Jan 21 - 08:27 PM
Stilly River Sage 13 Jan 21 - 01:00 PM
Stilly River Sage 13 Jan 21 - 03:25 PM
Stilly River Sage 14 Jan 21 - 05:18 PM
Charmion 15 Jan 21 - 11:16 AM
Stilly River Sage 15 Jan 21 - 12:16 PM
Charmion 15 Jan 21 - 12:31 PM
Charmion's brother Andrew 16 Jan 21 - 09:50 AM
Donuel 16 Jan 21 - 10:19 AM
Stilly River Sage 16 Jan 21 - 02:10 PM
Steve Shaw 16 Jan 21 - 06:03 PM
Dorothy Parshall 17 Jan 21 - 11:19 AM
Stilly River Sage 17 Jan 21 - 12:58 PM
Dorothy Parshall 17 Jan 21 - 04:17 PM
Stilly River Sage 17 Jan 21 - 04:52 PM
Dorothy Parshall 18 Jan 21 - 11:16 AM
Dorothy Parshall 18 Jan 21 - 02:26 PM
Jon Freeman 19 Jan 21 - 02:08 AM
Jon Freeman 19 Jan 21 - 03:07 AM
Steve Shaw 19 Jan 21 - 04:41 AM
The Sandman 19 Jan 21 - 08:07 AM
Stilly River Sage 19 Jan 21 - 12:28 PM
Stilly River Sage 19 Jan 21 - 01:01 PM
Stilly River Sage 20 Jan 21 - 11:19 AM
Dorothy Parshall 20 Jan 21 - 04:00 PM
Dorothy Parshall 20 Jan 21 - 09:51 PM
Stilly River Sage 21 Jan 21 - 08:50 PM
Dorothy Parshall 21 Jan 21 - 10:02 PM
Stilly River Sage 22 Jan 21 - 10:41 AM
Charmion 22 Jan 21 - 01:01 PM
Stilly River Sage 22 Jan 21 - 09:35 PM
Dorothy Parshall 22 Jan 21 - 09:53 PM
Steve Shaw 23 Jan 21 - 05:49 AM
Charmion 23 Jan 21 - 07:22 AM
Stilly River Sage 23 Jan 21 - 11:20 AM
JennieG 23 Jan 21 - 07:24 PM
Steve Shaw 23 Jan 21 - 07:35 PM
Charmion 23 Jan 21 - 08:07 PM
Stilly River Sage 23 Jan 21 - 11:01 PM
Charmion 23 Jan 21 - 11:27 PM
Jon Freeman 24 Jan 21 - 11:40 AM
Stilly River Sage 24 Jan 21 - 12:49 PM
Jon Freeman 24 Jan 21 - 01:30 PM
Stilly River Sage 24 Jan 21 - 03:12 PM
Dorothy Parshall 24 Jan 21 - 03:25 PM
Stilly River Sage 24 Jan 21 - 03:36 PM
Dorothy Parshall 25 Jan 21 - 10:50 AM
Stilly River Sage 25 Jan 21 - 01:44 PM
Stilly River Sage 25 Jan 21 - 02:06 PM
Dorothy Parshall 25 Jan 21 - 06:42 PM
Charmion 26 Jan 21 - 08:57 AM
Stilly River Sage 26 Jan 21 - 06:36 PM
Charmion 27 Jan 21 - 09:16 AM
Donuel 27 Jan 21 - 09:55 AM
Stilly River Sage 27 Jan 21 - 11:46 AM
JennieG 27 Jan 21 - 03:27 PM
Donuel 27 Jan 21 - 06:26 PM
Stilly River Sage 28 Jan 21 - 11:13 PM
Stilly River Sage 29 Jan 21 - 11:19 AM
Charmion 29 Jan 21 - 11:24 AM
Stilly River Sage 29 Jan 21 - 06:40 PM
Dorothy Parshall 29 Jan 21 - 08:04 PM
Stilly River Sage 29 Jan 21 - 09:52 PM
Stilly River Sage 30 Jan 21 - 03:03 PM
Charmion 31 Jan 21 - 11:45 AM
Stilly River Sage 31 Jan 21 - 11:58 AM
Dorothy Parshall 31 Jan 21 - 04:00 PM
Stilly River Sage 01 Feb 21 - 11:22 AM
Donuel 02 Feb 21 - 06:06 AM
Charmion 02 Feb 21 - 09:05 AM
Stilly River Sage 02 Feb 21 - 11:01 AM
Stilly River Sage 03 Feb 21 - 12:45 PM
Donuel 03 Feb 21 - 04:58 PM
Stilly River Sage 04 Feb 21 - 11:10 AM
Stilly River Sage 05 Feb 21 - 12:42 AM
Charmion 05 Feb 21 - 08:53 AM
Stilly River Sage 05 Feb 21 - 11:53 AM
Dorothy Parshall 05 Feb 21 - 08:21 PM
Charmion 05 Feb 21 - 11:02 PM
Stilly River Sage 06 Feb 21 - 12:00 AM
Stilly River Sage 06 Feb 21 - 11:35 PM
Charmion's brother Andrew 07 Feb 21 - 02:56 PM
Stilly River Sage 08 Feb 21 - 12:20 AM
Charmion 08 Feb 21 - 11:43 AM
Stilly River Sage 08 Feb 21 - 03:39 PM
mg 08 Feb 21 - 04:32 PM
Stilly River Sage 08 Feb 21 - 05:29 PM
mg 09 Feb 21 - 02:17 AM
Jon Freeman 09 Feb 21 - 07:16 AM
Charmion 09 Feb 21 - 09:44 AM
Stilly River Sage 09 Feb 21 - 12:38 PM
Stilly River Sage 10 Feb 21 - 01:22 AM
Dorothy Parshall 10 Feb 21 - 05:50 PM
Stilly River Sage 10 Feb 21 - 09:14 PM
Dorothy Parshall 11 Feb 21 - 08:03 AM
Stilly River Sage 11 Feb 21 - 08:38 AM
Charmion 11 Feb 21 - 10:45 AM
Stilly River Sage 11 Feb 21 - 11:31 AM
Charmion's brother Andrew 11 Feb 21 - 05:34 PM
Mrrzy 11 Feb 21 - 06:50 PM
Jon Freeman 12 Feb 21 - 05:22 AM
Charmion 12 Feb 21 - 09:11 AM
Jon Freeman 12 Feb 21 - 09:21 AM
Charmion 12 Feb 21 - 09:31 AM
Jon Freeman 12 Feb 21 - 09:36 AM
Stilly River Sage 12 Feb 21 - 11:10 AM
Charmion 12 Feb 21 - 01:35 PM
Dorothy Parshall 12 Feb 21 - 08:28 PM
Stilly River Sage 12 Feb 21 - 11:37 PM
Stilly River Sage 13 Feb 21 - 11:31 AM
Charmion 14 Feb 21 - 10:53 AM
Stilly River Sage 14 Feb 21 - 08:40 PM
Dorothy Parshall 15 Feb 21 - 02:08 PM
Charmion 15 Feb 21 - 07:30 PM
Jon Freeman 17 Feb 21 - 08:33 AM
leeneia 18 Feb 21 - 12:38 PM
Stilly River Sage 18 Feb 21 - 10:50 PM
Stilly River Sage 19 Feb 21 - 09:54 AM
mg 19 Feb 21 - 09:45 PM
Stilly River Sage 20 Feb 21 - 12:50 AM
Jon Freeman 20 Feb 21 - 06:32 AM
Charmion 20 Feb 21 - 09:46 AM
Stilly River Sage 20 Feb 21 - 01:15 PM
Stilly River Sage 20 Feb 21 - 11:44 PM
Charmion's brother Andrew 21 Feb 21 - 05:55 AM
Charmion 21 Feb 21 - 07:30 AM
Mrrzy 21 Feb 21 - 09:44 AM
Stilly River Sage 21 Feb 21 - 10:27 AM
Charmion 21 Feb 21 - 11:08 AM
Stilly River Sage 21 Feb 21 - 12:13 PM
Dorothy Parshall 21 Feb 21 - 01:40 PM
Stilly River Sage 21 Feb 21 - 11:02 PM
Jon Freeman 22 Feb 21 - 05:48 AM
Jon Freeman 22 Feb 21 - 08:21 AM
Mrrzy 22 Feb 21 - 08:46 AM
Stilly River Sage 22 Feb 21 - 10:30 AM
Jon Freeman 22 Feb 21 - 10:43 AM
Jon Freeman 22 Feb 21 - 10:59 AM
Charmion 22 Feb 21 - 11:35 AM
Stilly River Sage 22 Feb 21 - 12:41 PM
Stilly River Sage 22 Feb 21 - 10:53 PM
Charmion 24 Feb 21 - 08:56 AM
Stilly River Sage 24 Feb 21 - 10:19 AM
Stilly River Sage 24 Feb 21 - 07:03 PM
Stilly River Sage 25 Feb 21 - 10:26 AM
Jon Freeman 26 Feb 21 - 05:40 AM
Charmion 26 Feb 21 - 09:08 AM
Stilly River Sage 26 Feb 21 - 10:38 AM
Jon Freeman 26 Feb 21 - 01:39 PM
Jon Freeman 26 Feb 21 - 03:28 PM
Dorothy Parshall 26 Feb 21 - 05:48 PM
Dorothy Parshall 27 Feb 21 - 09:13 AM
Stilly River Sage 27 Feb 21 - 11:27 AM
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Subject: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 28 Dec 20 - 06:43 PM

This thread is being started in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and for that reason there is simply no comparison to any other thread. The previous one ran from December 2018 to December 2020, so the last 10 months of the thread are steeped in reports of life in self-isolation or lockdown during a pandemic.

The declutter and fitness threads serve as a place for Mudcatters who need more exercise and who have homes filled with interesting furniture, materials, books, music-related items, work stations with the accompanying accoutrement, and a lot more – it adds up to too many things, and we are going through the process of organizing, discarding, or re-purposing this stuff. Much of the exercise we get is in pursuit of household organization.

There is a core of active participants and there are probably more people who lurk, and several previously active Mudcatters who are unable to post now or are completely gone and still on our minds. Some of those past members have shifted to Facebook.

I'm not going to tell other people's stories, but there is a lot to read if you want to catch up. Previous years threads are linked at the beginning of each one when it was new. https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=165433 is the most recent before this.

A non-medical mental health component weaves though these threads for this disconnected community, where we share ideas and praise helpful to those who benefit from the continuity of conversation and encouragement in the accomplishment of all of our projects. And consolation when things don't go so well, and shoulders to cry on when they're downright awful. We share stories of recovery.

2020 has been awful for so many people that I hate to hang our hopes for recovery on 2021 alone, it will probably take longer than that to help families and rebuild businesses after the pandemic winds down, and to repair essential services in the US after the presidency of 45. I expect to get a vaccine in March or April here in Texas, based upon my age and how the line is forming. What we know now versus what we learn on January 21, 2021, may change that.

I hope those who lurk will step up and share news of how they are, and maybe we can bring in a few new regular participants. I'm always amazed at occasional lurkers who've read the various posted tips, done the work at their homes, then drop in to tell us about what work they did – and then they're gone again. Most of us are doing a slow-motion type of decluttering. This year I hope we'll all pay more attention to the exercise component of this thread – we need to shed the pandemic torpor.

These threads were started by the late great Katlaughing, who in particular enjoyed the vicarious activity as her health was failing. Her nephew was frequently a topic of discussion and for a number of years we were all adopted aunties. She's always in the back of my mind when I start one of these - Here's to you, Kat! Skoal!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel
Date: 28 Dec 20 - 07:31 PM

Damn the torpor full speed ahead.
My arms have gotten smaller and my waist larger. The answer is obvious, its just about choosing an unwaivering time for push ups and the discipline to begin a half portion regime.
To start spring cleaning 3 months early I will devote 1 day a week to start.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 28 Dec 20 - 07:56 PM

Good beginning, Don! Damn the torpor, indeed!

Michelle (Lilyfestre) posted a thing on Facebook a couple of years ago that I printed and put on my fridge. It's supposed to be the 12 days of cleaning before xmas, but you can use it as a guide for any particular 12 days you want to get through all of the cleaning chores in just under two weeks. It's from a blog called "The Thrifty Couple" and here is the PDF of the chart. If you don't want to go straight to downloading here is the blog page with a link to the chart (scroll way down to get to the link to the printable chart). I don't think I've made it completely through all 12 days, but I have worked several in a row and cherry picked the ones that really need doing.

I started a very light yoga routine a couple of weeks ago that so far is a combination of my stretches from a book and then a few minutes of some of her moves. It's a really slow start. And for diet, I have in mind an "advent" period until the inauguration, during which I eat healthier and arrive at the new presidency in a little better shape. Some of this involves things like not eating after 7pm, and trying to keep my eating within a 10 hour period. That means you're less likely to lay down new layers of fat as you sleep.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 28 Dec 20 - 08:19 PM

I've been lurking & very slowly downsizing - a trolley load of books here, & a trolley load of craft stuff there, my 1975 Royal Doulton dinner set which I only used once or twice when it was new (plates are too big!) finally went to my favourite charity shop where it sits in a locked cupboard with price tag of $180. Why did I buy an 8-person set, when I have always lived with a 4-person table in 1-bedroom apartments. Well, it was duty free & it was 1975 & I was on my first proper (non-family) holiday, we partied & shopped!!!

Recently I took what was left of my jigsaw collection (a full trolley load + a carry bag), to my favourite charity shop, puzzles I bought in the 70s, as well as others I'd bought in recent decades, usually in charity shops. All I have left are 2 from the 50s that belonged to my grandmother & 2 other very old puzzles, 1942 & 1950s)

Sometimes I've just given one item to someone who would appreciate it.

Recently I went looking for a camera memory in a little plastic case, it wasn't with the other camera memories & USBs - oops. Said memory contains scans of 30 years of minutes of Australia's oldest folk club, & I'm hoping it fell into one of the boxes of club archives I have cluttering up my floor. I can ask for another copy, but ...

Good thing I rarely vacuum.

sandra eyeing the clutter


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Raggytash
Date: 28 Dec 20 - 08:19 PM

I started this last year.

So far I have had the ceiling in one bedroom reboarded the walls replastered and the room rewired and then redecorated. Add new a new carpet, curtains and mattress.

We have also redecorated the dining room with new carpet and curtains and just before Christmas we redecorated the living room again with new carpet and curtains.

After the new year the kitchen will be redecorated and another bedroom reboarded and rewired and then decorated.

IF I have any money left I am thinking of putting plastic "grass" down in the back garden.

I tell myself this IS getting me fitter!!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness: House, job, life 2019 - 2020
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 28 Dec 20 - 10:20 PM

Beaver:

We made it! Peaceful here. clearing snow and bringing in wood. Taking more small items to the Carriagehouse. R fixing a sign so it, hopefully, will not blow over with every passing vehicle! Recovering from trip. Woke up to 6 inches of snow this morning. Cleared most of deck, R cleared car and went for a drive while Steve plowed the drive. And READING..... Invited 77 "friends" to "like" the Carriagehouse page. Still eating the cooked food we brought with us and a large batch of turkey soup. Hovering around freezing point. Would be nice to see some sun!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 29 Dec 20 - 12:14 AM

I moved Dorothy's most recent post over here; I think she didn't notice the new thread. This will let the other one drop down the page.

Raggy, that sounds like a lot of work and a big investment.

I need to put a few things up on the walls in my repaired office (ceiling replaced and walls textured summer of 2019), but I can't reach the wall very easily with the computer desk in front of it. I suspect it will involve moving the one on wheels enough so I can squeeze in and put in a robust nail and hook for at least my last diploma - it's a nice reminder of that work. Some of those advertised sticky tapes that pull off without leaving a mark are a tempting purchase to make some other things easier to put up with the help of a long pair of kitchen tongs.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 29 Dec 20 - 07:34 AM

Stilly, those tapes that « pull off without leaving a mark » do so only if pulled off quite soon after application. As the adhesive ages, it bonds with the paint on the wall until it finally behaves like all the other kinds of tape.

The house is tidy and relatively clean, so I have to find another source of divertissement. The even more contagious form of COVID-19 has come to Ontario and flouting the lockdown is an even worse idea than before, so my entertainment must be solitary. Go for a walk? I’d love to, but, y’know, winter — it snowed heavily, then it rained, and last night another light sprinkle of snow treacherously covered the lumpy ice left by the rain on the streets and sidewalks.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 29 Dec 20 - 10:18 AM

Raggy, how big is your back garden? Have you considered building a patio?

Even the best fake grass, such as Astroturf, suffers from exposure to the UV in sunlight, and all of it is expensive. A patio of manageable size -- think big enough for a barbecue and a picnic table -- would probably cost less, and would be an attractive addition to the property.

Two summers ago, we replaced our enormous back deck with a modest patio made of compressed concrete pavers. Everyone who sees it goes Oooh and Aaaah, it's far less of a maintenance challenge; and I can trust it not to catch fire from the barbecue.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 29 Dec 20 - 11:29 AM

I've been meaning to pull out the DVD with the basic belly dance class steps for exercise, and I have a tube of the topical pain cream that is widely advertised on TV (and the PA at my knee surgeon's office recommended it) along with some stretches to do to keep the hip bursitis from flaring up. This year after getting vaccinated, and when the coast is clear, I hope to return to dance class in the studio, assuming the studio survives the pandemic. In the last few months I've rearranged furniture to clear a space in front of the TV in the den large enough to practice those steps and to even dance along with some of the Hafla videos I accumulated over the couple of years I was going to the studio before the knee became such a painful problem. My brain still knows the steps even if my body has to work to get back into shape to dance them. :)


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel
Date: 29 Dec 20 - 06:27 PM

We are blessed to be insulated from financial ruin from the pandemic but many are not.

I haven't noticed any degredation of artficial grass by the North front door and carport over the last 3 years. Thick soft and mud free was what I wanted. I used gorilla glue where it joined a sidewalk and drive way.
3-4 hundred will buy 20 by 25 ft of superior artificial turf.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Raggytash
Date: 29 Dec 20 - 07:08 PM

The back garden is quite small, about 35ft x 25ft approx. However I am not as able as I once was and strimming and mowing is proofing to be harder each year. (I am not in the best of health)

Because of this and the fact we spend a considerable amount of time in Ireland this chore has fallen more and more to my son.

However he has just become a father for the first time (Beautiful baby boy!) and is obviously besotted with the little chap and has little time to spend on his aging parents!!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: pattyClink
Date: 29 Dec 20 - 09:37 PM

Checking in, wishing all well with 2021 projects! Life on the road has gotten trickier, obtaining repairs even more so. Being out in the open air surrounded by wonders is a great consolation.

Clutter mostly tamed, but an expected handoff of many rocks to a colleague did not happen, so have to organize, cull, and dispose of many in other ways. While not collecting new ones, which is hard. Trying to switch to tiny micromounts and thumbnail fluorescents. Which is nature's cue to offer me big showy cabinet specimens on every hike.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel
Date: 30 Dec 20 - 12:29 PM

Hi patty, My Grandma was a rock hound. There is a flouresent called Hakmanite. Ever seen one? She even found an Eohippus. I like showey opalized petrified wood.

In lockdown I have been posting vociferously below the line which is like watching the cartoon animation 'South Park'. Although South Park is very funny there is only so much one can "watch", even though it involves real trending and interesting issues. Secret - (Steve is Cartman) I don't think they have South Park in the UK.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 30 Dec 20 - 07:45 PM

The latest rehabbed piece of antique furniture came home today looking absolutely gorgeous. It’s a very large walnut chest of drawers, previously property of my Dad, and his parents before him, and his mother’s parents before them. It holds every stitch of clothing I own that doesn’t hang in the closet.

It occurred to me today that I’m repeating a program my father went through after my mother died: having as many furnishings as possible cleaned, repaired, refinished or whatever. We had several of the most beat-up pieces rehabbed when we moved here, but now I’m working through the items that were battered but functional in 2017. Dad’s chest of drawers was Edmund’s for 22 years, and for most of that time he would habitually roll up his Army-issue belt with its sharp-edged brass buckle and chuck it onto the dresser with some force, taking a bite out of the finish with each impact. Both sides and the top had split, thanks to winter-dry air, and two bits of moulding had fallen off the drawer faces.

Repair and refinishing cost a bomb, but this is the one time in my life when I can afford it. A cat-scratched Victorian ottoman and a late Georgian wing-back chair with a wobbly arm are next, when the rehab guy has cleared some big projects out of his shop.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: pattyClink
Date: 30 Dec 20 - 08:49 PM

Hi Donuel. Have not seen a hakmanite. But I do get a huge kick out of seeing a mineral that's new to me. Or fluorescence just as a surprise, sometimes a brown rock will go purple after dark from fluorite etc. Eohippus, cool! I got to help dig up a Basilosaurus once, big thrill.

But today was all about faulty waste valves, missing propane caps, and a fell-off closet door. Drat.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 31 Dec 20 - 12:00 AM

Our holiday is a slow-motion moving target that was postponed due to bad weather today. There will be an outdoor handoff of wrapped gifts that will go back to various households to be opened, but it didn't happen today because it involved travelling a rainy highway that has nasty construction zones and the rain was the bridge too far. But as far as the house is concerned, a lot of stuff has been cleared off of the dining table and the container with rolls of wrapping paper is stashed back in a closet. I bought some large rolls at Sam's Club years ago and don't think I'll ever use it all.

I have rocks and minerals all over the house on the edges of shelves, on the mantle, on the hearth, on the kitchen windowsill. I worked in a geology lab in college for a couple of years and have picked up rocks on hikes and climbs and drives (road cuts are wonderful for mineral samples). The worst part of of it is having to dust them. Crystals were purchased a couple of times from small quartz mine owners in Arkansas, most of the rest were picked up by me. I haven't dug up any dino fossils, but I have a few coprolites that a friend of my father's gave him as a joke. She explained what they were when we were working on his estate. Now they're mine. :)


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: pattyClink
Date: 31 Dec 20 - 11:11 AM

Sometimes, as with glass and china stuff, it can be good to gather the rocks on a tray and take them to the kitchen sink for a rinse. I've been washing new finds with just water and toothbrush, dry in the sun. But the water is so bad that anything with tiny crystals then needs a squirt of distilled or i get an alkaline haze.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 31 Dec 20 - 11:36 AM

That's a good idea Patty - do a room a week and by the time I get back to the first room full of rocks they'll need cleaning off again! :) I have a few very special ones in an antique glass front Mission oak bookcase. Most of them are little treasures I found while digging around in the "rocks by the pound" section at the quartz mine. Phantom quartz and double-ended crystals are in there along with some small American Indian pots and baskets and carved fetishes purchased in my travels. (I buy the tourist trade fetishes, lovely and made for looks, not for special potency. No cultural appropriation intended.)

The guy at one mine in Mt. Ida, Arkansas, I visited a couple of times had a kids digging area where they could be occupied while parents shopped, so I had time to come up with a couple of fist-sized clumps of muddy rock on the discount uncleaned rock table; they were clearly double ended clusters. He honored the sale, but his eyebrows rose and telegraphed his disappointment at having missed those. I took them home to soak and clean with a toothbrush then soak in Iron Out or one of the other heavy duty stain removers to take the iron mineralization off of them.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 31 Dec 20 - 02:11 PM

The indexing has caught up with the listings and an eBay search for "Fort Worth 3D handmade face masks" will show you some of the masks I've listed (for Patty, in particular). I can be contacted via PM and offer a lower price and greater variety, but eBay takes a cut so it's a couple of dollars higher there.

On Facebook I've noticed people remarking about setting up their new bullet journals for the year - I like the style of calendar/notebook but don't do anything special. I usually use 3 or 4 pages a month and in cases where there are blanks (I start the month on a left page, leaving blanks before them sometimes) I assign them other things (like lists and passwords and such) then add them to the contents list in the front. I have a another book ready to shift to in March 2021. Both of these bound blank books with lined pages were free or gifts, but places like Half Price Books carry lots of them and less expensive than in Barnes and Noble or art shops, etc.

The next year's calendars are behind this year's in three rooms, and though I bought one pretty calendar the rest were sent from places where I have donated (or from places that want me to donate). I ended up with a couple of extra this year, something I can donate.

