Saturday, May 18, 2024

last clock for May


that makes five language clocks for May, and a good variety of work days and non work days   I have another work day tomorrow, and then some family is coming in, while I still have work shifts, so next week will be very non-routine

I segued to doing Russian on busuu instead of French, and have continued doing Spanish on my mobile, although I can 'taste' that I am ignoring Romanian and Czech a lot  Still did the French crossword on linguno and really enjoyed it - although I had to have translate open so I could get the accent marks in the words that I knew were right, but couldn't 'see' in my mind's eye which letters had accents.

Off to bed soon, get as much sleep as I can for tomorrow's work, lots more packages waiting to be delivered.

Friday, May 17, 2024

branching out

bit of branching out AND narrowing in?  Is that possible?  I have been visiting two new sites besides the green owl - and and have found good resources on both of them - I also found a bunch of pinterest and flickr files for French children's books, reading primers and poetry and have been working through those a page at a time.  

I worked at copying some poetry, focused on accents and made sure I looked up every word that was unfamiliar in the children's primer - they definitely use a different set of vocabulary, and also, the primers looked like they were from 40 years ago, so there is that, as well.  Still browsing on Bulgarianpod101 and using Clozemaster for exploring words and practicing listening.

rugit 'roars' (roars, tiger)

tromphe 'trunk' (elephant)

cuveau (vat, basket, trough?)

caoutchouc (rubber)

Mark made me some new magnets for my whiteboard, and I made a few more yesterday as well out of some mosaic tiles.  When I put up my vocab review and words that I need to pay attention to - I like to have enough magnets to move them around some.  I write on the board often, as well - but sometimes I do want to write something down and just shuffle it away and put it up again later.

3d printed with rare earth magnets tapped into the hole in the bottom

Spanish vocab list from - I did Spanish on my mobile app as well today while I waited for packages to be sorted.

I'm expecting a harder day tomorrow, so headed to try to sleep early.

Thursday, May 16, 2024


'white ball milkweed' : Asclepius variegata, growing in a local creek area



daylilies in my garden

Still doing the language clock thing, I'll probably do it for just a few more days again so I have five clocks to compare to - even without really thinking about it, I'm often separating repetitions of the same language by 6 or 12 hours... - I've found a new site for French listening, accent mark stress and crosswords - it is and I want to remember it to go back for all of that 

I did some extra French translation today, and watched several more videos, worked on vocab in Spanish and Bulgarian, and the Hindi alphabet - not to mention garden, laundry, baking, made candy to put in freezer, fed animals, washed, dried and sorted laundry and ALSO did feed store and grocery shopping...and then Esme's school called and said she would fail a final if she didn't show up just right then (and we were in the checkout lane at the grocery) - so, it's really really been a day, even without postal route to do

 and... the day started at 4 am, yes - it really did.. because the dogs were very convinced my floor fan beginning to squeak was the goat crying in distress outside in the fence, and they kept going in and out and in and out.. (why does everyone else sleep through that? is my waking up and catering to them just mom instincts?)  and I wanted a nap again at 6, but instead I made breakfast and started laundry and by then I was awake and everyone else was awake soon after, and we did our town run


 yesterday was a very long day, with almost ten hours of driving out on a route - not the one I had been assigned to at the start of the day, but an emergency situation where I had to pick it up for someone else - and another carrier came after their route and helped me with the last half hour of it, which would have been another hour otherwise, so that helped some...  Esme had her wildlife competition for the year, she placed seventh in the region for high schoolers, and that makes a wrap for this school year

As I was driving, sans radio, because it was all unfamiliar and I didn't know where the next thing was most of the time - thoughts came to me that I had forgotten most of the Czech words for clothing, although I remembered them for French (of course) and Spanish

So here:

and this:

vocabulary : Welsh, French, Spanish, Czech

shirt : crys, chemise, camisa, košile

-----dw'in hoffi'r crys

-----j'aime la chemise

-----quiero la camisa

------líbí se mi tato košile

shoes : esgidiau, chaussures, zapatos, boty

    esgid ( singular), chaussure, zapato, bota

pants : pants, pantalon, pantalones, kalhoty

jeans : jins, jeans, vaqueros, džíny

socks : hosan (sanau, hosanau(singular))

    chaussettes, (chaussette (singular))

    calcetines (medias), (calcetin, media (singular))

    ponožky (ponožka (singular))

hat : het, chapeau, sombrero, klobouk

dress : ffrog, robe, vestido, šaty

coat : cot, manteau, abrigo, kabat 

clothes : dillad, vetements, ropa, oblečení


Yesterday's language clock, with the split sleep, and a little bit of Spanish (on my mobile) put in during my mandatory ten minute lunch break

