Einkorn Cheesy Rolls and Chicken Stew.

Some Celt comfort food to make Jon happy, even if I’m not exactly doing great. I know it worries him to see me sad, so comfort food it is!

The einkorn rolls can be made with any version of wheat and with self-raising flour, but the yeasted, brown version definitely has a more impressive taste.

Rolls.

Ingredients:

  • 500g brown flour
  • 2 eggs
  • yeast mix (I used dry yeast, a bit of sugar and warm water)
  • 100g cheddar cheese
  • 2tsp salt

Utensils:

  • chopping board and knife
  • mixing bowl
  • greased or nonstick baking tray

Recipe:

  1. Mix the flour and salt. Fold in the eggs.
  2. Prepare the yeast and incorporate slowly.
  3. Fold in the cheese and salt.
  4. Leave somewhere warm to rise as you preheat the oven to 160C.
  5. When the oven is ready, reknead the dough and make 4-6 rolls.
  6. Bake the rolls for 25-35 minutes, until brown and solid outside, but very light.
  7. Serve warm with a little butter.

Stew.

Ingredients:

  • 500g roast chicken
  • 300-500g butter beans
  • 3 stems celery
  • 1 aubergine
  • 400g mixed brassica leaves
  • 300g broccoli
  • 1-2 leeks
  • 300ml double cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

Utensils:

  • chopping board and knife
  • blender
  • large pot

Recipe:

  1. Wash, chop and boil the aubergine, leaves, broccoli and leeks.
  2. Once the vegetables are tender, allow to cool a little.
  3. Blend together with the cream and salt and pepper.
  4. Wash the celery, chop the celery and chicken.
  5. Simmer the celery, chicken and beans in the soup.
  6. Serve very hot.

What’s your favourite food this week?

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.
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5 Things I Wish I Had Done Before My Laptop BURNED OUT.

So, I’m stressed right now. Very, very stressed. I have just had my computer crash and lost a week worth of work. Send the thing in to be checked, but there is no guarantee anything can be recovered. Which leaves me finishing a pile of work that I had already done. Annoying? Yes, very. Even Jon’s giving me quiet space to do my work, so I’m guessing it’s very noticeable that I am angry and stressed beyond words.

So here are five things I wish I had done before my laptop burned out, as a caution to myself and to others who take their work as lightly as I do.

1: Deliver things as soon as they’re done.

If you’re writing for work or for a magazine or volunteer group, deliver everything as soon as it’s finished. The only thing worse than losing a load of work is losing a load of work that has been ready to go for 24-48h and that I’ve been postponing. Writing over 40k words all over again in a night is the worst experience imaginable, worse than writing it in the first place. Do yourself a favour and don’t mess up like I did: deliver fast.

2: Set online backups.

Most computers today come with the option of online backups. Create an account and back up your most important work, updating it daily. It sounds like a lot of stress, but it is a life-saver in the long run. Many of my personal work files, such as my books, are saved on Amazon or my email account, which is brilliant to know!

3: Keep external backups.

Even so, try and keep external backups. I am usually good for this, every six months or so. Shame my last backup was exactly that long ago. Ouch. I think more regular backups of certain folders may be required. If the folder is updated every month, then two or three months should be the absolute minimum for backup. Plus, it’s a good safeguard against online formats breaking down.

4: Keep an eye on known problems and keep up to date.

I had no chance to guess this one. Apparently it was just the result of regular use for several years, including the usual issues of running it too long every once in a while and the odd bump. Still, it might have been in my best interest to bear in mind the issues that come with an aging laptop and to run more backups after the second year. When this bad boy is two years old I will definitely be running more regular backups and treating it more gently.

5: Save important work as you go.

I found this out the hard way the first time around as well. I think we have all at some point written several hours worth of work and research, only to have the computer crash, the session time out, the internet die or just to click “do not save” instead of “save”. So we learn to hit the save button at least every sentence and eventually find a happy medium of saving every few paragraphs. Well, that’s where I am right now. From now on I am going to store my most important work in various file systems and save it there whenever I make changes.

All I want is my books back. 😦

Any tips for feeling so stressed you’re about to be sick? It hasn’t gone since last week.

TTFN and Happy Saving!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

Being One Of The Others. Part I. Stepping Out.

The concept of “otherness” is based on the idea of “us vs them”. In short, when we have established what we are, everything else is not us, and therefore must be “them”. The “other” is the individual who has not yet found a place where they belong, or who primarily deals in an environment where they do not belong.

