Spectacularly Unspectacular

Easter weekend was very kind to us this year. We decided to stay home and work on the yard and house, because in a few short weeks we won’t be spending our weekends at home, we will be at the Rideau Camp.

On Friday, the day Attila had off work, he raked the entire yard, and trimmed a lot of the dead organic matter from last winter. I removed sheets of plastic that had wintered in bunched up balls under the back deck, hideous! One of them had been sprayed by a Tom Cat, so you can imagine the smell. It was bagged, and along with the yard waste and a large bag of garbage that had hung around all winter, it was loaded into Tank for a trip to the dump.

Friday we got word that Luna and Janus and Imp and Elf and Tink were going to make a flying visit to the area to see all of us before their flight to Amsterdam. They will be living in Amsterdam for three months, the whole family. This news inspired me to undertake spring cleaning. After all, two crawling babies and three active children need a clean space to cavort in. They all arrived late in the afternoon on Sunday, and stayed for an hour or so. Then they headed off to Terra’s house, which is very large, to spend the night.

It was a lovely visit. When Tink asked me to read her a story, it was the perfect opportunity to read to all my Grandbabies one of the books I bought with them in mind. The story we read together is called “The Night You Were Born”, by Nancy Tillman. I love this book because it celebrates every new life, not within the family context, but within the context of the universe, of being a living entity on planet earth. This book welcomes all new human life, not just those who are lucky enough to have a family to welcome them into the world, it is very inclusive. And so there I sat, reading those beautiful words to those bright young souls, that told them the story of how precious they are in the universe. Imp and Tink sat on my left, Elf sat on my right, little Sunny sat on my lap, and Sky listened from the other room, happily ensconced on his Grandpa’s lap. Elf and Tink listened with bright eyes, Imp sometimes gazed off into the distance, as she is known to be introspective at times, Sunny in her frilly dress was intent upon touching the pages, perhaps having a little taste, and Sky could be heard commenting in his own language as his Grandpa held him. How sweet is was when after reading this part of the story,

“So whenever you doubt just how special you are
and wonder who loves you, how much and how far,
listen for geese honking high in the sky.
(They’re singing a song to remember you by.)
Or notice the bears asleep at the zoo.
(It’s because they’ve been dancing all night for you!)
Or drift off to sleep to the sound of the wind.
(Listen closely… it’s whispering your name again!)

we whispered each child’s name. It felt like my brother, my Granny and Grandpa, and my Aunts, were crowded around us and silently whispering their love into those beautiful names.

Monday morning saw Attila off to work, and me driving Tank to visit Terra’s house, for a shared breakfast with my daughters and their families. I enjoyed listening to them talk amongst themselves, and enjoyed playing with the Grandbabies, all of them. The Grandbabies enjoyed an Easter Egg hunt out of doors, filling their Easter Baskets with the treats they found scattered and hidden all over the yard. The morning flew past, and before I knew it, it was time to say goodbye. We will not see Luna, Janus, Imp, Elf, and Tink for quite a while, today they catch their flight to Amsterdam, where they will live for the next three months before returning to Ontario. They are all very excited to be going on such an adventure. Terra and Lares and Sunny and Sky were preparing to attend an Easter Monday family get together at Lares’ uncle’s home.

Today was a day of comparative leisure. I baked Squash Muffins. I washed a load of laundry and hung it outside on the line to dry. I worked on my book. I worked on my crochet project, a cotton cover for my Obus seat. Attila arrived home and we enjoyed a dinner consisting of chicken, potatoes, carrots, and green and yellow beans. Because it is light later into the evening, Attila is out in the yard levelling a flower box that had settled crookedly over the winter. I have cleaned the kitchen, and now written this entry.

