Gaining Ground

I’ve reached a decision. The next time that the new-part time job drives me to distraction my one-week notice will be submitted. Long hours are one thing, gratuitous stress is quite another.

One month of full-time and part-time work will bring Attila and I into a state of solvency, then we will likely be able to survive through next winter at a basic level. I will feel a lot more relaxed when a state of solvency has been reached. In the meantime I will breath deeply, pet Mist, smile at Attila and leave the rest to fate. Soon though, the tomorrows of our life, at least in the short term, will cease to loom ominous.

Today I am preparing for my work week at the new full-time job. I am looking forward to the week. I have my clothing hanging in the closet ready to go; my new lunch box has its very own juice bottle, spoon, fork, snack jar, hot pad and freezer pack. I have enough gas in the car to make the journey to work on Monday morning. I’m good to go.

I’ll never be prepared for the new part-time job, as a portion of the preparation is down to the supervisor and she is on a different page (not entirely her fault). That is the bottom line: seeking full preparation is futile, don’t think about it. I’ll have to work three or four or five hours today, and again tomorrow night and every night thereafter for the next few weeks.

The mountains of personal paperwork on my desk at home are shrinking, shrinking, shrinking! All the bills are paid for now, which feels very good. I have our documents to vote tomorrow on the ready, as we will head to the polls after work.

Yesterday I baked bread. This morning Attila has made a hearty beef soup, macaroni and cheese for lunches next week, and an apple crisp for my breakfasts. Later today I will bake a giant oven pancake, which I will section to take to work for snacks.

This morning I spoke with Harriet on Skype. All is well in her world. The quality of the voice and video on Skype was very bad. At one point the synchronization was so bad that we covered our mouths so as not to visually confuse one another as the voice communication came through. They had a serious wind storm down her way last week, trees down, shingles torn away; an unusual event in their neck of the woods. There was no damage to their property, although one of their mature trees now has a decided lean to it.

Mist has decided that she is not just a cat, she is also an alarm clock. At six this morning she arrived on the bed and yowled at us at the top of her lungs. I seldom sleep in this late, so I was very annoyed to be awakened before my time. Attila laughed and went back to sleep. Mist climbed onto my chest, laid herself down, put a paw out to rest upon my chin and began to purr. After about a half an hour of that, I woke Attila to arise for the day. As soon as Attila arose from the bed Mist jumped to her feet and followed him out the bedroom door. She has the whole thing worked out to perfection.

Japan Nuclear Catastrophe

“Kan: safety measures insufficient
Prime Minister Naoto Kan says the government and Tokyo Electric Power Company failed to fully address safety issues that had come to light before the March 11 disaster.

An accident last June at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant caused by the loss of outside power and the subsequent drop in the water levels of a reactor was taken up at Sunday’s Upper House Budget Committee meeting.

In response to a question on whether sufficient safety measures had been taken, Kan said nuclear plants operate on the assumption that emergency diesel generators will maintain a reactor’s cooling functions when outside power is cut off.

He said the fact that such a back-up system failed to work properly has serious implications.

Kan said measures were not taken despite previous accidents and warnings, and that he must admit that the utility and the government failed to fully deal with the situation.

He also suggested that he will study the possibility of setting up an alternative capital to take over Tokyo’s role in an emergency, saying that measures must be taken to secure the continuity of the capital’s central functions.
Sunday, May 01, 2011 23:20 +0900 (JST)”

Worldly Distractions


14 °C
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.8 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 14.0°C
Dewpoint: 2.6°C
Humidity: 46 %
Wind: SE 31 gust 44 km/h


“The man least dependent upon the morrow goes to meet the morrow most cheerfully.”
341 BC – 270 BC

Penny Pinchers and Grasshoppers

Well! That was a week I wouldn’t want to experience very often, satisfying as it was!

The full-time job I started last Monday is working out very well thus far, and I anticipate it will continue to be pleasantly challenging. I think I may have landed on my feet there, fingers crossed that I’m not looking at it through rose coloured glasses.

