Tail Feathers

Today the sun is shining, the thermometer says it is above freezing, the wind is blustering, and the snow is melting.

Today is Family Day, a statutory holiday here in Ontario, Canada. I am celebrating by sitting in the sunshine and counting my blessings. Attila is working today, he has decided to work on statutory holidays.

I had planned on attending a Tai Chi class this morning, but I was not diligent in my planning. The class began at 9:00 a.m., and I assumed it began at 10:00 a.m., I know not why. I decided to check the schedule as I was ready to walk out the door at 9:00 a.m., to drive to the class. I had my snack in my backpack, my water bottle was filled, I was ready! But alas, I was too late. I could go to an evening class, or perhaps to another morning class later in the week. Luckily I have options.

I am keeping busy. This morning I put in an online order, for dish soap, and some other items that are impossible to find locally at a reasonable price. We use a dish soap with no additives, not dish detergent. The dishwashing liquid in the grocery store often contains my allergen, which is a gratuitous use of an allergen, in my opinion, but that’s the profit oriented mind set for you. So I order Canadian made dish soap in bulk, online. I don’t mind paying a little more to buy items locally, but twice the price is ridiculous, and I am in no position to give away that much of my income, just to support local business people who are far more affluent that I am.

The people who bought the house next door are a young man and a young woman. I met them a few weeks ago when I was out of doors, and their puppy dog showed a keen interest in me. They seem very friendly. Apparently their possession of the house is contingent on them doing significant repairs. The last time I was in the house it looked fine, it is much newer than our house, and quite well built. But the couple with the two young boys that lived there, and the brother in the basement, had a peculiar attitude towards “renovating”, which it now turns out was destruction, and did not involve any putting back together. I didn’t realize just how much damage was done in the house until yesterday, when I looked out my window, and into their small bedroom window at our side of their house. All of the drywall is gone on the main floor of the house, I could see right through the studs and out the window on the other side of their house, nothing there but bare studs now. That is a major renovation! They seem very keen, as they are there working on the house most days.

The work on the construction site at the end of the street has slowed for the moment. They have decimated the trees on approximately half of the land they plan on clearing. With the milder weather, and the recent rain, the ground is quite wet. Since they are clearing a low lying area that was environmentally protected, and is no more thanks to the town council, the large machinery would sink deep into the mud. I assume they will be back at it as soon as the ground begins to dry out.

The web site I was developing is now complete, and it is up and running on the internet. A few reconfigurations are needed here and there, before the project can be considered to have come to an end. I tried hosting with gandi.net this time around, and I found their developer interface relatively difficult to use, compared to the two or three other hosting companies I have dealt with. From the perspective of the web site owner though, it will make no difference, it just made my end of the project a lot harder.

The crochet blanket continues to get longer. I like to do a few rows a day, the repetition over a long period of time allows for a solid foundation of body memory when it comes to the making stitches, and handling yarn tension. The project is getting too bulky to take with me here and there, to work on while I “wait” for various appointments, or sit as a passenger in the car.

The weather is very interesting. It was warm enough through the night last night, that the air source heat pump heated the house. This is a welcome eventuality, as the extreme cold weather we experienced earlier this winter depleted our fuel oil supply, we are down to 1/4 of a tank, which was where we usually found it at the beginning of April.

I notice that I am still writing we, and not I. I suppose that is because I am living here, Attila is living here, we own the house together, so a lot of the domestic functioning is still we. It is a different we though, than it used to be. Language is seldom a straightforward affair. I have to keep reminding myself of this fundamental change, because it would not serve me well to slip into a state of comfortable denial, allowing myself to feel that things have not changed.

