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De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021

28 Dec 20 - 06:43 PM (#4085397)
Subject: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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!


28 Dec 20 - 07:31 PM (#4085403)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

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.


28 Dec 20 - 07:56 PM (#4085406)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


28 Dec 20 - 08:19 PM (#4085413)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Sandra in Sydney

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


28 Dec 20 - 08:19 PM (#4085414)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Raggytash

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!!


28 Dec 20 - 10:20 PM (#4085429)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness: House, job, life 2019 - 2020
From: Dorothy Parshall

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!


29 Dec 20 - 12:14 AM (#4085436)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


29 Dec 20 - 07:34 AM (#4085469)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


29 Dec 20 - 10:18 AM (#4085494)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


29 Dec 20 - 11:29 AM (#4085506)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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. :)


29 Dec 20 - 06:27 PM (#4085574)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

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.


29 Dec 20 - 07:08 PM (#4085583)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Raggytash

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!!


29 Dec 20 - 09:37 PM (#4085602)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: pattyClink

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.


30 Dec 20 - 12:29 PM (#4085706)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

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.


30 Dec 20 - 07:45 PM (#4085750)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


30 Dec 20 - 08:49 PM (#4085755)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: pattyClink

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.


31 Dec 20 - 12:00 AM (#4085785)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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. :)


31 Dec 20 - 11:11 AM (#4085862)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: pattyClink

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.


31 Dec 20 - 11:36 AM (#4085868)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


31 Dec 20 - 02:11 PM (#4085898)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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!


01 Jan 21 - 12:47 PM (#4086036)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

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!


01 Jan 21 - 04:45 PM (#4086067)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


01 Jan 21 - 07:55 PM (#4086086)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


02 Jan 21 - 01:22 PM (#4086168)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

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.


03 Jan 21 - 10:43 AM (#4086259)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


03 Jan 21 - 01:01 PM (#4086278)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: keberoxu

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


03 Jan 21 - 01:39 PM (#4086295)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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


03 Jan 21 - 04:33 PM (#4086314)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


04 Jan 21 - 02:15 AM (#4086371)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

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.


04 Jan 21 - 10:01 AM (#4086417)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

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.


04 Jan 21 - 12:41 PM (#4086440)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


04 Jan 21 - 04:50 PM (#4086480)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


04 Jan 21 - 06:48 PM (#4086508)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


05 Jan 21 - 11:39 AM (#4086601)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


06 Jan 21 - 09:14 AM (#4086702)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


06 Jan 21 - 11:56 AM (#4086731)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


07 Jan 21 - 01:27 AM (#4086847)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


08 Jan 21 - 11:41 PM (#4087157)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


10 Jan 21 - 12:36 AM (#4087329)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


11 Jan 21 - 11:20 AM (#4087507)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


12 Jan 21 - 12:51 PM (#4087638)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


12 Jan 21 - 08:27 PM (#4087684)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Steve Shaw

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.


13 Jan 21 - 01:00 PM (#4087770)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


13 Jan 21 - 03:25 PM (#4087791)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


14 Jan 21 - 05:18 PM (#4087984)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


15 Jan 21 - 11:16 AM (#4088121)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


15 Jan 21 - 12:16 PM (#4088136)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

"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.


15 Jan 21 - 12:31 PM (#4088139)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


16 Jan 21 - 09:50 AM (#4088278)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion's brother Andrew

Why thank you, Charmion. I feel likewise.


16 Jan 21 - 10:19 AM (#4088288)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

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.


16 Jan 21 - 02:10 PM (#4088329)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.)


16 Jan 21 - 06:03 PM (#4088349)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Steve Shaw

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!


17 Jan 21 - 11:19 AM (#4088427)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

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!


17 Jan 21 - 12:58 PM (#4088444)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


17 Jan 21 - 04:17 PM (#4088474)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

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!


17 Jan 21 - 04:52 PM (#4088482)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


18 Jan 21 - 11:16 AM (#4088611)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

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.


18 Jan 21 - 02:26 PM (#4088641)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

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.


19 Jan 21 - 02:08 AM (#4088717)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

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.


19 Jan 21 - 03:07 AM (#4088721)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

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.


19 Jan 21 - 04:41 AM (#4088730)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Steve Shaw

Wrong thread, Dick?

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


19 Jan 21 - 08:07 AM (#4088755)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: The Sandman

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


19 Jan 21 - 12:28 PM (#4088801)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


19 Jan 21 - 01:01 PM (#4088807)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.)


20 Jan 21 - 11:19 AM (#4088943)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


20 Jan 21 - 04:00 PM (#4088979)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

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!


20 Jan 21 - 09:51 PM (#4089033)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

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.


21 Jan 21 - 08:50 PM (#4089146)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


21 Jan 21 - 10:02 PM (#4089153)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

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.


22 Jan 21 - 10:41 AM (#4089247)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


22 Jan 21 - 01:01 PM (#4089295)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


22 Jan 21 - 09:35 PM (#4089391)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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!


22 Jan 21 - 09:53 PM (#4089392)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

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!


23 Jan 21 - 05:49 AM (#4089434)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Steve Shaw

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...)


23 Jan 21 - 07:22 AM (#4089451)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


23 Jan 21 - 11:20 AM (#4089498)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


23 Jan 21 - 07:24 PM (#4089606)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: JennieG

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.......


23 Jan 21 - 07:35 PM (#4089609)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Steve Shaw

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...


23 Jan 21 - 08:07 PM (#4089613)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


23 Jan 21 - 11:01 PM (#4089627)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


23 Jan 21 - 11:27 PM (#4089631)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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


24 Jan 21 - 11:40 AM (#4089714)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

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.


24 Jan 21 - 12:49 PM (#4089721)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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. :-)


24 Jan 21 - 01:30 PM (#4089729)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

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.


24 Jan 21 - 03:12 PM (#4089739)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


24 Jan 21 - 03:25 PM (#4089740)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

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.


24 Jan 21 - 03:36 PM (#4089742)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


25 Jan 21 - 10:50 AM (#4089836)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

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.


25 Jan 21 - 01:44 PM (#4089869)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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!


25 Jan 21 - 02:06 PM (#4089872)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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. :)


25 Jan 21 - 06:42 PM (#4089897)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

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.


26 Jan 21 - 08:57 AM (#4089988)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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?


26 Jan 21 - 06:36 PM (#4090084)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


27 Jan 21 - 09:16 AM (#4090170)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


27 Jan 21 - 09:55 AM (#4090177)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

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.


27 Jan 21 - 11:46 AM (#4090202)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


27 Jan 21 - 03:27 PM (#4090230)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: JennieG

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.


27 Jan 21 - 06:26 PM (#4090257)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

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).


28 Jan 21 - 11:13 PM (#4090432)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


29 Jan 21 - 11:19 AM (#4090517)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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?


29 Jan 21 - 11:24 AM (#4090518)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Plastic ingots. Hmmm. Lego for grown-ups?


29 Jan 21 - 06:40 PM (#4090576)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


29 Jan 21 - 08:04 PM (#4090594)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

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!


29 Jan 21 - 09:52 PM (#4090604)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


30 Jan 21 - 03:03 PM (#4090725)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


31 Jan 21 - 11:45 AM (#4090846)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


31 Jan 21 - 11:58 AM (#4090848)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


31 Jan 21 - 04:00 PM (#4090874)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

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)


01 Feb 21 - 11:22 AM (#4090967)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


02 Feb 21 - 06:06 AM (#4091077)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

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.


02 Feb 21 - 09:05 AM (#4091097)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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?


02 Feb 21 - 11:01 AM (#4091118)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


03 Feb 21 - 12:45 PM (#4091291)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


03 Feb 21 - 04:58 PM (#4091332)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

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.


04 Feb 21 - 11:10 AM (#4091444)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


05 Feb 21 - 12:42 AM (#4091539)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


05 Feb 21 - 08:53 AM (#4091584)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


05 Feb 21 - 11:53 AM (#4091629)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


05 Feb 21 - 08:21 PM (#4091696)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

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.


05 Feb 21 - 11:02 PM (#4091713)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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


06 Feb 21 - 12:00 AM (#4091718)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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).


06 Feb 21 - 11:35 PM (#4091901)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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. :-)


07 Feb 21 - 02:56 PM (#4092016)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion's brother Andrew

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.


08 Feb 21 - 12:20 AM (#4092072)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.)


08 Feb 21 - 11:43 AM (#4092150)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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 ...


08 Feb 21 - 03:39 PM (#4092181)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


08 Feb 21 - 04:32 PM (#4092193)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: mg

i vote for the windows. Sounds great.


08 Feb 21 - 05:29 PM (#4092199)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


09 Feb 21 - 02:17 AM (#4092242)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: mg

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


09 Feb 21 - 07:16 AM (#4092269)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

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.


09 Feb 21 - 09:44 AM (#4092293)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


09 Feb 21 - 12:38 PM (#4092314)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


10 Feb 21 - 01:22 AM (#4092379)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


10 Feb 21 - 05:50 PM (#4092529)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

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.


10 Feb 21 - 09:14 PM (#4092555)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


11 Feb 21 - 08:03 AM (#4092596)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

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.


11 Feb 21 - 08:38 AM (#4092603)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


11 Feb 21 - 10:45 AM (#4092632)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


11 Feb 21 - 11:31 AM (#4092634)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


11 Feb 21 - 05:34 PM (#4092673)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion's brother Andrew

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.


11 Feb 21 - 06:50 PM (#4092681)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Mrrzy

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.


12 Feb 21 - 05:22 AM (#4092737)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

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).


12 Feb 21 - 09:11 AM (#4092769)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


12 Feb 21 - 09:21 AM (#4092771)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

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


12 Feb 21 - 09:31 AM (#4092775)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


12 Feb 21 - 09:36 AM (#4092776)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

This is the best Bob Dylan song...


12 Feb 21 - 11:10 AM (#4092800)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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. :)


12 Feb 21 - 01:35 PM (#4092828)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


12 Feb 21 - 08:28 PM (#4092883)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

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.


12 Feb 21 - 11:37 PM (#4092896)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


13 Feb 21 - 11:31 AM (#4092960)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


14 Feb 21 - 10:53 AM (#4093116)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


14 Feb 21 - 08:40 PM (#4093221)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


15 Feb 21 - 02:08 PM (#4093303)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

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.


15 Feb 21 - 07:30 PM (#4093331)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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!


17 Feb 21 - 08:33 AM (#4093556)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

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...


18 Feb 21 - 12:38 PM (#4093688)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: leeneia

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.


18 Feb 21 - 10:50 PM (#4093754)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


19 Feb 21 - 09:54 AM (#4093807)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


19 Feb 21 - 09:45 PM (#4093905)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: mg

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


20 Feb 21 - 12:50 AM (#4093913)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


20 Feb 21 - 06:32 AM (#4093963)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

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.


20 Feb 21 - 09:46 AM (#4093982)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 20r
From: Charmion

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?


20 Feb 21 - 01:15 PM (#4094000)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


20 Feb 21 - 11:44 PM (#4094059)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


21 Feb 21 - 05:55 AM (#4094093)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion's brother Andrew

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.


21 Feb 21 - 07:30 AM (#4094110)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


21 Feb 21 - 09:44 AM (#4094130)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Mrrzy

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.


21 Feb 21 - 10:27 AM (#4094136)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


21 Feb 21 - 11:08 AM (#4094146)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


21 Feb 21 - 12:13 PM (#4094159)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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!


21 Feb 21 - 01:40 PM (#4094167)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

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!


21 Feb 21 - 11:02 PM (#4094218)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


22 Feb 21 - 05:48 AM (#4094245)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

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...


22 Feb 21 - 08:21 AM (#4094263)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

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.


22 Feb 21 - 08:46 AM (#4094269)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Mrrzy

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...)


22 Feb 21 - 10:30 AM (#4094280)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


22 Feb 21 - 10:43 AM (#4094284)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

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.


22 Feb 21 - 10:59 AM (#4094286)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

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.


22 Feb 21 - 11:35 AM (#4094288)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


22 Feb 21 - 12:41 PM (#4094296)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


22 Feb 21 - 10:53 PM (#4094386)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


24 Feb 21 - 08:56 AM (#4094587)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


24 Feb 21 - 10:19 AM (#4094595)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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!


24 Feb 21 - 07:03 PM (#4094702)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


25 Feb 21 - 10:26 AM (#4094794)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


26 Feb 21 - 05:40 AM (#4094945)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

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.


26 Feb 21 - 09:08 AM (#4094974)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


26 Feb 21 - 10:38 AM (#4094987)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


26 Feb 21 - 01:39 PM (#4095013)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

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


26 Feb 21 - 03:28 PM (#4095025)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

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.


26 Feb 21 - 05:48 PM (#4095048)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

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.


27 Feb 21 - 09:13 AM (#4095120)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

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.


27 Feb 21 - 11:27 AM (#4095155)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


27 Feb 21 - 05:41 PM (#4095215)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Recycling was deposited at the city bins and more stuff is added to the donation bin in the laundry room to drop off at the neighborhood Goodwill. While there I have a one-item list to look for; I've been on the hunt for a certain-sized Pyrex bowl for a friend (it's the one recommended for a no-knead bread he makes - he gave me a loaf a few weeks ago and it was marvelous). He's using a not-quite-perfect fit bowl but the vintage ones online are fairly pricey. I know I've seen them for a couple of dollars at Goodwill.

I have to start listing more eBay items, they're out of sight in the front room but still taking up space. I've put a moratorium on my purchase of items to sell until the ones in the house start moving out the door to the post office.

There are no visits here at the house in sight, after quizzing a group of friends about their vaccine status. They're not ready yet. At least once it's warm enough to work in the yard there will be the opportunity to talk to passers-by. I find myself counting the number of people I get to speak with when out walking the dogs (and of course I'm talking to the dogs while we're out walking). Those "weak ties" are an important part of our everyday lives that have been missing for most of the last year. The Pandemic Has Erased Entire Categories of Friendship: There’s a reason you miss the people you didn’t even know that well. From The Atlantic.


27 Feb 21 - 06:25 PM (#4095226)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Edmund liked to say, “There is no bad weather; there’s just inadequate gear.”


28 Feb 21 - 12:37 PM (#4095329)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

The book project I was awaiting has collapsed. Heigh-ho.

It wasn't me -- the project manager had only enthusiastically good things to say about my work, and the author, who rarely praises anyone but himself, admitted he would prefer me to any other editor. But the buck of project ownership has been passed yet again, and the new possessor disapproved of the gimmicky deal under which I was hired. So now it's going out to tender in a bidding process that specifically excludes me -- I am not a company with a standing offer, and I don't intend to become one.

I am entirely okay with that. I can hardly believe it, after a lifetime of blindly accepting every opportunity that came my way, but I don't need the money and, consequently, I can spare myself the drudgery and the aggravation. I have other things to do.

Stashed in the basement, along with dozens and hundreds of CDs, I had boxes and boxes of photos and negatives going back to my far-distant youth, and more boxes of negatives from my parents and my grandfather. Some of the oldest negatives are three-by-four glass plates. So, for my next trick, I shall sort out the contents of the boxes, probably ditch most of the fading colour prints, and scan and organize the negatives. Today I made room in the study closet for the boxes and hauled them upstairs, and tomorrow I start looking for the most suitable equipment for scanning negatives of many different sizes.

The tune session will also take time and effort, because now I must actually practise; I can't rely on my memory the way I used to, or take for granted the strength and condition of my hands. The rest of me also needs exercise, although my wonky foot wants another cortisone shot. The Y has re-opened and pool class is back on, so I must buy a new bathing suit (a task I dread) and get with the program.

The weather is wet and mild, with temperatures hovering just above and below freezing; completely normal for the drab end of February. I look on my winter boots with loathing, but it's too early to leave home without them; most of the sidewalks in town are half under water thanks to melting snowbanks and iced-over sewer grates.


28 Feb 21 - 01:00 PM (#4095336)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Beaver:

What I needed to do after I got here was expected. Did I ever mention the 15 years I lived off the grid? This is a piece of cake, thankfully! Last year when I came and could not get in the front door because the screen door opened out and was frozen - that was a pain. NO screen door this year, on either door! And next year I hope to have a roof over the walkway so the snow off the roof of the studio does not land there! Will have to move the composter this summer to a spot where it is not buried under snow; cannot even see it now! And 3 years ago I could not access the wood pile when I arrived and had to call for HELP! The new (2 yr old) woodshed is terrific. And it was I who insisted on installing the wood stove in Quebec, and paid for it. And ordered wood! So when the heat went off... Edmond was right!

I have already ordered QC wood for September. I expect Ryan will be calling to see how much I want for here. AND I am going to ensure there is adequate cover for the wood in QC. Right now about half a cord is sitting under two feet of snow (covered with plastic).

A lovely thawing day but cloudy - 3 degrees above freezing and dripping madly. Glad I do not hear it in the house! Two feet of ice hanging off much of the west and east roofs. I hear an occasional Thunk. I left the electric heating roof thingy plugged in the last 3 weeks; not sure it is functional anymore as several feet are hanging down on the west side. Spring will come...

But Steve came a bit ago to clear the drive, esp the two ends where the snowplow contributed barricades. He says rain and then more snow so he felt this needed to be done. Spring is NOT here yet!

So I managed to throw a few pots this morning. And noted that I have maintained my 15 pound loss of excess weight. "My" doctor discourages losses more; "older women need to have some weight." OK - as long as I stay down. I still feel as though carrying extra 20 pounds is not a great idea.

Well, I got the bright idea of knocking down some of the ice and snow on the west. Then shoveled a path to the wood shed! Again! That is where it landed but I am glad it is down. The SUN came out while I was out and is still out. Blue sky!


01 Mar 21 - 01:02 AM (#4095428)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Charmion, Epson makes the flatbed scanners that are used in many special collections - they were present in both the university library and the art museum where I was volunteering to scan. They are very high-end, but if you're working on historic and/or archival scans, the Epson Expression 12000XL PH (photo) flatbed scanner is the top of the line. The software that comes with it is used at the museum where I was scanning; the university library used this scanner with the very difficult to learn but eminently superior SilverFast software. The work goes slow - having a second lighter project to do on the side while you wait for scans is a good idea. Or streaming NetFlix (a popular distraction for scanners at the university library). Have an extra hard drive to store this on and back that up periodically. Scan them as large as you can (600dpi is fairly small these days - 1200dpi is much better) and save them as TIF files. No JPGs, they're lossy.

Considerably less expensive but still eye-watering, the Epson Perfection V850 looks like the next best of the various flatbed scanners (many in between are made for print positives and graphic art uses). Again, you can use SilverFast or the software that comes with it.

I have three scanning projects to do with slides and with documents and have different scanners for them - and will have an Access database for each project. Sort your photos first (and don't discard the faded ones, set them aside - there are remarkable things that can happen with restoration these days). Give the folders a name and number and as you work resolve to use a pencil and clearly print the name and number of the item for the folder and database on a clear FRONT edge of each photo and document. Your printing needs to be in the scan - trust me - if you don't keep track of this it will drive you crazy. And give your database enough fields so you can add topics later if needed. This way if you come across things that should have gone in an earlier folder and group of photos, it will show up in the database where to find it (or show you where to put it).

If you write a set of rules for yourself to follow that will also help anyone else who later is viewing or using these scans. Document your naming and numbering system, for example.

I just gave a longer version of this advice to a friend who is taking on the scanning of historic family documents going back to the late 1800s and that deal with a large court case that wound through most of the 1970s and into the 1980s (against Great Northern RR - lots of maps and documents to go with it.) She's going to need a photographer with a good full-sensor digital camera to photograph some of the maps too large for the legal-size scanner she's using.

I'll take my library/archival hat off now.


01 Mar 21 - 01:04 AM (#4095429)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Dorothy, a friend of mine in Illinois was out shoveling part of her driveway when the across-the-street neighbor came over and volunteered her husband to clear it for her - he had a new snow-clearing shovel for a small tractor he'd just bought. Neighbors with toys they want to use is a great way to keep the driveway clear in winter!


01 Mar 21 - 08:11 AM (#4095491)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Eye-watering prices, Stilly. Thanks for the info, and the advice.

If I buy a scanner like one of those, everything in the study will have to move. Bugger.


01 Mar 21 - 09:23 AM (#4095499)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

Those scanners are out of my league!

I don’t often use my Cannon 9000F Mk2 but there are a load of photographs that I feel I should scan one day…

I usually use my own scanner software (which uses a version of jfreesane I modified sightly to do duplex [both sides of a page at once] to do the hard work that would be beyond me) as I generally prefer it to the common free Linux options I’ve found.

One thing I put into it was the ability to run scripts. There may be better ways on more advanced software but I used something like this when I scanned our 4 boxes of 127 film slides, taken with a Brownie 44A.

int slides = scanner.getInt("Slides to scan (1-4)", 1, 4);
    scanner.setResolution(1200);
    scanner.setSource("Transparency Unit");
    for (int i=0; i        int top = i * 56 + 31;
       int btm = top + 38;
       scanner.setRect(89, top, 127, btm);
       scanner.scan();
    }


That scans each portion in the slide holder and gives a separate file for each. It also allows saving settings to make a “preset” and setting programs to use with “scan to”.

The reason for the duplex was for another scanner I have that I must have had some idea of use for but I’ve forgotten what and have never used other than for testing. That’s a Canon imageFORMULA P-208ii


01 Mar 21 - 10:14 AM (#4095510)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

Yesterday was a lovely day here. Mum decided she would like to sit outside round the back. She’s had more problems with her already painful legs and we both had doubts about whether she would manage getting across the chippings and over the uneven grass but we decided to give it a go. I got the wheeled walker from the shed and adjusted it for her height (I’d been the last user of it) and off she went. The walking went well and although I stayed with her this time, she’s said she feels confident enough to walk her on own from now on.

I didn’t spend a lot of time outside but in between doing other things, I had a look at the rhubarb and found one of the plants is starting to grow leaves. I got two varieties, one a later version than the other so I assume the other plant will start soon.

I noticed the pennyroyal that was planted last year had died off and looks a mess. Apparently, it should come back from there though. I hope so. There always was a problem corner, just as you go in through the gate to the field. Various things have been planted there over the years but the only things happy there were nettles and other weeds. Pennyroyal at least seemed to offer a solution.

I got the petrol mower out and cut the bit of grass between the gate and the barn (our “lawn” part). The grass is growing a bit but the job didn’t really need doing. It was more a matter of seeing how I got on with it.


01 Mar 21 - 10:37 AM (#4095512)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Beaver:

10 am and I'm ready to go back to bed. Snowing lightly - not in forecast! Spent some time on internet, had BF and sitting reading, contemplating another shoveling stint - the west roof dumped another load on the path to the woodshed. The heating cable is hanging down; I hope enough that I can disconnect... but no! It is all connected to the one on the east roof and it may still be working???

But the ice and snow on the east has already pulled out three sets of screws holding up the eaves trough; when it comes down, it will bring that 10 foot section down completely. It WAS feeding a rain barrel - emptied for the winter. This will not be redone! The barrel can go elsewhere.

I will wait for a burst of energy to clear that path to bring in more wood. Still at 33F right now but going down to minus 15F tonight so more wood is a good idea. And shovelling before the temp goes down. At least it is still clear to the studio so I will check on yesterday's pots and MAYBE get the energy to trim them.

Intelligent decision made last eve: stop trying to wedge used clay and focus, put energy into, the new in the bag clay which is so much easier. Some potters actually throw away or give away used clay. Friends en route have a pug mill but I cannot guarantee the purity of my used clay. Jeff does not like specks! I have mixed the plain white and the speckled white.I don't mind specks!

BUT nothing here has the slightest comparison to what SRS and the folks in Texas went through. I have warmth and lights and books to read. Right now reading a life story by an almost local man born in 1904. What a different way of life! I know the places, lived near some, and many of the family names.

BUT that was the way life was back then - nine flat tires to go 30 mile or so and get home broke after numerous repairs to the car and not being able to use it again until the family had enough money for new tires! That was acceptable.

I'll bet there were country folks in Texas who managed just fine. Not many but a few who had not lost the old ways. I was appalled to find that people near here, when the electric came in 1956, gave up their wood stoves and their good wells with hand pumps... Living in the bush
I did not worry if there was electric, I had what I needed.

What I need now is to rest up! So I shall.


01 Mar 21 - 11:39 AM (#4095526)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I added a link to the SilverFast in that post. The description I posted is regarding the highest end scanning for archival work. You can look at different scanners in the consumer range and find a variety of them come with specialized software. And I didn't mention that I did all of the corrections in Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop. Another hit on the pocketbook. But the software with the scanners usually includes some variety of software that will let you crop and adjust scans.

I am still considering rearranging the office for the slide scanner I bought, and it's much smaller than those flatbed scanners.

My personal document scanner is a small Canon A4-size that cost less than 100, and it has a small slide holder and can scan slides, but at very low resolution; the quality is so low it isn't really worth the effort.

Yesterday I made a quick trip to Kroger—I haven't been in a Kroger since last March when I was filling a prescription following the knee replacement. There are still considerable bare patches on the shelves as they build up the supply a week out from the freeze. They don't have any Mason jar canning lids, unless you buy a box with the rings and lids. The ice cream selection was small but I got vanilla to go with an apple pie, and I picked up a pint of my favorite chocolate "Moose tracks extreme." Just one of the things I've done without over the COVID quarantine, though truth be told, that one sometimes upsets the GI system on the way through so I shouldn't eat it often anyway.


01 Mar 21 - 11:59 AM (#4095530)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion's brother Andrew

"I am entirely okay with that. I can hardly believe it, after a lifetime of blindly accepting every opportunity that came my way, but I don't need the money and, consequently, I can spare myself the drudgery and the aggravation." That, Dear Sister, is the ringing of "the bell of freedom."


01 Mar 21 - 07:35 PM (#4095596)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Beaver:

Using internet too much! When using the "stick" it costs per page, or something like that. Anyway, just tried to find out about getting vaccine in Ontario. No one seems to be willing to give out that info!

Got my energy back about 3 and went to tackle the new snow pile. The SUN came out and I cleared a safe path and brought in an armload and decided that I have enough. THEN the sky opened and a whirlwind of snow blew around for about 15 minutes. In some areas these "flurries" have caused whiteouts and serious accidents today. Was beautiful to watch from inside a warm house!


02 Mar 21 - 10:11 AM (#4095678)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Moose Tracks is bonzer stuff, even if you're not a chocolate addict. Its fat content is extreme, however, so my digestion doesn't love it either.

Blue sky today and a bit colder, so the streets are dry and the sidewalk puddles are frozen. A good day to suit up for a trot around the neighbourhood.


02 Mar 21 - 12:59 PM (#4095697)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

The bills impacted by the Big Freeze will be coming in soon: the water bill usually by the 5th, and the new power company should be reading the meter within the next week. The phone bill (using data because the WiFi was out for 4 days) wasn't too bad, usually it's about $33 and it was $39. The electric bill should reflect no usage for those days but there may be something the delivery company (ONCOR) tacks on that is out of control of my electric company. The water bill is a simple meter reading and I expect it won't be quite as bad as the month when I discovered a broken water line out in the front yard.

I've worked with the newly-purchased technical manual for repairing sewing machines and addressed the settings of the tension on my White Rotary series 77. After adjusting the tension it isn't fixed, the gobs of thread (from the top spool) wadding underneath apparently mean that the timing is off. This machine is old but was so commonplace in its time, and the White company made the same kinds of machines for Dressmaker and Kenmore and Domestic (and a couple of others) that there is a lot of machine repair and maintenance information out there. Including YouTube videos.

There is a hook on the shuttle that needs to be within a paper's width of the needle at the lowest point of the stitch process, and when these are too far apart, this extra thread looping problem happens. I've found notes on a couple of different ways to adjust this, so I'll be propping the machine on end or upside down and trying both. I'm getting behind in my sewing and I really enjoy it so need to get past this repair. (I do have a shirt to make that will be sewn on my other machine, and I should do that this week.) Yes, I spent more on the books than I would on the repair in a shop at this point, but I'm just stubborn enough that I'm pleased with myself that I'm figuring out how to do the repair myself. And I should manage the repair well before the time a shop would be ready to return the machine to me.

I wonder if I should bring in the little Black and Decker workbench for this? It might save me having to prop up boxes and pillows to steady the machine.

I'm going out today, to lunch and then the eye doctor for an exam that was skipped last year at this time because of the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. I was also still not doing much driving and would have needed a ride after the knee surgery. In the last year I have had only one passenger in my SUV, and that was an emergency pickup of a friend whose car was totalled. The kind of request one doesn't refuse, but figures out the best way to accommodate. There is a tight-knit group of friends (former university) who are now trying to get him to go in for the vaccine. Yes, he's 60, not 65, but we all know that COVID would kill him. His injuries range from repaired birth defect (cleft palate) to deaf in one ear, a glass eye, and half a brain after a traumatic injury in a car accident. He tells people that his dental checkups are so important because his head is held together with a bit of soft tissue. Face this with intubation and I fear he wouldn't survive the procedure. Okay, I'm way off track here . . . but there are so many people out there for whom the COVID experience would be deadly.

Stay safe, everyone. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but that tunnel is strewn with obstacles that the light doesn't reveal.


02 Mar 21 - 02:22 PM (#4095708)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Beaver:
Beautiful sunny day - but cold! Today's crisis: could not open door to studio. Three buckets of hot water - no effect. Kicking the bottom ... Now that the day is warmer (2pm) and the sun is pouring in the big window, concerned for pots needing trimming not getting TOO dry... I tried prying the bottom... Finally, saw in the tool shed a rubber mallet!!!! YAY! So after a break, and change to work clothes, I can get those trimmed and then... Probably a break til tomorrow. It just occurred to me that AOK could mean "All is OK"?

Yesterday's fury re lack of info re vaccines was passed on to Pat whom, I thought was on top of everything. She actually phoned the #$%^& health unit and was told toward the end of this month and the info would be "broadcast"???? Why in the name of... they cannot put info at the top of their pitiful website... OR even answer a question on their FB page intelligently... I told Pat: I depend on her for info as "broadcast" is meaningless. radio? have none. Local paper? Their website is a nightmare. Pat - I can trust.

Montreal is a hot spot and is giving vaccine en masse to over 70. By appointment.

End of rant. End of break. Beautiful day! SRS reminds me of need to ensure I have paid ALL the bills. Next stint on web.


02 Mar 21 - 09:26 PM (#4095754)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

One eye exam down, the Rx for glasses comes tomorrow. Apparently my eyes are so different that she doesn't write enough glasses prescriptions to be confident she can write the best one for me. Hence the optician tomorrow. On the other hand, she said the cataracts have advanced enough that any time I decide I'm tired enough of getting a flashlight and magnifying glass to read small print, etc., I can let them know and we'll start that process.

Have any of the rest of you done the cataract surgery? Tips?


03 Mar 21 - 03:16 AM (#4095775)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: JennieG

I haven't had cataract surgery (although it will be in my future, according to my most recent check-up) but Himself has had both eyes done. It made quite a difference to him, for the better.

In August last year I had a different type of eye surgery. For some time my vision range had been narrowing, so a brow lift and blepharoplasty was called for. I now have a much wider range of vision both vertically and horizontally; when my arms are extended to the sides I can see my hands in my peripheral vision without turning my head, which is amazing. It also means I need to wear a hat outdoors most of the time as so much light enters my eyes without overhanging heavy brows to provide shade.

I haven't trumpeted this to the tooftops because some people assume it was done for reasons of vanity. It was not. I now have two arc-shaped scars over my eyes which are slowly fading (if I was younger they would fade quicker, but then again if I was younger I wouldn't have needed surgery......) so there's nothing vain in that, believe me.

Go for it, Maggie.


03 Mar 21 - 09:25 AM (#4095836)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

JennieG, I understand that surgery of yours - and a couple of friends have suggested to me that one day I'll need it. My eyelids don't have the space to be exposed because of the shape of the brow (people criticized Renee Zellweger for having eye surgery, but I've always assumed she had a similar condition treated.) That's on the radar but further down the list. :-/

A friend had a special type of lens inserted that has both close and distance focal abilities; she said her main problem is she must wear sunglasses. She ponied up several thousand extra dollars for those lenses; I need to catch up with her and find out if she still recommends them. If I have to choose close or distance, I'd choose distance and wear glasses to read and at the computer.

It's looking like spring outside, and the weeds are suddenly springing into the void where the lawn is still dormant. Must start mowing before they get so tall they lug the motor on the mower.


03 Mar 21 - 11:19 AM (#4095856)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: mg

i just had cataract surgery and it was a piece of cake. doctor pretty much told me to. no problems at all but my eyes were pretty standard. for those on medicare, the distance option is paid for but i believe the other one not. i see brilliantly outside and almost never wore the sunglasses...i have a variety of reading glasses for computer, books, etc. fine print and print on my cell phone is very hard to read. i will probably get a prescription for that.


03 Mar 21 - 11:22 AM (#4095857)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

I had cataract surgery when I was 59. Only my right eye is fully functional, so the surgeon's favourite fix -- a long-distance lens in one eye and an up-close lens in the other -- was not an option. I chose to be a long-sighted person after nearly six decades of myopia.

It works for me despite a couple of drawbacks. The big one is the now-constant requirement for sunglasses whenever I'm outdoors, even on cloudy days in midwinter. I need driving shades that clip onto my bifocals because the dashboard instruments are a blur without a reading lens. I can now drive without specs in a pinch, as road signs are big enough for me to read and I'm good at maintaining the same speed as everybody else, but I don't want the cops to catch me in the act.

This morning, I entertained a dealer in used recorded music who will make me an offer on our 1,000 or so CDs by the end of the day. Edmund would be furious, but they have sat in their storage bins since we moved here. I copied all the tracks to the computer long ago, and now I play the music by Bluetooth through a Bose speaker that is considerably smaller than a breadbox and sounds as good as my aging ears need it to sound.


03 Mar 21 - 11:24 AM (#4095858)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Mary, they did one eye at a time? How was the recuperation - were there limitations on your activity? For how long?

I'm thinking I need to at least wait until my regular ride has gotten his COVID vaccine shots so we can ride together in the car without his worrying. He's waiting for the Johnson and Johnson one to be available locally.


03 Mar 21 - 11:48 AM (#4095861)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Stilly, one eye at a time is the way it's usually done. The main reason is to reduce the risk that something awful might happen and leave the patient blind, but the delay also helps the vision centre in the brain adjust to the changes in perception. A month is the usual gap.


03 Mar 21 - 06:58 PM (#4095921)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I expected they would be staggered - I hadn't thought about the one near, one far process. And when I had prescription sunglasses made I had to change glasses to see the phone, map, etc. so the second pair had bi-focals. I'll have to think about this. And of course once I do have the surgery I'll need different glasses. I think it means the next pair of glasses won't have all of the bells and whistles because they'll be replaced in a few months. I suppose it's possible to get glasses with no prescription on top but the bifocals below. Those would work for driving.


03 Mar 21 - 07:47 PM (#4095929)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Beaver:

I had both eyes done a couple years ago, a few months apart. The after was not to lift more than 20 # for a couple weeks, or less. A year later, a return visit to the clinic and she declared me 20/20 and just fine. I think there was also a return visit after a month or so???? For us, the glitch was the hour and a half drive to the hospital. We booked into an airbnb because we had to go back to the doctor the morning after. Same bnb both times and the sweet woman brought me soup when I was sick after the second from the anesthesia. Why bother asking if I am allergic if not going to pay any heed. I asked the dr to find out what I was given; she told me to ask the hospital! %^&* After the first one I had been fine.

Prior to the ops, I did not realize how bad it was and near got us killed on the road into Montreal, a detour with which I was unfamiliar and could not tell which of the three lanes I was supposed to be in. Highly un-recommended! We were both basket cases after we survived. Not as bad as if we had not...!

All my complaining on the MOH and health Unit FB pages may have nudged them but the woman posting finally got around to telling me where to register for a shot. I had not been polite. My tolerance for ... is nil. They post about the importance of mental health! I told them this is a MH issue! I may have mentioned that their site was pitiful. maybe even contemptibly stupid. Not sure but that was my thinking.

Today I was impelled to write a "letter to editor" re health care and the treatment of a friend who is probably terminal but maybe not. He and his wife - after being given medically incorrect treatment that threw him back something awful, were told he should go in hospice, with neither meds nor food. "He may not last more than a few hours, maybe a few minutes" said a "Dr." He is now moderately comfortable at home. My letter was fairly tame. I suggested that they treat people this way to save on health care dollars. Oh, I am in the middle of Norman Cousins book on the importance of giving patients HOPE! I'll give it to the SIL tomorrow when I see her.

I did manage to throw three pots with clay that was not very cooperative. I am about ready to stop until I get fresh clay. It occurred to me how much easier it goes when the clay is just right and I do not have the energy to be fighting with the clay.

My new "haircut" is great! But also the water here does a nicer job of washing - the hair feels better, more body or something. No chemicals? Just out of the dug well...

I gave up and threw the wood ashes on the driveway, almost far enough from the stream, and hope it will sink into the ground before spring runoff. The composter is buried still. It was 4 above freezing today but not much help.

That eaves trough that is destructing: Even if I had noticed it earlier, I could have done nothing except beg help from...? NO way I am clambering through 3 feet of hard snow to try to fix something way over my head! That something being a huge chunk of ice. So I live on! The eaves trough will not be missed.

The heavy grey day did not energize me. The news of my friend did but only long enough to pour out my fury. An early night, with Norman Cousins for a bit.


04 Mar 21 - 01:30 AM (#4095954)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: mg

no recuperation period. i was too careful not washing the surgeried eye and got a little bacterial infection..easily treated with wipes. i got a ride in a van to a place two hours away..a little nervous about the covid but didn't get it. i was a month apart because of transportation but i think they do two weeks now. also my place was one of the leading lights on the surgery..and they have a eyedrop mixture that saves you putting three different kinds of drops in.


04 Mar 21 - 10:28 AM (#4096012)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

I had forgotten the three different kinds of eye drops. I loathe eye drops.

I have sold two tall IKEA bookcases, and they will leave the building on Saturday.


04 Mar 21 - 10:45 AM (#4096014)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I seem to end up with more drops on my face than in my eyes. Good to know also! Yes, COVID is influencing timing for so many things today.

Last night I figured out the point in the sewing machine mechanism that needs adjustment. The space between the shuttle hook and the needle is fine, but the height of the needle is out of kilter, so I needed to take off an endplate to expose the rod and a set screw in the needle operation. I'll make that adjustment today.

Today is the first declutter of the year of the lawn. The mower needs to come out and attack weeds before they get too tall to mow easily. And it begins the time of year when I divide my time between indoor and outdoor activities. Yes, the clock will change soon, but that really doesn't affect when I go to bed or get up. I try to get up early, but seldom manage it. I've generated several long-running indoor tasks to work on, so I may have to schedule myself in order to accomplish all of these things.


04 Mar 21 - 03:11 PM (#4096048)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

The front is mowed and I scooped about 2/3 of the leaves in the gutter onto the lawn so they could be mulched in. I left the last batch to do later, I was getting tired. I always find a few oddball things during the first mow. This time there was an iris sprouting in the middle of the lawn, and in the turf near a garden. The iris will have been loitering in that spot for over 2 years after the front was dug up. Not sure about the garlic. I'll transplant both.

I've got the hang of using the Google Fit; when I start a project (and have to be carrying the phone with me, usually in a pouch) I pull up fit and tell it time for a new activity. It's always the same one, walking. It's nice to see that during the mowing I actually walked 2.28 miles in an hour and three-quarters.

I have so much brush to prune out this year, shrubs that were burned in the cold but may come back from the roots. The branchy stuff needs to come out or it will look awful when it starts to sprout again.


05 Mar 21 - 10:52 AM (#4096163)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I try to have a safe place to set things around here, but every so often something upsets the plans. Like the printer pushing out paper and the lightweight bluetooth keyboard sitting on the printed knocked off by the paper.

The slim cover popped off and I found it later but wasn't sure what it was from. This morning I found two chewed AAA batteries in different places, both carried there by dogs. Damned lucky the fools didn't eat the things. So I traced back to where I remembered seeing the slim black cover and realized what had happened. I'm out of AAA batteries, so am going to 1) reorganize my office shelves so there is a place for every electronic item and the remote controls for things and 2) try the eneloop rechargeable batteries my daughter told me about. They're a lot more expensive but apparently hold a better charge much longer. I have chargers here so will avoid that expense. And though Amazon sells them, for some reason Home Depot is always cheaper for batteries. I've ordered some to be delivered free to the store where I'll pick them up curbside once they're here.


06 Mar 21 - 08:17 AM (#4096301)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

More cortisone in the wonky foot yesterday, and a boffo dinner of lamb shanks from the freezer for my bubble-mates, Edmund’s brother and sister-in-law and their lodger. Braised lamb shanks is definitely not a dish for one, so I’m glad the Bubble likes lamb and was eager to join me.

In anticipation of their visit, I vacuumed the parlour rug. And dusted.

Disposal of the beer fridge is scheduled for 14 March, so I must reorganize the contents of the chest freezer to make room for the stash of frozen soup stock. I have eaten my way down to the half-full point, so there’s room, but I have to ensure that what’s in there is accessible without a deep dive with the big mittens on.

With winter on the wane, the down quilt on the bed is abruptly too warm. Today’s fun and games will, therefore, include taking it out of the cover, airing it, and putting it away against next winter (early December will be about right). Then I have to wrestle the lighter silk-filled quilt into the cover, a task that always provides a healthy upper-body workout.

Then I should be ready for a beer and another stretch in the comfy chair under the cat.


06 Mar 21 - 09:47 AM (#4096314)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

There is a public radio program called The World and I noted a story yesterday I wanted to share:

Canada’s problematic vaccination campaign
Canada typically gets a lot of praise for its health care system. But when it comes to distributing COVID-19 vaccines, the praise has been short in coming for two very different reasons. Host Carol Hills speaks with Jillian Kohler, a University of Toronto professor focused on global access to medicines and an adviser with the World Health Organization.


The whole story isn't transcribed, so I hope it can be heard north of the border. Considering the name, it should be heard anywhere!


06 Mar 21 - 05:15 PM (#4096377)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

I listened.

She’s right, in every particular. Mr Trudeau and his parliamentary friends are not handling this mission well. I think it’s lack of experience; the Canadian federal government does not do procurements quickly, and hasn’t bought large quantities of vaccines in living memory. In combination with the loss of the Connaught Laboratory back in the 90s, those issues have led to a massive failure.


06 Mar 21 - 06:37 PM (#4096395)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Since reading Dorothy's recent remarks I've had my eyes (and ears) open for news that might describe this. It is surprising - but as you say, procurement is separate from other health care activities.

I made a trip to Town Talk and bought a flat of strawberries to replace the fruit that thawed during the freeze (and how ironic is that?). The fruit was cold but thawed so I made a big batch of pancake syrup and froze most of it. Now I'll wash and de-stem these berries (a case is 8 pints) and put them back in the freezer. It's what I use to make smoothies.

Community Fridge: I took 2 dozen packets of shelf-stable meals—mac & cheese and basmati rice packets that get microwaved for a minute and are ready to eat. These are particularly helpful for homeless because they don't require a can-opener, etc. I'm pacing myself on my contributions; as more people learn about this project I can go up every week or two and be one of many adding to the project.

I have to mow the back yard. Spring is here.


07 Mar 21 - 10:59 AM (#4096490)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

It’s dad’s birthday on tomorrow and I’ve made a present for him. It’s a novelty Norwich City football. It’s got a miniature MP3 player and a tilt switch inside it. If you turn the ball over, it will play the next song in a set of 3 Norwich Football songs (“On The Ball City” which is possibly the worlds oldest football song that’s still in regular use and “The Canaries” and “The Norwich City Calypso” from a single produced in 1972 when the club first got to play in the top flight).

The ball as shown isn’t quite round. I added a middle bit as to help with some I hadn’t thought of... That is that the volume level drops when the two half spheres are joined together. I could try a redesign instead but at around 9 hrs to print one of the 100mm dia halves (yes, 3d printing can be very slow…), I’m not keen on that idea. He’s sure to like it as it is anyway.

Other things… We had a power cut last week. It only lasted about 2 hours but it left me with a bit of a poser when it happened. Wiltshire Farms arrived with a large order of frozen meals about 5 minutes into the cut and before I had any information on it. I wasn’t sure whether to accept the order and open the porch freezer to put in in or what and the delivery driver didn’t know either. I took the gamble that power would be restored soon (cuts are usually short here) and it worked out OK.

I’ve just had an email that my (mostly) greenhouse seeds have been dispatched. I’d ordered them a while back but the company said they were struggling (staff shortage with Covid and the busy time of year for them) and there would be a delay. I should have them in the next couple of days and will start planting the seeds in the propagator in the porch.


08 Mar 21 - 01:41 AM (#4096585)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

On a private group Facebook page a friend sought advice about how to get to the location where he was advised to go (via email from the County) for a COVID vaccine shot on Wednesday. We suggested he take a dry-run drive there today, and he did, though the crowd from today was there so it wasn't like he arrived at an empty spot to look around. But he figured it out. It feels like we are throwing ourselves in front of whatever vaccination needle will come our way these days, thousands a day in communities across the US. "Which one?" is asked. "Doesn't matter," is answered - "Just get it."

My ex came by today to pick up some groceries and we're still wearing masks outside during the exchange. It just seems prudent. While out in the yard today I did some pruning back of dead shrubs; they should regrow from the roots.

I got the sewing machine mostly back to it's old working self, with an occasional glitch that means it's best to simply rethread it periodically because I haven't found every single thing that was making it act up before and that helps. I have one more sewing machine repair book coming via Interlibrary Loan to hopefully sort out the last of this. I did raise the feed dogs a little higher and that is making a big difference on getting it to start at the edge of a piece of fabric; it used to be slow to start and now that's catching better. I still have a screw driver and the can of 3-in-1 Oil in the sewing room.


08 Mar 21 - 10:04 AM (#4096634)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

Seeing you mentioning (and working hard on) sewing machines a few times, SRS, I've just had another go at identifying ours. This time. I think it could be a Singer VS3, some shown on this page

I think that the last time I looked at it, it had lost the rubber on the bobbin winder (I'd guess finding a suitable bit of rubber would be easy) but was probably functional other wise. The tensioner on the left was a "do not touch" as far as I remember it now as was the knob above the bobbin winder although I think I did and find the latter altered the spacing between stitches?

No one here ever got more advanced than that.


08 Mar 21 - 12:01 PM (#4096658)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Dupont:

Good chuckle this morning from SRS - mowing!!!And us still covered with 18 inches of white stuff! I showed R this am the huge chunk of roof ice that landed where we do not have a glass house! On the wood pile, actually, and me looking for a tempo to use for next year. I guess & R concurs, that something solid is needed. A glass house would be of no use on that north side of the house. With any luck we may see the deck about May.

My friends health was weighing heavily on me after Thursday. I kept checking emails for news "knowing" it would be bad. Sunday, I left R sleeping, had my BF and had just gotten to the email of "sad news" when he came in,needing a haircut and on about another House his cuz is looking at - having lost the last one. I lost it and went up to bed to grieve in peace.

Took an hour or so, caring for Doug, for his wife and for the whole extended family - very dear friends of over 30 years. When I ventured back down, the new bathroom sink was in place! Not connected but out with the old and in with a smooth shiny new one! Lacking a necessary part, we could do a pool on how long it will remain as is. I have been using the tub faucet for washing up for so long, I hardly remember the sink is there and the hot was not working anyway.

He is totally competent in these things and I could see how contented he was to be doing the job. The one at Beaver is so much better since he took it apart to replace the old cabinet with the newer, almost identical yard sale one. The refurbished faucets work better; the hot water flows, and, hence, arrives more quickly! When he gets to it, he does a stellar job. and loves doing it.

I actually took a few minutes first thing this am to sort the patterns I had all across the sewing/TV room. I still have not been inspired to do anything but am grateful that my ancient little machine is ready to roll with no problems. Maybe this beautiful sunny day will inspire me.

As per usual, I have gone through a two day recuperation after driving here on Friday. Ah! Friday! Arose at a good time prepare for leaving and, as I ate BF, looking west, I observed strange light flashing on the studio wall! Out on the deck, I observed a very wonky chimney - had come loose from its pinnings and had disconnected in two places with a gap large enough for water to run in...

Text to Dan - who can help? and phone to Larry! Dan could find no one. L was on the road and would look at it. Re-assuring. Late evening: L removed the snow around it but beyond his agility ability. (Both the professional places no longer in business!) Texted a special guy who helped out before and a dear friend now. I knew he would refuse payment but offered a donation to Community Trust - he volunteers; So does Larry! Saturday: Mike would go look. texted L and he replied - would call Mike! Last eve: pic of repaired chimney - Mike on ladder! The message from L: "You can return". Plan to go back on 16th! YAY! And maybe I will get to have a shot.

I was planning to donate to Com.Trust; I will up it. I know it will help people in the community who really need it.


08 Mar 21 - 01:19 PM (#4096681)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

I rearranged the furniture in the music room-cum-library again to make room for more players as COVID restrictions ease. How did I end up with both a sofa and a settee? Dunno, and don't care. Both are good places to sit if you need space for your bowing arm or the butt end of your guitar. I think we could get half a dozen people in there now.

Strong sun today in Stratford, although Environment Canada keeps threatening snow, sleet and rain. It was the same yesterday, utterly beautiful despite prognostications of doom. Tomorrow we are supposed to see a high of 9C, and then rain on Wednesday and Thursday, followed by an abrupt drop in temperature to barely above freezing at the end of the week.

If this keeps up, the maple syrup producers should have a great season.


08 Mar 21 - 01:43 PM (#4096682)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Mrrzy

Progress: the storage drawers under my bed! One had all my heavy winter clothes that I used to switch out with summer clothes. Found a *ton* of cat hair in the sweater drawer, Sebastian must have been *living* in there, pared the sweaters down to the ones I like, donated the rest.

Other drawer had bags of bags, found a few carry-on luggage pieces I thought I had lost, now in three manageable piles (give away, luggage/backpacks, and reusable grocery/tote bags I want to keep).

Gonna take the drawers out and wash them, vacuum where they were, and put'm back half-empty, amazing.


08 Mar 21 - 08:35 PM (#4096742)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

That's a lovely vintage sewing machine, Jon, and yes, there are lots of parts produced for those older machines. Measure it and then look at someplace like eBay or an online sewing supply store.

A couple of friends have responded to remarks on Facebook about Salvia greggii that have now been cut back but that will grow from the roots again. The one in the corner of the yard has gradually spread and a few places branches on the ground sprouted new plants. I'll dig out a half-dozen or so and leave a couple in the best position. It was getting pretty big. Tomorrow two friends (retirees from the library) are stopping here to pick up a couple. I have others I can dig as well, but I'll wait till she tells me which she wants.

I finished a half-dozen masks today, and I've modified how I do some of it on that machine. Instead of going back and forward over parts of it I'm simply making a double pass, doing the stitching in forward both ways. There is something that still isn't quite right and it seems to be with that reverse switch part of the mechanism. It works, but I'm not over-doing it.


09 Mar 21 - 12:36 AM (#4096767)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Mrrzy, interesting about the cat hair. My dogs produce so much hair that every week I sweep a huge pile of it, and when I run the broom under the sofa, a particularly large drift is moved out from beneath. The odd thing is that twice now when I've cleared out the under-sofa I've also moved out small Mediterranean house geckos that were hiding under there. Two of them, about a week apart. In the time of year when they should be hiding in the attic staying warm. I quick grab and release them before any dogs notice and eat them or whatever might happen. (The dogs leave the Gulf toads alone because they taste particularly bad, but I don't know about lizards.)


09 Mar 21 - 05:03 PM (#4096895)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

The garden got some weeding and a few pots were cleaned out and I'll see if anything grows back in them (or not) after that freeze. A couple of vaccinated friends stopped by and we dug up a few plants for them to transplant and were actually able to tour the house, though what a mess. I guess if a few people can come in now I should do a better job of picking up and organizing. It gets a little lax after a year of just me and the dogs!


10 Mar 21 - 01:02 AM (#4096953)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: mg

i cleared out a drawer for condiments etc. at my computer/dining table. took an old dishpan and put it under my hanging files where it is not visible and put all my computer paper and envelopes etc. in it. so much better. i can see my desk top. I also got two dollar store wastebaskets that serve as temporary holders for papers and miscellaneous junk.


10 Mar 21 - 11:43 PM (#4097104)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I did one curbside pickup and two quick trips indoors (the post office after hours to get the mail, and the nearby Goodwill). The Goodwill had several people boldly walking around without masks despite a message over the loud speaker and signs on the doors saying customers still need to continue to wear masks. It becomes a case of who will enforce the rules when stubborn selfish people refuse to comply? I'd kick them out if they don't wear the mask properly, but that's just me. As Neil deGrasse Tyson quipped about the early opening of states: "We’re just sayin’. To abolish mask-wearing laws in some States while the rest of the Nation keeps theirs is like designating a peeing section of the swimming pool."


11 Mar 21 - 06:33 PM (#4097216)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Dupont:

Very little has been accomplished this week. A dearth of energy. Oh darn! Just thought to check produce store for how busy it is; busier than usual! So much for that thought. I do need to do a shopping. But there has been a huge bunch of covid cases amongst staff and patients at the local hospital - so bad R phoned a few mornings ago to warn me. What to do? I know the stores here and can navigate quickly when they are "not very busy". Maybe tomorrow; if it rains people may stay home.

In any case, a couple days of above freezing and there are bits of grass showing along edges. The large bag of planting soil on back deck is still surrounded by two feet of frozen snow; even though it is standing almost alone, it is still frozen to the deck, AND difficult to get over the snow to get to it. Maybe tomorrow! I would like to start some seeds before I leave. I will have to take them with me to care for them; I have a plan!

I ordered a packet of 5 pairs of socks for R. Carefully checking for mostly cotton. They arrived today with not a speck of cotton. Sent the company a furious email "I was lied to" . I certainly am not going to the trouble of returning them. R doesn't care. He'll wear any socks I put in his drawer.

Did laundry today, including bedding and remade bed. Took car for servicing. Big day! I did much fine at Beaver but have no energy all week. I make BF, suppers and spend most of each day on computer or watching the news.


12 Mar 21 - 01:39 AM (#4097248)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Dorothy, I think the times of inactivity (or the inability to motivate oneself to get up and do much of anything) is an effect of the times we are living in right now. I have a bullet journal that I've kept for years and for the last 13 months I've noted "COVID-19" at the top of each month's calendar so when I look back I'll have a reference point to what I was doing (or not doing).

This week I got back to making masks; the sewing machine needs further fine tuning, but if I'm careful about not using the reverse lever too much (knock wood!) I don't have to stop to re-thread or untangle it too often. I have a couple of boxes almost ready to go to the post office and need to prepare several more parcels of masks for people. Yesterday at Goodwill I picked up three plastic baskets that I washed and let dry overnight and that are now in the sewing room to help organize some of the parts of this work. Multiple colors of t-shirt yarn need a couple of baskets (I need to see what I have when I make these things) and baskets for finished masks (there are six sizes and I've been lumping some of them together). Some of the extra fabric that is usable for small masks but I'll have to do those one at a time on the scraps are in their own basket. This is to remove a stack of fabric growing on the pointy end of the ironing board.

I mentioned earlier that I had friends in the house this week for the first time in a year. I hope to use that as a motivation to pick up and rearrange things. I did some major moving of room contents a while back but the COVID kept going and going and I let things go. A bit. Well, a lot, but nothing that won't improve after a weekend of sweeping, mopping, and dusting before moving furniture.


12 Mar 21 - 09:44 AM (#4097296)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Tune session yesterday; again excellent, and everyone was more comfortable in the reorganized library. We're learning a jig set. It's painful, doing it by ear, but Serena the Fiddle -- a teacher and classically trained musician -- is fascinated by different ways of learning. She is now teaching traditional tunes to her pupils, and encouraging them to get off the dots. I'm enjoying the process of helping another muso escape the bonds of the conservatory method.

Today I'm running the self-clean cycle on the oven, so the ventilator fan is roaring and the whole house smells a bit singed. The cats are unhappy, but it must be done.

We had several days of crazy warm weather that ended yesterday afternoon in the first thunderstorm of 2021. As usual, Environment Canada issued doom alerts -- THUNDERSTORM WARNING! in a red banner -- but Stratford's share of the action was only a couple of thunderclaps, exactly one flash of lightning, and ten minutes of hard rain. Today is colder, but the sun is shining with all its might. The ruckus in the kitchen will soon force me out for a walk downtown for lunch and a visit to the bank, my first extended trot since the cortisone shot.


12 Mar 21 - 11:31 AM (#4097314)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Charmion, how is the foot feeling? Is this cortisone shot a method for pain control until you reach the inevitable surgical repair? The knee was a hot mess for quite a while before the surgery, and the surgery was the roughest one I've experienced, but the outcome is excellent. If you're debating about going that route (and a different body part, so YMMV.)


12 Mar 21 - 12:59 PM (#4097331)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

I don’t know, Stilly; complicated as knees are, feet are much more so, and I have only just begun my limping journey on this road.

I asked the foot guy that précise question, and he said it’s too early to tell. The cortisone might resolve the problem — or not. But this was only my second injection, so we don’t know yet if the ligament attachment in question is actually improving.

So we wait to see how long it takes to start hurting again.


12 Mar 21 - 02:47 PM (#4097348)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

A friend had her ankle reconstructed two years ago and that was a real big deal because there are so many parts involved.

Yesterday I scrolled through 50+ slides posted by Dave-the-Gnome on his Facebook page, with remarks about the route. It was a wonderful trip up a small (compared to say, North America) mountain and as they approached the top the boulders and slick areas and steepness made for some work. And as I looked at the photos of going back down I thought "That's going to make the knees hurt." And of course, that is because of my experience on the downhill portion of long backpacking and climbing trips. And is probably why my knee was a mess, and my friend with the ankle surgery has even more of those downhill treks to her backpacking record.

However you got to this point, good luck achieving a level of comfort for the future!


12 Mar 21 - 06:06 PM (#4097364)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

As you may remember from my previous comments about feet, I busted both my ankles back in the 90s, and my current problem is a consequence of a less than perfectly successful repair that encouraged my right foot to pronate in a way it would not have done had I not busted it. Alas, any surgery could well cause worse problems than I have now.

And that sucks.


12 Mar 21 - 06:31 PM (#4097370)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I had forgotten. Bummer, indeed.


13 Mar 21 - 11:22 AM (#4097459)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I woke this morning with a realization - the whole nation (minus the really rich ones) have been waiting for the other shoe to drop. Many people are going to be logging on to their bank accounts or watching the mail for the stimulus checks. But that's the tip of the iceberg. Also wide-reaching are the unemployment payments that will extend through to early September, and the HUGE change is the child tax credit change where about half of childhood poverty will be addressed with $300 to $350 per child monthly payments to low-income households. This was necessary with or without a pandemic; it has been a goal of the progressive wing of the Democratic party for years. We don't talk politics in this thread, but I bring this up because it feels like we've waited all year (pandemic) and all four years (Trump administration) for the ability to take a deep cleansing breath, and now it's near. And with this huge change, people who have been hunkered down for a long time will have some agency, the ability to have some control over their choices, not simply waiting for services that they qualify for.

On the hyper-local level it's a matter of debt management; deciding to pay off one bill to free-up monthly cash during the next few months for other uses.

On a more normal topic, it's spring and I've begun the mowing and digging routine that will contribute to my fitness, and I need to walk the dogs every nice day.

(I shared a version of this on Facebook.)


14 Mar 21 - 07:35 PM (#4097661)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

The beer fridge is at the curb (kerb) awaiting removal tomorrow morning by the town bin men. The BIL helped me shove it out of the garage and down the driveway, and for a wonder it did not fall over. It’s departure should take at least a nip out if the hydro bill.

Edmund’s scholarly and technical law books have found a new home with an old colleague who proposes to drive all the way from Ottawa on the Easter weekend to get them. « Road trip! » he cheered on the phone. Sounds like a bad case of cabin fever to me — that’s a minimum two-day journey involving an awful lot of autoroute. Better him than me.


14 Mar 21 - 07:55 PM (#4097666)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

It's quite the usual thing here that when something that works but is simply unneeded is rolled to the curb with enough advance time for people to see it before trash day that things often are picked up. Sometimes by people who can use them, other times by the metal collectors who sell stuff by the pound at the recycle center.

News today that the ex has scheduled COVID vaccines for next week and early April, so by the end of April we'll be good to go in the same car as far as surgery. I've put off ordering new glasses because even if I got the inexpensive pair, they wouldn't be worn for long and that seems a waste. I'm okay with the current RX, and that will change drastically after surgery. Who knows how vision will work in the interim, between surgery and when the vision "settles down" so I can get a new Rx for whatever else needs to be corrected.

