black monday

Here it is, Monday morning, and the internet is still not connecting, since early yesterday evening. The computers, all of our devices, indicate that the wifi is working, but software soon tells us that there is no internet connection. I hesitate to call technical support for two reasons. The first is that the wind storm yesterday is the most likely culprit for this interruption in service, so that the fix is probably under way and will eventually be completed in its own time. The second is that our telephone service is VOIP, so that when there is no internet connection, there is no telephone service. Which means that a telephone call to technical support would have to be made on one of our old flip cell phones at fifty cents a minute. I do not look forward to sitting on hold for twenty minutes, spending $10 for the call, to be told to be patient, they are working on the problem. Another option is to drive to the local McDonalds restaurant, buy a coffee, sit down with my laptop, and use Skype to call our internet service provider. This becomes problematic when tech support insists on me unplugging the modem, then plugging it back in, and other tasks that require that I am sitting at home where there is no reasonable telephone service.

The down side of VOIP telephone service is significant. I suppose it is hardly noticeable to those who have smart phones, those little devices before which so many bow. We are not tempted though, as the cost would cut deeply into our standard of living, affecting the quality of the food we could afford to eat, or other necessities like heat in the winter. So we carry on with our cheap flip phones and make do. One thing about not having a smart phone is that we are completely out of everyone else’s “loop”. Since we do not text, we do not exist in the day-to-day worlds our families.

So what to do on a day when I cannot work on my genealogy book, because I need to confirm information on ancestry to move forward? What to do on a day when I cannot research how to fix the malfunctioning window crank in Grace The Trailer? What to do!

First, make a cup of coffee. Second, sit quietly looking out at the tree tops, sipping coffee, contemplating life. Third, read a bit of my book Kristen Lavransdatter. Fourth, pick up my crochet hook and work on my afghan/blanket. Third, begin making a list of tasks to be completed before Attila begins his next project, which is to replace the window in the back bedroom, where we sleep. This should occupy the rest of the day!

After I wrote the above paragraph, I was inspired to make the call to the internet service provider, it only took five minutes to get through, to find that service was down in our area, and that there was no timeline for the repairs. After hanging up the phone, the internet suddenly started to work. Sheesh!!!

Attila is going to work on two renovation projects here at Mist Cottage this autumn. The priority is the bedroom window replacement, before the temperatures drops too drastically. It will be a weekend job, and will also be quite intrusive, as the bedroom is the one we sleep in. Furniture will have to be moved, objects like beds well covered against the dust, and the room sealed off from the heating system for the duration of the project. After that project is secured against the weather, I will work on the insulation, vapour barrier and drywall, and he will begin planning the installation of the new tiles for the kitchen floor. My involvement in flooring project is to empty the freestanding kitchen cabinet, which will need to be moved out of the kitchen.

It is much cooler today, more like autumn. The sky is still overcast, but there are lighter patches of gray that float by. The heating system has suddenly sprung into action. Most of the leaves were blown from the trees yesterday, in the high winds. The garden looks bedraggled, with a few tomatoes still ripening on the vines, and squash, both Hubbard and Butternut, still lying on the ground, and hanging on the fence, using the last of the good weather to mature. I think autumn has arrived.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

6°C
Date: 9:00 AM EDT Monday 16 October 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.1 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 5.7°C
Dew point: 1.4°C
Humidity: 74%
Wind: N 21 gust 35 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

Apparently there are severe threats to wifi connections, going down for the night, waiting for updates, then I’ll be up and running again. Good luck to everyone, update and prosper.

A Trip in the Dark

This weekend thing is a great invention!

Friday night Attila and I made a pizza and watched Star Trek. It doesn’t sound very exciting I know, but it really does it for us.

Saturday morning we packed up Tank and headed out to the Rideau Camp. It was a cloudy day, and warm, around 20C. We had our list of things we wanted to accomplish. Attila wanted to cut the grass, which is really using the weed eater to keep the weeds low. He then used a leaf blower and cleared the area of crushed stone, and the driveway. Then he headed down to our swamp at the entrance to the property.

The swamp was formed when the cottagers association built the private road. At that time the natural drainage was blocked by the new road, and a swamp was created. The trees that had grown there died, and fell into the swamp. Other trees were bulldozed into the swamp when the driveway was created. It is quite a mess, which is lucky for us, because it made the property look undesirable at the entrance, very little curb appeal.

Attila has been slowly clearing dead wood from either side of the driveway, where it was bulldozed into piles. Having reached the edge of the swamp this weekend, he found that the water level had gone down sufficiently to allow him to begin removing waterlogged trees. He spent the rest of the day Saturday pulling dead trees out of the swamp, and piling them at the side of the driveway, where they will slowly dry.

