Showing posts with label Easy Does It. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Easy Does It. Show all posts

Thursday, 18 August 2022

No-fuss Nutrition: Minestrone in Minutes

Minestrone, made with minimal
If you're like me, you really want healthy home-cooked meals. You just don't have enough energy to cook them.

This minestrone is one of my favourite quick-fix-meals.  It takes very little effort, but is still healthy and tasty.

The first thing to remember is you need a big saucepan.  The second thing to remember is there's no set amounts of things.  You can put in as much or as little of each ingredient as you like.

Canned four-bean mix or five bean mix, drained and rinsed. (It's important to rinse.  The liquid they're canned in tastes bad and can give you a tummy pain.)
A peeled and chopped up onion (this is the most work in the whole recipe, so leave it our if you're really short on energy.)
A can of crushed tomatoes.
Some tomato paste.
Vegetable stock powder or cubes or the more expensive liquid stuff if you think it's any better.
Frozen mixed vegetables - the ones cut into small pieces.
Pasta (I use gluten free) or rice.
Herbs: I used garlic, black pepper, basil, oregano, chives and parsley.
Some dried red lentils, washed.

Put it all in the pot, bring to the boil and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the pasta or rice is tender. (If you use whole grain rice, it might take 20 minutes.)

Leftovers can be refrigerated and reheated.

Tuesday, 16 August 2022

Low Energy Gardening

I like the idea of growing my own food.
My little "lotsa lemons" miniature
lemon tree, happily growing with
lots of mulch.

What doesn't sit very well with that idea is that I have a bad habit of killing plants, and that gardening often takes more effort than I can manage.

So here's some things I'm trying that seem to be succeeding, with minimal effort.

  • I have some baby fruit trees in the back yard that I haven't managed to kill yet.  The main thing I can do to help them is give them lots of mulch.  Mulch helps stop water evaporating, so the trees get water for longer if it rains or if I actually get the energy together to water them. It keeps the weeds down around the baby trees, and as it decomposes it provides food for the young trees. Miniature fruit trees take less space, so eventually I'll have a lot of varieties of fruit growing in my planned orchard space of the back yard.
  • Herbs and strawberries theoretically grow in the ground.  I tend to kill them when I put them in the ground.  Far better, I've found is to put them in water-saving pots (the ones with a reservoir in the bottom to slow water plants continuously.) Rain refills the pots, or if it hasn't rained for a while, watering refills them. The plants only need to be watered every week or so. Then I only need to give them a small amount of slow-release fertiliser every couple of months. Even I can manage that.
  • Passionfruit vines seem to be able to grow anywhere and survive anything.  They just need a fence or something else to climb on.  Mine has climbed a tree and is fruiting three metres off the ground, but it's growing.
  • I'm trying something new (well new for me, but a very old idea) with potatoes.  Those potatoes that have sprouted and started to grow in the kitchen, I've thrown out on the ground, and got my son to put a bale of hay (straw is recommended) on top of them.  Once they grow through that, a second bale should go on top.  They should grow through that as well. When the plant dies off, it's time to break open the hay bales and just pick the potatoes out - no digging.  I've been told that the twine on the bales can break, so it's best to put some wire around the bales until it's time to break them up.
  • One day I'm going to work out how to grow a vegetable garden without digging and constant attention.  (If you know the secret, let me know. I'd love fresh home-grown veggies.)

Monday, 2 March 2022

Got the Time?

I love gadgets.

I have gadgets to help me open jars, gadgets to help me move around, gadgets to help me organise everything.
My new Pebble watch.

So, would it be any surprise to know I have a new gadget? This was a gift from my son.  Yes, it's a watch.  I've had watches most of my life (usually I go for pretty little gold ones, not big bulky plastic ones.)

What's so special about this?

Well, it's a smart watch, and it's customisable.

Mine now monitors and tracks my activity and sleep.  It's got a weight tracker, and if I have any kind of emergency, I can shake it, and it will automatically send emails to selected family members to say I need help.

Sleep tracker

I have an app which will help me find my mobile phone. That's very useful when my memory problems cause me to constantly forget where I've left my phone.

I've never dared take a watch in water, but this one is advertised as being OK to take in the pool, so I can use it to track my activity during hydrotherapy, as well as walks and just everyday life.

Activity tracker.