I'm back to more reading, shifting away from consuming so much news (the last four years had that effect). I just finished a mystery yesterday, then started reading (listening to, actually) Mark Manson's manifesto The Subtle Art of Giving a F*uck. It's a quick read and interesting enough anyway, but particularly interesting during the period of COVID when we hear of so many people letting their standards slide and simply settling for being more comfortable. That's just one aspect of it, but it's conspicuous how it occurs to a lot of people right now, who might be thinking about what other things they've spent too much time worrying about or paying attention to. As we figure out what new-related things we do need to give a fuck about. Just look at The New Yorker cartoons to get an idea of so many shifts in our behavior.


15 Mar 21 - 10:21 AM (#4097755)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

No one came in the night to spirit away the beer fridge, so I am now waiting for the bin men to come for it. I won't believe it will go until it's gone.

The search for a protective underpad for my dining table continues, now on Amazon. For almost 30 years, I have been using a quilted thing made of flannel-backed plastic that my Dad bought back around 1982, and the deteriorating plastic is now approaching failure. But round mahogany dining tables 48 inches in diameter are apparently rare in this day and age.

What I really, really want is an elastic-edged baize cover wide enough to envelop both the tabletop and the deep apron supporting it, but such a thing seems not to exist, probably because 48 inches is big for a poker table. The elastic is desirable because the cats like to launch themselves onto the table at speed, and an unsecured cover will slide with a leaping cat and end up on the floor in a heap, with the cat and whatever else was on the table, including the fruit bowl.

First World problem number 748.6.


15 Mar 21 - 01:06 PM (#4097786)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I have a little oak table in my kitchen that is 42" across and since my ex stripped the finish off of the top (did he plan to do the whole table? I don't know, it never progressed) I now keep a clear plastic vinyl thing cut to size over the top of whatever tablecloth is on the table. I could also put the tablecloth on top of the plastic, but when the kids were small and spilling daily, I decided it was easier to wipe off the plastic than wash the cloths. Maybe I'll make the switch, I've done this out of habit for years.

This stuff comes on long rolls and is purchased by the yard, whatever thickness you prefer, in the fabric store. I never had much luck finding a small (or one I could cut down) padded cover to protect from hot stuff, etc. You can buy yardage of pre-quilted fabric (double sided print) with dacron polyfil type in it. I used some of that to make a fancy cover for my son's girlfriend's Kitchenaid stand mixer for xmas. Cut it to shape and finish the edge with bias tape. I suppose you could cut it out large enough to envelope that supporting apron then use elastic around the edge or buttons and loops or snaps or something to pull it into place below. Huge project.

Hmmm. Maybe I should make myself a padded cover for my table. I'd have to pick a solid color if I still want the table cloth on top to look okay. If I added elastic around the edge to let it tuck under the edge (this table has two wings so it folds fairly small when they're down) then I would be making something that looks like a gigantic shower cap when not on the table.

As you discard an unneeded fridge (your bin guys may take it back and put it to use in their office) the community fridge project I participate in has a call out for someone to service two of the three fridges, and is asking for tips. I shared my experience with dog hair on the coils - have they vacuumed underneath them lately? They're outside so there is probably dust and dried grass, not dog hair, but they don't cool if the coils are dusty.

So much for my advice for others. The dog hair around here right now would gag a Roomba. Time for the broom and dust pan and getting on working on my messy house.


15 Mar 21 - 01:54 PM (#4097794)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Mrrzy

Apparently the SPCA will take all my old tote bags. I was having trouble donating them.


15 Mar 21 - 03:35 PM (#4097812)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Stilly, you’ve heard, I’m sure, of people who don’t cook? They can make tea and heat up soup that comes in a can, but they generally find ways to stay out of the kitchen entirely, such as marrying people who do cook. Or they spend most of their discretionary income on restaurants.

I cook, but I don’t sew. Every decade or so, I might replace a button or perhaps darn a moth-hole in a sweater, but that’s it. The very notion of me going out and buying baize by the metre and, y’know, cutting it to size and making a casing for elastic around the edge — well, that’s just not going to happen in this universe where the sky is usually some version of blue. Something from Amazon or one of its digital brethren will just have to do. Your mileage evidently varies.

In fact, the huge shower cap concept is about right; I have such a thing (purchased years ago from Amazon) for my inlaid mahogany tilt-top table, which is 40 inches in diameter and therefore much easier to, um, dress. But similar items intended to fit tables up to 48 inches don’t fit mine because of the apron. Phooey.

The last couple of weeks has been something of a shopping orgy conducted entirely on line. I think I need a Buy Nothing week, or two, or maybe four or five.


15 Mar 21 - 06:27 PM (#4097839)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: JennieG

Charmion - do you, perhaps, know of someone who could sew a shower cap for your table? It might be possible to organise a swap of some kind, e.g. the sewing for.....I don't know, something they were wanting/needing?

Do you have Fabricland in Stratford? They have all manner of sewing Stuff.


15 Mar 21 - 06:55 PM (#4097844)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

My sister doesn't sew; maybe it's because she got tired of waiting for my mother and for me to finish using the sewing machine. :) Jennie, I chuckled when I remarked about the table cover looking like a huge shower cap, and it still looks silly with others in the group describe it, but it visually is exactly what we're all talking about.

There are seamstresses (seamsters? tailors? it isn't just women who sew, but for so long it has mostly been women that I don't know a gender-neutral term) who do this kind of thing for a living. If you decide to invent what you can't buy if it doesn't turn up. And check Etsy, they have some really unusual listings that might include custom table covers.

I think I pulled a muscle in my side when I was bending over painting on wood preservative yesterday on the next set of fence pickets. The weather is turning nice and I've spent time on YouTube learning how to install the cyclone fence gate. Now I need to figure out if I put in a double gate and lock it in a way that it will STAY locked and not just have someone push a double gate open. Otherwise I'll extend some fence and put a single gate against that.


15 Mar 21 - 07:39 PM (#4097851)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: JennieG

Perhaps a fitted sheet for the table would be a similar analogy? Although come to think of it - that would be more suited to a rectangle or square table, wouldn't it.

No, the table is round, so it's definitely a shower cap.

You are providing me with a chuckle to start the day!


16 Mar 21 - 09:18 AM (#4097906)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Happy to help, Jennie.


16 Mar 21 - 10:11 AM (#4097914)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

Aren’t tables flat and wouldn’t a shower cap be for a dome? this was as close as I could find in my Amazon UK search but it would need a “shallowish” table with supports not running to the rim.

It was a lovely day yesterday and mum went out round the back again. While she was out there, I decided to do a little bit more grass cutting and had both mowers and the battery strimmer out. I took the petrol strimmer and the leaf blower out and started them up and all looks ok so I think that’s all the garden power tools OK to start the season.

I’ve yet to talk to mum who would make the decision on this but I’m wondering what to do about the patch of chippings at the front which has the bit where the car was parked. It needs quite a bit of attention and has often had weedkiller used on it. My inclination would be to let (or help it to) the lot grass over and have a paving stone path to the house – the only cars that would park there now would be family ones and visits (when we get out of Covid) only happen once or twice a year. I’m not sure mum would go along with that...

We are still making do with the old cooker and we now have another appliance to replace (or repair) as well. The washing machine has packed in. Mum and I had talked about a possible change recently anyway. A fair amount of bedding is going through these days and mum’s been complaining about difficulties in drying things. I’d said that I thought that a (probably 9/10kg) washer dryer would be the best move.

Maybe that will happen now. One day… The cost side is OK but as well as debating having people in to install while we (or were with the washer) making do, so many items at the online shops I look at are out of stock. I guess that’s the combination of Brexit and Covid for you?


16 Mar 21 - 01:03 PM (#4097936)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Aaaaand — there goes the fridge, on a forklift driven by a guy from the town works department. Good riddance.

Jon, that is indeed the class of article I’m looking for. Unfortunately, my table is an old-fashioned dining-room type that expands, so it has a four-inch ‘apron’ under the edge of the top with very little clearance between front surface of the apron and the outer edge of the top. Most elasticated table covers fit « up to » 48 inches, so they are very tight at fullest extent, and barely stretch over the edge of the top. Consequently, when the cat lands on the table, the elastic pops up over the edge and the whole thing, cat and all, heads for the floor.

So I want one that’s big enough to envelop the apron as well, thus reducing the tension and increasing the likelihood that the cover will stay on the table. Trouble is, this type of table cover doesn’t seem to come any bigger than 48 inches.

I am off to hunt and gather such delicacies as furnace filters and packing tape. What larks, eh?


16 Mar 21 - 05:10 PM (#4097970)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: mg

i have been on a roll. i really don't have a lot of stuff, but after helping a handicapped brother declutter...i have done more. two large bags to thrift store, plus a smaller of napkins and condiments for their lunch box. I am admitting that I will never make lemon bars in my perfect glass pan. Today I pulled all canned goods on one rolling cart, marked the dates, threw away just a few..plan to eat some expired ones when the tsunami comes...and put the rest into the oven, which i never use, for storage. I rolled the round cart..made for instapots I think..over to my desk and put a lot of stuff that clutters the desk on it..including some chargers. Wow..what a difference. Have to find room for a bin of extra bedding that I had stored in a large, gifted, new suitcase that was just too heavy for me to ever use..gave to my sister...but that can be done. I lost a crucial piece to my vacuum ..it must have flown into the garbage..so I can't suck the air out of the bags they are in. Oh well.


16 Mar 21 - 07:44 PM (#4097996)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Beaver!:

Heavy winds Thurs night resulted in power outage of 7 hours here (I get text notices). Larry checked Fri am and found no frozen pipes - no water spewing! And pulled the plug on the water pump - in case. After brief consideration, and a weather report for more winds, I pulled together a trip back. Arrived about 5 pm and turned on electric blanket!! and started wood stove a goin';, had a bite to eat - toast and cashew butter - and went to bed by 7.

Total exhaustion but glad I did it. Cold nights and below freezing days. After getting back up at 8 am - that's 13 hours! I went back to bed at 10am! At 1 pm I was almost ready to face the world. Cleared path to wood shed AGAIN! Threw a few pots - with well wedged clay! brought in some wood cooked a good meal and ate lots! Went back to bed at 8 pm.

Pots are trimmed but no more thrown. plenty of wood in, trip to grocery - not really dangerous here as barely anyone in store! Visit from Larry. Reading, resting and breaking up ice on walkway to studio so I have safe passage to load kiln. On schedule for tomorrow when temp is going up a few more degrees above freezing. Need to clear the shelves to make room for more fresh pots. (bakers rack on wheels.)

Stopped at Community Trust to give good donation, partly in thanks for Larry and Mike doing chimney - so I could come home! Otherwise, reading and computing. And resting. AND managed to get appointments for vaccine - 5 April and 26 July. Talked to R about staying here until after first shot. He is having to keep the 100+ plants alive. That will give me time to accomplish the pots on order and some more for the shop, rather than make another trip back and forth. Best to go back to hot-spot Quebec with at least one shot. Then it will be time to start seeds for both gardens - and that bag of soil should be out of the ice!

Only yesterday did the sun reach an angle that shines on the walkway - between 5 and 6 pm, then it is gone. Very helpful as the ice is at least 3 inches thick and I have not been able to break it. By Friday, I might be able to get to composter! In any case, I love being here.


17 Mar 21 - 12:03 AM (#4098013)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

This morning I had an email that my ILL request was in, and this is the book I've been needing. Lots of descriptions, diagrams and the "exploded" view of sewing machines (the kind if a diagram used in patent applications). I scanned part of it but I'm not sure if the scanner was doing what I wanted it to do (this is an overhead variety called a "KIC" scanner). I'll open the files later. I have the book for a very long time so can work on the particular chapter I need.

I met friends for lunch; we ate at an outdoors table and talked for a long time, then I picked up the book. My retiree ID got me into the library and checked out my book, then I visited an old friend and gave masks to her and to another former co-worker (like so many of the guys with full faces and beards, he has a difficult time with masks fitting well). It's spring break and it was late enough in the afternoon that there weren't many people on campus.

Mary, it sounds like you made good progress, and Dorothy, it sounds like a good time of year to stay hunkered down and read a good book, but you're getting a lot done anyway. Good for both of you!


17 Mar 21 - 03:15 PM (#4098080)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Thinking about rearranging my office. And looking at the mass of cables and wires and cords. Maybe this is something I should go away from for a while and let the feeling pass.


18 Mar 21 - 09:11 AM (#4098185)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Do it, Stilly. I have streamlined my computer set-up to the extent that I need only one power bar — and that’s really for surge-suppression — and all wires are off the floor. I can now whisk the dust mop or the vacuum cleaner around the desk without moving anything, and my neatnik soul is happy.


18 Mar 21 - 10:06 AM (#4098189)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

On the other hand, we've got messy tangled wire corners that I've never worked out how to deal with and prefer to sort of pretend they don't really exist...


18 Mar 21 - 10:07 AM (#4098190)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Beaver:

Have appointment for vaccine 5 April! R agreed that I stay here. I am happy to do so - as long as he cares for the plants! So I can focus on pottery. Weather is going above freezing and I have good access to studio. Gathering energy for a kiln firing - moving pots to the kiln room - tray by tray OR push the entire baker's rack...? When I decide, I shall do. Heavy weather yesterday = no energy. Went for groceries but stuff I wanted was not there. Ordered block of cheese and organic whipping cream from a special shop. Got home and had a sudden NEED for BOOKS so I went back to town (5 minutes) and went to thrift shop - gained 7 to read and one -expensive!- one for R. That will be his B-day gift. Then, I read two - one is tiny, the second not so tiny but fascinating novel. Now on third, also a novel, also intriguing. I wonder about the people who donate these interesting books! I also purchased a useful pot for a potted plant and a nifty small pot for a succulent, a beautiful blue/white dish towel (I am a sucker for blue/white or just cobalt blue.)

All safe places to visit. There have been no cases in this area but that does not mean someone might not bring it with them. Otherwise, I hacked at ice and brought in more wood. Hacking at ice does not do my shoulders any good. I realized that has impeded my potting energy. No more needs to be done. Later today I shall try for the groceries they did not have yesterday.

I ordered a full set of supplements as what I brought with me will not last. And will order one for R - same reason. The "cotton" socks that arrived as polyester are - after strong complaint - being replaced with no charge. I told them the polyester would be donated to a thrift shop. I hate to even give them away but I guess some people need socks, even polyester. In the process, I have received a full refund! AND they are replacing. This, Oakley, is making an effort! I am looking forward to seeing what the cotton ones are like.

Then, I thought to look at the "diabetic" socks I bought locally and just love. Polyester! I feel mortified. They are kind of fuzzy and not at all constricting and stay up nicely. I was going to get more! We learn by these things.

The sky is lifting and a glimmer of sun (10 am) and temp just above freezing. Maybe now I can feel inspired to go to pot!


18 Mar 21 - 10:56 AM (#4098198)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

All of these wires and cords are connected to things peripheral to the computer, and I decided I need to organize upward this time. I have some smallish much-used and loved bookshelves (two 4-shelf "baker" racks and two 3-shelf cases, all folding and all in the kitchen) that are in use, so I ordered another 3-shelf one (Amazon) and next week it will arrive and be set on the desk against the wall and the various devices (battery backup, VHS, Canopis, scanner, other scanner, hard drive, etc.) will be placed on those and their cables running out the back or side of the shelves, giving me more desk space. Just as well I haven't hung art on that wall yet. I moved a troublesome hard drive (if I leave it plugged in and turn off the computer, the computer then won't start because somehow this drive becomes the reference point but there is no OS on it so it hangs.) It's the backup of work from work (photos, mostly) and one of these days I'll wipe it clean and use it for something else. I also moved a couple of small lamps, everything extra that sits and collects dust and has a cord was a problem. With those three things gone four wires were removed.

In my eBay work I often times need power supplies or cables for things, so I think the time has come to empty the extra wall warts and cables into a box to place in the eBay room. And do I really need all of those xmas lights that I have in the closet? The train set for under a tree that I didn't use often and I never have trees now? I think it's time to offer to one of the kids or the thrift store. Etc. I'm making those kinds of closet decisions. There are more papers for the burning barrel as well.

Dorothy, April seems a long time off, but it actually isn't, is it? My ex gets his first Pfizer vaccine today, the second in mid-April. This allows our little family, spread out as it is, to get together after the end of April, a time that can't arrive soon enough! I have until then to clean house so they can come in and we can share a meal.

We're due rain next week, so the week after that I've tentatively scheduled with my friend who does odd jobs and owns a tiller to return to till up the other side of the driveway. It was fallow last year after knee surgery. This will be my opportunity to reshape the soil over there and build raised beds that I'll keep in place. I need to mow before he tills to keep the amount of stuff we have to rake out to a minimum. My to-do list is growing for outdoor stuff.


19 Mar 21 - 12:37 AM (#4098307)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I killed time this evening trying to restore my Bluetooth on the big Dell, but even System Restore wouldn't revive it. So I'll figure out if it is a card and arrange to get under the hood to replace it. I didn't used to use the Bluetooth much, but I've started and find I don't want to give it up.

I'm looking forward to that new little bookshelf, but am not so excited for it to rob Peter to pay Paul. I could take everything off of one of the others here and put it in, but then I'd have to deal with all of the current contents sitting out in the way until the new one arrives.

I don't care for garage sales, but it is beginning to feel like time to start setting stuff aside for one.


19 Mar 21 - 08:49 AM (#4098332)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

Oddly enough (again…) I paired my phones with my desktop PC yesterday. I’m not sure that I’ve ever really used the PCs bluetooth but at least it’s there and working if I do want it.

None of the PC motherboards (all similar Gigabyte AM3+ boards) here have bluetooth support onboard but I’ve a USB dongle plugged in the back of mine. I’ve also got a combined WiFi and bluetooth one plugged into dad’s Lenovo laptop but that’s for a different reason. Bluetooth and Wifi are both built into the laptop but I was unable to get either of these to work properly under Linux.

The most common use for bluetooth here (and even that is rare) is between an Android device and an audio device. Both the Yamaha sound base under the tv and Pioneer amp can work that way.

Coming back to cables (of which there are many here…), I’ve just remembered I’ve got a job I ought to do. Largely as I ran the main Ethernet cables outside for ease of installation, I use link aggregation (or doubling up if you like). I noticed when looking at a switch the other week that one of the links is down (probably a broken cable). In one sense, it seems to be doing exactly what was intended (ie a single failed link won’t take things down) but I should restore the redundancy.


19 Mar 21 - 12:52 PM (#4098364)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I think I'm closer to a solution; I've done a system restore (didn't help, but now it wants me to reburn a disk that I burned several weeks ago), updated all of the Dell drivers (still doesn't work) and in the device list there is an "unknown device" that I'm pretty sure is the bluetooth/WiFi card. In the knowledge base I found some techniques to restore that include going back to Factory BIOS, to clearing the NVRAM cache (that remembers what all devices are installed for a quick startup), or opening the cover and removing the coin battery for a few seconds then restoring it. Anything that involves opening the computer involves moving the desk, disturbing the newly-settled dust (I dusted last month), and wouldn't you know that when I start fussing about how peripherals are arranged something needs work. Or maybe something needed work so I started thinking about moving peripherals?

I'll try the turn off, unplug, discharge power, and remove and reinstall the unknown device showing up in the device list.


19 Mar 21 - 01:10 PM (#4098368)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

I'm probably totally wrong but maybe if its a BIOS/Operating system type thing, you could try to enter the BIOS (often F2 or Del) and poke around for onboard peripherals. Maybe disabling some device that looks appropriate then rebooting, followed be a re-enable there might trigger something? You may also see if the "unknown device" remains while disabled.


19 Mar 21 - 04:35 PM (#4098392)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I think the Windows update corrupted the Bluetooth software. I turned the computer off, unplugged, pressed the start button for 10 seconds (this completely discharges the power), then restarted and looked for the device information and deleted the unknown one. Dell has a system to survey the computer to see what's missing and offered up the drivers for the WiFi/Bluetooth combo card. I then had to let Windows do it's big update again, but the Bluetooth stayed put this time. No dust disturbed.

I've taken the step to get my hair cut (finally!) and to set up a consultation as far as the cataracts. There are lots of ducks to line up for the surgery, the haircut, not so much. Short term and long term goals addressed in the same day.


19 Mar 21 - 05:54 PM (#4098407)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Today I bought new brown leather walking shoes — in a men’s size seven, to accommodate the increasingly warped shape of my wonky foot. Once I got used to the idea, I was thrilled. Still am.

New Balance makes essentially the same shoes for both sexes, but their women’s shoes are proportionately narrower in the forefoot. So, once I found out which men’s size is equivalent to a women’s 8.5, I was amazed at how much more room there is in the toe box. This solution works only with lace-up styles, as other kinds of men’s shoes are too loose in the heel for me.

So now I shall walk downtown for dinner.

Stilly, your computer trials make me love my Mac more and more. I so don’t miss Windows.


19 Mar 21 - 07:41 PM (#4098420)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

I stick with PCs and don't (usually) miss Windows...

We've had another delivery of logs today which we'll get Jonathan (yep he has the same name as me) to stack at the weekend.

I think I might need to correct the way he's stacking things (A couple of rows in the shed I'm taking logs from collapsed and I'm taking logs off 3 layers because I fear the back row could come down on my head when I take logs from nearer the floor with the way it's leaning. That and the first row he started in the other shed is leaning) but that's maybe a minor detail. We should have a good store of logs for next year.

A first for this year: We had tea a bit early and I took mum's down the field for her to have outside. I wouldn't have guessed we'd be doing that before the clocks go forward at the end of the month but at about 4:30pm, conditions seemed perfect.


19 Mar 21 - 07:55 PM (#4098421)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

Mum really struggles with footwear with her arthritic misshapen feet. She did have an NHS pair made for her a few years back but they were heavy and didn't work out.

The best she has found are CosyFeet but I don't know their availability in other countries and don't think they run to walking shoes/boots.


19 Mar 21 - 08:21 PM (#4098424)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

There's a popup in the middle of the Cosy Feet screen telling me they ship world wide! Good to know.

I am careful about my shoes since having bunion surgery a dozen years ago or more. No more heels, making sure they're not too snug. I occasionally still get narrow shoes, but mostly wear medium width.


19 Mar 21 - 10:12 PM (#4098440)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: keberoxu

As to CosyFeet, the site has multiple pages, try this one:

Cosy Feet USA


20 Mar 21 - 11:11 AM (#4098518)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

CosyFeet ship to Canada, according to their website. I might just give 'em a whirl if (when?) I get desperate for something to put on my feet that isn't sneakers.


20 Mar 21 - 11:47 AM (#4098524)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Fourteen months after my last haircut I have my next appointment. In early April I'll get several inches cut off, my bangs trimmed, and decide if I want to return to the highlights I have done for a long time. Or something else. The entire world hasn't opened for business yet, but with the vaccine and the precautions they're hopefully still taking at the salon, I'll get my hair back under control. I'll still braid it, but without the long straggling section at the end.

I've researched the "how to make the gate stay locked" question to I advance with my double gate (details needed for construction so someone can't simply push it forward and open). This way I'll have an easier route back to the compost when I work on the garden to grow my own healthy food again. I do need to find some of the clamping hinge parts so I don't have to drill holes through the posts.

I'm resuming alternate-day fasting to drop the pounds I picked up during a sedentary winter. Add to this the hair and an appointment to discuss cataract surgery and I seem to be decluttering my body this spring.

The house hasn't been very tidy since Winter Storm "Uri" hit; I need to rearrange my pantry shelves to create a space for the new propane stove that is on my kitchen table and get the fuel bottles to run it. And I need to do a couple of more things in advance of the next power outage (more candles, charge batteries, etc.; and find a large power supply with a solar charger).


20 Mar 21 - 09:14 PM (#4098586)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Work accomplished on the pantry shelves and I picked up a couple of one-pound bottles of propane to go with the new Coleman stove and all are parked in a cleared shelf. A large flattened box is on the floor under those wire shelves and I slid in various cases of canned goods, now easy to slide out when needed.

The really ugly compost enclosure that didn't do a thing to keep the dogs out of the contents was mostly disassembled this evening. Some of the rusty old chicken wire will leave with the trash, some of it is rolled up to be given another purpose later. And I bought a four-foot tall roll of chicken wire to try again. I am not in love with chicken wire, but the other fencing things would have been too easy for dogs to climb.


20 Mar 21 - 09:27 PM (#4098587)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Beaver:

Due to staying here until the vaccine shot, I have time to pot!!! BUT trying to wedge the used clay was wearing out my shoulders and my patience. So, carefully looking at the weather forecast, I phoned the potter supply early Friday morning and put in an order for NEW clay! The glitch was that pick up is by appointment and the only time left was 4 pm! With a 3 hour trip back home... But I took a rest, had lunch and set off cross country - byways, not hiways!

Arriving at 3:25, I backed into parking area and phoned as required: "I'm early but no one else is here!" My order was beautifully loaded by a young woman who did not weigh much more than the clay! And a couple other staff came out to say "hi" and wish me well. I was back on the road by 3:35 and home just after 7, with a 40 minute stop at a terrific grocery store where I could - safely - obtain items not available in my other shopping spots.

Part way back I realized - WOW! there was no snow at all down there! It re-appeared as I drove north, but observed some glimmerings of spring! Still almost two feet on yard but I see one raised bed is starting to come out from under!

So, today, I threw 20Kg of the wonderful new clay into 12 large objects! Happiness!!! I did have to go back to bed for a mid morning rest and then lunch before getting started.

Today was a lovely warm day - exquisite! I had the studio door open due to solar gain! Warmer tomorrow so I look forward to more of the same and, hopefully, enough energy to unload the bisque firing -after throwing and trimming- wax bottoms and consider glazing options. Maybe even mix a needed glaze. My goal being to use all the new clay, fire, glaze, fire, etc. and have lots of pots done before 5 April! 14 days- well, maybe I can or at least come close. Nothing else to do but bring in firewood and not too much needed now!

Meanwhile, R actually commented that watering the plants took him half an hour! I told him that without me there, he has time! He has not yet eaten all the food I left for him. I am eating healthily and happy to have maintained my 15 pound loss. I am looking forward to the sorrel coming up out of the snow! Maybe even tomorrow!


21 Mar 21 - 10:29 AM (#4098642)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

The sunshine is piling up in deep drifts here, Dorothy! ;-)

I know it's spring when I wake up planning how to do some task or other out in the yard. I need to prune a bunch of stuff today and I'll be dragging some old fencing stuff out to the curb for trash pickup tomorrow. And I'll be using the two-pound sledge hammer to drive in the metal fence posts for the next compost challenge the dogs will take on.

My mower needs an oil change and I might have to change the spark plug; will consult the owner's manual.


22 Mar 21 - 01:06 AM (#4098710)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I didn't pound the fence posts yet or string out the chicken wire, but I did some preliminary work ahead of that. I figured that the easiest way to haul brush from the front to the back (where it probably won't go in the regular compost pile, but it still needs moving to the back) is with a tarp, so I found one for less than $4 at Harbor Freight that will be my dedicated brush-hauling tarp. There's no weight to it, just bulk, and I have a lot to trim this year.

Today I actually paced myself pretty well, doing some yard work then coming in to do some sewing or some picking up, then cycling back out to the yard some more. During the sewing stage I realized that despite having bought almost five yards of flannel last month that I'm almost out. That's the common fabric in all of my masks, and I go through it pretty quickly. Tomorrow will be a run to Joann's with a coupon and for efficiency, a couple of other stops on the way.

I also finally made myself sit down and just watch a movie, not do something else while it's on. Now to mail it back to NetFlix. I don't really get my money's worth from that, but my son watches it all of the time and we share the account (since I rent two DVDs at a time there can be two streaming accounts with it.) In a world with all of the trauma of COVID and post-Trump, it was nice to watch The Muppets.


22 Mar 21 - 10:59 AM (#4098734)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Last night featured my second asthma attack in a week. It must be Spring.

The garden desperately needs attention, but leaf mold is a major allergen and the flower beds are full of it. I can probably risk picking up the deadfall branches the trees shed over the winter, however. It's a beautiful day in the neighbourhood!

I must also buy a bathing suit. Ordering on the internet isn't working -- two returns is all the pattern I need -- so I'll have to bite the bullet and go downtown. I just hope I don't have to go all the way to Kitchener or London.


22 Mar 21 - 11:19 AM (#4098737)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Ooooh, Charmion! Stay safe! Do you wear a facemask when you work in the yard? It used to be you could buy the N-95 construction masks at Home Depot; that's what I used to work in the attic dust and the downstairs room after the ceiling fell in. Now it's a crap shoot whether they still have any in stock.

I bought a bathing suit in preparation for returning to the gym after the knee surgery in February 2020. It still has the tags on it in my dresser drawer. So much for those plans! (I bought a 1-piece black Speedo, conservative cut around the legs, at Academy.)

Rain is in the forecast to day and it's good timing since I have a lot of in-the-house stuff to do. I did make one dash up the street a few houses; the trash company routinely changes the route when the days get longer so they switched from late afternoon pickup to early morning pickup. They'd been on my street already but were coming down the hill on the intersecting street so I dropped my trash next to the bag at the house kitty-corner from me that block (the street intersects with mine across the street from my house. I worry about someone slithering through the stop and landing on my front lawn). Note to self to now start putting out the trash the night before.

I just looked up kitty-corner, wondering about it. Turns out it's English mangling of quatre corner. Makes sense.


22 Mar 21 - 01:48 PM (#4098758)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Beaver:

Very tired! I guess I was overly optimistic about how much I could do, not remembering all the intermediate tasks - cleaning pots that are to be glazed, wax bottoms. DONE! But only 7 got trimmed yesterday and none thrown. This am, I cleared some space in the "Wood shed" and put up two TV tables, brought all the glazes out of the studio and stacked them on table and on the swept floor. All the debris that fell off the wood while stacked, is now in a lined banana box bottom - the one I kept moving from place to place, not wanting to burn it but wondering what to do... Almost full of burnable debris that will go into the woodstove over the next while. Maybe by that time, I will be able to take the box to the back shed to await a new use. Still too much snow!

The woodshed is actually a solidly built roof over that end of the deck, open all four sides. It is largely empty of wood now, leaving adequate room to organize a glazing area.

The sorrel is coming up in a cleared raised bed! And I raked the debris from the comfrey. The nearby, original, sorrel is starting to look useful. The best news today was being able to get to the south rain barrel and get rain water for the studio. The iron water here is BAD for glazes so I keep it out of the studio generally, using rain water for throwing, etc. So I schlepped two small buckets. More later. I need to do a bunch of glaze related work: wash buckets, mix a batch of yellow, clear and translucent green, ORGANIZE!

The studio is really not big enough for all I am trying to do. The woodshed is a big help! I can run an extension cord over to use the drill for mixing glazes. A better table would help. I was able to get into the storage cabinet at front of house this am but the tables I thought were there, are not! Improvise.

Giving thoughtful consideration to vacuuming the studio with shop vac, wearing respirator and goggles. Now needing to weigh available space with tasks to be done. Glazing paramount as there is no more room for new work... Hmmmm!

Today is gorgeous and warm, and no bugs yet! Another factor to consider! And today I am in get out and push mode; work a bit, rest a bigger bit. And rain in a day or so... ... Do not try to vacuum; glaze like mad.


22 Mar 21 - 11:10 PM (#4098815)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Dorothy, I remember when you were first looking at that little property. I'm impressed how you've made it into quite an interesting and adaptable space.


23 Mar 21 - 09:57 AM (#4098872)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

I still feel rather iffy from both the wheezing and coughing and the drugs to control the wheezing and coughing. After a drug-free year, I'm back on Zenhale, a puffer that combines a steroid with a long-acting bronchodilator. The steroid is comparatively benign, but the bronchodilator makes me twitchy. I may have to give up coffee until I get used to it again. Not that I drink much coffee any more.

Not fair.

I talked to a landscaper yesterday and asked him for a quote on spring-cleaning the flower beds in the garden and some preventive lawn maintenance -- aerating, dethatching, over-seeding, stuff like that. He just sent me an email with a whole new take on my name -- Tonya. I guess a change is as good as a rest.

As Dorothy points out, this is the halcyon period of spring before the bugs appear. I had better get out and enjoy it while I can.


24 Mar 21 - 11:02 AM (#4099049)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Late yesterday a flat box arrived with a three-shelf folding bookcase. I've unpacked it and am now about to disturb some dust. I'll wear a mask to spare myself some sneezes.

I have a six inch deep stack of paper to put in the burning barrel today, so between dust in the house and smoke in the yard, the mask will be very handy.


24 Mar 21 - 02:22 PM (#4099085)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Beaver:

I do love the improvements here. I wanted the realtor to come see it but she is always too busy. When everything is working, as it now is, it is cosy and comfortable. I really do prefer it to the big house in QC. Closer to nature.

A few days ago I finally figured out how to get a signal when a message comes in! So great! Expecting a message from a friend to meet in town so I will not have to check every few minutes!

Seriously wanting something dif to eat; considering take out of fish and sweet potato chips - when I get to town. Also need to pick up package at "post office" - bloomin' Shopper's Drug mart. I resent having to go into a bloomin' store instead of the post office. This is for 20 loaves of good bread which will go into the freezer. LOTS of bread!!! About 20 weeks worth! But not available locally. I could have done with 10 but wanted two dif sorts - 10 each is how it comes!

Today, a heavy, gonna rain day - the energy is not there. Read all morning. Did one tiny potting task and have decided I do not need to push myself. The kiln is loaded but for two tiny pieces I will use to test a couple iffy glazes. Tomorrow will do. Iffy = "What is that?" Keeping records is not my strong point. Walked around yesterday stirring glazes with a RED marker in my pocket! Made sense of most of them. Anyway, they are OK in the wood shed - with chunks of wood holding the lids down! Maybe tomorrow I will mix the two needed ones, if it is not windy.

I did vacuum the loose stuff in studio; the wand for the shop vac - after I found it! - was long enough to reach all the way in and with the vac outside, it did not blow anything around! Opened window and door and let the air settle for awhile.

The snow is going! I can get to the water barrel easily but not to the back sheds yet. Will soon be able to pull grass shoots out of the raised beds. The impending rain will do the job. The sorrel is coming up nicely.

Still 10 days before shot and I may stay a couple days after so I can go to the Bakery on the Thursday - on way back to Quebec. Hopefully with all the pots ordered by the woman in Quebec. Focus, Dorothy, Focus!


24 Mar 21 - 06:11 PM (#4099120)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

It took three attempts to find the best position for this bookshelf. The job isn't finished, but it's much tidier and there is room for more equipment on the shelves. I moved the UPS onto the bottom shelf, along with a separate surge protector for things that don't need to have time to shut down after a power outage. There are still a lot of cables, but as I plugged in each device I made a little label that I taped to each cord near the plug identifying what it went to.

Two years' worth of receipts and papers went up in smoke in the burning barrel, and that is now disassembled, the ash in the compost and the barrel back in the greenhouse.


24 Mar 21 - 08:44 PM (#4099143)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

I took the tax stuff to the accountant today. When he’s done his magic and I’ve paid what we owe, that will be the end of my obligations to the government with respect to Edmund’s death. I’ll be able to close the estate account and make the bank happy.

Booya. Hoop-dee-doo.


25 Mar 21 - 05:21 PM (#4099288)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

It is looking better in the office but I still need to find homes for a couple of things (not computer equipment).

I have feedback to consider since this morning's appointment to determine the type of lens to use for cataract surgery/lens replacement. It is several weeks away until after my ride to and from the surgery has completed his COVID vaccination regimen. One eye will respond well to the Medicare covered replacement lens, one will benefit from an upgrade to deal with astigmatism (meaning possibly not needing glasses for distance after all is finished). I'll probably still need glasses for close work. Wearing glasses after isn't a problem; not being able to see how much salt I'm putting on my food, or having to retrieve a flashlight and hand lens anytime I want to read small print while I'm wearing glasses will be nice to leave behind.


25 Mar 21 - 10:52 PM (#4099315)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Beaver:

I am confused by the lens situation/cataracts. I had only the choice of ordinary or special. I paid extra for the special but no re-collection of the reasons! R told me to! I never had any info on any of it and the Dr. was NO HELP! But she told me after that my vision was 20/20 in each eye. And I only need the drug store glasses when print is too small. Why on earth do they print stuff so small that people with 20/20 cannot read it??

TODAY! Gorgeous! Much of the snow is gone and I see daffodil shoots peaking out and columbine up about 4 inches! And the sorrel is looking like a few more days to edible! Need rubber boots to get to the back sheds and still much snow back there in the shade. When I refer to this place as "down in the swamp" I am not kidding! The back area may be wet until July.

I threw pots today - 10kg. Have realized this is not a marathon. But I keep deviating from my list! Things are pretty organized now with areas for each operation. Glaze firing has gone off at good time tonight. The next batch to be bisqued is in the kiln room so all that heat will dry them well. Also did some hand laundry today and not much else - or so it seems.

Congratulations to Charmion on reaching this terrific goal!

The fish and chips was delicious but I could have eaten a second one. I wonder if there is any frozen fish with batter that would suffice. I bought frozen sweet potato chips and they were yummy- did them in the toaster oven.


26 Mar 21 - 12:10 AM (#4099317)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I won't get started on estates—they can be very messy; the way Charmian has worked through Edmund's business and personal papers and wishes at apparent lightning speed is quite remarkable.

Dorothy, it sounds like you had a good outcome on the surgery. The newest (and highest priced) thing is called PanOptix or PanOptix Toric, and have to do with removing the need for glasses at all. I have read that some of these way high-end lens fix-all-vision-problems implants can have visual halos in certain lighting, which may not be a bad thing, but might be distracting. I'm looking at the mid-range one that is called AlconToric for the left eye and the surgery will reduce my dependence on glasses.

No potting here; the clay I work with is in my yard's soil. My plans are underway for the garden and next week the heavy lifting of breaking up old compost piles to stir into the beds when my friend comes over to till them. We've had rain twice this week so my effort to keep the out-of-doors outside of the house is still a struggle as the dogs come and go. The lawn is still sparse so the mud is easily tracked in.


26 Mar 21 - 07:34 AM (#4099348)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

Things are moving with the kitchen appliances. The washer dryer came earlier in the week and the cooker is due on April 1st. We agreed on a halogen hob cooker.

Lights are playing up in the living room. They are fine with a standard on/off switch but have started flickering and flashing with the Lightwave dimmer that I’d like to return to using. I had a couple of spares of these dimmers but they all do the same. Maybe it’s the bulbs – I changed one recently which put 3 out of 4 of the bulbs onto the cheap Amazon ones I’d bought – perhaps that’s upset the balance of things things… Some better quality (and same maker as the dimmer) ones on order. I don't know where I go if that fails.

Wi-fi on the kitchen camera went from being a bit flaky at times to rarely working at all. That’s quite annoying as I use the motion detection on that to keep the kitchen lights on… I came up with a temporary fix using a spare wireless access point in client mode and connecting that to the camera’s Ethernet port.

I hope to have a bit tidier solution today but can’t do all I’d hoped. I’ve got a PoE (power over Ethernet) switch and a camera that uses poe coming today. The access point also takes poe so I thought I could do it all with just one power socket and power cable. Instead, I learned something about PoE. There is the proper “active” poe where the power requirements are negotiated between (say) the switch and the powered device. Then there is “passive” PoE where the device just takes what’s given even thought it may not be compatible with the standard “active” stuff. My access point is passive and not compatible with the switch. I’ll leave it with using 2 sockets. Maybe later in the year, I’ll see if I can get a wired Ethernet connection into the kitchen.

I’ve found which of the 4 (two pairs which both join midway on the run) cables is broken on the main wired route and should have a new outdoor cat 6 cable today to restore the complete run with redundancy.

Oh well, it seems to be the season for things electrical and electronic round here...


26 Mar 21 - 10:59 AM (#4099387)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Jon, that's a lot of stuff I haven't had to think about - does your Internet/ethernet run through the power lines? (The "mains" you call them?) That would be nice. We have to run the Cat 5, or now Cat 6, for all Internet connections (unless it's WiFi), completely separate from the electrical part of the wiring.

I have one smart bulb that I've not yet decided on placement. It's the same brand as the smart bulb I have in my kitchen dining area so they can be installed on that one app. I tell Alexa to turn it on and off and don't need to lean way around the corner to reach that switch (put in the wrong place to begin with, and I'm not paying to rewire it). This second bulb is here as a spare since I haven't had a use for it so far. (I have Alexa in the phone but purposely haven't turned it on; I use an Echo dot in two rooms for the command to the bulb or listening to radio.)

I buy the LED fixtures now, some encased in bulbs, others with the bare diode inside the fixture that is put up in the hall, the laundry room, etc, in place of a dead fixture. I need a new one for the side porch where I used to use the stick halogen bulbs. Next iteration will be LEDs.


26 Mar 21 - 11:25 AM (#4099393)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

All the network cabling is Cat5/6. The only thing I've had running over the mains here was X10 home automation stuff but I replaced that several years ago.

In case there is some confusion here, Power over Ethernet puts power down the Ethernet cables. I'm using it for both the outdoor cameras.


27 Mar 21 - 11:22 AM (#4099529)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I'm looking at the house through different eyes now: the possibility that people can actually come in means I ought to put more stuff away and finish some of the rearranging of furniture I have in mind doing. And there are a bunch of boxes that need flattening and deposit in the village recycle bins. They fill so fast these days, I need to plan to go right after the dumpsters are emptied.

The front hall as become a bit of a spectacle with metal wire panels that can be assembled as a sort of dog play enclosure. I have a couple of them up to keep the dogs out of the carpeted front room and have set things on the chairs in front of the panels to keep the puppy from pushing past them. It all needs clearing out, and some of the boxes in that room need flattening and to be recycle bin bound. I have never yet managed the Swedish "death cleaning," I'm still working on the American "room to live in" cleaning.


27 Mar 21 - 06:55 PM (#4099584)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I bought a frozen pizza yesterday, and after lunch had half leftover. My normal go-to container would be the lately departed Tupperware bacon keeper. But just try finding exactly what you want on Amazon. Many are the dimensions long and wide but are too tall. They do have some vintage Tupperware, but I'm intent on BPA free plastic assurances. The closest I've found is a shallow food keeper at the Container Store. But that looks too shallow for when I want to store leftover flautas (rolled corn tortillas with chicken inside). I think a trip by the Container Store and their copious ranges of storage shelving is in order. Tupperware clearly has me spoiled for any other manufacturer's product, but they're so damned expensive. Rubbermaid's egg keeper is close but still a little too big.   

I'm feeding a friend's cats this weekend and trying to make my trips efficient by planning more than one stop. It looks like this is the one to add on to the cat dinner run.


27 Mar 21 - 10:58 PM (#4099607)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: mg

there is nothing i like better than bacon keeping. i put all sorts of things in them and they stack so well. i got several for two dollars each at an outlet store.


28 Mar 21 - 11:26 AM (#4099665)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Years ago I got some good, various-sized food containers at a local dollar store (I still use them), but most of those stores have been gone for a long time now. Maybe Dollar Tree has some? I've only ever been in a Dollar Tree one time. Today on the lunchtime cat feeding trip I'll swing by there, and if they don't have anything, then stop at the Container Store. As Mary suggests, bacon keepers stack nicely, or sit on the shelf with room for other things of various shapes on top.

Yesterday I laid out the cheap 5' x 7' Harbor Freight tarp in the front yard and piled on brush, then grabbed the corners and took the bulky thing to the back yard. This will work, though this morning I'll tie some retired clothesline into a loop on each corner to make it easier to grasp. I'm depositing this in the back of the yard and am planning to use the mower to break up most of these twiggy branches of salvia and rosemary into mulch.

With the understanding that "sitting is the new smoking," since a few weeks ago I've made a point of changing tasks every hour or two so that I'm not just sitting sewing or writing all afternoon. I particularly feel it in my knees - they don't complain as much as when I stay in the same position for a long time. This is also possibly more efficient for getting several things done in a day.


28 Mar 21 - 05:29 PM (#4099704)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Beaver:

Worked a lot yesterday and was plumb wore out by 5 pm and in bed by 7:30. All pottery related. I have trays and trays of pots - some drying, most bisqued and needing decorating and glazing and two glazes need sieving. My right arm says "forget it!" Some have to be moved on out - made ready for glaze fire and moved to kiln before I can throw more. Hope tomorrow; time is starting to get short - before I get vaccine and go back to Quebec.

I find if I do not move often enough, I have to start un-seizing all over again! Today has been a total rest day - other than changing the sheets and numerous trips to windows to see how high the the stream is! Raining like mad most of day. Still room in the culvert but the stream is at least 10 feet wide - instead of 2-3. I reckon the tree Dan planted over near the bridge is washed away. The bridge is holding firm. He came over the spring before he built it to get an idea what needed to be done! It is bolted to concrete foundations. And still I am wondering...

I did find the umbrella under the car seat yesterday and brought inside, too tired to go do anything but I have an umbrella!


29 Mar 21 - 03:19 AM (#4099752)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

I had a good day on Saturday. The problem with the lights was cured with the new bulbs. I put the new Ethernet cable outside. I fitted the new camera in the kitchen. I also fixed the drinking water tap (separate tap on the sink with under sink filter) which had come loose. The only slight problem was the kitchen lights were still turning off at bad times.

I thought that was going to be easy to fix but along came Sunday. I won’t go into the details, many of which are a bit technical, but it was one of those days where nearly everything I tried developed new areas of complication or snags. I got there in the end but what started off as simple aims that I thought would be achieved in a couple of hours wound up as 12 hours of frustration and a temper nearing boiling point.


29 Mar 21 - 09:58 AM (#4099788)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Replacement of my rickety basement windows has finally reached Tony the carpenter's to-do list. His latest email included a cost proposal (indicating that he had located a supplier that actually has supply) and he promised a visit today to refresh his memory of the locus in quo.

So I'm feeling a little better, at least with respect to windows.

Nephew Louis came by yesterday to try Edmund's bicycle on for size, and it seems to be a good fit. Now all we have to do is figure out how to move it to St Catharine's without renting a van.

The weather has turned sharply colder, as often happens at this time of year, and a light layer of snow covers the roofs and lawns of the neighbourhood. My tulips, hyacinths and daffodils have sprouted, but they won't mind.


29 Mar 21 - 11:35 AM (#4099801)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Jon, I think you described the arc of many technical tasks we do around our houses. It starts out a simple changeout, then you realize there are other moving parts that need attention if you're going to do it correctly. When I put in the new set of shelves it wasn't just moving a couple of things and loading stuff on the shelves, I had every piece of computer equipment and peripheral unplugged, dusted, repositioned, and put back into service by the time I finished. It took hours and there was some cursing.

This morning I texted my handyman about tilling the garden (I called him about 10 days ago to suggest we do it this week after some rain softened the soil). He said he'll text when he's ready to come over - meaning I have today to mow and scalp the area with the string trimmer.

When they call or text, especially with the supply of materials and available time, it's important to make that work in your schedule! Good work on the windows, Charmion! I'd love new windows here, but they're several items down on the "to do" list. Wasn't the position of your air conditioner/heater unit moved because of the proximity to one of these windows?

I filled that new tarp with the remnants of my once wonderful woody rosemary bush, and I also cut down my dead bay tree. I'm thinking I'll keep the bay trimmed down shrub sized so it doesn't shade part of the garden so much. This is assuming something sprouts back from the roots. There are a couple of pups around the rosemary plant that I'll nudge to life. Those should grow much faster than buying a new plant and putting it in.

I found two keeper-style containers at the Container Store that will store flat. I also picked up a small bin to put potatoes or onions in, then realized I already had a couple of plastic bins I'd evicted from the fridge recently. But as summer progresses I'll use those for produce so they are in limbo now, but not excess.

More people died from the February freeze than in Hurricane Harvey. That just came over the radio on Texas Standard radio show. As a participant in that exercise, I can say that I'm not surprised—too many people simply wouldn't have been equipped to stay safely in their homes, yet in their homes they stayed.

Research time: my sister told me about a compost-turning auger she got from the Garden Tool Company down here in Texas. I have to figure out what that is and where she got it. Apparently it's a screw thing that really does a good job of turning the compost pile contents. Something any of the gardeners in this running conversation might be interested in. I'll report back on what I find (I'm looking at a note I made to myself during a conversation and sharing it here so I don't lose track of that garden project).


29 Mar 21 - 12:47 PM (#4099813)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

We had one of those compost stirring gadgets, and it did not last long — one of the blades bent only halfway into the summer. We got it from a good supplier, too, so I’m still a bit resentful.


29 Mar 21 - 05:47 PM (#4099860)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

So far the one my sister is using seems to be working, or she'd have mentioned that.

I am kicking myself now for not having looked harder before when I couldn't get my Amazon Fire tablet to talk to the computer. I have been thinking about getting a Samsung tablet just so I had one that would behave nicely and let me move files back and forth - but instead of buying that tablet I made myself make one more attempt.

It's a two-part answer. It doesn't want to connect with Bluetooth, and it wants to connect with a USB-3.1 cable and I had the cable on a much slower 2 or 1 port on the hub. AND on the tablet when you pull down from the top of the screen and see the message about the USB charging, you then (once it's plugged into the USB 3 port) can see the guts and the card in the tablet while in Windows Explorer. It only took an effing year of playing games with moving files via thumb drives. And of course, it took a flashlight and moving the computer table to get a look at the ports on the back and then to realize that I have two little class C USB 3.0 ports that I haven't been using because I don't have those cables. Now they're ordered. And this illustrates why the cataracts are such a pain - needing the flashlight to do any of this stuff. I made a point of getting lots of 3.1 ports when I ordered this, I just didn't pay attention that they fit a different cable. I have some adapters I can use, but dedicated cables are better. #FinallyGettingAroundToDoingTheMath

Jon, back to you. Your turn. :-)


30 Mar 21 - 04:20 AM (#4099909)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

Hee-Hee… Yesterday’s odds and ends didn’t start too well. I’d had another think about putting the kitchen camera directly on the wired network and decided that I could run a cable from the switch in my room to the camera by following the same route my main cables take and teeing off the trunking under the kitchen window. It should have been straightforward but I got a bit heavy handed and damaged the cable and have had to order another one.

Things got a lot better from there though. It was quite breezy today but it was still a lovely sunny day. I did a bit of mowing and strimming and mum joined me outside. I went in to make the evening meal at about 4:30pm, went back outside to eat mine and stayed out till about 7:00. So a lot of my time yesterday was just enjoying the weather.

Maybe I’ll be back to computers (and frustrations with them) today. It depends on when Amazon deliver. I’ve got something else coming to play with btw. An Alexa Echo. It is supposed to be able to work with the Homeseer software I use these days and I’ll be interested to find out how that works out.

My own feeling has always been that voice commands probably don’t work too well in a room with conversation and the tv on but I could be wrong. Even if doesn’t work out in those conditions, I think mum might find it useful. She’s finding she sleeps better in the peaceful living room and calling for a light to turn on if she needs one would probably be more convenient than reaching for the remote control.


On the eyesight, I don’t think I’ve got things as badly as you but I certainly know the feeling that I need increasing amounts of light.


30 Mar 21 - 09:44 AM (#4099955)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

After May the vision will be restored - not something that can be said about reduced functionality in very many other parts of our bodies!

I have two Amazon Echo "dots" here; one in the kitchen and one in the sewing room. There are Alexa enabled devices around (televisions and my phone) that I don't use.

I use the kitchen Alexa to turn on and off a light over the table and to listen to various broadcasts. I don't usually ask for any of the things the emails about Alexa suggest I can do. I did read a thing that you can get Alexa to respond to whispers, but you have to alert it to that change somehow. The dot in my sewing room is for listening to different radio and Sirius XM broadcasts. I mentioned before that I have another smart lightbulb to figure out where it might be best used. The one in the kitchen is part of a network that is an app on my phone and connected from there to Alexa. I don't remember now how much practice or routine I had to go through to "train" the first Dot to recognize my voice.

Running cable - oy - I've done a lot of that up in the attic and down into the walls in several rooms, and this reminds me that I still have a couple of rooms I've been meaning to finish. Simply pulling out the coaxial with the Cat 6 taped onto the end in the room so that once it reaches the attic I can use the Cat 6 up there to connect where I want without fishing around for stuff. I have coaxial cable in a couple of rooms of the house but it doesn't get used for anything except to run from the outside antenna. I have several related projects up there that this time of year would be good for (before it turns into a summer oven). I bought some of the plastic heavy-duty decking Attic Dek material to run through the areas where I need to go for wiring and such and to be able to walk on, not move carefully along the joists. They're the dimension to put down from joist-to-joist and screw into place.


31 Mar 21 - 06:10 AM (#4100076)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

I like the decking, SRS.

Alexa so far has been yet another frustration.

Alexa doesn’t seem to like the words or my attempts at “Right”, “Left” or “Spot” which seemed to be at the root of messages including “I don’t understand” as well as error beeps.

I tried going nautical with the living room and changing “Spot”. That got me to “Port Table Light”, “Port “Spotlight”, “Starboard Table Light” and “Starboard Spotlight”. 3 of 4 of these worked reasonably reliably (main thing was to make the “t” in “port” strong and rather exaggerated for me, otherwise it goes for “porch”) but it couldn’t work out the 4th (I can’t remember which that was) and I can’t see how my pronunciation could be changing to affect this.

If I try to use “Bedroom Light”, I’m informed “A few things share the name Bedroom Light” even though there is only one. Going by this Reddit thread and other search results, this appears to be a bug in the Alexa set up that has existed (perhaps intermittently) for at least 2 years. It also has given success “OK” for the nonexistent “Bedroom Light 99”, something I called out in frustration/trying to find some uniqueness.

Well that bit was frustrating but I had some fun with it later. A couple of things that amused me:

Asking it what the longest place name in Wales is produced an answer which contained the worst attempt at Llanfair PG that I've ever heard.

Asking it if it is a long way to Tipperary resulted in the Alexa voice singing the song!


31 Mar 21 - 07:36 AM (#4100082)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

I've just found that I might not (unchecked as yet) have needed to replace the cable for the kitchen. It is marked and I did tug a bit hard but there was another problem which caused me a bit of head scratching. The smart switch in my room it uses was showing a network connection and supplying power but a closer look revealed it was on the wrong VLAN.

Oh well, kitchen is better for the change. My temporary solution involved the wireless access point and supplying poe near the camera. That's gone and there is just one flat Cat6 cable doing the job now. It should also be more reliable having removed the wireless element or at least I have more faith in things hard wired...

Better move on to something non tech... I potted the peppers and aubergines on a couple of days ago and they are looking good. 4 types of tomatoes and some marigolds are now in the propagator. Acrylic sheets for the greenhouses should be with me some time this week.


31 Mar 21 - 11:33 AM (#4100115)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Jon, I don't use the word "light" at all - I tell Alexa "Turn on Dining Table" and it goes to that named item in the list of smart bulbs in the house (in the linked phone app). Sometimes sequences mess up for Alexa also. If I say "turn on MSNBC on Sirius XM" it does it, but if I tell it later to "turn off MSNBC" it doesn't know what I mean. In that instance I need to tell it to turn off the Sirius XM. Does the Alexa you get speak with the UK accent? Or is it the American voice? Or do you have a choice?

The dog-curated forest floor look is back. Time to vacuum and mop.

In the greenhouse I've been filling pots with my homemade potting mix, and I need to get some fresh seeds for a few things. Some of the old seeds work, but not all. The garden should be tilled this week and then I need to begin shaping the beds. I'll use some purchased bedding plants also. And I'm going to get some powdered Dipel (Bacillus thuringiensis) to try to keep the worms from killing the squash plants (dusting it on in a hyper-local way). I usually use the liquid, but I'll try the other to see if that helps.


31 Mar 21 - 12:07 PM (#4100121)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

Alexa has an English UK voice here. The language options would allow me to use United States for example but there are warnings that such settings do not match my country and some features may not work. Apparently it also takes a few minutes for a change to take effect.


31 Mar 21 - 04:39 PM (#4100173)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

Trying to remove light from a couple as a test didn’t help anything SRS but I think I can see where my duplicates are coming from. I don’t think it’s quite but along these lines:

Alexa is using the full Homeseer names which consist of floor, room and device and I can avoid the message if I use the full mouthful. It’s a shame there is no provision to provide a nickname. Take the bedroom, I have these names:

indoors bedroom bedroom light
indoors bedroom bedside light

If an SQL query went

SELECT device WHERE name LIKE “%bedroom%” AND name LIKE “%light%”

Both would match. Something like asking Alexa to turn on “light bedside” would work and it does. In fact just asking to turn on "bedside" is fine too. There is only one device containing the word "kitchen" so I can go "turn kitchen on", etc.

The workaround I’ve used for the bedroom one is to change the room name to “bed”.

That just leaves me with trying to come up with names Alexa will recognise and we will find easy to use for the two table lights and the two spot lights in the living room.


31 Mar 21 - 04:44 PM (#4100174)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Contact has been achieved with the friend who will till the garden; it is now time to take the organic herbicide and hit the Bermudagrass and see if I can kill it before we churn it.

Cables arrived yesterday for the faster series C devices and it's time to retire a couple of the older cables.

Tomorrow is trash day so I'll spend time generating dusty trash in the vacuum and put it out at the curb in the morning. And I have the personal objective of completely clearing off the kitchen table (the one under the light Alexa turns on and off for me.) I saw on a little video from Nate Burkus that he no longer promotes having a formal dining room. I use the den area for the dining table when we need to spread out. I'm thinking it's time to dust behind a few things in that part of the kitchen then move that big dining table into the kitchen and use the small kitchen table somewhere else. The main problem with this plan is that I'll be tempted to rearrange the den and then have to run cables and speaker wire in different areas.

Maybe I'd better stick to gardening and the rearranging urge will pass.


31 Mar 21 - 07:22 PM (#4100201)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

If I have more to say on the Alexa after this, I'll start another thread rather than keep going here but for here, I leave it with this.

"Big Table Light", "Small Table Light", "T V Spotlight" and "Other Spotlight" work fine and keep things understandable for us with Alexa and for me with the Homeseer interface.

The next thing I tried was adding the Honeywell Evohome skill. The first tests worked fine allowing me for example to say "set hall to 20". The problem is that with this is that in place, "turn hall light on" gives "hall does not support that". Renaming the hall thermostat zone (each room has its own zone) to "T Hall" takes me back to duplicate name problems with the light for reasons I can't fathom but show there were errors in my previous thoughts...

I suppose I'll find some naming system that does work but I'm finding Alexa a bit of a nightmare.


31 Mar 21 - 07:37 PM (#4100202)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

And here I'm thinking about where to put a second smart lightbulb. You're lightyears ahead of me as far as Alexa is involved!

Seeds picked up today and before I do anything else I'll go through the tray of old seeds and toss all of the ones that I know are not viable. Some of them last for years, others don't. The only plants I picked up are two ornamentals that will replace those from a pot that was in the greenhouse during the big freeze. Bat-face cuphea is a shrub planted in the ground in USDA Zone 9, but here in Zone 8 it's a plant in a pot that winters in the greenhouse.


31 Mar 21 - 11:39 PM (#4100210)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Mrrzy

Got talked into a bigger tv.

That meant moving the old tv. So I also moved a bookcase to put the moved old tv on. That involved cleaning all the books, organizing, and culling.

So then I put my card table in that no-longer-spare room, with its one surviving chair.

And I cleaned off and moved a shelf from my bedroom into the ex-spare room, to put the things that had been on top of the bookcase on. That involved finally cleaning all the clutter and knickknacks off the highboy where I had stuck what came off the shelf I moved.

And I moved all my art supplies from my office area into my not-spare room, organized.

Now I have a studio instead of an unused room! And I have already drawn and painted stuff. Woot! And my desk is cleaned off! And my tallboy!

And all for a bigger tv! Which did not arrive today as scheduled. But hey.


01 Apr 21 - 12:48 AM (#4100211)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Good for you! And isn't that the way these projects progress - touch one thing and it snowballs into a production. It sounds like you have several rejuvenated lovely spaces.


01 Apr 21 - 07:48 AM (#4100246)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

The new cooker was installed this morning so we are almost back to a fully functional kitchen.

I say almost as there is a fault with it. That is that the markings on the knob for the main oven don't line up correctly. Where the knob clicks to the off position lines up nearly with the 75 degree marking and turning to full on goes a way past the max marking. I doubt that it's much but I won't know what temperature the oven is set to until it's fixed.

That aside, I'll have to get used to it now. I knew with the old one say where I wanted a ring set to to simmer something and that with the ovens even when things were working properly, the top oven always seemed to be a little under temperature and the main oven needed a little reduction from what a recipe would suggest for a fan assisted one. Minor details I suppose but this cooker is sure to be a bit different.


