After the long underwear…

After the Long Underwear...

After the Long Underwear...

Things have settled a little at work, it is temporary of course, but best to appreciate my present good luck. Usually by this time of year I am beginning to show signs of cabin fever. Not this winter!

This morning, by the masonry heater, the temperature was 15 C. Not bad really, since we are only firing the masonry heater twice a day and it is keeping 1800 square feet above freezing through temperatures dropping as low as -27 with wind. Not bad at all. Logically speaking, without bringing human comfort into the mix, this is wonderful.

But here is the rub, human comfort does indeed come into the mix; not to mention feline comfort, which Mist will tell you is the highest priority on planet earth.

When it is 15 C next to the heater, it isn’t anywhere near that further from the heater. That is the nature of thermal mass heat, move away from the heat source and the temperature drops.

Despite it being a cool 15 C where it is warmest this morning, I’ve been comfortable. I rely on a miracle to do this. I use my own body heat! Like I invented that!

So, what I do is work with layers of clothing. I start with warm underclothing and a light layer of “clothes” like trousers and a turtle neck shirt. The feet are important too, I start with a very light cotton sock on my feet. Then I add layers, as you can see in today’s picture, these are the layers that keep me comfortable when the indoor temperature is below 15 C. I always add the socks, these are Wigwam socks made in Wisonsin, USA, I love them and they are WARM. The short sleeve sweater comes next, it has a rolled neck which really helps. I love the short sleeves, which allow me to do things like wash dishes without getting my clothing wet (COLD!) or removing long sleeved outerwear. If after donning the sweater I am still chilly, then I add the insulated vest. AND if that does not do the job, the Cowichan sweater goes over all and I pull on a pair of lined boot-like slippers. This has never failed me, and there have been times when the temperature in here has been as low as 5 C.

Harriet and Hogan dropped in today for a cup of tea and a chat. They were on their way to their cottage for an overnight stay, checking up on the place mid-winter. Hogan fell victim to our security system, he was locked outside in the cold for many minutes and we didn’t hear him knocking. Harriet did wonder why he was outside for so long, and it was she who finally realized that he was locked out. I had unlocked the deadbolt, but not the door handle lock! This has happened before, notably to Terra and Lares who spent the rest of their night sleeping in their car because they didn’t want to wake us up after an emergency trip to the hospital.

Hogan was not impressed, in his very own Hogan way!!

I am thinking a doorbell might be a good idea…

On the positive side, by the time Hogan did come into the house, it seemed warm to him! Everything is relative.

The weather and roads have been bad for the last week or so. Many of my trips to or from work have been across ice covered roads, through snow squalls and freezing rain. It is the rock cuts and the other vehicles on the road that are a worry, a sudden, unexpected move could be disastrous. I did pass a scene where a pickup truck had slid across the oncoming lane on a curve and tipped nose down into a steep, rocky ditch. I wasn’t first on the scene, and since another vehicle had stopped to offer assistance, with lights flashing on their roof, I thought it just as well to keep out of the way and just keep going. Although beautiful, the drive to and from work has been downright treacherous.

My birthday is in January, an Aquarian. So what did I want for my birthday? Speakers for my computer. We do not have television reception and rely totally on Netflix for entertainment. In the winter this becomes more important, as we must stay home to keep the hearth fires burning and dare not wander about. The thing is, the built in speakers on my iMac have not been able to project the sounds from Netflix or DVD’s. We have been straining to hear the dialogue in the programs. So I wanted speakers. I say wanted because what I did was order Harmon Kardon speakers from Apple, just this past week. And they arrived the same week.

Wow! Should have done this seven or eight years ago!

We decided to purchase some music we enjoy, so I logged onto iTunes and bought an album by the Vale of Atholl Pipe Band. We are listening to it right now and the sound is amazing. Attila and I both love bagpipes and drum.

The daily hamster walk is going well, most days it actually gets done. Not reaping any discernible benefits yet, but it is early days.

Worldly Distractions


-14 °C
Pressure: 102.7 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -13.6°C
Dewpoint: -14.4°C
Humidity: 94 %
Wind: calm


“Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think
Enjoy yourself, while you’re still in the pink
The years go by, as quickly as a wink
Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think”
1949, with music written by Carl Sigman and lyrics by Herb Magidson
(anyone remember the Geritol commercial that featured this lyric?)

Preservation of Life

I kick-started my day with this thought expressed in a discussion I’ve involved myself in on Facebook:

Economics is a field used to describe and quantify the distribution of goods and services in our world – it is based on a zero-sum assumption – “When the gains made by winners in an economic transaction equal the losses suffered by the losers. It is identified as a special case in GAME THEORY. Most economic transactions are in some sense positive-sum games.” Of course, the positive-sum is only awarded to the winners in the game. The fewer the winners the greater their positive-sum, the greater number of losers. Unfortunately a positive-sum winning is an “empty calorie”, it has no actual human worth in terms of species survival. Tastes great to the winner in the short term, but has no sustaining qualities.
There are ways of looking at the world that are not predicated on the polarity of winners and losers. Unfortunately economic theory is not one of those ways of looking at the world. Unfortunately most of us have accepted economic theory as the foundation of the world we are creating. Maggie Turner on Facebook

The Facebook “friends” I have are connected to me by serendipity; I like it that way. Every day one of this diverse subset of the human race has something to say that is either interesting or inspiring or both.

