A Wee Bit Of Melting Snow

Looking out the window this morning, at first light, I could see snow mixed with the spitting rain. I rose from my chair to get a better look out of the window. The white flakes melted on contact with earthly surfaces, no accumulation today. In the ash tree outside the window, a beautiful Blue Jay fluttered from branch to branch, found the few remaining seeds, then flew off to try his/her luck further down the street.

I have become accustomed to visiting Facebook each day to see what my friends are up to. There are friends on my friends list who really are friends! However, lately I’ve noticed a subtle state of uneasiness, which manifests as anxiety as I try to fall asleep at night. I am wondering if it is related to Facebook, and the “friends” who aren’t really friends, just interesting people on my friends list. So today is a day that I will not login to Facebook, and perhaps tomorrow and the next day too. It remains to be seen if Facebook is at the root of the uneasiness.

Facebook is not a particularly healthy place in which to spend time. It is full of emotionally homeless people. And here I failed, I had to write that on Facebook, the emotionally homeless concept, could not resist! And while I was there I noticed that someone had tagged me in a comment, and so visited the comment to see what was up, and got a link to a very useful archival technique tutorial for removing photographs from those old gluey photograph albums. Facebook has its positive aspects. I am back now though, logged out, closed the browser window, narrow escape.

I will continue to use the Internet to work on my genealogy, and was hard at it this morning by 6:30 a.m. I haven’t discovered any new-to-me data, but the process of research is like peeling an onion, layer by layer information is revealed. Every day spent with the records could bring to light something new and interesting.

It is an odd sensation, while perusing files on ancestry, to find my Grandpa and his personal information listed on a stranger’s family tree. They are not related, as far as I know. It is just weird to see strangers sifting through my family identity. I also collect information on people I am not directly related to, but who have been a part of the communities where my ancestors lived. I don’t post it on the internet though, nor do I hand over the connections, images and stories I have found to the multinational corporation that is ancestry. It is also interesting how misinformation is published and then shared with confidence in its legitimacy. That is one of the reasons I publish books with references, references that will verify the information shared.

After renovation projects there is always cleaning to be done, and clutter to clear. Furniture needs to be returned to its rightful place. This need was graphically demonstrated to me this morning, as I bumped my bad knee on an end table that was sitting in an unaccustomed spot, thankfully sustaining only a bleeding surface wound; so far the arthritis does not seem to be flaring up.

Attila has been working hard this fall, new windows in the dining area, a new window in the back bedroom, and a new kitchen floor. Renovating Mist Cottage has been a slow and laborious series of projects, which began in 2010. Attila has done all of the work himself, with the exception of putting on the new roof and gutting the basement, when Lares helped him, and the hiring of a contractor to dig and install the footing drainage around the basement. Because Mist Cottage is so small, each renovation project is intrusive and requires significant adjustments in the way we live, for the duration of the project. Because the renovations advance slowly, we are able to savour each improvement, enjoy each change to the fullest extent. Soon, I think, both the bathroom and the kitchen renovations will be completed to our satisfaction. Then I think Attila will hang up his tools until the spring, when he will tackle putting a new roof on the garage.

Kitchen floor DSCF1588 The new floor project as it stands today. The refrigerator and the range have been moved back to where they belong, we can cook again!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

2°C
Date: 6:00 AM EST Monday 13 November 2017
Condition: Light Rain and Snow
Pressure: 102.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 1.5°C
Dew point: -0.6°C
Humidity: 86%
Wind: ESE 12 km/h
Visibility: 16 km

Quote

“Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.”
James M. Barrie
1860 – 1937

Facebook!

I have a rule of three. It works for me. For instance, if I think someone is prone to being mean towards others, I don’t decide this is true when I observe the first instance. (Caveat: depends on the incident of course, they vary by degree.) If another incidence is observed, or affirmed from a highly trusted source, that is number two. I am aware at this point that there may be a pattern, the first incidence is not the result of a “bad day”, or miscommunication of some kind. When a third incidence is observed my perception of the person will include that knowledge that they are willing to do mean things to other people. With me, once I am aware of a propensity, the knowledge cannot be erased or denied. It can work in reverse of course, if three impressive good deeds are noted, under circumstances where there is no social reward for having performed them, then I become aware of this personal strength in a person.

