Music

This morning I’ve decided to resume muffin baking. To that end a tub of frozen pureed squash has been fetched from the freezer in the basement, and is thawing on the kitchen counter.

I love live music. This is something I discovered in my thirties, after my first marriage ended, and my own likes and dislikes were allowed to bloom. Living in downtown Toronto, I was able to enjoy live music everywhere I went, bars, cafes, walking down the street, open stages, musical get togethers with musical friends, and in many more ways. At that time I wrote a lot of poetry, and read my work at open stages, and sometimes in bars (where I found a surprisingly appreciative audience, if I got on stage before the serious drinking started). All that was a lifetime ago, and since then there has been no other social activity that has held the same appeal.

Attila and I have decided that we will explore music venues within driving distance of Mist Cottage. Last night we drove for about 40 minutes to listen to a band at a bar, and enjoyed ourselves immensely. The band was friendly, the staff at the bar were friendly, the other patrons were friendly, no one really cared who we were, they were just happy to have us there… it was a social-engineer-free zone. We will be exploring other venues in the weeks to come, and in the years to come. Who knows, I might start writing again, and do a reading here and there, or maybe not, it depends on how I feel at any given moment.

Up until last night every evening musical event Attila and I have attended, in the last fifteen years or so, has been “stiff”, with the performers feeling too special, too focused on building a “fan” base, to genuinely connect with the people in the audience, the hosting individuals feeling too excited about their own importance to be genuinely present to anyone but the performers they are so enamoured with. This kind of atmosphere is not appealing to me, or to Attila. No performer is so special that being genuine with people is beneath their dignity. The most talented people are usually “over themselves” very early on in the game. Part of the magic of creativity is in its openness, absent in the performer/adoring-fan binary cage.

It is very cold today! I was only out of doors for a short time. Every year a Christmas card arrives in our mailbox, addressed to our neighbour at our address. Every year I bundle up, walk over the neighbour’s house, and pop it into their mailbox. Today was delivery day.

This isn’t the jolliest Christmas I’ve ever experienced. Without realizing it, I’ve been listening to canned playlists of Christmas music, instead of my cherished collection of Christmas music on CDs. Why? I find I don’t want to associate the the disoriented feelings I have this year with the music I love. I want to listen to that music in future years and enjoy it without triggering the sad feelings I have this year. If the universe allows, these sad feelings will fade, and their existence used as a tool, but not revisited as part of Christmas memories. One pass through these feelings will be enough. There are lots of good feelings floating around at Mist Cottage this Christmas, making good will and hope the order of every day. That in itself is a wonderful thing.

In the colder weather Mist Cottage switches automatically from heating with the air source heat pump to the oil furnace. When that happens the air dries out, everything dries out, and the humidity in the house plummets. Today soaked washcloths are draped in front of every heat register, where they dry in less an hour, at which time they are carted over the sink, soaked again, and placed back in front of the registers. The humidity level is being maintained in this way, but no gains are being made, it is holding steady at 28%.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-20°C
Date: 7:00 AM EST Thursday 14 December 2017
Condition: Mainly Clear
Pressure: 100.8 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -20.1°C
Dew point: -23.3°C
Humidity: 76%
Wind: NNW 10 km/h
Wind Chill: -27
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.”
Helen Keller
1880 – 1968

Cold Snap

It is 6:30 a.m., I’ve been up and about for several hours. Attila left for work half an hour ago. It is a lovely time of day, at this time of year. The coloured lights on the Christmas Tree cast twinkling colour on the tinsel, as the forced air heating sets the airwaves in motion on either side of the room. My old hand made lamp casts a soft light from the far corner. It is warm inside these walls, and very cold just a few feet away, beyond the border of shelter.

The light is beginning to creep into the sky. My coffee cup sits empty beside me. Soon it will be time to rise from this comfortable chair, to prepare breakfast, and then to begin the day’s activities. I linger in the soft light, just a little while longer.

Attila and I are continuing to “try”, a complex shared activity that seems to be progressing slowly but surely (I think!).

Here I am writing again as the day begins to close. It is very cold outside, but Mist Cottage is warm and cozy, thanks to our most marvellous thermostat. My day passed quietly, crochet hook in hand, sitting in the warm sun, comfortable in my easy chair. Yesterday shovelling snow was my exercise for the day, today it was the elliptical machine for thirty minutes. I have slowly worked my way up to a half an hour on the machine, having started at fifteen minutes. So far it is very easy on my arthritic knees.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-13°C
Date: 6:00 AM EST Wednesday 13 December 2017
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 100.1 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -12.6°C
Dew point: -16.9°C
Humidity: 71%
Wind: NW 21 km/h
Wind Chill: -21
Visibility: 19 km

Quote

“Every individual has a place to fill in the world and is important in some respect whether he chooses to be so or not.”
Nathaniel Hawthorne
1804 – 1864

Blowing Snow

There are theories about chaos, official theories, well thought out theories, exploitable theories. But chaos as I know it on a first-name-basis, is not subject to any theory. Of course, I try, I really try, to fit it into some kind of a manageable box, where I can view it from the outside, comfortably. And sometimes I actually achieve containment, but only briefly, it is temporary.

Awareness brings more questions than it does answers.

I am reminded, constantly, that we humans are a mystery, as often to ourselves as to others.

