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May 2017

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May. 27th, 2017

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May. 26th, 2017

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May. 24th, 2017

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May. 23rd, 2017

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May. 22nd, 2017

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May. 21st, 2017

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May. 20th, 2017

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May. 19th, 2017

yin yang cats

Yesterday Was Full of Blessings.

Thursday was the day I had to go down to Binghamton to teach crochet at Promise Zone.

I had a good start with my chiropractor in the morning. Then I got some mail about my prescription drug insurance and was able to put in a request for my drugs at Wegmans.

I had an uneventful drive down and got to the school at 3:30. The Teenager was waiting for me and helped me get my scooter out and carried all my bags of yarn.

I did my presentation and passed on the yarn and hooks I got from Sew Green. Everything went well.

Afterward, we met Song, The Cuteness, and Grandma A for dinner at Outback. I have not been to the Outback since it opened in Vestal. They make a good steak. I had the baked potato soup, a house salad, and broccoli with my steak. And I had a Wallaby Darned® (an Australian frozen peach Bellini). I had been wondering what I would have for dinner so it was a blessing that Song treated me to a special night out.

Then I drove home through sun and thunderstorms. It was rainbow weather. I saw a huge rainbow when I was passing through Dryden.

When I got home Bri, the girl from next door, was out. I chatted with her and made plans to do some crochet on Sunday.

Then Gulsum, my downstairs neighbor, came out and asked me in for cake. She had just made a walnut blueberry cake. I was still full from dinner. But I went in for tea and we sat and crocheted until midnight.

It was a very full day. But I feel blessed by my friends and I had a lovely time crafting and hanging out with everyone.

I would have liked to have stayed in and recovered today, but Marilyn needed me to take her to pick up her car. Then she came over for tea. And I made Amish Onion Patties for dinner.

Now I hope to recover for a bit before I go out again.

May. 18th, 2017

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May. 17th, 2017

Dr Who

A very busy week. (Crochet at Promise Zone)

So, on Monday when I got home I just wanted to sleep. But Marilyn came over and stayed for a couple of hours. And reminded me I had agreed to drive her around so she didn't have to rent a car while her's is in the shop.

Tuesday I had to drive to Danby to get a couple of bags of yarn for the workshop I'm doing on Thursday. A nice lady on Ithaca Freecycle donated two huge bags of yarn. One bag is a lot of little balls of light weight yarn and the other is of whole skeins of heavy weight yarn. Both are perfect for my workshop. The kids can choose to make small toys or large scarves and hats.

Then today I had to get up at 8am to call Marilyn and wake her up so I could meet her at the garage at 9am. After that we went to Denny's for breakfast. We got into a discussion with a man at the next table who is also using Golden Turmeric paste to control nerve pain in his leg. He was very enthusiastic about herbal remedies Marilyn was delighted.

After that we went to Wegmans to pick up some turmeric so she could make the golden paste herself. I got a bunch of fresh turmeric roots and some dried tamarind pods so I could make the authentic Indonesian version from whole ingredients, I already have a huge chunk of fresh ginger root.

Tomorrow I have to see my chiropractor then it is another drive down to Binghamton to teach crochet for the Promise Zone.
dessert

Mother's Day Food.

I spent most of Mother's Day weekend cooking.

On Saturday I started off making Maple Bacon Crack. Well, I cooked the bacon. But Song assembled the rest. She thought it wasn't as good as the Saltine Brittle. It turns out it probably started as Saltine Brittle with Bacon.

Then we ran errands, got my tire fixed, and went grocery shopping. I picked up some Dippin' Dots at the grocery store. I had never had them before. They are an interesting novelty. But once they start melting they are just ice cream.

We had intended to make Fran's Italian pork roast for dinner but it turns out that the pork shoulder Song thought was in the fridge was actually in the freezer. that had to be put off to Sunday.

I did throw together a fast Sweet Beer Bread before I had to leave for dinner with my Mom. It did not turn out well. I mixed in the melted butter first and it came out lumpy and didn't rise properly.



Dinner with my Mom, my sister Gina, her husband David, and their children Forrest and Tanner at P S Restaurant. Which is a very nice restaurant. The children were delighted to see me. I got a children's place mat so I could play with them. (The word find was terrible! All but one of the words were horizontal, with no overlaps. Half of the words were backwards, which I think is cheating. And the one word that wasn't horizontal was bent in two places! On the other hand there were two solutions to the maze.)