The rule of three kicked in last night at 11:00 p.m. Attila and I had turned in for the night, but I was not falling asleep. As it turned out Attila had not fallen asleep either, so we decided to get up and putter for a while before trying again.

What was on my mind was a recent Facebook post of mine, where a “friend” had used the discussion as a platform to swear at and belittle other people. He had done this once before, and I had hoped it was a one-off. It was not. He didn’t just abuse one person, he abused three people in that thread. His last missive, which I read just before going to bed, was vitriolic, not threatening, but angry and derisive, and he used foul language to emphasize his points. I suspect his inappropriate comments were facilitated by alcohol. He was a friend of a dear departed loved one, who passed away decades ago, and the connection, at least for me, has been sentimental in nature.

I looked for a way to disallow the errant “friend” from making comments, while remaining “friends”, as I had often made pleasant comments on his timeline when he posted things I could “like”. My only option was to block him, and if I blocked him I would also have to unfriend him. So that is what I did. Then I went to the thread where he had been so unpleasant to people he didn’t agree with, and I deleted the entire thread. It felt awful to “unfriend” someone, it took much thought to make such a decision. And although it was hard, it felt completely right at the same time. When it was completed I felt relieved that I would no longer be exposed to the flailing angry words he utters so thoughtlessly.

Attila and I puttered for a while after that, and then we retired for the night, sleeping peacefully and soundly until the alarm woke us up in the morning.

My back has completely recovered now, from my ill advised foray into snow shovelling. My blood pressure is within normal range. I don’t get out to walk nearly as much as I think I should, but I do get out several times a week, which is an excellent performance for the dead of winter.

I am sitting in the living room writing this entry, in my comfortable chair, looking out of my living room windows. They are corner windows wrapping around the south and west walls at the corner of the house. The cafe curtains prevent me from seeing out at street level, but allow me a vista of the trees just outside, with the sky placed right behind them by heaven itself, to bring into silhouette the branches, now stark and bare and thin. It is a scene I do not tire of, the branches still or swaying, barren or in leaf, the sky blue bright, or grey dull, or both blue and grey and changeable. I love early morning light through these window, just before the first signs of dawn, or the evening light just after the sun has dipped below the horizon. My view is an ever changing work of art, and it keeps in my heart the feeling that I belong in the world, and it belongs to me in equal measure. It cradles my ancestors and my descendants, it is where time converges and expands simultaneously. These old and drafty windows bring me gifts each and every day.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

0°C
Date: 3:00 PM EST Wednesday 1 February 2017
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -0.3°C
Dew point: -4.8°C
Humidity: 72%
Wind: SSW 10 km/h
Wind Chill: -4
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“My pain may be the reason for somebody’s laugh. But my laugh must never be the reason for somebody’s pain.”
Charlie Chaplin

I lifted this from Aunt Beulah’s blog, very timely words.

The Best Kind Of Snow

Today I donated all my former work clothes to the women’s shelter in town, here at the little house in the city. I am sorry to see them go, they are very nice pants and tops, but I will never be that slim again, and someone else will be able to use them. While Tank and I were out gallivanting, I bought some elastic to repair the waistband on my black skirt, so that I have something to wear to the Christmas party.

This afternoon it began to snow. I am enjoying it. It looks pretty coming down, and it melts when it arrives. It is the best kind of snow there is!

Someone on Facebook told me I was being an ass “on their page”, when I politely expressed an opinion, that apparently differed from their own. First I knew about the differing opinion. I am open to the idea that someone might not agree with me, and have often run into people who only want to hear from those who agree with them, which I regard as legitimate in their personal space. How that is communicated is important I think, and name calling isn’t a respectful or positive way of expressing your desires. Name calling is similar to resorting to violence in a conflict. I avoid people who resort to violence, I also avoid people who resort to name calling. No feelings of loss involved, on either side of the interaction. Meh.

I cooked myself a big dinner, fish, broccoli, and oven fried potatoes ala Bex. Today was the first day that I have not indulged in a little junk food. Attila likes to shop at a discount store along our route, and I struggle each time we are there because of their rather large displays of junk food, inexpensive junk food, high quality inexpensive junk food. When we stopped there on our trip down I bought several chocolate treats, and Attila bought dip, and left a tub of it here for me. So each day I have been unable to resist nibbling. The last of it disappeared yesterday. Today it was healthy food, all day long. I feel better already!