I want to be light hearted, but it isn’t in me right now. Every time I try to lift off, my bottom scuds along the runway, sparks fly, and I come to a jolting halt, tail feathers smouldering from the friction. Up again! Try again!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

2°C
Date: 10:00 AM EST Monday 19 February 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 2.2°C
Dew point: -2.4°C
Humidity: 72%
Wind: S 28 gust 41 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“My friend is one… who takes me for what I am.”
Henry David Thoreau
1817 – 1862

My Favourite Martian

It was a very busy week! The last of my “run about” activities was accomplished today, an appointment at the bank. Next week will be very busy as well, more banking to take care of, the insulation installation will take place, and I’ll be attending Tai Chi class and meditation classes as well.

While using the elliptical machine, it works well to watch videos on the computer. The Amazon Prime account comes with access to limited programming, and one of the programs currently available are reruns of My Favorite Martian (1964). I have begun to watch an episode each time I spend time on the machine. I enjoy this sitcom, even though it is packed with isms that were acceptable at the time that it was produced. The Martian perspective on life on earth just made so much sense!

In episode three, Tim is making Uncle Martin a cup of tea. The kettle on his range is exactly the same as the one here at Mist Cottage. A good design that has lasted over 50 years!

The weather was lovely today, billowing clouds floating across the sky, lovely sunshine, and melting snow. I don’t really know where the day went. It passed pleasantly enough as I worked on the web site design, and enjoyed a few hours crocheting my afghan/blanket. I think I napped with that warm blanket in my lap, but am not entirely sure about that!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-4°C
Date: 9:00 PM EST Friday 16 February 2018
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.2 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -4.3°C
Dew point: -13.0°C
Humidity: 51%
Wind: W 10 km/h
Wind Chill: -9
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“The bird of paradise alights only upon the hand that does not grasp.”
John Berry

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

Two Steps Forward…

They do say “two steps forward, one step back”, and that seems about right.

Yesterday, Sunday, I attended another group in the city that piqued my interest. It did not work out well, and the result is that I have lost most of the internal grounding I accomplished with the women’s group, but not all. The group I attended, although it advertised to accept all sorts, in reality had some pressures that I am not able to cope with at this point in my grieving process. The people were lovely, all of them, but the dynamic of the group brought unwanted emotions to the fore, and my emotions are too intense, powerful, and painful right now to cope with in a room full of strangers. I cried, and that felt so very discouraging and humiliating. I will try again in the spring I think, or whenever I have worked though my present crisis, to a point where I have a firmer sense of my new self, to the point where I can handle the group pressures. It was too soon for this particular group.

I am feeling my loss afresh, last night and today. Part of the process I think, and I have to go through it. Every step is important, whether it feels good or not.

Today I am back on the internet, searching for more activities and groups.

I am working on my genealogy book today, a software update became available, making creating the book a lot easier. Also, on the roster for today, I am spending a lot of time working on the website update, which is really a complete redesign. The crochet blanket is coming along slowly, and is a comfort to me, knowing the project is always there at my side, the familiar stitch allowing me to work with my hands without any mental effort.

The weekend was quiet, without much discussion, the holding pattern is taking hold I suspect. Attila and I shopped for groceries, ate some meals together, watched a bit of Netflix together, and had little contact other than that. A friendly manner prevailed. Attila did manage to get some old speakers, that I had been using with the previous iMac, working with his iPad, allowing him a much better listening experience than the speaker on the iPad. The speakers had been sitting in the living room, no longer needed and unused, so that I am very glad they are now in use, and out of the living room. A step forward in the creation of his studio.

So another week begins, who knows what it will hold for me.

Today I am staying at home, there are freezing rain warnings for today and tonight, and it is not a good time to be out and about. I slept for four hours last night, from 10 p.m. until 2:13 a.m., then the pain woke me up and got me out of bed. I lay down again in the morning, after Attila left for work, and slept for an hour and a bit. I will continue with this pattern for the foreseeable future, getting as much sleep as I can at night, then taking an extended nap in the mornings whenever possible. I hope, in this way, to avoid taking medications. I have stopped taking melatonin, as it makes no difference at all. Eventually I hope the present pattern morphs into a good night’s sleep, so that I can omit the morning nap. It is a plan, and like all of my plans, it may or may not work, but needs to be given a chance.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