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

language clock



this is one of the things I do sometimes to get an idea of how I am using my time in languages, and spaced repetition (golden time, as they call it, in several language learning platforms)   Even before I really figured out what that was - I noticed I WAS using that method, of separating things out by 6, 12 or 24 hours  I really do much better spacing it out like that than trying to go all one language or in really large blocks - sometimes 5 to 10 minutes is enough to 'make my ears smoke' - especially in Spanish and Catalan, and other times I can work for a half hour or more and not feel overwhelmed

so when they say I could really be fluent if I focused on just one language?  No, I don't think so.. I think I'd get so overwhelmed and swimming with multiple things in the one language that I would stop and not go back to it for days - which, I do sometimes... but since I'm rotating through 10 to 15 languages, I'm never static or frustrated for very long - I just go to other content, and then bounce back when I feel I'm ready, whether that is 6 hours later, or three days, or even a few months  And other languages REALLY help me understand more - I was studying Romanian when I tried to learn Spanish, (and already A2 in French) and it was so VERY hard... and then I tried to learn some Portuguese, and bounced in a little Italian, and dove deep into Catalan, and then came back to Spanish and said 'Oh - there's MORE room for this, in the right places now, in my head - and it's not mixing with the French so badly I can't keep them separate'  That is definitely a synesthete thing


of course, languages isn't the only thing I do all day - although, looking at that clock, you'd wonder maybe?  I've gotten little girl off to school, worked driving postal route a few hours, came home and did some laundry, cooked dinner etc.. but this is a good example of how I smatter / scatter languages throughout the day and make progress over time, and this is three years into my 'goal' so it is not a passing fad.  I continue to recognize more and more in many foreign languages when I watch videos, television and movies.

I also did an audio test in French during that larger block, and came out with 80% recognition of the words.  I watched a children's video in Latvian, and did some more clozemaster in Bulgarian - all the rest was on my two Duolingo profiles (one mobile)


Catalan meses : Surface practice with sound, DuoLingo learning from Spanish













I'm in that 6:30 pm block right now doing Czech grammar on the whiteboard - mostly just writing down sentences from Duolingo for reinforcement of the grammar topics I know I'm weak on - then I can look at them all together

Thursday, May 09, 2024

language update

a flashback to 2007, almost the same time, in May, getting a sign ready for a flea market booth

Mark and one of our dogs, Kelba, also from maybe July 2007, getting the tires changed on our truck in town


 Henry and Irene on the day Esme was born, in the hospital room


It rained and had lightning last night, big storms to the north of us had tornadoes

We got a lot of rain, but not so much the road was too muddy.

 Esme has one week left of school, and her wildlife competition.  She said there is a Geometry test she is dreading, but not so much on the rest. 

French         L 25 XP 49867 19867 XP beyond Level 25
Welsh             L 24 XP 29758 +242 XP to next level
Spanish          L 23 XP 24570 +1430 XP to next level
Japanese         L 19 XP 14335 +665 XP to next level
Czech             L 19 XP 13581 +1419 XP to next level
Romanian         L 17 XP 11143 +857 XP to next level
Portuguese      L 16 XP 9632 +868 XP to next level
Italian             L 15 XP 7570 +1430 XP to next level
Greek             L 14 XP 6927 +573 XP to next level
German            L 14 XP 6041 +1459 XP to next level
Finnish             L 13 XP 5515 +485 XP to next level
Catalan (es)     L 12 XP 3953 +947 XP to next level
Swedish             L 11 XP 3689 +211 XP to next level
Norwegian         L 11 XP 3097 +803 XP to next level
Spanish (fr)         L 11 XP 3025 +875 XP to next level
Hungarian         L 10 XP 2438 +562 XP to next level
Ukrainian          L 10 XP 2288 +712 XP to next level
Irish                  L 9 XP 2174 +76 XP to next level
Turkish              L 9 XP 2044 +206 XP to next level
Polish                 L 9 XP 1798 +452 XP to next level
Chinese              L 8 XP 1446 +204 XP to next level
Russian                L 8 XP 1180 +470 XP to next level
Dutch                     L 7 XP 998 +127 XP to next level
Hindi                     L 7 XP 917 +208 XP to next level

