Monday, December 25, 2023

Christmas 2023


I haven't been taking Christmas pictures, but letting everyone open their presents organically and just spending time.  I made a few cards after lunch today, and read some of the book Esme got me for Christmas.

Had finally finished up those fingerless mitts a few days ago, that had been started a year ago! They're too big, but they are complete and they do fit, just loosely. It's so warm I don't really need them right now! So with these needles free I had started a simple ribbed hat pattern, size 6 dpns, 100 stitches give or take... 1 x 1 ribbing - and I always make the hat a little too small or a little too short so I think I'll keep this one by my desk and do a little 'overkill' on it, a bit too big perhaps, and longer -- some of my instincts say to mix a somewhat-clash color with it, like Navy Blue, and then it will be 'a real thing' compared to just a plain straight color. It is supposed to get colder again after a week or so - and since I keep having to put my other hat from last year back on after it slips off my head - I thought another hat might perhaps be a useful item if it turns out better than that one. Accounting myself to stop knitting so my hands will be in good shape tomorrow... Is six o'clock too early to go to bed? Considering the dogs wake me up multiple times in the night and wake-up time is before six in the morning, it is probably okay.


I have a big route tomorrow, and not my usual one - and we expect it to be heavy.

I need to go fold the laundry and go to sleep, probably.


 Our Minion cat already has gone to sleep on my desk - although I had to evict her out of a baseball cap she had claimed... put this ten year old scarf on the desk out of a bag hanging on the wall and she eventually accepted it.


Grandma Irene came down for lunch, we made pork roast and I made a butter cake with ginger-syrup poached pears beside it. The pears were a bit soft, but better than too hard. We did a few small presents, something for each of the family members to wear, a book, candy - and a little something else for Esme. She got a game she wanted on the computer, and there is an art item coming in the mail for her soon. I bought her a book by Erin Hunter, which she had previously missed I think, by her reaction.

I've still been doing French language this week, maybe one or two lessons for something else, but switch back and majority of French. I've done a little drawing, mostly for thank you and New Year's cards.

I also need to order the next proof of my book soon so I can get it looked over and push the button to order print copies.  




Sunday, December 24, 2023

Thursday, December 21, 2023


spent a few hours making this yesterday - the pattern did not sew together exactly as planned, but it turned out cute.  I cut a straight band and embroidered it on across the top of the forehead because it was sort of mismatched here and there - but it worked out great.


His number one feature beyond 'cute rat' is he sails through the air like a lovely puff ball, tail streaming behind him


It will take another couple of gos to work out a real pattern for him  

Thursday, December 07, 2023

Pay attention

I've written bits and pieces of this one over the past few years.

I feel it's for those 'spoonies', those who only have so much energy, those going through hard times and troubles

I bring it up and look at it.

It don't always take my own advice, but I look at it.

It isn't finished - I'm still slogging away on many things, including this.

It helps a little.

Pay Attention

Pay attention, not just the bills

The bills just keep coming, but not always our attention

That is fleeting and the more stressed we get, the less of it we have

Because it isn’t getting any easier any quicker.

And because it seems foolish to expect it to.

We get up and go when they ask, when they ask… if we can...

And we get up and be ready to go when we can, if we can….

And sometimes when we can’t, we do it anyway…. As far as we can.

And when we can't .. we decide how and when we can, and how to get there.

Worrying before the paycheck hits won’t help much, if at all.

Worrying others about the problems won’t help at all.

Listening to the others and trying to pay attention is the best we can do.

Because listening is hard, yet it is what we have.

Pay attention, because it's what we have, when we have it.

Complaining doesn’t help unless you do something different for the future because of it.

Yet we are unsure what to change for the future – and even when we know, it’s touch and go...

Guessing won’t help. Guessing Never Helps.

Wishing you didn’t have to guess won’t help.

Staring at the calendar and counting the days won’t help much.

Adding up everything and knowing what your number to hit won’t help much, but some.

Writing down every item's expected cost and budgeting won't help always, but some -- you never know the future and what will change.

Understanding that nothing is exact when it comes to the future will help most.

Knowing that the future keeps going … and going, will help depending on your attitude.

Your attitude, this attitude, is what helps most often.

It's hard to keep your attitude optimistic, sometimes you can't, but you can try. 

Optimistic pessimism seems to be how we operate, but we operate.

Looking at all the due dates won’t help much.

Being sad about birthdays and Christmas won’t help much at all.

Thinking about what you will have to say about things, won’t help much.

Counting all your change won’t help much, maybe enough for a gallon more of gas.

Putting the gas in your vehicle to do the day’s work and doing it will help for later.

Going straight to work and straight home every day usually helps, but we do that anyway.

Not heading out into town without a good reason helps, but we do that anyway.

Knit the sock, cook the rice, boil the eggs, can the tomatoes, mend the tear or weed the garden when you can, you'll appreciate it later.  Do the little things that need doing, when you can.  When you can't later, the future 'you' will appreciate the 'you' now, that is doing this.

Learn the French, the Spanish or whatever your little heart desires, you'll appreciate it later.

Later isn’t going to wait until later, but you still have to wait for later.

Charging your phone will help, do it.

Doing your laundry or the dishes will help, do it.

Cooking your dinner and eating it will help, do it.

Using up leftovers and food before it spoils will help, do that.

Feeding the animals will help, remember it.

Washing and filling the water bowls will help, remember it.

Emptying the trash will help, remember it.

