Ugh

The upcoming coronation inauguration in the US and the recent speeches in the UK have left me feeling really quite demoralised. The horror I feel at what is happening in the world is sapping my energy.

I keep thinking about performing distracting self-care actions, and failing.

So uh, yeah.

Suggestions are welcome.

Our odyssey continues unabated

So, as I’m sure you’re all dying to know how our Bokashi odyssey is progressing. Given the state of the world, our ability to compost left over veg trimmings and off food is clearly something of vital importance.

So, one of the things with Bokashi is that the veg left overs need to be chopped up. There are devices like this:

Hand-cranked-veg-chopper

Which you can use to chop up the veg – but I* didn’t want to fork out the extra for one of them so at the moment we’re manually chopping up all the veg off-cuts. Normally our recipes have a fair bit of veg in – this about 2/3rd of the off-cuts from one of our larger dishes…

IMG_20170114_194326

As you might imagine this adds some time to our preparation. However, although the little compost bin – the countertop one we use to hold veg so we have sufficient to “make a layer” does smell sometimes (with the lid off, it’s fine with the lid on – it has a charcoal filter :) ) – the other bin so far is fine. When you take the lid off it smells a bit fermenty, but with the lid on nary a thing. And the fermenty smell isn’t bad. I wouldn’t want the entire house to smell of it, but it’s fine for a few minutes while we chuck the veg in and squidge it down.

These are the Bokashi bins:

IMG_20170116_175017

We have two, because you seal one up to ferment for two weeks or so, once it’s full. We’ve about 2/3rds filled one of them – in about a week and a half. So it should work okay for us…

Addressing the state of the world issue – I’m feeling more and more pressing need to do every-single-thing we can to reduce our impact. We’ve realised that we can compost the paper towel we use (I have tedious allergies, still, so finding something to do with all those tissues is handy), composting has reduced our ‘landfill’ waste by about half. And I’m continuing my quest to work out a way to substitute our insight for a fully electric vehicle.

We keep trying for some political engagement, but at times it’s insanely overwhelming. On top of which, work still demands nearly all the time that exists. So self care has become of significant importance… so well, yes, that’s where we are.

* This was my idea and it was meant to arrive around Christmas, as a sort of “I’ve got this for both of us” gift – but…it arrived late. To be fair, I ordered it very late.

Just in case you were wondering

That anguished howl you heard earlier?  The one that sounded like 1000 souls dieing? That was me reading the letter from Thurston county.  You may recall that before we bought our land I made countless trips (well, about three or four)to the planning department ask all whether there was wetland on our property. 

They did not think so. They could not be certain, but nothing they had indicated it was… Or so they said. 

Of course now we’ve applied for permission to build on it, suddenly had applied the magic decryption key for the spider secure database which they definitely couldn’t check before. The one that says the neighboring property has wetland, possibly,and that LIDAR reports say there might be wetland. So please can W pay to get it assessed for wetland. 

Oh, and no progress on anything else til that happens. 

Yeah. 

So we may have effectively sunk all our money into a barely buildable plot. 

So that was the hotel you heard. 

Yay.

To compost,  sorta

We’re trying an experiment.  not as it happens a terribly cheap one.  We’re trying out something called Bokashi – it’s an urban,  allegedly non-odorous rapid composting method.  The main problem we faced is that while we have a place we can compost we have to keep the stuff to be composted for long periods.  And during those periods it’d probably start to smell.  Also we’re not deeply keen on the idea of encouraging wildlife onto our land for scraps of food. 

Enter Bokashi. So we have two largish plastic bins and a small holding bin (because you’re meant to put in about 4-5 CM of fresh material at a time. Then you chuck over this activated bran mixture, squish it all down and, when the bin is full,  seal it up for two weeks.

I’ll let you know. Because I’m sure you’re deeply concerned. 

Sunday sunday

Today I have worked.

I have cleaned the house for an hour.

I have not even been outside.

I may have underestimated the amount of work I was giving myself when I changed jobs.

There and back again

I’m not quite sure what I expected from our trip to the UK. There were the obvious things, seeing my mum and her partner; seeing my sister and her family; catching up with as many friends as we could cram in to the trip. That part was definitely a success. We managed to catch up with more friends than I’d commonly see in a year. I notoriously suck at seeing people, so friends often end up going quite a while between visitations – and wonderfully friends made the trek in to London to see us – or offered us somewhere to stay… or made themselves available when we were free.