FREEZING RAIN WARNING IN EFFECT
-3°C
Date: 10:00 AM EST Monday 22 January 2018
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -2.8°C
Dew point: -5.8°C
Humidity: 80%
Wind: NE 26 km/h
Wind Chill: -10
Visibility: 19 km

Quote

“That’s the key to having it all: stop expecting it to look like what you thought it was going to look like.”
Cindy Chupack

The Blustery Day

The wind is getting up, it has been intensifying as the morning as the day has gone on. It roars, and rattles the window, which has never rattled before. Why now I wonder?

I set off on my daily walk this morning in full dress. I wore a toque, a parka and gloves. I was comfortable. The wind was strong enough to push me along when it was behind me, and shove at me when it was coming at me. I didn’t mind though, because it was lovely to be outside! The grass is beginning to green. There are buds on some of the trees. The snow is gone!

The trees were waving madly at the roaring wind, pick me, pick me! Ever mindful of falling branches, I walked on the wrong side of the road to avoid passing under dead branches. Of course, even live branches blow down on days as windy as this one, but dead ones are more likely to succumb to gravity in high wind.

I don’t think they teach children how to walk along the roadsides anymore. I see so many joggers and walkers under 40, tooling along with the traffic at their back. That is such a dangerous practise! We walked along high speed highways to school when I was a kid, and we learned this poem when we first went to primary school: “Single file, Indian style, facing traffic, all the while”. It is a simple concept, walking or running or cycling towards oncoming traffic so you can see what is going on with those fast moving behemoths that could kill you instantly. To me it seems a no brainer, but to over 80% of the people I see out on the roads walking, running, or cycling, don’t seem to understand the concept. I just can’t believe they are as suicidal as they appear to me to be.

This particular issue has personal importance to me, as my eleven year old cousin was riding a bicycle along the highway, traffic at his back, when he veered slightly, and was hit and killed by a passing car. It was a tragic accident, scarring his parents, his siblings, his relatives, and the poor young woman who had the misfortune to be driving by when he veered out into the road. Had he been facing traffic he would have known that a vehicle was approaching, and might have moved out of the way.

I have been sequestered at the kitchen table for days and days. Google, in their wisdom, decided that web sites must be designed for mobiles, to be picked up by the search engine. Good grief!!! Two of my sites fell below that standard. Not this one of course, it was updated this past winter. But the other two were a much, much bigger job! They were developed in html, and would not easily adapt to mobile viewing. There was nothing for it but to redesign them from the ground up. That was time consuming enough, BUT the real challenge was the more than 400 pages in each site that had to be manually recreated for the mobile ready site, and then all the original pages had to be recorded and redirected to the new mobile pages.

The deadline is tomorrow. I did despair that I would ever get those two sites ready in time. For the last three or four nights I have dreamt about php code, server redirects, and file structures. At about 3:15 p.m. this afternoon, I dotted the last i, and crossed the last t, so to speak, and the second site “went live” with a little glitch and hitch to fix here and there.

I checked to see if google was picking up the redirects, and yes, success, google automatically takes visitors to the new pages!

I am exhausted! I am also feeling very satisfied with myself. I shouldn’t really feel this way, because I left this to the last minute. Ages ago google let everyone know this was coming, I was oblivious. Procrastination seldom pays off for me! I got it done in time!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Little House in the City
10°C
Date: 3:00 PM EDT Monday 20 April 2015
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.1 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 10.2°C
Dewpoint: 7.6°C
Humidity:84%
Wind: SE 19 gust 45 km/h

Country House
6°C
Date: 6:46 AM EDT Monday 20 April 2015
Condition: Rain
Pressure: 100.0 kPa
Visibility: 5 km
Temperature: 6.1°C
Dewpoint: 5.3°C
Humidity: 94%
Wind: ESE 48 gust 71 km/h

Quote

“I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much.”
Mother Teresa
1910 – 1997