Old Friends

OOPS, just mailed out an entry notice without the link. Sorry! Hope you find this, haven’t got my auto-fill program (TypeIt4Me) up and running yet. I am more a creature of habit than I would care to admit.

I have been reading, almost daily, the same book for over four years, since November of 2008. Today I finished the last few pages and wept. The ending was sad and hopeful, and reached around all of my barriers to touch me in places that are rarely accessible to myself or others.

I began reading, for the second time, the second part of “The Forsyte Chronicles”, A Modern Comedy, in early November of 2008. Since that time my aged copy of the book has sat waiting for me, to be picked up and read a few paragraphs at a time, as I visited the “loo”. Perhaps this is too much information, but the context is relevant to me, and this is my memoir, so I include it.

Soames Forsyte is a character for whom I initially felt little, if any, sympathy. Some of his qualities have grown on me over the years, and unbeknownst to me, a real affection for him developed. I wept real tears when his story ended and I read the last pages of the book that centred around the events of his life.

The characters in books have been my companions since my early pre-school years, when I learned to read my first words. I still remember those first fictional characters, two Eskimo children. I remember the hot smell of summer, in an upstairs bedroom at my Grandparents house, where I sat in a private struggle to bring those children in the pictures to life. My Mom and my Grandmother had been teaching me the fundamentals of reading, I used the tools they gave me to forge my own way into a world that they had introduced through the stories and poems recited and read to us as children. I made reading my own at an early age.

As I am typing I am glancing at another book I am reading, at a faster, but still slow rate. That is the book by Frank Harris, entitled Oscar Wilde. My reading schedule became totally disrupted when I was offered a full week of work. The excitement of Terra and Lares new home, and of seeing Luna, Janus and the Grandbabies, made for further delays in getting back to my reading.

This week has been filled with computer configuration, setting up Attila’s iBook, working through the bugs as we marry software to function through experience. For what Attila wants to do on the Internet and on a computer, the 2004 iBook works extremely well.

We recently acquired a low-end MacBook Air, for a variety of reasons.

Our little house in the city has no communication services at all. We have an emergency cell phone, an old one which was purchased in 2006 and operates now for under $100 per year. But when I am visiting the little house in the city by myself we find that when we talk by telephone the $100 worth of minutes are gone in no time at all. It severely restricts our communication.

FaceTime between two Mac computers over a high speed Internet connection is free. The 2004 iBook would not run FaceTime, so it could not be used as a communication device. Nor could it run NetFlix, our only source of video entertainment.

The MacBook is mobile and will probably travel everywhere with me; while the iMac is setup at our home in the country on a high speed connection. I can therefore use the MacBook to contact Attila using FaceTime on the iMac, from anywhere I can access high speed Internet, like at a MacDonald’s restaurant or the local library. I configured both computers and called myself on FaceTime, which was really quite interesting as everything I said to myself looped and was repeatedly repeated. It works, now all I have to do is run it by Attila and we are good to go.

To make all this truly convenient, all we need is high speed Internet service at the little house in the city to complete our communication and entertainment system. Unfortunately my research has revealed that the cost of a high speed connection at the little house in the city is beyond our means. The alternatives will work, convenience is not that important.

On Friday I installed software from a CD on my MacBook Air. The MacBook Air comes without an optical drive, so there is no way to directly install software from a CD. However, I followed instructions from the apple.com web site, setup the iMac to share its optical drive, approved the login from MacBook, and then installed as I would have if there had been a CD inserted in the MacBook, using the icon on the Remote Disk. A simple and fast process. Good to know how to do it so that I can access data CDs from the MacBook if needed.

The only real drawback to the MacBook is that it will not connect to my old external FireWire drive. There are adapters that can be purchased, but I’ve decided to use the Remote Drive thing with that as well, rather than purchase any more hardware.

Today, Saturday, Attila and I both worked. I am puttering indoors on this beautiful sunny day. Attila is using his circular saw to cut the large pile of softwood flooring, in the middle of driveway, into shorter pieces that can be more easily stored. And just in time, there is a skiff of snow out there this morning, and more on the way. We need a clear driveway to facilitate snow shovelling and winter is here.

Black Friday, which was yesterday, is a relatively new concept in Canada, it seems to consist entirely of retail sales, sales, sales, so the consumer will buy, buy, buy. It isn’t a day of celebration that we honour at our house.

