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if you've known me for more than a minute you may have heard my expression for what it feels like when i get an idea that just makes sense: 'it's like a white hot hammer of inspiration to the back of the head'

Thursday, November 25, 2010

quick and dirty guide to my health

here's a little something i wrote up for my friends to read to help avoid those wacky awkward moments around my weird health situations. since you probably don't actually know me if you are reading this the background is 

Friday, October 22, 2010

replace your failing memory - with a memory card

dedicated tinyurl: http://tinyurl.com/3829ydl

my short term memory is shot. maybe it's the MS, maybe i'm just getting old [34, in case you wondered]
so i've been gradually finding ways to make my memory card replace my memory. the key to this obviously is my pocket sized point and shoot camera. spare batteries and ridiculously inexpensive memory cards help a lot [dealextreme is my preferred camera accessory store and they don't pay me to say that]

oh, you want me to get to the meat of the subject? ok, here's a few of the ways i use digital memory in place of my organic one.

Friday, October 15, 2010

happy anniversary to me

3 years ago today i was in the ICU being asked by a doctor "how long have you been diabetic?" to which i said "i'm what?"

i got asked all kinds of questions that day. like "why aren't you in a coma?" "why aren't you dead?" and my favorite, asked of one of the nurses who shushed a particularly insensitive doctor "what? she's awake? with THAT BG reading?"

yep, not only was i awake, but i'd been walking around with high blood sugar like that for a couple of months. i'd been to 5 different doctors who all wrote it off as something else, told me to go home, get some rest, and try these special eyedrops [or whatever]

since i am upright, employed, in possession of all my original organs in good condition, have my eyesight and all my toes, i say this is cause for celebration.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

diabetic without a level

why does being diabetic matter? well when i realized this afternoon that i have no idea where my real level is my brain did this:
"huh. i wish i'd bought that mini level cube thingy i saw at the hardware store. i could keep that in my toolbox and always find it."

Thursday, September 9, 2010

using every millimeter

argh, look at all those little packets of antacid samples, lotions, sheets of blister packs of pills on the top shelf. it's like an avalanche when i open the cabinet.

for over a year i just put up with it. then i noticed one day that there's just a tiny little sliver of space in between the shelf and the inside of the door. i noticed this when i was pulling off a medicine package label that had been taped to the inside of the door by the previous owners, with clear packing tape. it looked like it was a few years old.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


concepts jump into my head when i'm awake.
plotlines develop in my dreams. i got a new one last night. i could write it, but i actually suck at ending stories or doing anything with them. i mean, if i WROTE them i'd have finished the one i had when i was 15.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

keeping pointy things off the floor

really, it's all about keeping pointy things off the floor. i'm terrible about that otherwise. most of the pointy things i own have steel or iron in them. magnet bars, as it turns out, are surprisingly affordable and easy to obtain if you don't need them to be pretty. yes, i originally considered ikea's grundtal knife rack but that was too expensive for me to be buying a whole bunch of them. the house came with one normal wood and magnet one for knives in the kitchen. already owning a few knife blocks and not being short on counter space, i opted to store my teapot there instead. and all my kitchen shears. so here are a few things i use magnetic bars for.

welcome to my bathroom. also known as the room i can't store towels in. or rather, couldn't before 20 minutes ago.

minimizing "raw meat hands"

just a little tip for minimizing 'raw meat hands' when mixing meatballs [or meatloaf or sausage blends] this also reduces the dishes you dirty and the exposure of kitchen surfaces to raw meat.

halfway done: the wasp trap

my carport is full of wasps. i was content to live and let live as long as the were building paper nests in the far corners away from my door in places several feet above my head.
and i don't even mind mud daubers that much because they aren't aggressive but they started building on my doorframe. um... not cool. they tend to fly in the house every time i open the kitchen door. this ends badly with wasps in my sleep, cats chasing wasps and the dog snapping at them. and the inevitable finding of wasps dead in weird places.


