Love/Hate Technology

Oh. My. Days.

I have just spent a very fraught hour or so trying to access my local doctor’s surgery on line. They’ve recently changed their website service, so you have to go through a whole heap of trouble to get there. You have to wait for text messages with special codes, special url addresses, special documents with yet more special codes in, and then put everything in the right place in the right order. It’s just like an obstacle course for the Very Advanced. Not meant for 65 year olds like me, even though I’m a techie.

Anyway, finally managed it. The whole point was to order repeat prescriptions. With this new system you have to put a message in too. I put “I need repeat prescriptions of these”. What would they like me to say??

At the same time, probably not terribly wisely, I was setting up our Netflix account and trying to talk to the water supply people about why they are sending letters to our address with the wrong name on it.

But it’s all sorted now. Netflix – subscription sorted. Water supply people – sorted. Surgery on-line access – sorted.

I now need a lie down with a cold compress on my forehead. But the cat needs feeding, and her day has been even more fraught because we had the guys in, aka The Noisy Boys, trimming the leylandii and various thuggish shrubs in the garden. She was terrified, so needs a nice calm evening. Yeah. Me too, kiddo.

The Noisy Boys did a great job though. The next thing, when the weather has sprung into spring, is the front lawn. Exciting.

Trying

Yes, it has been. I had another go at making yogurt, with oat milk (barista style) and it was a total failure. Down the loo it went.

However, I have done some research. Back in the day I used to make yogurt with evaporated milk. So I checked it out and you can still get it, and it’s much easier to use (no boiling required), and so I’m going to have a go. I won’t be able to have any of course because it’s dairy, but hubby will. We shall see.

The knitting and crochet are going ok as long as I don’t beat myself up for doing it slowly and for a short time. I’m pleased with how it looks (no pics because the crochet is for a present).

The garden is looking absolutely lovely. Daffodils have suddenly appeared without my noticing, snowdrops all over the place, and a few crocus too.

My younger daughter is 37 today. She’s going to tell everybody she’s 36! so not quite sure what will happen when she gets to 40 . . Spoke last night via WhatsApp as she lives in New Zealand. Glowing with health and having a lovely time.

A bit of a roller coaster

Today I got up early (ish) so that I could set up the yogurt to do its thing. Then I went back to bed as today is not a good day M.E. wise.

When I got up again, I had forgotten to press the Go button. That meant that the temperature didn’t remain constant, so this is the second failed yogurt batch. But all that is wasted is one litre of oat milk, to be honest, so not so bad. Dumped it all down the loo. The texture looked ok, though.

Went to the opticians for my new glasses yesterday. Fifth visit. Didn’t go well. Eye test was last November. My double vision is pretty bad, so I need a thick prism. That means varifocals won’t work very well with the (expensive) fancy lenses, nor will Reactolites. So they’ve made three attempts at getting them right, and I still can’t see through them properly. My current specs, which were made up in June 2018, are better. Harrumph. So they’re going to have another go, in non-fancy lenses (i.e. thick ones). Hey ho. It would be nice to think that I can have Reactolites and varifocals, but I’m waiting for a call back from the opticians, so I guess probably not.

The soup I made was lovely, by the way, and there are plans to make more, with carrots and coriander this time. I meant to get a portion out of the freezer this morning but forgot. Of course.

On the upside, I have an appointment for my Covid vaccination next week – hooray! Hubby had his a few weeks ago.

Also on the upside, two guys came yesterday and tidied up the garden, so it looks excellent, even this time of year. They turned over all the soil, trimmed the edges of the lawn, swept up leaves and debris, and left it looking great.

So all in all, everything is more or less ok. Small things.

Progress of a sort

The first batch of non-dairy yogurt was not a success. Some things worked. It set. It smelled vaguely like yogurt. But tasted of absolutely nothing. I used sugar free soya milk, agar agar powder, and a probiotic from Holland and Barrett. Dumped the lot (apart from the bit I tried.) Next batch will try oat milk (barista style) and see what happens.

Currently making dairy free soup in the Bimbi/Thermomix. It’s a first for me. I do make cakes and stuff in it though. Now I’m not eating any cheese I think I need to increase my protein intake. Two potatoes, one large carrot, one large onion, fresh parsley, tin of chopped tomatoes, water, salt and pepper, and away we go. Just cooking now, when it’s done I’ll whizz it up with some dairy free spread and see what happens.

Finally heard from the tree trimming guy after I made it fairly clear we want the work done, and if not by him, by someone else. Original quote was last June. Work supposed to be done September. Now they’re coming, weather permitting, on 22nd February.

Knitting – enjoying knitting this scarf and although it’s slow going because I can’t knit for as long as I once could, it’s enjoyable.

Small Decisions Made

Started knitting a different project. A scarf. It’s not the fancy schmancy pattern I had in mind, that’s too difficult at the moment, but I am enjoying it. It’s a “mistake rib” scarf, where you K2 P1 on every row. I’ve cast on 92 stitches, so it’s wider than these photos. In this yarn (colourway – coffees).