 and Duolingo doesn't have Bulgarian or Latvian, but I've been working on little bits here and there - the Bulgarian is close to Czech and Russian, and I am going to work a bit more on the Russian just to familiarize myself with the Cyrillic characters more for studying on the separate Bulgarian site

-- got distracted, headed back to working on that - although it is also one of those mornings where I am hungry but don't want food, so thinking on that, will probably have to find some remedy to that with bread and butter or oatmeal

that other language site I like to go to is 'ba ba dum' I keep forgetting exactly and took me a few minutes to get to it today.  I am looking at BulgarianPod101 and doing some of the free lessons there, and then comparing my Czech and Russian language lessons to Google Translate and listening to what the same words are in Bulgarian and writing them down.  I have a Bulgarian phrasebook from a while back but I have to find it

Latvian : children's show 'Tutas Lietas' and children's website 'bern istaba'

Tuesday, May 07, 2024

gardens and plants


Blue Angel hosta (and Frances Miller, in the middle)

 more crocheting projects while watching films or reading books - did a few more bags, and four rugs (for our own house) and am working on a sort of lap blanket in grey stripes with yellows and oranges

front bed full of greens, weeded some and planted in the empty places 

there is : hamburg parsley, green onions, kale, lettuce and radishes growing right now - every few days or so I harvest what won't hurt the plants too much, and freeze what I don't use  There is more in the main garden as well, but not any more than this


chickens, sapphire gem, cinnamon queen, olive eggers and maybe an americauna


wild pink dog rose we took cutting off out of the woods (during that electrical power lines project where they tore a bunch up in the ditch) - there is a white one too, usually, not sure if I've missed it or it hasn't started yet -- these are in our garden with the hosta now to replace the domestic pink rose that died off

there is a pink 'trailing confederate rose' as well that I took a cutting off out of a ditch around Trezevant, TN when I did mail out there - it is just starting to get buds ready to open, but not yet  Those roses are very tightly packed little heads

 commelina communis (dayflower) that blooms all over this time of year by our water hydrants

Sweetie dog

Mark's coleus, grown from seed

and dragonwing begonias (Rex line)

Monday, May 06, 2024

more rain and cats and bits


bit of here and there hobby farm rant - some day I will want to come back and read it all, I know
Our elderly tortoiseshell, Minion, does not like the rainy weather at all - and the chill that comes with it.  She also will not stay inside for long unless she is bundled up on top of someone, one of us, or the big Manx boy, Loki.  They curled in the carrier tray for my mail truck today, that I need to get out there - but I also feel it would be good to vacuum the truck or at least clean it a little before I go to the work of carrying this back out there (sans cat) and putting it back in.

I am still hoping to return to the book I was reading - after finishing some Romanian, Czech and a good swath of the remaining Welsh lessons on Duolingo.  We do need to go get some groceries though - and everything has gotten so expensive - this is an example of how a former programmer, who is not that good at calculation, does the shopping list.  Of course, Mark doesn't like it when I do this - because we always spend more than the allotted amounts, but I do it anyway, because I need to feel I have a handle on what the costs are and what we are using.. and then I see how much above that we tend to spend on snacks et al...

Heh, and there is 'American Cheese' and there is 'cheese' .. the type we cut up and add to the pizzas to make them actually stretch out to be a full meal.  


budget geekery post trip breakdown by cost 

the meat in that trip will probably last for a long time, as we freeze it and then parcel it out as needed until it is gone - and today, it was fairly gone, one third of the meat was regular price, and the rest of the 2/3 of it was clearance meat that we will freeze and make multiple meals out of


When I cook for myself it uses up things that are already in the cupboard not on this list - that only get replenished once in a while, like canned beans, dry split peas, rice, oatmeal etc.. and garden greens and peppers and zucchini (some from garden, some from farmer's market) that I freeze and should use more of but sometimes it sits there forever.  A really common meal for Esme and I is a rice dish, peppers and onions and 'other veg' and a few eggs.  Sometimes I buy a kielbasa and cut it up in the freezer and add it to those meals.  She has gotten to liking a salad of lettuce, tomatoes and black olives with a rice dish on the side maybe in a tortilla.  We were making ramen bowls with soft boiled eggs and extra veg in it for a bit but for summer now we haven't done that in a little while.

