Saturday, July 21, 2018

Daily Kitchen Tasks

(How I wish this was a photograph of my kitchen, and not just a random photograph from the interwebs!)

Some rooms in the house I'm finding are easy to keep tidy than others. The upstairs loo is always tidy. Sometimes the bin needs to be emptied, but it's never overflowing. The bathroom is almost always tidy. Our bedroom is generally pretty tidy. The bed is made almost every day, dirty dishes don't congregate, dirty laundry normally end up in the laundry basket, and clean clothes are normally put away.

But the kitchen. Oh, the kitchen! This is a room that needs a lot of work. It get tidied and cleaned, and I close my eyes for two seconds and it's messy again. It's currently looking rather good, and a plan of attack is required to keep it that way!

1. Wash the dishes and pots as cooking is happening. The first job when cooking will be to fill the sink with hot soapy water. In the lulls in cooking, the utensils, dishes and pot will be washed up. It really feels amazing when the cooking has been done, the meal eaten, and all that's left to do is wash the plates and cutlery we have just used.

2. Create a post-dinner routine. The current one sucks. It's eat dinner in the sitting room. Sit, sit and sit some more, and at some random time take the dirty dishes through to the kitchen and set them down by the sink. What needs to happen is we eat in the dining room, and at the end of the meal, take the dishes through to the kitchen. As the sink is being filled, put away the pre-dinner washing up. Then transfer any leftovers into single portion containers and pop in the fridge or freezer. Wash the dishes, take out the veggie scraps to the compost pile, and clean the counters.

3. Sweep the floor.  Since Ava  joined us, I've noticed an increase in the amount of dirt and sand being brought into the house. The floor needs to be swept every single day.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Ava - the Might Guard Dog

Ava, the might guard dog, always ready to protect us. Except she has never shown any aggression to any person, and has never raised her voice to anyone. 

A plumber came today to fix our broken loos (yes, both!). The front door was open and Ava was lying on the cool tiles of the hall, looking out of the front door down to the garden gate. The plumber shouted into the house that he had arrived. I came down the stairs to find him look at Ava. His first comments were 'Fantastic guard dog.' Yup, that's Ava. She'll let anyone into the house, but she will extract a payment of some belly scritches.

A couple of weeks ago, the postie had a difficult job trying to deliver a letter. Ava was sitting right by the gate. He made the mistake of reaching through the gate to give a scritch, and Ava didn't want this state of affairs to stop. She wouldn't move. 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Post-Migraine Hangover

In a number of ways, the actual migraine itself is a great deal easier to deal with than the post-migraine 'hangover'. With a migraine, I take medication, and head off to bed for a couple of hours. But today, it's like swimming in treacle. Everything takes so long, and so much effort.

The top item on my 'To Do - Ta Da!' list is 'get up and dressed'. It's been achieved, but today, it's an accomplishment.

Ta Da!
get up & get dressed
feed the dog 
put on a load of washing
make breakfast for The Beloved (he walked the dog for me this morning)
put away dishes
wash dishes
clean kitchen counters
wash shower
wash shower room floor
wash loo
wash sink
hang laundry on the washing line (Beloved)
repair Younger Offspring's costume
clean loo

School Bears

I saw these teddies made from old school uniforms, and thought 'Oh, these look great. I want to give them a go.'

A friend has two children leaving primary school tomorrow, and I thought these might make a rather nice gift for them.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018


Migraines utterly suck! 

Fluctuating hormone levels can bring on migraines in me, and also it can be a sign that I've been glutinated. This week, it's fluctuating hormones. This means I don't just get the standard migraine crap, but the 'weepies' too. At such times I feel such a burden on everyone, that I'm contributing nothing of value, and I just want to run away and hide under a rock. 

When this happens, there doesn't seem to be much I can do about it. Giving myself a stiff talking to is useless. Hug and kisses last for such a brief moment, and then the sadness and negative feels overwhelm again. Everything I think, everything I say, everything I do is wrong. (And yet, it isn't. It just feels that way.) 

It seems the only thing I can do is ride it out and wait for better days to come.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Dates and Numbers

A couple of tips when learning numbers and dates in a new language. 

As you are putting things away, count them out in the new language. As you climb the stairs, uno, due, tre, quattro... Look at phone numbers and read them out in Italian. When you see a car, look at the registration plate and read out the numbers. With a plate that has "756", say "sette, cinque, sei". Then later when you are feeling more secure with your numbers, turn it into "seven hundred and fifty six" (settecentocinquantasei).

Each day, write out the date in your journal or diary, or even just a random piece of paper. Today is dominica, quindici luglio duemiladiciotto.

It's practise, and more practise, and a bit more on top. Use numbers and dates, and keep using them.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Noi Parliamo Italiano

I am buzzing!
Last night,  we went out to the local Italian restaurant to celebrate my birthday (earlier this month). I was talking with two of the waiters, in Italian. They understood me, and I understood them! It wasn’t big complicated stuff, just the little bits like ‘Good evening, a table for 3, please’, “I am learning Italian”, “I would like the duck”, etc.
The lovely tall waiter asked in English when I started learning Italian, and I replied in Italian, ‘marzo’ (March). He was so kind, and said I was speaking the language really well, and was surprised at how well I could speak it given the short time I have been learning. He said he could understand everything I was saying. Talk about a boost! I’m buzzing, buzzing, I tell you.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


More toadstools painted today, this time against a green background. They need to have some black outlines drawn on to finish them off. Also painted were loads of poppies. They haven't been photographed as they don't yet have their black centres. Those will have to wait until tomorrow when I will be in town and can buy some black paint.

After the poppies have been finished, that's me.  If they had put up the plea a little earlier I could have managed a great deal more. But we do what we can, and we can't do any more.

Chicken in Marinade

In my new box there's frozen mini chicken breasts, gently resting in some chopped garlic, oil, cider vinegar, a bit of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, ground cumin and coriander seeds. As the chicken defrosts it will take up the flavours. It can then be bbq-ed, or pan fried.

But really, it's the box that I love. It is FĂ–RTROLIG from Ikea. The base is glass and the top is silicon and plastic. It can be used in the fridge and freezer. When the lid is removed it can be used in the oven.  I used it to make clafoutis recently. I'm loving having a couple of lidded deep dishes.

Next time we are near an Ikea I'll buy a couple of the smaller dishes.