Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Our Kung Fu Panda

My husband has taken up karate, after a break of 15 years. He is going with our youngest every Monday & Wednesday. Jamal calls him our own Kung Fu Panda because he is pretty solid (it''s muscle! sure) and not especially tall. Suits him so much.

I have a quiet weekend ahead. Kung Fu panda has a poker game on Saturday night. Its his first game since about October. I hope he wins because a) he will be happy b) i get a little present.  He has work on both weekend days and his volunteering but I suspect there will be a lot of snoozing too on both day in order stay up until 3am playing.  I can do whatever I want all weekend!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Google Drive

Why did no one tell me? Its brilliant!

I have had Rupert, my mini laptop, back from the repairer. He is up and running again but in the meanwhile I loaded my Office 2010 software on the office desktop. Pretty sure I cant also load it on Rupert & on the whole that's fine but sometimes I want to make notes. So I did some faffing about within Google Chrome and discovered Google Drive. Amazing.

I loaded my to do list, my garden schedule, such as it is, and my shopping list.  One of my major organisaing faults is that I can never decide if I prefer notebooks or electronic note & record keeping. So normally I do my shopping list on my work laptop (in a break, honest) and then print it and tuck it into my notebook prior to shopping. I love paper books for pleasure writing but for organisation I really like to be able to check, amend, update and delete things.. This week I did the work laptop list and then saved it to my Google Drive. On my phone I downloaded the Google Drive App. Bob's my Uncle, as they say. Shopping list on the hone and I could delete items as I picked them up. Normally I scrabble around for a pen to cross out as we go but more than once I have used my eyeliner. No this week though. By the time we left the shop I had a small list of things which I hadn't found.  Tres Efficient!

So this week I am adding to my list, via the hone, as I go. I suppose I could do it all on my hone just using the notes facility but I refer to do the initial writing u on a big screen. I may come unstuck if I dont have wifi but otherwise, all smiles.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Winter Barbecue

My husband is barbecue crazy. I think that in Syria, in normal times, cooking outdoors is a big friendly family event and more commonplace than in rainy England, although, bless him, he as adated and can cook with a large golf umbrella over him.

I thought that as a romantic treat on Saturday I would prepare some chicken, a salad and some Cypriot potato Salad and head of to the seaside, without telling him..

Friday night I bought & prepared the chicken and the potato salad. Then the snow arrived and I got cold feet (yes, literally and figuratively) and wondered if i ought not to drag him for a forty mile drive through snow to freeze his socks off at the seaside.

Luckily he loved the idea of the barbie but he was a bit unsure of the seaside side of things (more sensible than me) so moved it to the garden instead. That meant that the kids and their mates would also want to eat so we added a little more chicken. We got snowed on but we dressed up enough to keep warm(ish).

Cypriot Potato Salad
Boil baby new potatoes. Finely chop a bunch of parsley. Peel and squish four cloves of garlic.
Dress the otatoes whilst they are still warm with the parsley, garlic, good olive oil (from my friends Olives groves), juice of a lemon and a little salt. Taste and adjust seasoning.  Eat whilst still just warm..

Diagnosing Gluten Intolerance

Computers were all down when I got into work on day this week and we had two hours until they were up again, and as we are virtually paper free these days, so no filing to do, I was forced to surf around!

First thing to look at was Gluten intolerance. At the back of mind I have it that my husband is gluten intolerant. I always rib him about being overweight and unhealthy but he does actually eat really well. Also he seems to expand and contract during the day by a scary amount.

I am going to do an experiment on him. He is having gluten free pitta bread for a month and see what happens. I had time to read up quite a bit about symptoms and he seems to have them all! Ah, whoops.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

New Fitness Regime

We are on smoothies for breakfasts, and how filling are these? Why did no-one tell me before?? Then the old fella has a lunch of gluten free pitta, salad stuff and some chicken , tuna or an egg. In the evening he has a banana or a couple of carrots. So far he is a happy little soul & has got more done around the house this week than he has in all time since Christmas. If he is not gluten intolerant then I don't know what else has changed. He even managed 2 x 2 hour karate classes & is talking about joining a local 'Rocky Style' gym.

Despite my lack of confidence in my doctor prescription of antacids to cure my 3 month long cold, I have to admit to feeling much better. Yesterday I forgot my tablet and started coughing again. Weird, weird weird but I am smiling and awake at 8pm so I am wowed by the success.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Valentines Day Part 2

I did moan a little about the lack of acknowledgement of Valentines day (and 24th wedding anniversary). Fahed was most apologetic and said 'you know I don't know these things, you have to tell me when I am supposed to do something@. I can;t be cross, he is a sweety. We will go for a meal, or two, over the coming weeks to have a later celebration, assuming I can find some suitable bargains.

He didn't even point out, although he could have, that he always buys me a gift when he wins at poker. And that gift is personal and special to me, not just chocolates or flowers. I once had an orbital sander and another time a set of acrylic paints. Isn't he lovely??

