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De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021

Stilly River Sage 28 May 21 - 06:32 PM
Jon Freeman 28 May 21 - 09:32 AM
Donuel 27 May 21 - 11:23 PM
Stilly River Sage 27 May 21 - 10:47 PM
Stilly River Sage 27 May 21 - 12:00 PM
Charmion 27 May 21 - 11:56 AM
Stilly River Sage 26 May 21 - 10:10 PM
Dorothy Parshall 26 May 21 - 06:43 PM
Charmion 26 May 21 - 01:54 PM
Jon Freeman 26 May 21 - 01:33 PM
Stilly River Sage 26 May 21 - 01:02 PM
Charmion 26 May 21 - 08:40 AM
Stilly River Sage 25 May 21 - 12:35 PM
Jon Freeman 25 May 21 - 07:46 AM
Charmion 25 May 21 - 07:00 AM
Jon Freeman 25 May 21 - 06:52 AM
Stilly River Sage 24 May 21 - 03:48 PM
Charmion 24 May 21 - 03:26 PM
Stilly River Sage 24 May 21 - 02:47 PM
Dorothy Parshall 24 May 21 - 12:48 PM
Charmion 24 May 21 - 11:28 AM
Charmion 24 May 21 - 09:06 AM
Stilly River Sage 23 May 21 - 11:54 PM
Charmion 23 May 21 - 02:42 PM
Stilly River Sage 23 May 21 - 11:08 AM
Stilly River Sage 22 May 21 - 02:35 PM
Charmion 22 May 21 - 08:22 AM
Jon Freeman 22 May 21 - 07:30 AM
Charmion 21 May 21 - 12:40 PM
Dorothy Parshall 21 May 21 - 12:26 PM
Stilly River Sage 20 May 21 - 11:13 PM
Jon Freeman 20 May 21 - 03:46 PM
Stilly River Sage 20 May 21 - 01:12 PM
Jon Freeman 20 May 21 - 08:38 AM
Jon Freeman 20 May 21 - 06:47 AM
Charmion 19 May 21 - 02:48 PM
Jon Freeman 19 May 21 - 02:06 AM
Stilly River Sage 18 May 21 - 06:50 PM
Charmion 18 May 21 - 04:24 PM
Stilly River Sage 18 May 21 - 12:27 PM
Stilly River Sage 17 May 21 - 07:41 PM
Charmion 17 May 21 - 10:41 AM
Stilly River Sage 16 May 21 - 12:37 PM
Charmion 16 May 21 - 09:41 AM
Jon Freeman 16 May 21 - 08:36 AM
Jon Freeman 16 May 21 - 06:07 AM
Stilly River Sage 15 May 21 - 01:53 PM
Stilly River Sage 13 May 21 - 10:36 PM
Charmion 13 May 21 - 12:14 PM
Stilly River Sage 13 May 21 - 11:15 AM
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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 28 May 21 - 06:32 PM

Jon, I hope your father perked up as the day progressed. Here we had a lovely morning and I sat down to knock off my usual Friday morning employment tasks - by the time I finished it was raining again. Kind of blew my mood! You're lucky your brother visits with the aim of doing something helpful while he's there, and that would boost my spirits!

I did get over to Joann fabrics, they have a good sale going this weekend, but I don't need much now. Mask making is winding down, or more accurately, shifting to the specialty prints for occasions and those made for friends with health issues who are glad to have masks to wear. I picked up more fabric for the inside lining of my masks and thread was on sale (buy 3/get 3 free). It was quiet because of the rain so the woman at the cutting counter had a little time to visit. She is still making a lot of masks also, and said the store has gotten in some knit fabrics now because a lot of people who took up sewing for making PPE are now looking for other projects. The fabric store is predicting that making clothes like t-shirt tops will become popular. This young woman has done some of her sewing on a treadle machine - now that's diehard! (She also bought a Brother because the electric machine works faster and more reliably.) Even as things start to open up, I still find those conversations with total strangers can be very interesting and fill my need for face-to-face society.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 28 May 21 - 09:32 AM

My brother Paul cleaned some gutters and put the roof tile back in place yesterday. He doesn't visit often but when he does, he always comes with some work clothes and asks if there is a job needing doing. As far as I know, mum had already phoned someone who agreed to do the job but didn't turn up...

I think, this time we are finally in for a warmer sunny spell. It was lovely yesterday evening and I went out after tea and did some mowing, filled the bird feeders round the back and a little bit of tidying up.

I've, at last, put the 3 courgette plants outside into tubs. I'll plant some marigolds and some lettuce later and probably do more grass cutting but I am waiting for a ups delivery at the moment.

Dad's on poor form at the moment and I've reverted to wheeling him for the toilet in the day time but I think that's probably caused by the stress of having visitors for the past two days (they set off for home this morning) and hope things pick up again. I say stress but both parents enjoy and want to see other members of the family. It's just trying to be at your best can cause some anxiety.


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

Don't forget the suana.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 27 May 21 - 10:47 PM

I'm good to go with regular activities now, and I asked a few questions before ordering a pair of glasses from Zenni. My favorite titanium frames, but this time no correction on top, just the bifocal correction on the bottom. These will be my walking around glasses, and I can keep using the readers at the computer and piano.

I worked out where some of the papers that are still here can be stored (with related subject matter) and clear out two file boxes on the closet floor. I have a small stack of documents for the burning barrel but will wait till the stack is larger before setting up the paper pyre. There are old bills to discard, I'll be ready to burn after the next bout of rain passes (due here tomorrow).

