23 September, 2023

Biscuit recipe, redux

Category: Baking,Food — Moose @ 8:08 am

Back in January I started tweaking a biscuit recipe for my particular dietary needs (gluten and dairy free), and as of last night’s batch I think I have dialed it in. Cast iron skillet, 8″, and cut the recipe in half with some tweaks, including letting the dough rest for 30 minutes which allows the gluten free dough to rise in a manner more like regular flour and letting it rest for five minutes after baking (thank you for the tips, ATK).

Half-batch gluten and dairy free “Butter” Swim Biscuits

1 cup dairy-free milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1-1/4 cups gluten free flour (King Arthur, preferably)
3 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 stick of margarine (4 Tbsp)

Mix the milk and vinegar and let sit while you assemble the other ingredients (this creates fresh “buttermilk” and gives the acid needed for the baking powder to react).

Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Add the milk mixture and gently mix all the ingredients together until a moist dough is formed (lumpy is good). Let sit for thirty minutes to allow the dough to incorporate the moist ingredients and get a good rise going.

At the twenty minute mark, preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

At the twenty-five minute mark put the margarine in the 8 Inch cast iron skillet and place in the oven until the margarine is melted, about 2-6 minutes depending on your oven and how cold the margarine was. Remove from the oven.

Pour the dough right on top of the melted margarine and use a spatula to gently spread it evenly across the skillet until it touches the sides. Brush some of the margarine across the entire top of the dough – any bits in the middle without margarine on it will look and taste dry.

Use a knife to cut the unbaked dough (it should be swimming in margarine at this point) into mostly even squares. (It’s fine if they are not perfect squares.)

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

15 September, 2023

Recovery plan

Category: Aging,Body,Health — Moose @ 9:11 pm

The TL:DR version: 1. No surgery. 2. I dislocated the patella and it snapped back into place pretty much immediately. 3. Lots of PT. 4. Might take up to 3 months to get back to normal. 4. Follow up with Orthopedist in 3 week. 5. No driving.

So after waiting around in the large brace for a week, commuting from the 3rd floor (bedroom) to the 2nd floor (living room/kitchen) and back again, I got an MRI on Wednesday. I’ve had a couple MRIs over the years and this was the first time I didn’t have to get undressed and into a gown – everything but belt and jewelry stayed on. Wild. Saw the orthopedist this afternoon, and the message was better than expected. I don’t need surgery. I dislocated the patella when I slipped, and it smacked the femur, but it snapped right back. The MRI showed where the bones collided. I can’t quite get the knee into full flexion (fully bent), so for now I need to do a lot of PT to get the joint back to full mobility.

The tendon that runs on the inside of the knee is going to be angry with me as we bent the joint. The kneecap normally pulls to the outside some when the knee bends, and that’s going to irritate it. They gave me some prescription naproxen to help with it. I’ve put in a request with a PT shop that’s close (quick bus or Uber ride) so hopefully they’ll get back to me soon and we can start working on rehabilitation. In the meantime I’ll have to figure out how we work this with work, because I think I’m technically out of full-time work from home options, but I can’t imagine they won’t accommodate this since I can’t drive, thus can’t reasonably get to work via car or Metro.

I will say I’m grateful that I don’t need surgery. I’ll happily do PT until the cows come home to get back to normal.

9 September, 2023

Wrenched it

Category: Aging,Body,Health,Home,Mood,Stress — Moose @ 9:21 am

On Monday I was on a grocery run when I slipped on some oil in the parking lot and very badly wrenched my right knee. I didn’t feel anything pop, but I definitely went down and there was a lot of loud vocalizing about pain. On the upside, it’s a shopping center with an urgent care center, so after a bit of denial I leaned on a shopping cart and wheeled myself over to get checked out. I got a brace, crutches, instructions to go see an orthopedist.

Saw my old orthopedist’s office the next day (different doctor; the last guy specialized in shoulders, this one in knees). X-rays did not show anything broken, but did reveal that I have a bipartite patella on both knees, which is probably unrelated, but was an interesting conversation piece with the doc. Got a knee wrap and a stiffer, larger brace to hold things in place better (and boy have they improved since I last wore one back in 1986*). Instructions were to get an MRI and make a follow up appointment with the doc. First radiology place was going to take two weeks (!!!!) to get me in. I booked it, but then checked in with insurance to see where else was available and managed to get one a mere week later (this upcoming Wednesday the 13th, as opposed to the following Tuesday the 19th) a little further out. Definitely a sign that there’s too much demand and not enough supply in the DC radiology market.

In the meantime I’ve been sitting around playing lots of PS5, doing some reading, and a little bit of work. The collection of chargers next to the couch has slowly grown as I’ve needed to charge more devices like the kindle. The husband has been fantastic, fussing at me about letting him do more for me (I’m a terrible patient; I value my independence and hate asking for help). Thank heavens for the internet and videos for “best ways to get up and down stairs with crutches”, which we definitely did not have in 1986. Since this townhouse is a staircase with a couple rooms attached I’ve tried to minimize the amount of up and down each day to once each wherever possible. My neighbors have been good, too, with one graciously getting our car back from the parking lot to our garage, and another bringing a package in for me when the husband wasn’t going to be home until late. We have a slight problem with porch pirates, and I wanted to keep the cat food from disappearing, so I asked her to come drag it inside. The smart lock I installed a couple weeks back came in handy there, as I was able to unlock and lock the door from the couch so she could open the door.

