Green Grass

It has been raining since early this morning. The temperature is hovering around 5C, and has been all day. A glance out the kitchen window provides a welcome sight, the grass is turning green!

It has been a very dreary day out there; a good day to stay cozy and warm inside Mist Cottage. Warmer weather will arrived next week, and that is when the outdoors will begin to hold real appeal.

The genealogy book is slowly taking shape. Creating the layout for the tables and images is extremely time consuming. There are twelve children for whom there are documents and family photos, and at present the work is slowly slogging through the second child; ten more to go when this segment is done.

Mom called this morning on FaceTime, it was delightful to hear from her. We chatted for quite a while, about this and that. It turned out that she did not mean to place the call, it happened by mistake when the wrong button was clicked. She was as surprised to see me as I was to see her! 🙂

Terra and Lares had a miserable common cold when they visited on Sunday, and now I have a miserable common cold. They may have left it here, but then again, the frequent visits to doctor’s offices over the last few weeks might have been the culprit, it is a place where sick people hang out. It began with a headache and moved right into the sinuses. Hopefully it will be short lived.

Funny, although there is no snow, early spring seems to be dragging on. It rained and/or snowed most of March and April has been very dreary so far. A little sunshine wouldn’t go amiss!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

RAINFALL WARNING IN EFFECT
Lightning
Light Rain
Date: 3:45 PM EDT Thursday 6 April 2017
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 99.5 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 4.9°C
Dew point: 4.0°C
Humidity: 94% Wind:
NE 27 gust 40 km/h
Visibility: 6 km

Quote

“Always acknowledge a fault. This will throw those in authority off their guard and give you an opportunity to commit more.”
Mark Twain
1835 – 1910

They aren’t faults, they are features!

Silence By Degrees

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Today is cold and sunny. There is a snow storm on the way, lots of snow the weather people say. Winter isn’t done with us yet.

It is a quiet weekend here at Mist Cottage. A little bit of baking going on, a little bit of food preparation for next week, using the off-peak hydro prices by cooking ingredients. Our wedding anniversary is coming up next week, and we are celebrating with a homemade pizza, and a movie. I have my menu carefully planned for that day, so that I can afford to eat the sodium in the bacon bits we Attila cooked today. Eating out is out of the question.

I chatted with my Mom and Sister-The-Middle-Girl this afternoon, on FaceTime. My Mom looks so beautiful these days! She is bright eyed and rosy cheeked, her hair framing her face perfectly. Her recovery from her health issue is amazing. My Sister-The-Middle-Girl is looking quite beautiful these days too. Life must be agreeing with them!

Last week I chatted with Sister-The-Youngest-Girl over FaceTime, which was lovely. She is renovating her kitchen, a very big job. She and Beau Bob have gutted the kitchen, the electricians are still finishing up their part of the renovation, and the drywalling has been started this weekend. By the time we get there for a visit again, it will be finished. I am looking forward to seeing it!

Attila and I are not planning projects this summer. He will be touching up the paint on the house siding, putting in a larger garden, installing the cap on the basement waterproofing membrane, and finishing off the bathroom drywall. I am thinking about staining the exterior concrete walls of our basement, which would take me all summer. In a few weeks we will be venturing out into the yard with an eye to spring cleanup, but we have to wait out this coming snow storm first.

My crochet hooks should arrive in the next two weeks, I will be starting to watch for them next week. Yesterday morning’s second attempt at the single crochet stitch was more successful and I can see that I am going to have fun with it, once I get used to it. Now my thoughts are wandering to a suitable first project, and I have decided on a washcloth, a very simple washcloth. I like like the idea of functional creations, and eventually I would like to make soft fluffy washcloths. My first one will be made with this $1.00 ball of yarn, and my $1.00 crochet hook. Soon enough though, my new crochet hooks will arrive, and I will begin to cast my eye towards other balls of wool.

I have not been going out for walks, it is just too cold for my arthritic knee. I am loath to do any further damage to the knee, as each time it goes on me, it will not regain the functionality I have. I will lose mobility by increments, so I am being very careful not experience any incremental episodes. I have my fingers crossed that by next week the big snowfall we are expecting will have melted, and the temperature will rise above freezing during the day, so that I can begin to venture forth.

