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De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021

Stilly River Sage 31 Dec 21 - 06:02 PM
Charmion 31 Dec 21 - 12:58 PM
Jon Freeman 31 Dec 21 - 12:32 PM
Jon Freeman 31 Dec 21 - 10:35 AM
Stilly River Sage 31 Dec 21 - 10:24 AM
Stilly River Sage 30 Dec 21 - 11:48 AM
Dorothy Parshall 29 Dec 21 - 11:52 AM
Stilly River Sage 29 Dec 21 - 11:18 AM
Stilly River Sage 28 Dec 21 - 11:34 PM
Charmion 28 Dec 21 - 07:27 PM
Stilly River Sage 28 Dec 21 - 05:22 PM
Dorothy Parshall 27 Dec 21 - 08:26 PM
Stilly River Sage 27 Dec 21 - 04:23 PM
Donuel 27 Dec 21 - 04:19 PM
Donuel 27 Dec 21 - 03:00 PM
Donuel 27 Dec 21 - 01:24 PM
Stilly River Sage 27 Dec 21 - 11:58 AM
Thompson 26 Dec 21 - 11:43 PM
Stilly River Sage 26 Dec 21 - 08:35 PM
Stilly River Sage 26 Dec 21 - 11:17 AM
Sandra in Sydney 26 Dec 21 - 01:43 AM
JennieG 26 Dec 21 - 12:51 AM
Stilly River Sage 26 Dec 21 - 12:41 AM
Charmion's brother Andrew 25 Dec 21 - 01:53 PM
Charmion 25 Dec 21 - 01:29 PM
Donuel 25 Dec 21 - 01:17 PM
Stilly River Sage 25 Dec 21 - 12:22 PM
Thompson 25 Dec 21 - 01:12 AM
Stilly River Sage 24 Dec 21 - 05:22 PM
Thompson 24 Dec 21 - 03:18 PM
Stilly River Sage 24 Dec 21 - 03:13 PM
Thompson 24 Dec 21 - 03:11 PM
Stilly River Sage 22 Dec 21 - 08:50 PM
JennieG 22 Dec 21 - 08:07 PM
Donuel 22 Dec 21 - 08:02 PM
JennieG 22 Dec 21 - 05:56 PM
Stilly River Sage 22 Dec 21 - 12:18 PM
Jon Freeman 22 Dec 21 - 07:53 AM
keberoxu 21 Dec 21 - 08:44 PM
Stilly River Sage 21 Dec 21 - 06:00 PM
Thompson 21 Dec 21 - 04:55 AM
Stilly River Sage 20 Dec 21 - 06:34 PM
Jon Freeman 20 Dec 21 - 01:58 PM
Stilly River Sage 20 Dec 21 - 01:12 PM
Thompson 20 Dec 21 - 12:39 PM
Stilly River Sage 20 Dec 21 - 11:07 AM
Thompson 20 Dec 21 - 06:52 AM
Stilly River Sage 19 Dec 21 - 08:51 PM
Jon Freeman 19 Dec 21 - 04:30 PM
Thompson 19 Dec 21 - 04:20 PM
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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 31 Dec 21 - 06:02 PM

2021 ground on for many of us unlike any year in recent memory. All of the memes about how awful 2020 was, when COVID-19 settled in like a Bad Penny, were blown away by regular COVID then Delta COVID and now Omicron COVID. But where 2020 was more dramatic, 2021 was insidious. There are worldwide nearly 5.5 million dead from this pandemic.

And as if that wasn't bad enough, as if everyone we know seems to have had a close call or been exposed to COVID, and we're counting down the hours to the end of 2021 hoping to turn a significant corner, 2021 outdoes itself by offering an emotional blow with the death of Betty White, on the brink of her 100th birthday. (She was going to participate in a big program to celebrate that date - I hope they still hold the event, to celebrate her legacy).

Without jinxing what is to come by declaring this the lowest moment ever, you get my drift. Hopefully things will start to improve from here.

This week I haven't slept well, when dreams about loved ones have awakened me. When I learned this week that an 84-year-old friend (COPD and sleeps with an oxygen generator at night) was exposed to COVID, I realized that anyone can get it and be gone. And if that were the case here - oy - the stuff my kids would have to deal with. Not big clunky furniture, but smaller things now, items picked up to sell on eBay, sewing projects, other crafts, all here in the house, garage, and greenhouse. There is no shortage of stuff around here and now is the time to start making a serious push to recycle a lot of it.

Loads of stuff to Goodwill is the last option; I'd like to squeeze some cash out of it, so I'll continue to sell on eBay (though it's getting harder to use and they are clearly double-dealing, when they total your sales price AND the shipping price AND the tax as the total that they take a percentage of.)

It's good to have a clear view of some of the challenges and goals to meet them in the year ahead.

Here is the 2022 thread.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 31 Dec 21 - 12:58 PM

Iím another vote for a new thread.

Thanks for asking, Stilly.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 31 Dec 21 - 12:32 PM

"Do we want to continue this thread into the next year, or start a new one?"

I'd meant to reply to this before. It's no big deal but my preference is to have these threads as sort of annual diaries so I'd opt for a new one.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 31 Dec 21 - 10:35 AM

It's an interesting idea, SRS. We don't get many freezing days but I can find myself having to make repairs to outside pipe work where compression joints have pushed apart. Having the taps drip when needed would probably solve that. The Amazon UK (the only site where I found them) is out of the question. A pair is listed at £149.47 plus £21.20 delivery!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 31 Dec 21 - 10:24 AM

An end of the year eBay sale has reminded me that I have to turn my attention to emptying the front room of contents I intend to sell. This year I'll make a push to be more businesslike in how I manage eBay. It can add substantial income each month and in the US you can earn up to $40,000 before you have to declare it as income.

The item that sold was listed forever; now that they don't make you relist every seven or 10 days, things can sit there forever. Or in the case of this one, many months. I just wish the payment system was easier; now they're promoting all sorts of payment options, not just PayPal, and PayPal is the one that works and I'm accustomed to.

Jon, there is a device that I'm thinking about picking up that you might find useful (if it is for sale in the UK) for cold weather use. It's a system that detects freezing weather and keeps faucets from freezing and pipes from breaking. Freeze Miser is a device you screw onto the faucet and turn the tap on (it won't flow under non-freezing temperatures). If it gets cold, this thing starts dripping and keeps the water moving. They aren't cheap, however.

Warm days through Saturday, then I have to be sure my faucets are covered and a few things put in the greenhouse. I'm through with that museum course for now - the instructor retired as of yesterday. I'll do one more tour sometime in January and be certified (and it should be much easier once this woman is gone - the people she doesn't like have much more difficulty in getting certified, hence my doing one last demo tour. I'll finish this and do the volunteer work just to spite her. Normally she ends up facing down the folks she doesn't like and they drop the course. Must have bugged her no end that I didn't.)

