Two men who had loved me, and I them, said interesting things to me, things that haunt me past their life spans. How lucky are we that have experienced raw, passionate, respectful, and honest love. These men cannot interact directly with me now, we will take this up again when I too cross the river.

Of the academy, success, and scholarly achievement: “It isn’t what you think it is.”
I’ve always wondered how another person really knows what you think things are, but no matter, it was sincere and honest feedback about what he saw in me, coming from the heart. His life was spent as a respected scholar, so he knew a few things about the academy. So precious.

Of the universe in general: “I hope you never find out.”
My love, I’ve always known, I have grieved, but I have not despaired.



Date: 2:00 PM EDT Wednesday 11 March 2020
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -1.8°C
Dew point: -8.1°C
Humidity: 62%
Wind: ENE 10 km/h
Wind Chill: -5
Visibility: 24 km


“One single grateful thought raised to heaven is the most perfect prayer.”
G. E. Lessing
1729 – 1781

Fun Project!

Yesterday, Monday, was a beautiful day! Our back porch gets the afternoon sun, which in the summer makes it too hot to enjoy at that time of day. But the warmth of the sun was wonderful to experience yesterday, as we sat out there and chatted. The outdoor temperature reached 12C! It was very windy, so I wore my parka though, as I do not want to risk a chill.

Attila had a phlegmy chest cold over the weekend, no fever, no aches and pains, just the cold. He still managed to do a bit of work on the basement, and is done with the electrical, and beginning to plan the plumbing. There are still areas that are insulated with vapour barrier, but are not covered in drywall. They will remain that way until the plumbing is sorted, then things will be moved around down there and the final drywall installation will be undertaken, sometime later in the spring.

My big project for the weekend was to make re-fried beans. I cooked dried Pinto beans in the Instant Pot. While they were cooking, I sauteed about 3/4 of a pound of chopped onion in the cast iron frying pan, then added spices, then the beans and some water. I cooked the bean mixture down to the desired consistency, like a thick pudding in this case, cooled it, and refrigerated it. I have been eating the re-fried beans on a slice of homemade 100% whole wheat toast, lightly sprinkled with hot sauce, and topped with shredded lactose free cheese. I love it. Attila calls it Mexican Beans On Toast, a fairly accurate description.

I would have used flour tortillas for my re-fried bean meals, but the commercial ones are too high sodium for me, and I haven’t learned to make my own yet.

Re-fried Beans.
So easy to make! I love this recipe, and since there is no added sodium, the sodium in the hot sauce and grated cheese used in the Mexican Beans On Toast are well within my sodium limits.

The fun project was something Attila was craving, Cowboy Candy. I made some jars of it for him as a Christmas present, and he has been rationing himself to make it last. Last week he finished it. Oh no! So he decided that despite the price (he loves a bargain, always waiting for sales) he would bite the bullet, and purchase 4 pounds of Jalapeno peppers.

It was a lot of work! Four pounds of peppers is about double the recipe, in for a penny in for a pound. But when I doubled the recipe I used the computer recipe database, and because of the way the recipe was formatted, it only doubled some of the ingredients, and not others. YIKES! So we had to take a break from the project, to sit down and figure out where it went wrong, and how much of each ingredients to add to make it right. After that it was smooth sailing. Attila chopped the onion and Jalapeno peppers, I took care of everything else, cooking the syrup, filling the canning jars, canning the Cowboy Candy, then cleaning everything up. We ended up with five 500-ml jars of Cowboy Candy, and 5 1/2 jars of Cowboy Candy Syrup.

Cowboy Candy on the right, Cowboy Candy Syrup on the left.
Attila eats the Cowboy Candy, I use the Cowboy Candy Syrup as an ingredient in my Salad Dressing, and in rice and pasta lunches, where I combine rice or pasta with cooked vegetables, a tablespoon or so of olive oil, and Cowboy Candy juice as a sauce, then heat it in the microwave.

Just an ending note to share some resources I consult, when feeling concerned about the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Current Global Distribution and Information

John’s Hopkins University Mapped Data

Dr. John Campbell Videos

Ontario Information

Province of Ontario Health and Wellness The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)



Date: 8:00 AM EDT Tuesday 10 March 2020
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 7.4°C
Dew point: 3.7°C
Humidity: 77%
Wind: SSW 30 gust 41 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“Whatever you do, do it to the purpose; do it thoroughly, not superficially. Go to the bottom of things. Any thing half done, or half known, is in my mind, neither done nor known at all. Nay, worse, for it often misleads.”
Lord Chesterfield
1694 – 1773

The half known part describes information shared on social media, for the most part. Participant beware!