Sweeping the floors will help, remember it.

Putting the clothes and things away from the clutter will help, remember it.

Checking the mail and knowing where it is helps, remember it.

Reading the library book that is due will help some, tuck a blanket around yourself.

Being warm and having coffee or tea will help some, tuck a blanket around yourself.

Listening to some music or watching a television show when the day is done will help some.

Tucking a blanket around yourself when the night is long and cold will help some.

Holding a hand, or a paw, and being in the moment will help some.

Because the moment is what we have, when we have it.

Sleep will help at times, and at other times, it won’t.

A long hot shower will help at times, and at other times, it won’t.

Pay attention, it’s what we have, when we have it.

Knowing it isn’t all crashing down right now will help, pay attention.

Being grateful you made it until December right now will help a lot, pay attention.

Remembering there is still January to come, and this will all happen again, will help a lot,

Pay attention, not just the bills.

Pay attention.

Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Brazil Nut Cookies


Experimental Brazil Nut Butter Cookie Round 2 (Mark's recipe)


1 stick butter


2 cup sugar


2 cup flour


6 fluid oz egg (3 or 4 large eggs)


1 tbsp vanilla (optional)


1 cup brazil nut, chopped fine


melt butter, cream with sugar. Optionally add a bit of vanilla extract now, up to 1 tbsp. Add eggs and whip to silky surface texture, where you can count waves from the powered mixer in the batter. couple of minutes worth. add nuts, then flour, blend all smooth.


Turn off the blender and lick the beaters.


Stick the bowl of batter in the fridge for a while, 10min to several hours, until you're ready to cook.


Drop 1 tsp wads on un-greased cookie sheet, leave space for them to expand. If the run together and cake up its not problem, you can cut them like brownies later.


Bake at 375F for 13min or until the edges begin to brown.


Take out and let stand for ~5min. Run together cookies should be separated by scoring with a butter knife while still molten. After they've cooled, peel them off using a sharp spatula onto paper towels etc.


Thursday, November 23, 2023

chocolate chip cookie recipe

 just for posterity, although I probably already put it on here

1 cup salted butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar, packed

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 large eggs

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

2 cups chocolate chips

375 degree preheated oven

8 to 10 minutes until just BARELY browned on bottom

let sit 2 minutes on pan outside oven, transfer to cooler sheet lined with parchment paper

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Three butter baking recipes for the Fall and Winter cake cookies


It is winter, and a good time to bake, and have the butter cookies and cakes to snack on through the colder days, also good for holidays and for special dinners


 Butter Cake

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1 large egg

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp baking powder

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole milk

cream butter, sugar add egg and vanilla, mix others in separate bowl and well combine, then put in glass or ceramic container in oven at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until fork comes clean and top is nicely golden and brown in small points

serve warm immediately if possible, if not : place in OFF oven with a bowl of water or cover with aluminum foil on stovetop to cool down - serve with fruit over the top, warmed pie cherries, apples or peaches in their natural syrup


Sugar Cookie

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/3 cups all purpose flour

mix these together well with a bit of cinnamon

cream 1 cup softened butter with 1 cup sugar, 1 large egg and 1 tbsp vanilla extract 

add a tiny bit of milk to the proper consistency, not too much

form small balls, 1 coffee teaspoon full and place well apart on ungreased pan, you may smash them down a bit with a fork (crispier, watch them closer, they are flatter to begin with), or not (take longer, be more dome-shaped)

bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until beginning to brown underneath but not on top 

remove to parchment paper on pan and let cool before storing

(Mark wants to add nut flours to this recipe and I'm not sure how that will work - will see and add recipe that worked to this later if it is good)

We mashed up six to eight brazil nuts in a mortar and pestle and added the sticky mash to the sugar and butter mixture to make a second batch of cookies


Banana 'Pudding' cake (No butter, good to make use of bananas before they go off)

2 nearly overripe bananas (softened, starting to get black streak, not so soft they fall apart when peeled)

mash in the bottom of a ceramic pie pan, add 3 large chicken eggs and break yolks, add a few tablespoons of white sugar, splash of whole milk, dash x 2 of salt over top - mix well

add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of brown rice flour (depends on the milk earlier) and a shred of well crushed baking powder - consistency should be that of slightly thicker pancake batter, may add a handful of chocolate chips or nuts, but not too much as the batter is fairly thin in the pie pan

let sit for 5 minutes on countertop while oven heats to 350 degrees - to allow the baking powder to start to form small bubbles in surface

when oven has heated, place inside and bake for 40 minutes or so, until the edge at the pan begins to show browning, and fork comes clean in middle

let cool, and cut, store in refrigerator

Monday, November 20, 2023

cats reluctantly inside from the rain

 Minion and Lyffan curled up during a cold rainstorm outside


Lyffan is sleeping on the little woven mat I made and placed on the footstool


Wednesday, November 08, 2023

There is another 'off' day to compare to, but I crashed very early because it was just a very hard week here...  working on Welsh and French this morning, will check out that picture game again with the Lithuanian -  planning to tune into a Youtube channel later - looks like I'm not getting called in.  This weekend will be a lot of running around at work because it is a holiday for some which means extra running for us.  The multilingual Youtube I watched yesterday was Lombard (a language in northern Italy, near Milan), French, Spanish and Romanian all trying to translate things each other was saying in a guessing game - it was very interesting!