The temperature dropped last night, an end to the warm spell we have been having this past week. We watch the weather predictions, knew it was coming, and made sure the masonry fireplace fully charged to handle the big freeze.

Worldly Distractions


-2 °C
Pressure:101.1 kPa
Visibility:16 km
Humidity:67 %
Wind:NW 24 km/h


“The man who says he is willing to meet you halfway is usually a poor judge of distance.”
Laurence J. Peter
1919 – 1988


“…an educator and “hierarchiologist”, best known to the general public for the formulation of the Peter Principle.

He was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, and began his career as a teacher in 1941. He received the degree of Doctor of Education from Washington State University in 1963.

In 1964, Peter moved to California, where he became an Associate Professor of Education, Director of the Evelyn Frieden Centre for Prescriptive Teaching, and Coordinator of Programs for Emotionally Disturbed Children at the University of Southern California.

He became widely famous in 1968, on the publication of The Peter Principle, in which he states: “In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence … in time every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent to carry out its duties … Work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence.” The Peter Principle became one of the most profound principles of management from the University of Southern California. It is a heavily quoted principle at the Marshall School of Business.”
[AHA! It IS deliberate! The frustration of less than competent management is built right into the system.]

Take Two

I just deleted a very, very lengthy entry! After taking a break from it I decided that nothing I was writing about needed to be said or read, delete!

Last week Attila had his flue shot at a public health clinic. I go to the family physician to ensure the non-medicinal ingredients do not include my allergen. So far, so good. One never knows when things will change. My appointment was onf Friday and while I was at the family physician’s I also received my first pneumonia inoculation. The tiredness and soreness in my arm remain, but I can easily live with this slight discomfort. I did find though that over the weekend I felt cranky from time to time, and I was aware of it. I hope I kept that well away from other people, I think I succeeded, with the exception of one little terse conversation with Attila, who wasn’t being all sugar and honey himself at the time.

We made a whirlwind trip to our little house in the city. On Saturday we arrived, cooked and ate a box of Kraft Dinner (poorly planned that one!) and headed out to Terra and Lares new house. They moved on Saturday and by the time we arrived all the lifting and toting had been done. Their house was full of jolly people, all of whom had helped with the move, except us of course.

The house does need a lot of work. What an adventure it will be, slowly nursing this century home back into good health. It is large and beautiful; well worth the effort to bring it back.

Luna and Janus travelled a long distance to help with the move, and the whole family came, Imp and Elf and Tink. Well almost the whole family, the dogs Benny and Bim were left with the in-laws and Soot the cat was left in peace at home.

It was wonderful to see the Grandbabies. They have grown a lot and are such characters. They are all so different from one another and we enjoy and love each personality. They spent a lot of time playing in the “exercise room”, an office in a separate building which was carpeted. They played happily in there for hours and we could see them through the window and could keep an eye on them.

Since we could not help with the actual move, we contributed otherwise. Attila build two extremely strong saw horses for Lares, and I prepared breakfast for the crowd that stayed overnight till Sunday, after the hectic Saturday move. My first priority was to prepare toast and peanut butter for the Grandbabies. After they had all they wanted to eat, I prepared toast and sausages and eggs for the rest. I also kept a sink full of dishwater and washed and dried the dirty dishes as they were piled by the sink. By the time everyone had eaten the dishes were done and the kitchen cleaned up; ready for the sanding and painting job which is next on Terra’s list.

Then it was back to the little house to wash up the dishes there and get things shut down and locked up until the next visit.

The drive home was beautiful. So much colour, even without autumn leaves! Bright sunshine is a balm.

Today I am making more applesauce for freezing and baking a cranberry-apple crisp for breakfast and snacks later in the week. I’ve been offered a few more hours work in the coming weeks, so I will be busy.

Standing at the window this afternoon I spotted what could be a lone coyote trotting down the road in front of the house, head lowered, glancing back over its shoulder. A little later I saw him running out our driveway, he had obviously been in our back yard. The tail seemed a little too long for a coyote, but it was very large and certainly did not resemble any of the Red Foxes that I have seen trotting by in the past. I have my camera out and ready now in case it passes this way again, then perhaps the species can be identified with a photograph.