Mom and Gina had a sparkling white wine, which came in it's own tiny bottle. We got a free fried dumpling to start. It was a vegetarian gyoza, deep fried and crispy, with a drizzle of spicy sauce.

I ordered a hot tea and the boys fought over helping me make it. I had to mediate. I love that they enjoy seeing me so much. They are adorable children. I wore my crocheted under-the-sea hat and they had fun playing with that.


I ordered the mushroom soup, the roasted beet salad, and the homemade gnocchi. The roasted beet salad was very nice. A handful of arugula, with four slices of roasted beets, candied walnuts and a drizzle of green goddess dressing. For dessert I had the "Upside Down Baked Alaska" That was a disk of meringue topped with a ball of vanilla ice cream rolled in toasted coconut, surrounded by sliced banana cooked in sugar syrup and drizzled with chocolate.

When I got back to Song's I was exhausted from the day.

Sunday I got cooking in earnest. First I got the pork roast started in the crock pot. Fran's Italian Pork Roast is a very simple recipe to put together. Once everything is in the crock pot you can let it go.

Then I made a second loaf of Beer Bread because my first loaf did not turn out. This time I poured the melted butter of the top of the batter. And it turned out much better. I used Belgian Winter Wheat beer, which is flavored with coriander and citrus. So I spiced it with more coriander and orange zest. And glazed it with orange zest and orange juice glaze.

I made biscotti out of some of the first loaf.


Then I started trying a new recipe for 1610 Rose Cakes. The first recipe I tried used the redacted version in the article. I tried them "dropped from a spoon" and pressed flat. They were Ok by a bit dry. I didn't have rose syrup or candied rose petals. So I just used rose water.


The second batch I tried used the my redaction of the original recipe:
"Take a pound of butter, and wash it in rose-water, and halfe a pound of sugar, and halfe a douzen spoonefulls of thicke Cream, and the yelkes of 4 Eggs, and a little mace finely beaten, and as much fine flower as it will wett, and worke it well together then roll them out very thin, and cut them with a glasse, and pricke them very thicke with a great pin, and lay them on plates, and so bake them gently.

Mistress Sarah Longe her Receipt Booke, c1610"


I accidentally used a full pound of sugar. But they turned out quite good. Not as dry as the first recipe. But I don't think I used enough flour, the dough was very soft and would not roll out and cut well. I used my #40 disher and pressed them flat with the bottom of a cup. They spread a little bit.


Then I made my favorite coconut Pound cake. I usually make this in bundt mold but I didn't have a bundt mold so I used two bread pans.


The cookes left me with 6 egg whites so the last thing I made was meringues.

I had intended to go home on Sunday but I was so exhausted from baking all day I didn't have the strength. So I stayed until Monday.
I left most of the baked goods with Song, and just took a sampling home with me.


The pork roast was great for dinner and Song has enough for lunches.

May. 15th, 2017

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May. 14th, 2017

dismay

Adventures in Failing at Adulthood.

Friday I planned to drive down to Song's house and bake some sweet beer bread and get some laundry done in preparation for having dinner with my Mom and my sister Gina at a fancy restaurant for Mother's Day.

It started out fine. I did some grocery shopping and I wasn't too late getting on the road.

Then just outside of Richford on Rt79 the van begins to shake and then smoke starts coming out the back. I pulled over and the woman behind me pulls up and tells me my right rear tire is flat, and do I need help, or do I have a phone? I have a phone so I said I was Ok and she drove off. I pulled out my phone and discovered I had No Bars and No Service. Now I have a real problem. I thought about trying to wave someone down, but I have a real problem about asking for help sometimes. After a few minutes of sitting there and having cars drive by I decided to try to drive very slowly around the bend (that was a large rock face)and see if the phone reception was better there. That was a bit scary, but I finally reached a spot where my phone beeped with a voice mail notification. I still didn't have any bars but I tried texting Song to ask for help. She called me and her call came through.

By this time I had been sitting by the side of the road for about 20 minutes. I had been pretty calm waiting to see what would happen. When I heard Song's voice and started to explain what had happened I burst into tears.