We are enjoying the coziness of Mist Cottage during this cold snap, the thermostat continues to charm us!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Another cold morning, with a major snow storm on the way tonight. Again I am staying indoors, not risking injury to my knee. The inactivity of winter has resulted in a moderate rise in my blood pressure levels, or so I surmise the cause. I am anxious now for the milder weather and the disappearance of snow and ice. It is a time for patience! Next month I am to go in for further testing for my high blood pressure, and afterwards I have an appointment with a cardiologist. At this point I am wondering if another type of medication might help, but that is something to discuss with the cardiologist. With my anaphylaxis, my options are limited as to safe medications.

This morning I have taken an internal walk down memory lane. Joan Lansberry posted a link to a BBC video of desert sounds. I closed my eyes and listened, the sounds, and the vibrations of the sounds from the computer provided me with a pleasant physical experience. I could not find the actual video to share here, but I did find a series of BBC video soundscapes, mostly of human activity, but some of nature’s activity.

We lived deep in a the Ontario bush for about a decade, we had only two neighbours within sight, who as “snowbirds” were often south during the winter. The noise was constant, snowmobiles, ATVs, private planes, speeding sports cars, huge motor boats, and transport trucks on the highways miles and miles away. These sounds became the white noise in our lives, we were rarely conscious of it. We could hear nature, but not without the steady hum, and sometimes din, of modern human activity. However, I considered it a paradise of silence compared to living in a small urban area.

Then I spent a week 60 miles north of Longlac. It was an education. There were no human sounds, not a plane, not a hint of a motor of any kind in the distance, the only tones and notes were created by non-human activity. The “silence” was striking, deeply unnerving. After 24 hours it caught me, and the inner calm that descended is like no other I have ever experienced. This was a rare and precious experience, which resulted from a one of a kind circumstance, and it is unlikely I will ever have the experience again. It would not be achievable for most people on planet earth. I am grateful to have encountered it.

P.S. I found downtown Toronto a close second to this experience. Noise there was constant, and like the wind, it blew a melody of activity that transcended individual sounds. Downtown Toronto was, for me, akin to visiting humans in the wild.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-10°C
Date: 9:00 PM EDT Sunday 12 March 2017
Condition: Mainly Clear
Pressure: 103.1 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -9.7°C
Dew point: -20.4°C
Humidity: 42%
Wind: WNW 10 km/h
Wind Chill: -15
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“I have learnt silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to these teachers.”
Kahlil Gibran
1883 – 1931

Love These Weekends!

We had a busy weekend. Oh how I love the sound of that sentence!

On Saturday we attended a family event to celebrate the engagement of my niece. My Sister-The-Youngest-Girl and Beau Bob organized and hosted the happy event, great food, wine, and good company, a winning combination. My Mom and my five brothers and sisters were there, and it was wonderful to share such a happy time together.

We returned home on Sunday morning, to relax and putter around the house for the day.

On Sunday Attila loaded yet more scrap wood into Tank. The scrap consisted of some of the old shed door, that was missed the first time around, and the mousey kitchen cupboards that were removed when the dishwasher was installed, quite disgusting they were. All gone now though. We have had rain and the fire ban was suspended, so that I could burn all of the scrap in a campfire. We have a bit more scrap wood left to burn, that would not fit into Tank, it was sitting under the back porch when we moved here.

The garden shed is still not completed, as Attila lost his momentum due to unforeseen family events this summer. It is close to being finished though, tantalizingly close.

When I arrived at the hospital to have my toe nail looked at, my blood pressure was taken, it was very very high, 180/115. I questioned the doctor about it during the examination, and she said no big deal, “people are just nervous about being here”. I would have none of it, I have been to Emergency many times before and my blood pressure had not risen in this way. I stayed put on the bed, I was going nowhere with blood pressure that high. So the nurse took it again, and it was down to 164/99, so they insisted that I was fine, and should go home without looking any further into it.

Blood pressure measurements fall into four general categories:

Normal blood pressure. Your blood pressure is normal if it’s below 120/80 mm Hg.

Prehypertension. Prehypertension is a systolic pressure ranging from 120 to 139 mm Hg or a diastolic pressure ranging from 80 to 89 mm Hg.
Prehypertension tends to get worse over time.

Stage 1 hypertension. Stage 1 hypertension is a systolic pressure ranging from 140 to 159 mm Hg or a diastolic pressure ranging from 90 to 99 mm Hg.