01 Apr 21 - 10:22 AM (#4100270)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Several years ago I scorched a few things before I realized that the new burners ("eye" or "ring" to you?) were in better shape than my former stove, and the oven is more accurate. No need to turn things on higher than the temperature on the knob said any more.

The first organic application of weed killer on the turf where the garden will go appears to have had no affect overnight. I'll fill the sprayer with 10% vinegar ("pickling" strength - regular table strength is standardized at 5%) and add some delimonene (orange oil) to it for another jolt in full sunlight today. The goal is to kill most of the Bermudagrass, though I may be throwing good organic weed killer after bad on this stuff - I suspect Bermudagrass would join cockroaches in surviving a nuclear bomb blast.


01 Apr 21 - 11:17 AM (#4100275)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

I use "ring" and don't think I've come across "eye".


01 Apr 21 - 01:02 PM (#4100282)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

"Eye" is a southern (Appalachia) term that I thought might also come from across the pond. A friend from North Carolina's mountains used to talk about the "eye" on her stovetop.

I'm not seeing much impact from the first organic weed killer so am going to head out with white vinegar and orange oil in the sunshine.

The trash came too early for me to get things out there today. I spotted an article from Martha Stewart on Instagram that reminded me of a few things I haven't cleaned or cleared up for a while, including the furnace filters. 11 Things You're Forgetting to Clean (or Replace!) Around Your Home.


01 Apr 21 - 08:58 PM (#4100344)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 202
From: Charmion

My word for the fiery things on my gas-fired kitchen range (or cooker, if you’re Brit) is « hob ». The coils on an electric range are « burners ».

This week I went back to the Y for pool class, which worked out so well I clean forgot that today was Needle Day and I had to go to Kitchener to be shot. The Y has a booking website now, and twice as many classes as there were before the pandemic began because now the pool can accommodate only 10 people. The locker room is far more tolerable with only about a dozen women in it, and the pool itself is still a witch’s brew of chemicals but at least now it’s a comparatively clean witch’s brew of chemicals.

I have spent rather a lot of time this week on the phone talking about house repairs and in Zoom meetings about the future of the choir. So far I have seen neither hide nor hair of Tony the carpenter, and the choir probably won’t survive another winter without genuine live-and-in-person rehearsals and performances.

But just when we thought things were looking up, variant COVID began surging in Ontario cities, especially greater Toronto. Consequently, the Diocese of Huron cancelled real-life Easter services yesterday (no Anglican super-spreader events allowed), and today the provincial government announced that another general lockdown will begin at midnight on Friday.

Now I’m wondering when I’ll ever get another haircut.


02 Apr 21 - 10:30 AM (#4100405)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

could use "burner" but the appliance would need to be gas.

I'm still trying to get the cooker sorted.

Mum (a have difficulties starting many phone calls) phoned Beko support yesterday. They firstly denied the existence of the product and then forwarded her to another number (maybe in Turkey where Beko are based?) where mum could not understand the English of the person answering the call. I then tried emailing Beko support and got no reply.

I started with emailing the retailer AO today with an email that outlined both the fault and the problems we had with Beko support. They try to push you to the manufacturers as I think a lot of companies probably do but, legally, they are responsible for selling me goods not of satisfactory quality.

It started off well with a quick response which asked for a picture. I did that and the problem was acknowledged in a follow up email but that email also suggested I should try Beko first.

I've repeated the problems we had with Beko, told them I'm not prepared to go further that way and I'm asking them to sort it out and am waiting for a reply.

And all this for what I think is simply a misprinted knob. I'd accept one in the post to try rather than getting repair people in or looking for a replacement cooker.


02 Apr 21 - 11:31 AM (#4100414)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

That would be the easiest. Have you looked up the stove (just enter the model number in a Google search) plus "repair parts" or something like that? You may be able to spend a couple of dollars and sort it out faster than the store will. I've found sites online that offer all of the individual replacement items for my dryer, and one of these days I'll take the dryer apart and repair the gasket on the drum edge that has slipped a little and keeps grabbing things while it's running, on occasion leaving a rubbery stretch mark on a pillow case or wash cloth. It isn't so bad to spend the megabucks of a repair guy coming to the house.

Haircut today. I've been going to this hairdresser for over 10 years, so there is a lot to catch up on (my last haircut was Feb. 12, 2020). My t-shirt has a neutral message (to me anyway - "NPR") and pants with legs loose enough so I can show off the surgery scar on my knee. I decided I'd wear something other than my usual couple of pairs of yard shoes; I've worn socks and shoes all year since the surgery, for whatever reason. Until then I usually wore sockless slip-on loafers and was a little bit dressier for work or even going out as a retiree. That felt a little strange this morning, and just in case I were to give myself a blister that might spoil some of the pleasure in getting out to a couple of other shops after the haircut, I went with a pair of socks and lace-up shoes that I haven't worn since before the knee surgery. After I put them on I realized I should have blown out the dust. It won't kill the socks, so no big deal, but this is a relic of living through a pandemic. Dusty shoes.


02 Apr 21 - 12:15 PM (#4100418)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

Appointment for repair made now. A lot of questions, mostly Covid related bit we have someone coming on the 7th and I've accepted that.


02 Apr 21 - 12:53 PM (#4100421)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

I think I've always begrudged the price of spares, SRS.

I worked for Hotpoint for a few years in the 80s. My first job there was as a line labourer but my second was on the staff. That position was more involved with the movement and reliable figures of stock than cost but I could see the cost of every part.

I don't suppose I've ever come to grips with lets say and I'm not sure this is right, a 50p door gasket becoming a £15 spare part. I suppose I could even extend that sort of puzzlement to small packets of screws when you see self tappers coming in at pennies per thousand.

But, yea, I don't understand the supply/demand/distributing/holding things in stock, etc. things. And of course we where using a fair amount of things.

In those days, Hotpoint Kinmel site was putting out 400 front loaders a day on each of lines 1,2 and 4 a day and line 3 did 400 dryers a day. Lines 3 and 4 often ran a night shift on top of the day one. Then there was line 5 which was lower volume and new in my time which was putting out the then new over 1000 RPM spin models. You can wonder where they all go to...


02 Apr 21 - 11:38 PM (#4100506)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Jon, you have an interesting behind-the-scenes view of the situation; I've read that if you took all of the parts of a car and priced them individually to build a car the vehicle would be exponentially more expensive than from the factory. I suspect there is an aspect of availability and storage that comes into the pricing of spare parts.

I decluttered my head of about 10" of hair today and am loving the lighter feel. All of the damaged ends are gone and much of the hair that had the color from highlights. Not all is gone, but a lot. It seems I'm not the only client who, after all of this time, has decided that maybe going gray isn't so bad after all. At least for now.

Today I knew I'd have to be at an appointment soon after lunch so I pushed back the tilling appointment, and it'll have to happen middle of next week. I forgot that this weekend is Easter stuff and while to me it's just another Sunday my friend has family stuff to celebrate. Meanwhile I have things to keep me busy in the yard.


03 Apr 21 - 10:25 AM (#4100590)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

The neighbors were already mowing when I got up this morning (they didn't start too early, I slept a bit late) and today appears to be a day I'll spend mostly in the yard. To start, building my compost enclosure, dog-proof version 16.0 (Cinnamon arrived here in 2005 and my compost was a much more casual operation then, but I still worked to keep the dogs out).

This means starting the little tiller (the one given me by the neighbors, not the big one Antonio will bring over to break up the main garden) and running it through the old compost piles and preparing those to be moved to the new garden next week. And I have a smaller piece of garden next to the back door that I'll till on my own to start before then.

There's a lot of cardboard that needs recycling, but I suppose I should hold onto it (not visit the village bins) until I decide completely where paths are going to go in the new gardens, between raised beds. Cardboard makes a good weed barrier.


03 Apr 21 - 10:32 AM (#4100592)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Mrrzy

New tv came. Way too big for my house (compared to the giant ones in the store it hadn't seemed so huge!) so it is going back. Getting a smaller (but still bigger than my old) one.

Meanwhile I am doing *lots* of art because the studio has my only tv!

Somehow the cleaning of the little bookshelf kinda cascaded into taking all the books off all the shelves in my long hallway that is all bookshelves, cleaning the books, reorganizing, culling, cleaning the bookshelves, putting back. Bagged all the boys' books, invited them to dinner, handed them the bags. Room for art now amongst the shelves! Not thinking that it is room for books! Down, hoarding reflex, bad reflex, down!

I deny that this is mania. I feel fine, but I am no judge of my own maniacal levels. At least I was able to stop when the job was done...

And, in the fitness department, my vax site is ramping up from about 300 shots a day to 2000, so yesterday instead of pacing desultorily for 4 hours in front of the site, I walked quickly up and down a quarter-mile long line making sure folks were where they needed to be, for 4 hours [note the comma placement, there!]. So last night my legs were doing the crampy thing every time I shifted position where you have to get up outa bed and stand on the crampy leg to unpoint your toes.

Signing up for more shifts next week. Working towards being able to walk up and down that line and not have my legs do the night cramp thing.

Also, I am in favor of never cutting hair. Keeping it kempt is necessary, styling it ok, but cutting it is unnecessary.

Also in favor of facial hair. Mine won't grow, but on Zoom I have a moustache filter, and in public a bearded mask. Not looking forward to not having those in the future! So enjoying having them!


03 Apr 21 - 10:47 AM (#4100594)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

That room sounds amazing, Mrrzy! And congratulations to you for working at the COVID shot clinic! What kinds of art are you producing? Do you do commercial art?

It wasn't until recently that I realized I should focus on shampooing just my scalp and the hair adjacent to it, leaving the length to hang down my back and give it just a quick sudsy once-over and not pile it all on top of my head for an entangling wash that required spray detangler to sort out after the shower. Untangling my hair meant breaking some ends in the process, so the bottom few inches were thinner and not as healthy. Cutting it all off means I can pay attention to better hair care if I want it to grow longer (I'll grow it out a couple of more inches and keep it at about that length). And it means a pony tail to poke out through the back of my ball cap that isn't so heavy that my scalp aches under the elastics after a while.


03 Apr 21 - 12:06 PM (#4100609)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Beaver:

Time does fly by. I have been totally focused on A.getting a vaccine; Finding out from the paper that friends had already gotten it here in Bancroft, I phoned and got some particulars then drove to the Legion and got a phone number from the man keeping order, went to the car and phoned; After interminable messages, I got a woman whom I could not understand at all; she put me back on hold - more of the same %^&*( messages! - and Finally a wonderful woman who listened, spoke clearly and changed my appointment from the place an hour away to the place 5 minutes away! I thanked her profusely on the verge of happy tears. My energy level is so incredibly iffy that a two hour trip would mean two hours of not getting work done on the pottery and I really want to get this lot done so I can get back to Quebec and R. So B is:

Some days I can work for two hours, rest a couple and do two more. Other days, after a really busy day, I am totally unable to do anything but read, rest, possibly go to a store five minutes away. This is me at 84. I just tell myself to get used to it. But keep on trying!

A few days ago, I went to the grocery and there were too many cars so I went to M&M and bought two packets of family sized meals: cabbage rolls and canneloni. I cooked both - turning on the oven, might as well. They were actually good and a nice change from veggies and chicken. Never would I have spent the time/energy to make them.

I also noticed as I left M&M, a new tiny restaurant, so stopped to see what it was about. "Watts Cookin" had frozen meals and a take-out menu so I bought frozen Swedish meatballs and came home happy with it all. Supporting local businesses is terrifically important up in the boonies. And the new lockdown has begun. Fortunately I found 4 more books at the thrift shop the other day!

Yesterday at 6 pm, I was elated that everything I deemed necessary had been thrown! Today, I am waiting for the energy to fix a minor thing in the kiln, then glaze and fill the kiln and watch it carefully for correct firing. And trim yesterdays pots so they can dry for firing in a few days.

I never dreamed when I went to Toronto for the fresh clay that I would be so long getting things done but there have been at least two total do-nothing days and several days when I cannot get going until noon or so. Like today (11:30)!

The ground has thawed enough to pull some grass out of beds, on sunny days. From today on it will be mostly above freezing! Daffies are up a few inches. It would be nice if they bloom before I leave! No sign of life in the large mock orange; hope!

I finally "met" on FB my #2 son's new significant other. She posted a bunch of wonderful pics of him from his Birthday (1 April). To see him looking ever so happy is the greatest gift. He is still in the throes of divesting himself of 30 years of basically emotional abuse by the mother of his children. She started the relationship and he could not figure out how to end it; I raised him to be too darned nice! I hope this lasts and I can be assured that both my sons are happy.

A beautiful day out there and a bit above freezing. I cannot push myself; will wait until the body decides to get up and get at it.

I am bemused by Alexa! I feel lucky to have electricity! When a friend messaged this morning about a power outage up the road, I started thinking about how to keep pots from freezing! But we are OK here. I think we refer to those things on the stove/cooker/range as burners regardless; I have had to think about it!

In addition to the dearth of energy and some difficulty with numbers and simple math - cannot subtract! - I lose words. Imaging holding an object in your hand and trying to think what to name it. Go away and come back to write down "funnel"! The trick is not to try, but let it go until it surfaces.


03 Apr 21 - 04:37 PM (#4100635)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

My dogs have my ex trained well. He came by this afternoon with some salmon skin in a plastic baggie from out of the freezer that he brought to share with them. It was left from a recent salmon dinner.

I bought a bag of unsalted roasted peanuts because I keep a large Tupperware bin of the nuts in the shell as a treat for them, so sometimes when he stops by I hand over the bin and he gives them peanut treats.

The pounding in of fence posts got some revision after I thought about how far back I was locating the new pile. I don't critters getting into it and my first placement of stakes would have had the back edge into the hot zone for the collars. So I've moved it forward about 4 feet to the dog path will go behind it. I can get metal tent pegs at Academy Sports to work my way around the bottom of the fencing to stake the wire to the ground. There will be some reuse involved as I take old wood fence slats and run them around the inside of the fencing to also reinforce that base. They'll rot into compost soon enough.


04 Apr 21 - 01:28 PM (#4100759)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: keberoxu

Following the example of Stilly River Sage,
I switched from the readily available brand of shampoo
and shopped around for
an organic junk-ingredient-free shampoo that soothes the scalp.

Only one shampoo and rinse, and there's already a difference.
It wasn't just the veritable squalls of dandruff
descending upon my clothes,
it was the awful itching, to the point of burning, in the scalp.

It feels so much better when my scalp doesn't itch like that.


04 Apr 21 - 03:12 PM (#4100766)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

It sounds like you're allergic to an ingredient. What kind did you find? Right now my two step process is to wash with a little liquid tincture of greensoap, then using a bar of Middle Eastern olive oil based soap after (the wash, rinse, repeat method.) If you use it, don't use very much, and I tend to use it every other shampoo. Here is the breakdown from Drugs.com

Ingredients: Rosin 2.47g in 100mL, Potassium Hydroxide 5.961g in 100mL, Alcohol 24.93g in 100mL
or
Active ingredient: Ethyl alcohol, 30%, The rest: water, potassium soap, glycerin and lavender oil.

I'm almost all of the way around this year's compost bin, reinforcing the bottom of the chicken wire with a thick wire that was once part of a sign, then pounding in tent stakes. I'm in for a late lunch and figuring out how to open and close it, and when it is closed, keeping the dogs out of it closed.

One it is in place I'll start mowing in the back and dumping the mower bag into the new space, then empty both kitchen waste buckets that have gone way too long without emptying. More lawn clippings on top, and then when the front gets mowed I'll just mulch, not catch clippings. I also need to put the dead twiggy branches on the ground and go over them with the mower to break up the bulk. This is probably more than one afternoon's task.

But the point of struggling with this compost now is so I have a place to put all of the stuff from the new garden once it's tilled. After the tilling up there I'm going to take my tiny little tiller given me by the neighbors (I refurbished it last year) and break up all of the old compost piles around the back yard. The weeds from on top of those piles will go in the new compost and the broken up bits will go into the wheelbarrow and out to the new gardens in front. I had all of these tasks to do and had to figure out the lynchpin to the whole thing. And that lynchpin is the new compost enclosure.


04 Apr 21 - 03:45 PM (#4100768)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: keberoxu

Thanks, Stilly, I pulled out the bottle and it's next to the computer now, looking at the label, which says a quantity of things. For instance:

"NO parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, petrolatum, sulfates, mineral oils, artificial colors, or artificial fragrances."

The brand is "Derma E [trademark]" made in Simi Valley, California. "Scalp Relief Shampoo."

The label extols the virtues of a proprietary herbal blend:
Neem, burdock, bearberry, also Tea Tree oil and Menthol.

A further breakdown of ingredients, from most to least quantity.
Water. Three things I'm not going to attempt.
Glycerin. Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract.
Willow Bark Extract.   Sodium Chloride (hey! even I know what THAT is).
Salicylic Acid. Menthol. Tea Tree leaf oil. Arctium Lappa root extract.
Chamomile flower extract. Uva-Ursi leaf extract.
The names are getting grandiose again so I'll stop... here.


04 Apr 21 - 04:03 PM (#4100771)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

That sounds pretty good! I have to go for as little sodium laurelth sulfate and that mix of things - they're derived from coconut.

I pulled up the file that I keep and need to update - there is an incomplete list of things in shampoo, soap, face creams, etc. with coconut.

Coconut-derived products can cause contact dermatitis.
They can be present in cosmetics, including some shampoos, moisturizers, soaps, cleansers and hand washing liquids.
Those known to cause contact dermatitis include:
coconut diethanolamide,
cocamide sulphate,
cocamide DEA,
CDEA,
sodium laureth sulfate
sodium lauroyl sulfate
ammonium laureth sulfate
ammonium lauryl sulfate
sodium lauroyl sarcosinate
sodium cocoyl sarcosinate
potassium coco hydrolysed collagen
triethanolamine laureth sulfate
caprylic/capric triglycerides
triethanolamine lauryl sarcosime
triethanolamine cocoyl sarcosime
disodium oleamide sulfocuccinate
laureth sulfasuccinate
disodium dioctyl sulfosuccinate
isopropyl palmitate


04 Apr 21 - 06:21 PM (#4100788)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: keberoxu

Well, see, I didn't tell you everything ...
there are a bunch of things in the ingredients list that
looking at the names made my eyes cross, so
I just left them off.
With my luck, some of the unmentionables in the ingredients
will be on your dermatitis/coconut list.

I pulled the bottle over to the computer monitor screen again.
Let's see what I left out, especially those that
are in higher amounts
(towards the beginning of the list).

After "Water":

Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate
Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine
Cocamidopropylamine Oxide

"Glycerin"

Cocamidopropyl Betaine
Glyceryl Laurate

followed by
Epilobium Angustifolium ... etc etc

This sounds like more of a chemical stew.
And some of those names
look like they belong on the coconut/dermatitis list.
That said, this stuff makes my scalp feel better than my former brand made it feel.

I'm looking up some of the herbal bits.   

Epilobiaum Angustifolium --   Canadian Willowherb
Arctium Lappa Root       --   Burdock

"Neem" is the Sanskrit name for a highly medicinal plant,
famous for its bitter taste and cooling effect.
In the Latin nomenclature:
Melia Azadirachta Extract (that's what it says on the shampoo label)

"Uva Ursi" turns out to be    Bearberry Leaf extract.
And way at the bottom of the list is
Aloe Barbadensis Leaf juice ...   yep, Aloe Vera.


04 Apr 21 - 07:15 PM (#4100795)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

All of those things with "coco" in them are coconut, so I would avoid them. But the further down the list they are, the better, and keeping out some of the big baddies (that you listed before) is probably what is making a difference for you - my guess. There's a reason a lot of those things are already out of shampoos and cream rinse.

The next compost bin has been assembled and this year is 4' tall with a single tall roll of fencing. I imagine Cookie will try to push over the wire and walk up it; there is a heap of chicken wire (an old roll) sitting on top of the grass and compost slurry right now, and I sprinkled some hot pepper flakes around the perimeter of the bin. I mowed the back with the grass catcher and piled grass to create a mound that I hollowed out a crater to pour in the buckets of broken-down table scraps. When covered with several more bags of clippings I can't smell anything but grass, but I'm sure those canine noses have sorted out exactly what I did.

After mowing I'm really close to my day's fitness tracker goal so I may take the dogs for a walk before dinner. This time of year I'm more likely to occasionally meet the goal.

After all of the yard work the house can use some attention. With the nice weather and longer days it feels like time to do some spring cleaning.


05 Apr 21 - 10:09 AM (#4100843)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I need to buy one more longer metal post to put in the front middle of the compost bin; the pup did indeed try to collapse the side, and though she didn't get in I reinforced the shorter fence post with a second short one stuck in over the top of it but it's a wobbly answer. I may have something around the yard I can use. I have a couple of really tall heavy-duty metal fence posts but I'd need to take a ladder out back to stand on to try to pound it in. I'm not sure why I have two such tall ones, some long-ago yard project.

My morning self was pleased to see the clean sink and silicone sink mats (run through the dishwasher last night) and the last of the household trash ready to go out to the curb this morning.

I'm going to go through that Martha Stewart Living list (linked in a post here on April 1) to kick start my spring cleaning. I put the old A/C filters out at the curb this morning, and next come the dusting of the ceiling fans. Over the winter I bought myself a specialized microfiber duster to use on them or other out-of-reach dusty spots, so I'll make that my second chore. She had several other good ones.

The back yard looks great; I didn't do the small stuff (trimming) but the big things, the mowing and the compost, give me a new lease on my yard work. Today, mowing in the front. Indoors, this weekend I cleared out stuff stacked in the entrance to the front (eBay) room and now I can move around easily to put up some new listings (evening project).


05 Apr 21 - 10:42 AM (#4100848)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Today I feel crappy after having awakened coughing at zero dark awful. Two shots of Ventolin later, I sorta dozed off, but the rest of the night was unpleasant.

This is what I get for taking a nice, invigorating stroll to (and from) the BIL's house yesterday for a Paschal lamb dinner. Apparently, my immune system dislikes the great clouds of tree pollen currently blowing around town.

The last of of Edmund's professional books left the house on Saturday, claimed by a retired judge (once Edmund's colleague) who is writing a book on military justice in Canada. I think he and his wife expected to spend about an hour at my house, allowing for a little polite chat before packing the books into wine boxes, but more than four and a half hours whizzed by before the conversation slowed down enough for any of us to check the clock. We are all that starved for new people to talk with.

The garbage went out on time and I have recovered the green bin (organics for composting) and the blue box (recyclables). So now I'm going back to bed, with a book.


05 Apr 21 - 09:59 PM (#4100932)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Your afternoon going over the books sounds charming - and I think so many of us are finding that those conversations are precious and packed full of thoughts that haven't have an outlet for a long time.

I was fairly lethargic today, not a stuffed up head like usually happens after yard work (I wore a mask as I worked yesterday) but I was definitely worn out after such a busy day. Alternating days of yardwork will be my approach until I get back into shape.

There was an audiobook in my phone that I kept getting sidetracked from starting and it was due today, so I sewed this afternoon and listened to several hours before it turned itself off and returned itself to the digital bookshelf where someone else was waiting for it. I've put myself back in line to finish it (and turn it in promptly upon finishing so I don't hog it again). And I checked out another one to read (they don't have the audio book this time) using Overdrive on my Amazon Fire. It's nice to be able to get these things from home, but I do miss regular trips to the library.

Dorothy, I'm glad you were able to reschedule your vaccine closer to home. There was a very interesting story on The World (public radio) about a Canadian drug manufacturer trying to get permission to make vast quantities of the vaccine for Canada. I posted the story here in the Check In Mudcatters Worldwide thread. I posted the entire story transcription there in case people can't listen to it online outside the US.

My dentist is retiring this week and I'm really sad at that prospect, so I called to ask when he'll be there. They've kept his schedule light because they know people will be dropping in, so I will go by and take over a parting gift of a tomato plant. He, like me, is a gardener, and I can't think of a more practical offering. This has to have been the weirdest final year of a lifetime of being a dentist, with the office closed for a while and then terribly restrictive.


06 Apr 21 - 08:08 AM (#4100966)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

With any luck, it will be warm enough to take our tune session outside this week. Apart from that, life is a bit bleak in the new lockdown, especially when I’m not feeling entirely the thing.Yesterday’s asthma attack is still receding.

But the fridge is innocent of ready-use food, I’m down to my last orange, and I promised to bring ice cream for the BIL’s birthday dinner tomorrow, so grocery shopping must happen.


06 Apr 21 - 05:56 PM (#4101061)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Today's errands were part of one of those multi-pronged plans that involved more back-and-forth trips than usual, but most of it went as planned. It was just so damned windy that you had to hold tight to whatever you wanted at those garden centers, and when driving make sure not to get pushed out of your lane.

The news at our house is that Cookie has finally killed a squirrel. There was a possibility I could save it until she stopped running and shook it. That was the beginning of the end, with it's back broken. I finished it off with a rock and tossed it into the creek behind the house. Sometimes I put roadkill in the bare area over on the other side of the road for the vultures, but since they cleared and mowed it isn't as easy to leave things in a clearing (and right now the area is waist-high in wild mustard).

Fingers crossed my friend with the tiller is here tomorrow.


07 Apr 21 - 10:33 AM (#4101162)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

That dog must have quite a turn of speed if she can run down a squirrel, Stilly. Or do you think maybe the squirrel was -- shall we say -- not the sharpest knife in the drawer? Maybe the other squirrels were ready to leave her on an ice floe (if Texas had such a thing)? Most cats, even accomplished hunters, don't even bother to chase a squirrel; they're too fast, and they rarely venture far from their home tree. Of course, that doesn't stop cats from chittering when they see a squirrel, or doing their best to give a squirrel a good, solid heart attack.

No tune session. The new lockdown now comes with a stay-at-home order. Crap.

Since my respiratory system is more compliant today, I shall decide I know what I'm doing and go prune the hydrangeas. The BIL's birthday dinner is still on, and people who live alone are still allowed to visit their bubble household, so I have that to look forward to.

Otherwise, lots of nada. Fortunately, the house is still full of books.


07 Apr 21 - 11:47 AM (#4101179)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Charmion, are you wearing a mask when you work outside? My friends came to till yesterday evening and we were all wearing masks; as much to keep the pollen out as the dust. The wind has been gusting at about 20mph for the last couple of days so no COVID germs would land on any of us, but the ground is littered with anthers from the oak trees.

There is a fatal flaw in the tree exit strategy that the local squirrels devised last summer. Since the baldcypress is adjacent only to a smaller Mexican plum, there is nowhere to flee via the aerial avenues. The pine branches stretch to within about 10 feet of the baldcypress; the boles are about 20 feet apart. The squirrels get tired of staying in the tree (the dogs will sit under it for hours waiting for the squirrel to move) and one of them tried a new move - get a run off of the end of one of the longest lower cypress branches (they aren't flying squirrels, but they get some good momentum), hit the ground running, and up the pine tree within about 5 feet. I've seen them do this myself, and they land with a "thud" that is momentarily not forward motion.

These dogs study the situation, and Cookie did the math. The squirrel "thud" was the point where she caught it. I had opened the door and usually that was enough distraction for the squirrel to escape, but Cookie knows that trick so she kept her eye on the squirrel. Once she grabbed it (lots of grunts and squeals from the rodent) she had to keep going so Pepper wouldn't grab the squirrel from her. They'd raced around the outside of the cyclone fence kennel before she paused to shake and drop it. I imagine she was getting quite a struggle from the squirrel up to that point.

I didn't look close but didn't notice telltale signs of this being a mama squirrel and the balls on the males are quite prominent, you can't miss them. So this seems to have been a young adult female. Weighing about five pounds, healthy until she met Cookie.

Yesterday at Goodwill I bought a couple of the acrylic insulated cups (clear, two layers, air in between) with the silicone-lined twist-on lid and hole for an acrylic straw. Through breakage I've been reduced to having only two of them and I keep losing track of them around the house, so the executive decision to add a couple of more cups will be offset by the realization that there are art pottery mugs in my cupboard that are never used and need to be offered to the kids or listed on eBay.


07 Apr 21 - 06:36 PM (#4101258)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

The fence pickets are now treated with wood preservative, and an hour of that has my back aching! I cleaned out the garage last weekend so it was easier to get to stuff I needed, though there is more clearing to do. I need to poke around in all corners to see if I have any tall fence posts, before I make a trip to buy one more.

I was going to take a bunch of cardboard to the recycle bin, but have decided instead to use it under mulch for paths in the vegetable garden. I may even end up doing a reverse-recycle and retrieving boxes from those bins.

This is a good time of year for this work, it's warmer and lighter, but it also affects the mood, makes it easier to get out to stuff. I'm going to continue to wear the homemade masks while I do this outside work, it saves on the sinus headaches and medications. Who knew, something helpful that came out of COVID-19, more mask wearing helps defeat pollen. ;-)


07 Apr 21 - 08:04 PM (#4101273)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: keberoxu

I had my first colonoscopy this morning,
does that count as de-clutter??

The gastroenterologist detected one mild bit of diverticulosis, otherwise a clean bill of health.
Says my next colonoscopy ought to be in ten years' time.

It's nice to eat solid food again. All the warnings received about the bowel prep were right on target.
At this point I just need OTC painkillers until my rear end stops hurting.

As to Stilly and the dogs:
at least while they are spending hours watching the squirrels in the tree,
that is one block of time when they are not
trying to take apart your compost station ...


07 Apr 21 - 11:48 PM (#4101310)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

True about the dogs. And true about the colonoscopy prep. It is wretched. Waiting 10 years is a long time to not worry about the prep, but remembering the prep will keep you on your fiber capsules if they've been recommended. Good luck keeping the diverticulosis under control and healing.

The mower this evening had an oil change and the air filter cleaned (it needed it) and next time I'm at the big box store with spark plugs I'll get a new one. And ask the clerk if they have one of those gap measuring things (with lots of metal tabs of different thickness) because I don't want to buy that tool to use once every two years for the mower spark plug. The front lawn was then mowed so in the morning I can go out with the big camera and take photos of my lovely irises with the trim green turf background.

The heavy lifting of the day tomorrow will be shifting soil in the tilled bed (to contour the edge where there used to be a board and the dirt was piled up against it) and to start moving the compost from the old piles in the back to the new beds in the front.

Silly me, this evening I slipped off my shoes and socks while I was working in my office. This is a throwback to years ago before Cookie arrived. I now have one destroyed sock (found in the yard) in the trash, and a spare sock in the laundry. I have several single socks - maybe I'll turn them into odd pairs for heavy yard work.


08 Apr 21 - 03:37 PM (#4101422)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

So today while I was buying taller stakes to keep Cookie out of the compost, I discovered planter wall blocks that can be put in place in the garden, then boards run between them. Perfect for raised beds. I have lots of types of planks around here to use with them.

Two of the fence stakes are for the compost and two are for T-post sprinkler heads that will go in the garden. Soon after she arrived here the puppy destroyed the wires on the timer device I was using so I either have to rewire it or find a new one, but even just setting this up to sprinkle when I can set a timer to turn it off will be a good start. (Cookie also chewed up several hoses, so I have to repair the ends or replace them, depending on if she just attacked the ends or the length of them.)

Time to break out the pots and start a lot of things from seed. A few will be bedding plants, but this year I'll try to do a lot more with seeds. And I'll stagger the crops; last year the cucumbers in the fall did much better than cucumbers do in the high summer heat. But if I don't start the okra soon, there won't be much to harvest, it really loves the heat of a Mediterranean climate.

This is the time of year when I have to pace myself to get any of the indoor stuff done at all. The garden is just too inviting.


08 Apr 21 - 07:17 PM (#4101449)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

I am sitting on my porch with the heel of a bottle of rather nice Languedoc red. It’s a delicious evening in Stratford, air like wine. Sorta goes with the bottle.

My daffs are out, the hyacinths are sprouting, and the forsythia bush is in bloom. The lawn is spangled with tiny blue flowers that I had nothing to do with — they just showed up last year, and this year there are more. The clematis I planted last summer seems not to have survived, probably a victim of Judy-next-door’s fence-replacement project, but the rose of Sharon look okay. And the rose bush is still with us.

It’s gonna rain tomorrow, so I’m luxuriating while I can.


08 Apr 21 - 07:33 PM (#4101452)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

Plaintive cello melodies makes for a good existential pamdemic elegy that slowly transforms to Polvestian dances makes for nice blooming backyard music. Ending with Curb Your Enthusiams theme lends a note of normalcy. I got the second shot today with no side effects again. Not as elated as I thought I might be. Time to cut bamboo shoots and mow the violet yard with tufts of garlic. No sign of the ciccadas.


09 Apr 21 - 12:12 AM (#4101473)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

The cicadas will arrive soon enough, probably next month. I was just reading about them (again.)

Another bottle of wine here, a rarity, and this time a white wine. I'm mostly off of alcohol these days just on general principles, so this is nice.

I've used the mattock to chop out part of the remaining edge of the tilled garden area where there is a firm lip where the plank edge of the raised bed used to run. When I moved in that part was contoured on a slope for drainage and easy mowing between yards; I built the garden and kept it there for several years, and now I'm removing that edge for easy mowing again, and putting in a smaller area of raised beds. There will be cardboard and mulch down for paths between the beds.

Tomorrow is going to be a total garden day until I have to stop for rain. Next week has a higher chance of rain so I want to have the garden in place to take advantage of it. Lots of mulch will be down by next Monday.


09 Apr 21 - 06:50 AM (#4101485)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

We had temperatures around 20C last week but it dropped to maybe an average of about 5 this week. We even had a little bit of white stuff one day. There has still been some nice sunny spells but overall, the garden has not been as inviting this week.

The acrylic sheet for the greenhouses has come and I should have some mini trunking needed to finish off the cabling to the kitchen camera and another camera I added has also arrived. That gives me 2 outside jobs but I don’t feel inclined to start today. I had an odd day on Wednesday, one where I don’t really seem to have done much (a few loads of washing, make the evening meal and ????) but somehow was on the go from 10am to 9pm and feeling hassled. I didn’t find yesterday that much better and I just want to relax today.

I’ve potted all the tomatoes on and I now have about 40 tomato, 8 aubergine and 8 sweet pepper in trays located on my windowsill, the study one and the porch. That’s rather more than I want but I’ll try to give some plants away later in the month.


09 Apr 21 - 11:28 AM (#4101518)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Jon, your discussion of work around the house inspired me to research the polycarbonate translucent corrugated sheets that I can use to replace the 60/40 cloth over my patio cover. The whole thing needs a bit of a pick-me-up, but that would stabilize it and offer a nice shelter that the cloth didn't any time it rained.

Web work, then yard work. It's overcast with a chance of rain, and I'm headed outside though I'm a bit bruised after missing the step up into the dining area this morning. I put on a pair of thick-soled clogs this morning and am reminded that I didn't pick up my foot far enough to clear the ledge in those shoes. I either need to remember to pick up my feet more or stop wearing that kind of shoe.


09 Apr 21 - 04:47 PM (#4101587)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Our 2020 taxes are done: filed and paid. The Revenue Canada website would not let the accountant e-file Edmund's "harmonized" sales tax (i.e., provincial and GST), so we did it the old-fashioned way, by snail mail with a cheque. How very 1975.

And I've off-loaded another unneeded IKEA bookcase.

But my coffee-dripper has died of material failure -- the little plastic knob on top of the filter broke off, leaving a hole that would allow a stream of sludge into the mug. Heigh-ho; I knew this would happen, or something very like it. All the on-line reviews of the gadget say the same thing: it makes great coffee, but don't expect it to last more than six months. In fact, mine lasted *exactly* six months in daily use.

So it's a good thing I have yet to declutter Edmund's substantial selection of coffee-making technology. Today, I tried a French press pot made by a company called Espro that claims great things for its product, although I can't see how it differs from a Bodum. Edmund bought it about three years ago and most of it is made of stainless steel, so it should last at least a year or two. We'll see.


09 Apr 21 - 05:30 PM (#4101589)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Mrrzy

Colonoscopies totally count as decluttering.

Also, this.


09 Apr 21 - 05:52 PM (#4101595)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Reviews are helpful, and I usually start research by reading the negative ones. When I look at the number of reviews at each star-level, I generally decide against purchase if it doesn't have a large number of positive reviews. If all of the four-star and below are close to half of the reviews, I move to the next product.

I try to remember to do a search and click on Google shopping before shopping Amazon. I compare local offerings vs online. A couple of times a month I end up placing an order through the website of a local big box store then have it delivered to the store for pickup. Amazon doesn't beat all prices and doesn't carry all brands. I'm getting around to replacing my dead motion-detector porch light and will probably pick the new one up locally.

I saw a great looking coffee maker at Goodwill last week, but I don't drink coffee and I have a modest one that does the job when guests come to stay. (It was free from Gevalia years ago when they were doing the free coffeemaker offers). I sometimes buy things that are just too good to pass up, but only if it is something that I might actually end up using or can sell on eBay. Or give to one of the kids.


09 Apr 21 - 11:40 PM (#4101651)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I split the job into a couple of evenings' work, but finished chopping out that hard edge of the garden and have raked it to a slope to resemble the original contour of that part of the yard. Now to build the raised beds.

No rain today, but it is predicted next week, so having these in place and planted and ready for precipitation is the best way to let a garden get established. Rainfall is always more beneficial than a sprinkler.


10 Apr 21 - 04:32 AM (#4101692)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

Sounds as if the roof project could turn out nice, SRS.


10 Apr 21 - 09:04 AM (#4101732)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Second day of the plunge coffee pot. I miss the dripper, but this will do.

Until its plastic filter busts, as it inevitably must. Two cheers for technology.


10 Apr 21 - 12:19 PM (#4101777)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Today the mini-tiller comes out and starts breaking up the old compost piles. I'm looking forward to a cleared out area back there. The contents of each pile will be moved to the long garden beside the driveway. I'll also use the little tiller in the small garden on the other side of the driveway.

On a sunny spring-cleaning weekend the village bins will probably be full so I have to wait till Tuesday evening, but I have a bunch of stuff to deposit down there. I do hope that some of this is recycled and not just hauled to the landfill.


11 Apr 21 - 02:32 PM (#4101889)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I tackled the first of at least five old compost heaps with the tiller and ended up so far with two full wheelbarrows of material to dump in to the zone for the new garden beds. Now I have to figure out how I want to arrange those beds. I'll be dragging out planks and picking up a few more planter wall blocks (on sale this week for $2.50 each).

There's a door I need to replace into the garage that I've ignored, but will probably have to have someone come install (since it involves placing the hardware correctly). It's an interior door that I put in an exterior position. I now need to find or have made an outside door the right size. It's on my list level with working on the patio cover.

Jon, you've inspired (or shamed?) me into addressing some of the wonky lighting issues outside. I have two fixtures that one I leave on all of the time and the other I leave off all of the time. Neither works well in the motion-detector setting because the plastic covers have been in the sun too long. I've picked up three LED bulbs with built in (on both sides of the bulb - excellent!) sensors and set the first one in the garage door fixture in the back yard. I am going to test if the dusk-to-dawn bulb with the motion-detector setting works any better. There is one on the patio that is usually always on because it is shaded and thinks it's always dusk, but I'm hoping the bulb will pick up better than the cracked plastic cover on the fixture. This three-bulb pack arrived on the porch this morning via Amazon.

I also ordered two of the 1-gang electric plug faceplates that have a small array of LED beams on the bottom that come on in the dark only and are enough to find your way to the hall bathroom (when it works - that one needs replacing, or jiggling). There is one in another hall that is great for moving to and from the office to kitchen without tripping on a dark dog camped out in the hall.


11 Apr 21 - 06:09 PM (#4101913)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

I don't know about that SRS, and I've not got round to the things I'd mentioned yet.

Today wouldn't have been a good day for outside things though. I put some washing out in bright sunshine late morning. 10 minutes later, things went dark and we had hailstones. That was the pattern for the rest of the day, periods of sunshine with wintery showers in between.


11 Apr 21 - 11:27 PM (#4101934)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

One of those bulbs beside the house is okay lighting up the driveway; the one in the back beside the garage door glares brightly into the kitchen. I'll remove that and place it in the fixture on the patio that won't glare into any windows.

I'm still working on the garden design, moving slowly forward and thinking about the possible positions of planks. More compost has been moved, and one large pot has fresh soil and a new plant out front. There are still a few bedding plants getting watered every day; they always do much better in the soil so that must happen this week.

Drainage is a concern out there—if it's a really large bed, will water pool? Maybe have a couple of narrow paths between smaller beds instead of the one large bed I seem to be working toward right now. However the layout happens, this will be good for clearing out some of the garage. There's a lot more space alongside the SUV on the driver's side where the lumber used to be stacked.


12 Apr 21 - 09:05 AM (#4101972)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Digging out the composter was one of Edmund’s jobs — he had the strength and energy, and he took delight in any activity that required a spade and heavy boots.

Me, not so much.

I can’t appeal to Neil-across-the-street this time. He’s recovering from a blot clot in his leg and his wife will skelp me if I lure him into doing anything more physically demanding than walking the dog. Maybe I can tempt Judy-next-door or my sister-in-law, who are both keen gardeners.

My hellebores are blooming nicely in their dark little patch beside the garage, and the yellow primula is in vigorous flower.

Yesterday, I took the big loppers to a burning bush that looked quite dead last summer; it’ll sprout in May if there’s any life in the roots, and if it doesn’t I’ll dig out the rest of it in June. When it stops raining, I’ll do the same with a moribund-looking spirea next to the gas meter ... Or maybe just scotch it and be done. I’m not fond of spirea.


12 Apr 21 - 03:18 PM (#4102002)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I should have emptied a few things out of the SUV before heading to Lowe's today; I had to struggle to get four 10-foot planks (flooring) into the vehicle diagonally. But they fit, and I went back in for a stack of the planter wall blocks that fit around the lumber on top of the tarp I keep handy for hauling stuff. I figure the boards don't need to be the full size of the opening (it would fit a 2x4", meaning it's about 1 3/4" wide) so I bought some 6" wide 1" deep and 10' long decking pieces for less than some of the other lumber. Wood is wood. I drove home via the highway frontage road and city surface streets because I didn't want to find myself at highway speed with planks that could fly through the windshield if I had to stop suddenly. And all of those concrete blocks behind me - oy!

That was today's workout—those blocks are heavy. I was very careful to lift them properly. Part two of the exercise is coming when I go empty the SUV. I have another trip today if the rain holds off; I'll empty the back and leave the tarp for when I go get free mulch.


12 Apr 21 - 08:59 PM (#4102042)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

It hasn't started raining, but it's terribly humid and on the verge. I set my tools under a porch overhang and distributed mulch over some flattened cardboard around the three (of four) beds I've assembled so far. I'm hoping the rain will weigh the mulch and soak the cardboard to hold it all in place. I made a trip over to the free-mulch bunker and got my usual 3 contractor bags and the bucket I use to fill them to use around the rest of the edges and after planting. (Had a nice conversation with another gardener at the bunker, he had a sedan and a few buckets and a bin; I gave him an extra bag—a bit tattered, but will take one more load. Gives him a lot more mulch for the trip.) It's such a precious thing, nice conversations with strangers. They're more frequent than they used to be, but still something I really enjoy.


13 Apr 21 - 02:18 PM (#4102112)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I took a bath this morning and realized my feet were pretty grimy from dirt and dust that filtered through my shoes and socks. That's how tired I was when I went to bed last night.

We got a little rain. Now to make a big push to plant before the rest of the rain sets in.

There is a lot to do in the house, and its turn will come once the garden is planted. And I have two digital books to finish before they're due, so at least the audio book is best consumed when I'm sewing. The eBook needs just old-fashioned reading.


14 Apr 21 - 06:31 AM (#4102169)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

I got round to doing my little bit of trunking and the 3 perspex sheets for the small greenhouses yesterday.

SRS’s comments persuaded me I ought to a look at our outside lights (all sealed LED flood lights with stand alone PIR sensors wired in parallel so one sensor triggered lights the whole section) too. They are:

Front and side of house leading to path. 2 x 50W for the front, 1 x 20W for the side, 3 PIR sensors to pick up returning from the field, approaching house from gate and from leaving house and one time switch in the porch. They started triggering a lot in daylight recently. I may have solved that by adjusting one of the sensors.

Path to field. 3 x 20W on path, 1 x 30W towards field, PIR each end and PIR in the middle. One light has needed replacing (flashing a lot) for a long while. I fitted the replacement I’d bought over a year ago...

We’ve not used the motion sensors on that section since the new central heating boiler was located outside over 2 years ago as it’s plume triggers at least one of the sensors. I’ve got a microwave sensor to replace one of the PIRs coming tomorrow which might solve this. I don’t think an alternative solution of extending the flue above the level of the sensors would be worth while as the flue pipe extension is expensive so I think it’s this or just having the lights working manually.

I also did a bit of mowing and strimming and broke the Ryobi battery trimmer. It got tangled up with a bit of thick plastic coated wire that had been used when we had a row of raspberry canes and I didn’t spot – a proper booby trap.... I couldn’t see how to remove the spool holder but on a closer look, noticed the casing in that area had been damaged. A replacement trimmer should be with me today. Fortunately, the tool itself is not terribly expensive (£60, actually less than one of the genuine Ryobi batteries I power this and other things with) but we could do without things like this.

My aubergine and pepper plants are growing their real leaves and I’ve noticed something. The plant’s I’ve labelled pepper are looking like aubergines and visa versa. Bloody mum… When I planted them, I used the seed packets to mark which was which (and I wasn’t going to remember) but I came to them one day and the packets had been taken out, apparently as mum wanted to show someone what was growing. She assured me she remembered how they were…. Oh well, this one is simple to sort, things weren’t as clear the year she mixed my hanging basket, greenhouse salad and plum tomatoes up. Luck was on my side that time though and I did correctly guess which were the small variety for the baskets.


14 Apr 21 - 11:49 AM (#4102203)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I mix up the seeds all by myself, no need to have someone else do it for me, though last year I bought a box of wax pencils that I've used in the past to write the name on the black plastic holder where the pots are set. As long as the pots aren't moved around I'm fine. I went out on the patio this morning and poked a few portulaca seeds into the pot that has some growing back from last year (they'll most likely be orange) and with a newly-filled hanging basket after getting a new cocofibre lining.

And I made the last lightbulb tweak for a while, swapping out two in the back. I'll leave a bulb in the fixture beside the door into the garage, but not leave it on. That's the one that glares into the kitchen window. I took the sensor bulb I'd put in there and swapped it to the fixture on the back of the house on the patio wall that will light the yard but not blind inhabitants of the house. And that sensor at night does detect motion so it will stay dim most of the time and only brighten when a dog runs past or I walk out.

I saw on the Freecycle offerings someone has two cattle panels up for pickup; they're huge and even rolled I don't think would fit in my SUV, I'd have to have a friend pick them up. They're great for vines but right now I don't have a place to put them. I should probably be prudent and not respond.

Getting more excited about the eye surgery; I've heard two more recent accounts of people who had it and are very happy with their now clear vision.


14 Apr 21 - 06:34 PM (#4102227)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Dupont:

Busy day on Saturday: Pat picked up pots for shop at 8:40, just as I was getting into car to take a couple pots to Joanne at Foodland on her break time; She picked two and asked for a couple mugs. Then I headed south to the highway with a stop for a dozen carrot muffins at the Hidden Goldmine. Ate two before getting to the hghwy! Yummy de-clutter!

Drove and noted more tired than usual. I was up before 7. So drove with hyper awareness the 5 hours to here! Unloaded vehicle, put food in frig and freezer. Took a rest.

Now, the pottery for Erica is still in car as well as summer tires as I need to find a place to get them changed. Have cooked a bit, not much, planted lettuce and nasturtium seeds outside, potted tomato cuttings, cut back leggy plants and put tips in water to root. Started basil and squash. Will do some more sorts tomorrow.

Put a few plants outside on front steps. My "dinosaur grave" garden was looking nice with lots of yellow crocus and now lots of daffies! Nice to see what has survived the winter: a number of parsley seedlings from last years plants, a good oregano, the lavender looking very healthy! Tulips getting ready to bloom in a few days. Each day...

I cooked a large batch of kidney and Romano beans and put them in a big stainless steel bowl with the thawing HOT chili. By the time R got home, they were blended and good! Tonight I am prepared (energy) to make a veg/chicken stew, adding the carrot soup I made a few days ago; it was not very filling but will add a nice flavour to the stew.

Spent the better part of two hours, today, placing a huge order at a grocery store I will not go into; I like their products but so do too many other people. I can pick it up tomorrow. I may still go to the usual store for a few things when it is "less busy".

Friday, meeting a friend at the Mill to lend her a spare pottery wheel. That will, at least get it out of the mill - if they can get it in vehicle! And I will bring some more stuff from there to here. Tired of being all over the map! Then I need to bring the pottery inside for Erica to view on Saturday. What she does not choose will go to back to Beaver for the shop, where things are actually selling! Summer could be terrific, located where folks heading for Algonquin Park slow down to turn left for the Park! I will go back to Beaver in a couple weeks to make more and to watch for turtles nesting.   


Have spent some time "helping" R sort out business affairs in his head - de-clutter the brain? He was "afraid" to tell me he is thinking of buying yet another building. This is sad - that he held this for 3 weeks of worry. That is serious clutter! Of course he is also afraid to tell E who wants him to focus on only one specific goal. I may need to send a gentle email to E to explain that there are other aspects that must be carried out, simultaneously. I told R to explain that gently but firmly. Without apology but with re-assurance that E's fav project is top priority.

When we talk about de-clutter (on this thread): R has several thousand square feet of floor space and outdoor space FULL of machines and other objects that cannot just be left sitting around for ... WHO to deal with! He is trying to get out of the machinery business FINALLY!!!! And I will give him all the support he can manage! IF buying yet another building gives him a pathway, I can support that. I may not live long enough to see all this transpire ... but I might. I see glimmers of hope in his real desire to get the clutter gone.   

Nice to have above freezing weather!


14 Apr 21 - 06:54 PM (#4102230)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I have a few square feet of machinery here that have been used today. The tiller ground up the last of a second old compost heap and I've made several trips to the front with the shoveled up debris. And the mower - I knocked down the weeds in the smaller of the two vegetable gardens, up to the area where the garlic is growing. I'm waiting for another rain, then I'll use the small tiller in there and get it ready for more of the garden. My cucumbers did really well over there last fall. I'm planning for a larger variety of crops than I had last year. I need to keep at this and will eventually have the garden I'm hoping for.

Dorothy, good job on having the grocery store prepare your order for pickup. I still do that occasionally. It is possible to catch COVID after the vaccine and even if it doesn't kill you it can make you sick and you can spread it. Did you get your first vaccine dose yet? I read an account today of a 73-year-old who had gotten the vaccine. She came down with the symptoms (no smell or taste) and was ill for 10 days. Two women in her church weren't so lucky, they hadn't been vaccinated and both passed away.


14 Apr 21 - 09:24 PM (#4102237)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

In short my E-GO electric mower, hedger, trimmer and blower poop out after an hour always giving me an appreciated break to recharge.
A tiller will have to be gas.


15 Apr 21 - 04:34 PM (#4102316)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I have spare batteries for the various Ryobi products here (drill, power driver, reciprocating saw). It means I can keep going and let the first one recharge.

Counting Coups: I was at Goodwill and spotted a 12-quart stock pot/steamer set (four pieces - the pot, the deep colander, a shallow colander, and the lid) from Cuisinart brand new, label still on it. $17. I realized if I left it there to think about it it would be gone when I came back. I left it in the SUV and when I had lunch with my daughter today I pulled it out of the box in the back and her eyes widened. A couple of photos and rapid texts back and forth to a roommate and it was quickly moved from my vehicle into hers. They're not just very useful, they're very pretty. Cuisinart 77-412 Chef's Classic

We're finally getting some rain this afternoon. I arrived home to see two wet dogs sitting under the baldcypress and as I, a large creature, moved into the yard, the squirrel up the tree decided this was one-too-many threats and made the prudent choice to run down the trunk and across the lawn, not launch itself off a limb like the last one did. The dogs were hot on its heels, but it made it to the big pine and out of reach.

Life in the back yard is so exciting sometimes.


16 Apr 21 - 11:05 AM (#4102421)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Careful what you wish for - there has been more than enough rain already, but we have more in the forecast. So today is one for the indoor work. I needed to start with the cooking gear in the sink, after leaving it piled high last night. I made lentil soup, and though it has only a few ingredients I shredded the onion in the food processor and left all of those parts in the sink.

This feels like a good day to make bread or rolls. And when there is a break in the rain I'll take out some seeds and poke them into the prepared pots sitting beside the driveway door.


17 Apr 21 - 05:44 AM (#4102501)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

It was lovely here yesterday. I went for a walk along the footpath and met a Rhode Island Red (we once kept a few of these so I think I recognise that breed) chicken along the way. I think she would have wandered in from the property opposite the other end of the path.

I spent most of the rest of the afternoon/early evening just pottering in the garden. One thing I did do was connect up the tap timers (except that Amazon offering looks to be one for the US market and a gotcha is we use 3/4BSP and US 3/4NPT hose fittings, similar but not compatible without an adaptor) so that bit's set for the year.


17 Apr 21 - 12:50 PM (#4102537)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I have one of those but the puppy mangled the wires before I took it down for the winter the year she first arrived. I need to either rewire it or replace it.

We had almost 3 inches of rain so now I wait a couple of days for it to drain away and then I can work the garden. Right now it would be a sticky mess.

Yesterday on a whim I pulled up the websites for a couple of local estate sales. I had received a box in the mail with a Pyrex bowl that I thought was the size a friend is looking for, but in my hands I realized it was too small. Most vintage Pyrex online is expensive, but everyone has Pyrex, so why not try an estate sale? I piled that 750ml bowl into the box and headed over to the sale, and sure enough, found a 1 1/2 quart bowl, the next size up from the mailed one, for $5. I visited my friend and gave him both - he makes some amazing yeast no-knead bread that is supposed to be just perfect in the right size vintage Pyrex but he couldn't find the right bowl. He'd given me a loaf last time I was over, so I figured I'd put my Thrift store skills to use to help him out. Not finding any bowls in the stores, I got a the small one cheap on eBay. After our visit (and a handful of starts from his garden) I came home with another loaf of bread and my friend has exactly the right sized bowl (though the not-quite exact one he has been using has been pretty good).

The improvement in my office is that I finally made myself put the MA diploma back up on the wall. Ages ago I had set it on the table in the sunroom, but I have a use for that table now—jigsaw puzzles. At the same sale where I found the bowl I picked up two used puzzles. I've wanted to return to working puzzles since that table is in the open and the room is meant to be welcoming.


18 Apr 21 - 01:18 AM (#4102573)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Jon, bless you! You got me thinking about the irrigation system. I poked around at Amazon and for a modest price I can replace parts of it with shredded wires and the rest works just fine. That's a relief because a new system is pricey. If I replace the two I had with new wired pieces I can fiddle with the two chewed ones I have here - if I fix them, the irrigation unit will run up to four stations and I could expand the setup.

Sewing today, and I've been thinking about my friend's house - he set up a studio in the largest back bedroom and it's a lovely, dynamic room. It reminded me (energy-wise) of my sewing room - that is every bit as much a studio, for a different art form, as the one where he paints with watercolors. It gives me a new appreciation for the creative aspects of how we have coped during this COVID pandemic.


19 Apr 21 - 10:46 AM (#4102700)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

I invited the BIL and family to supper, so today I must vacuum the parlour rug, acquire some fresh green veg, and cook. Mushroom soup and a spatchcocked chicken are on the menu; until I see what's on offer, I don't know about the rest.

The contents of the chest freezer make more sense after a major rummage on Saturday. I put on my heaviest winter mittens and hauled everything out, then restacked it so the items least likely to be eaten anytime soon are on the bottom. There's a whole brisket down there, purchased only a few days before Edmund died. (He saw it in the "deal of the day" section of Sobey's meat department and carolled, "Oh, look! We could have that for Thanksgiving!") Now I think I might turn it into pastrami to share with the neighbours.

I found about six litres of soup stock, plus enough chicken carcasses and beef bones to supply the pot for months yet. There's also a ham hock that will go into the pressure cooker with a pound of beans before the end of the week.

Cooking still feels like way too much trouble most of the time. I get the urge about once a week, so I now use those occasions to make something like ham-and-bean stew that will provide several meals. Inviting my bubble-mates to dinner is the only reliable way to make myself cook at a predictable time, so I do that as often as they will tolerate. The alternative is Lean Cuisine, which is better than nothing but not much.

A dinner invitation is also a great way to make myself vacuum the parlour rug. Let's hear it for bourgeois pride!


19 Apr 21 - 11:43 AM (#4102708)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Charmion, even without the incredible loss of a spouse, you're describing how many of us who live alone cook. There are seasons that make cooking more inviting, but the ratio of dirty pots and bowls to the number of meals and people to eat them is something to calculate, even if you do it subconsciously most of the time. And there's almost no point in cooking if you're not going to make a few meals out of it. I make oatmeal with cut up dates overnight in the 1 quart crockpot and save the extra for usually three more breakfasts.

Yesterday for lunch I made a batch of chicken teriyaki with a thawed pack of six boneless skinless thighs, and set up the rice cooker to do two cups (dry). That was lunch. For dinner I cooked a package of four pork sirloin chop portions that I'd also thawed recently, and ate one with rice. That will add up to several meals. I have salad fixings and I need to use it before they turn into a compost project, so I'm cutting and spinning dry enough lettuce for two or three salads at a time. There are some meals when it's all ready ahead for me. This works if you're someone who doesn't mind eating the same meal several days in a week. I tend to steam vegetables a pan at a time as well (though the dogs get some of that on their food so it doesn't last me as long).

Once the garden gets going, it changes, but there is also the gardener's pride in the crop to urge me to process it promptly so it is in good shape when it is next seen (frozen or canned).

Jon, another gardening topic: I have a sieve I made years ago out of pieces of 2x4 cedar planks and 1/2" hardware cloth. I set it on top of the wheelbarrow and scoop compost into it, then shove the dirt around to knock out sticks and weeds. Last week I made myself a more flexible sieve with two pieces of 1x2" wood and more hardware cloth stapled around each piece of wood. I can shovel onto this then pick it up completely, or just one end, and wiggle it around to filter out the soil and leave in the grassy rhizomes. So I told a friend about this - he grew up in New Hampshire and his family had a large garden. He told me about how his father made something like that but it was the size of a door! He put the hardware cloth across the open middle of the frame and would prop one end up on a stand or posts and shovel dirt onto it, and the kids would work it to send the soil through and toss the weeds.

Have you ever made yourself something like this? I suppose I should Google it - there must be a million designs for these homemade things to filter out weeds.


19 Apr 21 - 07:21 PM (#4102746)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

No, I’ve not made anything like that, SRS. I’ve never had much to do with digging and soil preparation either. Mum used to do all the gardening and I only took on some bits as she became less able. There are still 3 beds for veg and I have input in terms of what gets planted but I leave the hard work to the hour a week paid help.


19 Apr 21 - 10:13 PM (#4102759)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I had paid help - a friend and his wife and their tiller spent 2-3 hours working on it. I pay generously and tip because it is so much easier to have them to it for me (and he'd just purchased a new tiller so he's paying on that right now).

Tomorrow I need to pick up another load of mulch and get this garden planted. A lot of it will be with seeds, but there will be some bedding plants also.


20 Apr 21 - 08:12 AM (#4102800)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

The mushroom soup was boffo, and my bubble-mates discovered Pernod. It got a little drunk out last night.

People who like liquorice are well out-numbered by those who don’t and go on at great lengths on the subject of how awful the stuff is. But the liquorice-favouring minority soldiers on, swigging pastis and anisette a bit defensively while aware, with some relief, that there’s no one else around who’s likely to mess with their tipple.

That is, until by chance another member of that freemasonry crosses the doorstep.

Edmund would not touch any foodstuff with even a whisper of liquorice flavour, so it came as a big surprise to me that his brother loves it as much as I do. So does Judy, their lodger, who is English and therefore biased. But neither Judy nor the BIL had met Pernod before, which surprised me as we are all well-travelled old farts.

This would not be a problem if Pernod were reliably available in Stratford but, to obtain the current bottle, I had to go all the way to Tavistock. Now, Tavistock is basically a crossroads with a post office and a branch of the Royal Canadian Legion, so the presence of nine bottles of Pernod in stock at the LCBO (across the street from the Legion, of course), leads me to suspect a local cabal of sophisticates. In Tavistock. Who knew?

Today, I have to go to Kitchener to get the car serviced. On the way back, I just might take a detour through Tavistock and buy another bottle of Pernod. Household strategic reserve, as it were.


21 Apr 21 - 10:18 AM (#4102944)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I like the licorice flavor I get in some herbal teas, but haven't explored it in liquor.

