The Little Red Fox

Friday, August 25, 2017, Mist Cottage

Sitting here this morning looking for information about hooking up a 30 amp RV electrical system to a generator. It isn’t straightforward. I found a connector that looks like it will work, but I can’t run to the local Canadian Tire to pick it up, it is in stock, because Tank is at the garage having an issue with the brakes fixed. It is too far to walk to the Canadian Tire store. The same item is available at Amazon.ca for a lower price, we have Prime, so delivery is two day and free.

So it occurs to me that Amazon Prime almost replaces the need for a vehicle to do the shopping. Vehicles cost a small fortune to keep on the road, considering the initial cost, maintenance, licensing, fuel, insurance… Amazon Prime costs less than $100.

Our vehicles are used for much more than shopping of course, so this is pure conjecture, it wouldn’t work for our present lifestyle. But were we housebound this could work for us.

I will hold off my purchase of an RV connector until Tank is back on the road, or Attila comes home from work with the car. The advantage to the local Canadian Tire is that if the connector is not the product we need, we can return it easily. Also, I like the staff at the local Canadian Tire, every interaction there has been pleasant over the years, not always smooth, but always pleasant.

Which puts me in mind of a recent purchase we made at the local Shopper’s Drug Mart. This is the second truly unpleasant experience we have had there, and I suspect it is due to the management. People who aren’t treated well can’t help but pass that along to the customers.

We have spent a lot of time at the Rideau Camp this summer, and have been loving it! Our first season at our Camp was just last year. We didn’t camp there as often as we have been this summer, which means that meal planning for our stays has become more complex. I can no longer eat the wonderful grilled cheese sandwiches cooked over an open fire, the sodium in bread and cheese is unacceptable. Quick canned items, like soup, or beans, don’t work, again the sodium levels are unacceptable. When I was younger camping meant a trip to the grocery store for easy to prepare items, but all that has changed, as now I must carefully watch my intake of sodium, sugar, cholesterol, and my allergen.

Experiments with quick and easy foods is an ongoing project now. Overnight oatmeal sounds interesting, and to that end one minute oats were on the grocery list this week. Since peaches are in season, two Giant Oven Pancakes were baked last night, sectioned, and stored in the refrigerator for quick suppers for me over the next few days. I love Giant Oven Pancake smothered in fresh sliced peaches, no sugar added.

Recovery from the dental work has been taking some time, still requiring that I eat soft foods. Of all the health issues I have encountered in my life, problems in my mouth are the most exhausting. The fatigue that was plaguing me has subsided, but my face still hurts if I talk a lot. Fortunately, I can type a lot instead. As Attila pointed out, when you have an issue with something in your head, it is very hard to ignore it. Thank goodness my issue is temporary. Hugs to anyone dealing with chronic issues in the mouth or head!

Saturday, August 26, Rideau Camp

Tank needed a visit to the garage, so on Wednesday night we both drove to the garage, dropped her off, and drove home in the car. She had a leaking axle seal, which had leaked oil on our trip to the Traditional Camp, which burned and smoked. So in she went. We picked her up yesterday afternoon, the part was $20, the labour was $220, which we considered to be fair. We really like this mechanic!

Our departure for the Rideau Camp was somewhat delayed by Tank’s absence, and the need to go and get her. We took our time packing, and arrived at the Camp at about 8:30 p.m.. Usually at that hour of the evening the mosquitoes are at their peak, but there were none. We unpacked, played a game of Cribbage, turned out the lights and turned in for the night.

Last summer’s vacation was not pleasant. It was our first week long vacation in over 20 years. This year we plan on spending a week in the autumn at the Rideau Camp. Since there are no extra expenses involved, as there would be if we were to camp in Iris in camp grounds for a week, or even more extravagantly stay in motels or at a resort, we decided to indulge in a luxury. We purchased a small, portable, quiet, generator. This will allow us to use the computer while camping, at either the Rideau Camp or the Traditional Camp. It will allow us to run all of the features in Grace The Trailer, except the air conditioning, which would require a second small generator connected to the first small generator for extra power. We don’t anticipate needing air conditioning for our short summer stays in Grace The Trailer, so we did not purchase the second small generator.

