Adventures

Attila had a vacation day, so we enjoyed a three day weekend, this past weekend.

The drive out to the Rideau Camp on Friday night was uneventful, quite pleasant actually. It began to rain just as we carried the last of our luggage into Grace The Trailer. We enjoyed a quick supper, and as darkness fell we lit our LED lanterns to wash up and finish unpacking. I had stocked Grace The Trailer with a deck of cards, so a card game seemed like a good idea. The only game we could remember was Go Fish, it has been that long since we have played cards! The card deck turned out to be two Euchre decks. What ensued was a hilariously silly game of Go Fish, with one of us winning in either one or two hands. We were constantly laughing at ourselves.

Saturday dawned with sunny blue skies. An outing had been planned. We were set to attend a day at the Stewart Park Festival in Perth. A lunch was packed, and we set out for Perth. About a mile from the chosen parking area in Perth, all of Tanks warning lights suddenly lit up, and the engine sounded awful. Attila managed to get Tank into the Salvation Army parking lot, where he popped the hood, and tried to trouble shoot the problem, with no success. CAA was called, and we waited for about an hour and a half for a tow truck, which was worth the wait because the cab was big enough to tranport both of us back to the garage near home with Tank. We found a pleasant shady spot in the parking lot, and ate our packed lunch. The woman in the Salvation Army store was lovely, letting us use the washroom, we were very grateful.

It was a long drive back to the garage. We thoroughly enjoyed it! The driver was a young man, a millennial, who was also a farmer. He was interesting to talk with, and I mean talk with, he talked, we listened, he responded, we listened, we talked, he listened, he talked… and on it went. Conversations with people other than Attila are so rare in my life, exchanges where people listen, as well as talk. Before we knew it an hour and a half had flown by, and we were happily dropped off at the garage with Tank. One of the owners of the garage was there, but it was closed. He took the keys to Grace The Trailer, and allowed Attila to use the telephone to call a taxi to transport us the rest of the way home.

The taxi driver, a boomer, picked us up at the garage, and we had a very pleasant chat with him as he navigated the streets to our house.

What I enjoyed about both the tow truck driver, and the taxi driver, was that both were inclusive, interacting with Attila and with me. I have become very accustomed to spending time in situations where men speak only to Attila, rendering me an invisible mute beside him, where anything I say is ignored (not by Attila), usually not even acknowledged.

Our planned outing was a complete failure. Our discovered outing was a great deal of fun, full of pleasant interesting people.

After arriving at home, we showered, and returned to the Rideau Camp in our car.

Although I had already decided that I would not burn brush on the weekend, that is what I did on Saturday. There were more live branches to burn, lower branches on trees removed to open up the area, allow air to flow freely into the out of the camp area. There were whole dead trees to burn, and some small live trees that had to be removed because they would not grow properly, having lost their crowns. As darkness fell the fire still burned in the camp fire pit, and we sat up very late to watch the flames, then the embers, and finally the stars. We witnessed a magic show of fireflies as darkness fell. They flickered deep into the forest, high and low, all around us.

Sunday dawned hot, humid, and cloudy. Again a camp fire was lit and brush was collected and burned. While I tended the fire, Attila worked on removing a large stump from the area where Grace The Trailer will be parked. Stump removal by hand is a lot of work, he made a good start. As darkness fell, our plan to sit around the camp fire into the night was extinguished early by a heavy rain, with thunder and lightening. It stormed through the night, and one lightning strike was near enough to us that we could feel the earth shake under us.

Monday was a very hot, humid, cloudy day. Attila worked on his stump removal project, and I relaxed with a book for a while before going outside to putter around doing little jobs. It was a bad idea, my tackling any project on such a day! I became overheated, soaked two changes of clothing, and ended up moving all the items from the refrigerator to the cooler, turning the refrigerator off, stripping down to my underwear, and using a battery operated fan by the open door to cool myself. It worked. I also ate some salty peanuts, and drank about a litre of water. We decided to head home to Mist Cottage, where there is air conditioning.

