Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Day of Reading

I declared today a Day of Reading, hoping that I might actually get to finish one or more of the seven or so books I have started but not finished. It's now twenty to eight and I have read exactly zero pages of any books. Sigh.

When I got back on Sunday evening I broke the key in the lock of my front door. Luckily it happened just after I had actually opened the door so I didn't have to sit in the cold hallway while waiting for a very expensive Sunday night emergency locksmith visit. Last night, I had some friends over for dinner and one of them, who's a bit of a handyman, took the lock apart to see if it was possible to get the broken bit of key out. No go and I needed to get a new cylinder. So this morning, instead of curling up with a few books, I had to get up and out. Made a few phone calls first, to arrange to catch up with some friends who are in town for the holidays and then headed out. The small place on my road did have cylinders on sell but the prices started at 42.00 so I thought it might be worth the 15 minute tram journey to the big chain DIY place, Toom. Not a very big difference in price but I was able to get a good one (the type that lets you still open the door from one side if you forget to take the key out of the other side) for 34.99. And while I was there I picked up the three LED bulbs I needed.

I was just back on my street when W. rang to ask me if I was home as he wanted to come over and install the new cylinder. So that got done and while he was doing it I got the bulbs fitted. Then we sat and chatted for a short while until it was time for him to head off to meet someone. I heated up leftovers from last night for lunch and while that was heating took care of a couple of emails. Ate lunch and finished tidying away the dishes and was just starting to think I might be able to pick up a book when another friend rang to say she'd be there in twenty minutes. I had asked if she would be able to drive me to Ikea sometime. So, despite running through as quickly as possibly we were still in there for over an hour and a half. It was really crowded. I normally quite like Ikea and get lots of inspiration for trying out different things but today I just couldn't wait to get out of there.

I needed to buy a mattress and the Lattenrost (the wooden slats that go under the mattress) for the new bed frame, which was one of my birthday presents. Unfortunately they don't do the same mattresses they did six years ago so I could just get a bigger version of the single one I have and like. Typically, the one that was really comfy cost €600. I had €160 worth of vouchers and wanted to spend as little above that as possible. There were two others that were alright and from a price point of view far more reasonable so I went for one of them and grabbed the cheap wooden slats as well. I added two simple stools and a picture frame and was able to spend my vouchers plus just short of €30 of my own cash, so not too bad at all. J. and her son helped me carry the stuff up to my apartment after driving me home so now, here it is, nearly eight, I have my sitting room floor taken up with the mattress which is supposed to be left for 72 hours before being used (it was vacuum packed in a roll) and am kind of thinking maybe now would be a good time to crack open a book. Oh well, best laid plans and all that. I least I did achieve some things today.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

8 things to get rid of

I saw a few people mentioning Apartment Therapy and their January Cure and decided I would sign up, too. Since then, even more bloggers that I read regularly have signed up and I'm kind of starting to get excited now. I have a very busy January and February ahead of me so I might only actually manage to do one or two days but that's still more than I would do otherwise so it's all good. I've been browsing the apartment therapy site and found an article that seemed like it would be a quick, fun fix for a bit of decluttering. Seems like I've already done most of them though. Oh well.

  1. Coffee mugs - while I do have quite a few, I don't have many more than I use on a regular basis.
  2. Travel size toiletries - don't have any, never take any the odd time I do stay in a hotel.
  3. Old medication - did this a few years ago and now check everything at least once a year.
  4. Vases - ha! I wish. I usually end up using jars for flowers. I have four vases, three of them quite small and only suitable for one or two flowers.
  5. Food storage containers - well, we all know how much I love Tupperware and between that and preserving activities, I do have a lot but again, I do use it all so nothing much there to get rid of. I could, admittedly be far better organised though. 
  6. Party supplies - I think last year I finally managed to use up the last paper napkins I had (I think they were five years old). I have one set of birthday candles and as for ordinary candles, well, I have an awful lot of them but use them every day. I've actually got very little in the way of plastic cutlery left and will need to keep an eye out next summer - I try to buy sturdy stuff that can be washed and re-used often.
  7. Craft supplies - okay, probably could do with getting rid of or starting to use some of this up. On the plus side, what I have is more or less restricted to one cupboard and is semi-organised.
  8. Books - did a huge clearout before leaving Ireland and am strict now on only keeping paper books that I will read again and again.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Mountains, too much food and Magic

