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/

Homonyms

I have always regarded myself as slightly dyslexic. Tai Chi has me thinking that my dyslexia might be more severe than I thought it was!

I have a Tai Chi instruction video I am trying to follow. The demonstrator is facing the camera. I am facing the demonstrator. We are mirror images, and I find myself confused as to what hand or leg should be doing what, when. It looks easy, yes it does, but coordinating all this left or right from the visual is truly distressing. I will keep at it though, it might become easier with practise.

It will be a very, very long time before Tai Chi is something that I will find relaxing!

Things are pretty quiet here at Mist Cottage. There isn’t a lot of talking going on any more, not much left to say now, the state of things is becoming clearer as time passes, and there is no immediate need for drastic changes to take place. The holding pattern is doing its thing, holding. Knowing what is happening makes life a lot easier, even if I don’t like what is happening. Sleep is getting easier to come by most nights, five hours, sometimes a bit more, is now normal. I am eating a healthy diet, getting out a few times a week, which is still high stress but necessary. The stress related to the activities should slowly subside, as the times, places, and people seem more familiar. Life is carrying on, and my singular little boat is staying afloat. I carry my broken heart close, with great tenderness.

One of the interesting things that has occurred since last November, and Attila’s big announcement, is that I now have very large, dark, bags under my eyes. This is completely new, and even though I am able to sleep more, the bags persist, and are probably permanent. Most of the changes as I have aged have been gradual, this was not gradual at all, and I am finding it a bit shocking. The solution… don’t look in the mirror!

I received news about the ultrasound, all is as expected, the cyst on my kidney is still there, unchanged, and there was no information about the gallstones, so I am assuming they are still there, and still the same size, with no change. I will be asking about the gallstones though, the next time I need to go in to the walk-in clinic, just to make sure my assumption is correct. I am interested in getting the new Shingles vaccination, something to inquire about at the walk-in clinic. My CT scan is coming up in February, which I hope will show nothing unusual, and if that is the case, it is just a matter of carrying on with my healthy lifestyle and hoping for the best as time takes its toll over the years to come.

Today it is snowing to beat the band. The snow plow came through early this morning, but there wasn’t all that much snow thrown across the end of the driveway, so shovelling shouldn’t take too long. The temperature is hovering around 0C, and the heat pump is busy heating the house, leaving the newly repaired oil furnace to rest for a day or so. The heat pump circulates room temperature air, as opposed to the heated air that the oil furnace circulates. The room temperature air feels cool, as it creates a slight wind chill, which means that I feel a little bit chilly sometimes, which means I need to wear heavier clothing than I do when the oil furnace is doing all the work.

I am concerned about myself, while writing my last three posts I’ve made no spelling errors. I calm myself, by noting that homonyms still plague me!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

0°C
Date: 1:00 PM EST Sunday 4 February 2018
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 100.9 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 0.1°C
Dew point: -0.9°C
Humidity: 93%
Wind: S 40 gust 53 km/h
Visibility: 2 km

Quote

“It takes too much energy to be against something unless it’s really important.”
Madeleine L’Engle
1918 – 2007

A Good List

It has been four weeks today, since Attila announced the end of our marriage, the emotional aspect of our marriage, but not the legal, not yet, that is in a holding pattern.

What a ride.

So far a fairly workable holding pattern has been established, where we live separate lives, interacting with increasingly few of our old routines. Civility and consideration prevail. This has its pros and cons. There is no good choice as to how this marriage deconstructs, so I am making a series of small controlled decisions, choosing among the hard and sad choices as they come up. They are coming up a lot, life is hard.

I cycle through all the stages of grief, to varying degrees, in various orders, depending on the particular circumstance of a given day.

I am getting through this.

Next week I have two of my own activities planned, and one outing with Attila planned. I am an outsider everywhere, in this place of small towns and tiny cities, and it takes a long time for an outsider to be inside anything, so patience and fortitude are required. Eventually something will take root, somewhere, probably in an unexpected circumstance. I have to keep going so that I run into that unexpected circumstance.

So that is the state of my life at present.

I had some kind of bug, and my gastrointestinal system was in rebellion. It was an uncomfortable night, but I did manage to get about five hours sleep, so really it wasn’t so bad. I am feeling better this morning.

Terra stopped by with Sunny and Sky for a short but delightful visit yesterday evening. Her pregnancy appears to be going well, the Grandbaby is due in July. Luna called this morning for a chat while en route to Elf’s diving lessons, Tink’s gymnastics lessons, all three, Imp, Elf, and Tink, in the car chatting up a storm on speaker phone. All six Grandbabies are well and happy.

