11 March 2017

Eight days on a Microsoft Windows machine. Oh God, someone save me!

Worse, that nice young man at the Apple store telephoned yesterday to tell me it's going to take longer than expected to retrieve my files from the hard drive. And that the MacBook is so wrecked I'd actually be better off praying they can retrieve my files for transfer to a new MacBook.

And I'm ready to spend the money for a new MacBook. More than ready - I was ready the morning of Day three on this wretched piece of Microsoft rubbish.

I. Hate. Microsoft.

03 March 2017


Yesterday afternoon my Apple MacBook, a mere 9 years old with the original OS running on and so many 'temp files' that I always somehow forgot to back up, DIED. I shut it down to do the dishes and when I came back hours later (no, not that many dishes, just got distracted by real life:) and tried to boot up - IT WOULDN'T!!!

We took it down to the Apple repair place this morning and they are going to try to fix it, update it, and (to me) most importantly - retrieve all my files. The very nice young tech told me (as soon as my husband was out of earshot) they get this sort of thing all the time. He said he sees this all the time and the problem was more than likely owing to 9 years of accumulated dust, toast crumbs, and the occasional teeny-tiny splash of fizzy drink. He's not going to say that part about toast crumbs and fizzy drink anywhere my husband can hear, he's been sworn to secrecy (also a routine occurance, he said) and will simply say the problem was caused by accumulated dust. I should have it back in a month with upgraded guts and running like/better than new.

OH. MY. STARS. A month! I'm going to go stark raving mad having to endure using the back-up laptop!! It's an Advent running MS Win7 Premium. Which means it r u n s  v e r y   s   l   o   w. Insanely slow. Unacceptably slow.

I find myself wishing that nice young man had tried to sell me the latest MacBook Pro - something he said he wouldn't do as my 9 year old MacBook was in such good condition and could be easily upgraded to run the latest Apple OS and I'd be over the moon with the results of his tender attention to what he called an absolute classic MacBook.

On a plus side, he's going in after the files first which he will transfer to a stick and call me as soon as that is done - should be a week, tops, he said. So my photos, crafts, etc, files will be on the back-up laptop soon.

Ok, ok, ok - at least with this back-up laptop I'm online and owing to the more current OS and browser I can actually get to sites the outdated OS and browser refused to access. That's very nice. But not nice enough to end the bl__dy frustration of the unacceptably slow boot-up, the unacceptably slow page loads, the constant work stoppages when Microsoft issues yet another in an unacceptably long line of 'absolutely must have required updates'...that of course slow the fecking machine EVEN MORE!

OH GOD IN HEAVEN I MISS MY MACBOOK - Apple, you can be as arrogant as you care to be - your computers are AMAZING and being without mine is TORTURE!!

I gave up Internet shopping for Lent. And now I find myself wishing I could give up laptop use for Lent. But I can't - when the adult children and their children are 5 and 8 thousand miles across The Pond I have NO choice - I MUST BE ABLE TO CHECK MY INBOX.

God help me, it's going to be a VERY long month until my MacBook is back in my fevered little hands!

18 February 2017

Lent is fast approaching. I've got the gluten-free pancake mix stacked in the store cupboard and the maple syrup ordered. I've got the freezer fish drawer stocked with frozen fish fingers (for me as they come breaded and Paul can't eat them) and various fish fillets (no breading so I can dredge them with gluten-free cornmeal). And I'm in a serious scurry to get all my online shopping done...


Because this Lent, like the last one, I'm giving up online ordering and brick&mortar shopping. Just for Lent, and the Amazon gluten-free Subscribe and Save cat food and gluten-free supplies will not be given up - honestly couldn't make it without my monthly S&S order!

Online shopping, and in particular Amazon, has become my lifesaver. My shopping go-to. Since falling last March, getting out and about to browse the High Street shops is next to impossible - I'm always worried I'm going to fall or someone is going to jostle me, and riding in the motor for more than a half-hour is quite uncomfortable still. But Paul is finally onboard with the need to buy things to stock our home - when I came over he was the quintessential 'camping in a house' bachelor, he had NOTHING but three knives and a rather nice set (complete, I mean this set has EVERYTHING) of professional stainless steel cookware.