The part-time job I started on Thursday is a different kettle of fish entirely. Not so keen on it, truth be told. A lot of unpaid time seems to be “suggested/implied” to get up to speed, if that continues I will just have to turn in my resignation. I am also expected to gather information during office hours, which I cannot do because I have a full-time job during the day. Neither of these expectations were revealed by the employer before I accepted the position. Pressure and stress. The other issue with this position is that the agreed upon 20 hours a week has blossomed into more than 40 hours in the first seven days. I can’t manage that many hours in a week in addition to a full-time job. I’m complaining already, it does not bode well, although it might just be startup jitters.

Attila and I are home together this afternoon and tomorrow. Attila is just now preparing to head off to work, I am getting ready to work at the new part-time job from home, for the two remaining paid hours I’ve been allotted for today. This afternoon we are both free to attend to our personal life.

Our last hydro bill was very high, because we heated the house with electricity for three days while we visited the little house in the city; it costs around $15 per day to keep the house above freezing when we are away on mild winter days. We’ve laundry to do to, which must be done late in the evening, very early in the morning or on weekends to take advantage of the off-peak prices for electricity, which are around the same prices we used to pay for all our electricity. Bread baking is now a mandatory weekend task, my bread is presently rising in the oven. Tomorrow we will prepare a lot of next week’s food to be taken in lunches and to be heated in the microwave for our dinners.

I think we are what I’ve heard called “penny pinchers”; we certainly must watch where every last penny is spent in order to keep our ship afloat. No one ever led me to believe that life would be easy, and for that I am grateful. I suffer no disappointment on that account.

The Girl Guide Motto made a lasting impression on me: Be Prepared! A large number of people regard efforts to be prepared as “anticipating things that won’t happen”, or “over-thinking”; two phrases of advice I received while in training at my new part-time job. While one can obsess about the unknown, which is not desirable, the intelligent approach toward responsibilities is to prepare for eventualities, particularly in environments with limited resources, tight schedules and possible safety issues. It all puts me in mind of the fable “The Ant and the Grasshopper”, a cautionary tale told for centuries (see Notes). Or even the old sayings, “a stitch in time saves nine”, or “If you command wisely, you’ll be obeyed cheerfully”, both taken from Fuller (see Notes).

We have an election coming up on Monday. We always vote, for all the good it does. I have no particular political affiliations, never have had, probably never will have. The profession of politician is fraught with situations that would compromise my integrity and irritate my soul, were I to venture in that direction. Still, there could be individuals uniquely situated to navigate those waters and maintain personal integrity. Haven’t ever observed this happening, personally, but the laws of the universe declare that anything is possible! So I vote.

Worldly Distractions


-2 °C
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.2 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -2.0°C
Dewpoint: -2.0°C
Humidity: 100 %


“To predict the behavior of ordinary people in advance, you only have to assume that they will always try to escape a disagreeable situation with the smallest possible expenditure of intelligence.”
Friedrich Nietzsche
1844 – 1900


The Ant and the Grasshopper

“The fable concerns a grasshopper that has spent the warm months singing while the ant (or ants in some editions) worked to store up food for winter. When that season arrives, the grasshopper finds itself dying of hunger and upon asking the ant for food is only rebuked for its idleness. Versions of the fable are found in the verse collections of Babrius and Avianus , and in several prose collections including those attributed to Syntipas and Apthonius. In a variant prose form of the fable, the lazy animal is a dung beetle which finds that the winter rains wash away the dung on which it feeds. In its Greek original, as well as in its Latin and Romance translations, the grasshopper is in fact a cicada.
The story is used to teach the virtues of hard work and saving, and the perils of improvidence…”


Recorded in Thomas Fuller’s Gnomologia, Adagies and Proverbs, Wise Sentences and Witty Sayings, Ancient and Modern, Foreign and British, 1732

Big Bite

Well, today I started at my new part-time job; training this week. There is a lot to absorb. Nice people, very pleasant. I think I was a “wee bit cranky” though. I asked a lot of questions, felt frustrated from time to time and probably failed to completely hide it; but couldn’t really tell because these people are nice and wouldn’t respond in kind even if I were to appear slightly ungracious. This is the second start of a new job this week and I’m doing pretty well with meeting all the new people and learning all new information. I’m tired to the bone tonight.

