Medication, footie and labels

Not necessarily medication labels, just labels.

Well, today I spoke to the doctor, and now I have new anti-depressants. Same “family” (SSRI) but just different. The process of changing over from one to the other is so complicated it takes four weeks. I always have a pill organiser for the forthcoming week, but have needed to set up four different pill organisers, labelled clearly Week 1, Week 2, etc. It’s complicated by the fact that my pill-taking week starts on a Wednesday. Don’t ask. Fingers crossed it will all go well.

Tomorrow I have a guided steroid injection into my thumb joint booked – they’re going to check the rest of the hand too while they’re at it and then decide whether to replace or fuse the knuckle joints. They’re talking about ultrasound and x-ray, so I’m not sure whether it’s one or the other, or both. Anyway. We shall see. Hubby is taking me and fetching me – they advise you not to drive after the procedure.

Saturday I have booked my first pedicure since February 2020. I’m really hoping I’ll be ok to drive there, bearing in mind the change of meds and the thumb injection. Mm. That is something I could re-arrange but will wait and see if I need to first.

The sorting out of the spaghetti tangle behind the hi-fi is going well. Just awaiting some 0.5 metre power cables, and it should look much better. It’s already looking tidier. You can see a jumble of wires on the right, and holes in the wall where the electrician took out the old plug sockets. You can even see one of my plug labels ! as well as various Father’s Day cards. It will all be sorted out very soon . . . .

Football again tonight – we watched Scotland vs England on Saturday. England’s game was a bit lacklustre, but I thought the Scots played really well. (Goalless draw). Last night we watched Belgium play Finland. Cor blimey, exciting. Tonight it’s England vs Czech Republic. It’s always a bit fraught watching England play, partly because it’s our team, and partly because they’re not that reliably good! We both shout at the screen, I tend to shout a bit at the inanity of the commentators – they do have a tendency to state the bloody obvious – and why can’t they just shut up once in a while? I don’t need to hear their constant speculation about who will go through! I do understand that they can’t hear me . . . .

I’m a bit worried that the motherboard on my computer is failing. It’s not quite 3 years old yet, so a bit soon. But from time to time things don’t work. For example the monitor (even the new one), the keyboard, and some of the USB ports. So I’m backing up every other day and keeping a watch on it. I did have an old computer where Windows lost all its USB drivers, so installing Linux worked, but I’m already using Linux on this one!

Temperatures are currently lower, so better for me. 17C today, 21C tomorrow allegedly. Anything over 23C leaves me limp. So this is just fine.

Reading some excellent stuff at the moment. Currently halfway through “Barbarossa/how Hitler lost the war” (Jonathan Dimbleby). It’s very interesting, detailed, and intense. At the moment I’m having to leave it for a day or so in between reading sessions because there’s quite a lot about the massacres of Jewish people. Horrific anyway, but as I have Jewish heritage (my Dad and all his relatives) it’s particularly upsetting. It’s hard to understand such hatred, based on nothing except propaganda.

New Skill

We have a spaghetti tangle of various wires behind the hifi, which looks awful. So we decided to do something about it. Most of the wires can be simply replaced with shorter ones (hdmi, power, ethernet), but two of the ethernet/network cables come from another room on the other side of the house. One is a flat ethernet cable, one is a standard round one. The standard one wasn’t particularly well fixed to its plug, and the wire sheath was a bit short, exposing the inner wires.

So I decided to replace the ethernet RJ45 plug.

Well. What a to-do.

Luckily, there is tinterweb and YouTube, which helped enormously.

Inside each ethernet wire, whether it’s “Cat 5e” or “Cat 6”, are eight very small wires, twisted into four pairs. All different colours. They have to go into the tiny little RJ45 plug in the right order. But they are not twisted in the right colour order. Why not? you might well ask, but I have no idea. And of course the twisting leaves the tiny little wires curly, so they have to be straightened out, then sort of wangled into a flat row.

Long story short, I found the best way to manage it, having practised (a lot) on a spare standard Cat 5e cable, is the magic “pass-through” RJ45 plug. That means that you can leave plenty of length of stripped wires, push them all the way through, and then check they’re in the right order before you crimp them. Saves a lot of trouble, and many plugs. Also, once you’ve crimped and trimmed them, you can be more sure that it will all work. There are apparently crimpers which do the trimming, but my crimpers didn’t, so I just used a kitchen knife and sharpened it afterwards.

