ME and Ophelia

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Friends visiting

A friend who have I known for 35 years is arriving here on Sunday. She lives four hours away and will be staying for three days. Two other friends will be here for lunch Monday. Although I am looking forward to it, I am feeling pretty rough right now. Too many things to do. So now I have to rest more than usual which I am dreading because it is so boring and lonesome. Resting does not include reading, writing, watching TV or doing any other activity, not even thinking.

A specialist M.E. consultant who visited here a few years ago assessed my baseline as 15 minutes. Meaning, that is all I have in one go each day. Imagine having 15 minutes of physical energy a day. It turns your life upside down and makes it unrecognisable. The doctor's advice, to reduce pain and try and store more energy, was to eat a little five times a day and rest for five minutes every 20-30 minutes. Easier said than done. Try it and see how difficult it is to carry out every waking hour, day in day out. I found it impossible without a timer and had to introduce a whole new domestic routine to accommodate such a regime.

The next step I aim to take (after the fire is installed, a major whole day job, loads of noise and dust) is to carry out an intensive rest programme lasting six weeks. Believe it or not, it has taken me two years to find the right timer and completely re-organise day to day living in such a way that enables me to rest every 30 minutes, throughout each day, for six weeks without a series of unexpected tasks, deliveries, workmen and people turning up.

Last week, the right timer, which took me a long time to find, arrived by mail order. See picture below. It is quiet and easy enough to use but takes getting used to. After re-setting it 30 times - and the buzzer sounding 30 times - throughout the day it became annoying, especially during bathing or phone call. It did help me to pace though and reduced the symptoms, especially the sore throat and muscle pain, making me feel not so ghastly ill and better able to concentrate.

At the moment it is 12.35 in the afternoon. The tide is out - in a big way. Makes me yearn to get my wellie boots on and go out beach combing. I wonder if Ophelia would follow me. This week, two years ago, marks the time I last went out. Happily, Ophelia is doing great. She is back to her usual playful self and says hello when she returns from patrol. Her ear is healing well and not too raggedy from the attack. She is asleep on her chair by the fireplace. I am not sure when I shall post here again. Please forgive me if I owe you an email. It's impossible for me to keep up with everything right now. Bye for now. Love from me and Ophelia xx
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Tuesday March 8

Baseball legend Joe Di Maggio dies today in 1999. Famous as one of the great batters of the game, he still holds the record for making 56 consecutive 'hits' in baseball matches. It was his short-lived marriage to Hollywood star Marilyn Monroe, however, that made him known worldwide. - via NYT

If my memory serves me right, Joe Di Maggio was the one who sent a rose every day to the grave of Marilyn Monroe. Sometime in the 1980's I was in America at a large gathering, a cocktail party I think, where he attended and made a bee line for me, coming on so strong and following me around the room asking for a date that, in order to avoid being impolite, I had to leave the party to get away from him. He was so overbearing, I prefer to think that maybe he had too much to drink.
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Bulk buying and stocking up in advance

Lakeland Limited in the UK is excellent for kitchenware and cookware by mail order. Delivery is free for orders over £40. Surely mail order is the best way to shop. It saves time and energy lifting and carrying, helps reduce road and pavement congestion and polluting traffic. Imagine if, in this country alone, 20 million householders bought non-perishable household goods in advance, a year at a time ... and tens of millions more people in countries like America and China. They would help the environment and save cash. I purchase a year or two's worth of household stuff, toiletries etc., and make significant savings by taking advantage of buy one-get-one-free deals. So, with a year's supply, I get another year's supply free.

Last week a large box arrived from Lakeland only two days after I placed the order on the phone. If anything is not suitable, they refund without a quibble and you receive a free gift with orders over £55. Last year, my mother sent me some Lakeland gift vouchers and so I ordered a thick fleecy fitted electric blanket. See details below. Here is what else I ordered:

Cleaning goods
Five Lancashire dishcloths at £3.50. Long lasting and stay snow white and fresh if they are soaked daily in hot water with a drop of washing powder and bleach. Blue J cloths are unreliable and not cost effective. They don't take kindly to bleach or abrasive creams. You have to throw them away after a short while because they fall apart, which means you run out involving more shopping and seems a waste of money.