The thing is, if I had been in Ithaca I would have been much more calm. I have Hunt's auto in my phone and they can advise me or give me the number of a tow truck. (although they would have been closed by then anyway) But when I am close to home I feel safer. I was half an hour away from home, and not really sure where I was. My phone's Google maps wasn't functioning probably because of the poor reception. And without knowing where I was I couldn't really search for a tow truck or a service station.

Song suggested that I get out my insurance card and call the insurance company. That was another problem. This is still my sister's van. We haven't transferred it yet. The insurance is out of Philadelphia. But since my phone was making calls again I called my sister. Her husband David looked up the number for the gas station in Richford and I called them and asked for the number of a local towing company. Unfortunately the local towing company wasn't answering. So I called the gas station back, and they weren't answering. So I called Song back and asked her to come rescue me and the groceries.

About that time two men in a red pickup pulled up and asked me if I was Ok. I said "No, not really." and I explained the problem. David had told me the spare tire was under the floor between the front and back seats. I had started to excavate the back seats. The two men helped me and got the spare out.

They also got out my walker, so I had a place to sit while they worked on changing the tire. I showed them where the jack was (behind a panel in the back of the van). And they had it fixed in a few minutes.

They were concerned that the spare was a little soft so they told me they would follow me into Richford and pump it up for me there.

I am really blessed. It is wonderful that strangers are willing to help me when I have these problems. I didn't have any money but I had bought some hard cider to share with Song and gave them each a bottle as thanks.

I let Song, and David, know I didn't need rescuing anymore. And drove to Binghamton.

I really needed some snake time. And I didn't get any baking done.

Saturday Song called the local Firestone she uses for her car to made sure they had the right size tires for my car, and made an appointment for us to come in. We did some errands then headed over to the tire place.

The flat tire wasn't just flat it was shredded. But it also looked like it was almost worn flat on the edge. So I asked them to check the other tires. They thought the other back tire was getting thin enough that it should be changed and recommended rotating the tires as well. Since I had no desire to go through this again anytime soon I said that two new tires was a good idea. When they removed the second tire they discovered that it was also damaged on the inside and would probably have gone very soon. So that was a good decision.

I have two new tires and they said there was no other damage to the van. I'm glad Song was there to hold my hand through the process.
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May. 13th, 2017

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May. 12th, 2017

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May. 10th, 2017

Make Magic

Cooking with Yuca.

"The cassava, cassada, yuca, manioc, mogo or mandioca (Manihot esculenta) is a woody shrub of the Euphorbiaceae (spurge family) native to South America that is extensively cultivated as an annual crop in tropical and subtropical regions for its edible starchy tuberous root, a major source of carbohydrates."


The first time I peeled a yuca I used a regular peeler and I didn't have any trouble. But it turns out there is an easier way. The skin will peel easily if you make a small cut down the side and pry up an edge.
As I learned from Cassava (Yuca) 101

She has some great recipes too.

So this time I did that.

I was trying to make Fufu, a traditional West African Staple that is supposed to be very firm. Most of the recipes I found on the net said to grate the yuca and then cook it. Put the cooking process looked like it would burn easily. I decided to try cooking first in boiling water and mashing afterward.

Boiled yuca has the texture of dry cooked potatoes. It should make a very good German potato salad.

Mashing it turned out to be harder than anticipated. There were lots of strange hard bits. And I could not get the paste to go through a strainer or a ricer. I ended up putting it in the food processor.

My fufu was not as firm as I think it should it be. It was more like a thin and gummy mashed potatoes. It had a slightly different flavor than mashed potatoes but not a strong flavor. If you put in some garlic and cheese no one would probably notice it wasn't potatoes.

I served it with pork and ground nut (peanut) soup. The leftovers are in the fridge. I will have to see if it thickens when it cools.

Many of the online recipes call for fufu powder. Cassava is also used to make tapioca. Marilyn tells me she can get tapioca powder, so I might try to make fufu from that.

In the future I will buy frozen yuca so I don't have to do all the cutting and peeling. Yuca has very short shelf life some of my tubers had started to go bad. Buying frozen will prevent that too.
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May. 9th, 2017

curiosity

Lunch at Capital Corner

I finally had lunch at Capital Corner.

