I am not sure how much sense this entry will make. I have a fever of 38.7, a headache, a racking dry cough and a very sore neck. I feel terrible.

When I got home from work yesterday I began to cough, then the symptoms became increasing uncomfortable, then painful. This particular bug moved in and took me over very quickly. I’ve no idea where I picked it up.

Yesterday I managed to bake my Christmas Cake, before the fever took hold. I love fruitcake and all the commercial brands are laced with preservatives. Nothing for it but to make my own. Attila brought home a bottle of dark rum this evening, which I used to baste the cake. It has been set aside until Christmas Day. The cake should be baked in August and soaked in rum for several months. Under the circumstances I am grateful to have managed to get it baked at this late date.

Had a wonderful weekend last at Terra and Lares new house, a huge Christmas feast. Luna and Janus and the Grandbabies were all there. We had a wonderful time and enjoyed playing with the kids. And of course we ate far too much, and enjoyed every single bite.

Worldly Distractions


1 °C
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 100.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 0.9°C
Dewpoint: -0.1°C
Humidity: 93 %
Wind: NNW 17 km/h


“To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost.”
Gustave Flaubert
1821 – 1880
[Is this true?]

The Christmas Gift

I’ve been thinking about the present thing and Christmas, and you know, the Christmas feeling for me has nothing to do with presents themselves. What it has to do with is kindness towards others, and not just family. The idea that people would be kind to each other is what Christmas is about for me; presents fit into that category when they are given with love and kindness. BUT presents aren’t the only thing that can give that feeling, and it is nice not to be focused on them as the exclusive vehicle of kindness towards the people we love and the people we know.

So if a person is giving presents at Christmas one likes to be included in that, and if they are not giving any presents then one likes to be included in whatever kindnesses they are giving for the holiday season.

The most lasting gift we can give to one another is that we matter to one another.

Anyway, just my thoughts this morning.

Worldly Distractions


1 °C
Pressure: 102.0 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 1.2°C
Dewpoint: -0.6°C
Humidity: 88 %
Wind: W 5 km/h


“That best portion of a good man’s life,
His little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.”
William Wordsworth
1770 – 1850

In the Kitchen

On Saturday we both worked. I was nervous because freezing rain was forecast, and the route to my Saturday placement was an hour away along a windy, challenging road. Last week a truck slid off this road when conditions were icy, and went over a cliff. The driver survived. The road was clear when I travelled to the job. I observed the torn guard rails that did not help the truck stay on the road, thankful for the dry pavement I was travelling on. The good road conditions did not last though. About an hour before I left the job to head home it started to snow. I had no problem driving on the slushy and slippery road, but then I was travelling at less than half the posted speed limit.

When I took this job we knew I would be travelling on bad roads even when road conditions were abysmal. Attila insisted that we go wayyyy out of our financial comfort zone and purchase an All Wheel Drive vehicle that was reliable. Paying for that vehicle has been a real challenge over the last years and required quite a bit of juggling to keep everything afloat. But I can honestly say that when I am out there in the bush, driving on bad roads, in bad weather, I am grateful that we have made the sacrifice.

We had a busy weekend in the kitchen.

On Sunday Attila peeled apples, and I made pie crust. We froze three unbaked apple pies for the holiday season. One of them is slated for a holiday visit to Terra’s house, another for our Christmas Day dinner.

Ceramic Mixing Bowl

Ceramic Mixing Bowl: My Grandmother had a similar mixing bowl, and of course I have always loved to use things that remind me of my Grandmother.

After the pies were assembled, wrapped and placed in the freezer, Attila went back to peeling apples. I got a chair and pulled it over to the hutch, climbed up and carefully lifted down my traditional extra-large ceramic mixing bowl. I proceeded to add all the mincemeat ingredients, but the apples, to the bowl. When we had finished the project we had four quarts of mincemeat.

We had two apples left, of the two bushels we had purchased this fall.

This morning I started early to measure out the ingredients for bread. By noon two loaves were cooling on racks. I also peeled, cored, and chopped those two apples and mixed them with a pint of mincemeat. Using this mixture I baked a dish of Mincemeat Squares.