The world was white when I got up this morning at 5:00 a.m. Winter has arrived here at Mist Cottage, our first snow. When Attila left for work, the tire tracks left in his wake were deep. The snow plow passed by at 7:45 a.m. I wish now I had asked Attila where the snow shovel was stored in the chaos of the garage, before he left for work this morning. I didn’t think of it! He would have grabbed it for me and set it where I could reach it.

Just after I wrote the above paragraph, about the snow, I heard loud noises outside the house. There was our neighbour with his snowblower, clearing out the end of our driveway, and a path almost to the door! This is the fellow that wanted people in the neighbourhood to show up at the town Council meetings to protest the rental unit development proposals, for a private road to go in at the end of our cramped dead-end street. We showed up at every pertinent meeting to show support, because we value the community spirit on this street. The community lost, the developer and mayor (stated conflict of interest) won, approval was given, environmental protections were altered with approved rezoning. I think the community spirit on our street might survive the new development, even though 80 additional vehicles squeezing up and down the narrow street will make it very congested.

After the driveway was cleared, I bundled up and went out to the garage to look for the snow shovel. There it was, on the other side of mountains of loose stuff that was stacked high. Determined, I waded through and over the pile, careful to find firm footing on the floor, which I could feel but could not see. I managed to grab a corner of the shovel, reaching to the point where I was almost lying down, and drag it across the mountain of stuff, then throw it over the mountain of stuff to where I could pick it up, from the path cleared to the door. Then it was time to extricate myself from the mountain of stuff, which was accomplished with huffing and puffing. The shovel was then used to clear the snow immediately in front of the door, and around the mailbox, so that the mailperson could get to it without any issues.

The roads were awful, icy, slushy, and slippery. The snow continued to fall. Tank lumbered slowly through all this, paying no attention at all to the impatient drivers behind her, who wanted to drive faster than the speed limit in these conditions. They have Tank to thank for their safe passage through town!

After arriving home from the Post Office, mission accomplished, Tank was parked at the end of the driveway, which had been cleared by the neighbour. The snow shovel was fetched from the garage and within a half an hour almost all of the rest of the snow was cleared, from around where Tank had been parked, and around Iris the trailer.

Not an altogether unpleasant experience getting my chore done this morning, thanks to our neighbour’s good will, and his snow blower.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-7°C
Date: 7:00 AM EST Tuesday 12 December 2017
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 100.1 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -7.1°C
Dew point: -8.9°C
Humidity: 87%
Wind:
NE 21 km/h
Wind Chill: -14
Visibility: 2 km

Quote

“You’re dealing with the demon of external validation. You can’t beat external validation. You want to know why? Because it feels sooo good.”
Northern Exposure, Gran Prix, 1994

Vegetable Soup

Good news arrived in my inbox this morning. A few years ago I was invited to participate in an international working group to develop a set of standards in health care. We were all volunteers, lending our time to a very worthwhile endeavour. It was interesting, and it was challenging. I am co-author, with the rest of the team, of an article that has just been accepted for publication in an academic journal. This will probably be my very last academic publication, and it is one that I was very glad to have been involved with.

Here it is, December 11th, and there is virtually no snow! We are very glad of this! We know there is over a foot of snow on the ground where we used to live, at the country house. We are both very happy to be here at Mist Cottage, where the weather seems almost tropical by comparison to our former home in the bush.

I started the second crochet blanket last week, before our travels. This allowed me to work on the blanket as we travelled in the car. What a difference it makes to the whole experience, for me and for Attila. My eyes are busy with my project, I don’t notice the traffic on the highway, the transport trucks that weave out of their lanes as we pass them, the distracted drivers who also veer onto the shoulder and into the other lanes, as the drivers talk on their cell phones, smoke cigarettes, or struggle with junk food packaging. I don’t see it, when I am so delightfully occupied with my crochet hook. I don’t see it, so I don’t react to it. Attila does see it, and he navigates us through the fray with diligence.

Attila and I have very different driving styles. I tend to react with more immediacy to things I perceive on the road, and Attila has a more “wait and see” approach. Both are very effective, and very different. This means that when there is something going on in the traffic, while Attila is watching and waiting to see, I am reacting, subtly reacting. Attila, attuned to my presence, is aware of my reaction, no matter how subtle it is, and this distracts him from his own way of dealing with the developing situation, which is not desirable. What I don’t see, I don’t react to, so reading, and more recently crocheting, are important activities for me to involve myself in when we are travelling.

I made a Vegetable Soup today, intending it for my midday meals. It simmered in a heavy bottomed stock pot all day, and by the time Attila arrived home the mouthwatering aroma filled the house. So we had the soup for dinner, with plenty left over for small meals for the rest of the week.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-6°C
Date: 7:00 PM EST Monday 11 December 2017
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 101.4 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -5.9°C
Dew point: -11.7°C
Humidity: 63%
Wind: ENE 9 km/h
Wind Chill: -10

Quote

“Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it.”
J. K. Rowling

Software Updates… phooey!

Teri has just brought to my attention that my last three journal entries did not send out the notification email messages! I had updated the blogging software, which altered the settings behind my back! I am working on getting that fixed, but I thought I’d let you know about the entries you might have missed!

A New Grandbaby On The Way

Fractured Health Care Delivery

Sweet

Hopefully I will have a handle on this before the next entry is posted!