If I hadn't already had the pharmacist put all my pills into prepacks, I could have a reminder on my watch telling me which drugs to take when.  (I may still set reminders for the things that don't go in the prepack.)

If I had other kinds of health problems, I might use some of the other apps available, such as the seizure detector, or the diabetes app, or pulse check.

I only received this yesterday, so it will take a while to see if this really makes a difference to managing my health, but it looks promising.

Oh, and did I mention, it also tells the time?

Friday, 30 August 2022

New Gadget

A couple of years ago, my daughter expressed some concern that I might become too gadget-dependent.

I asked if she'd prefer that I find ways to do things for myself, or needed her to stay home and look after me for ever. She agreed I should probably keep collecting gadgets.

My collection of gadgets to do things like open jars and ring-pull cans is quite impressive.

This week, I saw another thing in the shops that I just couldn't resist.  It's a liquid dispenser for the shower, to keep shampoo, conditioner, etc, at a convenient height and easily accessible with a push of a button.

Do I desperately need this at the moment?  Probably not. I could reach the shampoo on the low shelf it was on. However, on bad days, every little bit of energy I can save is useful.  Saving a little energy on basic tasks gives me a little more energy for something else.

Friday, 28 June 2022


Image: cat drinking out of dishes in sink.  Text: Lupus and housework every task is broken down into smaller tasks and each require a rest when they're done.

Housework seems to take up an inordinate amount of my time.... but if you saw my flat, you'd be forgiven for thinking I didn't ever do any of it.

Looking around, I can see why my ex-husband used to complain about my being lazy.

It's housework day today.  (Actually, every day is housework day, it's just that only very little bits get done each day.) So far, I've run the steam cleaner over the floors.

I'm having a rest to recover from that now.  When I build up some energy, I'll tackle the dishes that I confess to not having done for a couple of days.

Hopefully, I'll cook at least one proper meal today.

Tomorrow, I plan to get out the steam cleaner again, and do the shower and the rest of the bathroom. Maybe. If I've got the energy.

It's not that I wouldn't love to live in a perfectly organised, tidy, home.  It's just that I like to be able to function at some human level as well.  For me that means breaking every single task down into much, much smaller tasks, and having rests in between all of them.

I have to trust that, when it comes down to it, everything important will get done at some time.

Friday, 24 May 2022

Finding the Easy Way

The cake I made for my daughter's wedding.
When I was a teenager, I went to some cake decorating seminars with my mother. Yes, I was a strange teenager.

One of the lessons I learned back then, was to get royal icing to work properly that it needed to be beaten with a wooden spoon. It wasn't just any wooden spoon, either. It had to be one kept specifically for royal icing, with no chance of being contaminated with any oils or other non-royal-icing material.

I've just finished making and decorating my daughter's wedding cake.

You know how I made the royal icing? I beat it in my Kenwood Chef electric mixer. There was no way I was going to be able to beat a kilogram of icing sugar into four egg whites.

Guess what? I couldn't tell the difference between that and the royal icing I used to make "properly".

For those flowers on the cake: I used "soft icing mixture" (a gluten free one) instead of pure icing sugar, and the sugar paste I made with it was actually easier to use. It took less kneading, didn't need the board and all my tools dusted with cornflour, and it was just as easy to shape.

I also used a new cutter I bought, which does five petals at once, which are also easier to shape once they're cut, rather than the one petal at a time I'd learned. It's faster, but it's also less tiring, and less work for fingers to do.

The lesson from this?

Lupus makes life much more challenging, but sometimes there's easier ways to do things than the way we've always done it. Finding an easier way, can make it possible to still do the things we love, despite our limitations.

Thursday, 17 January 2022

Looks Like The Robots Are Not Taking Over
I had what I thought was a brainwave.  I'd save up for one of those little robotic vacuum cleaners.  It would take care of the carpets in the new flat, and save me lots of physical work that I really struggle with.

I put my idea on the Sometimes, it is Lupus Facebook Page, and gained some interesting responses, including issues I hadn't thought of.

Here's some the conversation (surnames taken out.)

Sometimes, it is Lupus I'm considering saving for one of those robotic vacuum cleaners. What do you think? Easier, less painful way to accomplish a challenging household task? Or: expensive trip hazard l would fall over and break within the first week?