I've placed a grocery order via Instacart that should arrive in a couple of hours, at which time I'll separate the few things I got for myself from the larger number of items I got for the community fridge and will take them up to restock. With the lag in unemployment checks (a week without due to political wrangling means a lot of families are hungry this week coming up) and the time of the year, the food banks and the other donation places are leaned on heavily. The fridge I stock is in a "food desert" four miles north of me. I plan to give the driver an extra tip and a couple of masks as well, to help them start the new year well.

Have a safe New Year's Eve and Day, and sign up for a vaccination if you haven't already been so lucky as to receive one. I heard from a friend yesterday who is at home recovering from COVID, and so far I don't know many people who have been hit, but that won't continue to be the case if January shows the results of holiday super-spreader events. Stay safe and wear your face masks!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 01 Jan 21 - 12:47 PM

Beaver:

OK, using the "stick" (expensive), I brought up Mudcat and then turned off stick, thinking to post later, which I did - much later. Thank you for the shift, Maggie. I knew you would, when I saw my mis-move. And thank you for the preface to our new year. May we all have a good one, not lose any dear ones and ... no broken bones or such! I did trip over the wood splitter a couple weeks ago and am still healing but can still walk around with no trouble. Happy to be at Beaver where I can move wood into the house - good exercise. We can grocery shop and R found things at dollar store to re-do the under the sink warming system - for when I am away. He has installed a "new" sink with cabinet, from yard sale, to replace an almost identical one that looked bad. So nice to have a clean sink in Bathroom! I have re-organized areas, sorted out another cabinet here and readied things for the Shop and for the thrift shop when it re-opens. The thrift shops may be overwhelmed with what folks have been clearing out.

The shop is actually selling pottery!! We went up yesterday to deliver a sign that R rigged so it does not blow over every time an 18 wheeler flies by - at twice the stipulated speed. Pat was delighted to announce she had sold to more yesterday - to another vendor. We are officially on lockdown.

Looked at another GLOOMY day this am and thought of the song Stormy Weather. I would not mind a stormy day about now to break the monotony. A few Square inches of blue in the sky is exciting!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 01 Jan 21 - 04:45 PM

It’s sleeting in Stratford. Hell’s bells.

I made soup from the last of the Christmas goose and will freeze most of it, in small containers as it’s a bit rich and strange. And that’s about it for today!

Weather like this is good for nothing but watching TV and reading, not that there’s much else to do under lockdown. Fortunately, the cats are eager to assist.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 01 Jan 21 - 07:55 PM

Yours is the second account I've read in the last couple of minutes that your goose soup was both "rich" and "strange." I don't think I've ever eaten goose.

I've tried all day to remind myself that today is Friday because I have things to do for the weekend with my part-time job. Two of these odd weeks in a row has seriously messed up my internal calendar. I've turned on the PBS Newshour and that is followed by Washington Week in Review (I think it's just called "Washington Week" now, but when my kids were little we watched Wall Street Week then Washington Week in Review so this program was shortened by them to "Week Week." And stuck. :)

Tomorrow the mail will go out and I have several envelopes to hand over to the mail carrier. If not shipping with online-paid Priority envelopes I use stamps so I don't need to go to the indoor post office counter; online you can by the full price 1 ounce stamps in rolls, books, etc and the "extra postage" is where the rest of the stamps are on the USPS site.

COVID-19 is getting closer. A friend and her husband are at home with it, and my next door neighbors went to church on xmas even and learned later their pastor was infected. They're staying home and hoping to get lucky. Everything I'm doing here is with radio or television going in the house to make it seem less isolated. I had food delivered yesterday that I in turn delivered to the community fridge a few miles from here; I wore a mask and gloves as I loaded food into the fridge and pantry beside it. People are still hungry even as the community retreats into homes for the time being. The art of sewing is a life-saver. Creative outlets and sharing masks that help people stay safe are my larger donation right now. I have lots of scraps and am planning to make a small crazy lap quilt of the pieces and maybe I'll use some of the metallic thread and fancy stitches to ornament it.

Stay safe, everyone. Stay home - it may not feel heroic, but if you're not out there catching COVID-19 and infecting others, you're doing the best you can do right now.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 02 Jan 21 - 01:22 PM

Beaver:
Today is Saturday and we are still here! Murmur of "we need to leave soon" this am as we were doing groceries - about 11 am with few others. The sound of Steve doing Jim's drive, about 10:30, had me jump out of bed, "We have to move the car so Steve can plow! We may as well go do groceries." R cleared car, I cleared walk and we drove over and gave Steve money, hi to Jim, and away. Waved to Larry as he did his drive. Almost empty store. Perogies and 10% yogurt for brunch. (still no sour cream.)

Another 4-5 inches of fluff. Well, that's it for today. R is back to sleep and I have been reading about the early 60s... Contemplating... Maybe I can do more organizing today. We HAD SUN but it has clouded over. Darn! Was sure nice while it lasted. Sue may stop by briefly, carefully.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 03 Jan 21 - 10:43 AM

It’s been snowing on and off since about noon on New Year’s Day, so I assume that the European-style winter we’ve had so far is over, and we’re now back to Canadian standard. Sunday in lockdown is utterly silent; nobody going anywhere, nothing doing.

Yesterday, I finally cracked Edmund’s external hard drive and found his Innocence Canada files, which I copied to a data key. Then I finished packing the box of Innocence Canada-related papers and notebooks (Edmund did much of his thinking in longhand in hard-bound notebooks), wrote a letter to the Case Review Committee and put it in the box, taped it up and put it in the car. On Monday, it goes to Toronto by registered mail.

Downstairs in the laundry room, I then tackled the mess of cleaning products and other noxious materials that I had been studiously ignoring for weeks. There were at least five spray bottles of Fantastik cleanser, of which three were down to the last inch, and an untouched bottle of toilet cleaner hiding blushfully behind a bin of clean rags. Many travel-size containers of laundry detergent and stain-remover cluttered the shelves. An entire box of compact fluorescent lightbulbs took up space I would rather use for anything else.

And then there was Edmund’s stash of boot- and shoe-cleaning tackle, including what must be at least ten years’ accumulation of tins of Kiwi wax polish, all partly used and some nearly petrified with age, many little daubing brushes caked with greasy gunk, and wads of blackened polishing cloths. It all reeks fiercely of solvent, and must therefore go to the town dump when they hold their next collection of household hazardous waste. The three gallon cans of paint left over from the 2018 redecoration campaign should go, too, and the rusty tin of camping fuel stashed in the tool shed.

That was the last anarchic mess in the house, so I’m enjoying a feeling of accomplishment. But I have to admit that I finally got around to it because I was embarrassed when Kathleen, my cleaner, had to dig around in it.

For my next trick, I’ll turn out the refrigerator. But not today.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: keberoxu
Date: 03 Jan 21 - 01:01 PM

That was a funny one, Charmion:
"I wash embarrassed ... " chortle chortle


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 03 Jan 21 - 01:39 PM

Har, har, keb. You’re easily amused today.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 03 Jan 21 - 04:33 PM

I went in and fixed it before seeing the next two posts. Oh, well. :)

Today three vehicles converged on the parking lot of the Panda Express at Hwy 114 at I-35W (about 30 minutes drive for all of us from 3 directions) to have lunch (in our cars - no dine in at any of these places, but we walked through to see the buffet and have them fill our take-out containers). When first planned last week there was a forecast of rain and we had initially thought we'd hand gifts over and go home to open, but today in the sunshine we simply opened our gifts in the parking lot (we parked our cars in a row and I stepped back and forth between them handing out stuff). I brought along a couple of trash bags for wrappings in case that was the outcome.

I'd talked to my daughter about giving the old Commodore computer as a gift to her roommate, but she needs to retrieve the data from it before they do more with it (they have "joint custody.") When dad died in 1997 I packed it up and it hasn't been out of the box since. Three of them drove down in a tiny car but putting the unoccupied back seat down allowed them to slide in the main CPU, the huge CRT monitor, large attachments of keyboard and memory, bags of boxes of software, books, floppy disks, a hand-held scanner. Dad was intent on entering music into the computer and outputting music sheets (I think). My daughter didn't mention it to Jeremy so it was a surprise (though she's the one who told me ages ago that he'd love a computer like that) and his response when he unwrapped it was classic: "Wow! That's amazing!" and then "Is what's in this box what the box says is in it?" - disbelief that the computer is still around.

This was a major source of decluttering. It completely emptied the top shelf in the office closet, removed the stuff under my pantry shelves, and a bunch of stuff that was in the front room book shelves. And I may still find things that go with it. When Dad (a college reference librarian) started on a project like that he made sure he had all of the appropriate equipment. And maybe someday I'll get the music he put in it. As a way to keep the music karma flowing I'll start scanning and OCRing the files in a large file box that I also brought back at the same time. Maybe by the time the data is out of it, I'll know what to do with it.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 04 Jan 21 - 02:15 AM

Following a chat, brother in oz got me a very nice pair of lightweight waterproof walking boots for Christmas. I'm not planning on long hikes but these will be great for my short strolls where I can have wet grass and mud.

I had a walk down the footpath opposite us today. It's a very quiet one. The path is kept clear and you see that others do use it but in the 100s of times I've been down there, I think I've only met another person twice.

I've lit the woodburner for the past few days. I aim to keep up with this now as it does make the room (parent's living room) more cosy and I think is cheaper than the combined electric heater and some element of central heating.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 04 Jan 21 - 10:01 AM

Dupont:

Sitting here in a not so warm house without enough energy to start the fire in the den. Back about 5 pm yesterday, I brought in one small load of essentials (freezables), left the rest to R, who slept while I drove, and put things in frig. Went to bed. Almost 10 am on 4 Jan, R is in the tub and I am right here! Too tired to think BF! but I did water ALL the plants and may not have lost any. Even the tiny seedling pear tree is fine! About 6 inches of snow - guess there was some left over after it hit Charmion's area! I just plowed into the driveway. R cleared the steps, after I got into the house.

Left Beaver in good shape, making sure the new winterizing system was in place, lots of wood inside for when I return, and the nice "new" sink/cabinet looking shiny and clean!

Charmion! ext cords are dangerous but so are greasy rags! Set my bro's house on fire 60 years ago - and he was giving lectures on fire safety! Talk about embarrassed!! House was fine only thanks to the 2 inch workbench that burned enough to create smoke enough to waken him before it got to the 200 year old pine first floor boards! On the other hand, your computer abilities...! Congrats on what you have accommplished.

When I waken enough, I will endeavour to scan the 1940 plans my father drew in pencil on graph paper for the house we lived in for 18 years. He was an upscale carpenter with many friends; it was a lovely little Cape Cod. At 4, Someone grabbed me before I fell down the hole for the stairway!

My #1 son is working towards a new home on Whidbey - on a hill, looking west across the Sound, adjacent to the State Park! Thought I'd share what GF did! (Sometimes those OLD papers have intrinsic value.)

Oh yeah, The heat was fine when we arrived- and this morning - No heat! And no fire in wood stove because I am TOO tired.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 04 Jan 21 - 12:41 PM

Dorothy, it sounds like your son will have a lovely view of the Olympics!

This morning I woke at dawn and I fed the dogs, then back to sleep for a while. And when I finally got up I decided I need to work on something I've been putting off ages, replacing the annoying burned-out florescent bulbs in the bathroom and dressing room. I will eventually replace those fixtures, they're a pain as far as removing the lens and putting them back up (you have to disassemble whole thing to put it back up each time.) One bulb replaced, and a note to order two more (curbside pickup). At this point it's lunacy to go inside any public building for more than a few minutes. I have standard base LED bulbs for replacing around the house, but need the stick halogen ones for the bright motion-activated fixture on the side porch (also curbside pickup - the last ones from online cost less but were junk & fell apart quickly.)

Those fireplaces and wood burning stoves sound inviting. I'd love to have an insert in my fireplace, but I really do need to rebuild the hearth so wouldn't do anything until the whole problem of the fireplace is dealt with.

I'm reading about Charmion's good work on the computer stuff, and having assigned my daughter the task of retrieving data, makes it feel all the more imperative to begin my scanning project. And I am thinking of Art Thieme, who over the years Mudcat members supported in his research work by crowd-sourcing the funds to replace his computers. He scanned and converted tons of tapes and turned the whole thing over to the Smithsonian Folkways folks when he completed it.

Out in the yard, an early task this year is assembling another dog-proof compost bin. The last one was defeated by the puppy contortionist. I need to dig one bed and plant potatoes. The broccoli is growing, but went in very late (I saw photos of a friend's cauliflower picked this weekend - they got a timely start on their winter garden, probably planting in August, not November).

It's the toughest time of year as far as the big family holidays being behind us, but since they were pretty messed up and the dark winter days are ahead, I'm hoping everyone knows to reach out for help if they're feeling really down. And look into the lights that help with SAD if you think that could help. (I wonder if they have special lights for Susan in her nursing home? We haven't heard from her in ages now.)

Take care, have a good week. Counting the days until the inauguration, the advent calendar that really counts these days. I anticipate a big boost to my mood right there.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 04 Jan 21 - 04:50 PM

You bet, Dorothy, which is why they’re sequestered in the tool shed until the next hazardous waste day at the dump.

Today, I bought a bedside table on Kijiji for fifty-five bucks, took the espresso machine to be cleaned and pressed in preparation for finding it a new home, and shipped Edmund’s case notes to Innocence Canada in Toronto. I feel quite ... relieved.

With the Innocence Canada material off my hands, I can now take Edmund’s computer to be sanitized. I think I have a nephew who can use it.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 04 Jan 21 - 06:48 PM

Charmion, if he ordered things and had accounts like Facebook, Amazon, etc. you may want to visit those sites with his computer and search for the devices used to access his accounts - phone, computer, tablet, etc., and remove those as approved devices for the accounts. And close the accounts. It's one more way to avoid identity theft later if anything happens to that computer after it leaves your home (regardless of if it is wiped of data, those other sites still think it's an okay machine.)

It's a good idea to do that for your accounts as well. I've gone into Facebook and seen that old phones, long gone, are still authorized to connect to my account. Same with Amazon.

I mailed three of my envelopes of the now-belated holiday letters with masks, and have a few more to do. I hope to finish mailing those by the end of the week, but I ran out of the size masks I think the next round of recipients would wear, so I'll be sewing.

I changed some lightbulbs around the house today. I woke up and decided that as the first "work day" of the year I ought to do something today that I'd been putting off, just to get it out of the way. There are several more to do, but the more urgent ones were taken care of. They involve using the stepladder.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 05 Jan 21 - 11:39 AM

The high temperature here is forecast to be 66o today, so I will be doing some yard work today and assessing the state of projects queued up for work in the garage. I'm visualizing a new design of the next compost pile. And if I'm really ambitious one of these days (after a session of stretching, so I'm fairly limber) there are a couple of projects up in the attic. Not something that is performed in the hot months around here. Need a sauna? Don't buy one, just go upstairs for a few minutes.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 06 Jan 21 - 09:14 AM

Edmund's espresso machine will join the household of his niece Cate, who just happens to be married to an Italian engineer. I'm told his eyes lit up when he heard my voicemail message. They can have half a dozen espresso cups as well.

I think I have found a good coffee solution, as they say these days, with a gadget (trademark Zevro) that brews about 14 fluid ounces -- just right for a certain type of Wedgwood beer mug of which I have several. It's essentially a large cup with a lid on top and a wire filter and a clever wee valve in the bottom. When it sits on its feet on the table, the valve closes and the coffee steeps; when it's ready, you set it on top of the drinking vessel and the valve opens and the coffee streams out. The coffee is excellent, with no bitterness at all and a fine robust flavour. The gadget is made of plastic, however, so I know that eventually a critical component will break. I'll be as gentle with it as I can and put that day off as long as possible.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 06 Jan 21 - 11:56 AM

I looked that up - interesting. I inherited a glass French press from my dad, and pull it out for coffee drinkers when I don't feel like moving stuff around in the hall pantry to get the big electric coffee maker. It's in storage because I'm a tea drinker. I can see that one of your devices would be a little easier to clean (because I sometimes use the French press for tea, I have to work to get the bitter coffee taste out of it first).

I've assembled a list of things to get curbside from Home Depot - they carry the wood stain that does the best job on my cedar fence pickets (I have a photo for Instagram that compares the Valspar vs Olympic - the Olympic wins by a mile). The goal is to avoid the inevitability of catching COVID-19 in the surge in cases that is happening now after the holidays. If everyone had just STAYED HOME we wouldn't be in as much of a fix. I'm on two waiting lists, one from my pharmacy, one from the county, and whoever calls me first, I'll get the vaccination and cancel the other one. There are so many things that I signed up for as a volunteer after I retired and feel like a slouch in not going to do any of the activities during most of last year and for the foreseeable future. Instead of doing my part as a volunteer I'm doing my part by staying home.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 07 Jan 21 - 01:27 AM

Well. That was a day. I lost track of time as the drama played out on MSNBC (good thing the dogs were here to remind me about dinner time) and spent the evening sewing.

We really need to declutter ourselves of this "president" as soon as is humanly possible.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 08 Jan 21 - 11:41 PM

I had an Amazon gift card and decided I'd better order something before my subscriptions ate it up (such things as tooth paste, dog treats, etc.) I got practical things that were on my wish list that weren't picked up by family members. Useful items that won't become clutter.

I was watching the news this evening and Susan Page was wearing a pretty necklace that looks like freshwater pearls. Sometimes I've bought findings or small earrings, etc on Amazon (mostly on eBay) but I haven't lately because it's hard to imagine when I'll next have the opportunity to go out anywhere that I can wear jewelry. Where I might dress in something other than jeans and a t-shirt.

More bulbs replaced today, and I fear my outdoor motion-detector fixture has died. Those new bulbs aren't working. Time to shop for a new fixture.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 10 Jan 21 - 12:36 AM

The greenhouse is ready for a couple of days of cold. We may get a little snow tomorrow, so I'll be interested to see how the puppy and Pepper (the middle dog) respond to it. I don't think we've had any in several years. (Years ago when my two dogs were Cinnamon and Poppy and they had dog houses and bedding in the garage, I saw them come out of their dog door and onto their little porch - they stood and barked at the snow before stepping into it.) The old Labrador retriever has had several encounters with snow.

My porch light bulb replacement showed me that the fixture itself seems to have died. I'll take the new bulbs out, keep the previous ones, and return the unopened package. I don't think I'll be able to find another fixture that uses the same kind of bulbs. I like how bright they are on that side of the house, but now those bright lights operate with LEDs. I can probably sell the other lights on eBay (opened package put back together) as used because there will be other people with these kinds of bulbs. Time to replace that fixture with an LED motion detector light.

Here's an NPR story about changing habits that might be of interest to people.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 11 Jan 21 - 11:20 AM

Kathleen came to clean bathrooms on Saturday afternoon, while I vacuumed.

I have now been on my own for three months, and I think I'm getting the hang of it. I don't actually *have* to clean all that often, but I'm far more likely to do it if I have company, and doing it weekly builds the habit and keeps the house in presentable condition.

Kathleen does the stuff I hate doing, all of which seems to involve stinky chemical cleaners and kneeling on the floor, and I do the stuff she says she's less fond of and not all that good at, especially dusting. This improving program usually takes place on Saturday. She charges me $20 per hour, and I pick her up and take her home again because I don't like the thought of her hiking up the hill into the teeth of the prevailing wind. She's not fast, but she's very diligent and gets in all the corners.

Good deal, in my opinion.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 12 Jan 21 - 12:51 PM

This was one of those days when I realized every surface is again covered with paper and kitchen clutter. To start clearing I went to the laundry room for an old washcloth rag for dusting and realized that area on top of the dryer (where the trash can sits to keep dogs out of it) was so piled up that it was ground zero for cleaning dust and stuff. Putting away paper bags, plastic bags, and tossing things that need repair that I'll never actually get around to helped. That room is restored and now to turn to the kitchen and small dining table.

I had someone who used to come in for a few hours every two weeks, and it was wonderful, but she fell ill and I never got around to finding someone else.

Out in the yard I need to scoop leaves at the curb, spread them on the lawn and mulch them in with the mower. And in the back I need to scoop the dog droppings and establish a new compost pile. The puppy is again eating poop, making her canine non grata around the house right now. Policing the yard helps, and while the dry grass isn't tall back there, running the mower over it would mulch some leaves and might make scooping easier.

Still waiting on the COVID-19 stimulus check - for some reason they didn't do direct deposit this time, they put a check in the dysfunctional US Postal system (De Joy should go straight to jail when he leaves the Postmaster General position) so who knows where it is.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 12 Jan 21 - 08:27 PM

I've replaced all four outside light bulbs with dusk-to-dawn LED bulbs or fittings. They come on at dusk and go off at dawn (duh) via a little light sensor. You can buy light fittings with a built-in sensor or you just buy sensor bulbs. We have a mixture. Buying four that actually work properly was a real job, but I only bought them from shops that would cheerfully replace them. They use very little power, something like four watts each (I think), and we never switch them off. We live at least four miles from the nearest street lights. When we moved here from an urban area 34 years ago it took me months to be not terrified by the total blackness, but I got used to it and now I love walking up the long farm lane in total darkness. It's a bonus when the stars are out (and after all this time I know what's underfoot!). The outside lights give us a nice welcome home on dark evenings and they light up the shrubs and flower pots at the front with a cosy glow.

We were very slack about allowing unlimited tourists to visit Cornwall right through the autumn when cases were shooting up in the areas they came from. Over Christmas there was much illegal visiting too, and, after consistent low infection numbers since March, Cornwall is now paying a heavy price. I wouldn't say that Mrs Steve and I are exactly scared, but we are staying home and we have adhered exactly to all the rules as they came along. That meant not much of a Christmas and far too much food for two poor souls to get through. We're not bad at it,though. :-) She should get her first jab in about four weeks but I'll have to wait a few weeks longer.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 13 Jan 21 - 01:00 PM

This will be the third fixture on this part of the porch since I moved in and remodeled this side of the house (in 2002). The first light, put up by my contractor, worked for a while, but when it died I did the wiring and put up the one that has now died. It looks like they have a life of 8 or 9 years. I'll be getting a new light and putting it up soon. There is a regular on/off light on the other side of the door and I'm turning it on in the evening (if I remember) until I replace the defunct one that used to turn on when cars go by in the street or anyone walks up the driveway. I have several LED fixtures in the house, and lots of LED bulbs.

I'm sitting here at home waiting for everything - the stimulus cash wasn't direct deposited like last time, it was apparently mailed a week ago. No sign of it. And I've got myself on two vaccine waiting lists and while I'm reading about friends getting vaccinated I've heard nothing.

We never manage to do xmas on the actual date, and my son hasn't sent his box of gifts to family here because there was one more thing that he was planning to "go downtown" to get. I told him that there is nothing downtown that is worth him risking his life, that we can no-doubt get it via mail order eventually, and described how to mail parcels by paying online, printing the label, and having the shipping company pick it up next time they pass by doing their deliveries.

Staying home due to COVID-19 is hard enough; the surreal scene of rioters taking over the Capitol, and the urgent necessity to prohibit Trump from participating in the political life of the United States of America is behind this resulting last-minute impeachment. If I were still at work I would be sitting hunkered at a computer with headphones on to listen to the debate and commentary. Now I can listen around the house on various devices as I work. The last time another human being was in my house was in early April when the Sears repair guy came to look at my refrigerator; family hasn't been here since March. When my family can finally come in they will see lots of changes, things that have been moved around as I fill my days with household chores and projects dreamed up to fill the time. With my last employer, for 16 years I was able to telecommute, saving myself time and gas of the daily commute, and the house was in pretty good order. The last five years were (ironically) forced to work in the building because the boss didn't trust people to really work from home (now she has no choice and I hope has learned the error of her bias). At that time I was wishing for time at home to work on all of my projects, but not under these circumstances.

Two thoughts: 1.) be careful what you wish for, and 2.) the reminder that the saying "may you live in interesting times" is not a good wish. It's a curse.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 13 Jan 21 - 03:25 PM

Note to self: February has to be a No-Spend month just to give my accounts a chance to recover from the holidays. I wasn't keeping track. Oy. And there's enough stuff around here to draw down for the next six months.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 14 Jan 21 - 05:18 PM

Last night I cleaned and oiled the big black rotary sewing machine, and today I'm tackling a project intended for the new rotary machine that has the zigzag stitch and the walking foot. I organized my bobbins, got another short gauge for measuring hems and such (as I assemble masks I am always going back and forth between the sewing machine and ironing board with the ancient one I had, and they're cheap, so I bought a new one and now both places are set.)