It is possible that I have bitten off more than I can chew with a third job; it is a big bite. Right now the workload seems overwhelming, but that may be more fear than reality. Time will tell.

It is raining and very windy tonight; it rained all day. This, of course, is nothing compared to weather events to the south. The tornado outbreak south of us is frightful. Such loss of life is sad. [April 25-28 tornado outbreak]

On my commute to and from my full-time job I pass through a village with a Canadian Tire Store and other larger retail establishments. Every evening I’ve stopped to purchase something. Last night it was a lunch box, as I’ll be taking packed lunches and am tired of my bright yellow plastic grocery bag that is full of holes where the fork keeps poking through. The lunch box is insulated and has a rigid plastic liner that is washable. I took my lunch in this box today. I forgot this box at the training location for the new part-time job. It is the yellow plastic bag again tomorrow; hopefully I’ll remember to bring home my new lunch box!


“Dalian sets up fund for Japan tsunami survivors

The Chinese city of Dalian has set up a fund for survivors of Japan’s March 11th earthquake and tsunami. The fund is meant to show appreciation for a Japanese man’s effort to save the lives of Chinese workers at his company.

The man, Mitsuru Sato, was a senior official at a seafood processing plant in the town of Onagawa, Miyagi Prefecture. Before he went missing, he helped 20 Chinese trainees from Dalian evacuate to higher ground. He was later found dead.

On Tuesday, Dalian’s top official, Xia Deren, told Japan’s Ambassador to China Uichiro Niwa that the city had established a fund in honor of Sato, who gave his life to save the Chinese workers.

The size of the fund has not been revealed, but the money will be sent to Sato’s family and colleagues.

Sato’s action has received widespread media coverage in China, and triggered an outpouring of support for his family.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011 15:18 +0900 (JST)”


Worldly Distractions


6 °C
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 100.2 kPa
Visibility: 11 km
Temperature: 6.0°C
Dewpoint: 4.6°C
Humidity: 91 %
Wind: WSW 18 gust 44 km/h


Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.
Victor Hugo
1802 – 1885


Victor Hugo

“Hugo was the third illegitimate son of Joseph Léopold Sigisbert Hugo (1774–1828) and Sophie Trébuchet (1772–1821); his brothers were Abel Joseph Hugo (1798–1855) and Eugène Hugo (1800–1837). He was born in 1802 in Besançon (in the region of Franche-Comté) and lived in France for the majority of his life. However, he went into exile as a result of Napoleon III’s Coup d’état at the end of 1851. Hugo lived briefly in Brussels (1851) then moved to the Channel Islands, firstly to Jersey (1852–55) and then to the smaller island of Guernsey (1855–1870). Although a general amnesty was proclaimed by Napoleon III in 1859; Hugo stayed in exile, only ending it when Napoleon III was forced from power as a result of the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. Hugo returned again to Guernsey (1872–73), after suffering through the Siege of Paris, before finally returning to France for the remainder of his life.

Hugo’s early childhood was marked by great events…

Victor Hugo’s death on 22 May 1885, at the age of 83, generated intense national mourning. He was not only revered as a towering figure in literature, he was a statesman who shaped the Third Republic and democracy in France. More than two million people joined his funeral procession in Paris from the Arc de Triomphe to the Panthéon, where he was buried. He shares a crypt within the Panthéon with Alexandre Dumas and Émile Zola. Most large French towns and cities have a street named for him. The avenue where he died, in Paris, now bears his name.”


My Three Jobs

Two days as a full-time employee and I’m falling down tired by 9 p.m.! Gotta say though, I am liking the job so far. Early days.

One happy offshoot of the full-time job is that I travel through a village of some size to get there. That means that I can “pick up” a bag of milk on the way home from work! Tonight I even managed to get to a Canadian Tire store to purchase a new rear windshield wiper for my car, as the old one wore out completely ultimately reducing visibility rather than improving it. Usually it takes weeks or months to find an opportunity to shop at a store stocking such a specialized item. Luxury!

Later this week I begin my new part-time job. I’ve no idea what to expect there, time will tell.