This afternoon I visited the modest apartment of a friend in a 1929 building that has many of the historic features still in place. Tiny kitchen, small living/dining area, modest bedroom, one bath. 550 sf with plenty of space because he doesn't have it filled furniture, books, and stuff. I couldn't pack all of my stuff in there even stacking it and using a shoehorn. (He has a cat, that I will be caring for while he is on vacation.) During COVID he offloaded extra stuff (eBay), and I need to do more of that now. It was an interesting glance at a frugal household, but there wasn't the array of things to do that I have here - the entertainment is built in at this house! Sewing/craft room, greenhouse, office, storage, guest rooms - all good for comfort, but not necessary.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 27 May 21 - 12:00 PM

Good call on the letters, Charmion.

My calendar was crammed full for the day but lunch was rescheduled so my first trip of the day will be over to the recycle bins, to deposit household stuff and a 9" stack of paper from graduate school. It's the tip of that iceberg, but it's a start. I've compressed the contents of two boxes into one, and next will move onto file drawers.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 27 May 21 - 11:56 AM

I'm thinking more and more of what I want my heirs and assigns to see when I pop my clogs. I was about to toss all Edmund's old letters into the Burn Now box when it occurred to me that only a couple of them were ... um ... rather too interesting, and most of the rest were written by the nieces' and nephews' grandparents, and they might want to read them on those grounds alone. So I did what a good censor does and kiboshed only the material that would embarrass /me/ if it appeared on the front page of the Globe & Mail. The remainder fills only one file folder -- manageable.


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

I got out the burning barrel, then attacked one of the file boxes in the closet. I put the barrel away again when I realized it was a waste of energy to burn the stuff I've dug out so far. I shredded the front pages of a few of the papers but the rest are piling up in a box for the recycle bin. And I will get a bigger box, this one is filled up to the top. If I dive into one of files of old bills then I'll put those in the burning barrel.

Jon, I have a very similar barrel to yours. I set bricks in the bottom to provide more air space for circulation when burning with it. Then I take out the bricks, empty the ash into the compost, and store it back inside the greenhouse. It would rust if it was out in the weather. I hadn't thought about paint, but that is another possibility.

It felt good to pull out those papers. I held onto some that tie in with the paper I'd still like to write, and I kept a few that I remember were such a huge trouble to get my hands on. I'll put them in their own special file and maybe scan them one of these days. I'll pull some more this evening and when I head out to run errands in the morning I'll drop them at the city bins.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 26 May 21 - 06:43 PM

Dupont:

Ok, so yard by yard I have managed to clear enough tall grass to get a garden - 20 more bags of black earth unloaded this aft during a windy spell. The ashes and compost from the garbage can are underneath. Tomatoes and squash mostly planted. Tomorrow it is said to be cooler. I will plant some yellow bean seeds and corn - more for fun as there is not that much room. And maybe some other things, space and whatever seeds I already have...

Front yard is roughly cut. Back still needs some, but there are little white flowers !! So... And the yarrow... Neighbour just did her huge yard for second or third time; I could feel the vibration of her machine in the house. She did not cut the Dandies so she had higher grass than usual for her! Ah! Rain coming down!!!

Waiting for R to determine when his next shot will be, then I will plan trip to Beaver. Pat has been keeping the Coach House as open as possible, carefully minding restrictions. Even so, I have enough not to have to e-send the rent! I have that load in the kiln to bisque and glaze and fire when I get there. Will consult with Pat re colours! Ontario is still driving people nuts with its inability to organize shots. Mine is not until July but I was hoping for earlier...HO HO HO...

We went to the local library this am - I finally realized it is open! But I seem to have lost the card so R arranged a new one and I picked up one new book. Hundreds of books in the house but none tickled my fancy.

The air is so much nicer at Beaver - cleaner! De-cluttered of pollution.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 26 May 21 - 01:54 PM

The new filing cabinet arrived this morning and is now in place, thanks to Leslie the cop who lives across the street. She was on her verandah with a power drill and a rickety kitchen drawer when the Staples delivery crew did their dump-and-dash, so she came over to volunteer for heavy manual labour. Nice.

Everything in the study is now stowed where it will stay, and locked up if it needs to be locked up. Just the way I like it.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 26 May 21 - 01:33 PM

We've got an incinerator bin with a chimney in the lid that I sometimes use. A problem I've found with them is that you get them burning too hot, the galvanised coating breaks down and they soon rust away. I sprayed our current one with heat resistant black paint when that started to happen. That seems to have prolonged its life a bit but it could do with more paint on now.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 26 May 21 - 01:02 PM

The reason I bought the burn barrel is to keep that paper ash waste from blowing around. It has a few holes in the lid to let out smoke and heat but keeps ash inside. But it think being amenable to your friend's suggestion is a good idea. Here it's a sunny day after 2+ weeks of rain so I'll get my Behren's barrel out and give some of the scholarly editing a go. (It says use for composting or burning - I think composting would rot this thing out in no time.) I can recycle copies of articles and such, but the personal papers go in the fire.

This is the last day of lots of eyedrops; tomorrow I start tapering just one type, a tedious but essential reminder of the recent procedures. I am mindful of the not lifting/bending, though I did pull a few weeds this morning to give a struggling small okra plant some room in the garden. Later this week the whole thing will get a good going over and more mulch added.

My household recycling usually sits in a plastic kitchen trash bin, and paper recycling goes in a cardboard box to be transported to the bins behind City Hall. If I'm going to start recycling academic papers I'm going to need a bigger box.

