Last Day of 2018

“Happy New Year (Midnight Picnic)” by Inge Löök (b.1951 Finland)

They call it New Year’s Eve. It is so wonderful to share it with you.

Well, what a day. Reviewing the past 365 days has been a journey, it was a year of extremes. One year ago today I was experiencing one of the worst days of my life. 2017 ended and 2018 began with Attila telling me he no longer wanted to be married to me, or to live with me; that he didn’t want to think about me. Now, one year later, he tells me he wants to be married to me, and that he loves me, and that he loves our home. 2018 was a roller coaster of a year. Life is not the same for me now, now what it was. And yet I can say that some of the change has been welcome. It is a new relationship, this relationship with Attila. It is untested, familiar yet not familiar. I am skeptically optimistic.

So I am saying goodbye to 2018 with few regrets. It was a tough year.

Perhaps 2019 will be a kinder, gentler year for me. It certainly looks hopeful.

The world around Mist Cottage seems to have descended into madness. And yet good people hold strong, persevere, and hopefully, in the fullness of time, they will prevail. There is historic precedence for this.

All I know for sure is that I live in a little house, in a peaceful area of the world, with a man to whom I am married. I have enough to eat, I am warm in the winter, and comfortably cool in the summer. I have a comfortable bed to sleep in, a comfortable chair to sit in, clean water to drink, to cook with, and to bath with. I have known great love, suffered deep despair, felt the touch of the universe (some might say God), accepted the insignificance of myself, and the miracle that I am. There is much to be thankful for.

On this night on the edge of the old year, I listen to the rain rat-a-tatting on the metal roof, the wind battering the windows, and I am caught, something tugs at me. This something pulls me towards the kindnesses that have been gifted to me, the wonderful people with kind and compassionate hearts, who have shared parts of their lives with me, a sentence, a conversation, an afternoon, a small gesture, an embrace… I wonder if the universe takes this energy, that swirls around me, this something called affection and respect, gently into their lives. And then I realize that it is not my destiny to know where affection and kindness land, the universe will decide where it is needed most.

Worldly

Weather

WIND WARNING
2°C
Date: 8:00 PM EST Monday 31 December 2018
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 101.0 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 2.4°C
Dew point: 2.3°C
Humidity: 99%
Wind: E 12 km/h

Quote

“Love is the voice under all silences, the hope which has no opposite in fear; the strength so strong mere force is feebleness: the truth more first than sun, more last than star.”
E.E. Cummings
1894-1962

Thank you Patrick.


Blogmas Day 25: Merry Christmas!

Christmas morning is always an early morning for me. The early morning reverie is my time to remember loved ones who shared Christmases past, and to mourn the loss of innocence that continues to exist in the world. I often shed a few tears. I don’t share this time with anyone, but sit in the silent hours of early morning darkness, gazing at the gaily lit tree, honouring what was and is good.

Eventually daylight creeps into the room, heralding the morning. In the present tense I feel thankfulness for having a cozy home, good food, and someone to share it with.

Attila and I exchanged gifts, listening to Carols, our favourite is Pavarotti. Our gifts to each other are either food, or practical items. Attila got loppers from me, and I received canning and baking equipment from him. We will enjoy using our gifts!

We have spoken to Attila’s Mom this morning, she is spending Christmas morning on her own, with no plans, and I think she is feeling a little lonely. We had a nice chat. We live in different countries, and the distance is too far for visiting. Thank goodness for technology. Attila’s brother and his family live within a few blocks of his Mom; I feel a bit of disgust for a son who would leave his widowed mother sitting alone on Christmas Day.

I have been emailing and messaging my Mom and sisters this morning, another triumph of technological connections. All is well in their world.

We enjoyed a lovely breakfast here this morning. I seldom eat eggs, as they are high in cholesterol. I love eggs. So my special Christmas Breakfast was fried eggs on toast with mayonnaise, a sprinkling of black pepper, and a glass of cranberry juice. Attila had sausage and gravy with toast, and a glass of mango juice.

