Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Sealed pot

I did open my sealed pot last year but if I recall correctly, I just took about twenty-five euro out of it and put the rest back in. I've had another year of mostly forgetting about it, to be honest, but I opened it up and counted it yesterday. I had even added a couple of notes at some stage. Total: €83.06. Not bad really. I'm heading to the craft fair at the RDS in Dublin in a couple of days and will be keeping an eye out for something beautiful that I otherwise wouldn't get for myself. I'm not in debt anymore but the trapped feeling does resurface from time to time. It's nice to have an amount set aside that can be just spent without agonising over whether it would be the better to save it or use it for something practical.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

New table

After living with a 60cmx90cm table that I bought second-hand for £6 (yes, pounds, that'll give you an idea of how old it is - I think it must have been late 1999) as my only table for the last two and a half years, I finally had some money that wasn't desperately needed elsewhere and spent some time driving myself mad looking at hundreds of tables to find one I liked. After a disappointing time at Ikea a few months after moving here, I had kind of put the whole thing on hold. Starting to search again in the last few months, there were a lot that I did like but unfortunately they mostly seemed to come with pricetags in the several thousands of euro range, which was just a bit more than I had available.  However, I finally did see something that was a little bit unusual and a good price and after taking a photo and thinking about it for a couple of weeks, I went for it. After waiting and waiting (and spending some time looking for a rug, but that's an even more difficult thing to choose than a table!) it was finally delivered on Friday. I paid the extra for delivery and assembly but got a deal on a combined cost for those two because I'd been having a nice chat with the woman who was serving me. And she had a lovely holiday in Ireland once.

It did actually come with those little felt things to put on the legs so I'm not too bothered anymore about not having found a rug on time. I think I will get one eventually though, as the colour of the table really doesn't go with the floor. Glad I didn't think of that though because I do like this table, even if it is nothing at all like I would have described if you had asked me what I was looking for. Given that I will probably not live in this apartment for the rest of my life, it's no harm to not have chosen a table just to match or complement the floor here.

Just a quick snap I took after it was assembled - have given up even pretending to mean to take good photos
It's not quite right in that position and I have since moved it around to face the other way. However, that means that it's pushed up against the dresser (which I still haven't gotten around to painting red). I'll have to do some furniture tetris soon but for now, it's fine. I hurt my back somehow a week or so ago and am not supposed to be doing any heavy lifting for at least one more week. I think I'll end up moving the couch back around to fit under the window (this was when I moved it from that position, and this is from when it was there before - still need to get rid of that chair but hoping my sister will take it), move the dresser to the wall opposite where it is now and the tallboy that's currently there down close to the couch on the other side (just about where the wooden chair is).

I currently have three chairs and one of them doesn't match the table at all either. The other two are black (I've just bought another one of the black one you can see on the right-hand side of the picture above) so while they don't really match, they don't really clash either. I'll have to have a think about that at a later date. For now, I have those three chairs and also have three stools, which is more than enough if I decide to invite people over. The table is 160cm long but can expand out to 210cm - so it's a teensy bit bigger than what I had decided was my maximum of 150cm but what can I say? I just really like it and am so happy to have a proper sized table again. 

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Almond, lime and chickpea curry with lots of veggies

Right, this whole A-Z thing is standing in the way of me blogging now, so I'm abandoning it for now. In the meantime, here's a recipe for a curry I made last week. I got the basic recipe from the Instagram stories of a guy called Bressie (musician and mental health advocate in Ireland, among other things) and then realised it had almost no vegetables in it. Since I am trying to increase the amount of veg I eat, I went ahead and added a load of them, only finding out during the week from my dietician that (for my weightloss purposes) sweet potatoes are considered to be carbs rather than veg. Same for chickpeas and lentils, although I knew that from having asked a couple of weeks ago. They are definitely "better" carbs, but nonetheless carbs. Oh well.

For most of the winter, I'm planning to cook and eat mostly soups and stews, and lentils and chickpeas will form the bulk of the carb part of my diet in that time. So, here's the recipe. It's very tasty and I will definitely be using it as the basis for more curries from now on. I doubled up on some ingredients to compensate for adding more veg.

2 tins chickpeas (I'll go back to using cooked dried ones at some stage but for now, tins are a big help)
1 tin chopped tomatoes (I used 1 tin and 1 carton of passata)
1 cup of whole, blanched almonds (1 just used most of a 150g packet - there's about 50g left)
Juice of 2 limes (I used a bottle of pure juice and threw in the equivalent of the juice of 4 limes)
1 onion (I used 1 large and 1 small)
3 cloves of garlic (I used minced garlic from a jar, 2 good heaped teaspoons)
1 red chilli
Coconut milk (the list of ingredients didn't actually list this so I just added a small tin)

Spices (I used 2 teaspoons each, the original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of each)
Ground cumin
Ground coriander
Ground ginger
Paprika (I used a mild smoked one)

I also added in a large sweet potato (peeled and diced into big chunks), a large carrot (sliced), a leek (sliced) and a 100g packet of baby spinach leaves.

Saute onion, garlic, chilli and spices. Add chickpeas. Add coconut milk. Add tomatoes. Then almonds and lime juice. Bring to boil and simmer for fifteen to twenty minutes.