P.S. We have been discussing cat fountains here at Mudcat and I'm in a Chrome browser most times, sometimes Firefox. And now my phone's Instagram feed is offering Amazon ads for large capacity pet fountains. They seem to have done the math and realized I have dogs when it comes to reading my posts and making suggestions.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 26 May 21 - 08:40 AM

The old four-drawer filing cabinet has left the building in the back of a Perth County Cadillac (aging Ford pick-up) after 10 hours on Facebook Marketplace. Its two-drawer lateral successor is supposed to arrive today, but who knows? It’s raining stair-rods in Stratford.

Yesterday was another day of sorting and condemning papers, and now I have the “classified waste” separated and ready to go: one box of post-2018 practice files to the basement to marinate for another couple of years, and one box of personal and financial stuff for immediate destruction.

At suppertime, a fiddle-playing friend arrived on her bike for a porch visit. A member of a large local family of Dutch farmers, she suggested that we take the “burn now” box out to their home place and spend a jolly evening around the fire with beers and wienies. I think that would be a great idea, as paper ash tends to blow around the neighbourhood in a way that attracts more attention than I like.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 25 May 21 - 12:35 PM

Jon, I share plants with neighbors - sometimes things I've dug up, other times extras from seed. Next door neighbor visited friends in Atlanta, GA a few weeks ago and asked if she could take some of the yellow iris from my yard because that friend had asked about yellow iris. I gave her two colors of yellow (the neighbor knew I was going to be thinning all of them.)

Two weeks ago I went to volunteer at the museum and my daughter and I went for our first lunch in over a year at the campus dining hall across the street. It was raining so hard on the way back that the river of water against the curb was too wide and I landed smack in it with my left foot, wet up to the ankle. Last week we passed on lunch because it was still raining. And today as well - it's a torrent out there. All of this rain has my lawn growing tall and lush and it will be wretched to mow it next time, sometime after Thursday when I get the "all clear" from the ophthalmologist. I have a putty knife in my gardening apron so I can stop the mower and scoop out the lawn-pesto underneath. And my raised beds are looking okay but the soil will be so compacted from all of the water it'll need some aeration with the spade fork once it dries. There is no fruit, just all foliage so far on seven tomato plants out there.

We had this kind of rainy spell last year also and several years in the past. It seems to be a new feature of our springtime weather.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 25 May 21 - 07:46 AM

And on giving plants away. I put a few excess tomatoes and aubergines out for a family friend (who btw also takes some newspapers from us as litter for her rabbits and guinea pigs) yesterday. I placed the pots in a ("heavy duty", not the thin plastic) windowsill plant tray with some water in with come carrier bags nearby to put transfer the plants to for collection. I didn't expect her to see the windowsill tray as part of the deal. We will get it back but grrrr...


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 25 May 21 - 07:00 AM

No howling at the kitchen sink today. Dare I hope for success?


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 25 May 21 - 06:52 AM

I planted the Swiss chard (well 11 of the 22 plug plants I got, I’ll give the others away) and some leeks out yesterday. I did that in one of the few dry and sunny spells yesterday. The weather is still very mixed here but I think we are over the past few days of strong cold winds which have not done my few outdoor tomatoes any favours.

We are due a visit from a brother and his partner tomorrow. This (except for a one day call starting the night before I went into hospital to see parents were OK) will be the first time we’ve seen a relative since, I guess, Christmas/New Year 2019/20. No special preparations needed and they will be stopping and eating their main meal in town but I might do some cheese scones later. I did a porter cake yesterday evening.

I had a change of mind with the clip for mum’s trolley. I made them bolt on (so we have this) and use two rather than one for stability. The angle of the tubing makes the cane stick out a bit at the bottom but I don’t think that’s a problem. I’ll just see how they last IF mum continues to use them and finds them helpful now.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 May 21 - 03:48 PM

It's still raining or I'd set up the burn barrel and get started while the impulse is strong. And I should remind myself that there are computer copies of these around, somewhere.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 24 May 21 - 03:26 PM

Three cheers for Maggie! And a tiger!

Way to go.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 May 21 - 02:47 PM

You two have touched on a tender spot re the content in my file cabinets - all of the work I did in graduate school that I thought I might modify and publish later. So far it hasn't happened. There is one article I'd like to write but it requires mostly new research, so if I kept the main related paper and shredded the all of the rest I'd be up on drawer space.

That said, my second desk in the office is two two-drawer file cabinets sitting about 18" apart topped with a lovely clear piece of birch plywood (I ironed on oak veneer around the edge to give it a polished look). That's where a lot of the scholarship lives. So even if I empty the contents, I would use the space to store something else because I don't want to lose that desk. The file with more business stuff is also two-drawer and it sits on a welded wheeled base a friend made and wasn't using so gave to me. I can move the cabinet away from the corner it faces when I need to get into it. And the everyday file is the equivalent of a 1-drawer file, it's a heavy plastic bin with lids that fold down to the side. Hanging files are inside and if I had to grab one box to take out of the house for current records, that would be it. (That's why I set it up this way.)

This requires the letting go of the work I enjoyed and was passionate about but that I'm not going to use again and acknowledging that no university is going to want "my papers" at some point. I have the published copies of things, the rest can go into the burn barrel.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 24 May 21 - 12:48 PM

Dupont:

As usual, I glean reminders from here! My old 4 drawer is at the mill and the papers well mouse eaten. One of these trips, I can box all it and leave the carcass for R. IT will provide considerable fire starting material after I quickly check for the vague possibility of anything worth saving. Then I will need no filing cabinet at all. A bookshelf and file folders will suffice.