You can buy network cable testers and I guess it would be worth it if you’re going to do a lot of this. I’m not, just a couple here or there, so I tested mine on our laptop, plugging the spare cable, with new plugs on both ends, into the laptop and a switch box. Oh my, the glee when it worked!

So now I’m awaiting short HDMI cables, and we have a plan for the power wires, so it should start to look a lot better soon.

And here, to lighten things up a bit, is a photo of our lovely black elder with the pink flowers. It stinks, though, of tom cat. I don’t remember it being smelly in years past, so I’m assuming it’s actually a tom cat. Am currently spraying a diluted solution of white vinegar, each evening, round the base of the plant, and on the patio flags nearby. Today our cat won’t go out. I really hope it’s not because of the vinegar!

Black elder in flower.

Had a bit of a day so far .

The first thing was that my computer monitor didn’t work. I changed the cable. No joy. Luckily, because I’m such a nerdy type, I do actually have a spare monitor (old, second hand, cheap but works) for when I fix other people’s computers. That works fine. Excellent. New monitor arriving tomorrow.

Then discovered that both the wildlife cameras are telling me there’s either no sd card, or that the sd card is full. Hmph. Unlikely that both the cameras (different makes) would be playing up, so ordered some new sd cards. Yesterday in the garden hubby managed to film our local friendly woodpecker, so I really hoped the camera traps would have caught it. Nope. Nor the pair of beautiful goldfinches who were clearly househunting. That’s what made me check the cameras. Sigh.

Still awaiting the gardener. Should be here within the next hour or so. I hope so, the lawn is more like a meadow now, only without the pretty flowers. The cat is loving it. She caught, but then lost, a mouse yesterday. Only doing her cat thing, but it’s not nice to see.

Managed to actually shower AND wash my hair this morning, which is always a bit of a mission because of the stupid wonky hands, so drying it is a bit fraught.

Also ordered new vest tops. Not sure what size I’ll need so ordered both sizes and will send back the ones that don’t fit right. One is coral, one is bright blue. Sort of cobalt blue. Yeah.

Windows 10. Hate it.

Well now. The printer decided it hates me again yesterday, when I really needed it. This is happening way too often, and I had promised myself that next time it happened I would damn well format the hard drive, wipe everything, and install Linux Ubuntu. So I have. I back up regularly, and always immediately before such a major step. My passwords I keep on a separate stick so I can access the network, otherwise I’d be stymied and going round in circles.

Honestly. The problem was not the printer, but Windows. One time it was Kaspersky protecting me from my own printer (sigh) but Ubuntu just picked up the printer, installed the driver really fast, and printed! that is exactly what I need.

On the other hand, this is Ubuntu 20.04, and I have had problems getting my address book to import and Google calendar to work. Finally, today, I installed Evolution, and everything just worked. So I’ve backed up Evolution to a tar.gz file so I can go back to where I am now if I need to. Phew.

Also, there don’t seem to be any screensavers. Now, that is not a practical problem. Screensavers were invented to stop the old green ASCII characters burning into the old CRT screens, and that just doesn’t happen any more with new technology. But they are pretty! also, have had to install a nicer wallpaper changer, as the ones that come with the package are just a bit boring, and don’t change regularly. I guess that when you install Ubuntu you just need the basics, but it would be nice to have access to some bells and whistles. They’ve done it before. It just seems to be this new package. Ah well.

And now I’m off to play Pysolfc, which is a huge collection of card games and Mahjongg games. Yeah. Need to sort out themes, favourites, etc.

I am SO rock’n’roll.

Nearly There

Have been meaning to blog for a while, but kept deciding that nothing I wanted to say was interesting enough to share. (self esteem ? !)

Anyway, I have a couple of photos which might appeal.

I’ve actually finished the knitting on a jumper for 6 year old grandson, but haven’t quite mustered the oomph to sew it together. I need to do that in daylight, which is in short supply here in the northern hemisphere, but it’s in the plan. It won’t arrive before Christmas anyway. It’s a much nicer green than the photo shows. It’s Bergere de France, Magic+, and the colour is Lichen. Discontinued, I think. The pattern is called Jake. I sewed up the shoulders and knitted the collar in the round before blocking.

Started a jumper for hubby. It’s called Play on Ribs by Pat Menchini, and was in one of the knitting magazines I subscribe to. Also available on Ravelry, but you have to pay for it. It’s more interesting than plain stocking stitch, which is good, because that can result in my losing the will to live, but I’m sometimes able to knit this while watching TV. The yarn is Rowan Superwash Worsted 100% wool, and the colour is called Mallard. Please excuse the flash reflection.