I didn't do that. I just threw everything into the slow cooker, topped it up with enough water to cover everything and cooked the lot on low for about eight hours. Really tasty, really filling and just nicely spicy.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018


Can I get away with "incredible" as my word beginning with "i"? As in, isn't it incredible that it has taken me more than six months to come up with a post for "i"? And in fact, you could add more incredible to the feeling I have right at this moment because I am simply waiting to go to choir in an hour and am not rushing around to try and get something done beforehand. No translations to finish or errands to run. It's actually a bit of a strange feeling. Uncommon for me these days. But nice. Nice enough that I will for now forget about the fact that if I was actually at home, I would have loads of things to do.

The past few months have been ridiculously busy and I have not necessarily been coping well. Last Friday (well, Friday the week before last), however, I sent off the last translation of what felt like a continuous stream of jobs since the middle of August. Apart from a few single days, I was basically translating more or less all the time that I wasn't in work and on the days I didn't have to (or wasn't able to) do anything, I mostly just stayed in bed or lay on the couch reading or, mostly, watching Netflix. Even though I've thought about writing something here again, and even though I really wanted to, I just couldn't seem to find the wherewithal to actually form sentences. Not even for the kind of stream of consciousness post that I have used so often in the past to get me through tougher times. It feels nice that sitting here this evening the thought just popped into my head that I could maybe write a blogpost. Maybe soon I'll even start to feel able for catching up on reading some blogs, as well.

So, apart from too much work, it feels like not much has been going on. I did start a telephone therapy/coaching service (provided by my health insurance place - sort of intended as an interim measure for people waiting for appointments with psychologists or for those like me, who just want a bit of extra help for a while). The first guy I had was pretty awful, to be honest, so before the third appointment, I told him I didn't want to continue working with him. Luckily, the second person I was assigned has been much nicer to deal with and far more supportive in the way that I need and that actually does offer me support.

I started seeing a dietician in February but, to be perfectly honest, this is still a real struggle. I lost about 6 kilos but there was a certain amount of staying the same, gaining a bit, losing again. And now, over the last couple of extremely busy, stressful months, I regained all of the original weightloss and then some. And spent far more money than I could really afford on silly amounts of takeaway, crisps and chocolate. Part of the weightgain, I have to say, is because I've been having massive hormonal issues - seriously, my weight can now fluctuate by up to 4 kilos in the course of two days. However, even though I don't yet have more "good" days than "bad" ones, I have not given up. And I can see the change in my eating habits and how I am thinking about food, even if I still have plenty of days of falling into old behaviours and even if I haven't actually lost a lot of weight since I started nine months ago. It kind of feels like I'm getting close to a critical mass of new behaviours and to reaching the point where I can actually feel like I may be able to actually start consistently losing weight. Knowing that every day I am eating good, healthy food makes it easier to cope with the hormonal weight fluctuations, too. A kind of a "not my fault" thing. I have another appointment with the doctor in December and I will see how I'm coping by then. The progesterone I'm taking is tending to make me fairly emotional, too. Although I've gotten able to recognise the (to me) unnatural fury and/or weepiness, I'm undecided about whether I'm prepared to put up with it. But I don't really want to try any of the other options available either. That's going to me a bit of a wait and see situation for at least another year, I think. Anyway, for now, I'm trying to concentrate on eating good, healthy food. I'm just about saladed out after the summer and looking forward to lots of soups and stews and casseroles in the coming months. Time to break out the slow cooker again!

Monday, April 09, 2018

House and home

Before I came down with the lurgy last week I did make some more progress on fixing up my home. Clearing out the boxes definitely helped. Still have a couple here full of papers and bits and pieces that need to be sorted but my bedroom is feeling so spacious.

After my guests left yesterday, I was putting the sofabed back to sofa mode and decided to turn it around to sit against the long wall instead of the window. I've been considering doing that for a while and although I'm not sure it actually looks or works better, for now I'm going to leave it that way. It feels like there's a little bit more space freed up that I can use to actually exercise in. Although the room does perhaps end up looking a bit narrower.

Much as I love the wooden armchair, I have admitted to myself that it really is just too big for my apartment. I need to clear it off and take a good picture to send to my sister. I think it would match her existing furniture really well but am not sure if she'd like it or want it. Since it was a gift to me from a good friend who was downsizing a few years ago, I'd like to pass it on to someone I know rather than just sell it or give it away to any old person.

Yesterday evening, I bestirred myself for long enough to hang the insect-proof netting curtain thing that I actually bought about a year ago and then never got around to putting up. Need to do some work on getting the side bits properly secured but at least it's up. Another baby step towards creating a home for myself. 

Saturday, April 07, 2018

Fernsehturm at Fairytale Paradise and Guests

Came down with a bad tummy bug yesterday so posting was beyond me. Today I have guests staying so no time.

Thursday, April 05, 2018


Have had a long and exhausting day and have nothing to write about (had been considering doing something on eating - knew it wouldn't be hard to bring the A to Z back to losing weight, in fact suspect I might be able to use every letter to somehow get to the topic). So here's a link to Sammy Davis Jr. singing EO11, from the original Ocean's Eleven film.
If you haven't seen it, I'd definitely recommend it. The "high tech" effects are very dated but the twist at the end is just spectacular.