Conventional Wisdom

Sometimes not being within the range of “normal” is a distinct disadvantage. Occasionally though, it a wonderful thing. Today it was a wonderful thing.

My follow up appointment with the cardiologist was today, my blood pressure was normal. This appointment coincided with receiving the results of a recent blood test that measured my cholesterol levels. I had discontinued taking cholesterol medication last summer, as it was elevating my levels rather than lowering them. The recent blood test was meant to provide a base line for future comparison. The results were that my cholesterol is very high, which is not unexpected, as it has been very high for a very long time, perhaps all of my life, although I wasn’t tested a baby, or as a child. The thing is, as the cardiologist had both the results of my carotid scan, and the blood test, he determined that high cholesterol, in my case, does not result in artery wall plaque deposits. I have no plaque deposits at all. So, in my case, I don’t really need to take cholesterol lowering drugs, and he recommended not taking them because I don’t need them. Great news! He felt that I need not return, and gave me a clean bill of health!

One thing he did discuss with me was the need to have a CT scan done of my head, checking for aneurisms. My Aunt died at the age of 63 from a burst aneurism in her brain. Apparently the tendency to have aneurisms runs in families. So on my next visit to the walk-in clinic I will be pushing for a CT scan to check for aneurisms, and an appointment to have my nostril cauterized to prevent nose bleeds.

This may be the last summery day of 2017! It is warm and sunny, a bit humid too. A lovely day.

On Saturday we travelled to have a Thanksgiving Dinner, cooked by Sister-The-Youngest-Girl, and attended by various family members. I got to see my Mom, and my Sister-The-Middle-Girl, which is always a treat. We had a great time, visiting, relaxing, good food, good company. Sister-The-Youngest-Girl, Mom, and I had fun working on a jigsaw puzzle, something my Mom has done with her children since we were small. Mom is pretty good at it, the rest of us struggle to keep up with her. The drive was miserable, both on the way there, and on the way home. The highways were clogged with traffic, expanding a three hour drive into a four and half hour journey, each way. We arrived at the get together, and home afterward, safe and sound, which in the end is all that really matters.

At the Thanksgiving get together, my Mom gave me a photograph portrait of my brother Carl and I, when he was just a baby, and I wasn’t much more. In the photograph he is just sitting up with support, and I am 18 months older, so I would have been around two years old, give or take a few months. My brother was a beautiful baby, I thought he was my baby, and I adored him. I was the eldest of six, and I thought of all my younger siblings as “my babies”, as older siblings do sometimes. Carl passed away last summer, while Attila and I were on vacation, it was a terrible shock.

Maggie Carl 1953 DSCF1347 Taken of my brother Carl and I when I was two years old. Four more children would be born in quick succession after this photo was taken, all my little brothers and sisters.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

21°C
Date: 1:00 PM EDT Tuesday 10 October 2017
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 21.1°C
Dew point: 15.9°C
Humidity: 72%
Wind: SW 17 km/h
Humidex: 26
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“The people I distrust most are those who want to improve our lives but have only one course of action.”
Frank Herbert
1920 – 1986

Three Days

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The arrival of winter has been confirmed, I had my first nosebleed this morning. It didn’t take much to get it going, I gently blew my nose this morning and the deed was done. Luckily I managed to get it under control in about ten minutes. Nosebleeds are very intrusive!

The temperature dipped to -7C or below last night, which means our source of heat switched to the oil furnace, which results in a significant fall in humidity inside the house. The weather forecast calls for temperatures above -7C for the next few weeks, so I will have a reprieve period before the serious days of interior aridity settle in. When we need a new furnace, we will purchase one with a humidifying feature, and an air cleaning feature as well. With any luck, that eventuality is years away.

Attila obligingly set a load of his laundry to wash before he left for work this morning, so that I may hang the wet laundry to dry on the racks, and increase the humidity in the house.