I have been eyeing the chocolate that Attila gave me for Christmas, but have been able to resist so far. He found Chocolate Drops for me, knowing that my Mom put them in my Christmas Stocking when I was a kid. Just one of those special little things.

Attila received an imported jar of canned sausages from me, and I believe those will slowly disappear over the next few weeks, as he conducts his midnight raids on the refrigerator. Most nights Attila arises at some point to eat, hunger wakes him up. He is a regular PAC-Man when it comes to food.

Christmas Day will pass quietly and peacefully here at Mist Cottage.

Peace and love and joy from my house to yours!

Worldly

Weather

-10°C
Date: 10:00 AM EST Tuesday 25 December 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -10.2°C
Dew point: -13.6°C
Humidity: 76%
Wind: NNE 8 km/h
Wind Chill: -15
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“We only know of one duty, and that is to love.”
Albert Camus
1913 – 1960


Blogmas Day 24: Plenty

Today is a day of plenty.

My tummy bug seems to be on the mend, but I am being cautious about overeating, or overindulging in Christmas treats. So far, so good!

Attila is wrapping gifts for the grands, who we hope to see them sometime after Christmas. Attila is wrapping a gift for me. My gift for Attila is waiting to be wrapped. My Mom sent along a gift for me, and it sits under the tree. Although gift giving is important to us, it isn’t the main event as far as Christmas is concerned, we focus on food, and light in this, the darkest time of year.

I, in the meantime, have been busy baking goodies for my daughters, using the last of the Mincemeat we made when we lived in the country house. They like my homemade Mincemeat, so every Christmas I bake Mincemeat Squares for them to take home with them, and enjoy when the mood strikes. Next year they will be getting my Green Tomato Mincemeat, that I made this last autumn.

mincemeat squares
Two trays of Mincemeat Squares for Luna And Terra, and a wee one in the middle for us.

Early this morning I started to prepare a Christmas Pudding. I love Fruitcake and Christmas Pudding. I didn’t make Fruitcake this year, it needed to be started in September or October, when I was busily and happily canning. This year’s pudding will be steamed in the crock-pot for eight hours, and will be ready just in time for an after dinner treat tonight. I serve it with a Brown Sugar Sauce, which is homemade, of course. My Mom served Christmas pudding for dessert on Christmas Day, such a fond memory, one that I carry in my heart, the pudding is special beyond its delicious taste.

The Christmas Pudding, a modern version of “singing in the copper”,

We have plenty of goodies. Attila made Chocolate Chip Cookies on Saturday. He made Christmas Hermits on Sunday. I have to keep myself from overindulging.

I will be cooking Christmas Eve dinner, a roast of pork in the Instant Pot, one of Attila’s favourite meals. It will be accompanied by roasted potato wedges and green beans.

Tomorrow Attila will cook a Turkey Dinner with all the trimmings.

One thing that Attila and I share is a love of home cooked food, and Christmas is a perfect time of year to celebrate with food.

Wishing all who read this, peace, and joy, and love, and a special hug to anyone who is having a solo celebration.

Worldly

Weather

-5°C
Date: 2:00 PM EST Monday 24 December 2018
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -4.7°C
Dew point: -6.3°C
Humidity: 89%
Wind: ENE 11 km/h
Wind Chill: -9
Visibility: 13 km

Quote

“The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning.”
Ivy Baker Priest
1905 – 1975


Blogmas Day 23: Bug

Somehow I’ve caught a tummy bug, with accompanying cramps and chills. I have been bundled up under my crocheted blanket, cozy on my easy chair, all morning.

Another cloudy, dreary day out there. It is so warm and welcoming in Mist Cottage. When I am not feeling well I love the sounds the house makes. The ticking of the clock, the dull roar as the furnace fires up, the sound of the furnace fan as it blows warm air all over the place, and the muffled sounds of Attila’s activities, as he putters around doing his thing. There is snow on the ground here, and sounds out there are muffled and muted, barely perceptible.

I don’t like feeling ill, but it does slow one down enough to “smell the roses”.

Hoping this thing passes quickly, there is a lot of good eating coming up!