Ashley I need one to

Sara I know someone that had one and the dog kept attacking it and breaking it...they kept getting the company to replace it till the company realized what was going on

Sometimes, it is Lupus l hadn't thought of the dog factor.

Joke I'd love to have one !

Kelly Coxon-Long I was thinking of getting one too

Maria I have one and don't care for it. If you have stuff on the floor of course it can't clean around it very well, like chaires and tables, and other furniture. I find it just as easy and less annoying to use a light stick vacuum or broom for bare floors.

Cathy  Maria, your dogs would eat it up the first day, thinking it's a rodent or something that they have to chase down and destroy! LOL

Cathy  hard flooring... nothing is easier than a dust mop. Carpet... get someone else to do it... kids, hubby... or if you can afford it, a house cleaner. Vacuuming carpet is one of the hardest things when you ache. I don't have Lupus, but I do have fibro, arthritis and muscles that were torn in a car accident, so I understand a bit.

Joey  Don't do it, PIA bend over more times than ya would if ya sweep or vacuumed , took mine back

Donna I think it will be bumping into more stuff than vacuuming. LOL!

Brenda  They don't work well at all. Really not worth the money.

Maria  Donna, you are right, it is constantly bumping into stuff, and it becomes terribly annoying.

Deb  I picked up a 3 in 1 bissel light weight vac. It is basically a dust buster with a handle. works pretty good even on the pet hair. I have 3 kids a dog and a cat and could not do the big vacuum every day anymore. so now I use the light weight bissel and my hunny does the big vac once a week. Working out much better

Heather Thanks everyone! I was debating getting one. Don't think I will now.

Sometimes, it is Lupus Thinking l probably won't, either,

Amanda Parents had one, not good idea I would say, nice idea if they worked good but from what I've seen I wouldn't x x

As you can see, other people  like me, who hadn't had one, thought they might be a good idea.  People who did have experience of them however, did not think they were useful at all. It was interesting that no-one who had actually tried one had anything good to say about them.  So it's back to Plan B - try to train my 18 year old to use a vacuum cleaner.

Saturday, 15 September 2022

Easy Does It: Mopping the Floor

Spray and wipe floor cleaner.
When I used to work in a hospital, I would at times watch the cleaners mopping the floor - they'd spray a cleaner on the floor and wipe it over with a wide mop and it was done.

What was wonderful was that the floor could be cleaned without lugging around a bucket of water, and with only one wipe over.

I've been looking out for years, to get that cleaning stuff for my home.

Yesterday, I found it at the Reject Shop. (Only $2 a bottle.) Guess what? It's plain old spray and wipe, just in a bottle that tips upside down and sprays out of the lid. In case I can't get it again for a while, since the stock at the Reject Shop changes regularly, I'm keeping the bottle.  I can refill it with a regular spray and wipe refill bottle when I need to.

All it needs is to be sprayed on the floor, and wiped over with a slightly damp mop, or sponge. All done, and it dries very quickly. And I didn't have to carry a bucket of water!


Thanks to brain fog - I forgot to mention, the mop I'm using is a microfibre one.  The microfibre cloth sticks on with velcro, so I can just rip it off to rinse it out.  No bucket required anywhere, and no bending either.

Friday, 14 September 2022

Easy Does It: Car Washing

To save bending, raise the bucket. (Cat optional.)
I live with an ongoing campaign of finding ways to do things that take less energy and cause me less pain.

This afternoon I washed the car.

Washing the car is a task which takes way too much bending and stretching for me, but sometimes it just has to be done.

So here's some of the tricks I've discovered.

  1. Raise the bucket.  I used an upside down plant pot (a large one.) This saves bending to ground level. 
  2. Fill the bucket in place, using the hose. Do not try to carry a bucket full of water. Use the bucket for mixing water and car wash liquid.
  3. Use the hose.  (That was banned here during the worst of our 10 year drought, but I think lupies have a legitimate reason for doing it now.) Rinse dust off the car with the hose, on fairly high pressure. 
  4. Then swish your cloth or sponge, soaked in the bucket with car washing liquid, over the car lightly. (Walk back and forwards to the bucket, rather than trying to move a full bucket around the car.) Only actually rub if there's spots to remove, otherwise work as lightly as possible so you're saving a bit of energy and your joints.  
  5. Hose car down afterwards to rinse. Learn not to see any parts you can't reach easily. (You think that's a joke, don't you? I mean it.  Unless there's actual bird poo eating through the paint on the roof of my car, the spray with the hose is the best it's getting. And I don't care if my tyre rims don't shine.)
  6. Unless you're especially bothered by water marks, don't bother to dry the car.
  7. Leave cleaning the inside of the car for another day - don't try to do both at once.
Of course, if you can afford it, the most energy-saving way to wash the car is to pay someone else to do it.