It has been raining, and raining, and raining. We might get thunderstorms tonight and tomorrow, which means my computers at home won’t be plugged into the power lines. Right now the skies are grey, but not threatening.

I don’t really feel free to write about my work experiences, unless they are outside the realm of reasonable. Luckily for me, at the moment, there are no unreasonable situations to deal with!! I’ve waited a very long time to say that!

Attila and I have a few outings planned for the upcoming months. We plan a whole weekend visit to the little house in the city when Attila gets his next Saturday off work. We plan to visit Toronto for a CD release of a talented friend, Derek Currie. We also plan to attend Luna and Janus’ housewarming/birthday party in June (it is Janus’ birthday in June). I think that is about all we will be able to manage over the next months; my three jobs will keep me extremely busy until the end of the summer.

You know, I like saying it, “three jobs”; beautiful ring to that phrase. “My three jobs” sounds pretty good also; fun with words.

Japan Catastrophe

“Medvedev, meeting survivors of Chernobyl clean-up efforts in the Kremlin on Monday, said there must be greater transparency in nuclear emergencies.

“I think that our state must learn the lessons from what happened — from the now-distant Chernobyl incident in 1986 and the recent tragedies in Japan. Perhaps the most important lesson is the need to tell people the truth,” he said.

“Because the world is so fragile and we are all so inter-connected, any attempts to hide the truth — to refrain from talking about something publicly, glossing over a situation, making it more optimistic than it is — these subsequently result in the tragic loss of human lives,” he said”

Worldly Distractions


11 °C
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 100.6 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 11.0°C
Dewpoint: 10.2°C
Humidity: 95 %
Wind: SE 15 km/h


“When a man tells you that he got rich through hard work, ask him: ‘Whose?'”
Don Marquis
1878 – 1937


Don Marquis

“an American humorist, journalist and author. He was variously a novelist, poet, newspaper columnist and playwright.,,

Marquis’s best-known creation was Archy, a fictional cockroach (developed as a character during 1916) who had been a free-verse poet in a previous life, and who supposedly left poems on Marquis’s typewriter by jumping on the keys. Archy usually typed only lower-case letters, without punctuation, because he could not operate the shift key. His supposed writings were a type of social satire, and were used by Marquis as a newspaper column named “archy and mehitabel” (Archy’s best friend was a fictional alley cat named Mehitabel). Other characters developed by Marquis included Pete the Pup, Clarence the ghost, and an egomaniacal toad named Warty Bliggins.”


Yesterday morning I arose early, 4:30 a.m., because that is when I awoke. I’m at my absolute best when I first wake up in the morning. My mind is instantly active, my ideas racing and my focus intense. So I took all that and organized my email account so that I can easily access critical messages that must be dealt with in a timely manner. That done, I copied important messages to the new mailbox and dealt with each one consecutively.

My desk was piled high with bills and all sorts of unopened mail from my week away. As soon as the email account had been organized I tackled the desktop, not the virtual desktop on the computer, but the real desktop in front me. Hours later I had opened the mail, sorted bills, filed important documents, entered important dates onto the calendar and set aside a few of the larger projects for Saturday, which is today.

Attila eventually emerged from the bedroom made coffee, built a fire in the masonry heater and we shared a quiet cupa in front of the fire; Mist on Attila’s lap. We ate a leisurely breakfast.

Then we sprang in to action. Attila attended to firewood for the next fire, I jumped into the shower. We changed into presentable clothing and then jumped into the car and headed for Helena’s house for an Easter dinner. It is a three hour drive to Helena’s place, the roads were good and we had a pleasant journey. It was great to see Helena, Caitrìona, Harriet and the younger generation, all assembled for a delicious turkey dinner. I overindulged.

We arrived home by midnight and still managed to get a good night’s sleep.

This morning we are both off to work; me to my old part-time job and Attila to his full-time job.

I accidentally published this entry before completing it! I had intended on attending to the entry when I returned from work today, but the universe has intervened and here it is, such that it is.

Japan Nuclear Catastrophe

“The authorities’ chief concern is the accumulation of radioactivity in areas near the plant, where livestock have been left to die and the contaminated bodies of an estimated 1,000 people remain uncollected.

