Sunday, January 28, 2018

Rhai Geiriau yn Gymraeg / Some words in Welsh

A little musing type drawing last night in my sketchbook.  I was not going for 'artistic' at all.. but trying to see how much I could remember and work into the sketch.  I see I spelled 'rabbit' wrong in the drawing.  I spelled bell as 'cloch' which I am sure it is in my lessons - but it says 'gloch' in the dictionary/

Bore da! / Good morning
Croeso! / Welcome
smygu / smoke
pili pala / butterfly
aderyn / bird
Mae hi'n haelog a braf / It is sunny and fine
iar / hen
Triongal a sgwar fenestr / Triangle and square window
Cylch fenestr / circle window
Ci / dog
Dw'in adre! / I'm home
Wal / wall
llawr / floor
porffor / purple house
gardd / garden
cath / cat
dafad / sheep
dw'in mynd am a dro / I'll go for a while (used like 'I'll go for a walk)
pêl / ball
mêl / honey
llaeth / milk
pys / peas
caws / cheese
pysgoden / fish
cwiningen / rabbit
prynu moron / buying carrots
llygoden / mouse
bwch / cow
gloch / bell
nos da / good night!
hwyl am a tro / goodbye for a while (I'll see you later)

Saturday, January 27, 2018


I did good the other day - I wrote a bit of a dream down, sketched some (even though nothing turned out nice.. /I tried), read some of my book and did my Welsh.  Today I've done the Welsh but mostly played Minecraft.  We sat down and watched a movie all the way through though, which doesn't happen often with me - I usually wander off halfway through to do something else.  I guess I'll try for a bit more variety tomorrow and a bit less game.  Esme wanted to go out and show me a path she had cut in the woods but with the rain today, we decided to put it off.

Friday, January 26, 2018

language processing

Just a little note mostly for myself.

I have noticed when I am listening to languages that most foreign languages process into my audio 'eye' instead of my actual audio 'ear'...  This might be because I am synesthetic (synesthesia, senses blending together) or because I am also dyslexic or  maybe it is how the two meet in the middle.

When I hear most foreign languages I 'see' the words in my head and that is how I process them, from the 'sight' of the words transferred from what I hear.  However, this makes the recall of what I just heard slower and it has to go through layers to remember what words I heard in what order.

English and Welsh, surprisingly both process through my audio 'ear'.. as in, I remember in an audible recording in my mind what was said instead of a visual picture of what was said.  If you had said something to me in English while I was listening to something else I can 'pick up an echo' of what I heard and respond to you.  People do it all the time.  And I've noticed that if I heard a sentence in Welsh I can use this same channel for Welsh.  It is there for me to 'echo' as I heard it, and then try to pick it through if needed but usually the words I know translate over almost immediately and the others are left to visualize.  With other foreign languages, almost the entire thing is visualized first, with the audio being lost until I try to pronounce the words separately.

I'm not quite sure what it means, but it is pretty amazing to me.  Each time it hits me I feel : 'This is the way it should be.  This is why this comes faster to me than other languages.'

French is in between -I know many things but the sentences need to be rearranged to match English's sentence rhythm and pattern.  Things that are 'so French', like 'je ne sais quoi' are there, but not other phrases. 

I also notice a lot of 'back and forth' feeling with the French as if I am visually hopping back and forth over the sentence to rearrange it for myself before translating.  But even listening to some children's stories I was able to work it out quickly enough to understand without having to pause over and over.

With Welsh, the hopping and back and forth happens like a skip recording on a tape player, and 'echoes' when I ask it to, without a visual overlay of words as an automatic part of the information.  I think this is a much more 'natural' way - the way children learn a language - so it has been easier for me to pick up phrases and get the accent for Welsh than it ever has been with any other language.

I've described trying to listen and respond in Spanish as 'rolling down a hill'.. I feel like everything is crazy wrapped up and spinning and I'm not sure of enough of what is happening to do anything but hold on tight until it stops (which in real Spanish conversations, it hardly ever does) and then I can sort it and try to figure out what I heard and try to answer.

