Today, this afternoon to be exact, I am to have pap smear.

This event has become more stressful as I age. I have many fears. What if my gastrointestinal issues decide to blossom while I am on the table? What if bit of that horrid white paper escapes all cleaning efforts? Really, I think if I were a doctor this would be among my least favourite types of patient visits. I never used to worry about these things, now I do, and wish I didn’t.

But really, if I look at this resistance a little more closely, it is really about being tested, and the reality that I might fail the test, that makes me want to avoid the whole procedure. But I won’t avoid it. This afternoon will find me stripped down and in a gown, heels in the stirrups. Oh the inglorious road to maintaining good health!

I wish there were little treats for adults at the doctor’s office, like the children’s lollipops, that would reward the visit!

Next week is another body tune up week. I will wear a blood pressure monitor for 24 hours. I will have a mole removed and biopsied. I will have a skin tag removed that is preventing me from wearing the brace for my arthritic knee. The following week I see a cardiologist to discuss all the tests done on my heart, and the state of my blood pressure levels. I feel like a science project! But I am grateful. I am able to get these necessary tests done through a walk-in clinic, although I do not have a family doctor. The doctor at the walk-in clinic seems to be guiding me through a thorough tune up!

Why do old people talk about their health so much? Well, if you use an elementary level of logic it would be easy to understand. As you get older it is more and more work, for most people, to maintain good health. And it is hard work, with a lot of challenges to be met and mastered. Luckily, I have fairly good karma when it comes to talking about health issues. I was a listening ear for my Granny when her health was failing, and have been consistently respectful of health related confidences shared. I always wanted to be able to get old, it was something I wanted to live long enough to become. My observation was that indeed, some lucky souls carried good health around with them like an invisible halo, but most people did not, do not. They are not that lucky.

I have a secret weapon! When I go to all of these appointments, and will find myself sitting in sterile waiting rooms, I can take out my crochet hook, and a ball of yarn, and lose myself in colour and movement. Crocheting is such a source of pleasure and focus that it can mediate the coldest social environments. Today I carry red with me into the fray.

I am just thinking that I would love to be funny and clever about going in to have a pap smear. But if funny and clever aren’t what I feel, then funny and clever is not what I write. I don’t feel funny and clever; and unfortunately I have little talent for joking about the things that I find disturbing. I love to read funny and clever descriptions of the experiences I find distasteful, but it isn’t in me to write them with any sincerity. I am no comedian.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 11:00 AM EDT Friday 31 March 2017
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 2.0°C
Dew point: 1.1°C
Humidity: 94%
Wind: ENE 25 gust 36 km/h
Visibility: 10 km


“You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning… a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be.”
Joseph Campbell
1904 – 1987

In my case writing, genealogy, food science, crochet… and sitting in the bush whenever the sun shines and the warm breezes blow.

Are All Addictions Bad?

Day four of the new cholesterol medication, and the end of the old. So far the only side effect I notice is the common one, constipation, which was a side effect of the old medication as well. But, I lie, there does seem to be another side effect, but not one I am complaining about. My eyesight seems to have improved. Could it be the new medication, the cessation of the old medication, the hours spent on crochet and not on the computer, the slight weight loss… I don’t know! But I am not complaining.

The current project, WIP seems to be the buzz acronym for “work in progress”, is a simple pair of fingerless gloves for my Mom for her birthday. Sorry Mom, the surprise is not a surprise, particularly since you might be helping me out with advice about them from time to time. Having learned the single crochet stitch, it was time to move on to a new stitch, which is the half double crochet stitch. This took quite a while to catch on to, as apparently I don’t acquire new physical skills easily. I found these beginner crochet gif illustrations helpful, the videos are great but move way to fast for me, and if I take my hands off the work to press pause and continue on the keyboard I lose track of what I was trying to do with the yarn. It is still necessary to translate right-handed instructions to left-handed instructions, which slows me down considerably.

Yesterday the project began early in the morning, and at the day the stitches had been ripped out several dozen times, to start again. At the end of the day four short rows had been successfully completed. This represented a great deal of learning: the new stitch, how to join a chain to make a circle, how to add a row to a circle, and how to fail at changing colour (abandoned that one for now), and at crocheting intermittently into the back loop to create texture (abandoned for another time). The greatest leap in learning however, was being able to recognize the structure of the stitches accurately enough to use an acrylic (fuzzy) yarn rather than cotton (not fuzzy) yarn; this represents quite an expansion in my knowledge base.

DSCF0502 Crochet Mistakes: This particular mistake had me tearing my hair out right along with the stitches! It took at least a dozen tries, and an appeal for help on a crochet group, to finally learn how to do this right!