Stay safe everyone!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 30 Dec 21 - 11:48 AM

I am so ready for this year to be over. Every time I hear from people it seems to be a report that someone has been exposed to (or caught) COVID*. The speculation in medical circles is that the rapid spread of Omicron will lead to a peak of infections within a few weeks, and then it will subside. It's time to turn to the home projects and stay out of public places for a while. (*In much of Texas we're under influence of "Mountain Cedar," the Ashe juniper that spews pollen this time of year. It causes lots of sinus infections, and people are being careful to treat allergies and not have to wonder if it is sinusitis or COVID.)

A pleasant reminder of those home projects came in my email last night, when eBay sent notification that it's time to ship an item that has been listed for forever. Last year I found an oversized enamel skillet (Lodge - known for their double handles) and a matching (colorwise) Le Creuset lid. I "married" and listed them ages ago. Maybe last year? I dug out the box and will run it to the post office.

I have a downloaded mystery in my phone to listen to while I work around the house, and I need to resume some of my sewing projects. I have a couple of late holiday letters and thank you notes to send. The weather has been unusually warm but the weekend we're getting a hard freeze so I must dig out the Styrofoam faucet covers for outside front and back to avoid broken pipes. That cold arrives on Sunday so I have Friday and Saturday to take down the xmas lights in the front of the house, rake leaves out of the street to mulch into the lawn, and in general pull my gardening projects into the greenhouse (I have lots of plant projects in pots, like Dorothy does, though I won't itemize them now). And set up the heater in the greenhouse.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 11:52 AM

Dupont:

Just said to R (realized) I feel as though we have been cheated out of our week at Beaver; he claims not to feel it but we have done it each year for 5 or 6 years... Anyhow, recognizing the problem helps. And the not so great delivery of groceries made me see that I really could go to the produce store; In fact, as we seem to be finding the Omicron not going into the lungs - my biggest fear- AND as the veggies sent in my order were definitely sub-par, I see this as a clear message to go get my own veggies - at a "less busy" time. As for talking to folks on the phone - I need to try harder to get over my not-wanting-to-bother problem and call ... But at this time of year...

I have kept the plants alive. And found some more creative meals. And the days are getting longer. And remembered to ask R to bring the vacuum downstairs to I can clean someday soon; the upstairs got its clean up. The huge fern from the neighbour drops leaves in piles!

R kindly brought the Canna in before frost but put it in a large pot which somehow has sat in the den for two months; the old leaves turned brown and new shoots are now a foot tall! I moved it into the hall where a glass door gives good South light and hope to keep it healthy until May!!

The little pear tree(about 8 inches), also brought inside, lost all its leaves and now has healthy new ones. Hopefully we can plant it outdoors next spring. I saved seeds from recent batch of pears and will refrain from planting them, and any more seeds until February! One pepper plant is flourishing in an east window and the other, on the K table, got a bug so I washed it in the sink yesterday and gave it a new location.

All the basil plants somehow disappeared as well as some geraniums - a mystery. I cannot imagine anyone came to the back deck and took them... I can start more geraniums from the remaining ones and have plenty of dried basil. Last year's poinsettia is still perking along and has splashes of red on two leaves; maybe I will follow directions for getting the red next year.

The big potted tomato plants did not make it but I have some seeds and one cutting that needs to be potted. Hoping we still have some of each of the ones "George" gave R as George died a few weeks ago (not covid)and we want them as memories.

Sounds as though the plants are my best friends! I will try harder.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 29 Dec 21 - 11:18 AM

My brother texted to say he has COVID. Fully vaccinated and boosted, but still, he has to lie low for a few days. So, the choice is for every single one of us to hunker down at home for a while, or risk catching this easily transmissible variant. It makes me rethink my typical morning aches and pains, are they stiff muscles or minor symptoms?

I open this entire thread and searched on "Atlantic" (it seems Dorothy and I alternately refer to articles we read there) to find this article from only 2 weeks ago. When I search the site, their articles about Omicron go back less than one month, but the arch of news - from talking about this milder version, to discussion of this version we're not ready for, to the soft-shutdown that it is enforcing - the science is moving rapidly and the human response is now a bit more adroit. Except it isn't, because there are enough of us who have the full vaccine regimen are still getting it and passing it on that shows we're not being as careful as we were before. Social distancing and being in large open or outdoor spaces - that is what will be required. Continuing to wear masks. Staying home.

It also had me thinking - of the huge amount of work it would be for my daughter if I suddenly succumbed to COVID, etc. I have cleared out a lot - 20 years ago this house was stuffed full of furniture that I no longer own. But it's time to get serious about moving out the more recent clutter, and do it more quickly. It's about not bringing in more "eBay items" just because I find them. Out with the old is going to be my big goal in 2022. I will raise my New Year's glass in the wish that a few people are still alive to buy some of this stuff on eBay.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 28 Dec 21 - 11:34 PM

The "Mountain cedar" - a juniper shrub that grows through Central Texas - has pollen that is blown around the state this time of year. In particular, it blows to the NE, over the metroplex. Everyone who is trying to not sound like they have COVID is trying to keep those allergies under control.

The friend who was going to come over tomorrow is no longer coming over - the daughter she has been staying with has tested positive for COVID. I drop my chin onto my chest as I hear this account of yet another friend too close to COVID for comfort. Her daughter is a teacher, and probably caught this at school. My friend was in a hotel until yesterday morning, when she moved into the daughter's guest room for a couple of nights. Now everyone is going to get tested and go into isolation.

Omicron is everywhere.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 28 Dec 21 - 07:27 PM

Iím back from Windsor, safe and sound, and now ensconced in the comfy chair with both cats sprawled on my lap and extended legs. They obviously missed me.

The two days with Edmundís next-elder sister was spent in long hours of simple nattering, which both of us have missed. Her husband has become very deaf, changing their conversational dynamic profoundly, and I of course normally talk to the cats. So we spent our waking hours just running our mouths. It was nice.

The great-nieces and great-nephews are growing up while my back is turned, and even the youngest is now toilet-trained and the next-youngest is starting to talk to grown-ups in complete sentences. How time flies.

Now that I have completed my family visits for this holiday season, I shall concentrate on getting rid of the minor bug that is again ó or still? ó making my throat and ears sore. I thought I had it whipped, but it was merely lurking.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 28 Dec 21 - 05:22 PM

Dorothy, you're tuned into the grim reality of this holiday season. A lot of people can get sick and spread COVID, and make a lot of other people even sicker. We're all isolated and having a physical response to the emotional turmoil. I'm to the point where I'm going to write some journal entries as if I'm talking with the woman who I've seen as a counselor (on occasion) for the last few years. She has health issues (Lupus) so is probably talking to her clients via video calls about now, and I'll set up some sessions through university EAP (I can still use it as a retiree). But for the time being, I have always found it helpful to think about what I would say if the counselor is here right now, or about what I'll say in an appointment this week. Saying what is the problem, acknowledging the depression, is helpful.

