December 19, 2000

Out in the cold.



Here are a few of my favorite online haunts:

[This is the site I visit to fantasize about living in Toronto again, which is almost every single day during the winter]

Jonathan Cainer's Zodiac Forecasts
[This is where I visit in the morning, when I need a positive spin on things past, present and future.]

Living Local
[This is where I go to see what Canadians are up to, sometimes I even buy things from the businesses listed there.]

Environment Canada Weather
[This is the site I visit every morning, and before every road trip during the winter]

Here it is already the end of the day and I am just sitting down to write. Time is flying past me at warp speed these days. Each time I look at the clock hours have passed, on the calendar days have passed. What is keeping me so very busy? It is impossible to say, really. I bake, I pay bills, I putter, and I clean and just generally take up any task that needs doing. The list of things to do in a day never seems to get shorter and a fresh day starts with a take-my-pick process.

Attila and I are involved in several joint personal projects that require careful consideration and eat time and energy. It is also the time of year when our insurance premiums become due, licenses must be renewed, and paperwork abounds. All these things engage attention without producing visible results to show for one's time.

Christmas is just around the corner. Our Christmas tree has been trimmed and decorations display themselves brightly all around the house. Our Christmas turkey is in the freezer, as are the homemade breadcrumbs that will be used for stuffing. The mincemeat, that we made just weeks ago, has been sampled in squares and declared perfect for the impending feast. Presents are wrapped and under the tree. Parcels sent have arrived, beautifully wrapped, to sit under trees in distant homes where our loved ones abide.

Yes, it is a very busy time. How happy we are to spend our days greeting challenges that meet so easily with success. Again, as I have often been in the last weeks, I am struck by what good fortune we enjoy.

This year we sent gifts through www.amazon.com. We feared our presents would not arrive at their destination on time. We need not have worried. Attila's father called with good cheer to let us know that the beautifully wrapped gifts had arrived just days after our online transactions. The packages we shipped from home by courier arrived safely at their destination.

Attila will spend the evening picking up packages that have arrived at various depots. Our annual Florida citrus basket has arrived and been duly sampled and enjoyed.

The feeling of plenty surrounds us as we busy ourselves giving and receiving.

There is snow everywhere! We are not accustomed to the cold temperatures and the deep snow in mid-December. The latest gas bill arrived, reflecting the increased costs of energy and the increased consumption due to lower temperatures. With the bill came an opportunity to share our good fortune. The "Share the Warmth" program.

"From a local homeless prevention program conceived and run by a volunteer group of Osgoode Hall Law students [Toronto, Ontario, Canada]. "Share the Warmth" has evolved into a province-wide energy assistance program, using the power of the Internet to provide heat and energy to low-income households in more than 400 communities."
"Share the Warmth is a not for profit charity that purchases heat and energy on behalf of families, seniors, terminally ill and disabled persons living at or near the poverty level ... a cashless charity ... converts 100% of all public donations to heat for households and relief agencies in need."

One need only spend a few hours outdoors during Canada's freezing winters to understand the immediacy of the need for warmth. Homelessness in the Snow Belt of North America has its own set of challenges.

By Canadian standards, Attila and I would not be considered affluent. It is a luxury to be on the giving side of charity. Although we notice the absence of any of our resources, we do not suffer and have seized this opportunity to give anonymously to those who do not enjoy our good fortune.

The bleakness of indifference can leave empty the plenty of affluence.

Top of Page

Worldly Distractions

Snowy scene with squirrel tracks. Footprints: we all leave our mark.

By The Easy Chair
Georgia O'Keefe • One Hundred Flowers
Edited by Nicholas Callaway

In The Oven
Mincemeat Squares
From: Canadian Living Merry Christmas Cookbook, 1979, page 19

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup margarine
1 1/4 cups mincemeat
1 tablespoon rum

Combine rolled oats, flour, baking soda, salt and sugar. Cut in margarine until mixture is crumbly. Firmly press half of this mixture into an 8 inch square pan. Spread evenly with mincemeat, flavoured with rum. Top with remaining crumb mixture, packing down firmly with fingers. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes, or 11 minutes at Medium in microwave oven.

Page by Page: A Woman's Journal
by Maggie Turner

Canadian Maggie Turner writes and publishes poetry, photography, and a personal journal online. Her work reflects the current way of life in Canada, embracing Canada's past, present, and future in a unique portrayal of everyday life. Maggie's voice is one of the many that actively depict the rich diversity of Canadian culture.

Photography: "a term which comes from the Greek words photos (light) and graphos (drawing). A photograph is made with a camera by exposing film to light in order to create a negative. The negative is then used in the darkroom to print a photograph (positive) onto light-sensitive paper.
Source: University of Arizona Glossary

Poetry: "a form of speech or writing that harmonizes the music of its language with its subject. To read a great poem is to bring out the perfect marriage of its sound and thought in a silent or voiced performance. At least from the time of Aristotle's Poetics, drama was conceived of as a species of poetry."
Source: Creative Studios

Journal: " "Though a journal may be many things - a treasury, a storehouse, a jewelry box, a laboratory, a drafting board, a collector's cabinet, a snapshot album, a history, a travelogue..., a letter to oneself - it has some definable characteristics. It is a record, an entry-book, kept regularly, though not necessarily daily.... Some (entries) will be nearly illegible, written in the dark in the middle of the night.... Not only is it a record for oneself, but of oneself. Every memorable journal, any successful journal, is honest. Nothing sham, phony, false...." (Dorothy Lambert from Ken Macrorie's book, Writing to be Read )
A journal is a way to keep track of your thoughts about what you read... as well as what you did on any given day."
Source: Journal Writing

A Blog is an online journal created by server side software, often hosted by a commercial interest.

"The term "weblog" was coined by Jorn Barger[4] on 17 December 1997. The short form, "blog," was coined by Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase we blog in the sidebar of his blog Peterme.com in April or May 1999.[5][6][7] Shortly thereafter, Evan Williams at Pyra Labs used "blog" as both a noun and verb ("to blog," meaning "to edit one's weblog or to post to one's weblog") and devised the term "blogger" in connection with Pyra Labs' Blogger product, leading to the popularization of the terms."
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_blogging

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