Stranger in a Parking Lot

I was dropping stuff off earlier in the week, at an office building. As I emerged from the front doors of the building, I saw a woman standing directly in front of the door area, out in the parking lot, she was texting. She struck me as strange at the time. She was very well dressed, quite pretty, walking back and forth with her cell phone, long jet-black hair, thicker than I’d ever seen on a human being, makeup, she looked a bit out of place and odd, pacing in the parking lot.

I proceeded to my nearby car, unlocked the door, and as I opened the door and was about to get into the car, she came around the back of the vehicle that was parked between my passenger side and the door to the building, and in an agitated way said to me, “did you see that!”

“No”, I said.

“That guy almost hit me.” she said.

I thought, what guy, I didn’t see any moving vehicles?

“He didn’t even care,” she said, “and he said to me, “what’s wrong with the sidewalk.”

I thought, I heard no voices, and you were less than twenty feet away from me.

Then she proceeded to express her disapproval of people using cell phones while driving, and described an accident she had a year ago. When I expressed the opinion that you can’t be too careful, she excitedly explained that the accident was the the other driver’s fault, there was nothing she could do, and that she was still receiving physical therapy at the hospital. I apologized for “implying that she hadn’t done the right thing” during her accident, although that had not been the meaning of my words. I offered the concept that it might be best if cell phones ceased to work while car motors were running. Then she thanked me for being so affirming, told me that I was standing next to her car, and that she had to get going, she was parked next to me, and where I was standing while she talked at me was in front of her driver’s door. I told her I hoped her day got better. As I got into my car, she very, very quickly got into her car and sped away.

The whole experience was bizarre. I don’t know what reality she is living in, but I wish her luck with it, it sounds horrid.

Worldly

Weather

22°C
Date: 10:32 AM EDT Wednesday 17 July 2019
Condition: Mist
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 22.2°C
Dew point: 22.2°C
Humidity: 100%
Wind: WSW 4 km/h
Humidex: 32
Visibility: 3 km

Quote

“The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.”
Hubert H. Humphrey
1911 – 1978

Kristin Lavransdatter

Books. I have conducted a life long love affair with books. My Mom and Granny read to us when we were little. When I was very young, I associated the act, of transforming black marks on a page into a story, with magic. Books possessed a mysterious alchemy. It was a revelation and a wonder, when I learned it was a mere and predictable configuration of lines and spaces that unlocked the secrets of the written word. Magic suddenly became an easily understood formula. The mystery of books dissolved. But to my surprise the magic continued. There are worlds in books.

Having taught myself to read before I entered the education system, with encouragement and a few basic tips from my Granny, I’ve dedicated a lot of waking hours to the pursuit of reading. My youth was spent reading literature. The first book I ever took out of the school library was Pilgrim’s Progress, and to be honest I wasn’t impressed with the story. Then I discovered The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis, and a new and deeper perspective on religious theory opened up to me. Later, during my teen years, when I toiled at manual labour in my summer job picking fruit on a farm, I would read a book at night, and spend the next day, high on my ladder, or on me knees in a field, thinking about what I had read, turning it all over in my mind, looking at it from this perspective and that. My days, although filled with strenuous repetitive work, flew by, and I learned the freedom and joy of manual labour, the mind can fly.

When I entered post secondary education reading took on a completely different cloak. Articles and books were assigned, there was little to no time to explore ideas freely, knowledge was tightly conscribed to a narrow path. I learned to embrace that too, and to love the discipline of it. As time progressed, and I continued with my degrees, concepts and theories deepened in meaning, connections and pathways of thought revealed themselves.

When I left the academy, I was suddenly free to choose my own reading material. Oh the joy in that! I read primarily works written by women, for in the academy the vast majority of authors chosen for me were male. Then, after years of reading only female authors, I began to choose books based on a wide variety of elements.