Also, there really is something to the saying that having a good friend to talk to about things is as helpful as having a therapist. I'm thinking it's time to call an old friend out in California, who, every time we talk, it's like the conversation picks up from the last moment we talked. Nurture those relationships and help both of you feel better.

I'm pleased to read that R is working on small projects. I have some of those to do here, and they help me feel better. I've been fixing things around here lately for just that reason (and trying to remember to look at the To-Do list I posted for myself in the kitchen.)

What can we each do to help someone else feel better, and what can each of us do to help ourselves feel better? I had a conversation today with a woman who has a knack for delivering zingers that hurt. And if I were to share her "advice," it would hurt someone else as well. She's retiring at the end of the year, I won't see her after Thursday. And after that I'll consider how to neutralize her venom. (Hence the journal entry to my absent counselor, who I know would have questions that would help me sort it out. What questions would she ask? I'll consider it and answer them. It helps already that I've worked out a way to deflect the harm that individual was trying to do.)


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Dorothy Parshall
Date: 27 Dec 21 - 08:26 PM

Dupont:

What a non-Christmas... My son and I decided early on that a trip from Philly to Montreal for only 4 days AND having to get back across the border on Christmas eve was a non-starter. They will re-schedule when travel becomes possible and time can be found. I felt sad.

A phone call with my niece Jennifer, a dynamite nurse, helped us understand what is going on with my bro. SIL phoned after first chemo and reported he did well.Jen indicates the prognosis is not great but if Bro were not extremely healthy for 81, there would be no treatment. She is a part of each Dr visit, by speaker phone, and I know bro will get the best possible care. A year might be the limit but attitude counts.

There has been no one in our home except a few weeks ago when Dan fixed (thankfully!) the furnace. I barely saw him as he went down the hall and into the basement. R goes to work and claims he keeps a careful distance from everyone. Ephraim's girlfriend got covid and now E has it. Derek also has it - both important staff. R is lower than a snake's belly, worrying about everything and everybody. I struggle and manage to be positive and supportive most, but not all, the time.

He stayed home four days and finished installing the sink in bathroom, then started looking at the snowblower which "worked fine when I bought it" at a yard sale a couple years ago; it has sat out in back yard since but he moved it into garage to work on it. Not that the garage is warm; it has no door but the opening faces south and no snow goes inside. I believe he may get it working before it is seriously needed.

It makes him feel good to accomplish these small things and is starting to talk about doing the kitchen sink and counter. That would be great! But I try not to push these small things when he has so many big nasty things on his agenda.

I have reduced life, this week, to ordering groceries so I can just pick them up at the store, delivered to my car. I have had my booster; R gets his on 30th. Today's order... Well, I neglected to click "no substitutions" and ended up with some things with which I will have to be creative, or give to the food bank. The items I did not get were disappointing. The next option is to have things delivered as I believe the delivery emanates from a larger store with more in stock - maybe.

I am feeling as though life, what there is of it, is ... just not much in the way of Life. I am not accustomed to feeling afraid but I am very fearful of getting this. My energy level is low and my morale is very low. But I did manage to purchase a beautiful, small Christmas tree - feeling torn at buying a once living tree but wanting one so badly; it cheered R up for a short while. It is holding up well, in a bowl of water. Our family tradition is to leave it up until my birthday - 11 January. It will do a good job. Then it will go out to the woods for the critters.

One year I was sharing a third floor flat with R's bro - one of the worst winter's of my life! It was drab and cold and I sat in the LR - the only warm room - holding hands, literally, with the tree a fellow stole for us on Christmas eve, until April when we finally had to put it out. Hey! I have had worse Christmases!!

We did not go to Beaver because of R's appointment for booster. I really don't think either of us had the energy for the trip. So I watch TV instead of the west hill and look for friends on FB, lending support where possible and enjoying some of the cheery posts. My social life.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 27 Dec 21 - 04:23 PM

That certainly offered perspective, Donuel. The reason there is a crisis in the lack of available therapists is because they are in such great demand right now. I can get a few sessions through my employee assistance program, and may, if I can make an appointment with the woman I usually speak to. I use those appointments as a sort of "tune up," to see if everything is more or less running as it should. The depression I have experienced has been situational - and as things improve, so does the mood.

I have a surprise out-of-town guest arriving on Wednesday and staying for several days, whose family here locally is having health issues (pity the daughter with allergies to the point that she developed bronchitis and an asthmatic reaction needing treatments.) She'll stay here instead of with that daughter. I warned her about my upcoming tour - she will join, but she will behave like a member of the general public, she won't put her her "adopted mother" hat she likes to wear around some of us.

I really do need to go ahead and set up a RING doorbell. People have been trying to get my attention for a couple of days and banging on the outer security door just doesn't work. I can't tell which door if I'm at the back of the house (two of them have security doors) and don't get out front in time. The friend has gone out to reconnoiter the new roof and check his mail, the side door is unlocked so he doesn't have to bang or try texting to get my attention. It's not like the house is that large, but I'm just not always near a door when someone is on the other side of it. I've had various types of bells, but anything that is exposed to the heat and has batteries cooks pretty quickly around here. The RING is wired, so might survive a little better.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel
Date: 27 Dec 21 - 04:19 PM

Whats good about the pandemic? Millions have left jobs they hated.
Consumerism is down by trillions of dollars. Health science advances have been made. Enviornments have improved. People have time to think, unless they are front line health care workers. Education may suffer but is free to go in different directions.


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Subject: BS: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel
Date: 27 Dec 21 - 03:00 PM

Truth may be good for the soul but the awful truth is anathma to the country which was founded on BS and has always worshipped BS above all.
Advertising is evidence that the manufacture, marketing and distribution of bull shit is our number 1 commodity. It doesn't need to be high quality bullshit on Facebook (with the trappings of truth), it can be bargain basement QAnon bullshit and people still lap it up.
Bull shit is everywhere! Parents are full of shit, clergy are full of shit, law enforcement is full of shit and banks are full of shit. No need to mention politicians but while we're at it, this entire country is completely full of shit and always has been from the Declaration of Independance to the all american red white and blue national anthem.