Then there was the element of visiting places – that we did pretty well on too. We managed to head into Hart’s bakery, we eat at Flour and Ash, we haunted the V&A, we visited the Eden Project, and we hit up tea shops and bookshops (and had a fabulous conversation with the owner of Mr B’s in Bath)… that was all good.

I think the harder thing, the thing that’s more of a what did I expect or hope to achieve thing was…well. There was a definite hope that the trip would prove that we were right to make the move to the US. We long ago stated that we would give our time in the US a minimum of 2 years before we make any kind of judgement about whether it was/is a good plan or a bad plan. I think I really hoped that going back to the UK would make me feel like I’d made “the right decision” when we moved here. Kind of “Oh yes, it’s nice here, but I don’t really miss it that much” kind of thing.

Of course, that is an unrealistic thing to expect.

I do miss the warm embrace of the Britain’s built environment (mainly I mean the buildings but also toilet cubicles without gaps around the doors), and of the UK safety culture (the cheery announcement from the travelator that you’re nearing the end and should prepare to step off, warning signs adorning every surface) and while I enjoy the beauty of the US natural environment, I also still love the UK’s centuries of cultures that have manipulated the landscape.

So I knew that stuff I’d miss. And of course, we didn’t really have contact with the political stuff that encouraged our departure. The privatisation and dismantling of the healthcare system and the welfare state, the demonisation of immigrants… All that is not obvious unless you’re in contact with immigrants, or working in the healthcare system.

We just flitted about the place enjoying the nice things that we like to do. So in that respect it’s hard. But in the end, I think the thing that was most discomforting was every bit of news about Trump, watching the Electoral College fail to do the one thing that it’s there to do. Listening to the appalling things being said, or suggested. Continuing to understand what this means for the US.

And the gradually building realisation that we don’t know what we’ll do if this doesn’t work out. The UK is no longer somewhere we want to be. I don’t want to live in a country were surveilling every citizen is the norm – and neither major party opposes that. But I’m equally aware that I’m a brown queer immigrant in a country that’s just voted in an incredibly right wing vociferously racist president who’s put KKK connected people into positions of power. While my passport might have the Queen stating I should pass without let or hinderance, and I continue to hold the image of her turning up and kicking arse for me, the kinds of people who object to my being in the country and my existence are also the kinds of people who shoot first and ask questions later.

That makes me nervous and it makes me uncomfortable. And it makes me hesitant to put down roots. We’re building a house because, apart from the fact that we both want the experience, we’ve also bought land. It’s land that won’t sell without something being done to it. But what happens after that feels very much up in the air at the moment.

And I hate that. I hate that because we spent the last 8 years going “Oh, we’re going to move” and I thought when we got here that might stop. But no.

Distractions

So… I fear I binge watched this:

Despite knowing very little about K-Drama it’s very entertaining. Highly recommended.

There goes the luggage allowance.

So two days ago I headed down to the garage that have Rebecca to collect the diff. This is the less than 3k miles old diff that was rebuilt specially for installation. The Escort diff which was installed just before we moved over here.

I believe the technical term is "aaah, shit". Less than 3000 miles on it and... Yeah.

They are of the opinion that it was rebuilt incorrectly – that it’s been shimmed wrong and has too much lash. I have to say, I’m really hoping that the company that built it, despite it being a year ago, will repair it under warranty*. I’m pretty disappointed though – although it pretty much goes with the Rebecca’s longstanding history of stupid things going wrong whenever she’s repaired by anyone else.

* There have been some communication issues between myself and the garage – I’m not sure if they’ve already agreed or not.

I have used my snow day…

…for some work, but in my break I’ve called my state rep and the house oversight committee. I’m a bit concerned by the fact I got through. Last time I tried to do this, I spend the day being redirected from engaged tones to voicemail to mailbox full errors.

This time I got straight through.

I’m hoping this isn’t a sign that people are losing momentum on the issues at hand and just that it’s the end of the week so most people have got through.

As a reminder, if anyone needs guidance on things to do: there’s a spreadsheet here.