Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Provence, 1970 New Review

A new review is up at my Otterwise Books site, this one a glimpse into a pivotal time in culinary history. Fans of Julia Child and her ilk will enjoy it.
Provence, 1970

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


A few glimpses of the new place. Oscar is almost done with the old place. Tonight is a night off (the first for more than a month). Tomorrow I will go with him to help pack the last of the dishes, then he will take Thursday off (bad snow day here) and kick butt Friday. That should see it done but we have Saturday too, if need be.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Knitty and the Gritty

And I do mean gritty. The knitty is actually crochet, as that is my 'comfort craft', the grit is all the dust and sandy stuff in the corners that has gathered from sorting and re-packing old boxes from years ago. Dust! Gritty dust everywhere! Glad it is being cleaned here instead of moving with us LOL.
I am tired today, I managed to get two small pieces of furniture ready for Oscar to load up tonight, and swept a lot, and picked up some larger bits of debris that got caught under my lift chair, and vacuum my lift chair (cat hair! yuck!) and that was about it. No energy even to make supper.
I am working on a shawl that will probably turn into an afghan out of bright and dark yarn scraps. Purple, pink, blue, black, a little green... I like how it is turning out. It is based on the All Season Shawl designed by Priscilla Hewitt, but I plan to figure out how to decrease on each side in pattern and make it a lap-afghan. I think I have plenty of yarn. (sorry for the blurry photo)
The big move is day after tomorrow. I know I need to rest tomorrow as much as possible, and today's packing was just about all I can do. I will focus on getting things ready to go that we need with us in the new place (meds, fixings for tea, our favorite mugs etc) on Friday morning, and the rest of the day will probably really wear me down. Last time we moved it took me a month to recover. We have until the 31st to get everything out of the old place, but for Oscar's sake I am hoping we can get things done this weekend.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Doors vs. No-Doors

With Door being my word for 2015, it highlighted one of the first bits of maintenance that was done on our new apartment. Within an hour of signing the lease, Don and Casey appeared to remove any doors and impediments in my way. Since this is a non-accessible apartment, this meant lowering the door threshold on the main entrance, removing all the accordion closet doors (when you are close enough to an accordion door to open it, the wheelchair blocks any possibility of getting it opened more than an inch or so) as well as doors to most of the rooms. That extra door thickness made it difficult in some cases, impossible in others to squeeze my wheelchair through the opening.
We left the door on the main bathroom, since (of course) folks generally feel more comfortable using one with a door in place but the doors to the back work room and the bathroom with my shower are gone, as well as our bedroom door. I was very pleased with the prompt and friendly service, and feel good about any issues that may crop up in the future. I was even told that if we supply the grab bars, they will gladly install them in my shower for me. Making cookies will ensure friendly service I was told LOL.
That shower was a very pleasant surprise. In the layout shown online, there is only a toilet and sink in the half-bath. In our odd layout however, there is a shower with a very low threshold where I can permanently place  my shower stool. Much safer than what we had here, I think.
I plan to get some spring loaded cafe curtain rods for the some of the closets, particularly the coat closet in the entry way and hang some curtains to replace the door.
Oscar is still exhausted, but got loads done in my opinion. My job today is to make sure supper is ready when he gets home, and to pack more boxes (but not too many). I should be able to get three or four done, though.
The smoke issue is still there, but with the help of Oscar's mom, we will be able to have enough air cleaners to make a big difference. Oscar says keeping the windows open has helped, but that is not a good solution in the depths of winter once we move in!
One of my favorite parts of moving is settling into the new space. We will be able to hang favorite photos and objects that we haven't had space to display for many years. That will likely happen in February. I look forward to sharing the transformation here on the blog.

