New Home

The search is over. I found myself a new apartment, in a nice neighbourhood close my ex’s place, where the Junior Warrior will be living too. It’s a senior apartment on the top floor and of course there’s a lift, so I won’t have to conquer any stairs anymore.

new-home

Though I really hadn’t planned on moving so soon again, I’m really rather chuffed about this. And I’ve got big plans for this apartment.

I intend to convert the balcony into my own little piece of paradise, with lots of plants, a cosy seating area and netting to keep the cats from taking the plunge to freedom.

I could turn the spare bedroom into a private gym, complete with rubber flooring, one or more large mirrors, a pull up bar, weight bench and of course a punching bag. Sounds good? I thought so too. That should get my lazy arse moving.

But apart from the wants, there’s also some needs.

I need to install a wheelchair accessible kitchen, because it’s getting harder and harder for me to use a standard kitchen, which means I don’t do nearly as much cooking and baking as I’d like to.

I may need a wheelchair accessible bathroom too, but for the time being a simple Ikea Marius stool (which costs next to nothing) is a good enough shower stool for me. And seeing that I’m just a small guy, I really don’t want a high toilet. Nor do I need any grab bars. A low sink would be nice, but isn’t necessary yet, but my wrists insist that I get myself single-handle faucets in both the bathroom and the kitchen.

Obviously, since I only moved into my current apartment less than a year ago, I don’t have a ton of money to spend on my new apartment so I’ll have to think very carefully about what has to come first and what can wait. I may not be able to do any painting , e.g., but I can always do that later.

First things first.

Posted in Random reflections | 2 Comments

Date balls revisited

Back in March 2014 I posted my recipe for Delicious Date Balls.

605e3-choclate-date-balls

Of course they’re still as delicious as ever, but you know what’s the really great thing about them?

You don’t actually have to follow the recipe to get great results. Yesterday, after making a bread pudding and a jar of avocado spread, I just wanted date balls with no fuss.

I had some fresh dates in the fridge and a couple of dried figs in a jar in my kitchen cupboard. I did not have any nuts. So what’s a guy to do?

First things first, I got my dates and figs in a bowl and drowned them in boiling water. I let them to soak for about an hour, which I figured should be enough. Meanwhile, I had a cup of tea, played a game on my laptop and thought about what to use instead of the nuts. I decided on oats.

I drained the dates and figs,  added oats, cocoa, coconut oil, vanilla extract and kirsch (because I was out of rum). I didn’t really bother about exact amounts, but instead just eyeballed it. Since I didn’t want to get my kitchen machine out – too much hassle – I grabbed my immersion blender and blended the heck out of the stuff, adding water as needed, until I got a cookiedough-like mixture.

Got my hands sticky rolling the dough into bite-sized balls, which I rolled in desiccated coconut until they were covered. I dunked my date balls in a tin, which I put in the fridge, because my delicious date balls were still a bit warm, thanks to my soaking them in hot water.

dateballs

Sorry, blurry picture, but don’t they look tasty?

Well, they are. They probably won’t last long.

Posted in Food, Recipes | Leave a comment

Plastic Free July

On the third of July I found out about this challenge called Plastic Free July, and if you know me, you know what happened next.

Yes, I jumped in with both feet. Back when I was a child, plastic was good. In fact, it was better than just good. Way way better. It was miraculous, life changing, wonderful stuff.

We all know better now. We’ve seen the disastrous effects of plastic – and esp. plastic waste – on just about everything on our planet. It poisons the seas, the air, the ground and our food. And it’s everywhere.

Rather than the miracle we thought it was, it’s a gift straight from hell. And still we cannot seem to be arsed. Still we produce plastic, buy plastic and even package almost everything in single use plastic packaging. And we never even stop to think about it twice. Instead, we complain about having to pay all of €0.10 for a single use plastic bag at the supermarket or grocery shop.

Have we all become so blind? So careless? Time to wake up and live one month without plastic. That shouldn’t be so hard, should it?

Unfortunately, it is hard. In the picture below you see the results of my first plastic free shopping trip.

plastic-free-groceries

I managed plastic free, but also found out I would not be able to get everything I need plastic free. Not where I live and with my limited mobility. I will still be forced to buy my milk either in plastic bottles or plastic-lined cartons. I found yogurt – very expensive yogurt – in small glass bottles, but with a plastic cap. It’s the best I can do.