Rollo Tomassi has recently offered a post on “Gamer Girls”, in an attempt to explain how girls who are “other” to society still fit into the general rules of human nature, in their own ways. And it is a difficult one. In principle, women are more socially malleable than men. We adjust and adapt to environment as women who adapted to sudden cultural shifts had greater survival and reproduction prospects. And yet some women stubbornly refuse to “adapt” to popular culture, even in the face of ostracization. Therefore, whilst the basic urges regarding friends, family and partnering may still apply to them, due to a radically different, self-imposed environment, “other” girls may display these traits differently.

GENERAL SOCIETY.

One of the core principles of female survival is that women adapt and follow. We follow the herd, or the leader, or whoever seems to know what they’re doing. By acting cautiously en-masse, the overall result is greater survivability. We adapt to our nearest surroundings so as to adjust whenever there was a cultural or physical takeover. The women who adapted after an invasion survived and bred, those who did not died with their geneline.

It makes sense therefore that women will easily adapt to any culture, be it popular culture, gamer culture or a cult. However where do Other Girs (OGs) fit in? After all, they are rarely both adapting and following. Some OGs adapt to a new subculture, but do not follow instruction within it. Some OGs follow a new leader, but do not adapt to any culture. Most OGs neither fully adapt nor fully follow, wandering between popular society and other societies, sitting outside of social structure.

Rollo suggests that “most fall into the demographic of ostracized weird girl or semi-goth, fuscia-haired outcast who never clicked with the in-group girls in high school.” However this otherness is not always derived from rejection on behalf of the culture, and successful integration is no guarantee that an OG will continue to be integrated, enjoy it or seek it out. This is especially noticeable when it surrounds traits you can alter (goth, fuscia-hair, talks about anime, bad makeup, piercings, no knowledge of soap operas). After all, if a “normal” girl is rejected for fuscia hair, the first thing she does is excuse it, joke about it, rush home and dye it back to her original colour. The OG, on the other hand, continues to wear it, almost on principle, failing to adapt to social pressures and to follow the herd. Even in the absence of support, the OG will keep her pink hair. This stubbornness, confused for strength, may draw some weaker girls to follow her, yet the OG may or may not welcome a tribe of supporters of her own. There seems no purpose to it at all.

I propose that OGs are actually a class of our own, akin to the rogue males who never establish a place in a hierarchy. The concept of tribal rogues is observed and documented, if only a little. The principle is that sometimes a man will detach himself from his tribe, like a young lion leaving the pride, but will not then find a new tribe to become a part of. These men range from low Beta to Alpha and generally lean to Sigma. They have some ability to lead, but not much desire to do so at all. They do not tolerate difference, cultural norms or social hierarchies. They live on their own, as best they can, exploit the lands, seduce and rape, borrow, barter and pillage, do odd jobs and vanish into the night. They are Other Men. They do not belong and they do not want to.

The OG is the female equivalent to the rogue. OGs have many variables which will affect how and why and when they will isolate themselves from general society, but, in principle, it is all self-driven.

Variable 1: Social energy.

Introverted OGs may always be one of the others due to their lack of energy for other people.

Extroverted OGs may have appeared to be one of the main group due to their exuberance and love for people.

Variable 2: Social desires.

Independent OGs are eager to split from the group regardless of the presence of external support.

Dependent OGs are wary of leaving the group and preapred to be a near-outcast as long as they are safe.

Variable 3: Precedent.

Long term OGs are more likely to stay that way. They have probably attempted to integrate and failed before.

Recent OGs will repeatedly attempt to integrate, sometimes for years at a time before they get tired.

Variable 4: Subcultures.

OGs who fit into a subculture are happier to leave the main group, as the subculture provides the home they want.

OGs who do not fit into a subculture are less willing to leavethe main group due to a lack of support.

Variable 5: Desirability.

Sexually appealing OGs are more likely to leave the group, as they have guaranteed access to certain males regardless of female support.

Sexually unappealing OGs will be wary to leave the group, as the group is their primary supply of males. They may be forcibly excluded, however.

Variable 6: Femininity.

Feminine OGs are likely to leave the main group to follow a single male and avoid general modern competition, which they deem excessive.

Masculine OGs are just as likely to leave the group, but because they crave stronger, more male competition.

Variable 7: Partnering.

Single OGs will be hesitant to leave the main group until they feel sure they can find a partner to support them.

Attached OGs will either leave the goup with support from their partner or rejoin the group accompanied by their partner, as their social dynamic is different from when they were single.

All seven variables play a heavy role in whether a female who does not idnetify with the main group will leave it or attempt to integrate. Thus, Tomassi’s design is of an Introverted, Dependent, Long Term, Subcultured, Undesirable, Feminine, Single OG. Which is a real phenomenon. However there are also Introverted, Independent, Long Term, Unsubcultured, Desirable, Masculine, Attached OGs like myself. And there are also Extroverted, Dependent, Recent, Unsubcultured, Desirable, Feminine, Single OGs who may not appear to be an OG at all until the opportunity to break free from general society arises, at which point they cast off the mask of “us” and reveal themselves to be “other”.