Last week, the government added five locations outside the evacuation zone to the list of areas that could pose a long-term threat to health.

“The plant is not stable,” Edano said. “We have been asking residents not to enter the area as there is a huge risk to their safety…”

“The large-scale dumping of radioactive water from the Fukushima plant has now stopped, according to the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), but for Todokoro and many other fishermen, the damage is done.

“The government has set the safe level for fish at 500 becquerels per kilogram. The kounago [an eel-like fish known in English as the young sand launce] that I catch are registering 580 becquerels,” says Todokoro.

“The catch is being tested every other day but the truth is that even if they are declared safe, nobody will buy fish from Ibaraki now,” he says. “Who knows how long it will be before people will want to eat fish from around here again…”

“Under the order, which goes into effect at midnight local time, people living within a 12-mile (20km) radius of the atomic plant will be given up to two hours to enter the area to collect belongings.

The move came amid concern over the long-term health risks posed by high levels of accumulated radiation, despite signs of progress in bringing the stricken facility under control.

The 245 workers battling to stabilise Fukushima have fallen ill due to the harsh conditions inside the plant, experts warned.

Some are suffering from insomnia, dehydration and high blood pressure, and risk developing depression or heart trouble, Takeshi Tanigawa, chairman of the public health department at Ehime University’s medical school, told Associated Press.

The government has also extended the evacuation zone to several locations outside the 12-mile zone, including areas in which as many as 130,000 people had initially been asked to leave voluntarily or stay indoors. Residents in those areas will be given a month to evacuate.

The government’s chief spokesman, Yukio Edano, urged people living inside the no-entry zone to abide by the order for the sake of their health.

“The plant is not stable,” he told reporters. “We have been asking residents not to enter the area as there is a huge risk to their safety. We beg the understanding of residents…”

“While the levels of radioactivity in the evacuated area have been quite low, the government wants to keep people away out of concerns that long-term exposure can be dangerous.

As of Thursday night, about 40 people remained in the area, many of them dairy farmers who are refusing to leave their cattle, and elderly people who cannot move, the government said. Local officials were working to persuade them to leave, rather than punishing them, according to Kenji Kawasaki of Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.

About 3,400 cows, 31,000 pigs and 630,000 chickens were left in the zone, according to government figures, though most were assumed to have died by now…”

“More than 130,000 people are living in school gymnasiums and other shelters more than a month after the March 11 quake and tsunami that left some 28,000 dead or missing.


“Are you leaving?” one man shouted as Kan and his entourage headed for the door at a Fukushima evacuation center. “We are evacuees. Are you just going to ignore us?”

Kan turned back and apologized, only to be berated again.

“You should bring cabinet ministers here and let them try living here themselves. How do you think we feel? We want you to somehow get the nuclear plant under control,” one woman said.

Later, Kan told reporters he had been out of touch with the needs of those who had lost their homes…”

Worldly Distractions


4 °C
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 100.4 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 4.0°C
Dewpoint: 3.7°C
Humidity: 98 %
Wind: SE 30 gust 42 km/h


“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”
Thomas Jefferson
1743 – 1826
[let it be true for all of us, let it be true for all of us, let it be true for all of us!]


Thomas Jefferson

“…third President of the United States (1801–1809) and the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776). An influential Founding Father, Jefferson envisioned America as a great “Empire of Liberty” that would promote republicanism…

“The third of ten children, Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743 into the Randolph family that linked him to some of the most prominent individuals in Virginia…

Historians have disagreed on how to interpret Thomas Jefferson’s public and private positions on slavery. He opposed slavery as an institution and said he wanted it to end, but he depended on enslaved labor to support his household and plantations…

Jefferson did not believe that African Americans could live in American society as free people together with whites. For a long-term solution, he thought that slaves should be freed after reaching maturity and having repaid their owner’s investment; afterward, he thought they should be sent to African colonies in what he considered “repatriation”, despite their being American-born. Otherwise, he thought the presence of free blacks would encourage a violent uprising by slaves’ looking for freedom…”