Sunshine by Proxy

Attila and I have had a busy week. We both worked as paid labour every day, which is a necessary evil in modern life, one we are fortunate to experience only because the alternative is destitution.

Attila is working today. During the winter he works only part of Saturday, but when spring arrives, bringing with it the seasonal residents, he works almost the whole day Saturday. We have now entered long-Saturday season.

On Thursday and Friday a fellow brought loads of wood with brush attached, from trees he felled on his urban back yard. Attila spent both evenings, after work and until it was dark, removing the branches and burning them, and sectioning the wood for this winter’s fuel supply. It was a nice mixture of pine and maple. The pine makes excellent kindling and the maple excellent firewood. We have ordered next winter’s firewood, and it will be delivered when the load limits come off the township roads. It feels soooo good to know there will be enough fuel to keep our masonry heater going strong all next winter.

I spent the evening last night catching up with bills and bringing order to chaos on my desk. I am doing all the little things that get passed by when one is too busy to pay attention to day-to-day life, like recharge my Kobo.

This morning there is laundry in the washing machine, in the dryer and on the bed neatly folded as I work my way through several weeks worth of neglected domestic duties. There are dishes to wash, floors to sweep and surfaces with my name written on them that are in dire need of dusting. I mean that quite literally, my name is written in the dust. And then there is the issue that the removable drive that stores my daily files is full, which means I really need to move everything on there to a removable drive with more memory. The files are important so this must be done with care, I’m not sure I’m feeling quite careful enough today!

My emotions are beginning to return to a conscious level as I adjust to having some time off work, like today. My emotional state goes underground when I must appease adversarial, unbalanced humans; my feelings return to the surface only when the pressure has passed.

This go round, the emotions that are popping up are primarily pleasurable. I find I am enjoying my friends and loved ones, the colour of the spring foliage, the antics of the birds perched on the deck railing and just about anything that catches my eye or my ear, with renewed intensity. Despite the constant rain I am experiencing sunshine by proxy. How cool is that!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

13 °C
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 13.0°C
Dewpoint: 12.5°C
Humidity: 97 %
Wind: SSE 15 km/h

Quote

“How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d;”
Alexander Pope
1688 – 1744

Note

Eloise to Abelard

“Published in 1717, Eloisa to Abelard is a poem by Alexander Pope (1688–1744). It is an Ovidian heroic epistle inspired by the 12th-century story of Héloïse’s illicit love for, and secret marriage to, her teacher Pierre Abélard, perhaps the most popular teacher and philosopher in Paris, and the brutal vengeance her family exacts when they castrate him, even though the lovers had married.
After the assault, and even though they have a child, Abélard enters a monastery and bids Eloisa do the same. She is tortured by the separation, and by her unwilling vow of silence — arguably a symbolic castration — a vow she takes with her eyes fixed on Abélard instead of on the Christian cross.
Years later, she reads Abélard’s Historia Calamitatum (History of my Misfortunes), originally a letter of consolation sent to a friend, and her passion for him reawakens. This leads to the exchange of four letters between them, in which they explore the nature of human and divine love in an effort to make sense of their personal tragedy, their incompatible male and female perspectives making the dialogue painful for both.”
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eloisa_to_Abelard

Spring at Last

Spring has arrived in full force! The leaves have burst out over the last week or so and are growing larger and larger, day by day. There are wonderful smells in the forest, as green things spring to life. The wild cherry blossoms have a particularly lovely scent. The black flies are atrocious and the mosquitoes thick and hungry.

On Saturday last I was out on my temporary part-time job and walked about 30 km or perhaps more. It was a beautiful day, sun shining, warm… I was drenched in deet to protect myself from the hordes of black flies and mosquitoes. I completed my list of things I was instructed to do, in ten and a three quarter hours of constant walking, no breaks, 15 minutes for lunch. I was exhausted. Enough was enough. I resigned the next morning.

So, now I have one full-time job and one part-time job. Quite enough!