Stage 2 hypertension. More severe hypertension, stage 2 hypertension is a systolic pressure of 160 mm Hg or higher or a diastolic pressure of 100 mm Hg or higher.
The Mayo Clinic

Ignoring blood pressure that high was unacceptable to me, I could feel something wasn’t right. So this morning I took myself to a walk-in clinic, which was a 45 minute drive from Mist Cottage. I am glad I did. My blood pressure was high when the doctor there took it, he suggested increasing the dosage of my medication, and gave me a prescription. He also looked over the blood work report that was done after I was told I had Chronic Kidney Disease. He confirmed that I do not have Chronic Kidney Disease. I was very pleased with the visit.

At home, an hour after I took the additional dosage of medication for high blood pressure, my blood pressure had dropped to normal, the high end of normal, but normal. I am feeling much better.

Luna has decided to go back to school to work on a science degree, and to that end she begins classes when the children return to elementary school. Their’s will be a very busy household this autumn! Luckily Janus has a generous amount of time off work, he is going to need it.

The weather is still warmer than I would like, and humid. Cooler temperatures are always predicted as a few days away, and that is where they have remained all summer, a few days away.

The garden is now lush and green. The green beans are bearing again, there are new tomatoes on the plants, and the peppers seem to have produced some small fruits. The Scarlet Runner Beans are a joy to behold, their bright blooms festooning the fence and swaying with each passing breeze. The lawn will need to be cut soon, the second cutting since last June!

My Mom is doing very well. She has regained the weight she lost when she was ill, her cheeks are rosy, and the sparkle in her eye is back. We didn’t get much of a chance to visit during the Engagement Celebration, but it was great to see her looking so great!

I just noticed something interesting. We have been watching Lucy Worsley’s “Empire of the Tsars” on youtube. The list of her films that appears down the side of the web page, each offering a posed image of Ms. Worsley. And suddenly she seemed familiar and comforting! I was surprised, wondering where that came from, and then I knew. She reminds me of the paper dolls of my childhood, the ones that came in books, with a doll in a frozen pose, and many outfits to change how she looked. And that is what Ms. Worsley looks like to me, in all her poses, a frozen paper doll with tabbed changes of clothes. I loved playing with those dolls, hearing my Granny in the next room cooking on her wood stove. Thank you Ms. Lucy Worsley for the flashback!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

25°C
Date: 3:00 PM EDT Tuesday 30 August 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.8 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 25.2°C
Dewpoint: 17.3°C
Humidity: 61%
Wind: SSW 27 gust 37 km/h
Humidex: 31

Quote

“My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.”
Albert Einstein
1879 – 1955

Yellow Hawkweed

The excitement of the new arrivals last weekend left everyone involved exhilarated and exhausted, including the new arrivals. Terra went home from the hospital on Tuesday, and travels daily to see the babies in NICU. Lares works near the hospital, so he drops in on the babies every morning before going to work. Terra says they are coming along just fine, Sunny being smaller, is a little behind Sky, but making progress every day. Terra says we can let her know a day or so ahead of time, sometime next week, and she will take us in to see them again. Luna is staying with her this week, and the two of them are there every day. Luna is going to bring Imp, Elf, and Tink to Terra’s house this weekend, and I think they are taking them in to see the Sunny and Sky.

Our lives are settling back down, now that our visiting is over, and we know that the babies are making good progress. The excitement has been disorienting, and as wonderful as babies are, we are grateful to be the Grandparents.

My Mom getting the all clear on her health issue is really something to celebrate! She is up and about, almost back to her former busy self. There are a few unpleasant side effects from the treatments that she is still having to deal with. Mom manages to work around them, she makes it look easy, and I am sure it isn’t.

We have had lots of rain, and the garden is looking voluptuous. We planted green beans, Scarlet Runner beans, two kinds of peppers, tomatoes, and the garlic that we were given by my sister. The peonies are blooming white and pink, and I am enjoying them picked and in vases in the living room and the kitchen, they smell wonderful. They remind me of my Granny’s house, she had peonies in her flower garden. Also blooming at the moment are the Columbine, Day Lilies, and Yellow Hawkweed wild in the lawn. I am very fond of the Yellow Hawkweed; it only blooms for a short time in the spring.

Yesterday Attila and I made a visit to the home improvement centre in town, and ordered the materials needed to upgrade our garden shed. The garden shed upgrade is this year’s project, our big investment of the season. Currently it cannot be used because the roof leaks, and had done so for many, many years before we bought the house. The interior of the shed is full of mildew and wasps. Attila has killed the wasps, and destroyed their nests, and the mildew will go with the old materials when they are removed and taken to the dump.

Tonight Attila began the project by clearing the vegetation from around the base of the shed, and trimming all the branches from the adjacent tree, the ones that overhang the shed.