I am typing this entry on the computer. My laptop no longer has a functioning battery, which died about a year ago. The MacBook Air will only operate when connected to an electrical outlet, so that it could not be used while camping. The generator enables me to use the computer while camping, which is a very big bonus in my opinion. We don’t use cell phones, so that all of my data is stored locally on my computer, I don’t use the Cloud for serious storage. Now that the computer will work while camping, I can save the information related to the local areas around our Camps, so that we have a directory of the businesses, and local places of interest, at our fingertips.

The biggest bonus of the generator though, at this point, is the lights. We don’t mind the small, inexpensive, low lumen lighting that we use while camping. But now that we have experienced staying in Iris with an electrical service, we are spoiled. Having lights at night is wonderful, it makes a terrific difference. We can use the lights at night as well, on battery power, knowing that during the day we can recharge the battery using the generator.

In my dreams, we install a pump in the deep well at the Rideau Camp, and the generator would supply the power needed to pump the water, and to use it in Grace The Trailer. This is something we won’t be doing in the short term though. If we live to enjoy retirement together, we might want to spend our summers at our Camps, then the investment in a working well would make sense. For now we fill containers with water at home, and take the empty containers back with us, when we are staying at our off-grid camps.

Today Attila is removing three large stumps that prevent us from easily turning Tank around in the open area of the Camp. Until now Attila has been backing Tank out the driveway. After today he will turn Tank around in the clearing, ready to be packed when it is time to go home.

I wrote the words below with a pen on a scrap of paper this morning, before the sun rose, while Attila was sleeping.

A little red fox ran towards the trailer this morning, coming up the drive at a steady pace. She veered around the trailer, the side closest to the bush, and was lost to sight. I would not have seen her at all, had I not just turned to look out the back window, as I was pouring the boiling water over my tea bag. It was 6 a.m.. The sun had not yet risen. She was a small fox, her red fur almost glowed with good health. Although she was running, she did not appear to be in distress.

After she had passed, I finished making my tea, and carried my cup to the chair beside the back window, where I intended to do a bit of reading, as the light was quickening, and the words were taking form on the page before me. A movement caught my eye, something on the drive again. A large black dog, with long unkempt fur, loped up the driveway in pursuit of the fox. He was having fun, hunting, redundantly hunting. His slack expression denoted a lack of intensity, and a lack of cunning. This hunt was entertainment, for if he had been truly hungry and in need of a kill to survive, it would have been written in his face and body.

He followed the fox’s path and was soon out of sight. Five minutes later the dog was back. He walked a weaving path at a slow trot. There was no sign of a kill around his muzzle. At one point, near Grace The Trailer, he lifted his leg and peed on a pine sapling, then slowly strolled down the drive and out of sight.

He wore a dog collar.

Much earlier than the visits from the fox and the dog, in the morning just after I had awakened, the chorus from a murder of crows filled the air, heralding dawn.

A little later than the visits from the fox and the dog, a partridge clumsily passed across the drive, at some distance from Grace The Trailer, stumbling and flapping along by turns.

How important these living beings seem in the absence of human company.

Monday, August 28, 2017

I am back home and writing from Mist Cottage. The weather is much cooler now, and the humidity is not high. This is ideal weather in my book, a view not shared universally. We need neither air conditioning, nor heating, so our electricity bill will benefit from this weather.

On Sunday I took a trip to a country market, a farm that sells local produce, and was shocked at the prices. $3 for a quart of green beans. The rest of the produce was similarly priced. People living without healthy pensions, and those living at minimum wage levels are not going to be buying local food, it isn’t in the cards. The artisanal food movement is offensive, in that the entrepreneurs are constantly whining about needing people to buy locally, while they insist on selling things that only the affluent can afford to buy.

I bought one item though, because I wanted to try Red Fife Wheat Flour. The one kilogram bag of flour was $8.00 plus tax. It will have to be a one-off purchase. I made peach muffins with it this morning, and they are outstanding. Much research is needed to find an affordable source of this basic food ingredient.

Attila just brought in a pound of freshly harvested Scarlet Runner beans. At that country store this would have cost $6.00 plus tax. We love our garden! He also harvested two beautiful tomatoes, and oregano and dill, which we will dry.