All of this is in preparation for putting more stuff in the mail. My dining table is usable and the kitchen table is looking much better now that I've sorted and tossed a lot of paper that was built up. The stuff for the mail is arranged on the dining table right now, along with shipping supplies. I'm thinking about rearranging the den (still/or again, however you look at what I've already done in there.) So I need to finish this up first.

Recycling is in the car, and the cooking oil that I never got around to taking over when the village was collecting oil is in the trash (there wasn't very much - a pint?) in an old milk carton sealed so it wouldn't leak into the can and wherever.

The laundry room is looking much better, and there is a bag of stuff that has been sitting on top of the dryer that is needing to be returned to Home Depot. Now it's sitting on the tall work table in the kitchen (in plain sight) to be taken over the next really early morning I can force myself out of bed to get to the store at 6am and avoid the crowds.

Our hospitals are full, the surge from after the holidays is upon us. I'm not going anywhere until the vaccine is available, and I think because I didn't list any extra factors (heart, lung, etc. problems) they didn't put me at the front of this particular over-65 line. I'm seeing reports of friends getting their first vaccine, but most of them have those health problems also. Still, it is frustrating to have to wait.

Stay healthy, everyone! Our UK participants, has it gotten any easier to get that first shot now that they supposedly aren't holding onto half to do the second shot right away? I'm hearing more and more places adopting that policy here as well.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 15 Jan 21 - 11:16 AM

On the immunization front, the Ontario Ministry of Health website now has a "vaccination tracker" that forecasts your date with the needle according to which vulnerable groups you belong to. I might get my jab for my birthday. In September.

Meanwhile, as of yesterday, Ontario has entered into an even tighter lockdown in which we are forbidden to leave our homes unless we absolutely have to, and the police are ordered to ticket or arrest scoff-laws. Like most of my neighbours, I wonder how this differs from what we have been doing since Christmas.

Today's excursion is an expedition to the bank to make an affidavit stating that I never received, let alone cashed, a cheque in the amount of $220.51 that was the credit standing in our joint MasterCard account when the Bank of Montreal cancelled it on Edmund's death. While I'm off the chain, I might pop into Sobey's for some fresh veg and coffee cream.

This is what I'm reduced to: eagerly anticipating a visit to the bank!

The bank business is one result of yesterday's hours and hours of telephone time invested in chasing money owed to me.The first debtor is LL Bean, which uncharacteristically has never reimbursed me for two pairs of trousers I returned because they did not fit. LL Bean does business in Canada through a forwarding company called Borderfree that employs arrogant young Asian men to answer their telephones, and it took half the morning to learn, first of all, which precise string of 16 characters Borderfree needs to identify a transaction, and then to launch an inquiry into what happened to Cdn$153.35 that disappeared somewhere between LL Bean and me. The odds on getting my money back have improved, but (I suspect) only slightly.

The second debtor is MasterCard, to the tune of $220.51 (see bank visit, above). First, I spent more than an hour on the phone with MasterCard, where the matter was escalated FIVE TIMES before I found myself talking to someone who could plumb the depths of the computer to locate the data in question: whether a refund was ever made and, if so, how. (At every level of the telephone tree, I had to explain that the appearance of a line item on my MasterCard statement proved only that someone had entered the transaction on my account, not that I had received the payment.) Sure enough, a cheque had been mailed, and never landed in my mailbox. I know this because neither the household chequing account nor Edmund's estate account has received a deposit in the amount of $220.51 -- WHICH THE BANK STAFF CAN EASILY SEE FOR THEMSELVES! I also wonder why the bean-counters at MasterCard apparently can't either find the cashed cheque or, in its absence, simply stop payment on it and issue another.

Finally, at half past five in the late afternoon, I received a telephone call from a mealy-mouthed functionary of the Government of Canada Pension Centre. She was responding to a rather ferocious letter of 22 December in which I demanded to know why they had yet to pay out Edmund's Supplementary Death Benefit, a stonking sum of money that had gone unmentioned over ten weeks of correspondence, and informed them that their telephone system (the only other way to contact them) stinks out loud. The functionary allowed as how they had sent for Edmund's file and would soon "verify" the claim. I replied to the effect that Edmund died three months ago, and what have they been doing all this time? How long would they have sat on it -- a sum amounting to two years' worth of a good salary -- if I had not rattled their cage? The functionary could offer only platitudes and empty consolations. If one more bureaucrat tells me (instead of answering a Yes Or No question), "First of all, may I say how sorry we are for your loss?", I shall do something truly unpleasant.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 15 Jan 21 - 12:16 PM

"Sorry for your loss" is so ubiquitous as to be meaningless lip service. I remember letters and phone calls when I was managing my father's estate. I'm glad you don't have a sociopath brother in this mix (it made my job harder and last about a year longer than it should have).

Another windy day here as I make notes about the places I would like to go (drop off masks and belated holiday gifts for friends), and then decide on the ones that are essential (dog food, post office). We aren't under a shutdown (this is Texas, after all), but anyone who doesn't behave as if we are takes their life in their hands.

You have to wait until September for your shot? That's nuts! I hope they do something to speed the process. All eyes are on Biden's plan to get things moving here.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 15 Jan 21 - 12:31 PM

Nuts, indeed. Every day, the papers have headlines about how the federal government is scrounging for millions of doses. That said, it's worth noting that the highest priority, after health-care workers and residents of long-term care homes, is Aboriginal folks living in isolated communities, where COVID works like the Black Death.

With respect to relatives, I am truly blessed. All my siblings, both natural-born and in-law, are sane, generous, interesting people who are a pleasure to know, let alone be related to and therefore stuck with.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion's brother Andrew
Date: 16 Jan 21 - 09:50 AM

Why thank you, Charmion. I feel likewise.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel
Date: 16 Jan 21 - 10:19 AM

Its good that good people see the light at long last.
I'm staying on top of infrastructure ahead of problems like hot water heater and yet another toilet replacement. This one is a one piece that is practicly like a sculpture. Amazon now takes pictures of deliveries so it was the first time I ever posed next to toilet.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 16 Jan 21 - 02:10 PM

Amazon delivered a toilet to you? My word! The last one I got at Home Depot and had the lot loader help slide it into the SUV, but I brought it home myself.

I have a batch of cardamom cookie batter chilling and will later make cookies to take to the neighbors. And this afternoon I'm making the rest of the large t-shirts I bought for mask making into t-shirt yarn. I'm only planning a couple of trips next week, one to the thrift store for more shirts (hoping for a range of colors again) and to a specialized grocery store for a couple of things I've run low on. I'll drop off masks and a very-belated gift during that run, then back home. My only trips in the last two weeks have been to solitary things like dropping off recycling at the village bin (no one else around and it's outside) or for curbside pickup. I maybe ought to finish my running early in the week, who knows what will happen around inauguration day. Every crackpot in the nation seems to have decided it's time to come out of hiding. (The house next door still has a Trump flag hanging on the wall.)


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 16 Jan 21 - 06:03 PM

We haven't been beyond a couple of miles from our house for many weeks. We drive about two miles to get in our daily walk on the coast. Just for once, it's quiet round here. We could just walk up the farm lane from the house, but there's mud and smells and bare fields, not very uplifting. I'm fine most of the time with my own company, but Mrs Steve is a social animal, now deprived of visits to friends' houses and her frequent coffee get-togethers with her mates, her exercise and dance classes (a bit of Zoom compensates to a degree, but it's not the same), and, worst of all, her Memory Cafe work with people suffering from dementia. She does a sterling job keeping our five-year-old grandson occupied for hours at a time on FaceTime so that his mum and dad can work from home (sort of!). It's real life, but not as we know it, and we are managing not to get on each other's nerves, quite an achievement!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 17 Jan 21 - 11:19 AM

Dupont:

Just read through the posts since 4 Jan, thankful for this group and the "we are all in this together, separately!" sense. This, almost 2 weeks has been really unpleasant for me. (Ah! the snowplow just went by!) The heater quit. I was exhausted from the trip, emotionally distraught due to what should have been a minor kerfuffle that put me in mind of PTSD never goes away as I dragged myself through about 60 years of my life, starting by the triggering of my last day as a wife On top of that, I finally realized I had a GI disturbance, then on the 6th I went to pieces as R and I watched, on Canadian TV... The major thing for me was the wonderful memory of my dad and little bro and I walking to the the very top of that elegant dome, alone. We experienced the grandeur, and the pain of watching it be desecrated was intense, and surprised me. And I realized that that trip has not been permissible for ordinary folks for a long time - that ordinary folks have lost a sense of ownership of the country, have never experienced that. Etc... My son pointed out that it all changed on 9/11. The terrorists with planes, destroyed more than we realized if it also destroyed the chance to feel connected to the history of the country.


Cold, traumatised in a number of ways, and R seemed uninterested in getting the heater repaired - He only comes home to sleep, and has even missed that in the pressure of work. I ran out of wood and simply could not bring in more; I was so cold all the time, the thought of going into a colder place and not having a warm place to come back into was more than I could bear. R brought in some. I really was not well; To think of leaving the warmish room to even go into the cold hallway turned me into a whimpering blob. Sitting in a conundrum in the den, I could not think, could not make a decision about anything.

Then I remembered the article I wrote years ago on hypothermia, esp in older people. I HAD to do something! Finally, it dawned on my frozen brain that the small hardware store 10 minutes away was no more dangerous than the one in Bancroft - small and good staff. I took one of the broken cube heaters and drove there, took my cards out of wallet in prep and went inside the door and said, "need help!" "No heat! I'm cold!!! need two of these!" A warmish trip in car and I was able to get home and figure up good placement for these precious heaters - where they could function without blowing fuses - TV, bedroom, K. The downstairs bath has one; I though of dragging a chair in there!   

R finally came home the next day with two more - no places left to plug them in! and I got across the concept, FIX the HEATER!!!!! The ordered parts arrived, Dan fixed the furnace, We have heat! We both check each am to make sure we still have heat! It is clear this is not over. When Dan replaced the old relay with the new one, he found nothing wrong with the old one. So, the probability is, there is still a loose wire somewhere.

Still not feeling well but warm! I finally, after several days of barely eating, not knowing what would help, having sunk into a morass of watching programs on Apple TV in the warm TV room, and having trouble with my eyes "burning", felt enough better to try clogging the system. I had hoped to be well enough to go to Beaver on Friday, before the snow. Did not feel better enough. Today? Not quite. Maybe tomorrow.

Good stuff: My #2 son talked with me for two hours, a wonderful conversation about many important things; on my 84th BD, my son told me in a rather offhand manner that I had been a good mother. No greater gift.

The next day, bro phoned and we had a good talk, (NO politics). Then his wife phoned and talked with me - without complaining about my bro. After all these years, they have each/both come to terms with who they are and the life they have together. At 68 and 80, they have peace in their lives. Still working. Another gift.

And I found that I could order my fav bread on line, and it arrived on Friday. Six loaves of soft pumpernickel and 10 loaves of solid as a brick European "deli" pumpernickel. OOPS! I had meant to order a dif one; I thought I might give the loaves to the food bank and do a new order to get my personal fav. But R came home and ate some and declares he loves it! Even reminisced about the first time he had it - 1971 in the Yukon! With pickled herring! From a German co-worker.   

Outside, I see two neighbours shoveling out from yesterday. Our wonderful neighbour cleared our drive after R left yesterday! I am grateful. We want to find a way to thank him. I was hoping for a friendship with his mom - across the street- but this shutdown...

Ontario makes sense, when I finally found a comprehensive explanation; really no dif from what we have been doing. The 8 pm curfew in QC is dreadful for many people. Very bad for mental health not to be able to take a walk after work, unless you have a dog! And the homeless are... homeless! And the police have already behaved badly. R has a letter so he can come home after 8 pm.

I have ensured all plants are well watered, took cuttings off the tomato seedlings and making sure the precious pear tree seedling is in a good spot. A big pot of veg stew would be a good project today.

I wonder about getting the windows ALL washed in the spring. By someone else!

A bit of unsweetened choc makes my eyes feel better - honest!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 17 Jan 21 - 12:58 PM

Dorothy, you are not alone in descending into a general funk after the assault on the US Capitol. The news reporting reveals more parts of the story, how dangerous it was for individual politicians, bringing the realization that these seditionists meant real harm and will continue to act out their un-justified anger. I suspect a lot of people are calculating the next step they can take to assert their political views safely. Will my home be shot up if I put my Biden/Harris sign out in the yard again?

Even in this southern climate I also had a couple of days when I couldn't seem to get warm, couldn't seem to find any motivation. I have turned my focus back to more sewing and shipping of masks - I want to help my friends and loved ones survive this pandemic, and in the general scheme of things it is still the largest crisis that we must remedy right now. When you think about it, the seditious activity at a time when so many are at home watching television and paying attention means the bad actors will be rounded up all the more quickly as they are identified by viewers. Maybe now that the non-violent drug offenders have a shot at release from the prison industrial complex, the smaller (non-privatized) prison system can make room for the traitors from January 6.

It's mid-January, but I just realized that it is once again the race to see who ends up with the first blooming daffodil. They suddenly appear out there, harbingers of spring, even though we may have weeks of cooler weather until the date says "Spring." It's time to start digging in the garden on warm days.

I'm preparing for a double-header, a no-spend and no-alcohol February. I wasn't paying attention when January started that this is something I've done before as a good to start the new year. I'm weaning myself from some of the snack foods and routine evening drink, switching over to fruit for snacks and decaff tea for the evening beverage.

Plants - you've mentioned your plants - this winter I have started several new plants from cuttings (or more accurately, breakings - limbs that dropped off of things that were then poked into a jar of water on the windowsill). I now have a plant in the window in my sewing room - committing to myself that I'll be in there often enough each week to notice and give it water when needed. It's a durable spider plant, but it still needs some attention. It was rooted in water after removal from the big parent plant. The xmas cactus, pothos, and spider plants that are around the house are typical beginner plants—it's time to shop for some African violets and orchids now that I can easily work on the plant stands in the sunroom. And sometimes these plants end up in the Freecycle list.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 17 Jan 21 - 04:17 PM

Dupont
Just wish to report that I feeling better and even got dressed! And potted a few aloe vera, reducing the pot load to the one largest one and several small pots of smallish ones!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 17 Jan 21 - 04:52 PM

I'm glad, Dorothy! I think we all worry about your comings and goings, especially in the winter, and with no heat - oy!

It's interesting how plants can make you feel better, isn't it? My frugal nature means cut flowers infrequent purchases, but the discount gourmet grocery I go to sometimes has boxes of flower arrangements modestly priced when they open their warehouse market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and I can bring home one or two for usually under $5. Considering how happy they make me feel I really should buy them more often. But even just the green leaves of potted plants is a mood boost.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 18 Jan 21 - 11:16 AM

Dupont

Just as well I did not leave yesterday. This morning - no heat. However, R has decided to take it seriously and Dan is working on it. Apparently, he says he can find the problem better when it is quit. I mentioned to R my thoughts, from Connie, re a heat pump and am delighted that he has been thinking it also, to the point of where it would need to be located; I don't mind digging up those plants if it means we will really have heat! Delight is Hope!

So R turned on cube heater in TV room and Came down to put a fire in wood stove and make BF. He recognized my rope is badly frayed. I got dressed - a good first step, knowing Dan would be along shortly. Then worked on cleaning up in the "tomato plant room". They did not grow to the ceiling like last year; I suspect need new soil So I take cuttings. One pepper is still very healthy with two fruit that seem to be willing to just stay home.

No question of leaving today so I am thinking about what needs to be done with plants and how to do it in a fairly tidy fashion. First, a big bag of good soil - from where? A very large plastic... Good project - for when the heat is back! Vacuuming would be a good project also...

Right now, maintaining a level of mental health is paramount. Make stew, try to do a couple sewing projects... DO something! Find phone number for a help line so I can explode to someone who won't be harmed by it. I am still being bombed by ancient painful memories. YEah, I'll find that phone number now.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 18 Jan 21 - 02:26 PM

Dupont

Hannah fixed! Her Dad was my go-to person from 1968 until he died a few years ago, shockingly. Now Hannah has taken over; not quite the same but, in some ways better. From Gardening to what to eat to what to do about R and everything else! We can disagree but she had a great Mom and Dad and has a good husband and 3 adult children... She is a wise person. Two hours and I am ready to face life with renewed energy and a ton of advice.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 19 Jan 21 - 02:08 AM

I made some cheese scones and a chocolate cake the other day and am trying to think of things to do – or maybe what not to do…

I’ve done as much with another lighthouse (here painted but with the wires in a mess up top and here in motion) as I want to do and thought about the time I spent and the money in bits here and there…

I’ve another idea for a different 3d printer project in mind but ought to take a bit of a break (say a week or two) first.

One task I do have that seems relevant to comments a few posts back is that I plan on replacing the syphon in our toilet and have the parts on order from Amazon.

I’m not sure what else except walking the footpath. I’m now walking to its end which, by my reckoning using Google Earth, gives me just over a 1 ½ mile walk there and back. I could make a circular route of about 2 miles by turning right at its end but I’m not sure I fancy the main road bit.

I could also do a longer circle by turning left but the Felbrigg road I’d join is one I swore “never again” on. Mum and I had quite a frightening time walking that way once when we took Misty, our dog, for a walk that way.

I’ve met as many as 4 people on each of the last 3 times I’ve walked the path. It’s still quiet but it’s a change from rarely meeting anyone.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 19 Jan 21 - 03:07 AM

Oh and on reading a few posts back again.

I had many a walk in the dark when I lived in Pydew which is up a hill and sort of in between a few of the towns.

I got rather lost walking a path parents called Bogey Lane which runs to Mochdre a couple of times before working it out and I guess the Bodysgallen route from Llandudno has a dark spot you could go wrong on…

But to me, anyway, you get to sense what is alongside you and (as with me and bod on the dark spot) can feel what is underfoot like ruts to guide you.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 19 Jan 21 - 04:41 AM

Wrong thread, Dick?

(Post in question was moved here, giving a revival to that helpful thread)


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: The Sandman
Date: 19 Jan 21 - 08:07 AM

NO, Correct thread it is about health and fitness during the pandemic.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 19 Jan 21 - 12:28 PM

Dick, this is an ongoing declutter conversation, it isn't really where we need to posts whole articles about COVID. I moved it over to the "New News on the COVID-19 Pandemic" thread where more people will see it. But thanks for thinking of us!

It did offer information about ventilation that I also heard last week on a radio news program, and in particular, the program said that if there are two of you in a car, sit in opposite corners and have the windows opposite you open. So the driver in the front seat would have the passenger window open some, and the passenger in as far back a seat as possible on the other side of the car would have the driver's side window open. This creates a sort of "wall of air" between the two of you as air travels in the front and out the rear window.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 19 Jan 21 - 01:01 PM

I was planning a brief foray to a local thrift store today, after not going on Monday because of the holiday (more shoppers possibly out and about). Then yesterday afternoon those plans lurched to a stop - I got a text from the County with an appointment for my first vaccine shot on Wednesday afternoon. It will continue to be face masks and physical distancing for a long time to come, but I'll wait and make my next shopping trip after I get the first dose. These do take time to take effect and a couple of weeks after second dose seals it, we hope.

A lovely letter from a friend arrived today, and has triggered an idea for the next blog post to do with these face masks. And yesterday I was hunting for something on YouTube and on the right side of the screen it offered up videos that might interest me - and one had to do with making small quilt blocks to build out for larger items, assembled from small pieces, the smaller ones referred to as "crumbs." FROM SCRAPS TO BLOCKS This video will give you the crumb trail (pun intended) to see the videos of various things she teaches. I put a few more masks in the mail today, along with an eBay package. For being retired and stuck at home (I used to have a robust volunteer schedule, prior to knee surgery and then COVID-19) I am keeping busy.

Jon, I love your description of your walk and your photos and maps. And your rationale for avoiding certain roads is common sense, and something I keep in mind here also. I walked the dogs yesterday and ended up avoiding the park because there was a woman walking but had her dog off leash - and the tangle if that dog raced up wasn't worth the bother. I turned around and walked back down the hill and paused to talk to neighbors I haven't seen in ages who were out walking their little old deaf dog (who still has a perfectly good bark when he spotted my dogs.) It is lovely to talk to people that way, all the more precious when we can't see people safely very often. From there we walked down to the woods across the road from my house and the dogs got a good session of sniffing in. We said hello to another family passing by on the road as we exited the woods. Speaking to six people in one day - nice!

Dorothy, I hope you get your heat pump. They are a good investment and if you decide to sell that wonderful old house a pump means less money given back to the new buyers for a new system. (I have two, actually, so you may decide to build up a system based on zones.)


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 20 Jan 21 - 11:19 AM

We're just over 40 minutes away from the swearing in of Joe Biden. He has a lot of work to do and his first 100 days (an arbitrary thing that started with FDR in 1933). This last week I've been adjusting my diet, stepping down from some of the carbs and sugar, and while I wasn't doing a no-spend or no-alcohol January, I am going to do a no-alcohol 100 days. It's time for a major cleanse after the self-medicated evenings of the Trump administration. Mild dosage, certainly, but still, there to take the edge off of those awful days. Come April 30 I'll assess the progress.

I have a bright pink crochet cap I wore four years ago to march at the county courthouse downtown. Now with the pandemic there isn't a celebratory march planned, but there are probably a lot of people wearing pink today in honor of the event. I did see one woman in the attending audience wearing a dark pink knit hat that may well be an homage to all of this.

On the home front, yesterday I put the dog-proof (resistant!) couch cover in the wash because one of the dogs peed overnight. Not sure which, but it was one of the two big ones. It of course seeped through onto the upholstery so I got out the steam cleaner and figured out how to put on the upholstery attachment and gave the area a once over. The next step, after that dries, is to spray it with the enzyme "pet odor remover" product that works on this. And there will be no more dogs on the sofa, and no more couch cover. I'm thinking of getting a couple of those small dog chair things and I'll use the fabric from the now-clean cover to make small covers for those dog things.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 20 Jan 21 - 04:00 PM

Dupont:

I have recovered from whatever was ailing me for those couple weeks, or more. Today, I realized I had scared Robin. In the midst of being tortured by the QC bureaucracy, he needs all the support I can give him. Far too complex to elucidate but if it ever ends, you shall hear the grand hurrah! And if does not end soon, I fear for his health.

I might need to participate in a Zoom meeting on Friday; I managed to download zoom but could make no sense of any instructions. They seem to assume some obscure knowledge - I have none! SO, I made a request to the group meant to support anglophones in QC - PLEASE! And this am, a charming and delightful young man with a very clear voice, emailed me and connected me and we had a marvellous conversation - from the Irish in Canada, to politics, the needs of young people and books, history.... I have zoomed! and it was wonderful. The hardest part was entering the incredibly "secure" PW. I need to engrave it on my left hand!

Interesting here to read about walks and darkness... I don't think I ever feared the dark, and love it. Lights are onerous to me. It was a dreadful shock to move here and find a streetlight outside the BR window and the need for heavy drapes. The other side of this is my love of watching the light arrive in the am! Which R does not like! Oh well, I wait until we need to be up - between 8 and 9 am, then open the south drape for Hibbie (hibiscus). Then the west one opens then R gets up. At Beaver, I have my way! NO artificial LIGHTS ANYWHERE! Apparently this human need for lighting is also detrimental to all the wildlings.

The heat is staying fixed, so far. we each check each am! The heat pump could become reality in my lifetime. 60% fuel savings does cause R to think hard! But nothing is going to happen around here until the travesty with the govt ends, hopefully without us both disintegrating. Ten years is far too long. So, I am not thinking of going to Beaver until we can go together to recover. It will be a major de-clutter when it comes to pass, but only if there is justice.

Silly me, watched the internet for busy-ness of the two stores - WOW, the chart was way low! So I dashed out to the car- Oops 6 inches of frozen snow covered it And it was precipitating something akin to sleet, the sort of night I would have said NO WAY! But I was in gear and managed to clear the windshield - forget the rest. Yes it is illegal but it definitely was not going anywhere. Bought a ton of groceries in the empty stores. And got back in time to put it all away before Terry Joe Banjo's LR concert!