We also all eat eggs from our chickens several times a week and I use them for baking, and give extras to dogs, which they enjoy immensely.  We will get a slab of bacon once in a while and cook that up with eggs, or make toasted egg sandwiches for everyone.  Sometimes, I will make pancakes from scratch to go with scrambled eggs.  Pancakes are one thing I have always done well but it takes time to go about it properly.




(and Minerva, and Daphne dog, as well...)

The chicken feed is about 15.00 per week or so -we get it from an Amish store now because the goat feed we got from the co-op was bad once, solidified and the goat would not eat it, and then we gave it to the chickens with their chicken feed (which was co-op and seemed okay) but one of them died.. and we couldn't tell if it was the bad feed or what... so we started getting it from this other place, and it smells fresher and everybody eats it with gusto compared to 'oh, yay.... food' from the other supplier.  We supplement the chicken feed with lots of weeds, lespedeza, chickweed, lambs-quarters, clover, dandelion and whatever those huge nettle-looking things are that don't have any spikes... and a bit of the goat's hay (her other food is pellets of alfalfa'/oats which are 10.00 about every two weeks or more.. the dogs have a bag of food that is 35.00 every three weeks or so, but they eat eggs and whatever we happen to be eating they get whatever we don't put up for leftovers).   

blind goat, Melody - with Loki cat, outside beneath a tree in the fenced yard

(we adopted her from a farm because she had gone blind and needed bottle feeding.  The owner could not care for her with all the other animals to take care of, and now she lives here with our dogs and cats and comes inside for pellets and a brush down, sleep on the floor with the dogs a bit, and then go back out to the yard - she has a dog igloo she sleeps in and sometimes the cats join her there for company)

I feed the cats dry food (about 15.00 every three weeks) but they also go through one stack of tuna (1 can every 2 days) because the dry food alone was causing skin problems for our elderly cat.  The 'for cats' wet foods they don't like much, so it isn't worth it to buy it when we can buy a cheap brand of tuna and also have that for our own food if we don't use it for them.  I was feeding them a bit of egg every night as well (Cooked) but the elderly cat got where she left it every time so I make sure she gets the wettest bits of the tuna can and her dry food and that has done much better for her.  I should still make the egg for the two younger kittens though, as they ate it and had no issue.  

The Manxes are siblings, from barn-cat lines, and fixed at a young age, and are inside-outside cats catching mice on the property.  We had hoped that Minion, the elderly tortoiseshell cat (she's 15 now!) would teach them 'the ropes' and she has.  She has a touchy relationship with Lyffan, the female cat, but they do sometimes lick each other's head.. it just ends in hissing and 'go to your side of the room'.. but Minion and Loki (the boy cat) are often curled up together - she uses him as a hot water bottle.

They love to present mice, moles, voles, even grasshoppers to us, and spend a lot of time sitting watching holes or even under the doorway of the garage etc.. I saw Lyffan catching small frogs yesterday, which is funny because her name means 'toad' in Welsh (lyffant, actually).  They are doing well and Loki especially doesn't seem to be lacking for any calories at all.. most often you can find him lying on some patch of floor holding it down, in between mouse hunts outside.  Lyffan goes in her spats, between not wanting to come in except for meals and then running right back outside, to parking herself on Esme's dresser like the Queen of Sheba and spending half the night with her, or with me, as a blanket on my feet..  Esme can pick Lyffan up and walk around with her, something she doesn't like anyone else to do.  She will go from running a little skinny to looking like a round poofball, which follows suit with all the other Manxes we've had before.  The vet said she had an extremely short spine, no tail AT ALL, and sometimes we know that can give them digestive problems, so we keep an eye on that.