I continue to work on my crocheted top. The back was difficult to design, I worked on a design for a day, decided I didn’t like it, tore it out, and would start on another design the next day. This process went on for weeks! Finally a design that worked was finished today. There are loose ends and a few alterations to yet to do. The shoulder straps were too long, I failed to take stretching into account, crochet work stretches. The way I constructed the straps meant they could not be torn out and reworked, so a method of shortening them after the fact must be devised.

We are going to take a week at the Rideau Camp this autumn, and I only have one book that I am looking forward to reading, it is about Gavin Maxwell, written by Dan Boothby, entitled Island of Dreams. The book was a gift from a friend, and I have been especially saving it to read while on vacation at the Rideau Camp. I anticipate that I will want to read more than one book though, so I am looking into borrowing books for my Kobo, from the Ontario Library Service. I like my Kobo, but every time I want to use it the instructions on how to load items into it has to be reviewed. It is wifi capable, but since no books are purchased, the cables work well for loading borrowed books, via Adobe Digital Editions.

Grasshopper DSCF1104 Grasshopper on our back step at Mist Cottage. We also saw one of these out at the Rideau Camp last weekend. I believe this is a Katydid.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Saturday, August 26, 2017, I’ve no idea what the weather report is for today, we have no internet connection, which I have come to rely on for such information. It was cold this morning, so much so that I sat on my clothes for a long time, until they were warm, before changing into them. The sun is out now, it is almost noon, and I am still wearing my sweater. It is a lovely day.

Quote

“But, if I must afflicted be, To suit some wise design,
Then man my soul with firm resolve, To bear and not repine!”

Robert Burns, Poems and Songs of Robert Burns, Prayer, Under The Pressure Of Violent Anguish

Adventures

Attila had a vacation day, so we enjoyed a three day weekend, this past weekend.

The drive out to the Rideau Camp on Friday night was uneventful, quite pleasant actually. It began to rain just as we carried the last of our luggage into Grace The Trailer. We enjoyed a quick supper, and as darkness fell we lit our LED lanterns to wash up and finish unpacking. I had stocked Grace The Trailer with a deck of cards, so a card game seemed like a good idea. The only game we could remember was Go Fish, it has been that long since we have played cards! The card deck turned out to be two Euchre decks. What ensued was a hilariously silly game of Go Fish, with one of us winning in either one or two hands. We were constantly laughing at ourselves.

Saturday dawned with sunny blue skies. An outing had been planned. We were set to attend a day at the Stewart Park Festival in Perth. A lunch was packed, and we set out for Perth. About a mile from the chosen parking area in Perth, all of Tanks warning lights suddenly lit up, and the engine sounded awful. Attila managed to get Tank into the Salvation Army parking lot, where he popped the hood, and tried to trouble shoot the problem, with no success. CAA was called, and we waited for about an hour and a half for a tow truck, which was worth the wait because the cab was big enough to tranport both of us back to the garage near home with Tank. We found a pleasant shady spot in the parking lot, and ate our packed lunch. The woman in the Salvation Army store was lovely, letting us use the washroom, we were very grateful.

It was a long drive back to the garage. We thoroughly enjoyed it! The driver was a young man, a millennial, who was also a farmer. He was interesting to talk with, and I mean talk with, he talked, we listened, he responded, we listened, we talked, he listened, he talked… and on it went. Conversations with people other than Attila are so rare in my life, exchanges where people listen, as well as talk. Before we knew it an hour and a half had flown by, and we were happily dropped off at the garage with Tank. One of the owners of the garage was there, but it was closed. He took the keys to Grace The Trailer, and allowed Attila to use the telephone to call a taxi to transport us the rest of the way home.

The taxi driver, a boomer, picked us up at the garage, and we had a very pleasant chat with him as he navigated the streets to our house.

What I enjoyed about both the tow truck driver, and the taxi driver, was that both were inclusive, interacting with Attila and with me. I have become very accustomed to spending time in situations where men speak only to Attila, rendering me an invisible mute beside him, where anything I say is ignored (not by Attila), usually not even acknowledged.

Our planned outing was a complete failure. Our discovered outing was a great deal of fun, full of pleasant interesting people.

After arriving at home, we showered, and returned to the Rideau Camp in our car.

Although I had already decided that I would not burn brush on the weekend, that is what I did on Saturday. There were more live branches to burn, lower branches on trees removed to open up the area, allow air to flow freely into the out of the camp area. There were whole dead trees to burn, and some small live trees that had to be removed because they would not grow properly, having lost their crowns. As darkness fell the fire still burned in the camp fire pit, and we sat up very late to watch the flames, then the embers, and finally the stars. We witnessed a magic show of fireflies as darkness fell. They flickered deep into the forest, high and low, all around us.