If honesty and truth became central to american politics the whole corrupt system would collapse, which we are beginning to see with BLM and sensible court verdicts. Truth would fuck up this country's institutional norms which is why they elected Donald Trump to preserve their odiferous bull shit.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel
Date: 27 Dec 21 - 01:24 PM

The dark underbelly and worst reality of pandemic is most often a struggle and not a triumphant victory. Living your best life in the midst of pandemic with resiliance courage and strength is a fallacy unless you are a politician, bragging celebrity or very rich. If you are tired, you should be. If you are depressed, well welcome to the crowd.   'Belabored' is a book about this reviewed on npr. Overcoming all despair without help is as likely as a lonesome self made billionaire. We are not all super moms or super heros. Recovery overcomes all, is BS. There are those left behind starving and homeless while people talk about replanting trees as a result of storms or wildfire. Incidentally there are <800,000 to a million dead of disease in this country alone.   
The culture of resiliance promises you can push through any hardship. Well you can't. If your idea of coping is lying on the floor screaming you are at least telling the truth in my book. My idea is to ignore the present by posting too much about the present. Who can it hurt? Sure I am accused of unrelated inapprpriate behavior like breaking the butting in the line rule and not following agreed upon posting turns. No one reads them anyway except 2 obcessed critics, and those who do - admit they are not amused. Truth is good for the soul.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 27 Dec 21 - 11:58 AM

As warm and sunny as the day is today, having the holiday trappings out of the way makes it seem like a spring day. A friend is spending the day since a new roof is being put on his house (and it's like living inside a drum if you listen to that hammering all day.)

I've invited a few friends to attend my demonstration tour this week, and am reviewing the route and adding a couple of tour stops at paintings that are just so charismatic that I can't ignore if I'm going to be walking past them.

The schedule for trash pickup in the neighborhood seems to have shifted; they go past here so early in the morning that by the time I get up it has already been collected. Next time I'll put it out overnight in the large trash can (instead of dropping plastic bags at the curb). Bags are often torn open by coyotes, dogs, etc. PLUS - I missed bulky waste quarterly pickup so am going to have to pace myself by putting some of the bigger things out there each week, not all at once.

The fridge is a bit over-full of foods from Saturday's family lunch so my meals will be a haphazard grazing of leftovers for another day or two. Fortunately most of it is healthy (the cinnamon rolls were gone the next day). This year, like last, is so impacted by COVID that it's difficult to envision resolutions taking people into the gyms (those that are still in business).

Two of the dogs got into a knock-down drag-out fight in the back yard this morning (my guest was throwing a stick and the youngest pup doesn't share toys well, even sticks.) I broke it up and put the smallest one in time out in the kennel; now that enough time has passed I'll go see if anyone drew blood. There's nothing like a vet visit over the holidays to hit the pocketbook, but in this instance, I think a liberal swab of the veterinary cleanser and dabbing on of antibiotic ointment is what they can expect.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Thompson
Date: 26 Dec 21 - 11:43 PM

That's fast to take them down, though it sound like a good idea in the context. In Ireland they stay up till Nollaig na mBan, the Women's Christmas, on 6 January, Feast of the Epiphany. Then the women have a nice women-only sandwichy cakey party with glasses of port and cups of tea.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 26 Dec 21 - 08:35 PM

I'm taking down the ornaments this afternoon, though I usually display them until the New Year. I think having the house looking more back to normal might help stabilize my mood. Christmas has been pretty miserable this year, for no apparent reason except the prolonged lack of access to my favorite people. Having family here yesterday was wonderful, but we just haven't had our usual opportunities to have our regular visits, and there are so many other things that prudent people have put off-limits for now. The short dark days also contribute, so I probably need to have a few more lights on.

We moved some furniture yesterday to accommodate people and that is leading up to a reorganization of some larger pieces. Rearranging furniture always generates endorphins.

I worry that posting about my unease doesn't help others who have more reason to struggle through the season, but at the same time, if we acknowledge a generalized difficulty and support each other it might help. I hope people will share, whether in the thread or via PMs or other communication forms.

Do we want to continue this thread into the next year, or start a new one? What projections for 2022 inspire your optimism? What has been resolved in 2021? What progress are we aiming for next year?


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 26 Dec 21 - 11:17 AM

Sandra, when I have one of those days I usually go back and read the labels on anything I ate a few hours earlier. Inevitably there is aspartame/Nutrasweet involved. I'm so careful, but sometimes they slip it in and don't even identify it (so I then avoid the brand or product).

The kitchen is looking pretty good now, and while I do have one thing to make today, it'll be confined to the electric skillet. And then that will go back into the pantry. Yesterday I pulled a second bread machine out of the pantry so I could work on both roll batches at the same time (this second machine used to belong to my Dad). There was another machine up there that I hadn't looked at in ages (and getting it down from a narrow space while standing on a step stool reminded me of Charmion dead-lifting her microwave—what would the obit say if I dropped it and killed myself?) It was made for Kenmore by Welbilt and has an extra fancy beater bar in it. I probably intended to use it myself, but never have, so one of yesterday's brunch guests took a look at it and said he'd take it home. I sell a lot of these things on eBay, but when family members find items useful I give them away - that's part of the joy of finding these vintage machines.

One of yesterday's gifts is a 1000-piece puzzle depicting the inside of a fancy old-fashioned bookstore. I'm going to have to find a good cover for the table so Cookie doesn't rise up on her back legs and eat the automotive section of the shop while I'm not looking.

Dorothy, I hope your visit went well with your son and his family. Did the weather cooperate for their drive up?


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 26 Dec 21 - 01:43 AM

I had a very quiet Christmas day - the friends I usually visit (3 generations of musicians) include a pain-in-the-neck health nutter who has turned into an even more painful rabid antivaxxer, so other horrified friends invited me over. Father in law of the rabid antivaxxer would have preferred not to have her company, but definitely wanted to see the grandkids. (Cartoon I saw recently - woman speaking to friend - The family are coming over for thanksgiving & the anti-vexxers will be in the garage.)

Fri night I packed my knitting, gourmet choccies for the family & a small pressie for my friend. Alas, I was feeling poorly when I woke & wanted/neded to stay close to my bathroom! So I called my friend & spent a quiet day at home, received & made a few phone calls, & achieved things, including researching & ordering a new printer/scanner as mine finally died yesterday after a very slow decline. New one arrives on 30th Dec.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: JennieG
Date: 26 Dec 21 - 12:51 AM

A peaceful Christmas for us here in Oz; as it was just the two of us we went to a restaurant in the evening, to make the day a bit more festive.

Had a phone chat with older son and The One And Only Grandkid who live over 700 kms south....we will catch up visually (provided our camera stops playing silly buggers and actually works) at tonight's family zoom trivia quiz.....and a Skype chat with younger son who lives in Toronto, Canada, and his wife.

For us it's been several months since being with older son, DIL and The One And Only (we were in their part of the state in April) and over three years since being in the same room as younger son and DIL. We don't know how long it will be - if ever - until we can go to Canada again, or they can come here. We are getting older and those long flights are no fun, so I think our visit late in 2018 will have to be our last.