Easy Does It: Fly Paper

We've had a reprieve for winter, but otherwise, here in the heat of Brisbane, our little kitchen is often bothered by tiny fruit flies.  These little wretches defy all chemical means of killing them. It doesn't matter what brand of spray we buy, we can almost hear the little monsters laughing when we spray.

A year ago, a cleaner we had (when my income was slightly higher and I could afford a cleaner) suggested fly papers. It was a good old-fashioned rememdy, and let's face it, being physically stuck to the paper meant the little pests could not get away.

So we bought fly papers and hung them on hooks that were already in the kitchen ceiling (wondering if some previous tenants had made the same discovery.)

The fly papers worked.  Thousands of tiny black bodies were stuck to bits of paper hanging from our ceiling, which was pretty unpleasant, but I could cook and do dishes in peace.

We've run into some problems just lately - supermarkets have very recently stopped stocking fly papers. It may be that they stopped for winter, and haven't caught on that it's spring again. 

At any rate, this made me stop and think: just how hard can it be to make fly papers?  Basically, all they have to do is hang around, attracting flies, and being sticky.  So I made my own.

Here's my recipe if you have similar issues:

Step 5.
You need:

A brown paper bag
large flat dish
microwave-safe mug
a tablespoon water
a tablespoon golden syrup (glucose syrup, treacle, anything else sweet and sticky would do the job.)
cake cooling rack
oven tray

Step 8.
  1. Cut paper bag into strips. Cut small holes at the ends and thread lengths of string through. 
  2. Tie strings in loops.
  3. Lay the strips of paper in the flat dish, with the string ties hanging over the edge (so they don't get all sticky.)
  4. Place syrup and water in the cup and microwave 30 seconds to make the syrup more liquid, and mix them together.
  5. Pour the warm syrup and water mix over the papers. 
  6. Cover with plastic and leave to soak overnight.
  7. Place a cake cooling rack over the oven tray (to catch sticky drips), and spread the papers on the rack to dry for several hours.
  8. Hang your new fly papers somewhere they won't get caught in people's or pet's hair, etc.

Friday, 25 May 2022

Borrowing From "The Simpsons"

I don't normally count on The Simpsons for any  degree of wisdom, but I'm emerging from weeks of pain and fatigue, am behind on housework, and have a house inspection notice stuck on the fridge. I still have to take care of my own health, and have a number of doctor's visits and tests, etc lined up over the next few weeks. Somewhere I have to find some time to do my actual job.

So I'm taking some advice from The Simpsons' nanny Sherry Bobbins - and cutting every corner.

Apparently, it's the American way. Which is probably why I never learned it. I'm Australian, and I grew up with the Protestant work ethic. I was Methodist before the Uniting Church was formed - the heritage of John Wesley was strong.

Here's my tips for cutting corners around the house:

