Mixed Results

Had a blood test last week. Our doctor’s surgery has a website you can log in to and have a look at your results. So I did. The good news is that my thyroid levels are fine, and the cholesterol level is better than it’s been for 20 years. Still a little high, but much better. I’m guessing that’s down to giving up dairy altogether.

However, there are several results which are “abnormal” so I have to have a repeat test next week. My red blood cells are too big, and my iron levels are low. I don’t understand any of the other results which are dodgy, so will wait and see what happens. If the doctors want to do anything, they’ll phone me. If they don’t, I’ll arrange a telephone appointment to discuss the endless sleeping.

Today has been a medium day. I have managed to get up, washed and dressed, make a chocolate fudge brownie thing, and eat lunch, but it was touch and go. I’m ready for bed now.

Not doing any handicrafts at all, but just reading a knitting magazine and thinking about crafting helps a bit.

Here are some photos to cheer things up a bit. The flowers in the vase are what’s left still in bloom after our 21st wedding anniversary last weekend. Yeah.

Sunshine

Always makes me feel better. I even managed to stay out of bed until now, and have also been for a very short walk. Excellent.

The difference between the days when I feel like this, compared to the bad days, is stark. It’s hard to know whether it’s the M.E./CFS, or the remains of the virus from last week, or what. But I am just sleeping when I need to, and that seems to work.

The sycophantic, over-the-top, repetitive coverage the BBC has provided on Philip is just too much. He was 99 years old! brave, strong, difficult, racist and totally lacking in empathy, but that’s about it really. I expect Liz is sad though, she really liked him. I spent some time amusing myself by allotting a nickname to each Royal, in the vein of Ethelred the Unready, or Edward the Confessor, or Charles the Bold (or was it Bald?). I don’t think I’ll share them with you though. Don’t want to get into trouble for insulting the Royals. 🙄 But we are republicans in this house (in the British sense!) and would like to elect our leaders, instead of this heredity nonsense.

Have undone all my knitting. I’d gone off the scarf I was doing in mistake rib, it hurts to knit, and I went off the colours too. Instead I’ve crocheted a tea-infuser cosy for hubby, which he seems to like, and then had to not do any handicrafts for a few days. Today I’ve had a first go at latch-hooking. I can’t believe how long it took me to get the hang of it. The tremor doesn’t help, nor does the stupid brain. Finally, after watching a YouTube video, I twigged. Not something I can do without concentrating though. Yeah.

Line of Duty (BBC TV series about an anti-corruption police department) is absolutely gripping. Love it. No spoilers though.

We also finished watching Season 5 of Better Call Saul. Oh. My. Days. Can’t wait for Season 6. Then of course we’ll need to watch Breaking Bad again.

And now it’s bed time. Siesta every day. Reading a Stella Rimmington book – she’s very good.

Modest Goal Achieved

Yes. I actually got up, showered, washed my hair And Got Dressed today. First time since Sunday. Hubby and I both seem to have some sort of virus. Not Covid, but we’re both tired and very floppy. We had been to the recycling centre on Friday. You have to book a slot, and we were both masked and gloved, but it’s the only place I can imagine we caught anything.

Dairy: I have a “Milk Ladder” pictogram, but am seriously thinking of not doing it. For one thing, I feel loads less bloated and have no tummy ache now I’m off all dairy, and have lost 6lbs in weight.

Handicrafts: tried, and failed spectacularly, to convert some skinny jeans to straight jeans. I’d got the inserts ready and everything, but after spending hours and hours and hours struggling, getting fraught, sweaty, and my hands protesting loudly, I gave up. The net result was one pair of jeans with the leg seams undone. Bought a new pair instead. Yeah. Just tried them on and they are FAB so I have ordered two more pairs. My current jeans are old and starting to fall apart, even though (or maybe because) I love them, so need new ones. The pair which has arrived is going in the wash tomorrow.

Not been able to knit or crochet for weeks now. I have a telephone appointment with the doctor tomorrow, so hopefully will end up being referred to the specialist. I also have pins and needles in the fourth and pinky fingers of my right hand, as well as the arthritis, and pain from the bottom knuckle of my thumb down to my wrist. At least three different things going on there. Hmm. Left hand is starting to hurt too. Oh joy.