I haven't been there before because of the parking situation. But I got a spot right in front of the restaurant this time.

It's one of those hole-in-the-wall Chinese American delivery places. There is a small area with tables and chairs but you can tell they really expect you to take out. There was only one women working the counter and the tables. But there were only two other people eating in. Several people came in to pick up food through. The only drinks are canned soda and Snapple. No boba tea or any tea :(

I ordered the Steamed Pork Bun, you get two! I love Steamed Pork Buns.

My main dish was Fried Fish Ball with Curry Sauce, which they list as a "Snack". The Fish Ball was more like fish cake cubes. I like fish cake. The curry was spicy warm but not very spicy hot, good flavor. It also had a lot of vegetables: bell peppers, snow peas, carrots, celery and onions.

The presentation was excellent and the food was delicious.
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May. 7th, 2017

Cogito Ergo Nom

Muslim Cultural Festival!

Very late Saturday night my neighbor texted me that she was making food for the Taste of Muslim Culture festival the next day, Sunday, 30 April, from noon to 4pm. In the Beverly J Martin Elementary School gym.


Gulsum and her friends were running the Turkish table. I was very excited to go. I would not have been able to go if I didn't have my scooter, and my sister Gina's van, and the lift they got me. Also I would have been nervous if I didn't know anyone. I'm really glad I have made friends with Gulsum, she is such nice person.

When I got to the school I found out most of the streets were blocked off for the Streets Alive Festival to celebrate El Día de la Batalla de Puebla! What most people call Cinco De Mayo.

I finally figured out where the handicapped entrance to the school was and found a parking space. Then my scooter lift stopped working halfway out. I was sitting there with the scooter lift hanging out of the back of the van. It wouldn't go in or out. I didn't know what to do. I called my BIL David for advice but he didn't answer. So I called Gulsum and asked if there were any strong young men around who could help. (It's amazing how willing I am to call upon strong young men now that I can't do things for myself.)

She came out with a nice young man from the festival. A stranger to her. Who looked at the lift and couldn't find any electrical problems. He advised me to go around the corner, through a road block, and park in a no parking zone so some other men from the festival could come come have a look. I did so, with the scooter hanging out of the back of the van.

A bunch of men from the festival came by to poke and prod at the lift. One of them was a bus driver who was familiar with lifts and pointed out an access port for a manual override. But the manual override required a crank I didn't have. I got the men to take the scooter off the lift so I could go inside and get some lunch. As soon as they did so they were able to get the lift working again. We closed up the van and I started to go inside.

But it turned out that the elevator in the school was key operated and no one could find the custodian who had the key. I sat around with another woman who had a walker while they looked for a key. Eventually a teacher came by who had a spare key and I finally got up to the right floor. Who puts a gym on the second floor of a building anyway?!?! (The woman in charge of the festival was very distressed about the key thing. She had been assured she would have a key.)

I had checked out the event page on Facebook before I went. I know it would cost at least $10 for a "tasting tray". When I got there I found out it was $10 for a three item tray and $15 for a 5 item tray. I paid the $15 and was given a tray and 5 tickets that I could redeem for food items at any of the tables.


This is the Beverly J Martin Elementary School gym. I tried to get a shot of the hustle and bustle of the room without focusing on any one individual.

There are tables all around the edge with food from different countries. Each food table is from a different country. Egypt, Pakistan, Palestine, West Africa (Gambia), Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and more.


There are lots more pictures of the event at the Al Huda Islamic Center facebook page.

In the corner behind me there was a henna table.


And a table for trying on Muslim clothes, and a photo booth. There were a lot of beautiful embroidered outfits all over the people in the room.



There was also a table selling books about Islam. Mostly children's books and introduction books.


And there was a table about Ithaca Murals featuring a local Muslim artist.


Gulsum was kind enough to hold my tray and my tickets as I went around the room trying to decide where to spend my 5 tickets.


