Thursday, August 29, 2013

apron etiquette

You can take multi-tasking too far.  Maybe you can't.  I did.  I cooked dinner and organised the laundry and considered the news on Syria and tried to organise the smallest child to make herself useful and mostly laid the table myself and we all ate dinner and I dropped Favourite Handyman off at kung fu and the children and I collected Mary K (86) from the rest home and we were unfazed by the potential meltdown over unmatching stocking-socks (anyone looks, Mary, you poke them with your stick and tell them off) and we got to the local high school hall and I put the kids in the queue to pay to get us in to the Talent Show and skipped the queue to get Mary safely inside and sitting down and the kids joined us soon enough and with programmes to boot and all was going pretty well.

Then I noticed red checked fabric on my knees.

I was still wearing the apron I'd put on to cook dinner.

I was grateful indeed for the coat I  was wearing over the apron. 

In other news, I went to Christchurch for a work training day earlier in the week and while I wasn't at work training, I spent up at the bra shop and the fabric shop.  Maybe I'm not quite ready to be an adult after all.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Circle skirts aren't just for skinny girls

They are for absolutely anyone who fancies one.  Or two.  I finished this last weekend.  Yesterday, thinking that I might look in the posh shop with the 50% off sale at black skirts as my usual funeral skirt has a torn (beyond repair) hem.  I can't find a picture online, but it's a David Pond black skirt with red side panels and some lovely detailing back and front, and I bought it.

I also juggled work and two sick children successfully this week and made all the commitments I had at work and got the children better and got to a funeral of the father of a good friend today and tonight I have made the most enormous shepherd's pie for Fionn to take on his hockey tournament trip to Blenheim and I think that
a) medals are in order, though some for my bereaved friend long before me of course.
b) my lovely childminder R is the most wonderful and special and helpful person and I'm so lucky that our respective part time work commitments dovetailed so well yesterday and today
c) I'm grateful for a workplace which is genuinely supportive of family needs.  Two children with us at our workplaces for 90 minutes Wednesday.  Today when R had to go to work at midday, she dropped a greatly improved Brighid off to my meeting and everyone welcomed her to join our table and understood when I had to leave 20 minutes early.
d) audio books are the best invention for long car travel.  We went to the library and got the audio book of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for tomorrow.
e) I should pack.  and sleep.  Probably in reverse order.

Monday, August 12, 2013


More kale, less hair. 

Yesterday's gardening: After weeding various places, I sowed beetroot, oriental mesclun and rocket, 'cos that's what I found in the shed which would work right now.  I also bought yellow primroses and yellow poppies and (Brighid's choice) pansies.  I'd not seen punnets of exclusively eye-popping colour splotches of yellow poppy before, and they were irresistible.  The children and I spent ages debating the merits of different colours of gladioli, but ultimately left them at the shop while I think about where to plant them so we can see them really easily and they won't be blown over by the wind. 

Today I had a present at my front door from a friend: two bags of perennial leek plants which needed a new home.  Yahoo!  Must magic some gardening time tomorrow to plant them.  Gardening by torchlight could work.  I'm sure I've done it before.
 A flowering succulent in the cactus garden.
 First crocus of the season!
 You can see it more clearly above.
This end of the front garden is almost themed in white. It is a very shaded part of the garden, and the polyanthus and snowdrops literally bring light to the area.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

reflections on select supplements

Just like pharmaceutical drugs, vitamin supplements are never guaranteed miracle cures.  I've a documented propensity for developing immune dysfunction symptoms which doctors have no idea what to do about, and I've spent a lot of time successfully dealing with these symptoms by alternative means.  I've no longer got arthritis and or bells palsy.  I've reduced my hyperthyroid symptoms significantly, but there is still a big bulge of a goiter on/in my neck.  This year, taking a multivitamin with no iodine (generally counterindicated for hyperthyroid persons) and no iron (no good for haemochromatosis persons) twice a day, every day, has made a HUGE positive difference to my general health.  I've had only one mild cold this year!