We have had a spectacularly unspectacular Easter break.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

10°C
Date: 6:00 PM EDT Tuesday 18 April 2017
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.9 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 10.1°C
Dew point: -3.9°C
Humidity: 37%
Wind: SSE 7 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“For never before in story or rhyme
(no even once upon a time)
has the world ever known a you, my friend,
and it never will, not ever again…”
from On The Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman

Christmas Celebrations

I decided to try discontinuing my high blood pressure medication altogether, after successfully reducing the dosage back to the original low dosage I had been taking. Within 24 hours my blood pressure had skyrocketed. So I decided that the medication was working to a limited and inadequate degree, and that I would be better off taking the original low dosage. I began taking the medication at bedtime, and in the morning my blood pressure was a little bit lower, but still higher than it needs to be. It is a work in progress.

My appointment at the walk-in clinic two weeks was fruitful. My blood pressure was borderline high when the doctor took it. He thought my nuclear heart test looked normal, but didn’t touch on much about it. I didn’t pursue it because I am more concerned about getting my blood pressure down, and stabilized. We discussed a few things, I brought my daily blood pressure readings to show him, and he decided I should see a blood pressure specialist. The appointment will be requested by his office, and they will call me to schedule the visit. I am relieved, and I am hoping that the specialist is someone I can work with!

In the meantime I continue with my low sodium, low sugar meal plans.

I did slip a little bit this past week and weekend though! Terra had Attila and I, and Luna and her family over for our Christmas celebration last Thursday night. It was the only time Luna could commit to travelling to Terra’s house. We had a lovely time with the five Grandbabies! Luna’s three seemed to like the books we got them Christmas, and they definitely liked the cash. Terra’s two are too young to be aware of gift giving, but they are old enough to love having all the family there and celebrating together. We have seven grandchildren now, five of them belong to my two daughters, and two of them belong to Attila’s daughter. We had a lovely chicken dinner, cooked by the very busy Terra, who even found time to decorate two Christmas trees! Attila and I said goodnight relatively early, as Attila had to be up at 5 a.m. the next morning to be off to work.

On Saturday we travelled to join in a celebration of the season with my Mom, which my Sister-The-Youngest-Girl held at her house. It was lovely! We had a delicious turkey dinner with all the trimmings and lots of scrumptious vegetables. My Mom made delicious muffins that were safe for me to eat, a real treat. It was great to see my Mom, Brother-The-Middle-Boy, both of my sisters and their partners, and one of my nieces and her fiancé.

My Mom made a quilt for my bed as a gift and I just love it! Last night I slept under it, so cozy and warm. It is red and white mostly, a Christmas theme, bright and cheery and beautiful and so precious. Mom also knitted me a second knee warmer for my arthritic knee, just in time, winter arrived with a flourish last night. My sisters gave us each a bowl, we use the large Corelle bowls instead of dinner plates for most of our meals, and we needed more to accommodate our “dishwasher lifestyle”. We even got to give away our 1961 Electrolux vacuum cleaner. My niece and her fiancé just bought their first house, and didn’t have a vacuum cleaner of their own. They are both engineers, and really gave the built to last machine a good looking over, enjoying the technology. They needed a vacuum cleaner, and we needed to move the Electrolux to new home, it worked for everyone.

We stayed overnight at my Sister-The-Youngest-Girl’s home, as did my Brother-The-Middle-Boy, and we had a lovely breakfast together before heading back home. My Brother-The-Middle-Boy lives along our route home, so we gave him a lift home. It was wonderful to see where he lives, he lives in downtown Toronto in a lovely building, which is very conveniently located so that almost anything he might need is within walking distance. After we waved goodbye to my brother, Attila took a wrong turn and we became lost. we spent about 40 minutes touring the streets of Toronto, before finding the 401 again, and continuing on our way home.

It was snowing when we started out on our journey home, and continued to snow. The roads were wet and visibility was good, with the exception of about a 50 km stretch of highway that was ice covered as sleet hammered the windshield of the car. We proceeded at a snails pace and made it to the other side of the weather, where the road became merely wet, and the sleet became snow once more.