And now I wait for appointments to see how badly I’ve messed this thing up. The swelling is down from the peak, but it’s still grapefruit sized and somewhat warm to the touch. Grateful we installed washlets on all the toilets, because when you only have one good leg to stand on wiping is not the easiest.

* Back in 1986 I was playing volleyball in gym class, went to hit the ball at the edge of the court, everyone yelled to let it go out as it was game point and we’d win, so I backed up quickly and in doing so chipped my thigh bone. I vaguely recalling yelling “shit” at the top of my lungs, and the whole gym was looking at me when I looked up. Teacher felt the knee, nothing broken, so ‘walk it off’ (Poor teacher; this was at the school where my mother was the librarian and I know she felt bad when it turned out to be worse than expected). Urgent care, orthopedist, arthroscopic surgery to remove the bone chips, and a massive leg brace to keep it all straight before and after surgery, which I recall being a pain in the ass to get on/off, with giant velcro tabs. This new one has velcro, but also has quick-release tabs that the velcro connects to, so is much, much easier to remove and put back on. Yay progress.

24 August, 2023


Category: Adult,Cats,Commuting,Exercise,Running,Transit,Work — Moose @ 6:06 am

Spent a chunk of yesterday finally getting all four tires replaced on the Mini. The local place was a lot friendlier than BJ’s, and apparently NTB is now Mavis, though the signage (and online) hasn’t caught up yet. Popped by the local carwash on the way back from picking up the car, so the beast looks (and drives) much nicer now.

Continuing to slowly build my running back up on the treadmill.

Up far too early this morning after Benjamin (male cat) decided to puke, twice, in the hallway outside our bedroom. Found it without stepping in it (yay?) and got it all cleaned up. Very grateful that I thought to stash some paper towels under the sink in the bathroom off that hallway so I didn’t have to go downstairs for some.

A good chunk of my office flooded last week. There’s a ledge outside the windows of about 2/3 of the offices (including mine) where water got backed up and came in though the walls. Nothing personal of anyone’s was damaged, and very few official documents were dampened since most of that is electronic now so there was only like one box on the floor in the suite (unlike a flood in my old office that was a nightmare of drying out old paper). While facilities swung into action while the flood was still ongoing thanks to one of our employees alerting them, it apparently still smells according to the few people who’ve braved the place, and they’re going to have to do all sorts of remediation. So who knows if I’ll be going back in immediately after labor day or not? That’s tentatively the plan since the local Metro stations reopen after that weekend, but not if they’re still dealing with walls and carpet and what not.

21 August, 2023


Category: Adult,Stuff — Moose @ 12:57 pm

I was cleaning up some stuff in our entry hallway, putting away bits from having a smart lock installed last week, replacing a battery in a running accessory, and in doing so I had to go into the drawers in our little hall table, which I apparently need to do more often. Found the battery I needed, put the lock bits away, but also found some netting for a bike basket that I’d been looking for (should’ve been with the bike accessories, but why would I be consistent?), and then dug up one of the first, homemade masks we made out of a T-shirt at the beginning of the pandemic. It makes sense that it was in the entry hallway table, since you’d need them to outside, but what a throwback.

19 August, 2023

Shopping (?)

Not the shopping day I’d planned for, but hey. Started out early, with a 9am appointment at BJs to replace the front tires, because one of them has a giant bulge and a slow air leak. Get there ten minutes early, doors are closed. They finally bother to open at 9:25 (after calling the main desk twice to see where they were), get to the counter, they don’t have the tires I preordered and prepaid for. Then it was into the main club for a refund, because at that point I was done with them. Appointment made for another place Wednesday morning, and I’ll call Tuesday night to doublecheck that they have the tires.

So then it was on to get some food and planned haircuts. While eat we decided the husband needed some more shirts, so we picked the closer of the malls and headed there for wandering and shopping. I picked up grooming supplies, and he got a bunch of shirts. Ah, married life. Heh. Book shopping next, then a late lunch and gas for the car. The tire held up well, thankfully, and I didn’t have to reinflate it while we were out (I keep a pump in the car normally anyway).

Ran twice this week, very basic run/walk workouts on the treadmill, but the first such since covid last month. The fatigue is finally gone, thank heavens. Blood pressure is still higher than anyone would like, but some regular exercise should start to help with that, or at least keep it from getting worse. I’d really prefer not to go on drugs for that; I resent the allergy and reflux medications as is, so the thought of adding more just makes me grumpier. *phhhbbbbtttt*

Off to a brunch showing of Margaritaville at a local(ish) dinner theater tomorrow. Should be a hoot. I have a nice Hawaiian shirt with flamingoes on it for the occasion, and the husband has something similarly loud. We’re meeting friends for it, which will be nice as we’ll have a four-top table for the group, and no strangers to try and make awkward conversation with. Final show of this run, which is always fun to see.