Today, I de-cluttered my US account with a subscription to Atlantic M. Digital and by mail. I can read the dig but R wanted to be able to hold it. Now, if I could figure out e-transfer so I can donate to the two concerts this week.

Need a tough snow shovel to clear some of the back deck and recover the sizable quantity of potting soil from down under! worked on that yesterday but the store phone recording was only in French with no helps... Here I go!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 20 Jan 21 - 09:51 PM

Dupont

Two shovels collected but it was bitter cold out there and I had to declutter the car roof and wait for the windshield to defrost. When I got to the store - the little hardware - I tried some more clearing and a nice man came and helped! By the time I got home, it was too cold and too dark to work. Shovels are inside the back door, with the ash bucket, for tomorrow! Am I really going to drag 3cf of frozen soil into the house? Yep, if I can, I shall! But let it sit for a while - at least 24 hours - before I touch it! The heat is still working!!!

Did not watch the news today but will get the precis tonight.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 Jan 21 - 08:50 PM

First Pfizer vaccine received, the next one in February, and they say "don't call us, we'll call you." I'm not aware of any side effects, save a slightly tender arm at the injection point. And I have the precious card.

In early January I worked on a design for a specialized fabric print (via Joann's) and the samples came today. The fabric is more coarse than I like and there is a muddiness between the colors that I need to work on to create contrast. But I'm on the way to creating a pattern I can use for a couple of specialized purposes. A brighter fabric for the pattern to be printed on might also help. This is my ongoing face mask project.

The house - oy. We've had a couple of days of rain so there is mud tracked through the house. And this week I realized one of the dogs had an accident overnight on the dog-resistant cover and it seeped into the couch upholstery. The cover went into the laundry and the upholstery attachment came out and I finally figured out the setup. It has dried so next I'll spray on some enzyme for treating "pet stains." And no more dogs on the sofa. This morning I walked into the den to find a huge stick lying on the floor, that most likely the blue heeler dragged in from the yard. That is back out the door, but what she does is chew them to pieces and I find all of the chips and splinters around the house.

I kept things quiet today, in case there was any after effect of the vaccine, but it seems to be fine. Tomorrow I'll get out a little. The new mask regulations on federal property and interstate travel won't effect me (wear the mask if I drive on the Interstate highway?) but I hope there are some teeth allowing enforcement of the regulation.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 21 Jan 21 - 10:02 PM

Dupont:

Snow shovel left where it was as we got up to snow/sleet/ some sort of cold, wet precipitation which has not yet stopped. So much for clearing the car yesterday! Might go up to zeroC tomorrow so maybe I will get the soil in. I am ready to redo tomato plantings, with egg shells, once the soil defrosts!

Cooked pork roast w veggies, small stuffed chicken and an acorn squash - all to get them done. Never expected R to get home and 10pm. I doubt I shall see him tonight. Chicken is yummy.

Hope the bridge is safe if R does come home.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Jan 21 - 10:41 AM

As long as I'm reading about Dorothy's slick frozen snow-covered porches I won't complain much about the gooey mud of a Texas winter. I think my garden mattock is still propped beside the door, it needs to go in the garage for a while. No snow shovels here, except the small backpack version I've had since the 1970s.

By last night I realized was more tired than usual and after placing an online order that managed to mangle my addresses, using the post office box for the delivery and home as billing (so will it even go through?) I decided to stop while I was ahead. I signed up for the CDC app for tracking COVID vaccine recipients and reported that I was tired and sluggish with the appropriate radio buttons. No fever.

And the dishes that met me in the sink this morning were testament to my tiredness; I'm surprised I managed to generate so many! I had cleared out some fridge leftovers, made stock with the chicken carcass, pan fried some potatoes to go with the last of the chicken for dinner, finished baking the last batch of some cardamom cookies, and all of the stuff was piled high. Now the dishwasher is full.

Now to tackle the pile of papers on my computer desk.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 22 Jan 21 - 01:01 PM

I have been laid up all week with a pain in the arse. Literally.

Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice: under no circumstances allow your digestive tract to get old even if the rest of you does. The distal end of mine is currently in rebellion, bleeding and throbbing and generally wretched. I actually went to the doctor, quite an accomplishment under the provincial lockdown order. The cream she prescribed, cleverly compounded just for me, turned out to be too soft to be shoved past the sphincter to arrive in the area where the pain lives. So I sallied forth again, much against my will, to buy some old-fashioned over-the-counter suppositories. Dipped in the cleverly compounded cream, they seem to be doing the job, but not nearly fast enough.

Now that I can actually sit, I read about Dorothy's snow-removal and home-heating issues and decided that my existence is relatively blessed. A tractor from Nix Snow-Removal woke me up this morning at some ungodly hour as the nice young fella behind the wheel scraped my driveway clean, and a little later another lad arrived with a shovel and cleared the path to my door and the porch. Luxury. Also, the furnace is performing very nicely.

Stratford is covered with another blanket of picturesque-as-all-hell snow, but the weather is still not particularly cold, at least not by my -- and Dorothy's -- standards. So getting around can be a bit awkward, but not functionally miserable. To while away the hours until we are allowed to poke our noses out again, I purchased a year's subscription to the television streaming service that brings HBO content to Canada. TV is definitely better than it used to be, if you know where to look.

When the lockdown is lifted, I shall declutter the basement of the four bookcases that are now surplus to requirements and buy myself some plant-nursery trays with grow lights. When that was Edmund's television sanctum, there was no room down there, or anywhere else in the house, to set up the six-foot folding table and make a mess with potting soil. I shall start a parsley grow-op, and maybe branch out (see what I did there?) into cilantro.

But for now, I'm content to be able to sit long enough to do the New York Times crossword puzzle. The Friday one is usually a pleasantly twisty challenge.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Jan 21 - 09:35 PM

I drove to the town east of here where I worked for so many years, and in the process stopped at one store and went by the homes of a couple of friends and handed out masks. My former co-worker, also retired, is a full-time artist now and had made a lovely hand-painted bookmark in anticipation of my eventually getting over there. He was one person who I saw right before the election and gave a mask; since then he wears it all of the time and was thrilled when I said I'd bring him a more (and in the light blue that he finds such a good color for him). :) I had an array for "just in case" and when I stopped to see the next friend he was at his son's home and the wife and son were there, so I pulled out a handful to fit various sizes. We did all of our talking outside. At the store I watched an employee walking around talking to someone else and his mask was bobbing up and down on his beard; I walked past and told him his mask didn't fit and handed him one of mine and showed him had to adjust it. He was thrilled and the maskless man he'd been talking to just watched us. It really is too bad that Trump had to turn the coronavirus into a political bogeyman. So many people out there willing to spread it.

Charmion, I wish you well. I have a couple of friends who've had to remedy something similar surgically.

My den floor is a wretched muddy mess right now. Once the weather dries out I have a huge mop and scrub job ahead of me, just like last winter. I can't seem to keep enough mats on the floor in front of the door (they slide around) to pick it up off the dogs' feet. The sofa in the den has been treated with the enzyme and is ready to be put to rights, with the flat chairs laid on top again to keep dogs off. They only get one chance to have an accident then they're not allowed on it at all.

I've gained a couple of new tech jobs this week, so will be doing some online training over the weekend to be up to speed for Zoom management and using a new-to-me web management system. Online skills are in high demand these days.

Stay safe, everyone!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 22 Jan 21 - 09:53 PM

Dupont:

Tears of relief - both of us - as the situation with the Ministry is finally resolved - Almost ten years of increasing stress. Agreement was reached this afternoon in a several hours long Zoom - 7 of them vs 4 of "our team". And a ten minute break for R when his stress level burst out in tears - they got the message, and by mid aft came to a resolution. R said it was kind of like a poker game; he could maybe have have held out for more but he needed it over and is content. Elated that is is over. As am I. We will be in recovery for some time. But, as I mentioned, a major declutter. Now his business life can move on! And maybe even some honey-do jobs!

I did shovel a path - sort of - through frozen snow to the soil but it is frozen to the deck - of course! I think purchasing a new bale is the better part of valour! Manana! I shall have to clear the car again. Or maybe Sunday if R sleeps in and stays home. He/we enjoyed the roast pork and trimmings.

My gut problem seems to have, mostly, resolved itself - with lots of Pau d'Arco. I am relieved to find my malaise was not old age but a "real" problem. Careful what I ingest but a very small quantity of choc helps; a little more hurts! Salads help a lot. But I can go upstairs without each step feeling like an ordeal.

I have hopes that life can now settle into a more peaceful existence. The ultimate de-clutter!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Jan 21 - 05:49 AM

This end you can buy sachets of Fybogel, A natural plant extract (ispaghula, aka psyllium husk) that you mix with water and drink quickly. It isn't a laxative but it softens *things* up nicely by adding bulky fibre (without your having to eat extra tons of worthy wholemeal stuff) so making it much easier to *go.* After a week or so you begin to lose that horrid apprehension that precedes the inevitable *visit* (trying to be as euphemistic as possible in this ever so polite thread...)


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 23 Jan 21 - 07:22 AM

Ah, Steve, I see that you, too, have experience with this malady. I have invested in the largest available box of the doctor’s preferred potion, of which I now swallow 17 grams per day mixed into whatever I’m drinking that isn’t alcoholic. Not sure why it wouldn’t work just as well if stirred into a fine Cabernet Sauvignon, but that’s what the label says.

Dorothy, congratulations on the armistice with the gummint. Over some 25 years of life with a criminal defence lawyer, I learned that official disapproval and/or suspicion ranks right up there with life-threatening disease as a source of stress. I hope you and R will soon feel the benefit of being out from under the cloud.

It snowed again last night and today’s forecast calls for a high of -5 degrees Celsius — cold enough to keep the fresh snow from disintegrating into foot-clogging slush, but not cold enough to clemm the bones. The pain in my nether regions has receded somewhat, so I’ll take a walk today if the sun comes out.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 23 Jan 21 - 11:20 AM

If we're at confession time, I take the capsule version of the psyllium every day. It's essential. This was recommended by the gastroenterologist who administered my last couple of colonoscopies. Doucosate sodium is an additional boost, something the nurse at the hospital where I had my first child told me about. Not a laxative, but a stool softener. (My husband quipped, after our daughter was born, that "now I know what it means when someone says they'll "rip you a new one.") Probably way too much information.

Another rainy muddy day, but one on which the rooted xmas cactus on my kitchen windowsill was crying out to be put in a pot. Now I have one less growing thing on that sill. I have quite a few of these pretty cacti I need to give away now because I can never bring myself to toss out trimmings or broken-off pieces if I can root them instead.

Time to set up the accordion folder for the 2021 bills and receipts. There is a growing pile on the table beside the office closet where that thing lives. The contents of the folder for 2020 go into a large manila envelope and in a few years I'll give the contents a cursory glance then put them in the burning barrel.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: JennieG
Date: 23 Jan 21 - 07:24 PM

The time has come. The pantry has to be cleaned out and, in the process, de-cluttered.

Nearly two weeks ago we - Himself, Bianca the Elderly Cat, and I - were peacefully minding our own business one evening when we heard a really loud bang. We couldn't find a cause inside the house, and despite some lightning flashing in the distance we decided it was too far away for the noise to have been thunder. So we shrugged our shoulders nd continued on with life.

Forward to last Sunday night.

Having taken the last of the olives from the opened jar in the fridge I reached into the pantry for a new jar, and taking it to the bench I noticed drips on the floor. "Oh dear", thought I, "jar must be cracked", so the olives were decanted and the jar checked - no cracks. Looked more closely in the pantry......

.....and realised that the bang heard several nights earlier was the lid of a ring pull can of apricot halves letting go. I had forgotten it was there and it must have fermented, pressure had built up in the tin, and now the wall and shelf need to be cleaned; in fact the whole pantry could do with a good re-organisation. It has been a very busy week so we haven't had a chance to get to it before now.

Sigh.......


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Steve Shaw
Date: 23 Jan 21 - 07:35 PM

We don't really get rats. But we have had a rat for a couple of weeks. Outside only, thankfully. I bought a live-capture rat trap. Tonight, after two weeks, I caught a rat. I'm not going to tell you its fate. I suppose there may be more...


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 23 Jan 21 - 08:07 PM

Where one rat turns up, more are inevitable. Good luck with the trap.

My lady, plump tomcat Watson slaughtered another mouse last night, with plenty of howling and thumping in the small hours. Thank God, so far no rats have invaded the house, but this street is only a few hundred metres from farmland, so they’re out there.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 23 Jan 21 - 11:01 PM

I have a very deep 10-gallon bucket that the live trap is dropped into. I use a live trap for rats because it catches toads and lizards as often as rats, and I want them to survive. Not the rats.

I stopped putting out bird seed to stop attracting rats, though they also will turn up in the garden when crops are ripening. I caught several rats last year but none this year, though something has continued to take bites out of some of the low-hanging vegetables.

Jennie, that sounds like a classic pantry failure. When I worked on my Dad's estate there were cans stored under a table of shelves that had been there so long they were in various stages of rust, ooze, and swelling. The only thing that saved the shelves was that they were papered.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 23 Jan 21 - 11:27 PM

Watson is a *lazy*, plump tomcat. But you knew that.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 24 Jan 21 - 11:40 AM

We’ve had several problems with rats over the years here but we have been clear for a while now. Our most recent rodent problem was with mice but I think the chap who came and filled in possible entrance holes before Christmas was successful in his efforts.

I put the curtains, which I stumbled upon in a shed while looking for something else, up in the kitchen yesterday. The room had been without any for over a year. I remember the old pair were worn out and ordering the ones I found but I can’t remember the reason why I didn’t fit them at the time. They will have to come down again for ironing – a task I’ll leave to someone else but they will do as they are for now.

I’ve also tried to look at something waiting to be done for an even longer time. When Wales had a great run in the Euro 2016 football, I bought mum a red dragon weather vane. She did asked a few people who did other jobs here to fit it but the fitting never happened. I’ll never get it up on the side of the wall as was planned but I’m toying with putting it on the green shed. The problem is that it’s got quite a heavy iron bracket which I assume is that made so solidly for a reason and I’m unsure of the fixing points on the shed. If I get it wrong, I think it would be down in a good wind, taking part of a shed panel with it… Anyway, idea deferred for another and rather finer day.

In the meanwhile, I’ve now started playing with another printer idea. I’m not at all sure I’ll manage this one but it gives me a project to think about. The aim is to make something loosely based on the Mamod TE1a traction engine model. I aim to have it remote control, working with a transmitter I bought when I was trying to fly small helis.

Oh, and on Covid. My parents are due to receive their first vaccination tomorrow.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Jan 21 - 12:49 PM

Last night when I went to bed I decided to think about what my next large project should be, but I fell asleep before I reached any conclusions. Maybe that's a better thing to think about over breakfast. :-)


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 24 Jan 21 - 01:30 PM

I like it SRS. Sometimes I wake up actually going through the steps I might take to do something.

Some might say they leave their subconscious mind to something...

I dunno but there's that crossword your stuck on. You leave it and come back to it a few hours later you (sometimes) find an answer you were missing staring you in the face.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Jan 21 - 03:12 PM

That's what power naps are for - when I was in graduate school I finally realized that when the extreme fatigue washed over me, if I set the timer for 15-20 minutes and took a short nap, I'd wake having essentially untangled whatever it was I was trying to work out. It serves me well, especially if I'm learning something new. Pause, take that nap, then continue.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 24 Jan 21 - 03:25 PM

Dupont:

Day one of de-compressing was fairly successful; Driving 2 hours south, past the "mill" to look at a house the R's cousin Doug had found on line, for his family. I drove cautiously, as the wind blew wildly and the snow blew madly across the roads from the prairie-like cornfields. Doug had not managed to get hold of the realtor but we had looked at it on line and WOW! We arrived to find 5 vehicles in the drive and a woman who had just bought it, she said. Just as well we did not get to go in!

R had not been down to the area in months and was glad to see familiar places, remember all the good Valley music we enjoyed down there, and good people we have met and not seen for ages; and to stop at the mill and assess the roof collapse - not as bad as he feared; it will wait to spring, of course. I had hoped for take out at the thai resto but closed. So drove back along the river roads, enjoying the snow sculptures.

Saw only one house for sale and R did a pic of the sign - COLD out there! Completed trip home through one of the most historic areas along the St. Lawrence. A series of wows! Did R good. Today, at home, there are periodic bursts of "It's over!!!!"

Over 4 hours driving took a toll on me but I did it and that means I can drive to Beaver soon. I drove because it was less stressful for me than R driving, and R could field phone calls. It was a good break. Then I fed us and rested. Good to have all that cooked food in frig, ready to dish out.

R is moving toward getting real things done. I am trying not to be pushy about the many little things - "new" K sink - stainless instead of the weird composite one that is uncleanable, and a counter. But, more importantly, for him, is that he can now plan to start winding up the business and we can maybe get to go visit family and other parts of Canada in a year or so.

We picked up a large plastic garbage can for ashes and compost together - on the deck so I do not have to brave frozen snow, dangerous steps and the long walk to the compost spot. There will be no above freezing weather for at least 2 weeks. We tried to get some soil but there was only Miracle grow and I am not paying for additives! I'll try the local store tomorrow, maybe do a screen shot of what I want so I can show it when I go in.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Jan 21 - 03:36 PM

MiracleGro is a bad idea in general - all salts, it messes up plants. Good to pass by it. Some day you'll have to find a forum where you can describe what the court case was and why it dragged on for so long. Whatever it was, I'm glad it's over!

I was given a loaf of olive/onion bread on Friday and have been enjoying it a slice or two at a time. Today for lunch I warmed a bowl of my crustless quiche and toasted a slice of that bread. It's very moist, so after toasting (that really only warmed it up but didn't crisp it up) I piled on shredded sharp cheddar cheese and put it in the toaster oven to toast some more. Very nice together for that meal. It's a drizzly overcast day so hot spice tea is also a treat today.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 25 Jan 21 - 10:50 AM

Dupont:

What a relief today to be able to hug R good by after our two days of "It's over!" He celebrated his freedom from the "sword" by spending most of yesterday doing some sort of dreadful clean up work in the basement. (I do not go down there.) I call it dreadful; he is elated! After a nice bath and clean clothes in the am, he came back up covered with dust/dirt... Happy! "Now, I can plan!" I had to insist those clothes go directly into laundry. And that he wash again - I changed bed, did laundry. Clean bed! And a good night's sleep.

At Bf this am we talked about how to improve the Kitchen - the dead dishwasher? - could he take it out and replace with drawers... He ate and ate yesterday and had the first "good event" in months, this am. The weight has lifted, life can improve, things can get done...

But no date yet to go to Beaver. Cousin Doug is still house hunting and sent us 3 new ideas - Only one did I consider feasible and we may go look at it with him later this week. When others dwell in difficulties, R dwells in possibilities. Now that the weight is lifted, everything looks better - on our third consecutive day of SUN!

OH! it WAS sunny! MAybe some cobweb and dust de-cluttering today.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 25 Jan 21 - 01:44 PM

I read this morning that approximately 10 days out from the first vaccine it becomes approximately 90% effective, and two weeks after the second dose it reaches the 95% effectiveness. I am still planning to shop during stores' quietest times, but it means that my sense of dread will diminish.

Yesterday I conducted an oatmeal cooking experiment. I usually set up the small 75-watt 1-quart crock pot overnight and by morning it's perfect. I forgot to set it up, and the rice cooker was still out, so I followed my 1:2 recipe (oats to water) plus salt and chopped dates. (The cooker recipe book has you measuring with their plastic cup for oats and a regular cup for water.) It came out very good, but there was a 30 minute wait. The best part of this is little to no crust on the bottom of the pot, as always happens when it cooks on the stove. The crock pot method ends up with a small crusty ring around the very top edge of the oats. The crockpot means it's ready when I want to eat, but if I need to cook it in another manner, I'll use the rice cooker instead of a stovetop method.

I had a cactus rooting on the windowsill that was put in a pot over the weekend, and now I need to attend to the pothos plant on top of my Hoosier Kitchen near the back window. It has very long vines with few leaves, and I'll cut off some of them and root them. The plant itself needs to be repotted. Spring may still be a distance off for planting in the yard, but I can tend to some of the house plants until then.

Dorothy, I envy you having a basement, even as disreputable as you make yours sound at the moment. Most of the houses here are put up on concrete slabs, that then shift and crack. I'm near a creek so the water table might be an issue, but one I'd be willing to tackle.

Charmion, I hope you're feeling better. I hope Michelle and Pete are continuing their progress, Dorothy and R continue to rebound after the legal issue that weighed them down was lifted, and that Alice is on the mend. Jon has told us he's well enough to move back into his own room (that is wonderful, back in your own space!) and I recently rearranged my bedroom furniture back to their old positions before the knee replacement meant I needed a clear path for the walker. Donuel always has a few projects underway - I hope they're working out well. It's almost spring in a new year with an effective vaccine starting to make the rounds - here's hoping 2021 is a truly excellent year for all!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 25 Jan 21 - 02:06 PM

Unrelated to above - years ago when I moved into this house I found stuff left in the attic. One of the things I saved was a vintage wooden yard stick - do you remember how stores used to have them printed with their name and slogans and hand them out, kind of like Home Depot and Lowes hand out paint sticks now? This was an old one from when J.C. Penny had fabric and such and I discovered it hidden in my office closet this weekend, so took a small nail and hung it on the wall in my sewing room near a doorway so it blends in along the door lines. I have a few other things here like that I need to put up since they're not actually being used. Clutter as art. :)


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 25 Jan 21 - 06:42 PM

Dupont,

A great deal of art might be viewed as clutter, and clutter as art! I am sure I have a couple old yard sticks - in a long round container also containing some nifty posters. R noted yesterday that we really have not moved in yet. Any art on the walls is whatever has surfaced so far and been placed on left over nails from prev owner. Maybe we can now begin to regain stuff from the city and the mill and re-home - or dispose of it. If cousin Doug buys a home, R could easily help him furnish it with a surfeit of nice old bureaus and desks.

Spring is approaching and a potter friend somewhere in Texas spoke today of having tomato plants ready to put out in 8 weeks! Here it would be closer to 16 weeks! So,I just keep nurturing my tomato cuttings! It was lovely and sunny for most of the day but bitter cold.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 26 Jan 21 - 08:57 AM

Over the weekend (what's a weekend these days?), I sorted the contents of he Glory Hole and extracted a whole whack of cooking equipment I can't see myself ever using again.

Edmund's collection of silicone doohickeys for poaching eggs, a clay-baker big enough for a small turkey, two (Count 'em! -- Two!) fish kettles, two baguette molds, and smaller rubble galore ... At present, I have no idea what to do with it all, and the accumulation covers the top of a six-foot table.

I guess it can stay there for a while -- in fact, it has to, as the provincial lockdown has no forecast end date yet.

Meanwhile, it's snowing again. Yesterday, for the first time since we moved here, the scheduled pick-up of stuff for recycling did not happen, and blue boxes are sitting forlornly in snowbanks along the street. I will improve the shining hour with a load of laundry.

What larks, eh?


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 26 Jan 21 - 06:36 PM

Charmion, I think I'd be tempted to try using some of those gadgets to see if they could have a place in the kitchen cupboards. I have a clay baker that fits a chicken (I've found them at estate sales or thrift stores the size to cook small turkeys, but I sold them on eBay). Chicken cooked with carrots, potatoes, and onions in that Romertopf is tender and falling off the bones when it comes out of the oven. A baguette mold? Definitely something to give a try!

By the time you are able to donate them you might have decided some bear a second glance.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 27 Jan 21 - 09:16 AM

I have two other clay-bakers, Stilly: one small enough for a single meal for two, and the other the right size for a fairly large chicken or a rice-based dish for six. The biggest one was Edmund's idea; he came home with it one day with that look in his eye that always meant that he had come up with another Iron Chef challenge. I think I have used it twice in ten years.

As for the baguette moulds, I was never the fancy-bread baker of the family; that was Edmund's obsession. I thought one of my sisters-in-law would like them -- she fell in love with yeast baking during the first lockdown -- but her oven is one of those bisexual microwave-convection things and it's exactly one inch too narrow to accommodate them.