I need to get down there and rescue anything I treasure because R is making noises about re-arranging to make room for... He has totally disregarded my numerous please not to put stuff in the way of my things: lost the box of books I treasure; I have searched and searched to no avail! So, I had better be pro-active before I lose everything special.... If it is special, why is it down there? Still trying to sort this house out ... that's why.

Anyway of this beautiful day - cool, sunny, and breezy - I have been early to the store for 20 bags of black earth to plant the tomato and squash plants, et al, on top of the clay in the back yard. Also did groceries in a near empty grocer. This weather gives me energy.

My weed eater is charging; I already did a stint that almost completed the clearing of the front yard. Now I want to clear a path to the garden area, rather than flatten the 18 inch "grass" by driving across. The 15 minute stints/twice a day are do-able and not having a cord to fight with is a relief for shoulders. I am trying to leave the yarrow and anything else that looks interesting!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 24 May 21 - 11:28 AM

Big step forward today: I just ordered a two-drawer filing cabinet from Staples.

The four-drawer cabinet currently looming in the study will slow-march down the stairs and out to the garage as soon as I can convince someone large and muscly to help me.

For many years, I have preached the gospel of Only One Filing Cabinet. Now that I'm retired and widowed, that One Filing Cabinet should be half the size of the one I shared with Edmund. With that decision made, it's easier than I thought to let go of stuff I've been sitting on for decades like a bureaucratic Smaug. I'm not competing for editorial projects any more, so I don't need to keep the better part of a drawerful of samples. The people in my life who thought it important to keep old letters are now dead, so I can dispose of lots and lots of blackmail material without a qualm -- except that I might not get it all burned or shredded before I'm hit by a bus.

When I have dealt with the papers, I can face the task of sorting out boxes and boxes of photographs. Next winter, when it's sleeting and I'll do anything to avoid going outside.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 24 May 21 - 09:06 AM

An important element of cat-training is to resist the urge to react to behaviour you wish to extinguish. It’s hard to ignore a cat howling into your face when you’re trying to fill the kettle for coffee, but I am here to tell you that everybody survives the experience.

Watson is beginning to have difficulty jumping, so I must eventually find a safe spot on the floor for the fountain. This house has an unfortunate lack of cat-sized niches located near power points.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 23 May 21 - 11:54 PM

I have a box of slacks sitting on the bench in the sunroom, awaiting my next trip to Goodwill. And I need to empty the contents of the donation bin into a large bag and take it along.

Charmion, a cat-sitting job is coming up in June, for a friend who has a cat who has a fountain that sounds much like the one you have adopted. He was interested when I mentioned that you were having good results (his is also fairly new to the routine). His cat would demand water dripping from the kitchen faucet or a small drip from the showerhead. (Well, I didn't say "a woman in Canada who I've never actually met says her cats like the fountain." I just said "a friend reports. . . ")

I've done more clearing of counters in the kitchen and it's a nice look. Less is more.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 23 May 21 - 02:42 PM

I turned out my collection of trousers that don’t fit and found that a pair of straight-legged Lee jeans that was a size too small last summer now fits just fine. While I was at it, I consigned three pairs of skinny jeans to the donation box. Two pairs are the pull-on stretchy kind, bought with a gift card and a terrible disappointment because they skid down my flat butt every time I bend over so I’m forever hauling them up again.

While I was at it, I sorted out some big-ticket items I don’t wear any more, notably a lush alpaca sweater that is too warm for Stratford. They can go to the niece who moved to chilly Ottawa.

I recently managed to get the BIL to accept some of Edmund’s rugby shirts, but I have yet to figure out what to do with his large accumulation of fancy haberdashery. This morning, I moved the accessories that go with his three (count ‘em! Three!) kinds of evening wear into a moth-proof barrack box, freeing up more accessible storage for items for which I have identified a recipient. Now to ensure that I remember to take those items with me when I can finally travel again ...


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 23 May 21 - 11:08 AM

This morning I did a brief survey of the kitchen counters. A bottle of hand lotion that I have had for at least 10 years and never use ("but I might some day") is now in the trash, too old to give to someone else (it moved in and out of a cupboard as I considered starting to use it, but always washed it off as soon as it was on my hands). And several other items that were routinely out but could just as easily live in a cupboard or be tossed have been stored away or put in the trash or recycle bin. I had a couple of acrylic jars with silicone seals and wire clamp-style closures that I keep figs and dates in, but they're empty, so got washed and put away (the current box of dates I'm using is in the fridge).

I should go take a look in the pantry.

This afternoon there is a vet clinic at the feed store where I buy dog food, and I need to take the little one over to get her nails clipped. I won't do more than one dog at a time, it's too much trouble, so the other dog who tolerates the trimming can go in a couple of weeks. That's a very helpful declutter! I don't need to lift that dog at all so no problem with the "no lifting or bending" rule for this week. (The third dog won't have anything to do with the vet and the nail clippers. I don't put her through it.)


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 May 21 - 02:35 PM

Jon, I knew the concept, but not the name "Parkinson’s Law." Good to know! My kitchen counters do need a bit of a clear out. The items that aren't refrigerated (dispenser of olive oil, jar of ghee, etc.) and a few other things probably could live in a cupboard. I keep the Kitchenaid stand mixer on the counter because it is so much work to move it if it is stored elsewhere. The toaster oven is where it won't light anything on fire or melt adjacent stuff. The tray of tea stuff. There is a bowl on a stand where I let fruit ripen. If I never bought tea again I'd have a supply of various flavors that would last me for several years.