Next week I will explore and explain some of the relationship dynamics of OGs and how isolation from primary culture can affect a girl’s attitudes towards partnering.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

How To… identify and avoid netsickness.

What is netsickness?

“Netsickness” is a term I am coining to describe the sensation of isolation our new, hyperconnected age gives many of us. The principle is simple:

  • As humans, we are supposed to interact very regularly with people who constitute our tribe. Even the people who lived in isolation would visit the village a couple of times a week and those who always stayed out of everyone’s way were either very low ranking or belonging to a mini-tribe of their own. In other words: whether it was one person or four hundred, we always lived among those we loved.
  • The other situation under which someone would live in isolation was by force. This was where something about you was not accepted by the tribe. Everything from incurable illness to extreme behaviour, from disloyalty to simply being disliked, could be a motive for your people to evict you to the outskirts.
  • Therefore, when we feel much affection for people and talk with them daily, we want to see them often as well. This shows us that we are wanted and liked and makes us feel happy and secure.
  • When the people whom we most love are not near enough to us, we get distressed. To our primitive selves, these are the people who would protect us from danger, cuddle with us when we’re sad, feed us when we cannot feed ourselves, laugh with us over the day’s events. When isolated from them, we get the sensation that we need to get back to them as soon as possible.
  • In essence, being separated from our tribe makes us homesick.

Enter the internet. It used to be the case that we most readily identified with those around us, but now we begin to form opinions and adopt ideologies that do not resemble those of people nearest to us. It also used to be the case that we would most often talk to those around us and nearest to us physically, but now we can spend all day and all night talking to people whom we will never meet. But our brains cannot tell the difference between people online and people in real life. To our brains, as long as they act and talk like people, surely they are people? With the key difference being that people on the internet are people we never meet. We cannot be protected, cuddled, fed or loved by them.

And that makes us homesick. In short, netsickness is homesickness induced by socializing primarily online.

But how do we maintain an ordinary online presence and get in touch with people across the world without making ourselves feel isolated from those we love?

How to detect netsickness.

  1. Do you feel a sensation of wanting to go “home”, without knowing where that is?
  2. Do you feel a constant desire to move, to get away?
  3. Do you find yourself thinking about online friends daily?
  4. Do you find yourself feeling anxious, angry and on edge after an online argument?
  5. Do you find yourself associating with online and in person friends on the same platform?

If you answered “yes” to all the above, you are suffering netsickness. You have allowed your online relationships to become connected to your in person ones and as a consequence you want to go out and meet up with your online friends.

How to prevent and cure netsickness.

1: Isolate platforms.

Separate where you talk to online friends and associates from where you talk to in person friends and associates. Also separate the places where you debate from the places where you interact in a friendly manner, maybe even create accounts for each type of interaction.

For example, as it stands for me:

Facebook, email and linkedin are primarily where I associate with people I actually know.

WordPress and twitter are primarily where I associate with people I like.

Reddit is primarily where I debate.

By keeping them all mostly separate, I reinforce a sense of real life versus the internet, and create an environment where I am comfortable versus one where I welcome abrasive conflict.

2: Restrict online time.

Sometimes the issue is simply one of time dedication. When we spend so much time on the internet we might start to feel as though this is where our lives take place, especially if we are dedicated to one or two sites.

In order to prevent this, consider the following measures:

  • Permanently block websites where you waste vast amounts of time unproductively, or getting wound up.
  • Add a time limit using a tool such as leechblocker onto each individual social site, so that you do not spend too much time on one particular one.
  • Make a point of splitting up time online with real life. Log off every hour and go for a walk, do some chores or just focus on writing and other work.

If you make a point to not live online, then you are less likely to feel bonded to people you do not actually know.

3: Make time for people.

In the same vein, try and make time for people you know in real life. When you put the internet before friends and family you can end up growing isolated from both groups, resulting in a genuine loss of belonging.

The time required with people varies from individual to individual, but in my case it looks like this:

  • See Jon daily, preferably for most of the day, even if we do not speak.
  • See at least one other person, but no more than three.
  • Once to four times a week see someone other than Jon, for reasons other than work.
  • See specific individuals every 3-6 months.
  • Have the odd day where there is no contact but Jon.

When I do that, I feel like ties are maintained, I feel sociable but not tired from excessive socialization.

4: Meet up.

We will always meet one or two people online whom we connect with on such a basic, natural level that regardless of intermittency of contact and an active social life, we will want to spend time with or around them. This will always result in a sense of longing, as these people have become like our own blood relatives, just because of our shared personalities, matching interests and compatible opinions.

