Tai Chi was a misery today. I can’t really keep up with the class, which doesn’t bother me at all. When something is difficult, I stop and watch. I might look confused, I am, and that is how I need to feel and look while I am figuring things out. I made no demands on anyone else, or on the pace of the lesson. When you have significant differences, it takes time to transform what you see, into what your body will actually do. I get there, at my own pace. Apparently, today, my own pace was not acceptable to one self-important female social engineer, who constantly directed me, interrupted my concentration and flow, and even told me I shouldn’t practise at home. What a know-it-all ass she was. I have been home from class for a few hours now, and I am still feeling annoyed! Can you tell?

I’ll try a different class next week and see how it goes.

It is sunny and beautiful here today, and warm, and windy. I enjoyed my drive to class, and my drive back.

It seems I did reach a turning point last week. Nothing has changed here at Mist Cottage, as far as I can tell, the change is within me. The holding pattern is doing just that, holding. It offers no particular hope, just each day of undisrupted existence, the present, nothing more. I am having trouble sleeping again, awakening at 1:30 a.m. most mornings, despite a consistent bedtime every evening. The insomnia will just have to be waited out, it was better for a while, now it isn’t, but hopefully it will be again soon. I continue to cycle through the different stages of grief, but the lows aren’t so low as they were.

I was supposed to do some banking at the end of last week, and I completely forgot about it. So this afternoon I headed over the bank, and managed to get the whole process completed. What a relief to get it all done, before I forget about it again. Now I can forget about it in peace.

I have been back at baking homemade 60% whole wheat bread. The first three pound loaf came out as a brick, it could have been used for a wall. The second loaf was much better. My loaves last one week, and by the end of the week the bread is very dry. I made bread yesterday, and this time I added 1 teaspoon of ascorbic acid powder. I notice a difference in the crumb, it is better, and the taste has improved, a subtle improvement. By the end of the week it will be evident if the ascorbic acid addresses the dryness issue.

Mom has been on the road since Saturday, and is due to arrive home today! She is driving herself home from Florida. It is so nice that the weather is decent for her journey, and to greet her as she returns to Ontario.

The spring equinox arrives in three weeks and one day!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 2:00 PM EST Monday 26 February 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.1 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 5.9°C
Dew point: -3.0°C
Humidity: 53%
Wind: W 21 gust 33 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“I shut my eyes in order to see.”
Paul Gauguin
1848 – 1903

Attic Hatch

Here it is, the last week in February. March, at Mist Cottage, has so far shown signs of spring. Sure, we get snow storms, ice storms, below normal temperatures in March, but not endlessly, there are breaks to remind us that it is only a matter of time before the weather turns milder, kinder.

Today I asked Attila to lift the attic hatch so that I could install weather stripping. What a messy job! Even though I vacuumed the ledge in question, copious amounts of insulation and gritty black crap fell all over my head and body, as I cleaned the surface that was to accept the weather stripping. It didn’t take very long though, to get the job done. The cleanup was the longest task. I ended up vacuuming my hair and body, and enlisted Attila in vacuuming off the back of me. Then there was the floor, this insulation stuff blows around everywhere, and fibres of it float in the air for days. The gritty black crap was the crumbled remains of the ancient weather stripping that had disintegrated in place. I’ll be cleaning, cleaning, cleaning for the next few weeks, but that should do it. I won’t be opening up the attic hatch again!

The last task involved with the attic insulation, is disconnecting the power to the on/off switch for the kitchen ceiling fan, as it has been sealed off. Attila must do that, and I am hoping he will get to it this weekend. He certainly has the time, but it remains to be seen if he has the motivation.