Sunday, May 05, 2024


 bits, raw material - it's been a long weekend and I've been very tired - but was talking to someone at work about anxiety attacks, and how yes, of course when you have one you want it to stop, but take the other half of the coin that it is telling you something - something that needs to be fixed (although, sometimes honestly you have to accept what cannot be fixed and fix what can- and that is another discussion)... and she should think on if she wants the anxiety attack to go away (of course) or to find out, like unfolding origami, what is at the heart of them, as the attack is a symptom, and it will lessen once the source has been worked on...  suggested journalling (well, I almost did, then talked about something I had written, and SHE suggested she could journal, which is even better) and writing down the date, and looking back at it at regular intervals, to sort 


also: the date on the writing is important, because things change, and when you read it again you might 'feel yourself tugging the rope from the other side'.. sort of like pulling a rope that is in a hole, and feeling a tug on it from the other side, and that is you pulling as well, and eventually, you figure out what the hole is - but it's never easy to see it from one side or the other, and only by doing this a lot, will that help develop some sort of foresight and understanding that you don't get any other way


Pull the rope from both sides
Gently if you must
But do not let loose
It is only by pulling threads
Back and forth across time
That we weave any cloth
That will support the weight
Of all that is this life

The other thing I told her - that I have to think harder on, because we had already discussed the origami thing - is that what is the root of the thing that makes her wake up or even just be sitting and suddenly the anxiety swoops down on her - journalling might help track that - really thinking in the moment might... and it might not... but she has had a lot of changes, seen people around her have problems, and one of them passed on - and other worries with her car and who knows, and had to go ahead alone sometimes when she was in the middle of them and figure out what to do... 
I told her that one thing to keep in mind - on the topic of journalling, and seeing who you were then, what has changed, and where you want to go etc..
We aren't supposed to stay the same, none of us are, we are - and this might sound syrupy (but think about it) - we are meant to be ever-expanding butterflies'  always changing, that is what being a human really is...

 a drawing I made a few years ago, framed, put in the gallery for a while, and it didn't sell - had it on a shelf here and decided to put it up in the gap under the shelf where the cabinet had stood, as I can see that from my desk chair and also first thing I get out of bed in the morning... so it is a very good 'real estate' for putting something up that I put work into - and presentation as well - and now I want to have out where I can see it
For myself today not much - ran route yesterday and packages today -  have been very tired the past two days with overcast weather and I have not stepped harder on the cleaning I started - but I did a lot with that, and do plan to return some to it... this next week will not be too hard but it will not have a long stretch of open days in it, either - up and down, although we will need to get groceries one of these days as well, we've been using up leftover things.  Esme and Mark made fudge this afternoon.  I've been going to bed as early as possible trying to find a way to get enough sleep - as it seems I want to sleep the hardest between 4 and 7 am, and I need to be up at 5:30... so maybe that will kick over if I just keep trying.
About to make Esme some dinner and watch a bit of TV with Mark, throw the laundry over to the dryer and head to bed early again. 

Language : So much Welsh (at advanced level), bit German, Czech and Romanian

Friday, May 03, 2024

soup and rain and cats


It is a rainy day out, slightly cold compared to the sunny days we've had recently

Minion (the tortoiseshell) is taking advantage of Loki (boy Manx) having such a warm fuzzy belly

bit of soup: sort of like french onion soup, but not - and a bit spicy
chicken broth, oliveoil, black pepper, oregano, salt, celery seed, whole chopped onion, one carrot thinly sliced, handful of (plain brown) lentils and handful of green peas, one deseeded dried guajilio pepper (sweet paprika nearly, not very hot), a small piece of bacon from the fridge cut up fine, bit of kale, cook until the lentils and carrots are soft, run immersion blender in pot
I'm reading two books right now:  
How to Find Love in a Bookshop, by Veronica Henry (library, online)
and 'Lessons in Chemistry' by Bonnie Garmus (physical book, bought at library sale for a dollar)
but the rainy weather is making it difficult to keep reading...
so I have eaten some soup and poured the rest up in a jar for keeping in the fridge
and now I am going to nap a bit 

This morning : Welsh (so much Welsh the past few days), Romanian, Chinese, Czech  - I don't believe it at all when it says I am pronouncing the Chinese properly.  I like the little children's poems I've been finding in Czech and when I finally - FINALLY (it takes so long) - finish these advanced Welsh lessons then I should go back to the grammar work I was doing on Czech

Thursday, May 02, 2024

bits and pieces

If all you can do is bits and pieces, with your energy, with your time, with the tools you have right now available to you - do some bits and pieces towards making a whole...  Didn't sleep well, had hodge-podge dreams that, even though they really didn't seem to be saying anything in particular, the main theme was that I feel like I don't really know what I'm doing and when other people seem to know exactly what they're doing - I don't see the point.



