We were lucky children. There were few books in our world. There was no local library, and only a few precious purchased books in the house. BUT, we had my mother and that made all the difference.

She read and recited poetry, told us short stories and sang songs to send us off to sleep every night. We heard “The Cremation of Sam Magee”, “The Shooting of Dan McGrew”, “The Highwayman”, “The Children’s Hour”, and “The Land of Counterpain” amongst others.

The few annual weeks of visiting my maternal Grandparents were also filled with busy days leading to nightly stories as we lay in our beds, settling in for the night. The stories were mostly from the family section of farm newspapers.

We loved all those bedtime poems, stories, and songs. Since there were so many of us we were tucked in to our beds, where we listened to our Mother’s/Grandmother’s voice lead us into a world of beginnings, middles and ends. A gentle voice of an evening can still instantly bring back that memory of safety and enthralment.

Worldly Distractions


-7 °C
Condition: Snow
Pressure: 102.2 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -6.8°C
Dewpoint: -9.0°C
Humidity: 85 %
Wind: SSE 9 km/h


“The Children’s Hour

Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day’s occupation,
That is know as the children’s hour.

I hear in the chamber above me
The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
And voices soft and sweet.

From my study I see in the lamplight,
Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
And Edith with golden hair.

A whisper and then a silence:
Yet I know by their merry eyes,
They are plotting and planning together,
To take me by surprise.

A sudden rush from the stairway,
A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
They enter my castle wall!

They climb up into my turret
O’er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me,
They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,
Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!

Do you think, O blue-eyed banditti,
Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
Is not a match for you all?

I have you fast in my fortress
And will not let you depart,
But put you down in the dungeon
In the round-tower of my heart.

And there will I keep you forever,
Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
And moulder in dust away!”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


“Oh! what shall I do?” sobbed a tiny mole,
“A Fairy has stumbled into my hole;
It is full of water and crewling things,
And she can’t get out, for she’s hurt her wings.

“I did my best to catch hold of her hair,
But my arms are short, and she’s still in there.
Oh! help her, white rabbit, your arms are very long;
You say you’re good, and I know your strong.”

“Dont bother me,” the white rabbit said-
She shut up her eyes and her ears grew red-
“There’s lots of mud and its sure to stick
On my beautiful fur, so white and thick.”

“Oh dear! oh dear!” sobbed the poor little mole,
“Who’ll help the Fairy out of the hole?”
A little brown rabbit popped up from the gorse,
“I’m not very strong, but I’ll try, of course.”

His little tail bobbed as he waddled in,
The muddy water came up to his chin;
But he caught the Fairy tight by the hand,
And helped her get to Fairyland.

But she kissed him first on his muddy nose,
She kissed his face and his little wet toes;
And when the day dawned in the early light,
The common brown rabbit was silvery white.”

Charlotte Druit Cole

Christmas 2012

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas Day!

Teacup and Saucer that Belonged to my Maternal Grandmother

Teacup and Saucer that Belonged to my Maternal Grandmother

We travelled to our little house in the city on Christmas Eve Day for an overnight visit so that we could spend a little time with Terra and Lares on Christmas morning after Terra got home from work. She worked overnight Christmas Eve and enjoyed it, she cares for the elderly and infirm at a home. She slept all day Christmas Day and then came over by herself to share a Christmas feast with us at the little house. After she left to go to work just after 9:45 p.m. we packed everything into the car and headed home, driving for just under four hours, a record. We arrived back at the country house at 2 a.m. after an easy drive. The roads were clear, the sky was clear and there was virtually no traffic. We found one gasoline station open along the way, with a solitary young man working alone, every other establishment we passed on our journey was closed. Every fast food restaurant, every gasoline station, every retail store. An eerie experience in our busy retail oriented world.

We both slept in this morning, which is a blessing. I seldom sleep beyond six in the morning, even if I’ve had a late night. This flu still has me going though, so I seem to need a lot more rest right now.

I am still struggling with this flu. The fever disappeared after a few days. The dry cough remains and every few days a new, miserable symptom associated with the racking cough appears. I am able to move about and get things done, which is a blessing. I return to work tomorrow morning and will be on my feet all day long, so it will be interesting to see how I hold up.

We visited my sister, her family and other members of the family the weekend before Christmas, a three hour drive there and then three hours back. Got to see my Mom and baby sister and one of my three brothers. We had a lovely visit and the food was amazing. My mother and sister sure can cook!!

For Christmas my Mom gave me a second cup and saucer that belonged to my Grandmother. Last Christmas, 2011, my mother gave me one of my Grandmother’s teacup and saucer sets. I haven’t found the name of this year’s pattern yet, so if anyone knows what it is please fill me in.

Worldly Distractions


-8 °C
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.1 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -7.5°C
Dewpoint: -12.1°C
Humidity: 70 %
Wind: NE 11 km/h
Wind Chill: -13


“Nature is trying very hard to make us succeed, but nature does not depend on us. We are not the only experiment.”
R. Buckminster Fuller
1895 – 1983

What kind of an end of the world is this anyway?

Enjoying the snowfall while I recover from the not-the-end-of-the-world  flu, December 21, 2012.

Enjoying the snowfall while I recover from the not-the-end-of-the-world flu, December 21, 2012.

Almost there! The fever is virtually gone, no headache, the cough is calming and the nausea only manifests when I haven’t eaten in a while, or I move around too much. This should be the last day of significant symptoms. I am taking it very easy, fearing a relapse.

I know that today we were supposed to experience the end of the world “predicted” by a partially indecipherable Mayan calendar. Leave it to me to sleep right through the end of the world!

