Saturday, August 1, 2015, 7:45 a.m.

What a lovely morning! The sun is just peeking over the treetops, the breeze is cool and delicious. At times like this I am very happy to be sitting in the country house.

The one ring on the telephone the other day was my sister. She called but something came up for her before I answered, so she hung up. She and my Mom are leaving for a holiday in Greece in a few weeks. They travel well together, as they are very much alike in many ways, and both enjoy good health. Bon voyage!

Here at the country house, with only the breezes, the wildlife, and the trees for company, I have been busy working on my genealogy book. The last, I hope, task in preparing to publish is the creation and insertion of charts. I had created quite a few when I discovered a branch of the family that had been neglected. After going back to the primary data sources, updating my data, and finding, after all these years, the burial place of my GGGG Grandfather, the charts all needed editing. So I began again. Thirty charts are now waiting to be inserted, and more than that still need to be created. I am contemplating the inclusion of a map, but quite frankly the digital world has nothing to offer me that wouldn’t take weeks to prepare. It will be more pragmatic to find a digital line map, add coloured dots with Photoshop, and a text box legend, than to deal with the complexities of mapping software. I anticipate publishing the book sometime in September.

The house needs a bit of tidying, it always does when we kick back to cook our meals, sleep in the bed, take showers. Our food is cooked from scratch, from raw ingredients, the state of the kitchen at meal time reflects that sort of activity. Human activity “messes” up the house. Potential buyers apparently are put off by signs of that sort of “mess”. We are considering, if the house does not sell this year, buying a trailer to relax in next summer, in the driveway here, so that we aren’t constantly erasing all signs of our own life. We can just close the curtains and lock the door when people are touring through our property.

Today I feel a weariness with the world. I listen to the trees. They gently, ever so gently, tell me that there isn’t any substance to the fuss and bother, the striving and vying, the outrage and the complacency. The troubling details that vibrate the social drum today will be forgotten when I am gone, and will essentially stay the same after I am gone. The future is only different from today in that there will be other people worrying this poor planet, people other than the ones that are alive right now. There will be other people who walk unseeing and unknowing past my mouldering bones, who will try to make the world a better place, and their every success, no matter how small, is a victory for our uneasy species. They have always existed, these hewers of love and tolerance, and I believe that is why our species is still in existence.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 12:00 PM EDT Saturday 1 August 2015
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.9 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 23.2°C
Dewpoint: 15.9°C
Humidity: 63%
Wind: SW 17 km/h
Humidex: 28


“Age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the evening twilight fades away
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.”
Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 – 1882)

Honorable Me

I am now recovering nicely from my fall almost a month ago. The hematoma is still there, still painful to the touch, but it is smaller and much less intrusive. Pain from my tailbone has been with me for decades, my body already has ways of coping with that, so the fracture isn’t as intrusive as it might otherwise be. I am also nicely recovering from a nasty summer cold, which saw me feverish and miserable for two days, but only two days, which was a blessing. I probably picked that up in the emergency ward at the hospital, which is not an ideal place for non-life threatening health issues. Where we live, there are no other options.

The weather has been wonderful, until today, which has brought with it a slow steady rain.

The house has had no recent viewers, we have accepted that it will not likely sell this summer. So we ordered firewood, a big financial investment, enough to take us through the winter, which Attila has been busy stacking in the woodshed. It looks like we will be spending much of next winter apart, something that neither of us is happy about.

I have been working feverishly on my genealogy book, and have taken up a new temporary volunteer position as a member of working group studying health care outcomes for older people. Most of the volunteer work I do is self-generated, anonymous, and low-profile, so this is a bit of a departure for me.

I am looking forward to getting back to my physiotherapist recommended exercises, which have fallen by the wayside as I recover from my fall. I have also given up my daily walk, as I am back at the country house, where walking is distasteful rather than a source of pleasure. I find that to sustain a health routine, it must be something I do not come to loath, as I have walking at the country house. At the little house in the city I look forward to walking, every day, and it is sometimes the highlight of my day. What a contrast: location, location, location!