The weather is cold and it is snowing intermittently, in a desultory way. It’s not sticking, though.

We have seen some seriously good films. The Irishman – an Irish guy who gets involved with The Mafia. Long (three and a half hours) but very involving. The Two Popes – Benedict XVI and Francis – loved it. Particularly loved all the different languages you get to hear (French, Italian, Spanish, Latin) – although my Latin is rusty to say the least! The Popes are played by two British actors (Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce) so it was a joy to hear them say how exhausting it is to speak English – so many rules and so many exceptions! Also Mary Queen of Scots. Very good. Very well done. Not exactly historically accurate, but hey, it’s a film. It’s not meant to be.

Had to go back to bed this morning for another little sleep. Got up, dressed etc, and had some lunch. Now I’m sitting doing this with a cup of tea. May need yet another sleep this pm but decided I would just do what my body suggests and not beat myself up about it.

Time to go and read a bit. I have a magazine which appeared this morning and two different books, one a library book (Henning Mankell – not a Wallander story) and one a book I’ve bought (Mary Queen of Scots by Antonia Frasier). Also just finished Disloyal by Michael Cohen. Blimey. That was hard to read. It’s a mea culpa but also brutally honest. He’s a hard man to like but I do appreciate his bravery in writing it. Could only manage to read one chapter at a time, though, because it’s so intense. I’ve also read Rage by Bob Woodward, and two books on Trump by Michael Wolff. Fire and Fury and Siege, I think. Again, intense and difficult.

Technology! pah!

Spent yesterday afternoon after my siesta and most of today failing to erase an old Dell Dimension and install Linux on it. In the end I just erased it. Formatting doesn’t do it properly, it just hides the data, and that’s not what you want when you’re Freecycling an old computer. I did have another go at installing Linux after I’d nuked the hard drive, but no luck.

Still, the people on Freecycle who come and collect old computers are very likely to have a stash of old computer parts including old hard drives, so it’ll all be fine. I certainly have boxes of bits. We have a desktop computer each, a tablet each, one Apple, one Android, two laptops (one running Windows 7 and the other Windows XP), and a variety of wires, plugs, mice (mouses?) and so on.

We’ve booked an appointment to go to the tip (recycling centre is the posh name for it) in a couple of weeks. You are allowed 15 minutes once a week, and must be a resident of the Borough. So if nobody wants this old Dell it’ll end up there.

The desperate houseplant I potted on is much happier now. Managed to get some potting compost delivered, and have bought a storage box thingamajig to store it in. It can live in the shed, but then needs schlepping up and down the garden each time it’s needed. The storage box sits just behind the house and is much more convenient. Hubby had to assemble it though. When I finally manage to get some horticultural grit (of which there seems to be a national dearth) that can live in there too.

The seeds I planted a week ago (M&S “little garden”, kindly given to me), have actually started to grow! Three radishes! They are the reason I needed the potting compost, because the time will come when they need to be potted on. It’s all very clever. The seeds are in a sort of tiny little “mat” thing – about six per mat. Then there’s a pellet of dried compost which expands magically upon addition of 50ml water, and the little pots seem to be made of coir, which I think means the roots will grow through them. So that should mean I don’t need to handle the seedlings at all. I’m not usually very good with seeds/seedlings. They usually just die on me. So I am going to be extra vigilant and see what happens.

I have added better labels – these are cardboard and a bit soggy. When a few more seeds start to show their little heads I’ll post better photos.

Mother’s Day here in the UK was Sunday 14th March. One daughter sent me beautiful flowers, the other fabulous chocolates. I’m so lucky! both are excellent. Flowers still in bloom, some chocolates still to be eaten.

Knitting and crochet are occasional things now, what with the pain in my hands. I need to think about talking to the doctor and getting a referral to a consultant. Hubby has requested a special teacosy to fit his special tea infuser. Just need to discuss with him the detailed requirements. Shouldn’t take too long. It’ll need to be knitted, rather than crocheted, and that takes longer, but it’s only a small item. Just had the discussion. He wants a tube with a closed top, no hole for the handle. Excellent. Probably do it in the round, so no seams. Found some Aran West Yorkshire Spinners yarn which should do the job. Yeah.

I think that’s about it for today. Cheers for stopping by!

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.

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.

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.