Attila also removed quite a few wild grape plants that had grown into the dead trees that were still standing at the water’s edge. I dragged these up the driveway to the fire pit. I spent my day burning the last of the dry dead wood from earlier driveway clearances, and burning the wild grapes. The fire burned from around eight in the morning until it started to rain around six in the evening. There was also quite a bit of fallen deadwood in the forest around the perimeter of the camp site, so I collected that and burned it as well.

One thing about tending a fire all day long, you end up smelling like smoke, and any exposed skin gets gritty and salty. There are no bathing facilities at the Rideau Camp, so a basin wash is as good as it gets. The grunge factor is bearable on an overnight visit, but it can feel disgusting pretty fast on longer visits.

It is a beautiful time of year to spend time out of doors. At times leaves are gently released, floating to the ground. When the wind blows, and it did blow in great gusts all weekend, the leaves are ripped from the trees with great force, driven down, up, across, in whatever direction the wind takes them. When we took our breaks, we sat at the edge of the bush and soaked in the aroma of autumn, the fallen leaves, the damp earth.

With the coming of the rain we retreated into Grace The Trailer, to prepare a simple dinner, instant Chinese egg noodles with green beans. Then by the light of our small battery operated lanterns, we played cards. We spent the rest of our evening playing cribbage, Attila won the first game, I won the second game. We laugh a lot when we play cards together, although I can’t really say what we find funny.

It is an unusually mild mid-October. We stayed the night in Grace The Trailer quite comfortably. The clouds held the dark close, so that as we lay in our bed we could hold our hands in front of our faces, and see nothing.

I awoke at 5 a.m. and was awake for the day. It was still pitch black at that time in the morning. The night had been mild, warm enough so that I could turn on the lantern and comfortably dress, before taking myself to the living area to let Attila sleep for several more hours.

At 6 a.m. it was still very dark, and as luck would have it, I needed to visit Winnie (the outhouse). I took my little lantern, closed the door to the trailer behind me and headed towards Winnie. The morning was mild, and windy. The lantern lit the path so that my footing was sure. When I reached Winnie I hung the lantern on the nail Attila had hammered into the roof raft. The compost toilets are not left out, so each time we use them we need to set the system up. It is a simple process. The toilet paper is kept in an empty plastic coffee can with a lid, it sits at the top of the pyramid of joy. Under the toilet paper is a covered five gallon pail that contains peat moss and a scoop. Under the peat moss bucket is a very large plastic tote with a lid. Inside are the two compost toilet buckets, his n’ hers. There are no bad smells. It was quite magical really, sitting there looking out into the forest, the wind blowing in my hair, autumn leaves lying on the ground, lit and glistening with rain by the light of the lantern. A rather surprising memorable moment.

Attila arose after a few hours. It was quite a windy day, so we decided to return to Mist Cottage for lunch. Attila wanted to pull more trees out of the swamp, so he tackled that project.

I wanted to gather together the fabrics and extra beverages and food we have in Grace The Trailer, to bring home for the winter. Mice will chew away at fabrics over the course of a winter. We found evidence on a small mouse under the kitchen cupboard, two tiny turds, and the roll of toilet paper by the door had been chewed. I have a glue trap setup under the sink, but it was empty. We wondered how the mouse gained entry, as we had diligently plugged all of the trailer’s orifices with steel wool. I discovered later in the day, that the steel wool under the slideout had been disturbed, pulled out. We surmise it was probably the red squirrel, a very aggressive little fellow, who pulled it out, although it was of no use to him. The little mouse took the opportunity to pay us a visit. Hopefully the steel wool will stay in place now, and the mice will have no entry point. We will be taking mouse traps out with us on our next visit.

I left a few cans of food there, a few cans of beverages, and the bedding for our bed. We hope to spend another weekend there before the snow flies.

This evening we had a very intense wind storm, with lots of rain. We heard a very strange sound, a bit like an airplane. It was the wind howling through the awning outside the dining area windows. We had not heard anything like it before.

The power flickered, went out, then came back, several times. Our internet service is down, but we still have power. I am writing this on a Sunday, but I won’t be able to post it until the internet service is restored, who knows when.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

No access to weather reports, internet down.

Quote

“So I weave back and
forth, forth and back,
a rug patterned of warmth
and light, and when I find
a new scarlet thread shining
to add to the design,
I smile.”
Marge Piercy, The Twelve-Spoked Wheel Flasing: How I weave trouble.

A Warm Blanket

DSCF1348 My current crochet project. I am loving this blanket, which will be a twin bed size when it is completed. The colour pattern is random, as each ball of yarn begins with a different colour, and I like the effect. (Suzette stitch, Bernat Pop Foggy Notion, 4 worsted, 5.0 hook). This blanket was originally intended for Grace The Trailer, but Attila wants it at home, so it stays at Mist Cottage. I think I might crochet a second one, so that we each have one for our beds, and then maybe another few for the living room so we can cuddle under them in the winter, while reading. And then maybe another couple for Grace The Trailer… luckily I am enjoying the simplicity of creating this blanket!

