Friday, May 30, 2008

Growing stuff

My seedlings have started to come up, hurray!

I only planted them at the beginning of last week and I know I'm pushing it to get anything much this summer but hopefully I'll get some salady crops (have sown mizuna, spinahc, purslane and some mixed baby lettuce seeds and they're all going great guns). Garlic seems to mostly have given up the ghost but I will try again with it next year and this time pay attention!

Beets are coming up as well, no sign of tomatoes yet, courgettes and squash are flying along and, very excitingly, some leek seedlings appeared. Will have to sit down this weekend and actually write down the types I planted so I have a proper record.

A friend gave me two tomato seedlings about five weeks ago though and I potted both of those into bigger pots last week and they're growing well. And my brother gave me some potatoes which he had chitted for me (i.e. he hadn't used them before they started sprouting so decided he had been 'chitting' just for me) and I shoved them into the ground out front. No harm in trying. I never fully dismantled the potato tyre stack I tried last year (the three tiny potatoes it yielded were blighted) and now it's got a really vigourous looking plant growing again. However, I've read many places to be careful not to let any blight volunteers (i.e. potatoes from a blighted plant left in the ground by accident) grow so have to dig that out and get rid of it. I found two or three similar ones out front but before they really started to grow so it wasn't too bad. There's a healthy looking potato plant also growing out of the compost again so may need to do some investigating of that this weekend.

I like growing stuff.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Noses and attitudes

Quick update on the whole hanky thing. I love it and it's another one of those things I can't believe I took so long to get around to. No problems with snotty dirty ones either, haven't done any special soaking, just throw them into the laundry basket and wash them with my usual weekly load. I think if I had a cold I'd be more careful and would probably soak them in water with tea-tree oil or similar while they were waiting to be washed but otherwise am happy with the way things are. My nose appreciates it too. I've been sneezing a lot with hayfever recently so all in all it was a good move.

My sister was home from Oz for a couple of weeks and we had a great time. We didn't have too much catching up to do as we spend lots of time on the phone doing that (apropos of which, can I recommend to anyone making international calls from Ireland - my call charges this phone bill were 8 euro where normally they would be at least 40 euro and I wasn't trying to make fewer calls at all - one more thing I should have done a long time ago). However, it was nice to just sit and chat about anything and nothing. We never seem to run out of conversation and we had two really nice nights out with one of our other sisters and my brother which doesn't always work out (plus spouses). It's a big family and no matter how well we get on individually, when more than three of us congregate it's not always smooth going. :-)

They headed back to Sydney yesterday and before she left she gave me two lovely presents. One was a lovely photo frame with a little poem about sisters on it - I'm going to dig through the family albums and see if I can find a photo of the two of us when we were small to go in it. The other thing she gave me was a little card with the following on it (I don't see anything credited this to anyone so apologies if I'm reproducing something I'm shouldn't and if I am, please let me know and I'll remove it). She said she wasn't sure why but it made her think of me and I really like it. It articulates some things which I really do believe. And coincidentally the card it's on is decorated with some leaves which have a connection to our family and that makes it even more special somehow.


Your life is an expression of your mind. You are free to will whatever state of being you desire through the use of your thoughts and words. The quality of your life is brought about by the quality of your thinking. Realise, the one thing you have complete control over is your attitude. See the affect it has on those around you. If you truly want to change your world, you must change your thinking. Reason is your greatest tool. It creates an atmosphere of understanding which leads to caring and love.

In other news the One Local Summer challenge started again and I missed the deadline for registering. I've gotten so bad at blogging regularly that may not be a bad thing. I had an interview in Dusseldorf last week so will hear back in the next week or two whether I get that job or not. It's all happening very fast so I may have a hectic couple of months ahead of me which could make keeping up with any challenge difficult.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Zero waste

Two websites of people who are attempting to live without producing any landfil waste are:



It's interesting reading. I currently put out our big wheelie bin about once every six weeks (sometimes longer, rarely less) - if I was sharing a house with someone who was more into trying to live a sustainable life it would undoubtedly be less. However, one thing I'm very aware of is a tendency to think if it can be recycled then it's okay. I can put plastic bottles into the green bin (which goes out every four or six weeks) and bring soft plastic packaging to a local recycle centre - I do try not to use plastic but sometimes I don't put all that much effort into it I have to admit and all because I know I can send it for recycling. It's something I do have to work on. Particularly because I'm fairly certain there are no recycling plants in Ireland and everything has to be shipped off somewhere else to be recycled. It's reduce, re-use, recycle - recycle is supposed to be the last option.