While all this was being accomplished I managed to sit for an hour or so to soak my foot. My big toe is prone to infections, and I woke up to a throbbing, red, painful big toe this morning. Yesterday antibiotic cream had been applied but seemed to make matters worse. Using a small saucepan, a tablespoon of salt was dissolved in a cup of water and brought to a boil. The mixture was cooled by adding sterilized water and poured into an oblong container. I sat with my foot resting in the container for more than an hour, and then again for shorter periods throughout the day. The inflammation has gone down, the redness is almost gone, and it no longer hurts to walk. I hope that is the end of the infection.

A lot of people have come to mind recently. Some of them are personal friends and acquaintances, others are not. Years ago I read a book Kate Rice Prospector. She wasn’t “successful” by today’s standards of wealth and influence, although she did receive a small amount of sporadic media attention. The University of Manitoba has a collection of information about Kate Rice. She was an amazing woman, and I found I could relate to her values and life choices. In my view she is the epitome of the feminine.

These wild turkeys look fat and healthy. Notice the dead pine, our super-sized bird feeder, the thirty foot high stump was left when the small tornado removed the top thirty feet of the tree.

On Saturday afternoon movement near the drive caught my eye. From the window I could see a dozen fat, healthy wild turkeys, pecking their way across the yard. I love to see them, and wonder how they survive the weather and the predators. Seems amazing that they can thrive in this environment, but apparently they can, and they do.

Worldly Distractions


-1 °C
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 100.2 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -1.3°C
Dewpoint: -2.6°C
Humidity: 91 %
Wind: NW 17 km/h
Wind Chill: -6


“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
Robert Frost
1874 – 1963

Side by Side

Home Baked Bread December 2012

You know your closet reorganization has completely failed when five minutes after you finish you cannot find the clothes you wanted wear!

I will have to search through everything, find the items I want and then reorganize again. I hope I do a better job the second time round! We do not have a lot of storage space, and neither of us can part with our books, old clothes etc. It is challenging to keep on top of it all.

We had snow, a bad storm last Wednesday with tricky driving conditions. Today is the second day of remarkably mild weather and most of the snow has disappeared. The sun is not to be seen. Here it is 7:25 a.m., I’ve been up for hours and the light is just beginning to bring the trees outside the window into view.

Side by Side, my all time favorite song!!! My Grandparents had a wind up gramophone and an old 78 rpm recording of this song, loved it then, love it now. It was written in 1927, and still rings true.

We talked to Terra last night, she and Lares have a new addition to their family, a dog called Dash. They “rescued” him from the pound, he is a hound mix and very good natured Terra says. We will meet him on our next visit south. Terra and Lares continue to deal with immediate issues in their new house. Their new furnace was installed over the weekend, by Lares who is qualified to do so. They had been heating exclusively with wood, using conventional North American wood stoves, because the existing furnace would not run. Wood heat is a lot of work for people with jobs outside the home. I remember the traditional wood stoves weren’t too bad to deal with when one person was home, and on farms everyone worked on the property and so were around to keep things running as they should. Modern off-site employment makes heating with wood a real challenge.

I think when you have a “fixer upper”, like our little house in the city, the first years are focused on renovation as opposed to decoration. Renovating a house is far more time consuming and expensive than decorating a house; even more so when you are doing all the work yourself, while holding down full time jobs. Sweat equity is made up of… sweat. Cinderella’s fairy godmother is definitely not sprinkling stardust around with her wand to get the work done. Attila and I have found that patience and pacing are important if one is to maintain quality of life while doing our own renovating. We may never get as far as decorating! What’s worse I suppose is that we don’t care as long as we are “Just traveling along singing our song, Side by side”

Luna and Janus continue with their third renovation. They move frequently and seem to thrive on that kind of change. The home they are currently renovating is really cute, in a thriving city with lots of neighbourhoods full of young families. They have altered the floor plan of the house to change rooms from being cramped and dark to bright, beautiful and functional. If it was me, I wouldn’t want to move from such a wonderfully transformed house! Everyone is different though, and they are following their own dreams and plans.