Sweetie and Minerva are sisters, and they both want to sleep on the couch


pretty leaves on the way back from the mailbox

 onigiri rice balls made yesterday

Minerva wanted to eat them.. all the other dogs were interested in Mark's potato chips.  He pointed out to me as I was forming them in my hands out of the rice pan that Minerva was pointed at me, and all the other dogs were pointed at him.


Brown rice, washed and cooked with a touch of rice wine vinegar in the water.

let cool just a little bit, then mix in sugar, more rice wine vinegar, and salt

let cool a little bit more

take large spoonfuls of rice and press them together with wet palms spread with salt back and forth until they form balls (rice is still kind of hot, some people use plastic molds for this), set down in container and place Nori or other seaweed strip on top, cover in white sesame seeds, place in refrigerator for eating later with wasabi and soy sauce and possibly red curry paste.


November 2023, vs July 2023, vs December 2022 

Since they initiated the hearts system on me I haven't been advancing very fast - but I know that Japanese has gone from level 10 to 'level 19' in that time, so their original system is not working there...

old crown numbers here because that is what I was keeping track in before they changed THAT system last year... to levels, and now they've changed it yet again to 'sections and units'  //roll eyes, just pick something and stick with it!


French           475 /  464  / 417

Welsh            376 /  370  / 360

Spanish         309 /  294  / 243

Czech           169 /   169  / 160

Romanian     149 /  149  / 144

Portuguese     111 / 111  / 89

Italian             91  /  91  / 83

Japanese       77 ??  /   77  / 65 (not right, I've advanced 9 levels)

Greek             74  /  72  / 61

German       80 /  79  / 60

Finnish       71 /   70  / 62

Norwegian   67 /   67  / 47

Swedish       43 /  43  / 43

Irish             51 / 51  /  51

Turkish         39 / 39  / 38

Catalan        38 /  34  / 23 * (learning via Spanish language)

Polish         30/    30  / 30

Hungarian    26 / 26  / 21

Ukrainian    19 /  19   / 0 (began April)

Guarani         7 / 6  / 0 (began April) * (learning via Spanish language)

Chinese         11 / 4  / 0 (began July)


external : Latvian, working on just a little of it here and there

Monday, November 06, 2023

Two workdays language geek


As a part-time postal carrier my work week revolves around the weekends, when the full-timers are usually off.  I work during the week sometimes, sometimes I work the entire week with no days off... but it's all sort of up in the air and week to week I'm not sure of anything except - I'm usually working the weekend unless I arrange for something else to happen.  Also - I passed two years on DuoLingo streak the other day... but since the hearts upgrade I'm still quite unhappy with how sensitive the spelling and such is and how much that stagnates my progress.


So, this is Saturday and Sunday.  My daughter's birthday was on Saturday but we did things for her on Friday because I knew Saturday was going to be a full day with getting dark early etc etc..

 So I got home, we made dinner and watched a movie and did the dishes and I did a minimum amount of a few languages and crashed.  That is a typical Saturday.. yes. 


Sunday I run Amazon packages, and it starts a little later.  It was also Daylight Savings Time so my animals had me up 'early'.. and I got a little language work in because hey, I was up anyway.  Made dinner after work, watched some tv episodes on DVD, did a few language things and played a game, then crashed.. took a Welsh grammar lesson in the middle of the night when the dog had me up, but I failed it by two questions and have to retake it when my credits on that site pop back up. *sigh*  One 'cat's tail' apostrophe in the wrong place or a ddim () nawr instead of a erbyn hyn and it goes down.

I haven't been called in yet on Monday, and my chart is up in the other screen.  I only do the charts for a little bit, and it gives me an idea what my 'average' is... and how much I switch off for variety.  It's also been a stressful few weeks and I realize I fall back to doing more in French at times when I have stress - the grammar level is much much higher than the Spanish or the Japanese, but still, my brain likes it better and starts sub-translating more again as below:

On the route - aucun côté ou autre côté?  Ah!  Na ça va... ça va a ci.

I have no idea why I think aucun côté instead of something like 'ce côté' or 'mon côté' or even 'pas du côté' but it's in my brain that way when I don't have to go the other side of the vehicle and I think it's a mnemonic thing that the two terms 'aucun' and 'autre' feel right and left handed pair to me...

Friday, November 03, 2023

Language geek

I did a few of these charts last year or more ago, just to see how often I return to the activities / switch the activities over the day and was just as surprised then how much I switch all through the day in almost spirals.  They say this 'spaced repetition' is all the rage, but I've been doing it for years.

Typical language geeking while off from post office today, did my Japanese Kanji reviews and a bit of DuoLingo in Japanese and Spanish first thing in the morning. I also took some time to browse and read hiragana and kanji and look up things on signs and advertisements and images that I could not read at first. I took some French tests, Japanese and Spanish review sessions and then played Stardew Valley for an hour in French... and a bit more here and there waiting for things over the day.  I was playing it in Japanese here and there, as well, a few weeks ago.