Sunday dawned hot, humid, and cloudy. Again a camp fire was lit and brush was collected and burned. While I tended the fire, Attila worked on removing a large stump from the area where Grace The Trailer will be parked. Stump removal by hand is a lot of work, he made a good start. As darkness fell, our plan to sit around the camp fire into the night was extinguished early by a heavy rain, with thunder and lightening. It stormed through the night, and one lightning strike was near enough to us that we could feel the earth shake under us.

Monday was a very hot, humid, cloudy day. Attila worked on his stump removal project, and I relaxed with a book for a while before going outside to putter around doing little jobs. It was a bad idea, my tackling any project on such a day! I became overheated, soaked two changes of clothing, and ended up moving all the items from the refrigerator to the cooler, turning the refrigerator off, stripping down to my underwear, and using a battery operated fan by the open door to cool myself. It worked. I also ate some salty peanuts, and drank about a litre of water. We decided to head home to Mist Cottage, where there is air conditioning.

We dropped in at the garage to see if Tank had been assessed, and were shocked to find that Tank was ready to go, and that there was no charge. Apparently a bit if grit had lodged in some kind of chain, requiring only a few seconds to dislodge. The fellow who owns this garage is amazing, truly amazing. We have taken our vehicles there ever since I discovered the business when the battery in Tank died, when I was spending the winter alone at Mist Cottage. We take either vehicle there for work, and return to pay whatever the charge is, we don’t even need to discuss what work will be done, we trust this fellow to only do what is necessary, and at a reasonable cost.

All weekend long we came into contact with interesting forthright people, all decent working people.

This short week is a week of appointments for me. I need new eyeglasses, my present pair fell apart twice over the weekend. Thankfully Attila was able to put them together for me in a rudimentary fashion, so I could still function. After looking at various options, Costco was chosen, I am giving them a try. A dental appointment is scheduled for today. As my Mom says, it takes up a lot of our time getting our parts fixed. Love my Mom!

The weather is hot and humid again today, and it looks as if this will continue for the next week or so. It is not my favourite weather, but summer does usually bring at least some of this to us. I stay in the air conditioned house, or vehicle, so that spending a few hours in the heat isn’t too taxing. I thought that losing a bit of weight, and getting my blood pressure under control would help me tolerate the humid heat more easily. Such is not the case, this summer I become quite fatigued and disoriented, if I spend too many hours in the hot humid outdoors.

My MacBook Air is getting long in the tooth, as technology does very quickly. It is a 2012 machine, and it still does everything I need it to do, but it is slowing down. I assume that is because increasingly complex web sites demands more and more memory, and increased demand on the CPU. The battery in the laptop is completely dead, if unplugged it instantly dies. This isn’t a problem at home, but it does mean the computer is no longer viable for travel, so I miss that. The cost to replace the battery is $329.00, and they “promised” to look for other problems… my guess is that they would find them. An low end Mac laptop replacement is looking like the most viable option, so I am beginning to think about it now. While I am thinking and waiting, I have backed up the MacBook Air, and will continue to do do frequently.

Of course for a little less money, I could own a new iPhone… not for me, very little that is interesting to me to do on an iPhone.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

21°C
Date: 7:00 AM EDT Wednesday 19 July 2017
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 20.9°C
Dew point: 19.1°C
Humidity: 89%
Wind: SW 13 km/h
Humidex: 28
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“True love brings up everything – you’re allowing a mirror to be held up to you daily.”
Jennifer Aniston

Canada Day Weekend

Our Canada Day long weekend was peaceful and rejuvenating. For us, a weekend spent in each other’s company, tucked away from the rest the of the world, watching the birds, the insects, the clouds floating in the sky, and the trees swaying in the breeze, is a perfect way to celebrate that we live in Canada.

On Friday evening Attila hooked Tank up with Iris the Trailer and we headed for the Rideau Camp. It is a lovely drive to the camp, we take back roads that are not heavily travelled, due to the low speed limit. Since we are in no particular hurry the low speed limits suit us just fine.

