Lunar Eclipse falls on the Solstice, 1638, 1703 and 2010

At 2:41 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, December 21, 2010 a lunar eclipse  started. December 21 is also the Solstice.  What was the world like, centuries ago, when this phenomena occurred in the past?

I could copy and paste a list of the large political events that occurred in specific areas in 1638 and 1703.  However, certain of the larger events caught my interest.

In the 1630s

The great migration from England to New England occurred in the 1630s, the first settlers were a mixed company of fortune seekers and Puritans.

New England Earth Quake

Anne Hutchinsonin 1638, the First Church in Boston conducted a religious trial, accusing Hutchinson of blasphemy.

In 1703

The city of Saint Petersburg is founded in Russia.

The Great Storm of 1703, an Atlantic hurricane, ravages southern England and the English Channel, killing nearly 8,000, mostly at sea.

Poet Chiyo born, haiku poet of the classical period, became a Buddhist nun which gave her freedom to travel the country.

After both working today, Attila and I are busy with our Christmas preparations. Wrapping our modest presents, baking and beginning to tidy things up around the house. As we putter along, A Christmas Carol entertains us, starring Alastair Sim. This movie was released the during my early childhood, I’ve been watching it every Christmas for most of my life. I have never tired of it.

After all, “mankind” is our business.

Wishing every one a very peaceful holiday. Remember a smile is the greatest gift you can give.

Clogged Ink

The month of December has seen me attending a program for old workers.  As result I am not home during the day.  That means we have only two fires in the masonry heater (fireplace) each day.  Nights have been cold, below -15C, for quite a while now.  We need a third fire during the day, from time to time, to keep the house reasonably comfortable.  This has not been happening.

I am working from home today.  It is 17C near the masonry heater, the temperature falls as you move toward the perimeter of the house.   It was when the ink refused to flow from the pen that the cold became an issue.  One pen after another refused to give up its ink.  The pens must be warmed by the fireplace before they will work.

There is a silver lining to this chilly cloud; sleep conditions are optimized.  The eiderdown makes for cozy, deep slumber in the cold bedroom.

The old workers program did not find any work placement for the two old women who participated.  Even temporary subsidized positions are non-existent in this area, at least for the two old women in the program.  This does not feel good.  The bright side is that resumes are polished and interview skills are honed, so that if any positions materialize, one might apply for them.  However, nepotism is probably the main (perhaps the only) method of attaining positions capable of sustaining life.  All in all, the program “giveth and taketh” away.  It gave me better resumes and interview skills, it took away almost any hope I had of using the interview skills or gaining any kind of regular employment.  I am still sending out applications.

I feel downhearted about the results of the old workers program; only because I allowed myself to buy into their enthusiasm and premise that  having a great resume and doing well in interviews might solve the non-employment problem.  More employment opportunities would solve the non-employment problem.  Unemployment in Canada only means recently without work and still receiving a steady government insurance income.  Attila and I have both been there and appreciated the income when we were both out of work in 2005.  Non-employment means that one has no income at all when the government income runs its course and ceases.  I would not be surprised if the non-employed outnumber the unemployed significantly.  The Canadian government ignores people who are non-employed, interested only in the unemployed when it comes to keeping statistics to use in drafting economic policy.

Well, enough about that!  My time was not wasted and I survived financially for one more month.  Small mercies.

It is snowing again today and, since I don’t have to commute, I am enjoying the beauty of slowly drifting snowflakes.  I like working at home, beautiful scenery, familiar tools, nearby food and washroom, no interruptions and I can burn that third midday fire to make the house cosier.

Southwestern Ontario was hit by serious snow storms this past week, closed highways, military rescue units removing people from closed roads, icy, slushy, zero visibility conditions on most highways and roads… we feel lucky by comparison.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-10 °C
Condition: Snow
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -10.0°C
Dewpoint: -10.8°C
Humidity: 94 %
Wind: SSE 5 km/h
Wind Chill: -13

Quote

“We are able to laugh when we achieve detachment, if only for a moment.”
May Sarton

Psychic Iodine

Attila and I have been talking about supportive and non-supportive environments.  It is always nice to have someone to confide in when things are not going well, or we are experiencing pain.

Attila and I have both noted that some people have an aversion to knowing anything about other people’s feelings.  We both agree they have their reasons.

Every summer when I was a little girl visiting my Grandparents, I would play at the beach and cut my foot on a clam shell at least once.  It had to be a pretty bad cut for me to actually tell my Grandparents about it.  The reason was the cure was almost worse than the ailment.  My Grandfather kept a bottle of Iodine at the ready in the medicine cabinet.  One peep of complaint about a cut or scrape and that iodine would be applied.  Iodine is very painful when applied to an open wound.  We seldom complained about any minor injuries.