Last night a few bedding plants spent the overnight hours on the top of the washer in the laundry room since frost was in the forecast, and I dropped boxes over the top of plants in heavy pots out front that I don't want to lug onto the porch for shelter. I think I pulled a couple of muscles bringing in the bag of dogfood yesterday; I don't want to reinjure myself (I know how to avoid that particular injury, just wasn't paying attention.)

I have a telescoping microfiber duster that I put somewhere safe and now I can't find it. Typical. I want to dust the blades on all of the ceiling fans (seven total around the house). Now if I bought a new one, where would I keep it? That's the path to travel this morning.


21 Apr 21 - 10:01 PM (#4103064)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Dupont:

I did have my first shot in ON. Second one in July!

Here I shall remain, in QC, until I can be certain I can go to Ontario and come back to Quebec for R. As both Premiers are incapable of making clear and appropriate decisions re lockdown, no lockdown, curfew, travel... As much as I was hoping to go home to ON next week... I find indications that R suffered a lack of support in my month away. Only because he seems unusually happy to have me back.

SO, feeling bluer than a night sky at the idea of being stuck here with TV, computer, plants to water ... OK! No pottery wheel!! So yesterday I called the supplier in Montreal and placed an order for a new wheel and 8 boxes of clay and some basic tools. HAPPY! I set off with my phone giving me directions - first time ever! IT was patient with me - when I missed a turn it said Ok, then turn at THIS street! I got there and picked up order from a fellow bemoaning that he cannot even walk the dog after 8 pm! In ON we have no curfew and can go for walks.

I bought the portable wheel - have one like it in ON - so I wrestled it out of the car into the house and de-boxed it on the sofa, then got it upstairs to the small room we agreed upon. I brought in one box of clay - one 10kg loaf at a time. This am R brought in the rest - heavy!

I almost have my potting space organized but the snowy day meant stores were not busy so I dashed off to do shopping at each grocery, came home heavily laden and managed to fill the frig, organize the freezer a bit and decide that was enough of a day's work! Actually, I need R to carry an awkward chair up for me. THEN I can get the rest organized and throw pots!

In the meantime, I have done laundry and cleaned up wherever I see dust or cobwebs, and sweeping up leaves from the plants and watering plants and re-potting and my seedlings are ready to pot - yogurt containers, I guess. My little pear tree seedling is about 6 inches tall, handsome with almost bronzy leaves. Daffies are blooming and the one patch of tulips will open when the sun comes out again! And keeping a fire in the wood stove, and managed to bring wood up to the porch, and armloads into the house as I have turned the heat down.


22 Apr 21 - 11:53 AM (#4103117)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Dorothy, I finally had to get out a map last night to figure out your comings and goings! I know how to find the Dupont area (I remember when that was still a real estate listing). What is the nearest named town to Beaver?

I finally weighed myself this morning. Not a pretty sight. The scale says I'm not quite 3 pounds heavier than the last time I weighed myself, but I think the scale is trying to not make me feel bad, I'm sure it's more. Ironic thing is, it was worse; my pants aren't as tight as they were last month when I realized I needed to reverse the upward trend. I'm going to start dance class again, in June after all of the eye surgery is over. The studio was closed and lost due to COVID but the instructor is moving to teach at the neighborhood recreation center. I will make a concerted effort this summer to declutter myself of about 30 pounds for the fitness portion of this thread.


22 Apr 21 - 12:29 PM (#4103124)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Dupont:

SRS: If you found Dupont, you can also see the wonderful Ile St. Bernard and the confluence of the Chateauguay and St. Lawrence Rivers, and our lovely house at 17 Ouest! Beaver is 288 Gaebel Rd, Bancroft, K0L 1C0, close to the York River but we only have the little stream running along one side of our yard - 12 feet wide in the spring thaw! It flows from the beaver pond at the west to the River down on the east side of the main road. Gaebel is a dead end! Very minimal traffic!

But I am here for now and the new pottery wheel is ready to go. enough space cleared for essentials. R found the outlet in a far corner - oops another ext. cord!I have a long counter and a book case for work in progress. He took an awkward chair upstairs - I was afraid I would trip over it. After lunch...

Keeping the fire going although I turned up the heat some. R minds the cold more than I. I managed to bring in a couple arms of wood just now and have it drying around the stove; it was covered but still... The outdoor geraniums are minding it more than I expected; if they succumb, there are a number more still inside. The tulips were lying flat this morning. Just maybe they will recover tomorrow, she says hopefully! Squash and zuke seedlings ready to pot; basil still tiny.


23 Apr 21 - 10:42 AM (#4103235)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Today I get my first jab. The sun is shining for the first time in a week; good omen.

I've been moving furniture around again; it's clearly a thing with me. Back in late October, I moved the television and its peripherals from the (always chilly) basement to the ground-floor sitting room, where it stayed until I had moved all the bookcases and their contents into the upstairs library, previously an oversized bedroom. Then I hauled the TV upstairs, quite an evolution, and set it up.

But it just didn't work there. The room is huge, and I never found a spot to put the TV where the power cord was not a hazard to navigation, it was close enough that I could see everything on the screen clearly, and my eyes would not be stressed by light from the enormous south-facing windows. So the other day I hauled the entire kit back downstairs to the parlour, where it sits against the wall and out of the gangway, at a good distance from the comfy chair, and sheltered from the windows.

But there's something in me that disapproves of television in the most public room in the house. It's my inner snobby bourgeoise at work: "Everything on television is crap and I have better things to do." But the fact is that, these days, I really don't have better things to do, especially in the evenings, and there's some really good stuff on that -- for a fee -- I can watch without being constantly badgered by commercials. So it's time to check my pretensions.

Also, my eyes are undeniably weaker now; after too much time staring at a book or the iPad, I have trouble adjusting to other focal distances. The television presents larger images on the other side of the room, and requires more eye movement.

And the cats like it. As soon as I turn on the box and put up my feet, Isobel assumes the doughnut position on my lap and Watson settles at full stretch on my shins facing the screen. I have no idea what he gets out of John Oliver's weekly rant or BBC dramas, but this behaviour is very consistent.


23 Apr 21 - 11:22 AM (#4103241)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Charmion, welcome to the world of visual "accommodation." The reason we all wear bifocals after a while. My phone gets a morning news alert from the New York Times but I have to remember to put on my glasses before I read anything on the phone or I can't focus clearly on distance for a while.

Moving the TV here (the large one in the den - I am embarrassed to admit how many are scattered around the house) is a big job. That one that is connected to the Internet by cable, and the only option would be to move it to the other side of the den where there is another port (years ago the kids' computer sat in that place, a public room for doing homework until the youngest was here by himself and up so late doing AP homework that I wired his room and moved the computer in there so he wouldn't wake me.) I have the TV running through the receiver that has lots of other stuff connected to it. Moving the whole lot (and running speaker wires again) is just too much to contemplate. I move the small TVs around regularly.

Dorothy, I enjoyed a Google Earth tour of the Beaver region with all of the left behind lakes from the glacial era.

I still haven't found the telescoping microfiber duster, but it's time to dust entire rooms again, not just the ceiling fans, so as I work my way through rooms (wearing a mask to avoid a sinus headache) I'll keep my eyes open for the no doubt hiding-in-plain-sight duster.


24 Apr 21 - 12:55 PM (#4103369)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Dupont:

Found my duster stashed under the love seat!

Happy to have a separate TV/sewing room - still no sewing even though it is all around me! No TV at Beaver; R took one up to the sleeping loft to see if he could get a signal. No dice;it is still there! He has not had time to go back. He is working 10-12 hour days, 7 days. But progress is being made as things go to scrap yard, a larger truck coming soon will increase that. It is going to be a long haul. I asked that he try to get home earlier tomorrow for a birthday supper (74); a pork roast is on the menu, with veggies and choc cake. Going to rain so a good time for a shorter day.


Did a few minutes weeding this beautiful morning. A little at a time is good to keep body from complaining. Geraniums did not recoup from cold night but there are many more still in the house. Happy to see a few special perennials poking out! Threw a few pots yesterday - enough to feel I had done something toward recouping the cost of the wheel!

Keep watching the news to keep track of Covid. Someone who was in R's "office" a few days ago has it; I have encouraged testing! Her business partner tested neg. But still... R and I each have first shot but still being very careful as we are warned to be.

Opened tax packet just now. Hope to find the brain power to complete it today. Or at least reach that point where, for two years, I have sent it with a note: "If someone with a M.Ed from McGill cannot figure out, it needs fixing. Just tell me what I owe and I'll pay it. I'm tired of sending you money and then getting it all back!" It has worked so far!

Trimming those pots is essential and handles on two jugs and one lonely mug.

WOW! the CBC news just showed a segment of an artist/doctor who has gifted families with marvelous paintings in memory of their deceased! Wonderful! Capturing essence of the person in birds, flowers... Beautifully done! Her name??? Well, I did not catch that. Maybe tonight.


24 Apr 21 - 02:09 PM (#4103373)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Dorothy, I found my duster on top of the piano in the front room. I've been sweeping this morning and will dust later, but I must get into the yard for a while. The lawn and garden are sodden from lots of rain over a 24-hour period, but I can start sifting the area on one end of the largest raised bed to plant okra seeds and in the smallest bed I'm going to put in squash seeds. And keep a map to what I plant. I picked up mulch before the rain started (it was relatively dry; if you get it right after a rain it is kind of steaming and a lot heavier and harder to move.) I finished assembling a flexible wooden handled hardware wire sieve to filter out some of the grass rhizomes as I work.

I've been listening to This American Life as I finished lunch and this particular episode was called "The Herd." It broadcast here on April 24, 2021. I'm giving this information because link to the current episode may not be a durable link yet. It's a fascinating look at how communities respond to COVID-19 shutdowns (scary stuff) and how a meeting with Trump supporter sceptics managed to get through the propaganda and actually change minds. A story told by former NJ governor Chris Christie made a big difference to those listening to the presentations. It can be listened to online or downloaded after 7pm Central Time on Sunday (April 25).


25 Apr 21 - 02:44 PM (#4103489)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I have cleared up stuff that was piled up behind the side door or leaning against the potting bench that was piled with things more or less related to gardening. On the bench I have a plastic sock organizer that works well to organize seed packets and I metaphorically pulled up my socks and finally discarded about 2/3 of the oldest envelopes. Speaking with a guy at the garden center yesterday gave me an idea - he puts a flat folded piece of paper towel into a plastic sandwich bag, moistens it, then empties in the seeds from the old packet, and if they start to sprout then he removes them and plants fragments of the paper they're stuck to. Much of my seed purchasing has been aspirational, but maybe this year I'll plant a few more flowers.   

There are a number of tools (weed popper, extension lopper, etc.) that really should be in the greenhouse, but I'll walk through the yard with each one first and see if it can be used now before putting it back where it belongs. This includes the reciprocating saw on the kitchen tall table that I will use to trim down a nandina and dwarf yaupon that I've tried to get rid of for ages. Then the battery can charge and the great thrift store saw goes back up on the laundry room shelf.

Tomato cages are being put in place, and I've cut some plastic milk and yogurt containers into 3" rings that will go into the soil around bedding plants to keep the cutworms from travelling along at soil level and demolishing the tender plants. I have some old cans of salmon and mackerel that are a slurry in Tupperware to be spooned into each hole where a plant will be placed. Why throw it out when it can go in the garden?

The messy potting table is beside the doorway into the sunroom, so organizing this will make the entire area look even better than it has since I emptied that room and put back just a few well-considered pieces.

A batch of dough is rising to make dinner rolls. The house smells wonderful! I may make an apple pie this evening.


25 Apr 21 - 09:58 PM (#4103511)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Dupont:

FB driving me to fury by not allowing me to "like" etc any primary posts. I have to type in a Comment ... MY mother used to say, "You can get used to anything, even hanging if you hang long enough!" This usually in response to father lightly telling her, "You'll get used to it." Not used to it yet.

Emptied an old bag of well seasoned manure on the 3 cherry trees - well chewed by something during the winter - to my dismay! They are less than two feet tall and the damage is above the snow line... I think they might have been taller before they were brunch!

Put the remainder of the manure on the small circle we planted last year - the old fire pit with bags of soil added. I managed to enlarge it to almost 6 feet Diameter and added egg shells on top of the manure. Will get some more soil tomorrow for on top of it. Plant sprouting potatoes around the edge to break up some more of the clay. And other things, undetermined, on the rest. Not sure what I am going to do with the many tomato plants - Maybe large pots.

I cannot dig this clay and do not feel like hiring someone, even if I can find someone! Squash can also go around the edge of the cicle and the front garden. Lettuce and carrots in the front G, and wax beans in the middle of the circle. Several varieties are sprouting and getting potted. Lots of parsley sprouted from last summers seeds.
Oregano and lavender are healthy. And the lovely patches of purple and white violets are beautiful. The purple ones have faded away. These guys need to be moved to better spots! Maybe around the peony and next to the clematis and young bleeding heart. The original Bleeding Heart consumes about a square yard of space!

Did roast pork with potatoes, carrots and one lone onion, made cauliflower soup and sauteed pears. With wax beans added, R had a nice B-day supper. But I forgot to make applesauce! And Wonder of wonders, he came home about 7:30 for it. Now he is entranced by his gift - a 40 year old book about copper mining in the NW territories. (From a thrift shop! It was $8!) He had another good day of getting a property cleared of tons (literally) of debris - rotten wood, concrete, trash from irresponsible public. He is elated! Each load that leaves is a load lifted from him.

No potting today, the gardening was primary - before it rained. The weeds/grass need to be cut. I dread it.


25 Apr 21 - 11:36 PM (#4103519)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Dorothy, you're not the first to mention that problem. FB seems to be have been glitchy for a couple of weeks.

More of the garden is planted and several of the gardening tools are put back in the greenhouse. Tomorrow I have to shovel leaves from the gutter into the lawn and mulch them in. Mowing will be easier since I took down the lowest whorls on the two pine trees—not the best time of year (probably the worst) but I was tired of banging into them (my ballcap obscures the oncoming slightly-overhead branches). Ten days to finish the heavy lifting portions of putting in the garden.


26 Apr 21 - 07:00 AM (#4103546)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

I had to attend a hospital appointment in Norwich on Friday. The Plastics consultant is happy with things and said my next appointment with him will be in 12 months time.

--
I’ve removed some spent compost from the greenhouse tubs and replaced with fresh stuff. I need a bit more compost to finish off and have 6 bags due to be delivered today (I only need one but it’s more economical buying this way from the local nursery). The greenhouse plants are looking good and I’ll be in good time for my target of May 1st for planting out.

My first set of leek plants have come and I’ll plant them some time this week. I’ve just had an email saying my Swiss chard plants are due 10th May. I’ve got more leeks, a club root resistant brassica collection and climbing French beans on order with the company supplying the chard to come as and when.

I’ve got some lettuce seeds to plant and need to sort out out the area where they will be grown.

I’m not sure how the year will go but, so far, overall, I think we are off to the best start we’ve had in the past 4 or 5 with garden. Maybe I’ll have to consider doing a bit more of digging and/or take on something else that’s not in my area now though…

The thing is I spent a lot more time outside the garden last year that I’d done before. Some of the motivation was that I was getting on edge each time the phone rang (is it going to be like the anaemia thing where a blood test led them to phone me up to want me to attend a clinic and a transfusion the next day, or something to do with the proposed operation, etc. I suppose loads of people handle these things and more but I can get quite worked up over things medical) but I also thoroughly enjoyed my pottering around. A lot of the hours (at my slow pace) were spent cutting back/clearing/reclaiming bits but of course, now that’s done, there is only the little bits of maintenance needed.

On other things, I should have another play with the 3d printer next month as I want to make another “football” for a brother’s birthday. It’s probably been over a month since I last looked at that. One part of that is I’ve run out of ideas but another for some is financial. I’ll use the RC “traction engine” as an example. First there was the filaments, then I (already having a suitable transmitter), needed an RC receiver, then it involved 2 motors plus a servo motor for the steering, then bits needed to go between a receiver and a motor and then fasteners… before you know it, you’ve run away with your budget…


26 Apr 21 - 10:34 AM (#4103570)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

It's a fine sunny day in Stratford with a forecast high of 13C, so garden work is on the agenda. I have hardly poked my nose out the door since getting needled on Friday, and I'm feeling a bit cabin-feverish.

There's about ten litres of really nice product in Edmund's rolling secondary composter (a barrel that rotates horizontally on an aluminum stand), so I'll shovel that onto the least prosperous-looking flowerbed. Then I'll hose out the container and take some pictures to post on Facebook Marketplace. I'm sure there's an avid gardener out there who needs a rolling composter far more than I do, and doesn't begrudge the space it takes. It's currently sitting in a sunny spot on the patio that I would like to use for something more sociable, when socializing is possible again.

The primary composter (the upright barrel-with-bottom-access type) needs digging out and a good stir. If I have enough energy I might tackle that job, too, with one of the more lethal-looking pole-arms among the garden tools.

It's also time to sweep the winter's accumulation of dried mud and road grit out of the garage, and round up the wine bottles and beer cans for a trip to the Brewers' Retail, which is responsible for recycling them in Ontario. The other major source of garage clutter is packing material, exponentially more copious now that most shopping happens on line, but that's not a problem since the big clearance I did during the pre-Easter warm spell.

I think that's enough grunt work for this week.

Six months after Edmund's death, it is now clear that the investment company holding his registered retirement and tax-free savings accounts will not budge on its demand that I put his completely unambiguous will into probate. Between them, the probate fee (a percentage of the estate) and legal costs will wipe out the tax-free savings account, but the alternative is a lawsuit that would cost a hell of a lot more and take years. While shaking his head and muttering, my lawyer admits that changing my investment arrangements would also be very expensive, and could well generate new hurdles that would be more difficult to overcome.

Being a bourgeois capitalist is more complicated than I expected.


26 Apr 21 - 12:16 PM (#4103583)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Charmion, I'm sorry about that hiccough with the investment firm. In each state in the US you can do your own simple probate and all I needed to do was send the court document that I was the administrator of the estate and the death certificate to get my father's investment account to release the money. (I later had to hire a lawyer and run all of my work through a lawyer-managed probate because one sibling was proving to be very difficult, but that was long after I'd distributed the investment account dollars. I was doing it right, his percentage didn't change, except we all got less because of the attorney's fees.) It might be time to visit Google and name that company in the search and see if a better answer presents itself. The simple fact is they're trying to force you to leave the money where it is.

Jon, you may potter around slowly but you get a lot of very interesting things accomplished around your house! I have some pots ready to put seeds for Swiss chard and squash, and also some okra from a different seed pod than the one I started with in the garden (my backup plants). In case the one I used is a bit old, I'll use one that isn't last year's but it has a date on it. (The good thing about okra seeds, pick the dried pod and use a Sharpie to write the year on the side of it.) The part of the garden where the garlic is growing will be able to be used for cucumbers once the garlic is harvested, probably in late May, and I start those from seed planted directly in the ground.

This morning I stepped outside long enough to lop up the pine branches from yesterday's pruning. The ones that will fit through my chipper are piled beside the garage and the rest of the limbs went into the trash truck a few minutes ago.

My physical to approve going ahead with the cataract surgery is today. It kind of breaks up my day, but for a good cause. I'm hearing from friends who are so glad they did the surgery that I can hardly wait to have this over with.

Dorothy, how many potting setups do you have around the countryside now? Dupont, Beaver, and the Mill?


26 Apr 21 - 01:46 PM (#4103601)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

I think I may have only tried Okra once, SRS. It can be grown here but isn't the easiest and I guess benefits from your heat/climate. I love bhindi bhaji.

On other things sort of raised but this is with the living, I'm looking at a financial thing here.I think we are at a point where power of attorney is needed for dad and that I should be one of the attorneys. He agrees but having the authority with a parent when settled doesn't feel easy. Life gets beyond tee-jus don't it?


27 Apr 21 - 01:20 AM (#4103657)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: JennieG

Work has started on clearing/cleaning out the pantry after the tin of apricots exploded, some weeks ago. We have been away for a few weeks and arrived home yesterday to find evidence of meeces in the pantry (there has been a mouse plague in our part of the world for months although we hadn't had too many; as we and our geriatric cat were away the mice obviously came out to play), the weather is cooler so it's not as arduous a task as it would have been in summer.

There are, of course, tins and bottle and Stuff which is past its use by dates so there will be much less in the pantry by the time we finish this chore.

It is made easier with John Williams playing guitar in the background, thanks to a classical music station. An unpleasant task can be improved by a decent soundtrack.


27 Apr 21 - 09:00 AM (#4103697)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Jennie, you’re dead right about musical accompaniment to a tiresome chore. My chief beef against the vacuum cleaner is that the noise it makes effectively stifles all music except heavy metal.

My favourite house-cleaning music is tangos by Astor Piazzola and the first CD from the Buena Vista Social Club.


27 Apr 21 - 02:28 PM (#4103733)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Dupont:

Well, the income tax with note to "just tell me what to pay and I will" - and other comments!, went out this am after I found a "post office" for a stamp. I resent having to go into a convenience store to buy a stamp. Bancroft has a real PO but Chateauguay ... Checked the internet and tried to go to a different one but the address did not exist. A large apartment complex was under construction! The lengthier than expected trip also sought garden soil and cheese bread. No cheese bread at the only possible and soil - still under consideration. Cannot really plant anything for another couple weeks anyway. Rather frustrating morning.

As for pottery sites. SRS. You nailed it: Mill: one big kick wheel, two kilns and a couple defunct ones and some raw materials and glazes; Dupont: one new wheel and some clay and a few ready-to-fire pots so far; Beaver: the whole enchilado! And I am getting very anxious to get home!

The changing of the tires - next Weds, down near the mill, and an appointment to sell a couple more pots if it is safe. Then consideration of the feasibility of going to Ontario based on whether or not I will be able to come back into Quebec. Dependent on Ontario getting its covid under control.

In the meantime- Oops! clothes in washer (at least I did something useful!). Pots to trim and make more. Sprinkled epsom salt on the front garden and will do more later, before the next rains. I buy it wholesale in 50# bag for hot baths. Have lots for garden - one cup per 100 sf, said the internet. I will dose the houseplants as well. I lost about 10 geraniums to the recent frost; I thought they would endure! But there are many still in the house. A project for another day. I am not up to dealing with frosted geraniums today. I take delight in the charming little pear tree with its bronzey leaves. May start some more from the Bosc pears I used Sunday. Plan to keep this guy potted until it gets too large; would hate it to get nibbled like the cherries!

Clothes to drier!


27 Apr 21 - 11:38 PM (#4103791)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

The rest of the bedding plants are in, and I was hoping for the rain they suggested might fall today, but no such luck. Tomorrow has a higher chance. I still have some seeds to plant in both the raised beds and a few in pots, and any digging or moving I can do in the next week, I'll do, but once they do the first eye surgery I have to be careful about lifting (or shoveling or lugging or and probably pulling weeds).

Any day now I should have a new great niece, and in her husband's immediate family it's quite a big deal because they've gone something like four generations with only sons, no daughters. One of these days it will be safe to travel and I have a baby great niece and toddler great nephew to go meet.

Re: soundtrack to work around the house, I have quite a few songs on thumb drives to plug into the television to dance to; I'm hoping to get back to the dance classes this year after restriction on activity is lifted. The studio was lost during the COVID shutdown (and she had such a great floor and wall of mirrors in there!) but she will be teaching in a city community center starting next month. I hope to start back in June.


28 Apr 21 - 01:09 AM (#4103795)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: mg

I did not have those restrictions but every doctor has her own rules. one thing I did not do was wash my eyes carefully enough and I got a mild eyelid infection. Our tendency is to protect the area but I overdid it.


28 Apr 21 - 10:07 AM (#4103836)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Entropy strikes again, this time at the heart of my water heater. Dang.

It's one of those new-fangled tankless jobs, and I am ever so grateful that I bugged Rodney the HVAC Guy relentlessly until he found time to get over here for the routine maintenance that unfortunately wasn't nearly routine enough until I came along. When opened up to reveal its innermost workings, it displayed clumps of crud where no crud ought to be. That is the diagnostic sign of an interior leak that will sooner or later become a full-on splat on the floor whenever a hot-water tap is opened anywhere in the house. System death would ensue shortly thereafter.

Trouble is, thanks to the many and varied hurdles, hindrances and pinch-points of the COVID-era supply system, the critical part is out of stock indefinitely in southwestern Ontario, back-ordered since forever with no delivery date in sight. That part, were it available, would cost about Cdn$1,250. The machine was installed in 2009 and is supposed to last about 20 years, although I doubt that the manufacturer ever tested it with anything like the liquid limestone we call water in Stratford. (The crud is lime deposit.)

A brand-new tankless water heater would cost about Cdn$3,250, installed, and can be procured promptly and without hassle from Rodney's favourite supplier.

My military mind briskly sorted the COAs (courses of action, in HQ jargon) and I shocked Rodney to the core by informing him that it would be more cost-effective to replace the thing now. Who knows when the critical part will be available again, or what it will cost on that great and glorious day? And do I really want to face a dead water heater when I'm significantly older and more decrepit than I am now? Sounds of rumination came through the phone while Rodney tried to think like an aging lady who has money for capital improvements now but may not have it later.

We finally agreed that I would keep the current device until it starts dripping, which could take as long as a year, and then replace it. Until then, a large bucket sits under it and I'm hoping it doesn't crap out for good while I'm in the shower.


28 Apr 21 - 10:51 AM (#4103841)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Dupont:

10:30 and still trying to get my day started! Got dressed and made R BF just after 7; this was too early. He had a good BF and dashed away to get things done. I pulled weeds for a few minutes, only because it was nice out and my brain was not functional. So, having sat here mindlessly on the computer, I finally told myself eating is a priority. Ate. Need more to eat. Will do...

Music in the house: RARELY, unless something special turns up on computer. Mainly prefer quiet. And the wind, if any. Lots of CDs by folks we love but no CD player, cannot find it. Lots of music on computer and once in a while I remember that music is nice! I actually had an epiphany 12 years ago - finding musician friends on MySpace and realizing that I had been missing MUSIC. But I really must make an effort to do it - not as background but to listen. My son Troy only plays music in their home if it will be Listened to! Respect for the musicians! I remember one summer in Nova Scotia we had rented a house so had electric. Troy would play one of our records - Jesse W, etc,- and quiz his bro on "what song comes next?" So... I grew up in that kind of a home. Music is special.

Laundry got done. Dishes are washed. Day is gorgeous. EAT more.


28 Apr 21 - 01:19 PM (#4103864)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Mary, thanks for surfacing again! I've had your earlier remarks in mind, to ask the doctor about proper care around that part of my face, how to clean or touch enough but not too much. And I've had a couple of PMs from people with other essential tips. This is helpful, thank you all!

Charmion, I live with a hot water tank that was replaced on the day after the Columbia shuttle flamed out entering the atmosphere, in February 2003. I was listening to the sad news and cleaning up water in the hall (it wiped out the parquet floor - a version of "Where were you when. . . "). 18 years is a good long run and I keep my fingers crossed and say nice things to it to keep it going. And I know that "liquid limestone" you describe; it's the reason I use white vinegar to clean things like my electric kettle every few weeks, when I can't stand looking at the buildup inside the glass.

Dorothy, I have the radio on most of the time I'm awake; in the kitchen it is tuned into the gently modulated local NPR talk radio programs, but when I turn on classical (especially during pledge drives; I'm a sustaining member and they get my donation monthly like clockwork) I like having it on in the background, and especially when some charming or favorite piece rises to catch my attention and (if it's new to me) I can look it up and learn more.

I spoke with my sister last night and asked about her spring allergies (mine are active now). She was describing the status of her cat and dust allergy and as I looked around the room I realized I'm not ready for her to visit, the dust levels need attention. And the dogs haven't started their spring shedding yet.

An aside: I was looking at the offers in Freecycle today and a five-piece sectional and loveseat is offered, but it comes from a home with pets and a smoker. Gah. No way I would go near something like that, you can never get the smoke out, let alone deal with the pet odors. It's good to warn people with allergies about those problems, but even people with just plain functioning noses are well warned.

Seeds today in the pots on the bench outside the side door, and I'll be sure the hoses are set so I can water without much dragging or lifting involved. I don't leave them across the driveway to be flattened by the SUV over the top, that wears them out fast. But it'll be nearby for easy extension to the garden. We had a little rain this morning but not enough to do more than dampen the mulch on top.


29 Apr 21 - 03:33 AM (#4103934)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

Fitting an electrolytic limescale inhibitor considerably reduced limescale build up at home.

My sack truck broke into two pieces yesterday. It suffered from corrosion for quite some time so this breakage wasn’t entirely unexpected.

First few leeks are in and the lettuce bed is ready. I’ve started some lettuce off indoors. I had planned on putting the greenhouse plants out on Saturday but I’m wondering whether to delay for a week. Night time temperatures have dropped as low as 3C and the forecast suggests things aren’t going to pick up (to a minimum of about 9C) until mid next week.


29 Apr 21 - 11:22 AM (#4103969)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I had to Google "sack truck" and have to admit that the term I use will probably be as obscure to you - the term "dolly" is used fairly interchangeably between your "sack truck" and the flat padded wheeled device for moving large objects. Also "hand truck." Furniture dolly.

We finally got more rain overnight and the next couple of days are forecast to be wet. It's humid and overcast, a typical day in a rainy sequence here in Texas. I put seeds in the prepared pots on the workbench beside the side door, and should be able to start planting them in the cataract surgery interim.

I have an external hard drive that is dying and needs to be replaced; it gums up the good functioning of the computer when it's plugged in at startup. I need to move the contents soon. Virtual declutter.

On a personal care note, I have two pairs of "leverback" earrings that I have worn alternately over the last 15 months because the hook closes and they aren't likely to be flicked out of the pierced ear hole and lost when I'm moving my mask on or off. I pampered myself with my Amazon credit card points toward a third pair. For now all of my French hook earrings languish in the box I use for jewelry, a silverware box I found at a garage sale (with the treated silvercloth lining so my earrings, chains, and bracelets don't tarnish since most are sterling silver). The seller brought it home from the department store where she worked but never used it. My gain. This cabinet is one level, but I've seen boxes with a lower drawer in the cabinet that would let me separate items more. These things are expensive new, but they turn up regularly at estate sales and sometimes at Goodwill. I have a couple of old ones from family estates I should look at, maybe bundle the antique silver into a single piece of sliver cloth and bring the box into my dressing room. I enjoy repurposing things like that.


29 Apr 21 - 11:34 AM (#4103971)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Edmund kept his jewellery and doohickeys in an old oak cutlery box from Henry Birks & Son in Montreal. It has a lower drawer that locks automatically until the lid is raised. The lining is a curry-yellow plush that looks more likely to promote tarnish than prevent it.


29 Apr 21 - 12:52 PM (#4103980)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: keberoxu

Limescale!
Liquid limestone!

Shades of my childhood,
on the southern side of Lake Erie.
Lotsa limestone quarries thereabouts.


29 Apr 21 - 01:19 PM (#4103982)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

I'm not sure how standard my own UK usage is, SRS but to me: Dolly, Platform Truck, Sack Truck


29 Apr 21 - 05:14 PM (#4104005)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Mrrzy

Well, *I* did a fun thing today.

I have lost a lot of weight with the keto thing, so today I went through all my many, many Tshirts, and a) got rid of all the big ones I keep to sleep in that I never sleep in, b) moved all the Tshirts I like but are now too big into the Sleep In Them drawer, and c) got rid of all the ones that I just like to own but never wear, like the Juneteenth ones.

Now none of my drawers are completely crammed full to where they are hard to open or close.

I can buy more Tshirts now, bwahaha!


30 Apr 21 - 07:00 AM (#4104048)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

Vehicles (including buses and the school taxi for younger kids) used to turn round in one entrance to a (disused now but I do remember it working) limestone quarry near where I lived in N Wales, K. This may work to show the map I lived in Bryn Pydew and you had to turn round on to Pen Y Bont road for Glanwydden, at least going that way. There was another steeper route and with a couple of bends that I don’t think a bus (rather than mini bus) would make.

I think there was a fair amount of limestone in N Wales but our water was soft. Our supply would have come down from Llyn Duyln, a place I could feel a bit dark and creepy but probably mum;s favourite place anywhere.


30 Apr 21 - 09:04 AM (#4104058)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Jon, if you had soft water in a limestone region, your water source was probably a river or lake.

The municipal water source here in Stratford is a group of artesian wells. The mineral content is so high that local bylaws on property standards require every plumbed structure to have a water-softener. Some types of soap do not work well here, and hand-washed glassware and cutlery left in the dish drainer are always spotted and streaked. Supermarkets here stock high-acid “cleaning vinegar” that people use to decalcify everything from the washing machine to the tea-kettle. I had never seen cleaning vinegar until we moved here.

In Ottawa, where I lived until 2017, the municipal water source is the Ottawa River. Nobody on mains water in Ottawa needs a water-softener. Over more than 30 years, I never had to run vinegar through a coffee-maker or a dishwasher, and a humidifier wick lasted three years. Here, it’s a good idea to change your humidifier wick half-way through the winter, around the beginning of February.


30 Apr 21 - 09:27 AM (#4104062)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

Sure, Charmion, I guess you missed my link or it didn't work. It was lake water from the Carneddau, a range of mountains in Snowdonia.

The limey stuff we get where I am now in Norfolk does come from aquifers. I'm not sure if there are any UK national or local byelaws to would require the fitting of a limescale inhibitor or water softener to new properties.


30 Apr 21 - 10:59 AM (#4104076)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Dupont:

I never encountered iffy water in rural PA; a limestone area but our water came from the spring house on the property. It nicely served the old house (1820) and the one we built. I recently "friended" the woman whose family bought the new house (circa 1962); Her Dad still lives there but had a well dug. The people who bought the old house let the spring house fall in! I must ask her if the water is different!

The water at the mill and that area is orange (iron), as is the well water at Beaver. Turns bathtub orange, as did the well at the cabin we rented for a couple years. One hot bath and the tub had to be scrubbed. Hence, distilled water or rain water in the studio! I kept thinking I had made a mistake in mixing a glaze but "clayart discussion forum" assured me orange water was the problem!

Yes, SRS, I realize some people have music or something going all the time. I once had a wonderful flatmate who kept radio tuned to CBC-FM. It was quite tolerable. But silence/nature is generally my preference. My family had a cabin in the woods in central PA. There was a Victrola! I ;put on a record one day (age 17) and quickly realized I could no longer hear the trees moving. That was that.

Big shock! Last week a friend came by and the woman next door came over - on her yard. Rita talked with her (French) and told me they are thinking of selling the lot between our houses. She has wonderful gardens and the chickens! There is a little house that could be a studio. SO, I prevailed upon R to go talk to her this am.

I consider her yard the best part of living here! To be able to look out and see the chickens! "We can't afford it!" She is asking the amount we paid for this house! And told him she has people interested but is in no hurry. I am ready to go to bed and pull the covers over my head. The wonderful cedar hedge along our drive is on their property and the wonderful trees I see from the BR window. Last year the cross-the-road neighbours took out their beautiful cedar hedge; now I look across at a boring house and sheds, and numerous vehicles, sometimes a trailer or an RV.

Well, I still have Beaver. If Ontario ever gets safe enough that I can go back and forth again! At present, I can go there, as a resident, but cannot come back to Quebec because I am not a resident.

I brought in a good bunch of firewood yesterday and have a fire in the stove. The next two weeks are to be cool - highs around 60. I am going to turn the heat up a bit and wallow in TV, and the computer. Make a thermos of herb tea. That's a plan.


30 Apr 21 - 11:04 AM (#4104080)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

I missed the significance of the link. Sorry; didn't read until now.

In southern Ontario, municipal bylaw (as we spell it here) can be very intrusive by the standards of other jurisdictions. The size and condition of your front steps, the nature and quality of your foundation, the state of your roof, your garbage disposal habits -- all are subject to strict regulation. When we moved to Stratford, I was astounded to discover that open burning is allowed in the city and a garden fire-pit is a feature of many residential properties, including ours. In Ottawa, an open fire in a back yard brings out the fire brigade with sirens blaring. But then, Ottawa was once a lumber town with literal mountains of milled planks and shingles stacked all over the place, and great heaps of sawdust just waiting for a stray spark or an inopportune bolt of lightning. Half the city burned down in 1900. I don't think anything like that ever happened to Stratford.

What they're worried about here is assessed property value, which is the basis of the municipal tax system. Houses with plumbing blocked with limescale don't sell well. The other big problem is public liability. After a 2010 flash flood that caused widespread sewer back-ups, the city was sued and found guilty of negligence; consequently, houses built now must be fitted with sump pumps. After 25 years of home-ownership in Ottawa, a city full of small watercourses that flood every year, I would not even look at houses in areas where the sanitary sewers and storm sewers are not separate.


30 Apr 21 - 12:17 PM (#4104084)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

When I consider taking out my cedar hedge to discourage burglars from kicking in my back door again, I normally drop the idea because removal would be expensive and messy, and the hedge accommodates many shy woodland creatures. Of course, it also screens the woodshed and the spot where I dump garden rubbish, so I will henceforth also think of the neighbours' viewing pleasure.

Mind you, they aren't shy about littering their property with recreational rolling stock, or filling their porches and flowerbeds with kitsch. There's a gnome-fancier a few doors down, and the people on the corner have augmented the local squadrons of raccoons and rabbits with slightly-larger-than-life-size resin figures that I find frankly disturbing.


30 Apr 21 - 12:25 PM (#4104086)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Limestone is a major feature of the landscape in the southern and eastern half of Texas; the further north and west you go the higher elevation and you're into land that wasn't under the Gulf for millions of years. In the limestone region there are lots of areas where the coral beds formed and are more durable than limestone, so the many mesas that are simply less eroded parts of the landscape (and the reason "Hill Country" has hills).

Dorothy, we're lucky when we have neighbors who don't make ugly messes of their property. The wooded lot across from me was "cleaned up" 18 months ago and now it's an open sward that is mowed quarterly. The green has returned, but not all of the wildlife.

Fires are regulated down here as regulated by counties and announced by the weather folks. I have a burning barrel that is used every six months only after we've had a substantial rain (now would be good, if I had anything to discard that I don't want to throw in a public recycle bin or landfill.)

Jon, that cairn where your water comes from looks lovely. I enjoy links to maps and photos of places. When I was a child we had a pump for water from the lake where we had a cabin. That lake is the water supply for the city of Bellingham also. Our original cabin and a couple of neighboring houses were washed away in the 1980s in a mud slide after a neighbor across the road did an illegal logging operation up the hill from our houses. She was a nasty neighbor, and was sued, but I don't know the outcome of that. She built her house by acting as general contractor and subsequently cheated every sub-contractor who did work on her house and they all had liens against her so winning a lawsuit meant you stood in line waiting to be paid. Our property was in a small cluster of little modest cabins on wooded lots along the shore, now it's all high-end expensive homes. They must still get water from the lake but now have septic tanks (we had an outhouse).


01 May 21 - 08:54 AM (#4104167)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

Thanks, SRS. On water supplies. Mum remembers a time when her village didn't have mains water. She was born 1935 so I guess the village didn't get connected until some point in 1940/50s.


01 May 21 - 12:53 PM (#4104199)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Jon, I stumbled across this video about "regrowing" plants from kitchen scraps. I've often times trimmed things in the garden and kept the base producing, but this gives ideas about some of the stuff destined for the compost. And I've bought the rooted butterhead (Boston) lettuce and kept them going and gotten more leaves from them. Have you done any of this in your garden? (I suspect anyone who has had a compost bin has done what I have - had things regrow right there along the side of the bin, or seeds sprout and produce delicious cantaloupe, etc.)


01 May 21 - 01:30 PM (#4104201)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Dupont:

In southern PA, at my childhood home in an old, middle or working class - mixed, I guess - residential area, we just threw the veg scraps in the woods about 25 feet from the front door. Probably a lot got et. But one spring there were a few peas growing there!

I did, in fact wallow in TV - Grand Design, mainly - yesterday. It was raining, which never helps either mental health or phys energy. By the time R came home, I had come to terms with reality - hoping it won't happen soon. I'm just a country girl!

This am I listened to a friend or 50 years playing a recorded virtual concert while perusing FB. And discovered I could even keep it going on here. Think I will try that again as I missed one last night.

Search as I may, I cannot find any clear info on whether or not I can return to Quebec from Ontario. I really want to go back to Beaver after I get the tires changed on Weds. R is in much better condition now that he has a couple good staff and a "new" big truck that will help greatly in getting rid of stuff.

Laundry, raking, weeding, in small doses, on this beautiful day. Maybe a few other things will get done - pack up dry pots to transport, maybe make some more... And always tending to plants/seedlings.


01 May 21 - 08:11 PM (#4104252)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

No, I've not done any of that, SRS... Or maybe it's a mostly no - I seem to remember trying to get a pineapple top to grow once and perhaps there have been other things I can't bring to mind.


02 May 21 - 12:06 PM (#4104328)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

It's an inexpensive hobby, should you be interested in trying. I'll be putting some home-grown sweet potato slips out later today.

All around the house I'm either putting away small things or trashing them. The donation bin will also gain content. A trip to the village recycle bins is in order—all of this because I'm going to have a houseguest this week, the first in 15 months (she stayed the night after the knee surgery). The cataract surgery begins this week.

In a nod to "self-care," I've been looking at the Waterpik devices and found a well-priced electric duo (in one box) at Costco, a regular size one I've put in the master bathroom and a "travel" one that will live in the hall bathroom. I was shopping the devices I can get with points on my credit card but they were battery operated. Nope. This is the process of shopping to update some on-their-last-legs things around here. It goes beyond loose devices on the bathroom counters; two of the three faucets need replacing after years of limestone buildup and corrosion. I've been here 19 years, so it's time for some of this.

Also, coming up this week - scanning.


02 May 21 - 06:00 PM (#4104388)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

The prospect of having a guest in the house after all of this time is energizing so I made a series of stops on my midday cat-feeding run. To clear off the counter one thing I needed to do was return the stack of unopened stuff to Home Depot from past projects, leaving me with a store credit of $40 that will probably go for a new hose I'll select later on.

It has warmed enough that the back yard is going to get mowed today. I'll wait till Tuesday to mow the front, though I will probably keep working out there on other stuff, like trimming freeze-damaged shrubs.

The guest room top blanket went into the dryer to fluff on air (remove dust) and then I'll remake the bed before dusting the room. And so many chairs around the house have dusty seats because no one has been here to sit on them. Suddenly I can look at my house through someone else's eyes. It's dusty.


03 May 21 - 08:47 AM (#4104458)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

I cut some grass yesterday and was about to ask mum if she would like her tea outside when I noticed some dark clouds. I took the washing in first and then said to mum “I think you’d better come in now”. The timing was perfect. She just got through the porch door when the heavens opened.

More rain and strong winds forecast for today and looming now so I won’t be doing anything outside. I might make a chocolate sponge cake later. I’ve got a mild veg curry ready to heat up for tea this evening (and for the day after - they do work well two days in a row and used them a few times when on my own).

Apart from that, I might resume an Alexa web cam related play I started last night. Or might not… Another skill has this covered (but is slow to connect and might become pay for in future) and I’m not sure it’s needed anyway. The only “useful” camera on Alexa is probably the one on a different system which allows mum to look in on dad in the bedroom..

I bought a Raspberry Pi (a pi 4 this time), with this sort of occasional play, and possibility of others (all probably going nowhere but it's not a bad thing to have) in mind a month ago.


03 May 21 - 09:53 AM (#4104473)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

I guess this can go here...

Just had a weird one with dad who lost his ability to walk at all with the frame while I was in hospital last year. I've recently taken over the mid day toilet moving and today when I lined him up to move from wheelchair to commode (needed to navigate the narrow bathroom door) via the walking frame, he set off on the walking frame.

My first reaction was to (internally) panic but that thought quickly changed to letting him go with it and following behind with the commode chair. Not having walked in months, he was tired, but he made it and most of (I wheeled him out of the bathroom) the way back.

On a questioning after, he says he is starting to feel more confident. I don't think we'll ever get back to a point where he doesn't need someone with him (that stopped after 3 fall is in 3 months) over a year ago. But I want to give it a go as even supervised walking vs being wheeled is more independence for him.


03 May 21 - 11:38 AM (#4104494)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

One of the questions on the surgery form I filled out recently was "do I have a history of falls." Well, no, I have a history of being taken out by a dog who insists she must scoot through the space I'm starting to traverse. She's gotten quite a scold on the way down, and when I think of it I make a point of lifting my foot (bending the leg at the knee so the foot lifts behind me) to claim that air space. Once or twice I made contact with her, it isn't a kick at all, it's a "this is my space and you stay out of it" gesture that she seems to finally be paying attention to.

That's good news about your father having interest in walking again. And good timing on rescuing mum from the downpour!

Out to mow the front today. It's supposed to get quite hot so I'll do it before noon.


03 May 21 - 10:58 PM (#4104605)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I both trimmed and mowed the front yard, but I didn't sweep up the trimmings in front of the curb. Turns out we have a heavy-duty band of thunderstorms passing through the area that saved me the effort and any grass racing down the Trinity River by now. And excellent timing on my part because mowing tomorrow would be difficult. It took me a couple of rest breaks to finish the job; here's hoping energy levels increase soon.

Tomorrow is sweeping, mopping, dusting, and more putting away.


04 May 21 - 10:56 AM (#4104694)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I'm setting up activities for myself for a week of "no lifting" and putting stuff away so the clutter isn't so apparent. This includes weeding out some of the eBay stuff that I don't think will sell easily—off to the thrift store it goes.

Since we had rain last night getting one last batch of mulch from the city site is probably not a worthwhile chore - it's so heavy when it's wet that it's a lot more work. My garden needs to be set so it can go a week without my bending over to pull or tweak anything, and more mulch would help with that. We'll see how this afternoon looks. I have one more run to a friend's house to feed her cats and could swing by to pick up mulch on the way back.

Next week is the art glass sale on the campus where I retired, and due to social distancing it is required to have an appointment, so I've secured my time. I'm not planning to bring home more large glass to collect dust (though some of it is incredibly appealing), my goal is to find a pair or two of small glass earrings and pendants. I figure the glass I should get now is what I take out in public and show off. Assuming we reach a point where dressing up and going out in public becomes a "thing" again.

I made that glass sale appointment last month, and I have medical expenses this month, but because of the enforced quiet activity I've decided to do another no-spend month (only the essentials - groceries, dog food, mostly draw down the freezer).


05 May 21 - 10:03 AM (#4104874)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

The lawyer called yesterday to say that the probate certificate has already been granted — a land-speed record even for Perth County. Next comes a consultation with Jeff the Baltic accountant (he has an extensive Lithuanian surname) to figure out how to move Edmund’s Registered Retirement Savings Plan funds into my possession without incurring a shedload of tax liability. The adventure continues, hurrah.

It’s been raining off and on for days and my wonky foot is hurting again, in a new place this time, so I have been out the door only as far as the mailbox, and a daily turn around the property to see how the garden grows. The tarragon seems not to have survived the winter, but mint, oregano, parsley and sage are sprouting eagerly. The hellebores I planted last year look great, but I need more foxgloves. The lavender is doing so well that I shall plant more, a task that will require me to extirpate a leggy dwarf lilac that I never liked much.

Neil-across-the-street allowed as how he could use my rotating composter. I hope I have convinced him to accept it for free, but there’s a good chance that he hasn’t quite given up the compulsion to pay me for it.

It’s time to resume the triage and destruction of office papers. By the end of the summer, I would like to reduce the files to stuff related to taxes and the house. That means chugging through about a dozen archive boxes currently stacked on the floor of the study closet. My first objective is to dispense with the four-drawer filing cabinet looming in one corner of my very small study, and replace it with a two-drawer lateral model that will fit under the window. The cats like to sit in that window to watch birds, and the top of a filing cabinet will be more comfortable than the narrow console table they have now.


06 May 21 - 08:37 AM (#4105009)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

It’s peeing down again and last night the temperature dropped to 2C. I think I made the right choice in holding back on the greenhouse plants. Warmer nights are forecast from Saturday.

Lavender. We lost an old bush round the front over winter but the two plants I bought for tubs round the back are doing fine as is the clematis I bought.

Herbs. I think mum needs to more or less start again from scratch this year if she wishes. I thought I’d got things in a better state last year with some new staging and re-doing the irrigation for her pots but things haven’t worked out. Mind you, I think she could help herself a bit better. She got a seemingly random selection of small pots, most of which lost their labels and I hadn’t much clue as to what was what or which were annuals and I think she would be better with fewer plants and some in larger containers. I’ll help of course but it’s for her to have another think about what she wants to achieve in the area.

Foxgloves. I don’t think we’ve ever planted them but there are often self set ones that mum chooses to leave around.


06 May 21 - 09:25 AM (#4105018)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

The hellebores I planted last year look great, but I need more foxgloves.

I read that and hear Christopher Walken suggest "more cowbell" :-)

I'm a day out from the first eye surgery. It is weird, that "twilight sleep" they accomplish to knock you out without your eyes rolling back up into your head. The distracting part of wearing the clear plastic eye cover patch after is that I can't rest my glasses on the bridge of my nose to use the other eye. And it really is a quick surgery. Unlike any other, instead of putting you into a gown and all of that they simply encapsulate your street clothes, covering with blankets and tucking in your arms, shoes into blue booties, a shower cap thing over your hair, phone or anything small into a bag under the bed, and roll you into the surgery theater.

The eye patch comes off this morning.


06 May 21 - 09:48 AM (#4105023)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

That sounds good, SRS, and I hope you get the benefits from the first op soon.

My two recent ops were different btw.

For the first and long one, I was put into the pre op place where they used gas. I (as planned and as a precaution) was put in the high dependency unit for several hours before being transferred to a ward.

For the second much shorter grafting op a few weeks later, I was wheeled straight into the theatre where they used injections. I had a short stop in a recovery place after before being returned to the ward.

I was really impressed by the theatre lighting btw. Bright but I've never seen lighting so clear. I guess that's the standard surgeons need.


06 May 21 - 10:06 PM (#4105091)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

In preparation for the cataract surgery I ordered two more pairs of the over-the glasses sunglasses for pocketbook and gardening stash (I have one pair the car). So of course at the doctor's morning follow-up check I received a kit with another pair of the same type of glasses.

This leads me to think about working on family members' estates, where the medical paraphernalia and old medicine bottles and such is remarkable. I wonder if it's even possible to end up with an estate that isn't full of the bread crumb trail of medical stuff telling one part of the story of your life?

My daughter carried the watering can out to the garden last night to water some transplanted okra plants; in the morning I'll carefully pull the hose (already mostly in position) to the garden, turn it in (so I'm not dragging it when it's full of water) and water safely. No pulling weeds. I tend to lead a fairly active life as far as lugging stuff around and have caught myself several times today almost doing what I'm not supposed to. So I'll go sew for the rest of the evening.


07 May 21 - 08:14 AM (#4105139)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

Looks like there is a lot of very heavy rain due for Saturday so I think I’ll be doing the greenhouse plants on Sunday.

There are a couple of things I perhaps ought to do outside one of these rainy days though. In heavier rain, water has been over spilling at the end of a gutter section near a down pipe for years. I finally got round to altering the angle of the end section and run of down pipe last week but have yet to check how successful the change has been.

I could also do with checking on how well water is running into the butts. They don’t seem to be filling as well as they used to so I think there may be a problem either with that or a with leak in the pipe that runs 30m from the house to the “Wendy House” shed. My clearing behind the pigsties last year has made most of the pipe accessible again and I didn’t spot a problem but there is still a short buried bit I may need to look at.

A related task (especially as I’ve seen water coming over a gutter over the sliding door) is to get the gutters cleaned. We’ll have to get someone in to do that as, although it’s only a bungalow, there are bits I can’t access. Someone did point out that a tile is out of place on the roof so perhaps we can get someone to do both jobs.

Moving on to the question about medical things, I think the only bottle here is a plastic one for the vitamin capsules I’m prescribed. I think the only medicines around (apart from some paracetamol and a couple of other over the counter things in the bathroom cupboard) are current prescription ones.

But there is at least one cardboard box of dressings that were destined for use on my back at different times before surgery around. I think we should find a charity to accept them (and we used to have people who would take things like that) and they are too good to “throw away”.

Then you could trip over walking frames here. Dad’s is still needed but I need to work out how to get mine back to the Norwich Hospital. Mum has two but uses neither. There is the one in a shed that she bought after her hip op and one she accepted as OT recommended she should have one. Quite why she took it when a) she already had one and b) finds her best indoor wheeled walking aid is a trolley with two shelves is beyond me.

Thinking of another aid brings me to another thought. The bath chair could probably be collected and taken away. Neither parent use it any more and I'm not sure its presence helps me. Mum has talked about having the bathroom revised after Covid and getting people indoors to do work is easier. She would like the bath removed and replaced with a shower. I’m not sure how it would work out in the small bathroom but agree that it would be worth getting people in to advise on what can be done and providing estimates on cost.


07 May 21 - 09:48 AM (#4105151)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

One of the file boxes stashed in my study contains about two dozen pairs of spectacles that Edmund and I accumulated over more than thirty years. The range of styles and types includes his ‘n’ hers respirator glasses, made to fit inside the Cold War-era gas mask issued to the Canadian Forces, Edmund’s “ballistic eyewear” from the Afghanistan period, and a pair of owlish sunglasses in a military-issue frame so sturdy that I wore them from 1975 to about 2010. Come to think of it, with new nose pads and plastic ear-pieces, I could wear them now. They are the very definition of fashion-proof, as well as bomb-proof.

I wonder if I could get new lenses for my respirator glasses? They’re held on with loops that fit around the ears, so they’re great for swimming.

Jon Freeman, you’re right about finding a charity to give your unneeded supply of dressings to. I assume they’re sterile? If so, they won’t stay that way indefinitely, so they should go to someone who will use them before they’re out of date and assumed to be contaminated.

As for the bathroom, your mum is right. A generously sized shower stall, with grab-bars, a seat, and a hand-holdable shower head, is much better than a cramped bath-tub on general principles, but especially for people with mobility problems. The locker room at the Y where I go to swim has one shower stall fitted that way, and every time I look at it I remember risking my neck to get into and out of the bath with first one leg, then the other, in plaster.


07 May 21 - 10:27 AM (#4105155)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

Yes, these are large, self adhesive, absorbent dressings, mostly Biatain Super. All sealed and in boxes. I've just looked at the dates on a few boxes and the earliest expiry date on any was Sept 2021, others run well in to 2022.


07 May 21 - 11:42 AM (#4105164)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Starting down the medical gear path, I have things left from the knee surgery that could be donated or some even sold. The pressure cuffs in particular I've seen for sale used and new on eBay. Other things make the rounds at Goodwill and garage sales (the walker and the gait belt, for starters). While these things are often sent home routinely after various types of surgery, I remember one garage sale where we had some medical things of that sort (left over from a friend's estate) and three young men drove up hunting for various other walking and bathroom and shower seat devices because their father had a need and no supply source (and I'm guessing no insurance). I'd seen some of what they were asking about at another garage sale in my neighborhood so sent them up the hill to see if any of it was still there. The secondary market for this stuff is probably robust. Crutches and various types of canes also come to mind.

Every so often I pull out my old glasses frames and take a few to the donation bin at the optometrist office. The last time I asked about having a favorite pair of frames re-used for a new set of lenses I was told they had to be mailed back to the company that now does the work (it used to be in office) and they would say whether they could be reused or not. Bummer. These are some favorite really light weight titanium frames I paid dearly for and haven't gone out of style. There are more here to be donated soon.

This morning I watered my garden, but every hose connection is leaking so I'll take out a handful of new gaskets and replace them before the next watering venture. And I pulled apart a connection on a hose end repair, something easily restored with the hose clamp tightened better this time.

Jon, I need to have gutters put on my house (they were removed when I replaced the roof and never put back.) I'll aim those downspouts at collection barrels.


07 May 21 - 05:54 PM (#4105206)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion's brother Andrew

Charmion, it should be easy for a dispensing optician to replace the lenses in the respirator glasses with your current prescription.


07 May 21 - 11:24 PM (#4105228)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I've thought long and hard about getting prescription lenses in a pair of bicycle goggles because when I'm out walking on windy days my eyes are so watery I can hardly stand it. Once I get the new lenses the eyeballs will still water in the wind so maybe I should finally get those glasses.


08 May 21 - 08:09 AM (#4105251)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Stilly, do you think you will need much of a prescription when your cataract surgery is complete? If not, you might consider aviator-style sunglasses with a light tint.

I have a pair of Ray-Ban aviators that does the job perfectly and would not attract the kind of attention bicycle goggles on a pedestrian would get.


08 May 21 - 08:46 AM (#4105254)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

In my case I called it quits after the first cataract lense replacement. Due to complication from Fuchs syndrome and the miniscule increase in brightness, it gave me no advantage. Most people have immediate improvement but in my case sensitive corneas with micro bubbles, it took me 90 days to see nearly as well as I used to. For those who have an advantage I am told it is great.


08 May 21 - 05:19 PM (#4105317)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

The reason for the goggles is the keep the cold air from flowing behind my glasses and across my eyes, making them so watery. I could wear the driving glasses, though, to see if they help. They completely wrap around my regular eyeglasses and have a wide temple next to the hinge that could block the breeze. That's worth trying before I go for goggles.

I'm not getting the replacement lens that gives near and far vision, so I'll still need some kind of reading lens, and I need something that will let me see things close to me when I drive but also see clearly through the rest of the lens. I'm sure millions of people have figured this out ahead of me, so I'll see what people say as I finish up the surgery process.

Don, that sounds like a difficult situation for the eye surgery. I'm sorry about that.


09 May 21 - 03:07 PM (#4105409)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Last time I watered I accidentally pulled apart a repaired place in part of the hose; todayI restored the hose repair piece and replaced a few gaskets and the hose and nozzle are working better. There are a few juicy weeds popping up that I had to resist bending over to pull. All repair materials were already here, no purchase needed. I do have a buffer, a store credit at Home Depot (intended for a hose, but can be used another way if needed).

I've been out driving (yesterday), no problem with that, but mostly I'm sticking around the house where I have plenty of things on my list of stuff to do. Following our discussion above of various medical things around the house I looked up prescription bottles and see that they are recyclable so that's one container full of containers that will go to the village recycle bin next trip to city hall.

I have things here that I don't use but are perfectly good except for one part. For example, the wheels on a piece of luggage are old and have cracked. I'm going to take one off and see if I can find replacements (eBay). I'd like to keep the case in use but don't want to carry it instead of rolling it. I could also use one of the foldable carts that attaches luggage with bungies - I'll have to see if I can find any of those (I used to have a couple but may have given one to one of the kids to use and never got it back.) Those carts are a bit of a pain but do the job if needed.


09 May 21 - 07:49 PM (#4105432)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I've been retired over two years and I still seem to treat Sunday like a school or work night. It does help keep track of what day it is but otherwise, there is little need to do so. Anyone else?


09 May 21 - 08:45 PM (#4105442)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Oh, yeah. I have an excuse, however; Monday is garbage day, and I put it out at eight o’clock to deprive the raccoons.

Of course, until last Thanksgiving, Monday was First Appearances day in Provincial Court and Edmund was up at five-thirty and out the door with his briefcase by nine.


10 May 21 - 09:46 AM (#4105501)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

The sun is shining in Stratford, so I feel inclined to go outside and walk as long as my wonky foot will let me. I have a new pair of shoes and the last cortisone shot seems to have clobbered the plantar ligament issue, but the foot is still twisted so metatarsal joint pain is still a thing. So I guess I'll just do it till I need an icepack.

Today I must change the strings on my mandolin. It's a fiddly job that I really dislike, but one of the A strings sounds quite dead. Apart from that, my dance card is clear. Yawn.


10 May 21 - 03:35 PM (#4105549)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Every so often I crank up one the the HGTV or Discovery Channel channels that offers hours of house renovations and restorations. It's a good binge in the background while I'm working on something on the computer or sewing. There is one out of Laurel, Mississippi called Home Town that is particularly charming. Yesterday on one of the episodes the woman (Erin) was looking for mirrors to mount along a stairway wall. She mentioned to the woman helping her that "mirrors are to decorating what the little black dress is to fashion." Noteworthy.


10 May 21 - 09:01 PM (#4105599)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I talked with a friend today, sharing news of my low thyroid. As I described symptoms my friend did one of those "OMG!" reactions and it seems he has been dealing with the same things (perhaps further along than I) and wondering what is happening. So my cataract surgery may result in two of us feeling much better. (He has an exam scheduled in a couple of weeks and he'll now be sure to request a thyroid check with it.)