Monday, July 12, 2010

freezer food storage hack

whether i'm buying in bulk or opening a single can of food, i'm still a single person living alone. unless i want to eat the same thing three days in a row constantly, i need to preserve and store food all the time.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

food network: cake challenges

once in a while i succumb to the desire to watch the cake challenge shows on food network. they have to come up with some interesting pieces of engineering to solve the structural problems of making super tall squishy [technically] edible things.
so on the sex and the city 2 cake challenge there's one woman making decorative cake panels of out pastillage which is so hard that they can't cut it with an x-acto knife.
and another whose cake is squishing and sliding off the dowel that run up the center to keep the tiers stacked.

so why hasn't anybody made pastillage tubes with bases to go down the center of the cake to provide extra structure? would it work?
i mean, a tube affixed perpendicular to a base the shape of the tier. center the cake tier on the tube, resting on the base. stack 'em like one of those old donut ring toys on the central dowel.

has anyone seen this done?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

tabletop cooking

finally got my metal patio table set up a few weeks ago and was enjoying the last cool weather before summer. metal table = non flammable surface.
i have a lot of things that i can put small fires in. fire is good for making things hot. yay fire! so i did.

first off is fuel. this post is about the burning thing on the right in this picture. i haven't had a lot off success using the mini hibachi yet. so the thing i made my dinner with was actually the ... chicken feeder. that's right, chicken feeder. when i saw it in a thrift store i had no idea what it was. just looked like it would hold fire. it does. REALLY well

Friday, May 21, 2010

hard working fridge

i like to make the outside of my fridge work as hard as the inside.
to this end, i have long since discovered that my fridge is a feasible dry erase surface.
as you can see, it's currently hosting my shopping list on the right side door.

but i kept losing my big fat dry erase markers and it was hard to fit everything on there with big fat writing.
so i went to american science and surplus for 25 of these dandy magnetic pen holders for about $1. you can also get a three pack for a couple of bucks at your local office supply store [but why pay that much?]

to get a fine point erasable marker that fits in them i had to get wet erase ones. no big deal, it's the kitchen and there's plenty of water. except... i am soooooooooo lazy. well, that and walking is starting to really hurt with the warmer weather. since the water dispenser on my fridge doesn't work, i wanted a better way.
enter the cheap mini spray bottle i had lying around from the last giant bag o' travel sized containers i bought.
and a mix of flat and spherical super strong mini magnets i bought at dealextreme

as you can see when the light shines through it, 3 sphere magnets dropped into the bottle are just right. serendipitously they happen to stick to the metal spring in the spray mechanism which holds it in the right place to keep it from tipping over on the fridge door and hanging with the spray top pointing perpindicular

the entire photo set with notes can be found here


Monday, May 3, 2010

i feel like an idiot

i can't believe it took me all these years to think of shaving cucumber slices with a cheese plane. it's perfect for the job

paper thin!

by the way rest of that is a flour tortilla, bacon, sunflower seeds, brined sheep's milk feta, greek yogurt with dill and lime juice, montreal steak seasoning.
mmm, it's like junk from my cheese/meat drawer pretending to be greek food

Saturday, April 24, 2010

yard sale score!

well there i was looking for a cheap cooler to experiment with and one just dropped right into my path.
the charity i volunteer with does a biannual yard sale and somebody donated this junk cooler. it's intact aside from broken hinges and i can create something that works to replace them.
so i bought that along with some books and a toaster oven to replace the one that spontaneously quit heating last week.
and both my cast iron dutch oven and cast iron deep pan with a lid fit in it at the same time. whee!

so one weekend i'll lay some cork in the bottom and line it all the way around and the lid with the mylar sheet.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

solar haybox -more thoughts

i'm liking this style: low bodied, wide marine cooler.


the long low body lets more sun in
the marine cooler specs say these coolers resist warping and cracking with extended sun exposure [kind of a must for a solar oven]
there are a variety of sizes and shapes with varying descriptions on amazon. i'm thinking of heading to the boat store some weekend to put my hands and measuring tape on some of them.a couple of them say they have lock in place hinges/lid supports which would be ideal for the solar aspect.the other thought i was mulling over was how to protect the bottom of the cooler from what i hope will become a VERY hot pot of food.

still torn between an inch of cork covered in mylar or silicone mats [or a layer of silicone square potholders since i can often find those on sale]
and don't worry, an inch thick cork rectangle is really easy to find. ikea makes a set of trivets for super cheap.