Some of my desk creatures on a high shelf I moved them to while I dusted yesterday, looks like they are peering down at me from sitting in my desk chair here

poem grumble

Four AM

I have been robbed of sleep again

by dreams of selling purple flashcards

and software applications and paperwork

in a little store – late to get out,

dragging a vehicle up a snowy hill

it would not go up under it’s own power

parking it oh so carefully, tucked between others

in order to get in line for dinner in fancy dress

in the middle of a lumberyard canopy

and yet no one else seemed to get the irony

and continued eating their linguine

in tuxedos and satin dresses

at little placard-graced tables

set up so gracefully on the smooth concrete

alongside the marine plywood sheets

so now, fully awake, unable to continue dreaming

I make multiple trips to the microwave

to heat midnight coffee, barely grown cold

and I ponder, I ponder so many things

And today, I'm doing bits and pieces all day, but it is adding up.  Ugh.  more cleaning - I can only do so much vacuuming before 1.) the limit of the hose really upsets me and 2.) I start to wheeze with some sort of asthma reaction because I'm so close to the floor with it.. it is what it is.

Also did some weeding out in the garden, repotted a plant and started cuttings from it, planted a few seeds, threw some scraps in with some chicken broth (tomatoes and zucch from freezer, carrots from fridge, lentils from cupboard, kale from garden, some of the seasoning packet I've been meaning to use for 'chicken parmesan' stirfry) and now letting that cool down so I can eat some with some bread for lunch/dinner

washed French lentils, 2 carrots, peeled and chopped, three large leaves of kale, washed and chopped, 1 small zucchini (was in the freezer), chicken broth, seasonings, slow simmered in the oven

A mystery seed, some brassica, kale? mustard?  I'm not sure, but it's in a place I can look for it now and it will get watered with the kale, radish and onions.  The poor little rose hip got thrown out.

Did a few more rows on the grey and orange blanket, while I waited for Duolingo to reinstall on my phone.  Pecking away at a high level Welsh section on my computer trying to get the spelling right for political and religious terms **facepalm**  and catching up on Spanish on the phone app after it finally let me back in.

Wednesday, May 01, 2024

where the cabinet was


oh, the bits...  this had been a cabinet that had been there, screwed to the wall and full of flotsam, since Esme was a baby - it used to hold her baby clothes, once upon a time....  and today I demolished it with my vacuum cleaner, well.. 'our' vacuum cleaner because I really don't like the thing, but it seems to be the style we always end up with *sigh*  

Other bits : doing Welsh on the whiteboard, heading up some of the grammar and spelling mistakes both that I keep making.  Also, now trying to find places to put the things (many of them keepsakes) that had been in that cabinet, regular cleaning and this 'advanced cleaning'.. that other shelf is also screwed to the wall, but intact, and I can never clean behind it adequately and so often don't try too hard *sad* but there had been a flight of carpenter ants that came through a crack in the wall right THERE and fell down to the floor under the cabinet, and I was trying to pull it out just enough to clean behind/under it.. and it was screwed to the wall until it WASN't... and then the plastic bits actually shattered, so it is off to the curb (which here means the dump, eventually, after it sits in the garage for a week or so)

I should make more madeleines - but I got into this, and I'll probably skip it today and just keep cleaning some odd things, doing language, and then clean myself up and make dinner instead.

Here is a bag I made while we watched the Librarians this week - it was meant to be a rug and it had so many joins I put them all on the inside and made it a bag for carrying apples and peppers and soforth  - I'm also working on a blanket sort thing in orange and grey with a yellow stripe in it.  I really didn't like the yellow when I first put it on, then it got softened by the other colors again, and I like it a lot.