This is why I couldn't learn to speak and hear Spanish the many times I have taken a try at it.  Although I've succeded in being able to read it on a n elementary level.  I've tried with Esme when she wanted to learn - but it just never will be useful for me in conversation and I definitely couldn't teach her.  She didn't want to learn French.. although I tried that and had a bit more success with her, she just started saying she only wanted to learn Spanish.  She still says she wants to learn it - but she won't stick to any program to try.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Pondering a sitch or a skitch more

I was surprised by the Welsh word 'cwch' today, and its meaning - which is a comfortable cuddle or a hideaway spot or to stow something away in a hidden place.  It has several meanings, and it was odd to hear it in some of the sentences I was reading.  I was reading an article by David Jandrell about Welsh Valleys Speak at Parallel Cymru, a bilingual online newspaper where I've been doing some of my Welsh studies.

It is a little fitting with the multi-use word in Welsh though, and it makes me wonder if it has come from similar far back roots and if anyone else would know of it.

The word: 'skitch', or 'sitch'

It brought back to mind something that has passed down through my mother's family, a bit of  vernacular I always thought was British English, but could even be related to the word 'sich' in German.  But nothing I've found actually seems to fit with how the word was (and is) used.  I have seen the word 'skitch' meaning to scoot over, which might be close to the meaning I learned.

The meaning I grew up knowing meant a small quantity, or a small quantity more than what was given previously.  If the item given was not specified, it could also mean a quantity of time.  It translated best to somewhere between 'a bit' and 'a pinch'.. and I have no idea where it came from but it still pervades my speech now as an adult.  Not only do I not know anyone else that says it, I can't remember anyone outside of my own family as a child using it.  Google shows up nothing - it says it is a vernacular for 'situation'... which in this case, does not fit.

Examples :

'Give me a skitch more of that (flour, a length of something like a board, pipe or fabric etc..)'  If you needed a very tiny amount you would say 'Give me just a skitch more' and that would mean less than a skitch.

I definitely remember using it a lot in baking, but also in sewing.  It would be very unnatural to ask for a 'skitch of marbles' or a 'skitch of apples'... it was more used in something that normally would not have quantity until it was measured, such as flour, or water or a length of board, pipe or cloth.  You could knead the bread a skitch longer, or pound a nail a skitch deeper, or do something, anything, just a 'skitch' better than before.

You could also 'sit a sitch' or 'sit a skitch' to sit for a little while somewhere

Or you could 'drag/push/move that item a 'sitch further' or a 'sitch closer'.
You could skitch over to the side, as well, but I wouldn't say 'sitch over' unless I meant 'a sitch over that line' etc.

"Wait a skitch more" meant you wanted to do something just a moment later, like after finishing a task that you were involved with but not much later than that.  The 'now in a minute' in the article made me laugh and remember this, too.


Background and other bits:

I am thinking this must have come down in my Grandmother's family, as I did not hear it from anyone else and my Grandmother Vera had very few siblings or other relatives that I knew growing up.  She was adopted out of the Owatonna Children's home in Blue Earth Minnesota, and knew French and some German from the nuns there and from one of the families that had adopted her for a while.  From some of what I remember being told she went to a German family for a while but eventually went back and stayed at the orphanage until she married my Grandfather.  Her birth mother was part Ojibwe / Anishinnabe from the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation area in North Dakota, but I believe her father was of French and Russian descent.

I know there are records out there that one of my aunts had - but she said she was told not to give the information to anyone.  So, that is as much as I know.  The children were taken because their mother got sick and/or couldn't pay bills - there was some confusion on that part.  Their father was 'out' and couldn't be found - he apparently went away for long periods of time and then showed back up with money, as many men did at that time.  There were older sisters (Ava and Eva?) but they were married and their husbands wouldn't let the children come live with them.  So my grandmother, her sister, the baby girl and at least two of the younger brothers were transported a long distance to the Children's Home.