Where to start! The Bowl on the right is Ful Medames (Fava Bean Soup) with a drizzle of olive oil, from Saudi Arabia. The food in the large section with the salad on top is Koshari (Egyptian Rice, Lentils and Macaroni with Spicy Tomato Chile Sauce) The National dish of Egypt. The next dish to the left is Jollof Rice from Gambia, I don't remember where I got the bread it came with something else. Above that is the Musakhan Roll and Sfiha (Lahm Bi'ajeen) (Flat Lamb Pies) a type of meat pie with pomegranates, and pine nuts from Palestine. The two cups on the tray are desserts. One is rice pudding (several of the tables had rice pudding). The other is Turkish Noah's Pudding (Aşure) made from grains, beans (including chickpeas) dried fruit and fresh pomegranate seeds. The next two items were from Bangladesh they are similar to Indian desserts I have tried. The diamond is Chickpea Fudge (Besan Ki Barfi) I recognized the word Barfi from when I was trying to make Indian Carrot fudge. The cylinder next to is Gulab Jamun (fried milk soaked in syrup). If you have never tried Indian Fried milk you really should. The cup outside the tray that looks like apple cider is actually Jamu an Indonesian Turmeric drink. It also has ginger in it. It is very refreshing. And it is supposed to be good for you.

Next year I need to get there early before all the best dishes are gone. And bring more money and a few friends so we can try more dishes.

And I'm going to sign up for the cookbook they are making.
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May. 6th, 2017

BBW

REAF 2017

The Rochester Erotic Arts Festival was April 21-23 this year.

When I drove into the parking lot and saw people in fetish gear I felt that sense of coming home to "my people" that I don't get very often.

I was late getting to the Radisson in Rochester on Friday. This was my first time using the scooter in a major way. The hotel turned out to have some access problems. There is no elevator in the parking garage. The doors are not labeled for handicapped access. There are no automated doors for handicapped access. I had to keep waiting for more mobile people to open doors for me. I took the first entrance to the lobby and found out that the lift, that was necessary to get from the parking garage to the lobby from that door, was not working. So I had to go back out to garage and go down another level.

It took about an hour to check in. Half an hour was just waiting in line. But it took way too long to check in, especially since the room was pre-ordered. Radisson really needs to improve their check in procedure. It should not take 10-15 minutes for someone to check in for a pre registered room. And it was the procedure not the staff. My check in had no complication it just took her that long to process my identification and code my key.

I want to make clear that everyone was very nice to me. The other guests at the hotel were always helpful and considerate. And the Radisson staff was always willing to help. One staff member even volunteered to walk me to my car when I left. That was service exceeding my expectations, since he had to walk with me all the way to to the top of the parking garage.

The building was a different matter. The doorways were just barely wide enough for my scooter. I had to angle the scooter just right while trying to hold open a door with my other hand. It was not fun. And turning the scooter around inside the room was nightmare.

The elevators were Ok. I had just figured out that I could put down the back of my seat and use it to carry bags. But that made the scooter too long to fit in the elevator. Luckily for me it did fit with the back up. I could also fit three other people in the elevator with me and the scooter. Only 3 of the 4 elevators were working and I once waited for 20 minutes while they whooshed by my floor without stopping.

Having the scooter did make the event better for me. I was able to look at the art and the boothes and didn't feel absolutely miserable every time I had to go anywhere.

The Event was amazing as usual. I did a great job greeting people at the front gate and would like to do that again next year. I'm an enthusiastic greeter. I love sitting behind a table and talking to people. I got to see lots of people I knew from previous years, and catch up with them at the party table.

On Saturday I glittered up for my costume. I bought blue body glitter to make my skin blue. And I pinned El-Wire to my shirt. And wore crocheted sea creatures on my hat.
After all my work I forgot to wear my Ammonite fossil necklace on the day. And I left the two plush Moray eels at home in the rush out the door. I will have to try for the full costume some other day.


I had wanted to go to the play party this year. But I ended up being too tired by the end of the day. Maybe next year. I will be going next year. In spite of my mobility issues I really enjoy this event.
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May. 5th, 2017

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Apr. 26th, 2017

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Apr. 25th, 2017

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Apr. 24th, 2017

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Apr. 19th, 2017

Make Magic

Jamaican Coq Soup

The Jamaican Coq Soup turned out quite good. If a bit bland. The idea of floating a whole pepper in the soup to get the flavor without the heat is good. I will try that again. But I expect more spice from a Jamaican recipe.

I had never worked with Chayote squash or Yuca root before. The Chayote squash has a very thin skin and tastes like zucchini. I would recommend zucchini as a substitute if you can't find Chayote.

