Britbox

It is snowing out there this morning. It accumulates on the tree branches, white icing, then it slowly disappears into clear drops that drip, drip, drip. Occasionally the sun peeks out, sending a blaze of pleasure across the living room, before hiding once more behind the sheet of gray that is the sky.

I haven’t had cabin fever since the winter of 2013/2014, the last winter I spent at the country house. The following winter I stayed alone at Mist Cottage during the winter months, and even though I saw no one, received no visitors other than Attila, and spent all of my time alone within the four walls of Mist Cottage, I did not experience cabin fever. We moved here in September of 2015, so that after my lone winter, I did not have to spend another in the country. I will always remember those winters as the bleakest, loneliest period of my life, particularly the months of February and March, when the cold white aloneness entered my very soul.

This snow that is coming down now, it is disappointing. This disappointment is relatively benign. Even being housebound over the weekend due to the severe ice storm, that raged for over two days, has not dampened my spirits. Soon the sun will shine, the temperature will rise, and I will open these beautiful windows and let the breeze play through the house.

The day today will be filled with small tasks, all aimed at organizing “stuff”. Now that all my books are out and easily available, the temptation to graze on words is strong. I am resisting that urge though, and moving through more pragmatic activities: bill paying, appointment making, purging, cleaning.

Attila has been busy working on the house, winterizing. The rim joist perimeter in the basement has provided an incredible amount of air circulation from the great outdoors. This is not a good thing. The fellow who insulated our attic recommended sealing the cracks at the rim joists, the insulating, then applying vapour barrier. Attila has accomplished this for about 1/4 of the perimeter of the basement. Since the temperature is hovering around 0C now, and will rise from there, I doubt I will notice the difference until next winter, when the cold winds howl and batter the house. Although I might not notice a difference, there may be a noticeable lowering of the hydro bill, once the project is completed.

The garage project has been slated for June, according to Attila’s latest plan. He wants to spend May planting his garden.

My projects involve organizing “stuff”, which is ongoing, and not subject to interference by weather conditions. My crochet blanket is coming along slowly, no hurry, just a row or so a day, keeps my hand in. I am thinking of doing some pressure canning, but haven’t been motivated to get started on it yet. Tonight I am preparing baked chicken, roast potatoes, and green beans for dinner. Attila plans his second supper himself, he always eats two suppers over the course of an evening.

I did some exploring, feeling the need for additional entertainment sources, as Netflix, and Prime Video offerings are just too violent and nihilistic, or banal and shallow, for my taste. I tried BBC iPlayer, not available in Canada. I tried PBS, not available in Canada. Then someone on Facebook shared a link to Britbox, which recently became available in Canada. I had a look and signed up for the free trial. The first program I am watching is Unforgotten. Wow! This is a very good program. The initial episode of the season involves the discovery of a long dead person, the short, to the point visual image of the dead person is not dwelt upon, but included as a viable part of the story. The rest of the season’s episodes involve finding justice for the person who was found dead, developing the story of their lives, their loved ones, their enemies. It is an excellent program! One murder a season I can handle, as opposed to the more common North American multiple, graphically violent deaths in every episode.

Soon I will begin to think about what I want to do when the weather warms, and being outdoors holds some appeal! Soon the weather won’t make the roads impassable, footpaths treacherous, plans precarious. Waiting!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

1°C
Date: 7:48 AM EDT Tuesday 17 April 2018
Condition: Light Snowshower
Pressure: 100.2 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 0.6°C
Dew point: -1.1°C
Humidity: 88%
Wind: WSW 17 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Even now,” she thought, “almost no one remembers Esteban and Pepita, but myself. Camila alone remembers Uncle Pio and her son; this woman, her mother. But soon we shall die and all memory of those five will have left the earth, and we ourselves shall be loved for a while and then forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and the land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.”
Thornton Wilder

love… the only survival, the only meaning

Thinking of you Reenie, your message, your life.

Shut In

It was a fitful night, filled mostly with sleep, sleep interrupted frequently by the howl of the wind, and visits to the loo. When morning light arrived, it found me snuggled under my eiderdown, gazing out the window at the tortured trees, as the wind ripped across the landscape.

It was -5C outside the window when I finally arose.

We had hydro, all night, and it is still with us this morning. The weather today may change that.

The sand truck just passed, leaving a dark stain down the middle of the road. The truck returned, to plow the accumulated ice pellets to the side of the road. Transportation routes are passable again.

It isn’t over yet though! Today promises to bring more ice pellets and freezing rain, along with strong winds.