So when all else fails: meet. This does not have to be a physical meeting, but merely breeching the barriers of the internet and reality. Seeing as these people have already become a priority to us, it would be worth our while to add them to our friends on facebook, our email contacts or our skype.

And that is the matter of netsickness, laid out.

Have you ever been netsick? How did you deal with it?

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

Eating all the pig!

Because yum!

I am still blending vegetables to create sauces and am considering writing a short recipe booklet on blended vegetable bases for pasta, rice and dipping sauces. Who wants? 😀

Ingredients:

  • 400g pork and beef mince
  • 300g chorizo
  • 3 pork sausages or 200g bacon
  • 150g black pudding (optional)
  • 300g dried turtle beans
  • 500g carrots
  • 500g parsnips
  • 1 aubergine
  • 100-300g assorted vegetable scraps and end bits
  • garlic, salt and pepper to taste

Utensils:

  • pot for soaking
  • chopping board and knife
  • large pot
  • blender or food processor

Recipe:

  1. Soak the turtle beans in hot water. Rinse and put on to boil in fresh water until soft.
  2. Chop the vegetables and boil them until tender. Take off the heat and allow to cool.
  3. Blend the vegetables in the water until smooth. Season.
  4. Chop the meat into bite-sized pieces and add it all to the vegetables.
  5. Bring to the boil, then simmer until thoroughly cooked.
  6. Serve with beans stirred in or on the side.

I’m loving blending all these vegetables into our weekly sauces. This one looks like there isn’t a veggie in sight, tastes awesome and yet hides a few less favoured vegetables, like aubergine and cabbage. Chances are I will go back to regular stews soon enough, but I’m going properly crazy with this, trying all sorts of combinations. Got any suggestions for a blended vegetable sauce?

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

3 Types Of Respect.

To say that respect is a hard to grasp concept is an understatement. Men view respect as acknowledging superiority, women view it as showing basic decency. Superiors view it as simple obedience, underlings as submission. In one culture it may imply to show deference, in another to show affection.

And this is not because respect is an elusive, undefined concept. But because we all have a rigid definition of what respect means to us, formed by the culture we are immersed in and reinforced by our peers.

However, all definitions of respect can be almost neatly divided into three categories. Understanding these three different categories can assist us in everyday social situations. They will help us to deduce which definition of respect a person is employing, to work out how to talk with them. They will help us to determine whether justice is being done or not. And they will make it easier to negotiate for better treatment from those around you.

1: Respect for your fellow man.

Commonly used by: women, children (who have learned it from their mothers and not yet altered the meaning), some EFL speakers from EU and African nations.

Meaning: “To show basic courtesy, decency. To not interfere with someone’s basic human rights. To not harm someone else’s property or make their lives uncomfortable.”

This definition is the most basic form of respect and, to many, does not mean respect at all. It is based on the concept of inclusion and exclusion and simply means that you will accept and treat the respected person as a part of your group, rather than as an outsider.

Example: “Everyone deserves to be treated with basic respect and kindness.”

How to display: Do not insult or attack anyone, be considerate of other’s feelings and ideas, give room for everyone, do not show undue preference.

2: Peer respect.

Or “voluntary respect”.

Commonly used by: blue collar men and women, between friends, fans.

Meaning: “To acknowledge a superior or equal trait or ability in someone whom you are not required to show admiration for.”

This definition  refers to the act of observing a peer’s greater ability at cooking, stronger morals or similar tastes. It is based on the concept of hard-earned reward and means that if you work hard, in some way you will be repaid, even if not in resources.

Example: “Respect is earned, not given or taken.”

How to display: Treat those who you like or admire (for whatever reason) as slightly closer friends than they are, vocally acknowledge their ability, defer to their superiority only when they are relevant.

3: Enforced respect.

Commonly used by: white collar workers, students, teenagers, religious adherents, EFL speakers from Latin-American and Asian nations.

Meaning: “To defer to and obey a person based on a culturally predetermined rank.”

This definition refers to the culturally, legally and personally enforced subordination to someone whom your culture has placed above you. It is based on the concept that rank earns certain rights (might makes right) and that you must follow your intellectual, moral, skilled or physical superiors.

Example: “You must show your boss respect at all times.”

How to display: Work out the group hierarchy, obey the highest individual, do not use bad language around them, or disagree with them openly.

When we put these three concepts together we end up with respect as a triangular diagram, with everyone’s definitions sitting somewhere between the three. But based on associated words, what we know about the person and the context in which they use the word, we can work out what they actually mean, rather than assume their meaning and ours is identical, or even similar.

What does respect mean to you?

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.