Which brings me to the book I have most recently read, Kristin Lavransdatter, by Sigrid Undset. I bought this book in the early autumn of 2017, while I was still in mourning after the death of my brother in 2016, intending to read all 1124 pages over the course of the winter. Fate had other plans for me though. It was shortly after I began reading the book, and settling into a peaceful daily routine as the colder weather set in, that Attila announced he was leaving me. After that there was no peace in my life, for a very long time, and although I read occasionally, I did not read often. Attila did not leave, and slowly through 2018 life settled, and a new and fragile peace unfolded. Through 2019, I increasingly turned to my books.

On Saturday last, I turned the page to the very last, in the book Kristin Lavransdatter. I enjoyed the book, the medieval setting in Norway was authentically portrayed, as much as it could be for a book written in the 20th century. I occasionally found it tedious, as it dealt with the religious beliefs, and political climate, the superstructure, of the time. However, the author did not become lost in a fervour of religious or political details, but returned to the small scale human experience when the larger scale contexts of the time had been fleshed out.

I felt a little lost, when I closed the volume for the last time. This book sat by my side through some of the saddest moments in my life. And now, it is time to say thank you Sigrid Undset, thank you for the journey, the time we shared in the magic of story in a book. This book will always be a portal into my time of sadness, and the lights in my life that led me onward and outward.

Worldly

Weather

19°C
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Monday 15 July 2019
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 19.0°C
Dew point: 15.8°C
Humidity: 81%
Wind: NW 6 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“The love of liberty is the love of others; the love of power is the love of ourselves.”
William Hazlitt
1778 – 1830

It seemed like a good idea at the time…

Most of the time, when I read a recipe, I can tell if I will like the resulting dish. But every once in a long while I misfire and the recipe is an epic fail, at least for my taste buds.

I recently found just such a recipe, for an oatmeal breakfast dish cooked in the Instant Pot. I like all of the ingredients, oatmeal, water, carrots, pineapple, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Wow, I thought, what a great breakfast that would make, oatmeal and whole servings of vegetable and fruit, perfect. So I made up a batch a week and a half ago.

Sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, but not this time. This time the whole was much, much less than the sum of its parts. Blech! It was awful.

But, all those paid for ingredients had gone into it, so there was nothing for it but to struggle through eight less-than-stellar breakfasts. The last empty bowl was just rinsed in the sink this morning. It is done. I am healthy. I ate to live, and I am sure my health benefited from it, even if my taste buds did not.

I believe there are better recipes for me, just as healthy, but far more enjoyable. The search continues.

Worldly

Weather

22°C
Date: 11:00 AM EDT Friday 12 July 2019
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 22.3°C
Dew point: 20.3°C
Humidity: 88%
Wind: NW 13 km/h
Humidex: 30
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Success is following the pattern of life one enjoys most.”
Al Capp
1909 – 1979

What If…

Life is settling again, at last. I have come to appreciate the daily and ever changing “what is”, as the powerful and perfect starting point for life, and have eliminated “what if” from my lexicon.

It has been an eventful few years for me.

In the winter of 2014/2015 I lived alone at Mist Cottage, unwilling to spend another winter isolated in the bush, while Attila worked long days, six days a week. I missed Attila like crazy, but didn’t have cabin fever once, so I knew that I wasn’t going to spend another winter virtually alone in the bush. Attila, after that living apart, agreed that moving to Mist Cottage was the right thing to do, so our Country House went on the market for the third year in a row, and it finally sold, giving us two weeks notice to move.

So in the autumn of 2015 Attila and I packed up our belongings, rented two trucks, and moved our belongings to Mist Cottage. It was was downsizing on steroids. Attila was living in Tank, back at his old job near the Country House, hoping to find work near Mist Cottage. After a number of weeks of living in a vehicle, he finally found temporary employment near Mist Cottage, gave his notice at his old job, and drove Tank home for good.

The summer of 2016 we took our first recreational (versus renovational) vacation. During that one week, my younger brother died, and most of the week was spent driving back and forth to the hospital to be with him as he was welcomed into a better world. I took my brother’s passing very hard.