As I continue to follow my natural way of eating, my weight continues to fall towards my own “normal”. This is quite pleasing. I enjoy eating things I shouldn’t, and I still do that from time to time, but I love the control aspects of eating to live. Mostly, I just avoid big helpings, empty calories, and drink lots of water, not much of a formula, but it works for me.

The unfortunate truth that our “puddle problem” was indeed Mist generated has led us to keep her confined to the mud room, where we clean up after her daily. She still uses the kitty litter most of the time, but will unpredictably resort to using the floor, or furniture, occasionally. Occasionally is too much for us. The objectionable smell has all but disappeared in the rest of the house, thank goodness.

Mist is also becoming a bit more difficult to care for in other ways. Yesterday I heard a loud crash, and went downstairs to investigate. She had been on the windowsill, looking out the window, and decided to break through the window screen to gain entrance to the screened in porch. Having accomplished that goal, by demolishing the window screen, she was actively seeking a way to break through the screens in the screened in porch, to escape into the yard. I caught her before she made her great escape, which likely would have cost her her life, as the wildlife here is ever present, and always looking for its next meal. When I opened the door to the screened in porch she stared at me, then sauntered slowly past me into the mud room for a bite to eat. “No problem here,” she seemed to say.

Now we must keep the window closed to keep her safe, and have placed an air cleaning unit in the mud room to keep the air cleaned and the smell under control, at least to some degree. Attila will have to make time to repair the screen for future house viewings.

All in all things seem pretty darn good right now. I am loving this summer weather, with a few moderately hot days, around 30C, cooling night temperatures, occasional rain, and lots of sunny days.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 2:41 PM EDT Friday 17 July 2015
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Visibility: 10 km
Temperature: 15.3°C
Dewpoint: 14.7°C
Humidity: 96%
Wind: SE 18 gust 32 km/h


“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”
George Bernard Shaw
1856 – 1950

[Well! I am feeling pretty damn honorable just now!]

The Weekend

Friday, February 27, 2015

Last night may have been our coldest night of the winter here at the little house in the city! This morning, early, around 6:00 a.m., around the time the temperature usually dips to its lowest point, the house gave one loud, resounding “crack”! This happens frequently at the country house, as the temperature difference between the arctic outdoors and the warm indoors causes sudden, violent contraction in the frame of the house. At the little house in the city, this was the first time I had heard that sound! Cold!

The sun came out strong and bright this morning, but I did not head out there until it managed to warm the world a bit!

My project for today is motivated by the warming temperatures. The thermometer mounted on the exterior wall of our back porch, in the sun, read -4C this afternoon. That is quite a jump, from -29c, to -4C! The heat pump is configured to heat the house when the temperature rises above -7C. It is installed along the north wall of the house, where the sun does not shine and today’s temperature did not rise above -7C. That was today. Warmer weather is on the way though, if the weather people are even close to reality in their predictions. It was time to remove the winter snow load from the heat pump.

Before removing the snow from heat pump, I had to reach it. Not an easy task. First I had to shovel through the high snow bank at the side of the driveway, to make an opening. Then the path to the front door was shovelled out, the snow below the crust was like dry sand, slippery, heavy dry sand. Clearing the path to the front porch was a big job. Then the porch itself needed to be shovelled off, which took a bit more time. Then it was time for a short break, standing looking at the blue sky, listening to a bird song, which was a real treat.

Back to work again. Using a dustpan to remove the light top layer of snow, about a foot and half deep, I scooped my way towards the north end of the house. When I stepped onto the light crust of snow that I had just exposed, my foot went into it to the top of my boot. Scooping and stepping, I slowly crossed in front of the house and down the north wall of the house to the heat pump. Again using the dustpan, the snow was removed from the top of the heat pump, and deep snow cleared well away from the base. Having accomplished this, I headed back to towards the driveway to fetch the snow shovel.

It was a hard slog, shovelling out that sand like snow from the path I have created to the heat pump. I did it though! Now it will be possible to check on the heat pump when the temperature rises above -7C.