We took Esme out for her birthday dinner after school and also picked up the truck from the mechanic.  It still doesn't feel 100%, but we'll still have to see.  Then I finished the laundry and crashed when we got home, because it is cold and it felt like it had been a long day already.
As usual, when the animals wake me up in the night I spend a little time on some language waiting for them to cycle in and out of the house and getting ready to fall back asleep.  I don't do this on my phone, but at the computer desk.
Friday : a non-work day : it is now 1:45 am on Saturday (at update)

Saturday and Sunday will both be 'work' days... we'll see how that goes

The Random Light


The Random Light

Step out of your comfort zone, before it steps out of you…”

story by Marie Lamb


I have sat in the same seat on the subway, give or take, for the past three years. I sit with my shopping bag held defensively in front of me and watch the crowd pass in and out of the automatic doors. I listen to the familiar voice of the driver and count the stops until home. I know what every stop looks like, through the wet and the dry, with people in their coats and Christmas decorations, tourists and schoolchildren and elderly people and guide dogs alike trying to stay cool in the baking heat of summer. So, this last week, I knew that the random light I was seeing on Drake Street was not normal. I would have seen it before. And I could not remember, in any of the times having passed that stop, having seen it before.

It wasn’t really random. But, it shouldn’t be there. As far as I could ever tell that wall was solid brick. Beyond it was probably machinery or compacted dirt - definitely nothing of notice. The first few times I mostly ignored it. But, it wasn’t really very easy to ignore. It reached out with fingers across the subway station even at speed, and yanked at my awareness. Now, this light had my full attention. I could almost hear it, almost feel it, almost taste it. It was like remembering tea - herbal and citrus. Even though I denied it, there was something there calling to me. Tonight, I had been looking for it ever since I got onto the train. I had been telling myself it wasn’t really there. Deep down, there was a hope within me that it actually was.


My shopping bag shook and rattled. It was vibrating as if something with tiny feet was running back and forth at the bottom of it. I was just about to open it up and take a look with my cell phone camera when a lady with a red jacket brushed by me. As I looked up the random light was shining through the windows with such intensity it took my breath away. The urge to go see it was so strong that, even though this was not my stop, when the driver called ‘Drake Street’ I found myself rising with the small crowd, bag in hand, edging towards the doors. I thought hard about calling Alec and telling him I would be delayed, but I was just too absorbed. My eyes were on the light.

I stepped down from the car onto the platform and looked around. The few passengers that had exited with me were already on their way, down the side trail, up the stairs, waiting for another train. I felt silly, and more than a bit worried about breaking my routine. What would Alec say, when I finally arrived home? Would he not even wait that long, but call me a few minutes after six, worried to death? But even as I thought these thoughts, the amber pink light seemed to glow more intensely. I could see it stretching out golden tendrils like I have only ever seen before in fairy tale books. I was encountering magic. It had to be. And I could not even gather up a third of me to run away from it.

My feet were moving without my head telling them to. I stood in front of the wall and stared hard at the glowing light. I dropped my shopping bag to the ground. It rocked and swayed before coming to a balance. My jacket and hat were discarded next, untidily onto the ground. There was no common sense to this. My very shoes started to be too binding, but the ground was fading away and it no longer mattered. I tried to lean my hand upon the wall but it seemed to melt into it like warm frosting. I had one shoe on and one off. I should be mortified, worried about who was watching, but I couldn’t even turn my head to look around.

I leaned in further and began to taste the joy radiating off the threshold. The glow was intense and surrounded me like peach ice cream on the hottest beach vacation with caramel sauce and brandy. The air had grown hushed and close, like cotton around my ears. I held my breath and did not feel the need to breathe again. The brick surface turned to warm sand under my fingers and then broke away in a crystalline surface, thin like brittle wax, melting around me and pulling me through the soft silk of summer.

There was a cascading of feathers and soft grasses that came down around my face. The golden light was everywhere and piercing my very skin to share in its glowing. I swam through honeyed sound and silken waves like a child’s timeworn blanket on a safe warm bed. I remember the light turning from gold to white, and the air solidified around me like a grid. The warmth melted away to rest only within myself, pooling down into my center like a warm glut of rich and satisfying soup. I felt myself slowly released from the pull to rest upon the ground, clear and open and relaxed. I did not even have the energy to pull my head up on my shoulders. I lay there, listening to the sifting of the sands and the crackling of the air.

It took a moment for my vision to focus. I was looking at a pair of shoes. My own shoes, on legs wearing my hose, and a hand carrying my bag. I looked all the way up to a mass of brown curls that were conveniently looking the other direction. I wondered if I was imagining myself in two places at once? The other me turned and reached for me. Things were happening so quickly. I tried to twist and turn limbs that were not responding, and ended up only turning in circles three times over. I could not fathom how she picked me up with one hand and dropped me, small and fuzzy, into the white shopping bag.

She opened the bag and stared at me for a long moment. I froze completely still, a tiny yowl caught in my throat. My whiskers were twitching, and I wanted to scratch her with a vengeance. Her eyes were too green, but they began to equalize, less catlike and more like I remembered my own human eyes. As she closed the bag and began to walk in a rhythmic swaying, I heard my phone snap open. She said ‘Yes Alec, don’t worry. I just got off at the wrong stop. No, I don’t know how, it was all in a rush. I even lost a shoe! I’ll be home soon, love, there’s a little someone you should meet…. I think you’ll be the best of friends.”

Thursday, November 02, 2023


 It is almost birthday time for Esme.

Just a quick update of the past week or so.  It has turned cold and below freezing in the mornings.  I am still trying to get my mail truck sorted - it has been more than a month that I have not been able to run it on a route and I am doing only my normal company vehicle routes - but I would like to be available to make more money with it.  I am attempting to make some more little dolls to bring to the gallery in Camden The DayLight Gallery... I have only updated the display there twice this year and the knitting hurts my hands if I do it too fast.

