Mug Cake

Sometimes I just want to eat something sweet. This morning was one of those times. I love Danish Pastry, and that is what I craved. But the only store bought pastries that work for me, with comprehensive labels, come in packages of four or six. I cannot purchase in individual pastry. Herein lies the problem. If I buy four, I will eat four. If I buy six, I will eat six. If I buy one, I will eat one. I only want to buy one, which I cannot do. So instead, I found a recipe for a mug cake, skipped the Nutella, added a dollop of peanut butter, and a dollop of raspberry jam, then sprinkled chocolate chips over it, and baked it in the microwave. It hit the spot, scratched the itch, quenched my craving.

I am careful of sugar laden treats, as I feel sugar contributes significantly to my high blood pressure. I’m not sure it works this way for everyone, but I certainly found it to be the case, after monitoring my diet and my blood pressure daily, for more than a year. I love sugar, but it is something I have to be very careful with. My mug cake had a total of two tablespoons, or six teaspoons, of sugar in it. That is my daily quota! So today I am over quota, because I also added a teaspoon of maple syrup to my morning coffee. I enjoyed that cake, and won’t need to bake another for a while.

It is raining today, providing the newly washed Iris The Trailer with a thorough rinse. The weather reports say that next week we will see sunshine again, and then I will be up there on the ladder, scrubbing away to remove the black dots left by the lichen. When the surfaces are clean, marine wax will be applied and buffed. Slow but sure, that’s me.

Green, a very welcome colour. The day gets greener as the rain falls. Sometimes it is wonderful to live in the universe’s colouring book.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

11°C
Date: 11:00 AM EDT Wednesday 25 April 2018
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 10.5°C
Dew point: 9.7°C
Humidity: 95%
Wind: ENE 17 km/h
Visibility: 5 km

Quote

“If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise.”
Robert Fritz

Very Strange

Just now an older man, over 70, stiff gait, came to my door, after parking his very large, very new, tan coloured SUV in my driveway. He knocked, and I got up immediately to answer the door. He had tried to open the screen door, which was locked. I hate that, people trying to open doors to houses that don’t belong to them. Anyway, he was heading back to his car lickety-split when I got the door open. He knocked and wasn’t waiting for anyone to answer the door, the first bit of strangeness.

He asked me if I was Michelle, who did hairdressing and nails. Nope. And you know what, no one on this street is Michelle who does hairdressing and nails. He said he was sorry to bother me, and then left quickly, getting in his SUV and driving away. He left our street. I got his license number, sent it to a friend to keep a record of it. Very, very strange.

Yesterday the weather was lovely, and this morning it was lovely again! The sky has clouded over now, and rain is predicted for this evening.

Wanting to spend time out of doors during these first few days of lovely weather, I got out my bucket and ladder and began the process of washing the exterior of Iris the trailer. The top of the Iris is covered in lichens, which when washed disintegrate to leave stubborn black polka dots. The sides of Iris sported significant patches of green algae. Yesterday the sides were washed with a mixture of Dawn detergent and 1/4 cup of bleach in a bucket of water. This morning the roof was tackled. The first pass was completed, removing chunks of lichen, that left behind large black dots that need a lot of scrubbing to get off. Most of the black dots were removed from perimeter of the roof that was easy to reach. The rest were scrubbed with a brush, then rinsed. It will take another few days of elbow grease to remove all of the black dots. After that task is completed, a marine wax will be applied. This whole process will take more than a week of sunny days to complete.

The lichen, (Foliose Lichen), comes from the ash tree branches, that hang high above Iris, and has been accumulating since she arrived in our driveway. Hopefully a good coating of marine wax will prevent this from happening again!

Yesterday evening I sat out on the back porch for the first time in 2018. Attila joined me and we spent a pleasant half hour soaking in the setting sun. But we were not alone. Mosquitoes! Those little biting buddies are back. Sitting out on the porch was wonderful, despite having to share it with small and sneaky companions.

After a bit of a break, dinner preparations will begin. Tonight’s meal will consist of Coconut Lime Fish, rice, and two vegetables.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

11°C
Date: 1:00 PM EDT Tuesday 24 April 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 11.3°C
Dew point: 2.2°C
Humidity: 54%
Wind: SSW 18 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Silence is a text easy to misread.”
A. A. Attanasio

Mice

I took a whirlwind trip to visit the Rideau Camp, and to check Grace the trailer, to see how she weathered the winter. Attila made the trip with me.

Attila dragged deadwood from the front of the property to the camp fire pit, and I spent my hours there cleaning Grace. Mice had infiltrated and left disgusting droppings in the kitchen drawers, which had to be removed and cleaned out of doors, as well as all the contents sterilized and washed. I think Attila found where they came in, chewed right through the rubber flashing on one of the doors. I am on the search for metal reinforced flashing now, so they can’t chew through it.