Sigh.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 26 Dec 21 - 12:41 AM

Wow, great report on your neck of the woods, Charmion. Everyone is having to jump through extra hoops for the few contacts they have. I'd love to have heard your performance, and I'm sure those who were logged on for the service were appreciative.

The reason I made the cardamom rolls today is because yesterday I couldn't force myself to drive over to Trader Joes to buy the bagels I wanted. It's located on one of the worst streets for shopping traffic this time of year, and TJ's has a reputation for making people line up to get into the store (good for them - but don't go there if you're in a hurry). I wanted something that went with the cream cheese I already had, and family today were happy to spread cream cheese on their cardamom rolls.

One of the friends who came over today stayed here late to work on a project on one of my computers - it's a frustrating process when you have a friend who is "high functioning" with a brain injury—patience is the only way to help. I think we solved the puzzle he was working on. I was pleased to see him join in when everyone responded to the story my daughter told of a trip to an Italian villa for a wine-tasting lunch last October (hysterical laughter as she got to the point where, on the way back, her partner opened both Audi passenger side doors to shield herself from passing traffic as she peed at the side of the high speed expressway outside Florence). Of the entire visit, sharing food and good conversation, the laughter probably did all of our hearts the most good.

It has been two years since I saw my son; now we wait out Omicron and see if travel becomes safe in 2022. We speak via video calls, but that isn't the same as an in-person visit.

The house is looking good now, always a nice by-product of social occasions at the house.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion's brother Andrew
Date: 25 Dec 21 - 01:53 PM

Testify, Sister Charmion!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Charmion
Date: 25 Dec 21 - 01:29 PM

It's a mild, wet day in Perth County, and much of the snow in Stratford has already melted away. The whitest thing about this Christmas Day is the blanket of fog muffling the town.

The cats and I are quiet, recovering from a busy pre-Christmas week and anticipating another thrash this evening when dinner kicks off at the BIL's house. My task is a "city ham", complete with glaze, that I must transport without dropping it, knocking it over, or smearing sweetened grease on the upholstery of the car.

Nephew No 2 blew through town on the 23rd, with wife & kids. They dined with me and stayed the night with the BIL before going on to his parents in Windsor. That was the first three-course meal I had cooked since sometime in November.

Tomorrow I will pack up my toothbrush and pop down Highway 401 to Windsor for a couple of days with Edmund's sisters and their families.

The recent upsurge of COVID infections caused the main-line churches to slam their doors this week and return to live-streaming their services. St James's, my parish, had an ambitious program of choral worship planned for Christmas Eve, but all that went up in smoke. Instead, Midnight Mass was a sort of ecumenical mash-up with the priest, two deacons, Wade the tenor to read the epistle and the lesson, Tim the piano-player on keyboards (both piano and organ), and me singing my head off instead of a choir. Oh, and Kyle the verger in the gallery with the camera and the mixer board.

I was tired -- at 2300 hours, I had a right -- and scratchy in the throat, but I charged through nine (count 'em, nine!) obligatory Anglican carols without messing up. Singing through a mask, the biggest problem was keeping my spectacles from fogging up completely in the middle verses. That, and access to my water bottle.

Then I went home to clean out the cats' litter boxes and go to bed.

My neighbours across the street are in quarantine, having come too close to somebody with the bug, and the mood in the neighbourhood is kinda downbeat. We all thought this Christmas would be like the old days, but it so isn't, and people are just tired of sucking it up, cooperating, and being brave. That doesn't mean we stop sucking it up, etc., but we roll our eyes at each other now in the lineup at Sobey's.

Merry Christmas, alla youse Catters out there around the world, and let's have a better year in 2022.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel
Date: 25 Dec 21 - 01:17 PM

The holiday spirit has escaped an un-named maloderous mudslinging verbally brawling corrupt man known for his trollism and lies.
Were the Christmas miracle of being "scrooged" to befall this man, the comeuppence and reform of that person could be entertaining to imagine what wrongs would be made right and to whom apologies would flow.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 25 Dec 21 - 12:22 PM

Yes, but "better safe than sorry" doesn't hurt during a pandemic.

The house is looking pretty good and I hear the first of two bread machines (both on turbo/manual so I can shape the dough) finish. I'm making a batch of cardamom rolls and a batch of cinnamon rolls. Company is coming in a couple of hours.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Thompson
Date: 25 Dec 21 - 01:12 AM

Good idea to wash the tea towels, but I wouldn't worry too much. Word on the (World Health Organisation) street is that this virus is infectious rather than contagious - you get it from people's breath, rather than from things they've touched.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Dec 21 - 05:22 PM

The gift was dish towels so they went straight into the washer and the wrapping into the trash and taken outside. He got the vaccine, she didn't and is still feeling puny. Anything coming out of the house has to be considered a possible source of germs for a while.

My holiday letters have mostly been mailed; this year it is a story of how we got through four days of no power in sub-freezing weather. Entertaining, I hope. It was tough at the time but I knew there would be some good stories out of it. Millions of us lived through it, not everyone wrote it down while it was happening. I sent excerpts of my notes in my holiday letter. (After all of my talking about using my asparagus steamer to keep the kitchen a little warm and heat water, a friend of mine had that on her list for an Xmas list this year. They're so versatile!)

Packages are going in reverse order now, back in from the SUV and to be arranged on a decorative table, out of the reach of dogs. I took the big step yesterday of bringing my good fabric shears and cutting the upholstery "skirt" off of the back of the sofa. The legs are finished, the fabric showing now is the same type as what was in that fringe, but now there isn't a big 2-foot rip the puppy made when she attacked that part of the sofa last year. I've kept something against it since then, but I'm tired of that. It was never going to be repaired and look good. It does make sweeping easier. I didn't remove from around the rest of the sofa, but I may, we'll see. I'm going to be arranging furniture for guests, hence the adjustment to how the sofa looks (and this is in the back - I can turn it around and no one at the front would be the wiser).

Time for a nap.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Thompson
Date: 24 Dec 21 - 03:18 PM

Only thing is, the word is coming down that Omicron is more catching but less likely to lead to hospitalisation. Though that's not a lot of comfort if you're any way delicate.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 24 Dec 21 - 03:13 PM

A call midday yesterday from my daughter shared the news that her house seems to be destined to have a lot more people than she was expecting, so she's coming down here instead on Xmas, bringing a couple of friends. Oy. That means I have a lot of cleaning and rearranging and picking up to do. I'm glad to have the company - I just wish I'd had more time to enjoy the idea. It does save me the long drive both ways.

Since I suddenly find myself at home on Xmas I also invited a friend who has no family in the area and had no plans (the same one who was here for Thanksgiving.) Since one person, who I haven't met, will be here with his sister (he's out visiting family, he usually lives in a group home) I'll do what a counselor friend suggested and set up a game table off to the side and have a selection of board games. The dogs will have to be in the yard.