Life has been busy, with work, but we have also enjoyed a few visits with people we love to see and spend time with. After ending my short relationship with the people at the temporary part-time job, Attila and I headed over to Harriet and Hogan’s cottage to enjoy a beautiful day with them. Helena, her daughter and daughter’s boy friend were there, as well as a good friend of Hogan’s. We enjoyed an excellent meal, all seated in a row on the beach, feet in the water, watching the sun set slowly in the west. Perfect! Later Helena and I enjoyed a few games of cards with Helena’s daughter and daughter’s boyfriend, good fun!

Last night Attila and I headed to Toronto to attend the CD release of Restless Wind, songs written and performed by Derek Currie. We also caught performances by Steve Paul Simms and Sam Larkin and many others. It was great! I’ve been listening to Derek’s CD all evening. We left Toronto around midnight and arrived home sometime after 2 a.m. Attila was at work by 7 a.m. this morning and I was out of the house and on the road by 7:05 a.m. We are both a little “punky” today! I drank coffee with my lunch, which I never do, but when needs must exceptions are made. I was concerned that I would fall asleep on the drive home. No worries there, I’m still wide awake and it is after 9:30 p.m. now!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

9 °C
Condition: Mist
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Visibility: 10 km
Temperature: 9.0°C
Dewpoint: 8.4°C
Humidity: 96 %
Wind: 13 km/h

Quote

“Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.”
Sir Arthur Eddington
1882 – 1944

Note

Sir Arthur Eddington

“British astrophysicist of the early 20th century. The Eddington limit, the natural limit to the luminosity of stars, or the radiation generated by accretion onto a compact object, is named in his honour.
He is famous for his work regarding the Theory of Relativity. Eddington wrote a number of articles which announced and explained Einstein’s theory of general relativity to the English-speaking world. World War I severed many lines of scientific communication and new developments in German science were not well known in England. He also conducted an expedition to observe the Solar eclipse of 29 May 1919 that provided one of the earliest confirmations of relativity, and he became known for his popular expositions and interpretations of the theory…

The mind-stuff of the world is, of course, something more general than our individual conscious minds…. The mind-stuff is not spread in space and time; these are part of the cyclic scheme ultimately derived out of it…. It is necessary to keep reminding ourselves that all knowledge of our environment from which the world of physics is constructed, has entered in the form of messages transmitted along the nerves to the seat of consciousness…. Consciousness is not sharply defined, but fades into subconsciousness; and beyond that we must postulate something indefinite but yet continuous with our mental nature…. It is difficult for the matter-of-fact physicist to accept the view that the substratum of everything is of mental character. But no one can deny that mind is the first and most direct thing in our experience, and all else is remote inference.”
—Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World, 276-81.”
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Eddington

Not much exciting…

OK, I had a day off last week, Sunday. I spent it picking up sopping grass patties from the yard and nodding off while Attila drove to and from the little house in the city.

Here it is, the long weekend. The roads are packed with travelers coming to our neck of the woods. The stores are busy. The population here is about to swell one hundred fold. [Oops, I almost forgot to mention the private planes used by some of the cottage owners to ferry themselves back and forth from their other residences to their lakeside estates, one just noisily flew overhead, how could I forget them!]

I’ll be working. Attila will be working. I’ll be struggling to get as much work done as I can, so that I might get a day off by Monday. This is the last really big push at my new part-time job, then it will wind down slowly and end by the summer. May has been a crazy month.

The bills are paid.

Life is good.

I’m not aware of much these days, as I seldom come up for air, working, working, working.

Our world smells wonderful just now. It has been a sunny, warm day. Attila is taking advantage of it and is mowing the lawn here at the country house, for the first time this year. I do not envy him, as I suspect that he is stirring up the black flies as he goes. People say they are atrocious this year. I’ve a few whopping big bites to prove it!

The mosquitoes have arrived as well. When I stand near the sliding glass door, just on the other side of the screen there are a good many of those lightweights pressing their hopeful proboscises against the wire, praying for personal contact. A few have managed to find their way into the house, even into the bedroom. Soon we will be spending time at the end of each day hunting them down before we try to sleep.

A bit of luck has come our way. Attila found a used window for $20, which will replace the large basement window at our little house in the city. This is a blessing, as the present window is barely holding together and has no insulation value at all. In fact, the wind blows right through all its various cracks and fissures. The new window should help keep heating costs down next winter, and allow us to have an open window in the basement during the summer; it has a built in screen!