I have been interested in electromagnetic fields (EMF) in our house, but loath to spend money on a meter that would measure such levels. To my surprise, there is an app for Attila’s iPad, free of charge, that will measure EMF levels. I installed it and gave it a try. The readings were shockingly high, ranging from .77 microteslas (µT) to 1.25 microteslas (µT). This was disturbing, as the common literature indicates that homes are typically under .4 microteslas(µT). Ah, BUT the iPad itself would emit electromagnetic fields! So I took it out to the backyard, where there are no power lines, or any source of electricity at all, and voila, it read .77 to .79 microteslas(µT). That is the baseline reading, the internal reading of the iPad itself. So once I subtracted the baseline reading from the high readings in the house, away from appliances, of.97 microteslas(µT), they translated into .2 microteslas (µT)… ah, that is much better!

Attila decided to cook a turkey dinner today, with all the fixings. He loves his turkey dinner, and I love his turkey dinners too. That will relieve me from cooking for most of the week to come. The leftovers usually last a week.

This morning I baked a batch of squash muffins. I have also done a bit more work finishing up the web site I designed. The payment I will receive will really help towards the attic insulation! A very timely project.

The weather continues to be relatively mild. The air source heat pump is supplying all the heat in the house these days, so with any luck we won’t need a delivery of fuel oil before the spring weather officially arrives. Fingers crossed.

On Thursday morning I saw a very sad thing. On the street light pole, at the end of our street, where the trees have been ripped out of the ground and piled at the jagged edges of the muddy clearing created, clung a beautiful pileated woodpecker, the first I’ve seen in these parts. The bird gazed across the field of mud that had once been a wildlife habitat, it looked confused. It was there for the longest time, surveying the destruction of a previous haunt, and then it flew away to seek refuge elsewhere.

I didn’t manage to get to Tai Chi this past week, but I did attend the meditation class, and made progress with my ongoing adjustments to single life. Next week I will be back at my Tai Chi class, and continuing with the meditation as well.

My Mom is driving herself home from Florida tomorrow. She times her travels around the weather reports. The trip usually takes two days of all-day driving. What a gal! Mom lives with my Sister-The-Middle-Girl, who will be looking forward to her homecoming! Happy trails Mom!

And here I am at the end of an entry, and once again, no spelling mistakes! I am flummoxed! How did I get this good this fast! Maybe there are spelling elves.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 2:00 PM EST Saturday 24 February 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 5.0°C
Dew point: -1.9°C
Humidity: 61%
Wind: NNW 9 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“Age is mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”
Satchel Paige
1906 – 1982


I value face-to-face contact above all other forms of human interaction. Having said that, in my present life, the richest and most valuable form of human contact is digital; it is on this blog, through VOIP, email, Facebook, and Messages. I feel deep attachment to, and respect for, the people in my digital life. Some people I have met, they include loved ones and old friends; while others I have not met, but have grown over the course of time to appreciate. It is true, it is possible some of the people that I have not met and have become attached to, exclusively in the digital world, may not be who they say they are… be that as it may, the persona that they bring to our interactions is one that I appreciate.

I think the turning point that I experienced over the last few days, has been the realization that parts of my life are very rich. It is an incomplete wealth, for face-to-face contact is something I consider necessary to maintain balance, something which I am losing with my marriage coming to an end, a loss that I grieve. But my digital life is a sustaining wealth, a valuable cornerstone.

My present bizarre state of co-habitation with Attila does offer some bemusing situations.

Attila wants me to cook during the week. Attila lives to eat and sleep and smoke cigarettes. To Attila, food matters a lot. He had harboured some bitter feelings towards me that he had been doing all the cooking. Fair enough, I have time, I have skills, I am willing to cook, so almost two weeks ago I was to take over the job of cooking during the week.