Also made sure that the 4 ply t-shirt (a mix of Elfe and Vasa) is going to work. It is. Elfe is knitted in the round and shaped, Vasa is knitted straight. I’m going to do it straight, and seamed, but using the stripe pattern from Elfe. Did another sample to make sure. Not sure if you can see but the colours are a sage green and a fairly dark grey.

And have decided to undo the Jumper of Shame and knit something else with it. A jumper I’ve done before which hubby likes. The other one is in a denim blue. Here he is modelling it.

I’m going to do the next one in this yarn. The colour is called “Mallard”. It doesn’t look too different on the screen, but it is in real life.

Yeah. Feeling ok about it all.

A Bit Worrying

I have been getting unsolicited text messages from Microsoft with a security code. I checked my Microsoft account (all fine), ignored them for a while (maybe a week) and then decided to do something constructive.

Which was changing my password. Oh. My. Days. What a major faff. It should be difficult, I know, otherwise any old body could just hack in, but it has taken me about an hour and a half yesterday evening and another hour this morning to sort it all out. I have two Microsoft email addresses, which complicates things somewhat, an Android tablet and mobile phone. So three devices including my computer.

Jeez. I think it’s all ok now. I think. Fingers crossed.

On the knitting front, I have been struggling with the current project which is a jumper for hubby. Fortunately hubby is a kind and patient soul and isn’t bothered that it is no longer a work in progress. It is still on the needles, but it might end up being frogged (undone) and a different pattern knitted. It is in the Bag of Shame in the craft room.

I am now in the position of not knitting anything, half heartedly crocheting a dishcloth, and wondering what I should knit next. It’s quite relaxing and knitterly to be deciding what to do. There are a couple of possibilities for which I have the yarn, one is a fancy schmancy scarf, and the other is a striped T-shirt. No rush. Or should I think again, browse Ravelry, and (ssh!) buy more yarn? Mm.

To sleep? or not?

Sometimes I wake up at the normal time, thanks to the alarm, get up and have breakfast and have to go straight back to bed. My brain isn’t working properly, I can’t cope with easy crosswords or even Solitaire. Sunday (I think) I went back to bed and slept for five hours straight. Then woke up and had a shower, and felt ok.

Today is Tuesday. Same thing, but I only slept for two hours, and felt ok-ish. I needed to do my ironing but really couldn’t muster the energy until about forty five minutes ago. It only takes ten minutes, because we each do our own, and one of my little life rules is that I do it every week. So there’s not much. Schlepping the ironing board from utility room to lounge is the hardest bit, to be honest, but that’s what makes me want to put it off. Anyway, long story short, I did it because I could feel the energy needed just getting to the right level, and of course I felt much better afterwards.

A shower always helps me feel better. Always. But I don’t always have the energy! how frustrating.

Looks like we’re in for the long haul with Covid/lockdown, so I’ve been trying to find at least one positive thing in every day.

Today was the ironing! and then, as the sun was out and it’s not actually freezing cold, I pottered round our small garden and found these snow drops. Love them.

Also tried to take a photo of the cat, but she would not look at the camera. I pulled a little weed out of her catnip pot – it’s real catnip in there, just a bit sad and wintery at the moment – and her reaction was priceless. “What are you doing? That’s mine! Have you changed it? I need to investigate all of it right now!” she is such a doofus.

(Fairly) Big Decision

Maybe not to anybody else, but it feels like it to me!

For the last 15 years or so I have avoided cow’s milk and products. No cheese, yogurt, cream, nothing. I drink my tea and coffee black. Weak, but black. Only goat butter/yogurt/cheese and sheep cheese, and soya milk on my cereal or to make custard with. I did try goat milk on my cereal but after so long without animal milk it tasted really odd. I also use dairy free spread (Pure) to make cakes, and it seems to make lighter sponges.

I researched very carefully which chocolate I could eat. “May contain milk” is fine. Chocolate would be a huge sacrifice, so I just eat dark chocolate.

Then I was prescribed statins. Well. Oh my days. It’s been two months now. The digestive problems started immediately, then the asthma got worse. It took me about two weeks (!) to recognise that these were the symptoms I used to get with cow’s milk. So I decided to give up sheep and goat dairy too. The difference was noticeable within a couple of days, and I feel so much better now. My tummy problems have just gone away and I don’t need my blue inhaler at all. Hubby does all our cooking (I bake cakes and stuff when I can) and once a week we have a cheese vegetable bake. He has cheese sauce, I have grated goat/sheep cheese, and it is grilled. For some odd reason, that makes a difference, and so far it seems that I can tolerate grilled dairy (but not cow’s stuff) once a week. Strange that I don’t miss eating cheese, because it’s one of my favourite foods, but probably the fact that I feel so much better now has mitigated against that.

Soya is a staple in our house, both milk and yogurt. I have just ordered a yogurt maker, some dairy-free starter (at least I think that’s what it is – probiotic tablets I can just break open and add to the mix . . .) and have discovered that we have cornflour in stock anyway. Very excited. I had a yogurt maker back in the day and used cow’s milk. We flavoured them with jam. Nom. Nom. Nom. Fingers crossed it all works.

