Blogmas Day 6: Misplaced

Sunshine! It is amazing how much cheer a few rays of sunshine can add to a room. After a bright and sunny morning, the clouds returned in force, snow is predicted.

I’ve spent a good part of my morning looking for the information sheet the hospital provided for me before I checked out after the colonoscopy, can’t find it. It has been misplaced. How is this even possible! This is a small house, how many places are there that I could have put it. No luck at all, still haven’t found it. I’ve put is somewhere “logical”, but is beyond me just where that might be. This happens from time to time, I assume it happens to everyone. How frustrating!

Today was the day I had to deal with the huge bill received for the repairs to Tank. Ouch! The repair cost more than new windows for the whole house, and that really hurts. Of course it cannot be paid in one go, so I came up with a plan of borrowing and paying back that will take us well into 2019, but it isn’t so tight a strategy that we will suffer. Our belts will be tightened, but we will still be housed, warm, well fed, and able to transport ourselves to work in Attila’s case, and to medical appointments in my case. Really, that is all we need, and when I think about it, it is about all I want, so a sort of balance has been achieved.

Transportation is a huge expense, and not often counted in the assessments of quality of life. Here at Mist Cottage we spend much more of our meagre income on transportation than we do on either food or shelter, as one must include the cost of the vehicle, the insurance, the fuel, and the maintenance; it all adds up at an alarming rate. I have fond memories of living in downtown Toronto, walking everywhere I needed to go, with an occasional foray further afield via public transportation, and even more occasional drive to the countryside to go camping with my girls. Most residential constructs in Canada are such that one must have some sort of personal transport in order to function. Just obtaining food supplies is a major operation without a vehicle, where most people in Canada live.

After Attila arrived home from work, off we went to the garage to pick up the car. The bill wasn’t unreasonable, and since it was a maintenance visit, the bill was manageable. I sighed with relief. [Confession: I wrote the previous sentence mid-afternoon, as an experiment in positive thinking, think happy thoughts and everything turns out all right, right? I knew it might be, in reality, an exercise in delusional thinking. As it turned out, the bill wasn’t unreasonable, but that outcome may not negate the possibility of delusional thinking. Still, it was much more fun to think that if I wished hard enough, things would turn out the way I wanted them to.



Date: 11:00 AM EST Thursday 6 December 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 1.1°C
Dew point: -2.0°C
Humidity: 80%
Wind: WSW 23 km/h
Visibility: 16 km


“The weird thing about houses is that they almost always look like nothing is happening inside of them, even though they contain most of our lives.”
John Green

Blogmas Day 5: Canada Post

Sometimes bureaucracies get so big they topple over and crush the little people below… Canada Post comes to mind.

I bought a gift for my Mom, which was supposed to be delivered today, just to cheer her up, as she has a few health issues to contend with the moment. Well, it won’t get there on time. Why? See the image below for the sad tale of how the package left for a three-day round-trip journey, ending up back where it started and nowhere near my Mom’s house.  And I will add that the claim that the delay is due to weather or natural disaster is bogus, I live here in Ontario, there are no current weather events or natural disasters going on, unless you call a big cow pie of misinformation a natural disaster.

In reality there is no big inconvenience due to this cockamamie trip the package went on, and the fact that it will arrive where it is supposed to go late.  Was this a stressed out employee?  An angry employee?  A careless and indifferent employee?  Who knows, the post office is mostly broke, and it doesn’t look like it is getting fixed.

tracking list from Canada Post

Tracking list for my Mom’s gift, there and back again!

I enjoyed my breakfast of Turmeric Breakfast Cookies and coffee with maple syrup and almond milk. I am looking forward to a lunch of Chili and a slice of probiotic bread. I haven’t decided what to prepare for dinner yet, sometimes I don’t decide until five minutes before I start to prepare it.

The day passes pleasantly when there are frequent breaks involving tasty food and beverages! Perhaps this is universally appreciated, I do know Attila and I share this propensity to enjoy our bits of culinary delights.

My nose seems to be recovering nicely, no bleeding so far, although there is still a spot of blood now and again in the right nostril, it seems to be taking longer to heal than the other nostril. No discomfort, and no bleeding, brilliant!

My gastrointestinal health is returning, so that is a relief, and my back spasms are diminishing every day, so recovery is looking good on the colonoscopy front as well.

The car goes in for servicing this evening, and Attila will use Tank to travel until it comes home from the garage. Funny old world, the bill for Tank’s repairs just arrived, the same day as the car needs to go in for routine servicing, and also the day Attila let me know that the car needs new tires. We will have to be very patient getting all these bills paid!



Date: 12:00 PM EST Wednesday 5 December 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 0.2°C
Dew point: -3.7°C
Humidity: 75%
Wind: SSW 9 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“They sicken of the calm, who knew the storm.”
Dorothy Parker
1893 – 1967

Not this gal!

Blogmas Day 4: Surprise

A sunny day here today.