In 2017, Attila decided to leave me. I wrote about that experience, it was an extremely difficult time, and a wake up call really, that I cannot rely on anything or anyone. Attila decided to stay for the summer before moving away, to do the garage renovation, so the house would be marketable. During that time he came to change his mind about leaving, and we lived together peaceably enough, as he tackled the huge job of replacing the garage roof. During this time I came to know that my children could not be “there for me”, and that whatever path my life followed, they would be treading another, as would my Grandbabies. My 26 years of parental responsibility ended in 2004, and it took many years, and a personal crisis to bring that into clear focus. This too I mourned, and accepted without rancour. We are all just trying to survive, and must “live our own lives and die our own deaths” as Ester Harding in The Way of All Women put it, in reference to mothering.

I found 2018 a very difficult year, as this process of change was taking place. So much loss all at once, it was overwhelming and disorienting. Everything changed, and nothing changed, depending on how I looked at it.

2019 has been a kinder, gentler year thus far. I have found my bearings, I am not feeling overwhelmed. Attila and I live peaceably together, as we still share affection for one another, a multitude of common interests, and history after so many years together. Strangely, there is more companionship between us now than there has ever been.

So, here I am today, comfortable in this little house, as a heat wave presses up against the walls, but cannot enter. I enjoyed a morning cup of coffee, perusing the internet, reading interesting articles, checking in on my friends from all over, seeing what they are up to, interacting, enjoying the company of like minded people. I have just now come in from the garden. I had donned my sun hat, and grabbed a bowl and scissors, to head out to gather the ingredients for my lunch. The spinach bolted last week, so no spinach today. But there are five for six mature beets left in the garden, so two of those were harvested, cleaning the roots by brushing them in the grass, letting the good soil fall into the lawn, where it will do some good. I found only four sugar snap peas, for they are almost spent for the season, and sprig of fresh basil, which is always a welcome addition. Thinking this not quite enough for my repast, I found a mature radish, on the other side of the fence in Attila’s garden, and I harvested it, I don’t think Attila will mind. All of these garden delights will be diced and sauteed in olive oil, with fresh garlic, then enjoyed with a sprinkling of a dried garlic herb mix. My lunch has been fresh from the garden for the last few weeks, and I love it. Soon there will be fresh zucchini, and the second crop of spinach, to enjoy.

There isn’t much that is exciting about my life, I rest on none of my laurels, enjoy no benefits from those achievements that were so hard won over the course of my life thus far. But I appreciate and enjoy the integrity of my life choices, in the quiet and peaceful passing of days.

Worldly

Weather

THUNDERSTORM WATCH
Lightning
23°C
Date: 11:00 AM EDT Thursday 11 July 2019
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.9 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 23.4°C
Dew point: 22.7°C
Humidity: 96%
Wind: S 13 km/h
Humidex: 33
Visibility: 19 km

Quote

“Results! Why, man, I have gotten a lot of results. I know several thousand things that won’t work.”
Thomas A. Edison
1847 – 1931

Lazy Hazy Days of Summer

The summer heat has arrived. I enjoyed the warm-but-not-hot spring weather this year, it is what suits me best. The heat, the humidity, well, not so much. But I am comfortable, the temperature in the house is cooled by the air source heat pump.

Now that the heat has arrived, and the air in the house is cooled, we do not cook in the house, but on the back porch. The Nesco oven has been put to good use this last little while, we have been enjoying baked-fish sandwiches, with a green salad, for our dinners. Attila also fired up the charcoal BBQ on the weekend, and cooked chicken and a package of wieners. The chicken is just for Attila, I don’t care for it. The cooked wieners were refrigerated, and quickly heated in the microwave for quick and easy meals… I’ve had one, Attila consumed the rest… he eats at least four full meals a day, while I eat only one main meal, and two small meals a day. Rather than me cook mountains of food I am not going to eat, Attila cooks a lot of it for himself. I prepare one main meal every day for both of us to share.

Frying pan with sauteed vegetables.
What I eat. This is my lunch today. I picked two beets, a handful of sugar snap peas, and a large sprig of basil from the garden. I diced the beets, snapped the peas, chopped the basil and beet greens, included some Ontario grown chopped garlic, and sauteed it all in a little bit of olive oil. I plated this with a sprinkling of Garlic Plus, for a little flavour kick. I feel great after eating my lunch!