Tonight I thought I'd document what hasn't worked for me.  Mostly because I've trawled the net many a night looking for information which isn't there.  Here's one story.  Vitamin C is supposed to be bad for haemochromatosis persons, though slowly there is emerging a small group who note it for it's usefulness regulating iron rather than merely increasing iron absorption.  Vitamin C does lots of good things for me, has done since the arthritis phase which started six and a half years ago and is now a rare sensation.  But glucosamine never did.

I couldn't track down any adverse effects for CoQ10, including not from the very knowledgeable John Appleton.  But I started and stopped CoQ10 several times to work out if it was the culprit triggering my arthritis and all the symptom evidence said yes!

My most recent 'discovery' was l-carnitine.  I'd read many good things and only one significantly bad study about it, and it was an amino acid like taurine which had done good things for me in summer (but been rather expensive in terms of buying it outside the health shop remainder table).  But-carnitine, like glucosamine and CoQ10, turns out not to be my thing.  It was supposed to supress the symptoms of hyperthyroidism and it seemed to do the opposite.  I could feel everything get a little frantic, sleep was compromised, and I was missing a much needed base equilibrium to deal with life.  So that one is on hold for the moment, and maybe for the long term as well.

The medicine which helps me the very very most is the one I'm going to take very soon: a good night's sleep

Today was a very beautiful day and I spent it inside working.  I've just marked the beginning of spring by making my Kings Seeds order.  English winter thyme, two lots of mesclun, tomato sungold and edible violas.  Tomorrow, I think it's time to be in the garden.  No amount of supplements could do as much good as an afternoon digging, weeding and planting.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

more eating than blogging

Still blogging ... just.  I've compiled a few posts in my head about fundraising and the school gala.  I won't relive the buildup to the gala here after all, but the actual day turned out really well, we made $14 000 which is fantastic for a school of only 170 pupils in a town hard hit by recent economic changes.  I learnt that I still don't mind working hard on the day, and that making candy floss the night before is kind of fun, but that I should not volunteer to make cakes, buy the ingredients and then discover I cannot find the time to bake.

The Terrible Tragedy of the Healthy Eater is hilarious, even for me the kale afficcionado.

In the absence of a local butcher, and given my dissatisfaction with supermarket meat, I decided to try Gourmet Direct, on the recommendation of a foodie friend's stepmother.  Of course.  How else do you find a butcher?  All very Hansel and Gretel so far.  Armed with a free delivery code, I made a selection of meats I couldn't find easily elsewhere.  I ordered Sunday morning for Tuesday delivery and it arrived at 6.30am Tuesday, just in time for me to pack the meat in the freezer and put the lamb shanks in the slow cooker for dinner that night.  Gourmet Direct meat is more expensive than supermarket meat, but the quality of the lamb shanks surpassed any other lamb shank meal I've ever cooked or eaten.  The next night I made a kind of shepherds pie with the leftovers, so the price per meal was still not too bad.  They had a slow cooking rose veal pack on special which I decided to try.  I didn't let the fact I'd never cooked veal in my life deter me.  So tonight we had diced veal in the slow cooker with onions, kumara and spices.  I put that part on at breakfast, and then came home at lunch and added chopped kale from the garden and a few handfuls of quinoa.  It tasted very nice and [insert drum roll] ....... Brighid even ate it!

No sewing.  I've just finished the first book of the Hunger Games trilogy.  It's pretty cool that Fionn (10) wants to talk to me about what I'm reading.  He has read all three and loves to discuss them.

Health projects ... latest 'discovery' for me is carnitine.  I've been reading about the research on carnitine for benign goiters and for hyperthyroid symptoms.  There is some in courier van or on a plane towards me as I type.

Haven't forgotten my chapter for a history writing project, but it's close to impossible to do anything for it in term time.