Worldly Distractions


7 °C
Date: 3:00 PM EST Monday 19 November 2012
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.7 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 6.7°C
Dewpoint: 1.4°C
Humidity: 69 %


“It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either of them.”
Mark Twain
1835 – 1910
Long live the imprudent, say I!!!


Terra and Lares have taken possession of their old “new” house and are entering into the adventure with great spirit. They arrived to find the oil tank leaking, fixed that, then found that the furnace was not working, fixed that… and so it went. They are able to laugh and enjoy themselves as they take control of their new home.

I have had FaceTime on my computer for a long, long time. However, it is a Mac to Mac thing, so I’ve really had no opportunity to use it to talk to my loved ones, who have all been windows people. Terra got a new iPhone, and within minutes we had FaceTime up and running. Love it. She was able to give me a little tour of the apartment they are moving out of; boxes!

I have been working on my genealogy research diligently, there is a lot of work to be done referencing all the material I am entering into the database. Slow going, but mostly enjoyable and worthwhile.

I am taping these single thickness bubble envelopes to the single pane glass to see if we can save a bit of energy during the winter!

Waste not, want not; I’ve always heard this proverb and believe it to be true, for the most part. Attila and I are proceeding with our “spend no money” renovation plans. Of course, it is only a goal, to spend no money; a goal we do not reach because we always end up spending some money. Be that as it may, I am always on the lookout to repurpose objects. An experiment I am currently undertaking at the little house is to add insulation to the old windows. I have saved a few bubble wrap envelopes, and as you can see I have taped them to the single pane glass of a window at the little house in the city. We cannot afford new windows, and the old ones are hardly energy efficient. It is worth a try, we shall see if it makes any noticeable difference in the amount of heating fuel we use over the winter.

The nice thing about this bubble envelope window treatment is that the light comes through. The white envelope lets more light into the room from outside, and the manilla envelope filters the light into a glowing golden colour. Both are quite nice, particularly when this window treatment is hidden behind a curtain that hides the details and lets the light through.

I mentioned this to a woman where I worked last week and she thought it was weird and made sure I knew it. She has lots of money, so thinking inside the box is a very comfortable place for her; so I left her there.

Attila is going to use this computer for surfing the Internet and communicating by email.

This morning the iBook G4 got a good maintenance and configuration session; it was set up for Attila’s exclusive use. I have configured the internet, the browser and bookmarks, and the email client so that he can login at startup and begin surfing or communicating by email. It took a while to choose the software, because it is a 2004 model, the operating system is old and a lot of the current software will not work with it. I found optimal programs to allow almost all functions on the internet to work properly, it took some time, but it was worth it.

At last I am baking bread again! Bread baking took a real dive when I worked full time. For more than a year I got up six days a week, put one foot in front of the other and dragged myself through each day, collapsing in exhaustion when the necessary domestic chores were done after work. My bread baking skills slipped significantly as a result of that long break. I’ve produced six loaves of edible but not great bread. They keep getting better, so maybe sometime before Christmas the bread will be as mouth watering as it was before I started working all hours. Attila has his fingers crossed, because he is the one who eats most of the bread.

Winter is approaching. During the first few months of winter weather, through November and December, I fare well. The snow and cold weather are a beautiful novelty, contact with people who know my name is frequent enough to maintain equilibrium and there are a lot of projects on the go as we adjust to below freezing temperatures, snow and ice.

Then January arrives, cold and relatively featureless physically and psychologically. Social contact begins to suffer from the weather and the flat white landscape stretches as far as the eye can see and soul can reach. Winter seeps slowly into my bones. By February I am struggling with cabin fever. By March I am considering running away from home, flying to Australia, hitchhiking to Mexico, taking a train to Florida. Of course I do none of those things, throwing caution to the wind is not my modus operandi, but in March they seem like a good idea. March is a difficult month in this little corner of rural Ontario.

Of course, then April arrives and the colour of spring chases away the dark and lonely days. The challenge is over until the following January.

Last February Attila and I were both working and so could afford to take a few days off work without wages. It was a one-off, as we can ill afford to lose wages on one income. I wrote the following during that blessed break from the bleak:

Attila and I have had a few days off work, an unpaid
mini-holiday. Much needed and we feel well deserved. The interlude is
well worth the tightened belts.

