Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Success!

Here are some pictures of the bread that came out of the new-to-me machine.  I think we're going to get along. 

Well, drat

I got a new watch over the holidays and while my step count goals aren't particularly high, it's been keeping better track of my steps than my old knock-off activity band did, so I'm doing better with them. During the week I try to get at least 5,000 steps a day because I work a desk job.  Of course, during the workweek that's easier as I park over at UK and have to walk to and from the bus stops.  The weekends I'm lucky to crack maybe 1,000 or 1,500 steps.  So I was kind of excited that I have met the 5,000 every single day this week, even Sunday (when I don't normally go out of the house and just do housework or game) and Thursday and Friday (when I won the parking lottery at work and then the next day had reserved it for parking). As you can see from the photo, I've met my goal Sunday-Friday.  I was really hoping to get all seven days of the week, but short of pacing the house for the next hour, considering it's 8 pm and snowing outside, I don't think I'll make it.  I meant to take a walk but took a nap instead, and a little longer than I meant, and then the sun went down.  But there's always next week.  Anyway, it was an honest attempt. I don't think I've ever managed to do that before. I've done 10,000 in a day (over several days in Chicago, as I walked all over both airports, the Field Museum, and most of downtown) and 15,000 in one day (my birthday a few years ago, when my car was in the shop and I walked all over the Eastland area).  But never have I  consistently been able to reach 5,000 steps per day for every day of the week. So it's a goal.  And if I can do that, I'll increase my goal by about 500 steps a day a week or so at a time.  I do often get between 6,000-8,000, so one can hope.  And I am getting up more as the watch encourages me to stand and walk. I also downloaded an app that reminds you to wash your hands and times your handwashing as well.  So far today I have washed my hands 12 times so far, not counting doing dishes.  :) 

Happiness after mourning a small appliance

[Last night's Facebook post:)] 
Panifex mortus est. 'The bread maker is dead'. :( So after years of baking really great bread, including the weekly Sabbath challah, my bread machine has died. and my attempt to make bread last night resulted in a watery, terrible mess that had me just wrap the pan in a bag and carry it outside to the bin.  Sadly, they not only don't make that model anymore, Panasonic no longer makes affordable bread machines (all I saw were a couple in the $450-$650 range, and they didn't have the yeast hopper I liked so much about this one.  You can get all sorts of fancy machines these days, and I was looking at various features more in the $80-$130 range, and I think I've found a nice Hamilton Beach one (the name I was trying to think of earlier today while explaining it to a friend, and I kept coming up with Black & Decker (which does make appliances, but not what I was trying for) and Smith & Wesson (which is right out for bread-making)). But it'll be a couple of weeks till I can get it and so for tonight and the next little bit, we've had to have matzoh crackers instead.  Known as 'the bread of affliction' (really), matzoh sucks all of the taste and moisture out of your mouth, and one form is commonly used at Pesach (Passover) as it is unleavened according to the commandment.   But it can be substituted and blessed for Sabbath. But it's just not the same.  Here's hoping the new machine, when it is ordered and arrives, will do just as well as this one, which has lasted a minimum of ten years.

[Today's Facebook post:] 
Thanks to a kind friend who gave me a bread machine she'd used a few times, I am up and running again with bread making.  She even found the manual, which includes a conversion between the active dry yeast that is used in the recipes of the booklet vs. the rapid rise/instant yeast I am used to and have, recipes, troubleshooting tips, as well as directions, which I have now read from cover to cover. The main difference is since it doesn't have the yeast hopper (which is not unusual--I couldn't find any on Amazon that did, including the same brand I'd had), you put the wet ingredients in first, then dry ones, then yeast, to keep the yeast and liquids as far away from one another as possible until they are mixed and only at that time should the yeast be activated.  The times are a little different.  There isn't a rapid bake for regular loaves like on mine so it takes a little longer to bake a loaf (but not as long as the regular setting on my old one), but the dough setting is cut by an hour in time, which is very useful since I use the dough setting every week for challah.  I'm going to test it this weekend to do a trial run in preparation for the challah-making on Thursday. Thank you, thank you, thank you for letting me have this, and for meeting me today to get it to me.