Terra stopped by early in the day, and we had a bit of a heated exchange. Wow, that has not happened since she was a teenager. She left in frustration. We texted. Although I was upset, I knew we would work through it, because it needed to be dealt with. She and Lares arrived for an evening visit. Terra and I hugged, we laughed, it is fine. I knew it would be. The nice thing about love is that you can trust it.

Terra and Lares purchased a new king size bed for their upstairs bedroom. The staircase is narrow, old house narrow. She sent me pictures of them maneuvering it up the stairs with straps, what a job! They managed it though, mattresses unharmed!

Other than venturing out with Tank in the morning, it was a very quiet day. I played more old music albums today, on the old computer, it was nice to hear the soft sounds of the past in the background.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-1°C
Date: 1:10 PM EST Thursday 27 November 2014
Condition: Light Snowshower
Pressure: 101.8 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -1.1°C
Dewpoint: -6.7°C
Humidity: 66%
Wind: SSE 3 km/h
Wind Chill: -2

Quote

“If you think taking care of yourself is selfish, change your mind. If you don’t, you’re simply ducking your responsibilities.”
Ann Richards

Unkind

We have at last arrived at the last of the winter, only four weeks of full-blown winter weather to manage! The first of March blew in cold through the night, and then warmed enough to deliver blowing wind and heavy snowfall. Attila spent part of his day shovelling snow off the roofs of the woodshed and the utility shed. This is the first time he has shovelled those roofs, and the snow is deep and high on them. They are being shovelled now in anticipation of warmer weather to come, bringing with it rain, which will weigh heavily as it soaks the snow; the weight could collapse the buildings. So off comes the winter’s snow load today!

To celebrate the first of March Attila prepared a turkey dinner, with all the trimmings. The vegetables are delicious, the last local farm grown squash, green beans, potatoes, and sweet potato.

Considering that I have spent weeks and weeks and weeks living in one room, remaining relatively inactive within the confines of this small space, my health is excellent. Attila noted that I had put on weight over the winter, but happily it is only five pounds, which will melt away when spring releases me from these four walls. My daily standing is helpful, as are the routine breaks I take from the computer and my chair. I am pleased with myself, for hanging on so well, through one of the worst winters on record.

I have finished my apron! Attila has the dining room table back just in time for the turkey dinner!

This morning Attila slept in until 8:00 am, a rare and happy event. Mist however, felt differently about things. She sat in front of the masonry heater, shooting meaningful looks my way. She paced in front of the masonry heater. It wasn’t really cold in the room, ranging from 14C at the perimeter to 19C near the masonry heater. Still, Mist had her mind made up, an immediate firing was required. Thinking to build the fire myself, I opened the masonry heater to a five inch thick bed of hot coals. The ash dump channel is blocked, and the ashes are accumulating in the firebox! I fetched the ash bucket and loaded it full with red hot coals, then put it downstairs by the little wood stove, then thought better of that, put on warm clothing, and carried it outside to sit in a snowbank. By the time I had accomplished all this Attila was up and about.

We decided that it was not practical to try to free the blockage in the ash dump while the heater is fully charged and hot, that will need to be done later in the season, when we can switch to using the little wood stove downstairs to keep us warm, and the masonry heater has cooled a bit. We have a few more nights of cold temperatures, heading down below -25C, and we will need full firings until this cold snap has run its course. Nothing for it now, but to remove the ashes manually every day! More work generated to make this cold, cold winter even more intrusive and challenging than it already is!

Maggie and Alison, good times and good company in the early 1990s.
Alison maggie 1992 web

I posted this photo on Facebook, taken in the early 90s, of myself and a friend Alison, Steve-Paul’s Mom, who was a truly wonderful human being. When on my timeline, an unkind comment was made, which took me by surprise; I am hoping the person who wrote that was trying to be funny. Then the photo was posted on another wall, where an inconsiderate comment was made about me, again this took me by surprise, in fact, the comment may have had malicious intent. My dear friend Steve-Paul responded with a funny quip that was in turn interpreted and responded to in an unkind way. The quip was withdrawn, as I know it was not meant to be unkind, or to invite further unkindness; only the interpretation was unkind, borne of a long-standing, and in my opinion undeserved, grudge against me. It is interesting how some people allow the pettiness in their personalities get the better of their mouths and fingers, allowing pettiness to represent them in public places. Sigh.