I still need to do some yard work, I think that might be a good break in the afternoon (sweep leaves into a tarp, dump them in the yard, and mulch them in with the mower.) It's sunny and warm, and my mood is still somber, so getting outside and some sun on my face will be helpful.

Damn this COVID and all of those people unwilling to get vaccinated. They are making life way more complicated than in needs to be. I love my neighbors, but the husband just dropped off a gift on my porch, and his wife is getting over COVID in their house, so I'll take this out to the garage and let it air out for a while. Maybe spritz it with hydrogen peroxide (not to be taken internally, but a good germ killer on surfaces.)


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Thompson
Date: 24 Dec 21 - 03:11 PM

Used the steam-juicer-produced juice to make some jelly, and the leftover fruit for some dulce de membrillo.
The juice boiled down far more and faster than usual. I only got a couple of jars of jelly out of the litre, and it was so jelled that it was jelling on the ladle and refusing to pour into the jars after the first one. Either cooking it for that long made it concentrate too much or you need to boil this juice for a much shorter time once it comes to foaming point. Or maybe boiling it for that long made the juice reduce. Interesting; I'll try again with apples next week.
The dulce de membrillo turned out nice; had some with bread-and-cheese and lentil soup tonight, and one of the jars went to a neighbour as a small Christmas present. I haven't tried the jelly yet, but reckon it'll probably be like those tiny cubes of expensive jelly you get in fancy restaurants with the cheese.
Altogether, reasonably successful for a first go.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Dec 21 - 08:50 PM

Sewing is an activity that is just as precise as carpentry (moreso, perhaps, because of the contours of bodies involved). Measure twice, cut once. Choose the right fabric for the project. And just like scrap lumber can be used for all sorts of things, so can scraps of fabric. I did some research a while back, the smaller (not tiny, but maybe the size of a deck of cards, etc.) are called "crumbs" and are often used to assemble blocks to use in crazy quilts.

I spent the afternoon completing bunch of errands, trying to finish my running so the next couple of days are quiet at home. It was getting a little crazy out there. I picked up a rotisserie chicken at Costco and had a chicken sandwich for dinner. I'll be working on a sewing project tomorrow. It's warming up this week and supposed to be almost 90o on Saturday, so maybe on Friday I'll work in the yard.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: JennieG
Date: 22 Dec 21 - 08:07 PM

Vintage shirts can make fabulous quilts, Don!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Donuel
Date: 22 Dec 21 - 08:02 PM

I have a collection of odd vintage shirts many of which make it into quilts.
You guys sound like steam engineers at times.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: JennieG
Date: 22 Dec 21 - 05:56 PM

What a great idea, Maggie, to use the vintage fabric in such a way.

For some years now many quilters (some of my friends among them) have been saving selvedges and using them in creative ways. At least one woman has made a whole dress made of selvedges, and I have a small selvedge bag that was a gift.

I'm tight, or "ikey" as older Ozzies say. I trim my selvedges with as little waste as possible then use them to tie plants etc. without feeling that I'm wasting valuable fabric.

It's not as though I lack for fabric, after all......


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 22 Dec 21 - 12:18 PM

I'm probably going to go with the bell/camera/$3 subscription, but I won't fool with it until next week. Good luck sorting out the cable or camera question.

Yesterday I Zoomed with five women who I've never met before, though one I know very well from Mudcat and Facebook, and a couple of others I've seen names in her feed - Maryanne who drops into this thread sometimes. We met for a Solstice celebration. Maybe we should work out a quick Zoom meeting for some of this group's members on New Year's Day. It really is a viable way to connect with folks strewn around the world.

Since my daughter is still mostly off her feet she was going to "do what Dad does" for our xmas lunch and order takeout, but that means several people making runs after orders were taken, so I've offered to make a couple of pans of cinnamon rolls to take along and when we get there we'll make scrambled eggs and bacon to go with it. I suggested she find someone to make a run to one of the local grocery stores for a store-made fruit salad. It means a lot of work for me in the morning, but it means a lot more home-style meal when everyone is there.

Before I mailed a box of gifts to my son I decluttered a piece of vintage fabric, a scrap, really, from my sewing stash and stitched it into the bodice of a black apron a friend sent me last summer. (He does silkscreen logos, but these were treated so the ink wouldn't stick). So this piece of 1953 fabric that was originally in my mother's sewing basket (it's high Mid-century Modern in design) is on the windfall apron bodice, and I also snipped the selvedge that has the artist and print name and made a band that I stitched across the tops of the pockets, and restitched the apron back together. My sister's gift is tucked into the box sent to my son (saving many dollars on duplicate postage).

I have a couple of days here on my own to just putter. Nice. The house needs some attention and I need to finish wrapping for Saturday's event. I'm delivering food to neighbors, and need to pamper myself a little. I wonder what I have in the freezer that would make a nice meal?

I hope a few of our lurkers will drop in and catch us up on their activities and plans. And above all, everyone stay safe out there!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 22 Dec 21 - 07:53 AM

Coming back to cameras, my one pointing down the field has stopped working. I had trouble with it misting up earlier in the year but that cleared although a drop of water must have got inside. I donít know whether this complete breakdown is connected or caused by something else but Iíll start by checking the cable. Iíve bought an Ethernet cable tester to help me. Iím not sure when Iíll get round to having a look though. Itís cold and wet, the camera is not in the easiest place for me to reach and Iím short on motivationÖ

We agreed on the same nut roast again this year and Iíve baked that and have it in the freezer. One thing that will be missing this year is sprouts. I ordered some in our weekly grocery delivery but they were out of stock when our delivery was picked. When I looked at our veg plot the other day, while most of my brassica had failed, I noticed a couple of cabbage that looked quite good so I think Iíll use one of these with the dinner. Nut roast, roast potatoes, roast parsnips, carrots (Iím think of mashing them for a change), cabbage and bread sauce will do us.

Iíve bought some brandy so weíll have brandy butter with the (shop bought) Christmas pudding. Itís a few years since we had that. Enthusiasm (which as indicated above, Iím low on) willing, I might also do a little bit of baking. Iíve already done a porter fruit cake which will do nicely as our Christmas cake but some buns and cheese scones would be nice to have around. Iím also thinking of some cheese straws which are another thing weíve not had in a few years.

Iím a bit unsure about whether brother and wife will be visiting from Sheffield on the 27th. We had some reservations about this visit but, after a conversation between Paul and mum, agreed it could go ahead Ė lateral flow tests and government restrictions permitting. We now know that, regulation wise, Christmas Day is safe but Iím unclear what will happen from there or whether this government could spring an early surprise...