I made this TeePublic site because Mark asked me to - the Be Brave Lion is something I drew for handing out stickers and magnets at the shows I went to - to encourage people through example of hey I'm such an introvert this is really hard for me but Be Brave, and put yourself out there --->

I started this little bear / cat yesterday, and have part of the body finished today.



And I began reading a book Esme got from the library last year - In The Hall of the Dragon King, 1982, author Lawhead  // this beside The Red Pyramid, by Rick Riordan

I am still working on Japanese, Spanish and to top out my Welsh.  I looked at what translator jobs there are floating around and they are mostly in Japanese and Spanish - neither of which I feel well enough advanced in to actually try for anything.  Mark asked why I didn't look for a job in French or Welsh translation - because *roll eyes* I didn't see any.  I wouldn't this side of Canada and the U.K... really.  The market, if I'm doing any of this for 'the market', is in the Japanese and Spanish, both of which I've really just started on the journey within the past two years - if you're counting actual retention and branching out into grammar (Spanish) and kanji (Japanese).

I feel a bit trapped by how distant we are from any little town for a job - much less one of the ones an hour drive one way -even if I am just thinking about a grocery or manufacturing job, I have this drive to 'be there' and 'work hard' that I've been told is too much - I care too much - and I hang on too tightly to things depending on myself to do them with some intense level that others see as 'ridiculous' at times.  I don't know why I'm built this way.  It has to be for something?  Post office seems to have helped because I really like getting the job done and knowing everyone got their mail and packages today.. but there is the vehicle to worry about, and without my own vehicle, I'm only eligible for half the routes I have memorized - and I can memorize like nobody's business... so I just have to get the vehicle part worked out or decide when enough is enough and go back to something a bit more soul-sucking where my .. natural inborn diligence??... is not going to get in the way - that sounds absurd, but it feels like that, and even if I say 'I can tone that down, I can not care so much' it's like saying I'm going to suddenly be a social butterfly, not going to happen no matter how many times I try.  I'm woven out of this strange string.

and the winters have gotten so intense here in the past few years there have been days I could not get into town to work at all and had to call in.  Mark says I take that too seriously - other people would just shrug and say 'oh well' and not consider it.  I look at the jobs and say 'do I even want to take that job if in the winter, a few weeks, I might have to call in?'... Mark sees that as a bad way to think.  I wouldn't even really be thinking, perhaps, about other jobs if my truck wasn't 1.) costing money and still not working and 2.) working and being called for jobs in it and paying the money back so that I can save some next year

I'm not even sure what else I want to say at the moment - it's a bit stressful being a singular adult person sometimes - I wish I was twins.

Yogurt Cake or Yogurt Bread

I made yogurt bread the other day - sort of cake, but tasted like bread

It doubled at least twice it's volume in the oven!

350 degrees, 40 minutes

regular plain not-Greek yogurt

2 large eggs, stirred well into the yogurt

added salt, a few dollops of light cooking-style olive oil and a large swirling of honey, and a few tablespoons full of brown sugar add a lot more brown sugar maybe if you want it 'sweet'.. but it will change the chemistry that happened here

mixed it all up again, it was so smooth with the yogurt compared to making this with butter and milk

added regular white flour, and into the flour well put baking powder AND baking soda all smashed up fine, and then mixed it all up together again, adding flour until it was the consistency I wanted

poured into the baking dish, hesitant because it might expand too much!

let it sit for 10 minutes while the oven preheated

put it in and watched it - it didn't overflow

When it got nice and brown, I took it out

The top texture was a bit like a cheese souffle, slightly rubbery but in a good way, only slightly 'burnt brown butter' tasting

It was great with some maple syrup and apple jelly, and I've eaten it the past few days from the refrigerator container with a mixture of rice and other leftovers.

nicely browned, maybe too brown? anyway, still good

a kanji book test I took on the computer - this is something like 107 kanji including the other few I've obviously added on.  The pink ones were the ones I didn't have answers for or were wrong the first guess.  It's getting better.  I know a few more beyond these as well and will be working to make another list of what I do know to test from.

Friday, October 27, 2023


 Just a thought, and one I've had for a while to make for myself a list - the 'stranger' foods that I keep in a cabinet all to themselves, that only a bit of this and that the other people in the house will even touch.  My diet is quite a bite different than the other two household members, and it always has been.  Esme mostly eats like her father does, but some of the things I make *intending to share* she will eat.  There are a lot of meals I make that are just plain strange anyway - and I don't intend to share that meal, so why not?  Sometimes my cabinet will go down in supplies for a while because everyone eats the other things and due to my upbringing, I feel odd /guilty having food that I'm the only one that eats, but usually - this stuff is not expensive, either.. it's the getting to a place that has it that is half the battle then it's deciding whether, well we're here - let's buy that three dollar thing and have it on hand.