Got so fed up with rummaging around in my knitting bag for tiny little bits and pieces like stitch markers that I had a big old sort out. My “main” knitting bag, for supplies and accessories, is very posh and well made but black inside. Which doesn’t help. So I bought a cantilevered transparent small tool box for “artists”, put everything in there, and just the actual knitting in my “subsidiary” knitting bag, and it works really well. The main bag has gone upstairs to think about how naughty it’s been. Next to “my” chair in the living room, the detritus from knitting/crochet/magazines has significantly reduced and looks much better. And, as a bonus (!), it works, and knitting is easier too.

Went to collect my new specs from Specsavers last week. What a fiasco. I had been waiting for months and months for the hospital to discharge me and let the opticians do the eye test, which they finally did. I chose some lovely frames, and I have three pairs of reading glasses (handbag, bedside, lounge), one pair of computer glasses, a pair of sunglasses (tinted varifocals) and a pair of everyday glasses (usually varifocals with Reactolites or whatever they’re called). However. The reading and computer glasses were easy to sort out. But the other two pairs were not. My double vision is so bad I need special lenses to fit in normal frames. Those special lenses can’t be both varifocals and Reactolites. But they can be varifocals and tinted, or varifocals and untinted. Right.

So when I went to collect them, the sunglasses and everyday glasses were dreadful. Impossible to see through. I was there an hour before they worked out the problem. The lenses weren’t properly centred. Long story short, I’ve ordered different frames (slightly smaller) which should make life easier for all concerned, including the staff in the laboratory who actually put them together. They are going to let me know when those are ready. Probably after Christmas. Sigh.

But I’m so delighted that my new computer specs have two arms. One arm fell off my old ones about two weeks into Lockdown 1 and I’ve just been managing since then, in a slightly wonky way.

Have been reading lots too. Watched a film based on the true story of two East German families who built their own hot air balloon and eventually escaped to the West. Excellent. Now I’m reading Stasiland, written relatively recently, and since the Wall came down. Very good. I’m trying to understand the paranoia of the Stasi. Also some more Lee Child, and a Ruth Rendell I’ve just started.

Our Christmas tree is finally up, but just looks like a Christmas tree. Here’s a couple of festive photos though. I used a wreath former for the end photo, and knitted or crocheted all the bits and bobs. A few years ago now but I still love it. The beaded Father Christmas is from Hong Kong, I think, a long time ago. And the fox decoration is just interesting! Have the best few days you can, in whatever circumstances you find yourself in.

Frustration

Well, the new toaster and iron have turned up and are excellent. Hairdryer, however, has not, yet.

On Monday hubby couldn’t access his streaming service, all of a sudden, through the app he uses to listen to music. We both spent a fraught day trying to sort it out, and in the process we re-set his music player to factory settings.

That evening our cable supplier announced via its website that there was a local problem, so we weren’t surprised that we couldn’t access the cable box.

It took them until late Wednesday night to fix it and guess what? we still couldn’t access our cable box. I checked it on the internet and they said, after checking remotely, Oh it’s your box.

I spent 49 minutes this morning on hold waiting to talk to a guy who assured me it wasn’t the box. He talked to me like I’m an idiot, so I womansplained that I actually worked in tech support, and had already been through rebooting, checking connections, changing cables, blah blah blah.

He assured me nonetheless it wasn’t the box.

I eventually, by dint of faffing about with cables which are difficult to see upside down and close to a wall, even with a torch, then more faffing about inside the configuration program through which we’d reset everything (GAAAAAGH) , made it all work. It works a bit differently from before, but we can not only see but hear the blu-ray player, the TV directly, and through the cable box.

Meanwhile, hubby had contacted his hifi manufacturers, who advised him that they had just issued a new version of the software which runs his music, and lo and behold, his streaming service was magically back. 🙄. I remained calm, but suggested that next time his damn software goes wrong, we wait a day or two before doing ANYTHING.

First World problems, I do know. Yeah.

On the upside, I made some marvellous mince pies. And the Post Office/Royal Mail/whatever they’re called collected the five parcels I’d had terrible trouble arranging yesterday. Only one more parcel to arrange, and I’m looking forward to wrapping and sending that one.

Home Made (Ish) Mince Pies. (bought pastry, bought filling!)

To The Wire

Wow but it’s been tense this last week. I live in the UK, but it feels like the whole world has been awaiting the results of the US election.