This morning as Attila and I were exploring the topic support networks and confiding in others, Attila described a common response as psychic iodine.  Psychic iodine is when a confidence is met with stinging criticism, personal attack or suggestions for resolution that would explode on impact.

There is too much psychic iodine in the world today.  Maybe there always was.

Let It Snow

Driving can be fun, it all depends on the context.  Lately the roads have been bad, and I’ve needed to arrive in places on time.  This morning the roads were snow packed, packed down into sheets of white ice that is.  Driving was very, very slow. In addition to icy roads were snow squalls, which reduce visibility considerably.  I arrived safely, but it took me almost an hour and a half to get there.

The trip home had me worried.  My day was spent at a course to obtain my CPR and First Aid Certificates.  The drive to the course was not much fun, as I’ve described, and the snow kept billowing out of the sky during much of the morning and afternoon.  As four o’clock neared I began to fidget, I just couldn’t stop worrying about having to drive after dark on those icy roads with poor visibility.  I wanted to go home.  At 3:45 the instructor dismissed the class early, much to my relief.  The drive home was very, very bad for about 20 km and then gradually the roads improved and the snow diminished and then stopped altogether.  I arrived home safely just as it was beginning to get dark, around five o’clock.

Tomorrow the weather will be much less severe, if the weather reports are accurate.

On Saturday I am working in the morning at a new location.  This is a big deal, because there are a lot of new procedures I have to learn and employ in the three hours I’ll be there.  Still, it is a very positive atmosphere at that location and I am looking forward to it very much.  I’ll get three hours this Saturday and three hours next Saturday, and that is all the work on offer for this month.

Comfort food is very welcome this time of year.  Macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite comfort foods, and tonight it was the perfect solution to a long day.

Attila has the fire lit, Mist is sleeping in her basket and I am entering some family history information into my database.  A perfect evening so far.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Snow Squall Watch In Effect
-1 °C
Condition: Snow
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Visibility: 5 km
Temperature: -1.0°C
Dewpoint: -1.4°C
Humidity: 97 %
Wind: SW 9 km/h
Wind Chill: -4

Quote

“The smaller the mind the greater the conceit.”
Aesop
620 BC – 560 BC

Huh?

Where did November go!?!

Other than my negative co-worker, I have had the opportunity to meet a lot of nice people who work for the same company.  One of them told me about a program for older workers, which I investigated and signed up for.  I attend the program full time, it is very rigorous.  There is even a small amount of remuneration, which is going to “save our bacon”.

There is always something new to learn.  I’ve written resumes for years and years and have been searching for work for almost two decades.  The program covers all of these topics and more, from a new and interesting perspective.  I feel invigorated by the experience and truly welcome the opportunity to meet other older workers who are also actively looking for new employment opportunities.

The program keeps me busy Monday to Friday and I’ve been working Saturday mornings for the company.  That is six days a week for me right now, busier than I’ve been in a while.  At least twice a month Attila and I head down to our little house in the city.  That leaves two days off work during the month where we are at home.  There isn’t a lot of downtime right now.

Harriet and Hogan stopped by for a visit on Saturday, it was wonderful to see them.  They were up in our neck of the woods to do some winterizing at their cottage.  They had purchased laminate flooring for their cottage, and subsequently decided upon different flooring.  It is our good fortune that they have given us the laminate flooring for our little house!  Christmas in November!  This kind of generosity is typical of Harriet and Hogan, they are just like that.

Luna and Janus and Imp and Elf and Tink and Benny and Bim are on their way to their new home.  Well not directly on their way, they are spending a week at Janus’ sister’s home, taking care of their niece and nephew while the parents take a holiday.  Soot the cat did not go with them, nor did their house plants.  Soot and the house plants have taken up residence at our little house in the city, to join Luna and the gang later, at the new house.

Apparently Tink took a tumble and now has stitches across the bridge of her nose.  Now this is interesting, because when I was a little tyke I too took a tumble and required stitches across the bridge of my nose.  I have a scar to prove it, perhaps Tink will too!

Terra and Lares are missing their nieces and nephew already!  Terra and Lares are really family oriented, which delights me no end.

This time of year, at the cusp of winter, the weather is unpredictable.  Last Friday I drove 125 kilometers round trip, through white-outs and snow-packed icy roads.  I passed four accidents on the return trip, all caused by drivers who refused to acknowledge the dangerous driving conditions.  Luckily there were no personal injuries as a result of these accidents.  When the roads are bad it is the other drivers that terrify me, not the driving conditions.

I am home a little early this evening.  As soon as I came in the door, after my long drive, I changed into my pajamas, concocted a juice spritzer and put my feet up!  Ah, home sweet home.