Two professional washing up brushes for £4.50. I made the mistake of soaking a previous one in hot soapy water mixed with bleach. The bleach must have frizzled the nylon head because the same happened another time with Ophelia's brush.

Pair of lined blue rubber gloves at £7.95. Durable, comfortable and can be put in the washing machine. Marigolds are a false economy, don't last very long or protect hands from heat of hot water and are useless while cleaning brass.

Micro fibre dusters for £4.95 plus one free. They pick up dust instead of moving it around and are great for spectacles, computer screen, mirrors etc. Unlike ordinary yellow dusters, they can be machine washed and kept like new for ages.

A fridge/freezer thermometer
Gives me peace of mind for £4.55 that four drawers of meals in my freezer will not be under or over-frozen.

Compact paper shredder
See picture below. £23.95. It takes 5 sheets at a time and can fit on top of a bag, bin or box. I need to clear out some old boxes of bills, statements etc., so anything labour saving means energy for more important things.

The Trend duo microwave egg poacher
Perfectly cooked eggs in the time it takes to make toast. Works as fast as toast, does not need butter and so is healthier and easier to cook than fried eggs and cuts down on using a pan, standing by the stove, putting into an egg cup or shelling. The plastic poacher and lid goes in dishwasher.

Plus, 500 kg bag of soft eating liquorice. Free gift was hefty oll of heavy duty kitchen foil in tabletop dispenser.

Round the Neck Timer


When you're wearing this 999-minute timer, by Sebastian Conran, you can leave the kitchen without worrying about the contents of the oven. Simple to set, with a magnet for attaching to the fridge door. Battery incl. 3" (8cm) Product Ref 7563 £7.95.

Fleecy Fitted Double Electric Blanket


It is true what Lakeland says: unlike the electric blankets of old, this fitted version doesn't suffer from an irritating sleepwalking habit! You won't find an electric blanket that is simpler to fit and, at mattress turning time, there are no fiddly ties to frustrate you. It's so dreamily soft and fleecy that, even when it's off, you sleep on luxury... and when switched on, you'll warm to this long awaited, new generation of electric blanket. Both the double and the king size versions have ‘no more arguments’ dual controls. Fitted, elasticated skirt holds heated area in place without the need for ties. Machine washable. Gently graduated heating gives extra warmth around feet. Safe for all-night use. BEAB Approved.

Product Ref 4946 Single £38.95; Product Ref 4946 Double £56.95; Product Ref 4946 King Size £64.95.

Compact Electric Paper Shredder


I have not tried it yet but here's the blurb: No doubt many of you will have heard stories of what can happen if confidential documents fall into the wrong hands. For peace of mind, and to do your best to minimise the risks, it’s wise to destroy bank statements, credit card slips, private letters as soon as you no longer need them. Placed conveniently over a bin, this simple to operate, speedy shredder will reduce up to 5 sheets of A4 paper into thin strips, that are absolutely impossible to read. Mains powered. Adjusts to fit different sized waste bins from 12" (30cm) to 15¾" (40cm) W. Product Ref 5617 £23.95 at Lakeland.
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To fry an egg

A serious chef can spend hours arguing the topic. One extreme measure is to separate the yolk from the white, and cook them separately. Here is a good way of doing it:

Put a small pan with a lid over the lowest light. Add a small knob of butter. Slide the egg - large and free-range, so that the yolk is the colour of a setting sun - into the pan from a saucer.

Put the lid on top, so that the steam from the butter can help the cooking, then leave it until the white is set and the film over the yolk has turned translucent. You can take the lid off to see how it's getting on as often as you like. Then, and only then, add salt and pepper.

[Courtesy Simon Hoggart, Guardian]

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 3/10/2005
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