Vintage Disappointment

The snow is melting! The sun has come out for short intervals this morning. But looking out at the Robin, perched so saucily red breasted in the Crabapple Tree, the heavenly backdrop has dulled, seemingly for the sake of his distinction.

A quiet day here. I’ve begun listening to Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen. I think I’ve read all of Miss Austen’s novels. I’ve now listened to Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility, enjoying both very much.

Listening to audio books requires a different kind of focus than does reading the written word. I found the period of adjustment to be longer when listening, as opposed to reading. Somehow the visual, the words on the page, make the transition easier. But once I acclimatize myself to the literary devices and syntax of a novel, both the written word and the spoken word are easily followed. ,

When you doze off reading a book, you usually awake with the book open to the same page. I am here to tell you that this is not the case with an audio book! Goodness, I slept through two chapters! It isn’t all that hard to scroll back to a point I remember, and I usually have to listen to at least a few minutes of the story, that I’ve already heard, in order to find my place again. But all in all, the audio books are a real pleasure.

More bills in the mail. I will be spraying the mail and incoming items with aqueous oxygen, which is as free as tap water, and will continue with that until my cartridges are spent. The device has cartridges, which can no longer be replaced, as the appliance is no longer manufactured or sold, so eventually it will cease to function. But for now, we are in business.

Attila went out for supplies tonight, and he reports that the shelves in the all the stores he visited are empty of hand sanitizer, isopropyl alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide. Hopefully those items will be restocked at some point. There have been no masks in the stores since December, when I was first looking for them.

I learned something new on the internet today. Although it could be a hoax, I do not think it is. A woman with a web site called Lead Safe Mama has purchased the equipment to test surfaces for lead and other harmful metals. She has been testing the decorations on Corelle dishes, made before 2005, vintage Corelle. Wow, high in lead, cadmium, and a whole host of other bad things that shouldn’t be part of a healthy diet. Who knew. I sure didn’t. Luckily it is only the decorations that have this issue, so my plain white Corelle is just fine. Who would have thought that Corning could have made such manufacturing decisions, it wasn’t as if they didn’t know it was dangerous.

There was a little boy who I went through public school with, he was in my class every year. Robert. I remember his full name, but will not share it, respecting his privacy. Robert had chewed on lead paint while in his crib, in his early years, and was brain damaged. He was a beautiful child, and happy, but we all knew he was different, and why. That was in the 50s, long before any of the my dinnerware was manufactured, the crib manufactured built the crib before any concerns about lead paint were raised. Money makers don’t seem to feel accountable for the impact of their products on customers, as they are chasing profit first and foremost. I don’t believe the paint manufacturer who produced the paint on that crib understood the impact, but Corelle had to have known, and the statement that everyone else was doing it at the time doesn’t really wash with me.



Date: 9:32 AM EST Tuesday 3 March 2020
Condition: Mist
Pressure: 100.5 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 1.9°C
Dew point: 1.8°C
Humidity: 100%
Wind: NNE 5 km/h
Visibility: 6 km


“…it is not very wonderful that with all their promising talents and early information, they should be entirely deficient in the less common acquirements of self-knowledge, generosity, and humility. In everything but disposition, they were admirably taught.”

Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen

This is timeless, and so much more true in this information age!!

A Few Tears

Today I made the decision to suspend my purely recreational activities, that involve meeting with other people. After making all the arrangements, I sat down and surprised myself by shedding tears. I let them flow, for myself, and for the people whose lives have been taken, or turned upside down by the COVID-19 virus.

This decision comes after watching how the coronavirus is being monitored in Ontario, Canada. News of the GO Transit bus, on which the person with COVID-19 traveled, was my final deciding factor. The honour system in Canada, where people flying in from other affected areas of the world decide for themselves whether they will self-isolate for the incubation period, after arriving back in Canada, has failed the public interest, in my opinion.

At this point we don’t know if there are other infected individuals on public transit, in malls, in restaurants… we don’t know. There may be none. There may be one. There may be many. It only takes one to share the virus with many. I won’t be eliminating my chances of infection by avoiding groups of people, just reducing the likelihood of exposure.