As you can see, I bought my bread in a fat free paper bag. I do intend to make my own bread bags, but I hate sewing, so that might be a while still. But I’m making good use of these paper bags. Not once, but several times. I tear them open, then tear them in two and use them to freeze single portions of bread, cake, and whatnot. Wipe clean after use, and use again.

Today I finally found the courage to take my own glass container to the Asian food shop and asked them to fill it with their spicy tofu, and lo and behold!

Tofu

I’d expected the lady behind the counter to make a fuss, but instead she was only too happy to use my own container. I’ll definitely go there again to buy more yummies. I happen to be rather fond of Indonesian food.

So how do I take my groceries with me, you ask.

When I could still walk well, the answer to this question was a no-brainer. I had a huge backpack which I took with me everywhere. I’ve never been a fan of single use plastic bags, not even as a child.

But I’m not a child anymore, and I’m in a wheelchair. When I had my first wheelchair I soon found out a bag behind my seat was a bad idea as it made my wheelchair want to tip backwards. All. The. Effin. Time. Not good, so I had to come up with a better solution.

Here’s what I did.

underchairbag

Yes, that’s right. I’m still using a backpack, only now I have it underneath my seat. It works great, because as you can probably see, I can easily open it whilst sitting in my chair. I just bend over and pull the zipper.

Gone are the days when I was afraid to tip over on my way back home from grocery shopping. I shop with an amazing ease, and people are awed by the cleverness of my solution. Too bad I can’t take credit for it.

July is almost over, and I’m planning on not only sticking to the habit of shopping as plastic free as I can, but also to try and avoid as much packaging as possible. My ultimate goal is to go Zero Waste, but I don’t expect to get there overnight.

How about you? Have you ever tried to go plastic free, or even zero waste? If you did, what was it like for you? And if you didn’t, are you ready to give it a try?

 

 

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Posted in Challenges, Plastic Free | Tagged | 2 Comments

Liam goes Tiny

A bit unexpected perhaps, but then again, maybe not. Seeing that I’m going to have to move anyway, and I’ve been wanting to live in a Tiny House even before I ever heard of them, it shouldn’t come as such a surprise that I’ve decided to go Tiny.

tiny

Yes. I decided that I can live in a dream after all. I just have to let go of the irrational idea that this would be impossible because I happen to be in a wheelchair. It’s not impossible. Just more of a challenge. The challenge being to build a wheelchair accessible Tiny Home. I should be able to do that. It’s only a matter of thinking outside the box.

Isn’t it funny how my apartment, which felt really small when I moved in not even six months ago, now feels like it’s too large? Of course, considering that I came from a house that was three times as large as my apartment, it’s not so strange that the apartment felt small at the time, but honestly, I have a guest room that gets only occasional use. My Junior Warrior spends more time at my ex’s place than at mine, so that room doesn’t get all that much use either. That’s already two rooms too  many.

There really is no reason why I could not go and live tiny. I just need to build me that Tiny Home and plonk it someplace nice. I’ve got some ideas that might work quite well.

For starters, there’s my little sister’s caravan, which she doesn’t mind sharing with me. It’s not my ultimate dream, but I might be able to plonk my Tiny-House-to-be on her plot and work on it whilst staying in her caravan.

caravan

Or, since she gave me permission to improve her caravan, I might turn her caravan into my dream home. But then I’d have to make really sure to not do anything she wouldn’t like – unless I could buy her caravan from her, which is not my first choice. And I’m also not sure that she’d want to sell.

What I’d really like to have, is a shepherd’s hut. And yes, I know these are really tiny, but I think I could make it work for me. I’d just have to make sure I don’t cram it full with things I don’t really need. A bed, a kitchen cupboard, a wood stove, a folding table and maybe even a small recliner. A bathroom with composting toilet and mini bath. That would be about it.

And honestly, a person doesn’t really need much more than that. It would be a simple life. A very simple life, but much richer in terms of happiness and fulfillment, and that’s exactly what I want.

So off I go. There’s work to be done.