It is chilly today, with the sun popping out from behind the clouds from time to time, to fill the living room with light. The weather people predict one more gasp at warmish weather, and we are considering staying overnight in Grace The Trailer, at the Rideau Camp, on that warm night. It will soon be time to bring home all fabric and food from Grace The Trailer, to close the slide out, and to put the winter covering over it. Once the cover is on Grace The Trailer, we will visit the Rideau Camp, but not stay there overnight.

I am looking forward to getting back out to the Rideau Camp. Attila has installed new windows in the dining area here at Mist Cottage, which has required that we stick close to home for the last few weeks. The window install began just as I was dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s related to the property dispute. This means that we haven’t been back to the Rideau Camp to relax after the kerfluffle. The property dispute was deeply disturbing, I felt violated, and then had to fight for my rights as a property owner. I do not like fighting for anything, I like challenges, but I am not keen on conflict between humans, particularly when it is uncalled for. The whole exercise exhausted me on many levels. One side effect was that I had stopped sleeping through the night, an affliction that persisted until last night. Last night I slept soundly through the night. It was a great relief.

The new windows in the dining area at Mist Cottage turned out much better than I had anticipated. We bought inexpensive, energy efficient windows, a common stock item. I did not expect to like them. I love them! Attila finished the project last night, the paint is dry this morning, and I am contemplating what window treatment to use, if any. We don’t really have to have a window treatment, as they are very high and no one can see in. In addition, they are protected from the southern exposure sunlight by an awning. Curtains would make them even more energy efficient than they already are, so I am thinking about it.

Dining windows 2017 The new windows in the dining area of the kitchen, completed just last night. The kitchen is still in chaos. I find kitchen renovation to be the most intrusive of all the types of renovations we have done. We have decided to put down a commercial grade vinyl tile floor in this kitchen. As you can see on the left side of the floor, part of the existing vinyl flooring had been torn up, and was like that when we purchased the house in 2010. We had planned on waiting until we had finished replacing all the insulation and drywall on the main floor, before tackling the floors. In that long term plan the kitchen would have a red pine floor, painted white. But that is taking too long for my liking, and putting too much pressure on us to undertake new projects, so that we can get to the point where we can install the pine floors. So, I want a new floor right now, and Attila agreed. We will put white vinyl tile over the existing floor, anticipating that perhaps someday, and perhaps never, we will tear it all up and install red pine floors. If we decide to replace the kitchen cabinets at some future date, then the red pine floors would be installed. However, I like the old, owner installed cupboards, in all their crudeness.

Our next project, a new kitchen floor! At last!!

042369108706 ca The vinyl tiles to be installed in the kitchen: Armstrong 12-in x 12-in Cool White Speckle Commercial Vinyl Tile.
These are old fashioned tiles, the colour runs the whole depth of the tile, so if they get scratched the surface colour remains the same. We find that the vinyl with the thin surface of colour on a backing do not wear well at our house. The layer of colour is easily marred by a falling knife, a moved refrigerator, anything, and then it looks bad, and it is hard to clean. This tile is also much cheaper, at 88 cents per tile we are able to put the new floor in for well under $200. Attila will use a special bonding agent to lay the new floor over the old floor.

Conventional Wisdom

Sometimes not being within the range of “normal” is a distinct disadvantage. Occasionally though, it a wonderful thing. Today it was a wonderful thing.

My follow up appointment with the cardiologist was today, my blood pressure was normal. This appointment coincided with receiving the results of a recent blood test that measured my cholesterol levels. I had discontinued taking cholesterol medication last summer, as it was elevating my levels rather than lowering them. The recent blood test was meant to provide a base line for future comparison. The results were that my cholesterol is very high, which is not unexpected, as it has been very high for a very long time, perhaps all of my life, although I wasn’t tested a baby, or as a child. The thing is, as the cardiologist had both the results of my carotid scan, and the blood test, he determined that high cholesterol, in my case, does not result in artery wall plaque deposits. I have no plaque deposits at all. So, in my case, I don’t really need to take cholesterol lowering drugs, and he recommended not taking them because I don’t need them. Great news! He felt that I need not return, and gave me a clean bill of health!

One thing he did discuss with me was the need to have a CT scan done of my head, checking for aneurisms. My Aunt died at the age of 63 from a burst aneurism in her brain. Apparently the tendency to have aneurisms runs in families. So on my next visit to the walk-in clinic I will be pushing for a CT scan to check for aneurisms, and an appointment to have my nostril cauterized to prevent nose bleeds.