  1. Cook with pre-made sauces. (Yes, I know they taste nothing like fresh food. This is a temporary situation until I'm well and back on an even keel.)
  2. Use the microwave (erk!) more and the stove less.
  3. When you cook an actual meal, do extra and freeze or refrigerate leftovers so you can just reheat for lunch the next day.
  4. Organised enough to have made an actual grocery list? Order on-line and have it delivered (the delivery person actually carries it inside.)
  5. Use pre-made packaged salads from the supermarket. Add tomato and other things that don't keep so well in the bag, just as its being served, then it at least looks fresh.
  6. Buy pre-grated cheese. (If desperate, even the horrible powdery parmesan.)
  7. Kitchen wipes, bathroom wipes, flushable toilet wipes.  Don't clean anything properly, just give a quick wipe as you walk past. It will look relatively clean, and you won't go nuts seeing grime building up that you don't have the energy to do anything about.
  8. Use the clothes dryer. I hate doing this because of the cost and because of the environmental impact, but when I've been this sick, that's what I just do.
  9. Do what I call "pottering around", just do a tiny bit of something productive, then have a rest.  Do a tiny bit of another productive thing, have a rest.  You'd be surprised how much actually gets done.
  10. Keep a list of all the jobs to do, broken down into their smallest possible parts. Each little part is an achievement. (Haven't had the energy to do the dishes, and now you've run out? Wash one sink load - don't dry them just leave them to air dry on the drainer. Come back after a nap and put them away. Do another sink load after the next nap.)
  11. Multi-task where it doesn't take extra energy. (Eg, while I write, I have a hot water bottle working on my sore lower back, and the TENS machine on my feet and shoulders. I'm doing self-care stuff while I write.)
  12. Make what you do count for more than it otherwise might. (Eg. while I didn't have the energy to do anything else, I lay on the couch reading. I got reacquainted with a favourite theologian, and used that book as the basis to write my reflection for the church newsletter this week. My "wasted time" was then made productive.)
  13. Reuse what you can. When I'm unwell, I use worship services I wrote from another time the readings came around in the three-year cycle and simply update it, rather than starting over. (When I'm really well, I write a new service.)
  14. Make the most of the resources you have. I currently have two adult offspring and a niece in my house. I can order other people to take the dog out for a wee, or to do a load of dishes or vacuum the carpet, or take out the rubbish. (I find they're also more willing to clean benches etc, if they have the disposable cleaning wipes, which are quick and easy.) They won't do things like changing cat litter - but I'm working on it.  Last night my daughter learned where the mop is kept, which is a big step forward.
  15. Weeding the garden? Spray with weed spray if possible. If the weeds are too close to the actual plants, pull out one when walking past. Next time pull out another. Don't try to pull out two weeds in the same trip.
  16. I'm considering, but price has put me off a bit, having the chemist do my pill sorting for me. (It's an extra $5 per week on top of the cost of the medications.) That would save me the effort of pill sorting day, and would mean less risk of me making mistakes when I have brain fog. It's also easier to bring a pre-pack made up by the chemist if I have to go to hospital, than to take all of the boxes and bottles of pills in their "original containers". (If I should end up having to have surgery, I will definitely have this done for the time I'll be in hospital, and recovering at home.)

We began with The Simpsons, so let's finish up with a tip from Homer. (Although, I must state here and now, that I absolutely love my job.)

Saturday, 31 March 2022

Cleaning House

Well, the inevitable has happened. My baby turned 18.

That means a lot of things, of course. In practical terms, one of the big things is that my ex-husband no longer has to pay child support.  It means my income for managing my personal life and the household suddenly dropped by about 25%.

(In my ex-husband's favour, I must say that he does give the kids pocket money to help them with their education expenses - but that doesn't help with food, rent, etc.)

One of the things which has had to go with the reduction in income was the cleaner. Suddenly, I'm doing my own cleaning.

I don't do it the way the cleaner did. I'm not trying to clean the whole house in two hours. Instead, it's a little bit here and there, breaking down each task into its smallest possible bits and doing just the tiny bit at a time.

But I'm also doing things like sweeping behind the fridge. (No, you don't want to know what that was like when I first looked.) And I'm moving things to clean under them, which is giving me no end of surprises.

As with the kitchen, I have gadgets to make it a little easier to do what I have to do despite complaining joints.

Long-handled cleaning tools.

I use a long-handled dustpan and brush, rather than having to bend down to use the traditional type. And a reaching tool to pick small items up off the floor, again to save bending.

The item on the right in the picture is absolutely amazing. It's for cleaning the bathroom. I don't try to reach across the bath with a spray bottle and sponge.  Instead I use this long-handled sponge/scrubber. I dip it in a bucket of water and disinfectant, and use it to clean tiles, the big mirror on the other side of the bath, anything that I would otherwise have to bend or stretch to reach. After that, all I have to do is give what I can reach a quick wipe with a cloth dipped in the disinfectant water.

The only really heavy job, the vacuum cleaner, I haven't tried yet. On the cleaner's last day with me it broke and I have to buy some fairly expensive parts. (The problem with buying such a high-quality vacuum cleaner/carpet washer, is that the parts cost a bit.) Once I get the part, I think I am going to give the offspring vacuum-cleaner lessons.

Update 13/3/2022 I was sent a link to show how to clean the house.  Can I suggest that if you don't have brain fog, do up to the point of making the detailed checklist - then hand it to a more able-bodied member of the family and go have a nap.  Pro Tips on How To Clean Your Home The Right Way.