It snowed all night here, and it was still snowing this morning. Attila arose earlier than usual this morning, leaving himself time to shovel out the driveway. By 8 a.m. the snow plow had gone by and left quite a pile of snow across the end of the driveway. At 9:00 a.m. I was out in the great outdoors with my trusty snow shovel. I started to clear the end of the driveway, and was delighted when our neighbour headed towards me with his snowblower. He cleared the end of the driveway with ease, leaving me with only a few small fiddly bits to complete. I shovelled the walk to the front door, and the deck at the front of the house, then decided I had better take a break. The snow was wet and heavy. A few hours later I headed back outside to use a broom to remove the snow from the top of Iris the trailer, and Tank. It was a good workout!

By the time Attila had arrived home from work, most of the areas where the snow had been cleared were completely bare and dry, it had been a mild day.

This afternoon I baked croutons, and this evening I made a batch of squash muffins, which are my pumpkin muffin recipe, but squash has been substituted for pumpkin. It feels pretty satisfying to eat a muffin and know you are getting almost a whole serving of vegetable!

This Christmas Attila wanted a real tree. I wanted an artificial tree, but agreed to a real tree for several reasons. The most important reason is that having a real tree means more to Attila than having an artificial tree means to me. Another reason is that the real tree will be picked up at the roadside for recycling, and will not need to be stored in this tiny house. And the last reason is that we hope to find an artificial tree on sale after Christmas, something within our budget.

We drove around town tonight, after we purchased our groceries for the week, looking for someplace to purchase a real Christmas tree. The NoFrills had none, Canadian Tire had none, Walmart had none… we were beginning to get worried as we were running out of places to look. Then we drove by the Metro grocery store, and they had beautiful trees for sale, a bit pricey, but we figured that if we wanted a tree we had better take what we could find. So after bringing our groceries home, Attila went back to the store for the tree.

The Christmas tree is sitting in our living room, and the smell of the pine is deliriously wonderful. We will let it sit quietly in its corner overnight, to allow gravity to bring the branches down to their normal position. Tomorrow night we will decorate the tree.

I love that I am going to share the living room with a sweet smelling tree for the next few weeks!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

2°C
Date: 8:32 AM EST Monday 12 December 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.5 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 2.2°C
Dew point: 1.2°C
Humidity: 93%
Wind: SSW 23 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Efficiency is intelligent laziness.”
Anonymous

December!

Here we are, December already! I have been living in Mist Cottage for about 12 weeks now; Attila has been living here for 10 weeks. We have come a long way with our purging and unpacking, and we still have a long way to go! We are in a constant state of flux, furniture and belongings moved from here to there constantly, as the space is too small to set things aside easily while working on a project.

Yesterday I donated two boxes of items, and a green garbage bag full of clothing, to a local charity. The items have been unused for the last 25 years, and the clothing no longer fits. While in the city I also had new tires installed on the car that Attila uses to commute, and had my printer cartridge refilled. While I was waiting for the printer cartridge, and the tires, I walked around Costco, for over an hour, and I managed not to buy anything. We call Costco the $500 Store. It felt good to get all of these errands accomplished, while Attila was home sleeping in preparation for the night shift.

It was fortuitous that the tires were replaced yesterday, because the roads were very slippery due to ice, on Attila’s commute home from work this morning. He was able to navigate the roads with ease and confidence, and arrived home safely.

We purchased beds with storage drawers beneath, and they are to arrive next week. We also purchased a wardrobe that was on sale at an unbelievably low price, as part of a Black Friday sale. It wasn’t the one I was dreaming of, but it will serve the purpose, even if it falls apart after a short time, as cheap furniture often does. When Attila has assembled it, we can relieve the congestion in the one closet in the house, and perhaps begin to wear some of our regular clothing.