After we arrived Attila took some time to position the trailer, and it was odd that the battery light in Tank came on during this process, so Attila turned off the interior lights, so that as we were in and out of Tank over the weekend they would not turn on automatically each time the door opened.

We set up the trailer, and a kitchen canopy that we bought almost two decades ago for a camping trip when Terra was a teenager. We seldom get rid of things if they have a practical use. It took us a very long time to need the kitchen tent again. It is in pristine condition, set up very easily, and was placed over the picnic table. It smelled a bit mildewy when Attila set it up, but a day in the strong sun cured that, so that by the end of the weekend the smell had completely disappeared.

The Rideau Camp, all set up for the weekend. Attila’s strimmer does a wonderful job of keeping the weeds short, it almost looks like a lawn! Most of the greenery is white clover, which I planted in the early spring, just after we finished tearing out the hundreds of bramble plants. Attila and I still spend an hour or so on every visit, pulling out short bramble regrowth; eventually it will just give up and be gone, but not this year.
Rideau iris

On Friday afternoon the clouds rolled in, big black clouds, and thunder could be heard in the distance. Eventually the thunder passed us to the north, but the rain poured down. Luckily the kitchen tent protected our kitchen gear, and us, for the duration of the downpour, which didn’t last long. The sun came out again, only to be followed a few ours later by another big black cloud, which poured rain down on us a second time. It still wasn’t enough rain though, to refresh the dry forest. The rest of the weekend was sunny and warm.

On Saturday morning Attila and I went for a walk down to our shared waterfront. It was a disappointing experience. The water level was low, and the wind had washed quite a bit of organic material onto the shoreline, which was rotting and emitted a mildly unpleasant odour. The lake bottom was shallow and there were lots of plants growing, obscuring the sandy bottom. Although this isn’t wonderful for human recreation, it is wonderful for fish, and fish breeding. The dock had been repaired, and a new section added, which provided a nice place to sit at the waterfront. At some point we will take our chairs down to the lake to sit and watch the passing big boats that are travelling the Rideau Canal system. Whoever repaired the dock threw around four or five large plastic barrels, which littered the water and the shore. Obviously no one in particular is caring for this piece of real estate.

As we were walking back towards our camp from the waterfront, a couple with a medium sized black dog were out walking towards the waterfront.

As they approached us on the road the woman called out, “Don’t worry about the dog, he is friendly!”

Immediately the man called out, “Don’t worry I’ve got him on a leash.”

So we didn’t worry. As we drew nearer the dog began to growl, then began to lung and loudly bark at us. The man had tight control of the leash, and the dog was kept under control. In what universe would a dog like that be defined as friendly!

Attila and I chatted about the proliferation of dogs in the area, there seem to be a lot of barking, unfriendly dogs. Attila thinks it is because there are so many monster houses and expensive cottages near us, people keep guard dogs. There are some exceptions though. We have met the neighbours on either side of our property, and their dogs are friendly, very friendly.

However, dogs that are in a pack are extremely dangerous, even the gentlest, most loving pets, as they will revert to predator pack behaviour immediately. I learned this when I was teaching at an outdoor centre and one of our students was attacked by a pack of pet dogs, who came close to killing her, had she not escaped serious injury by climbing a tree. The dogs were all beloved pets, running loose and free in “God’s Country”, as the city people called it. I love dogs, but at the same time I respect who they are.

Our Rideau Camp is surrounded by monster houses (country estates) and waterfront cottages. The people we purchased it from intended to build a large country estate on the property. The couple in the expensive SUV that drove in one weekend to inquire about buying the property intended to build a country estate. The people who had an accepted offer on the property just before we bought it, had lost the deal because they couldn’t get financing to build a large country estate. Other former owners included: a fellow who flew in by float plane from the USA to stay in a “tin shack” on the land during his stay, we have found no evidence of a tin shack; owners who intended to build a cedar stack wall home; owners who installed a well; and owners who built the driveway. We suspect that the property was originally settled as part of a farm, and used as a pasture.

We know about the cedar stack wall home because the cedar logs were stacked on skids, then bulldozed into a huge pile on the property, probably when the driveway was put in. According to one long time resident in the area, nearby neighbours have been helping themselves to the logs for years and years, to use as firewood. We are finding logs embedded in piles of roots and earth, shoved aside when the driveway was built, or so we think. The logs are old, some rotted quite away. Yet when Attila removed some from the huge pile, and split them, we found that beneath a one inch layer of weathered wood lies sound, fresh looking cedar. What a terrible waste!