DSCF0508 Crochet Mistake: This one had me baffled for quite a while, and I had to tear this much work out over and over and over again, making the same mistake each time. I am following a written pattern, and I was looking at an instruction down the page, where it was assumed I would already know how to move to the next row. False assumption! I had to reread the instructions at the beginning over a few times, to find that I had not moved to the next row by adding two chain stitches. A simple thing, seemingly a small thing, NOT!

It has been cloudy and drizzly since last Friday. Sunday gave us freezing rain all day. Monday brought a little warmth to the air, but not a lot. This morning it is cloudy and raining, and about 6C, not nice walking weather! I might go for it later today, if I can tear myself away from the crochet hook! Crocheting is addictive. I haven’t started dreaming about it yet, but I think that is just a matter of time.

I was looking at a video clip from Woodstock the other day, way back in 1969. I didn’t attend, as at the time in my life survival was an issue that precluded all else. It struck me, as I watched the video, that I didn’t see ANY overweight people. How things have changed from those days. At least 50% of young adults are overweight, probably more, that I see in videos of social gatherings in these modern times. It wasn’t until I watched the Woodstock images, that I was struck by the depth of the epidemic overweight and obesity problem in North America.

I remember a comment made, when I went to a folk festival for the day with our elderly neighbour Grace, when we lived in the little city. At the end of the day I asked Grace what she thought of the festival. Her only comment was, “there are a lot of fat people.” She wasn’t being judgemental, just descriptive.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 9:00 AM EDT Tuesday 28 March 2017
Condition: Mist
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 5.0°C
Dew point: 4.6°C
Humidity: 97%
Wind: N 6 km/h
Visibility: 4 km


“Never confuse movement with action.”
Ernest Hemingway
1899 – 1961

Or lack of movement with inaction.

In other words, assumptions are risky business.

March Is A Two Pizza Month

March! It is my least favourite month of the year.

My Granny passed away in March of 1976, I still tear up when I think about how much I miss her. My very dear friend and lover Pat Logier passed away in March of 1996, a very sad time in my life. March is when winter weather can seem like it will never, ever, ever end. March brings the spring season, but not necessarily spring weather. March, even when the weather is lovely, holds no promises that winter’s worst will not return for a star performance.

I don’t like March much. But, I am having comparatively grand March this year. Living at Mist Cottage means that we see the snow melt away in March, we are reminded that milder weather will come. This year March is stirring our longing to be out at the Rideau Camp; we are beginning to think about being there, what we will take with us for our picnics, what little projects we want to work on, how wonderful it will be to sit under the trees in the shade on hot days, and to sit under the stars around our campfire on clear nights. Yes, we are having a pretty good month of March this year.

Our wedding anniversary is in March. For our anniversary this year we made ourselves a pizza, and bought a movie from iTunes. It was lovely. But it seems that we need another little boost just now, as another weekend greets us with cloudy skies, a nippy wind, and the threat of freezing rain. Time for another pizza! March is a two pizza month! We purchased some CD movies on sale from iTunes some time ago, one of them will provide us with an enjoyable “pizza and a movie” night in.

When I was a single Mom going to Grad School, my special time with Terra was treating ourselves to a Friday night pizza, and watching Star Trek on the television. By that time Luna was well into her teenage years and had no interest in spending time with either Terra or myself, preferring her friends. Terra and I both remember those Friday nights with fondness.

After not having had a family Doctor for some years now, I am finding that the Doctor at the walk-in clinic has taken an interest in providing me with good care. I had chest pains last year, and he has been following up on that quite diligently. I don’t have any significant problems with my heart, which is good news. I will be tested further for my high blood pressure though, and I have a related appointment with a cardiologist. The walk in clinic doctor is also arranging for testing on several other health concerns I have described, which will involve a few more non-intrusive tests. We discussed cholesterol, and my levels are a bit high, which I take quite seriously because of the slight problem with the valves in my heart. He wanted me to try a new medication, so I agreed, because you just never know, and began to take it today. There is no noticeable side effect after the first dosage.

The pills were shocking. When the druggist opened up the prescription bag to go over the details with me, I could hardly believe my eyes. The pills are humungous! I was so disoriented by the size of the pills, and the fact that I am to take six of them every day, that I walked out of the drug store in a daze, forgetting to pay for the medication. I realized it after I got home, and called them to arrange going in to pay the bill next week. They hadn’t realized that the bill was unpaid, and probably wouldn’t have caught it. I am glad I caught it though, and called them, karma is a powerful thing.