So, not much exciting going on here. We sleep, then we eat, then we go to work, then we come home, then we eat, then I work again and Attila tends to firewood and the yardwork, then we sleep… and on it goes.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

23 °C
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 23.0°C
Dewpoint: 14.4°C
Humidity: 58 %
Wind: W 17 km/h
Humidex: 27

Quote 

“The courage to be is the courage to accept oneself, in spite of being unacceptable.”
Paul Tillich
1886 – 1965

Note

Paul Tillich

“a German-American theologian and Christian existentialist philosopher. Tillich was one of the most influential Protestant theologians of the 20th century…

Tillich was a Professor of Theology at the University of Dresden and the University of Leipzig. He held the same post at the University of Frankfurt during 1929-33.
While at Frankfurt, Tillich gave public lectures and speeches throughout Germany that brought him into conflict with the Nazi movement. When Hitler became German Chancellor in 1933, Tillich was dismissed from his position…”
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Tillich

Deluge

What a week!

I worked at my full-time job all week, and had the evenings off, which was wonderful. I worked at my old part-time job on Friday and Saturday. Attila worked his usual six day week.

On Sunday last I finally had a whole day off work, the first since Easter Monday. Attila and I made a whirlwind trip to the little house in the city. It rained cats and dogs, it was a deluge! The lawn looked a bit like a hayfield the grass was so high. Despite the rain, this was Attila’s opportunity to cut the grass, so that is what he did in the pouring rain.

Attila cut the grass. Most of the cut grass formed largish green wads that looked a lot like cow pies. Attila and I laboured for hours and hours to pick up and/or rake up these clumps of wet cut grass. We deposited them across an area in the back yard where we plan to plant a garden. The cut grass will kill the grass and weeds below it and hopefully we will have a high nitrogen area in which to plant our first small garden.

We worked very hard while visiting the little house in the city. We did get to see Terra and Lares for a few hours after Terra got home from work on Sunday, which we enjoyed very much. Then we packed up the car and headed back out for our four hour drive home.

We were both very tired, yet satisfied.

Here it is, Tuesday morning and we are both preparing to leave for work.

It has been raining. The skies are grey, they were grey yesterday and they are grey this morning. The trees and vegetation are enjoying the showers. Along the road are carpets of trilliums, and everywhere you look the forest is dotted with wild hobble bush blooms. The world smells wonderful.

Japan Nuclear Catastrophe

“TOKYO | Sat May 14, 2011 2:31am EDT
(Reuters) – A worker at Japan’s tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant died on Saturday, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co said, bringing the death toll at the complex to three since a massive earthquake and tsunami in March.

The cause of the death was unknown. The man, in his 60s, was employed by one of Tokyo Electric’s contractors and started working at the plant on Friday. He was exposed to 0.17 millisieverts of radiation on Saturday, Tokyo Electric said.

The Japanese government’s maximum level of exposure for male workers at the plant is 250 millisieverts for the duration of the effort to bring it under control.

The worker fell ill 50 minutes after starting work at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday (2100 GMT on Friday) and brought to the plant’s medical room unconscious.

He was later moved to a nearby hospital and confirmed dead, a Tokyo Electric spokesman said.

Working conditions at the plant are harsh. Goshi Hosono, a special adviser to Prime Minister Naoto Kan and a ruling Democratic Party lawmaker, voiced concerns about the working environment at the Fukushima complex on Wednesday.

“I would like to spend my energy to improve working conditions. Many people told us working environment (at the plant) is way too bad,” Hosono told a news conference.

The magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami on March 11 triggered cooling system malfunctions at the plant, and caused radiation to leak into the atmosphere and the ocean.