there's one on the left side of my glass topped stove right now, acting as a lid/pot rest when i have to remove things from the heat. putting a hot pot on a cold glass stove is just begging to have a nasty incident.

i think this weekend i'll do a small scale test with a mylar emergency blanket that's in my camping gear, a small cooler i have and my littlest all black cast iron pot and some water.

i won't make it permanent though because that's not a large enough cooler for actually using a pot that could hold a whole meal. and it's brand new, only been used to transport gelatin edible hearts and 'blooderfingers' to the set of a zombie movie ... but that's another post for another time

Sunday, April 18, 2010

another idea while driving

just driving down the road and BAM, right to the back of the head. gotta tell you, unlimited texting to email myself ideas like this has saved many a useful thought from being lost to my wandering mind

wait, this is another of those ideas i have that i assume would be obvious but actually aren't isn't it? went to look for plans to make a solar oven/"haybox" combo out of a cooler. why aren't there any plans? seems easy - make a solar oven out of a cooler with a 'solar lid' and then when needed swap it for the insulated lid for a 'thermal haybox' that can also be used on sun-free days. one box, fewer used resources.

the basic thought so far:

cheap cooler with a hinged lid
line the lid and inside with mylar
make a frame to fit the top with a sheet of glass in it
black cast iron pot with a lid. the pot needs to be not too much smaller than the cooler itself to function effectively as a haybox.
a rack to set the pot on to keep from melting the plastic of the cooler

my dutch oven is still too new and grey, needs a few years. i will likely have to buy a preseasoned one or search thrift stores

Monday, January 25, 2010

bread by zen

for the first time in years i have a reasonably sized kitchen and bread pans at the same time.
so i got some yeast and made a half loaf.
it's an intentional half loaf so it doesn't go stale before i get to finish it

it's a very wet dough intentionally. i wanted lots of steam for crustiness.
i proofed the yeast in advance in warm water with a little sugar. flour, salt, water, yeast - mix.

let it rise three times on the warmer on my stove, double boiler style.

then i poured it into a greased pan [had just finished a stick of butter so i just used that to wipe the pan, i use unsalted butter]

425 for something under an hourish until the crust was golden brown

super soft inside with lots of medium and small bubbles, crusty outside like a loaf of french bread. it tastes exactly like the most perfect pizza crust i ever ate.

there's only one problem.
i didn't use a recipe and i didn't write it down.
hehe, this should be interesting to try to repeat.

Monday, January 18, 2010

house modding - maximum function, zero aesthetic

what i ended up doing with the area over my kitchen sink. this is the result of the broomstick found in the shed on the last house modding post. the grundtal rack didn't completely fit over the broomstick, but that's what vice grips are for, right?

for details on what each item is, check the original flickr photo and mouse over the pic for pop up notes


this is how i store my ziplocs, foil, etc. i take my own food everywhere so i always need something to put it in. this was it's always right at hand.
that little lazy susan used to go in my fridge but there's no good place for it in the current fridge and it doesn't fit in the cabinets. haven't found a permanent home for it yet. may eventually go in the pantry?

and this is the hallway.

in the middle of this pic is the linen/diabetes closet.
on the right is a magnetic tool bar from harbor freight tools with various things i reach for all the time and want close at hand.
on the left is an ikea bag holder. there are three trash cans and a litterbox in the surrounding rooms. i have a hard time keeping enough bags on hand to use, actually

again, for more details [if you REALLY need to know what's on the tool holder] notes are on the original photo, here


fridge features

i don't actually love my fridge. it came with the house.

it's a side by side and i honestly loathe that. i prefer either a top or bottom freezer.
but as long as it's in good working order and i have other things to spend my money on, it stays.
in the meantime, i am thoroughly enjoying the fact that it's a dry erase compatible surface.

gives me LOTS of room to split out my shopping list.

and the side of it is good for a to do list.

my sister has a nice super fancy steel french door fridge. it's lovely. spacious, interior is remarkably usable.
but she had to give up the magnetic properties of the front
and she could never write directly on it.

i guess by the time i am in the market for a new fridge, i'll have a giant list of want and do-not-want features.