Recently Kate posted this video about an amazing “new” drug, I liked it so much that I sent it to my loved ones and now I am posting if for you.

I needed this little boost because I spend all of my day either sitting in a car or sitting in a windowless little room in front of a computer screen, for which I am paid very little. So, on January 8, Attila and I figured out how many lengths of the house I would have to walk to equal one half mile, between eighty and ninety trips from one end to the other, indoors. Once I had that calculated, I began to pace back and forth. Usually this type of pacing is associated with distress, but not in this case. I began my almost daily “hamster walk”. I miss days, but I don’t care, I just start again soon afterward and all is well. I have discovered how much more pleasant it is to walk in stocking feet, far more comfortable. This summer I will switch to bare feet!

Recently my sister sent me a link to my game-developer nephew’s new game. I don’t like games, and seldom if ever play them. I had to try it though, out of courtesy if nothing else. Now I am hooked! The concept is preservation of life, rather than destruction. See for yourself… Eggman. It is delightful to be related to this young man! My brothers and sisters and I have brought such wonderful people into the world!

This morning when we awoke the temperature was -21 C. The house had cooled and the bedrooms are definitely chilled, but still above freezing. Attila quickly had a fire roaring in the hearth and it is quite comfortable in the ten foot radius around the masonry heater. The temperature drops as you move out of that zone and towards the outer walls and windows of the living area.

Luckily I have switched to the small, wheeled, computer desk. I can move it closer to the masonry heater between firings, and further away when the fire is a roaring 375 C. Masonry heaters burn full out, and they burn hot.

Tonight it is predicted to be colder still, -26 C. Attila will fire the masonry heater three times today, and build a fire in the little wood stove downstairs.

We are again staying in our country house for the weekend, cooking and cleaning and catching up. We really cannot leave when the temperature drops to -20 or below, someone has to keep the hearth fires burning!

Worldly Distractions


-21 °C
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -21.3°C
Dewpoint: -23.8°C
Humidity: 81 %
Wind: NNW 15 km/h
Wind Chill: -30


“He woke at half-past two, an hour which long experience had taught him brings panic intensity to all awkward thoughts. Experience had also taught him that a further waking at the proper hour of eight showed the folly of such panic.”

The Forsyte Saga
John Galsworthy 

A quiet weekend at home.

My drive to work one morning in Muskoka.

My drive to work one morning in Muskoka.

THE most pleasant aspect of my jobs is the drive to work. There is always something to see that inspires awe. That every day it is something entirely different is in itself amazing. I took this photo after an overnight snow storm, this is an underrepresented portrayal of the beautiful landscape.

When I came to this portion of my journey one morning, I obeyed the sign. I stopped at the sign and jumped out of the car to take this photograph. After returning to the car and bending over to return the camera to my bag, I stood up to find the glorious light had vanished as the sun rose.

Attila and I have spent a quiet weekend at home. No shopping, no traveling, just making ourselves busy with the day-to-day that did not get done on a day-to-day basis.

Attila shoveled the snow off the deck, which was getting rather heavy since all the snow on the south side of the roof lands there. We are expecting rain this week and needed to lighten the load on the deck, as snow becomes very heavy when saturated with rain.

Attila picked up our new cooking range on Friday and one of his co-workers came over after work to help hoist the beast up the narrow stairwell. The electrical outlet was in the wrong spot for this range, so that the range could not be pushed into place between the cupboards. Today Attila cut the power to that line and moved the power outlet for the range. It is now sitting snug and secure where it should be.

The old range just was not going to go down that stairwell. So it sits on the deck, well covered with a tarp, waiting for an opportunity to lower it down with ropes. It never ceases to amaze me that the floor plan of this house is so poorly designed. We do remedy some of the bloopers as we maintain the property, but to fix them all at one go would cost a fortune. I am referring to structural adjustments rather than cosmetic changes.

I think the first non-essential project I would invest in is moving the deck so that it does not lie directly in the path of the snow as it falls from the roof. This would significantly reduce the winter shoveling chore for Attila. That would give him more time to spend with me!

We have been using the oven for the first time and the smell is objectionable. I have the air cleaner running full blast and hopefully that will remove the odor today.

I have been updating some of my websites. This is long overdue, and it feels great to get all those little-jobs-that-add-up-to-a-big-job done.

I haven’t had a chance to get back to my genealogy research. However, it is almost at the top of the to do list now.

The day was beautiful, sunshine and a playful breeze. I didn’t get out to enjoy it. I should, I know, but my heart isn’t in it. The safe areas to walk are short and it gets very dreary walking the same short route. Also, I am much happier puttering around in my head than I am wandering around in the bush.

Worldly Distractions


-6 °C
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 102.7 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -5.8°C
Dewpoint: -11.5°C
Humidity: 64 %
Wind: 4 km/h


“Yet if he upbraided her in his hurry, it was to repent bitterly his temper the next instant, and to feel its effects more than she, temper being a weapon that we hold by the blade.”

The Little Minister
James M. Barrie
(also wrote Peter Pan)