We've had a lot of rain since I planted the first part of the vegetable garden so the tomatoes have a lot of foliage but not much fruit. One tomato in view so far, and a few buds of eggplants. Flowers on the pepper plants. I can't do much stooping to examine the plants for pests, but I have a mix of compost tea, spinosad, a little Murphy Oil soap, and water in a squirt bottle to try to stop whatever is chomping the okra leaves. When it's still small it's vulnerable.

Looking at photos of the garden in past years reminds me of how pretty potted plants can be alongside the house on the driveway area. I need to pay more attention to those, especially since several had contents killed by the big freeze and need new plantings or they'll fill with weeds.

Charmion, the dogs gang up every so often to tell me that they require a treat, regardless of the time of day. They do it every now and then, and I'm not sure what their decision making process involves. They are always very clear in their meaning.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 22 May 21 - 08:22 AM

Watson (large, bossy tomcat) still sits in front of the kitchen sink and howls at me to open the tap, but after a few minutes of insisting he drinks from the fountain. Isobel, his sister, sussed out my intent right away and has ceased to bother. She still bounces up onto the counter when she hears water running, but clearly does not expect me to reinstate the previous standard of service.

So the tap issue is essentially political, and Watson has yet to give up on bending me to his will. Pragmatic Isobel saves her energy for more important projects, such as her daily drive to push treat time from 1700 hours to 1630.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 22 May 21 - 07:30 AM

There is a slicer I used to use for bread in one of the cupboards, SRS, that I don’t know if I’ll use again but that’s maybe it in the cupboards.

I had a major revision of pots and pans a couple of years back and one big clearout of foodstuffs last year and I think we are, overall, in a state that I might describe as sorted as reasonably as I can for what we do really want to have there in the space available.

The worktops and a small table are cluttered with food processor, food mixer, bread maker, multi cooker as well as the microwave, kettle, as well as things including the bread bin but I think we are around the most reasonable compromise we’ll get for what is used at (least sometimes). A bigger kitchen would probably improve things, although, even if possible, it would probably come with a variant of Parkinson’s Law...


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 21 May 21 - 12:40 PM

After months of clearing surfaces and rehoming kitchen items, I have added something to the countertop — an electric water fountain for the cats.

Ever since we moved here, the cats have insisted on drinking from the kitchen tap at least twice each day. They never demanded this service in Ottawa, where I kept their water and kibble dishes on opposite sides of the very large kitchen, and I belatedly began to wonder if they preferred the tap here because we had put the water and kibble dishes side by side in one corner of the dining room.

The water fountain makes no noise except a slight splashing sound. Both of them are using it. I hope this works.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 21 May 21 - 12:26 PM

Dupont:

Recovering from a 3-day marathon trip last weekend! R needed to go to ON for business. We drove to Beaver on Saturday, taking time for some wonderful back-roading. There were police at the border but they did not stop us - Ontario plates; they were stopping some vehicles.

Stopped at bakery, picked up mail. It is awkward getting mail so far away! As long as I can get there once a month...On arrival, I set in to do as much weeding as possible and went to bed.

Sunday: more weeding and loaded the kiln but did not fire. Drove 2 hours to get to R's needed visit. A couple hours sitting in car or walking around in the field, watching the horses eat dandelions! So tired I got comfie in the back of the car!

This huge quonset gave new meaning to clutter! About 40 by 80 feet, it was almost impassible. I took one look and went back to the field. There is antique machinery and odds and sods - the smaller pieces, that R is purchasing, weigh 200#. It needs to be emptied by the end of May!!!! R is rather overwhelmed by the logistics. He talks of two trucks and himself and Joe! There is no room to get a forklift in to move things!! Stay tuned!! Moral: don't bring it home if you cannot carry it out.

At some point in the last 50 years, I did jettison anything I could not carry alone. ... Oh well. I sometimes remember the Bill Staines line, "all my possessions fit the back seat of my car"...

Drove back to Beaver via more back roads. Went to bed. Monday: BF, weeding, packing, stopped at empty bank to deposit, quick trip into almost empty grocery for Blackberry yogurt, and back to Dupont. No problem at the QC border though several police cars were evident.

Managing some household basics and bought myself a battery powered weed eater at a fairly empty Canadian Tire, 10 minutes away. The rationale being that the electric cord maneuvering is hard on my shoulders. The grass is almost two feet in places! The dandies are mostly finished. Since it takes 5 hours to charge, I trim 'til it quits, twice a day. Not today - too hot.

Also bringing tomato plants from second floor to back deck. And any other plant that can go outside is getting there - as energy allows. R thought he was going to bring me soil but he is too busy so a trip for bags of soil - maybe today; it is a safely arranged store. Today I looked for a chance to do some groceries but the stores were too busy.

My life revolves around weeding! and trimming grass! And keeping the house as cool as possible in the 80-90 degree heat! R opened the attic hatch to let heat go out the vent in the roof and I close and open drapes according to the sun. And do not go outside in the afternoon.

Did go out to say bye to R and, of course, started weeding! Then neighbour walking young Aussie and a border collie stopped to chat. Even the Aussie was subdued!

Doing laundry today. ... Maybe some trimming in the shade...?


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 20 May 21 - 11:13 PM

We've addressed medical paraphernalia, have dipped a toe into the vast pool of household hardware and tools - now - what do you have in those kitchen drawers and in the back of the pantry? I try to put all of those extra appliances on eBay where they usually sell (though I've slacked off in my sales while doing all of the sewing - I'll have to see if the market has shifted.) There are lots of gadgets that fill several drawers around the kitchen and though I've given a lot to the kids as they set up their own homes, I still have duplicates of both small things and larger appliances. I think Charmion has beat the rest of us to clearing the kitchen out, though sad for the reason for getting rid of fancy coffee makers, fridges, and such.