Engineers are still struggling to bring the plant under control. Two Tokyo Electric employees went missing while patrolling the plant soon after the quake and were later found dead.”
Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/14/us-japan-nuclear-death-idUSTRE74D0G920110514?feedType=RSS&feedName=japan&virtualBrandChannel=10464&dlvrit=175933

Worldly Distractions

Weather

6 °C
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 6.0°C
Dewpoint: 5.1°C
Humidity: 94 %
Wind: 4 km/hr

Quote

“I would never die for my beliefs because I might be wrong.”
Bertrand Russell
1872 – 1970

Note

Bertrand Russell
” British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic. At various points in his life, he imagined himself in turn a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had never been any of these things, in any profound sense. He was born in Wales, into one of the most prominent aristocratic families in Britain…

Political and social activism occupied much of Russell’s time for most of his life, which makes his prodigious and seminal writing on a wide range of technical and non-technical subjects all the more remarkable. Russell remained politically active almost to the end of his life, writing to and exhorting world leaders and lending his name to various causes. He was also famously noted for saying “No one can sit at the bedside of a dying child and still believe in God.””
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bertrand_Russell

Moving Along Nicely

I’ve worked every day since April 25th. Still moving along nicely.

What I am thinking about this morning, May 10, 2011 at 6:15 a.m.:

Odd to think, really, that what other people see when they look at you is an image you seldom take the time to explore, and can only do so in a mirror. Our natural state is to not see ourselves as other’s see us, but to see ourselves as we are reflected in the reactions of others. In my youth there was tremendous pressure to wear makeup and pay close attention to clothing and how one appeared to others. It felt unnatural, I think it was unnatural. I was not a woman who appreciated whistles or comments of approval on my appearance, always found these things insulting and demeaning. I abandoned interest in such things as makeup and dress codes when I was in my early twenties, never looked back, never regretted it.

I think we are all round pegs being hammered into square holes. The material we are made of determines how misshapen the life path becomes as the pressure is applied.

Now I must get ready to leave for work.

And later this week, the sun is coming over the horizon at 6:00 a.m…

Happy Birthday Mom!!!!!! I hope the sun shines warm and gentle on you all the day long.

It is lovely here, the black flies are having a great time. Smile.

This week I am working at all three jobs. I don’t so much sleep at night as pass out, which isn’t unpleasant by any means. I’ll have this Sunday off, perhaps. Only a few weeks to go before we have the big bills covered, which means adequate heat next winter and that the taxes will get paid on time. Pesky things, these basic needs. Well, the heat is a basic need, the taxes, well that is debatable. Where we live the taxes are based on the expectations of the relatively wealthy seasonal population who gain their wealth from cities and/or generous pensions, rather than being employed locally. Makes for very interesting politics.

Well, I’m off to work again!

5:15 a.m. another morning!

I received training yesterday on some of the computer systems at my full-time job. It was grueling, as days filled with new and complex processes often are. I’ve been working, up to now, with a few of the functions, quite successfully. However, I’ve been following instructions by rote, and that means if any small inconsistency arises my work grinds to a halt. With the training I have a more general idea of how the software works, and will be able to handle small discrepancies on my own. Since I like working with software, these new skills will enhance my work experience.

I’ll be working at my old part-time job on Friday and Saturday, in a pleasant atmosphere, with a very positive co-worker. I am looking forward to it.

Another sunny day is dawning, the sky is pink in the East. Soon the sunrise view will be obscured by foilage. The buds are bursting on the trees, grateful as they are for the sunshine and warmer temperatures. This year spring seems more a miracle than it has other years.

Yesterday as I drove to work I was struck by the beauty of the natural world. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was traveling in the eye of universe. I could feel myself a part of scenery, the view, the greater picture of which I am only small small and relatively insignificant part. Part of the beauty, I felt a part of the beauty I found myself in at the moment. I felt important, a part of the whole, and yet insignificant, as insignificant as each ripple on the water, wave of a pine branch. Balance.

The natural world cares nothing for our pretensions of ownership, of stewardship. The natural world cannot be enslaved; only the unbalanced harbor delusions of dominance.

Japan Nuclear Catastrophe

“Operator to begin work to halt Hamaoka reactors

Chubu Electric Power Company says it will begin work on Friday to halt operations at 2 nuclear reactors at its Hamaoka nuclear power plant in central Japan.

The plant operator on Monday accepted Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s request to shutdown the Number 4 and 5 reactors.

Kan cited the risk of the plant being hit by a strong quake that is projected in the region in the next 30 years.

The plant operator says it will begin the shutdown of the Number 4 reactor at 3:30 AM Friday and the Number 5 reactor at 1:20 AM Saturday.