I am shut in, as is Attila, for the weekend. Yesterday was quite pleasant, allowing ample time to attend to reorganizing the domestic space here. There were two large unpacked heavy totes in the basement, containing my text books. Attila carried them to the main floor for me. I thought I would want to get rid of them, but alas, no. Many of them were written by friends, colleagues, some of them reference my work. There is a whole world of memories in those books, good memories, so I carefully sorted through them, organized them, and placed them on the bookshelf. Two totes down in the basement, yay!

Within a few days all of this ice will be gone. Hopefully the roads will be clear by tomorrow morning, when many people need to go back to work. For my part, I am looking forward to some weather that resembles spring, so that I can sit on the back porch, and plan activities away from the house that won’t be cancelled due to weather and road conditions.

Yesterday I spent some time in the kitchen preparing Falafels. The recipe I have is low in sodium, as I only add a pinch, rather than the recommended amount, and includes grated carrots. I love it! It was created by the cook, Maya Jagger, at the day care centre at the university, when Terra was enrolled there. The woman was one of the nicest you would ever want to meet, Terra loved her. She liked Terra. Terra has a genuine appreciation for good food, so they were bound to like one another. I bought Maya’s cookbook, and the recipe for Falafels became one of my favourite meals.

Last night I shared my creation with Attila, and we enjoyed a lovely meal together.

Netflix has done a remake of Lost In Space. I liked that program as a kid, and this new rendition is very amusing, very different, and very amusing. So far there is no gratuitous violence, or extreme intrigue, just ordinary human orneriness, with the usual undetected sociopath in the mix, there is always a sociopath, in real life as in fiction.

This morning I have baked muffins while the hydro is here, and a loaf of bread is in the machine, chugging towards a loaf.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

FREEZING RAIN WARNING IN EFFECT
-4°C
Lightning
Light Freezing Rain
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Sunday 15 April 2018
Condition: Light Freezing Rain
Pressure: 102.8 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -4.2°C
Dew point: -7.0°C
Humidity: 81%
Wind: NE 41 gust 58 km/h
Wind Chill: -13
Visibility: 16 km

Today: Periods of ice pellets or freezing drizzle changing to freezing rain near noon and ending late this afternoon then cloudy. Risk of freezing drizzle late this afternoon. Ice pellet amount 2 to 4 cm. Wind northeast 40 km/h gusting to 70. High minus 1.

Tonight Cloudy. Rain beginning late this evening. Risk of freezing drizzle this evening. Amount 15 mm. Wind northeast 40 km/h gusting to 70. Temperature rising to plus 2 by morning.

Quote

“When it is not necessary to make a decision, it is necessary not to make a decision.”
Lord Falkland (1610 – 1643)

Ice Storm

It is Friday night and here in Eastern Ontario we are heading into a weekend of severe weather conditions, including freezing rain with accumulations, and snow. It is spring, but winter just does not want to let go.

I managed to get to two Tai Chi classes this week, it won’t be long until my membership runs out and must be renewed, so I am taking advantage of the opportunity to attend classes while it lasts.

I continue to use the elliptical machine most days, at least five days out of a seven day week, which for me is pretty good. I have been active indoors this last month, the moving of furniture has begun a process of reorganization that will be ongoing for quite some time.

Because we might lose power this weekend, I will be preparing quite a bit of food for the cooler, so that if a prolonged period without hydro occurs, it will be easy to heat things up on the propane camp stove, out on the back porch. Attila has filled the gas can, so that during a power outage the furnace can be run from time to time to keep the house relatively warm. I have candles, and battery powered lanterns, so we should be good for light. Although reading by that light would be difficult, a rousing game of mahjong, or scrabble, or cribbage, could fill the dark evening hours.

The new windows are still noticeably wonderful, every room is not only more comfortable, but brighter and cheerier as well, even during the overcast chilly spring days that dominate the weather.

I continue to crochet, still working on my second blanket. It is taking form ever so slowly, and I enjoy having it here beside me, ready to occupy my hands if they get restless. Currently two books are on the end table, Kristen Lavransdatter, by Sigrid Undset, and
The Paying Guests, by Sarah Waters.

A lot of my time is consumed with cooking and baking from scratch, and the endless cleanup that goes with such activities. My days consist of a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, taken up in between culinary processes in the kitchen. The days spent at home pass quickly.

All spring the “better weather” has been only two weeks away, according to the weather predictions, and so it is today, two weeks away. Those two weeks have taken a tedious few months to pass.