:) 

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

One reason

That I had trouble last year writing is that my roommate's desktop died and so I've been letting him borrow my laptop. Right now we've got it plugged up to a monitor, mouse, keyboard, etc., so it's for all intents and purposes acting like a desktop, and I just change the configuration if he has a Zoom meeting or something that needs the camera. 

That leaves me operating with just my phone.  I do have a Bluetooth keyboard (it's rather small, but it works). So I'm using it as a mini-computer.  For awhile the Blogger app wasn't working so well, so it was really frustrating to try. 

Anyway, it's doing better now. Forgive any typos along the way, but my plan is to write more.  I didn't manage to do Monday or Tuesday this week, but I still have two more days I can write and meet my goal of three a week. I don't think that's unreasonable. And there's at least two today. :) 

Musings

Went to the dentist yesterday for the first time since this whole thing began and while everything went really great, it was so odd to be unmasked around people that I don't see every day.  They were, of course.  But I mean, except at home, in my cubicle, and a brief period during lunchtime where my lunch bunch and I sit at different tables more than six feet apart, I'm just always masked.  I wonder when things improve and people are vaccinated, and hopefully, this will start to be a memory, how we'll feel gingerly being back to normal if that's even possible.

Sunday, January 03, 2021

I needed this weekend

To recharge my batteries, so to speak. I haven't really done that much, but I've focused on things that would bring some order to my environment. Now i'm waiting for my watch to charge and getting ready for bed, and the older cat is treading on my side and is perched there, purring.

Tomorrow my stimulus payment should hit my account (it's been in pending for days). Almost a third is going to my roommate, since I wasn't ably to pay him fully last month. A fourth is going into savings. The rest I am spending on some items that I just haven't been able to get for awhile, everyday things like CPAP supplies, health and beauty items, a replacement for a Kindle charging cable the kitten chewed up, that sort of thing. I did get one luxury item. T-mobile had a special where a Samsung Active 2 LTE watch was on sale for less than $50 + taxes and activation with a data line. So that comes to $10 a month for the line and $2 a month for the watch with bill credits. I had considered purchasing a Bluetooth version for $179.99 + tax, but it would be completely tied to the phone. The LTE watch version usually runs right under $400, so even if you factor in the line cost for two years, I got it for much less than the retail price of the LTE version, and not much more than the Bluetooth version, without paying for it all up front. It integrates with my phone much better than the knockoff fitness tracker I had, too, and is much more robust in terms of functionality.

Saturday, January 02, 2021

Relaxing day so far

I got up much earlier than I planned for a Saturday morning. I'd gone to bed early, though, so I guess it's to be expected. 

So far, I've taken my medicine, eaten some cereal, helped my friend, who cannot turn the stove on on Sabbath make his coffee, and caffeinated myself a bit. I'm going to go to the pharmacy to pick up some medicine, but otherwise plan on staying in and working on some things around here.

So it's not an exciting day, but a restful one I plan. We'll probably watch some things this evening.  Hope you're having a good year so far. 

Friday, January 01, 2021

Happy New Year!

'Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit!' An old tradition is to say that upon waking on the first of any month for good luck. Another for New Year's (in Scotland and some other Celtic areas) is the practice of 'first footing', where men go around from door to door being invited in to bring in the new year. The men should be dark-haired if at all possible, but must not be red-haired or it will bring in bad luck instead. A woman should not be the first person to cross the threshold, either. I guess a red-haired woman is right out. That's why the men go around first thing after the new year has begun. What are your New Year's traditions? Growing up it was the Rose Parade and taking down the Christmas tree.

What are your New Year's resolutions (if any)? Mine is to read and write more. I don't make time to read anymore, and that's a shame, given that I've been a voracious reader for most of my life. Additionally, I have this blog that has sadly languished of late which is almost 20 years old--I started it in October 2001 and it's been a very good companion all these years). So I'd like to revive it. So my resolutions are to read at least one book a month (yeah, I'm going to start out reasonably and small) and post on my blog at least three times a week.

Friday, December 04, 2020

Meltdown

I'm afraid I'm about to overshare, but try to understand what it's like living with issues such as anxiety, bipolar II, and ADHD all at once, all of which are normally quite in balance and do not easily reach the tipping point thanks to modern medicine.