Thunderstorms are moving through the area tonight, resulting in the cancelation of a photo shoot I had planned for tomorrow. One thing I have to tackle as an indoor job is replacing the luggage wheels. They seem to be held on by some kind of pressure-fitted rivets so I'll now research how to remove and replace those. I see the replaceable ones online have posts and rivets, so I suppose an Allen wrench and a hammer will be the correct tools. Tomorrow will see me prying a wheel off and mending a cut in the lining I made to take a look at the inside of the wheel area. I imagine that will look suspicious to any TSA person, but whatever. Maybe I should install a zipper on that point so they can just open it to look and not tear up the insides.


11 May 21 - 09:48 AM (#4105669)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Dupont:

One of the things I have needed to try to come to terms with on FB and on here is that my world view is not in step with most people. Once in a while I am really hit with it. Learning curve! The mention of mirrors... I don't hate them but need to be careful - think Mother's home where every turn I took, I was looking at myself! Disconcerting to me. They do, however, seem to increase the light in a room, or the sense of light.

R looked around the house recently and commented that we have not really moved in. MY fav mirror has not find a spot and is stuck away. Wall decorations have been put up wherever a nail or screw happened to be. "Scruffy", a rather poor painting of a raccoon whom we have become quite used to, is on the mantle. And yesterday R dragged in a box of cooking pots and two wood dinner table type chairs he had found by the side of a street - he hoped the people were not coming back for them! I sorted through the box and determined they can go elsewhere. The chairs I quite like but they need to be refinished - not likely to happen...

I managed to get the recycling out today! I have finally gotten the remainder of the firewood off the grass to the porch. R needs to split some; it's covered. He is not home much but we did manage a walk on the Isle on Sunday early while there were still a few parking places. The city is instituting a free shuttle bus for weekends. Visitors to the park get frustrated by the lack of parking - lots of it but more cars! - and have been parking on people's lawns,etc. At 9 am, there were a few spots left, at 10 almost none. When I tried to take son and family there - Father's Day! - all the roadsides were parked all the way out to the main road. We did not stop. I guess the rest of them could have walked back - only about a half mile - but not I. Anyway. R and I had a ice walk up to the woods and stood on a bluff above the river listening to the rattle of the rocks, then back through the just starting to bloom apple orchards.

The 3 little cherry trees are not recovering well from feeding some critters this winter. We will protect them next winter! I am a bit sad about it. They are barely surviving, and I was rather hoping to see a few cherries in this lifetime.

Ah well, the house in in pretty good shape, some pots are dried and packed - in lots of bubble wrap - to go to Beaver. Since cousin made it from ON into QC this week, we agree that I can go to Beaver soon. First, I need to get all the various plants into places and pots so R can easily water them. I am chancing a counter on the back porch for most. I finally got the tires changed - and bought some pansies and lobelia, sold some more pottery and did a shopping - last Weds (I had to stop and figure out when that was!) So plant potting and moving - lots of trips on the stairs to bring them down, lots of energy and great care with heavier ones. And getting them organized. I have done a couple groupings in BIG pots for front steps: lobelia around a geranium, and around a pepper plant in bloom and starting to produce. Lots more to go!

Also watering - LOTS!- the iris and poppy that I dug out of the "garden" at the mill. They are not happy but look as though they will survive - the iris... and possibly the poppy. Lots of parsley coming up and lavender and oregano from Beaver are flourishing. Three packets of nasturtium that I planted a month ago are either frozen or eaten, or both! I really need to cut back on plants.

Long phone calls on Sunday with sons: one gave advice on my non-blooming orchid, the other told me how to connect my computer to the TV and how to charge the remote for AppleTV. After a great deal of searching, I finally found the charging cord he said I should have - in the fancy notebook dedicated to all those necessary words and letters for the TV and computer. Oh! I wondered what that was!

Beautiful day - about 12C and sunny, and breezy. Laundry to start. Dishes are washed. Water bottles to fill for watering - add fertilizer. See how much I can get done today. I feel better believing I can go to Beaver for a while and be able to return. So, ...


.


11 May 21 - 10:07 AM (#4105674)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Dorothy, in case you don’t see Ontario news in Châteauguay — the provincial stay-home order has just been extended to 2 June, so you may find that highway amenities are closed and the police somewhat unwelcoming if you travel before then.


11 May 21 - 10:46 AM (#4105678)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Essential news delivered via Mudcat! Good to know, Charmion. Are they having any more luck getting people vaccinated now or is that still at a trickle? This is absolutely the time when those vaccine patents need to be shared widely. To say nothing of the embarrassment of the company in Maryland that the federal government has funded for years to be ready for this kind of work - discarding millions of J&J vaccines because they were contaminated. The place isn't clean and it's poorly run. Someone step in and clear out that mess and supervise the way they should be. That is an international disgrace. Heads should roll and jobs definitely terminated, someone was getting rich without putting in the work.

Thunderstorm last night brought out the worst in Pepper, she literally peed all over the house. The question is - voluntary or involuntary? I'm going to call the vet to ask about a valium of some sort for her, and I'll shop the pet store for big dog diapers. I've been meaning to wash all of the floors in the house anyway.

In the office I have rearranged some of the wall shelf contents (moved speakers up two shelves) in order to position a new record player next to the old computer and to test this USB player I found at Goodwill. It has never been unpacked out of the box, but it is several years old. The thing comes with it's own software and recommends using Audacity to make MP3s from your LPs, but I'm more interested in larger durable files so will use Nero to capture the files and save them as something more robust. I need to try that soon because there is a 2 week window at Goodwill to return electronics if they don't work. I'd get my $8.99 back.

In February 2020 I had the knee replacement and took a few weeks off from a volunteer project at a local museum, intending to return in March 2020. In May 2021 I am finally returning to the project. What a year + it has been! We'll all be wearing masks and social distancing, but everyone has been vaccinated.

Dorothy, I hope you can get back to Beaver sooner rather than later, but don't get yourself all turned around if that trip comes with too many complications. Stay safe, that's what we all want to see for you and R!


11 May 21 - 06:49 PM (#4105733)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

The Ontario vaccination campaign is creeping when it should be charging, Stilly. Nobody under the age of 75 is fully vaccinated unless they are health-care workers or first responders. In Huron-Perth, the youngest eligible age cohort is folks born in 1964. The BIL and SIL (my bubble mates) were needled today.

The case counts are still racking up in the greater Toronto area, especially in the industrial suburbs. Public health officers are invading warehouses, factories and packing plants and supplying employers in essential services with fast-result COVID test kits for daily sampling, but things don't look any better than they did a month ago. In fact, worse, because people are increasingly exasperated with the provincial authorities, who can't seem to get their stories straight.

The big issue is that, as long as travel of any kind is permitted, the disease will continue to circulate, and its mortality rate is not high enough (i.e., it's not Ebola) to justify literally halting all traffic, including shipments of food and fuel, to stamp it out. But that means imposing restrictions higgledy-piggledy in the hope of "crushing the curve" (as we said last year at this time). People know more about COVID-19 now, so there's a lot more push-back against irrational orders such as the closure of golf courses. Every irrational policy makes the necessary measures harder to enforce.

So, buggery. I have no idea when I or my bubble-mates will get our second injections -- by the way, Canada is the only country where public health authorities say it's okay to wait four months between needles -- and the news media don't have one single good-news story to report from the COVID front.

It's still okay to weed your garden, however. House-proud Stratford is gardening like crazy.


11 May 21 - 09:34 PM (#4105739)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion's brother Andrew

Stilly, have you tried a ThunderShirt on Pepper? I have heard that more dog owners swear by them than at them.


11 May 21 - 11:34 PM (#4105744)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Thanks for that link - I hadn't tracked it down yet, but that video is very helpful. And they're a good price.

I don't suppose there is an easy way to slip across the US/Canadian border to get a vaccine in one of the large US cities? Travel still blocked for the most part? Considering all of the Americans who in the past went north for less expensive (or less restricted) Canadian medications, tit for tat.


12 May 21 - 08:58 AM (#4105787)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Slip across the border? Now? In my humble Golf instead of a jeezly great lumber truck? The chance would be a fine thing.


13 May 21 - 11:15 AM (#4105909)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


13 May 21 - 12:14 PM (#4105917)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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!


13 May 21 - 10:36 PM (#4105978)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


15 May 21 - 01:53 PM (#4106161)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


16 May 21 - 06:07 AM (#4106214)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

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.


16 May 21 - 08:36 AM (#4106221)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

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...


16 May 21 - 09:41 AM (#4106230)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


16 May 21 - 12:37 PM (#4106246)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


17 May 21 - 10:41 AM (#4106362)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


17 May 21 - 07:41 PM (#4106432)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


18 May 21 - 12:27 PM (#4106522)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


18 May 21 - 04:24 PM (#4106558)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


18 May 21 - 06:50 PM (#4106586)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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!


19 May 21 - 02:06 AM (#4106630)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

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.


19 May 21 - 02:48 PM (#4106691)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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!


20 May 21 - 06:47 AM (#4106758)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

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.


20 May 21 - 08:38 AM (#4106767)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

...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.


20 May 21 - 01:12 PM (#4106792)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


20 May 21 - 03:46 PM (#4106809)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

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.


20 May 21 - 11:13 PM (#4106849)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


21 May 21 - 12:26 PM (#4106867)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

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...?


21 May 21 - 12:40 PM (#4106872)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


22 May 21 - 07:30 AM (#4106978)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

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...


22 May 21 - 08:22 AM (#4106984)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


22 May 21 - 02:35 PM (#4107044)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


23 May 21 - 11:08 AM (#4107202)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.)


23 May 21 - 02:42 PM (#4107246)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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 ...


23 May 21 - 11:54 PM (#4107313)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


24 May 21 - 09:06 AM (#4107355)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


24 May 21 - 11:28 AM (#4107370)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


24 May 21 - 12:48 PM (#4107402)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

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!


24 May 21 - 02:47 PM (#4107413)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


24 May 21 - 03:26 PM (#4107420)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Three cheers for Maggie! And a tiger!

Way to go.


24 May 21 - 03:48 PM (#4107424)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


25 May 21 - 06:52 AM (#4107502)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

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.


25 May 21 - 07:00 AM (#4107503)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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


25 May 21 - 07:46 AM (#4107508)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

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...


25 May 21 - 12:35 PM (#4107545)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


26 May 21 - 08:40 AM (#4107619)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


26 May 21 - 01:02 PM (#4107655)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


26 May 21 - 01:33 PM (#4107661)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

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.


26 May 21 - 01:54 PM (#4107664)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


26 May 21 - 06:43 PM (#4107716)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

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.


26 May 21 - 10:10 PM (#4107735)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


27 May 21 - 11:56 AM (#4107779)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

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.


27 May 21 - 12:00 PM (#4107780)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


27 May 21 - 10:47 PM (#4107849)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


27 May 21 - 11:23 PM (#4107857)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

Don't forget the suana.


28 May 21 - 09:32 AM (#4107916)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

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.


28 May 21 - 06:32 PM (#4107969)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

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.


29 May 21 - 09:51 AM (#4108023)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Yesterday was frigid in southern Ontario. The forecast high for the day was 7C but the thermometer never crawled above 4C; snow fell only a little bit north of Stratford; and I had to turn the furnace on. It rained heavily for hours.

Today is clear and sunny but still chilly, so I guess a good walk is in order. I really don’t have anything else to do now that the study is hoed out and squared away. Except practise the mandolin, of course, and weed the garden. I guess that should be enough to get me through to suppertime.

The current lockdown is supposed to relax somewhat on Wednesday, but we have yet to hear where we can go and what we will be allowed to do.


29 May 21 - 11:33 AM (#4108032)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Has the rate of vaccinations increased at all? Down here the vaccine has been distributed to local drug stores so pharmacists have hours when they give the shots. The big vaccine centers are generally winding down or closing entirely. There is still a long way to go here, but now it is more a matter of persuasion than access.

I pulled a pork tenderloin from the freezer and have calculated that I have enough other ingredients in there to make my pork/tomato/eggplant casserole. The tomatoes are canned, the eggplant frozen (after lightly sautéing).

Last night one of the dogs (most likely Pepper) dragged a big ass branch of rosemary in (the one that grew for 15 years beside the driveway until the big freeze) and chewed it on the dog bed in the den. I tossed it into the trash to keep them from retrieving it from the back yard again, but there is bark and the soft wood everywhere. It looks like a good day to sweep and mop. We have a couple of days before more rain is forecast.

The older sewing machine is messing up again - the timing is off so it's dropping stitches. I need to get under the hood again.


29 May 21 - 01:11 PM (#4108054)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Dupont:

Set Tuesday as departure for Beaver and its unpolluted (almost) air. Taking a box of greenware that will need to wait til next bisque. I hope I can make a full load, esp plates for Erica, to bisque and glaze in the two weeks I can be there. Plan to be back for R's 2nd shot, paying heed to my son's admonition not to plan anything for the next day.

Mine is not until 27 July unless they decide to shorten the wait. However, things in ON are so bad I wonder how they decide anything. I hope R can take a couple days to go with me on that trip. I could just tough it out but am concerned that I only have cell service if I am able to sit at the window; I could sit in the car all day! We'll see.

Here, I am still finding the energy to finish the garden - plant seeds in the remaining space. I end up pulling weeds until I need a break. But rain is predicted for tomorrow and Monday so the time is today! Most of the frosted-last-month geraniums are coming back from the bottom. I potted a bunch of rooted Kalanchoe shoots this am and one from the nice coleus; now I have 3 from the cutting I swiped a couple years ago. The tiny pear tree just produced new growth! and I saved 5 seeds from the Bosc pears I sauteed for R yesterday. Wisdom is to not try to start them until I get back. There is more than enough for R to care for while I am away. OH, darn! I still have to use the pansies and lobelia which are languishing in their tiny pots. They look very pretty on the front steps but need room to grow. Next energy spurt...


Interesting to hear about SRS' neighbour's apt. Beaver is 600sf. Exc kitchen, neither too big nor too small -for me, small BR and bath, LR is fine for a few people, dining area is for 2. Big difference is propinquity to out of doors: back deck, studio, tool/kiln room and the two sheds and beautiful screened room in the "back 40". Plenty of room - to breath, to do things.

The next door neighbour hailed me for a chat yesterday - just as I was preparing to plant seeds. She does this in the decent weather and it is hard work for me as I struggle to find some French words for her, I guess for her also but perhaps she is lonely. I sensed a certain sadness as she pointed out the various trees she has planted in her 40 years here- large oaks and lindens.

I doubt I am projecting; I know how I would feel/have felt selling a property into which I/she has put so much energy and now she no longer has the energy to keep doing it. She will be moving the chickens to the other end when it becomes necessary. Then I shall miss them. And her shed with a canopy of grape vines. I try to not think about it but... If the new owner pulls out the cedar hedge... My dog walking neighbour designed and had built a lovely house with picture window looking at the river then a house was built next door and they look at a brick wall. I shall continue to not dwell on it.


29 May 21 - 01:56 PM (#4108064)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

That's sad about the house and the window - my aunt in Calgary had a similar situation happen on a long narrow piece of property they owned for years. The old house was at the far back of the lot, and as they prepared to build a new house further forward before tearing down the old, the next door neighbor messed up their plans by putting up a tall house in front of where the new one would go. So they moved downtown to a new condo with a great view overlooking the Bow River and no chance of it being blocked and sold the original property.

The garden needs tending - as I work my way through each bed I'll weed, sprinkle some dried chicken manure fertilizer, then top with more mulch to slow the return of weeds. And mow the front yard. And walk the dogs. I need to make up for a lot of lost time after surgery and with all of the rain.

I'm finally scanning the repair manual, ancient as it is, to figure out how to restore the timing on my oldest sewing machine. I wish the overhead scanner had been working correctly, it would have saved me a lot of trouble. (It kept cutting off the outer edges of the pages.) This most recent timing issue compels me to solve it once and for all.


29 May 21 - 10:23 PM (#4108121)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: mg

i am going crazy with password changes. i can't keep up. got a whiteboard to write them on and still can't. does anyone use one of those one password things where master password remembers all? Also, while I am at it, I got one of those chargers you lay your phone on. it does not seem to charge. i also got one of those flash drives that takes the pictures off your phone. nothing seems to plug in anywhere. i think they might have given me one for an iphone with different plug. i think i will send it back.


29 May 21 - 10:53 PM (#4108127)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I use a 3" three-ring binder. Any time I set up an account I print out the page with the logo on it (or write it on the top) and the logon and password info. Make note of any challenge questions and answers. I print it, punch it with a hole-punch, and alphabetize it, so any time I have to change a password I go to that page to cross out the old one and note the new one. There are actually two notebooks. One is for commercial accounts (places where I make purchases or have paid subscriptions) and one for connections via email, and other free logon sites.

I use too many browsers and too many devices to trust one password management account. This works, and has worked for over 20 years. They are very big books.


30 May 21 - 12:23 AM (#4108135)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

The onion (the only one I had) for this evening's cooking had spoiled, so I borrowed two medium sized onions from my next door neighbor and will replace them tomorrow. I was in the middle of sauteing stuff and didn't want to turn it all off and run to the store. But the casserole is now finished (dripped on the oven floor, darn it. Time to clean that again.) I'll be using it for meals this week and was glad to use homegrown eggplant and tomatoes in the dish.

The dogs and I went for a walk this evening, with me wearing wrap-around sunglasses since I don't have regular glasses to wear now and feel a bit naked without them. The new ones I ordered are photo sensitive so will respond to the bright light (hopefully they'll arrive in a couple of weeks.) After our walk I picked some grass seed out of their coats, and when I take off my shoes tonight I know there will be a few that poked through the cloth of the uppers and need to be tossed in the trash. Something about that wild grass that really knows how to spread itself around.

Mowing tomorrow.


30 May 21 - 01:51 AM (#4108144)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: JennieG

We have a "bottom drawer book". Passwords are in it, as is other information such as where wills and personal papers are kept, name of solicitor, funeral director, etc. The aim is to have information at the fingertips of whoever is left - there are only the two of us in this house; one son lives 720 kms away and the other is on the far side of the world. They wouldn't know where to lay hands on such information bit by bit, so it's all in one book. A "one stop shop", as it were.

There's nothing like being prepared, is there.


30 May 21 - 09:25 AM (#4108185)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

In the top drawer of the One Filing Cabinet, at the right-hand end (it’s a lateral). When I leave town and entrust the house and its resident cats to the care of someone else, I lock the cabinet. Easy.


30 May 21 - 10:33 AM (#4108192)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion's brother Andrew

Wot? No locking bar and Sargent & Greenleaf lock?


30 May 21 - 11:30 AM (#4108196)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Unfortunately, dear bro, Staples' line of basic office equipment doesn't include cabinets equipped with a locking bar, or I'd have one. As for the S&G, the house is no place for documents classified or designated at Level II or higher. That's what a bank box is for.


30 May 21 - 11:52 AM (#4108198)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

I just spent a vigorous hour in the garden pulling up great clumps of clustered bellflower (Campanula glomerata). It's a handsome plant that came to Ontario as a garden ornament, but it's as invasive as the Golden Horde with a strong tendency to crush everything in its path. So ... now the compost bin is full of it. For the rest of the summer, I shall pull up every flower spike I see before it can start spewing seeds around my tiny corner of the landscape.

I also have bugleweed and lily-of-the-valley, both equally invasive and difficult to expunge, but I like bugleweed and lily-of-the-valley, so that's okay. I'll cop to the hypocrisy.


30 May 21 - 02:39 PM (#4108228)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I looked up your bellflower - pretty - there is an invasive weed here called Mexican petunia that next door planted on purpose that now crawls through my back yard lawn.

The casserole smells great but boiled over and now there is a sticky brown puddle in the bottom of the oven. Do I want to soak it off or just go ahead and do the whole hot long oven cleaning thing?

Sunday afternoon on the holiday weekend and I'm not finding much energy to go outside and do all of the garden things that need doing. Once I get started I keep going, it's the getting out the door to start with (I suspect the cloudy overcast that is partly to blame). That said, I am sitting here at the computer and working my way through the book, a quarter of the way so far. I'm reading along on parts as I go and can see how some of these repairs are handled.

Part of my attitude toward holidays (I stay away from the noisy crowded activities) comes from years as a park ranger when we were usually the destination of a lot of people with the days off. There were no days off for us on public holidays, it was overtime or holiday pay, but the public aren't famous for being bright and thoughtful; especially during these nice-weather holidays there is a lot of drinking and driving or boat operation, campfires out of control, fights break out. Noise. Long lines at attractions.


31 May 21 - 12:18 AM (#4108264)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I'm practically stooped over from standing then leaning over the scanner 200 times, but the book is finished. This will allow me to OCR the text and scan for the parts that fit my repair needs best. Oy my aching back, though!

I seem not to be the only one unmotivated to work in the yard today. I didn't hear a single lawnmower all day, but the weather was fine for mowing. Maybe tomorrow.


31 May 21 - 10:39 AM (#4108311)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Darn - I forgot to empty the vacuum cleaner into the trash before putting it out. I got one of the bagless Shark vacuums because there is so much doghair and dog debris that I'd go through bags at a rapid expensive rate with a regular cleaner. I did remember to empty the paper shredders before the trash last week. I emptied a bowl of bacon grease from the fridge into the trash this time. The washer and dryer are empty, the dishwasher has clean dishes and needs emptying. The small fridge (inherited from a friend) has a large tub of organic salad greens I need to remember to use before it becomes a science project. The microwave could stand to be steamed with a bowl of boiling water for a few minutes before a wipe down. The toaster needs crumbs removed, and the toaster oven could use a wipe down inside and out. The new Waterpik machines are doing fine in the bathrooms. The oldest sewing machine needs work, the newer of the old machines is doing okay. The clothes iron, the lamps, even the Amazon Echo, all in good working order.

The bread machine will come out later today to make some dinner rolls and maybe a loaf of bread (I run it on the "manual" setting so it stops before baking in the machine, I prefer my own pans and baking in the oven.) The blender is humming along, as is the vegetable chopper and the Kitchenaid stand mixer. I love my Seal A Meal, though I need to do a little work to clean the insides and replace a gasket. The crock pot for oatmeal does the perfect job; I don't use the larger crock pots very often but they always do the job well. I have an estate sale George Foreman grill that works like a charm.

Lots of devices in the office I won't name by name because I don't want them to hear me and be jinxed. They're all working okay. The scanner did a yeoman's job over the weekend finishing work on an old out-of-print book.

My lawn mower is in good shape after I tuned up most of it earlier this month, the electric trimmer is new and works well but I need to get some extra string holders so I don't need to stop to refill the one it came with each time I run out. The electric branch chipper in the greenhouse will get some use soon since some pine limbs have dried enough to run through it.

I have probably just named the tip of the iceberg of small appliances around here, and most of these I could wait a day or even a few to repair or replace if something happened to them. TVs, radios, various players - so many electronic devices. The one I use most often and rely on is my glass electric kettle. My morning tea, and sometimes water for reheating vegetables in a bowl, or for adding to something I'm cooking. I couldn't go a day without ordering a new one if it went tits up.

You?


31 May 21 - 01:40 PM (#4108337)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

I have been shedding electric doohickeys. The Edmund Thomas Memorial Espresso Machine is packed up in its original carton and waiting for the day -- soon, I hope -- when I can hand it over to No 1 Niece and her Italian husband in Windsor. Edmund's ridiculously expensive blender is stashed in the Glory Hole, along with the electric kettle (purchased for the kitchen renovation) and the meat grinder, until I decide what to do with them. The beer fridge left the building weeks ago. The Kitchen-Aid stand mixer and food processor that live in the pantry may also move along to a new home, but not yet.

The only appliances still on the kitchen counter are the cats' water fountain and the toaster oven. The microwave has a purpose-built niche. The Food Saver vacuum-sealer lives in the Glory Hole, but makes frequent visits to the kitchen. A stick blender and a small hand-held electric beater live in a drawer.

Everything is clean and fully operational.

The lawn mower and garden shredder both left the property yesterday with a garrulous young man who rehabs small motor equipment as a side hustle. Both machines are electric -- the lawn mower battery-powered, the shredder a plug-in model -- and both are unreliable. Young Georgia from up the street mows the lawn now, doing a much better job of it than I ever would, and I never saw the point of the shredder, which is ugly-noisy and freakin' dangerous. It also occupied valuable space in the garden shed.

So powered garden equipment has been reduced to a battery-powered Stihl weed-whacker and a rather intimidating hedge trimmer from Canadian Tire. They're clean, and they work.

Plus the hoes, shovels, rakes, axes (three of them!), ice-choppers and other handraulic implements of destruction, and a stable broom to clean up after them. Neil across the street just sharpened my spade and my shovel. That man is earning lots of jewels for his heavenly crown.

When Constable Leslie has a day off with no domestic obligations of higher priority, we'll sort out Edmund's camping gear. She is a demon camper and all her friends and relations are equally fervent about the whole fresh air, sleep on the ground experience, so we should be able to make a substantial clearance of the garage.


31 May 21 - 01:49 PM (#4108341)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Different topic.

I think my cat Watson is developing urinary tract problems. He pissed on the parlour carpet yesterday afternoon, right in front of me, after a prolonged session of padding in small circles, pawing at the nap of the rug, and mewing disconsolately. This is the fourth such incident since about Remembrance Day, and the third that is definitely Watson's doing.

Once is happenstance and twice is circumstance, but three times is enemy action.

So Watson earned himself a trip to the vet today, which could get expensive. X-ray, ultrasound, blood and urine samples -- the beat goes on.

The big green Bokhara carpet is rolled up and stowed in the garage until I can get the carpet cleaners to come and get it. Washing it and giving it the anti-piss treatment will cost a bundle of dough -- probably about $250.

BUGGER!


31 May 21 - 03:07 PM (#4108349)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Cat pee has featured in my last two pet-sitting commissions. In the first place I think it's mostly one cat acting out against all of the medications in his daily routine. I failed miserably at finding all of the places where that cat managed to spray and piddle, making the assignment more difficult than usual (and where only one of the three cats is willing to be picked up, let alone touched). At the second home the cat is very old and if the litter box isn't scooped twice a day, there will be a puddle on the floor in front of it. That cat is gregarious and happy to be petted and talked to and not retaliatory in her accidents.

You mentioned a number of other gadgets here I didn't think to enumerate. Yet I also have a long of the analog versions of those things that get a fair amount of use as well. Knives and cutting board vs chopper, etc. Usually the decision is based upon the amount of cleanup involved versus time to do the task.


01 Jun 21 - 06:26 PM (#4108478)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

It seems that, as aging tomcats are wont to do, Watson has developed struvite crystalluria. The vet says I caught it early enough that it can be treated with a special diet that is, of course, not cheap.

No kidney stones, which tend to be fatal in cats, and no infection. Grateful for small mercies, me. The vet’s bill was not small, but neither was it as bad as I feared it might be.

I hoofed over to my fiddler friend’s house this morning and we played tunes for an hour and a half in her garden. Later in the afternoon, once Watson was resettled at home, I took a trot around the neighbourhood, checking out the annual explosion of lilac blossom. According to my Fitbit, I logged more than five miles today, and my wonky foot DOES NOT HURT!

So, all in all, a good day.


02 Jun 21 - 11:14 AM (#4108544)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Has anyone else ever noticed how difficult it is to put on socks and shoes when there are dogs in the room? They see your bending over or exposed foot as an invitation to schmooze. My socks and tie-up shoes are for yard work today (I started mowing the back yesterday, wearing flats, just because I wanted to get a start on the tall grass, but they aren't made for that kind of work.) This morning I heard a mower running in the neighborhood but I'm waiting for the dew to dry, it is such a gooshy job otherwise.

I stepped on the scale this morning - I need to work on weight loss now that I've been on synthyroid for a month. This morning's numbers reveal that the ice cream and chocolate plan doesn't contribute to that goal. The mowing and dog-walking activities might help.

Good catch on the cat pee problem source. You'll both be more comfortable as the food works to bring that under control. I need to pull up Charmion's Brother's link to the thunder shirt (I did some research - and does Charmion's Brother have a regular name as well as that moniker? Thank you!) and see if I can offer Pepper some extra reassurance when it comes to thunderstorms. They're reasonably priced and offer a good return policy. What's not to love?

I made the final corrections to the sewing machine manual, OCR and printing a copy for the sewing room. I need to get a good set of small screwdrivers to keep in there. I have lots of oddball tools, but one of the guys on YouTube who repairs machines said he made a point of getting a good set of what I think are stainless steel or high-carbon tools to avoid stripping screws and such. I'll look at his video again before I head over to Lowe's.


02 Jun 21 - 09:39 PM (#4108586)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Stilly, the company is called Thunderworks, and the product in question is ThunderShirt (note fancy capitalization).

Their website is www.thundershirt.com


03 Jun 21 - 08:57 AM (#4108614)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion's brother Andrew

Stilly, my familiar name is right there in the "From" line.

Major (retired) Andrew Bartholomew Chaplin, CD, BA
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
:)


03 Jun 21 - 09:24 AM (#4108618)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

BA, CD, RSVP and Bar, VD and Scar … ;-)


03 Jun 21 - 10:30 AM (#4108628)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion's brother Andrew

... CCM and Sprocket, Handlebar (no grip)


03 Jun 21 - 10:51 AM (#4108630)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Of course it's there - I just always saw "Charmion's brother" and stopped reading at that. :) Thank you, Andrew!

It is entirely possible to have days jam-packed full of stuff to do, even if you're retired. Today is one of those. I have a batch of my famous dinner rolls rising (I season them with granulated garlic and dried oregano, and use olive oil instead of shortening) while I prepare for three events and one change of clothes. Haircut, museum class, museum class party (with rolls). In between, return library book, stop by Halal grocery store. By having less time I end up doing more because I have to prioritize and overlap (I can do several other things while the rolls rise and then bake. When I have all day long, well, sometimes things don't get done. Mañana.

This is my first event since anything in early 2020; I don't know anyone so it won't be as exciting as a party of friends and family, but I'll take it. We've come a long way since we met early this year, pre-vaccines, as a family for our xmas holiday at a fast food (Panda Express) restaurant equidistant from our homes, ate our takeout in our cars, then hopped in and out of our vehicles to do the gift exchange in the open air, all the while wearing masks. I'll still have my mask today, but to be indoors with other people will be a second (since museum class today is our first together after months of Zoom).


03 Jun 21 - 10:41 PM (#4108680)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

My insurance company is offering a targeted exercise and PT program through remote devices and I've signed up for the knee and hip exercises. As the thyroid adjustment makes everything feel better when it moves, I now need to conquer the bursitis and strengthen the non-surgery knee. My hands and joints aren't stiff like they were before the thyroid, so now I can comfortably start exercising.

Today was busy but tomorrow I'll be home to finish mowing the lawn - this time tackling the front. And the last two veggie beds. We have a long growing season here, so it isn't late, but it could have been going quite a while ago.

It is four weeks until my street's quarterly bulky waste pickup, so I need to use this time to finish some of the fence work (old slats go down to the curb) and cut a bunch of the privet growing in the back yard and lug that out to the front (it's an invasive shrub here and is mixed into the trees growing above the creek beyond my back fence). The yard work is good exercise, but in a general way. Perhaps between the two activities I'll whittle off some weight.

Lilyfestre posted progress photos on Facebook this week and is showing excellent progress in her health goals. That's great inspiration!


04 Jun 21 - 12:17 PM (#4108753)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

The back yard was mostly mowed (I missed the edge strip behind the garage) but the front yard, that I hoped to mow this morning, has been rained on for a couple of hours so far this morning. Maybe mow tomorrow afternoon if this ends now.

The office desk is stacked with papers, things that need attention. I've had a busy week and now a few quiet days may see me getting caught up. Yesterday evening I went to a party with other museum volunteers, and took a batch of my homemade yeast dinner rolls. They had a large honey-baked ham (a US brand, not sure if it's regional, good spiral cut bone-in hams) that went nicely with the rolls. Or vice-versa. I didn't leave any here at home for me, so I'll make another batch today then share a few and freeze the rest. It's warm here but we're not yet into the weather when cooking becomes a ponderous chore.

Activities to address this month include the above-mentioned fence and pruning, I have a 10-day cat-sitting gig that I can use as a springboard for other activities (it puts me close enough to that gym I was thinking about rejoining after COVID to make multiple trips up there during that time). And eBay. There's a pent-up supply of things to list there.

As a special annoying bonus, I have a limited amount of time to re-do my income taxes and file a protest with their decision to keep most of my refund. The "adjustment" they made was a mistake, suggesting I was changing my income level to take credit for alimony payments. Now that's totally out of the blue and clearly a human error.


04 Jun 21 - 05:23 PM (#4108818)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Days after Watson came home from overnighting with the vet, Isobel is still treating him like a stranger. Arched back, bottle-brush tail, hissing and swearing — she’s clearly convinced that this creature is not her brother.

Sigh.

They are both eating the special prescription diet with every evidence of enthusiasm, so at least that part is going okay.


05 Jun 21 - 10:56 AM (#4108900)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

The time I tried to merge outside dogs with indoor cats, my pitbull Cinnamon tried to play with the calico. We heard a ruckus in the bedroom where Cinnamon had Clementine by the leg (not a bite, she caught her gently) - but Clementine turned and bit the dog so hard she broke her own jaw. Two vet visits, for the injured cat and the dog needed antibiotics for the cat bite. After the cat came home, she smelled so much like the vet that a tussle with the other cat happened and one of them ended up with a bite that abscessed on the chest. I was pouring hundreds of dollars into the vet's bank accounts at xmas and decided to leave the dogs sleeping in the garage at night and in yard or garage by day. After the last cat passed away I didn't get any more, so the dogs could come in the house.

More. Rain. Today. I can't effing believe it. We've literally gone weeks with rain almost every day. I live in a rain prairie (since there isn't much of a forest here.)

Anxiously awaiting the delivery by mail of my new Zenni glasses. I'm tired of this on-again-off-again reading glasses for close work. I think I'll report more progress on projects around here once I am back to moving around through space all day with all of my vision clear. The cataract surgery did a great thing for distance vision and such, but we spend a lot of time looking at things up close, as I have been very aware since the second eye was fixed.


05 Jun 21 - 11:10 AM (#4108902)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Isobel deigned to share the lap with Watson this morning. Crisis over.

Except, of course, for cleaning two Oriental rugs (the other casualty is a small red Turkmen from Kabul), and paying for the whole adventure. Watson should return to the cat hospital in three weeks for another urine sample to find out whether the special diet is doing the job. Rinse and repeat (probably literally).

Meanwhile, in other news, I finally replaced the cross-cut shredder that died about a year after we moved to Stratford. I took another look at the bylaw on open fires and realized that burning the tightly packed contents of at least two more banker's boxes would definitely attract official attention, and not in a good way. So back I went to the Staples website.

The instructions that came with this machine tell me what I did to kill its predecessor, which was not accompanied by a users' manual. Maximum 16 pages at a time, and no more than 20 minutes of shredding before letting the machine cool for 30 minutes. Now I wonder how our first shredder lasted as long as it did.

The investment broker sent a clutch of documents for me to sign. Can it be ... ? Finally, after eight months of nagging, is it possible ... ? But the investment company's delay means that Edmund's estate can't be finally closed and settled until the 2021 income tax returns are completed and assessed.

That sucks.


06 Jun 21 - 11:27 AM (#4109046)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

The investment company playing Big Brother - definitely an organization to extricate yourself from asap.

The only way I would burn here is with the closed burning barrel; people talk about burning papers in their fireplaces, but laying papers in doesn't work well, it isn't safe. There used to be a fireplace insert called the "Elizabeth burner" (as seen on TV) that had maybe a dozen tall cast iron upright dividers so papers could be slid in between each upright. Think of the bulk of a fully-loaded Sunday New York Times in each crevice. The effect was that air got in to keep it burning for about an hour and they burned consistently in that vertical position but there weren't ashes and embers flying up the chimney.

I have two shredders; tucked behind the paper recycling basket in the kitchen is a small crosscut one (three sheets at a time) and the small lengths of mangled paper fill up the bin fairly quickly. In the office, for things I want to shred but have less critical content, they go into the larger capacity straight shredder. (The x-cut is in the kitchen because that's where I open the mail, and I decide right away what kind of shredding is called for.)

I have several small antique Persian carpets that are kept in a room the dogs aren't allowed into often (they're supervised if they're in there). When I had cats that was even more the case.

Today will include a run to the Goodwill donation center since I have to go by the nearby post office. I ordered some re-fillable replacement trimmer spools and after distinguishing my billing from my house shipping address, the inattentive company sent it to the post office (if you're lucky, this involves a key in the PO Box and picking up the item in the parcel cabinets; if not, it means queueing during business hours to have one of the staff make the long walk to someplace out of sight and appear five minutes later with your parcel.) I'll make that part of an errand loop that includes a grocery store and Tractor Supply for dog food.

Humid as hell today, so while mowing is necessary, it may not happen (or only a part of the yard.)


06 Jun 21 - 04:56 PM (#4109087)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

BEAVER!!:

Time flies when... So I read through the posts since my last one and am overwhelmed and enthralled- by the amount of papers that need shredding, by the gimmicks of strange and mysterious ... I have no idea. Living off the grid for 15 years and planning to live off for the previous years, I avoided all things electrical for the most part. You guys are talking a foreign language. I do have 3 blenders - all from thrift shops, all in good working order, rarely used now. Life has been simplified to - I don't cook much, almost never bake, If it takes more then 15 minutes...

Two books of ?    I really am starting to lose words - getting disconcerting. Oh yeah, passwords. One sheet of paper folded in half and copied so I have a copy in each of strategic places. Have misplaced my Air Miles card and they want the number and my last two addresses. They can send me an email advertising some... Why can't they find me in their system??? I don't remember how long I have had it or what address I used... They also want a picture of my driver's license with certain things blacked out... I cannot figure that out either... It has actually earned a bit for me in spite of the paucity of my purchases. I will re-visit later.

But I did get here on Tuesday as planned. Turned on the already loaded kiln, only to have it quit, sometime before 9 pm; put in new fuses (I thought), still did not work. Oh well. Texted neighbour re cutting the jungle. He arrived with multiple devices before 9 am. YAY!

Exhausted as usual but did errands on Weds, visited friends in their yard. Talked their ears off and mentioned my kiln problem. Michael informed me he is an electrician and once worked in a pottery studio. He said he would come on Friday afternoon. He did. He showed me how to use that meter in the K drawer to see if a fuse was any good. (one was not- why was it in the box...?) Did the firing on Saturday, Unloaded on Sunday, waxed bottoms and everything is out in the wood shed as it is too hot to work. That's today! I did throw two plates for Erica and a few smaller items and readied clay for more plates and... Also today. Now it is 85 in the studio. The plates are drying!! Cooked a batch of rhubarb, will freeze it and take it back for R. (Do not like it.)

I have been getting some clearing up done in house and studio and lots of weeding, visit with Sue(next door neighbour) in the screen house on Friday. Took pots to shop and picked up my earnings. Arranged an earlier second shot - on 10 June!! I am staying until 19th then going back to be there for R as he has his second on 24th. Les is visiting me the afternoon of my shot and I asked to check on me on the next day. I think I will arrange to text her "And if you don't hear from me, maybe you could check".

Have eaten too much, maybe due to exhaustion. Read an incredible Autobiography on line, SRS: You might enjoy: https://www.harlanhouse.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/2019%20HHBK-FINAL.pdf

no blue clicky - my brain cannot deal with any more tech stuff.

Great pics of amazing pots and a story full of - well, "things happen..." R was enthralled.

Harlan is a world class potter with attitude. I took a week long course from him years ago and ... "a Zen potter"... I learned I would never do porcelain but it was a great week. "We were saving for a frig when we met this puppy... The frig still works." He brought the Akita to class.

Weeding is very bad for my shoulder which I need for potting... I was happy potting this am and happy that I managed to throw the two plates easily. I need bats to do plates and I seem to have left a couple at Dupont - brought what I thought but wrong ones. So I shall have to throw two, wait for them to be dry enough ... Tomorrow...

Time for a salad. 77 in the house. OK as long as I don't move much.

I added your link, Dorothy. :) ---mudelf


07 Jun 21 - 09:02 AM (#4109168)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Stonking heat in Stratford yesterday; a bit better today, according to Environment Canada. I'll believe it when I see it. The Perth County summer is well and truly under way.

The lilacs are still blooming, and their heady scent will pervade the neighbourhood until the next upwind pig farmer power-washes his barn. Folks are entertaining in their back yards (five people allowed!) and strolling the riverbanks in packs. Ice cream queues snake down the street. We still have no visitors, so the locals are enjoying amenities the tourists normally crowd us out of. Likewise, there's plenty of parking.

I'll know we're back to the pre-COVID status quo when out-of-town cars again jam the space currently occupied by restaurant patios, and townies return to griping about finding nowhere to park near the pub and the post office.

After my prolonged orgy of paper-shredding, I have no desire to do anything resembling work once the carpet cleaners have taken away the pissed-on rugs. I shall probably spend the afternoon on Zoom with Joe Offer and the Mudcat singaround, which has reached its first anniversary.

I made whiskey sours last night. My lemon produced enough juice for two drinks, so I shook 'em up and poured one serving into a cocktail glass and the other into a small Mason jar that went into the fridge for future reference.

Even five years ago I would have drunk both. Moderation snuck up on me when I wasn't looking.


07 Jun 21 - 12:24 PM (#4109195)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I wasn't sure what time it was when I woke today - heavy overcast and thunderstorms have it so dark the porch lights came on. Taking trash to the curb was a wet operation (I had to go twice because I forgot to empty the vacuum for the first trip out).

I finished binge-reading the most recent of the Robert Galbraith/Cormoran Strike mysteries. They're very entertaining, but there is a lot of talking and I imagine they're not for everyone (though they seem to be bestsellers). In the UK they have televised version of them, but I won't be watching. In particular, the male actor they selected is a lightweight compared to the character Strike in the novels. Not tall enough, burly enough, or heavy enough. Since appearance is such a feature of this character (a disabled army veteran, having lost a lower-leg from an IED) I think I'll pass. I'd rather have the version in my head than the BBC or whoever produced it version.


07 Jun 21 - 03:51 PM (#4109223)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Knowing soldiers as I do, I have a very clear mental picture of Cormoran Strike: large and lumpy, and massive in combat clothing and body armour. I doubt there's an actor working today with that body type, or the bulky muscle that comes from training for deployment and extensive soldiering outside the wire.


07 Jun 21 - 06:06 PM (#4109255)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Except for being too old, Robbie Coltrane (who is even heavier than Strike) kind of fills the bill. Size and presence. I was looking through IMDB for character actors - just a mental game - when Adam Baldwin plays heavies or bad guys, he really has that hulking presence. For someone like him, add darker hair and gaining a few pounds would come pretty close. (At one point in the most recent novel he named his weight as 16 stone, it comes out about 225 lbs. He isn't Nero Wolfe.) I'm thinking in particular of a guest appearance Baldwin did on a couple of episodes of Castle.

Oh, well. They're interesting, well-developed characters with the flaws in plain sight. The Scottish sub-contractor Sam Barclay really cracks me up. I had to look up the spellings on character names because I listened to the audio book, I didn't see them written. Una in my head versus Oonagh on the page.

After raining much of today, the sun is out and my new glasses finally arrived. It took a very little time to adjust back to the bifocal placement, and it feels much more normal walking around and looking at things without putting on and removing the readers. I pulled a half-dozen pairs of my old glasses to donate over at the optometrists office where I have taken old glasses in the past. None of them would be helpful if something happened to this new pair.

I decided against making my convoluted shopping run now because it's just about rush hour; I can do some of this later before stores close. For several days I put off running around because I wanted to just walk out the door with regular glasses, not have a mask around my neck and the glasses loop around my neck and the spare sunglasses in my pack (I have a slip-on glasses from the previous pair that will work since it's the same frame.) In the past at the optometrist's office I usually ended up choosing new frames because they didn't have the same frames from before that I liked, but so far Zenni has let me use the same favorite frames three times.

There is a smallish dog sitting at my elbow emoting loudly - I think this is the "we haven't gone for a walk in a while" complaint that I will respond to closer to their dinner time. A walk and then dinner is a good combination and we can all use the exercise.


08 Jun 21 - 11:24 AM (#4109340)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Beaver:

Taking a break this am. Hoping for rain but did a load of laundry and hung it out just now. So it might get wet... A re-rinse won't hurt - good country rain. And desperately needed. Rained enough yesterday and last night to dampen the surfaces. Still waiting for turtles to nest!

Started work at 7:30 am yesterday, until about 11, then a short nap, then more until about 5. Needed a book! Tried to reach a friend to no avail. Desperately went to the drug store - thrift shops and book store closed in lockdown. The Drug store books started at $8 EACH! $24 for anything interesting - a book that would take me 2-3 days to read! Went home.

Phoned Carol, who has twice helped me get my vaccine arranged - 2nd on Thurs!!! "When all else fails, call Carol!" She checked and phoned back; had some on way to thrift shop; I could come over... I went and we had a nice visit on their deck by the lake. Her husband joined us. I talked their ears off and thought, later, of some more interesting things we could have discussed. John was interested in my new car; He helped me a couple times with the old one! And helped me find the wonderfully handy Dan.

Two bags of books and a number of good to possibly. Started with a translation of a Danish book, thinking I would reject it but found it interesting; I has never occurred to me that people actually live in Greenland, and move to Denmark... Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg is a murder mystery which so far appears to be based on her fine understanding of snow - foot prints, and her fascination with Euclids Elements! Intriguing!

So, my break: Six plates drying to trim, other items trimmed and drying, and others drying to trim. My idea of throwing another batch hit the wall this am. Still have done no glazing of the large quantity awaiting - in the wood shed.

So I washed my hair and did laundry and went on line and discovered our area may come out of lockdown on Friday so Pat can re-open the shop, so I better glaze and fire so she has some new pottery stock - today! It is not so deadly hot; I shall finish my break and get on with it. she says with hope of re-surfacing energy!

AS I scrolled through emails, I realized the break is going to take longer... Maybe back to bed for a while... A real rain might help...

I de-cluttered a number of aloe vera and spider plants by taking them to the local horticultural society plant sale!

Oh darn, the toilet is leaking around the bottom!!!!!! I going back to bed.


09 Jun 21 - 06:40 AM (#4109443)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

My gardening hasn’t gone as well as I’d hoped. I hadn’t realised but the Swiss chard plug plants I bought were meant to be potted on before being planted out. What I’ve got doesn’t look very well but there are new green leaves starting on some plants so there is still hope. A couple of hanging basket tomatoes look ok but my other few outside ones are struggling. I think I’ll blame the May weather and having to make a decision with plants getting straggly indoors more than me for that. I’ve lost a row of French climbing beans and I don’t know why. Some replacements are on order.

I’m very annoyed with Suttons and my clubroot resistant brassica collection. The plants, which I potted on yesterday and may yet pick up, arrived in poor condition. Not only that, they couldn’t be bothered labelling which plants are which. I’m not planting (and don’t have space for) all 22 here but had hoped to sort out my own subset and give the others away. I can’t tell which are cabbage, callabrese, sprouts or cauliflower.

On a brighter note, greenhouse stuff, potatoes, leeks, lettuce, courgettes are looking fine.

I’ve got a fly screen for the patio door coming today (dad wants the door open in this warm spell and mum is getting bothered about possibilities of bugs and birds getting in…) so, depending on when it comes, I might try to fit that later. I’m not sure what that will involve but I’m reluctant to drill and screw into the UPVC frame. Perhaps I’ll see a better way with a bracket, perhaps not… One thing there is that is by any remote chance I could picture a simple (it would need to be simple..) bracket to help, I could possibly draw it and print it.

We’re having more visitors this week, I think just for an afternoon and the only thing I’ve been asked to do for it is to make a chocolate sponge cake. Even though we have all had our second jabs here, I’m not sure I’m comfortable with people calling from away yet. There again, we don’t see many people and it will probably be nice for my parents. I think they’ve known one another since the 1950s, starting with dad and Ray both being stationed at RAF Pembrey for National Service.


09 Jun 21 - 09:46 AM (#4109461)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

That sounds like a pretty area, Jon, where your father was stationed. I pulled up Google Earth and found a 360o photo to show me the dunes along the beach.

I'm glad you were able to find some books, Dorothy! I keep a shelf of old mysteries in my guest room for the couple of friends who are always starting or finishing a book when they arrive, and always read before bed.

Today is yard day. I was able to pick up the trimmer spools and find they may be the exact size as the ones I already had for the last electric trimmer; I'll compare and see if I can use all of them for this new one. The direction the spools are refilled is different though - upper and lower spool channels go the same direction on these, they were alternating on the old trimmer. Anyway, first thing is to trim down around the driveway and garden, then get out the 10% vinegar, mix in a little d-limonene (orange oil) and use it to spray down some weeds (an organic formula).

I'm going to start going to the gym again; I need to re-memorize my combination padlock numbers.


09 Jun 21 - 10:43 AM (#4109468)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

I believe it is nice, SRS, though I've never been there.

Strimmer line seems to last me a good while with the bits I do but I've got most of the battery one I broke as spares and have its spool wound up and ready for use. I bought a complete spare head for the petrol one. In this case, the spools are quite different and use different lines. As well as the makers one, the petrol one would probably take this Oregon one and similar. Replacing the other would need something designed for it.


09 Jun 21 - 11:57 AM (#4109475)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I have a hard time keeping my gas trimmer running; the ethanol gasoline here eats up the fuel lines after a year or two and I need to keep replacing those. The last time I tried to replace the silicone fuel pump bubble thing I found I didn't have the correct size. That one has a robust heavier line and I like using it when I get it running.

I'll be using that new pair of safety glasses (that have a bifocal feature added) for my trimming today. If I care for them (avoid scratches when stashing in my gardening apron, etc.) they may be a nice gardening upgrade.


09 Jun 21 - 09:19 PM (#4109547)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

The grass outside was so tall and moist that it looks more like I used a scythe on it instead of a mower. I took my time using the weed whacker to edge along the driveway and side of the garden and part of the front yard. Not wanting to run it until the motor overheated I came in periodically to do office work. I mowed before the mosquitoes were too much around and last thing I took out some mosquito dunks and broke them in to pieces to drop in bird baths, the saucers under potted plants, etc.

For tomorrow I'll go through my various pairs of yoga pants and decide what fits best (thank dog for spandex!) and head to the gym for a while after I do some museum volunteer work. In choosing an audio book to take along I decided to follow up a reference I had to look up while reading the last Strike novel. At one point there is a conversation about Morlocks - all of this time and I have never read H.G. Wells' The Time Machine. She also references Anna Karenina and Spencer's The Fairy Queen, and there is no way I'm going to reread Karenina or start the other, but I am interested in Wells. With Tolstoy, once is more than enough.


10 Jun 21 - 08:02 AM (#4109562)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

It can be amazing how quickly grass (and at least here other things including cow parsley, hogweed and thistles) can grow when condition are right. It's not come to this but I've worried about times when I've been out of action and the grass is growing. The next step would be running the trimmer up the track. Doable (within reason with what I have) but more work than regularly running the mower along it.


10 Jun 21 - 10:33 AM (#4109575)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

This trimmer is heavier than the last couple I've used, but it also has a more powerful motor. And after using it for an hour I realized I could adjust the handle position and it felt much better. (Default was set for a much taller user.)

The humidity, leftover from weeks of rain, is pretty awful, but the daytime temperatures aren't so high that the air conditioner runs enough to remove the moisture in the house. I'm going to be running it a few degrees lower than usual before bed, then adjusting it back to a higher setting and use the ceiling fan. (I have a long microfiber duster that this year I used on the fans all through the house, so they're good to go without dropping dusty specks.) Strategies for sleeping.

Must find my gym locker lock combination and refresh my memory.


10 Jun 21 - 11:39 AM (#4109577)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

For tropical rain of inches per hour, today I placed hundreds of lbs of sand bags to divert an impromtu stream. Along with 25 bags of colored mulch that I put around the house and front fence, I am prepared to tackle the pool cover removal and related jobs. Trimmers are tricky manicuring where grass meets concrete so I will probably hire out the 700 feet of trimming. For a couple years I have used a trimmer to carve a maze in the grass.https://www.theedkins.co.uk/jo/maze/design/index.htm



.


10 Jun 21 - 12:45 PM (#4109588)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Today I cut down the dwarf purple lilac in the back yard. The enormous pink lilac beside the garage is quite enough for one small suburban property, and I’d rather let the lavender bush expand into that space.

It’s amazing what can be done with a pair of really big loppers once you get started.


10 Jun 21 - 01:15 PM (#4109591)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

I brought a tiny bit of lilac (there is a small bush, I think mum must have planted, in the field) in earlier this week and shoved it in a small earthenware pot in the hall. I also picked a couple of daises, forget-me-nots and scarlet pimpernel and stuffed them in their own similar sized pots. I don't suppose they will last long but mum quite likes my "floral arrangement".


10 Jun 21 - 02:14 PM (#4109594)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

On loppers, we got a big telescopic ratcheting one when I was thinking of clearing behind the pigsties. I suppose in one way, needing 3 or 4 pulls to cut can be a pain but, on the other, they made light work of getting through elder over 1" in diameter - something I'd have really struggled with otherwise.


10 Jun 21 - 04:32 PM (#4109601)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

All of May goes to eradicaton of new bamboo. A good kick will knock over a new tender sprout thats growing an astonishing 2 meters a day but I have loppers than can bring down 2 inch thick mature bamboo. I use the bamboo to support the roof of the car port. They also make good 15 m. teepee poles. Asian neighbors pick them and say the sprouts are good to eat but I haven't tried them. An axe and sledgehammer is required to get rid of a stubborn mature stump. ugh


10 Jun 21 - 05:27 PM (#4109605)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I have a friend who has bamboo in his back yard. He talks about keeping it under control by going out every year and using a long narrow "sharp shooter" shovel to slice down into the tubers or runners or whatever the rhizome roots are called that let it spread.

This is the time of year to shift my sleeping schedule so I can get up earlier in the morning for yard work. It's too hot to do much from midday on. I may mow the back for a while after the worst of the heat has passed and before the mosquitoes are out. It sometimes takes a couple of days to finish one of the yards when it's really hot.


10 Jun 21 - 09:14 PM (#4109622)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

At midnight tonight, Ontario moves out of lockdown and into the first phase of reopening. No haircuts yet, but patio dining is allowed.

So le tout Stratford will go out for lunch. Including me.

Woot! Woot!

(Is that still a thing?)


10 Jun 21 - 11:19 PM (#4109628)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I ate a sandwich in a small shop on Tuesday for the first time in 16 months; there was only one other diner in there that time of day. I stopped by McDonald's at lunch today and they still have indoor dining cordoned off; I ate my burger in the SUV.

Tomorrow I'll be disturbing weeds and mulch in the parts of the new garden area that didn't get planted yet. I have a bunch of small Swiss chard to plant and an extra okra and some basil. Two squash seeds have just emerged in small pots and they'll go in the ground soon. And I have sweet potato starts also. A lot of moving of dirt and weeds.


11 Jun 21 - 11:53 AM (#4109699)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

This morning I woke realizing I can't stand the state of the house. It's a combination of dust, clutter, and the humidity of summer. A clear and organized house simply feels cooler. More free room for air circulation (and it's also much easier to dust), so I've spent part of the morning picking up. I'm going to make a run to Goodwill this morning and that will clear several cubic feet.

I read this morning about the Emergent factory in Baltimore - given a huge responsibility to produce the Astra-Zenica and Johnson & Johnson vaccines - and they cross-contaminated them, rendering more than 100million vaccines unusable. People should be fired, people should be charged, and people should go to jail for such a careless operation. Lives will literally be lost without those vaccines. My house may be messy, but that house should be spotless. They got a lot of money from the Trump folks to be part of the bio-warfare supply chain, a sweetheart deal for Trump supporters. I guess they didn't think they'd actually have to do anything much to get to keep the cash. Someone is going to have to do a lot of decluttering and housework now.


11 Jun 21 - 05:52 PM (#4109740)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

Concurrent with the pandemic is the echo chamber of the less than successful and uneducated who bought into a vengeful psuedo victimhood by many well practiced con men. It would be wise to not arrest or direct malice upon them. Like the dillemma that Lincoln faced after the civil war, punishment only makes a percieved victimhood worse.

I can hang out with highly religious people, hippies or even the mentally ill but I can't even share a baseball game with an insurrectionist. Its probably best to forget who they are.
If the rich can own every single decade, the stupid should have at least one decade to call their own. But thats it.


11 Jun 21 - 06:07 PM (#4109742)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Goodwill and recycle bin run completed; I also found a few groceries that have been on the list for a while (had to go to a full-service grocery store for powdered milk and non-iodized salt). I also (finally!) found regular sized Ball canning lids and did what you're not supposed to do - I bought all eight boxes. I've been on fumes, hoping to find more because for the last 12 months or more none have been available and my supply had shrunk to less than a full box. I was prepared to pull out and use my various wide-mouth jars because those are the only lids available.

It's summer and I always have a jar of tea in the fridge to pour over ice; I'm going to have to shift the recipe. My quart jar with 2 green tea bags and a good-sized clump of lemon balm is delicious early in the day, but drinking it later in the day keeps me awake at night. So I'll switch to more lemon balm and one tea bag, see how that tastes. I'd rather use the herbs for the decaf tea than formulated black tea made to be decaf. That doesn't have any flavor, it's just colored water. It ranks up there with lite-mayonnaise and low-fat sour cream. Abominations.


11 Jun 21 - 11:02 PM (#4109764)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

This evening I read through the sewing machine repair manual chapter to do with the adjustments on my machine. There are two or three possible adjustments and one possible repair (replacing parts this old could be difficult). Instead of tackling it tonight I will read through this chapter several times over the next few days, and give it time to sink in before I take screwdriver to machine. I'm also going to put the book into my tablet so I can enlarge the photos of the illustrations (they printed out rather flat with not as much detail as before).

It turns out that this book may have a more detailed origin the book is "a condensation of a home study course currently under consideration by the Job Corps for inclusion in their curriculum." Researching the Job Corps program is a huge longshot, but it would be interesting to know what was contained in that course. The introduction is typically sexist, talking about women who have machines they don't understand, and men learning to repair them.


12 Jun 21 - 08:50 AM (#4109814)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

While drinking beer in the downtown market square yesterday, I received a phone call from Tony, my favourite carpenter. My basement windows have finally arrived from the supplier, and he wants to install them next week.

Well.

That means moving most if not all the items stowed in the Glory Hole to the garage, along with the contents of the three-section IKEA shelving unit on the back wall of the rec room. I might also have to empty about half the wine storage.

An athletic job, to say the least, so I think I should recruit the in-laws. Fortunately, the basement is chilly on the hottest day.


12 Jun 21 - 10:47 AM (#4109836)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Charmion, was everything in that space accessible until now? The old "clear a path" option doesn't work?

I have soaker hoses stored in the greenhouse to set up in the garden (not used last year when I didn't have much of a garden after knee surgery). It has been several days since our last big rain, and now the trick is to flocculate the soil so everything doesn't rot in place when watering commences. Hydrogen peroxide or shampoo added to a watering can helps. I'm not sure how the science of it works, but some of the folks who participate in my gardening forum have been playing around with this stuff for years. I also have to ascertain the amount of Cookie-the-destructive-puppy damage to the hoses, and reassemble my watering timer and build a barrier to keep her from shredding the wires again.

My 60/40 cloth patio cover is a hot mess, all shredded, and I need to put up the tarp that usually hangs off the side to keep the sun from hitting my glass back door. I think I need to cover the entire thing with the same kind of loose-weave tarp that I use for the sunshade; I was going to do hard plastic, but that involves a great deal of ladder work.


12 Jun 21 - 12:41 PM (#4109848)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

No, Stilly, it won’t.

The Glory Hole is a slice of the basement that was walled off about 20 years ago to hide the furnace, provide a small box room, and make a recreation space in the rest of the basement. It’s as long as the short side of the house but only about six feet wide, and it contains the furnace, the water heater, five sections of loaded IKEA shelving, and the wine. Two of the windows are in the Glory Hole.

Tony will do some of the installation work outside, but most of it, especially removing the the old windows, will happen inside. Tony’s a big guy — about six-two and 200 pounds, none of it fat — and he needs room to manipulate his tools and the framing materials as well as the window units themselves. Plus something to stand on, because the windows are at head level.

So the IKEA shelving has to come out, which means moving its contents first.

F*** my life.

But the basement will be soooo much better when the job is done.


