Fly Strip

On the weekend a fly strip was hung on the back porch. The hope was that it would immobilize the wasps who bumble into the area, and might deliver strings that are truly unpleasant. So far it has caught about a half a dozen mosquitoes, no complaints there, and two house flies. Another plan must be devised for the wasps.

It has been an uneventful day, quiet and peaceful. The crochet blanket gained a few rows, some bills were paid, administrative type emails were sent, software was updated, floors were swept, meals were consumed, sunshine was soaked in…

Worldly Distractions

Weather

18°C
Date: 8:00 PM EDT Wednesday 16 May 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 18.1°C
Dew point: 9.6°C
Humidity: 57%
Wind: WSW 8 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Prosperity is only an instrument to be used, not a deity to be worshipped.”
Calvin Coolidge
1872 – 1933

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

Who Knows

How different this new life is, compared to what I thought it would be at this point in my life, compared to what it was last spring. I thought I was in a relatively happy, even if financially restricted, retirement, living in a place I find pleasant, living with someone who I loved and who loved me. Although our circumstances were decidedly modest, I felt the important things in life were covered. Was it a dream? It was a nice dream, if it was a dream. Maybe it was real though, real with an unexpected expiration date. Of course, everything alive has an expiration date. This particular one was not the one written on the package, it came much earlier.

The holding pattern with Attila is, well, it is holding. For the most part the time passes pleasantly. The future is unknown, uncertain, unpredictable. The grieving process is ongoing, which is only natural, but I now have short periods of significant respite from the pain. The one true thing is still the one true thing, I am living with a man who does not want to be in a married relationship with me. There is no question that we care for one another. Other truths have not emerged. In time they probably will, it is a matter of letting things take their natural course. Patience is a necessity. This situation uses up most of my stores of patience.

The weekend was cold! It is cold out there this morning too. I found no place I wanted to go alone this past weekend. Attila says he is too worn out from the daily grind of his job to want to go out, except on very rare occasions, except to shop for food at bargain prices. He loves to eat, he loves to shop for the food he eats. I usually do this with him, as it is an opportunity to walk around in the store for half an hour or more, exercise, and limited social contact. Since I don’t eat much, and can’t eat most of the food in the stores, it isn’t an activity that inspires any joy. Other activities will have to be ones I attend by myself. I am working on that.

I filled the weekend with my projects, and with the baking of bread and muffins. On Saturday night Attila and I made a homemade pizza, and watched a movie, which is always a treat. Less and less often do we eat the same foods, at the same time. Surprisingly, this has led to a significant reduction in domestic tension. My dietary restrictions are difficult for me to bear with good grace, but I have no choice. Attila has a choice, and he has made it.

The world is full of hints of spring! Every day I find all kinds of bugs in the house. Asian beetles, house flies, wasps, Western Conifer Seed Bugs, they enter around the living room window, and other locations, and I find them all over the house. I don’t believe in escorting insects to the out of doors, if they have entered my home, they are unwelcome invaders, and they are quickly dispatched and disposed of. This is a spring ritual here at Mist Cottage. At the country house it was a completely different array of insects that made spring weather interesting.

The snow is gone, although a few small patches remain in shaded areas of the remaining bush behind the house. The imminent destruction of those trees is nigh, by next March there will be a hive of rental units where there were once tall and majestic trees.

My second crochet blanket is coming along slowly. I have been enjoying working a few rows on it, during the day. The rhythm of the hook and yarn is comforting, grounding, and totally within my control. It feels good to have control over something.

The book Kristin Lavransdatter is another source of enjoyment. I like to read books slowly, coming back to them over and over again, sitting down to have a cup of tea with them. Almost like having a chat with a friend. Although, admittedly, they aren’t good listeners.

At my last Tai Chi class, it was suggested to me that Tai Chi “wasn’t for me”.

The beginners lesson had gone well for me, as far as I was concerned. There was a move taught that involved the turning of the foot, in a way that looked like it would hurt my knee. I didn’t do that move, but stopped and resumed when the action returned to the doable. That odd turn of the foot can be accommodated eventually, but the move will need to be carefully orchestrated to avoid injury. I have the first five moves comfortably learned. The beginners class has moved way beyond those first five moves, and I have not progressed with the class. This doesn’t worry me in the slightest. I follow along with whatever is being taught in the beginners class, knowing that any practise is good, even if I don’t remember any of what has been taught. What I do has no effect on anyone else, the classes proceed at the prescribed pace, the other people in the class proceed at the prescribed pace, I proceed at my pace.

