January 9, 2009

Cold Snap



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]

Last night the temperature dipped below -24 C. At 4:00 a.m. I was up and wandering around in the kitchen. The moon shone through the window like a cosmic streetlight. It was very bright and clear out in the bush, the snow on the branches wove magic as it glowed and swayed in the moonlight. I returned to my bed and fell asleep immediately. Attila woke me hours later, after he had a roaring fire going and a cup of coffee waiting.

Today is another three-fire day.

So far, despite the cold temperature outside the walls of the house, it is comfortably warm in the living area of the house. The bedrooms are cooler, because they are separated from the masonry fireplace by walls, but they are still comfortably cool.

We do not heat the lower level of the house, and it usually maintains a temperature of about 10 C. However, when the temperature outside dips below -20 C, it is prudent to set a fire in the little cast iron wood stove downstairs. I imagine that tonight, after work, Attila will bring in wood and burn a fire downstairs for a few hours.

We are beginning to hear reports, via the grapevine, of local people being out of work. These people will not be counted in the government unemployment statistics, they do not fall within the narrow definition of "unemployed".

Of course, our local newspapers talk mostly of local prosperity, how this area will not feel the pinch of economic times, to the degree that other communities will feel the pinch. The problem I have with all this prosperity talk, is that it does not reflect reality for what might be the majority of residents. No problem; no solution needed. Many local residents, people with no media voice, will be leading invisible lives.

Sometimes I feel like I am living in a large and exotic strip mall, where merchants and wealthy customers are the only significant citizens. A minority whose interests and lives are constantly displayed as representative of our culture. This is not what I think of when I think community, when I think democracy.

I hope that the changes we see, over these coming years of economic challenge, bring about a more humane, tolerant and inclusive approach to community, here in Canada and around the world.

Written history indicates that my ideals, my longings, are unrealistic. Then again, when one considers who writes, publishes and distributes what we know of history...

Local issues here are by no means extreme by comparison to the goings on in the rest of the world. I feel very lucky to live where and when I do. If charity begins at home, then I would extrapolate that sentiment to say that healthy communities begin where you live.

Attila refried the pinto beans last night, before he retired for the evening. Dinner this evening will be enchiladas, topped with homemade salsa.

My project for today is cooking beets. I bought a ten pound bag of beets in December and have yet to open the bag. I will wash a few of them, remove the stems and roots and then cook them whole in the pressure cooker. They are great for snacking, dipped in sweet hot mustard. I think that is what I will have for lunch, with a pan fried egg on the side.

Our trip to the library was wonderful. We were the only patrons for the evening, and I fear the evening hours may be abandoned due to lack of interest. However, while the evening hours are available, Attila and I will be taking advantage of the opportunity for an outing.

We arrived home last night, under a clear crisp sky. As we emerged from the car, the scene before us was breathtaking. Above the blanket of crisp white snow, the pine and hemlock trees rose to meet the sky, their branches laden with white. The contrast was striking; where the treetops met the glowing sky a single twinkling star shone above. We stood together, staring in silence, sharing the moment.

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Wordly Distractions

Clock marking at Maggie's Smile
The passage of time in the land that time forgot.
Maggie's Smile, January 2009

BBC Radio Scotland

By The Easy Chair
The Forsyte Saga
by John Galsworthy

"There will always be a part, and always a very large part of every community, that have no care but for themselves, and whose care for themselves reaches little further than impatience of immediate pain, and eagerness for the nearest good."
Samuel Johnson
(1709 - 1784)

"You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair, the sense that you can never completely put on the page what's in your mind and heart. You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take down names. You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or because you want to change the world. Come to it any way but lightly. Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page."
Stephen King
(1947 - )

Condition: Clear
Temperature: -23.6C
Pressure: 101.7 kPa rising
Visibility: 14.5 km
Humidity: 41 %
Wind Chill: -29
Dewpoint: -33.1C
Wind: NW 5 km/h

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 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."

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