Increasingly my eyes are worn out by evening. My eyes water, they sting, and my vision blurs. I spend many hours a day reading, the computer screen, and books. Last night I decided to amuse myself with an audio book that I found on youtube. I wanted something comforting, an antidote to the madness in the world, so I chose an audio version of The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson. It is a children’s story, and is quite delightful. I thank my Mom for reading to us every night at bedtime during my childhood, an experience so wonderful that we did not realize at the time how very special it was, and how very lucky we were.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The mystery of me can be quite perplexing. For instance, sitting in my easy chair this morning, after spending a frustrating few hours rummaging through the house for the container of picture hanging hardware, something I used to be able to locate at the country house, I am feeling chilly, and puzzled, and euphoric. Euphoric? Well I don’t know, do I, why that particular feeling is welling up inside me, and sitting comfortably with me, on this snowy, cloudy, cold wintry day. It is a mystery.

Sometimes mysteries are most pleasant!

The snow has accumulated. When I stepped out the front door yesterday to head out on my walk, the snow on the front porch was four inches deep. I was wearing my running shoes, so it felt quite chilly. But the road was clear, even dry in spots, although icy in others, so that I could walk briskly, which kept my feet warm. Not so today, it snowed overnight, is still snowing this morning, and there is a layer of snow on the road, which can conceal slippery spots. This is enough to deter me from going for my walk. If I slip, even slightly, my knee will be injured, requiring weeks of pain and babying, preventing me from walking any distance, even on flat surfaces like the floor of the grocery store. I don’t want to risk that! It is likely that all this snow will melt away by the end of the week, perhaps even by tomorrow afternoon, and if it does I can resume my daily walk.

Today I unpacked another box from the move, a year ago September. We are getting down to the last boxes now! This box was marked “fragile”, and held various pieces of artwork. I decided to hang the art, five pieces in all, on the wall in the living room. Thus, I was looking for picture hanging hardware, which I know we have, but I don’t know where it ended up after we moved. I didn’t find it. After juggling with the idea of running out to the store to buy more, I decided to wait until Attila comes home from work, and see if he has any idea where it might have ended up. It is worth a try.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Today is dump day.

When we purchased Mist Cottage, just over six years ago, we were using a cooler, and a hot plate, as there was no refrigerator or range. We used the laundromat when our laundry needed washing, and hung it out to dry on a rope tied across the beams under the front porch. At that time our neighbour wanted to get rid of a little apartment sized freezer that they no longer used, so we accepted it when he offered to give it to us. It served us well until last autumn. Just after we moved here in September it gave up the ghost, and has been sitting empty in the basement ever since. We are now at a point of progress in our organization that we are ready to transport it to the dump, where we will pay a fee to dispose of it. Slowly but surely we are settling in here at Mist Cottage.

The snow stayed with us until yesterday evening. The weather was cloudy and chill when we entered the grocery store, but had transformed to a thick, stinking fog by the time we emerged with our purchases. This morning the fog is gone and so is most of the snow. We can start again later with a fresh batch of snow, not to worry.

I decided that this year we are going to have an actual Christmas tree at Mist Cottage, and put up some outdoor decorations. Last year our little 24 inch pre-lit Christmas tree was a far as we got with Christmas cheer here. Yesterday I downloaded Christmas music from librevox.com, and set up the iMac to play it continuously. I also did an internet search for Christmas images, which I downloaded into a dedicated folder, and had the screensaver display while the Christmas music played. I have an old photo of myself and my brothers and sisters around the Christmas tree in the mid to late 50s, I will scan that and it will go in the Christmas image folder, as well as pictures of all the relatives in our immediate family. That way we can have them here with us as we spend our quiet Christmas’s, just the two of us.

The Christmas music from librevox.org is interesting. Anyone can create the audio files and upload them, so that there is a rainbow of offerings, from the profoundly tone deaf attempts to the some truly beautiful gifts. I like all of it, the less talented offerings are like having real people around, sharing the good will of the season.