I am so relieved, just so relieved, that Biden and Kamala won. I’m not sure what’s going to happen next, despite Trump’s blustery tweets (which seem to have gone very, very quiet this weekend).

There is of course a lot to deal with now, including how on earth it was such a close race.

Ho hum. I do have a lot more thoughts on this particular subject, but not sure it’s appropriate to share them right now, as there are a lot of people who will not be at all happy with the election result.

So what’s been going on here? at our house? well, I have a niece who is 40 years old today. Lockdown celebration of course, and her sister collated video messages from family and friends which she’s made into a delightful mixture. It’s just so lovely.

And last Sunday hubby had a birthday, so I made him a chocolate cake. Dairy free of course. It was, even though I say it myself, absolutely delicious. I baked it on the Saturday, but we couldn’t wait until the actual birthday to start on it, so we had some on Saturday . . . . And on Sunday evening, just before national lockdown, we went to Lambs of Sheep Street in Stratford upon Avon, which is a fabulous restaurant we go to regularly. Excellent. Hubby had steak, I had duck. Delicious. Then we went home and ate some more chocolate cake . . .

Then hubby’s very old MiniMac computer started playing up. It had Ubuntu installed on it, because one of the iOS updates broke it. At least Windows will tell you if an update is inappropriate (usually). But even with Ubuntu, it was failing. So now he has a Lenovo with an SSD. Runs like the wind. But it arrived with no DVD drive in it. I am in correspondence with Lenovo (We bought it direct from them) to find out why. I’d like them to send me the drive and I can fit it. I also want to know why the guarantee has only 8 months left on it, as we bought it this week. Hmph.

I’ve been sleeping a lot. I mean A Lot. Yesterday I woke at 2.30 pm, today I got up, had breakfast, and went back to bed again. Woke at 12.30, so I was able to at least shower and dress before hubby’s afternoon ziz.

All the Xmas presents are ready to be wrapped, labelled and parcelled up, but I just don’t have the oomph to actually do it. I’m intending to do it in stages, it’s just too much altogether otherwise. Even so. Maybe tomorrow morning. Our main postal service has started collecting parcels from your house, so that will help a lot.

Finally found some jeans I like. John Lewis. Yeah. The thing is, because they’re brand spanking new, it feels odd to wear them round the house! so I haven’t yet. But I will I’m sure when I’m feeling a bit more Rah! Rah!

Decided I would crochet some face / wash cloths, so am awaiting some lovely variegated yarn (Rainbow Cotton from Hobbii). It’ll make a change from knitting and won’t take long. Am awaiting a grandson’s measurements from his mum before I can continue knitting the jumper I started. Apparently he’s had a growth spurt, and is all arms and legs. Not sure I want to knit something that (a) he may not choose to wear and (b) won’t fit him even if he does adopt it. Hence the crochet project idea.

Scams and Gardening

I get irrationally angry when we get a scam phone call, email or text. My instinct when we receive a call from an unknown number is simply not to answer, my reasoning being that if they’re bona fide they’ll leave a message.

However, there is some satisfaction to be derived from answering the call and questioning them. For example, yesterday received a call from a slightly stroppy woman with a strong Indian accent, saying she was calling from BT. Ok, I said, why are you calling me from BT? Because, she said, all the phone lines in the UK are owned by BT. That’s simply not true, said I. Who told you that? she said? it’s a known fact – and then hung up. Ha!

So today I checked, and BT own most of the lines in the UK, but not all. I will be armed with this information next time.

I have also received numerous calls from people purporting to be Microsoft (Ha! as if Microsoft phone you up!) telling me that there’s a problem with my computer. I let them carry on for a while, digging themselves a bigger and bigger metaphorical hole, until I advise them that I use Linux. That always, always confuses them. One guy was clearly looking at some sort of list, and finally said Oh, are you a technician? Yes. Yes I am. So he hung up.

Next time I get one I may just cut to the chase and ask if they’d like my bank details and then see what they say.

Emails and texts which are clearly scams I just angrily delete. Interestingly, it’s only my Virgin email address which gets scams, which makes me think there’s been a data breach somewhere along the line. I get plenty of junk mail on my other email addresses, but that’s just advertising, or a friend has had their email hacked and all their contacts sent a spurious message.

The sort of thing I know is a scam is, say, purporting to be from the TV licensing people, saying they can’t collect our money, but they’ve sent it to the wrong email address! and that is how I know they’re lying. Apart from the fact that I check the bank account every day so I know that the TV licensing people are actually getting our money.