Last weekend Luna, Janus, and the Grandbabies arrived at Terra’s big country house, for a family Christmas celebration. It was the only time all of us were able to be in the same place, at the same time, for the next few months. We had a grand time! Terra prepared an outstanding turkey dinner. I brought pumpkin pie squares, which were gobbled up completely, to my surprise. As well, I brought a batch of Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies, and those too were gobbled up quickly. Presents were not the focus of the event, but Attila and I could not resist wrapping up little surprises for everyone to open.

When we lived in the country house, we were able to burn garbage that had sensitive information on it. This cannot be done at Mist Cottage, so we have been accumulating quite a bit of material in our “burn bag”. Luckily, we brought the “burn bag” with us to Terra’s house, and Lares was out in the back with a large fire to burn errant branches. They heat with wood, and Lares, with the help of Attila, Janus, and Elf, was busy felling the last of the trees for firewood, sectioning them, splitting them, and stacking the wood in the wood shed. I took the opportunity to incinerate the contents of the “burn bag”, assisted by Imp, and Elf, and Tink. They couldn’t get close to the fire, so we made paper airplanes out of the paper items, which they then sent sailing into the fire. Great fun!

My Mom is experiencing a health issue. She is receiving the medical attention she needs, is as cheerful as ever, and it isn’t slowing her down much! Love from all of us Mom!

The day slipped by me today. I went for my walk, in spite of the cold and drizzle. The trick was not to wear my glasses, which blur my vision when raindrops cling to them, and fog over completely when I come in from the outdoors. They are reading glasses, and I don’t need the when I am out walking.

I baked bread, and a batch of Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies, as squares instead of individual cookies.

Tonight I have the problem of deciding whether to sample the homemade bread, or the cookies. I am trying very hard not to sample both!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

5:37 PM EST Tuesday 1 December 2015
Condition: Light Drizzle
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 13 km
Temperature: 7.1°C
Dewpoint: 6.1°C
Humidity: 93%
Wind: SE 28 km/h

Quote

“Years ago my mother said to me, ‘In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.’ For years I was smart. I recommend pleasant.”
Written by Mary Chase (1887 – 1973
Spoken by character Elwood P. Dowd (Jimmy Stewart) in “Harvey”, 1950

[I love this movie!]

Sunny October Day

Did you know that someone has invented “Mother-In-Law Day“. I did not know anything about it until I received a Happy Mother-In-Law day missive from Lares. What a surprise!

Terra stopped by today on her lunch break. She seems to be doing very well. She approves of how much unpacking and settling we have done. It is still amusing, that my daughter deems to approve of what I am doing, and choses to share that assessment with me. She does not approve of how much stuff we have, admonishing me for having too many belongings, and informing me that I do not need all of the stuff that I have. This too is still amusing. Attila and I will do as we please, she knows that.

The weather is lovely today, sunny and nippy. Attila took this opportunity to get out the extension ladder and prune the dead branches from the crabapple tree in the front yard. The seasonal yard waste pickup is this week, so we can bundle the branches, put the bundles out at the curb, and they will be taken away.

I am baking today, another fruit crisp. Yesterday I made peanut butter oatmeal cookies, and they are a big hit with Attila. He doesn’t eat a meal during the night, when he is on night shift, he does however have a few sweet things during his break, with his coffee. I love to bake, so this is working out rather well.

I like the night shift. I got a very good night’s sleep last night. I slept so well that I was still sleeping when Attila arrived home. He sleeps during the day, and it is very nice to have him here, tucked away in the bedroom, while I putter about the house.

Attila arose from his rest in the late afternoon, in plenty of time to mow the front and back lawns. After completing the back lawn he took a break, and came to grab me for a “sit” on the back porch.