The company says it will take 7 to 8 hours to halt power generation at the reactors, and the reactors will reach a cold shutdown about 24 hours after that.

Chubu Electric says it expects the entire process to be completed on Sunday.

Chubu Electric had been supplying electricity to Tokyo Electric Power Company to help it deal with an electricity shortage due to the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant triggered by the March 11 quake and tsunami.

It was also supplying power to Kyushu Electric Power Company. Chubu says it stopped these supplies on Wednesday after arranging for other utilities to provide power.

With the halt of the number 4 and 5 reactors, all 5 reactors at the Hamaoka plant will be out of operation.
Reactors 1 and 2 are already waiting to be decommissioned, while reactor number 3 had been stopped for a regular inspection.
Thursday, May 12, 2011 13:09 +0900 (JST)”
Source: http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/12_19.html

“New radioactive leak raises questions

Highly radioactive water was found leaking into the sea from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on Wednesday. It’s now been revealed that contaminated water levels in the No. 3 reactor’s turbine building were already alarmingly high by Sunday.

Tokyo Electric Power Company plugged the leak with concrete after it found highly radioactive water flowing into the sea through a pit.

Radioactive cesium 620,000 times higher than the government-set safety limit was detected from the leaked water.

The contaminated water was streaming from the outlet of a pipe for electric cables.

The leak is thought to have stemmed from pooled water in the turbine building of the No. 3 reactor.

TEPCO says it found that waste water levels in the facility had risen to a point where leakage was feared on Sunday.

The company says it doesn’t know when the leak began, but that it will investigate if the monitoring of water levels was appropriate. The problem raises the question of whether the utility wasn’t able to prevent the latest leak.

The utility is planning to soon begin transferring radioactive water accumulated in the turbine building to a provisional storage facility. It is now checking for other possible leaks.

Highly radioactive water poured into the sea from a crack in a pit outside the No.2 reactor in early April.
On Thursday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said the renewed leaking of radioactive materials into the sea was extremely regrettable.

He says the government apologizes to the local residents, the fishing industry and neighboring countries.

Edano also said he had instructed TEPCO to investigate how the leak occurred, and that the company must take measures to prevent another episode.”
Thursday, May 12, 2011 13:09 +0900 (JST)
Source: http://www3.nhk.or.jp/daily/english/12_16.html

Worldly Distractions

Weather

10 °C
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 10.0°C
Dewpoint: 6.5°C
Humidity: 79 %

Quote

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”
Edith Wharton
1862 – 1937

Notes

Edith Wharton

“Wharton was born to George Frederic Jones and Lucretia Stevens Rhinelander in New York City. She had two brothers, Frederic Rhinelander and Henry Edward. The saying “Keeping up with the Joneses” is said to refer to her father’s family.[1] She shared a lifelong friendship with her Rhinelander niece, renowned landscape architect Beatrix Farrand of Reef Point in Bar Harbor, Maine, and often traveled with Henry James in Europe. Wharton combined her insider’s view of America’s privileged classes with a brilliant, natural wit to write humorous, incisive novels and short stories of social and psychological insight. She was well acquainted with many of her era’s other literary and public figures, including Henry James and Theodore Roosevelt.

In 1885, at 23 years of age, she married Edward (Teddy) Robbins Wharton, who was 12 years her senior. From a well-established Boston family, he was a sportsman and a gentleman of her social class and shared her love of travel, although they had little in common intellectually…

Helped by her influential connections to the French government, primarily through Walter Berry (then president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Paris), she was one of the few foreigners in France who was allowed travel to the front lines…

Wharton was friend and confidante to many gifted intellectuals of her time: Henry James, Sinclair Lewis, Jean Cocteau and André Gide were all guests of hers at one time or another. Theodore Roosevelt, Bernard Berenson, and Kenneth Clark were valued friends as well. But her meeting with F. Scott Fitzgerald is described by the editors of her letters as “one of the better known failed encounters in the American literary annals”…”

I am struck by the small social circle within which Mrs. Wharton existed and her narrow experience of life, for all the power and influence she enjoyed. I suspect I am on the other side of the mirror she refers to; that my life and the lives of the majority are not reflected in her mirror. Just ask Alice! [Alice Through the Looking Glass]