So far, of the seven nights I have been slated to cook, he has cooked two of the meals, at his own request, and has decided what he has wanted for dinner three other nights, then gathered together the ingredients before he left for work in the morning, left them on the kitchen counter, so that I could prepare the meal. So five times out of seven he has decided what we would eat. He thinks of this as helping me. I call this micromanagement. This is how he ended up doing all the cooking over the 25 years of our previous relationship. I did not care for being micromanaged, so I withdrew to let him take over and do his thing. It is happening again. I’ve pointed this out to him, but so far the micromanagement continues unabated. I have some ideas on how to meet the micromanagement head on. The first is that I will prepare menus for the coming week, rather than decide each day what I will prepare as I prefer to do. That way, when he asks me if I have decided what I will make for dinner, I can say yes… BUT, bwhahahaha, I can always ignore the menu and change my mind! There is a reason I call this quirky person Attila.

Yesterday the attic insulation was installed. The first appointment was scheduled for early in the morning. On Monday I received a message requesting a change in the time of the appointment to around lunch time. Lunch time came and went… no insulation people. So I called the company and left a message. I received a return call within 15 minutes, to assure me they were on their way. The slight inconvenience in their being late turned into a real bonus for Mist Cottage. They had a surplus of insulation on the truck, which is an issue with weight restrictions for the vehicle, so they wanted to install the surplus insulation in our attic, free of charge. It worked for them, it worked for us. We are now insulated with R60 in our attic, but we paid only for R40, and the attic meets EnergyStar standards.

They installed rafter vents, and a crib around the attic hatch, and checked for any issues in the attic, none were found. They also sealed off a redundant ceiling fan that was installed in the kitchen ceiling. That fan vented directly into the attic, and there was a lot of heat loss through it, no more.

The insulation job is certified, and the certificate was stapled to the attic hatch. Apparently there were areas in the attic that had less than one inch of insulation, which is not a good thing. Now the entire attic is covered evenly with insulation at an R60 value.

We chose cellulose insulation for the attic, which is basically paper treated with fire retardant. The biggest downside to this is that if it gets wet, it will be ruined, so a leak in the roof could be expensive, and a misery to clean up. It will be crucial to maintain the integrity of the roof, and to insist that any work done on the roof be done in fine weather.

The insulation installation left two jobs that need doing. One is to disconnect the power to the ceiling fan, this must be done by Attila, as he has the skills needed to do it. The other is to apply a weather strip to the perimeter of the attic hatch. I could do the attic hatch weather stripping, but would have serious difficulty getting the heavy hatch moved out of the way. I will try to get Attila to move the hatch, then do the weather stripping myself, and then have him replace the hatch.

The fellow who certified our insulation installation also mentioned to me that there were two areas of a home that need good insulation for energy efficiency. One was the attic, we can check that off the list. The second is the insulating the basement rim joists. This is a project I can tackle myself, and I will. This project has to wait though, until the new windows have been installed. Mist cottage will have all new basement windows, and all new windows on the main floor of the house, except for the dining area, where Attila installed new energy efficient windows last fall.

That is the first of three renovation projects almost done! Next the window installation, which represents three days of serious domestic disruption, but well worth it. Then the garage roof project will begin. Attila had slated a specific date for beginning the garage roof project, but has decided to be more flexible about the start date. He will begin the roof project as soon as the new windows have been installed. He is highly motivated to make the garage a reasonable place to spend his time, and as a secure, dry storage space.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 7:00 AM EST Thursday 22 February 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 104.0 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -2.5°C
Dew point: -8.7°C
Humidity: 62%
Wind: NNE 17 km/h
Wind Chill: -8
Visibility: 24 km


“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
1929 – 1968

Turning Point

Three years ago I worked with a committee of international professionals to develop policy recommendations in the health care field. The work will be published soon, in an academic journal, and I will be one of the many authors of the piece. My contribution was small, and it was an honour to participate in this project. This will likely be my very last academic publication in an adjudicated journal.

I wrote an article about my research, research conducted when I was an undergraduate, and it was vetted by, and published in, an adjudicated academic journal. This was advantageous to my career, and deleterious at the same time. Publishing in this way as an undergraduate was the subject of hot debate, and a lot of hostility from certain factions of the faculty, where I was studying for my degrees. It was good research, and deserved to be published, and it was my first academic publication in an adjudicated journal. I noticed this morning that the publisher John Wiley and Sons has picked up the publication, and it is now listed on their site. I am pleased that is has survived. Several copies are were also vetted by the Library of Congress, where the article sits in their archives. It reminds me that I have made contributions to the world.