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: keberoxu
Date: 21 Dec 21 - 08:44 PM

Stilly, I think I have read all of the Superintendant Gamache mysteries by now. There are a great many of them.

Louise Penny plays a very long game with the detective and his social circle. There are rivalries, enmities, double-agent types, and things that come back to bite you many, many episodes later. She is a rather daring writer in that respect. Sometimes, I have to say, the results are uneven. There are a couple of books in the series where you wonder what sort of rabbit hole Ms. Penny fell into. But when she is on form, she commands attention and she manages to entertain well, too. You will most likely fall in love with 'The Three Pines', the rustic and rural hamlet where English-Canadians and French-Canadians snuggle together against the winter snows. Let us know how you like Louise Penny's work.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 Dec 21 - 06:00 PM

You distill water, you get water. It is a good safety backup if you don't want to buy distilled water for small uses around the house (I have an iron that I put distilled water in so it doesn't get a limestone crust in the steam holes). I don't know if you could distill alcohol with the juicer. It bears research. :)

A huge box is wending its way to my son in the Pacific NW, along with a parcel tucked in for my sister—they should arrive by xmas eve. I nearly threw my back out (muscle spasms) lifting it - reminding me that I need to do more stretches for my lower back. I still have wrapping to do, but for local distribution, so the timing isn't so critical.

Dorothy, has the fog cleared at all as information is gathered regarding your brother's health? Cancer (Big C) is still such a scary word, but many of them are treatable these days.

Charmion, how are you doing in your big house that you have gradually emptied out during the course of the last 14 months or so? Did you find a new home for that microwave yet? Since I'm here alone (with the dogs) I'm making a point of turning on the lights on the mantle for the cheerfulness they convey (wrapped through garland and a couple of crystal pitchers filled with different colored glass tree ball ornaments). There are some holiday movies that I've never watched that I may just sit down to watch this year. Also, I need to clear a path to the piano and spend some time playing (or working on getting back some of my dexterity).

I made a big push today, both in finishing and shipping that gift box, and then I went to a meeting (that didn't happen) to do with the museum course I'm taking - I guess she meant NEXT Tuesday - but I got a chance to run through my "bullet proof" route and have noted a couple of additions/modifications to make. I'll be ready for next week's meeting and demonstration tour.

Now I have some baking to do, more wrapping, and picking up around here. I spent a lovely morning sewing (adding an interesting mid-century modern fabric snippet to the bodice of an apron for my sister) and there is more I want to get back to doing. I even have a freshly downloaded audiobook to listen to while I sew. I haven't read or listened to any Louise Penny before, but I got the first in her Canadian detective series to start with.

All of this in the face the rapid infection of COVID-19, Omicron, predicted to surge in the next couple of weeks. I'm ready to hunker down - this isn't anything I want to catch or spread. Our xmas lunch will be a modest family event and everyone has been vaccinated and boosted. But after that, I think I'll avoid public places for a while.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Thompson
Date: 21 Dec 21 - 04:55 AM

Hm, so I might have alcoholic apple jelly? Wowza! Maybe this is a commercial proposition!


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 20 Dec 21 - 06:34 PM

Your note early on about distilling with the steam juicer - that's part of what happened, I think. You not only got the juice out of the quinces, but because you left it boiling the steam condensed and pooled in the juice. So it isn't as concentrated as it might be. As long as you can use it for something, no harm. But this first venture isn't the purist's way of using a steam juicer.

Jon, I'm sure I'm remembering your writing about the other house, and I didn't realize you had relocated so far away. And as for the system set up (good link, by the way, thanks!) I can see why $3 a month is a bargain compared to figuring out all of the parts in that system you set up. Given the time and the money, I'd possibly fiddle with that. For now, I've made a note to revisit the project soon.

Eyes dilated this afternoon for my 6 month cataract surgery check and everything is good. That's one good thing that came out of 2021, anyway. As I wended my way home with stops at several shops I wore my facemask and used hand sanitizer every stop. It's looking grim for public places, though I expect a lot of pushback if any cities or counties try for generalized shutdowns around the holidays.

Must get some stuff wrapped or hidden, my ex is coming over this evening with stuff for the box I'm shipping to our son. And it's time to get all of this finished. I finally realized the situational seasonal depression is from the fact that nothing holiday-related will be happening at my house this year. No need to do any decorating, except for myself. And as important as it is to treat yourself well, it's often difficult to make yourself do it.

Back to the steam juicing topic - the last time I made Cranberry juice I froze the fruit pulp for baking. I'm going to make a pan of cranberry bars in a nice cakepan that I found at Goodwill today. I'll take them with me up to my daughter's xmas lunch on Saturday and leave the pan as a gift.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 20 Dec 21 - 01:58 PM

Iím in North Norfolk, East coast of England, SRS. I did live a long while (roughly and guessing a bit 1965-72 and 78-2001) in N Wales though.

I got this doorbell camera. It was one of very few I found that I could be sure supported rtsp, an industry standard protocol that was going to ďjust workĒ with my xeoma camera setup.

That side of things works well but Iíve had no joy with it and its android app (and Alexa???, I canít remember if/what I tried thereÖ). Its responses are too slow to be of much use (most people ringing its doorbell would have walked away before I got a notification) and despite this one claiming to have AI, Iíve never managed to get the sensor to detect people without loads of false alarms, especially at night.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 20 Dec 21 - 01:12 PM

That person probably didn't know what they were doing, or were new to the program. Until you know how much juice you'll get, adding sugar is an unscientific part of the kitchen science of steam juicing. You want to keep the process as simple and clean as possible. Adding sugar adds a sticky element and possibly too much sweetness. If you're canning with the juice, then you need to know precisely how much sugar from the start. (That said, I know of people who steam chickens in their steam juicers - so that is a level of messy you'd have to think about.)

I'm looking into getting one of those video doorbells (RING) - I have some credit with the folks at Dell after buying my printer, and I've always passed on the devices in the past because they were too easy to snatch off of the wall. But the one I'm looking at is a new design that is wired, using the low-voltage wiring from the existing doorbell. It screws into place making it a little easier to secure. I can use the existing Echo Dot as the chime (right now I have my regular doorbell chime disabled, and that's a separate issue).

In my attic there is a point where if you step, the doorbell rings. It is over the top of that transformer in the front hall closet ceiling. If someone pushes the existing bell sometimes there is a connection that doesn't ring, but there is an electrical hum in the hall from the doorbell. I have to touch some part of the chime wiring screws with a metal screwdriver to make it ring, and once the chime rings that discharges the hum. So something is off. I can reach the transformer from the attic to fix or replace it, I could replace the chime in the bedroom hall, or I could continue to use it and use a "jumper" cable they provide so the bell will still ring if someone pushes the doorbell.