Twenty-four hours and more after the second surgery and the vision is feeling clearer. Clear. Distance vision is crisp - something I've missed for a long time. Now to work out the type of reading glasses to use. The test will be reading the computer screen and reading sheet music at the piano. Looking ahead of me about 24" and focusing on those surfaces will be addressed with glasses.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 20 May 21 - 03:46 PM

I've got one similar to that, SRS. Mine hangs on the wall above my bed and under the shelving. It holds electronic and electrical bits and pieces. The "selection boxes" go on a bit of the shelving above it. I've got 2 pipe cutters (15mm and 22mm - UK domestic plumbing commonly uses both these sizes of copper pipe) a different type to yours though. They live in the top section of the toolbox in my shed. PTFE (teflon) tape lives on one of the shelves in there with other tapes.

I must get round to tidying up my desk and the top of the unit in the middle of my floor soon. Both are littered with things but other than that, I've managed so far to stay quite organised since doing my shed last year and some sorting in my room early this year. I know where to find most things.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 20 May 21 - 01:12 PM

I was careful to plant Swiss chard in small pots with just one or two seeds spaced out in the pots, but clusters of seedlings are emerging (making me think each knobby pod thing I planted has more than one seed inside). They're too small to transplant yet, but I should reach a sweet spot with those so I can tease those seedings apart and put them in their own pots to grow a little larger before planting in the garden. Or I could just pinch off the extras (but why waste them if I can separate them?)

Jon, the hardware storage unit I've favored has a couple of sizes of little drawers for small packets of brads, the connectors for the coaxial cables, picture hooks, screws, bolts, nuts, wire connector caps, sheetrock thingies for hanging stuff, etc. Small tools like the little pipe cutter (tighten the nut and run it around and around, tightening till it cuts through copper pipes), the rolls of Teflon tape, etc. There are a couple of tins and a large pickle jar that hold the leftover attachment parts from ceiling fans and curtain rods, etc. Some things are just set in front of that little cabinet until I get out the stepstool and address filing them in the proper tin or drawer.

I've begun negotiating the "reader" glasses world. And my ophthalmologist tells me I can buy glasses with different strength reading lenses top and bottom online from Amazon. What to call them and how to figure out what works? I'm sitting closer than usual and using a pair that she said are probably a little stronger than what I need right now, so I'll buy a handful of different correction levels (Dollar Tree) and go from there.

The IRS revised my income tax and today the letter explaining the revisions arrived, so I've wasted time this morning pulling out papers - they tell me I can't take an adjustment to income for alimony paid since 2018. I don't know whose return they were looking at but 20+ years ago when I was divorced no one paid or received any alimony. The annoying thing is they tell me to call about the problem. Call the IRS? Seriously? That's a huge waste of time. I'll look for an appropriate address and write them a letter and send it certified mail.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 20 May 21 - 08:38 AM

...And by chard has arrived in the post. The forecast for this afternoon is foul (strong winds and rain) and the wind is already getting up so I won't be planting them today but they will be ok kept inside for a couple of days while I wait for the weather to improve.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 20 May 21 - 06:47 AM

It would make quite a pile, charmion.

I’ve just thought of a couple more things I have on the fastener line. A staple gun and staples bought when mum and I were doing some chicken wire fencing. A pop rivet gun and rivets bought when I wanted to fasten some aluminium strips to some box section pieces when I made the sails for my outdoor “windmill”. I’ve not used it much since but did use it a few weeks back to reattach the hinges for a box holding a tap and die set.

Back to the fencing. I took some up and some boards for a raised bed up the other day to shrink the veg plot. One end had a bed with the Victoria plum tree in it. It was never that good a bed for growing other things in and I was never going to keep it weeded and looking tidy. I also removed the wires and some fencing from where the raspberry canes were (and where I broke the battery strimmer). It can all become a grassed over area for me to strim now. The gardener is going to fence the open side on Monday.

I revisited the woodburner and surrounding area a couple of days ago. The varnish had worn off parts of the woodwork that goes round the floor tiles and, whereas the rest was looking quite good, this looked tatty. I sanded it down, applied some wood stain and then put some varnish on. What I’ve done is far from perfect as there are gaps where the pieces of wood should join but it still looks a whole lot better than it did.

I’ve got my outside tomatoes planted at last and next up will be 3 courgette plants which I’ve got in pots inside. I’ve also got a couple of cucumber plants that will be ready to move to the greenhouses soon. The Swiss chard I ordered is overdue but that might arrive in the post in the next few days.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 19 May 21 - 02:48 PM

My 30-year accumulation of screws, nails, cup hooks, picture-hangers, wall anchors, mis-matched nuts and bolts, and other assorted langrage would do well in any international competition, and I’m not even the handy type. I hate to think what Jon and Maggie would bring to that party!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 19 May 21 - 02:06 AM

I think the screws for sockets and light switches in the UK are a bit of an odd size, or at least I can’t think I’ve anything else using an M3.5 thread.

Overall, I think I’m pretty well set up for screws. Built up over the years, I’ve got 4 of these boxes in my shed. One holds most of my wood screws and wall plugs. One has machine screws up to 6mm together with nuts and washers. Another has larger versions up to 12mm. The last box has cup hooks and other oddments.

I don’t really use that many fasteners and perhaps OTT but on the other hand, knowing you are in with a chance of having suitable stuff when you have a job to do is a nice place to be.