Terra dropped by this morning with Sunny and Sky and Willow. How can Grandchildren be so cute! Such bright little souls! They are so active, like twinkling lights as they dash here and there. They knew exactly who I was, telling me that they were at “Grandma’s house” as they came up the front steps of the house. Willow is four months old, she is alert, watches her older brother and sister with great interest, as if she just can’t wait to get moving and join them. The big attraction on this visit to Grandma’s house were the boxes of oranges and clementines that were stored on a lower shelf in the kitchen. As Terra and I sat in the living room, we heard a series of loud thumps coming from the kitchen. I came around the corner and into the kitchen just in time to see Sky toss an orange down the length of the kitchen floor, he was bowling with oranges. I persuaded him that rolling the oranges and clementines was a much better idea, so he and his sister had a wonderful time bowling with oranges, aiming for invisible pins. They even picked up every last orange and clementine and returned them to the boxes for Grandma. Too soon they were putting on their boots and coats, getting ready to take Terra’s friend to the hospital, as the friend had been in a terrible accident on the highway a few days ago, and needed to be taken to her doctor’s appointment. It was a horrendous accident, and she walked away from it after being hit full speed by a transport truck, which is nothing short of miraculous.

I don’t know where the time goes, but it isn’t hanging out at Mist Cottage, it flies right on by.

I had taken a break from consuming apple cider vinegar (ACV) daily, and took the habit up once more over the weekend. I mix two tablespoons of honey with boiling water in a mug, let it cool for five minutes, then add two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. The first time I tried this I didn’t care for it all that much, but the taste has grown on me, and I now look forward to it as a treat. Another treat in my diet is my Turmeric Cookies, which make tasty and satisfying breakfast.

Tonight was another Instant-Pot-dinner night. I sautéed hamburger, added chopped onions and browned, then added two cups of water and deglazed. Next the vegetable steamer was placed in the pot over the hamburger mixture, and diced potatoes and carrots were added, with a bit of freshly ground pepper sprinkled over them. The Instant Pot was turned on, fifteen minutes later pressure was reached, twelve minutes later the cooking was complete, and fifteen minutes later the lid came off, the vegetables were removed from the pot, the gravy was thickened with a flour and water mixture, and then dinner was served.

it is getting dark much earlier! The days grow short, perhaps that is why time if flying by!



Date: 8:00 PM EST Tuesday 4 December 2018
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -3.5°C
Dew point: -8.2°C
Humidity: 70%
Wind: WSW 13 km/h
Wind Chill: -8
Visibility: 24 km


“Life is full of surprises and serendipity. Being open to unexpected turns in the road is an important part of success. If you try to plan every step, you may miss those wonderful twists and turns. Just find your next adventure-do it well, enjoy it-and then, not now, think about what comes next.”
Condoleezza Rice

Not all surprises are created equally!

Blogmas Day 3: Frayed

spools of different coloured thread in a box

This sampler of 100% Polyester Coats Drima thread was purchased in 1971. I bought it to make samples for bulletin board displays, and for classroom demonstrations, when I taught Home Economics in the public school system in Ontario, Canada.

Today I am mending my 25-year-old parka, worn every winter, all winter, since it was purchased in 1993, on sale, but still expensive. I am mending my 25-year-old parka with my 48-year-old sewing machine, a machine purchased in 1970 to use for my “Haute couture” class at Ryerson University, which was Ryerson Polytechnical Institute at the time of my attendance. The first machine purchased was an inexpensive Singer, which wasn’t up to the job, so it was returned, and the Lotus Elna was purchased, specially priced at a trade show in downtown Toronto. The thread I am using to mend the 25-year-old parka, with the 48-year-old sewing machine, is 47 years old, purchased in 1971 when I was teaching Home Economics sewing classes in the public school system in Ontario. The thread was used for making samples for bulletin boards, and for classroom demonstrations, and was purchased at my own expense, because I wanted more colours than my tight classroom supply budget would allow. The spool of thread is one of the 70 spools of thread that came in a box. Every colour is different. It is Coats Drima thread, 100% polyester, and still as good as the day I bought it. There are about 50 spools of thread left.

The cuffs on my parka have worn to the point where they are frayed. The cuffs have been fraying for a few years now, and I have been ignoring that. Now though, the frayed threads are getting long and getting in my way. Various methods of repair were considered, but in the end a simple zig-zag stitch along the frayed edge was chosen. Two rows of stitching were sewn, one to secure the edge, the second stitched further into the sleeve to add support and stability to the edge stitching. It doesn’t look beautiful, there are very short and jagged threads along the edges of the sleeves, but it is functional and will probably last another 25 years, because I plan on getting another 25 years out of this parka if possible. After that, I might buy something more fashionable than functional.

frayed parka cuff

The parka cuff is quite frayed, but not too bad for a 25-year-old daily-worn garment.

repaired parka cuff

The repaired cuff, not all that pretty, but super functional. No more frayed threads will be catching in my gloves or on objects when I am using my hands! This parka is good to go for another 25 years, I am game for it!