I am having second thoughts about one of the fish kettles, but only one; if you're not running a restaurant or feeding a family of twelve, you don't need two. Again, the second one came home with Edmund, who had attended a silent auction without me (my role being the frequent reiteration of No).

Today I am again putting up with digestive distress, fortunately minor discomfort of a familiar kind. It's distracting and definitely takes the shine off the day, so I'm drinking peppermint tea, eating bland high-fibre foods in small quantities, and doing my best to think positively.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel
Date: 27 Jan 21 - 09:55 AM

Clay bakers are by far the ideal way to nake the most tender chicken in the world. With so many you could dedicate one to beef and one to chicken.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 27 Jan 21 - 11:46 AM

I concur about chicken and clay bakers. I have recipes for other things, but mine is used pretty much just for chicken. And I can understand Charmion's kitchen gadget surplus issue - my dad had a lot more kitchen stuff than he ever could use and it was divided out between four of us, resulting in well-stocked kitchens for all.

I'm awaiting my order of a new pair of Gingher knife edge dressmaker shears. After knocking my original pair off of the table they now have a notch knocked into both halves that awkwardly snag when I get to within an inch of the point. The guy who sharpens stuff will be at my local craft store on the first Friday of the month so in a week and a half I'll take the old pair in for sharpening and I hope that takes care of it. This is how we end up with more than one of many things around the house, I can get a new pair in two days from Amazon and don't have to wait 10 days to keep doing my sewing projects.

Jennie, how is the pantry work coming along? I imagine you'll find all sorts of stuff you forgot about in there. I'm sure I have lost track of many items stored in the small closet I converted into a pantry several years ago.

I'm reminded by Charmion's remarks to keep eating my oatmeal for breakfast, for digestive and cholesterol-reducing benefits. The kidney beans I'll be cooking this afternoon have the same benefits.

I'm feeling out-of-sorts about all of the stuff sitting around today; I think the sunshine is reminding me that spring is nearby and spring cleaning is a thing I need to do. Today I should start with a run over to the village recycle bins; there are a lot of cardboard boxes that have reproduced like bunnies lately and need flattening and deposit in the bins. And the den floor - such a mass of muddy dog prints. One more day of drying in the yard and I think I can successfully mop without more being tracked in. And once the turf starts growing then there's a lot less mud available for tracking.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: JennieG
Date: 27 Jan 21 - 03:27 PM

Not really coming along at all, Maggie......it's been a bit warm for spending time in a small room sorting stuff (it is a walk-in pantry, but it's not huge). We have been promised some milder weather over the next few days, so the cleanout is looking promising.

Meanwhile, I finished a quilt top last week and am extremely and very thrilled with it. Now working on a pieced back.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel
Date: 27 Jan 21 - 06:26 PM

I've seen some amazing quilts, they are the tapestries of our day.

Light sconces above each painting is one way to decorate but I found another way to illuminate wall art from 10 to 30 feet away by putting a light behind a crystal ball (12 inches or more) that acts like a lens and can focus a beam on large or small works. Works with lasar projectors too. Putting a small crystal ball (6 inches) in a gold fish bowl filled with water makes an unusual conversation piece.
Other unusual effects can be done with mirrors and sunlight that can project a reflected image on picture windows (old movie technology).


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 28 Jan 21 - 11:13 PM

On January 16 I posted a link to a YouTube video about scraps (or "crumbs") of fabric and I've generated a large bin-full as I work on masks. I'll need to learn about how to assemble crazy quilts from blocks made from those scraps.

I ran a few small errands and more envelopes of 3D face masks went into the mail. I have things that need doing and have been put off, but these mailings are a nice start.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 29 Jan 21 - 11:19 AM

I donate to a few good causes (especially since the election of 2016) and they send me mail at my post office box. And often those solicitations include mailing labels. I get so many I shred stacks of them every so often. I do also mail things from my house (non bills, generally) and am close to out of my little roll of labels, so have decided to change my mailing address for one of the most prolific mailing-label-senders. That should take care of the need for more labels. They are going to mail them somewhere, I might as well direct them to where they'll be useful.

I was reading an article from a UK newspaper that talked about "Do One Thing" to help the planet, and it confirms that I'm already doing a lot, compared to the author. She uses a lot of disposable products: cosmetic wipes - who wears cosmetics? Wash your face with a rough washcloth for the removal of dead skin and anything else. Disposable sanitary pads - nope - the surgeon ended all of that abruptly years ago. Tea bags - I buy it loose and use strainers or tea balls - Deodorant - nope, it isn't good for you I haven't used it since high school. I'm sure there are still many things I could do to be more environmentally friendly, I'll have to give that some consideration.

Plastic. If I could either find fewer products in plastic or find better ways to reuse what comes through the house, that would be good. Melt it into ingots and use them to build walls around the garden?


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 29 Jan 21 - 11:24 AM

Plastic ingots. Hmmm. Lego for grown-ups?


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 29 Jan 21 - 06:40 PM

Building blocks on a large scale. Commercial recyclers make plastic lumber for lots of outdoor stuff, but the off gas of heating the plastic could be toxic so I probably shouldn't try to do it myself.

I spent the afternoon tracking down a defunct website for a friend and figuring out what web hosting service still has it up in all of it's out-of-date glory. But it's Friday afternoon in New York and the main registration company is there, so I quit for now.

There are projects I want to work on around here, but several of them involve going somewhere to look for parts or taking the leap and ordering sight-unseen online. It's the weekend when stores will have more people in them, so projects wait until Monday and I'll work here over the weekend with what I have. Even with the vaccines starting to be given in the area, nothing done in public is safer right now. I'm almost to the half-way point between vaccine shots, so the first one should in theory be doing a pretty good job of protecting me, but I'm not going to go out and test it.

I think being out of sorts, as mentioned earlier in the week, is a feature of COVID cabin fever, while the political stuff going on right now doesn't help. It's time to turn the attention to a list of things to cross off, and let those small successes help improve the mood. Clearing off desktops and counters, organizing the laundry room and potting bench, etc. Dusting and mopping. There is no shortage of items to be done around here. I did offload a bunch of recycling last night, and now I need to put more things in the donate bin and move them out of the house.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 29 Jan 21 - 08:04 PM

Dupont:

And wondering when we shall ever get back to Beaver! Tonight I was looking at pottery supply sites, pondering the idea of purchasing a new wheel and clay; Desperation setting in! R did mention taking a truckload of machinery to somewhere east of Toronto "soon". "lockdowns" in both Quebec and Ontario - each with own unclear rules and if I go to ON will I be able to come back to QC??? The autocrat in Quebec City is clueless imo. But numbers have dropped. But he can change rules with the speed of summer lightning.

This means I am feeling better physically and need to DO Something, specifically produce pottery for an order, and for summer - hopeful! Anyway, I wanted to do some cleaning yesterday but could find neither broom nor dustpan. Put a note on R's place mat! Yep! They were down cellar. MY tools! I am getting frustrated by the fact that I cannot just run to a store and get this or that. I really feel the need to plan for best times. The list for "next trip" now includes clean up tools for the cellar - actually for me; he can use the old ones!

At minus 17C I was not keen on going out the door but the sun on the front was so wonderful that I de-cluttered the car of a few inches of snow, after sweeping the front steps of the last bit. Nice to be out for a few minutes. I feel the days getting longer and sense spring on its way.

Did sort out some sewing projects the other day. Would love to make a dress out of a beautiful piece of soft cotton. Hung it over the ironing board to remind me. Do not have the guts to cut the neckline without a real pattern - not found yet. SIGH!

Did up some sauteed pears for BF, quite a lot but R loves them. Saving the seeds to see if I can start some more pear trees. For what purpose? Just because.

Supposed to get warmer at end of next week; just maybe I can go to Beaver on my own. There will be tons of frozen snow... Ordering new wheel and clay...sounds better again. Even a serious thaw will not get me into the studio.

I did clean some floors. Now looking at the rads... Any ideas for cleaning long neglected rads will be considered. I am sure the need to clean is a sign of spring!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 29 Jan 21 - 09:52 PM

There's a newsletter from The Atlantic this evening with 10 suggestions for the weekend, but they could be suggestions for all of COVID-19 staying at home. I put in a few of the hot links from the piece; I don't see a web version to share but don't want to spend the next 15 minutes adding links.

(JAN BUCHCZIK)

As the country nears a year spent in isolation, many Americans find themselves hitting a “pandemic wall” of burnout.

If you’re feeling stuck—and looking for safe, socially distant activities—turn to this list.

1. Try a jigsaw puzzle.

They can be good for your brain, our staff writer Marina Koren explains:

They’re wonderfully engrossing, and research suggests that the activity gives your cognitive functions a good workout and can help stave off dementia in older adults. Other pros: working with your hands, building an image that isn’t the same walls you see every day, the satisfying snap of two pieces fitting together. Cons: I can’t think of any.

2. Check in on a senior.

Mary Stachyra Lopez, an audience editor, writes:

Isolation has been hard on everyone—but nobody has been hit as hard as seniors, who “are much more likely than their younger counterparts to live in care facilities and many of whom have struggled to connect in a socially distanced or virtual fashion,” Annie Lowrey reported earlier this month. Call someone who may be lonely just to chat. Offer to order groceries for them. Or mail them a letter. You may find a greater sense of purpose by stepping outside yourself.

3. Immerse yourself in fiction.

Try one of these five short stories. If you’d prefer something longer, revisit our list of the 15 best books of 2020.

4. Or reread a great piece of journalism.

This piece on earthworms is sure to give you a squirm.

5. Hold a movie night, with matching food or drinks.

Christian Paz from our Politics team was inspired by a TikTok challenge:

Make one dish or drink for each movie in a series. For instance, try a Harry Potter weekend where you make a “unicorn blood” cocktail (tequila, lemon juice, and St-Germain) for the Sorcerer’s Stone, a gin-based Polyjuice Potion for Chamber of Secrets, and so on. This weekend, I’m trying my hand at a High School Musical marathon with hot dogs and chili cheese fries, and a spiked fruit punch on the side.

6. Make something (anything) with your hands.

Katie Martin, an art director whose work you’ve probably seen on our stories, has a suggestion:

When the weather was warmer, I fashioned zoo animals out of old boxes with my 3- and 5-year-old neighbors. Paper-towel tubes became giraffe necks; construction-paper scraps became ears, noses, and tails; old boxes became vibrant habitats. Nothing disconnects you from the chaos of the world like cutting cardboard and bending pipe cleaner.

Here are eight other ways to stay creative at home.

7. Turn to the philosophers.

Are you a Stoic or an Epicurean? There are two kinds of happy people, our happiness columnist, Arthur C. Brooks, argues—and both map onto ancient tradition.

8. Or contemplate some poetry.

Our writers and editors curated this list of nine timely works worth reading.

9. Throw a solo dance party.

The champagne has long gone flat, but our New Year’s Eve playlist is as crisp and bubbly as ever. (Find the Spotify version.)

Back then, we asked you to share what song you were kicking off 2021 with. Here’s a playlist of reader picks.

10. Hone your crossword skills.

Learn to speak “crosswordese.” Our crossword editor, Caleb Madison, offers nine solving tips to get you finishing puzzles faster.

We publish mini ones every weekday, and a bigger puzzle on Sundays. Did you know you can even solve virtually with a loved one? Just use the “Play Together” button (to the right of the timer) to add a pal from afar.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 30 Jan 21 - 03:03 PM

Warm today, but very windy, the kind of wind that often blows the ballcap off of your head and deposits grit in one's eyes. I'll see if it calms later this afternoon before deciding to walk the dogs.

I got to talking to an old friend from high school last night and will be making some masks for her granddaughters and herself; she will be sending money mostly to cover fabric (I'll look for some "princess" patterns next time at the fabric store) and postage. I've heard about people doing a lot of things like check cashing at Walmart, but she said she banks there, she doesn't use PayPal, etc. I didn't know that was a Walmart service? I'll be going to the local store one day early next week (senior hours) to collect the cash. I've always wished the U.S. Post Office would take on banking services, I think it makes a lot of sense with as many people who are "unbanked" these days and pay high fees for services like sending cash and check cashing.

Yesterday's detective work on tracking down the host of an old website has me thinking there are a number of things I want to know how to do better in that regard, so I'll be pulling up some more of the online training to do with that kind of web service. And harking back to yesterday's list from The Atlantic, it's a virtual puzzle for me to solve, since I don't have any jigsaw puzzles here to work on.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 31 Jan 21 - 11:45 AM

Today I am making Sunday dinner for me and the relatives, who are as eager for my company as I am for theirs. Not that any of us is of significant entertainment value to the others, but anything for a (legal) change. Ontario is still buttoned up tight.

I have come to realize that I am not often particularly motivated to cook for myself alone; my interest kicks in when I have someone else — anyone else, to be honest — to feed. (I would probably grill a steak for the plumber if he came at supper time.) So the rellies can look forward to many invitations to get their knees under my table.

And now I know why my grandmother always summoned us (parents, brothers and me) to Sunday dinner. “No thank you” was not an option.

Dinner will be chicken with brown rice pilaf (baked in the Römertopf) and roasted sprouts, followed by crème brûlée. (I haven’t made crème brûlée since the 80s; can’t think why not.) I even hit the LCBO for a new bottle of Grand Marnier because the rellies like it. Of course, I like it too, but I notice that I have no taste for the stuff when it’s just me and the cats at table.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 31 Jan 21 - 11:58 AM

The dusting program faltered a while back and needs to resume, starting with my office. If today I start on the bookshelves I might be inspired to re-organize some of the stuff on the shelves that really should live somewhere else or gone entirely. Last night I disturbed dust in the office closet when I put away the last of the holiday decorations and moved a few boxes to a shelf recently emptied of a huge CRT monitor. I should empty the closet and rearrange it, discarding a lot of stuff and setting up the burning barrel for other stuff. Whatever I choose to do, I need to pick something that makes a visual improvement to get the mood-boost from successfully finishing something.

Yesterday's warm temperature was offset by high winds, and it has reversed today to cooler temperatures and no wind. It's sunny, so maybe opening the garage door and doing some work while the sun is shining into the space is a good approach. I plan to cut some brush soon so this weekend I could take a few minutes to sharpen a couple of tools for that.

Even though I don't have anywhere to go on Monday mornings for the foreseeable COVID future, I still tend to treat Sunday like a "school night" and do laundry and and cleanup for the week ahead.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 31 Jan 21 - 04:00 PM

Dupont:

Another cold sunny day. Lots of animal tracks in the woods. I made tracks last night, after I checked "how busy" and dashed off to do shopping at the two shops. And get back before the 8 pm curfew. With double mask, it was a tich harder to breath plus the stress and the hurry, I was glad that R was home to help bring in bags and even helped put some away. Actually nice to have him becoming more K savvy - as long as he does not get in the way of my choreographed preps. He scavenged his own supper last night from myriad planned overs. I had a grilled cheese and green pepper on pumpernickel sandwich - first in several years. Fed up with sameness, added a few new items to freezer. Fried sweet potato slices are a new fav - in shallow olive oil in frying pan, drained on piece of sheeting.

Minding plants, now that furnace is working they need more watering! Found my patterns!!! And a couple unfinished projects. Still undecided about how to proceed with pottery. If I could get a trustworthy person to clear the back decks at Beaver ... Messaged Dan and trying to think who else might know such a person. A nasty job with all that frozen snow. Fire in stove today.

Finally found a book that interests me amongst all those he has dragged home. (Last Train to Berlin, a memoir, nicely written)


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 01 Feb 21 - 11:22 AM

Your dinner sounds excellent, Charmion, I hope it turned out as good as it sounds! Dorothy, good luck finding someone to clear that deck!

Executive decisions happened this weekend. I decided to push two of the biggest projects that have languished (some for years) to the front.

The question of how to scan my slides has always vacillated between get a good full-sensor camera and gear to put slides in front of an extension tube and mount to re-photograph them (best) or get the $5000 scanner with the SilverFast software and do it that way (also best). The other choices meant mechanical means that were more cumbersome, but I've decided to go with the high-end cumbersome answer for now (thank you, stimulus check) and start on the boxes in the closet. And my goal to pay off the loan within a year (the original plan for that check) will still happen by adding extra to the payment each month. The simple trick is to not spend the money on other things. :-/

The other one is to finally make the shirt from the fabric and supplies stacked on the dining table forever. I cleared the table and spread out the board last night. The layout work needs doing in the morning hours when the light is better in there.

I've started on both of these projects, and the dusting in the office is important now so the slides are easier to scan with fewer specks appearing and needing to be (digitally) removed.

Along with the slides is the flatbed scanning project of a box of documents from my Dad's house. I'll have to figure out where these things are going to live on the computer but I have the space for it, I've always had the space for it. Now just the will to do the work.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel
Date: 02 Feb 21 - 06:06 AM

I'm going on a media diet. Yesterday I was in an uncharacteristic dark mood. Between current events, weather and the 16 week forcast for the pandemic I felt awful. Already the fog is lifting but a change up is long due. The simple act of rubbing my eyes and seeing geometric colorful shapes was replaced with just a dull grey indicating a neurological low. No fever, since by rolling my eyes upward I have always been able to determine my temperature by the degree of pain or discomfort I feel. Eyes are not windows to the soul, they are in fact part of the brain.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 02 Feb 21 - 09:05 AM

Sunday dinner was great; so good, in fact, that I had to turf the rellies at half-past nine before they settled in for the night. The crème brûlée was rather more brûlée than it should have been — next time, only three minutes, if that, under the broiler — but everything else was boffo. I have not lost my touch with custard.

Yesterday brought a very large surprise: the payment of the Supplementary Death Benefit portion of Edmund’s Army pension. Without warning, or so much as an explanatory form letter, it landed in my chequing account like an elephant dumped out the back of a passing cargo plane. Thus I have become a member of the investor class, as a lifetime of hard work (Edmund’s) and thrift (mine) had already set me up with a more than adequate pension income for the rest of my life. My lawyer warned me, with characteristic froideur, that I could well end up spending every penny on nursing homes if my life turns out to be as indecently long as is typical of my family.

The sun is shining in Stratford today, so I plan a pedestrian excursion to the post office. First, however, I shall telephone the town hall to find out why the recycling wasn’t picked up yesterday.

Donuel’s media diet strikes me as a good idea, and I might join him — at least with respect to reports and speculation about American politics. Swearing off the New York Times would be a jolt to my mental system; what if Paul Krugman solved the world’s problems and I missed it?


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 02 Feb 21 - 11:01 AM

Despite how often I appear to be on various platforms, I find that sometimes a day or a weekend away has a calming effect. It doesn't always mean the radio or TV is off, sometimes I just turn on a classical or blues channel on broadcast or Sirius, or set streaming TV on the America Test Kitchen channel, or watch a day or two of This Old House or police procedurals. I wish Pluto had a Nancy Ziemann Sewing With Nancy channel. I've saved up a few PBS programs to go in and watch several at a time, and I have some audiobooks but I haven't listened for a while. Those are ideas!

Charmion, your letters and calls worked. Good luck in managing the income. My savings credit union savings gets about 0.01% interest these days but my Vanguard (no load) account is in funds that get between 10 and 15% a year. Not a lot of money in there, but I'm working on it.

Congratulations on the dinner; that's a doubly nice occasion when you have good company and a great meal. I had lunch last week with my daughter and we were back in her work parking garage and it was a little chilly. Our autumn picnics were nice. Often it's too hot or too cold around here to sit outside for long.

Dusting the office and cutting out a pattern for a flannel shirt today.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 03 Feb 21 - 12:45 PM

I have started, but not completed those tasks. I used a mop to remove the dogs' muddy path across the den (I have a steam cleaner that might work on the crevices in the tiles but haven't tried that yet); it looks so much better now. In the office I can get into the closet and have more space on one side. It is time for the burning barrel for what will amount to an inches-deep stack of paper once I really get going in there. I cleared out a basket on the kitchen bookshelves and found the information about the tiles I'd like to put down in the hall bathroom. Inexpensive (relatively) but hard porcelain so they're less likely to crack, and with a surface that will be non-skid. So many things to work on.

UPS sent an update about a parcel wending it's way to the house, so it looks like the shipping for the designed fabric swatches is correct after all (it appeared to be reversed when I placed the order - I don't like having to wait on line at the post office anyway, but especially now.) Last night I worked on a small video about making masks, but the camera batteries kept running low and stopping. I've charged everything overnight so will try again later today. With a fixed camera on a tripod I have to be sure all of the action is captured but is close enough so viewers can see what I'm trying to illustrate. I drew down my fabric stash when all of this started, but am now back up to a robust collection. The video is destined for YouTube and a link to my blog.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel
Date: 03 Feb 21 - 04:58 PM

Today I converted a high quality movie screen and stand for projection TV.
I was able to lose 30 lbs of needless weight. The screen, not mine.
now it hangs by one screw.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 04 Feb 21 - 11:10 AM

At one time I thought having a screen and a good quality WiFi-type projector was the way to go - just as well they were so expensive that I never got around to buying one. The TVs on the market these days cost less than the projectors and the quality is excellent. I have TVs around the house, the only time I'll buy any more is as replacement, and one day I'll get a larger one for the den (and move that one in there now to the bedroom to use for Yoga exercises streaming - the one in there now is small to see from across the room).

Dusting pretty much finished in a couple of rooms, more sweeping now that the dust has settled on the floor. And I may need to rearrange my computer desk if I'm going to set up the new scanner. It arrived in a large box with a wad of newspaper on top but no padding. A box with the classic symbol of the cracked wineglass to suggest it's fragile. I need to test it soon to be sure it survived the journey.

Last week I played with the Google Fit app on my phone; usually when I walk the dogs it figures out I'm walking and tracks the route and tells me the time and distance, but it cuts corners and usually misses part of the route. Through experimentation I realized that I can tell it when I'm starting out and it will track my route very accurately and record the distance with a lovely little map. It doesn't really matter except the exact route and distance is a nice incentive to keep using it and see where all I'm walking. I'll plan to continue using it the way it was intended to work.

The CDC is still sending out queries about how I'm feeling after the first vaccine. I'm curious to see if it knows when I get the second shot or if I have to tell it. And then I guess we'll repeat the process, daily check-ins for the first week, then weekly. I'm happy to be part of the information gathering system. I'd be happy to be part of a contact tracing app, telling me if I've been near anyone with COVID, but Texas doesn't seem interested in that kind of data.

Today comes the first stab at doing my income taxes. I have a friend who some years ago learned that her refund was claimed by an imposter who stole her identity, and we all realized that the best way to avoid that is to file ASAP. I say the "first stab" because I usually discover some new form or worksheet I need to fill out or use to calculate my percentage of discount, etc. This year in the US there is a line for charitable donation credit, even if you don't itemize. One more set of papers to dig out since I stopped saving them a couple of years ago when these new tax forms came out and you couldn't take that credit if you didn't itemize. I think Trump was trying to depress charitable giving to organizations he didn't like by removing the tax benefits for most people. Someone appears to have snuck it back into the forms, if only on a small scale.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 05 Feb 21 - 12:42 AM

The taxes are calculated, but I find that the Free Fillable Forms won't be opened for use until next week on Friday. I don't use the various free tax services available from the irs.gov site, I use the free forms out there for anyone. Fill it in with the information from my penciled in forms and every so often hit the "do the math" button. Save, print, send.

Tomorrow morning I take my sewing shears in to be sharpened. I may load up a few other pairs of scissors and if the price isn't too extreme, get them all a little TLC.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 05 Feb 21 - 08:53 AM

It's snowing like billy-be-damned in southwestern Ontario, and the wind is shaking the trees and howling in the chimney. A good day to do little and go nowhere. Television may well be watched.

I can't start on the 2020 taxes until Revenue Canada coughs up its statements of our employment and pension income, and deductions made at source. Since COVID is invoked so consistently for torpid and/or opaque government performance, I assume these documents won't appear until the penultimate minute, and the resulting frenzy to file on time will break the Internet.

Question for the Hive Mind: What does one do with framed diplomas when the need to impress/reassure clients has passed? Edmund's collection of credentials -- four university diplomas, two law licences & his Army commission -- covers rather a lot of wall where I would rather put something else.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 05 Feb 21 - 11:53 AM

And here I've been thinking about how to move a desk to reach the spot where I want to put my MA diploma on the wall after the ceiling restoration. I wonder if they would be of interest to his siblings? Nieces and nephews? Agencies he worked with? You could take them out of the frames and store them in a roll until you figure if anyone needs them. Or shred them.

