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

And More Snow!

It snowed all day today, oodles and oodles and oodles of snow. There was freezing rain mixed with the snow this morning. Attila did the last of his Christmas shopping this morning, without me, and he said that at every stop, when he returned to the parked car, he had to chip the ice off the windshield and windows. By noon the freezing rain had ceased to fall, it began to snow heavily, which continued until darkness fell.

I did my Christmas baking today, muffins for me, and mincemeat squares for Attila. We decided to have our big turkey dinner on Christmas Eve, so the oven will be busy most of the day tomorrow. Listening to Christmas Carols playing in the background, and gazing out the window from time to time at the beautiful falling snow, I enjoyed baking today.

Attila and I went out to shovel snow after supper, in the dark. The air was cold and crisp, the snow had stopped coming down. I tackled the area near the door into the house, while Attila took care of the large snow bank across the end of the driveway, left by the snow plow this morning. In less than half an hour we had cleared the driveway, and the path the front entrance of the house.

It was a quiet day here at Mist Cottage. When it snows outdoor sounds are muted. I did little things like pay bills, process paper work, and bake. Attila shopped, and ate, and ate, and ate. He is eating right now, his second supper. I have no idea why I weigh a bit more than he does, when he eats five times as much as I do, every day, it doesn’t seem fair to me. Such is life.

I am pretty sure my daughters do not read this online journal. So I am going to take a chance and post a picture of the booties and hats I made for Terra’s twins, Sunny and Sky. The fit is a guess, but if anything these will be too big for the babies.

Hat booties multi DSCF1671 Sunny’s foot blankets and hat.

Hat booties blue DSCF1661 Sky’s foot blankets and hat.

Weather

SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT IN EFFECT… 5-10 cm snow!
-4°C
Date: 9:00 PM EST Saturday 23 December 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -4.2°C
Dew point: -6.0°C
Humidity: 88%
Wind: WSW 8 km/h
Wind Chill: -8
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Please write again soon. Though my own life is filled with activity, letters encourage momentary escape into others lives and I come back to my own with greater contentment.”
Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey

Dominoes

March! During the years we lived at the country house, March was the hardest month. It was invariably full winter weather until the end of March, and one March we got a winter’s worth of snow during the month of March, unforgettable. Managing to survive March with its accompanying cabin fever was hard work, every single year.

All that is behind me now!

March is a month that brings a smile, here at Mist Cottage. We do get winter weather in March here, but the winters here are mild indeed compared to the weather at the country house. There is still snow under the trees in the bush, on the north side of the trees, the temperature will still drop well below freezing, it is supposed to be a low of -17C on Saturday night. But here March also brings amazing mild temperatures, this morning it is 10C on the back deck! It is, comparatively speaking, downright tropical here at Mist Cottage in March!

The five gallon, food grade pails and gamma seal lids arrived late yesterday afternoon. By the time Attila arrived home from work, they were unpacked, washed and set out to dry in the front bedroom.

Now they are full.

Last evening was spent moving almost all of the food stored in the front bedroom into the five gallon pails. Two contain whole wheat bread flour, one contains red lentils, one contains basmati rice, and one contains red kidney beans. What we have left is one 25 kg bag of hard bread flour, which is shrinking fast. The pails are labelled and stored in the basement, placed on cardboard sheets so that they do not sit directly on the concrete. The contents will remain dry and safe from dust, bugs, and rodents. I love the gamma seal lids. They are worth the expense because they are so easy to open when I want to refill my four litre glass jars for day-to-day use. The only storage conundrum left is the 22 kg bag of all purpose flour, which is sitting on the kitchen counter. Eventually one of the two pails the whole wheat flour will empty, and we will use that empty five gallon pail for the all purpose flour. Until then I must tolerate the half filled bag cluttering up the kitchen counter. Time to get baking whole wheat bread!

Moving the food out of the front bedroom opened up enough floor space for the computer desk. Moving the computer desk to the front bedroom opened up floor space in the living room. The items stored on the desk are sitting in a small pile waiting for me to find a place to store them. Finding a place to store them will mean sorting through some drawers and shelves, to discard or give away items we seldom if never use.

Life at Mist Cottage is a game of dominoes.

Attila and I sat in the car yesterday, after picking up the photograph from Walmart, discussing whether we needed anything from the stores. The upshot was, if we bought something, where would we put it! We laughed, and headed for home.

I do not eat a lot of bread. Attila does not like sourdough bread. This means that only I eat the sourdough bread, and I eat less than a loaf a week. I have two types of beautiful sourdough started, gifts from Auntie Mame, and I am finding I can’t keep up with it, it wants to make more bread than I can eat. So, I have been researching how to dry the sourdough starter, and will soon be tackling that as a project. Dried sourdough starter can be used to restart a colony, so I will have it for future enjoyment.

My walk this morning was a tonic. I have been cooped up through most of February due to ice and snow on the road and sidewalks, making walking treacherous. Yesterday was beautiful, sunny and a bit nippy, but I didn’t make it out the door, I had to wait for the five gallon pails to be delivered. Deliveries never seem to arrive first thing in the morning, which would free up the day.