What do I think about being publicly disrespected? Well, it is not an easy thing to deal with, sitting alone with my thoughts, for weeks at a time in the bush, I can tell you. But really, I am not sure it would be pleasanter if I had to spend any of my time with the pettiness barons themselves. I am reminded of a passage I learned as a child, and it must have sunk into my unconscious, and influenced me ever since, as I considered it wise at the time: “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us…” And that is exactly what I will do, forgive the trespass against me, and remember to respect the individual’s weaknesses in future.

As it is, today is sunny and milder, there is a warm fire burning brightly in the hearth, yesterday’s five inches of snow has been shovelled off the cars and driveway, and Attila is here to spend a pleasant day with me. Life is good.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-19°C
Date: 7:00 AM EST Sunday 2 March 2014
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.6 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -18.6°C
Dewpoint: -20.7°C
Humidity: 84%
Wind: NNW 9 km/h
Wind Chill: -25

Quote

“Be master of your petty annoyances and conserve your energies for the big, worthwhile things. It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out – it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.”
Robert Service
1874 – 1958

Small Pleasures

Mist the Kitty is getting old. She is deaf, possibly blind in one eye, and limps a bit when she first begins to move around after her naps. She still has frequent “crazy cat” sessions, where she charges around the house and up and down the stairs, chasing phantom mice and bats.

She loves our company, sitting between us of an evening, just chillin’. She has become accustomed to having me around the house, since I haven’t been working at all since November. So accustomed is she to my company, that when I returned from my trip to town to renew my health card, she was waiting by the door. I received a scathing verbal scolding, for about five minutes after my return. After assuring herself that I understood my transgression, she curled up on the couch and went to sleep. Humans are hard work.

Her pleasures are few. Sleeping and eating occupy most of her time. She enjoys her milk every morning. She is an avid drinker of water. I must take care not to set my mug of drinking water on a low table, or on the floor. She has a special radar for such an occasion, within minutes she will have snuck up on my mug, and I will suddenly hear her lapping up my water, head in the mug. She loves being brushed, and this has become Attila’s ritual with her, several times a day she will jump into his lap for a good brushing. She loves the winter firings in the masonry heater, waiting in front of the heater every morning, staring at Attila as she sits erect and regal, emanating expectation. She loves to sit at the window and watch the birds in the trees, which is not possible in the winter when the blinds are closed against the cold. She loves it when I whistle softly and blow gently by her ears; I think she can hear a little of the high pitched sound, and likes the head to head attention. Mist is a very happy cat!

A lot of posts on Facebook are expressed through a graphic with a quote printed onto it. I am a big fan of quotes, I include one with every journal entry; sometimes tied into my prose, other times as a “what do you make of it” exercise. But I am growing tired, and almost offended, by the Graphic/Quote avalanche on Facebook. Quotes are, of themselves, without context. They are usually very general and can be adopted by many philosophical positions. The way they are bandied about on Facebook renders them almost meaningless as a form of cogent communication. I have come to think of Graphic/Quote offerings as representing a superficial agreement, like politeness, where there is no depth of understanding, no meeting of minds; only an agreed upon facade. I regard the Graphic/Quote as a form of intellectual herding. Facebook seems a classic case of “the medium is the message” [Marshall McLuhan].

The posts on Facebook that entail the author’s own thoughts, feelings, descriptions, and links to information that interest them, are a treat. Those friends are on my close friends list, usually the only posts I read these days. I now ignore “friends” who ignore me, nothing personal, just following the do unto others adage. You can assume you are on my reading list, if your reading this.

Snowing still, since last night. Shovel, shovel, toil and trouble.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-3°C
Date: 9:36 AM EST Friday 17 January 2014
Condition: Light Snow
(HA! I see 4 inches have fallen since we went to bed last night!)
Pressure: 100.7 kPa
Visibility: 5 km
Temperature: -3.3°C
Dewpoint: -4.1°C
Humidity: 94%
Wind: SE 15 km/h
Wind Chill: -9

Quote

“Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.”
Will Durant
1885 – 1981