A front end loader pushed over dozens of smaller trees, and stacked them on the top of the huge pile of cedar logs. Attila spent our long weekend pulling down the dead trees, sectioning them, and piling them near the fire pit. I spent the long weekend burning the wood that Attila piled for me.

Before: The cedar log pile with the dead trees piled high on top. There is a sea of brambles in front of it, which is now white clover.
DSCF8022
After: The cedar log pile with the dead trees removed and burned. The pile is still taller than Attila, but not quite as intimidating as it was.
Rideau cedar log pile july

I have decided to see if I can figure out any practical used for the sound cedar logs, it seems such a shame to burn them. But it is unlikely I will discover any good use for them, and it is most likely that I will spend the rest of the summer burning them.

We were able to spend a fair amount of time just sitting in the shade, watching the clouds roll by, and the trees swaying in the wind. We observed a Hawk, a Blue Heron, a Scarlet Tanager, an unidentified tiny bird that flew like a small rocket across the clearing, several Crows, a Robin, and a Blue Jay. We heard Pileated Woodpeckers in the forest, and a Loon on the lake. I thought perhaps it was a bird that sounded like a Loon that we heard, but I have been unable to discover any birds that sound like Loons.

On our walk we observed many wild plants. Wild Daisies, Chicory, Red Clover, Mullein, Giant Hogweed, Wild Parsnip, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Purple Vetch, various grasses, and many plants that I cannot identify.

Comfrey growing by the side of the road, it has many medicinal uses.
Rideau Comfrey
We were amazed at the masses of wild daisies growing along the sides of the road, so very pretty.
Rideau daisy
I am suspicious that the plants with three leaves in the right of the photo are Poison Oak. I haven’t seen Poison Oak before, so I am not sure, but better safe than sorry.
Rideau poison oak

We had a wonderful weekend that was over all too soon. On Sunday morning, after a pancake and pineapple breakfast, we began to pack our gear to return home. Just after lunch Attila hooked Tank to Iris and off we went.

The weather was lovely, sunny with cotton candy clouds floating across the sky. The drive home might have been more enjoyable though, had it not been for the battery warning light, and the falling battery gauge. At first the gauge maintained its position, but when were about 40 km from home it began to fall. By the time we were entering our home town it had fallen drastically and all the warning lights on the dashboard had lit up. It was a tense drive through downtown, and finally, just as we turned off the main road into our neighbourhood, the engine began to falter. We chugged along the road, ever more slowly, until finally we turned the corner of our own street, at which point the engine died completely. We coasted down the street, coming to a stop just in front of our house.

As Tank came to standstill, Attila and I looked at each other and broke into riotous laughter. What are the odds of Tank making it all the way home and dying at just the right point so that we could coast to our own front door!

It was one lucky weekend!

This morning I called the garage, and Tank is in there now for repair. We think it is the alternator, but won’t know for sure until we hear from the mechanic. They kindly drove me home for the day, and we will pick up Tank tomorrow, when Attila after gets home from work.

So today started out busy, then it played out very quietly. They drove me home, it isn’t far. I have busied myself with laundry, sorting through the camping gear, paying bills and figuring out where to get the money to pay for Tank’s repair bill. It is all working out, with a little effort.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

27°C
Date: 11:00 AM EDT Monday 4 July 2016
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 21.3°C
Dewpoint: 17.4°C
Humidity: 78%
Wind: S 19 km/h
Humidex: 29

Quote

“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.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
1807 – 1882

Aging seems significantly different to me now than it did before I was middle aged. Until that first pinch of agism entered my universe, I thought very little about aging, and perceived it as feeling similar to youth, and just appearing outwardly more worn. In reality, looking different is the least of possible disadvantages of getting older. Since middle age I have known being older is not at all like being young, physically, mentally, or spiritually. Age added much more than it took away. It made me invisible, but only to the superficial and the shallow. It took some of my health, but gave me respect for my body as the vessel of my journey. It took away loved ones, which taught me to value every minute spent with those who remain. I like being old, and I hope to do it for a very long time.