Well, we are about to leave the house and make our way to the dump. Attila has the freezer loaded into Tank, along with a large load of cardboard for recycling. The sun is shining, and it isn’t snowing, it is a beautiful day!!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-8°C
Date: 6:00 AM EST Wednesday 23 November 2016
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -6.7°C
Dew point: -9.3°C
Humidity: 82%
Wind: WNW 9 km/h
Wind Chill: -11
Visibility: 24 km

-2°C
Date: 9:00 AM EST Thursday 24 November 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.2 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -1.5°C
Dew point: -2.8°C
Humidity: 91%
Wind: NE 18 km/h
Wind Chill: -7
Visibility: 19 km

2°C
Date: 9:00 AM EST Saturday 26 November 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.1 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 1.8°C
Dew point: 0.9°C
Humidity: 94%
Wind: NNW 7 km/h
Visibility: 19 km

Quote

“A task left undone remains undone in two places — at the actual location of the task, and inside your head. Incomplete tasks in your head consume the energy of your attention as they gnaw at your conscience.”
Brahma Kumaris
[This reflects my approach to life.]

“Eventually, time takes care of everything. The trouble with procrastination is that people give up on it too soon.”
Robert Brault
[I have trouble with this!]

The Earth is Flat

When anticipated plans are relentlessly scuppered, I believe the earth is flat. The third dimension blinks out of site, perception eclipses science.

Attila and I had hoped to finally get together with my family for “Christmas”. We tried to get there all through December, and the weather and roads prevented us, every day that we could get away. We tried all through January, and again the weather and roads dictated otherwise. We thought February would bring an opportunity for the visit, but it did not; although we did manage to make a mandatory trip to the little house in the city for its winter check up. And we thought that today, at last, we could make the trip. Ha!!!! We awoke to cloudy skies, snow, and by noon we are to have blowing snow and wind gusting to 50 kilometers an hour. So with heavy hearts we cancelled our plans for Christmas, again. I hope the phrase “Christmas in July” is not a cruel reality this year!

Today is a day for domestic tasks. Attila dug more firewood out of the deep snow, hopefully enough to last us through till the end of March. He also shovelled the rest of the snow load off the wood shed, that was quite a job! After coming indoors, Attila gave himself a haircut. I have been busy hanging wet laundry on racks in the living room, hoping to increase the humidity in the room, and stop the daily nose bleeds I have been experiencing. Bills have been paid. The dust has collected to majestic proportions over the course of two weeks, one dare not disturb surfaces in the living area, for fear of clouding the atmosphere. A rag and a bucket of soapy water is required to remove the dust, so that it becomes suspended in water, and is not allowed to take flight and settle again. The dust consists mostly of super fine wood ash, and there is a lot more of it since the ash dump became clogged, and we had to start removing ashes manually through the door, using a small shovel and an ash bucket.

We have more good weather on the way, warmer temperatures and some sunshine. Apparently there is at least one more night coming, when the temperature will dip below -20C. The weather predictions change daily, and sometimes they change several times during the course of one day. We are prepared for more frigid nights, and looking forward warmer weather.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-19°C
Date: 7:44 AM EDT Sunday 9 March 2014
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -18.6°C
Dewpoint: -20.5°C
Humidity: 85%
Wind: calm

Quote

“If I believed that horses turned into artichokes on Tuesdays, would that be better than doubting it?…

…I ought to refuse to answer at all, of course, because a meaningless question has only meaningless answers…

…The whole undertaking of science is to deal, as well as it can, with reality. The reality of actual things and events in time is subject to doubt, to hypothesis, to proof and disproof, to acceptance and rejection — not to belief or disbelief.

Belief has its proper and powerful existence in the domains of magic, religion, fear, and hope.”

Ursula K LeGuin
http://www.ursulakleguin.com/Blog2014.html#New

Lumpen Mass

Yesterday Attila left work an hour early, having gone in an hour early, allowing us an early start on our most recent journey to the little house in the city.

After driving for an hour we hit an ice storm. It began as rain and quickly evolved into a downpour of ice pellets. Luckily the temperature was above freezing, so that the roads were only a little bit slippery. It slowed us down quite a bit though.

When we arrived at the little house in the city it was a great luxury to unload the car and carry our belongings in, up the new steps and into the house through the front door. It was chilly in the house, 8C. An hour after arrival the temperature had risen to 9C. Being occasionally quite stubborn, I decided we should not turn the on furnace, and see if the temperature rose any further.

We wore parkas through what was left of the evening. I warmed my pyjamas by placing them inside my parka, underneath my arms, for about an hour. That worked very well. I also filled a hot water bottle with warm water and placed it in the bed to warm it up. That worked very well as well. I found that my head was cold though, and I hadn’t thought to bring a toque!