Apparently the issue is when the whole group, including the beginners, gathers to do the routine, when it becomes glaringly obvious I have not learned more than five moves. I imitate, sometimes successfully, what I see around me, and when I cannot, or the moves seem beyond my knee, I just stop and watch until something familiar comes up, then I start again. This works well for me.

During the last Tai Chi lesson I attended, during the whole group session, I became tired, after an hour and half on my feet, doing things that I found challenging, and decided to wait it out in the wings. I moved to the side of the gym and stood quietly and contentedly watching the others. One woman looked over at me, she seemed concerned, she seemed upset, I smiled and nodded that I was OK. The leader came across the gym to talk with me, I explained that I was a slow learner, and watching was helpful; she seemed content with that, made her way back across the gym, and carried on with the group. However, another older woman, so far it has been older women who target me, came over to give “advice” at the end of the session. She suggested to me that Tai Chi was not for me.

I was enjoying the whole thing until that point. But really, what is it with these Tai Chi gals of a certain age, why are their knickers getting into such a twist over a little bit of unobtrusive variance. I go to Tai Chi to be active, relax, and learn. It is not an olympic sport, and it is advertised as offering health benefits. They sure aren’t meeting that goal in the realm of mental health!!! It is not something I feel I have to pick up at all costs, or on a particular schedule. It certainly isn’t very relaxing, feeling all this pressure to learn in a certain way, and perform to certain standards on schedule. It is only a few individuals applying all the pressure, but they seem relentless in their quest. It only takes one rotten apple, as they say.

The pressure to conform seems ever present in “clubs”. There are types of conformity that bring pleasure, psychic comfort, safety, and a whole variety of other positive social benefits. There are also types of conformity that hobble, reduce, impede, and generally interfere with the natural flow of human social interactions. My Tai Chi class embodies both, an interesting mix. Perhaps over time, the busy little Tai Chi “social engineers” who plague me will cease to register with me, even as an annoyance.

Well, my first forays into the wide world have not been unmitigated successes. I am batting 0. What I have gained through these explorations is an increased confidence in getting out there on my own. I am also getting used to being out of my comfort zone. Back to the drawing board, as they say. The spring should bring a whole new array of opportunities, so who knows what lies ahead.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Sunny
-12°C
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Monday 19 March 2018
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 102.1 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -9.2°C
Dew point: -20.6°C
Humidity: 39%
Wind: N 16 km/h
Wind Chill: -18
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“On October 20, 1949 the Hollywood columnist Erskine Johnson published the tale. This is the earliest instance located by QI:

Groucho Marx’s letter of resignation to the Friars’ Club: “I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as one of its members.”

On October 13, 1951 the only son of Groucho, Arthur Marx, published a version of the anecdote in Collier’s Magazine. This is the earliest variant by a close family member with intimate knowledge of Groucho. Over the years Arthur Marx recounted different narratives of this episode, and some will be presented further below. In 1951 he said that Groucho joined the Friars Club at the insistence of friends, but he did not participate. So Groucho sent in a letter of resignation:

In the next mail, he received a letter from the club’s president, wanting to know why he had resigned. My father promptly wrote back, “Because I don’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member!”…
Source: https://quoteinvestigator.com/2011/04/18/groucho-resigns/

My Favourite Martian

It was a very busy week! The last of my “run about” activities was accomplished today, an appointment at the bank. Next week will be very busy as well, more banking to take care of, the insulation installation will take place, and I’ll be attending Tai Chi class and meditation classes as well.

While using the elliptical machine, it works well to watch videos on the computer. The Amazon Prime account comes with access to limited programming, and one of the programs currently available are reruns of My Favorite Martian (1964). I have begun to watch an episode each time I spend time on the machine. I enjoy this sitcom, even though it is packed with isms that were acceptable at the time that it was produced. The Martian perspective on life on earth just made so much sense!

In episode three, Tim is making Uncle Martin a cup of tea. The kettle on his range is exactly the same as the one here at Mist Cottage. A good design that has lasted over 50 years!