Change has always been a pivotal component in the way I live, think,
feel, breath. The constant drone of working full-time and part-time
numbs the life right out of life. The natural flow of change becomes
blocked and clogged like arteries victimized by too much butter and red
meat. The pressure of change builds in my life, when I’ve no time to

That is why these last few days have afforded me a rainbow of
epiphanies. My internal skies are full of tears and bright sunlight.

I have come to know a few things more intimately.

My beliefs have foundations. The foundations are living entities that
evolve over time, and to add interest, will vary according to
perspective at any given time. My beliefs are the garden from which I
gather sustenance.

One epiphany related to an old knowledge, is that my personal happiness
is a gift to those who love me, and it honours those who have loved me
and have passed on to the next level of existence. Their happiness
is/was a gift received. Letting happiness pervade my life is desirable
in the greater scheme of things. I am allowed to experience personal
happiness even when many other’s are in no position to enjoy such
feelings. If an imbalance exists, it does not need to be restored by
removing my personal happiness for the sake of others. The path to
healthy restoration of balance in this world we live in is to increase
the personal happiness of others. To think local is to act global.

Nothing new here, just the same old wonderfulness of being alive.

Endlessly fascinating.

Worldly Distractions


0 °C
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 103.2 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -0.1°C
Dewpoint: -4.5°C
Humidity: 72 %
Wind: ESE 9 km/h
Wind Chill: -3


“Shut out all of your past except that which will help you weather your tomorrows.”
Sir William Osler
1849 – 1919

“Sir William Osler, 1st Baronet (July 12, 1849 – December 29, 1919) was a Canadian physician. He was one of the “Big Four” founding professors at Johns Hopkins Hospital as the first Professor of Medicine and founder of the Medical Service there. (The “Big Four” were William Osler, Professor of Medicine; William Stewart Halsted, Professor of Surgery; Howard A. Kelly, Professor of Gynecology; and William H. Welch, Professor of Pathology.) Osler created the first residency program for specialty training of physicians, and he was the first to bring medical students out of the lecture hall for bedside clinical training.

He has been called the “Father of modern medicine.” Osler was a multifaceted physician and individual, functioning as a pathologist, internist, educator, bibliophile, historian, author, and renowned practical joker…

An inveterate prankster, he wrote several humorous pieces under the pseudonym “Egerton Yorrick Davis”, even fooling the editors of the Philadelphia Medical News into publishing a report on the imaginary phenomenon of penis captivus, on December 13, 1884. The letter (still cited in all seriousness in a number of textbooks) was apparently a response to a report on the phenomenon of vaginismus reported three weeks previously in the Philadelphia Medical News by Osler’s colleague Theophilus Parvin.

Davis, a prolific writer of letters to medical societies, purported to be a retired US Army surgeon living in Caughnawaga, Quebec (now called Kahnawake), author of a controversial paper on the obstetrical habits of Native American tribes which was suppressed and unpublished. Osler would enhance Davis’ myth by signing Davis’ name to hotel registers and medical conference attendance lists; Davis was eventually reported drowned in the Lachine Rapids in 1884.”


A Remembrance Day Poem 2012

Remembrance Day 2012

by Maggie Turner

The only war I know
is where I live and my children grow
is in my house
and down the street
in office buildings
where the powerful meet.

This war ‘s not fought with guns per se
it’s invisible in the day-to-day
the bruises hidden
the despair masked
from professional predators
with careers made fast.

This war’s on integrity
honesty, truth,
the bullying school yard
the media proof,
the smirking sly smiles,
of ambition’s glass roof.

This is the only war I know,
what weapons will win it
what vision will show
that the war in our midst
is the one that will grow

It spreads from the hearts
of the greedy and small
engulfs the stout hearted
fells those who stand tall.

Look to your small life
keep kindness in sight
recognize your compatriots
and target the fight
on the heights of rapacity
and the glamour of might.

[a work in progress, wrote it this morning, good to be writing poetry again]

Are you kidding me!

I’ve witnessed a lot of bizarre behaviour this week; I’ve been shaking my head and saying to the universe “Are you kidding me!”

Lily Tomlin has it all pegged:

“No matter how cynical you get, it is impossible to keep up.”

Worldly Distractions


5 °C
Condition: Mist
Pressure: 102.2 kPa
Visibility: 4 km
Temperature: 5.0°C
Dewpoint: 4.4°C
Humidity: 96 %

Happy Notes: Terra and Lares took possession of their house today!!! And we received a little video of Tink reading, she is three, you go girl!