Oh, and inside and since trying to do the occasional thing with the printer, I’ve got a few of this sort of selection box, grub screws, countersunk screws, etc. , some heat inserts, small springs, etc.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 18 May 21 - 06:50 PM

I bought an electrical wall switch (under $2) the other day at Home Depot, and when talking to the guy in that department as he helped me find the correct one, I mentioned that in my experience, if a fixture isn't working the first thing I'll replace is the switch. He looked skeptical, but I think it was on this very place over the sink the last time I put up a new fixture only to realize the switch was out. I like this fixture much better than the first one and don't want to replace it. After a 10 minute job (including going out to the breaker box to flip the one for this part of the kitchen) the light is on again. And I'm so pleased with myself to have done the job for $2 and not $42 or $52. And definitely not call an electrician (the guy I use has a service charge so it would have just been that, but that's still about $79, last time I called him.)

Okay, I put two of the screws from the switch into the jar in the laundry room where spare screws go but the rest of it is in the trash. It never pays to toss screws, you're eventually going to go looking for some.

Before surgery they ask you if you have any cuts or open wounds on your skin - not wanting a source of infection. I was startled this afternoon to see what looked like a substantial scab above my wrist, but realized I'd splashed myself when I used the Kitchenaid grinder to make hamburger for a bean recipe this afternoon and it dried in place. Whew!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 18 May 21 - 04:24 PM

I have been a digital-only subscriber to the New Yorker for years. I read three or four newspapers every day, but only the Toronto Star comes in print form. I need it for wrapping the gleanings from the cats’ litterbox.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 18 May 21 - 12:27 PM

It's a good thing that my garden beds are slightly raised, because even that way they'll have wet feet this week. Rain every day so far and the rest of the week is forecast for more. One thing about being a retiree is that if the volunteer work doesn't affect anyone else's wellbeing (I'm scanning, not directing traffic), I can email and postpone my work till next week because of the wretched weather.

Major pickup and declutter today in preparation for the second family visit (you have to go to great lengths to get the kids to visit - scheduling cataract surgery because you want to see them only works twice.)

Major declutter today: I renewed The New Yorker for digital only. I have stacks of them around here, waiting for me to pull the covers off and recycle the rest. Or clip cartoons. Time to stop that nonsense and just read them online. I get my newspapers that way, and a couple of other magazines.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 17 May 21 - 07:41 PM

A friend of mine made soap a few times, but not with ashes. The sort she made included lye - she quipped that it was "worth a few second-degree burns to get some nice bars of soap."

I need to do what I did two weeks ago and clear the kitchen table and counters so the house has the appearance of being tidy. At least that part of it. Overnight stay number two coming up, and I'm considering what I might make ahead that we can heat up for ourselves instead of running around for takeout. Many of the family favorites involve a fairly messy kitchen at the end of preparation.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 17 May 21 - 10:41 AM

The clematis and thyme are planted, but the foxgloves and parsley are still in pots on the patio. I ran out of gas yesterday after cleaning the barbecue and shovelling a year's worth of ash out of the firepit.

When COVID-19 is a distant memory, I will still keep a few masks for messy jobs like sweeping the garage and anything involving wood ash. I coughed for hours when last I cleaned the fireplace without a mask, but last night I slept as if drugged despite having spent what felt like half the afternoon in a cloud of fine grey dust.

Pity I don't know anybody who makes soap from scratchy-scratch.

It seems like just yesterday that Sunday was the Sabbath, observed with church, brunch, something fun in the afternoon, and a nice dinner. Now it's just another Groundhog Day. Of all the changes wrought by COVID, that might be the one I resent most consistently, if not the most bitterly.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 16 May 21 - 12:37 PM

Today is a recovery day after mowing both front and back yards on Saturday. I usually stagger the job to different days, but there was rain in the forecast, and it arrived with a whoosh this morning.

Charmion, I had plants that needed pruning out after the freeze killed the tree or shrub, but some of it I didn't get to, and now I have an interesting (read "odd") growth pattern in the stuff down at the curb in front. I still need to clear out trees coming up through salvia (from squirrel-planted acorns and pecans) and to trim more dead branches as I shape what is left, but there is life out there three months after evergreen shrubs looked completely dead.

This morning I had a sink full of dishes so did my "fill the dishwasher in the time it takes the tea to brew" exercise to force myself to address that clutter. I need to stop doing that - we're into ant season and you never know what might suddenly attract them to swarm the dishes overnight. Some go for sugar, others go for savory. And the sink needs clearing before approaching the switch work.

The switch that needs changing out is by the sink, but the breaker box is outside on the back wall and with this rain will be a sodden walk out and back - twice. This job will wait until the yard dries a bit. Like Jon's tomatoes, the weather dictates when some chores are performed.

And a note for long-time participants in these declutter/fitness threads: This week I spotted Susan (W Y S I W Y G) posts on Facebook, apparently Susan's thoughts transcribed by a daughter-in-law who visits the facility where she lives. That's a good sign. Susan is watching the news.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 16 May 21 - 09:41 AM

We may have seen our last frost in Stratford. The Hudson’s Bay blanket came off the bed yesterday.

I have never been much of a gardener, but I think it’s growing on me. As long as I lived with Edmund, he always led all decisions about the garden and my input was limited to pointing out how his latest brainstorm was not feasible — usually not enough sun or not enough space. It’s my responsibility now, however, and I have come to realize that I have no one to please except myself — and the neighbours, whose main concern is neatness. Much to my surprise, I rather enjoy digging out dandelions that dare to invade the flower beds, and I’m rather good at pruning shrubs.