Waiting for Warm Weather

Yesterday we needed to take Tank out for a drive, to keep the battery charged. The battery has been losing power when Tank is left unused for long periods of time. We have been using the car almost exclusively, since it uses far less fuel than Tank. This has worked well for us, because the car was here all day while Attila slept, so that it was always available to me. However, now the car will be away all day, and I will need to drive Tank if I want to venture away from home.

We decided on take Tank to a nearby city, where I would seek a haircut. It has been a while since the last haircut, and my hair was becoming quite unruly. Yesterday I had had enough! Visiting one of the in-and-out chain haircutting establishments is always a crap shoot, some cuts are good, some are not. I think I have found the secret to consistency though, it is to insist that my hair be cut very, very short. Twice this has resulted in acceptable cuts, albeit very very short.

The young woman who cut my hair was an unhappy person. She was pleasant enough to me, but there was a hangdog demeanour about her. I tried several times to chat with her while she cut my hair. My efforts were met with one word responses. I decided, upon paying the bill, to give her a 35% tip, which brought my bill to less than a third of the cost of my last up market salon hair cut. Her reaction was odd, upon seeing the tip she made eye contact for the first time since I entered the establishment. Her look was one of bewilderment. I’d like to think that little tip brightened her day a bit, but I will never know!

We visited Value Village and found the prices to be outrageous for used donated items. We can actually buy brand new items for less! We did not purchase anything at Value Village. We also visited the Habitat store, and noticed a similar trend there, high prices for well used items. The only thing we bought was a length of clothesline which was new and reasonably priced. We liked to go there to look for used and usable building materials, but their present stock did not include much in the way of raw building materials.

Today life on the day shift began. As Attila drove out of the driveway this morning my universe turned on its axis. Everything about being alive felt different this morning. Time itself altered, passing with a different tone, aroma, light, colour. And I am surprised by this. Life has gone from grey scale to glorious colour.

After a cold, cloudy, wet first weekend in decades, Monday morning has arrived cold and sunny. We are waiting for warm, sunny weather, which may arrive next weekend. Weekend, what a beautiful word.

I have plans for the day.

Today I called all the remaining doctors on the list for this area, none are taking new patients, and none are taking names for a waiting list. On the positive side, all of the people who answered the telephones were quite nice, and tried to be helpful despite the bad news they had to deliver. Later in the day I received a call from the clinic where I did manage to get on a waiting list last October. The wonderfully pleasant woman who I spoke with explained that they are trying to hire medical staff, but have not succeeded and are not taking new patients yet. Although I am very near the top of the waiting list, it will be at the very least two to three months before I could get an appointment, but it will probably be much longer. The truly horrific thing about the situation is that there are now 400 people behind me on the waiting list, 400 people in small town who cannot get access to family health care. There is something seriously wrong about that.

I have contacted the office of my former GP, and am trying to get his advice. This is tough because I keep getting the receptionist who repeatedly suggests I make an appointment to come in. I haven’t gotten past her yet, and I may not, but I keep trying. Hopefully the nurse will return my call and present my predicament to the doctor, as it seems I will not be talking directly to him at any point.

One thing was suggested to me, by one of the staff I talked to during my many calls, was to return to the emergency department and request a referral to a specialist for tests. This might work, but will require quite a commitment in time, as the emergency department wait times can be very long if you are not in the midst of an immediate medical emergency.

I intend to keep a record of my experience here in my journal. My story is just one of 400 in this little town. Two months ago there were only 300 people behind me on the waiting list, the number of people falling through the cracks is rapidly rising. I will resolve this for myself, and I hope to build bridges to solutions as I tackle the issue. There are good people aware of the situation, and they are doing everything in their power to resolve it. What is needed now is for people, with enough power to make important changes to the systemic issues, to step up to the plate; that would be the government and significant stakeholders in the health care system. Media involvement, while effective for some personal causes, seldom leads to systemic change, and usually diverts pressure towards quick fixes that offer good PR for those in the public eye.

Iris has two drawers, with very old and damaged drawer liners. Today the old liners were removed, and new liners applied to the drawer bottoms. The drawer liner material used was actually purchased and used in the Argosy Airstream trailer, many years ago. No wonder Mist Cottage is so crowded, we keep so many things that we might need someday; if we wait long enough we just might need all of it.