Sunday, January 18, 2015


The negatives of the new apartment are led off by the smoke smell. It really is very strong, inadequately covered by the floral carpet deodorizer they used to try and hide it. The wall to wall carpet and non-accessible layout are minor by comparison (the layout is not at all as bad as it could be, I can get to all important places especially after we invest in vinyl carpet runners). After lots of research and thought, we have already done as much as we can by ordering the air purifier. The heat and water are free, which most likely means we share our air with all the other apartments, at least those in our wing, and will not have access to the air ducts as we would in a private residence. Likely at least one source of the odor is the coating of tar in the ducts by the many years of people smoking.
We will look into finding charcoal-impregnated cloth/filter material that we can cut to fit our vents, if the air purifier is not enough.
After we get a vacuum cleaner better than the little one we have, we can use baking soda to try and neutralize the smell from the carpet. In the meantime, we will crack the windows and do the best we can to ignore what we can't change.
We are into the hard slog portion of the move. Oscar is exhausted. He has made good progress, but he feels like he is not doing enough each day. Hopefully a good night's sleep will improve his outlook.
I have a busy day of packing ahead of me, with some cooking for the week to come thrown in.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Big Day, Lots of Good, Tiring

Lynn Blessing Our New Place With Sweet Georgia Brown
We signed the lease on the new apartment yesterday.
Good sign, we found an old crochet hook (Size H) in the channel of the balcony so at least one of the former residents was a crafter.
Not so good, recent resident was a smoker so the air was not good for folks like us with allergies to cigarette smoke. We have an air purifier on its way to us. Oscar is also fighting a bad cold, terrible timing. He is gutting it out, but I wish so much I could do more to help. I will be making Medicine Soup for supper, I guess that helps too.
Really great: Lynnie came soon after we signed the lease and helped Oscar move LOTS of stuff!
Better yet, right after we smudged the place (which we try to do asap when moving to a new space) she brought out Oscar's Fluke and played Sweet Georgia Brown. What a terrific way to set the energy for our life there! It was the best :-} (photo above).
Another terrific thing was the view off our balcony. I have a tree, front and center! I hope to put a bird feeder out there soon. This summer I will have some plants, but they might need to be shade plants as our balcony faces west, but is blocked from the south by a portion of the building. I'll know for certain when the seasons change. As the sun moves north, I may get some good afternoon sunlight and be able to grow some herbs and annual flowers. For winter though, only indoor shade plants. Still, It is light and welcoming inside the apartment, with lots of windows in the main living space and a really nice-sized kitchen, especially for an apartment. Here are some more quick photos I took yesterday.
Our Tree

Love the Medicine Chest Mirror Frame

View of Kitchen From Pass Through

View of Kitchen from Main Kitchen Door

Large Living Room!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Day After Tomorrow!

Day after tomorrow we sign the new lease and I see our new apartment for the first time.
We busted butt this past weekend, packing 20 boxes, mostly of fragile special stuff.
I would guess we are between 75% and 80% packed, at least of the hard-to-pack things. Most of the rest of the stuff is the kind of thing you toss in a bin (clothes, towels, pantry stuff, cookware)
Today Lynnie will be coming over, I think I'll ask her to help by getting down the fragile kitchenalia we don't use often (the wine glasses, some extra plates, a pitcher) then move on to packing whatever I can think of. There is a box of wooden items that needs packing up for example, and a few items in the craft room that can dwell in a miscellaneous box together.
We still have a week and a half here, so I can't pack TOO much pantry food but we can get a box of stuff packed from the pantry I bet. No way I will be opening up a new sack of flour or sugar, and we certainly can't use all the pasta, beans and such before we move. I bet we can pack a box of games, too.
Today I am cooking up a storm, so we can have easy meals for the next few days. This weekend we prepared some scalloped potatoes and Oscar made some pasta. that will provide lunch through Tuesday. I have a pot roast in the oven with taters and onions that is slated for Tuesday night supper and Wednesday lunch at least. Probably can get a breakfast squeezed out of it too, even though it is a small roast.
I have root veggies (carrots, onions, beets and parsnips) and Brussels sprouts all set to roast in the oven, with enough put back in the fridge to provide part of a meal on Thursday. I think Friday I will make some peanut sesame noodles with chicken for supper, that lasts well and can work for our lunch on Saturday.
From tomorrow on, Oscar will be working extra hard. He will load up the van with boxes, so when we sign the lease we can bring the first load in. Then this weekend he hopes to move bigger things with the refrigerator dollies (dressers, etc)
I plan to work hard every other day, resting between. We will both be exhausted by the end of the month, but it will be worth it.