Subscription is $3 a month to get the recorded video. $6 a month to get recorded audio also. It jumps to $10 a month for more bells and whistles. Or you can just use it in real-time only with no subscription and still converse with whoever is at the door.

These are the parts of the project. A multimeter to test the transformer comes in cheap, around $20. If I need a new doorbell transformer, that's another $20. With my credit points, the RING comes in about $30. Fortunately it doesn't involve some of the elaborate hoops that Jon tells us about when he starts working on the network in his rural English home. (Or is it Welsh?) The $3 video-only subscription goes back 30 days, $6 goes back 60 days, and bits can be easily downloaded into phone or computer (probably a hog as far as phone memory, so not something to download often into the phone). I've threatened to put up a camera for years. I could also do this with a power adaptor one on a high corner of the front of the house (out of reach, so not needing to be wired) to get the street. Depending on how wide the angle, that would show two driveways and an extra house, and if that was an extra camera, the cost goes up to $6 a month. I'm at an entry point for the neighborhood, so would expect to hear from people regularly asking about what passed through at thus-and-such time of day. I would probably become more engaged with my neighbors by having this in place, dropping in on the Nextdoor site to see what's up. Being more aware of crime passing through the village - a good thing or not. Hmmm.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Thompson
Date: 20 Dec 21 - 12:39 PM

Hm, ok. One of the videos I looked at, the person doing it said you needed to scatter a little sugar onto apples (and I took it that this by extension meant quinces too) to break the cells of the fruit.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 20 Dec 21 - 11:07 AM

No sugar, no nothing else in the pot when you juice. That can be added later. You waste sugar that doesn't drop through into the juice (it stays with the pulp) and skew the results (because sugar does melt). The object is to end up with the pure juice have the most possible uses.

I read a review of some of the OTC rapid COVID antigen tests (home variety) and found one that appears to be in stock at the neighborhood Walgreens. The review says that FlowFlex is the most reliable and comes just one test to a box, but that the FDA believes it is accurate enough that you don't need a second test a few days later to learn if the first test was accurate. Once is enough. $10 a pop now, but in the near future the federal government will make home tests available for free (or reimburse purchases). You'd think by now we'd have figured out all of the COVID stuff going on, but if you read America Is Not Ready for Omicron in The Atlantic, you got an eyeful of news about the most recent variant:

The coronavirus is a microscopic ball studded with specially shaped spikes that it uses to recognize and infect our cells. Antibodies can thwart such infections by glomming onto the spikes, like gum messing up a key. But Omicron has a crucial advantage: 30-plus mutations that change the shape of its spike and disable many antibodies that would have stuck to other variants. One early study suggests that antibodies in vaccinated people are about 40 times worse at neutralizing Omicron than the original virus, and the experts I talked with expect that, as more data arrive, that number will stay in the same range. The implications of that decline are still uncertain, but three simple principles should likely hold.

First, the bad news: In terms of catching the virus, everyone should assume that they are less protected than they were two months ago. As a crude shorthand, assume that Omicron negates one previous immunizing eventóeither an infection or a vaccine dose. Someone who considered themselves fully vaccinated in September would be just partially vaccinated now (and the official definition may change imminently). But someone whoís been boosted has the same ballpark level of protection against Omicron infection as a vaccinated-but-unboosted person did against Delta. The extra dose not only raises a recipientís level of antibodies but also broadens their range, giving them better odds of recognizing the shape of even Omicronís altered spike. In a small British study, a booster effectively doubled the level of protection that two Pfizer doses provided against Omicron infection.

Second, some worse news: Boosting isnít a foolproof shield against Omicron. In South Africa, the variant managed to infect a cluster of seven people who were all boosted. And according to a CDC report, boosted Americans made up a third of the first known Omicron cases in the U.S. ďPeople who thought that they wouldnít have to worry about infection this winter if they had their booster do still have to worry about infection with Omicron,Ē Trevor Bedford, a virologist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, told me. ďIíve been going to restaurants and movies, and now with Omicron, that will change.Ē

Third, some better news: Even if Omicron has an easier time infecting vaccinated individuals, it should still have more trouble causing severe disease. The vaccines were always intended to disconnect infection from dangerous illness, turning a life-threatening event into something closer to a cold. Whether theyíll fulfill that promise for Omicron is a major uncertainty, but we can reasonably expect that they will. The variant might sneak past the initial antibody blockade, but slower-acting branches of the immune system (such as T cells) should eventually mobilize to clear it before it wreaks too much havoc.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Thompson
Date: 20 Dec 21 - 06:52 AM

I chopped up the quinces - they have a bigger core than other pome fruits, and are rather more fibrous and less juicy. I put the pieces into the basket and scattered a bit of Demerara sugar over them. I clamped the hose and hung it from one of the higher-up handles. Ended up with exactly a litre of deep pink juice, which didn't appear till I lowered the hose to empty it into a Pyrex bowl. Probably won't make the quince jelly today - I like to leave the liquid a couple of days to strengthen before I do it - but I might make the membrillo.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 19 Dec 21 - 08:51 PM

Quince - those are like apples or pears, aren't they? It shouldn't take nearly that long to finish getting the juice out of them. I would suggest washing them then cutting them in half and setting the halves cut-side down. And after about 30-40 minutes you should have as much as you're going to get.

The test is the hose. Don't leave the cover on the end of the hose, and leave it propped up on one of the upper pan handles so nothing runs out accidentally. When you notice some juice beginning to fill into the bottom end of the hose, then set your collection jar in front of you (I use a stool a bit lower than the stove top with a quart or 2 quart jar, usually) and tip the hose into the jar. Be careful not to over-top the jar - use the clamp if you need to or just lift the hose till it isn't siphoning any more. You should be getting juice after about 20-30 minutes over the boiling water and after you've decanted from the collection pan a few times it should slow to a stop. That's when it's finished. Let it stand a little while and there might be a little more juice that dripped into the pan that you can pour off, but only touch the fruit in top once you have finished decanting the juice.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 19 Dec 21 - 04:30 PM

I saw a strange light moving across the kitchen curtains at about 8 O Clock last night. Puzzled, I pulled the curtain back to see an Amazon delivery driver. Heíd missed our gates and walked up the short part of the farm track between our house and next door before reaching the gate to the field and turning round. Itís been a while since someone last did thatÖ Anyway. I went out to ďrescueĒ him.


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Subject: RE: De-clutter & Fitness in a Pandemic: 2021
From: Thompson
Date: 19 Dec 21 - 04:20 PM

Mm. Dogs are being good dogs, though, defending you from the scary loud noise that might be something dangerous.
Juiced six huge quinces and got a litre of juice, this being the first try. I didn't weigh the quince flesh first, after coring them, so I'm not sure how much they were by weight to get that litre. And I didn't time them; I think it was about one-and-a-half or two hours, but I was scrubbing the floor, so got distracted.


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