I hope we can finish the shed by the end of the month, which may be a bit optimistic. I have my finger’s crossed.

My evening project was to spray Attila’s new socks, six pairs, recently washed, with permethrin. I have been waiting to do this, but the wind has been too strong for spraying. The evening was calm, so I took the window of opportunity to don my protective long sleeved shirt, long pants, latex gloves, and a breathing mask. I hung all the socks in a row on the line, and set to with the spray bottle. The socks will be left overnight to dry on the line, and after breakfast tomorrow morning I will gather them together and store them with the rest of Attila’s bug proof clothing.

Slowly we are getting back to enjoying the little day-to-day things in our own lives again.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

15°C
Date: 9:00 PM EDT Thursday 9 June 2016
Condition: Mainly Clear
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 14.6°C
Dewpoint: 1.6°C
Humidity: 41%
Wind: NW 12 km/h

Quote

“He hoped and prayed that there wasn’t an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction involved here and merely hoped that there wasn’t an afterlife.”
Douglas Adams
1952 – 2001

I Love The Month of May

There are a lot of reasons I love the month of May.

One is that my Mom’s birthday falls in the the month of May, and I love my Mom. Another is that Mother’s Day falls in the month of May, and I love my Mom.

Spring weather is another reason I love the month of May. The nights are cool, so even if it gets stinking hot during the day, the temperature at night is pleasant for sleeping.

The month of May looks and smells wonderful. There are flowers in bloom; Wild Violets, Lungwort, Dandelions, Trout Lilies, Lilacs, Trilliums, Blood Root, and my absolute favourite, tree blossoms, apple and cherry and peach.

Having the windows open for the first time since the previous fall is another thing I love about the month of May.

I love asparagus and rhubarb, both ready for harvest in the month of May.

I love camping, an activity that can begin during the month of May.

Yesterday I spent the day trying to organize Iris for the next camping excursion. I purchased cheap plastic containers to contain our belongings when Iris is in motion. On our first trip there was a lot of shifting going on, nothing damaged, but not desirable just the same. To further the organizing project, Attila and I visited Canadian tire where we found two smallish totes to use for setting up our kitchen on weekends; one will contain food and the other dishes and pots and pans. Iris sits quite a distance from the fire pit and the picnic table, so that transporting needed objects one by one is not practical. I also purchased a D size battery to operate a Caframo portable fan. I suffer in the heat, really suffer, and a fan makes a big difference to my comfort during a hot night.

This morning I rushed first thing to Canadian Tire, yet again. The sale that starts today featured a decent quality air mattress. I decided that because campers complain about air mattresses being cold to sleep on, they might be great for sleeping on hot nights. Holy cow, if this works while sleeping in Iris, it might work at home in my very own bed too, wouldn’t that be cool. The memory foam is hot to sleep on, it can be used in late September and October when the nights are cold, but not during the summer. I couldn’t resist picking up a pie iron, since all of our camping meals are cooked over the open fire, this should add some variety to our diet, now to find healthy recipes that include vegetables! I managed to pay for most of the cost of the air mattress and the pie iron with my credit card points, which was very satisfying.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

13°C
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Wednesday 25 May 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 13.4°C
Dewpoint: 9.9°C
Humidity: 79%
Wind: S 21 km/hr
Today
Cloudy. Becoming a mix of sun and cloud near noon with 30 percent chance of showers this afternoon. Risk of a thunderstorm late this afternoon. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 late this morning. High 26 except 21 near Lake Ontario. UV index 7 or high.
Tonight
Partly cloudy. Low 14.

21°C
Date: 10:00 AM EDT Thursday 26 May 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.8 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 20.6°C
Dewpoint: 13.2°C
Humidity: 62%
Wind: SE 18 km/h
Humidex: 24
Today
A mix of sun and cloud. 60 percent chance of showers late this afternoon with risk of a thunderstorm. High 24 except 19 near Lake Ontario. UV index 8 or very high.
Tonight
Mainly cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers and risk of a thunderstorm. Low 16.

Quote

“Conscience is the inner voice that warns us somebody may be looking.”
H. L. Mencken
1880 – 1956

I’d like to believe that this is not true of many people, but I fear that it is. However, I don’t agree that this definition is universal. I feel that a conscience is that inner voice that represents our capacity for compassion, tolerance, and kindness… and it has nothing whatsoever to do with the concept that somebody may be looking. I also feel that my definition of a conscience is active and admirable in the people I respect and love. Mr. Mencken does not speak for me.