12 Jun 21 - 01:48 PM (#4109859)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I enjoy watching This Old House, and am fascinated by the most complicated parts of any remodel/addon/etc. to do with the mechanical stuff. Getting down in the basement where the hot water and furnace and all are. When I was a kid had a pretty wonderful basement in the first house I remember living in, with the laundry at the bottom of the stairs and some rooms with doors on the other side of the space (in the autumn Mom hung up tomato plants so the fruits could ripen in one of those rooms, and used an indoor clothesline sometimes). On the south side of the house there were some long narrow (reminiscent of what you describe) rooms - one had my dad's tools and shop equipment, with a couple of very high windows to let light through from the next glass-fronted room that was parallel to it, under the back porch and extending along the width of the house. I now understand was a greenhouse area but I don't think my parents ever used it - I'd love to have something like that built in. (There was also a small building at the back of the lot where they used to keep chickens! I'd have loved to know the people who built that house and used those features!)

My next door neighbor is mowing my turf a little taller than I mowed last time, so I don't need to run out and mow myself for another day or two. (No fences or barriers, we just mow along the property line as demarked by the edge of the back yard fence and the light pole down at the curb.) The back really needs it, but the humidity is still high. I'm waiting for that point where the temperatures are hotter but the humidity drops, making work more comfortable. When you sweat and it evaporates, cooling you, versus right now if I mow I'll be drenched in sweat and just hot and sticky.


12 Jun 21 - 06:33 PM (#4109902)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

Mowing on a dry morning as early as 5AM is a pleasure.


12 Jun 21 - 07:31 PM (#4109916)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Do your neighbors enjoy that 5am wakeup call?


13 Jun 21 - 10:19 AM (#4109992)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

The basement is the guts of a house, and when things go wrong down there it can get ugly.

In the basement of my present abode, about eight non-specialized receptacles and five light fixtures are wired on a single circuit. (Consistent with the National Building Code, the furnace, washer and dryer are independently wired into the breaker panel.) The electronic thermostat and switching technology of the gas-fired water heater is on that circuit. When any other high-demand gadget (such as an electric kettle) is running when the water heater kicks on, the circuit-breaker trips. We learned about this special feature when the the kitchen was under construction and we were living in the basement. With no stove for nearly two months, we had the microwave, the toaster oven, the espresso machine and the electric kettle all plugged in down there. It took me a week to figure out how to make breakfast without unpleasant interruptions.

A childhood basement can be a place of mystery. The hundred-year-old clapboard house where my family lived when I was born was built long before central heating was dreamed of, with a rubble foundation and a dirt floor in the cellar. The retro-fitted furnace lived down there, along with the coal bin, the oil tank and the sump pump. More than that I do not know, for we kids were forbidden to go down there -- probably because our Mum was afraid we would do something awful to the furnace and set fire to the house. Also, dirt floor.

When we moved to the city in 1964, the new house was a great, solid Edwardian pile with a stone foundation and at least ten feet of headroom in the cellar, which was dominated by the largest, blackest furnace I have ever seen. The space was divided into five rooms, one of which I was unaware of until 1981, when I cleaned the place so my Dad could sell it. My brother had a darkroom down there that rapidly became his personal bolt-hole. Except for that area and the furnace room, which also accommodated the laundry equipment and a toilet, the rest of the cellar was devoted to the stuff my mother accumulated and absolutely refused to relinquish.

By the time she died, in 1980, that cellar was packed from the floor to the joists with all manner of materials, from old appliances and a set of false beams from the rectory down the street (eight of them, all quarter-sawn oak) to shoeboxes full of door knobs, hinges, thread spools, and porcelain junction boxes from the days of knob-and-tube wiring. It took me a week of hard manual labour, including a full day with "two men with truck" who tried to quit on me at lunch-time, to empty it from room to room, wall to wall.

So ... yeah. No wonder I'm a neatnik today.


13 Jun 21 - 10:36 AM (#4109996)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Five o'clock wake-up call -- at dawn this morning, it was Robins v Grackles in the driveway. What a racket.

The first lawn-mower kicked in at 0630. Today is Sunday. (Not that Sunday is any different from all the other Groundhog Days.)

Stratford is a very house-proud town, and lockdown made us particularly fussy about our gardens. Any time when it's not raining, somebody in the neighbourhood is firing up the mower, the weed-whacker or the hedge-trimmer.

About five o'clock this afternoon, when all the dogs are being walked and I'm on my porch with a beer, the Harley fan will embark on his daily promenade, all dressed up in studded leather so everybody can see just how cool he is. I don't think I've ever seen that bike go faster than about 40 kph.

On the whole, I think I prefer even the grackles.


13 Jun 21 - 12:59 PM (#4110018)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

These basement descriptions dovetail nicely with that BS: Who first lived in your house/pad ? thread. The house I remember best from my childhood is the one we moved to when I was about middle school aged, and I moved out of there after community college and heading to university. In thinking about it just yesterday I realized that were I to have to move back into that house, I'd feel trapped. It was distinctive in its looks, with a very thick steamed shingle roof meant to look like an English thatched cottage. The exterior was stucco. The walls were thick plaster and it had pretty wood floors, except in the back ground floor that was concrete topped with wall-to-wall carpet. It was the mustiest house I've ever lived in, built on a hillside weeping with small springs. French drains barely touched the problem. And my mother smoked like a chimney. Add all of that and you have an olfactory quagmire that made your clothes and hair smell bad if you visited. I moved out as soon as I could and never spent the night there if I could help it. I hope the new owner has resolved the musty smell.

The basement in that house was under about 3/4 of the house, with a crawlspace into the remaining section. There was wall of cabinets set up down there that had originally been in the kitchen, but for some reason relocated and a new set built upstairs. I think it's because the woman who built the house was tiny and the counters in the kitchen were all pretty low for our very tall family. The rest of the space was a sloping area with a couple of windows allowing in some light, and one corner we tried to turn into a sort of rec area, but it was never very comfortable. There were windows over a soapstone sink (the laundry had been down there until relocated into the mudroom next to the kitchen). The window over the sink looked into the two-car garage that had really interesting wooden doors that had to be pushed from one side to the other. We were disappointed when it was replaced with a regular old aluminum door that rolled up. There was a sundeck on top of the garage, but we didn't use it often. There was one time, probably in my mid-20s, when I spent the night at the house and Mom left for work and locked the door. She had replaced all of the locks (even the basement door into the garage) with double keyed locks and I couldn't get out of the house. I was on the verge of climbing out of a back window or jumping down from the back of the sundeck when my brother returned home and I could leave. And that was the last time I stayed there.


13 Jun 21 - 01:40 PM (#4110021)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

Well I didn't mow until 10AM but it is a whisper quiet electric and besides has headlamps. i recommend spray Dry Lube with teflon for all mowers for several reasons, clean up and lube.
Crawl spaces should not ever be built. If anyone has a notion to store anything in a crawl space don't do it! It will mold.
At our pre civil war farm I did some crawl space work under a newer part of the house.
Fish hooks! were the worst. Fiberglass came in second.


13 Jun 21 - 04:40 PM (#4110036)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

I had it easy this pandemic go around. I was not an essential worker forced to work. I had company. We relied on delivery but not door dash or grub hub. An unspoken white priviledge was possibly at its core.
I had N-95 masks from the beggining. There was not a weather emergency or other natural disaster. I did not get infected by blind luck. If I had close calls I was gratefully unaware. We were not compulsive about surfaces and cleaning.
There will be more pandemics where the infected have only a 33% survival rate but they will be fungal in nature and CRISPR messenger rna technology may be of no help. Already almost 2 million have died from aparticular fungal infection but it passes unobserved by the population as a normal occurance over time. Spores are different than virus.

Other people's experience of loss is tragically the opposite experience I encountered. In this case luck was better than being good.

As for decluttering yard sales are still not doing well. There is alot on freecycle


13 Jun 21 - 06:57 PM (#4110045)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Don, did you read this? Deadly Fungi Are the Newest Emerging Microbe Threat All Over the World
"These pathogens already kill 1.6 million people every year, and we have few defenses against them"

The tomatoes are beginning to show signs of ripening, so I'm needing to clear more space in the freezer. I don't usually freeze tomatoes, but I have other crops that go in there and they'll start coming in at about the same time.

I'd forgotten that you're one of the silent mowers with a battery or electric machine. Probably less impact on the neighbors early in the morning. I'm going to get out the battery reciprocating saw - it turns out I didn't miss bulky waste pickup, it's this week. So I have a few limbs and small shrubs to lop off and drag to the curb tomorrow.


14 Jun 21 - 07:01 AM (#4110099)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

My remarks are based on that finding.
Just don't lop of your own limbs.


14 Jun 21 - 07:07 AM (#4110100)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

Here in town Novavax is seeking FDA approval for a new vaccine for the US and UK https://ir.novavax.com/news-releases/news-release-details/novavax-covid-19-vaccine-demonstrates-893-efficacy-uk-phase-3


14 Jun 21 - 11:51 AM (#4110142)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Yesterday's weather showed a gradual drying in the atmosphere, but overnight some small thunderstorms passed through (no rain here) and the air is really humid again. Ugg. As it gets hotter this will resolve itself - it's a hard thing to say that I wish it will get hotter so the air will be more comfortable.

I made progress decluttering surfaces in the house this weekend. Now to clear them of the dust. And to mow the whole yard. And put soaker hoses in the vegetable garden. And finish working on the fence and the gate. And bulky waste. . . my summer is full of work around here.


14 Jun 21 - 07:52 PM (#4110197)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

After a sweaty hour I have harvested most of this year's garlic. There are always a few I miss because the tops rotted away pretty fast—I'm going to dig out the area to put in cucumbers and will probably find a few more. I always leave behind a few corms (and even if I tried to get every single one that forms on the outside of the cloves, I'd miss a bunch) for next year's crop.


14 Jun 21 - 09:56 PM (#4110210)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: pattyClink

Speaking of garlic! In an attempt to slag off the next ten pounds I have been dutifully fixing salads. A drifter who joined our camp at Quartzsite this winter served sliced raw garlic as a salad add-on, and it seemed like a great idea to mimic, healthy.

So, I got some and it worked fine for a few cloves. Then I bought a fresh head. It had some purple streaking on its outer peel.

Was insanely hot, like a habanero or something!   

I had no idea garlic could be crazy hot. Is it the purple ones that are the problem? Is there someway to avoid devil cloves???


14 Jun 21 - 10:32 PM (#4110212)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Yes, garlic can be hot. The variety I have here is a hard-neck milder type of elephant garlic that is probably a cross between garlic and a leek. It's wild, in Austin they apparently call it something like "ditch garlic." Up here in North Texas I dug up the first one or two in the woods across the road and transplanted to my yard. I'll have garlic here forevermore.

Have you tried roasting it? My father swore by it, and I keep meaning to try it. It gives you a mellow flavor.


15 Jun 21 - 12:49 AM (#4110220)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

Speaking of pandemic, we owe a deep debt of gratitude to science and to the Hugarian woman who devoted her life to studying messenger rna BUT last but not least to the Wuhan Novel Corona Virus Lab (actual sign on the building)
Without that lab the virus may have never existed.
Or maybe a bat shat on a pangolin.

For 20 years I have 'whinged' about bio war and an engineered novel virus that was a combination of two virus. It was not my only issue but my elders and contemporaries critisized by doom and gloom scenario be it from deduction, predaliction, psychic phenomenon or wild imagination. I ignore but comment on the slings and arrows along the way.

So for my next prediction 'more people will call their Senator than ever before this summer' and have fun like there is a shortage in the supply chain.


15 Jun 21 - 03:45 AM (#4110227)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

We had our own new potatoes for tea yesterday. I had put 2 tubers in each to two of the tubs to try and I've pulled up the crop in one tub. I got enough for reasonable portions for the 3 of us. I'll leave the other tub for a couple of weeks. It's always nice when you get things, even small tasters like this from your own garden.


15 Jun 21 - 10:26 AM (#4110256)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

I spent all of Monday morning on the phone and writing emails. The choir executive is in crisis: after many years of chummy deference to the conductor (whom we pay $20,000 per year), half the board has degenerated into a clique of fangirls, and the other half wants to quit. We might actually be allowed to start rehearsing again this fall, so ... here's a problem that contains an opportunity. The choir badly needs to shake itself out of the 1990s, recruit new members and learn to market itself to a larger audience, so doesn't it make sense to overhaul the leadership team? In fact, I don't think the choir will survive if we don't.

But the choir president wants to retire and I, as the current vice-president, am likely to find myself in the top chair when the over-reaching conductor realizes the extent of the changes to come. Then the rubber will hit the road.

All the thinking, talking and writing quite drained me flat by noon. So I had a peanut butter sandwich for lunch and went out to play tunes. Two hours of diddly music reset my head, but then I was *really* tired.

Watson got me up at five this morning, but it's a beautiful day -- not too hot, not too humid. I'll take a stroll downtown and back, a distance of about four miles, and call that exercise.


15 Jun 21 - 10:46 AM (#4110257)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: pattyClink

Thanks SRS, I thought I was going nuts. Roasting? not with the microwave I travel with.   But yes, long ago a Greek restaurateur delighted us with mashed garlic he had oven roasted, very nice. Still for health it's better to slice, let sit a few minutes, and eat raw, they say.


15 Jun 21 - 05:55 PM (#4110298)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Beaver:

Still, or again, on break. Wangled second shot on 10th, have read most of books but a couple left. Hoping thrift shops will be open, maybe are but I lost yesterday somewhere. Today's #1 effort was to find out what a pottery "bat" was made of - a wood product of 25 years in age, or more. First lumberyard did not have a clue what it was! Went to Freymond's. dealing in wood for over 50 years - good Swiss immigrants! The office guy named it - "MDF that they used to make at GP Flakeboard" (up the road 5 miles but not longer in existence!) They had none - they deal in real wood. Next lumberyard yard showed me a piece of plywood! The "MDF" in stock was painted trims. My super bats for potting, cut out by a friend, have lasted about 25 years, compared to the current ones from pottery supplier lasting less than a year and falling to bits in the clay!

No wood for new bats BUT I realized they have my Air Miles number on my account and quickly gave it to me in writing! (The account is mainly for when Dan is doing work for me - he uses it.) I came home and a new card is enroute to Dupont! I will add the number to my lists of passwords/pin #s... One problem solved/de-cluttered. One still hanging. Somewhere in some workshop or garage, someone has left over pieces of real MDF... The sample, washed as well as I could, will stay in car for a while.

Happy not to have neighbours who start mowing at 6:30! On any day! I abound, however, with memories of basements I have known. None here at Beaver; barely above ground! Hence the useful back sheds.

It finally rained last night, for about 12 hours! Not terribly hard but good and steady. Today is glorious - breezy and sunny, low humidity.

And my energy level is zero. Maybe I need a jump start! On Sunday, I noted the wood pile on one side seemed to be shifting - had pushed against a lid on a bucket of glaze. I spent an hour or two re-organizing the whole shebang. Critical not to lose a bucket of glaze! That was definitely a "jump start"!

My reaction to the second Moderna, Thursday, was serious chills and fever. Sue came by, and kept in touch with text - I can manage texting if I am in bed, by holding the phone up as high as I can so it catches a signal. On the shelf at that height, they come in OK.

But I started losing energy before the shot and am letting go of goals - "the world will not stop turning if I do not... get everything done... get some done... get anything more done..." Meanwhile, the baker's rack is loaded with drying plates and outdoors in the breeze but not direct sun. Hoping for tomorrow to bisque... I have at least two loads that could be glazed and fired - last week!- but simply cannot get to it.

Pulled another batch of rhubarb this morning; will not not to overcook this lot. Two small lots frozen to take to R. This one will also be frozen. And maybe another before I leave on Sat. Strawberries should be happy after the rain! If they start ripening before I leave, I may stay a couple more days. I want to be at Dupont when R has his second shot - 24th - in case he also had severe reaction. Phoned DIL on Sunday and she had one like mine - horrible chills! (She does not generally overstate things!)

And I am sitting here looking at a Clivia getting ready to bloom! A friend came on Thurs and we had a good visit. She brought me a large pot of growing lettuce in several varieties (master gardener), the plant from one she had divided into 11!, and a large bottle of maple syrup her partner produced this Spring. I do not generally care for orange but the Clivia is special and it looks perfect in front of the Mexican rug/wall hanging I brought back in the mid-80s. Little girl (me) in orange dress greeting orange sun (with face!) and her little dog,walking into the green hills. I delight in it. The critters removed the fringes a few years ago! An improvement actually! They did a great job!


16 Jun 21 - 11:08 AM (#4110375)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

I decluttered the family silver of a minor tint of tarnish this morning. Very bougie.

Another beautiful day in Stratford, forecast high of only 20C, so I shall get out later for a good long walk. The wonky foot is mostly okay, so I do not anticipate trouble from that quarter.


16 Jun 21 - 12:00 PM (#4110379)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I picked my first pink tomato this morning! I let them finish ripening on the window sill (when that's full they sit on counters and in bowls anywhere there is room) so the critters don't decide to take a bite out of them. Squirrels, primarily. Cookie has thinned that population a bit. Canning season isn't far off because once they start ripening.

Meanwhile, Texans are being told to not waste energy this week while a number of energy suppliers are off-grid for repairs. Keep the thermostat at 78o or higher. That is as low as mine is ever set, usually it's at 80. It's the humidity that has me occasionally running the AC, to pull moisture from the air in the house. You'd think that with the national spotlight on the Texas energy grid that they'd have done this work before the hot season.

I've run the first test of the sensors for the online/phone/text fitness joint health program I joined. They tell whether I am standing or stooping or sitting, etc. The biggest problem I had during the test was that all three dogs wanted to see what the heck I was doing and all huddled around my feet. The inability to extend my leg wasn't due to a lack of fitness, it was due to canine helpers being in the way. I texted the PT a photo of me standing, sensors in place, with the three dogs on the floor in front of me. The novelty will wear off for them soon enough.

It looks like company will be here this weekend so I have to push dusting, sweeping, moping, cleaning the bathroom and the kitchen to the top of my to-do list. For family birthdays we get together to cook (though when I suggested to my daughter that her dad might "help," she was adamant that she'd cook at her house and bring it here. The last time there were too many cooks they burned rice to the bottom of my Le Creuset Dutch oven and it still bears that mark.) We may simply find something different for him to work on. He is normally a good cook, but there were too many people consulting on that recipe.


16 Jun 21 - 05:16 PM (#4110408)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Beaver:

As I fire, finally! - the bisque for Erica's plates - probably the first ever only partly filled kiln load I have done in 40 years! Because I ran out of energy to make more. In addition to hoping for the energy to glaze them tomorrow, I look at the count down to leaving on Saturday...???? The strawberries are coming along but not yet setting fruit, never mind ripe! The mock orange has buds but not opening ...

My lack of energy this last week, - slept 12 hours last night, without any trips! I de-cluttered my mind (let go of) of the many -pottery- things I had hoped to accomplish. Down to just getting Erica's plates done! But I would love to be able to pick the strawberries this year - covered with netting! And see the mock orange which has grown substantially to over 6 feet tall from the tiny volunteer I brought here 5 or 6 years ago.

The house is still fairly orderly, a bit more so than when I arrived. Tons of weeds have been pulled and I managed a few more today. Three small batches of rhubarb are in freezer and I may manage one more. The shops are open, with restrictions; I managed to find two books at the busy thrift shop. Keep in mind the library in Chateauguay is available! The one here, might be, or soon. You get it! Books are major priority! But there are others...

I could stay 'til Weds... To clutter my mind with... maybes. And: Do other people lose this much energy after second shot? And: maybe I need to go and come back after R recovers from his.

House is as uncluttered as it will be but brain is full of clutter. So I will bring in some firewood - for exercise, then read. And eat...


16 Jun 21 - 06:39 PM (#4110425)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Dorothy, I was feeling fatigue for several days, but I can't tell you now how much was the Pfizer vaccine and how much was my low thyroid condition.

It has dried out enough now to mow more easily. I'll take care of the back yard before dinner. It's too hot to walk the dogs (the pavement is hot for their feet). We'll have to do that in the mornings from now on.

I still read books on paper, but have read a lot more lately electroncially. This week I had an eBook from my library that I initially opened in OverDrive, but the large serif font and the tight lines were horrible to look at. I "returned" the book and re-checked it out to download to read in my tablet's Kindle app. It's a much nicer screen to read and not loose my dyslexic place. I listen to audiobooks on OverDrive with no problems. I can't tell you what the Kindle font looks like, except that it is airier on the page and easier to follow.

I'm watching for the shipping from the UK to get better - I haven't been able to order my less-expensive pet medications for over a year now. The business still seems to be a business, but the COVID-closure is still in effect.


17 Jun 21 - 05:30 AM (#4110461)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

Well the fly curtain for the sliding door seemed to work well at keeping things out until yesterday. I was doing some watering round the back after tea when I got a call on my walkie talkie to tell me a squirrel had entered the living room. I came back to the house to find, not a squirrel (but I guess parents only caught a quick flash), but a rabbit.

It had got itself stuck in a corner and was jumping at the walls, trying to find a way out. I managed to get enough of a grip just to get it out of the corner before it wriggled loose. That did enough though. The rabbit did a circle of the room, spotted the open sliding door and went through it.

I’m not sure I’ll do anything outside today as the weather doesn’t look too good. We had been forecast thunderstorms earlier but that didn’t happen. More thunder forecast for Sunday though and if today’s outlook on the BBC site is right, we are in for another rainy spell.


17 Jun 21 - 08:42 AM (#4110474)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

It’s 0841 hours and Tony the carpenter has already pried out two of the basement windows. The song of the Sawzall resounds through the house.


17 Jun 21 - 12:56 PM (#4110488)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

So you got a workout moving all of the cubby contents? That'll take care of your need of a gym this week!

I've moved a couple of containers out of the freezer; pumpkin and sweet potato go together beautifully in a loaf (I add sweet potato to my favorite Joy of Cooking pumpkin bread recipe). Each time I take something out and don't replace it with some new item I make room for this year's crops. I often slice then freeze peppers on a cookie sheet and once frozen I bag them with the SealAMeal. I can't use them fast enough otherwise once the plants start producing. I'll dig out the canning jars soon for tomato products. Sauce, juice, diced, etc.

At the museum where I volunteer we got talking about converting old media from analog to digital, something they've done some of and have a lot more to do. As do I. Preserving content is a goal of so many places, but it's slow, tapes have to play in real (reel!) time to be captured. Maybe a task for hot summer afternoons when it's too hot to work outside?


18 Jun 21 - 10:33 AM (#4110572)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Tony needs less work space than I feared he might, Stilly, so I just had to clear the top of the two-section IKEA shelving unit under one of the windows in the Glory Hole and move two stacks of framed art propped up against the wall in the main space. The wine was okay in its place, and the big three-section IKEA shelving unit did not impinge on the windows at all. So putting everything back where it belongs will take only about half an hour.

As I type, Tony is putting in the molding that covers the foam insulation between the new window and the original window framing. He should be finished by noon.

Looking at the still-too-copious contents of the Glory Hole, I asked Tony if he knows of a women's shelter in Perth County. As a matter of fact, a friend of his wife works there, so he knows it's called the Emily Murphy Centre. Later today, I shall email them about passing on whatever of my domestic excess their clients can use.

Come to think of it, I bet they could also use some money. I have enough of that to spare a monthly donation. Edmund was big on tithing (not necessarily to the church), and I'd rather give it away to charity than pay income tax on money piling up in my chequing account.


18 Jun 21 - 01:52 PM (#4110590)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Beaver:

R just phoned to see how I am: much better than I have been! Having gotten through two night without coughing, I was hoping the vaccine had cleared that but now coughing again. Darn!

R and Joe are in Toronto, en route to Woodstock, picking up machinery in the "big truck", which I have not yet seen. (pouring rain there also) Then to Palestine to pick up antique machines - helping that person de-clutter! Probably an overnight in Lindsay in there. Then to "the County" to either pick up or deliver or some of each??? Then to Montreal...

And the bakery could not make the muffins I wanted - Father's Day! So no reason for me to leave here before Weds! Larry stopping over for visit shortly.

That firing of plates: when it did not turn off, I checked through top peep and saw no colour; went through pile of books that R had dragged home and actually found a comprehensive pottery book: should be orange in there. Checked bottom peep: orange down there. Closed it and re-checked top one: due to emptiness I could see that the element was not red. OOPS! Turned it off and lamented, and cogitated.

Phoned Michael in the am and he will be by when he has time. Ten years ago, I would have opened the control panel, after unplugging! and looked for a problem. Prob would have found and fixed it. Now, the mere thought of getting down on the floor to unplug the kiln is --- not going to happen! (I could go to that "elderly" thread!)

In any case, the load was done enough, the bottoms are waxed and everything is glazed. That brought aches back so the baker's rack full of smaller stuff, to fit around the plates, is still waiting for the spirit to move me. Reducing the whole thing to as simple as possible - using only two or three glazes to reduce stirring (shoulder), following samples I have handy; for once, a few years ago at the mill, I glazed a bunch of small pieces with a variety and managed to record what I did! So choosing the nicest and easiest.

Did groceries this am, cooked lastest BF idea - seems to work - and cleaned up. Fire in stove as it was down to 66 in here; very small fire, and now have opened doors to BR so it is not too hot for Larry's dog! Mock orange buds show some expansion, clivia (in LR) is beautiful. We sure needed this rain! (Just dripping now.)


18 Jun 21 - 03:26 PM (#4110597)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jos

re: "was hoping the vaccine had cleared that but now coughing again"

Aren't vaccines supposed to prevent future illnesses, not cure the current ones?


19 Jun 21 - 12:02 AM (#4110637)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I expect a couple of health issues are conflated there, Jos.

I have looked up some easy recipes for granola. I'm eating a lot of oatmeal, but would like the dry cereal for summer (faster and easier) - buying it can get expensive. I'll make some this week and see if it's worth the trouble. It's one way to keep the coconut out of it.

On Saturday family is coming over for a meal we'll cook here. I have all of the ingredients and I've cleared up a lot of the clutter in the kitchen and dining area. Once we get started it won't matter, but it would be nice if the first impression they have upon entering the house is one of organized clear counters and easy cooking access.

My exercise app is working so far; I'm keeping an eye out for moves that clobber the bursitis, but so far they seem to have kept that in mind (I told them in advance that the leg to the side moves are deadly.) 15 minutes at a time, small, but I can feel it. This is good.


19 Jun 21 - 08:27 AM (#4110667)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

My new basement windows are boffo. That is all.


19 Jun 21 - 08:36 AM (#4110668)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: JennieG

Boffo windows is a Good Thing.


19 Jun 21 - 11:29 AM (#4110679)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Email from the investment broker, who apparently works on the weekend: Edmund's savings will be transferred to my account by next Wednesday, with no tax penalty.

Phew. But it took long enough.

Tony the carpenter was poking at the dubious wall in my middle bathroom yesterday. It's good to know that I can afford to pay him whatever it will cost to rip that sucker out and install something modern and mould-proof.

Kathleen my cleaner friend is giving the house a farewell scrub today. She is in the midst of packing up shelves of sheet music, including dozens of orchestral scores, so I was able to give her a useful going-away present: fifteen brand-new, never used file boxes. The two-cubic-foot boxes supplied by the moving company are way too big for books and sheet music; I can barely shove a full one across the floor, let alone carry it upstairs. Kathleen is no stronger than I am, so file boxes are her preferred "moving solution" (yuck).

That's a significant declutter for me.


19 Jun 21 - 07:14 PM (#4110718)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

After a quick clean up in the kitchen and dining area, three family members descended on the kitchen and my daughter made a batch of arroz con gondules (rice with pigeon peas) that turned out perfectly (the last time we made it there were too many cooks who burned the rice and it has become a bit of family lore). Fresh garden ingredients that went into it were green bell peppers and garlic. This was a convergence of birthday/Father's day and the ex went home with a gallon freezer bag filled with the rice mixture and a loaf of pumpkin bread. We also did our little "Welcome Summer" BLT sandwiches with the first (and so far only) ripe tomato from the garden. (We dug a few potatoes and admired tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants briefly - it's hot out there today.)

Today's meal was also interesting because we decided to use the covered electric fry pan and she didn't do a lot of measuring (except the water.) It was possible the rice could have expanded way beyond the boundaries of the skillet, but it was just below the top edge when finished. It was literally pour in a bag of rice to the sofrito and water and and see how it goes.

The next cooking adventure here - making granola.

Tomorrow I'll mow the front lawn and spray a vinegar/orange oil mix around the edge of the garden to kill the grass growing up around it. I've been adding items to the donation bin so I may make a run to drop them off at Goodwill, and I have a bunch of stuff for the recycle bins as I clear out boxes I'd kept but don't really need. My cat sitting gig shortened by a week as the owner seems to have decided to head home early. I had the thought he might be pursuing a romance during this trip, but apparently that didn't pan out. Too bad!


20 Jun 21 - 04:52 PM (#4110800)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Beaver:

Considering the number the vaccine did on me the following day, one might think it could have cured, or killed, almost anything. Today is the first day I have really felt good, felt like normal me, since the 10th! As for the #$%^&*( cough, it hit in spades when I went to an art Gallery to see a friend's exhibit on Friday. I could not even talk to him for coughing and had to leave. Saturday, I did not have the energy to go anywhere, and coughed my guts out at home. Decluttered a great deal of mucous with these two events.

Today, I am right as rain! What a relief. There were hours in the last few days when I wondered if I would see tomorrow, should I call 911??? Close but survived since I doubted there was anything positive they could do.

In the meantime, I managed to do tiny amounts of work in the studio - maybe an hour a day; the laundry and remade bed - a bit at a time; And today!!!! Washed my hair! Now I am normal.

However, it is a good thing - for my mental health!, that I was able to decide to just let go of whatever I thought needed to be done by... Talk about de-clutter! So it is Sunday; everything is ready for a glaze firing but the kiln - which I have not the guts to endeavour to repair although I did unplug it today! Michael finally phoned today that he will come tomorrow at 10:30! If he manages the repair, and I have no doubt he will, I can load and fire and unload on Tues am to take Erica's plates to Quebec, and be there in time for R to have his shot on Weds. The "filler pieces" for the shop can be tagged and boxed for Pat, or someone to pick up whenever, from K counter. These folks generally get down to Bancroft once a week to shop. And Pat has been wanting more small pieces for the shop.

I might have thrown some more today but the rack is FULL and the studio is crowded. Need to "move 'em on out!" to make room for more.

There will still be at least two kiln loads to glaze fire next trip. Soon I hope, largely depending on how R reacts to his vaccine. Mock orange has not yet popped, strawberries still thinking about it and no snapping turtle mom has nested out on the road. I will be anxious to get back.

Our go-to granola recipe was in Diet for a Small Planet. It was terrific. We did about 50 pounds once for a camping co-op! I somehow stopped eating it years ago but it was BF for quite a while, with nutritional yeast (found I was allergic!) and yogurt. WOW! 45 years ago!!

And this am, I was busy glazing and the phone rang: "TD bank" about my credit card but a message so incomprehensible I just hung up and phoned the number I have for the bank and got a wonderful woman who assured me that it had been their fraud line and we determined there was a problem and I must have a new card But she agreed to fast track it directly to the TD bank in Chateauguay which will phone me on arrival; it is meant to be there on Tuesday! I may not always approve of its activities (fossil fuels/pipelines) but it has always done business well for me. This is the 2nd or 3rd time they have caught someone trying to use my card! The credit card department knows more about me than R! Where and when I shop and what I buy and do not buy... It is rather disconcerting but it works!

That took an hour out of my glazing time but I still did two hours and organized to do more later. Then it was lunch time and getting hot, and my shoulder was hurting. Maybe later...


21 Jun 21 - 12:42 AM (#4110843)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I'm glad you're feeling better, Dorothy, and I'm glad Charmion was able to wrest the savings cash from the banker without a tax hit. Reminds me, I have to file a protest, the IRS sent a goofy reason for why they recalculated my taxes. Human error on their end and I have a refund coming.

Mosquitoes are bad here this year, and they seem to come into the house with or on the dogs through the dog door. As it gets hotter and drier they'll begin to lower in number, and I'm putting mosquito dunks everywhere around outside the house.

Summer crankiness is setting in, though it should improve once the humidity drops with even hotter days. I've made the bed with the "summer setup" of sheets and one thin blanket that can be pulled over top on the off chance that it cools overnight. This is it till September.


21 Jun 21 - 10:41 AM (#4110893)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

I have booked my second jab. The Vaccine Fairy visited the Huron-Perth Health District, and suddenly supplies are generous enough to extend to all who received their first shot before 9 May.

How do you spell relief? Today, I spell it N-E-E-D-L-E.


21 Jun 21 - 11:23 AM (#4110896)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

You're already 3/4 of the way there, the second one is a booster. Good job, everyone! I saw in the NY Times this morning that over the weekend was the first fully-filled event at Madison Square Garden, where the Foo Fighters performed. If they were good enough to see off David Letterman on the occasion of his last show they're good enough to escort New York City back to full-speed-ahead concerts. The article said it was before a "fully-vaccinated audience." That ought to temp a few people to go ahead and get the vaccine.

Trash went out to the curb early today since I missed the last couple of weeks. And now that it's really hot they start coming by really early to finish their rounds before the hottest part of the day.

I finally figured out how to turn off the new Windows/Microsoft "News and Interests" icon thingie that was showing up on the bottom right toolbar. Don't you just love it when they foist new settings on you? That was the best feeling declutter of the morning. The other computer declutter I've been working on is Dropbox. I use the free version of it and it is now threatening me daily with the message that it is nearly full and I should upgrade. I need to stop paying for services, not add another one. I'll turn off Flicker's paid account this year - every time you turn it on there are the lovely photos that convince you to pay, but I don't use it except for backup, and Google and Dropbox and Microsoft already do that. I have seriously too many photos backed up around here. So I'm pitching out big clumps of photos from Dropbox. (I periodically load phone photos into the computer via cable also.)


21 Jun 21 - 05:53 PM (#4110929)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

I am still trying to convince my iPhone that I don’t want anything to do with Siri, not now and not ever. Apple are building it into many of their applications, and I want them to stop. Until it can hold an actual conversation, I will never sit alone in the car, or at my desk, or any other place, and holler “Hey, Siri!” into the empty air.


21 Jun 21 - 06:07 PM (#4110930)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Beaver:

Once again I have no idea what these "apps" or whatevers are! Except maybe Siri; I might ask once every couple months how to get somewhere or get a phone number; maybe that is Siri!?

Nice visit with electrician friend and his wonderful partner. He admits to not putting the wires back together the last time he was here! Arghhh! I could have had it ALL fired. But it was a great visit and he took another project to work on for me: trying to get the seat for the other wheel in the correct position so I don't feel as though I am sliding off. (He welds also) This is actually a seat for an alternate but identical wheel. I suspect Lynn will keep him on track. She wants to take pottery lessons, so when I get back!!!!

So glaze firing one is cooking. I had to change the fuses -again! So, checking it every half hour just in case. Maybe sometime this master electrician, retired, will consider helping upgrade the system so it does not blow fuses with fierce irregularity. WOW, would that ever be a de-clutter!


21 Jun 21 - 07:10 PM (#4110938)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Dorothy, your electrician didn't finish the job? I hope the wires were "put back together" before he moved on to other things!

I passed my final eye exam with flying colors - vision is 20/20 and I now can have the corrective lenses requirement taken off of my driver's license. I told the PA that I wanted to address lenses for the computer screen and the music stand on the piano. I was in luck, this PA plays piano and knew what I needed, set up the big eye tester thing with the 1.50+ setting and held up something far enough out like music would be to look at - yes! The 2.0+ I got right after the surgeries are fine for closer work, but the lower number will cover a greater distance. Any of them will work around the house. I think the fact that I got walking-around glasses (blank on top with bifocal lenses) with the photo sensitive feature surprised the optometrist, but I do feel naked without the glasses so if I'm wearing them indoors and out, they might as well have the features I am accustomed to.

After a trip to Costco I now have dedicated pairs of 1.50+ glasses for computer and piano and I also got blue blocker reader lenses for the computer at night to see if that helps get me to bed any earlier. Top off the purchase with a box of bottles of artificial tears and it makes the bag of avocados look like the odd man out on that trip to the store.


21 Jun 21 - 09:19 PM (#4110946)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

Its great when a plan goes right! Good for you.

I have a new plan to invest in Biogen. There may be scam in play but we we won't know for sure for 9 years. By that time Biogen would have made 1/2 a trillion dollars. You see they have been given an expedited FDA approval of a new Alzheimers drug. Most people who would get the drug are on Medicare. Biogen will charge each patient 56,000 dollars a year.
Since Congress says that Medicare may not negotiate any drug prices this will become the largest expendature on a drug be it vaccines or opiates combined a hundred times over.
The drug is suppose to remove those amaloid plaques but that may be a correlation and not a causation for dementia.
Even if future Congressional action is taken against the astronomical price, I will get clues when to sell.
If you have ever noticed I have unique perspective when stars allign and opportunities present themselves. This could be the answer to help my special needs son. While not every song is a hit this strategy has a great beat.


21 Jun 21 - 09:50 PM (#4110948)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Depressing that congress doesn't let Medicare negotiate on drug prices (so much funding of political candidates comes from drug companies) and congress hasn't lifted the draconian requirements that the post office pay forward it's medical insurance costs in a way to break that bank. My stocks are in well-rounded moderately-aggressive mutual funds.

Rain in the forecast tomorrow; if we get a good soaking I have a lot of stuff to catch up on in the yard work.


21 Jun 21 - 11:59 PM (#4110956)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

It looks like events are about to create a push comes to shove moment.
If this is a Medicare fraud con game it is the grand daddy of all time
On the other hand what if it is the cure for Alzheimers. The initial trials pointed to no. A second trial changed everything. I'm curious if not suspicious.


22 Jun 21 - 08:43 AM (#4110994)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

Today I go in for tooth repair that I put off for 6 months.


22 Jun 21 - 11:01 AM (#4111007)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

I remember putting off dental work. It's never a good idea; if it cost too much six months ago, it may well be worse now and therefore more expensive.

Dentists here are considered providers of essential services, even at the worst of the lockdown. That was one thing the Ontario gummint got right.

Now that my second jab is scheduled, I'm planning a trip to visit Edmund's sister and her family, including Niece No. 1 and her three rambunctious little boys. Yesterday I retrieved Edmund's laptop computer from the local Digital Wizard, who cleared it of all Edmund's content and updated the operating system. I packed it up today for the kids, along with Edmund's iPad, which isn't the latest model but should still be useful. Only the eldest boy, age 8, is in full-time school, but the others are hot on his heels. And who knows when we might find ourselves back in lockdown, and the schools gone virtual again?

I will also make the long haul to Ottawa before the end of the summer. Brother No. 2's birthday is 31 August, so that makes a good target date. While I'm there, I can visit Nephew No. 2 (plus wife and two daughters) and deliver more nice, useful stuff that I don't need.

Nephew No. 1 lives on the West Coast somewhere and I think I've met him exactly once, so I don't feel obligated to cut him in on the spoils. Also, has no children and he's old enough that he may well have reached the stage of looking around the house and wondering why he has so much stuff.

Niece No. 2 is at the nest-emptying stage of life but has yet to figure out her next act. I have no idea what she needs or wants, but I guess it's time to find out. As for Nephew No. 3, he's still young and footloose enough that stuff is more of a problem than a solution. He's the one who fits Edmund's bike -- and I really hope he can take possession of it soon.

My plan is to have the basement clear enough by winter that I can put an exercise bike and a padded mat down there without blocking the gangway.


22 Jun 21 - 09:59 PM (#4111076)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Beaver:

Yep, turned off kiln 30 minutes too soon last night because I got worried and did the math wrong. So, this morning, I unloaded it but things were not quite right. I loaded the car to leave, drove to the gas station and came home; it bugged me, so I put everything back in the kiln - some was OK but not quite. And messaged R that I would not be there until Weds. His shot is Thurs. Happy to note that kiln went off tonight at the correct time in the correct way so I can unload tomorrow and redo the sorting and reload into the car the few things I took out. And hit the road for Chateauguay where, the TD bank phoned to inform me, my new credit card awaits!

I felt so much better after I made this decision to redo the kiln. Went to hardware for extra fuses and chicken manure for the rhubarb as yesterday's visitor told me mine needed to be fed! It is fed! I do love it here; the hardware staff are consistently wonderful and the young woman who offered to carry it out for me - I just handed her the key in case it was locked, while I paid and met her coming in as I went out, retrieving key and finding manure where I asked her to place it!!

Oh, the electrician: dear Michael was chagrined that he had forgotten to put things back together. But all is well now and I hope he and lynn (rhubarb expert) can get the seat for the wheel sorted. I never mentioned that the long wait had cost me getting two more firings done. A gift horse! And it really is not important. I can do them next time. There is plenty at the shop with what will be done tomorrow.

Also, I might not have found the energy to glaze more as my post-shot energy level was VERY low, otherwise everything would be glazed and wrapped (to stay clean until firing time. Instead of just organized on trays and wrapped.

Charmion: keep in mind the possibility of an after effect of your second shot.


22 Jun 21 - 10:12 PM (#4111078)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

Two teeth finally repaired and one more visit to a surgeon to go.


23 Jun 21 - 09:15 AM (#4111109)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Everyone warns me about the vaccine hangover, but thanks for the thought, Dorothy.

After the first one, I had a sore arm for about 48 hours. That was it. But the public health docs say to maintain lockdown behaviour for at least two weeks after the second shot, so I have no plans to engage in any demanding activities.


23 Jun 21 - 11:00 AM (#4111120)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

After the second vaccine I was just tired, but my tiredness could have been from low thyroid, so I'm not the best example to go by. You can take Tylenol or Motrin after your vaccination. There is a crazy rumor going around that if you mitigate the symptoms your vaccine won't "take." Bollocks.

I finished mending hoses yesterday, after Cookie's destructive arrival at the house in September of 2019 when she chewed through the end of one hose and made two big gashes in another one. If I have hose mending kits on hoses I retire I always cut off and keep the mended section and I had a couple of those under the potting bench in the sunroom to take apart and reassemble on the newer hoses. I needed more, but instead of heading to Home Depot I headed to the greenhouse in the back yard where I have lots of stuff stashed that came here with the greenhouse when I bought it from a friend (it's a PVC modular thing.) There is an old coffee can on a corner shelf and it was full of goodies for this job. I tested both hoses and now the job is to figure out whether sprinklers, soaker hoses, or both to take care of the garden plots. (I do need to head to Home Depot for more gaskets.)

I am advancing through the remote trainer/phone app exercise routine I've started via my insurance company, and yesterday moved my activity to the bedroom with the door closed or I'd have been swarmed by dogs while on the yoga mat. The app keeps telling me that pain is good, it's informative, and I'm thinking "yeah, but you haven't had chronic bursitis ache 24-hours a day" so am going to find the pages the PT gave me about stretches targeted at reducing that pain. Stop it before it starts, I hope. I also have a tube of Volaren the PT recommended.

Don, the worst pain I experience at the dentist is paying the bill. Even with dental insurance, it doesn't cover much. And why do HEALTH insurance companies insist our eyes and teeth require their own insurance? Because they figured they couldn't make billions a year if they insured eyes and teeth also?


23 Jun 21 - 11:38 PM (#4111163)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I've completed 2 weeks of the short daily exercise sessions using strap-on sensors (thigh and calf) as part of the Hinge Health program made available through my insurance program (the BC/BS part from the university - I don't know if any Medicare support companies use it). I can feel a difference, and it is easy enough to operate. I use their app on my phone most often but the kit comes with an 8" tablet (this one by Lenovo) that has the app pre-loaded. I guess I have a new tablet since I generally do it with the phone. The exercises address already problematic joints - knees, hips, elbows, shoulders (hence the name "hinge.") I joined because of the hip above the replaced knee. I don't really want to have to do another big surgery like that if I can avoid it. Anyway, I give more detail because for all of is it might be worth looking into. The sensors calibrate to the phone each time they start up, everything is rechargeable with standard micro-USB (phone type) plugs. You connect with a PT who monitors your work and have monthly conversations, more if needed.

Meanwhile, the newly repaired and laid-out hoses worked as needed in the garden this evening, the tomatoes, eggplant, okra, and peppers are set for a few more days of heat. I still haven't mowed the front yard, I will eventually.

I still need to take down the tattered patio cover and put something else up. And who knows - I'll look into the cost of a new insulated sliding glass door. That would be a total joy, and make the rest of the work go faster to enjoy the restored look of the patio. I'm thinking this project can come next after one I hope to finish by fall. Ducks lined up and all of that.

Linn has been posting almost daily photos out of her back window for several months, and I have to admit that her current summer shots are the most lush and happy to look at. If I fix the patio, it will have a better look, should I choose to adopt a project like that. (Every time I look at her woods I think about how my woods compare out my back door.)


24 Jun 21 - 11:37 AM (#4111228)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Today, the investment company finally made the last transfer of Edmund's savings. Whatever ploy it was the lawyer cooked up, it worked. And I've been to Kitchener for my asthma needle. It's nice to get it over with first thing in the morning, although I have to set the alarm clock to ensure I get up in time to hit the road at 0730 hr.

Stratford is gradually opening up. The actors are rehearsing performances that will be mounted in tents on the theatre grounds and the restaurants are serving diners seated at patio tables on the pavement outside their doors. The farmers' markets and shops deemed not essential enough during the lockdown are back in business. People are eating ice cream in the street. A new beer garden is packing them in on Waterloo Street. I finally secured a fresh supply of Lap-sang Sou-chong tea.

I went to the Bell Telephone store in big mall at the east end of town the other day. The only businesses still operating there are chains and franchises, most notably Canadian Tire; all the small local enterprises have dried up and blown away. The best downtown pizza joint changed hands when the Greek family that owned it went back to the old country to take over the business of a close relative who died of COVID-19. My favourite diner managed to keep all its staff, for a wonder, and they greeted me with glad cries when I showed up for the first Sunday brunch after the lockdown was lifted.

The ban on hairdressing is still in place, and the only people who don't look scruffy have barbers in the family. I almost don't care when the US-Canadian border will open; I just want a haircut!


25 Jun 21 - 12:22 AM (#4111291)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Good news on the final cash transfer!

Vet $tuff is coming my way - the bills are high when I have to buy the pet Rx from the vet; my UK company still hasn't opened up for business across the Atlantic (once the flight schedules are back to "normal" and the mail goes easily, I expect this to stop being a problem.) Even though the dogs are on heartworm meds, an annual test is required. Bugger. But the oldest dog hasn't been in for a while so he has an appointment in a couple of weeks.

I'm finding the exercises in the Hinge program to be easier after a couple of weeks, and if I do them almost every day that also helps. It hasn't contributed to any weight loss, though, and I think the thyroid needs another tweak before that will happen. With the heat and a wonky thyroid comes water retention.

Since friends will be over in the morning for breakfast I've been picking up around here. It's so nice to be able to sit across the table from someone in the same room, no mask, and just visit. Such a luxury that I always appreciated, but now doubly so.


25 Jun 21 - 01:15 AM (#4111293)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

Our neighbour who gets petrol for me, told me that our standard petrol is changing from E5 to E10 (“super” 97+ octane, where available, remains E5). This meant nothing to me so I’ve been looking it up and found mixed messages. The couple of machinery shops I looked at don’t seem to like E10 but Briggs and Stratton (our lawnmower engine) suggest it should be OK. Husqvarna (our trimmer and leaf blower) are OK too but make more of a point of stressing the importance of fresh fuel. For my part, I’ll start putting a stabiliser additive in the fuel.

How much ethanol is there in the stuff that attacks fuel pipes on your petrol strimmer, srs?


25 Jun 21 - 01:56 AM (#4111295)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

I got a new network tv tuner (HDHomeRun Duo) yesterday. This behaves nicely straight off with mythtv and I hope may also improve reliability as the sat tuner card (or its software) does crash occasionally.

I’ve also removed the USB dongle used for live tv on mum’s PC and (while I’ll probably leave the coax in place), don’t think I need an aerial cable in the study now. That and I’ve modified the mythtv settings:

I’ve got 1 of the 2 dvb-T/T2 (on the HDHomeRun) and 1 of the 3 dvb-S/S2 (on the TBS card) available tuner ports reserved for recording only with recording priority given to the dvb-T one. The other ports are available for both live viewing and recording with suitable priorities set.

I put kodi on my Android phone and that is working for live tv via its mythtv plugin.

Oh well, it was something to play with on yet another rainy day...


25 Jun 21 - 12:04 PM (#4111356)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Dupont:

The firing was fine! Unloaded, stickered the ones for the shop, reloaded the car. Brought the plates for Erica, left a box of pots for the shop and messaged Pat to let her know they were there, along with a couple bags of books, quart jars and egg cartons - she knows folks who can use them.

Picked up new credit card, stopped at the library, and arrived here before 4 pm, in time to water the neediest plants, put food in frig and sort out some of clutter. Stack of glass storage containers in drainer - R ate the food and washed! Clothes to laundry, one load now washed, dried and sorted, another in washer.

R has no drivers license due to too many points: it would help if he opened mail, if he stopped at stop signs, did not use cell... I was in a mood about it but managed to control my "12 years of this foolishness" fury. (more like a lifetime of it, but I was not around; he is untrainable!) He did not get home until after 10 on Weds; E had to drive him/he fell asleep/... Thurs, I offered a good supper but please get home by 9! E drove him - 9:15.

He had second shot yesterday NO reaction! So I drove him to work this am. Maybe today he will look into recovering a license... Maybe not.

My bits of energy yesterday went into watering plants. catching up on friends on internet, watching youtubes of kd Lang, music and interviews; I find her and her career interesting. Thinking of a young musician we love and wondering if she might also have a career near to that. Would the stress break her as it has others... kd seems to have a certain strength of character.

All those bags of soil in the back yard are producing: there will be tomatoes (3 noticeable striped ones so far), yellow beans, some sort of squash, a few potatoes, possibly corn but something seems to love the sprouting green stuff! Basil in several pots on back porch so I can go out and snip some...

The soil in front - a whole truck load NEEDS some nutritional additives! The parsley and oregano are doing OK - just OK!

There is dead heading needed - and a nap too! Not too hot but we NEED rain. Town has a water use alert on - And a River running through it! I took a couple gallons out for the larger tomato plants - enough to soak them. Cannot produce tomatoes without water!


25 Jun 21 - 07:01 PM (#4111392)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

It’s raining in Stratford, and likely to keep at it for the next week. At least, that’s what Environment Canada says.

The two pissed-on Afghan rugs are back from the cleaners, and Watson is inspecting the big green Bokhara with forensic care. Fingers crossed … He does seem to be more comfortable now, and the litter box is just a few steps away instead of downstairs ….

And the house looks like itself again. It’s also cleaner, because I washed the hardwood. Cat hair by the bale!


26 Jun 21 - 11:53 AM (#4111473)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Jon, if I could get gas without Ethanol for my mower and other equipment I would. You can buy 1 gallon metal cans in the Big Box stores but it is something around $7 a gallon, the gas pump is $2.789 per gallon right now. But for all of the trouble that changing out fuel lines is, it might be worth it to buy the gallon can. And I always add fuel stabilizer to the gas can when I fill it.

The vet's office set me back a pretty penny for the heartworm medication and the oldest dog has to go in for a heartworm test next week before they refill his. Nevermind he has been on the meds all year long. And there is the question of getting vaccinations every year for things that they were probably set up for life with the first or second. Do these count as boosters, or overkill?

Mowing today. Finally.


27 Jun 21 - 09:16 AM (#4111576)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 202
From: Charmion

Watson the cat is digging a hole to China in the litterbox, now located in the ground-floor loo at the far end of the kitchen. This is a great sign because it means he is unlikely to piss on the parlour rug again.

Hot and steamy in Stratford, with thunderstorms in the forecast. On the one hand, such conditions make long walks unpleasant, but on the other hand I don’t have to water the garden.

Yesterday, the Province of Ontario announced that haircuts are permitted again! Just as I was beginning to look a little too much like William IV.

I have delivered three large bags of unbreakable kitchenware to Goodwill: plastic food-storage containers mostly, and some pots with their lids firmly taped down. I found a salvageable U-Haul box of the almost 2-cubic-feet size stashed behind the furnace, and by the end of the week it will be packed with odds-and-sods china: nearly a dozen coffee mugs, four dinner plates, five salad plates, some bowls that I either don’t need or don’t like, and a large Pyrex casserole that I have not used even once in 25 years.

For the first time, I’m thinking of selling certain personal items on Ebay. Fancy shoes by Jon Fluevog that I can no longer wear — apparently Fluevog fans are such enthusiastic buyers that there is an established market for gently used pairs. I will weep salt tears when I part with my Fluevog boots, but they’re immaculate and I will never get my wonky foot into the right one ever again.


27 Jun 21 - 09:22 AM (#4111577)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

I remember when the only health insurance was a big family. Then the polio vaccine came along. Quarantine signs were everywhere.


27 Jun 21 - 11:14 AM (#4111589)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I've sold shoes and clothes on eBay; sometimes they were shoes I found on a great sale and simply turned around and listed them, other times they were shoes that turned out to be not a very good idea and were gently worn. Leather handbags, Levi Jeans, vintage designer clothes, curtains, bedsheets—it's surprising what sells on eBay. Good photos and measurements are a must.

The tomatoes are taking on a pinkish cast, finally. I need to get some mozzarella and more basil - it's time for Caprese salads!

A few weeks ago I was playing with the puppy, dropping the laundry basket over the top of her. In the process the rim broke, and it doesn't stay put with duct tape. My super glue was dried in the container and it costs as much for a new cheap basket as to buy more glue. I decided to toss that one (of two) into the recycle bin and not replace it. I have other large containers that can be used in the laundry room; I usually have a basket on the washer to catch items needing washing but I've replaced it with a plastic tub that can do the same thing. I've tossed a rubber bath mat that was a good idea (versus the PVC ones that off-gas for ages) but when they start to rot there is no recovering them. I'll probably get another PVC one and let it lie flat in the garage for a while to get the smell out. There are two bathrooms here and I don't want to swap one mat between the two rooms, but noting that maintaining the status quo out of habit often times means keeping more stuff in the house than strictly necessary.


27 Jun 21 - 11:16 AM (#4111590)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

I'm not sure why Donuel is introducing this topic in this thread today, but it's on my mind, too.

I was born in 1954, before the first polio vaccine was approved for use in Canada. My parents (born in 1919 and 1929) were thoroughly frightened of epidemic diseases and had us needled whenever shots were offered, accepting whatever was available. No picking and choosing for us.

Tuberculosis was then treatable, but not easily, and it was a "reportable" disease. That meant anyone found to have "open, active" TB was basically arrested and held in a provincial sanitarium (that was the term of art for a TB hospital) until they were cured (proven by PPD test) or dead. No appeal, no kidding.

I remember quarantine signs for scarlet fever and red measles.

I don't get "vaccine hesitancy", or public toleration of it.

As for health insurance, I remember a lady at church whose daughter was born with spina bifida. "Marilyn nearly put us on the road," this lady said to my mother. She meant it literally. My mother had a lung problem that took forever to diagnose, including invasive biopsies, and I don't remember a single day of my childhood when money wasn't the big thing we always had to worry about. Not the Commies, not Strontium 90, but getting to payday without going into the hole. I remember the unionization of the federal civil service, which brought group health insurance into our lives, because it meant that, for the first time, my parents could take a holiday and we might eat something that cost more than 29 cents a pound.

So I don't get opposition to "Medicare for All", either.

Whatever Americans might believe, Canada did not sail effortlessly into the universal (for citizens and permanent residents) health-care plans we have today. Here's a website about the knock-down-drag-out fight we had to get there.

I think we would have a similar struggle to introduce compulsory immunization against COVID and its variants, and I hope our governments toughen up and do it anyway.


27 Jun 21 - 01:14 PM (#4111603)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

You've characterized it perfectly, Charmion. The "hesitancy" is a sign of privilege, that others will get the shot so they don't have to. And using Tuskegee as an excuse is a dog whistle, not a good reason. We know better now (at least with vaccines.)

It's really hot but I'll be in and out the front door to continue working on the plants and rough patio off the front porch. It's time for some vinegar and orange oil mix to kill grass and other weeds around the edge and that have emerged from the pea gravel between the rocks and broken concrete. And while I'm at it I'll bring some of the fine mulch I got from chipping pine branches yesterday to put in the potted plants. They dry out in a hurry without some extra help.


27 Jun 21 - 10:37 PM (#4111675)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Fireworks are starting up, we heard a couple of loud Boom!s tonight, and a Thundershirt is on order for Pepper.

This evening I took down the vertical louvered blind over the back sliding glass door and the space looks so much larger now. And uglier. It is totally fogged, not just weeping, but it looks like it has been sandblasted. I have insulating drapes I'm pulling in front of it (especially until I get the patio cover replaced to stop all of the evening sun, though the trees are starting to do some of that work for me now.)

And this brings me closer to the package deal that I am considering for this summer - replacing the sliding glass doors and fixing the patio cover to give the whole back of the house a nicer look. It won't be Andersen windows, that would be overkill (as nice as they are) - I need a right hand door installed correctly so I can put a piece of wood in the track to keep someone from opening it from outside. As it is now, the original builder installed it backwards, so someone could put a plank of wood in the frame outside to keep me from opening it.

The old blinds still work and look good (dusty), so they'll be wrapped up in plastic and donated to Goodwill. I could offer them on Freecycle, but I don't want to fool with answering questions about size, installation, etc.

We had a little spit of rain, barely enough to wet the bottom of the bucket sitting out on the patio, but enough to make the air incredibly humid. Trash is out, laundry finished, dishes washed and/or in the dishwasher. Feels like a Sunday night.


28 Jun 21 - 10:32 AM (#4111711)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Yesterday I cooked.

A potful of minestrone — black beans, kale, large can of tomatoes and three litres of chicken stock; on a sofrito of bacon lardons, sliced garlic and shallots, diced celery and carrot, and dried thyme and oregano; and flavoured at the end with shredded basil, chopped parsley and a dollop of Worcestershire sauce for umami. I gave half of it to my bubblemates so I would not be still eating it at Christmas.

I also made a Cantonese stirfry of thinly sliced flank steak and tomatoes that provides two servings over brown rice (which no Cantonese person would eat on a bet). That was last night’s supper and will be tonight’s.

And then I filled the Instant Pot with chicken stock ingredients, brought it to pressure, and went to bed.

Slowly but surely, I’m working my way through the contents of the freezer. I have only six raw chicken carcasses left of the case I bought a loooong time ago from the butcher at the farmers’ market, so that’s three more batches of chicken stock. The Cantonese stirfry accounted for one of three remaining pieces of flank steak. The minestrone will be four or five easy meals, and it cleared the veg bins.

Today’s agenda is an hour or two of tunes and a meeting of the choir executive on Zoom. Here’s hoping that I’m still full of tunes-generated endorphins when the meeting convenes.

It’s still hot and humid in Stratford, with rain in the forecast all the way to Friday that dampens Canada Day plans already suppressed by the public health authorities.

Full-page advertisement in the Toronto Star today: “Ontario is the only jurisdiction in North America where indoor dining is still closed.” Placed by a professional association called Restaurants Canada, it goes on to point out that Ontario businesses have collectively lost Cdn$10.3 billion, outstripping the rest of Canada combined. (Incidentally, Ontario’s economy is bigger than that of the rest of Canada combined.) It also says that “we” have hit all the targets set for re-opening.

I can almost hear the eyes rolling at Queen’s Park. Who’s “we”? Have the restaurateurs checked every health district in the province, from Moose Factory to Toronto, Thunder Bay to Cornwall? Methinks not.


28 Jun 21 - 10:34 AM (#4111712)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I "slept on it" as far as the idea of replacing the back patio door, and realized overnight that any measurement I take of the existing door hardware won't be accurate until I take off the trim on the top and sides. Ugg. I'll remove it carefully and label each piece to return to the same place, and after a new door, will probably have to trim down each trim section of paneling that fits up to the edge of the door. The replacement door will probably be 72" x 80", not the weird 71" x 78" I'm getting when I measure with the trim in place.

We're due some rain today but it isn't here yet. Maybe I can get some work done in the yard before the deluge.


28 Jun 21 - 12:49 PM (#4111719)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion's brother Andrew

"It’s still hot and humid in Stratford, with rain in the forecast all the way to Friday that dampens Canada Day plans already suppressed by the public health authorities." Also supressed by the pall cast by the findings of First Nations on the sites of former assimilation facilities (AKA "residential schools").


28 Jun 21 - 12:59 PM (#4111720)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

That kind of finding is also likely evident at Indian Schools in the US. It seems to be taking a little longer to get the ground penetrating radar into place down here. Especially at Carlisle, there were many burials.

Good move on the cooking, Charmion. I'm just to the point of starting to freeze this year's garden output, so must continue to draw down the old stuff. I'm hoping for another lunch soon with my usual group (who haven't been together since about 18 months ago) and if I plan well I can use freezer contents for the meal.