Using non-disposable sanpro has defintely had a huge impact on the amount of waste I produce - have been using washable pads for over a year and just bought a mooncup to try it out. And I finally found all those cloth hankies which I knew I had. Decided months ago to stop using paper tissues, used up what I had and then couldn't find the cloth ones. Knowing I had them somewhere (they were my dad's, so plenty big enough for my nose too) meant that I didn't want to buy new ones and so I spent a couple of months using toilet roll. Which kind of defeats the purpose! Anyway, have been using the cloth hankies for a few days now and they're so much nicer. Lovely and soft and gentle and I don't have to worry about whether a particularly big sneeze is going to blow them to bits. Won't go back from this one. Would love to start using wee wipes/cloth TP but will need to see what my new housemate is like before trying to sneak that one in.

In other news, Saturday 14th June is world wide knit in public day - there is a knit taking place in Dublin so I'll be hopefully heading along to that. Check out the website to find one in your area/find out about starting one in your area.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Car is gone

Finally sold my car yesterday - there was very little interest in it so it went for about half what I originally thought I'd get. But I didn't see any point in holding out for someone else to maybe come along and offer me a couple of hundred euro more so we the buyer came up from Galway yesterday morning spent about ten minutes looking at the car and driving it down to the end of the road and back (not much of a test drive but as the car isn't taxed or insured I was glad he didn't want to go further), handed over the cash, filled in the form which I'll send off to the authorities tomorrow, got his receipt (marked "sold as seen no warranty given or implied", a tip I'd read on a discussion forum the day before) and headed off again. It was all a bit of a whirlwind and I can still hardly believe I've sold it. What a relief. Although I was giving in up in large part for 'green' reasons, I've been feeling bad about it sitting out there not being used and was wishing someone would take it and get some use out of it. I think that's what they call a paradox!

I rang the dentist just after the car was gone and left a voicemail asking them to phone me back to arrange an appointment. Felt like if I hadn't I'd have spent half the money before getting that crown sorted so it'll be another relief when that's done.

It's a beatiful day today - my little sister is home from Oz so I'm off to see her now. Hadn't seen her for almost a year and a half but it was like I'd only seen her last week - it's nice to have family and friends that that happens with.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


Funny how having a car and thus presumably the freedom to go further and do more didn't feel as free as I do now, when my choices are limited or at least take far more organising. I think in large part it's down to that overwhelming feeling - when the car is waiting outside the door I have so many options for where to go it's too difficult to settle on any one thing and I end up doing nothing. Whereas when I've to choose what I'm doing based on the bus timetables and factor in the time it takes to walk or get the bus somewhere I have fewer choices which makes it easier to settle on one. I'm sure there's a name for it but can't think of it at the moment - it definitely sounds like the kind of thing that will have been identified in dozens of studies. Words like world-weary, ennui and overwhelmed come to mind. (Which always reminds me of that great line in an American high-school film "I know you can be overwhelmed and I know you can be underwhelmed, but can you just be, like, whelmed?".)

Losing weight is going okay so far - five weeks in and 10.5 lbs down - it's a good, steady weight loss. Year-end is nearly over in work so hopefully things will quieten down a little bit and I'll start making more of an effort to make sure to leave on the dot at 5.30. One of the things I'd promised myself I would do in May was to attend a couple of meetings of Overeaters' Anonymous. I'm not convinced it's really for me and having read a bit about the 12-step program on their website (it's the same as AA or any of the other 'anonymous' groups) it seems even less likely; however I am going to go to two or three just to see. It's not fair to dismiss it out of hand, I might love it and find it a great help and at the very least I will be better able to figure out if the direction I'm going in trying to deal with my eating is the right one for me.

I've been thinking a lot about food and eating and eating disorders recently. It has taken me a long time to accept that I have an eating disorder and I've realised recently that part of that is because all the words used have such negative connotations. Overeating, food addiction. What I need is a nice, respectable Latin name, not something that makes it sounds like I'm just lazy and weak (that feeling might be irrational but hey, these are my 'all in my head' issues we're talking about).

A couple of months ago my therapist read me some details of the criteria for making a diagnosis of an eating disorder - even he was surprised that overeating and food addiction are not actually listed as eating disorders. There was one brief paragraph which stated that obesity is not an eating disorder (I agree, that's like saying skininess is an eating disorder!) but is a growing trend. However when he read me the criteria for anoerexia and bulimia, almost all of them, with the exception of purging, applied to me. So where does that leave me? Perhaps I'll find some answers at OA, perhaps not, maybe I'll decide the label really isn't important (I know that already but don't quite accept it), who knows, it's worth a try.