Our domestic holding pattern is holding. My anguish over the recent events has diminished significantly. That is not to say I am happy with things as they are. I am actively working on adjusting to this new reality, which seems to take up a lot of my time, at least for now. It is time well spent.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

5°C
Kingston Airport
Date: 5:00 PM EDT Friday 13 April 2018
Condition: Light Rainshower
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 4.8°C
Dew point: 3.3°C
Humidity: 89%
Wind: NE 15 km/h
Visibility: 16 km

Quote

“You desire to know the art of living, my friend? It is contained in one phrase: make use of suffering.”
Henri-Frédéric Amiel

You Can Give Up Now

I play mahjong on the computer.

It just occurred to me that the program I prefer has a feature that I love. It ends the game and tells me when it is hopeless to go on. Oh, if only life offered such surety! To know when to give up, what a boon that would be. I don’t give up. I will probably never give up. I know how to cut my losses, which is a completely different kettle of fish than giving up.

I remember when I chose my kids over my career. It was a choice forced upon me by circumstances beyond my control. A person can put themselves at risk to accomplish a goal, but it is quite another thing to put innocent children at risk for the same. I had stayed the course until the last few disastrous months, where others had fallen by the wayside. Then a cluster of events piled on me like a head on collision with a freight train, and my children were at risk. The choice was clear to me, I chose my kids. Not that the children knew or cared, they didn’t, they still don’t. Would I make the same choice again, sure I would. Would I like it, hell no.

When the disastrous circumstances were crashing through my door, I was told by a few people to “not give up”, referring to my career. What on earth were they thinking! (That is not a real question, their mindset is not one I want to spend any time trying to understand. I didn’t respect them then, and I don’t respect them now.) There was nothing on earth that was worth sacrificing my children for, nothing.

But wouldn’t it have been wonderful if I had known before investing 14 years of hard work and sacrifice, that it would come down to a simple, sudden choice. Also, success and failure are not black and white or binary, they are prone to grey scale and to parallax.

My children survived, and now thrive.

Sometimes I think a kind and reliable “you can give up now fairy” would have come in handy. Ah, but would I have listened? Very likely not.

I really enjoy this mahjong game.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

2°C
Date: 3:00 PM EDT Saturday 7 April 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 2.0°C
Dew point: -10.7°C
Humidity: 39%
Wind: SW 25 gust 38 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“For you to be successful, sacrifices must be made. It’s better that they are made by others but failing that, you’ll have to make them yourself.”
Rita Mae Brown
Movie, Ghost

Another Monday

What kind of a program makes statements about the human condition like, “war is the only thing we understand”. I tried watching Altered Carbon, a series on Netflix, focused on violence, portraying violence as the only way of the world. That violence exists I do not argue, but it is not all, and I doubt it ever will be. I do see though, that for some humans, it is all they see, or want to see. Why are there so many fatalistic themes in entertainment at this juncture in human history. Is someone(s) trying to bring the acceptance of violence into the lives of the young? Television and movies began to change in the 90s, when I first began to notice the theme of intolerance, contempt for others, and violence seeping into media entertainment. Now much of what is on offer on Netflix and Prime Video is either violent, or portrays ruthless ambition, almost glorifying these aspects of human nature. It is disturbing.

I guess the thinking is, what is the harm in it, it is only entertainment. Until you start thinking about the escalation of mass shootings in the US, by young people, and then it is difficult to believe there is no connection at all, between the portrayals of reality, and the reality that is developing.

I will be watching something other than Altered Carbon.

The morning began with bright sunshine streaming through the windows. Soon after daylight had established itself, the clouds rolled in. Late in the morning, snowflakes fell. There weren’t enough of them to accumulate, they all melted as soon as they reached the earth. The clouds continue to track the sky, allowing the sun to peek through from time to time.

The list of things I wanted to get done today was apparently too ambitious for reality. One of the projects involves setting up the sewing machine. Mist cottage is small, there is one table, it is the only working surface. In order to setup the sewing machine I will need to completely clear off the table. Th items on the table need to be moved. The place, where the items on the table will be moved to, needed to be cleared. And so on, and so on. After getting to the point where I could clear the table, so much time had elapsed that it seemed a waste of time to setup the sewing machine for only an hour or so. It would be better to begin again in the morning, leaving the whole day to work on the project itself.

The rest of the day consisted of small chores, like unloading the dishwasher. Who could complain about unloading a dishwasher! Not I. The dishwasher is a much appreciated appliance around here, particularly since there is very limited counter space here at Mist Cottage.

And that is Monday, as another week begins.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

2°C
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Monday 2 April 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.0 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 2.0°C
Dew point: -3.7°C
Humidity: 66%
Wind: S 26 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“If we attend continually and promptly to the little that we can do, we shall ere long be surprised to find how little remains that we cannot do.”
Samuel Butler
1835 – 1902