It was lovely to drive through the countryside on the way to the Camp. There were bright yellow Coltsfoot blooms along the road in, and the ground at the Camp was covered with emerging Trout Lily leaves.

At Mist Cottage the sunshine saw to the last of the snow on the lawn. It also persuaded a few blooms to emerge from the awakening Lungwort in the front garden. Rabbits have been eating the new growth from the onions and garlic plants in the garden. There are more rabbits about this spring, probably because the wetland forest at the end of the street has been destroyed. A fence around the garden might be required!

I have been working on my genealogy database, allowing myself to wander around through primary documents on ancestry. This morning I reviewed all the deaths in the Parry Sound area for 1918, one of the Spanish Flu epidemic years. There were more than 70 deaths due to influenza, and many deaths due to pneumonia, which in some cases might have been related to influenza. I enjoy following little lines if inquiry like this from time to time, just seeing what the data will reveal. Then, when I have some information, I like to contemplate how it played out in lived lives, the human element, the feelings, the effects on human communities, that sort of thing. My Granny was 16 years old in 1918, with a war on, and a flu epidemic, it must have been a challenging year. I wonder did she have a beau, did she lose friends to the war or the epidemic? I’d love to be able to talk with her again, to find out about her life.

A new ball of yarn was started on the crocheted blanket project. I find I have been picking it up a bit more frequently, when I want to sit and think.

The holding pattern with Attila is working well so far, so that domestic life is relatively comfortable. I am beginning to get my bearings here, feel solid ground under my feet. My affection for Attila is undiminished. I am still leery of the situation, the unexpectedness of the terrible, terrible mistake has shown me the precariousness of my life, any life really, something not easily forgotten.

Today is predicted to be warm, 15C, and sunny. I am very keen to grab my bucket, and a ladder, and give Iris the trailer a good exterior washing. Sitting under a tree, she has accumulated some green algae on her roof, and long one side. A good washing, and an interior cleaning are a very good idea.

As I sit here writing, the sun is streaming in through the living room windows. The beautiful, bug free, maybe even open today windows!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-1°C
Date: 7:00 AM EDT Monday 23 April 2018
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 103.2 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -1.0°C
Dew point: -1.9°C
Humidity: 94%
Wind: NNE 4 km/h
Wind Chill: -2
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“It is better to suffer wrong than to do it, and happier to be sometimes cheated than not to trust.”
Samuel Johnson
1709 – 1784

Britbox

It is snowing out there this morning. It accumulates on the tree branches, white icing, then it slowly disappears into clear drops that drip, drip, drip. Occasionally the sun peeks out, sending a blaze of pleasure across the living room, before hiding once more behind the sheet of gray that is the sky.

I haven’t had cabin fever since the winter of 2013/2014, the last winter I spent at the country house. The following winter I stayed alone at Mist Cottage during the winter months, and even though I saw no one, received no visitors other than Attila, and spent all of my time alone within the four walls of Mist Cottage, I did not experience cabin fever. We moved here in September of 2015, so that after my lone winter, I did not have to spend another in the country. I will always remember those winters as the bleakest, loneliest period of my life, particularly the months of February and March, when the cold white aloneness entered my very soul.

This snow that is coming down now, it is disappointing. This disappointment is relatively benign. Even being housebound over the weekend due to the severe ice storm, that raged for over two days, has not dampened my spirits. Soon the sun will shine, the temperature will rise, and I will open these beautiful windows and let the breeze play through the house.

The day today will be filled with small tasks, all aimed at organizing “stuff”. Now that all my books are out and easily available, the temptation to graze on words is strong. I am resisting that urge though, and moving through more pragmatic activities: bill paying, appointment making, purging, cleaning.

Attila has been busy working on the house, winterizing. The rim joist perimeter in the basement has provided an incredible amount of air circulation from the great outdoors. This is not a good thing. The fellow who insulated our attic recommended sealing the cracks at the rim joists, the insulating, then applying vapour barrier. Attila has accomplished this for about 1/4 of the perimeter of the basement. Since the temperature is hovering around 0C now, and will rise from there, I doubt I will notice the difference until next winter, when the cold winds howl and batter the house. Although I might not notice a difference, there may be a noticeable lowering of the hydro bill, once the project is completed.

The garage project has been slated for June, according to Attila’s latest plan. He wants to spend May planting his garden.

My projects involve organizing “stuff”, which is ongoing, and not subject to interference by weather conditions. My crochet blanket is coming along slowly, no hurry, just a row or so a day, keeps my hand in. I am thinking of doing some pressure canning, but haven’t been motivated to get started on it yet. Tonight I am preparing baked chicken, roast potatoes, and green beans for dinner. Attila plans his second supper himself, he always eats two suppers over the course of an evening.