Today I washed and dried a set of sheets, after having changed out the bedding. I’ve read a bit, crocheted a bit, puttered a bit around the house. Attila and I went grocery shopping.

This afternoon I will work on genealogy, my web site update, read for a bit, and write in my paper journal. This evening Attila and I will watch a movie over dinner. Attila has begun cooking a weekly Saturday feast for himself, foods I cannot and/or would not eat, full of sodium and sugar and cholesterol, although he continues to avoid my allergen. I treat myself to a slice of pizza, and plan the whole day’s menu around it, reducing sodium, sugar and cholesterol, so that I can eat my slice without concern for having overdone things.

The vacant house next door has sold. We saw two vehicles in the driveway last night, and observed a millennial couple arrive back in one of the vehicles this morning, Tim Hortons paper coffee cups in hand. Attila says that where he works many people show up in the morning with two paper cups of Tim Hortons coffee, around $4 worth, that is $20 a week for morning coffee, and about $1000 a year. The last millennial couple who lived next door and who lost the house to the bank, there have been two such couples since we bought Mist Cottage, didn’t make their mortgage payments, but they did find the funds for Tim Hortons coffee, daily. Their priorities are much different than mine. I find it odd what some people regard as a necessity of life. Coffee above shelter… something is wrong there.

What cheerful note can I end my visit here with? I am healthy. I have food, and shelter. I am loved. I am making fewer spelling mistakes as I write these entries. A good list!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

3°C
Date: 11:00 AM EST Saturday 27 January 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 3.4°C
Dew point: -1.6°C
Humidity: 70%
Wind: SSW 20 gust 29 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“When one can hear people moving, one does not so much mind, about one’s fears.”
Ann Radcliffe
1764 – 1823

Lists

Sleep is beginning to return, as the holding pattern between Attila and myself settles into something recognizable, something to be trusted, at least temporarily. In reality, temporary is the state of any present reality, time takes care of that.

I find I am able to spend increasing periods of time with my projects, and I am grateful that they exist. Crocheting the blanket, working on my genealogy research and book, updating the web site, reading, and writing, lots and lots of writing. Every day I spend a little time with my email account, and a little bit of time on Facebook, where my few friends share interesting tidbits that interest them, and where I meet with friends to share bits of personal news and thoughts. My favourite place in the world does not exist in corporeal reality, it is here, at Page By Page, where I have met, and am privileged to interact with, such wonderful people.

This morning the house is very quiet, it is 6:50 a.m., predawn. Through the window I can just see the silhouette of tree branches emerging from the darkness. It is only a matter of minutes before the western sky will glow as the sun approaches the horizon. Every sound in the house speaks of calmness, the roar of the furnace and its whirring fan, the tick of the clock, random creaks as the house complains about its unknowable discomforts.

This morning I have decided to try lists as a grounding device. I will list the small tasks I want to accomplish today, and check them off as they are completed. Although it seems a small thing, I find that lists assist me in plotting a course through an empty day, to set priorities, and offer a small reward of satisfaction as each item is checked off. Of course, my propensity for the written word means that the black scratchings on white paper are loved and familiar territory.

Reading and writing have always been my refuge in the chaotic storm of life. Books revealed the dreams and observations of bright hearts and minds, providing me with friendships in absentia during my childhood. When Terra wanted me to throw out my books I was horrified to the core, and of course, my books remain here with me at Mist Cottage.

I was dismayed to hear that my Mom wasn’t feeling well on Tuesday last. She had chills and vomiting, but was feeling better by Tuesday night. Thankfully she was almost up to snuff yesterday. It is good to know that my sisters have passports, and are able to fly down to Florida at a moments notice, should she need them. I doubt she ever will need them to do that though, she is a master at taking care of herself. Mom showed me a picture of the new afghan she is crocheting, it is quite beautiful. My Mom is very talented with her hands, and quite artistic as well.

The morning progresses, the western sky is bright along the horizon as the sun approaches, it is 7:20 a.m. My morning coffee has been enjoyed, the paper and pen await my attention, so I am off to compose today’s list.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-15°C
Date: 7:00 AM EST Thursday 25 January 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 103.2 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -14.9°C
Dew point: -18.7°C
Humidity: 73%
Wind: W 8 km/h
Wind Chill: -20
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart.”
Celia Thaxter