The best opportunities and events in my life have arrived by chance, not by design. Now, as a senior, I am going to let my energy flow, and see where it takes me. Perhaps it will take me to a comfortable chair by an open window, looking out into a garden. Perhaps it will take me to a committee table. Perhaps it will take me to a soup kitchen, behind the serving table in an apron, or in front of it, wearing one of Bex’s hats for the homeless. I intend to follow the energy, wherever it decides I am going. When I have choices I will try to choose wisely. Who knows what the universe has in store for me.

It has been raining since yesterday, some nearby areas are experiencing flooding. Luckily we are dry here, except the garage, which has an inch or so of water on the concrete floor, compliments of the leaking roof, which has not wintered well. This problem will be solved when Attila replaces the roof, and a lot of the water damaged stuff (mostly old lumber) will go into a dumpster. The roof project is slated for a start in May, after the new windows in the house have been installed.

The fellows may come today to install the attic insulation. I have “cleared the decks” for them, so I hope they do show up, so that I can put the house back together again!

I think yesterday was a turning point for me, one of many I will experience in this journey through grief. Although I know I am not done with the grief, there is something new going on in my heart, something very small and buoyant.

Worldly Distractions


Kingston Airport
Date: 10:00 AM EST Wednesday 21 February 2018
Condition: Light Rainshower
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 10.1°C
Dew point: 9.6°C
Humidity: 97%
Wind: W 17 km/h
Visibility: 4 km


“I get by with a little help from my friends.”
John Lennon and Paul McCartney from the album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

“The highest result of education is tolerance.”
Helen Keller
1880 – 1968


I am stuck today. I am stuck nursing my broken heart. I would love to just not feel this, but if I numb myself to this pain it will submerge itself into a dark corner of my soul and reside there in perpetuity. So here I am crying over my losses again. This grieving is so circular. This broken heart of mine feels different to me though, every time I return to nurse it through another bout of emotions, just a tiny bit less intense each time, just a little less frightening.

Today I just could not face heading out to a Tai Chi class, not feeling like this. So I am here at home, doing a bit of work on the computer, listening to some fingering guitar music on youtube, contemplating solitude, the past, the future, the present.

I have been back to spending time daily on my elliptical machine. I continue to eat well, stay hydrated, and I even slept for almost six hours last night. I allow myself periods of numbness, so that I can gather strength to face walking this path alone, and to keep moving my feet, step by step, into the future.

My family is not a close one, neither my birth family nor my children and their families. They do check in with me by telephone and messaging from time to time to see how I am doing. There is little to no visiting, unless I do the travelling, with rare exceptions, usually only a few times a year. I do not have friends here, where I live at Mist Cottage. My time is spent either with Attila, in this broken world at home, alone, or with strangers.

When I think about what I want, two words come to mind, continuity and companionship. These are not in the cards at the moment. I’ll be out there in the world of strangers again soon, attempting to open up a conduit to the good energy that exists in the world.

At present I am finding it hard to focus on my interests, my attention span has been affected by my grief. I am still able to function, the web site design was initiated and completed after my marriage ended, so my brain is still working. My emotions are intense, few of them are pleasant. There is no place for my soul to rest right now, my world is broken. My soul is a weary traveller.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 10:00 AM EST Tuesday 20 February 2018
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 6.0°C
Dew point: 5.8°C
Humidity: 98%
Wind: SSW 12 km/h
Visibility: 1 km


“When griping grief the heart doth wound,
and doleful dumps the mind oppresses,
then music, with her silver sound,
with speedy help doth lend redress.”
William Shakespeare
1564 – 1616