Fixed . . .

The printer has now decided it will print stuff. Thankfully.

The jumper which needed mending arrived, I sorted out what needed to be done, undid what needed to be undone, and fixed it. I have learned two things from this. One is to make sure I always pick up all of the stitches for the neck, and the other is to always make a note of what size needles I’ve used! I knit very tightly so always use a bigger size needle. On DK, that’s easy, I just use 4.5mm for the body and 3.75 or 4mm for the welts. But this is Aran, and Bergere de France to boot, so I wasn’t sure. The neck wasn’t so critical, because it’s all one piece, but the sleeve . . . I really needed to be sure I wasn’t going to spoil the look with a sudden change of tension. I looked everywhere. Ravelry (hadn’t made a note on the “project”), the actual pattern (nope), and decided I’d just give it a go with size 5mm for the neck and 6mm for the sleeve and check after a couple of rows. Luckily I guessed right, but have made a note on the pattern now!

The best representation of the actual colour is the first one below on the left. It’s the top of the sleeve. I think LCS caught it on something and just yanked, and then picked at it a bit. The picture on the right shows I clearly missed a stitch on the neck.

Neck taken down, stitches on holders. Sleeve removed, 16 rows frogged, stitches on holder.

All back together again, as good as new.

Being collected by postie tomorrow for delivery to grandson. Phew. An interesting little job. I had to be very careful not to snip the wrong thread . . . and I managed not to. I can pick up one stitch at a time from several rows down, so that was lucky. The hole in the sleeve – well, the yarn was broken in three places. I checked all my finishing off and that seemed ok, and I tend not to do knots in the middle of a row – for this very reason! So some learning, and some vindication, and all in all I’m very pleased with it. Grandson loves this jumper, and he’s very particular about clothes, so it was important for both of us that it was fixable.

Also, here is a picture of our 11 year old cat, who was very, very wary of the snow but has decided it doesn’t hurt, it’s just a bit cold on the old paws.

what a morning

Well. The printer, once again, decided it hates me. I bought the postage for a birthday card to New Zealand online, and it wouldn’t print it. But before that, I went to weigh the card and the battery in the scales had run out of juice. Changing the battery requires a very particular screwdriver and a very particular sort of battery. Luckily I did have both of those, so changing the battery wasn’t too bad.

However I have spent almost all morning trying to get the blasted printer to work. Apart from removing the printer from the computer, reinstalling, switching everything off and back on again countless times, I’ve rolled back the last Windows update, growled and harrumphed a lot (because that always helps with recalcitrant hardware and software), and eventually the printer spat out eight copies of something else, and one copy of the postage labels. I think that last thing was by accident. But anyway, it means the birthday card can actually be posted.

Success of a sort I guess, but it’s only a truce. I have no idea what caused, or solved, the problem. It could be any or all of the things I tried. We hardly use the wretched thing now but when we need it to work it’s such a damn nuisance when it doesn’t.

Ever since I started working with IT, which is well over 30 years ago now, printers have been the bane of my life. Their peculiar ways have always been a mystery to me. How can the computer say “can’t find printer” when it’s THERE?!

Other than that, a new POTUS has been sworn in, and calm seems to have been restored, along with sensible health and financial measures to help deal with Covid . The lying, bullying, rude, spoilt loser is off to Florida but is threatening to be back somehow or other. Ok. I thought Florida was where people his age go to retire. One can but hope. I would just love to know what his letter to the new POTUS said!

The birds in our garden are going bonkers today. It’s sunny and beautiful, but very cold, so I’m guessing they need their peanuts and seeds. One particular blue-tit is repeatedly picking up a dry leaf, flying across the garden with it, then dropping it. On to the ground. I’m thinking that Mrs Blue-tit is saying “Not dry leaves, you idiot, I said not dry leaves!” We also get flocks of long-tailed tits. They are just so pretty!

The jumper I finished for LCS is on its way back to me for mending. He loves it, and wears it a lot, and apparently he has been seen picking at it. Hey ho. Luckily I kept the bits of yarn left over for just such an eventuality.

Knitting is going slowly, but ok. Received some lovely 4ply cotton craft yarn – might crochet a dishcloth or two. Another day though. Today has been too fraught.

Hubby decided that we don’t need almost 1,000 cds in the lounge, we need the room for books. Which is true, as he prefers his books printed. I prefer mine on Kindle as books are difficult to manage with my stupid hands. However, we don’t actually play the cds, they’re all copied on to the music streamer. We have to keep them, though, it’s illegal to have the music without the original media.

So. After some discussion, I managed to persuade him that shelves on the ends of our desks would look awful, and that they would look much better next to the matching shelves in one of the spare bedrooms. It’s taken a good week or so, partly because getting the shelves and brackets etc isn’t that easy in lock-down, and partly because it’s quite a big job. Anyway, despite the fact that we both prefer to get a job done, we did it between us gradually, and now we have more space for books yet to be bought (sigh), the cds are in the house but not too obtrusive, and the re-organisation is done. Pictures would be a bit boring I think.