I know this is why I bawled so hard at the book 'Before We were Yours', because it matched some of the stories I did hear - of my grandmother being oldest of those that went to the home, not knowing where some of her younger siblings went, especially the baby, Phyllis.. and also about having to clean up after her younger sister Inez when she peed the bed so that the nuns wouldn't whip her for it in the morning.  That book hit home that I could see my grandmother as a young girl in the shoes of Rill/May.. and her doing everything she could but still not being able to keep them together.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018


I just finished a pair, 'Museum of Sudden Disappearances (and Vanishing Ax)' by Thomas Davidson, and 'Before We Were Yours' by Linda Wingate.  The first one was funny, hilarious in places.. and it was free through a book club.  It reminded me of all my mom's 45 records I had once upon a time.  The second was about children stolen by an orphanage director and based on the mashings-together of many true stories, although the actual family in the book does not exist.  I bawled.. I knew I would.  I had it on my Kindle for about a week before I had the courage to read it.

I've got a few more lined up now, and two more added to the wait list.  The 'Bay of Sighs' second installment of a cheesy fantasy-romance (it has mermaids and werewolves and magicians) is out finally and I put that on my Kindle to follow up 'The Round House' by Louise Erdrich which is about a boy on a North Dakota Indian reservation who seeks justice for his mother after she is brutally attacked.  It won a National Book Award, and I put it in my queue this morning while looking for something.  I also have 'Everything Solid has a Shadow', by Michael Antman which has an intriguing write-up that sounds like it has mysterious multi-level meanings, which I have liked very much in books like 'The Ocean at the End of the Lane' by Neil Gaiman.

I should read some more Gaiman.  I always hear good things and yet I have not really had many come my way.  I should also read 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress'.  Mark says that one has a really emotional ending and I have somehow missed it all these years even though I've read many other Heinlein.

In other news.  Mornings are beginning even earlier.  I'm getting tired even earlier.

I finished my hat and I'm wearing it a lot.  It looks like an acorn on my head but it is warm.

I should draw some more... I have ideas, and also ideas to write.. but I need to make a spot to do it and actually do it instead of give into playing a game because that is easier.  I did my Welsh again on the tablet - most days lately I read the newsgroup postings but leave it at that.. so it was good I fired the tablet back up.  I'm off until Friday.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

and on Saturday we saw this... blizzard of 2018 Tennessee

We got out of the driveway today, but then we saw this hill between us and the highway (and there is another, steeper hill, beyond that)... and we are just not going to risk our vehicle or lives on that.  That is our truck way in the background for scale.

This is the other side of the hill sloping down, around a corner, around another corner, before the ascent up that last hill...  Mark found it hard to WALK up this hill, much less try to drive it.  In the far back right of this picture is where he nearly ditched the truck on Monday (when it almost melted, but didn't).. and he luckily caught that driveway and was then able to reverse back to our house.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Oh Friday Morning...

Well, today we will try to get to town after being snowed-in for a week.  It still isn't really 'sane' to do so, but I have to make an effort as I've already had four snowed-in days and the roads in town are clear.  But, it still might be too dangerous to climb that hill.  I am going to shovel some of the snow out of the back of the truck and take some pictures of the road before we go.

I had what I would call mild vertigo when I got up.  I really don't like that.  But, I've had much worse (hold onto the sides of the bed and hope it stops) vertigo in my past... so this was tolerable.  This was the kind I lived with nearly every day for weeks on end when I was a teen and young-adult.  It would go away for a week or so, then inexplicably, be back.  It is the kind that makes you feel like you live on a ship deck with rolling seas... you close your eyes and stand perfectly still and the world is moving slowly to one side but you never come up against the wall etc... You plan every movement towards something with a little extra care, because you know your bearings are off.

Hopefully we'll get into town, we have a grocery list a mile long.  Hopefully Mark will get back home and back to get me in town tonight with no troubles.  We'll see.  We might have to disappoint them another day.

I had a very awesome dream last night.. well before I woke up with vertigo.  I will see if I can get it down to paper sometime.. it was philosophical and at the end I was feeling like I could draw some pretty awesome city landscapes I've had in my head.. I saw how to do it and it was like walking in a drawing the further and further the dream went on.  I was actually laughing with joy just before I woke up because I saw the perspectives.  Who knows, maybe I was already having the vertigo at that point and it affected the contents of the dream, but at least not in a scary way

 The true dilemma of any artist.. which cup is for paint water and which is for coffee?  Even when it should be obvious, you still have to proceed with caution every single time.