I think the game-changer was accepting the notion of hiring people for tasks that I either can’t (or shouldn’t) do myself or profoundly dislike, such as anything that requires power tools. I’m not lazy; I just hate the noise.

So today I’m off to the garden centre to buy clematis and some trellis, some foxgloves, and some parsley. (Next year, I’ll start the parsley myself under grow lights in the basement.) There’s a patch on the west side of the house that I think would do for a small bed of thyme, but I’ll have to do some digging first.

The mint I planted last year is coming up all over the place, as is its wont, so julep season is well provided for.

On Friday, I recruited the BIL to help me dispose of another box-and-a-half of practice files, so he spent the afternoon in a lawn chair beside the fire pit, drinking beer and feeding hunks of paper to the flames, while I smoked ribs and chicken, baked corn bread, and whomped up two kinds of salad. His wife and their lodger — the rest of the bubble — spent a vigorous afternoon gardening at their house, and came over for supper when they had worked themselves to a frazzle.

Then we all spent Saturday recovering.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 16 May 21 - 08:36 AM

Well, we've had a hail storm since my last post. I won't be putting the tomatoes outside today. I wish this weather would warm up a touch and settle down a bit...


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 16 May 21 - 06:07 AM

I tidied the woodburner for the end of season yesterday – cleaned the glass, blackened the metal and put some stuff on the tiled floor. It looks quite good now but mustn't be used now until say late autumn.

Back to medical aids… I had a thought while watching mum carrying her walking sticks on the trolley the other day. Some sort of clips that would clip to the tubing on the trolley one side and would clip to a walking stick the other side could be handy (or might be a waste of time but…) I couldn’t find such thing on a quick search at Amazon so I’ve decided to see what I can do with the 3d printer. I’ve got a different type of filament (PETG) on order (should be here tomorrow) to try for this as I think the PLA I’ve used for everything so far would be too brittle. I suppose nylon would be a better choice but it has the reputation of being difficult to print and very hygroscopic.

I might put the hanging basket tomatoes out today when there is a break in the rain.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 15 May 21 - 01:53 PM

New bags of dog food are in position to fill the food bins (almost empty now) before the next cataract surgery (and week prohibition on lifting). Mowing today. Some digging. I'm going to get out the little tiller and give it a run at one of the front beds, before raking out weeds. It's good to get started to have a goal once I can be more active again.

The air conditioners are on in both parts of the house now. Hoses are ready front and back. Quilt is off of the bed, just a light blanket. I need a couple of more fly swatters, I have to keep going into another room for the one I have then the critter that needs swatting has moved out of sight (for the time being.) It is officially summer weather - the day lilies have opened today.

A friend is getting ready to move back here from a house she bought in Arizona about 15 years ago. And she spent much of COVID home time packing and storing or discarding so she's ready. It doesn't help that she tells me my has house way too much stuff. I know that.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 13 May 21 - 10:36 PM

Until next week's repeat of the eye surgery I can now bend, lift, mow, and weed. My routine is still noted on the kitchen counter where I have a tally sheet to cross off the tapering of the steroid eye drops. For a week it is three times a day, the next week it is two, then one. Meanwhile I'll be starting a new routine of this in the left eye.

I have specialized fabric for making masks for people, but with the CDC lifting much of the mask regulations for vaccinated adults, I'll be making some specialty ones for friends who need them for travel (airplanes, mass transit) and for those who simply don't want to be exposed to others in public places. My friend who lives in NYC, he'll need them for the subway or busses, etc.

I need to figure out what my next sewing project will be. I have a shirt to make, but after that, I suspect it will be specialty masks for people who still want them. A number of friends have compromised immune systems and while they got the vaccine, they don't want to catch other stuff and plan to mask in public.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 13 May 21 - 12:14 PM

As if in rebuke for my discouraging remarks of 11 May, today's lead editorial in the Toronto Star asserts that COVID numbers are gradually dropping across Canada. In the same paper, however, I saw five stories about surges in Alberta, the greater Toronto area, and Newfoundland.

The death toll in Huron-Perth is now 54, a picayune number by American standards but nevertheless disturbing because more than half of all new positives in this area are caused by "variants of concern".

The US news is full of photos of people loading many jerrycans of fuel into their vehicles at considerable risk to themselves. Nothing like that is happening around here, although the price of gasoline has surged to heights not seen in Ontario since before Christmas 2019. Since I tank up the car about once a month, if that, it's just one more thing I can't control and maybe it will get better, or not.

Today I shall plant a bleeding heart (Laprocampnos spectabilis) and a new hellebore, both gifts from my sister-in-law. Then I shall take the cover off the barbecue for the first time since last Thanksgiving and fire it up. Tomorrow I'm cooking chicken and ribs for the bubble. Also cornbread, and probably a green bean salad if I can't find my favourite kind of lettuce.

If it's warm enough tomorrow, we'll burn another box of Edmund's client files and toast marshmallows. What larks!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 13 May 21 - 11:15 AM

It's a day of running errands, including a trip to the gas station. I hope Texas isn't so stricken as Maryland and Washington, D.C. (via a report in a different thread). Texas is the bottom end of that messed up pipeline.

The fixture that hangs low over my kitchen sink is not working and I am now on the diagnosis trail. I've learned in the past that if replacing the lightbulb doesn't work that the next step ISN'T to replace the fixture, it is to replace the switch. Only if that doesn't work will I take down the fixture and look for the problem. It is suspended on a down rod and hangs in such a way that it lights the sink but is in front of my face so it doesn't glare in my eyes. I'll have to consider the options of going back to the top or another pendant light if the fixture must go. It's a brushed nickel light that looks great in there.


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