Since I had to organize some papers to do the taxes I've kept moving along those lines and sorted, filed, and shredded more papers, including a basket of mail in the kitchen. Underneath were spare phone chargers and I will never ever need this many old slow chargers. To the Goodwill bin. I'd break even on eBay where they sell for about .50 each but the sellers all offer free shipping.

My office desktop is finally looking better (the cables are all in view now that papers have been moved off of them.) Time for a measuring tape to see if turning one desk to face the wall is doable (in order to fit in a new scanner). It would mean moving other things; as it is there is a television on the bookshelves beside me but a move would put it behind me, so I'd have to move it to a different bookcase or on top of the stand where the printer also sits. There are cables involved, and plugs.

We're still at very high risk for COVID here in my county, but I am looking into the future to find ways to volunteer to help, in a masked and socially distanced way, to get more people vaccinated. It makes sense that the otherwise fit and healthy over-65 recipients of the earliest doses of the vaccines now turn our considerable energy and time to helping everyone else get the vaccine. There's a county website for volunteering, so I'll plan to do that at the end of the month, when my second vaccine (due next week) has had time to fully take effect.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 05 Feb 21 - 08:21 PM

BEAVER!!

Beautiful sunny day yesterday for a long drive, or anything else! Arrived about 3 with the sun still high enough to perk me up to: turn on electric blanket, fire in stove, clear paths on the deck and make a stab at clearing the studio door - Dan could find no one. The snow was not frozen like that at Dupont. The studio door budged a tich but I needed buckets of hot water - today. And now I can get in! Sitting looking out at that area, I got a monumental idea: An extension of the studio roof over the walkway would solve the whole problem! DUHHH! So I messaged Dan; he will look at it in the spring!

I was high on getting here, finally. The air is so different here. It was just delicious yesterday in the sunshine. I also love the quiet. No traffic - I went out and waved at the snowplow driver and he waved back cheerfully. Home!

Like Charmion, we had another few inches of snow today, but not the big winds. It was just at freezing when I cleared the door, but dropping tonight for the next few days. I was delighted to find the drive beautifully cleared, and Steve did it again late this am, and I could pay him.

I may yet try to melt away the 6-8 inches of packed snow from the roof so the walkway is safer/easier. Tomorrow. And bring in a good bunch of wood. Mostly resting today and a welcome visit with Larry, masked, and dog!.

All the tech stuff SRS does and I cannot even get my phone to talk to my computer. Telus says it is the computer and I cannot get it to connect to the phone or find out why. Admit: afraid of making things worse! When I get back to Dupont, I will try apple help.

This may be out of chrono- order.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 05 Feb 21 - 11:02 PM

Stilly, with a computer in your study, what do you need a television for?


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 06 Feb 21 - 12:00 AM

There are televisions all over the house. Like radios, I guess. Because when I get working on something in one room I often will turn on TV or Netflix for company or entertainment and don't want to relocate what I'm doing into one or two rooms with a TV. There were some really good sales over the years that I jumped on.

At one time the old computer used to be a TV, it has a receiver built in, but that computer doesn't talk to the Internet any more so I can't update the broadcast schedule that makes it work. So if I want to watch something that is actually on TV while in this room, I need to have a TV here. It has a Fire Stick on it so I can watch lots of different services on it as well. I could also watch many of those on the computer, but I tend to prefer it on a different screen and not tying up bandwidth if I'm doing something that requires a lot of computing power and screen space. (Adobe products are real processor hogs).


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 06 Feb 21 - 11:35 PM

I need to make a point of putting on a mask when I sweep around here. I did the entire house today, and gave myself a sinus headache from the dust.

I ironed the most recent yardage I brought home for masks, along with the flannel for a shirt I'll be making. For mask making I need to unroll three layers on top of each other, so in preparation I roll it into a long sausage instead of folding it. Today I brought in a very long aluminum ruler (no idea where it came from, I've had it for years) and used that to roll the fabric around and it goes much faster than my doing it free-hand. I picked up more of the black cloth with bright notes (I bought the rest of the bolt, probably 4 yards) and found a pink girly print that has been requested a couple of times. I've been buying plain light-colored flannel but it's narrower than the rest of the fabric I'm using, so next time I'll look at some of the print flannel and see if there's a light one that's a little wider. That will make for less waste.

I'm keeping an eye on my daffodils; the leaves are up and the buds are just beginning to look like they're forming. I say this after hearing about snow in the north and a snow storm racing up the east coast from Washington, D.C. up to New England. It's supposed to be a fast one, but still will leave some of you with about 8" of the white stuff. I had at least 24" of sunshine this afternoon. :-)


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion's brother Andrew
Date: 07 Feb 21 - 02:56 PM

Charmion, are your degree and any "certificates suitable for framing" on walls or in a portfolio? If the latter, I would put Edmund's with those, and leave it to your heirs and assigns to sort out.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 08 Feb 21 - 12:20 AM

Good suggestion, C.'s brother. Push them on down the road.

I moved stuff and am thinking about shoe-horning a small end table into the office as a place to set the new slide scanner. I may not have to use that—once the scanner is out of the box if it isn't too large there may be room on the second computer's desktop (I moved some stuff to clear the spot, and as far as I can tell no cables came unplugged in the process so it appears to have worked.)


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 08 Feb 21 - 11:43 AM

I have just dragged a huge contractor-type garbage bag full of cracked, broken, rusty and otherwise non-serviceable clag -- about one third dead cookware and the rest office stuff -- out to the curb, thus freeing up substantial space in the Glory Hole.

I also extracted some pictures from the Grand Art Stash to go in the library and my bedroom. Thanks to my talented ancestors, Edmund's painter sister, and my father the art collector, I have literally dozens of works packed away in the basement. The library is a huge room, so it needs at least one really large picture; unfortunately, the one that should be there -- an enormous Canadian high-realist watercolour -- is currently over the fireplace, covering a large, ugly panel of satellite television connectors. Before I turn 70, I would like to see that gone, a proper mantelpiece installed, and a less-domineering painting on the chimney breast. An oil, so there's no need for protective glass that the electric light bounces off so you can't see the picture.

I'm out of eggs, milk, green veg, fresh fruit and all-purpose flour, so it's time for grocery shopping, which used to be kinda fun. Not now ...


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 08 Feb 21 - 03:39 PM

Charmion, do you have any of the services available to you like Instacart? When filling out the list you see the price total on the side of the page so it helps with some of the impulse loading of things in the cart. I do prefer to pick out my own produce but have it delivered sometimes (the last time I asked for a bag of onions several of them were rotting. I guess she didn't look at it, just grabbed the bag.)

The stuff you moved out to the curb in that big trash bag - is that stuff you brought with you from your other house a few years ago? I've done that with a move - figuring it's easier to pack everything and sort and toss later, but it is an eyeopener to then look at what you brought along, isn't it?

I have the ugliest fireplace in creating, surrounded by a wall of varnished irregular limestone rocks- I can't hang anything on it (I'd have to afix hangers into the mortar somehow, or glue to a rock face). I'd love to take this entire thing down and tile the wall, or get rid of the fireplace entirely and put in floor-to-ceiling windows.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: mg
Date: 08 Feb 21 - 04:32 PM

i vote for the windows. Sounds great.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 08 Feb 21 - 05:29 PM

It's the dollars that are holding back the work on the windows! (Lack of!) If I ever get a chance, I'll put in a window screened in porch back there and turn it into a greenhouse. But that's on a wish list long from being fulfilled.

I've tracked down my vaccine information for this week and confirmed that Wednesday is the day I am due to get the second dose, and they'll send a text with the time and place. I'm trying to not be a pest, I looked it up, didn't call. They're getting so many calls these days that if I can avoid doing that I will.

The congressman from the next district over in this county died yesterday from COVID-19. Ron Wright was the first sitting member of congress to die of it. He's one of the individuals who was present on the day of the attempted coup at the Capitol, one of those GOP members who refused to wear a face mask when they were all clustered in together in one room. See how well that worked out.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: mg
Date: 09 Feb 21 - 02:17 AM

they should have been shoved out of the room and left to face whatever in the halls.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 09 Feb 21 - 07:16 AM

The delivery for our grocery order was cancelled because of the weather last night. They’ve rescheduled for tonight but I’m not sure that things are any better – there is a bit more snow in our garden. Wiltshire Farms (frozen ready made meals) did deliver in the morning and between that an a few other items, we are reasonably well stocked with things to eat so we’re OK for a few more days by which time, this cold snap should be over with.

The two organisations (one morning and afternoon and another night time) that move dad (who can now only transfer himself between chairs, bed, etc. but not walk safely) to/fro bed and toilet have both cancelled. I’d debated trying to take this on for a while and wanted to start by taking on the lunchtime duty but the lot (which involves pushing him around on the commode chair – the wheelchair won’t get through the bathroom door or between my parent’s beds) has fallen on me now. So far so good.

I’d don’t suppose we have that much snow by the standards of other countries but I don’t suppose we are as well prepared either. I also imagine that the councils will be hit by staff shortages because of Covid. I’m still sometimes a little puzzled when there are difficulties reaching our house. Most of my time in N Wales was uphill and to a village of about 40 houses spread out over a mile. You expect to be low priority* and for little snow to make transport difficult then but Norfolk is flat and I’m on the main trunk route between Cromer and Norwich.

I’m on my last day of logs near the house. I’m not sure if I’m going to go down the field to get more or whether we will rely on electricity for the next couple of days. I’ll have to see how I feel tomorrow. The job’s been made a bit more difficult because (on top of the snow) the chap who was supposed to stack the new load of logs we got called off on Sunday (maybe too windy, no snow then or maybe some other reason – he’s very useful and works hard for his, in normal times here, hour a week but he’s quite prone to cancelling and his autism type problems mean he either needs supervision or careful instruction for a new job to him). I’ll have to move a little bit of the pile to get a barrow to the second shed – probably not that bad really…

I’ve just been on Amazon and ordered more bedding for dad. Which really brings me on to something else. We really must get round to sorting out the green shed, which is where we have to keep some of this stuff, this summer. It’s piled up with stuff that’s no longer needed and it can be very difficult to find what you do want in there. I had suggested that they (I’ve got my own sorted) start from scratch with bedding and maybe these purchases have just brought that a bit forward a little. Seems the easiest way out of a couple of accidents and difficulties drying things quickly here atm anyway.

In the meanwhile I’ve played a bit more with an attempt at designing and making an RC traction engine.



*There was the occasion when they had a good 4 snow ploughs working up there. It was believed that Mr Johnson, who was quite high up in the council, had played merry hell that he couldn’t get out of his house and Llandudno’s fleet of vehicles got redirected to Pydew!

**I used to love that first time round as a kid. The slightest bit of snow would stop the bus and meant a day of school.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 09 Feb 21 - 09:44 AM

Grocery delivery is available in Stratford, Stilly, but at a price that I am not yet willing to pay. Also, I am not ready to delegate the selection of fruit and veg to anyone less critical than a four-star chef or a Chinese granny.

Yes, the stuff I hauled out to the curb was moved from Ottawa. I did a hell of a lot of disencumbrance before packing started, but hesitated to purge stuff that belonged to Edmund before we got married, such as his accumulation of cake pans, and office stuff that he would just go out and buy more of, such as three-ring binders and boxes for file cards. Of course, he went out and bought more three-ring binders anyway, but that was how he rolled.

Part of the family legacy I found myself stuck with after my father's death is a group of large portfolios containing lots and lots of stuff that I haven't looked at in at least fifteen years. Today, I'm wondering whether I can consolidate the contents sufficiently to free up a portfolio for our accumulation of credentials, diplomas and "certificates suitable for framing". Then I'll get out my hand-drill and screwdriver and hang some pictures.

Stratford is having real Canadian winter this week, with lots of snow, daytime highs well below freezing, and enough windchill to get the radio announcers all excited about frostbite. This area is notorious for snow squalls, one result of the "lake effect", so the town is well equipped with plows and snow-blowers. Even a really substantial dump -- by which I mean more than eight inches -- does not slow Stratford down for long. The most important hazards are snow drifting across the roads, and slick ice under the drifted snow, which cause more collisions and ditchings than practically anything but stupidity and drunkenness. Snow tires are now required by law, but there are days when I would really like chains, or even the studded tires that were banned because they literally tore the asphalt off the highway. Now, when conditions are like that, I just stay home, and thank my lucky stars that I can.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 09 Feb 21 - 12:38 PM

Long gone are the days when I had chains in the trunk, studded snow tires in the garage and radial tires for the rest of the year. We are also due a deep-freeze for a few days later this week (16o is very cold for us, and a challenge for my greenhouse heater).

I see on my Facebook page a friend in New York who is sporting a new cast over a compound fracture of the radius after a slip on the ice on Sunday. Stay safe out there as winter makes another pass over the continent!

Good luck with sorting that shed, Jon. You have a hard job ahead of you. That little steam engine you've made looks good - and is a rewarding distraction! I would try chair yoga exercises with your parents to see if you can't help with that dexterity and ability to shift spaces more easily.

My ex is trying to sort out the county COVID instructions; it looks like he was due for a vaccine today but they sent the email earlier this morning and say they'll send him an email with more instructions about his appointment. Even rational smart people are having to think twice about the conflicting information that comes out of these agencies trying to vaccinate several million people. Apparently Texas has managed to vaccinate three million people so far.

I had the devil of a time sorting out what was going on with my old White Rotary sewing machine yesterday. Lots of "birdsnest" tangles where the bobbin tension was messed up. I finally realized that this was happening after I'd tried a new technique for winding the bobbins to put more thread on them. I was winding them too tight and messed up the tension. I adjusted the bobbin tension (a screw on the case) before I realized what was up, so now I need to get the bobbin case tension back where it belongs. After a year of sewing on these masks I made one small change and it rippled out into the machine. On the bright side, when I took off the bobbin housing to see if there was a buildup of lint I spotted a screw that normally holds the feed dog faceplate down. There were originally three screws on the plate but I've only ever had two. And one was lost a couple of cleanings back. It had rolled inside the space near the feed dogs and it was a bugger to pick up but it's out and in its hole on the faceplate again.

Charmion, I also have a lot of art around here that isn't on the walls. I'd like to put up some of it, and arrange a few rooms to have a better look. I've been lazy about moving furniture and not moving the art to match the new placement.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 10 Feb 21 - 01:22 AM

I am hoping that tomorrow's trip to get my second shot doesn't become an expedition like Dorothy makes onto her porch to get firewood, or pry the door open to get into the potting area. We're due really cold precipitation starting tomorrow, and I have a 10am appointment with the Pfizer vaccine that I am determined to attend.

I decided to put the down comforter on the bed for the next week or so. It isn't needed very often, but it does the trick when this kind of weather comes along. I made a duvet for it a couple of years ago that is a little too big, but keeps it in place better.

I'm drawing down stuff in the freezer as I make a series of pizzas on quarters of a large tandoori bread (a flat Iraqi bread made in a tandoori oven). A quarter of the bread makes about three slices and I'm defrosting peppers and mushrooms, Italian sausage, finishing up olives in the fridge, leftover pasta sauce. I found some Alfredo sauce in the freezer today so will switch to that for a few days (I have another couple of tandoori loaves in the freezer and lots of veggies that are great toppings). Every winter I start drawing down frozen stuff to make room for whatever I end up with in the garden this year. And this is a good way to stay frugal for February.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 10 Feb 21 - 05:50 PM

Beaver:

Chains! a facet of the good old days I am glad to be rid of!!!!

So, I managed to work 3 or 4 hours a day quite productively, since Friday. Content with production but still have lots to do... No crisis but I was feeling so excited about getting to the real stuff. But I was slow starting this am and after doing some essentials and some clearing up, realized I felt poorly.

So I have been in the house, wondering why and what to do about it. I have been careful to stay warm and eat well and take my vitamins, wore my mask in studio -for dust! No prediction of snow in the offing but it feels heavy. I have not been in public since Friday and only two very safe venues - the only customer both times. Anyway, the Health Unit for our county has lifted the stay home order, whatever that means. Well, it means we have no new cases, I guess. I just do not trust this sneaky thing. Nasty article on NPR about the incredible manner in which it is mutating.

Going to be very cold tonight and colder tomorrow and Friday: -24C(below 0F). Brought in lots of wood before I quit today. Cleared a bunch of old emails, read some things I had been putting off. Now, I will reconnect to the expensive internet for a bit to send this. Then I may just succumb to bed rest and hope for tomorrow.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 10 Feb 21 - 09:14 PM

Our line stood out in the sub-freezing weather long enough to end up with chapped faces, but nothing like Dorothy describes for this week. I got dog food yesterday and that was the only thing I needed grocery-wise, so the rest of the week I plan to stay in and stay warm.

I'm headed to bed early. I suspect my tiredness now is part of the effect of the vaccine. I've had a lot of water to drink and will take the Motrin alternated with Tylenol cocktail that was recommended by one of the medical staff. I'm participating in the CDC follow up with texts sent to me checking on how things are going. A text today asked if I'd gotten the second vaccine, had me set up the information, then asked how I felt. I expect a daily text for a week, then one a week for a couple of more weeks.

I have stuff to do this week, but won't push myself for a couple of days.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 11 Feb 21 - 08:03 AM

Beaver:

Right as rain this am and getting ready to go back to Dupont - colder weather - furnace beckons! Nice day to travel.

SRS: my friend on Whidbey described feverish etc after second shot - for a day or so.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 11 Feb 21 - 08:38 AM

This morning is like a blast from the past - PMR in all of it's achiness. I'll be alternating Motrin and Tylenol today. And maybe go back to bed for a while.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 11 Feb 21 - 10:45 AM

Stratford is still locked down, so I consider myself still under house arrest. It's still a bit too chilly to tempt me outside for more than a trot to the mailbox.

The portfolio project resulted in a discovery that I have somehow avoided making for more than twenty-five years, and now I have to buy more portfolios, preferably of archival quality.

My father came from one of those Fine Old Families so called because they got off an earlier boat than most. Their disembarkation point was Quebec, and they started arriving with General Wolfe. They suffered most of the normal vicissitudes of 18th- and 19th-century life, but were particularly fortunate in that they were hit by only one major house fire, in the early 1870s. Consequently, they left lots of stuff, especially papers.

One of the long-unopened portfolios stacked on top of the bookcases in my library contained an overlooked trove of copies of the Quebec Mercury from the 1830s, when my great-great grandfather was a member of the colonial Legislative Assembly, and the Montreal Daily Star from the 1880s, when it was running history articles and anniversary anecdotes about the Patriote movement of 50 years previous. These newspapers were kept because they contained stories about members of the family. There was also a letter-book of business correspondence from the 1840s, rather a lot of photographic negatives (some of them glass) from the 19-teens, twenties and thirties, and a file of letters about my father's efforts to get into the war at its very beginning rather than wait for conscription as the British government preferred.

Notably, Dad wrote to Ottawa seeking a commission in the Royal Canadian Navy but was rejected on the grounds that he was not ... um ... Canadian. For the record, he was born in Montreal, and the family moved to England in 1924 when Granddad was hired for a major engineering project. In 1939, the difference with respect to citizenship between a Canadian and any other British subject born in Canada had yet to be established in law, but the Chief of Naval Operations was not taking any chances.

I have been moving these portfolios around since 1992, when my father died.

Under Dad's will, the (large) accumulation of family papers and photographs in his custody at the time of his death went to the Chaplin-Gugy Fonds at the National Archives of Canada. The portfolios were too big to fit into any of the several places where Dad kept papers, so they were missed in the Big Sweep. Now I have to contact the responsible archivist for a follow-up donation.

These days, civil servants such as archivists are working at home and therefore out of the reach of ordinary mortals such as I. So everything goes back where it was until the lockdown is over and people start trickling back to their offices and workshops. Whenever that will be.

Apart from that, I hung some pictures. Things look better already.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 11 Feb 21 - 11:31 AM

What a treasure trove - and the former-library-worker-with-a-lot-of-time-in-Special-Collections in me is itching to put a few of those papers on a scanner and run them through an OCR and make them public. And to scan the images and negatives. It sounds like a huge project, but what a find!

I'll set up the slide scanner today and the first thing I need to do before scanning is set up two Access databases because I'll be scanning my own slides and the print documents from a box of my dad's that has, like your historic documents, been moved from house to house for over 20 years.

This morning the north-south freeway in town, I-35W, apparently had a chain collision of at least 50 vehicles north of downtown because of ice on roads and bridges. Some of the COVID testing has been postponed, and some of the shot clinics have been delayed, others not. This side of town is dry, but it's in the mid-20os so a line out the door is going to be a miserable place to stand for the 20-30 minutes it takes to get in the door.

Time to make a loaf of banana bread.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion's brother Andrew
Date: 11 Feb 21 - 05:34 PM

Wow, Charmion!

Almost all the archivists and other silly serpents are reachable through their office numbers and e-mail addresses on GEDS while they continue to work from home. (The archives used to name the archivists in the catalogue with the fonds for which they were responsible, but no more.)

If I can help, let me know.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Mrrzy
Date: 11 Feb 21 - 06:50 PM

Went through my spice cabinet because I could not find my marjoram.

Apparently I bought new whenever I lost something in there. I found 3 cumins, for example.

Things are now separated into sweet (nutmeg etc) and salts and peppers on one shelf, the rest on the bottom ... Wait for it... Alphabetized.

Pourvu que ça dure.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 12 Feb 21 - 05:22 AM

I screwed one of these spice racks to the outside of a cupboard door a couple of years ago.

I think it looks quite good there although it holds more spices than I really use (but we had [and still have] more than enough jars to fill the spaces when I bought the rack).


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 12 Feb 21 - 09:11 AM

I like those spice racks, Jon, but I would never put one on the outside of a kitchen cupboard door. I would put it *inside*, where kitchen pollution (especially flying fat) won't reach it.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 12 Feb 21 - 09:21 AM

Sure, Charmion, and I think your way is the more usual...


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 12 Feb 21 - 09:31 AM

I'm moving books around again, this time to haul the last stragglers into the library and finally achieve consolidation. The cookbooks and Edmund's law books were still in the basement, where the cookbooks were too easy to not see, so I always eat the same things, and it's too dark to photograph the law books, which I must do if I'm to find them a new home. Occupying almost 2.5 metres of bookshelf, the law books are space hogs that I will never read. Though maybe I'll hang onto the most recent edition of Martin's Criminal Code ... You never know; it might come in handy.

A bit of pruning in the British history section is in order, too, especially to unload most of the many volumes by and about Sir Winston Churchill. I'm counting on the end of lockdown to unleash the power of the second-hand book market, such as it is these days.

Then I'll tackle the dozens and hundreds of CDs stored in ever-so-special plastic boxes. Edmund would never let me part with even one, but I find myself unwilling to give houseroom to the entire accumulation. I actively dislike Bob Dylan and can take only a little John Prine at any given time, but Edmund had the complete works; he also loved Wilson Pickett, whose oeuvre leaves me cold. The Brother-In-Law is a music nerd with a fetish for recording artists of the 70s and 80s, so he can be counted on to take some off my hands -- he asked me the other day if I had "any Dylan" to spare. He should be careful about wishing.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 12 Feb 21 - 09:36 AM

This is the best Bob Dylan song...


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 12 Feb 21 - 11:10 AM

My mother collected cookbooks, and I have managed to put them all in the kitchen for now, though with no guests visiting they aren't their usual conversation starter selves. Some of them are a bit on the odd side and are a great novelty act. I'm willing to bet those odd ones were never subjected to a test kitchen.

That sounds like an impressive CD collection. I don't play CDs often, just an occasional splurge to fill the five-disc tray and give them a listen. My huge collection was a $20 windfall at a garage sale with the remnants of an estate sale. A large bin with a note on top "All Classical" that dismissed the contents as irrelevant to modern living. The woman running the sale said no one would buy those, she'd give the lot to me for $20. I scrambled to a nearby convenience store and got a $20 and they helped me carry the heavy bin to the truck. Over 300 discs from an apparent academic who compared versions of various pieces for students (is my guess). And some marvelous works that I never would have found on my own. Big name publishers, and something I've enjoyed over the years, but with so much coming from the radio and streaming, gradually getting less attention.