Date: 1:00 PM EST Monday 3 December 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.4 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 0.4°C
Dew point: -1.4°C
Humidity: 87%
Wind: NNW 24 gust 35 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“Seek not happiness too greedily, and be not fearful of happiness.”
604 BC – 531 BC

Vlogmas Blogmas

I just became aware of vloggers creating Vlogmas videos, one video a day until Christmas. A sort of Advent Vlog king of thing. So I looked up Blogmas, to see if it was a thing, and indeed information came up on Google. Hmmm… I am not sure I could be jolly, festive, every day for 24 days. I might manage to type a few things in on the keyboard though, and since Christmas is not an extended family time for me, nor is it for many others, I think I will give this Blogmas a go, just to keep myself company during the holiday season.

I missed yesterday! It was a dull day, with intermittent rain, which happens frequently in December in Ontario.

Attila is working on the wiring in the garage, which is going slowly.

We went shopping for supplies. Attila is a sale hound, particularly when the sales pertain to food. We visited several stores in town, spent almost $230, which is at the very top of our range. It was trip that included a few Christmas presents for my daughter’s families, a case of pork n’ beans which was donated to the food bank, and was collected by paramedics parked just outside the grocery store doors, three huge hams for 100 lunches for Attila, four litres of olive oil, calcium tablets for me to last four months, and a lot of other single items. At the end of the day our points card was worth $40.00 for the next grocery foray. There will be two more trips for supplies before Christmas, and neither will be nearly so costly.

Homemade pizza was on the menu for dinner. A new dough recipe was attempted, but the search will continue, it wasn’t as good as desired, although it was very good. Baking without salt changes the game somewhat, but eventually it will be just right.

Today the house smells wonderful. Attila is making split pea soup with one of the ham bones.

Attila spent this morning carving the three hams into 21 small portions. I wrapped each one in waxed paper. Then it was time to learn how to use the vacuum sealer, to store the ham long-term in the freezer.

First I taught myself to make custom sized bags from a roll that came with the machine. That accomplished, four waxed paper wrapped packages of ham were added to each of four sealer bags, and then it was time to learn how to use the sealer. Instructions were read carefully.

I like the vacuum sealer, but I think at least two of the bags I sealed did not completely seal. The problem may have been moisture from the ham seeping into the seal area, or it might have been the bags were not positioned properly. An online instructional video mentioned putting a paper towel inside the bag, near the sealing edge, to prevent leakage, so that will be something to try next time. The failed seals were ignored, and the four bags of four packages of ham were labelled as to contents and date, then taken down to the freezer in the basement. One ham bone went immediately into the soup pot, and the other two were put into a plastic bag, and then into the freezer downstairs for soups in the future. Four packages of ham went into the refrigerator freezer for more immediate use. The ham won’t be frozen long enough to make the failed seals a problem, it will be gone before the winter wanes.

I baked pumpkin muffins this morning, for Attila’s lunches for the next week or so. But the highlight of my day was learning how to use the vacuum sealer, not a total success, but fun nevertheless.

I had a colonoscopy last week. The home preparation was a nightmare, I could barely walk at the end of the prep period. If I have to do this again I am buying a more comfortable toilet seat, and will wear a back brace for the duration! My back is still seizing. My last colonoscopy was horrendous, and I ended up severely dehydrated due to extreme vomiting, and was hospitalized before the procedure. This time I managed to keep my stomach from going nuts, a different purgative this time, and managed to drink enough to stay adequately hydrated, so it was a much better experience. This time the anaesthetic didn’t impact me to the same degree as last time, so I was able to get dressed and walk to the car shortly after the procedure, and had no trouble waking up.

Only one close call with my allergen during the whole hospital visit, juice was offered when I was out of it, coming out of anaesthetic, Attila caught it in time, the print on the label was too small for him to read without a magnifying glass, we didn’t have one with us, I got water. I don’t think I should ever be alone in a hospital, I need that second set of eyes and ears to catch things I might miss in the stress of the moment. They removed one polyp, and found some kind of blockage thing, no idea what that is about, so I have to go back in for more tests, this time to a different, more specialized hospital! Shit! Ha, ha, ha. The results of the biopsy on the polyp will take weeks, and I assume that if it is clear of issues I won’t hear a thing, and if I hear from them, then there is a problem. Another few days in the life, I won’t worry unless and until I have to. I have my fingers crossed that if there is a problem, and they can’t get me in for treatment before Christmas, that they wait until after Christmas to drop the bomb.



Date: 2:00 PM EST Sunday 2 December 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.0 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 6.1°C
Dew point: 6.0°C
Humidity: 99%
Wind: S 10 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but cannot be taken away unless it is surrendered.”
Michael J. Fox
1961 –