Next, it will be time to load the trailer. The first task is to research how to distribute the load weight in the trailer to optimize towing, there are a lot of sites offering advice on this subject. Next, a list of needed items needs to be drawn up, just the essentials to begin with. It has been over 20 years since the last camping trip, so this list will require a lot of thought. Once the check list is complete, the items need to be collected from storage and sorted according to weight, then placed strategically into Iris.

Attila arrived home after work, and reports that he is pleased with the job and the people. That is great news. The day job is a temporary one that we hope will eventually become permanent. In the meantime, we intend to enjoy this day shift experience to the maximum, while we have it!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

7°C
Date: 9:00 AM EDT Monday 16 May 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 6.8°C
Dewpoint: -4.9°C
Humidity: 43%
Wind: WNW 34 gust 44 km/h

Quote

“Almost all absurdity of conduct arises from the imitation of those whom we cannot resemble.”
Samuel Johnson
1709 – 1784

Ah, the wasted years of my youth, when Olive Oyl was my heroine!

New Day

I awoke thinking about Attila, and how his night in Tank went. He called shortly after I arose, and was as cheerful as ever. He said that he was warm enough, tried various configurations in positioning, finally settling on curling up on the back seat, and feels that it was a good night’s sleep, but that there are a few kinks to work out still. My relief was instant, hearing his voice, hearing about his night, what he would have for breakfast. All is well with my camping husband in the North.

There are so many things to do here at Mist Cottage, that it is hard to stay focused on just one! It is best to sit and think before beginning the day.

This morning, I sat in my easy chair, listening to classical piano music on my computer, watching the screen display my collection of art images, and I was struck with awe. Life is such a gift, the good, the bad, the boring, the exciting… all of it, except perhaps chronic pain, is a gift.

And love, what a gift that is. It isn’t always easy, it isn’t always happy, but it is the silver line that I have followed all my life.

It began for me with my Mother, who is fully human, a glorious person who gave much more than she ever got. She brought me into this world, she was my first home, she was my first love, we shared a body during my most vulnerable time, and when it was time, she gave me up to the world, and established my life in it. And through difficult circumstances she always did her very best to see me, and my siblings, right. It took me many years to come to terms with the circumstances of my youth, but through those years my love, admiration, and appreciation for my Mother never wavered. You are as beautiful to me now Mom, as you were when I first gazed up from your arms, into your beautiful face.

What my mother began became the theme of my entire life. I have loved such wonderful people. I adored my Grandparents, their lives, and their home, were the eye of the storm of my childhood. I love my brothers and sisters with a love and bond so deep that it is beyond words. We shared so much, saw each other at our worst, at our best, and we survived, each in our own way. I love my children as I love myself, find joy in their triumphs, pain in their suffering, and find myself staring at them in wonder, marvelling at their beauty in my eyes. I love my grandchildren with such joyful abandon, such joy as I did not know existed before I met them. I love my friends, the stars in my heaven, no two alike, all uniquely and marvellously their very own selves. They are life forces that run close to my sliver line. My first deep romantic love, for a singer/songwriter, came to me as a window opens on a sunny day, bringing warm breezes, bright colours, heavenly scents, and a view of the world that shone bright, and still does; he was my starting place, reflecting back to me parts of myself that had remained hidden until I met him. He passed away in 1996. And now, the heavens have granted me Attila. From the start, when we were “friends”, I knew that I wanted him in my life, and could not imagine a universe without him in it. We recognized one another, in the midst of the chaos that is the world, that was our lives.

When Reenie wrote in her very last blog entry “Love”, it touched my very soul. Reenie knew about the silver line, she lived unwaveringly along her own silver line.

Tipping my coffee mug, and saying to those who are following their own silver lines, “to love”!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Attila’s “Camp” in the North
6°C
Date: 6:00 AM EDT Monday 14 September 2015
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 5.5°C
Dewpoint: 5.5°C
Humidity: 100%
Wind: calm

Mist Cottage
13°C
Date: 6:00 AM EDT Monday 14 September 2015
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 13.2°C
Dewpoint: 11.6°C
Humidity: 90%
Wind: WNW 21 gust 32 km/h

Quote

“Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.”
Bertrand Russell
1872 – 1970

[I feel it is important to love as boldly and broadly as possible. We need to weave our star blankets strong, make them warm, wrap as many people into them as possible. Maggie]