I'm past the worst of the vaccine side effects. The ache is 95% gone and a little Tylenol will chase off the rest of it, but I'll still stay close to home for a while. Our weather is even colder today, in the low-20s, so there is no going out if I can avoid it. I imagine the heater in the greenhouse has popped a circuit breaker and the avocado tree is probably history.

I have a cupboard full of spices, with two of the shelves having small Rubbermaid type lazy Susan plates to turn to find things. The stuff in the middle of each round is used less but stuff is grouped logically so I can find what I need; mine are arranged for main-dish seasoning on the bottom and baking and dessert type seasoning on the next shelf up. The top shelf holds the canning, pickling, preservation related stuff. I have a three-shelf wire rolling cart that has all in the top basket and a bin full of overflow tea packages on the middle shelf. The rest of it is pans and cooking implements (stick blender and attachments, pizza stone, etc.) It sits at the end of the peninsula counter most of the time. I move it out of the way when we have some big family cooking project going.

Oh, look, the forecast says the cold will continue and we're due snow on the weekend. I'm joining my Canadian and New England friends in the deep freeze.

I'll go play some CDs now. It seems like a good day for Thomas Tallis and Berlioz. :)


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 12 Feb 21 - 01:35 PM

My galley kitchen has absolutely no room for cookbooks, so they are now in the shelving closest to the library door. I’ll pass them on the way to and from the bathroom, and might even flip a few pages for new supper ideas.

Tho’ there’s only so much you can do with a grilled chicken breast and green beans.

Jon, I love that Eric Bogle song. Thanks for posting the link.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 12 Feb 21 - 08:28 PM

Dupont:

Dishes and laundry done. Car unloaded and stuff put away. Roast in oven. Oops- new scones are in freezer but need to be bagged and put in "big" freezer. Emails dealt. Long one written in response to post by dear musician friend seeking her "pronouns". Told her whatever her pronouns are, we won't remember, and we love her whoever she chooses to be. Or he.

We have plenty of CDs from various local musician friends. They are around somewhere. We seem to prefer silence at home and really have no way to play them! Ghetto blaster cannot be found. Sometimes listen to some on computer. A couple terrific virtual events recently. Usually, I miss them.

I have a spice cabinet my bro was throwing away about 40 years ago, with a door. It sits on a ledge in the K.The bottles used to be alphabetical but unfortunately it only holds those spice sized bottles and my herbs are mostly in larger jars. I end up looking through both it and the cupboards, forgetting where I put what. I even forget the basil and oregano are right there on the counter in nice pots I made years ago.

Fire in stove! Cold out there! That "accident" near SRS was major on Canadian news! Glad you were not in it!

Like Charmion, I stay home but for the need for groceries. I never seem to have a handle on what the rules are either here or Beaver. The area around Beaver lifted the stay home order; I have no idea what meaning that has. I only went to those two shops and the Credit Union which was also vacant. And the bakery on the way for the new supply of muffins and scones. Also vacant! And very well organized. My order was bagged when I arrived and I had only to pay Chelsea and chat briefly from a distance. Staying safe is all that matters.

I will continue to be a home body. Or keep good distance; tomorrow we go to see a house for Rob's cousin. Separate vehicles. I may try the rural hardware for indoor gardening needs. And nasturtium seeds while there are some.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 12 Feb 21 - 11:37 PM

Dorothy, I'm grateful my daughter wasn't in it. She drives that route a couple of times a week, though not usually that early and I think she takes an exit just north of where the accident happened. And doesn't take the express lanes. But still. Everyone who was hurt or died have people who love them and are in shock right now. I have enjoyed driving that route a few times, the construction took forever but it's an efficient way to miss traffic - I imagine that after the accident has been completely investigated, that section of road will be full of shards of glass and metal and need to be repaved. 133 vehicles is the final number I read last night.

I have the second sample of fabric I have been trying to design from Joann's Fabrics. The first sample came with the colors reversed in a couple of the pattern parts. The second one was better but the pattern was too large. They seem to be haphazard in how they produce these. I tried compensating for the first error and it didn't work. I've sent in another one this evening. I'd like to get this for a project I started working on about six weeks ago. Each sample has the design ID and I see an email address also, so next time I'll send an email if they can't get it the way I want and see if that helps.

Time to file the taxes. That's always nice to cross off of my list of things to do.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 13 Feb 21 - 11:31 AM

The Free Fillable Forms on the irs.gov site are for anyone to use, you don't need to have high income to be eligible (and I never use the free tax services on the low income side of the screen). It took me a few tries to get every line and form filled and added, and I had a math error (got about $40 more back than I thought I would). The free file forms were the bugger - the eFile document asks you to sort while the tax form asks you to lump. I am guessing it's to confirm you have the correct forms, but anyway, it finally went through to the IRS and I'll get an email in a couple of days saying whether the IRS accepted it or not. If they don't they'll tell me where the error is.

Getting that out of the way now is nice because last year I took a long time to get around to it since I knew I'd owe money. I have it set so I have enough withheld to cover the contractor income. Last time it took a chunk of the stimulus check (the feds gave with one hand and took with the other). Probably too much information, but it shows that just because one is retired it doesn't mean your taxes are any easier. And I curse Ronald Reagan for deciding to start collecting income tax on Social Security.

We won't be above freezing until next week on Friday, so the days coming up will be interesting. I've thought about either dragging in the big plastic dog houses from the garage or setting up a couple of larger boxes on their side and sliding in dog beds to give the dogs more sheltered places to sleep than just in the open air on beds on the floor. They don't sleep on my bed (then I couldn't sleep in my bed.) Or I could put flattened cardboard boxes around the kennel that one and often two dogs at a time sleep in, and slide one of the dog beds back into the closet in my office. The puppy outgrew her "jacket" and I'm sure the pet supply stores are out by now. I can make an adjustment and put it on her, but I fear she'll just pull it off and tear it up. She has such a thin coat but she moves fast, so maybe she'll just burn energy in the yard and be okay. They come and go as they want through a dog door.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 14 Feb 21 - 10:53 AM

I have started working my way through Edmund's mountainous backlog of papers. Yesterday, I went through two huge three-ring binders of song lyrics, an indexed print-out of the Cannabis Act in another huge three-ring binder, and literally stacks of trial transcripts, scholarly papers and JAG publications. Much of the stuff in the binders was carefully preserved in plastic page-protectors, so now I have an enormous quantity of plastic page-protectors looking for a new home ... Freecycle, obviously.

The next target is a stack of great, fat, Cerlox-bound volumes of reference materials from the National Criminal Law Program, which usually runs concurrently with the annual conference of the Canadian Bar Association. At first, I thought I should find a lawyer to give them to, but then I realized that all that stuff is available for download from the CBA website. Edmund hated using references in electronic form that he could not scrawl or stick Post-its on, or bedizen with yellow highlighter ink, hence the great proliferation of three-ring binders bulging with tattered pages.

I won't start ripping apart the Cerlox for another week, however; the blue box is already almost full, and another day's gleanings will make it too heavy for me to haul out to the curb.

The more I read about Stilly's efforts to keep her dogs happy, the gladder I am to be a cat person. Mind you, I like dogs just fine, but I am delighted not to have to share a house with even one, let alone three. The next time Watson follows me around the house yelling to be picked up and carried, or Isobel chucks up her breakfast in the middle of the kitchen floor, I must remember to thank them for providing comparatively low-maintenance companionship.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 14 Feb 21 - 08:40 PM

I finally found a way to use PayPal to print USPS shipping for first class, surface, and media mail. The post office won't let me print anything but Priority or Express. I just bought a whole bunch of stamps to use on light first class parcels because I don't want to go into the post office, but one of them came back covered with postal stickers saying it can't be thicker than a half-inch, blah blah blah. They don't like the stamps, I could have printed the postage and it would have been fine. What nonsense. I make sure they're lighter than 7 ounces and that should be sufficient (more than that and they'll be returned if mailed in a box. Over 7 ounces must be handed to a postal worker so they see the human shipping it.) So now I'll gradually use up the stamps, and use the PayPal shipping. Debra Cowan put a note on my Instagram account after another friend put a note on my Instagram account. It took a lot of looking to find the service. You'd think they wouldn't hide it.

The now is lovely, quiet, but not very deep. It's really cold (for here) so it isn't going anywhere. Only a few vehicles have driven past all day. I'll pull out my heavy boots for tomorrow and see about going out with the camera. I wonder if I can catch any bird activity in the woods across the road?

I'm still trying to diagnose the problem with the Whilte sewing machine. It throws birdsnest wads of thread usually when I change direction, often in the middle of a line of stitching. Something is slipping, not holding up it's end of the operation. I don't thing there is a clutch inside the directional part, but that's the best way to describe it, the clutch is slipping. As it happens there is a sewing machine repair place a half-mile from here and they have good reviews. I've been there a time or two in the last 20 years. I'll give them a call. This machine is old, but very commonplace. White built all of the Kenmore machines for decades, and several other brand names. I'm not headed over until the snow clears, though.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 15 Feb 21 - 02:08 PM

Dupont:

OF course when there is an accident we immediately think of those for whom we care personally. Every person counts and every one of these brings thoughts of the families of those lost. I do think that, in the midst of this pandemic, when hundreds are dying daily, I am overwhelmed. 89 more in Quebec yesterday and I have no idea whether I knew any of them, or their families. It becomes overwhelming. Grief is ingrained and we must keep our heads above water.

A story in Atlantic about reactions to second shot is very concerning. I worried out loud about getting a shot in Ontario and being at Beaver alone; Robin said firmly that he would go with me when my turn comes up. I almost wept out loud.

Charmion's flood of PAPER causes me to think about what I might be able to part with sooner rather than later. Narrow it down to paper the heirs might find interesting. Meanwhile, the pile of sewing projects has not yet been touched! Maybe today??

Everything that needs doing in the house is done and I found a plastic bin that was being used for "fire starters" could be, and is emptied to be used for the indoor garden project, now ready to begin. I already emptied the first pot into it. These are the pots in which plants have succumbed. But not to worry, I have numerous cuttings of the various tomatoes, coming right along. And spring!! For tomatoes- the end of May up here!

R kept the plants alive while I was away - some just barely. A little more instruction. Today he actually carried the watering jugs upstairs! The upstairs faucet is only low so I fill gallons in the K and set them on the steps until next trip up. Throw the empties down! Energy savings - my own.

Another 5 inches expected - Charmion too. Already over two feet on back deck.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 15 Feb 21 - 07:30 PM

The lockdown in Huron and Perth counties ends tonight at midnight, and tomorrow I’m getting a haircut. Appointment confirmed and everything. I can hardly wait.

While I’m at it, I’ll hit the pet shop for a bag of cat litter, the drug store for probiotics to help my poor abused guts, and the supermarket for coffee cream. What larks!

We will be an Orange zone again, but we won’t be going back to the rules we had last fall; the Ministry of Health has imposed more restrictions on restaurants and small shops. I almost don’t care if I have to wear a respirator and a HAZMAT suit — I’m going out for dinner as soon as I can book a table!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 17 Feb 21 - 08:33 AM

This morning, we’ve been thinking a little on things to grow to eat. Following a recommendation in the food thread, I now have some Nicola seed potatoes on order. I’ve also ordered some tomato, aubergine, sweet pepper, cucumber and courgette seeds. A related task is to repair the greenhouse which lost a couple of its front panels in the winds. I’ll measure up and get some cut to size acrylic sheet ordered soon.

Our cold snap is over and temperatures are now up to 10C daytime. There is still bits of snow in parts sheltered from the sun but for the most part, you wouldn’t know the whole ground had been white last week. That’s probably it for the year except, gardening wise, I don’t think of ourselves being free from the possibilities of heavy frosts until May 1st and, heating wise, I have lit the woodburner for the evening as late as June in at least one past year. Coming back to outside now, I noticed some nice patches of snowdrops with some in bloom this morning.

I toyed with getting a new computer (or parts of) for my desktop the other day as problems with USB seemed to be getting worse and I suspected both motherboard and the front ports on the case… Most of the problems however seem to have come down to one faulty lead so the computer can stay as it is for a while longer.

Having started with something on the computer that’s needed looking at for a while… I also finally got round to having a bit of a tidy up and deleted loads of files. I even got round to backing up onto a portable USB drive I have! rsync's a handy tool when I remember what to do and get round to using it...


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: leeneia
Date: 18 Feb 21 - 12:38 PM

Hello, Jon. Have you ever grown snow peas or sugar peas? It sounds like now would be a good time for you to start them.

They are one of the few vegetables I have managed to grow successfully, mostly because the local critters don't seem to know they can be eaten.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 18 Feb 21 - 10:50 PM

Power is back after being off for four days. Despite going to bed early last night and getting a good night's sleep, I'm exhausted. The business of staying warm enough to stay alive is exhausting. Here is a set of remarks I wrote for a few friends (vie email):

The power is finally back on, as of 5:30 this evening (Thursday). It went out at 2:30am on Monday morning. What a long week those four days were. It turns out we had a double-whammy in the neighborhood, not just was the power out for the region, but there was a popped circuit feeding into this neighborhood. So while across the street got power on Tuesday night, ours never came back, and the power companies wouldn't know what was broken until they started turning on the power to see what wasn't up yet. I feel like I was in the control group for a natural experiment.

The dogs are probably confused; this was a very intense period and we were all sleeping in the same space for warmth, after I moved bedding into my closet. After the first night they settled right in, and I suspect if I took them camping now they'd be great with spending the night in a tent.

I've begun dismantling my heating stations of candles and terracotta pots, but everything is still in the house in case the power goes off for another extended period. The next door neighbors asked if I had a long power cord and they plugged it into an unused power bank on the generator and I stretched it to my back door. I got the freezer plugged in in time to save the contents (I never opened it at all during that period). My fridge had a lot of stuff to go, and in the freezer all of the frozen veggies are gone. I need to do something fast with a bunch of blueberries and strawberries. Maybe make syrup. Some of the meat I can cook and refreeze in prepared dishes, or eat fast this week. Some stuff (like the shrimp) is supposed to stay frozen until used, so it's going out in the trash in the morning.

Stores are going to be empty for a while because they lost power and will be tossing all of the defrosted and warm food; everyone who has food left in their houses needs to keep eating it for a while until the marketplace catches up with the demand of millions of households that had to throw out a lot of food all at once.

Meanwhile, stuff got moved all around this week. My closet was emptied of all of the clothes on one side and a cabinet on the other, so I could set up a stack of inflated backpacking pads for me and a pallet for the dogs, and we spent three nights sleeping in there. It was so much warmer than anywhere else would have been. I spent the last several days devising ways to stay warm and retrieved things from the garage and moved stuff from one room to the next. Some of the house is neat, some is a jumble. And I need a shower. We are asked not to run a lot of appliances now, to keep power use modest because the system is still recovering. The laundry can wait, but once the tank is hot I think a bath is in order.

I have a lot of catching up to do, and have my fingers crossed we're not in the middle of a sequence of rolling blackouts.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 19 Feb 21 - 09:54 AM

Oh gawd, where to begin.

I moved so much stuff around during the days of trying to keep us all warm and now it's all staring me in the face. I'll assemble my closet first, returning all of the clothes on one side and a cabinet for shoes and accessories. Last night the dogs were all ready to pile in again, but I'd pulled out the my pallet so they wouldn't mangle my down bag or step on the inflatable pads with those nails of theirs. There are three chew toys in there I'll return to circulation in the living room and pick up the rest of the bedding they used.

We're being cautious about power; the thermostats are pushed down to the low-60s. I am doing only one discretionary large appliance chore today: dishwasher. When you have bowls used for eating, bowls used for washing faces, when lots of spoiled fridge stuff was tossed and those containers need cleaning, all of that needs a trip through the dishwasher. Tomorrow I'll run the washer (it's supposed to warm up after today's low of 17o).

I fear as it thaws my yard will reveal the damage. Even well-adapted plants will be impacted by this. I'm hoping my big trees survived. I fear I will have lost a lot of shrubs and all of the succulents. That's a job come spring-time weather.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: mg
Date: 19 Feb 21 - 09:45 PM

did people just put their frozen food out in the snow and ice?


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 20 Feb 21 - 12:50 AM

It's not actually a good idea to do that. https://www.dallasnews.com/food/2021/02/15/do-not-store-your-food-outside-if-you-lose-power-heres-why/

Snow isn't a substitute for the freezer and food that is in sunlight can start to thaw because of solar gain. If you can't open that article, they link to the USDA Winter Weather Food Safety article.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 20 Feb 21 - 06:32 AM

Sorry to read you've had a rough time, SRS, but good to see you back on line.

Leenia, we have grown ordinary peas some years with varying degrees of success but not those. They could be started now but I’m not really a fan of the mangetout types.

I’m trying to think what we will be growing… The potatoes will take up one of our 2 remaining squares. I’ll want to put leeks (which I think are the most reliable veg going) in the long thin bed later in the year. There is another bit where we’ll put a row of French climbing beans. We’ll probably put spinach and/or chard along 2 sides of the other square and I guess the rest of it can be for brassica. I really need to make sure we get varieties with good club root resistance this year…

Then there are the tubs. Two had rhubarb planted in them last year so I’m hoping that comes up ok. I’ve got a few of a new potato that I’m going to try in another couple of tubs. Yet another two or three will have courgettes in. That leaves me with four or five to put I don’t know what yet in.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 20r
From: Charmion
Date: 20 Feb 21 - 09:46 AM

Reading about the travails of Texas, I’m gobsmacked by how much more awful conditions were made by the state government’s policy of avoiding federal intervention at apparently any cost.

When eastern Canada was hit by a giant ice storm in 1998, federal intervention helped the provincial and municipal governments immeasurably — not least by calling out the armed forces, both regular and reserves, to help the police, utility companies, public health authorities and social service agencies. The massive maple tree that blocked one end of my street in Ottawa was cut up and hauled away by soldiers from Petawawa, and the streets of blacked-out Montreal were patrolled by soldiers from Valcartier while the police searched the high-rise apartment buildings for trapped residents. Combat and construction engineers from all over the country deployed to help power workers rebuild crushed and tumbled hydro towers.

Did the governor of Texas at least mobilize the National Guard?


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 20 Feb 21 - 01:15 PM

I'm not sure what the Governor did, but FEMA has been busy around the state. There is a community fridge project in town that has three locations (so far) and I've been a regular contributor, but haven't gotten out for over a week. I can have Amazon deliver things from their "Wish list" directly to their location, but when I looked in this morning stuff won't arrive for another week. I have some things here I can take up in a day or two once getting out is possible and the place I where want to pick up more is open.

I have things in the garden that usually over-winter and I continue to use each year, like onion plants. I cut a few of the green onions and use them regularly, sometimes digging up the bulb (when left like this they're more like leeks), but I think they finally froze so hard to have died. I'll be digging up or plowing in everything out there. And I fear nurseries will have been hit hard as far as bedding plants. I'm sure stuff will be transported in from Florida, but I think I'll set up the small pots and start a lot of stuff by seed to be ready for planting in the next six to eight weeks. If the garlic was killed I have a lot of corms that I can plant, though there won't be any kind of a crop this year, they should be planted in the fall. My bay tree will have been killed this year, and everything in pots.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 20 Feb 21 - 11:44 PM

Last Sunday it was beginning, the snow was on the ground at dawn, power went out later that night overnight. Tomorrow it's supposed to be sunny and 60o. And when I listen to my local organic gardening radio show we will all commiserate about the plants in our gardens that have died and need removal and possible replacement.

I've found most of the things that got moved around during the week (there was one charging cable that I finally found next to the UPS - if I'd had the wit to turn off everything attached to it it wouldn't have run down and turned off and I could have charged the phone and tablet on it all week easily.) My small power backup I use for the phone died this week and I've ordered a new one and also ordered a propane stove that will be here for emergencies. I'll have to go to a store to buy the metal propane bottles, those don't ship. Sterno was a lifesaver and I still have some, but it would be a lot faster cooking with propane and is safe to burn indoors. Some of the other camp stoves need to be used outside and that simply wouldn't have happened as cold as this week was.

I am pleased to report that the new freezer came through this episode like a champ. The old one (it was 50 years old) would not have done such a good job (from past experience). I didn't open the upright freezer at all and after being without power for three days I plugged it into the neighbor's generator and let it run all night. When I did finally open it I could see that the berries in their bags were still perfectly shaped separate pieces - they didn't get soft and become a blob that refroze. The ultimate test.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion's brother Andrew
Date: 21 Feb 21 - 05:55 AM

Charmion, you might remember that, during the ice storm, hydro workers resented the military work ethic. Rather than approaching their tasks with the effort that would meet expectations, the soldiers revived the expeditionary work ethic of two world wars: "Let's get this done so we can go home." Sappers get s*** done, and get it done even faster if they have pioneers and Herbies to do the grunt work.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 21 Feb 21 - 07:30 AM

I have decided to dispose of Edmund’s beer fridge, which lives in the garage. It was in this house when we moved in, and several of its interior fittings are cracked or broken so I don’t think I can sell it. It’s old enough that I’m sure it’s a power hog.

Most of Edmund’s hoard of beer went to his brother and I drank the Perrier, so now the beer fridge is empty except for containers of soup stock in the freezer compartment. Those can go in the chest freezer.

It snowed again yesterday, but now the sky is clear and a thaw is coming. Some of the downtown restaurants have reopened, so I may take a little stroll downtown for coffee. Not that I need other people’s coffee, but a destination is always nice.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Mrrzy
Date: 21 Feb 21 - 09:44 AM

Good on yer, Charmion.

One of my adult kids asked for their birth certificate, prompting the excavation of my big corner cabinet's bottom half where I'd been randomly stuffing papers since we moved oh, 8 years ago now. It yielded a large pile of things to shred, a larger pile of things to recycle, and an unfortunately largest pile of things to keep, which I now need to go back through and sort.

And I did have the birth certificates. In a folder, even.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 Feb 21 - 10:27 AM

Mrrzy, back in 2002 The New Yorker published a review by Malcolm Gladwell called "The Social Life of Paper: Looking for method in the mess." From that article:


Paper enables a certain kind of thinking. Picture, for instance, the top of your desk. Chances are that you have a keyboard and a computer screen off to one side, and a clear space roughly eighteen inches square in front of your chair. What covers the rest of the desktop is probably piles—piles of papers, journals, magazines, binders, postcards, videotapes, and all the other artifacts of the knowledge economy. The piles look like a mess, but they aren't. When a group at Apple Computer studied piling behavior several years ago, they found that even the most disorderly piles usually make perfect sense to the piler, and that office workers could hold forth in great detail about the precise history and meaning of their piles. The pile closest to the cleared, eighteen-inch-square working area, for example, generally represents the most urgent business, and within that pile the most important document of all is likely to be at the top. Piles are living, breathing archives. Over time, they get broken down and resorted, sometimes chronologically and sometimes thematically and sometimes chronologically and thematically; clues about certain documents may be physically embedded in the file by, say, stacking a certain piece of paper at an angle or inserting dividers into the stack.

But why do we pile documents instead of filing them? Because piles represent the process of active, ongoing thinking. The psychologist Alison Kidd, whose research Sellen and Harper refer to extensively, argues that "knowledge workers" use the physical space of the desktop to hold "ideas which they cannot yet categorize or even decide how they might use." The messy desk is not necessarily a sign of disorganization. It may be a sign of complexity: those who deal with many unresolved ideas simultaneously cannot sort and file the papers on their desks, because they haven't yet sorted and filed the ideas in their head. Kidd writes that many of the people she talked to use the papers on their desks as contextual cues to "recover a complex set of threads without difficulty and delay" when they come in on a Monday morning, or after their work has been interrupted by a phone call. What we see when we look at the piles on our desks is, in a sense, the contents of our brains.


I still lose track of things in the piles if a pile gets moved sometimes I have to go hunting. And periodically I do file and shred. But there is often something to the "I know it's in here somewhere" instinct that lets you dig around and find what you need. "Situation awareness" is the concept.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 21 Feb 21 - 11:08 AM

It’s tempting to believe that people with messy desks are more productive or creative than neatniks, but that’s just not so. After training as an archivist and then working many years as an editor, I am phobic about piles of paper for fear of mixing up versions of a manuscript. I’m also afraid of losing bills so they don’t get paid, or misplacing tax-related documents so I end up filing late.