This was a difficult decision for me, I will heartily miss my social interactions. But I am of an age to be designated in the high risk category for serious symptoms, so I am being cautious. It surprises me to see quite a few people in the digital world expounding on COVID-19 not being a serious issue, because it’s worst effects are felt by old people, or people with existing health conditions. I find that offensively insensitive. All lives matter. But then I remember that when SARS was spreading, I was relieved that I was not in the group of people considered to be at high risk. However, I would never have diminished anyone else’s concerns because, “it’s not my problem”. And of course, many perfectly healthy young people are succumbing to the virus, so bravado seems inappropriate.

Attila must still head off to work each day, and who knows if he will encounter the virus there, it is a large facility employing people with family from all over the world. He has no choice but to continue to work in that environment, so we are fervently hoping that no one connected to the place contracts the virus! It is out of our hands though, we can only hope. If Attila gets it, then it is likely that I will too.

In the meantime, I am happily taking to my decision to avoid recreational groups of people. I love Mist Cottage, and do not find it a hardship to spend my time here. We will continue to eat well, avoid autoimmune medications, stay well hydrated, stay active, get adequate sleep, and remain hopeful that all will be well.

And with any luck the need, for such a measure as I have just taken in regard to recreational groups, will prove false, and I will be able to resume my activities soon.

Keep safe!



Date: 11:00 AM EST Monday 2 March 2020
Condition: Light Rainshower
Pressure: 100.6 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 2.3°C
Dew point: 1.1°C
Humidity: 91%
Wind: S 28 gust 37 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


Everything is connected… no one thing can change by itself.”
Paul Hawken
1946 –

The Forsyte Saga

Friday! It is getting cold again outside, but the weather people say that today snow squalls will torment us, and that by Sunday it will start to get warmer. Yesterday began with freezing rain, then snow squalls as the day progressed, and the wind, my how it howled all day, and into the night. This morning the sun is shining, a welcome sight. I’ve moved my chair to sit in the brightness of it, soaking it up.

The Forsyte Saga, written by John Galsworthy, captured my imagination in the early 1980s. At the time I was pregnant with Terra. My previous pregnancy had ended in miscarriage, which caused me much sorrow. So when I began to hemorrhage when pregnant with Terra, I was determined to bring the child into the world. By spring I was bedridden, unable to stand for more than a few minutes, able to sit for only short periods of time. Lying in bed for almost eight months, with an extremely precocious seven year old to care for, having just moved to Toronto, was very challenging, possibly the most challenging project I have ever attempted. No friends, no family, just my ex, Luna, and I weathering the storm. It was after several months of bed rest that I first picked up to read The Forsyte Saga. I read the entire work.

When we lived at the country house, I read the entire Forsyte Saga again, and enjoyed it just as much as I had reading it for the first time. I think the appeal is the honesty in character development, and in the description of the structure and maintenance of privilege during the era. And yet, for me, there is something about the story that is broader than a period piece. Perhaps it is the glimpse into the roots of avarice and hubris that fascinates me.

I watched the 2002 series production of The Forsyte Saga, starring Damian Lewis, Rupert Graves, and Gina McKee, among others, and enjoyed it immensely.

But I had not seen the 1967 Forsyte Saga BBC2 series, starring Eric Porter, Kenneth Moore, and Nyree Dawn Porter. I have just now watched the final credits scroll across the screen. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Now I am considering an audio book version of the story, unabridged. It would be lovely to listen to it this summer while I am busy cooking and preserving the bounty that I anticipate Attila will bring in from the garden.



Date: 1:00 PM EST Friday 28 February 2020
Condition: Light Snow shower
Pressure: 100.4 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -4.2°C
Dew point: -6.7°C
Humidity: 83%
Wind: SW 28 gust 39 km/h
Wind Chill: -12
Visibility: 6 km


“Did Nature permit a Forsyte not to make a slave of what he
adored? Could beauty be confided to him? Or should she not
be just a visitor, coming when she would, possessed for
moments which passed, to return only at her own choosing?
‘We are a breed of spoilers!’ thought Jolyon, ‘close and
greedy; the bloom of life is not safe with us. Let her come
to me as she will, when she will, not at all if she will
not. Let me be just her stand-by, her perching-place;
never-never her cage!”
The Forsyte Saga