Wednesday, 14 March 2022

Gadgets in the Kitchen

When I was really sick before, I started collecting gadgets that helped me do daily tasks with a little less effort.

At the time my daughter said I was becoming too gadget-dependent, and I pointed out that if she ever hoped to leave home I should be dependent on gadgets and not on the kids. Then she started looking out for gadgets with me.

I thought I'd like to share with you some of my favourite kitchen gadgets. Because I love cooking (and I love cooking because I love eating) these get a lot of use.

The big plastic hook..
.I can't remember its real name.
I tend to lurk around the kitchen shops looking for those great finds that cost very little, but make a huge difference to my life.

One of these is a big plastic hook. I'm sure it had a "proper" name, but I can't remember what that is.  It opens those ring-pull cans. You know the ones. They're supposed to be easier to open because you don't need a can opener.

If you're like me, you find those cans a problem, because you have to be able to lift the little ring in the first place, and then have hands strong enough to pull it forward and then peel the can lid back.

The hook can be pushed under the ring with less effort than trying to get fingers under it. Then it's a matter of rocking the hook forwards to break the seal and back to peel off the lid.

The handle is easy to grip with my whole hand, so I'm not relying on just a couple of fingers, and the hook shape means that I don't need to use a lot of force to peel the lid back from the can. This bit of plastic can save a lot of frustration in the kitchen.

Jar key.
Another great gadget is the "Jar Key". This helps to loosen the lids on jars.

Most things to help open jars, work on turning the lid. This one works by helping to break the initial seal. It hooks under the edge of the lid, then it's a matter of gently lifting enough to allow some air into the jar. The safety button on the lid pops up and the jar is suddenly easy to open.

Again, it has a nice long and flat handle, easy to hold, and is designed so it takes the minimum of effort to use - something absolutely essential on days when my hands are not working properly.

As for cost, I bought this about three years ago, so I'm not entirely sure, but I think I paid less than $5 at my local Robin's Kitchen.

Sometimes, just holding a piece of equipment differently
makes a difference.
Some days, simple things like holding a vegetable peeler or a vegetable brush can hurt.

Here's an alternative - instead of the traditional small handle, these have a loop to go over the finger. I hold my peeler or my vege brush in the palm of my hand.

The technique takes a little bit of getting used to - but I find that even my daughter now prefers these to the traditional ones that are left lying unused at the back of the drawer now.

From memory, they were slightly more expensive than the "normal" versions - but not by much at all,   and they have proved their value for several years.

Staysharp scissors, a can opener with an easy grip.
and a gadget to help turn lids.
One of my most used gadgets is my pair of staysharp kitchen scissors.  I now use scissors for a lot of things I used to use a knife for. Scissors cut up herbs, meat and vegetables, provided they are thin enough. They have a really good grip, so are easy to use, and the case/sharpener means that they're always ready to use and perform well.

Another useful gadget to have is the kind of can opener that has big handles. It's easy to hold and easy to use.

The other object in this picture, I'm sure has a name, but I don't know what it is. The idea is that it helps grip the lids of bottles and jars to make them easier to turn. I have needed to use this for small bottle lids once or twice, but find for jars, the Jar Key is far easier.

The ultimate gadget: Kenwood Chef.

Of all my kitchen gadgets, my favourite is not something I picked up for a couple of dollars at the kitchen shop.

For my birthday last year, Mr Wonderful gave me a Kenwood Chef. (Yes, he was very good to me.)

There's lots of attachments that I want to save up for to go with this, but even the ones that came with it have made an amazing difference to my life. The standard equipment included a hook for kneading dough. Gluten-free bread that tastes good is hard to find, and the best is home-made. The dough hook does the kneading my hands and wrists no longer can do - meaning I can still have my home-made breads. The whisk attachment does what I used to be able to do with a hand whisk - only much faster and better. The other attachments also make a world of difference to the basic tasks of cooking.  And the plastic splash guard means that I don't have a mess in my kitchen from the ultra fine gluten free flour being spread around.

Wednesday, 29 February 2022


I had thought it would be hard, coping with less steroid.

Actually, it's not too bad. Of course, I've only gone down from 12.5mg per day to 10mg per day - so the story may change in the next few weeks.