Yesterday was filled with domestic activity here at home in the country house. The two loaves of bread I baked are back to my usual standard, tasty with a good crumb, slices well for sandwiches. This is the third batch since I started baking all our bread again, so it didn’t take too long to get back into the swing of things. I also baked a cranberry/apple crisp which I like for breakfast and snacks. Since we purchased a bushel of seconds, Spy apples, it made sense to use some of them for Mincemeat. I love Mincemeat, but cannot eat the commercial brands because they have so many additives in them. I went without for years and years until I discovered how to make my own Mincemeat. It is time consuming, tastes great and is full of good nutrients. It does contain sugar, salt and butter too, but at least these things would be well down on the ingredient list by volume or weight.

Worldly Distractions


11 °C
Condition:Light Rain
Pressure:101.1 kPa
Visibility:8 km
Humidity:93 %
Wind:S 17 km/h


“When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.”
Source: Bonnie Ware http://www.inspirationandchai.com/Regrets-of-the-Dying.html

Something to consider when overwhelmed by other people’s expectations. We are all just doing our best, when others fall short of their best, the kindest thing is to forgive and kindly go about doing things our own way.

It’s a Miss Piggy World

I’ve no work for the next few days, which means I can let down my guard for a few days and feel my emotions. Emotions put me at risk of expressing myself. I do not dare say what I think when I am at work, that is not what they pay me to do. As you might imagine, it is hard work for me to remain completely emotionally detached during most of my waking hours. I manage it though!

There are a few blogs I read regularly. The people writing the blogs are different ages, live in different areas and do not know one another. They are modest, balanced people who focus on sharing who they are, what they know and what interests them. They describe lives that include the young and the old and everyone in between. I find their approaches to life varied and balanced. But is very hard to find a balanced blog!

How do I perceive balance in a blog: focus beyond self and self-promotion.

Most blogs I bump into are clearly written by the Millennial types, see below. Of course such a category based on age is a gross generalization and merely leads to agist finger pointing. There are living people born in the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s that are every bit as focused on money, image and fame as those born after January 1, 1982. What I have observed is that the MEDIA has been increasingly promoting money, image and fame, and is reaching further into the socialization of children with biased communication modes; first Radio, then Television and Telephone, Computers, and beyond into the mind shaping technologies of FaceBook, YouTube, Twitter and the like.

Still, some of the most unbalanced blogs I bump into are written by young mothers born after 1982, not all of them, but a lot of them. None of these young women seem to have parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles or any kind of community beyond their own few friends of “other mothers” and nuclear family. Most of them are selling their “expertise” via classes, self-published books or “consulting”; they are trying to sell “expertise” that is plain old, every-day common sense for a lot of people. Frankly, I doubt there is much money, image or fame coming their way. However, “fake it till you make it” seems to be the order of the day. It is painful to watch, boring to read.

“Millennials—those born after Jan. 1, 1982—are much more likely than Baby Boomers (now aged 50+) to value money, image and [I would say OR not AND, all equally odious] fame than things like self-acceptance, community and the environment, suggests an extensive new study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.”
Source: http://oncampus.macleans.ca/education/2012/03/19/study-confirms-millennials-are-generation-me/

Here are a list of what I consider to be the red flags of social imbalance on personal blogs:

1. Reference to offering expertise by means of “teaching”, “courses”, “counselling”, “consulting”, “instructional self-authored and published books” and the like. This is not the same as “show and tell” which I regard as healthy “sharing”. I do read some blogs where the blogger is selling self-authoured, self-published book(s), but these are people with years of experience, a balanced approach to life and a lot of humility.

2. Re-presenting information/misinformation from other sources, without references, as factual or even original material. It is an “urban myth” nightmare out there!!! Health and nutrition are particularly infected topics.

3. The blog title sports a popular buzz word, like “homestead”.

4. Representation of “family” as consisting only of the author, spouse and children. This is mediated when the author actually has no parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles…

If you would like to add to this list, please submit a comment for consideration.

Worldly Distractions


-1 °C
Pressure:102.2 kPa
Visibility:16 km
Humidity:81 %
Wind:NW 9 km/h


“There is the satisfaction of providing your public with a vision of true beautology, true sytlisity, – how can I put it? – true glamorositude.”
Miss Piggy the Muppet