So today had such promise, but it wound up being Lisa and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. It was even our holiday celebration at work (socially distanced and virtual even), and I wore red and black and a jolly Santa hat with a bell on it, but I am so terribly overwhelmed at work at the moment that I didn't let myself take part in the festivities or even enjoy our provided lunch [well, yes, the brownie was good]. It didn't help that I missed my oral meds last night, and because of that, when I went to take them this morning, my holder was empty, because I didn't realise it needed to be filled. So I didn't have the medications that help me focus with ADHD or the ones that keep me from being anxious and falling apart in an emotional mess. Don't get me wrong, anyone would be overwhelmed (I think I've gotten over 25 offsite requests to schedule this week and had several others in-progress). But no amount of breathing or trying to put things into little chunks helped. I did get a lot done, even so, better than a normal day in some ways and worse in others. But I felt absolutely horrible the whole day, had a terrible headache, and didn't relax at all, feeling like a hamster spinning in a wheel while drowning all at once. Most people went home early, and I was going to stay my full shift, but after I started catching small errors I was making, I decided I had to call it a day and left about 45 minutes early, as I was absolutely no good for anything at that point and wasn't going to get anything else accomplished and just might make it worse. So I tried to focus on what I did get done, but on the shuttle to my car there I was, in a Santa hat with a jingle bell, just crying. It's a good thing I had a mask on.

But a couple of nice things happened today. I won parking for a week in March. A man let me go (with my one item) before him at the line at Kroger, where they were really backed up. I got home and had Sabbath dinner, and it was really nice, vegetarian tsimmes with carrots, honey, and raisins, Quorn roast, cranberry sauce, and challah. The company was good. My roommate was very supportive and encouraging, even when he called me at work to see if I was able to stop by the store, and he realised how fragile I was feeling. So the day is ending on a better note. Monday I'll try to hit the ground running with the phone calls I need to make. Tomorrow is another day, and in this case, tomorrow is the weekend, so I'm going to focus on resting and getting back on my schedule. This is the worst I've felt since August, when I had to ask my doctor to change my medicine because I was in a very dark place and was a bit of a danger to myself briefly, something that surprised my doctor, as I'd been completely stable as long as he'd treatment me over the last decade. Since we made the adjustments I've been fine, at worst a little stressed. That worked for a good solid three months. But I missed two doses and it all fell apart. I hate to think that I'm that fragile. But it does mean I need to be more proactive in self-care, definitely.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Whoever invented the ceiling fan is my hero

Sitting under three fans (two ceiling, one pedestal) as my blood sugar went low at Kroger and I get very hot and drenched with sweat when that happens, on top of feeling shaky. I carry glucose tablets with me normally, so I ate some and waited till I felt better to drive. But now that I'm home and I've gotten the groceries inside during the rain and my roommate has put then away, I've checked my blood sugar (it's normal now) and stripped down to shorts and a tank top to sleep in. I still need to do some things before bed but I'm going to stretch out and set an alarm and enjoy the moving air.

Friday, November 06, 2020

2 am

So I just finished making the challah for the week as I got a late start tonight. But I think it will be worth it.
 Here are a couple of other pictures from the interim of no blogging. First, it pumpkin contest entry (we got second place, behind a Baby Yoda one) :
And finally, this year's Halloween costume:
Alright, good night! 

Thursday, November 05, 2020

I can't believe

that I've gone a whole month and a half without writing on this blog. It was not my attention to let it founder. It's not that things have been boring or anything. I've just been kind of wrapped up with work and life. And I've been on Facebook a lot when I should be writing here. Plus, my laptop is currently borrowed as the desktop my roommate was using bit the big one this summer, and most of my stuff online is done with a Galaxy S20 and a Bluetooth keyboard, but it's much easier to write on the laptop, even so.