What I've found is that my pain levels have increased a bit, and my fatigue has come back. (While I was on 12.5mg per day, I didn't even need an afternoon nap. I had so much energy and so little pain, I even tried riding a bike.)

So why isn't it as difficult as I expected?
I guess because I've been here before.  This isn't the first time I've felt like this, and I know how to handle it.  I have to re-examine my energy budget to ensure I get what is most important done, even if everything else fails to be done. I need to go back to my energy conservation strategies, some of which have fallen by the wayside. Some of my energy conservation strategies - like using the dryer for the big stuff, I had stopped doing because in my new year's resolutions, I had decided to be more energy conscious. I've had the clothes dryer unplugged since the start of January - while I still have some energy, I'll leave it off, and hang the big stuff on the clothesline. In a month's time, when I'm down to 5mg of prednisolone, I might be reviewing that decision.

I've done basic things, like buying a hose to water my few herbs and vegetables, instead of carrying buckets of water. Thankfully, it's rained so much lately I haven't needed to water much anyway.  I have to resist the urge to pull out weeds, even though the ground is soft at the moment - but wait for a fine day and spray them instead.

It's time to rediscover all of the arthritis gadgets I haven't bothered using in ages. One day, I must share with you photos of my gadgets and descriptions of what I use them for.

New favourite shoes, worn twice, now retired.
My fabulous new stiletto shoes have been relegated to the back of the wardrobe, even though they are less than a month old.

 Yes, the prednisolone had been at a high enough dosage that I could wear high heels for short periods of time without pain.  Now my ankles are hurting when I wear flat shoes, or even clump around the house in my slippers.

All in all, after a couple of wonderful months of being pretty much "normal", I'm returning to my miserable, tired, much-pained self. But at least this time around, I'll know how to handle it. Experience is a great teacher, and I've been here before.  I survived then, and I'll survive now.

Friday, 8 July 2022

Speed Cleaning

Our cleaner disappeared. Do people just disappear?  He stopped coming and cleaning our house, and then when I tried to ring him the phone had been disconnected.

My theories are: he finally won the lottery and is travelling around the world repeatedly; aliens abducted him; or he finally realised that cleaning up after my family is not worth the money I pay him, and has changed his name and gone to live with a new identity somewhere exotic, like New South Wales. Because he's a missing person, I should give you his description: he's tall enough to reach shelves I can't reach and put things I use on them; wears the kind of daggy clothes you'd wear for cleaning house; and is the kind of person who'd buy a meat pie for his morning tea and then share it with my scavenging dog.

Given that working part time and being on a part pension, money isn't all that easy to come by, I decided now was a time to get inventive. One of my kids is officially an adult now and one is less than a year off it. A house with three adults in it should be able to be cleaned by the residents, right?

I thought I'd enlist the help of experts and bought Speed Cleaning by Shannon Lush and Jennifer Fleming. They know how to keep an entire house clean in 15 minutes per day. (Seriously.)

Clearly, they don't have lupus, and the help of a pair of teenagers who really don't want to help.

I've read the book cover to cover, several times.

Here's the thing: what they can do in 15 minutes, I could probably do in about five hours - as long as I spread those five hours over about a week. But their 15 minutes a day, is meant to be done every day - which means I would need seven weeks to do a week's worth of their cleaning methods.

This is not to say there's anything wrong with their book. I'm sure if I was healthy, I could do everything they say, and it would all be good.  If you don't have lupus or some other chronic condition that leaves you fatigued, or in pain, when you do too much, I recommend you buy it. I want to give a copy to each of my kids when they leave home.

The big thing from this book that I can use, is that the best way to clean is to break things down into little bits. That fits with the lupus lifestyle. I can go and throw a load of washing into the machine, do a couple of dishes, then go lie down until the washing needs to come out of the machine. I can hang up the wash (on a rack in the laundry - saves going outside), wipe down a bench and go for a lie down. Then I can fold the previous day's washing since it's dry, sweep the kitchen floor, tell a teenager to take out the garbage and - yes of course - have another lie down. I break every job down into its smallest part, and then give myself credit every time I achieve each little part. For the big stuff, like using a vacuum cleaner - well I've got big teenagers, and it's time to teach them some life skills.

Well, that's a blog entry done.... Time for a lie down.

LUSH, Shannon & FLEMING, Jennifer. Speed Cleaning. Sydney: ABC Books, 2006.