It was raining hard when Attila left for work early this morning. During a long break in the rain I decided to get out for a walk. Instead of warm winter boots, my feet were light and free in running shoes. The temperature was so mild that the wind did not invite pulling up the zipper on my parka. It was lovely out there. Birds were singing, the wind rattled the bare branches overhead, and the mild fresh air was invigorating. The roads and sidewalks were perfectly clear, no ice, no snow, just a bit of gritty dirt along the side of the road. Early in the walk it became evident to me that I had been housebound for some time. I was a bit short of breath, and my legs ached. Pushing through, my pace slowed, and comfort returned. The weather is supposed to turn cold tonight, so it remains to be seen how “walk friendly” the neighbourhood will remain. Still, what is a week to wait for the mild weather to return!

Today’s plans include practising my crochet skills, baking cherry chocolate muffins for Attila’s lunches, and preparing sourdough for bread baking tomorrow.

A pleasant day.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

6°C
Date: 10:00 AM EST Wednesday 1 March 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 99.2 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 6.1°C
Dew point: 5.2°C
Humidity: 94%
Wind: SSE 36 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

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

Refurbished iMac

This morning I am aware of how much joy I enjoy, as light begins to filter into the sky that is visible through the silhouette of the tree, that I see when I gaze out of the living room window in the mornings. I feel wealthy, because I have the comfortable chair, in the warm dwelling, with a lovely window, and a tree I can see.

What a beautiful morning!

We are expecting snow by this afternoon, so I am determined to get out there for my walk early. After I wrote that last sentence, I headed out for my walk, it was sunny when I set out, and had clouded over by the time I returned home. Snow on the way.

My Mom knit me a second knee warmer for Christmas, so now when I go out for a walk both knees are dressed for the weather!

The refurbished iMac arrived on Tuesday. I tend to install everything anew, rather than transfer from the old iMac, and I’ve been busy setting up the new computer. And of course the joy of getting sidetracked has been mine to savour. I have collected quite a few images of art that I love to look at, and I display the images with their file names as a screensaver on the computer. This gives us a steady stream of art images, in high definition, to gaze at when we are sitting quietly contemplating life, the universe and everything.

The file names were haphazard, saved as is when the file was downloaded. The file names needed work. Luckily, I had been offered the software “Renamer” by the company as a gift, based on my long ago purchase of their discontinued recipe software. It came in very, very handy in renaming the files, there are over 600 of them. I name them thus: artist last name; artist first name; year created; title of work if any. This project took hours to complete. What a luxury to spend hours creating this decorative yet educational screen saver. Now the images rotate, and each one displays the the file name, which is the information about the image. My favourites are Klimt and Van Gogh.

The new iMac is light years faster than the 2007 iMac. I have moved my book working files onto a removable drive, and am now working on my genealogy book on the new computer. It is a modest screen size, by modern standards, 21.5″, and is a much better work space than the small screen of my MacBook Air. The book is going slowly, as I am now dealing with images, and captions, and references for the images. Each image has to be imported separately, resized and positioned on the page, manually captioned, and then manually referenced. There are hundreds of images, this is going to take some time.

We decided recently to discontinue Acorn TV for a little while, as we had watched all the programming they had that was interesting to us. A lot of their interesting stuff was not available in Canada. Instead we signed on for Amazon Prime Video, and we anticipate that they have such a limited offering that it won’t take long to watch everything they have that we find interesting. However, they also offer free shipping from Amazon.ca as part of the deal, so we can make the annual fee work for us. Our taste runs to programs that offer a good degree of character development, sophisticated story line, and no violence or manipulative power jockeying. Slim pickings these days, but there are still some programs that meet our criteria being created.

My blood pressure has been within normal readings for the last two readings. This is exciting! I have my fingers crossed that it isn’t just a fluke. Right now I am on the original dosage of the medication that had stopped working. Could it be that the low-sodium, low-sugar, pre-meal Apple Cider Vinegar, diet has at last kicked in to bring my high blood pressure down? Or is the lower level of stress, after a horrendous summer, allowing my blood pressure to lower? Well, I am not about to give up either the new diet, or the low stress levels, so I may never know!

Two of my heart tests will be conducted next week. No injections or pills, so I don’t have to worry about anaphylaxis. I have been trying to figure out the parking, it is going to be tricky, street parking with meters, I can’t arrive too early or I will get a ticket if the appointment takes too long. The woman at the parking office said that if I am delayed at a medical appointment and I get a ticket, to bring it in and they will take care of it for me. There are bureaucracies in this world that are mediated by good people!

Today I will be busy baking orange oatmeal muffins, and getting the old 2007 iMac ready to donate to someone. No takers in my circle, but I am hoping to find someone who wants a computer to do email and light surfing on the internet, it would be perfect for that.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-6°C
Date: 9:00 AM EST Thursday 5 January 2017
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -5.6°C
Dew point: -12.2°C
Humidity: 60%
Wind: W 36 gust 53 km/h
Wind Chill: -15
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.”
Epictetus
55 AD – 135 AD