While I've been gone I had a car accident that was very frightening, but I was fortunately okay.  There was a thunderstorm during the morning rush after a dry spell.  I went and got gas before work, which was why I was on a main thoroughfare that I don't go down usually in the morning, one that has no reflectors built into the lane guides.  It was raining so hard, and being close to the time change, it was very dark even though it was almost 8 am.  I was going down the road in the left lane as that's the direction I was going to turn in order to get to where I park at the University of Kentucky.  I couldn't see the lanes at all, and I don't think anyone else could either, and I didn't have anyone to follow, so I tried to go into the right lane, and just as I was about to, I realised I was skidding/hydroplaning right into a left turn lane and into a median, going up on it at about 20-25 miles per hour with both driver-side wheels, somehow managing not to flip (because I sure didn't have control of the car at that point, never managed to brake in time, and wound up bounced into the right lane, which was thankfully vacant, although I think a car had to brake hard to avoid me.  This was right past Armstrong Mill coming into town on Tates Creek Road.  I'd obviously popped at least one tyre, and I went down to Gainesway, less than a block away, and pulled over.  I tried to collect myself, called my boss to let her know I'd had an accident, left a message for my roommate, and called a AAA truck and the tyre shop I have my warranty with.  Then I had the car towed over there, and they gave me a ride to work after it was determined that I'd bent two rims and killed a tyre, the latter of which could be replaced under warranty.  One rim was bent somewhat, but the tyre was still holding air, but the other was bent beyond all hope.  I had to get a new rim to replace that one, and they'd had to order it for the next day.  So he took me to work, and I made it in within an hour of my usual time.  But I didn't really have the money to spare for that, although I got it fixed anyway.  It took a couple of days, and a couple of my co-workers took me to and from work because I'm not stepping foot on the city bus during a pandemic if I can help it, so I'm very thankful for them.  The car is still making a sound like there's a rubbing going on; I need to get it checked by my regular mechanic but that may need to wait till I have the money for it. I couldn't turn it into my insurance because it was under the deductible unless my mechanic finds more.  But it's driveable for now, although I recently got together with some co-workers at a farm where we could spread out and work on a pumpkin contest, and I got a ride rather than go out on the highway.  Plus, I still, because of the pandemic, haven't managed to get a spare tyre to replace the original doughnut that bit the dust back right before I got all the tyres replaced in February. 

Despite all that, I am very grateful I didn't get hurt or hurt anyone else.  It was very scary. My roommate said my message was almost incoherent; he had to play it several times.

That's the most important thing that's happened lately.  Plus we had Halloween at work and of course the election.  I hope you voted, if you're in the U.S., regardless of whom you might have voted for.  I've also been making time to read this month; I've read four of five days, and I started the Enola Holmes books by Nancy Springer (whose Books of Isle series was a favourite of mine some 30 years ago; I'm glad she's still writing).

That's it for now.  I will try to get in the habit of writing, even if it has to be on the phone.  I don't want to let this blog die away.  Now I'd better check on my bread dough.  Good night.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Baking

Tomorrow night is Jewish New Year, known as Rosh Hashanah.  This year it also falls on the Jewish Shabbat, or Sabbath. I'm not Jewish, I wasn't raised Jewish, so I never got any instruction on how to make good challah (my main contribution to the Sabbath meals is making bread).  Fortunately for me and others, there is the Internet.  So I googled a four-braid round challah. A round challah is traditional for Rosh Hashanah,  I've heard different reasons for it.  But nevertheless, there you are.  It represents the wheel of the year, which is seen as cyclical.  It also represents a crown of God.  Some people just make a long coil and put it in a spiral like a snail's shell.  Others, however, do a round braid.  (Challah is often braided, as I've shown I past posts).  So I decided to do the round braid, and instead of the apples I meant to use, I did raisins (which are also traditional, as it represents the sweetness of the new year).  For each loaf, you make a rectangluar coil and then roll it out flat, then put raisins  on the dough and roll it up into a long coil.  You do this four times, then you braid the challah.  I've found instructions all over the internet.  The first loaf I tried was kind of haphazard.  The second was much better.  They're rising now and will be ready to bake about 11 pm.  This is also the best use I've ever for my Pampered Chef rolling pin I got years ago, which has two narrow rollers, as it didn't take up as much of my workspace (I was doing this all on a floured cutting board for easier cleanup). I got the roller years ago at a party and literally have used it maybe twice. :) So it was nice to use.  Here are the pre-rise pictures of the loaves, as well as a picture of the rolling pin.