This is what I was painting.
An idea for a sign for our bathroom.  'Wash your Hare'

 What our driveway looks like with the tracks from Monday.

 The ice is this thick on the roof, it's that thick on the drive, too.

 That one is going to be dangerous when it breaks...

Esme's birdfeeder, filled up

.Ask her how she is doing and she says 'fine' she faceplants in a snowball as big as she is that she is trying to roll uphill....

Esme's birdfeeder in use 

This is actually pretty scary, the truck is up against the power pole and it can't go anywhere... we got out the traction mat Grandma got us for Christmas and rocked it back and forth, slowly making it forward until we got it out of there... and still we aren't going to town tonight

 We finally got it away from the power pole.  I was digging out foot long chunks of ice with matted leaves and mud stuck to it from under the tires as we tried to shove the traction mat under it little bit at a time, then rock the trick over the traction mat to get up another few inches. Mark had tried to go up the hill a bit more and started fishtailing sideways off the shoulder so he backed it up and left it for the night pointing out in hope of tomorrow. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

frozen pipes

I work in plumbing, so hopefully we will be able to get this straightened out after a bit... we'll have to see if any pipes broke or if it is just frozen.  It is the first time it has happened this year - and it was COLD COLD last night.  It is forecasted to get over freezing today, just barely ...  I will see if I can get Grandma on the phone and take Esme's sled and bottles up there to fill up for the interim.  Mark says we have several frozen bottles in our freezer we can take out, and we have two non-potable bottles in the bathroom for emergencies like this.  This comes after we've been snowed-in for a week, and little girl has drank all of her Kool-Aid in the fridge (without telling us she was out) and all the juices in the cabinet etc etc.. I wish she had told me last night so I could have filled her bottles and made drinks then.. but you never expect this sort of thing, just have to prepare as best you can.

Four hours later we took a milkhouse heater out to the wellhouse.  It was a bit worrisome as the tank showed 0 pressure.  After the heater worked for a while it showed 80 pressure.. which both are odd, it is supposed to be 40-60.  But the main water is back on and we are now unfreezing some of the lesser pipes inside the house that freeze alongside the outside wall.

It was so strange this morning I thought it was just those lesser pipes - but not only did they not work, but then turning on the shower (on an inside wall) the water pressure ran out.  So, the hot water lines were frozen?  Then filling up the dog water dish in the hallway (center of the house) and that pressure ran out.  WHAT?  The main line never freezes.  Sure enough, that was it.

I'm glad Mark reminded me to unplug the water heater after all of that.. we didn't need more piled on top and it had lost half of its tank and wasn't getting any more cold water - so it could have ruined an element left on in that condition.

Filled up all of the drink bottles for Esme - 4 2 liters.  And then we filled up all of the pitchers standing around.  Hopefully we don't have any more surprises in store.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

More Snow in the South January 2018

 A giant icicle on the side of our house.

Esme standing next to a snowman that I built.  She built a bird feeder 'tree' house - but we didn't get a good picture of it before the sun started to set.  I'll try today.  We got even more snow in the night!

 The dinos await the next day of playing in the snow.

 Pumpkin says she needs more fluff for this to be acceptable.

knitting a ribbed hat.. getting to the point where I'll start decreasing.  It won't be excellent, but it should stretch to actually fit.  I have a crochet hat I've been wearing for years now and it's starting to need repairs here and there  // note 104-108 stitches on 4 size 3 double pointed needles (dpn) in worsted weight yarn

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Snow in the South January 2018

 The sled does not work on this snow, Mom!

I didn't think she'd believe me how you actually cut a trail with the sled ... so I showed her.  Next time, she gets to do it herself.  Mark said he believed it was physically possible.. but he wasn't willing to go out there and didn't think she would put that much effort in, either.  For the next three days I get to stay in where its warm now, because she knows its possible.. and if she wants to sled badly enough she has had a prime lesson.

This one will work for a while.. until she messes it up somehow or *hopefully* it melts out.