When I had to arise in the night to visit the washroom, my resolve froze and shattered. The temperature had not risen above 9C, which feels very chilly when emerging from a nice warm bed. Grabbing my glasses, I carefully set the thermostat to 16C. I drifted off to sleep as the temperature slowly rose.

I have been suffering from a series of nose bleeds, which usually plague me during the heating season. Heating with wood dries the air, significantly. This morning I arose to another nose bleed. And then I had an epiphany, the same epiphany I had last winter. Aspirin. I had been taking aspirin for my back pain. I get nose bleeds when I take aspirin. Luckily my back is feeling much better, so ceasing and desisting on the painkiller is not an imposition.

Sometimes I venture into places to see if they are what I think they are, or as I remember them to be. Usually I find that they are what I think they are, or what I remember them to be. Today I did just that. At one time I flourished in an environment of debate and pursuit of ideas. This is not a new or unfamiliar arena for me. So, just to see if a particular brand of political “dialogue” was as I remember it, I made a general statement, on Facebook, in a political thread. The inflammatory statement was: “walkers are more interesting than talkers”. They were discussing Russell Brand.

Hades’ gates opened wide and out swarmed the unconscious projections of men, all men, whose emotions seem to rule their minds. Words were put in my mouth, aspersions cast upon my character and intelligence, and statements were made about me that bordered on threatening. This went on for quite some time, without any input from me. These fellows felt very confident explaining to me, and each other, exactly what I meant, because of course only their interpretation was possible in this universe. How self-referencing can you get. I will not go into the details of their arguments, because what they had to say about my short, general statement had nothing whatsoever to do with what I actually meant, or was interested in discussing. These are men who know how the “lumpen masses”, a clearly inferior group to which they seemed to believe I belong, should think and behave. Wow, one little term to dismiss anyone who doesn’t tow their line of thought. I don’t know what their ideas of freedom of speech are, but I don’t think they resemble mine. This lumpen mass will speak for herself, thank you.

The whole exercise served to remind me that, that particular brand of political “dialogue” is exactly how I remember it.

Women, in their youth, have a few days each month when their emotions have a powerful effect on their perspective. But men suffer from hormonal fluctuations of the mind on a daily basis, throughout their entire adult lives. Many learn to live a balanced life in spite of it, others do not.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

6°C
Date: 3:00 PM EDT Saturday 26 October 2013
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 100.8 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 10 km
Temperature: 6.4°C
Dewpoint: 3.9°C
Humidity: 84%
Wind: SW 47 gust 62 km/h

Quote

“Take everything you like seriously, except yourselves.”
Rudyard Kipling (1865 – 1936)

Flu Three

This is my third day suffering from the flu. I am keeping a record of it because it is unusual for me to feel this horrid. That is a very lucky thing.

My temperature is down to 37.6 without taking Tylenol. That is still a little above normal, but I am thinking clearly so it isn’t affecting me all that much. I could put in a day of work if called in. The lingering symptoms are nausea and fatigue. Food continues to disgust me, as do all beverages, including water. I will know that this flu is gone when my appetite returns.

Hopefully tomorrow all will be well.

The discovery that aspirin might be the cause of my winter nose bleeds was a welcome one. My first experiment supported the theory. On Monday when the flu first manifested I took an aspirin to bring the fever down. The next morning I had a nose bleed, an added misery to the flu. So on Tuesday I took Tylenol to bring down the fever, and continued with the Tylenol. No more nose bleeds. I’ll be using Tylenol for fevers from here on in.

Attila has been extremely busy at work for the last few months. This is a very good thing, as many companies here have ceased operations, or had to cut staff. He works long days and most Saturdays. Luckily he likes his job, as far as jobs go, and is not experiencing distress over needing to work such long hours. He seems to be thriving.

On the other hand, that leaves me with a LOT of alone time, with the silence, the wildlife and the trees. There is little else here.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-1 °C
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -0.8°C
Dewpoint: -4.7°C
Humidity: 75 %
Wind: ESE 24 gust 39 km/h

Quote

“There is always more misery among the lower classes than there is humanity in the higher.”
Victor Hugo
1802 – 1885