Okay, I admit it — I’m compulsive. It’s thirty years since I missed a bill payment or a tax deadline. But I consider that compulsion more of a solution than a problem.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 Feb 21 - 12:13 PM

I wouldn't say that everything goes in the stack. And really important things that can't stand to get versions mixed up live in their own folders or files.

That said, going back through the stacks is a sort of archeological dig. Sometimes there is treasure in there!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 21 Feb 21 - 01:40 PM

Dupont:

Glad Maggie's ordeal is over. I'm sure the dogs helped! And glad to see plans being made for the just in case...

As I look forward to spring arriving someday - End of May! But continue to nurture the various tomato shoots and mature plants that are producing more cuttings and a couple "dead" pepper plants that are sending out new life! One that just gave me a small yellow pepper has stayed healthy and looks to be starting a new bud! These small signs of new and continuing life are helpful to the mental health.

For a cool climate: I was delighted to break up my sorrel plant into a dozen last fall and look forward to having fresh greens before the snow is off the ground at Beaver. I gave up growing garlic as I never use it but it grew prolifically through Ontario winters. I would dig it, give most of it away and plant another few. When I sold the farm in 99, there was some planted...

I have been coasting this last week, doing very little but finding I need to do SOMETHING out of the chair every hour or so! This am I even dusted the never used DR table! I had planned to go back to Beaver today but the sporadic gut thing is back and the idea of keeping a daily record so I would get a handle on the cause... Well, that never seems to work for me.

A new bathroom sink is in our future. The main bath has one with ridges in it - attractive I guess but a pain to clean. Several hours on the web last night, I finally bit the bullet - Wayfair turned out to be the ONLY source for a "drop in, no faucet holes sink". Home Depot in Niagara Falls has them; that is in the USA they are easily available but Home Depot - after two "chats" - in Canada does NOT. Nor any other - after googling two pages... THEN R wondered if he could get the old one out and decided he might have to break it but that's ok. After he left this am, I took an unwanted table knife and small hammer to it. The old sink is loose and the new one ordered!

Building on that success maybe I will get the cauliflower soup and a veggie stew made for the next week's planned overs. And spend a few minutes on the front steps in the sun a couple short stints of fresh air.

As for filing: I have a nice OLD oak filing cabinet which was beside my desk in many abodes and things got filed forthwith. Now, it is at the Mill along with a lot of other unmoved stuff. But I have spots for important papers both here and at Beaver. They are almost filed. And I find that lots of what I once filed away to look at later, well... It is all on the web anyway. And most bills are paid on-line.

Hope the daffodils survived, SRS!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 Feb 21 - 11:02 PM

We've gone from ice to mud very quickly here. This evening I finished mopping the muddy footprints from across the den floor and took a broom out to start pushing the lava sand onto the lawn. It works to prevent slipping on ice but it is terribly gritty and tracks in easily.

I'm also looking at battery packs for the house. My sister recommended one and I have an electrical engineer friend out in West Texas who is set for anything. I'll run this question past him. My computer UPS isn't meant to run for a long time, just a few minutes. These other power supplies are meant for running a lamp, charging phones and equipment, over time.

The last of the big protein packages from the freezer is finished. The pollock was frosty still but definitely thawing when the power came back on. I moved it and two packages of beef into the fridge and I cooked the beef over the last two nights (a lot goes back into the freezer now). This evening the fish went into a large batch of Whiting Stew and I'll share some of this tomorrow.

Yesterday I talked to a couple of friends about their camp stoves and then decided to get the Coleman two-burner propane or butane fuel camp stove. It's meant for emergencies here and it can be used indoors. That's the trouble with my old camp stoves, they run on gas and would have to be used outside. When it's zero degrees I'm not going to go outside to cook.

I finished emptying the stock pots and tubs that were holding water for several days in case we had to start boiling water. I feel bad pouring it out because lots of people are still boiling and still getting bottled water, but no one is coming over here to get stock pots full of water. Pots put away give me more room again and the house is continuing to improve after the disruption last week.

The best way to view it from the dogs' standpoint is that we went on a four-day three-night camping trip in my closet. I think they enjoyed themselves and though I knew (in particular) that Cookie was cold, she had a jacket she wore for four days straight and never bothered it.

It isn't funny yet, no one is telling stories of humorous things that happened, though I'm sure some did. Everyone is winding down from the stress of it, and many people are working with local mutual aid projects to help provide food and water and blankets and such. I'll be shopping tomorrow and taking food up to the fridge (I started doing that several months ago.) I'm still working at wrapping my brain around my usual daytime activities—I keep forgetting to do stuff that I always did every day before this. Getting back into that old routine is not coming as easily as one might expect.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 22 Feb 21 - 05:48 AM

I turn my PC off after 5 minutes of a power cut. I do that to try and keep the router and the base station for the Dect landline phones alive for as long as I can. I’ve no idea how long it does last but I think it would be hours rather than days.

Thinking phones and batteries, I got a new mobile phone last week as I was fed up with the battery life with the one I had which had gone down to barely lasting a day just idling and changing a battery on that phone looked quite a task. Having got the new one, I decided to have a play with the old one which I wiped, put Lineage OS 17.1 on and set up with the apps I wanted.

It’s just sat on my desk for the last 24 hrs and the battery is still showing a good 90%+ charge. I’m wondering now, whether the new custom ROM can really be that much better than the stock WileyFox one – I can’t see that? What update or change may have occurred to make the battery life so bad – I’d not made any changes around the time things started to deteriorate. Or whether I’ll start to see what looks like battery problems in a couple of days time.   As I stands though I seem to have a pretty decent back up phone for my needs.

While on the phones, I also put the battery in my first smart phone, a Galaxy Ace 2 and found it still works well. I’d put a new (replaceable by design) battery in that one and set it up as a phone for mum after I’d finished with it but it turned out that she was far better off with a basic (non smart) Nokia so the Ace 2 has just been stowed away.

Btw, SRS, your English had me a bit confused for a while when you said your stoves couldn’t be used as they run on gas – so does ours (on Butane), a 2 ring and grill Camping Gaz one that lives in the BBQ shed but could be brought to the house if needed. I think… There are CO detectors in both the living room (for woodburner) and kitchen (historical really but the central heating boiler used to be located there).

I’ve never used a petrol stove (although a brother had one that burned quite fiercely) but still have a paraffin/kerosene Optimus one - somewhere...


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 22 Feb 21 - 08:21 AM

And I might do a small power off job in the next couple of days. An annoying and costly problem has been (at least I’m pretty sure it must be) carers for dad or dad with them bang into things in the narrow corridor when they wheel him about. I’m not sure of the why’s and wherefores on the moving part as I’m willing to try all but am now just doing the putting to bed move.

We’ve had to replace one radiator valve controller and two night lights for reasons that I can only see as being caused by collisions and I’m certain it’s not me bumping in to things. I can’t go around accusing others or telling them to be more careful though.

I think the radiator valve one has been made safer by turning it round so you can’t see the lcd panel. That cut’s down on the protrusion and I don’t think anyone bent down to look at the display anyway.

The light is more difficult. Moving the socket which is in an akward place would be best but there’s not an easy and sightly way I could manage that. The nightlight I got this time is slimmer though and I think that coupled with using a 25mm/1” back box (I’m not sure why the current one is so deep) will cut the amount sticking out there by 50mm/2” which will reduce the chance of it getting knocked.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Mrrzy
Date: 22 Feb 21 - 08:46 AM

Thanks for that info on piles! And who actually has a free 18"x18" on their desks? I got about 4x6.

(What do you call vodka, oj and Preparation H? A pile-driver...)


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Feb 21 - 10:30 AM

Jon, a couple of years ago my neighbor gave me two of these replacement faceplate night lights that turn off when there's light an on when not. One of them isn't working now and it may be a simple matter of checking to see how I installed it, but I may get myself a couple more. These are one-gang, you'll have to hunt to see if they come wider.

I have two UPS units; the computer one is larger and I replaced the batteries in it last year. The one in the hall closet probably needs the batteries replaced also. I don't think it adds much life to the router and modem at this point.

Sorry about the gas/petrol mixup. My Coleman stove runs on white gasoline (a petrol form) and my little Optimus also. I have a fuel can out there that is ancient so needs to be disposed of properly and replaced. They still make the stuff. If the power is out in the summer, that is entirely usable outside.

I need to refurbish my LP gas grill, the last time I used it the gas barely trickled in and I think it's because wasps have clogged up the lines. Mud daubers get into tiny crevices and the garage walls are also covered with the gobs of mud for their larger nests.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 22 Feb 21 - 10:43 AM

Mrrzy, My desk needs a good clear out/tidy up. At best, I've got an area that would comfortably take an A4 (similar to your letter size) pad and room for a calculator and ruler, etc. to my left (I'm left handed - at least for writing, my musical attempts are right handed) and if I move the wireless keyboard I've got an area where I can try to play with things like the Arduino or solder something and power things with a power supply that lives to the right of monitor.

The old oak table in the living room is a better option for a larger area. It's mostly shared (a side each) with me and dad who has his lap top there and is currently attempting a 1000 piece jigsaw there. And at least if it's warm, I've got a workbench in my shed I tidied up last year.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 22 Feb 21 - 10:59 AM

SRS, that face plate looks really good. I’d not seen one of those or a UK equivalent before. I think I stick with a plug in type here though.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 22 Feb 21 - 11:35 AM

It’s snowing and blowing in Stratford, but not particularly cold. We’re having yet another lake-effect day, complete with sharply dropping air pressure. Consequently, there’s rain the forecast and my feet hurt.

I like that night-light gadget but, in the gloom of my upstairs hall, it would be on all the time. That bugged me with a plug-in light, but maybe it would matter less with the built-in LED bulb.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Feb 21 - 12:41 PM

The LCD bulbs in those faceplates are extremely low power and give off no heat.

Jon, I poked around the UK Amazon site and couldn't find anything similar. This looks a little more flush to the wall than the one you shared earlier.

Any time I bring up the Amazon page (the US version) I get the message that shipping is slower in my region. I don't know what Amazon's warehouses look like at the moment, but know that the post office is still messed up because the postmaster general's office is still full of Trump appointees. And then there's the weather thing—the post office is backed up with several days worth of stuff. And I'm willing to bet there are lots of new orders happening because of last week, putting more pressure on those various delivery systems.

I have to remember that I'm doing a "frugal February," but the emergency stuff I ordered is beyond the scope of that goal, I think. I've gotten started researching the replacement items and will await information from a couple of friends before more purchases, so it won't be till March that those happen.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Feb 21 - 10:53 PM

A trip to the post office and Aldi today were nice after more than a week at home. The store shelves were sparsely populated with groceries (plenty of spices and condiments and such, but low on meats, bread, no eggs, not much milk, a lot of dairy gone, little cheese, etc.) I got a half-gallon of 1% milk, one I don't normally buy, but I didn't want a gallon of whole milk and I want milk on my morning oatmeal. Beggars can't be choosers. The store had to throw out a lot of what is missing, it isn't just that customers swooped in and took it. They, like thousands of stores across the state, are waiting for distribution from unaffected warehouses.

It took me about 30 minutes to clear up the sleeping pads and sleeping bags from last week; they were propped up airing on the side of my bedroom. One or more of the bags for the pads had coated nylon and the coating peeled off and sprinkled all over the rug, so that had to be vacuumed before I deflated the mats and stored them again. The room is looking good.

I delivered two one-pint containers of soup to my ex this afternoon and he had it for dinner, as did I, at my house. It has been so long since anyone was in here to share a meal with me—the situation for so many people. He hasn't gotten any calls about the vaccine yet, but maybe once he gets the jab we can try being a pod. In comparing notes it's interesting - he is also experiencing the exhaustion I still seem to be feeling. I crash pretty early in the evening (early for me - I'm headed to bed in a couple of minutes.) I suspect that much of the state is feeling that way. I did the math - 90 hours. And consider: so many places in the world have people living in tents in refugee settings for long periods of time, and places where people are so poor that this is a normal circumstance, so we have nothing to complain about compared to that. But it gives us a glimmer of that kind of life and hopefully empathy. All along the Texas border with Mexico power was also out and it was sub-freezing there. Refugees still waiting to come into the US after Trump made them all wait in Mexico. Tent cities, dilapidated encampments, harsh conditions. I wonder if the deaths and injuries there will ever be counted. I heard that the count so far in Texas after those four days is 20.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 24 Feb 21 - 08:56 AM

I vacuumed the library yesterday and disassembled a great stack of Cerlox-bound proceedings of the National Criminal Law Program for recycling. The blue box is brimming again and almost too heavy to move, and the kitchen trash is bristling with plastic Cerlox thingies.

The Bubble is going out for lunch today! I shall wear a clean shirt and snazzy earrings to celebrate.

While we’re at it, it’s time to start planning a joint garage sale. I can’t think of a better way to disencumber myself of Edmund’s collection of rucksacks in many sizes — I think there are eight — and the clutter of kitchen gadgets I will never use again.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Feb 21 - 10:19 AM

If those comb bindings are intact you can bag them and donate to a print shop where they can be reused. The bindings can also be recycled.

Last night I made several thicknesses of scrap fabric and worked back and forth to get the bobbin settings adjusted. It was my stupid mistake to begin with, accidentally winding a bobbin too tight and then not realizing it was the bobbin and not the bobbin tension that was the problem. Now I'm sewing with black thread on top and white on the bottom so I can see how it is adjusting. (I wasted a lot of the color thread I was working with before I remembered the "how to adjust your tension" video used two colors.) This after I called a sewing machine repair shop (after trying several that seem to have gone out of business) and being told they would charge me $50 to clean it (I do that myself) and run a stitching strip to see how the tension is (and I'll try with different thicknesses). I think I simply need to fiddle with it until I get it reset where it was before. I have a better use for that $50.

Knee checkup today, a year out from that surgery. But what a strange year it has been!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Feb 21 - 07:03 PM

It's looking like nice weather for a few days and warming (it is almost March, and gardens get started here this time of year) so I'll shift my attention to clearing some things out of the garage that need to go into the yard. I have fence stuff and a gate to work on also. It is a little difficult to wrap my head around this work when last week we were in the midst of such a horrible arctic blast. But life moves on. So much stuff got clobbered that I'm going to be out cutting back a lot of shrubs and hope they come back from the roots later.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 25 Feb 21 - 10:26 AM

I'm sweeping again today to remove more lava sand from outside the doors and to pick up the sand tracked through the house. I bought a new rubber mat for inside the side door (and a dog bed that Cookie shredded within an hour of entering the house - BAD dog!) The sand melted snow because it's dark and solar gain meant it became warm in the sun, but oh, is it sharp edged on the floor now. The floor around here is a little crunchy.

Volunteer activities these days start out with virtual training so I'm beginning a series of Zoom lectures before I start working at a local museum later this year. So many things may again resume later this year. Here's hoping the vaccines are able to stay ahead of the current and new COVID-19 variants.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 26 Feb 21 - 05:40 AM

It’s not the first time I’ve used one of the IP cameras for this sort of thing but the kitchen one came in useful yesterday. Mum had complained that one of her plastic dessert spoons (there’s a green one and a yellow one) she and dad use for breakfast. I knew I’d used it when weighing out the flour she wanted for an apple pie and that seemed to be the last seen of it. So, check back on the recordings, I see myself putting it in the washing up bowl. I also put mums favourite (I hate it but) utility knife in there. Wind forward a bit later when I was tidying up in a hurry and I tip the washing up bowl full of apple peel into the kitchen waste bin. I’d emptied the waste bin into the outside wheelie bin before this so I retrieved the black bin bag from there, opened it up and sure enough, there amongst the apple peelings were the 2 utensils.

Staying with the kitchen, I think we need a new cooker. The bottom oven on the current one went a few months ago but we didn’t want to get a repair person in with the Covid situation. The top oven on has always seemed to be a bit under temperature (a contrast to the bottom one that always seemed over even with an allowance for it being fan assisted) but, things seem to be getting worse and I had to use extended times for the last lot of sultana buns I did… And the top right hob plate is tripping the main RCD, knocking all the power in the house off when you turn it on.

I wish that when mum had the kitchen done when she moved here over 20 years ago, that the space for the cooker had been made to take 60cm models rather than the 50cm slot we have (and it would be too big a job to change). It’s not a matter of capacity but one of choice. Now I’m doing the main cooking and with a need for a new cooker, I’d try to talk mum into getting one with induction hobs but I can’t find that in the smaller size.

We differ in what we prefer, if we lived somewhere with mains gas, I’d probably opt for a duel fuel (gas hobs, electric oven) cooker and like quick reaction. Mum prefers the slow sealed plate hobs.

Back to my printing side comments, I’ve slapped some paint on my traction engine attempt and we’ve decided it could do with a twin which, needless to say round here (Norwich City FC colours) will have the green parts in the photo done in yellow. At the moment, I don’t think I’m going to put motors and electronics in this one.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 26 Feb 21 - 09:08 AM

We had a tune session here yesterday, and it was just great. Serena the Fiddle brought a pupil, Lauren who is "almost" 14, so with me and and Mary Anne the Guitar, we are now four. We're beginning to sound like a ceilidh band, and I couldn't be more chuffed. We have started learning a new jig set.

If I move the library furniture around a bit, we could fit in one or two more at six-foot spacing, but I think we've a way to go before we contemplate that. Maybe a bodhran, or Lauren's dad on guitar, but if we added a guitar we would need another melody instrument, flute or fiddle, mandolin or banjo. I can play both the bodhran and the guitar, but the others would rather have the mandolin and I think they're right.

I look forward to the day -- this year, next year? -- when we can sit at elbows-not-quite-bumping range and really dig in.

I'm sorry for your cooker troubles, Jon. Especially when you share a kitchen with loved ones who have their minds made up about the technology they are prepared to accept, it's an huge challenge to replace such a critical component of your home. And the cost! I hope I never have to buy another new cooker; I'll coddle the one I have as long as I can.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 26 Feb 21 - 10:38 AM

I've put in orders to add three books to my collection; I started researching technical repair books for sewing machines and found one pre-1980 and two much more modern. My sewing machine is acting up and its either the tension or a timing problem that so far I haven't resolved myself. Since I've been interested in refurbishing machines I find at Goodwill it's time to make this move. Meanwhile I'm losing ground on my mask making as I fidget with the big machine. Today I'll do a full cleaning, needle replacement, etc. just because.

The all-electric stove in my kitchen was new a few years ago (four burners or hobs and and oven). I don't know that there will ever be a higher-end stove in there. This is lightweight compared to the previous model and I have a bracket I was supposed to attach to the wall to push this onto, to prevent tipping (resting something on the oven door might do it, I suppose). I should go ahead and install that.

We're at the messy time of year here, when mud is churned up with every rain and when the yard is bedraggled after the hard freeze. Jon, I have to work on my compost setup again; the one with wire over the top now only serves to keep me out since the smallest dog figured out a way to wiggle in through the layers. I have found utensils in the garden or compost on occasion that got into the scrap bowl or gray-water bucket. I lost a pair of scissors for a while that turned up when I dug the next year, and it was a video of a sweet potato operation (my ex videoing our daughter digging potatoes that revealed where a trowel was buried.) It makes me wonder at the everyday things we choose to record. :)

Charmion, I love that you can bring a few people into the house. My small group that usually meets here is still too leery about getting together indoors, so our first lunch of 2021 won't happen until either everyone gets vaccinated or we have nice weather for an outdoors picnic.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 26 Feb 21 - 01:39 PM

I remember a pair of mum's glasses turning up in a compost heap a year or so after they were lost...


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 26 Feb 21 - 03:28 PM

On the cameras btw. I think I started it after dad lost some token coins. We’ve got them in the living room, kitchen and study inside and the front and back outside. Here’s a view of the back a couple of weeks ago.

Another use for one came in after dad, who was then walking unsupervised with a frame, had a fall. The ambulance crew asked what happened and I was able to show them exactly what happened.

It was quite a “lucky” (are falls lucky?) fall. He tried to take too big a stride, lost his balance and went flying, avoiding cracking his head on the oak table by inches on the way down. He landed heavily but, it turned out, quite shaken but physically unscathed.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 26 Feb 21 - 05:48 PM

Beaver!

Gor off in good time on thurs and arrived just after 3 with full sun but about minus 2 C. NO driveway and I have to wallow throw knee high snow to the front door. To the essential! as I sat, I texted Steve - "no driveway" and bt the time I had shoveled a path to the car, he arrived and cleared enough for me to get the car off the road. With a promise to return and finish the job- which he did very nicely today.

Hut then I backed the car in and when I thought to do a better job, it was stuck so I shoveled a path to the wood shed and part way to the studio - as far as I could manage. Had supper, talked to R, and was in bed about 7.

This am, after light bf, I carried numerous buckets of hot water out to melt the icy snow toward the studio until I managed to open the door enough to squeeze in and turn the cube heater down; it has cost me having it turned to high but better that than frozen clay.

Wanting to get errands done, I used sand and the metal ice thingy and got unstuck. Hit the bank to get a US draft to donate to Clayart discussion forum, an interesting and often helpful group of seasoned potters. Hardware store hoping for a supply of 4 inch pots but found them too expensive for almost give-away plants. Seed display was in full swing so I got a very few packets of seeds for spring, lest everything gets sold. Then frozen organic chicken breasts, and 3 stamps for USA at post office, thinking I might even write a couple notes to folks!

Home, parking carefully, had a good BF and Steve finished the drive very nicely. Started to take a nap -- after my 12 hours of not great sleep last night - but remembered I needed to bring in wood - went to minus 15C or so last night and getting the cold house up to snuff took a lot of wood. So, I jumped up and did wood, washed my hair and trimmed it for first time in weeks? maybe months.

So then, I turned on internet connection and did a rough go through of emails. Now this and maybe later I will do some fine tuning. I save to file many of the clayart posts, sign petitions, and and scam email addresses to the anti scam list.

Later for that. Now for a nice supper. The wonderful sun has dropped behind the hill; our gorgeous above freezing,by a couple degrees, day is ending. Tomorrow I hope for enough energy to get to work in the studio! It may snow a bit tonight! And tomorrow and the next day! The composter only has its very top visible!

My indoor/outdoor thermometer (outdoor is the studio) indicates the studio is getting too warm again... Someday I would like a real heater with a real thermostat! Shall I go turn it down again??? Probably. After I start cooking.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 27 Feb 21 - 09:13 AM

Beaver!

Couple inches of snow by 9 am. Charmion will love this!! Glad I did errands yesterday. This is a heavy steady straight down snow! Guess I will read today. About 4 degrees below freezing. So much for yesterday's thaw.

Another 12 hours mostly sleeping and I feel like doing something... May venture the 20 feet to studio later. Not much room in ther4e for outer clothes. An umbrella would be good; it's in the car which is rapidly disappearing!

However, keeping a log of temps in studio has given me the clue I needed to where to set the heater.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 27 Feb 21 - 11:27 AM

Being acclimated to the cold weather and having enough resources to stay warm (pellets, wood, electricity, gas) make winter not so dreadful as Texas's week after Valentine's Day. I'm reading Dorothy's account of a week and wondering why we complained so much - it's the doing it without power that made it horrible for people totally unprepared. I now have a propane stove (arrived via Amazon on Wednesday) and I'll go buy a couple of tanks early next week (I've gotten the vaccine but still am very careful about going out, preferring times when the stores are almost empty).

I have only been to one grocery store since the Big Freeze, when I had to clear out the side-by-side freezer and fridge of a lot of thawed produce from my garden. I still have a supply in the big upright freezer, and instead of buying anything new I'm working on moving stuff. I try to use the fridge freezer for my everyday stuff and open the big one only on occasion. I tossed things in jars that weren't preserved by brine or salt or vinegar (so I kept olives and pickles and such, but tossed the mayonnaise).

As I've continued to fiddle with it the big sewing machine tension is now all out of whack. I cleaned and oiled the machine again. There was a video on YouTube of a guy taking off and adjusting the upper tension on a machine almost identical to mine. The video moves at a snail's pace but I'll watch it through to see if I can't try that adjustment now.


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Mudcat time: 27 February 1:03 PM EST

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