 This is how high the snow was in the back of our truck - probably well over the eight inches they said the nearest city got.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

How I cooked in my college dorm with a sink, a microwave and a coffee pot

I went to college in the late nineties, and my dorm room did not have a refrigerator, or access to a hot plate or stove.  There was a school cafeteria, but it was halfway across campus, and this was a LARGE campus.  That was North Dakota, and half of the year you would be walking across that campus, often before dawn or after dark, in the freezing cold and snow.  There was a Taco Bell on campus, but it was only open from about 10 am to 2 pm... later a few days a week.  And that was it.  Otherwise you walked (again, for a mile at least) to the shared parking lots, work your vehicle out of the crowd, and go to town to eat something and hope to get a parking space again when you got back.

If the Taco Bell was open, I would grab several burritos on the way between meals, as it was actually in a straight line between my classes.  The entire four years - I only ventured to the cafeteria for two meals, a Thanksgiving event and with a friend once who was intent on eating there.  Both times, it was such a distance I couldn't see how anyone could make it there and back to their classes.  Maybe I just scheduled my classes too close together.

So I came up with a plan.  And for the most part, it worked.  
It was as good as a second Major...really.

My dorm room had a large cabinet, and a sink not far down the hall.  I had a coffee pot, which was allowed (hot plates were not), and there was a microwave in the basement kitchenette.  I got together a collection of thrift store dishes, a can opener, some dishwashing soap, and a selection of dry goods - and ate out of my cupboard for most of the year.  And it wasn't ALL just Ramen Noodles.

One of the important things I bought was a good stoneware cereal bowl that had some depth.  It was at a thrift store and I got lucky,  I guess, and ended up using that bowl for several years.  It said 'JAPAN stoneware' on the bottom and it was heavy and solid, unlike the thin Corel type bowls my mom had at home.  Another item I paid a bit of money for - seven dollars at a regular store - was a corning ware type bakeware dish that had a vented lid.  I used this one when I would actually cook MEAT - which was rare, and I won't go into it here, but I learned to cook arm steaks and chicken breasts in this dish and did so about once a week after I got a little better off.  I bought a wooden tray so I could drag things with me up and down the stairs without having to balance everything in my arms.  Up until I found the tray I dragged things downstairs in a bag sometimes or just in the crook of my arm.  Add in a few forks and spoons and some ceramic coffee mugs, and I was in business.

The dry goods were a mixture of easy and very hard.  Growing up in my type of family I had learned to drink powdered milk and not choke.. so that was an easy thing to throw into my cupboard. It doubled as a coffee creamer, too.  I also could stand instant oatmeal, dried mashed potato flakes and plain rice - all of which I learned to cook in the microwave (see below).  I kept boullion in a jar, a jar of vegetable oil and a small range of spices, raisins and canned soup and vegetables.

We had a Natural Foods type store in my hometown, which my mom insisted I drive back to (four hours!) nearly every weekend.  That was where I had first been introduced to two things that became staple ingredients, powdered eggs and dehydrated vegetables in a jar.  I stocked tortilla chips, and learned to make cornbread and blueberry muffin mix, the kind in those little square boxes, in the microwave using the powdered eggs.  The powdered eggs were five or six dollars for a small can, but it was only used a tablespoon at a time, so it was a worthwhile investment then.  Powdered eggs and milk are probably much more expensive now.. so they might not be as good of an investment now as they were then.

Dorm Room Meals

Instant oatmeal and Ramen noodles are easy.  Opening up cans of vegetables and fruits are easy. Ravioli and canned soup are easy but were actually expensive to go through day after day.  I experimented with canned tuna and fish fillets because they were on sale and I craved protein.  Mustard fish fillets are something I will never forget (please.. no).  Canned tuna was a win, though.  Thumbs up.

I was living on a tight food budget and things added up fast.  I could drive down to the grocery store or stop back on my way from work.   I learned to budget - I learned to add up my cart and put some things back, and that some things like branded cereals or bottled singles of anything are just paying too much money up front.  I understood what would 'keep' until used and what wouldn't - lucky to have learned that in my household growing up.  I splurged on a tomato or orange at times that would be eaten as soon as I got home.  Once in a while, I bought a box of Pop Tarts.