It's taken me nearly seven years but our house is finally just about properly stocked with bed linens, blankets (hand-knit/crocheted by me, blimey are decent blankets expensive here!), dishcloths (hand crocheted) and tea towels, crockery for dining and serving, kitchen utensils from knives and mini-food processor to cheese graters and cutlery. Slow cooker, ginormous electric frying pan (honestly, even Fox the chef says frying chicken in a skillet is next to impossible!), and the ultimate...BAKEWARE including three different types rolling pins. Thanks to online yarn and embroidery shops, and of course Amazon, we're really just about there.

And I admit, I buy nearly all mine and Paul's clothing off Amazon now although I do buy from Cotton Traders at least twice a year as well. And sewing-knitting-crocheting supplies. And embroidery supplies, and my latest crafting craze - purse frame bags. Yes, I know, but those vintage coin, clutch, and cross body ball clasp bags have become something of an obsession with me lately. If I couldn't shop online my crafting cupboard would be bare - we don't have good craft shops close enough to walk to, and the one 'craft supply' store (I won't mention the name but they just are too expensive for yarn and embroidery threads, and their sewing supplies section is dismal!).

Too, without Amazon, Paul would probably either starve or go off his coeliac diet. The supermarkets close enough to us to shop don't regularly stock the gluten-free products (ingredients mostly but also some of the baked goods mixes are so good I can't make them at home near as well) I need to cook and bake for him but Amazon does, and wow is the selection amazing!

I'm browsing-noting-wish listing on Amazon everyday. This morning I made one of the last pre-Lent housewares purchases (pie crust shields and a set of 21cm Duralex glass pasta bowls to go with the rest of the set I've slowly been building...). I just checked my vacuum cleaner bag supply and will need to order another box in the next few days. Last week I ordered three Lauscha (Germany) handblown clip on birds for the 2018 Christmas tree and I'm sniffling at the thought of not being able to order again from Germany for the full forty days of Lent - they list a GORGEOUS catalogue on Amazon and their post&packing cost is far less through Amazon than directly from their site. I'm really hoping Fox, and perhaps his sister and her children, will be here for Christmas 2018 (it's looking iffy but hope floats!) and I want the trees to be real stunners!

Giving up any online shopping, especially Amazon, for Lent is a serious sacrifice! We're so close to having enough housewares that not being able to hit the Amazon site regularly is going to be a genuine struggle for me. I keep busy crafting and not being able to shop for supplies during Lent is also a sacrifice - I make all our table linens and blankets myself and buy ALL my supplies online. And of course we need clothes...

January and February are two months 'scrurry-days' for me - I try to stock in everything I even think I may need so the temptation to go online and click 'add to basket' is lessened during Lent. I have to say - giving up online shopping last year worked SO well it was mid-May last year before I shopped online again!

Fox and his sister used to act as though they thought my online shopping was a sure sign I'm too old. Now both think I'm a genius. Which feels REALLY good:) The postie loves me, he says I and the other online shoppers on his route keep him in work:)

Once a month Paul and I force ourselves to go to the two best supermarkets locally and do a 'Big Shop'. I keep a running list  - yeah, on a spreadsheet - I print it out the morning we do the Big Shop and wowsa does that list keep us stocked for another month! The Big Shop is the only brick&mortar shopping I do nowadays. Once I can travel again, I'll do destination shopping, of course - so many craft shops-so little time!

Ftr, I do observe Lent 'properly' - the Lenten period is a time of reflection and self-examination, and I use the time to make needed spiritual changes to keep myself on the right path. This year I plan to get back into the habit of saying a daily rosary - the full five decades. I'm hoping saying it daily during Lent will lead to my saying it everyday of the year again.

Lent is a very important part of my life spiritually and materially, without Lenten observations I'm not really sure I would like myself.