We dropped in at the garage to see if Tank had been assessed, and were shocked to find that Tank was ready to go, and that there was no charge. Apparently a bit if grit had lodged in some kind of chain, requiring only a few seconds to dislodge. The fellow who owns this garage is amazing, truly amazing. We have taken our vehicles there ever since I discovered the business when the battery in Tank died, when I was spending the winter alone at Mist Cottage. We take either vehicle there for work, and return to pay whatever the charge is, we don’t even need to discuss what work will be done, we trust this fellow to only do what is necessary, and at a reasonable cost.

All weekend long we came into contact with interesting forthright people, all decent working people.

This short week is a week of appointments for me. I need new eyeglasses, my present pair fell apart twice over the weekend. Thankfully Attila was able to put them together for me in a rudimentary fashion, so I could still function. After looking at various options, Costco was chosen, I am giving them a try. A dental appointment is scheduled for today. As my Mom says, it takes up a lot of our time getting our parts fixed. Love my Mom!

The weather is hot and humid again today, and it looks as if this will continue for the next week or so. It is not my favourite weather, but summer does usually bring at least some of this to us. I stay in the air conditioned house, or vehicle, so that spending a few hours in the heat isn’t too taxing. I thought that losing a bit of weight, and getting my blood pressure under control would help me tolerate the humid heat more easily. Such is not the case, this summer I become quite fatigued and disoriented, if I spend too many hours in the hot humid outdoors.

My MacBook Air is getting long in the tooth, as technology does very quickly. It is a 2012 machine, and it still does everything I need it to do, but it is slowing down. I assume that is because increasingly complex web sites demands more and more memory, and increased demand on the CPU. The battery in the laptop is completely dead, if unplugged it instantly dies. This isn’t a problem at home, but it does mean the computer is no longer viable for travel, so I miss that. The cost to replace the battery is $329.00, and they “promised” to look for other problems… my guess is that they would find them. An low end Mac laptop replacement is looking like the most viable option, so I am beginning to think about it now. While I am thinking and waiting, I have backed up the MacBook Air, and will continue to do do frequently.

Of course for a little less money, I could own a new iPhone… not for me, very little that is interesting to me to do on an iPhone.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

21°C
Date: 7:00 AM EDT Wednesday 19 July 2017
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 20.9°C
Dew point: 19.1°C
Humidity: 89%
Wind: SW 13 km/h
Humidex: 28
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“True love brings up everything – you’re allowing a mirror to be held up to you daily.”
Jennifer Aniston

Long Weekend

We had a lovely Victoria Day long weekend. On Friday night we made a pizza from scratch, low-sodium, low-cholesterol of course, and watched a film on Netflix.

On Saturday, the only sunny warmish day of the entire long weekend, we went to the Rideau Camp early in the morning and spent the day burning brush in the camp fire pit, and moving a bit of crushed stone.

On Sunday it rained, so we stayed home, puttered around the house, and enjoyed a visit from Sister-The-Youngest-Girl and Beau Bob, who dropped in on their way home after attending a family function to the East of us. They dropped of a big bag of clothing my Mom bought for me, she is an amazing shopper! I have numerous new summer blouses, a summer dress, two new sweat shirt jackets, and lots of new pairs of pants. I am enjoying trying things on, and so far everything fits.

On Monday it was cold and wet out of doors, another good day to stay in our nice warm house, rather than working outside at the Rideau Camp. Domestic chores aren’t boring to us, but they are repetitive. Cooking for the week to come, we made muffins for lunches, salad dressing for salads, croutons for salads, and topped up many of our canisters. And then we went shopping. We began at Rona, where we went to look at sheets of lattice. We did buy a sheet of lattice, grey to add privacy to our back porch, but we didn’t stop there. Ever since I sat with my sisters and my Mom on my sister’s back deck swing, I have wanted one here at Mist Cottage. Every spring when we visit the building material stores I sit on the swings in the display section of the store. Usually I find them either uncomfortable, or far too large for our minimized lifestyle. But on Monday, at Rona, I sat down in a small swing and knew that it was the one. So we bought it. It is smallish, lowish, and will someday fit on the back porch when it is renovated. Until that time it will sit under a sun tent on the back lawn.