New medication The small bottle of medication in front is two months worth of my old medication, which I have been taking for years, and which works well in some ways and not quite good enough in others. The two large bottles of medication are one month’s worth of the new medication. I am to take three pills in the morning and three pills in the afternoon. Quite a contrast in volume. We shall see if there is an overall improvement, or any side effects. The new medication won’t work as well where the old medication was very effective. The new medication will have to do a great job to earn its place on my shelf.

Tonight I will be baking sourdough breads. I will make one loaf of 100% whole wheat bread, and one loaf of Finnish Pulla bread. The sourdoughs are fed and proofing on the top of the refrigerator where it is nice and warm. I will also be baking oatmeal bread and Pineapple Coconut Muffins. Time to get busy with the baking because I am running out of snacks to eat!

I am wearing my beanie today and enjoying it very much. The next project will be learning the double crochet stitch, by making a washcloth using it. There is an excellent learning tool on one of the crochet groups on FaceBook (thanks Bex for pointing me in their direction)! I have been learning from videos, which work well for me when I already know how to do something, but are really challenging when first learning. Using videos to learn requires constantly taking my focus off the task at hand to fiddle with the video controls, so that a confusing demonstration can be repeated, or the video can be paused while I catch up. The site I discovered is one that demonstrates using animated gifs for every little step in the process. It is easy to see what the crocheter is doing, and the gif repeats over and over, so that I can try it, tear it out if I need to, and try it again without ever having to adjust the screen.

Attila and I went for a walk today. It was surprisingly cold out there. The temperature is above freezing, but with the brisk wind, and the dampness, it felt a lot colder than that! Still, it was nice to be out under the sky for a little while.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 2:00 PM EDT Saturday 25 March 2017
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 102.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 2.2°C
Dew point: -1.6°C
Humidity: 76%
Wind: NNE 22 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.”
Lord Byron
1788 – 1824

Beanie Number One

DSCF0499 Well, here it is, my first ever crocheted beanie. It looks a lot like a bathing cap, and I hope it isn’t mistaken for a chemo hat! I love it of course, because I like the colours, and it is going to do what I need it to do, keep my hair out of my eyes on windy summer days. The original video was good, as far as instruction was concerned, but oh my what a ride as to sizing. The first beanie fit my hand. For the second beanie, this one, I decided to wing it with sizing advice, measuring my head, then dividing by pi, and and increasing until the circle I was crocheting was the size calculated. But that was a bust, as I continued I realized the beanie would fit a basketball, or a giant, but not me. So I started using a smaller hook, better. The next size smaller, better still. I ended up going four hook sizes down to get the beanie to fit me! I graduated down from a 6 mm to a 3.5 mm hook. The last rows were teeny tiny and hard to do, but I managed.

I am going to take my new beanie out for a walk in the sunshine! My Mom says the clouds are coming, so I am getting out there while the sun shines!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 1:00 PM EDT Thursday 23 March 2017
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 103.5 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 0.8°C
Dew point: -9.3°C
Humidity: 47%
Wind: SW 17 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance.”
Ray Bradbury
1920 – 2012

They teach these lessons early in life around here.

Little Things

The cold snap is finally over. We can see patches of brown grass now, here and there, where there was only white yesterday. The snow banks are still significant, but they will not last long.

We had a lovely quiet weekend. We made croutons, went for walks in the sun, sat on the back porch in the sun, baked sourdough bread, and just hung out at home.

I crochet every day, and it is coming easier and easier. I am still on the first stitch I learned, the single crochet stitch. I won’t be moving beyond that for a while yet, I want to my hands to learn it, muscle memory, and that takes time to develop.

DSCF0486 This is my second washcloth. I didn’t drop or add any stitches this time, as far as I can tell. I can see that there are places where the tension is uneven, but that will improve with practice. I gave this washcloth to Attila, he likes it. I kept the first one to use myself, the imperfect one that has dropped stitches is not pretty, but it is perfectly functional.

DSCF0487 This is my third washcloth. I feel it is an improvement over my first two efforts. It certainly worked up a lot quicker than the first two!

DSCF0489 This is my third washcloth again, showing the single crochet border I added. It took me quite a while to figure out how to do the border, I had a video to follow, but right handed. I find trying to do things backwards from a demonstration very difficult. But eventually, after trial and error, I got it. The ending wasn’t great, it was hard to figure out because I started and ended at a corner. This was how the video tutorial that I watched did it. Later I observed another tutorial and she started a few stitches in from the corner, and it was much easier to figure out how to end it that way… next time!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 9:00 PM EDT Sunday 19 March 2017
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.6 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -0.1°C
Dew point: -3.1°C
Humidity: 80%
Wind: SW 12 km/h
Wind Chill: -4
Visibility: 24 km


“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.”
Joseph Chilton Pearce