The rest of my day consisted of working away at my genealogy book. I ran into a few more problems with the images, it took several hours to remedy that problem. The other time consuming sidetrack I followed, was doing a bit of additional research on individuals for whom no conclusive records have been found. These people are GGG Granduncles and GGG Grandaunts, for whom I have birth records from Scotland. Other researchers studying my ancestors, and theirs, have attributed identities to these individuals based on speculation about their later lives. Not a good idea. They may be correct, but then again, they may not be correct in claiming these familial connections. I decided to write about the available evidence, and suggest what further research needed to be done in order to confirm connections, or perhaps discover connections. Very time consuming, but fun.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

March! This is the last month of winter! In four short weeks, which will seem long, a snow storm will be considered an outlier, an anomaly, something that will discourage those waiting for spring, but will also disappear quickly. March is my least favourite month of the year! Foolishly, Attila and I were married in the month of March, thinking that adding something to celebrate to this long difficult month would brighten it up. So far, that ambition has proven false. Usually there is some sort of ice storm, or blizzard, going on around our anniversary, so that we are hunkered down at home, trying to keep the house warm, chopping wood, and sometimes enduring a power failure. Still, we live in hope! When/if we finally move to the little house in the city, it could be that March will not be quite as harsh. I will be staying at the little house in the city for the month of March this year, so it will be interesting to watch how spring progresses, or does not progress, over the next few weeks. We will be celebrating our anniversary over FaceTime, but anticipate a modest celebration during Attila’s overnight March visit, when gets his winter “once a month” Saturday off work.

I am sitting in the kitchen and feeling relieved. I had procrastinated on pouring hot water into the heat pump, figuring that it was going to be quite cold during the night and that I would end up with more ice than I started with. Cool air is blowing over my feet as I sit here, which is what happens when the heat pump is circulating air as it warms the outdoor coil to melt any ice that may be on it. It seems to me it is working! The house is once again being heated by the heat pump.

A busy week awaits, physiotherapy, laundry at the laundromat, yoga, a trip to the pharmacy to fill a prescription… sounds dull, but in my world this is a whirlwind of activity! If I were at the country house there would be no list at all, I would be sitting in the bush dragging through the last weeks of winter, in isolation. The contrast in lifestyle between our two properties is shocking in the experience of it, although it doesn’t really sound like such a big deal, it is.

Worldly Distractions


Little House in the City

Date: 5:00 AM EST Friday 27 February 2015
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 102.8 kPa
Tendency: rising
Temperature: -23.9°C
Dewpoint: -27.2°C
Humidity: 74%
Wind: NNW 15 km/h
Wind Chill: -39

Country House

Date: 6:00 AM EST Friday 27 February 2015
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.9 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -31.9°C
Dewpoint: -35.2°C
Humidity: 73%
Wind: SSE 4 km/h
Wind Chill: -37

Little House in the City
Date: 6:00 AM EST Saturday 28 February 2015
Condition: Mainly Clear
Pressure: 104.1 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -22.0°C
Dewpoint: -24.2°C
Humidity: 83%
Wind: E 3 km/h
Wind Chill: -26

Country House
Date: 7:00 AM EST Saturday 28 February 2015
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 104.0 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -28.1°C
Dewpoint: -30.9°C
Humidity: 77%
Wind: SE 4 km/h
Wind Chill: -32

Little House in the City
Date: 11:13 AM EST Sunday 1 March 2015
Condition: Light Snowshower
Pressure: 103.0 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -7.3°C
Dewpoint: -9.4°C
Humidity: 85%
Wind: S 19 km/h
Wind Chill: -14

Country House
Date: 12:00 PM EST Sunday 1 March 2015
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 102.7 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -5.9°C
Dewpoint: -13.4°C
Humidity: 56%
Wind: WSW 13 km/h
Wind Chill: -11


“I still need more healthy rest in order to work at my best. My health is the main capital I have and I want to administer it intelligently.”
Ernest Hemingway
1899 – 1961