We didn’t stop there. After leaving Rona we dropped into Costco. Our neighbour calls it the $500 store with good reason. We don’t visit it often because our bank account is always drained by the time we walk out the door. This visit was no exception. We didn’t buy anything we didn’t need, or anything we wouldn’t use. Our purchases were primarily food, fresh vegetables and baking ingredients. We even found some frozen burgers that were low sodium, although their frozen chicken is all seasoned, and so there is sodium where I can’t afford it with the chicken. Our most surprising purchase was a new cell phone for Attila. I have been looking at cell phones for Attila for about three years, as the one he uses was purchased the August before our first Grandbabies were born, in 2006. The cell phone still functioned, but the battery would not hold a charge for more than an hour or so once it was turned on, and the cell phone towers upon which it relies are being phased out in favour of newer technology. We were walking by the cell phone kiosk, and I stopped to ask if they had any flip phones, and the did! We looked at it, and instantly decided that it was time to replace the old cell phone. In fifteen minutes they had Attila up and running on the new cell phone, his account transferred, and it only cost $67. Hopefully Attila will be good for another few years now.

I have been pondering what crochet project to begin since I finished my market bag. As I was sitting at home having a look at Attila’s new cell phone, I thought it would be a good thing if it were protected from the rough and ready pockets of Attila. I looked on Amazon and couldn’t find anything low enough priced to interest me. Later I was putzing around looking at crochet stitches, and saw a new stitch pattern that I though I would like to try, and the pieces fell together, I would use that interesting stitch pattern to create a cell phone case for Attila’s new phone.

I didn’t really think much about it, I just started practising the new stitch pattern, the Lemon Peel Stitch, ripped it out a few times, then started to make the cell phone case.

DSCF0661 Attila’s new flip phone, a pay as you go wonder. We pay $100 for the year, and since we don’t use the phone much we seldom need to buy additional time. Beside the phone is the cell phone case I crocheted. I like it, as the phone slides out very easily if the bottom of the case is squeezed. The case is machine washable cotton.

Once I finished the cell phone case I decided I should write down what I had done. But my method of writing these kinds of things down is erratic. I decided to look at software to record the steps that were followed. I ended up finding some chart software at ravelry.com, where these two links were recommended in the forum:

Stitch Works Software

Windows: Windows: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7CaX7Dz9k8GTlhVNThlSVpBY1k/view
Os X: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7CaX7Dz9k8GSGxlRG5JNm1XNnM/view?usp=sharing

I downloaded the software and started to play with it.

I am just tickled to have produced my first crochet pattern in chart form!

Flip Phone Case Open Ended: Left-Handed

I have had a lot of fun today!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

14°C
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Tuesday 23 May 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 13.8°C
Dew point: 9.1°C
Humidity: 73%
Wind: S 18 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.”
Charles Du Bos

Nailed it!

5:20 a.m.

I am awake, but Attila is not. This is how weekend mornings go. My waking time is consistent. During the week Attila wakes up before I do, to an alarm clock, which often awakens me, so that I in turn awaken him. On lucky mornings, the alarm clock awakens Attila first and I sleep in until just past 5:00 a.m. On the weekends Attila awakes long after I do.

So here I am sitting in my rocking chair, the sun is just peeping above the horizon and its glorious light is glittering through the frozen ice patterns on the window. It is cold out there, -17C this morning, on the thermometer just outside the kitchen window, which reads a little warm due to its proximity to the kitchen window, which leaks a bit of our precious heat.

One thing I don’t think I have ever written about here is my “crooked arm”. I am the eldest of five children, and that is how we children referred to my arm, the “crooked arm”. My father had other ways of describing me and my arm, but they are not worth repeating, although they are indelibly etched into my soul. As a child I considered his words, meditated on them as they came from my father, and completely rejected his point of view, much to my benefit.

My arm was damaged at birth, so badly that is was never expected to grow to a normal size. My Mom never gave in, and I was expected use my arm and hand as if they were exactly like my other arm and hand. The effect of my Mom’s “never say never” approach was that the arm grew to look as it should, and is quite functional. I have little motor control and restricted movement in that arm, there was neurological and skeletal damage that was assessed during my childhood, and again when I explored possibilities as an adult. There were medical interventions, with no guarantees, I discovered during the 80s, that would require breaking of bones and surgeries; I decided that my arm was a great part of who I am, and I would live my life with it as it is. I grew up thinking of myself as fully able bodied, and can do most of the things I am interested in doing. I have to choose my battles though.