The weather was lovely today, billowing clouds floating across the sky, lovely sunshine, and melting snow. I don’t really know where the day went. It passed pleasantly enough as I worked on the web site design, and enjoyed a few hours crocheting my afghan/blanket. I think I napped with that warm blanket in my lap, but am not entirely sure about that!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-4°C
Date: 9:00 PM EST Friday 16 February 2018
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.2 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -4.3°C
Dew point: -13.0°C
Humidity: 51%
Wind: W 10 km/h
Wind Chill: -9
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“The bird of paradise alights only upon the hand that does not grasp.”
John Berry

Keeping Busy

The weekend passed quietly. The weather was unpleasant, snow, freezing rain, gray skies. Time passed peacefully. Attila spent his time cooking foods for himself, foods he loves, foods I will not and cannot eat. He also rearranged the furniture, so that when the fellow, who is coming to do the final measurements for the new windows, can gain easy access. Any talking that Attila and I do is respectful, and, at last, honest. We seem to be moving from rigid civility, to a more relaxed and detached form of communication. There is a calm here, the shattered pieces of my life have settled into temporary positions, they begin to gather a bit of dust, to look familiar… temporarily familiar.

I continue to practise my Tai Chi, and have almost committed the first three moves to memory. The class has covered six moves, so I am moving much more slowly than the class, but I will carry on with what I have learned, and fudge through the rest. This week another three moves will be covered, making nine altogether. Eventually, perhaps in years, I will catch up with a beginner’s class, and maybe even master all 108 moves. I feel pretty chucked about learning the first three!

I baked my usual batch of muffins. Muffins usually comprise at least one of my meals or a snack each day. They are low-sodium, low-cholesterol, lactose free, and low-sugar… and include a vegetable or fruit, flax seed, oat bran, coconut, raisins, oatmeal, an egg, olive or avocado oil, nuts, sunflower seeds, and anything else healthy that comes to hand.

On Saturday I also cooked 4 ½ litres of vegetable soup. I did add some sodium to the soup, about a quarter teaspoon in the recipe, which adds to the taste, but still loads me with very little sodium for a single bowl of soup.

Yesterday I made another loaf of whole wheat bread. This time I followed the recipe given in the bread machine manual for sandwich bread, but instead of 5 ½ cups of bread flour, I substituted 3 cups of whole wheat flour, 2 ½ cups fo bread flour, and 1 tablespoon of gluten flour. The loaf was almost perfect! The recipe called for a whole teaspoon of salt, which I used, so the bread has a bit more sodium than I would have liked. But since it is a 3 lb. loaf of bread, one slice still does not add a lot of sodium to my diet.

I also worked quite a few hours editing the web site that I have been working on. It is nearing completion, but there are still tweaks needed before I configure the servers so that the domain name takes people to the new site. When it is all working as it should I will delete the old site.

I have been spending time with my books. I am revisiting some older books, old friends, and continuing to read several new acquisitions, such as Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset. It was also great fun to reread some of the children’s books in my collection, stories I read to my kids, and some that I read to my Grandbabies.

The crochet blanket project is lovely to have at the ready beside my easy chair. I reach for it every day, working a few rows until my arms tire, then folding it neatly and placing it on my little side table, ready for another little visit tomorrow.

This is the part of the winter where I find it difficult to keep physically active. Roads and walkways are covered with snow and ice. Walkways are treacherous, because the snow and ice are in ruts, some hidden, which can turn an ankle, twist a knee, unexpectedly, and cause months of painful recovery. I have not been using the elliptical machine as much as I should do, but I did spend 25 minutes with it yesterday.

As I write, the sun is beginning to peek out from time to time, from behind the clouds. The house is peaceful, making its sounds, a creak here and there, the ticking clock, the hum of the refrigerator, and the intermittent and persistent sound of distant vehicles, that carry unknown people to unknown destination. When I look out the window, there is one tree left in my line of vision, it is an ash tree in the yard next door. Its bare branches sway slightly in the winter breeze, and occasionally distant birds fly across the sky, behind the silhouetted branches.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-3°C
Date: 10:10 AM EST Monday 12 February 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 103.1 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -2.8°C
Dew point: -7.4°C
Humidity: 71%
Wind: WNW 19 km/h
Wind Chill: -9
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“All things are difficult before they are easy.”
Dr. Thomas Fuller
1654 – 1734