Last Saturday we spent the morning picking strawberries at a pick-your-own farm. It was crowded! We picked, between the two of us, just under 24 pounds of strawberries, in less than an hour. The Mira berries were large, juicey, and sweet. What a wonderful variety.

Canning jars of Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Filling and Strawberry Rhubarb Juice.
We picked just under 24 pounds of strawberries on Saturday morning, at a pick-you- own farm. We got there early to beat the heat. The crop was beautiful, big ripe Mira berries, and sweet. Quite a few were eaten fresh, or sliced on Giant Oven Pancake, or chopped, tossed with a wee bit of sugar, and served with chocolate ice cream. But most of them went into the jars seen here. Sixteen jars of Strawberry Rhubarb pie filling, and two jars of Strawberry Rhubarb Juice. Not shown is the full pan of Strawberry Rhubarb Fruit Leather, oh so good!

Attila’s focus in the garden is food. I have only food in my two raised beds, but I am attentive to including beauty in the garden in addition to edibles. There are quite a few blooms at present.

Scarlet Runner beans climbing the fence, blooming.
The Scarlet Runner beans, an edible and bloom, had quite a setback when they were almost destroyed by Bean Leaf Beetles. You can see some of the bottom leaves here are full of holes, many leaves were totally eaten. We picked them off the plants by hand, over 35 one day, and I sprayed them with a mixture of dish soap, water, and 10 drops of tea tree oil. Either picking them off by hand, or the spray, or both, did the trick, and saved the beans. The blossoms are starting, I love the colour in the garden! In the background you can see the white clover I planted four years ago, it is just beginning to flourish now. It will help to replenish the soil, and feed the bees and hummingbirds.
Two white blooms and one mauve bloom, Cosmos.
The Cosmos are doing really well, as they are planted right next to one of the composters. In addition to the white and mauve blooms seen here, there are a few dark purple blooms that provide a lovely contrast of colours.
Large purple Clematic blooms in the sunshine.
The Clematis in full bloom. The blooms are huge this year, a testament to plentiful spring rain. This plant we found barely alive, in the shade behind the old concrete front porch, when we bought the house in 2010. Attila transplanted it to the back garden, and it has gained strength each year, and now it is just amazing. Some year I hope to have an arbour over the back gate, for the Clematis to climb. Every time I look at it I think, “you go girl!”

Last weekend was the Canada Day long weekend here in Canada. Many people celebrated on Monday, Canada Day, with fireworks. I love fireworks, but I have mixed feelings about them. I kind of think they belong in parks, well away from residential areas. Why? Well, the loud noises and light flashes involved can cause extreme distress to some animals, to some military veterans, and to a few other people for various legitimate and real reasons. Luckily I am not one of the animals/people who suffer in this way. Our backyard neighbours put on quite an elaborate fireworks display this year. We had thought of going to a public park, where the city was putting on a show, but once we realized all we had to do was sit on the back porch at home and enjoy the show, well, we stayed home. We sat on deck chairs in the back yard and enjoyed the display immensely. The mosquitoes also enjoyed the evening, they were ferociously hungry, and not easily deterred!

Well that’s me, spending as much time as possible on the back porch, or in the garden, or sitting on the back porch, enjoying the flowers, and watching the vegetables grow. I love where I live, the housemate, the house and yard, the street, the municipality, the province, the country, the continent, the planet. I guess I just love being alive. And I am glad you are here too!

How was your weekend?

Worldly

Weather

HEAT WARNING
26°C Ha! It is 31C here.
(NOTE: The official weather station is on the shore of Lake Ontario, it is 31C at my house, close by, but not getting the lake effect)
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Friday 5 July 2019
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 26.2°C
Dew point: 23.9°C
Humidity: 87%
Wind: SSW 19 km/h
Humidex: 37
Visibility: 18 km

Quote

“What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.””
Ralph Waldo Emerson
1803 – 1882

Why unsavoury humans love the digital age of carefully groomed images and faceless text, you never really see what they do, you only hear what they say!