I was chatting with Sister-The-Youngest-Girl yesterday morning about this, and she said that she remembers being very impressed that I could do one handed cartwheels when I was a teen. I was captain of the cheerleading team in high school, and to join the team and gain leadership I had to do cartwheels. I could not support any weight with my arm, so my solution was to practice day and night until I could perform a one handed cartwheel, with my “crooked arm” tucked neatly at my side. It was a very satisfying accomplishment, which took a lot of my time and effort.

I am older now, and still choosing my battles. In deciding to learn to crochet, I knew I was taking on a real challenge, it is an activity that demands fine motor control in both hands. I had had negative experiences with crochet during my childhood, particularly when I was a Brownie, where right handed people were teaching the skill and telling me to “just do it backwards”. I managed to produce the required item for my badge, but there were many tears involved, and a fair amount of physical pain. But I did it. So, deciding to revisit crocheting is not as straightforward as it might sound, in my instance.

I am well pleased this morning because I had a breakthrough in learning how to crochet. I am still at the phase where I am learning how to hold my hands in order to perform the stitches. It has been a real challenge. I tried all of the techniques I could find on youtube, no joy. The yarn slipped off my fingers constantly, no matter what I did. My tension was all over the map, my arm ached, my ears were ringing, and I developed a headache after a few minutes of stitching. I tried wearing a fingerless glove so that the yarn could feed up my wrist and out the finger, but that resulted in far too much tension, and I couldn’t control it with my finger. Then I took the fingers I had cut off the glove, cut off the tips to make finger tubes, and placed those on my pinky and my forefinger. This improved things somewhat, but I was still unable to control the tension to my satisfaction.

Then, as usual, when I wasn’t thinking about what I was doing, distracted by the sunlight, my fingers just did what they needed to do. I’ve nailed it! It was a technique I’ve not seen, so I believe it is unique to me, as is my arm, a custom adaptation for my physical limitations. And it worked! Instead of using my forefinger to feed the yarn, I use my middle finger, with a finger tube over my knuckle to prevent the yarn from slipping up my finger. I also have a finger tube on the end of my pinky to prevent the yarn from slipping off that the end of that finger. It is so much more comfortable, and I have much better control over the yarn and the tension.

Crochet right hand My technique, it looks awkward doesn’t it! Part of it is the angle of the photograph, trying to move my hands around so that the camera in the computer could catch the way the yarn is placed around my fingers. For me, this way of holding the whole thing together is the most comfortable so far.

I knew that if I spent enough time experimenting and practicing, that my unconscious mind would work with my body to come up with a solution! I have a lot of respect for the intellect, the thinking mind, an area where I have real talent and disciplined skills, but I have just as much respect for the unconscious mind, body knowledge, and emotions. My breakthrough has come through coordinating all of these aspects of human existence to find a solution to a unique challenge.

Now, all I need to do it just stitch and stitch and stitch until I develop body memory, and get a feel for the right tension!

1:15 p.m.

Our thoughts are increasingly wandering to the Rideau Camp, and Iris the trailer. Soon we will be heading out to the camp to work on the projects there. I will open Iris up from her long winter’s nap in a few weeks, and begin preparing her for her first trip out to the Rideau Camp. We bought solar panels on sale last fall, a great deal we couldn’t pass up. We have all but the battery to hook up to the 12 volt lights in Iris. AGM batteries are much more reasonably priced at Costco. So, it was time to spring for a Costco membership.

Yesterday was a shopping day. We visited two thrift shops. The first was the Habitat ReStore, where I purchased four key tags for $1. Then we headed to Value Village, where we considered everything to be overpriced. There we found the Planet Earth series on DVD for $7.99, in perfect condition, and purchased it, our only purchase there. Next on the list was Costco, where our membership was renewed, and we spent a few hours browsing around gawking at the huge number of items on offer. And of course, we did put some items into our cart. Our neighbours call Costco the $500 store, with good reason. We did not spend that much, not anywhere near, but we did spend far more than we had planned.

