Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Notes to myself

There are certain things that recur year after year, but I haven't come up with a reliable way to leave myself notes about them. For example, when we went to set up our xmas tree this year, we found the base in the cellar, but there were no screws in it. John found them upstairs in the tool box. Why? No idea, but there must have been a reason for it last year. Then once we got the tree set up, water started leaking out of the base. That must have been the reason. (After the drying of the floor and tree skirt and the siphoning off of the rest of the water in the base, our tree was tinder dry.) But after xmas, I went over that base with a fine-toothed comb and tested it with colored water, and there was no leak. So I can only assume I filled it too high and it overflowed. That would be a good thing to know next year, hence this entry.

I could make a note in my Palm organizer or in one of my many journals, but I don't use my Palm for much outside of jotting down appointments while out and about or noting library call numbers for books I want to pick up, and rereading my old journal entries makes me sick to my own ass, all the whining and navel-gazing, really. But I generally find myself rereading my old posts here a few times a year (or more, shhhh), so this might be the most convenient method. Maybe I will also jot a note on my paper family calendar to look this post up in the fall. Hmmm...

Item 2: John is supposed to check the mystery strands of lights in the xmas box. I think they are our outdoor lights, but I don't think they work. He refused to address it this winter--his doom is sealed for next winter.

Item 3: Pat the chicken completely dry before breading and frying. I have a little burn on my forehead from popping oil that is scabbing over, and I would like to avoid that in future, thx.

Item 4: Buy an advents wreath *before* the first Sunday of advent, because there won't be any afterward. One day I will manage this. Same with advent calendars, although they might be cheaper if we wait, but all the good ones will be gone.

I may be coming back and adding more to the list as it occurs to me, but this is a good start, if not completely seasonal.

--Nee in Germany needs a steady stream of reminders in order to maintain her sanity

More small victories

I've been trying to take care of small repairs and replacing defective items around the house. Recently I had to buy a new flashlight due to corrosion in the old ones (no idea how that happened), but it is currently only being used for one thing--illuminating the contents of the microwave through the glass in the door since the bulb went out. And of course the microwave manual says to take it to a certified repair person to *change the lightbulb*, which is ridiculous, even if you have to take off the entire casing to reach it. As soon as I can get to the hardware store, I'll be looking for a replacement bulb to do it myself.

I also have to find the proper knob for the radiator unit in our living room and exchange the one I bought last weekend. Ages ago, I was able to pop off the knob from the radiator in the dining room and snap it onto the one in the living room, and it worked just fine, but the stuff I found all had ventilator valves and extra bits and pieces I don't need. Unfortunately, everything in this apartment is rather outdated, so I don't know how easy it will be to find "just" a knob for this particular radiator when neither the radiator or the knobs that are still intact have any part numbers or other identifying marks.

Speaking of light bulbs, John replaced the light bulb in the fridge, lo these many years ago, and it never lit up again. While fiddling around with the microwave, the unfairness of it struck me: John had gone through who knows what ordeals to find the stupid bulb, had stuck his hand at an uncomfortable angle into the frige to remove and then replace the bulb because the cover would not come off, and then it didn't even work. So I fiddled around with it and finally got it to work by some combination of tightening and wiggling. Now we can finally see everything in the fridge, and boy is it a mess!

I think I mentioned that John is the president of a local club for Swedophiles. This club does not have an office or a fixed location for events; they just have to rent out space on an as-needed basis. This means that anything the club has accumulated--books about Sweden, leftover items from parties and events, coffee and tea thermoses and decorations for their annual xmas event--has to be divided up among the members of the leadership committee for storage. We seem to have gotten more than our fair share of this stuff, but since our apartment is rather snug, storage-wise, and our cellar rather, eh, *earthy*, we've been stashing boxes under a patio table at one end of our sunroom, which currently doubles as my office. I think I mentioned that John and Hannah moved our stuff in the cellar to a slightly less moldly corner, so that led to us reorganizing the Sweden stuff under the table and moving some of it into the cellar. Yesterday, I got some more of it pared down and into a smaller box that I hope to move out of the sunroom soon. As of right now, the space under the table is clear. My plan is to clear out, at least partially, one of the bookcases in the downstairs study, move it upstairs to my office (where it will provide storage for my books and binders and a surface on which to put some of my plants), and move the table onto the lower balcony. I want to claim the whole room as office space, and although I have been using the spaces between the plants on the table to hold papers and office supplies, I think it is better if I am not using a sizeable chunk of the room for storage.

I was relieved to find that I had stored my notes about our Italy trip in the folder with our digital photos, so that survived the great involuntary laptop-purge of 2010. I think I will work on labeling those photos this weekend.

--Nee in Germany likes to plan ahead

Monday, January 10, 2011

I am a buzzing bee... buzzzz...

Let's see--I've been busy busy lately.

Yesterday I spent the whole day cleaning out my side of the closet (not even the clothes, just the storage) and my side of the bed (the floor and shelf have been such tempting storage places in the past). I bit the bullet and tossed some things I am never going to use (ugly crochet pattern for Barbie "antebellum" gowns, articles from class on prepositions of space, a plethora of amazon boxes). I downsized, reorganized, and redistributed, and now everything fits with space to spare. I even vacuumed upstairs when I was done, although it was 8 o'clock at night.

Saturday John and I drove across town and got lots of errands done while Hannah went into town with her friend and bought make-up. She got home before us, of course, because even make-up shopping can get old after an hour-and-a-half and 15 bucks worth of nail polish and lip gloss (thanks, Gwamma!). But she was perfectly cool and collected when I called from the store to tell her we were on our way home, almost 2 hours after she had gotten there herself. Recently she had told me she thought she was old enough to spend a few hours by herself in the evening if John and I wanted to go out. Our 16th anniversary is coming up in March, and we didn't get to celebrate our 15th because I was at my grandmother's funeral in Texas, so we might just have to take her up on that.

Last week I spent my evenings saving every blog entry and accompanying comments for Shannon's blog. I had saved it on my old computer (whose data has now gone bye-bye) as a series of pdfs, minus the comments, but this time I wanted to get everything, in case Blogger decides to take it down. By the time I was done, I had 674 pages in Microsoft Word. That was a mighty output for 5 years.

I thought I would be a lot more torn up reading back over her posts, which is one reason why it took me so long to start. (The way I had done it before, I was able to save a year at a time without having to go through every entry.) One thing that probably helped was this new prescription for St. John's wort, which I got just before xmas. The doc said it would help me feel a little distance from things. So far, so good. But reading back through all the entries, I was reminded of just what a wonderful person Shannon was, and how much love she had for so many people, myself included. That is something to feel good about, not sad.

Last Wednesday, we had some friends over for coffee, so the whole day was taken up with baking (me) and cleaning (John and Hannah--woo!) in the morning and visiting in the afternoon. But that meant I lost a day of translating. Today I more than made up for it. I have been aiming to get through 5 manuscript pages a day--this is for an informative brochure with lots of big pictures, so most pages are not solid text--but today I got through 11! Granted, one page with *just* a photo, but there was still a header to translate.... The next bit of text could be more challenging, since it is 3 or 4 pages of glossary to explain the medical jargon used in the brochure, but I think I have a pretty good handle on all the terms by now, 35 pages in.

And now I have to go finish up the stroganoff so we can eat.

--Nee in Germany loves dairy and mushrooms, so stroganoff is right up her alley