Ho hum.

The man (it’s a different guy almost every time) is currently mowing the lawn. The gardening service we have is excellent apart from time keeping, although today he’s 45 minutes early. We won’t be asking them to do any more odd jobs, though. They’ve done the ones we asked them to do (several weeks ago now) and have done a good job, except that there is the old back gate and the ugly phormium sitting on our front garden waiting to be removed. Sigh. Here are some photos – old/new back gate, old/new side fence panel, old ugly phormium. You’ll be glad to know I decided the new manhole cover was just too boring to photograph and post!

But it took weeks to get them to actually come and do the work. I do think the guy in charge is honest and well meaning, and has had a lot of bad luck, and maybe he has taken on too much work. But if you’re self employed it must be difficult to know what counts as too much work, particularly if you have guys on your team who go to the pub and then have to self isolate for 14 days. Whose idea was it to open the pubs? madness.

I have the new plant ready to put in the hole where the phormium was, but am waiting until I have the opportunity, the energy, and the weather. Also we’re going to have the front lawn dug up and completely replaced, so I’m wondering if it might be better to leave it in its pot until after that.

Still working . . .

Well, the printer fell off the network once, but I think that’s sorted. It hasn’t fallen off again. I had to re-pair the HomePlugs it’s using. I guess its little electronic brain recognised that it was connecting to a “new” network, or at least a new router. Anyway, it’s all still working. Fingers crossed.

Meanwhile I’ve again changed my painkiller routine as I wasn’t coping with the pain. Two Co-codamol (30/500) in the morning, two at about 5 pm, and then two Paracetamol at bedtime. Seems to help.

I was even able to do a bit of knitting last night, until the cable fell off the end of the needle, then all the stitches fell off. So I have picked them all up, fixed a new cable, and ordered some new interchangeable bamboo needles (Hiya Hiya instead of Knit Pro). I didn’t order a set, just sizes 4mm, 4.5mm and 5mm, with four different lengths of cable.

Planning to do a bit of clearing up in the garden tomorrow. The hardy geraniums in the front have gone over, so I’ll cut them back to the ground. Some bluebell detritus gone yellow. And probably cut the poppies which have dead blooms on them back to the ground. Sometimes you get a second flush of blooms if you do that, rather than just take off the heads.

Managed to save one baby bluetit from certain death (by our stupid cat), but not the other one. They do seem to fledge from the ground, which doesn’t make that much sense really. Chased the cat away, lured her back into the house with the treats in the crackly bag, and wouldn’t let her out. So she sulked. Well, to be fair, she slept in her little cat bed. Which is fine.

Fam-a-lam Bingo tonight. Auckland NZ, Dublin, Brighton, Malvern and us (Solihull, West Midlands). We have the technology. We have the bingo cards via email. Can’t wait . . .

Zoomed this morning with some of the knitting guys. We drink tea/coffee, talk over each other, laugh a lot, and do show and tell with our projects. Or in my case, the broken cable.

Finished Succession Season 1.Have even gone off Marcia. But it’s still exciting. Just paid for Season 2.

Success!

After days and days of problems with the wi-fi signal (probably because everybody is using wi-fi more now we’re all at home so much) I decided that we needed to put the Virgin Superhub3 into modem mode and buy a new router.

So I did. Also bought some new cables and switch boxes. It all arrived today (Asus RT AC 85P and tp-link 8 port switches, along with various lengths of Cat6 flat ethernet cables).

Surprisingly, after a number of sleepless nights worrying about it and thinking it all through, I put it together and it worked with no problems at all. I can now see every single thing on the network, which I couldn’t before. Even the TV!

Also the Tivo box had been giving us problems, which have magically disappeared. And hardly any HomePlugs too. One (plus its pair) for the printer, and one (plus its pair) for the hifi thingamajig in the kitchen. Which are also visible on the network. Part of the problem was that the electrical circuit in the study doesn’t talk via HomePlugs to the electrical circuits anywhere else in the house. So now we have 2 x 30m of ethernet cable going from study to lounge, but it all seems to work. I can’t believe how easy it was.

The main problem, though, was that the Virgin Superhub3 wasn’t coping, as demonstrated by the new router, which clearly is coping. Hooray!

But I’ve only just finished it. It could all go horribly wrong by tomorrow, but that’s unlikely.

And just to finish off, here is a photo of some poppies in my garden. Yay!