7 August, 2023

Grab it while you can

Category: Annoyances,Driving,Friends,Knitting,Stuff — Moose @ 6:42 am

We had the Mini’s windshield replaced back in June, after a particularly large pothole on Route 50 jarred the car badly enough to cause a large crack to develop. And then I kept forgetting to re-coat the new window with Rain-X. I prefer having that on the windows because I find it easier to see out of them, and you can run the wipers less; at highway speeds the water wicks off on its own, and I find wipers distracting. Personal preference, your mileage may vary. Last night we went out to dinner and it was pouring, reminding me again that I hadn’t done the windows. So this morning while coffee was brewing I ran downstairs and finally cleaned and Rain-X’d the suckers. Now watch me not need to go out during any rain any time soon. Which is fine, because I’m prepared now.

Yesterday we found out a friend of ours has been on meth for several years now, when he called about some not-so-smart decisions he’d made the past week and finally confessed that he’d been using. Ugh. I have a lot of sympathy, and a lot of wanting to smack him upside the head. Nasty stuff. Does explain some of the mood swings and workaholism. What a mess.

Knitting on the latest scarf is proceeding apace. I’m on color number two of four. I made the first block a few inches too long, but whatevs. I thought about just extending the others, but that would make the whole thing an extra foot long versus an extra three inches, so no thanks. And I successfully managed not to buy more yarn at the yarn store yesterday for the local men’s knitting group. I did buy another project bag, but no more yarn.

30 July, 2023

Ah, technology

Category: Health,Home,Stuff — Moose @ 9:41 am

We had a couple power blips during storms the last two nights. Yesterday morning woke up and the stairway lights were not on, though it was well past the time when they should’ve automatically turned on. By way of background, we’re in a townhouse, or as the husband puts it, a giant staircase with rooms attached. A giant staircase with no windows, I would add, save at the very top, so it’s very dark without lights on. I was an early adopter of Philips Hue lighting, and Amazon Echo devices, so we have automated lights all over the house. It’s nice for things like the front porch and driveway (lights on at sunset, off at sunrise), and a couple floors of the central staircase (on at 6am-ish, brighter at sunrise, dimmer at sunset, off at 10:30; mainly so we don’t trip over a cat in the dark), and definitely for turning on/off and adjusting brightness via the voice controls. We particularly use the dimming feature on most lights as we rarely need them at 100%, unless we have company or workers in the house. Not difficult to set up, but also aging somewhat as we’ve had the basics of it since we lived in DC, and brought that with us to MD when we moved in 2020.

So yesterday morning nothing is on. Check the app, it’s showing none of the lights are connecting. Google that, lots of reddit threads, try several things like turning lights off and on, cycling the hub, etc. Eventually I just unplugged the hub and left it off for a few hours while I did other things. Plug it back in, leave it alone for a bit, go back into the app and see that the lights are slowly reconnecting, so let it be (after turning the staircase on; again, don’t want to trip on a cat, but also don’t want the lights at 100% as that’s way too bright). Eventually everything connects back and I can control it all, but one of the things reddit had me try zapped all my preset routines so I had to remember how all of those were set up and reestablish them. I was grateful it all came back; the idea of having to replace the hub was obnoxious.

Otherwise I’m slowly recovering from the covid bout. Still a little extra snot going on, and a little fatigued, but getting better. Feels like the end of a nasty head cold at this point. Grateful that I never lost my sense of smell. We’re off to get covid-delayed haircuts this morning, and hopefully catch at least the Barbie movie, and maybe Oppenheimer as well, depending on my energy levels.

26 July, 2023

Better sleep

Category: Health,Sleep — Moose @ 7:51 am

Afrin for the win, for sleep. I can’t do sleeping formula cold stuff, because my body always ends up fighting the sleepy part, and I sleep worse than if I’d just taken regular medication. The nasal spray, which can be used for a maximum of three days before you get a rebound effect and get even worse sinus grossness, is a good temporary “clear these up so I can sleep through the night while breathing through my nose” option. And it worked like a charm. First decent sleep in days. I still want a nap, but I think that’s just overall feeling run down from the virus now and not lack of sleep.

25 July, 2023


Category: Uncategorized — Moose @ 6:54 pm

Apparently after taking paxlovid you can get a covid rebound, which is related to the standard doses sometimes not being quite enough drug to completely knock the thing out. Very annoying. After feeling much better over the weekend, Sunday night my sinuses clogged right back up and I’ve slept for shit the last two nights. It’s been so long since I’ve even had a head cold (thank you working from home) that I lacked most of my usual arsenal for dealing with sinus pressure. Getting some afrin spray tonight so hopefully sleeping through the night will be easier tonight. Add to this the fact that Metro has closed all of our local stations for six weeks. While I can work from home, the husband cannot, so I’m the morning shuttle to the closest Orange line station. Easy enough to do, but it does mean getting up a little earlier. At least he doesn’t have to switch trains with this arrangement.