Making new habits – getting better at being effective at what I can do

I’ve talked bit about habits before and how I use them to preserve energy.  A few years ago I found a tumblr called Unfuck Your Habitat (UFyH) and that started changing how I approached housework. I used to be really messy, and would clean and tidy up in a panicked frenzy when someone was coming to visit. Naturally that meant I hated every second of it.

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Oh, do come in.

It’s a lot of work changing habits like these, it has taken me about a couple of years to get to the point I’m at now where I have a home that is pretty much always – if not super clean – at least tidy. It feels good to have gotten this far being as sick as I am.

So what sort of routines have I created for myself? Well the rules of UFyH are pretty simple; put it away not down, laundry has three steps – wash, dry, put it away dammit, everything has to have a place to live. Most importantly the system emphasises working within your limits. I’ve not documented the paring down of my excess stuff since most of that happened in the middle of the renovation of my living room and kitchen, but trust me I got rid of a lot of stuff I never used.

The routines I have now is as follows: Keep the kitchen and bathroom spotless by doing a little bit every time I’m in there. I wipe down counters and sinks and put stuff away pretty much on automatic now and I think that I might use about 10 minutes or so a day keeping things clean. I had to get a new dishwasher for my new kitchen and bought a narrow (45 cm)  one because a full size one wouldn’t fit in the new layout. Best decision ever! It’s more than enough space for one person, and has a very handy short program that I often use when the machine isn’t full. Not filling things up to the brim makes it easier to empty again strangely enough 😏

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About a decade ago I was an apprentice in a restaurant kitchen, and pretty much the first lesson I got was to keep your workstation clean. Don’t know why I stopped doing it ’cause it turns out it’s a lot easier to cook when I do it now. We separate out food leftovers in green bags Oslo (they turn it into bio fuel) so I keep the (smallish) bucket I use for it on the counter while I prepare food and have less steps to go to get rid of vegetable peel and eggshells etc. Packaging gets tossed in the sink first and sorted later. Most of it is plastic and gets recycled and some of that needs to be rinsed before going into its blue bag (blue and green bags gets separated out by a giant robot named Bagsy and goes to making new stuff. The leftover garbage gets burned and is used for heating homes, like mine). My bins are under the sink so its a short distance.

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This goes in there, that in here and we’ve saved the world!

I’ve also gone back to preparing all the ingredients before I start cooking (mise en place) – it saves a lot of energy since you never have to hurry to finish chopping something up or finding something you need. And as always – there is no shame in using frozen and already prepared ingredients. If you have a food processer of some kind using it as often as you can does save your energy.

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Cooking is easy, all you need is a horse a cow and a goat.

Laundry gets the same treatment. I thought I had to get a narrow top loaded machine for my tiny bathroom (a narrow frontloader will fit I found out later) and had no room for a tumble dryer. Hanging laundry can be really heavy work, but I tend to run smaller loads these days so I manage to get it done. When I can tho, I’m getting a combination washer/dryer so I can just skip the hanging up all together and go straight to putting it away dammit.

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This is where this belongs, and this is where that belongs

My mom comes in to change my sheets and mop the floors for me and do other heavy stuff, but I manage to stay on top of most of my chores even if it gets a bit dusty in here sometimes. I have though about getting a robot vacuum cleaner but my google skills has failed me a bit on finding one that will work well in a small apartment with a lot of walls and furniture in the way. If anyone has any suggestions I’ll be grateful.

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Step aside peasants, I’m coming through here

I hope this didn’t come across as too splainy, I’ve re written this post a few times and still think it could be better. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask ( I might take a little time to answer tho, I haven’t slept that much lately and it feels like I might be able to now :))

 

It’s finally soup season!

It’s October and fall and soup season! For us spoonies (heh) this is the best season for cooking in my opinion. There is a lot of soups and stews that are easy and quick to make. Soups are also easy on a digestive system that sometimes has trouble keeping up. You can make a biggish portion that you can freeze and have for later, and also use as sauce in other food like casseroles.

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Turtle soup!

Some of my favourite simple soups: Cauliflower, tomato, broccoli, leek and potato.

Which leads to my first recipe in what I hope is a little series:

Mushroom soup:

  • 600 g mushrooms (whatever you like, in the pictures there are brown button mushrooms and funnel chanterelles) sliced
  • 1 red onion  – chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic – sliced
  • A handful of thyme
  • 1 litre chicken stock (or vegetable if you prefer)
  • 5 dl cashew milk (I’m allergic to cows milk, but you can absolutely use ordinary milk or any other substitute you like)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Flat leaf parsley and spring onion to decorate and add some crunch

Slice the mushrooms,and finely chop the red onion. If this is difficult for you can absolutely use a food processor for chopping or just chop the onions a bit bigger. Pull the leafs of the thyme stalks and slice the garlic cloves. Pour some olive oil in a hot skillet and  start cooking the chopped vegetables. This takes a couple of minutes, until the onions are softened. Add a pinch of salt and pepper (all of this takes about five minutes).

Add the chicken stock and milk and bring up to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and go sit down and do something nice. If you are prone to forget you have something on the stove put an alarm on your phone for about half an hour to an hour.

Taste your soup. If it needs more salt and pepper add some, if not you can eat! I served mine with some flat leaf parsley and sliced spring onion for a bit of crunch. If you like thicker soup you can blitz about half of it in a blender or something, or you can add any thickening you like (cornflour, arrowroot*).

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Soup!

Serve with anything else you like, bread, croutons, sandwiches. Værsågod!

 

*Note that freezing the soup with thickening means it probably will separate after it’s reheated.

 

#MillionsMissing – part 2

It’s the second #MillionsMissing day of Action – Take Two It’s Bigger and Better. I wish I could be present physically in front of the parliament building in Oslo today, but I’m not up to that and I have some other things happening today that I can’t move. Hopefully I can participate in the flesh next time, I should have a wheelchair by then.