Worldly

Weather

-7°C
Date: 11:00 AM EST Sunday 23 December 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.2 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -6.5°C
Dew point: -9.7°C
Humidity: 78%
Wind: E 5 km/h
Wind Chill: -9
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“We can’t all be heroes because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.”
Will Rogers
1879 – 1935

Blogmas Day 22: Green Beans

The first day of winter has arrived. I awoke at 5:00 a.m., wandered into the living room, turned on the Christmas lights, and fired up the laptop. It was still dark outside at 6:30 a.m., and I assume it will be another dreary, grey day. Now that people have moved into the rental units, we have streetlights behind the house as well as in front of the house. This affects the interior lights and shadows, and will take a bit of getting used to. No nightlights needed to see our way around after dark.

Attila and I went grocery shopping last night. The store wasn’t that busy, which was surprising, considering how close to Christmas it is. We bought a few wee treats for Christmas Day, a bit of chocolate, a few light crisps, fresh fruit, and fruit juices. Hopefully it won’t be necessary to venture out again until late next week.

The sun came out in the afternoon, and the temperature rose just above freezing, so the snow on the roof drip, drip, dripped down.

Attila decided he wanted to do BBQ chicken, his favourite. I won’t be eating it, it isn’t my favourite. While he has the charcoal BBQ fired up, he will also cook a package of sausages. Attila loves his meat, and he is very fond of processed meats. They aren’t really good for anyone, but they relieve stress for him, after a miserable day’s work, so there is an indirect health benefit. Of course, I rarely eat processed meats, although I do find them tasty, they make me feel crappy, and they are very high in sodium and saturated fats, two things I have to watch carefully.

Since Attila was cooking his own dinner, I cooked my own. I love Sweet and Sour Chicken with Rice and Mixed Vegetables, so that is what I made for myself. I used the Instant Pot, and water from cooked green beans for the water in the recipe, and it was oh so good.

This autumn a local retail outlet was selling 2 kg bags of french cut green beans for $1.99, which is an excellent price in our area. It turns out they are a little bit tough. Attila decided to have them with his BBQ chicken, so I offered to cook them in the Instant Pot for him. That is a YES, they were tender and tasty and almost like fresh green beans from the garden. I cooked them for 4 minutes, after putting one cup of water in the pot, then adding the butterfly steamer, then pouring in the green beans. After pressing the pressure cook button, it was just a matter of waiting until the pressure button dropped and opening the lid.

The Instant Pot can take less than top grade vegetables and meat, and turn them into something delicious, something to look forward to.

I was thinking today about the popularity of twitter and instagram and youtube, short on language, high on images. I used images and icons to teach people who could not speak to communicate. However, learning from images and icons does not necessarily provide the thinking skills needed to read and understand written language. Communication skills had to be taught independently of written language. It seems that the general population is focusing on communication skills, almost to the exclusion of written language. I feel sad about that.

This online writing of mine is becoming less and less mainstream. I thought about videos, about twitter, about Instagram. But I like it here. I like the written word. I like reading it. I like writing it. I’ve never been much of a follower, and I don’t think I’ll be following the trendy visual and truncated language route to communicate. I will continue to write full sentences, as many as I would like.

Then I was thinking that eventually no one would be reading what I write. That the written word, my written words in particular, will sink into obscurity, as the population loses its ability to effectively read prose. Then I thought, well, there will be some who continue to read the written word, and they will probably be the kind of people I would respect. That isn’t so bad, that what I write might be read by a literate soul, even if the majority of souls have no access to the written word, having lost the ability to atrophy.

In the now though, I enjoy writing, and that, above all else, is why I do it.

Worldly

Weather

-2°C
Date: 2:00 PM EST Saturday 22 December 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.5 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -1.6°C
Dew point: -5.4°C
Humidity: 75%
Wind: WNW 24 gust 35 km/h
Wind Chill: -8
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“He felt about books as doctors feel about medicines, or managers about plays – cynical, but hopeful.”
Dame Rose Macaulay
1881 – 1958