This may be the last summery day of 2017! It is warm and sunny, a bit humid too. A lovely day.

On Saturday we travelled to have a Thanksgiving Dinner, cooked by Sister-The-Youngest-Girl, and attended by various family members. I got to see my Mom, and my Sister-The-Middle-Girl, which is always a treat. We had a great time, visiting, relaxing, good food, good company. Sister-The-Youngest-Girl, Mom, and I had fun working on a jigsaw puzzle, something my Mom has done with her children since we were small. Mom is pretty good at it, the rest of us struggle to keep up with her. The drive was miserable, both on the way there, and on the way home. The highways were clogged with traffic, expanding a three hour drive into a four and half hour journey, each way. We arrived at the get together, and home afterward, safe and sound, which in the end is all that really matters.

At the Thanksgiving get together, my Mom gave me a photograph portrait of my brother Carl and I, when he was just a baby, and I wasn’t much more. In the photograph he is just sitting up with support, and I am 18 months older, so I would have been around two years old, give or take a few months. My brother was a beautiful baby, I thought he was my baby, and I adored him. I was the eldest of six, and I thought of all my younger siblings as “my babies”, as older siblings do sometimes. Carl passed away last summer, while Attila and I were on vacation, it was a terrible shock.

Maggie Carl 1953 DSCF1347 Taken of my brother Carl and I when I was two years old. Four more children would be born in quick succession after this photo was taken, all my little brothers and sisters.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

21°C
Date: 1:00 PM EDT Tuesday 10 October 2017
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 21.1°C
Dew point: 15.9°C
Humidity: 72%
Wind: SW 17 km/h
Humidex: 26
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“The people I distrust most are those who want to improve our lives but have only one course of action.”
Frank Herbert
1920 – 1986

Pumpernickel

The weather is warm again today, and cloudy. I have been working on my book and updating Attila’s iPad, it took some doing, Apple insisted on changing something, I haven’t yet figured out just what the changed. The pop up window said that the password would be changed with a new pass code. Time will tell what that was all about.

This morning I wanted a breakfast that included some complete protein. Using a slice of pumpernickel bread, dipped in an egg/milk/cinnamon mixture, the microwave was used to “bake” French Toast. It was topped with sliced strawberries. No sugar or salt was added to the dish. Luckily the strawberries were ripe enough to be sweet. It was a good breakfast.

It is Friday! What happened to Thursday! Somehow I missed Thursday altogether. The house is in chaos, tools, furniture moved out of the way of the window replacement project, items piled up in the corners. Tonight Attila is priming the drywall, tomorrow he will paint it. Tomorrow Attila will install the interior trim. The exterior trim was installed last night. With any luck, we will be celebrating a finished project on Saturday night.

Here is a little bit of writing I did today. I think it is inspired by golden toilets and the people who on those thrones. A little on the dark side, but such is life from time to time.

Visiting The Rich

We could see the dwelling in the distance, a mansion in the forest, its lights on the dark water, reaching, commanding. The pines, the cedars, the maples, and the oaks, that lined the shore, were decorated with light, ornaments on display. It was a vision.

As we were greeted at the door by the smiling faces of our hosts, a warmth greeted us, and the smell of new wood, of polish, of spotless cleanliness. The warmth was inviting.

Stepping into the large dining area, the first thing that caught my eye was the painting. It is that painting that insidiously smirks its way into my mind’s eye, when I think of the rich.

A very large painting, larger than life size, it portrayed the image of a beautiful woman, dressed in a formal gown, almost a costume, feather plumes around her head, an elaborately decorated fan held artfully in her right hand. She gazed into the room thoughtfully, a subtle smile on her lips, her eyes full of hatred and calculation. It hung alone on the wall, in the room, watching.

It was an unusual evening, in that we were seated at a table with an artist, with whom conversation flowed easily, warmly. Softened by the glow of good company, as we departed, I gave the host a little hug, while thanking him for the wonderful evening. He recoiled in horror, as if he had been touched by the unclean, his deep and genuine revulsion open and immediate. Turning his back to me, he took up conversation with other bewildered departing guests.

The visit haunts me.

The Ice Queen of Narnia is not a character of the imagination.

Last but not least for today, the blue bowl that I referred to in my last entry.

Blue bowl The Blue Bowl, a treasure that has been sitting in the china cabinet for more than two decades.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

17°C
Date: 1:00 PM EDT Friday 6 October 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 16.9°C
Dew point: 12.1°C
Humidity: 73%
Wind: SSE 6 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote
“Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.”
Bertrand Russell
1872 – 1970

This is not to say that every eccentric opinion is now accepted, something to keep in mind at all times.