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#MillionsMissing

Instead I’m wearing my red t-shirt at home, and at my GP’s office. There is a massive amount of things happening today – for me that is. They are changing my front door today (literally), so builders are running around everywhere making noise. I’m gonna do a little protest in front of them here at home.

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If you are wondering what you can do to help please consider donating to Millions Missing Crowdrise campaign or The Open Medicine foundation. I would also like for you to sign the stopGet petitions if you can (One for brits, and one international). It’s to stop potentially harmful research treatment on children in the UK and is really important to me. It’s one thing to do this research on adults but since we already know it doesn’t work on us it’s diabolical to do the same thing to kids.

I expect I’ll be exhausted by the end of the day and anticipate a crash. I’m really proud of the M.E community and what has been achieved over the last few years. It feels like we have finally managed to gel into a coherent mass with common goals and I can’t thank  the organisers of the different campaigns and organisations enough. I wish I could be more useful.

P.S. I can’t wait to have a new front door. The one I have seems to magnify any sound coming from the stairwell and is leaking air like you would not believe. A new fireproof door and new insulation around it should fix the worst of the sound problems. Not hearing the kids on the third floor running up and down the stairs screaming (not really, they are good kids but kids are heckin loud) would be great!

 

Getting a wheelchair I think

I’ve talked to my mom about getting a wheelchair again. She has seemed very reluctant to admit I need one, but it turned out it was a bit more complicated than that. She was kind of excited to get me a lightweight manual chair that we can use to go shopping or museums and stuff. So am I to be honest. Lasting more than ten minutes in a shopping centre and not crashing after would be great.

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Probably not me?

Thing is, she didn’t want me to have a big outdoor electric chair. I don’t particularly want a big chair, but living in Norway we have winters and a smaller electric chair might not work very well on snow. Apparently she’s afraid I’ll get into an accident. To be fair they are fast and my reaction time is not brilliant any more. I refuse to drive a car these days, I’m terrified I’ll hit someone or something.

I’ll talk to my doctor next visit and start the process. I might get an evaluation team to come asses what I need the most. I think a lightweight collapsable chair is what I need, and I’ve seen some with helper motors on their wheels which might be good for me.

 

Just a little update

I haven’t been very active on my blog lately, my ME is currently kicking my cognitive metaphorical butt. I have about eight pieces of writing in the draft section but they all need pictures, fact checking and sourcing and so on, and I’m just not up for that at the moment.

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What I have been doing lately though is reading a bit. I loved Chuck Wendig’s Invasive and recommend it to anyone (if insects isn’t too creepy for you). I hope they make a move of it, it was intense. I’ve been knitting socks while lying down and supporting my arms. I’ve been talking more to people on the internet, it’s scary but feels good. I’ve been overdoing it physically every time I feel a bit better because I’m so effing bored of resting and want to do something (not smart, I know).

I started watching Stranger Things. It takes a while because my memory is shit, and I have to go back every now and then and watch all over again. It’s also creepy in a way that gives me nightmares if I watch to late at night. I love it. I have a few movies to watch like Captain America: Civil War but I haven’t felt up to it lately (Cap’s my favourite Marvel hero).

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Cap is right Tony!

 

How do you make new friends?

I’m feeling kinda lonely at the moment. I’m in bad enough shape that seeing people in real life is really difficult, and quite frankly I’m no longer a priority for the friends I’ve managed to retain over the years I’ve been sick. I’m not exactly blaming them although it feels a bit hurtful sometimes that they don’t contact me more often. I mean, I really really understand the part about being out and about and doing whatever it is you do when you are well and able. I certainly would if I could. I just wish they’d include me a bit more that’s all. I’m also in an age group where most have smallish children, and that makes it hard for someone to come visit when I feel good enough to see them. They can’t bring their children with them to come see me even if I’d like to either (kids are noisy and to full of energy).

So here is my little problem. I sort of live my life online these days, but for some reason I have difficulties entering conversations online. I quite often have things I want to say but the fact that I have to write it out and be sort of articulate in a shortish period of time freaks me out a little. What if it comes across wrong etc. etc. What if I suddenly stop being able to english or even worse norwegish (that’s a word!)? This means that I often don’t manage to say what I want, and then of course I don’t make friends either. Ugh. I’m trying though. It’s my goal for this year to be more active online but that’s easier said than done.

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I would like some friends that understand what I’m going through, but who also tells stupid jokes and talks about pets and is as geeky as me. Wish me luck .

Food and chronic illness

When you have a chronic illness like mine food is something that can become incredibly difficult to navigate. I have picked up several allergies and intolerance’s to different types of food, and after doing an elimination diet a few years ago I managed to get the worst of the IBS symptoms under a semblance of control. I’m on a lose interpretation of the fodmap diet. And lately I have reintroduced some of the stuff I reacted to before that seems to work OK now. As long as I avoid wheat starch I can have gluten free bread for instance but only certain kinds. Sandwiches certainly makes things easier day to day, but I also have to bake my own bread.

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My energy levels dictate how much cooking I manage to do. Generally things have to be relatively quick and easy to cook. One pot cooking is something i recommend for everyone. Just chuck a load of vegetables in a Pyrex and put whatever meat or fish you like on top  and you’ll have a decent dinner in half an hour or so (remember some spices, herbs and a bit of oil and or lemon/lime and you are golden). I know I’m lucky that I have skills other people don’t have, I was a chef for a while and cooking is something I understand. But it’s also true that the worse I feel the worse my diet gets. It is practically impossible to have high standards when everything is difficult. So living on breakfast cereal, sandwiches, fruit and whatever I manage to scrape together for dinner becomes norm.

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