Among the items purchased were two sets of flannelette sheets for our beds. We bought the beds new just after we moved here, and have been using old, very old, bedding since then. The old bedding wasn’t really working out well. Attila’s fitted sheet was not deep enough and kept popping off the mattress during the night. My flat sheet was a double size and I kept getting tangled up in it during the night. When we spied the sheet sets for $14.95 each we decided to splurge and buy new sheets for our almost new beds. We brought them home, washed and dried them, made up the beds with them, and after spending a night with them decided that the decision to buy them was a good one. So good in fact, that a return visit to Costco was in order today, to buy two more sets.

Other items purchased yesterday were insulated coffee mugs for Attila. Attila drinks a lot of coffee, constantly, all day long. We recently splurged and purchased him a great vacuum bottle, which keeps his coffee hot all day long, unlike his old one which did not. He also uses an insulated mug to carry around and drink his coffee. He has almost worn out his coffee mug, the lid is cracked and leaking. A package of two new coffee mugs were in yesterday’s shopping cart a Costco.

Today, when we returned for another two sets of bed sheets, other items went into the cart. Salad ingredients, milk, and small food items were chosen. As well, I was tempted by brooms. We have been using brooms from the Dollar Store, which work, but not all that well. The current broom at home has been in sad shape for some time now. So into the cart went a set of brooms.

We have consoled ourselves that this binge spending is just our way of thumbing our noses at old man winter, who returned last Friday for a brief visit. It is our form of retail therapy, buying things we need as a treat.

We haven’t purchased the battery yet though, the original reason for renewing our Costco membership, they won’t be in stock until April. We can wait, we are all shopped out at the moment!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-15°C
Date: 8:00 AM EST Sunday 5 March 2017
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 104.4 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -15.1°C
Dew point: -21.2°C
Humidity: 60% Wind:
NE 12 km/h
Wind Chill: -22
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“A smile is the shortest distance between two people.”
Victor Borge
1909 – 2000

A Shopping Trip

Tank and I were off this morning to one of the nearby cities. For Christmas we received a Costco membership. When Attila and I did our first foray to purchase items at Costco, I chose some cashews. They were coated with preservatives, which I did not expect. I hadn’t checked the label until we got home. They had to be returned. Today was the day the cashews went back to Costco.

Costco is the nemesis of the pocketbook. I bought practical items, like peanut butter and canned tuna. I also bought some outrageously price macaroni, made with rice flour and quinoa. I wanted to try it. I hope I like it!

Then Tank and I headed over to one of the discount stores run by a church. I had items to donate, so I rang the doorbell at the back of the building, and handed my donations to the friendly gentleman who answered the door. Then I walked around to the front of the building and entered the store area to shop. I purchased an item that Attila had requested for the little house in the city, a casserole dish with a lid. It was like new, and cost $5.00. I could not resist an oval tablecloth, because I was drawn to the design and colour of the fabric. And of course, scarves were on sale for $1.00, so I purchased an extra. It was plain and brown and felt warm to the touch. You cannot have too many warm scarves!

It was bitterly cold and windy today. Not a good day for a walk, as there is a lot of ice about. Costco solved that issue for me, after walking up and down every aisle at Costco I had my exercise for the day.

And so this quiet day draws to a close. I can hear the wind pushing against the windows, and whistling into unguarded cracks here and there around the house. Perhaps the mice enter where the wind whistles.

frost

Frost. When I drew open the drapes this morning, this is what the sunshine projected through the cafe curtains. It was cold last night, and the storm windows had collected dampness from the winter rain the day before.

tablecloth

This is the tablecloth. I loved the colour and the fabric, it may be sewn into something very different than a tablecloth! To purchase this much fabric new would be much more expensive than buying this large used and spotless tablecloth.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-12°C
Date: 9:00 AM EST Monday 5 January 2015
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.2 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -11.6°C
Dewpoint: -19.2°C
Humidity: 54%
Wind: NW 23 km/h
Wind Chill: -21

Quote

“It is pleasant to have been to a place the way a river went.”
Henry David Thoreau
1817 – 1862