On the subject of buying things, we have a quite tight February as the pool shuts for 3 weeks and Fahed doesn't get paid more for that time. So big celebrations on Friday when we are have money of the spendible kind again. We have been fine for food because of our new healthier eating habits, fine for fuel despite the fact that petrol is currently £1.39 per litre (EEEK!) but there are just a few things which I would like this month & am planning a little spendfest. Its my babies 21st birthday. We spend £50 on presents but two of his Christmas items were not successful this year & were returned, so I also need to replace them. He is off to university (and the sea!) in September so I am planning to try to renew a bit of his old and tired wardrobe.

My front door lock is on its last legs & its only a matter of time until we are all sending the night in the front driveway with that one. Lastly the landline phone cant be dialled or answered with any regularity. I am also going to ensure it is a phone when you can block certain numbers. Its not too bad if you are at work all day but if you are at home then the constant mis-sold PPI, unlock your pension etc. calls can be very wearing. I have blocked those which originate with the UK but the overseas ones still sneak through. If this doesn't work then the landline can stay, for broadband, but we wont have an actual handset attached. Its the only way to keep our sanity.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Valentines Day, you say?

I had a lovely but busy week which would have been nicer if my husband even knew that Valentines day existed. I don't do cards but how about a coffee in bed? Or dinner out. It's not deliberate as he lives in his own (low level aspergers ) world but sometimes would be nice. Never mind, I have been married 24 years, and yes he did forget our anniversary, so
I should know better.

This week he has a dyslexia assessment at college. Severely dyslexic but above average intelligence. I think he was pleased. Must be frustrating for a man who can speak three languages to have problems taking meaning from written word. He can read but not pick the meaning from what he is reading, very odd. Anyway the good things about dyslexic brains outweigh the bad so again, I might just keep him!

I maderised very popular this week
By knocking out pancakes pretty much every day. So cheap and so quick,maybe we had have a pancake meal a day.

This morning youngest son and I are off to do grocery shopping. He is very good and will ferret out the bargains. Then he is making me a fish pie with kale in the topping ( green fish pie????). I am deep cleaning bathroom and cleaning all of the mirrors. After work is complete we are going to visit my friends who house renovate to share out plans for the Crete house. Sound exciting? Certainly better than all weeks where just setting the washing machine has tired me out. I think I am starting to feel better, after only ten weeks!

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Saturday - A moderate to do list

I have things to do but I totally lack energy. Its 2pm and I am already counting down until bed time.

I dropped off to sleep again this morning so when I got to the shop to do my grocery shopping or the week, £68 = result, the place was packed. Parking was a nightmare so I was tired and grumpy before I even collected my trolley. The food is all tucked away in the larder, freezer or fridge now.

Laundry is done, mostly dry and mostly folded ready to go away. Give me another hour and it will be all good. I dropped into the bank to pay in my sons pay cheque on the way to the shops.

Before I left this morning I rolled up the rug from the sitting room. It looks really grubby all of a sudden and as its not good weather for rug scrubbing, so its rolled up and put away. Maybe it comes back next winter  or maybe not. I like my hard wood floors more than carpet.

Right now I am rinsing through a jazzy top, a pink stripy top and some kitchen towels. They are just about the be dyed black. The tops are too colourful for me and the kitchen towels just look tired so hopefully this refreshes them.

I also have some new insoles to cut down for my new boots (£98 down to £25 in January sale, whoop!).

I might be able to do a couple more things but nothing too wild and exciting. At least I can feel productive for what has got done.

I wont be cooking today. The boys are both out and Fahed has made some houmous which, with some nice greenery and pitta bread. will feed him well today.

Thursday, 7 February 2013


Back at the doctor again, new drugs, new inhaler and kiddy style addition to make me better at inhaling. Signed off work, but not completely, for two weeks. So I am going in late and coming home early. I have turned off the alarm in the morning and sleep until I am ready. This time I am determined to get better. I should have just taken a few sick days at the beginning. Anyway, even with the lovely NHS, I had to fork out £22 or my drugs.

It is frustrating to be at home for so many hours each day and not have the energy to do anything.  Tomorrow I will do my best to get the laundry done at least. Otherwise, forward to a weekend of snooooozing.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Cooking day - cake substitute

We are not really birthday cake fans ( icing = yuck) but great believers in a bit of indulgence four times a year - one for each of our birthdays.

About a week after each birthday we indulge in some pancake action. Two homemade pancakes each. Can't be re-heated packet ones. Oh no, never. Sliced banana, dollop of fancy pantsy ice cream and neat of all, dollop of home made fudge sauce.

So good but obviously so bad, lucky we didn't have more kids with birthdays to celebrate.

Cooking day - fish pie

Reduced prawns, white fish and some classy Scottish salmon from ASDA. Chicken stock made up with milk and a couple of table spoons of double cream (pinched from birthday cake substitute - don't tell). Potatoes chopped up small but not peeled for a quick mash. Plenty of black pepper and a little salt. Oh yes. A load of mushroom from last week that wont last much longer. And the mash is very lot and messy, Jamie Oliver style. Yummily perfect. Roll on lunch time

My life

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