Posted in Liam Goes Tiny, Random reflections | Tagged | 2 Comments

Starting over

I guess I should apologise for not posting in just about forever. I guess I should also promise to better my ways and post at least once a week from now on. So, I apo…

Oh, who am I kidding? Not you, dear reader, and certainly not myself either. I may or may not be able (motivated, whatever) to post regularly from now on, so I’m not going to make any promises, and apologies are getting us nowhere, so no apologies.

I’m back today, and ready to start over. Sort of.

Life’s been interesting. Though I’ve been absent, I’ve not just been sitting on my lazy arse doing nothing. (OK. Yes, there was a lot of sitting on my behind too, but hey, I’m a poor, poor cripple, aren’t I? 😉 )

My new home, no matter how much I like it, is not the right home for me, so I’m going to have to move. ASAP. Bummer, but the stairs are becoming too much of a problem too soon. I thought I could do it, but as it turns out, I can’t. Not well enough anyway.

So I’m applying for new homes again, got an offer too, but had to turn that down because of the hilly location. No use moving from one apartment you can barely leave to another you can barely leave either. I’m sick of being forced to stay in and having virtually no social life at all. That needs to change. The sooner the better.

What else?

I applied for a service dog. I only sent in the forms last week, so I don’t know if I’ll get one or not, but I’m definitely keeping my toes and fingers crossed. This is a huge thing for me. Having a service dog would enrich my life in so many ways, I can’t even begin to tell you how much of a difference it would make.

I don’t mind the silver splints, the braces, the custom made orthopedic shoes, the wheelchair, but I have a major problem asking for or accepting human help. That’s one bridge too far. So that’s where the dog comes into play. But there’s no way of knowing whether I’ll get one or not, so I can only hope. Fervently.

Then there’s the wheelchair issue. I had mixed feelings about my wheelchair, and over time I grew to hate it. Not because it was a wheelchair, but because it felt more like a tank. And because I had trouble riding it, with the stupid e-fix that never did what I wanted. I know I’m clumsy, but that still shouldn’t prevent me from being able to actually use my wheelchair.

So, in the end I hardly ever used the tank I was given, and over time I got so frustrated by not being able to use the silly thing, I had some of the puppets come in again (better ones, as it turned out) and explained my problem to them. I told them I would need a fixed frame wheelchair, made to measure, and one that I would be able to propel manually, because obviously the e-fix wasn’t working for me. (The stories I could tell about that!)

They agreed, but I’m still waiting for my new wheelchair and the tank is still in my storage, where it will remain until I get my new wheels. Meanwhile, I got me a pretty good secondhand wheelchair. It’s a bit small, but it works for me.

wheelchair-thalia

I really like this wheelchair. It’s everything the big useless tank isn’t. Compact, lightweight, easy on the eye and easy to maneuver. And as you can see, little Thalia likes it too. As do Ezio and Amelia. I often have to shoo one of them first when I want to use the wheelchair.

There’s much more I want to share with you, but I don’t want to makes this post too long, and also, I’m starving. Don’t worry though.

I’ll Be Back!

Posted in Ehlers-Danlos, Random reflections | 4 Comments

New Home Tour

I know, I know. You probably thought I’d fallen off the edge of the world, but no. The world is still round and today I suddenly remembered I still had this blog.

So. Yeah. I’ve been enjoying myself insanely these last few months. I never played so much with my power tools, and boy, it feels good. I even managed to build some muscle, so go me!

Remember what the new home looked like when I first got the keys?

There was so much to be done. Though not visible in the pictures, the apartment was one big filthy mess and cleaning it up was rather a tough job already. Then I moved in, with only the bare necessities.

I’ve been living in my new place for a little over two months now, and don’t spend as much time DIY-ing anymore. Just the weekends mostly, because that’s when I’ve got the place to myself. There’s still plenty of things on my ToDo-list, but I’m rather happy with how everything is coming together, so today I’m taking you on my first official Home Tour.

The first thing you see when you enter my place is the entrance, of course.

Entree

It doesn’t look like much in this picture, but I promise you it’s a lot nicer in real life. And it’s not finished yet.

Then there’s the kitchen. Bright blue walls there, because I figured it needed some colour.

Kitchen

You might remember I already showed you my sneaky spice cabinet in a previous post and now I can tell you it works like a charm. It’s right where I need it. Perfection indeed.

