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Diary of an opsimath
For about 6 months now I've been trying to plan main meals in advance for the whole week in order to avoid the, "What on earth are we going to eat tonight?" dilemma when it's reached 6 o'clock and I haven't even been shopping. I'm also trying to extend my repertoire and do more cooking from scratch now I have more time.

It seems to be working and from the 10-12 favourites we tended to eat week after week, I have now built up a list of 30 different meals in my spreadsheet. Yes, I admit it! I am geeky enough to have a spreadsheet which I'm using to count the frequency of each meal. This helps me to choose something we haven't eaten for a while rather than repeat something we had a few days ago. But then yesterday, despite all my planning, I got distracted by the internet and realised that I didn't have time to make the cottage pie we were supposed to be having, so I did a curry with the minced beef instead. We'll have the cottage pie tonight instead.
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We're having a spell of nice weather at the moment, which is helping to keep me positive. Even so, I have started using my lightbox for 30 minutes each morning while I eat breakfast, in an attempt to stave off the worst effects of SAD. I also seem to have slipped into "too many things to do! not enough time!" mode, yet I still waste time reading social stuff on the internet instead of actually, you know, Getting Stuff Done. Anyway, the first step for this morning is to go and hang the wet laundry out on the line, then see which of the items on my To-Do list I can tackle.
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39/52 for the group 2015 Weekly Alphabet Challenge

This week's topic was: Less is more

I have been busy making plum jam.

Ingredients: plums, sugar, water. That's all. No glucose-fructose syrup, no gelling agent, no citric acid, no sodium citrate acidity regulator, etc etc, as is found in shop bought jams.

Jars of homemade plum jam

And I'm delighted to say that it has set! I was a bit worried about it yesterday because it still seemed runny, but left to cool fully overnight it has now set properly. I've never made plum jam before, so this was a new achievement.

The plums were bought in the supermarket, which kind of feels like cheating, but I didn't get so many blackberries this year and I wanted more homemade jam than the two jars of seedless blackberry and 2.5 jars of jostaberry that I've made so far. Actually, we probably did have as many blackberries, but they came ripe in stages so got eaten in pies and crumbles instead of coming ready all at once and thus prompting a jam making session. Also I made the blackberry-and-apple jam seedless this time, so the fruit I did gather on my blackberrying expedition didn't go as far. It's amazing how much of a blackberry is made up of seeds!

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

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Just in case any of my UK LJ friends is a fan, Orphan Black returns to BBC on Saturday night. Well, it's actually on in the wee small hours of Sunday morning. 2:10 am, to be precise and the announcement is cunningly hidden away in tiny print in the Radio Times (p. 62). I would have completely missed it if I hadn't been alerted via a friend's post on Facebook (OK, it does have some uses).

Having said that the print size is small, it's shown in larger print than the all of the S4C programming, which is how, despite being on the lookout for it, I missed the first episode of Y Gwyll (Shown in England as "Hinterland") and had to record a subtitled repeat.

Current Mood: irritated slightly peeved

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38/52 for the group 2015 Weekly Alphabet Challenge

This week's theme was: K is for Kit

Friday night is always pizza night in our house. We do a compromise between making everything from scratch and buying a pizza ready made. There will be some ham and mushroom as well to add to the ingredients shown.

Pizza kit

Current Mood: cheerful cheerful

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I'd spotted this Whimsical Witch-Hat pattern on Ravelry

Here's my version...
Whimiscal Witch Hat

To be honest, I ended up using the pattern more as a guideline than something to follow exactly. This was because the pattern calls for worsted weight yarn, which I don’t use and which isn’t that common in the UK and I wanted to use up my stash of double knitting left over from various blankets and other projects. As I didn’t want to buy new yarn for what is, after all, just a silly dressing up hat, I used the pattern as a starting point and then just winged it.

I am, however, delighted with the result as it’s very similar to the hat my avatar wears in Habitica.

Habitica icon mage

It even sort of suits me. :)

Selfie with witch hat

I’m now planning to make another one in black.
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Aaaaand another 5 boxes of paper have gone to the recycling. I've also put a couple of items from the garage (old climbing rope and hosepipe) on Freecycle. I think the urge to declutter is catching. Now to sort through all the files and folders Mr C has thrown out of his study to see if any of those are good enough to Freecycle.

Current Mood: busy busy

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Now that I don't teach on Thursdays, it means that Saturday feels like Sunday because I've already had two days off work. (I've not worked on Fridays for a couple of years now.) I'm sure I'll adjust, but I keep having those, "Oh, no, I'm teaching tomorrow and haven't finished preparing everything," moments.

Anyway, today has not been as productive as I would have liked with regard to my Habitica Dailies because G has decided to have a monster clear out of his study and I'm having to alternate between helping with sorting and disposing of stuff and keeping out of the way. We have already taken about 8 big boxes of paper to the recycling and now there are another 3 waiting, and that's not counting the several sacks of shredded paper he's produced.

However, I did get rid of a very very red (ie overdue) To-Do by managing to buy G a new tweed jacket for work. He has a horror of shopping and a jacket isn't something we can just buy in our tiny town, so it would mean travelling to a Big Place and trailing from shop to shop. And then I finally had the bright idea of googling the name on the label in his current jacket and discovered that the company sell direct on the internet. As it's the same brand, I could just order the same size he had before. Problem solved!

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

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I am sooo tired now.

It's been the first day back teaching for me today, but the day went well. All the students reappeared after the summer and seemed keen to get started on the new work. Also, the copies of the book G wrote over the summer (and which I spent so much time testing and proofreading) arrived today. It looks really splendid and made all the work seem worthwhile.

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

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36/52 for the group 2015 Weekly Alphabet Challenge

This week's theme was: I is for Impression

Well, with a busy week getting ready to return to work after the long summer holiday, I nearly forgot to take the photo this week.

Here, therefore, is a quick shot taken out of the window. I've messed about with it quite a bit in PhotoShop in an attempt to make it look like an Impressionist painter's impression of a sunset. I couldn't entirely get it to look as brush-strokey as I would have liked, but it's this or missing a week.

An attempt at an Impressionist sunset
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