My cabinet:

* next to the items that actually get used regular basis

* bagged dry brown rice, long-grain usually

* flavored chicken and Spanish rices, one cilantro-lime rice bag mixes

* canned coconut milk

* Golden curry medium-hot cube mixes in foil

red curry paste (Thai brand), bottles (I'm out, almost)

cans of black olives (which Esme really likes)

bottle of soy sauce (not usual, but I guess we bought extra, and I keep putting it back there instead of in the sauce/oil/vinegar cabinet because I'll just forget about it again out of 'sight' there)

dried guajillo chiles

dried onion flake

white sesame seeds

seaweed sheets (those little HALO things that come in 80 cent packs)

*peanut butter

*bananas (not in the cabinet, but I eat them often) 

*onions (we use them, not quickly, sort of in spurts - but they need to be around)

*dry roasted peanuts

*bag of green split peas

*bag of yellow split peas

bag of adzuki beans (I got lucky and found them at a store near me!)

small white dried beans from the Amish store last year...

a tinned mackerel in olive oil, at least one

*canned pumpkin

*canned pineapple juice

**dried miso soup with tofu and seaweed (Esme eats this, too) 

a few specialty ramen packages, tonkatsu, soy sauce flavors

canned water chestnuts 

rice noodles

*canned green chiles (mild)

*at least one can of cheap tomato soup

tomato product with hot chiles, green chiles or roasted tomato cans


steel cut or other oats, barley

canned spinach or turnip greens

canned black eyed peas or similar

there's a bag of millet in there right now - because of the place with the adzuki beans

also a bag of French green lentils I've used a few times, same store

regular brown lentils

bag of dried red lentils 

usually at least one of each:

    can of red beans (with chili sauce)

    can of black beans

    can of lima beans

    can of cannellini beans 

    can of mushroom pieces and stems 

    canned tuna

teas: black tea, peppermint tea, green teas, licorice tea, chai mix (minimum of these)

some containers of chicken or beef broth for making other meals

in the freezer : *brown rice flour, and whole wheat flour 

Also in the freezer : *green onions, *kale or bokchoy *peppers *sweet peas kielbasa chopped and bagged

In the fridge : miso soup concentrate (which Esme does not like),* fresh carrots 

thai fish sauce, soy sauce, green olives, sweet relish, wasabi sauce, *mayonnaise

*eggs from very productive chickens, *regular whole milk, *full-fat unsalted butter , a very HOT brick cheese that I eat, American cheese that mostly Mark eats and is good for grilled cheeses, white balls of mozzarella at times that Esme will eat on other things 

Other cabinet :

peanut oil, vegetable oil, olive oil, sesame oil, balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar

Family cabinet : 

whole potatoes, sweet potatoes, regular family canned foods like fruits (oranges, peaches, pineapple, apples, cherries, cranberry sauce), carrots, green beans, corn (which I cannot eat), parboiled rice (which I'd rather eat the brown), and pasta and other usual tomato products that the family would eat, ravioli and spaghetti and chicken noodle soup etc.  Of course family section of the freezer has regular flour, hamburger, chicken (mostly Esme uses) and the occasional frozen pizza


A few of the stranger meals I have made more than once and intend to again : 

tortilla with mashed carrot and sweet relish

red beans with melted American cheese and carrots 

canned pumpkin and lima beans

guajillo chile, tomato, onion and dry roasted peanut sauce on rice

Esme meals I make that she will eat on a regular basis with me:

frozen kielbasa, slow fried onions and peppers, along side scrambled eggs from our own chickens

specialty ramen soup with green onions, shaved carrots, sliced boiled eggs and sometimes pork meat from another meal

flavored rice mix (chicken, Spanish rice) beside canned fruit, carrots and eggs

pasta and sauce

openface shredded pork sandwiches with white mozzarella melted on top

grilled cheese sandwiches and chicken noodle soup

taco salad 

'caesar' salad, with black olives, boiled egg and sometimes white cheese or that mexican melting cheese

Tuesday, October 24, 2023



October has been here, and is nearly gone.  I don't feel lately like I have too much to say, but thought I'd do a little update as I have more to think about today than some days and am not actually asleep or working.  Still just trying to get through every month on the way to the other one.  But, Esme's birthday is coming up, as well... and I'm not even that sure what she wants to do!


I had to replace the front brakes on my mail truck last month, and the fix is *still ongoing* with problems, and I'm still paying on it, to boot.  The other day, the tire was actually *on fire* in my driveway when I got home... well, a spot behind the axle that has a lot of grease on it was on fire with orange flames - but it was highly distressing.  I've had it in to them four or five times trying to get it fixed - but she is an old truck, and does not have anti-lock brakes.. so here we are, trying to 'get her to good'...


In August I started a supplement to try to help my hEDS, and it seemed to work well, but I can't get it around here, and need to order another bottle.  I've been off of it two weeks now.. after being on it for two months.  I do see a difference.  But it was difficult - because while I was on it they also had me working almost every day straight for weeks on end.  I began to wonder what it would have been like without that supplement... if I would even have made it through it.  But I'm just not sure.  The supplement didn't stop the afternoon drag-down that would make me nap.. but it stopped some of the 'revenge muscle' problem I was having, and the intense cravings for strong spice were less.. although the cravings for protein were still there.  Now that I'm off of it I'm covering my food with pepper and putting an entire family's meal portion of curry into a single serving of food again.  But overall, I'm not eating as much anyway (we'll see how the cold weather affects that) and some of that is still to do with my sinuses and that extra 'nowhere place' in my throat that food gets caught in - sometimes I just want coffee and soup for the entire day.


So, it's like that lately.  I'm just bumping along and studying Japanese, Welsh and Spanish, with smatterings of Czech and French.  I've been doing WaniKani for kanji and am up to about 170 kanji, although I don't know the entire 150 for N5 yet.  I tested to A1 in Spanish, which is new.  I did not retest French.  I tried a Czech test and realized just how much I still have to learn there.  DuoLingo did that hearts thing the other month and it has really limited what I do on there - I feel like I'm missing that as a major activity I had been doing - but I don't want to pay money for it, not yet.. although I've been thinking about subscribing to one language thing or another sometime when I can talk myself into affording a month.  