I did some exploring, feeling the need for additional entertainment sources, as Netflix, and Prime Video offerings are just too violent and nihilistic, or banal and shallow, for my taste. I tried BBC iPlayer, not available in Canada. I tried PBS, not available in Canada. Then someone on Facebook shared a link to Britbox, which recently became available in Canada. I had a look and signed up for the free trial. The first program I am watching is Unforgotten. Wow! This is a very good program. The initial episode of the season involves the discovery of a long dead person, the short, to the point visual image of the dead person is not dwelt upon, but included as a viable part of the story. The rest of the season’s episodes involve finding justice for the person who was found dead, developing the story of their lives, their loved ones, their enemies. It is an excellent program! One murder a season I can handle, as opposed to the more common North American multiple, graphically violent deaths in every episode.

Soon I will begin to think about what I want to do when the weather warms, and being outdoors holds some appeal! Soon the weather won’t make the roads impassable, footpaths treacherous, plans precarious. Waiting!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

1°C
Date: 7:48 AM EDT Tuesday 17 April 2018
Condition: Light Snowshower
Pressure: 100.2 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 0.6°C
Dew point: -1.1°C
Humidity: 88%
Wind: WSW 17 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Even now,” she thought, “almost no one remembers Esteban and Pepita, but myself. Camila alone remembers Uncle Pio and her son; this woman, her mother. But soon we shall die and all memory of those five will have left the earth, and we ourselves shall be loved for a while and then forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and the land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.”
Thornton Wilder

love… the only survival, the only meaning

Thinking of you Reenie, your message, your life.

Shut In

It was a fitful night, filled mostly with sleep, sleep interrupted frequently by the howl of the wind, and visits to the loo. When morning light arrived, it found me snuggled under my eiderdown, gazing out the window at the tortured trees, as the wind ripped across the landscape.

It was -5C outside the window when I finally arose.

We had hydro, all night, and it is still with us this morning. The weather today may change that.

The sand truck just passed, leaving a dark stain down the middle of the road. The truck returned, to plow the accumulated ice pellets to the side of the road. Transportation routes are passable again.

It isn’t over yet though! Today promises to bring more ice pellets and freezing rain, along with strong winds.

I am shut in, as is Attila, for the weekend. Yesterday was quite pleasant, allowing ample time to attend to reorganizing the domestic space here. There were two large unpacked heavy totes in the basement, containing my text books. Attila carried them to the main floor for me. I thought I would want to get rid of them, but alas, no. Many of them were written by friends, colleagues, some of them reference my work. There is a whole world of memories in those books, good memories, so I carefully sorted through them, organized them, and placed them on the bookshelf. Two totes down in the basement, yay!

Within a few days all of this ice will be gone. Hopefully the roads will be clear by tomorrow morning, when many people need to go back to work. For my part, I am looking forward to some weather that resembles spring, so that I can sit on the back porch, and plan activities away from the house that won’t be cancelled due to weather and road conditions.

Yesterday I spent some time in the kitchen preparing Falafels. The recipe I have is low in sodium, as I only add a pinch, rather than the recommended amount, and includes grated carrots. I love it! It was created by the cook, Maya Jagger, at the day care centre at the university, when Terra was enrolled there. The woman was one of the nicest you would ever want to meet, Terra loved her. She liked Terra. Terra has a genuine appreciation for good food, so they were bound to like one another. I bought Maya’s cookbook, and the recipe for Falafels became one of my favourite meals.

Last night I shared my creation with Attila, and we enjoyed a lovely meal together.

Netflix has done a remake of Lost In Space. I liked that program as a kid, and this new rendition is very amusing, very different, and very amusing. So far there is no gratuitous violence, or extreme intrigue, just ordinary human orneriness, with the usual undetected sociopath in the mix, there is always a sociopath, in real life as in fiction.

This morning I have baked muffins while the hydro is here, and a loaf of bread is in the machine, chugging towards a loaf.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

FREEZING RAIN WARNING IN EFFECT
-4°C
Lightning
Light Freezing Rain
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Sunday 15 April 2018
Condition: Light Freezing Rain
Pressure: 102.8 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -4.2°C
Dew point: -7.0°C
Humidity: 81%
Wind: NE 41 gust 58 km/h
Wind Chill: -13
Visibility: 16 km

Today: Periods of ice pellets or freezing drizzle changing to freezing rain near noon and ending late this afternoon then cloudy. Risk of freezing drizzle late this afternoon. Ice pellet amount 2 to 4 cm. Wind northeast 40 km/h gusting to 70. High minus 1.

Tonight Cloudy. Rain beginning late this evening. Risk of freezing drizzle this evening. Amount 15 mm. Wind northeast 40 km/h gusting to 70. Temperature rising to plus 2 by morning.

Quote

“When it is not necessary to make a decision, it is necessary not to make a decision.”
Lord Falkland (1610 – 1643)