When I woke up I was very disappointed to find all the despots and bigots alive and well. What kind of an end of the world is this anyway!

The solstice does mean that the darkness will cease to deepen, and the light will gather strength. I hope that this happens metaphorically for every single human being on planet earth today. Even the despots and bigots, may that great globe of light and life bring ever increasing light and warmth into their souls.

The weather out there is frightful (good phrase eh!). Attila says the road is so slippery that in places the tires just spin around, only inertia keeps the vehicle moving along. There was an accident near here today. An expensive city SUV sped past several local vehicles travelling the speed limit, putting everyone as risk on these roads, only to find themselves in the ditch a little further down the road. Seems the local folks know what they are about. The speeder didn’t hurt anyone but themselves, but one does resent having to deal with people who do not understand driving on rural roads.

Conditions should be better by tomorrow, todays slush and ice will be ploughed away by then.

I wrote a little Christmas Story, which I will share here. It is a true story. Not very dramatic, but very close to my heart.

My Christmas Story

I played hide and seek with my Granddaughters, six and three, and they could not find me. So as they searched for me in another room I slipped into the hallway and stood huddled by the wall. When they came into the hallway they wanted to know where I had hidden. I told them I’d been right there all the time, but had made myself invisible so they would not see me.

“Grandma, that is so cool!”, they cried as they jumped up and down.
They believed me without question.

Grandchildren are pure joy.

[I did tell them that Grandma fibbed, that no one can make themselves invisible in real life, that only happens on television and computers. I told them this because someday they will know that I did make myself invisible, and they would then know that I had not been truthful with them. I want my Grandbabies to know that they can always trust what their Grandma tells them.]

While I was sick with the flu I watched the series Hawthorne. Hated it, but was mesmerized, couldn’t help but think it would get better. It did not. I could not relate to the scenes or the plots of the episodes. I almost cheered when I finished watching the last episode. No excuse for it though, I chose to watch the thing. It wasn’t time wasted though, because unless I have another high fever I will never be tempted to watch it again, knowledge is power.

There are Christmas songs that I cherish from childhood, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is one of them. Although I despise the message that one is only loved if one is capable of performing feats that “go down in history”, as a child that part of the poem/song did not register with me. What fascinated me was that the bullying could be stopped and that Santa, the authority figure did not discount Rudolph based on the opinions of bullies!

Worldly Distractions


0 °C
Condition: Snow
Pressure: 98.9 kPa
Visibility: 4 km
Temperature: 0.3°C
Dewpoint: 0.0°C
Humidity: 98 %
Wind: NNW 11 km/h


“Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer
had a very shiny nose.
And if you ever saw him,
you would even say it glows.

All of the other reindeer
used to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Rudolph
join in any reindeer games.

Then one foggy Christmas Eve
Santa came to say:
“Rudolph with your nose so bright,
won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?”

Then all the reindeer loved him
as they shouted out with glee,
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer,
you’ll go down in history!”

Advertising Executive Robert May had a natural flair with words and was able to compose the Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer poem which was specifically designed to appeal to children. This marketing ploy was a massive success and approximately 2.5 million Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer poems were given away in the first year of its publication! In 1949 the singer Gene Autry recorded a musical version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer composed by Johnny Marks.

Flu Three

This is my third day suffering from the flu. I am keeping a record of it because it is unusual for me to feel this horrid. That is a very lucky thing.

My temperature is down to 37.6 without taking Tylenol. That is still a little above normal, but I am thinking clearly so it isn’t affecting me all that much. I could put in a day of work if called in. The lingering symptoms are nausea and fatigue. Food continues to disgust me, as do all beverages, including water. I will know that this flu is gone when my appetite returns.

Hopefully tomorrow all will be well.

The discovery that aspirin might be the cause of my winter nose bleeds was a welcome one. My first experiment supported the theory. On Monday when the flu first manifested I took an aspirin to bring the fever down. The next morning I had a nose bleed, an added misery to the flu. So on Tuesday I took Tylenol to bring down the fever, and continued with the Tylenol. No more nose bleeds. I’ll be using Tylenol for fevers from here on in.

Attila has been extremely busy at work for the last few months. This is a very good thing, as many companies here have ceased operations, or had to cut staff. He works long days and most Saturdays. Luckily he likes his job, as far as jobs go, and is not experiencing distress over needing to work such long hours. He seems to be thriving.

On the other hand, that leaves me with a LOT of alone time, with the silence, the wildlife and the trees. There is little else here.

Worldly Distractions


-1 °C
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -0.8°C
Dewpoint: -4.7°C
Humidity: 75 %
Wind: ESE 24 gust 39 km/h


“There is always more misery among the lower classes than there is humanity in the higher.”
Victor Hugo
1802 – 1885

Flu Two

I am sitting in my easy chair, surrounded by kleenex, glasses of water and the thermometer.

I managed to sleep for five consecutive hours last night and feel much better for it. However, my temperature was higher this morning than it was yesterday, 39. The nausea, nasty cough and headache persist. I have no appetite and even water tastes disgusting. Misery!

My energy level is zero. When I have a fever it is wise not to pursue technical interests, even transcribing genealogical data becomes difficult to accomplish with accuracy. I’d be bored but feeling terrible is taking up all of my time!

I want to be free of this by Christmas!

Worldly Distractions


-2 °C
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -1.8°C
Dewpoint: -3.4°C
Humidity: 89 %
Wind: NW 9 km/h
Wind Chill: -5


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Margaret Mead
1901 – 1978