My shower room doubles as laundry room so I had to make clever use of what space I had in there, but I think I succeeded rather well.

Although I was nervous about getting a top loading washing machine, I now wonder why I never got one before. It’s so much gentler on my knees. No more kneeling in front of the laundry machine, and also, my clean clothes don’t fall on the floor when I take them out, so that’s another good thing about the top loader.

The most finished room in the apartment is definitely the loo.

Loo

Sorry for the grainy picture, but it’s really dark in there and turning on the light didn’t help much, and sadly, neither did using my flash, so this is the best we’re gonna get. Unless I win the lottery and get myself a very fancy camera, which isn’t going to happen seeing that I don’t even play the lottery.

I do love my new loo. It’s a dramatic change from the boring sort-of-white-ish loo I had before. And the best thing is, it didn’t cost me half a million dollars. Just some paint and stuff I still had. Oh, I did buy a new seat. And a very simple loo-roll holder, but these two things didn’t even set me back €20, so I’m good.

On to the living room, which is also the dining room, music room and study/library – and quite comfortably so, I’d say.

Like all other rooms in my new place, it’s not finished yet, but I can easily imagine what it will look like once I’m done with it.

My bedroom is still fairly bare. A bed, my grandmother’s antique wash stand, a wooden stool, curtains. That’s it.

BR

But it’s OK. It’s all I need for now. I can fancy up my bedroom later. Meanwhile, the cats and I sleep quite happily together in my big bed.

The Junior Warrior’s bedroom isn’t much more finished than mine, but we’re working on it.

TeenBR

A bed, a desk, an Ikea pax wardrobe, which was a nightmare to assemble, but looks great and is spacious enough to hold all of my teen’s clothes.

Then there’s the guest room, which still doubles as a dump-your-stuff-here room, but I do think that problem will be over soon.

GR

It’s small, but will make for a very nice bedroom once I’ve taken the superfluous stuff out. My guests will be cosy and comfortable when they are enjoying their stay at Liam’s Family B&B.

So now you know what I’ve been up to these last few months. I hope you enjoyed my Very First Official Home Tour.

Posted in Bathroom, Entrance/Landing, Guest room/Study, Home Improvement, Kitchen/Pantry, Laundry, Master bedroom, Teen bedroom | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

A new beginning

It’s true then. What’s more, I’m finally starting to feel like I really did it – though I never thought I would. But I did and it feels good.

My new apartment – although not nearly finished yet – already feels like home. My very own place. No need to compromise. All mine.

And I’m in love with the place. I have my piano. I have London. My grandmother’s old side table, which I’ve been using as a dining table for the time being.

pianoI’ve got my books. I took only the books I love and will be reading again and again and again. It might not look very minimalist to others, but it sure is to me.

booksIn the corner beside one of the bookcases there’s the bicycle wheel I intend to turn into a chandelier.

No couch or recliners yet, but I do have a working hob – finally – so I can sit on my bekvam step stool, enjoying a hot cocoa and a good book.

I can prepare good, tasty meals in my small but well equipped kitchen. I have to admit to feeling rather smug about my “secret” spice cupboard behind the kitchen door. Just five simple bekvam spice racks screwed to the wall right where I need them: not even two steps away from the hob.

herbs-spicesAlso, since I usually keep my kitchen door open, the spices are protected from direct daylight most of the time.

I do need to think of more creative solutions for my kitchen, seeing that storage space there is very limited indeed, but I’m sure I’ll come up with something.

Now, freed from having to deal with all the stuff I neither wanted nor needed, I’ve been asking myself: What do I really want from life? How do I want to spend my time? What is really important to me?

I can’t say I have all the answers yet, but at least some answers are already forming in my mind.

Summed up in three short words: I want less.

Which brings me right back to the core of what minimalism is all about. To live simply, with just those things we really love and need. To get get away from the consumerism that’s everywhere and which is so hard not to fall prey to.

This is what I want: a simple life.

A place to call home, enough clothes, good, honest food and the company of my loved ones. Those should be my priorities, and I intend to get those right.

Though I’m not sure how to get there yet, get there I shall. I will learn how to do what’s good for me.

 

 

Posted in Home Improvement, Minimalism | Tagged , , | 3 Comments