The Yuca has a bark like skin and comes waxed. So I knew to skin that. It also can be very fibrous. It's a long thin root so I had trouble figuring out where the starchy part ended and the root part started. The flesh is very white and looks a lot like potato but has a slightly gummy texture. I need to make some Fufu out of it.

I new that Yucca and Yuca were two different plants. The recipe called for yucca, and I thought that was what the label in the store said. But apparently only yuca (cassava) is generally eaten, so only yuca (cassava) is sold in grocery stores. Yuca (cassava) is also the one that has cyanide in the skin and needs to be thoroughly cooked to avoid killing you. I wish there had been a sign about that in the store. But luckily I wasn't tempted to taste the raw cassava.

My left leg has returned to its usual state. It is only a little bit sore and will generally hold up if I give it some time to think about it. I am no longer is serious pain. And I still have one emergency pain pill left!

Apr. 18th, 2017

dismay

Sciatica Pain

So, that pain in left hip and thigh was so bad I couldn't stand on my left leg. The Teenager brought me my pills and some apple sauce. I'm grateful he was here. I still couldn't stand on my leg after taking all my usual regular pain med and one of my emergency meds.

This morning I felt slightly better. I did some stretching exercises. The Teenager brought me some more apple sauce so I could take my meds. I took another of my emergency pain pills and I was able to stand. I did some cleaning in my room and gave The Teenager a bag of garbage to take out.

Then I did some cooking. I made Mac and Cheese for lunch. Then I cut my rooster in half and make Coq au Vin and Jamaican Coq Soup. I have never cooked with yucca or chayote before. The recipe called for waving a Scotch Bonnet pepper over the pot. I couldn't find those so I got a hot cherry pepper instead. We will see what happens.

I feel like I have done a lot and need a rest. The coqs are simmering on the stove. I think I will take a nap.

Apr. 17th, 2017

curiosity

Busy Busy Week.

So Friday my neighbor, Gulsum, asked me if I could help her friend Sare with some tax questions and banking problems. It was mostly translating since neither of them are native English speakers. That went pretty well. And I offered to drive Sare to the office of the tax agent on Saturday.

Saturday we had a nice visit but the tax agent asked us to visit another day because Sare's problem was not urgent. I went grocery shopping and picked up a leg of lamb. It was on sale for $3.99/lb.

Sunday I drove down to Binghamton to pick up The Teenager. Song and I roasted the leg of lamb and some Butternut Squash. And she helped me do some laundry. The Teenager helped me drop off some lamb for my parents and we came back to Ithaca.

This morning we packed up some recyclables, took out some garbage, went to the recycling center, picked up some plastic bins at Walmart, picked up some wine at Northside Liquor, and some groceries at Wegmans. I'm beat. That was a lot of running around for me.

My tulip hat fell apart after Wegmans. I will have to repair it. But I am about to replace the decorations anyway. I hope people like the crocheted sea creatures as much as they like the flowers.

I also found out something about my scooter. The back folds down, so I can put groceries there. I just have to make sure they don't fall off. Maybe put a box back there.

Update: After a nap I now have a terrible pain in all the diodes down my left side. Mostly sciatica, I think. It hurts any time I move my legs or hips. It will probably be worse in the morning. I hope my regular morning pain meds help. I'll check on my emergency pain meds. I may need to reorder.

Apr. 14th, 2017

curiosity

My Bi-PAP Mask Finally Arrived!!!

Yesterday morning, just in time to make me late for my trip down to visit RBDarkly.

When the mask was delivered at about 11am I had to put it on immediately and take nap.

Despite my tardiness we had a great visit. We make Cock Soup, roasted sweet potatoes, and poppyseed rolls.

I love spending time with NightFall. He is so smart and wise and compassionate. He helped me clarify my thoughts about a few things. It is so wonderful how similarly we think about some issues. We also talked about Jude. There were a few time I couldn't help laughing about how like me Jude is.

I had a good night's sleep at RBD's house because I had my machine. But I didn't have my Oxygen condenser there. When I got home this afternoon I immediately went to bed again. I have a lot of sleep to catch up on. I just got up to take my pills and use the bathroom before heading back to bed.

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