08 January 2017

7th and 8th January are the saddest days of the year for me - I take down ALL the Christmas and New Year decorations. The lot - the trees (ok, yes, I'm a serial Christmas Tree decorator, one in every room but the powder and bathrooms where I content myself with a lovely fake poinsettia), the garlands (again, serial garland and Christmas card displayed as 'bunting' zig-zagging the front hall just above door height), the door wreath, the candle bridges (if you've never seen one, Google candle bridges - they're GORGEOUS), the fake poinsettias strewn about the house...sigh.

The house ALWAYS looks so bare, so forlorn when everything is down and being cleaned then packed away for next year. This year I'm consoling myself with an embroidery project (a 'mantle cloth' to drape on the front hall shelf - a snowman motif, big woo) and a crocheted then stuffed 'snow family' (Mum, Dad, baby snowmen) to set on the shelf in the front hall next to the cordless phone handset and the 'page a day' desktop diary. The bowl of festive and fragrant potpourri that's been on that shelf for the last two years finally 'expired' (ok, read moulded, nasty really, I binned it and don't think I'll be doing 'festive and fragrant bowls of potpourri again. Ever)

I've even gone through all the Christmas cards received this year and wordDOTdoc'd the signatures (and addresses where people have been thoughtful enough to include them inside or on the back of the actual card) - very helpful when making out the next season greetings list!

On a much happier note, I FINALLY found a replacement 'finial' tree topper for our main Christmas tree to replace the one Fox accidentally broke when he was about four. That thing had been in the family since 1926, I'm not sure how Fox got ahold of it but he did and of course it broke into a thousand VERY sharp and dangerous bits and of course I bit my tongue and cheek until blood trickled down my chin - and of course I hid the copious tears from Fox. I did my crying in the cupboard. And now I've found a reproduction of the EXACT one that was on my father's childhood Christmas trees, my childhood and several of my adult years (well, you know, until Fox...) Christmas trees.

I've finally got Mr Curmudgeon completely sold on Christmas decorating. He hid in the study as I de-decked the halls, and went a bit red-eyed when I came for his study Christmas tree. He came into the bedroom where I have the decorations ready for packing away, looked for a long minute, sighed, then fled for the sanctuary of his study again.

I've also got him hooked on classic Christmas movies. He now says 'It's Christmas!' the first time Polar Express is broadcast - no matter, apparently, that we own a DVD of that and other classics like It's A Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street (we both blub a little when Father Christmas speaks Dutch to the young refugee), White Christmas, and of course Santa Claus the Movie (which is naff beyond belief but now when my Paul sees garish Christmas decor he says 'Oh no, more 'Patch Christmas!' in reference to, well, you have to see the movie to know what I mean).

AND - I AM FINALLY CHRISTMAS STORAGE ORGANISED!! Yes, Paul is so into Christmas (finally!) he was perfectly happy (ok, mostly perfectly happy, he did grump about the horrific traffic) to drive me down to Dundee to Dunelm Mill for the plastic storage box sale so we won't lose any decorations again. (sigh. There is still a cardboard box missing (tree skirts, lights sets, hand-glittered pinecones) but almost everything is here.) I now have the fake evergreens in one long box, and three more boxes of baubles, new skirts, mantle displays, etc - everything sorted according to type and I really couldn't be happier about that organisation!

Bonus, I've finally managed to sell Paul on the gorgeousity of vintage-look reproduction glass baubles, so much so we've 'wish-listed' several sets on AmazonUK to buy one set per month. Best? Best is he's finally agreed fake evergreens are completely fab and we're buying a 6 foot Balsam Hill PE 'most realistic' tree for next year. He's also decided he rather likes the look of icicle lights along the roofline, and the topiary boxwoods flanking the front door are going to have their own set of lights as well...

OMGosh - it's going to take me a week to decorate, and four days to take it all down January 2018! YAY!!!! (No, really, I'm really looking forward to Christmas 2017 - God willing we'' still be here and enjoying a lovely Christmas:)