I've been trying not to spend more money, because it is always going somewhere... lately - to this truck fix that is not fixed.  But I'm also trying to work as much as they need me... because I know the $ are always needed later.  As always, I worry that I am not doing enough for Esme, as she is a teenager and doesn't really tell me what she wants - I have to draw it out of her like cobwebs and she is a bit like me, that she will *not want* to make it easier on everyone but then I've been there.. such a hard thing to figure out from both sides.


I've been watching some TV shows in Welsh because our internet is fiber now, and much better without the data limits.  But it's not like I'm suddenly all about the videos all 24-7... another thing to ponder on.  I read the book Tyrannosaur Cavern.  I've been reading this Food Heroes Ramen, Soba & Udon book (I see they have a series).. and just started Rick Riordan's Red Pyramid.   I found a really great way to boil eggs and put them in ramen with green onions and finely shredded carrot for Esme and I, and she actually liked it.  She likes the miso soup packets that are now available again at the store - used to be something I was surprised she liked when she was little.  I learned to make sushi rice and onigiri rice balls and have made those with brown rice nearly every week, and eat them with wasabi, red curry paste, nori sheet and sesame seeds.  


Etre ziti : made directly in a ceramic pie pan, 350 degree oven

Recipe : 2 mashed overripe bananas, 2 eggs beaten, 1/4 cup sugar, salt, bit of milk, then added brown rice flour until it was pancake batter consistency +1 (just a bit more than that), put in oven, about 40 minutes or less... take out and cut into eighths and put up in glass container, has sort of a floppy moist texture but good with peanut butter and so forth.  I eat a lot of brown rice now - trying to avoid wheat and white rice, and I also eat a LOT of peanut butter, mayonnaise, olive oil, olives, cheese and eggs.  Of course, there are vegetables, and we eat pork often and other meats but if I'm cooking what I'm going to eat - it is the above things, and I'm eating the rest with other people to share meals.  

 sushi rice substitute: wash long-grain brown rice, boil as normal (2 times water, bit of salt, bit of rice vinegar in water, raise to boil, lower temp and cover, cook until water absorbed), then while still warm stir in a bit more rice vinegar, white sugar (amount depends on rice) and salt.. let cool down some, press into onigiri balls, with sesame seed and/or nori sheet embedded on top, cool and store in glass container with cover in fridge

The supplement info I read a few months ago said methylated folate was possibly the key, and avoiding folic acid supplements that are overabundant in foods like white rice, breads and pasta.  Other ways to get better folate (more usable by the body) are avocadoes, olives, bananas and eggs.<--ding ding, my diet powerhouses for years already.. but now I have an idea 'why'...  The choline in egg yolks is probably something I've been making extra use of for years - I do this thing where I cook the whites to 'just' congealed and keep the yolks runny, add all the heavy fat-soluble spices to the yolks (paprika, turmeric, black pepper) and eat what someone else would consider 'too spicy to live' with relish.

Friday, September 15, 2023


 My usual goto language program, DuoLingo, disappointed me a little in upgrading my account to this 'hearts' system - which punishes you for making mistakes.. which is definitely NOT the best way to learn a language.  All of the programs that I have really learned from take the 'make lots of mistakes, we'll tell you they're wrong - but then give you opportunity to fix it and/or learn the right answer'.  The guy from Say Something in Welsh has that as his mantra ' make lots of mistakes, it means you're learning!'...

Anyway, I was using DuoLingo less, because of this.  But, because it is so easy to use and switch langauges, I was still using it daily.  But now I had all this extra TIME on my hands... so I started branching out into learning Kanji on WaniKani and Kanshudo and several other places, and picked back up my LingQ (free version) and Transparent Languages (free from my library card).  Our internet access has improved, so I also began watching a lot more Youtube videos, which feels VERY odd.. even to the point that when I am reading recipes now I am not certain if I saw a series of related process pictures or saw a video on the technique.  In the past - I would have known I didn't  click on a video, because they would load so VERY slow, but now, my brain is tricking me!

I did a little more art recently:

'Ananas' (rabbit with pineapple)
little 9 inch by 12 inch painting the other night

a slightly off attempt to sketch a photograph I saw - but it was fun and I didn't have to get up from my desk for any colors

I was going to lay down to sleep last night and I felt the twinge : If I sketched on a piece of paper right now, and I mean RIGHT NOW, there might be something good there.  Do I want to see whatever it might reveal to me?  Yes, I guess I do.  We can try.  (That is the kind of discussion I have with this pre-lingual half of my brain that this type of art comes from).... so I dashed a few ink lines down on paper and began grabbing pencil after pencil to make the right colors.  I am not entirely certain what it says -something about planting seeds (bird beak and cat's paws) and sharing hearts and vision to rise and rebirth / creation (the symbol on the cat's back)

With the languages, I have improved in Japanese so very much the past two weeks - dreaming in it, reading things on random Pinterest and other images that come up with hiragana and kanji in them - I recognize things now!   I opened up my StarDew Valley game in Japanese - and a lot of it is still 'noise' looking, not reading really just pressing enter and going on, if I stop and really look hard at it I can pick out hiragana and start to recognize a word or two when I think about the sounds.. but some of it is actually leaping out at me now like -oh, that is the sign for bamboo - look that sewer sign, it actually says 'below, water, entrance' etc etc..   With that kind of progress I am - and it is a big deal - thinking of paying the small monthly fee to go further in WaniKani this month.  The Spanish site I was using for grammar wants twice that and I don't use it that much.. but it has improved my Spanish grammar quite a bit in the time it was free to me.  I will have to think further on that one.

