On the home automation front, I got my air conditioner set up to work with the Smart Things hub. I didn't wind up having to mess with the complicated CORE programming; managed to find/questionably hack smart apps that existed in the system to do what I want. Now, my air conditioner will come on at 82F degrees and turn off at 80F; I can turn it on by voice control through Alexa whenever, but it will still shut off at 80F. If the condo goes above 84F, Smart Home will send a text message to my phone; I installed an app on my phone to then forward that text message to email, where I'm far more likely to see it in a timely manner and be able to ask either my neighbor or T to stop by and see what's going on. (It's a pretty useful app, and considering I can go days without checking my phone for messages on the weekend, I probably should have installed something similar before.)
(The app uses access to my Gmail account, which is a bit unnerving, so I set up a burner account just for this, then forwarded that account to my regular email. So the chain is something like: temperature monitor --> smart hub --> phone --> phone app --> burner account --> my email. Like I said, much questionable hacking.)
My new phone, by the way, is a thing of beauty. Unlocked Moto G4 and I will never buy a locked phone again. The sheer joy of turning on a new phone and seeing NO bloatware was delightful beyond words. Just the Google suite, nothing else. The young lady at the MetroPCS store got it all up and running in about 20 minutes (and buffaloed the folks as Virgin Mobile when they tried to convince her (calling as me) to stay with them. It was hilarious listening to her deadpan through all of their blandishments. Which, if you valued your loyal customers so much, dude, why didn't I get one single offer of a free phone for the 12 years before this, hmm?).
Everything I use is now installed and working, including my smart home apps and my databases. Happily, I had backed my databases up to the app server last time I changed phones, so I just had to track down the stuff I've bought since then. That was pretty simple for my DVD/blu rays, as they were either on specific shelves, or in a specific stack. Music was a little harder, but I rip all CDs as soon as I get them, so I just manually added all of the albums added to iTunes since the last database backup. Took a little while, but far less of a headache than I'd been afraid of. Wait, no, I do still have to sync my Calibre catalog, but then I'll be done, and that one is straightforward.
I also did three loads of laundry and some housework, took care of T's cats, took out multiple loads of recycling, replaced the Roomba's battery, and spent far too much time sitting on the couch watching gymnastics.
To fill the baking gap, I started making my own muesli. I like muesli, but don't like raisins (which most brands include), plus, it's pretty expensive. A box of no-sugar-added Mi Familia is $6.29 at Natural Grocers. I dislike paying that much and then having to endure ingredients I don't like.
So, I looked for recipes online. There are a LOT of variations, but it pretty much boiled down to:
- Some sort of rolled grain (oats, spelt, etc)
- Dried fruit
- Other stuff if you want
My first batch turned out well. I had rolled oats, dried cranberries, dried unsweetened coconut shreds and other things on hand, then went to Whole Foods bulk bins and got some more stuff. Bulk at WF is pricey, so I skimped on a lot of the fruit and made it up with the on-hand cranberries.
A couple of days ago, I decided that a trip to H.E.B. Central Market was in order. I hadn't been there since before I moved to DC in 2000, but did remember they had a pretty nice bulk bin section back in the day. Because I had my physical scheduled at 11, we went afterwards. BIG MISTAKE. Never go there during lunchtime. The place was beyond Bedlam. And the store is really badly laid out. My dad couldn't find most of the things on his grocery list and I very quickly became fatigued.
That said, I did score some amazing bread. The bakery is to die for. I got some olive loaves, batard loaves and a dark, seedy bread similar to the WF Seeduction bread, along with a half-dozen assorted rolls. Picked up a pound of serrano ham at the deli and then fought my way over to bulk...which was less impressive than I remember. Not only crowded, but the selections were limited. Admittedly, there was a whole wall of bins for candies, but I was looking for grains, seeds, dried fruits. I got most of what I came for, but I was rather disappointed.
This morning, I mixed up the muesli.
- rolled oats
- wheat germ
- dried coconut (unsweetened)
- dried fruit (sour cherries, blueberries, goji berries, cranberries)
- cacao nibs
- hemp hearts
- raw pumpkin seeds (unsalted)
- slivered almonds
Storage: airtight mason jars
Serving: with yogurt (in this case, Almond Dream Vanilla. I usually use So Delicious, but the Central Market did not carry that.) + fresh blackberries (another disappointment, nearly half of them were moldy :( ) I have also used chopped apples in the past.
The Stone working dude finally showed up today to look at my projects, the paver patio area in the front and the 30 feet of back fence that needs replacing, they will email me a quote.
I feel good that I got things done today. After so long of not really catching up... this is nice.
Digital review copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley
Out for my morning walk and came across one of our "occasional" cats, gray and white and fairly small, with stripes on the gray. It ignored me and focused on something out of sight, so I moved on a few steps and saw two doves bobbling along a driveway. Watched as the cat tensed, quivered, and charged. The doves, of course, left with plenty of room and time to spare.
So the cat turned, trotted over to me, and rubbed my ankles. "Just chasing some vermin out of the neighborhood. Scritch me."
Which, of course, I did.
I refilled all the bird feeders and stations. I cut back the crocosmia and some tall purple thing that has bloomed out. Cut up the bits of Empress tree and pussywill that had to be trimmed back. The yard bin was full full full. Corralled all the recycle bits into the bin until it was full.
The quail were impatient with me clearing out from the fence area, I was cutting into their dinner time. The dominate bird kept coming out and strutting at me in challenge and making noises. No sooner than I had gotten the wheelbarrow back into the driveway, then they flocked out to feed, and this time I had a clear view of the baby quail with them. They are so darn cute! Then the rest of the birds arrived. I had birds landing on the new cross bars already.
Called the sister creature, picked her up on my way to Wilco to buy a couple more cheep paintbrushes (those cross bars need purple paint) some hanging hooks for said cross bars, and noted that they have black sunflower seed on sale.. I will pick up some of that today. Filled the gas tank up on the Van, and was amazed at the huge motorhome that pulled in under the portico (taking up both lanes) to gas up. I thought for sure that I would hear metal crunching. We then went to the West Linn Buggattis in time for the late happy hour. They had been rushed and a lot of the food items werent available because they had run out. Thats a first.
So, today, I need to adult on the bills, then run my last local errands and bunker down for the solar event. I tentatively have the Stone dudes coming on saturday afternoon to give me a verbal quote on my little front patio. If they dont get caught in traffic.