28 Jun 21 - 04:42 PM (#4111741)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Yeah. That, too, Andrew.

Stratford doesn’t have much of a government footprint, but the flags are at half-mast at the police station, the courthouse, the town hall, the armoury and the war memorial. What we do have is lots of churches, and many of them have children’s shoes lined up in pairs on the front steps. The Anglicans let the shoes be, but the Catholics aren’t exactly cool with that form of protest.

I guess the rustling in the air is chickens coming home to roost.


28 Jun 21 - 06:54 PM (#4111749)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion's brother Andrew

It's crow, Charmion, and we had better get used to a steady diet of it.


28 Jun 21 - 08:24 PM (#4111756)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: keberoxu

When the crows come home to roost,
tarry not beneath the trees. In fact,
better not even venture beneath the crow trees
to begin with.


I was living in Albuquerque, New Mexico, when arsonists
burned down the Indian School campus.
If they ever worked out who committed the arson, I didn't hear,
and that was decades ago.
Whoever did the job was fairly professional about it.
One entire city block for the majority of the campus buildings.
Not only is that area rather thickly settled, but across the streets
there were things like that art museum for Indian art,
and the old school chapel that became its own little
Catholic parish.
Nobody torched the Queen of Angels Indian Chapel, as
I had feared they would do.
Also, Interstate 40 goes past that campus
(the east-west limited-access highway which
rendered Route 66 obsolete).
And although, as I observed in my car,
I could drive on Interstate 40 and literally watch
the Indian School campus in flames,
there was no danger to the highway itself
and nobody closed off the highway.

About unmarked graves, however,
if there were any of those in Albuquerque
then people were remarkably quiet about them,
and I knew a bunch of Indian School graduates.


29 Jun 21 - 12:41 PM (#4111829)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion's brother Andrew

There have been at least four fires at Roman Catholic churches (and at one disused Anglican church) on First Nations reserves in B.C. since the announcement of the discovery at Kamloops. No one seems surprised and, although the fires have been classified as "suspicious," one has not heard the same clamour for arrests one would have heard had the churches been elsewhere.


30 Jun 21 - 10:52 AM (#4111900)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Dominion -- oops -- Canada Day is tomorrow, and Environment Canada has backed off its forecast warning. We had the rainpocalypse yesterday, about suppertime.

I think there may have been a lightning strike on part of the power distribution system, perhaps a transformer. The lightning bolt and the ferocious clap of thunder were simultaneous, so the hit was very close, and I saw a big white flash through the trees to the northwest. The power went out for about two hours.

It's still hot and close today, but marginally cooler. I shall make a potato salad and a lentil salad this afternoon, and buy the snazziest Boston lettuce I can find for a green salad that I shall assemble tomorrow. Spit-roasted chicken with the relatives, who have announced a plan to secure a key lime pie.

My lower gut has been punishing me since Monday, probably for over-indulgence in cherries on Sunday. I'm still a bit uncomfortable but probably safe to venture out for an undetermined length of time.

As the province gradually opens up, the gym owners are now the most vocal howlers as the hairdressers and restaurateurs grab the lifelines thrown to them by the province. Their professional association (i.e., lobby group) has taken centre stage in the Toronto Star's grievance coverage -- "Everybody else is opening, why can't we?"

Well, I've logged a lot of time in gyms over the years, and I for one am not ready for a weight room full of large guys forcefully huffing out the air from the very bottom of their lungs with each rep of their routine. In fact, the risk factor is probably close to that of unprotected choral singing, perhaps the most dangerous activity an aging lady can indulge in these days.

Meanwhile, in other news, no unmarked cemeteries have been found in the last few days. Wait for it ...


30 Jun 21 - 11:31 AM (#4111902)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Any of you in climates where you don't usually need (so don't have) air conditioning, set up a cooling place for yourselves. A box fan, an oscillating fan, whatever you can manage, needs to be nearby. Keep a spray bottle of water and find a chair that won't hold in your body heat. Sleeping on a cot versus a mattress, also, will help dissipate heat. Wear light cotton clothes and spritz yourself with the mist or spray and let the fan evaporate the moisture.

If it gets too hot, head to your local library or other public facility set up as a cooling center. This morning the news reported at least 100 elderly individuals dying in interior BC due to the extreme heat - it apparently hit 119o, hotter than ever registered in Las Vegas of Mojave Desert fame. My son and his roommates live in Seattle, but all three hail from really hot climates (Arizona and Texas) so should know how to stay comfortable in this unusual weather. (My mother would never come to Texas to visit from April through November.)


30 Jun 21 - 12:35 PM (#4111905)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

Old tricks like open fridge and chair work.


30 Jun 21 - 03:01 PM (#4111920)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

That open fridge is terribly hard on the fridge contents and it isn't meant to try to cool a room.

The dentist office today was brutal. I'd waited 9 months instead of 6, partly because of COVID, and partly because I now need to take a megadose of amoxicillin an hour prior to the appointment, and don't want to do it too often. My former dentist retired in April (I went to offer good wishes and took him several bedding plants for the garden he would have time to tend). The office now is a different world. The woman at the front desk is looking a little frazzled, another one is missing (I'm guessing she retired?) and the hygienist who I usually see wasn't there. The dentist didn't offer to come take a quick look, like my old dentist, nothing but a really rough cleaning. It felt like a contact sport. Afterward, I asked at the front desk where the other hygienist is and made a note—I think they've probably had that question more than once lately. That other office is at lunch right now, but I'll call and find out if Donna is there and set my next appointment with her. The ironic thing today was that during my long wait the retired dentist came through the office to pick up something and was greeted with great affection by all, including me. But he left again. :-(

There are now a half-dozen tomatoes on the windowsill in various stages of ripeness, minus one I took to my daughter yesterday (with dozens starting to ripen in the garden). I probably shouldn't eat one tonight, my mouth being tender will feel that tomatoey acidity more than usual. Chef's salads, Caprese salad, BLTs, cubed cucumber and tomato with cubed feta and balsamic dressing, lots of ways to consume tomatoes. That's before the canning starts.


30 Jun 21 - 11:55 PM (#4111968)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

An appointment with the new dentist is made and I'll fill out their online forms to make it official. If only other changes were so easy. Wrenching, but easy.

It's hot enough now that I feel a sense of accomplishment in simply managing the usual stuff around the house - laundry, dishes, meals. The question of showering at bedtime or in the morning arises (because if you shower at night you're going to be sweaty again by morning, but showering twice a day is a bit much, while showering at bedtime means you will sleep much better . . .)

Dinner tonight was a salad with half of one of my really large tomatoes arranged on top. The whole fruit weighed in at 8 ounces. You can make friends and influence people with these kinds of tomatoes. :) I took one to my next door neighbor, along with the few okra I've picked so far. She can take just 3 or 4 large fresh pods and make herself a little bowl of "bowled okra" (boiled is pronounced that way by folks who grew up around here) to go with her lunch. Her husband doesn't like it that way, so if she doesn't have enough to share, she boils it. #Smart


01 Jul 21 - 02:49 AM (#4111974)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: JennieG

I am using up some Stuff which has been in the pantry and fridge for *cough* a while, and making date and maple syrup muffins. Except that it's not muffins, it's a nine inch square cake.

The recipe says it makes 12 muffins and you eat a whole muffin whether or not you need a whole muffin, don't you? So my nine inch cake will yield more servings than those 12 muffins would.

I shall report on the taste when it is out of the oven and cool enough to try.


01 Jul 21 - 09:28 AM (#4111993)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

It's been mostly updating computers for me over the past couple of days. The Windows 10 ones (dual boot on my laptop and a hardly ever used tablet of dad's) took ages (probably not helped by it being ages since I last updated) to go though with lots of errors and retries before everything got updated. I then decided to get rid of the annoying Avast Free which popped up messages on my lap top every time I used Window and I guess I must have installed ages ago but can't remember why... That gave me another fight in trying to get Defender AV to run - loads of web searches and KB articles before I found the solution... Anyway, all's OK now.

A little task for today is do agree on a location with mum and screw a small safe to a study wall. It's probably something we should have thought about a long while ago. There's not a lot but there are things that shouldn't really be left lying around for anyone to casually pick up.

And I've added yet another camera to the system. We had got a cheap stand alone baby monitor for the bedroom but, even after I tried adding an IR light, its night vision was poor and mum could complain that all she saw was fog if she looked in on dad at night. I've put another of the Annke POE ones in there instead.

Anyway, the weather (cool but damp and muggy when it's not raining) looks as if it should improve mid next week so I should be spending more time outside soon. First task will be mowing again...

Lots of flowers on my tomatoes now so hopefully not too long before I start getting some fruit.


01 Jul 21 - 10:23 AM (#4111997)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Lytton, British Columbia, the village where Canada’s highest temperature ever was recorded a couple of days ago, is burning down. The dessicated surrounding forests burst into flames (predictable), and the 250 residents were evacuated before the wildfire could do more than wipe out their property.

Three unmarked cemeteries have been found in Manitoba and Saskatchewan with a total of nearly 200 more undocumented graves.

It’s a nice, quiet day in Stratford, cloudy, with a few mid-day showers in the forecast. I can hear only breeze and birdsong. Both cats are sprawled on my extended legs — the lap is not nearly enough.

I had a visit last night from a fiddle-playing friend who wanted to talk about the children’s graves. She is shocked to the core, as a citizen, a child-care worker and a Catholic, and she can’t quite decide what to do with her feelings. We decided that respectful silence today would be good for us as individuals, followed by a national surge of action to inspect all known sites, locate whatever records might survive in search of other, forgotten sites, and make proper memorials. Then we, as a country, need to make amends.

While the clergy and civil servants responsible for the residential schools were shovelling children underground with little or anything to mark their resting spot, other clergy and civil servants were painstakingly gathering the remains of soldiers killed in the battles of the Great War, going to extraordinary lengths to identify them, and laying them down, one by one, in vast gardens of stone created at huge expense. Grand memorials were built to list the names of all the lost who who could not be identified among the remains found in the blasted ground.

I think about those pitiful graveyards in the bush, and the monument on Vimy Ridge. I cringe with shame.

This thread is supposed to be about decluttering our living space and improving our lifestyles. Deep cleaning and thorough decluttering always turn up evidence of things we did that we ought not to have done, and things left undone that ought to have been done. Canada is living that experience on a massive scale right now.


01 Jul 21 - 10:28 AM (#4111998)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Jennie, that sounds like an excellent plan with the muffin mix. Me, I'd be better off stopping at one muffin - given a whole pan of it, I might eat more! ;-) And it is my experience that adding chopped dates to any recipe makes it much better. Doubly so with your maple syrup!

Jon, I've had a variety of free AV and security programs over the years, and I read reviews before installing them. I've used Avast, but not for a long time. I paid for Kaspersky for a number of years, but it finally stopped working at all. I now use the free security software offered by my Internet provider and I pay for Malwarebytes (on my computers, tablets, and phone.)

I have a growing list of things I have to address - redoing income taxes, taking an online defensive driving course (insurance discount), filing rebate paperwork for pet drugs, and much more. I think it's time for another list on the fridge and to cross them off they are accomplished.


01 Jul 21 - 07:19 PM (#4112053)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Charmion, we cross posted earlier—muffins and computers and to-do lists sound trite when compared to the weight of the atrocity of dead school children buried under school grounds (instead of respectfully sending them home after a full investigation after the first one and it never happening again, they kept doing it. People around them knew better and needed to speak up.)

The impact of Trump is being felt in the political life of the nation right now - his company getting a slap on the wrist for tax evasion is a shiny object in comparison to lighting a fire under Manchion and Sinema and getting some important work done.

Moving forward to work on supporting important causes means you need to have a clear head in order to do so. I have administrative and employment activity to tend to, but otherwise I'm planning to spend the next few days mostly offline. Clear up papers, files, and workspaces and set a few priorities regarding the individuals and groups I want to support that can have impact on the causes important to me. (To this end I recently joined the Southern Poverty Law Center and have renewed with ACLU and NAACP.) If you're too depressed by the state of current events to do anything to help, take a break. Get back in the fight when you can.


01 Jul 21 - 11:06 PM (#4112060)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: mg

shipping question..i have offered my smart tv to my handicapped brother. it is said to weight 6.5 pounds and screen is 24 inches. it is very thin. i of course did not keep the box. does anyone want to guess the cheapest and best way to mail this? can take a long time to get there.


01 Jul 21 - 11:17 PM (#4112062)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

You'll probably have to buy a box if you can't find one. That said, our village recycling happens at open bins behind the city hall, so if I need a box I go look in the bins to see what is there already before I head to the Container Store or U-Haul to buy a box. But considering availability, I would suggest you go to U-Haul and find one of their flat TV or mirror boxes and ship in that. UPS vs USPS vs FedEx, do you have online accounts with any of them? You can get a discount by paying online and printing the label yourself. The next bet is to pay online and go to a shipping store and let them print the label you've already paid for and ship for you. Or just take it to the post office and send it the lightest rate. I think UPS can sometimes beat the post office on those prices. It's the size, not the weight, that will bring up the cost on this.

Be sure to pad it enough so it arrives intact after all of this work!


02 Jul 21 - 01:07 AM (#4112066)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: JennieG

Charmion, you are right. Australia has nothing to hold its head up about in the treatment of First Nations people, either.

Some decluttering here too would be a good thing.


02 Jul 21 - 09:04 AM (#4112097)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

In one week in the US there is a 10% increase in Covid hospitalizations. Yep its the Delta variant among the unvaccinated.
While more children are getting infected it is not a severe reaction.
Children however can be vaccinated now. Too few people are returning to work so signing bonuses are now appearing everywhere making labor as attractive as possible.


02 Jul 21 - 04:33 PM (#4112140)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Last night and today I have struggled through ripping audiobook CDs from the library so I can play them as mp3s in my phone. I used to have a separate mp3 player, but the phone does an equally good job now. It's getting the files that is a challenge (the publishers are often sloppy with the formatting of the names and sometimes even the file types). I'm down to one last book then I'll run the lot back to the library and return them. (If I were to listen in the car I might go to a separate player - if I connect the phone through the Bluetooth then I have the phone also trying to be a phone, and I can't deal with the phone and the steering wheel controls for it while I'm driving.)

I have a lot of produce on the kitchen counter now, and need to start clearing space in the fridge. I try to leave tomatoes out as long as possible, but getting enough to make it worth the canning process means eventually storing some in the fridge while others ripen. Chef's salad again tonight, and tomorrow I'll run by my favorite discount gourmet grocery and see what they have in the cucumber and feta departments. There is a salad of equally sized cubes of tomato, cucumber, and feta (not quite as much cheese as vege) and balsamic vinegar over the top. Mmmmmmm!

Checking off things on my list.


02 Jul 21 - 06:50 PM (#4112148)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: JennieG

The muffin cake is quite nice. I didn't, as the recipe suggested, drizzle over extra maple syrup when it first came out of the oven, but you could always poke holes with a skewer and drip some in later.

Himself likes it, but then he likes anything made with dates; I tell him he is the Date Connoisseur of the Universe. In Oz we have the Country Women's Association - CWA - who, among many other activities, publish many books of favourite recipes. Several years ago a local group published a small book of date recipes......all contributed by members, and probably all tried and tested in country family kitchens. You can't go wrong with a CWA recipe, although the current cake isn't one.


02 Jul 21 - 10:26 PM (#4112160)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

You know what they must say if you have that cookbook, Jennie - Every night is date night!

I know, I know . . .

Friday of a holiday weekend and the kitchen is still kind of a mess, but I had a very nice dinner, including half of one of my very large homegrown tomatoes with my salad. Dishes can wait till tomorrow.


03 Jul 21 - 12:13 AM (#4112165)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: JennieG

Ha ha - very good!

Another recipe I make was given to me by a friend from Vancouver Island who grew up in mainland B.C. - 'Matrimonial Cake'. I gather there are variations according to regions; we (mostly he) have had it in Ontario where it's known as date squares.

I don't know where the matrimonial cake name comes from - perhaps because many dates can lead to matrimony?

The cupboard in the kitchen which houses plastic storage containers of various sizes and shapes is calling for a declutter. It's going to be a 2-person job, one (probably him) to get everything out and pile on the bench and one (most likely me) to make the decision on what gets kept and what gets chucked or donated, and stack it neatly back in the cupboard.

Then he will need training as to which containers are stored inside others, and which are not.


03 Jul 21 - 12:11 PM (#4112201)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

A date square was the first thing I ever ate that made me realize that “too sweet” is even possible.

I think I was about nine at the time.


04 Jul 21 - 05:42 AM (#4112255)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Sandra in Sydney

I've been doing a lot of downsizing in the past year or so (& an even bigger lot of slacking off.) As I say to people I hate waste (long live the Repair, Recycle, Reuse & Re-purpose movement!) but I'm great at wasting time.

For several years I just accumulated new CDs at festivals & concerts - didn't listen to them again - rarely listen to any CDs - just left them in piles around my CD shelves, so I sorted them all. From 8 1-metre shelves & these piles, I now have a bit less then 2 shelves of CDs I listen to.

2 friends who have Community Radio programs took the rest. One friend runs an Australian show (folk, rock, jazz) with only his library, & very happily took around 250 Australian CDs. Mudcatter GerryM took 100+ Mudcatter CDs & most of the others I had left UK, Can, Irish, around 200. The remainder will be lucky door prizes at my folk club & will move to the cupboard in the hall s soon as possible.

Well done, me!!

For weeks I've has a 16-item list (black marker pen on green paper so it doesn't get lost in all the while paper.) Of course white paper can sit on top of it & I've only crossed off 6 items - vacuuming was done before Gerry collected the CDs (phew.) Six of the items relate to unwanted collections, I just need to contact several acquaintances to see if they want them etc. sigh.

One of the items crossed off refers to updating my will & the updates have finally been emailed. One of the collections had been in a big carry bag pushed between my dressingtable & wardrobe as I need to get stuff out - since 2017, unless of course I emailed her years later & deleted my Sent email (oops)

I spent the last few days photographing/scanning embroideries I've done over the years to make a photobook so I'll have a record after I find new homes for them. I know a craft shop/gallery that takes craft stuff on consignment ...

What will I do next?

sandra (long time lurker)


04 Jul 21 - 09:28 AM (#4112271)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Excellent work and thanks for the report—your list sounds like it has been a big help! (I also have that kind of stash of CDs from over the years . . . and several other things mentioned.) It's nice to have an inspirational post from a lurker!


04 Jul 21 - 10:49 AM (#4112276)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

Stuff, it accumulates over time and is rarely if ever used in a lifetime.
Its sorta like women's breasts.


04 Jul 21 - 11:00 AM (#4112279)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

That was kind of an awkward aside (and they were part of the program when the kiddos arrived).

The radio this morning (my weekly gardening program) has some rather belligerently patriotic advertisements. It reminds me that I need to just turn off all of that stuff and enjoy the day (though I always enjoy the Capital Fourth broadcast on PBS in the evening). Last night there were lots of pre-4th explosions and Pepper wasn't happy. The Thundershirt was marginally helpful, but I heard the noise and then put it on. This morning I took it off again, and this evening I'll put it on well before dark and see if that helps. She seemed to be content to hunker down in the closet away from the windows and relatively quiet.

I've been fussing for a few days about not hearing from Tractor Supply about my dog food order. I went online this morning and it said there were still three items in my shopping cart. I know I checked out before, so I'm guessing that some aspect of the order didn't click through (it keeps changing the shipping address to the billing address and that won't work). I still probably have enough dog food to wait for the delivery, but it bugs me that there is a delay. So much for saving a trip if I have to sweat the timely arrival (they ship free when I order this many items.)


04 Jul 21 - 11:59 AM (#4112289)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

It looks like it is safe to go back to Luby's as the pandemic wanes.


04 Jul 21 - 11:59 AM (#4112290)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Ooooh, Sandra! Big props to you!

I still have large boxes of CDs in the basement and about six shelves of them in the library. I listen to a streaming service most of the time, so the CDs in the library are kept for repertoire to learn. I tried to dispose of the boxed-up CDs to a second-hander, but he perused the collection, said he'd make me an offer, and then ghosted me. My brother-in-law (music fan, rock geek) took what he wanted from the accumulation (not a small amount) and hardly made a dent.

But I'll deal with that some other day. The CDs don't haunt me like some other issues.

Tony the carpenter finally sent me an invoice for the work in the basement and said he thinks he has found the correct hardware to replace defunct operators on the huge casement windows in the library. I'm thrilled because only one of those windows works at all (and that not well), and the room can cook up to sauna conditions in a couple of hours on a sunny summer day.

Tony also recommended a painter for the still-ugly guest room (the original primary bedroom), which was decorated at least 20 years ago in contrasting colours of putty grey and briefcase brown. Its window faces due north, and the effect in winter is profoundly depressing. The decor did not matter when the room was a study and the walls were covered with bookcases, but it's a bedroom again and, oh boy, the colour scheme is a thing now. I must also put up curtains in there, against the prevailing northwest wind in winter, and the paint job must be done first.

I cooked a lot last week and am still eating the results, including the remains of a truly boffo big chicken that I spit-roasted over charcoal with hickory smoke in the kamado barbecue. The key lime pie the BIL contributed to dinner on Canada Day riled up my digestion a little, but by God it was delicious, worth every qualm.

Except for a tune session tomorrow afternoon, my dance card is clear until the end of the week, when I get my second jab.


04 Jul 21 - 02:30 PM (#4112301)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: robomatic

I had some of the old type tuna in a can, the inexpensive but strongly flavoured chunk light. Where'd all my Costco white meat go? Anyhow, added bread crumbs, mayo, onion flakes and soy sauce. Mixed well with a long fork. Ate with crisps and hot sweet pickles. Cleared a quarter of a shelf.


04 Jul 21 - 05:29 PM (#4112316)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

This afternoon I'm finishing up kitchen stuff. I just made a batch of hummus (I cooked the garbanzos several days ago), I have to slice and freeze peppers from the garden, but first I'll use a bunch in a mix of fajitas (I have some chicken to use and I think I'll put it in the smoker to make the fajitas really smoky, not just grilled.) And if I think of it I'll get some good onions and make a batch of salsa (I have the tomatoes and the peppers for it right now.) These things happen before it is time to blanch, dice, and can the tomatoes.

I put a bunch of basil seeds into a planter outside the kitchen door and am planning to continue what I did last year - the same thing to plant a bunch, and as they grew I thinned them to use as I needed and as they got bigger there weren't as many in the planter so there was room. I need to plant cucumbers this week (if I'd planted in the spring I'd have them now to go with the tomatoes, so I'll have to buy some for now - come fall I should have basil, tomatoes, and cucumbers.)

Now to do something about all of those eggplants. Oh, and do a load of laundry. And mow the front yard.


05 Jul 21 - 10:52 AM (#4112385)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

I have to get out the rake and clear my lawn of sprigs of leaves and small branches torn from the maple trees by last week's windstorms. It looks messy, and I expect young Georgia with the lawn mower today. I don't like the idea of a chopped-up maple twig launching at speed from the mower's output straight into her leg. Or anybody else's.

The holiday weekend is finally over and, with it, Stratford's semi-annual indulgence in fireworks. (The other firework-associated festival is Victoria Day in May.) On Saturday, with Canada Day receding in the rear-view mirror, the air reverberated well into the night with explosions unpleasantly reminiscent of small-arms fire. I rather suspect beer was involved.

The cats were bothered far less than I was. They just gazed out the bedroom window like patrons at the opera, taking in the night birdsong.


05 Jul 21 - 11:01 AM (#4112387)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I did most of that except mow the lawn. I seem to be pushing that off for another day, but maybe that day is today.

I have enough really ripe tomatoes and peppers to make a half-batch of salsa and have compared notes on a couple of sites with reliable recipes. The Gold Standard, now that the Blue Ball Book is no longer produced reliably, is the University of Georgia National Center for Food Preservation with a recipe with lemon juice to balance the acidity. But I'm going to go with the older Ball Blue Book recipe as represented on Wholefully.com and make the it with apple cider vinegar instead. It has better flavor. I need to run out to get fresh onions and cilantro. I have the rest.

A load of laundry (set on the timer) ran early this morning and another load will go in soon. I haven't taken a rag out to clean the clothes lines for use this summer but I'll do it as soon as I mow under there. (There was a fire ant mound in the area last time I looked, so I need to locate it and treat it before I walk around back there. I'm mostly used to them by now, but sometimes a sting on the foot can really smart).

The fireworks here were a steady barrage from dusk onward, sustained in frequency well past midnight when I called it quits. The thundershirt seems to have helped Pepper some. The glasses of wine helped me. :)


05 Jul 21 - 01:38 PM (#4112396)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Dupont:

In Quebec, things are open. I believe we are now in the "orange zone", serendipitous considering our propinquity to Kahnawake. The weight of the newly discovered burials is heavy; I feel the tears in my eyes most of the time. At least one dear friend has posted his terrible pain and anger, as a survivor. Possibly this monumental opening of the subject will enable considerable opening of people's feelings so they can have some degree of healing. The whole subject was hiding under a very lumpy carpet for too long. Now everyone knows and the fan is busy ... May the winds of peace blow hard.

Well, the time has muddled by and it was too hot to breathe for a while and the last 3-4 days have been heavenly cool. We had some wonderful rain in there somewhere. I am wondering about me - my energy level is from nil to get out and push to "WOW, I got a few things done!"

No grass has been cut. I quit! Planning to buy some birdsfoot trefoil to throw on the entire front in the late fall. The snow should soak it into the ground; next year it can produce a lawn of short "grass" with lovely yellow flowers; it is all along the road through the "Rez" and in yards as well, in the city also.

My outings each day are driving R to the city and fetching him back, most days since I have been here, due to his loss of driver's license and abysmal failure to do anything about it! Some days, that is all I have done, though it is only 30 minutes each way.

This weekend just over, he stayed home and we/he did: a screen in the window of the current pottery space so I can work with AIR when it is cool enough; a light fixture in a "spare room" where there was no ceiling light, just a fan. looks nice and he is happy but, I point out, there is no room for a comfie chair due to the surplus furniture he ;put in... Took four hours due to differences in where he could affix the light. Then we worked together to clear the largish closet in the hall; there is now organization, some things have left both it and the spare room closet - for the cellar or the trash. AND there is empty space on a shelf!

We did not get to re-arrange the LR/DR for the new oval table - not a dining table, we have that covered but ... I give up! He bought it because he liked it with no thought for where it could fit - No where basically. But it is a lovely table and I did come up with a solution. Solution one entailed getting rid of an ugly table - that he also loves! Solution two... How many tables does a LR need???? Compromise. But I have to wait for him to help. Of course, I keep remembering - we are not going to have company any time soon.

BIG event: we went out for supper last eve! First time in about 18 months. I had a great meal; looked at the plate the waitress delivered and - did not think I could eat at all! Starting carefully with the salad, I made it through every last morsel of this typically QC meal: french fries, rice, pita, salad and chicken breast that was so good I WANT the recipe. R helped with the fries and the bits of salad - tomato and cuke. I saved a bit of chick and pita for today. Oh goody! lunch!

I do have a semblance of garden: tomato plants mostly doing well, squash plants in bloom, Wax beans looking healthy but not yet producing. Several pots of basil, doing well; I cut up a shoot for the morning omelette. pots of red geranium, one pepper plant, and two very large tomato plants on the front steps; full sun most of day. And my precious pear tree! Want to get some buckwheat seed - good for the soil. The front garden, the truckload of soil does not grow much of anything - parsley, some perennials and a lavender. Even the oregano is struggling. I'll throw some sort of fertilizer on it today. After that lunch!

Big goal is to get plants organized better so R does not have to spend as much time watering when I am away. Which I will be, as soon as he gets permission to drive!


05 Jul 21 - 04:44 PM (#4112410)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

It looks like strong tea and is full of tiny leaves but after a shock or two and filtering, things will look good. Thats what standing treated water looks like after 2 years. I gotta make a clearing to add room for the nylon pool cover today by mowing with a tilted gas mower. Then a good vacuuming sending water directly to the street bypassing a filter followed by a retileing of about a hundred tiny tiles with plasti patch. I have plenty of chlorine which you can't buy due to supply chain snafus. Come mid Sept I will have some one else close it up. This is still just standard pool opening duties.
45 ft is the limit one person can do. Anything bigger would be to heavy or expensive to clean.


05 Jul 21 - 07:20 PM (#4112419)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I guess I'm glad I don't have a pool to tend to along with the lawn. Can't you shock it and filter it? Seems a waste to send that water out into the street.

The leaffooted bugs (in the stinkbug family) are back gnawing on my tomatoes. I found one with the mark on it today. I'm going to water tonight then in the morning mix up a strong solution of spinosad, add a little orange oil and compost tea to make it work for foliar feeding also, and hit the tomatoes and other plants with the spray. Try to knock them out. I'm also seeing lacebugs on the eggplant leaves. They started later than usual this year, but they are back.

Ugg.

Meanwhile, in the house I'm using up containers of things in the fridge by having leftovers all day. I need to make room soon for more tomatoes. And I'm beginning to gather the canning jars and will soon run a batch through the dishwasher. And while I'm at it, it's time to go check on the state of the mustang grape vines across the street. It was heavily clobbered a couple of years ago but I noticed that some of it is back now.


05 Jul 21 - 08:15 PM (#4112427)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

I'll keep most of the water after the leaves are sucked out but fresh water is good for a 1/3. I cleared the brush but got some plant juice on my arm that is toxic to me. Poison oak stains me like a bruise or maybe its somethig else but it has no itch or pain. It only lasts about 2 weeks. Pools are a pain but some folks spend thousands on automatic underwater vacuum cleaners but still the pumps, filters and heaters have a short life span that you can't count on.



The mulberries were good but gone like the blueberries. Now its just raspberries.


06 Jul 21 - 10:50 AM (#4112483)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Yesterday evening I was actually doing that mowing I've intended for weeks, and was on the second of three sections of the yard when the heavens opened in an unexpected and lovely heavy thunderstorm. I was on the next door neighbor's side of a strip we share in mowing and had to dodge under their eaves for a few minutes before it slowed. I got in one more row and "whoosh!" came the rest of it. I guess this works as a rain dance. I was out this morning spraying a foliar feeding mix (with Spinosad to try to knock out the leaffooted bugs) and the lawn is still too wet with dew. I need to run errands, but when I'm back and it should be mowable.


06 Jul 21 - 06:16 PM (#4112516)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

The front mowing is finished but I didn't trim. And we're getting another welcome little rain shower in the late afternoon (it sounds wonderful on the window). Trouble is, with the rain that makes the garden happy comes the humidity that makes all meat creatures unhappy.

Dog ears need attention, says the vet. Drops and head shaking for the next couple of weeks for the Lab, then I'll take him back and do blood work also. It seems, based upon observation, that he may have a thyroid shutting down - a major clue is that he hasn't finished blowing his winter coat yet. The last two weeks have been a major veterinary hit on the pocketbook - I can't wait until the airlines have regular postal runs going across the Atlantic again, the cost of these American heartworm medications is huge. I pay 1/3 to 1/2 of the US price by buying abroad. I could have ordered the ear drop liquid somewhere else, the temp vet didn't have a problem, but the staff member holding the bottle looked so sad when I was looking it up online on my phone. They get you with those puppy-dog looks.


07 Jul 21 - 10:18 AM (#4112611)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

This summer is officially wet: I found a patch of slime mould on the mulch in my back flowerbed. It looks like vomit, but it's harmless and good for the soil. And I don't have to look at it.


07 Jul 21 - 11:00 AM (#4112617)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Sandra in Sydney

Tonight I finally rang my cousin. I've been meaning to for weeks (months?) & put it off several times this week - after dinner, too late now, tomorrow, can't be bothered, all excuses!

She is next in line for some family stuff as my sister is not a collector/accumulator - she lives a very sparse life, probably something to do with 15 moves in the 17 years she lived as an expat, tho they didn't have a lot of extraneous stuff before they went overseas!

I haven't seen my cousin since her wedding in the 80s (we weren't close to our cousins) & we had a lovely chat & will get together at some stage, & she was pleased to be offered the the family stuff. I emailed her the list. Sydney is in a short lockdown at the moment (3 weeks, 1 to go, hopefully not to be extended as my folk club meets the following week, fingers crossed.)

Now I only have 10 items on my list. Another pat on the back
Action - bed time in 5 mins so I've started an email to one acquaintance re an unwanted collection & will fill it in in the morning.

Can't find the correspondence about another collection, & haven't got time to look further now.

now it's 1 min to shutting down

TO BE CONTINUED


07 Jul 21 - 11:42 AM (#4112621)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Sandra, I have some "blue blocker" glasses I try to remember to use in the evening on the computer or Kindle reader (these are "readers" I picked up after the cataract surgery because I need help with close vision now). I'm terrible about getting to bed before midnight. Do you have a trick?

I've cleaned the stovetop, done a load of dishes, and am now pulling out the big pots for canning. It's time for salsa first, then we'll see about canning tomatoes, or maybe this time making sauce and juice and leave diced for later. I have at least a case of whole (very small) or diced from last year still to use, but no homemade sauce right now. And I love having the juice (I usually freeze that). With all of this, it's time to move the Kitchen Queen/Hoosier Kitchen that sits at an angle across the corner of the kitchen and is where I stash a stool and an oscillating fan on a stand that get used during canning. The stool is the right height to hold jars for decanting juices from the steam juicer at the stove, and the fan keeps the kitchen livable with all of the hot water going for blanching, cooking, and processing.

I have so many things I need to do in addition to this, but the tomatoes and peppers are ripe now and can't wait.


07 Jul 21 - 04:16 PM (#4112649)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I dispute the refund the IRS revised way downward for last year's taxes, and spent a couple of hours finishing the letter and assembling the bits of my return process, plus pointing out the glaring human error on their end about something they say I can't claim that I in fact didn't and have never claimed. I assembled it and then took a shot at "calling the IRS" - something one does not do lightly. After entering lots of numbers and listening to recordings and making choices - it seems this line is too busy on that topic and I have to call back on another business day. No. Way. This has been printed and is in a Priority envelope, heading to the post office right now.

Whew. This was something I put off for a long time, it wasn't pleasant, but I am not going to redo my math when the error is theirs, not mine (they say I can't reduce my income by the amount I paid in alimony last year. Huh?)

Now to empty the dishwasher and load it with canning jars. And I need to walk over and take a look at the grape vines. It has been a wet and cool year so I'm guessing if there are grapes they'll be ready in a week or two. (Who knows - maybe they are all now dried raisins because I missed the season. Will report back.)

Thyroid recheck later this week and I'm looking forward to getting results back. Hopefully we'll hit the sweet spot in the dosage after this.


08 Jul 21 - 06:16 AM (#4112689)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Sandra in Sydney

Stilly, I've always been a late bird.

I started work in 1970 & 5 years later the Federal Public Service went to Flexi time - start between 7 & 10, finish between 3 & 7, do at least the proper number of hours over a fortnight, &/or save time for a day off.

Some weird colleagues, those who wake before the birds, jumped at the chance to work 7-3 (sandra shakes head in amazement!) I chose to work 10-7 & retired in 2007.

last night's bedtime was 2am, & I get up around 9.

sandra


08 Jul 21 - 11:49 AM (#4112711)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I feel like I did ten rounds with Ali after all of that slow motion back and forth for two or three hours of making salsa. This morning I let the kettle start heating water for tea while I washed, dried, and replaced the big stuff used in the process. There is simply no room in a kitchen for all of those big pots and the food processor to air dry.

The food processor was on my xmas list a couple of years ago and has come in very handy. I had one before, but it was too small. This one has a motor that can dispatch a bowl full of peppers or onions in seconds. It comes up with very creamy hummus, and the biggest factor for getting this model, it can process a full recipe of falafel.

Anyway, the recipe is a classic from the Blue Ball Book and I now have canned salsa to last for a while. The tomatoes, bell and poblano peppers, and garlic were from my garden. I bought onions and cilantro (though in the past I have grown them also, but this isn't the best season for onions and cilantro is a cool season herb around here.) The house smells heavenly - that combination of apple cider vinegar, onions, peppers, and garlic is hanging in the air.

All of that walking didn't show up on my fitness tracker because that operates by my swinging my arm as I walk. I should have turned on the Google Fit and left my phone in my pocket. Anyway, this morning I was greeted by cool jars and a sink full, but now I've had my cuppa tea, the sink is empty, some is in the dishwasher, two cases of canning jars are out of the dishwasher and ready for the next adventures.


09 Jul 21 - 01:37 PM (#4112785)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Today, I decluttered the pantry of five pounds of whole wheat flour, five pounds of rye flour, and an untouched jar of instant yeast. Then I decluttered the freezer of five striploin steaks, a large quantity of active dry yeast in a half-litre Mason jar, and an entire brisket, trimmed and ready for the smoker. The frozen meat was all vacuum-sealed with my FoodSaver.

All of it went to the Local Community Food Centre, a non-profit agency that promotes food security in small towns like Stratford. They have an allotment garden and a greenhouse, they teach people to cook, and they make meals for people whose incomes fall short of their needs. My favourite charity, right up there with the Lung Association.

I was afraid that the Local could not accept donations of foods that were not commercially sealed, but the nice lady in charge of logistics said that the frozen meat is packaged as well as anything from Sobey’s, and the flour (delivered in airtight plastic canisters) will go right into their kitchen, along with the yeast.

So that’s off my conscience. It took me all winter to work my way through Edmund’s five pounds of hamburger, which I had frozen in six-ounce patties, and cooking the brisket would require a heroic effort and a large party of diners — unlikely in the foreseeable future. I haven’t made bread since Edmund died, and it took me till Easter to eat the loaves I had stashed in the fridge freezer.


09 Jul 21 - 03:05 PM (#4112792)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

That's a great use of the extra flour - it has probably already been converted into loaves at that Food Centre. The local fridge for the "food dessert" on the Near Southside of town is closed during the summer because it was situated in a box-like shelter outdoors facing south and couldn't stay cold enough in the summer heat. Normally they take things needing refrigeration (dairy, etc.) but no meat because at any time of year they can't guarantee that the meat was handled properly and that the fridge will stay cold enough until someone claims it. They're taking pantry items only there right now, so I can drop off freshly picked vegetables (they don't do well in a fridge anyway). I'm about to that point, especially with the eggplant. I left a bag of them at the doctor's office this morning when I went in for the blood draw.

This summer I'm going to resume the very small batch processing of the tomatoes because there are a few that are ripe and need using now, they can't wait for the whole couple of flats-full to ripen. This will be using the asparagus steamer I bought last summer. This is the same steamer that when I opened it just now smelled like the perfume of candle wax because it was a lifesaver during the February freeze and power outage here (a candle inside and a rack across the top for a small pan to keep water hot). I'm also going to cook (bread, pan fry) some eggplant for the neighbor across the street. She loves that but doesn't cook any more.

Company's coming tomorrow so I need to pick up around here and make a run to Goodwill to drop off donation items in the way now.


09 Jul 21 - 06:14 PM (#4112811)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Dupont:

Still waiting for R to do something about his Drivers license so I can go back to beaver. Missing the berry season and the turtle nesting season. Really want to go home!

Plants are in good order here; green tomatoes, lots of basil. Bought manure for the front garden as even the oregano was doing poorly. Added a few more ornamentals which I could not resist. I hope it rains enough to keep outdoor plants watered while I am away. Have organized indoor ones in very large saucers (12 inches or so) holding multiple small plants so less fiddly for R. He might even think to check tomatoes and wax beans?

Cooler weather has been wonderful, and rain. Hall closet well organized so I can just remove things to take to Beaver, some of which will leave there for thrift shops or for Pat to make into something - an old down quilt if she wants to... Very helpful to have that triage area.

Cleared out some boxes deemed disposable. And moved some to a distant cabinet, making more room in pantry. R removed some things to cellar! We might even move into this house - pics on wall that are not just placed wherever there happens to be a nail in the wall already, for example.

When it was hot I did nothing other than a bit of cooking. When it cooled I did the outdoor work. No pots have been made. Hope I will have more energy for that when I get back to Beaver - lots to glaze and fire. And Pat is pushing for more "$10 pieces"; they, of course sell well and she has the shop open according to the rules, still carefully. Quebec is excited about being "green" now; I am not impressed; may never feel safe without a mask!

R and I discussed the possibility of refurbishing the garage into a studio for me. I need to find a competent carpenter. No Dan here!


09 Jul 21 - 06:50 PM (#4112815)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion's brother Andrew

Wow, Charmion! Thank you for that.


10 Jul 21 - 01:13 AM (#4112834)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Three large very ripe tomatoes were blanched, diced, brought to a simmer, then hot packed and are now a pint and a half of diced tomatoes. Yes, they were that large. I had some in the fridge that had parts trimmed off (attacked in the garden) that were blanched and went into a batch of marinara sauce (my tomatoes, peppers, garlic, and oregano are in it, along with Italian sausage, onion, red wine and sliced mushrooms from the freezer, and tomato paste). And still have have two large flats full of ripening tomatoes, a bowl full of really ripe tomatoes, and a bunch on the windowsill. There are a lot more in the garden also, and I picked more peppers and okra today.

Tomorrow I'm going to slice, bread, and fry some eggplant to take to my neighbor across the street who loves it but doesn't cook any more. With COPD she doesn't do much of anything any more. I have a friend coming in the afternoon who needs help shortening her rain pants for a trip to Iceland next month (my friend is very short and doesn't want to fall over into one of Iceland's many waterfalls because she tripped over the cuffs of her pants.) She offered any price to help - but I don't want my friend in that waterfall either, so of course there isn't a charge for this kind of sewing work. I wonder if I should point her in Skarpi's direction? Wouldn't that give a wonderful twist to the vacation?

So, salsa yesterday, tomatoes and Marinara sauce today. The house smells great, the pantry is going to start filling up, and I've spent a lot of time washing out pots and I'm running the dishwasher two days in a row. I have yet to get down the steam juicer, the real star of the food processing kitchen. I could steam tomatoes and make sauce and juice, could steam grapes for jelly, or even put a chicken in it and come up with some kind of non-boiled boiled chicken. At this point in time I could choose to dice and can all of the tomatoes and have them to use for the next couple of years, but I still have some left from last year, so it's more prudent to spread them around in different products of the kitchen. And we aren't to pickle or jelly season yet so I need to think about keeping some shelf space available.

I do love my garden, but it keeps me busy thinking of creative ways to use everything that comes out of it.


10 Jul 21 - 08:07 PM (#4112906)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

The pants had a rather involved construction but were straight-legged, so we managed to remove 7 inches and make them work for my 5' tall friend. (She said the regular size cost about $30, the petite were closer to $90, hence the adjustments.) And we picked tomatoes before she left, and spotted some deep in the thicket that were overripe and fermenting. Whoosh - I later got those out and tossed into the compost because I don't want to attract pests.

I did more small (single pint) batch canning this afternoon with ripe tomatoes. It doesn't take up nearly as much space and the water heats very quickly. I held back a couple of perfect ripe ones to go in a salad tonight with basil, mozzarella, and balsamic vinegar. Summertime dinner!

I managed to spill a drink of iced tea on my friend and since she had an extra pair of pants (that also needed pinning up) she wore those. Oops. Usually it's the dogs who get in there and cause chaos.


11 Jul 21 - 12:23 PM (#4112965)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I woke early to rain on the roof - perfect timing - the yard has dried out.

There's hardly room to prepare my meals this weekend - my kitchen counter is full of boxes of jars, empty and recently filled, and boxes of ripening tomatoes and of peppers awaiting freezing. I'm going to make a batch of brine for pickled okra and have it handy for quick single jars - they process very quickly. The goal is to use all of this before it gets too old or soft to use as I want.

The old Lab still needs medication squirted in his ears, and he has figured out that there is a treat involved so isn't running off like last week. Old dogs do learn new tricks!

I picked a couple of tomatoes this morning, but a friend is coming over so I left several pink ones on the plants - it's a great entertainment, picking softball-sized tomatoes.


11 Jul 21 - 01:48 PM (#4112970)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

It's raining again in Stratford, and Environment Canada is predicting the same for the better part of next week. I imagine that this means I should expect more slime mould in the garden.

The provincial government has announced that we will move to Step 3 -- gyms open, restaurants feeding people indoors, higher capacity caps on retail businesses -- on Friday, 16 July, a week earlier than previously announced. This means I can resume pool class and eat at a restaurant even when it's raining. Most of Stratford seems to be interpreting the change of date as a vote of confidence, assuming we're all on the way back to "normal".

I received Shot 2 yesterday afternoon, and my arm is a bit sore today. Otherwise, I feel fine.

The next household improvement project is almost under way: a nice young man in painting clothes came the other day to quote on bringing the ugly bedroom up to snuff. He's a friend of Tony the carpenter and a likely sub-contractor on the two-bathrooms project, so I also showed him that project area. He agreed that eggplant purple is a dreadful colour for a bathroom, and noted that the woodwork in the ugly bedroom has suffered way too much damage -- he offered to "give it some love", which I gather means caulking the cracks, tacking down the sprung molding, and giving it all a nice, bright coat of semi-gloss white enamel. His name is Rick, his parents live down the street, and he drives an aging Jaguar saloon (!). I guess he's a Class A mechanic in his copious free time.


11 Jul 21 - 06:11 PM (#4112989)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I pulled out a small stack of recipes to attend to this weekend, and made progress. There is now a lovely small tub of homemade tartar sauce awaiting some fish I plan to thaw this week. The ingredients for a batch of cranberry bars are thawing. I cleared out space in the fridge when I emptied a container of store brand "fresh" pickles that never tasted very good and weren't going to improve with age. The jar of mayonnaise is now out of there, emptied, partly to the tartar sauce and the rest spooned into the plastic squirt bottle that is my favorite dispenser for mayo. And more things along those lines. Do I really need four flavors of mustard? Not necessarily, but I know which of the four was going to go best in the tartar sauce, and it isn't the same as one I might use for salad dressing. They're staying.

Cookie and I took a wonderful refreshing mid-afternoon nap together on the sofa. She really is a very good nap dog.

I read an interesting article about Jackie Collins in The Atlantic. I can't say I read any of her novels, but I read a few other popular women authors at the time. In the topic paragraph of the article are these lines:

If I close my eyes, I can see the jacket photo on the glossy hardcovers in my childhood bedroom: Collins, standing in front of a blandly wealthy backdrop, her hair as rich as chocolate and her shoulders padded past the point of no return. These conspicuous displays of accomplishment read to me now as karmic winks at all the critics who disdained her. Carry on with your carping, suckers, she seems to say with her eyes, the light glinting off her abundant jewelry. This pool is paid for.

That description of shoulder pads and the pool pulled me into the rest of the article.

More huge tomatoes picked today, and one ripe one picked with a bite taken out of it very recently (it was still dripping). I sent it home with the picker, telling him to cut off that part. Now to get the bag of dog hair (collected using the "furminator" brush thing) I've collected for this time of year - and the long kitchen tongs. I'll go stuff large gobs of the hair under the garden plants to hopefully scare of the squirrel or other rodent that has decided to chomp my ripe tomatoes.


12 Jul 21 - 08:12 AM (#4113043)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

Well the weather yesterday was fine enough for mum and I to have our tea outside for what seems the first time in a few weeks but we’re back to rain for this afternoon.

The grass continues to enjoy this seasons weather though… That said, yesterday, I finished my most complete cut this year. I took the petrol trimmer all the way up the track to trim the sides back and also did the bit behind the pigsties. These bits only need doing occasionally.

I got a new plastic “salad box” (don’t know what happened to the last one) for the fridge yesterday. Of our own stuff, there is only lettuce to go in a the moment but I should have our own sweet peppers, tomatoes, and cucumber to go in later. A little bit of ready prepared salad in the fridge to go on sandwiches works quite well for us.

I really need to try to push myself (and my motivation is about zero with some things) to get going and achieve at least one of a couple of projects I ought to do but don’t really want to do (back to the book of common prayer there charmion?) although I’d need the weather on my side for both…

The green shed (I think mentioned a while a go) really does need me to be able to spread things outside to sort and the long threatened (but probably never mentioned here and forgotten about when I couldn’t do a job at ground level) cementing between the porch tiles and then painting the floor needs a couple of fine clear days where the sliding doors to the living room could be used as the main entrance.

Then there is outdoor furniture that could do with its annual coat of whatever...


12 Jul 21 - 10:13 AM (#4113050)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Very bummed out today from reading the newspapers: Afghanistan is again falling under Taliban control. Every Afghan who worked for the Canadian Embassy, Task Force Kandahar or the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team is in deadly danger, from the interpreters and "cultural advisors" who were intimately involved in operations and policy decisions to the lowliest sweepers and kitchen hands. The Canadian government has yet to show much interest in their plight, let alone do anything useful, such as rescue them. This situation has been coming for years, and more than 800 Afghans who worked for Canada have already been settled here, so it's not as if we don't know what to do.

But all that is way out of my range of influence, let alone control, so I should focus my attention on things I can change. Such as the choir's determination to over-think the return to group singing. Some members of the executive committee apparently want to review all the science, as if we could understand it in context, or take any action that varies from public health advice, guidance and directive.

I'm bidden to yet another meeting this afternoon. I'm so not a fan.


12 Jul 21 - 12:38 PM (#4113072)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

The trouble with all of this last minute relocation of drivers and translators from Afghanistan is that they're telegraphing their plans to the whole world. Makes it easier to pick off moving families. The press need-to-know versus the government's need to act quickly and quietly—this should already have been sorted out, not wait till the press makes a fuss about it to act. I would like a quiet report one day soon that says "we moved them all out already and they're safe." Dream on?

I have three flats of tomatoes on the kitchen counter, as well as a bowl, and I see big canning operations in the cards this week. We're past the small batch stage. Now I have to decide how much of it goes into sauce versus how much is diced.

Yesterday the recycling was dropped at the village bins and the long now-tightly-wrapped-in-plastic window blinds are dropped at Goodwill. I was listening to an interesting episode of Hidden Brain while making that run, and I can't find the episode now. It tied in with doing things now versus things like saving for the future - present bias versus future bias stuff. I sent an email to the station asking because the schedule takes me to the website, not the episode. During that search I found another episode that is a classic for Mudcat so started a new thread. A search didn't show anything about his past, I'm curious to see if anyone steps up with more information. He was a grifter, so who knows if there is any truth to his work on the master book of American folk.


13 Jul 21 - 03:54 PM (#4113235)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I heard back from the local NPR station. The episode this week was a repeat (I think there will be a new season in the fall) that this one is You, But Better.
Think about the resolutions you made this year: to quit smoking, eat better, or get more exercise. If you’re like most people, you probably abandoned those resolutions within a few weeks. That’s because change is hard. Behavioral scientist Katy Milkman explains how we can use our minds to do what’s good for us.

I made tomato sauce last night but need to cook it down a bit then jar and process it. There is about a quart of sauce and there are three quarts of spectacularly clear and tasty tomato juice in the freezer (and another pint in the fridge.) And after I used all of those tomatoes (about 8 pounds) and then put the tomatoes from the windowsill into the box, and a few I'd picked late in the day, it was full up again. So I have three flats of very ripe tomatoes to use this week. I cleaned the kitchen before I went to bed, because you can only leave it a mess overnight so often before you realize you're just beating up on your morning self. (And this ties back to that Hidden Brain episode.)

The leftover skin and seeds is a great source of flavor and lycopene, so I'll spread it out on a baking sheet and slowly dry it in the oven (if it wasn't so humid today I'd cover it and put it on the table outside the dry). It then goes into the little food mill to be chopped into little chips of tomato skin and seeds, and it smells and tastes wonderful sprinkled on things. I keep it in the freezer till I'm ready to fill the shaker I keep it in for the table.


13 Jul 21 - 06:14 PM (#4113248)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

I managed to let dad fall today. He's been walking so well and I guess I got to casual about things and was standing to his side rather than behind him when it happened... Perhaps I did mange to slow the fall and he wasn't injured but we were still left with the problem of getting him up...

...An ambulance call. The crew wanted to (and did) take him into hospital for tests. We've had a call back from the hospital saying all is ok but I don't know when dad will be back. He missed his tea and mum and I have just said that we have a Wiltshire Farms (microwave meal) or a cheese salad sandwich or a cup a soup on offer if he want's something before bed.

In the meanwhile, I've put an Alexa Flex in the kitchen. It might help with the occasional blip we have with the automation there. At least saying "Alexa, turn the kitchen light on" is easier than walking to the switch... And maybe it will find other uses.


13 Jul 21 - 08:05 PM (#4113268)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

The switch for the light over the kitchen dining area is poorly place, around a corner so I have to lean around the wall to turn it on or walk over there. I put a smart bulb in that fixture over the table and Alexa turns it on and off, and when family members fuss about the bulb, turns it down to 50% brightness. I have a lamp with another smart bulb that I've been meaning to set up somewhere, just haven't figured the best place. I'm clearly not someone who has Alexa do all sorts of household tasks. So far no cameras or smart major appliances, etc.

Clearing out more in the fridge - I froze chicken stock made recently and I can use that 3-quart bowl for tomatoes. On the kitchen waste end of things it is time again to excavate a cavity in the compost pile and pour in the bucket contents from the two five-gallon buckets next to the kitchen door. This is always a bit of a job (they're heavy and stinky and I always resolve to empty them before they're full but that rarely happens. I should find smaller buckets.)

One of the two air conditioning heat pump units isn't always turning on when the indoor part turns on, so I need to call the company that tends to these for me. It looks like July is going to be a major hit on the pocketbook, with the vet bills and now a possible AC repair (though he always services with a standard call first and sometimes that is enough. It's good when you have a reliable repairman you've known for 20 years.)


13 Jul 21 - 10:15 PM (#4113281)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: JennieG

A question: "three flats of very ripe tomatoes" - what's a 'flat' in that context?

In Oz a 'flat' is what you would call an apartment, although 'apartment' is becoming more and more used.


14 Jul 21 - 12:20 AM (#4113284)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

If you buy a case of canned goods often they're in a box that is only a couple of inches tall around the sides, with plastic over it to hold everything in place. I buy sparkling water from Costco in 35-can cases. Those are the size boxes I'm putting tomatoes in; when you buy produce in boxes like that they generally refer to it as a flat; bigger boxes are half-bushel or bushels. The Costco boxes are 19" x 13", and there is one case from Topo Chico (a Mexican sparkling water) that is 15" x 13". Tomorrow a lot of tomatoes will go into jars one way or another, they're all very ripe. And part of that may be more sauce, though I'll have to think about what to do with all of that juice. So far I'm freezing it, but it does take up space in a hurry. It doesn't last as long canned, but I could can it in quart jars and just plan to use that first.

I made a quart of tomato sauce today (four half-pint jars) from the tomatoes I steam-juiced last night. Not very much, but this is from the same fruit that yielded close to a gallon of juice. The skins and seeds are in the oven slowly drying.

I'm puttering along, keeping the garden alive, scattering in some dry organic fertilizer tonight, turning on the sprinkler - and nearly killed myself, wrenched my back stepping in a hole the dogs dug. I'm going to have to take a wheelbarrow of soil around and fill a bunch of these and see if they'll stay filled, at least for a while.


14 Jul 21 - 12:59 AM (#4113285)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: mg

i use stainless steel pots for compost.


14 Jul 21 - 02:24 AM (#4113289)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: JennieG

Ah, okay......that's pretty much what I had thought. We would probably say a box, or perhaps a carton if the sides were deeper.

Back to my sewing room now that my coffee is drunk. I have 77 more 2-1/2 in squares of green fabric to be cut, decluttering some of my greens as I go, for a quilt. I have a lot of green fabric.

I really really like green......


14 Jul 21 - 06:39 AM (#4113308)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

"So far no cameras or smart major appliances, etc."

Oh, and I've just added another camera and really must make this our lot! The front outside camera covers a reasonable area but looses sight of people as they get close to the porch door. I've fitted a doorbell camera to close that gap.

Doing that also caused me to re-arrange the wi-fi my end of the house and I now have an AP the other side of my room and the wi-fi on my router which is behind my PC turned off.


14 Jul 21 - 11:25 AM (#4113335)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

What a pretty yard, Jon! I've thought about the doorbell, but they're as likely to be stolen as they are to be left alone these days. I would put a camera on the NE corner of the house to catch street traffic if I were to put one up; that's where all of the action seems to happen (the sheriff will sometimes ask my next door neighbor about his street view at certain times because of something that happened in the village. His angle catches vehicles but not license plates.)

I must mow and do the compost. Mary, I won't use stainless for it, but I will look into smaller buckets today to make this job easier. Today at least when I get it to the compost pile there's enough stuff in there to bury this without much fuss. I need to trim the lemon balm (it's taken over outside the back door) and so low-hanging limbs (would be a good idea to do this BEFORE I mow.) Indoors I must make more sauce and can some of these tomatoes. Busy day.

Funny thing - I went to the doctor's office last week for a blood draw and left a bag of eggplants. This morning I called to ask about the results and when she had my name she said "I remember you! You left the eggplants!" and when prompted, she said they disappeared in a hurry. I should take them some more. :) I've tried to take them to my across the street/corner neighbor, but no one seems to be home these days. I fear for the worse, that the matriarch may have passed away. (I just did an online search - nothing shows up, but I found her husband's notice from 2015.) She's always happy to get fresh produce; her daughter lives with her and they cook together so I think they'll still get used. Maybe they're just on vacation.

I made another dent in the fridge contents yesterday so I'll have room for a container of brine for pickling okra.


14 Jul 21 - 01:57 PM (#4113350)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

Yes, ours looked very vulnerable, SRS, and I'll admit to loosing the one tiny screw meant to secure the camera. It's not pretty and still not very secure but I drew and printed off a cage to go over ours.


14 Jul 21 - 04:52 PM (#4113362)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Five more half-pints, so I'm up to just over a half-gallon of sauce (that sounds like more than nine half-pints) and two gallons of juice. More skin and seeds to process. Kitchen cleaned up after that session, and tonight I may start the canned diced tomatoes in pint jars. I used my colander stainless set to process these tomatoes but I need a bigger pot for pint jars. I'm going to pour some white vinegar into the colander pot and let it remove the lime that lines these after a long time simmering, then put it away (or I could use this water one more time and blanch the tomatoes in it).

Now to tackle the compost.


14 Jul 21 - 06:01 PM (#4113368)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

I'm still a while off getting ripe tomatoes but do have some fruit forming on the greenhouse ones. I don't know yet if we will be processing any but, if they come to anything and if I can find the recipes, the Roma plum ones do make a nice ketchup and (perhaps unusually for me as I wouldn't normally go for one) a very nice tomato soup.


15 Jul 21 - 12:23 AM (#4113387)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I have confessed before that I am a sucker for gadgets. Not everything that comes along (my father had a fair number of gadgets at his house when I worked on his estate - I know this is passed down genetically), but the ones that seem to have a chance of actually working. I looked this little thing up - it looks like Walmart has carried it and Amazon has the same thing with a different brand on it. It's a little AA-powered fan-operated desk vacuum. And it works. I was at DSW (because I was nearby and sometimes I just stop in for a little recreational browsing) and this was in the clearance section. With the red tag and a $5 credit, it cost me all of $1.61. The dust that builds up on my desk is usually food crumbs, occasional dog hair, and the usual dander that accumulates on a workspace. It's an attractive little black box with an on/off switch on front and it sits off to the side beyond the phone charger. (A search on "mini desk vacuum" comes up with a variety of incredibly cute shapes as vacuums).

The dishwasher is running, the washer is set to run in the morning (it has a timer, which is a good thing to use in a place where the power grid doesn't need heavy draw devices running during daytime hours. It's set to run at 5am.) The kitchen is cleared of extra pots and canning devices, but tomorrow evening I'll likely have some of them out. Or maybe on Friday.

The garden is always a source of drama, sometimes slow moving, but today I set a Hav-a-heart trap with a piece of watermelon attached to the bait tray with a twist tie and nailed a rat that has been taking wanton bites out of my tomatoes. Some on the ground, some reached by climbing the vines and biting on top. I use that trap so if I nail a lizard or toad I can let them go, but rats go, trap and all, into a tall bucket of water. Chances are that where there is one rat there are other rats, so the trap is again set, with more watermelon, on the side of the garden. I'm a lot more forgiving of huge caterpillars than I am of rats.
____________________

I'm listening to MSNBC talk about trying to get translators out of Afghanistan. This is a mess, and is totally uncalled for. They could have done this before, even in the Biden administration. #Fail


15 Jul 21 - 10:03 AM (#4113420)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

If I do any preserving at all this year, it will be chutney in September, and most of it will be Christmas presents. I have at least three years' worth of jam in the pantry, and my range of home cooking just gets plainer and simpler as the days roll by.

This morning, the Globe and Mail published a major editorial on Canada's debt to the Afghans who worked for our military task forces and civilian representatives in Afghanistan. In its typically folksy way, the Toronto Star is publishing human-interest stories to tweak the heart-strings of policy wonks and politicians. But, as Stilly says, it's a totally uncalled-for mess for which our federal government is entirely responsible.