I found you can make oatmeal, mashed potatoes or ramen without even leaving your coffee pot - just run plain water through and its near boiling.  Mix the oatmeal or potatoes in a bowl with the hot water until it is the right consistency or cook the ramen in its own Noodle Cup.  If you can't afford the Noodle Cup version, break half of the Ramen into small bits in a large ceramic cup, boil the water and pour it over and put a ceramic flat plate on top of the cup until the steam cooks the noodles.. just like the Styrofoam cup does.  If it is unruly, put the cup in the microwave again and repeat with the newly heated water until the noodles are done.  (Again, hot pads.. even one, is a good idea to have)  Canned soup could be added to a can's worth of hot water and voila, soup.

But I needed more - and to stretch my budget more - so I came up with these microwave recipes that were a go to for years.  One, I would cook rice in the microwave and then mix that with a can of vegetable beef soup or beef stew.  That was enough to make an entire meal.

How to cook rice in the microwave:

Your microwave times will vary.  They're not lying.  Pay attention.  It is important to realize this isn't going to be something you start and walk away from at the beginning.  You are going to watch this while standing in front of it until you know your 'times' and repetitions.  I wasn't even using 'instant' rice - just plain bag rice that was cheap and easy to keep.

I would wash the rice and then put it in the bowl with water covering it but several inches from the top edge of the bowl.  I would add a little oil to it, and then turn on the microwave until the water begins to foam and want to boil over the edge.  Stop the microwave, stir with a spoon, and begin the process again.  If you are always watching it you won't run out of water and burn anything (experience) - you can add water and test until the rice is finished.  After two or three times going through this you know what the quantities of water are and also how much time is needed.  Drain the rice with a plate over the bowl as a strainer (use a hot pad, the heat comes through the plate) and then mix it with your stew or soup and you're ready to eat.

How to cook blueberry muffin mix in the microwave.

The powdered eggs were important on this one, and it helped if I could grab a real milk on my way back through from the coffee shop (also only open certain hours), but I could use the powdered milk as well.  I would use one bowl to mix the powdered eggs to the consistency first ,add the blueberry muffin mix powder, then use a coffee cup to mix the milk with water and pour it in, stirring it up, and then cook it in my stoneware cereal bowl in the microwave in bursts (as above) watching it and turning it over at some point when it began to be pancake like.  After it had 'congealed' to a decent consistency I would let it cool and eat it.  It was better than some things, and worse than a prepackaged item from the vending machine but not much worse.  And it was cheap - the box of muffin mix lasted about five mixes and didn't require digging around for coins or trekking down hallways of the class buildings after hours.

I would pack some of this stuff in my backpack and make it at the Art Studio during long nights, too - using water from their coffee pot.

Big note : Wash everything well when you're done.  You might want a Scotchbrite or a bottle brush thing and your dishwashing liquid, and hot water.  Even if your sink doesn't plug, you can still use hot water to wash the dish.  If everything is washed and put away, you don't have to scrape stuff or worry about getting sick when you go to cook again.  I knew this before I started - I hear some people have to learn it the hard way.  Also, close your containers and packages up tight and keep the cabinet clean to keep out bugs and other things.  Common sense, but again, some may not think it is important until they learn the hard way.

What did I Learn?

Learning to 'cook' and how to 'shop' are a whole different ballgame in the dorm.
I had learned to cook at home, with the cookbooks and the recipes and every utensil and knife available.  It was different working with limited materials.  The game changed some more and got easier when I got my own apartment.  I had already learned on the Scrape Every Penny level.

It was worth learning.  The whole experience was a different kind of education than the college offered in classes.  I had to think ahead as well as on my feet.  Some days I realized I had made mistakes and couldn't afford something or would have to ration something in half until Friday etc.

By the time I got my basement apartment I was still using these tricks - but now with a refrigerator at my disposal! (wow!)  I lived there on something like 400 dollars a month including rent and washing fees (coin-operated in the cold but sheltered hallway of your North Dakota apartment - joy!)   Some days I had to hang my washing up on the shower rod because I couldn't use t he dryer, was out of coins or out of order...  There was a spider that lived behind my medicine cabinet that scared the death out of me several times - I could never smack it because it retreated back into the hole in the wall.  (My husband reminds me now that the spider likely lived there before I did, so he had rights.)  But, I didn't have to go back to live with my parents in the summer when the dorm kicked everyone out.  That was a block from the school, and it had its own parking space.  That was amazing.