It was a grand day for the end of October, and it was lovely out there, the sun shining, the light breeze blowing. The leaves are off our ash trees now, and the bare branches glittered with filaments of light, as the sun caught the hundreds of gangling spider webs woven through the branches. I am not a fan of spiders, but I have to admit, it was a beautiful sight. I haven’t noticed any increase in the number of spiders about the place, so perhaps this takes place every autumn, and we just have not been here to see it.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

8°C
Date: 4:00 PM EDT Monday 26 October 2015
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 103.3 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 8.4°C
Dewpoint: -0.6°C
Humidity: 53%
Wind: S 9 km/h

Quote

“The longer I live the more I see that I am never wrong about anything, and that all the pains I have so humbly taken to verify my notions have only wasted my time.”
George Bernard Shaw
1856 – 1950

Exactly! 🙂

Too Cold for Mosquitoes!

At 2 a.m. this morning Luna arose and wakened the Grandbabies. Right now, 6:27 a.m., they are all somewhere out over the Atlantic Ocean, destination Ireland.

Luna called last night to say a last brief goodbye, as she was getting ready to sleep, if she could. They are all very excited about their upcoming residence in Ireland. They will be back in late September, or early October. This is an annual migration for them now, winters in Canada, summers in Ireland. Janus is an international airline pilot, and this is one of the perks of his job.

Here at little house in the city, I await a message from Lares, telling me that Terra has come through her surgery successfully. It isn’t a big worry, but I will breath easier when I’ve heard she is OK. Terra is going through some health related issues right now, that are life changing, but not life threatening. She handles it well most of the time, but occasionally she tires of it all, and just needs us to be patient and loving. It is easy to love Terra, she has such a big heart.

On the domestic scene, I continue to purge and organize. The house is a complete tip! I have a pile of things to go to the Goodwill, to the dump, and to the restore, piled by the front door. There are mountains of items all over the place, still needing to be sorted.

I did manage to consolidate all the toys we have here. I am loath to get rid of them, even though the Grandbabies will be soon be past finding them interesting. Right now they are all gathered into a huge tote, which takes up a lot of space.

Today I am organizing the canning equipment, and possibly the basement. Attila partially dismantled a particle board closet down in the basement, and the job needs to be finished before we move a significant portion of our belongings to the little house in the city.

Yesterday the country house had another showing. We have had no feedback on that showing yet. The realtor accidentally locked the key he had in the house, when he was busy ensuring that Mist did not get out of the house. Luckily Attila was working nearby, and was over to the house in a flash to let the realtor, and potential buyers, into the house for a viewing.

The weather has turned cooler, I have adjusted the thermostat to heat the house when the interior temperature falls below 16C. So far the system has not turned itself on, and if we get sun every day, it probably won’t. The south facing windows here let in a lot of sun, which provides a good amount of heat. In the summer, when I don’t want the heat, I close the drapes against the sun. Right now I do want the heat, so the drapes are thrown wide open.

There is something wonderful and comforting about kitchen curtains billowing in the breeze! Yesterday the weather was perfect!
2015May20 breezycurtain

I will be watering the garden every other day for the next week, as no rain is predicted. Today I would like to spray a long sleeved shirt and a pair of work trousers with the mosquito repelling mixture. It is still quite windy though, so perhaps this afternoon the wind will die down and I can get the job done. I must do it outside, and use a mask. The chemical bonds with the cloth fibres as it dries, and after that it is inert, resisting repeated washings.

This morning it is a mere 6C out there. I donned all my gear to protect myself from the mosquitoes, as I prepared to head outside and water the tomatoes and the basil. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was too cold for the mosquitoes!

Buddies! Our first Iris bloom of the season, with an unwelcome buddy by its side, the dandelion bud!
2015May20 IrisDandelion

Worldly Distractions

Weather

6°C
Date: 7:20 AM EDT Wednesday 20 May 2015
Condition: Light Rainshower [nope, no rain!]
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 6.2°C
Dewpoint: 3.2°C
Humidity: 81%
Wind: NW 21 gust 34 km/h

Quote

“Seek simplicity, and distrust it.”
Alfred North Whitehead
1861 – 1947