15 Jul 21 - 10:42 AM (#4113422)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

Steven Miller was the one who wrote the rules for Afgan translator visas.
What has resulted is a fraction of the destructive legacy of Trumpism.


15 Jul 21 - 10:42 AM (#4113423)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

We've still got 3 jars of black and red currant jam from 2018 to use up. The rest (9 jars?) are Victoria plum and damson I made last year. The Victoria plum tree is quite laden with fruit so I hope to make more jam from it later in the year. I've not noticed what's happening with the other plums but greengage and damson are possibilities.

I don't eat a lot of jam but mum and dad often have a jam sandwich as part of their mid day meal and, despite there being the old jars left, it does get used at a reasonable rate. The old jars may be part my fault anyway. The jam and marmalade jars are stored on a cupboard shelf that is beyond mum's reach. She asks me to reach a jar down for her which then goes on a lower shelf she can reach until it's used up.


15 Jul 21 - 10:58 AM (#4113425)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

They are losing people being picked off by the Taliban, according to last night's story. 70,000 people to be moved and they wait till the last minute. The Toronto Star link wasn't working but I've looked it up (it maybe be because of my location). The photos - not a good idea right now.
______________________

I have back-to-back meetings today so the tomatoes will wait for processing tomorrow. Just as well, gives me a breather. It's a pleasant aspect out the back door (if you ignore the messed-up patio cover) after I mowed the back and dumped the compost (and it's in an area the dogs can navigate, so no rats back there).

Jon, you may yet inspire me to put up a camera. They're coming down in price and there are so many ways to store images. (And I hope your father is home and feeling better.)

My bloodwork is back and everything is where it should be now, and to continue as I am. So the answer to thyroid weight is "you have to work it off yourself." It doesn't magically vanish. Darn.


15 Jul 21 - 11:30 AM (#4113429)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

Thanks for asking SRS. He got home around midnight the day of the fall. He got a clean bill of health but I'm a touch concerned about his mental state. He remembers nothing of the incident or going to hospital and I had another sort of near miss last night. I say sort of as the only place he was going to land was safely on his bed.


As for cameras, I went for an EZVIZ one. The reason for the choice is that one provides an rtsp stream (as do all our current cameras). That provides a standard most security software can work with. Even VLC can use it with a URL on this sort of lines: rtsp://username:password@mycamerasLANIP/mystream. It fits in easily with the xeoma software I use.


15 Jul 21 - 04:11 PM (#4113458)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

BEAVER:

Got out of bed on Tuesday knowing I had to come home! R could fend for himself. I was becoming depressed by missing being here. So I made BF, packed up stuff to bring; he helped put it in car, agreeing this was a good move. I drove him to town, took time to look at the gates he designed for "Mill Street" which are being fabricated by his staff. They are incredible. If I could get my phone to talk to my computer, I would post a pic on FB. And was here by 3:30 - SO happy to be here. No strawberries. There may have been some... The yard needs to be cut but I want to pick the purple clover blossoms first. They make a nice herb tea. Maybe this aft if it does not rain again.

Major glitch thanks to R's failure to communicate: On Monday he showed me a pocket park near one of his buildings, to which he donated two OLD machines; it was in process of being groomed for an opening "next Friday". Designed for the cyclists, and workers nearby, it will have tables... However, on the way to town on Tuesday, I realized "next Friday was really "this Friday" - tomorrow. So, yesterday I rested and stirred glazes and rested... Today I glazed and the kiln is firing. Early tomorrow, I will unload kiln, sticker pots for shop and pick out a few for Quebec clients, and get back to Montreal by 2 pm for the opening of the park at 3. Monday was the first time he even mentioned it!

Next trick is finding out when he is installing these monumental gates on the historic building (remains). That will determine when I will come back to Beaver.

Needless to say, I have not done much else here! There is a huge brown-eyed Susan clump in one of the raised beds. After it is finished blooming, I will dig it up and take it to Chateauguay for the front garden. Next trip, perhaps.

The tomatoes in QC were coming along and I am grateful that it has been raining enough for the outdoor plants. R does not even have a hearing re his license until 28 July! Since he failed to address the issue for 3 weeks after he found out about it - when he finally checked the mail... Spending two hours a day taking R to the city was becoming infuriating. The heat did not help; by the time I got back to the house, it was too hot to do any pottery, or much else, even cooking dinner...

WE did spend last weekend on the House - R decided to put up pictures and we collaborated on some and some he just did; they can always be moved but at least they are no longer stacked in the spare room. He also re-arranged the spare room and it looks much more friendly. And put a screen in the back door and in the room I am using for pottery until something better... Letting in the cool night air is important to me.   

I am sufficiently rested to make the trip back. And restored by being here! Realizing how much I need to be in the country. Spending two hours a day taking R to the city was becoming infuriating.

So I just picked a good batch of rhubarb and a few heads of clover. Starting to sprinkle again and not so hot!


15 Jul 21 - 11:15 PM (#4113488)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

It has been my observation that a three-to-four-day trip can be really refreshing - if you can get the travelling done on the first and last days that you have two full days in the place and enough of the other days to make it feel longer. Arrive in daylight the first day so there's time to do something, leave on the last day after some activity but so you're not struggling to get home (if you have to work the next day, etc.).

Long social day today, followed by work here at the house tomorrow. Canning tomatoes should clear up the kitchen peninsula of boxes. It's nice to alternate on the activities, appreciating being with people, and enjoying time at home. And having a choice now that a fair number of people have been vaccinated. I still take a mask with me, I made the 3D masks with a neck loop so I wear it like a necklace and put it on when I'm going into stores, places with people and low circulation, etc. I have a stack in the sewing room to iron (I figure that gives them an extra level of protection, having been heated up by the iron after washing.)


16 Jul 21 - 11:27 AM (#4113532)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Dorothy, I hope R sorts out his driver's license soon. I'm looking at driving stuff now myself - if I take a defensive driving course every three years I can get a good discount on my insurance. It's that year again and I've paid for the online course, now I just have to take it.

Today looks like a sweep-and-dust day. It has been a while. I works to do a deep-dusting in a room a day, but I need to start by sweeping all of the floors to clear the dog hair and dust kittens.


16 Jul 21 - 05:14 PM (#4113567)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

It took about an hour to work my way through the entire house with the broom (moving things, picking up stuff, etc.) and I can feel it in my back (still suffering after stepping in a hole a few nights ago.) The kitchen is a mess, lots of projects passing by each other on the countertops and tables.

I made brine for pickled okra and processed one jar this afternoon (pickles are very forgiving - easy brine, stuff everything in a clean jar, top with brine then process for 10 minutes. The trick is to let it sit for a couple of months before you open it to eat.) This way I can make a jar every time I have enough okra, not wait until I have a couple of pounds collected over several days for a large batch.

The house smells great!


17 Jul 21 - 11:32 AM (#4113618)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I have weighed the ingredients (again) for salsa and am going to wade into that project this morning. I'll try to use fewer pans (or at least smaller pans) and will clean the kitchen before I start (almost finished that while I waited for my tea to brew.) After that, I'll use the processing kettle and dice and can tomatoes by themselves.

The garden got a good deep soak last night, using a smaller sprinkler stuffed in under plants and running for 30 minutes per zone. Much more thorough than the big oscillating sprinkler hitting the whole area for 30 minutes. The tomatoes, okra, and peppers look refreshed this morning.

Sweeping yesterday, dusting begins today. With a mask because it is a sneezy chore.


19 Jul 21 - 07:01 AM (#4113781)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

Writ large is the phrase thats writ large today. Everyone's getting infected with the Delta variant writ large. Delta is more contagious writ large. But anti vaxers are blind to whats writ large. The most absurd little big lies are writ large for them. Olympic money makers will not attend the olympics. Facebook executives are in quarantine. Politicians get vaccine in secret. Writ large are the evil of yesterday lies that discourage common sense today. 99% of all the new tomb stones from Delta Covid are of the cult of the antivaxers. The USA has an embarrassment of riches that greedily bought all the vaccines so the world has very little for a priviledged few. Now the cure goes to waste while the crazies wait. People die as the world waits. Waiting for the gullible to grow wise lasts as long as death.


19 Jul 21 - 10:51 AM (#4113800)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

As a doubly jabbed citizen of Ontario, I am now free to travel, within reason. For me, that means driving (not gettin' on no plane if I can help it), and visiting inoculated relatives. I have just booked the services of Georgia and Max, the kids down the street, to take care of my house and the cats when I'm away.

Over the last 25 years, I have made very few solo road trips -- right now I can recall only two -- requiring more than three hours on the road by myself. The last time was in August 2017, when I had to go back to Ottawa from Stratford to complete the trade-in deal on our cheatin' diesel Volkswagen, and I swore when I returned that I would never do that on my own again. Consider those words eaten.

Rather than beat my brains out on the autoroute (Highway 401), which can be dangerously crowded with transport trucks, I might take the old King's Highway 7 across the province a little north of Toronto to the Trans-Canada Highway a tick upriver from Ottawa. Like the curate's egg, parts of it are excellent and other parts emphatically are not, but at least there's more to look at than asphalt and the arse end of an 18-wheeler.

The other trip, southwest to Windsor, will have to be on the 401. But that's only three hours, with a diversion on the way at Chatham, and I can do that on a cup of coffee and a cheese sandwich.

My bedroom floor is unacceptably dusty, so house cleaning is on the agenda this week. The choir executive wants to meet again tomorrow, so that afternoon is shot, but the rest of the week is clear. Today I must buy groceries for both felines and humans, and make soup. I shall also renew my membership at the Y and book myself in for pool class.

Life is finding a new normal. Hurrah for that.


19 Jul 21 - 11:51 AM (#4113808)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

For all of us who have received the vaccination, we can't just let down our guard. I still wear masks in public spaces, in grocery stores, the post office, etc. By way of illustration, five of the 50+ lawmakers (all vaccinated) who fled Texas a week ago have tested positive for COVID-19. They were vaccinated, but they were somewhere with an infected person and now have to maintain quarantine while in Washington, D.C. They won't die of it, but like anyone with the vaccine, it is still possible to get sick and to spread it. Plan to keep the facemasks around and actively in use for the meantime.

Charmain, your drive routes sound interesting. Here in Texas I live within a few blocks of the intersection of two Interstate highways (I hear the tires on the road most in winter when the wind is from the north and there aren't many leaves on trees to buffer it). But I prefer the state routes, and there are some lovely roads parallel to the Interstates that are popular for road trips around here. If you want to investigate future drives in Texas Hill Country (please stop to see me when you're here), any of you might want to look at the north-south routes of state highway 16 (from Wichita Falls down to San Antonio) or 281 (from Stephenville to San Antonio - 281 runs one tier of counties east of Hwy 16 through more small towns). One feature of that kind of drive is that the highways go through all of the county seats so you get to visit lovely county courthouses along the way. There are also some lovely routes that involve connecting up various smaller highways that are parallel to the interstate, close enough to connect up on occasion, but still very pretty and rural.

Well, you'd think that with four posts in a row I'd have covered the really big project, but it seems not. Yesterday I took a pot scrubber (Dobie pad) out with some Pine Sol and water and gave the plastic-covered nylon clothes lines a good clean up, used the pruning stick to take down the Hackberry branches dangling into the lines, and sorted through clothespins, tossing all of those with rusted hinges. And hung two loads of laundry. Only one load got rained on, in the afternoon briefly, and by sunset it was close enough to dry to bring in and suspend on hangers to finish the job.

This because I have decided it's time to fix the dryer. I need to clear stuff out of the laundry room blocking access, then remove the two screws that hold the top and front onto the sides and back. It's a box of air with a few places around the sides for repairs (rather like a desktop computer). There is a gasket that needs replacing; as it is the broken piece keeps snagging laundry and subjecting it to the rubbing edge of the turning barrel. The loud thumps lately tell me it's time to stop ignoring the problem and fix it.

There is a case (12 pints per case) of canned diced tomatoes after yesterday and another six pints in "poor man's Tupperware" restaurant plastic containers in the freezer. I have the big processing pot soaking with vinegar in the water - the limestone encrustation is really heavy this year. There's always some of it, but I reused the water in this pot for three batches so it really had time to crust onto the pot. Time to make room in the pantry shelves for these cases of jars.


20 Jul 21 - 11:05 PM (#4113948)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I'm trying to pace myself, working on one major appliance at a time, but the outside unit of the smaller heat pump is making odd noises and not turning on all of the time. It comes next, and it isn't on much for now. If I can just push this one to next month . . . the dryer glides are on order and my postal account (I can look up what is coming to my address using "Informed Delivery:" it says they've been shipped by the company but not received by the post office yet.)

A quart of tomatoes processed this evening; tomatoes that were ready to be used and not enough for a big batch, so I'm back to the asparagus cooker and one jar at a time. I also put another pint tub in the freezer so there is a gallon frozen in there and two gallons of tomato juice. Whew!


21 Jul 21 - 12:29 PM (#4113996)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

Today I used a great hedger to sculpt a prolific 15x12 foot forsythia into a SUV/TRUCK with the aid of a special ladder with railing.
In late fall I will add 2 gallons of concentrated red food coloring to the soil and 2 more late winter. I am expecting a profusion of ORANGE &
RED blossoms in the spring. The entire property is now hedged and mowed to 1 inch. The tires/cab windows were done with a black plastic spray (not paint). It looks more rad than the mazes I used to mow in the grass.

The other white blossoming trees will get blue food coloring. The pink azaleas will get the yellow coloring and left overs. I have no idea how they will look.


21 Jul 21 - 02:11 PM (#4114006)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

My neighbour Constable Leslie, the mad fan of camping, has departed with Edmund’s 40-year accumulation of outdoorsy gear, thus relieving me of half the contents of the garage shelving, including several fire hazards. I kept our large ponchos and Edmund’s down-filled sleeping bag, and let all the rest of it go — except the soot-covered camping coffee pot and a handy-sized cooking grill that was never washed after the last time it was used. Both those items are in the dishwasher in the hope that they can be returned to household service.

So now I have no tents, no camp stoves, no air mattresses, no pumps for air mattresses, no fold-up cookware, and only one sleeping bag. And I’m just fine with that. Next, I’ll dispose of the accumulation of rucksacks … Goodwill, I think.

The Stratford Y is open again, and pool class has resumed. Today I flung myself into the water for the first time in months, and booked myself in for two more sessions this week. I should hurry up and book next week before all the slots are taken.


21 Jul 21 - 02:37 PM (#4114008)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Don, if you have hydrangeas then changing the acid level in the soil is what changes their color, something pretty easily done. I'll be curious to see if the food color affects the blossoms you treated - have you done this before?

Charmion, I have a lot of camping gear here also. Who knew I'd end up using as much as I did during that February freeze and my three nights in the closet. And I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to collecting packs and some of that gear. That reminds me - I haven't found a battery pack for the house yet, something my sister said has come in very handy for her in the last couple of years during outages. Enough to run a small lamp, a radio, etc.

I finally planted several small potted plants I started from seed a while ago. They may have been so rootbound they won't do much, but I set them free in the soil of the garden. The basil is tall enough to start thinning so there will be tomato and mozzarella and balsamic vinegar on a plate with a few leaves later today.


21 Jul 21 - 04:35 PM (#4114020)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

My backdoor hydranges are called Nikko Blue and are naturally blue without manipulation.


22 Jul 21 - 10:25 AM (#4114072)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Today the furniture moves again. I drafted the Brother-In-Law to help me haul the sofa back downstairs from the library to the parlour.

The choir executive needs to meet in person, in a place where we won't get rained on or have to compete with road noise. So it's the library at my house, the only space we have that's big enough, and sufficiently ventilated, to accommodate up to eight people under the current public health rules. This is the meeting when we tell the conductor that we can't afford the 12-month contract he has always had, and that he must either accept a month-to-month arrangement -- that is, he works (and we pay him) only when we can rehearse in person -- or he resigns. It will be ugly.

So the library has to have separate seats for eight people. Therefore, the sofa shall move. Fortunately, it's not a great hulking overstuffed thing or, God forbid, a hide-a-bed; it's a teak-framed Danish Modern job. But it's no featherweight, and it's long, so a bit of skilled manipulation is required to get it through the library door and around the corner to the stairs.

Widening that door is one of the objectives of the bathroom renovation I would like to do before I get much older.


22 Jul 21 - 10:33 AM (#4114076)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Stilly, it was your account of the big freeze in Texas that made me keep Edmund's down-filled sleeping bag.

The camping percolator was not improved by its trip through the dishwasher, so I slow-marched it to the trash. After at least fifty years of hard use, I don't think it owes me a thing, and it's aluminum. I'm not a fan of aluminum cookware. The grill is as clean as it's going to be, and a lot better than it was, so it has found a spot on the wall rack where the skillets live.

The clearance in the garage is remarkable, almost palpable. When the large collection of rucksacks has left the building -- probably tomorrow -- many of the shelves will be empty.

Go me.


22 Jul 21 - 12:14 PM (#4114089)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Charmion - Excellent choice - I hope you have some pads to put under it, or cushions you can move to a warm spot should the need arise. In reviewing the possible need for a future small warm sleeping place, the craft room/studio closet is the longest, but is stuffed full of my daughter's bedroom stuff and the length of it is along an exterior wall. I could give myself more sleeping room if I cleared out my office closet (not gonna happen) or work out some kind of insulating situation in the front room (a blanket fort or tent?).

Pro tip: Never run aluminum through the dishwasher, not even the coated pieces (that look kind of chrome-like). I learned that the hard way. Same with pewter-style pieces.

I started the alternate day fasting yesterday, I'm going to weigh myself every day, and I just have to not go crazy on the "feed" days. If you treat it all like a diet you hit plateaus. Normal (not crazy with the carbs) then the lower calorie (500-600/day) fasting works.

Now why do calorie and cookie get the "ie" and not spell as calory and cooky?

As a realization during COVID for months with so little human contact for so long, I've finally this summer formally started making a point of pampering myself by doing things ahead. It helps with my state of mind and forward movement on projects. Not that I didn't know this, I just didn't bother. But clearing the kitchen counter and having the tea things ready for morning, not leaving the sink piled with dishes, giving myself room on the kitchen dining table to eat and not just perch on the edge of a cluttered horizontal surface, keeping the house less dusty, improves my mood. Gifts for my future self. Yesterday I read for at least 20 minutes while I soaked my feet and gave them a good scrub then used the pumice and trimmed nails - no pedicure as with nail polish, but just a chance to pamper them. After all of the standing and walking of canning, these feet needed some love! I also spent a considerable amount of time walking around DSW until I found a really comfortable pair of sandals that have the arch in the right place and enough cushion to feel great standing or walking in. I settled on a pair by Teva - from the clearance section they still cost more than a lot of other more decorative styles, but the way the straps are set up they're easy to adjust all the way from the toes to the ankles.

It's the same with the bursitis PT stretches. I've put it off for ages, if the hip didn't hurt, I didn't fool with the stretches. But if I do the stretches as a regular thing, I might be able to get back to the dance classes I enjoy. Pamper myself by doing the stretches. (It is possible to get steroid injections, or have the bursa removed arthroscopically, but I suspect that can lead to other issues.)

The bread is rising - I made a one loaf batch in two smaller pans. There aren't enough people here to eat it all while it's fresh, so freezing half and having smaller sandwiches has been routine for a while.


22 Jul 21 - 01:28 PM (#4114095)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Dryer slide pieces arrived and I realize now that the part they attach to (the dryer drum front support bearing) is missing pieces to hook to. Second order in, should arrive next Tuesday.


22 Jul 21 - 07:04 PM (#4114113)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

I keep my house “just so” because a tidy home with everything stowed correctly preserves my sanity. Clutter generates stress, stress promotes anxiety, and over time anxiety makes me crazy. It’s that simple.

Exercise has a similar effect. I don’t think my current regimen will help me lose weight — except that I can’t eat in the pool — and at my age building muscle ain’t gonna happen, but it keeps all my joints moving and makes me feel, um, competent. I’ve booked myself in for an aquafit class tomorrow and something called Zumba on Saturday morning. Unfortunately, next week is cluttered with appointments that conflict with the Y schedule, but the week after I will make sure I nab a slot as each class I want to do hits the booking website.

Before COVID, of course, one just walked in, no need to book … The past is a different country where they do things differently.


23 Jul 21 - 10:20 AM (#4114161)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Weight-bearing exercises for women of a certain age helps prevent osteoporosis.

I put in the order for the next part of the dryer (the thing the glide strips attach to isn't very expensive, but it does come with more pieces to install). I was planning to wait till the dryer is fixed before calling the AC guy, but the house is just darned uncomfortable without the second unit running. I have called the man. (I've had the same guy work on this since 2002 when I moved in here and he and his father's crew installed it. His father passed away so he's running the business.)

Another load of laundry is running now, to be hung on the clothes line later this morning. I always like the sheets dried outside so this is as much a treat for myself as well as a chore keeping up with the laundry. With the dryer taken apart I have a few things in the way in the hall that the AC guy will have to move past so I guess I'd better move stuff.

I finished the jigsaw puzzle I was working on and have a new one, but it's a holiday theme so I'll look for another one to do in the meantime. I tossed the old one, after quizzing a few folks on Facebook - then someone came along and mentioned simply putting a black X on the box photo where each of the five pieces is missing. Maybe next time. It is a nice way to clear my head of thought and focus on the puzzle, then move on to the next thing I plan to do. I don't sit and work on the puzzle all day. Cleansing my mental palate.


23 Jul 21 - 05:07 PM (#4114191)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Dupont:

WEll, I really did it! Never counted how many loaves of bread I was ordering from Dimpflmeiers. The shipping cost was the same regardless and I thought is would be great to try out different types. So came home from town this am to find two huge boxes of bread on the doorstep. Now trying to freeze as many as I can manage at a time, having taken a quantity of stuff out of the frig freezer - into an insulated box.   FORTY loaves of bread take up a lot of space! I might up my bread intake to TWO slices/day! Hmmm! Maybe go buy another small freezer??? But where to put it and find enough electric for it.... Hoping it will all freeze - in freezer and frig freezer before the things in the box thaw! WE GOT BREAD!

Otherwise: I came back to QC on Friday to attend the opening of a pocket park near one of R's buildings. He donated two OLD machines - this is in an area which has been industrial for a couple hundred years. Across from the historic Lachine Canal which has beautiful bike/walking paths, grass, trees... As people gathered for the opening, bikes were soon affixed to the bizarre "bike racks" - free form metal tubing that went creatively from one machine to the other. We had a nice conversation with the Parks Canada staff in charge of historic Montreal canals. We need him on "our side" as much as possible for the R's project on another part of this canal.

Fifty years ago, this canal was a dumping place. Not being able to find my car one day, we had the police to the house. "Why would anyone take MY car!" "Ah, these people, they like to take cars, drive them in the canal and watch them make glug glug." Sometimes things do improve!

So I am back to spending 2 hours, or more, each day driving R. And getting little else done. At least another week before he gets his license...

It has cooled a bit but still too warm in the afternoon to pot. Pat sold four mugs at the shop today and I am feeling ... Oh well. We had smoke in the air from the fires in northern Ontario! Really unpleasant for a while. Not bad now. That is a pleasant de-clutter!

My big de-clutter last week was telling Ephraim, in no uncertain terms, to stop pushing R to do more than he can manage. R is calmer.

We have had a couple striped tomatoes from the garden. There will be quite a few more, eventually. And some wax beans. Lots of basil and parsley and some oregano.

I put too much sugar in the rhubarb I brought from Beaver so bought more at the famous Atwater Market today and cooked it with less sugar. Also picked up some cheeses and decent whipping cream. First time to Market in LONG time! Bought Chicken Masala at M&M last week; it tasted great and R LOVED it but I felt lousy the next day so today I picked up jars of sauces without toxic additives so I can do it myself. I also looked up recipes and bookmarked them but sometimes I do not have the mental energy to even find the myriad ingredients.

I have not used an aluminum pot of any sort since we trashed all ours after the doctor suggested it was unhealthy to use.


23 Jul 21 - 07:24 PM (#4114202)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Forty loaves of bread! Dorothy! What were you thinking? I'd have no room for even 10 of them with all of the tomatoes and peppers filling the freezer. That'll make a great story, though.

The air conditioner jumped the line and got fixed this afternoon. The fan in the small unit needed replacing and I used a lot of my fence building mad money for that. Still waiting on the next part for the dryer. It does remind me that I need to finish the fence (next thing I need to get is the sturdier concrete for setting the corner post that will hold the gate.)

More sheets dried on the clothes line this morning so those will smell wonderful next time I make the bed. I've been picking up around here, putting away some of the canning stuff I won't need again for a while. I still tomatoes, but they aren't so overwhelming, and I'm eating them every day. For my "fasting" day tiny meals I've been using a whole tomato as my vegetable - 20 calories and deliciousness. Tonight it'll be a small plate of mozzarella and tomatoes and basil with balsamic vinegar.

The lawn needs mowing. Maybe first thing in the morning because I wouldn't finish tonight before the mosquitoes attack. Dusk is dinner time for those monsters, and it has been a bad year for them with so much rain this spring.


24 Jul 21 - 11:27 AM (#4114253)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

As comfortable as the house is this morning, I'm realizing that the outside fan must have been on the fritz for a while, perhaps weeks. It is so much better now that the inside fan isn't running forever, unable to lower the temperature.

I've dropped a few pounds this week with the alternate day fasting; it seems there is excess water in the system that goes first. With my trying to cut down on carbs I'm thinking those 40 loaves of bread Dorothy ordered would defeat any diet. I hope you got them all into the freezer! I made a batch of bread this week and split it into two pans, so two pieces off of a half-size loaf is like one regular slice. It's easier to make a small sandwich with slices that have crust all around than cutting a large slice in half.

The exercise program is ongoing (using two sensors that go on my right leg then connect to the app in the phone) and I'm avoiding all sideways moves to help the bursitis heal. I've also stopped the Voltaren gel, it isn't as effective on the pain as are two Ibuprofen by mouth.

Yesterday on my way home from an errand I took a route through the village that passed two garage sales, and at the second they had one 300-piece jigsaw puzzle. $1 well spent. It was nice to visit for a minute, and they said that they'd gotten this during the COVID lockdown of last year to do something together as a family, so this one comes with particularly good vibrations. Before leaving I pulled up the Facebook site I use to find local estate sales, and I didn't see any puzzles. What I did see was houses crammed full of stuff that one family couldn't possibly use. It is possible that the estate sale folks brought in contents from other houses to try to move, but mostly it seemed to be the organic clutter over decades in one house. I found myself sending a couple of photos to my daughter with the suggestion that if I ever got so bad, or didn't keep unloading the stuff I have here, to just shoot me.


24 Jul 21 - 12:31 PM (#4114257)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

40 loaves of bread is an incredible amount! I’ll usually get 3 medium loafs in the freezer space here.

I took a photo of a jigsaw yesterday just to show it had been completed. I did a bit of the top when he was getting frustrated but it was mostly dad’s effort. I like him doing jigsaws as I think they do help a bit in keeping both the (limited dexterity) hands and mind working.

Well, I usually like… He can be prone to loosing bits and still feel a touch upset (although not angry about) with this pic of a local church. We (while mum was still driving) went out to take the pic, I got it made as Wentworth custom puzzle and after 2 attempts at it, there is a piece missing…

Other things, I’ve chopped the tops off our remaining 2 small rows of potatoes because of late blight and am worried about the tomatoes (which would be nowhere near as many as SRS deals with) . The conditions we had (humidity over 90% and temps dropping around 10C at night) a couple of weeks back are good for it so it’s no surprise but annoying… Still, with gardening, I guess you have to shrug your shoulders and hope for better next year...


24 Jul 21 - 01:48 PM (#4114267)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Dupont

BREAD: I did manage to freeze it all! Kept four loaves out to remind me - sitting on top of the chest freezer. Then a friend called this am to stop by and give R a ride to town!! They love this bread--- and I FORGOT to ask them if they could take some!! The last few will actually fit in but I want to be reminded and consider possible uses: french toast? ... The thin slices would not do that. What was I thinking? I was not!!! Just wanted to get a variety and the options were 10 of some, 6 of others, 4 of one. Five different sorts! One box was so heavy I had to roll it end over end to get it into the house! I will be working my way though bread for a year or more! R will use the soft pumpernickel for sandwiches and maybe the Monastery Rye and Black Forest Rye... That leaves 20 loaves of thin-sliced ... I need a stroke of creativity! And all this in a household where I keep all the bread in the freezer because we use so little!

Made yummy hummous yesterday. Mixed the less sweet rhubarb with the too sweet this am and it worked fine.

The good news is that, this am, R moved LOTS of books to his library in the cellar which enabled me to get to the Christmas bin and put stuff back in it and R found a space in a closet for it. This clears the area over the back stairs - covered with plywood and a carpet because it was a frightening hole to walk past - ... Now he can fill it with books again??? We can now look at the books on the shelves on one side, and not look at a dreadful clutter as we go to the washroom. I even thought to remove "Christmas" from the entry and replace it with a nice Af Violet in a nifty pot, and a copper angel, under the Manatee "Welcome" sign. The south facing glass front door gives plenty of light, even with a white drape to keep the heat out.

He managed all this before friends arrived - but not the bathroom sink which he was going to get at... Or the weeds he was going to cut...

I watered the back tomato bed with the hose and picked enough wax beans for a meal! Even with all the rain we had, the tomatoes were wilty looking. Those plants are producing nicely - only 3 ripe but a bunch coming along. The ones in pots need almost a gallon a day, each! This does not bode well for me leaving. Need to google for a LARGE plastic trough for all of them so R can fill it and leave it for 3 days. Too hot today - for me. Maybe I will go find a way to eat a slice of bread


24 Jul 21 - 03:32 PM (#4114285)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Dorothy, you could dice a few slices and bake them slowly to make croutons for salads. Stored in a ziplock bag they'll keep for a while. Some of those could be pulverized for bread crumbs. Bread pudding is always good for dessert or breakfast here. Those are ways I use "extra" or older bread.

Jon, that custom puzzle place looks interesting! You were really picking on anyone who was going to do that church puzzle with all of that grass! My newest one is spread out, pieces right side up, corners located, and I'm starting on one conspicuous structure in the puzzle to work around. There are lots of the same colored flowers all over, so it may be fewer pieces but it will still make me work. It's funny, I picked all of the pieces apart (after the family worked it they put it back in the box in completed chunks) and stirred it around, when I found a few that fit I'm thinking "did I mix this up well enough?" I find a few minutes of bending over the table, then moving to the other side to repeat, is a nice change of pace from whatever I've been doing. I have to be careful because if I stand still for too long Cookie curls up right beside my foot, just because. She is at times a tripping hazard.

BLT for a late lunch today. I'm going to blanch and dice and freeze a few more tomatoes that aren't in good enough condition to be canned. Then it's out into the yard with the electric trimmer to tackle the front lawn. Next week will be considerably hotter, so I'd best do it now.


24 Jul 21 - 04:27 PM (#4114294)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

It's Thorpe Market Church Only 10 minutes drive from here but a nasty main road walk either way I might approach it.


24 Jul 21 - 10:03 PM (#4114317)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Sandra in Sydney

For those who like jigsaws & don't always have space to put out a puzzle (me! I live in a 1 bedroom apartment with only one table which currently has my sewing machine & other stuff on it) on-line jigsaws are wonderful. You can also Create your own online custom jigsaw puzzles and share them with friends and family or your website visitors! Just enter the web address of your images's location (e.g., from Facebook, Imgur, Flickr, your own website URL, or other location). No uploading. No registration. No hassles!

One of the collections I downsized over the past few years was my jigsaw collection, the last of them went last year. I started collecting in the 70s, with new ones as well as 2 from my grandmother's collection. Many came from charity shops, & the collection went to charity shops. I kept Nan's 2 puzzles (1950s painting) & my 2 oldest puzzles. Nan's puzzles are on offer to my cousin along with the family stuff & will be collected after our current lockdown ends. Delta covid runs riot here & we don't know when lockdown will ends as yesterday thousands of "freedom" demonstrators crowded into Sydney CBD.

One of the others might end up in a museum as it's a very rare WW2 puzzle, created for the home market after the Battle of Midway. WW2 jigsaws are a collectors item, but this cheap puzzle in a contemporary chocolate box without a picture was probably made in thousands.
My other old one is also a collector's item, it was made in 1952 to celebrate the Coronation.

Earlier this year I also gave away my collection of Japanese dolls & ornaments to a friend who collects them. She took them away in 10 shopping bags & that cleared out an entire 6 foot bookcase!(ps. stuff that was on the floor filled the space.)


25 Jul 21 - 01:34 AM (#4114323)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

It would be a fun non-Secret Santa kind of activity to share puzzles amongst ourselves. If one I'm working on turns out to have all of the pieces when I finish it I would be happy to send it on to another puzzler (the last one is gone, but would have been a nice one to share, even missing 5 pieces. Live and learn.) So far on the new one I have a few pieces interlocked, I'm mostly sorting edge pieces from the rest and finding colors that go with the various birds and the birdhouse in the painting.

I don't mind the postage, if we can pass these around amongst ourselves. Think about it - Mudcat friends working puzzles that came from another Mudcat household. It warms my heart to consider it!

Meanwhile, today I ate one of my humongous tomatoes in two meals. I had a BLT for lunch and again for dinner. The tomato was literally larger than the slices of bread. This week I made the recipe for a loaf of bread but divided it into two pans, so two sandwiches from this loaf is like a regular sandwich from a full-sized loaf.

Who knows what My Fitness Pal will make of today's meals.


25 Jul 21 - 03:55 AM (#4114330)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

It's an interesting idea, SRS but I don't own any jigsaw puzzles. Dad is the only one who does (and, Sandra, with the space to do one). I think he's got around 30-40, all of which get assembled once in a while.

I've been out of doing online jigsaws for a while but may return to it and mum does them daily. The site we have preferred is TheJigsawPuzzles.com. Mum particularly enjoys their mystery ones where you don't get a preview picture but find out what the picture is as you put the pieces together.


25 Jul 21 - 05:00 AM (#4114335)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

Re the tomato, SRS, I've never got on with the beefsteak types which I assume your large one is. I'm not sure why but my attempts have disappointed both in yields and taste.

A salad variety such as Ailsa Craig is my favourite for a sandwich from the few (when I read your posts, I realise how small my attempts are - I've got space for 12 plants in the greenhouses and split between salad and plum) plants we grow.

Another poster on MC prefers Sungold which is a sweet cherry type.


25 Jul 21 - 10:18 AM (#4114362)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Jon, there are a number of tomato varieties that have done well this year but "Super Fantastic" is an indeterminate variety that is producing both large fruits and large volume.

This year I also picked up a couple of other varieties, one is a rounder and pinkish one that I probably wouldn't grow again, and the other is, I think, Celebrity. I need to dig around under the huge hedge of plants to find the tags I poked in the soil at planting time. Some day I'll get smart and draw a map.

I had a problem with the spraying equipment yesterday, the 1.5 gallon one needs cleaning (I'd left some foliar feeding stuff to finish spraying and forgot so it sat in there a while); when I poured the remnants of the old mix into a pint-sized spray bottle I've been using the bottle revealed a big crack down the side, and the last little 1 quart pump sprayer sprayer just wasn't pressurizing. It looks like I need to refurbish or replace the sprayers. I have a second large one in the greenhouse so can switch to that for the bigger jobs. I should probably see how many bottles are around here (saved to use in the garden) and recycle most of them. It feels like time to purge stuff in general around here (harking back to looking at the photos of estate sales - the amount of stuff that people "collect" is disturbing. And I know I have the start of several similar collections.)


25 Jul 21 - 06:33 PM (#4114390)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I distracted myself from mowing this morning by walking across the street to check on the status of the mustang grapes. Ripe, perfect right now, and lots of them. I filled a bucket and got a gallon of juice from it. I alerted my new next door neighbor (took him 3 years to move in, but they're finally there) because he is the one who I first saw picking these grapes years ago. He lived a few miles from here but used to drive over to visit his sister who lives six doors up. I asked him back then what he was doing, and then looked into using the juice and started making jelly.

So today I invited him over to see how a steam juicer works, because he has been making the juice the old-fashioned way of heating all of the grapes and then straining and straining and straining to get to a relatively clear juice. I learned about the juicer prior to starting to make jelly, and it's one of the things that has kept me making jelly - it's so much faster and easier. I showed him how the juice is siphoned from the collection pan with nothing needing straining, and offered to let him borrow it when he decides to next make jelly. We will never ever discuss politics, but I can win them over with the offer of fresh garden tomatoes and borrowing the steam juicer.


25 Jul 21 - 06:43 PM (#4114394)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

https://www.wideopeneats.com/mustang-grapes/


26 Jul 21 - 11:19 AM (#4114449)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Yup. When picking wild grapes I always wear a pair of vinyl kitchen gloves (the same ones I was wearing in public in early COVID) and when I finished picking yesterday the fingers were full of sweat because it was a hot day for spending 45 minutes picking.

I have a quart juice jar out of the freezer, from 2019, before they trashed the woods with their "clean up." No grapes last year, so I made jelly from the 2019 freezer stash. I need to update that stash so I'll pick some more and use some for jelly now and some for the freezer. I also have strawberry juice in there, so more jelly. Since any kind of sugar is good to fertilize the garden I'll add the expired juice to a bucket of water and compost tea and pour it around the tomatoes (no point wasting it by pouring down the drain.)

Two parcels are due to arrive today, one will have my dryer bearing kit, so I can put that back together. Drying on the line is always fun, and my next door neighbor's wind chimes (some with really low tones) make hanging laundry a surreal experience, but the towels do come out like sandpaper and the t-shirt I'm wearing today could stand unaided.

Five pounds down since starting the alternate day fasting. I tried it unsuccessfully some months ago but couldn't stay on it when the thyroid was working against me. Now it feels much more like past applications, more willpower to see it through. With the difficulties gone that contributed to weight gain, with the knee replacement working and energy and fitness restored through metabolic tweaks, maybe this time it will stick.


26 Jul 21 - 10:28 PM (#4114491)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

The bearing kit arrived today, but I was mowing the front lawn (very hot out, but dry, and my front yard has enough shade to make it tolerable with a couple of breaks). I then spent an hour picking 2 buckets of grapes. I've juiced one of them, the next is about to start. Maybe tomorrow afternoon I'll fix the dryer.


27 Jul 21 - 09:45 AM (#4114528)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

The choir I sing with is in crisis. The conductor quit without warning, informing the members at the same time as the executive committee so there was no opportunity for negotiation. He had a grandiose and probably unachievable plan for the next season, and did not accept critique from the executive, despite the black-and-white terms of his contract. On the whole, however, I think we're better off without him.

But I so don't need this right now. We had an executive meeting last evening to discuss the choir's current grim financial situation. I'll be in a Zoom meeting with my investment broker at 10 this morning, and at 11 in a Google Meets convo with the choir exec about next steps. I'm tired, having been nudged out of bed by the cat at 0545 hr. On top of all that, I've quit caffeine in the hope of reducing anxiety; I'm on Day 3 and drooping.

The house is dusty, but I cleaned the toilets and vacuumed the library rug. So I'm not a total slug.


27 Jul 21 - 01:23 PM (#4114546)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Dupont -still!

Bread: finished one loaf! Now all is in freezer except one loaf I will use myself. R is not keep on most of it! A couple suggestions of bread pudding; I thought it might be better than the bland stuff but R says not. This is all German rye/pumpernickel! I like all of it, some more than others but that was the nature of the exercise - to find out which I liked best and which R might like as well as the soft pumpernickel. He will eat the odd slice of something else. So I will be eating a lot of good bread. My 2nd son pointed out that he orders 6 dozen bagels from Montreal; he slices and freezes them and makes them last about 6 months! He saw no reason to be excited about a year's worth of bread! May be hereditary?

Made more humous yesterday; That, R loves! So I have another pot of chick peas cooking. (oops, forgot to get more lemons!) So, this am, I spent almost two hours driving R and then picked up stuffs at two stores and came home. Started distiller, had a bite to eat, hoping for rain to clear the air. Windows still closed, smoke still in the air, house is warmer than I like although it is lovely cool outside... Now go fetch bedding and do a laundry.

If it rains, I will open a couple windows, may cool off pottery room enough to do some work; just got an order for some mugs. Would be good to throw a whole bunch - or as many as I have energy to do!

Tried using the newer weed eater a few days ago. I lasted until the battery quit - about 15 minutes! When I sat to rest up (while it recharged), I picked up a mug and my hand was shaking so I near spilled some. I need someone else to do this yard work.

Sprinkling out! Do laundry and consider pottery situation.


27 Jul 21 - 05:43 PM (#4114562)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Dorothy, I have had the same thing happen after using the weed eater. It's heavy enough and vibrates enough (it's electric with a cord I'm dragging behind me) that my hands are a bit wobbly for a few minutes. I think it's the nature of the work with a heavy tool.

I'm glad you've come to terms with the bread delivery. I love bread pudding - 2 cups torn up "day old" (how about week-old from the fridge or from the freezer?) 1 quart milk, heated but not boiling (microwave to almost scalding), 4 tablespoons butter, 2 eggs, 1/2 cup sugar (I use brown sugar for the flavor), 1/2 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons vanilla (more than the recipe calls for, but I love vanilla).

Beat the eggs with a fork, add salt, sugar, vanilla, and set aside.

Put the bread pieces in the baking casserole dish with the butter, then pour the hot milk over and let the bread soak it and the butter melt. Once it's cool enough that it won't cook the eggs, mix in the egg mixture. From there I always add some kind of fruit, either raisins or cut up dates. However much you like, but at least a 1/2 cup of dried fruit. Bake in 350o oven for about an hour. This is from memory, I make it frequently.

If you want to really make that pudding pop, then make a raspberry melba sauce to spoon over the top.

The juice from yesterday's grapes is all refrigerated and will go in the freezer today, though I'll leave some out for jelly. I still have tomatoes that need processing (most blanching and diced then into the freezer) so I'm not ready to start cooking jelly yet.

The alternate day fasting usually works out with three days of fasting each week (if you are really strict, it alternates 3 then 4 then 3.) If I were doing it that strictly then today would be a fasting day, but it was the only day this week for lunch with my daughter, so it's counting as a regular day and tomorrow is a fasting day. Gotta be flexible for good reasons! We shared a seafood cob salad - in which even half of the salad is huge. Lots of calcium and protein in that one.


28 Jul 21 - 07:27 AM (#4114604)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

Well there has been more rain and I’ve been trying to make a bit more sense of the home LAN for me. Wi-fi wise, I’ve long used 2 access points with the same sets (2.4 and 5ghz, for main network and guest network) of SSIDs.   This (and I don’t want to get into meshes) has worked quite well for me with my mobile devices as they will pick the best option and change as needed. But a couple of other things have wound up on and stuck on a weak signal. That and I thought the other things perhaps should have their own SSIDs anyway. I’ve split things off so they have that and use names unique to the AP I’ve set them for.

I’ve also made an attempt at identifying things on Wifi and on the LAN to try to help with the situation where I find myself stumbling on something (eg. via a station list on an AP) and wondering what the hell it is and whether it should be there. I’m not sure it’s 100% and some already existed but assuming the device has been accessed on my PC (or at least pinged), for nearly everything, from an IP address, I can from an IP address, eg.

worthy:/home/jon/JfScan # arp 172.23.41.200     
Address                  HWtype  HWaddress           Flags Mask            Iface
hplaser.folkinfo.org     ether   b0:5c:da:66:ea:ac   C                     eth0
From a mac address, eg:

worthy:/home/jon/JfScan # arp -a | grep "b0:5c:da:66:ea:ac"
hplaser.folkinfo.org (172.23.41.200) at b0:5c:da:66:ea:ac [ether] on eth0

And be able to say (in these cases), yes it’s the laser printer in the study…

More tech waffle (and at times my confusion with it) from me over with…

I picked a lone ripe tomato from an outdoor plant the other day. With few other fruit on the plant and no others even turning red, what it was doing there is a bit of a mystery but, hey, I’ve had my first tomato of the season.

There are some fruit forming in the greenhouse but it’s not looking like a good crop this year. I’ve had a couple of cucumbers from the greenhouse though and I’ve seen that in the other one, I’ve got some of the small aubergines growing.

I’ve still to motivate myself for other things like the shed re-organisation. Maybe that and one other will get put off till next year. I don’t know… But at least I’m still keeping on top of the more routine things.


28 Jul 21 - 11:33 AM (#4114635)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Finding the energy for motivation is the name of the game this time of year, Jon. Lying in bed this morning, looking for a reason to get up and move around in the hot air outside (the house is okay now) - I made a list of three things to do. If I manage that, I'll be ahead. As it is, this weighing myself every day thing is a reminder that in this heat if you don't drink enough water on one day the next you're going to show up as weighing more because you tend to store water. So one of my goals for the day is to remember to drink enough water.

Funny thing this morning - I didn't close my bedroom door when I was moving in and out of the room doing chores, and all three dogs came rattling into the bathroom to say hello. And all three poked their noses into the open closet door as they passed by—they still check to see if we have any beds set up in there all of these months after the freeze campout.

I'm doing a lunch here with friends in a week so I have a deadline as far as clearing up the house to an acceptable level for Company to come over.


28 Jul 21 - 03:03 PM (#4114650)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Dupont:

Hopefully, at this moment, R is at a hearing re his driver's license!!

SRS: Great recipe. Any ideas on making heavy rye bread "Pop"! Maybe some herbs or spices? I have decided one type of bread (4 loaves) is merely tolerable! I shall have to experiment! The rest are fine. One slice of it this morning with "the usual" has left a lump in my gut.

I bought the battery powered weed eater so I would not have to deal with a cord. My right shoulder hates struggling with a cord! Hates anything I do except pottery! Pottery does not affect it. But I am too tired today, so far. A lovely day and the smoke is negligible.

Have watered - and watered and watered. Just one tomato plant in a large pots seems to need at least a gallon a day! A critter picked the largest almost ripe tomato! More than one I think. In the back yard. The actually planted in the ground ones. Also, I put the soil into a banana box, to contain it. I thought it would help with the water but that one needs water more than the one next to it with no box. I wonder if, in addition, the cardboard is toxic.

Got back from "driving R" about noon, made chicken with one of the magic jars of Indian sauce, and cooked rice and cauliflower and had a good lunch but still feel lousy. Blaming this on that slice of bread - I hope. Thinking I need choc chip cookies? Trying to tough it out!

So bored here that the Weds fliers are a treat even though they go (almost) immediately into the recycling! M&M has a good sale on prepared ribs - but there is NO more room in the freezer! I'll take a few loaves to Beaver when I go - hoping for Monday!!!!

Linen Chest had a lovely quilt for only $169- ROTFL!!!!! We have a few, at least as pretty, we bought at thrift shops - $10; someone may have paid a lot more!!! So much for the entertainment value of the fliers!

Lunch is starting to hit the spot. See what I can get done today!


28 Jul 21 - 06:18 PM (#4114664)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

The dryer is running and not making any odd noises, so I am assuming that the repair has "taken." The plastic replacement piece is lighter than the original, something to keep in mind over time. I vacuumed inside and removed lint that wasn't easily reached prior to opening the front of the appliance.

Two quarts of tomatoes taken care of today; one pint processed and three pints in the freezer.

Dorothy, I learned a while back that you can re-freeze bread safely, so if you take it to Beaver you can stash it in the freezer even if it thaws during the trip.


28 Jul 21 - 07:05 PM (#4114670)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Dupont:

Lunch took hold and I washed dishes, made yummie brownies from the recipe (followed correctly this time) that R found in the unsweetened baking choc package! Fairly quick and very good. Too good!

Also another batch of hummous and put away the huge pot of rice, etc. So the kitchen is as tidy as it gets. Lots of food prepped for quick meals.

The weather has stayed decent and the air quality is Good! So, I opened windows, turned off air cleaners. Will be nice to sleep tonight without the noise. Maybe tomorrow I can do a little yard work, even throw a few pots.

Just googled "rye bread pudding"! YEP! There are recipes!I will peruse them later! When I go to Beaver, I put food to take in an insulated box. Frozen food usually stays frozen for the trip but I am glad to have it confirmed that it is ok to re-freeze bread!


28 Jul 21 - 08:13 PM (#4114673)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

I went to see the doc today.

She wanted to hear about how my grumpy intestines are behaving, and the state of my creaky lungs. The subject of how much I sleep and under what circumstances took up a solid chunk of time. Exercise, diet, cooking habits — I swear she had a checklist. But most of all she wanted to know whether I had found anything to do just for fun. I told her about playing tunes, and she allowed as how I was heading in the right direction.

Doctors have changed, and for the good.


29 Jul 21 - 11:15 AM (#4114723)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I have noticed that also. The appointment lasts longer and covers a range of topics. That said, I have only seen my physician a handful of times in the last dozen years: when I was a new patient, in order to make a referral (to see a rheumatologist), and when to signoff to pronounce me fit for surgery (knee, for example). Most of my visits to that office are for things that aren't a medical mystery, like poison ivy, sinus infection, etc. and the nurse gives the shot or issues the prescription and we're finished. I go to my ob/gyn for my annual physical ("Well woman check") and now I have to play Medicare games if I want to go every year; Medicare approves a physical every two years. In the off year I was told that I should make an appointment with a euphemism like "vaginal dryness" and they can do the same checks.


30 Jul 21 - 09:15 AM (#4114804)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Today I'm off for Windsor, three hours away by the dreaded Highway 401, for my first weekend away from home since Christmas 2019, and my first trip of any kind since Edmund died.

Yes, I feel a bit stressed about it, but ... I've done this before. A long, long time ago, but I think I remember how.


30 Jul 21 - 10:50 AM (#4114814)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion's brother Andrew

Bonne route, chère sœur!


30 Jul 21 - 11:02 AM (#4114815)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

Drs appointments here (at least with my GP's practice) are hard to get. You can get held in a phone queue for ages and then will probably have to go through the practice nurses before agreeing its a GP you want. Covid has made things more difficult but I think there is a basic problem that they are overloaded...

With my history of drink problems, music hasn't always produced a positive response for me. I don't get out now but an answer to "what do you enjoy" being "I like going to the pub to play in an Irish session" can take a bit of reasoning! Sidetracking a bit, I've hardly picked up an instrument in the last couple of months.

More tech babble: But it's still wet and I’ve been playing with openwrt. I’m not sure I’m right but think I’ve turned an unused rasp pi2 and a spare wi-fi dongle to work like access point I have running in client mode (to connect the wired only camera in dad's bed room where I don’t have or want to run the wired LAN) and a TP Link wifi-router into a multi SSID vlan supporting AP (it’s own firmware was more limited) which could serve as a spare for the wireless network here. It took me ages (the hardest part was finding that relayd provided the solution I wanted for the pi) but gave me something to think (and get confused…) about and I don’t suppose potential drop in replacements like this are bad things to have from idle objects.


30 Jul 21 - 11:42 AM (#4114819)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Jon, I bought a Netgear wireless extender that I have plugged into the most distant wired Internet connection in the house so it sits on the mantle in the den at the back of the house and serves the two back bedrooms and the patio outside. I originally wired the house for telephone, but that soon became unnecessary so I converted the wiring and the wall plates for computer router ports. I have a router in the closet outside my office and a seven-port extension box on the wall under the router, so most of the rooms in the house are wired.

Charmion, enjoy your trip and I hope the roads are clear and the views are lovely!


30 Jul 21 - 11:44 AM (#4114820)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Y’know, Jon, it is possible to play in a pub session without drinking anything alcoholic. In fact, it’s easier to stay off the grog if you’re playing — you can’t hold a beer and a fiddle (mandolin, concertina, whistle) at the same time.


30 Jul 21 - 11:45 AM (#4114821)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

Oh, and on other things, I'm puzzling over dying grass round the back. Grass can struggle here in hot dry spells where the affected areas die and grow back when conditions are better but we've not had weather like that and it's not rallu like that anyway. It looks more like someone has sprayed a path about a yard wide from the gate to the wendy house shed (say 30+ yards) and alongside the concrete path with a weedkiller.

On sprayers btw, SRS, I use one of these rather than the pump up things. At 3.5L, it's not a great capacity but it does for the occasional bit I want to spray and fits in with my other Ryobi stuff.


30 Jul 21 - 12:06 PM (#4114826)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

I think this one I had gave a different problem though, SRS (and my 2 AP towards either end of the wired part covers most well). The camera is a wired only POE one so it needs to plug into a wired port. I didn't want the hassle of running a cable into the bedroom so I took this route as I had an access point that would do it.

The access point in this client mode connects to the wi-fi in the same way as a computer or mobile device would do. Instead of its port connecting to the LAN, it becomes a sort of wired extension of the wi-fi which I can plug my wired only camera into (well in this case, indirectly as I also need to inject poe). Maybe there are other ways but it's one way of getting a wired only device online where there is only wireless available.


30 Jul 21 - 01:47 PM (#4114831)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I see what you're talking about - you had to get around a device that wanted to be wired in a place where you didn't have the port.

I have a similar sprayer but it's just a pump, not battery operated.


30 Jul 21 - 10:47 PM (#4114879)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

Two pint jars of pickled okra processed, a huge tomato handed over to the next door neighbor (who mowed the side yard again today), and a lot of picking up around the house. My next week's doctor's appointment is virtual so I faxed my bloodwork report to her office. I was looking forward to driving over and having lunch and doing some shopping after the appointment, until the scheduler left a message about the appointment being a remote one. I'll have to plan my own little road trip next week.


31 Jul 21 - 09:57 AM (#4114926)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I had a big fat rat in the havaheart cage but when I dropped it in the full bucket the support holding the top door in place slid down, so after I walked away the rat pushed it's way out of the trap and the bucket. Chances are good that rat will now avoid the trap, but will it avoid my garden?

Laundry day, so some will go on the line (sheets) while some will go into the newly-repaired dryer. My towels can stand up by themselves if they dry on the line and are as rough as sandpaper.


31 Jul 21 - 04:52 PM (#4114964)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

That’s one tough rat, Stilly.

In a previous life, maybe he was an action movie star.


01 Aug 21 - 05:46 PM (#4115064)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

That rat is a tough story to follow. I have the trap set up again, but it'll have to be a different rat that falls for it.

Friends are coming over for lunch next weekend, and when I sent a note saying lets set the date for sure (we had a range to see who could come when) it didn't feel like it was happening. After that note I suddenly felt inspired to pick up, to cook, to have the house ready for a long congenial visit. We meet for lunch and are sometimes still here at dinner time.

In particular this group got started because one member needed extra encouragement to keep moving forward; it's difficult enough to be laid off when you're older, but when they do it to a disabled person it is even more of a blow. We know how this got started, and we all gain so much support from the group that it is a regular thing.


02 Aug 21 - 12:58 AM (#4115086)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

The tomato supply in the fridge (those no longer stable enough to stay on the counter) has been drawn down considerably with the production of a gallon of fresh zesty salsa. This won't be canned, the tomatoes weren't in good enough condition for processing, but they're the "ugly fruit" that is perfectly good to eat. Four quart jars are cooling to be used and given to friends this week. I reversed the amount of peppers in the recipe, putting more hot peppers in to make this batch hotter, as was requested by a couple of family members.


02 Aug 21 - 07:45 AM (#4115119)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman

Rats are clever and able creatures. We’ve spent on trying to make the property more secure but I think they would still find a way in… I don’t like it but once you have a rat problem, I think the only sure way is extermination.

I’m not sure I ever mentioned my favourite sighting of a brown rat? In my earlier days here, mum and I sometimes used to like to go down to the BBQ shed for a night time drink. The shed was set up well with (still there) 4 paraffin hurricane lamps and a Camping Gaz stove and (gone) a Calor gas heater. It was quite cosy even in cooler weather. One time, a rat just walked across the lintel over the door and between that and the corrugated roof. It must have known we were only feet away but it was so casual about it.


02 Aug 21 - 11:21 AM (#4115139)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

I'm still kicking myself that I wasn't more careful about making sure the trap stayed closed when submerged at an angle. Last night I released a toad that got itself caught.

This week the goal is the bring the house into some kind of order for house guests next weekend. So of course after a rainy night the dogs have tracked a whole bunch of new muddy footprints along the length of the den floor. I have to get another mat to put by the door; one isn't enough, two just about catches most of the mud by the time they get to the far edge of it. I tossed an old one (it's at the curb as I type, waiting for today's trash pickup) and the one I'm using now was a good price at the Dollar Store. Must get another.

I have a tall table in the middle of the kitchen that is where a lot of standing prep happens because it's a good work height. I have a stool that I've used for canning when I need something to set the jar on for steam juicing (decanting the juice from the pot to the jar means it needs to be a little lower than the stove.) Usually it hides in a corner behind the kitchen queen, but I've left it standing under that table. It looks good, but I *think* it isn't one to sit on, I may have had to tighten a joint on one of the legs? I must check that out before someone tries to sit on it and takes a tumble. In which case I have a different tall stool that can live there. It just never pays to keep boobytrap furniture around the house.


03 Aug 21 - 10:05 AM (#4115257)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

This very humid morning the dogs and I went for a walk around a few blocks, a little over a mile. Plenty for the old lab, who I think is starting to either have an odd effect to being deaf, or has early dementia. In the evenings he starts barking. He'll do it outside, he'll do it inside if I cover the dog door. I can usually distract him a couple of times to get him to stop, but it's annoying to have it happen every night. So now the TLC for the old guy has to kick in, and one thing the advice site that seems a good one says is more exercise. We have been lax during the summer heat, but I got up earlier this morning to take them out before I fed them.

The other reason is that the alternate day fasting isn't very effective if I'm not getting more exercise, especially on the fasting days, so the walk is good for me also.

The house is looking better, the kitchen counters have less clutter, as I prepare for houseguests.


03 Aug 21 - 11:35 AM (#4115263)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion

Home again, after a visit to Edmund's sisters and their families. It took me a fair while to process the adrenaline rush from seeing so many relatives for the first time since Christmas 2018, not to speak of three hours of Highway 401. A great deal of family business got done quickly and efficiently, for which much thanks.

Today I have a long list of phone calls to make and some necessary shopping -- cat litter! Then I'll dust the study and the bedroom.


03 Aug 21 - 04:35 PM (#4115296)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel

I gave up walking from Government center to Fenway but subsequent treks got easier. Between three flights and 700 miles of driving we covered alot of ground.


03 Aug 21 - 07:35 PM (#4115313)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage

A few grocery items I can't use were sitting near the side door for ages, so I loaded them and ran a couple of other errands then stopped by to drop them off at the community fridge. Since it wasn't a lot I stopped at the Supermercado nearby and picked up a few additional non-perishable items (and some freshly made tortillas - they can sit in the pantry area for a few minutes until someone grabs them up. The corn tortillas were still hot!) I discovered that site last year when I had lots of extra hot peppers; this year I'll be bagging extra peppers and taking them over also. Until the weather cools the refrigerator at that site can't keep up with the heat (it's a southern exposure).

I also stopped by Home Depot and picked up a couple of supposedly heavy duty spray bottles. I'll put them to the test with the organic foliar feeding and pest control mix I need to put out. The leaffooted bugs (stinkbug family) are back, and since I saw nymphs out there today, I know I can knock most of those off with the spray. Now if that rat under the tomatoes would just snack on the bugs on the tomato plants, I'd be set.


03 Aug 21 - 09:35 PM (#4115328)
Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall

Dupont:

R finally got his provisional license today. He may only drive for business until 17 Sept. Then he can take a written test and regain a full license. I'm so happy I could cry! and nearly did. I would rather drive 3 hours on the 401 than the trip to the west island and - OOPS! cannot get anything done here; need an appointment. So he managed to sit in car and make an appointment for noon in the north end of the city - back the way we came and then on a dreaded highway and many blocks in the wrong direction and back in the correct direction and -THANKS to my having been there before many years ago, we did not have to go around in circles trying to find the entrance. Then back down town on said dreadful highway - about 3 hours traveling in total.

It took less than half an hour for his appointment - which we just made! Boy! Have I read a few books in the last couple weeks! Then we went to a nice little cafe for lunch and I took him to where I thought I would be freed! He was loathe to go into the building and sat in the car for an hour making calls and responding to texts or emails. I read. THEN, I came home and started to recover. Ate some food and took a long nap. Finished washing the dishes - after two days - and did up sauteed pears because they needed it!

I could go to Beaver tomorrow but now I want to be here to see the big gates go on the building - one beautiful 1800 30 inch thick stone wall actually, on Mill Street, next to the bike/walking path along the Lachine Canal.

Maybe tomorrow I will have the energy to phone Apple Help to find out why my phone and computer are not speaking - so I can post pics of this Gate - and others. The gate should go in place by Friday.

Need to make appointment to have car serviced and go to library for more books. And WATER plants ...