So, does it matter today?  For me, yes.  For my daughter?  Maybe.

My husband says kids don't even TRY to be frugal now in college - they just spend everything all at once and then cry to their parents or ..?  My parents were bad off, too - they could barely pay the bills.  I was out there on my own because I worked hard to stay out there....  and because I didn't want to end up living at my mom's house paying her bills and only getting a Community College degree out of my small town.  I felt I didn't have a lot of choices then - financially - and would have ended up in much more debt and with maxed credit cards if I didn't try to live on my exact expenses.  And there wouldn't be anybody to bail me out of that trouble. 

I got through that without terrible nutrition deficiencies.. I kept a part-time job and that paid more as time went on.  I did have one credit card that I had to settle later - because of having to juggle paying school book fees while fighting to reclaim my renter's deposit, not food budget.  My sister did not fare so well with credit.. or with learning to cook at all.  I think one was definitely related to the other.

I graduated in six years with a four year degree, eventually working full-time at my job at an art store, and managing to have my graduation art show.  I haven't done a lot with my art degree now.. but I lived on my own - got a good life education out of it, as well as the actual subjects I learned and have continued to study.  I am glad I don't have to practice this extreme of thrift cooking anymore - but when I make up three meals for work out of rice and soup and a can of something else... I think about that as a lifelong lesson.  And I know enough to be grateful for what I have, and the tools and appliances available to me.

Friday, January 12, 2018


Well, we had flu for several days, each.. in succession.  We're mostly better, although my stomach still doesn't want to eat just anything... it is very picky.  It snowed today, and it will likely keep me from getting to work for several days.  I worry about that -  but can't do much abut it.  It was so nice to have several days of warm and now so cold and dark again....  From the reports we got something like six or seven inches.

There were pretty birds in the cedar tree today - we couldn't' really decide what they were.  I finally concluded they were probably robins.  They looked like robins, with yellow bills and feet, but very fluffy and with darker black on their backs than brown - some sort of towhee was possible.. but they have black beaks and don't like to cling to and eat the berries from cedar trees as much as robins do.

Esme is holed up in her room staying warm and watching her tablet.  She played outside a few times but never quite got the sled to do what she wanted.

Saturday, January 06, 2018


Mark has been down for the past week - but we haven't thought of that as flu, more like a cold.  Esme threw up tonight after not being hungry nearly all day.. which is unlike her.  I gave her some of the honey tea I make in a small amount and we have bundled her up next to our bed on the bean bag chair.  Honey, green tea, orange juice and ginger powder and a tiny bit of spiced rum (less than a teaspoon to a cup and a half).  And I gave her a few tablespoons of that and a cup of water to sip on and will give her some more of the tea later...

She slept about six hours during the night.. more now, she's not burning up and she has been drinking.  She threw up until about 3 am... asked for some applesauce .  I've got to go check her in a few more minutes, having her sleeping beside our bed we were able to check on her all night, which was good.

I made myself a hot curry last night because the smell of what she had thrown up was demanding something spicy to counteract it... 

Thursday, January 04, 2018


They released my brother with anti-seizure medication... he is supposed to be home in Minnesota by now.  Esme started back to school, it has been ten degree days at most at the bus stop... 20 or so high for the day.  Mark is getting sick with something.. he's fighting it, but it has had him sweating a lot with a low fever.  Still trying to keep things up at work... the cold has caused so many burst pipes and other problems that we are running out of things, like usual this time of year.  Freckle dog was down for a few days.. she seems a bit better now.

I read 'The Light we Lost' before the new year started.  It was good, but a tearjerker.  I read 'The World Walker' book one, and it was good, funny and very flowing.  I read 'In a Dark Dark Wood' also before the new year.. slightly predictable, weird to the point of almost tanking it once.. but it resolved as expected.

Restarting with the Welsh lessons.. it's good to take a break and then see how much I truly remember.
Bresych... cabbages, those were hard to remember *heh*