Happy christmas all and thanks for the good wishes. I'm in my sister's in France for a few days (reminder to self that next time it really isn't worth paying the extra for a recliner on the night train) and having a chilled out, fun time.

We had the main xmas dinner yesterday evening, then did presents this morning. There were 72 presents under the tree! There are seven of us here. They were mostly small stocking filler type things with one or two bigger presents. I think the big hit though, was the Magic the Gathering gift set myself and my sister got for our nephew. He was so excited he was literally hopping and dancing. We were going to get him some booster packs of cards but then I saw the gift set - for the same price as four booster packs you got a collector's box that holds up to 2,000 cards including separator tabs, labels and four booster packs. He has already spent a couple of hours organising his cards today and when not actually doing it, he has been talking about the best ways to do it.

After presents I showed my nieces how to make icing and we iced the cake. We had last night's leftovers for lunch and after all that was cleared off, we went out for a walk. It's getting cold but with views like this, who could resist?

It drizzled a bit but the rain mostly held off and we had a lovely walk. And then I came back to make mince pies and a roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings. I really should make roast potatoes more often, they're soooo good. We rounded off the evening with a viewkng of Frozen. Can't believe there has been so much hype about it. There are some amusing lines but it can't compare to Aladdin or Little Mermaid at all. Still, it was a nice way to end the day. Now to get some sleep before seeing what tomorrow will bring. Hope everyone is having an equally enjoyable time no matter how you're spending it.
posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Finding it hard to concentrate on the positive

I'm missing blogging more regularly and over the last week or so have found myself trying to figure out why, since I would like to be doing it, I'm not just actually doing it. I'm struggling a bit to fully understand it and also struggling a bit to articulate the glimmer of understanding I have at the moment.

It just feels like, although there are lots of good things happening in my life at the moment, any blog post will very quickly become negative. Because it feels a lot, at the moment, like the good stuff is pretty superficial and the slightest examination of it will expose a morass of not so good stuff. Most of the time I don't feel like anything much is wrong but just that if I allow myself to really think about it, I'll realise I'm teetering very close to the edge of a very bad phase. Kind of feel like I'm hanging on by a thread but by not thinking about the thread, I can ignore the sheer cliffs below.

Anyway, the function of the blog as a diary to look back on and remind myself of various things is one I find myself wanting more and more to get back to, so here's some of what has been happening the last couple of weeks.

One xmas cake baked. 2 batches of mincemeat made (a few weeks ago) and first batch of mince pies done. Batch of apple, pear and ginger mincemeat started this evening and fruit for second xmas cake soaking. I'm very late with the cakes but just haven't had the long baking time at home at all over the past few weeks. I also made an advocat cake for the first time last week and it went down very well in work, so I am pleased to have a new recipe to add to my repertoire.

I celebrated my birthday and in the end 25 people turned up to help me have a really wonderful evening. And I enjoyed the Viking Splash Tour the next day just as much as I'd hoped - our tour guide, Barry the Brutal, kept us laughing the whole time and I learned a couple of interesting new things about Dublin, too. The craft fair was great, too and although I had a lot of fun spending my sealed pot money, and going back on the Sunday to spend some more money I was given for my birthday, the best part was finding a guy who I realised would be able to make me something that I would love to give my brother. So I've commissioned a piece for his birthday in July and am excited beyond bits about it. And last but not least, the very sore back that I acquired a few weeks ago when babysitting for a two-year-old was all but taken care of by another lovely flotation session at the Harvest Moon Centre. So yeah, lots of positive to try and concentrate on!