I have done a little more French comprehension listening and tipped back into doing French today on DuoLingo even though my spelling is so bad that I trip the hearts system before I even finish 50 XP.  I can't tell my cherchant from my certant sometimes, dyslexia type things I know what I want to type but another word comes out or I miss an 'a' as an 'e' etc etc.  I did my Japanese on WaniKani and expect to do some more later - but I have a feed store run to push myself into going and getting done.

I have had less postal work this week and it looks like the same type of schedule next week - I hope it is just the season.  But I am winding into two days of being on after five off, so I want to keep my head in a good place and not worry too much about it.

Thursday, August 03, 2023

trio of paintings


a trio of paintings from this year, none of them planned out, painting for the sake of painting something and following the 'journey' until the painting seems done

Interesting note : There is a reference between the top painting and the bottom left one with the hillside shape and the red square.  There is some sort of reference going on with the window shapes on the right bottom painting and the half-round doorway top to the painting on the left....


Top painting : The Bright Path, January 2023

Left painting : Awake from Hibernation, June 2023

Right painting : Bright Windows, July 2023 (finished in the wee hours of August 1st, but really.. that doesn't cover the weeks of work before that very well)



Friday, July 28, 2023

Bright Windows, in progress


This is the second stage of this painting, more to do.. especially the trio of blues in the top left corner - I think that has to change.

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

keeping at it

 I felt like I got a lot of things done today.  Nothing big to brag about, just a lot of little things that came on a day after three or four days 'on' duty, and then a day off - and I know tomorrow is a day 'on' again... so today would have been so easy not to do the things.

But we got out and did them.

Went to the flea market in the morning, bought vegetables, and then picked up the few groceries on the way home.  Chopped up and put all the peppers I bought in the freezer, reorganized what is in there and planned tonight's dinner from the leftovers that needed to be used.  Fed chickens, and cats, and goats and dogs and us, of course.  Did laundry.  Watered the garden and checked a few of the peppers of our own and the tomatoes.  Read a little of my novel from the library (it's so 'standard' and 'silly' at the same time, but hey, it's a book), and did a little work on my next crochet market bag that is in the works.  And Esme and I worked on some of the adulting skills she needs to practice.

And I bopped around on languages, playing 'language roulette' spin the wheel and do one or two lessons of whatever came up out of the 24 languages.  So I've done Finnish, Catalan, Haitian Creole, Norwegian, Chinese, Japanese, Ukrainian, Romanian and German that I can remember at the is a great 'game' to make sure your brain is remembering everything, and to feel the 'slots click into place' each time you switch over. 


 I liked that the other day when doing the package route as well - it's one of the things I really like about postal delivery, feeling my brain work the invisible maps 'in real time' without GPS, finding my way between two points, I guess: taxi-cab brain?  The package route does not follow in order like the regular mail route does, it hops around in the computer's 'most efficient route' but has no directions between them (that's another set of paper sheets and hey, it's a lot of paper and trying to read small type that I *mostly* do not need, so I don't even have them print that one out for me).  I have noted to myself again that I really like that 'I am here, it wants me WHERE?... ok, wait, routing (in my brain only), routing... oh yes, I see it now, (image appears in brain like a little jagged line running across the world, orienting me in a direction and I 'feel' like swaying motion, the way I am going to need to go and what I will need to do to get there - see snippets of what I am knowing is on the way.. it's so hard to describe and very delicious to experience...

and that is enough waxing about that, but really, I enjoy that more than I should maybe.  If I drove an actual taxi-cab in rush hour traffic, it would probably lose it's shine.

speaking of shine

Wrote this little poem (or adapted it, at least) about Lyffan

(insert picture here when internet is cooperating)

Tiger in the Hallway


Tygre, Tygre, burning bright

in the hallway, in the night

stalking stealthy, claws so dear

around my ankle, to appear

She was mugging Esme so much tonight after we fed her some tuna.  She got up on her chest while she was reading and would not move - sat there saying 'yes, I approve human, stay right here, forever'... I went in to give Esme some laundry and she said 'rescue me, please!' and she really didn't want to leave - she had decided to park herself there and although she's not a large cat, she is one that you never know when she'll 'go explody' as Mark says...

Thursday, July 20, 2023



catch up on progress for year, by Duolingo Crowns 

# July 20 vs / #winter solstice 2022

French            464  / 417

Welsh            370  / 360

Spanish         294  / 243

Czech             169  / 160

Romanian     149  / 144

Portuguese     111  / 89

Italian             91  / 83

Japanese         77  / 65

Greek             72  / 61

German         79  / 60

Finnish         70  / 62

Norwegian     67  / 47

Swedish         43  / 43

Irish             51  /  51

Turkish         39  / 38

Catalan         34  / 23 * (learning via Spanish language)

Polish             30  / 30

Hungarian     26  / 21

Ukrainian     19   / 0 (began April)

Guarani         6  / 0 (began April) * (learning via Spanish language)

Chinese         4  / 0 (began July)


external : Latvian, working on just a little of it here and there