Another Monday

What kind of a program makes statements about the human condition like, “war is the only thing we understand”. I tried watching Altered Carbon, a series on Netflix, focused on violence, portraying violence as the only way of the world. That violence exists I do not argue, but it is not all, and I doubt it ever will be. I do see though, that for some humans, it is all they see, or want to see. Why are there so many fatalistic themes in entertainment at this juncture in human history. Is someone(s) trying to bring the acceptance of violence into the lives of the young? Television and movies began to change in the 90s, when I first began to notice the theme of intolerance, contempt for others, and violence seeping into media entertainment. Now much of what is on offer on Netflix and Prime Video is either violent, or portrays ruthless ambition, almost glorifying these aspects of human nature. It is disturbing.

I guess the thinking is, what is the harm in it, it is only entertainment. Until you start thinking about the escalation of mass shootings in the US, by young people, and then it is difficult to believe there is no connection at all, between the portrayals of reality, and the reality that is developing.

I will be watching something other than Altered Carbon.

The morning began with bright sunshine streaming through the windows. Soon after daylight had established itself, the clouds rolled in. Late in the morning, snowflakes fell. There weren’t enough of them to accumulate, they all melted as soon as they reached the earth. The clouds continue to track the sky, allowing the sun to peek through from time to time.

The list of things I wanted to get done today was apparently too ambitious for reality. One of the projects involves setting up the sewing machine. Mist cottage is small, there is one table, it is the only working surface. In order to setup the sewing machine I will need to completely clear off the table. Th items on the table need to be moved. The place, where the items on the table will be moved to, needed to be cleared. And so on, and so on. After getting to the point where I could clear the table, so much time had elapsed that it seemed a waste of time to setup the sewing machine for only an hour or so. It would be better to begin again in the morning, leaving the whole day to work on the project itself.

The rest of the day consisted of small chores, like unloading the dishwasher. Who could complain about unloading a dishwasher! Not I. The dishwasher is a much appreciated appliance around here, particularly since there is very limited counter space here at Mist Cottage.

And that is Monday, as another week begins.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

2°C
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Monday 2 April 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.0 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 2.0°C
Dew point: -3.7°C
Humidity: 66%
Wind: S 26 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“If we attend continually and promptly to the little that we can do, we shall ere long be surprised to find how little remains that we cannot do.”
Samuel Butler
1835 – 1902

Happy Easter

I hope everyone is having a peaceful and enjoyable Easter Weekend! And that April Fool’s day hasn’t been unkind to you. And that the full moon is not disrupting any aspects of your life! What a weekend!

I am happy to report a quiet weekend here at Mist Cottage. It is cold outside, so I am spending the weekend organizing stuff, after the big furniture moving extravaganza. Attila spent Friday preparing a turkey dinner and puttering with his garage project. On Saturday he kindly created a wall rack for me in my room, to hang my clothes, and today he has kindly built an enclosure at the top of my closet, which was just an open space that allowed a lot of dust to settle, no more.

Diane, of Still The Lucky Few, posted a link to a personality test, which looked like fun, so I tried it. It seemed pretty accurate to me, and right in line with any formal testing I’ve been exposed to.

The category I fit into is the INTJ, Introvert, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging. The descriptions pretty accurately describe me, although I will say that age has provided me with the experience needed to appreciate the emotional elements in the human equation, more than I did in my youth. It seems that Attila is the personality type most suited to my personality type, which is how I saw things until December 31, 2017, due to the terrible, terrible mistake. It is fairly obvious to me that context plays a big part in how things play out in the world. My story is still being written, so I’ve drawn no other conclusions.

What strikes me most though, about such categories, is the rainbow of personality types, and contexts, that make the world such an endlessly interesting place to exist.

Well, the next week looks like it is going to include the opportunity to explore the variety and uniqueness of snowflakes! Spring is slow this year, in making herself felt.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

3°C
Date: 3:00 PM EDT Sunday 1 April 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 2.5°C
Dew point: -10.6°C
Humidity: 37%
Wind: WSW 27 gust 40 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.”
Albert Einstein
1879 – 1955

Yard Waste Pickup

The morning brought the sunshine, and it was a welcome sight. It was 5C this morning, when I opened the kitchen curtains to peer out at the thermometer. The day slowly warmed, and by mid afternoon it was quite pleasant.

The municipality where we live conducts a spring yard waste pickup. It will take place this week. During the winter a large branch of the Crabapple Tree in the front yard snapped off and lay suspended in the remaining tree branches. Today Attila took his tree saw and removed branches from it, until it fell to the ground. Then the cleanup began, which took all morning. Finally all the branches were bundled, the twigs gathered up and bagged in paper yard waste bags, and it was all piled at the end of the driveway, ready for yard waste pickup.

Looking out into the sunny back yard this morning, hundreds and hundreds of bright yellow dandelion blooms smiled right back at me. We have neighbours on three sides of us, and they don’t have dandelions in their lawns, which means they are using chemicals of some kind. I don’t want to use chemicals on our lawn. We have had the place for almost six years now, and not a drop of chemical fertilizer, insecticide, or herbicide, has come anywhere near our yard. That means that whatever grows in our yard is for practical purposes organically grown. Why destroy that for the sake of getting rid of a few dandelions. I do spray Wild Parsnip with the vinegar/epsom salt/dawn detergent mixture, so there have been three or four small spots that have been sprayed. But we don’t consider that mixture to be toxic to the environment, or to us.

This is the branch of the Crabapple tree that broke off last winter. Until this morning it hung suspended about 15 feet off the ground. Attila removed smaller branches from it until it came crashing down. It took hours to clean it up, and a chain saw was needed to cut the thick wood into logs. It is all by the curb now, ready for yard waste pickup.
Crabapple branch down
Not all pictures portray the best of me. I have my doubts that this particular selfie will attract a wide range of admirers. Giant Maggie in May, it is interesting how shadows can show us a completely different side to ourselves.
Giant maggie in may
The needles on the Tamarack in the back yard are bursting out, but still dwarfed by the seed cones. I love Tamaracks. We didn’t have any Tamaracks on our tender fruit farm, so I was late in becoming familiar with them. They shed their needles in the fall, the same as deciduous trees shed their leaves in the fall.
The first time I had seen them was around 1970, spotted during a drive to visit my Granny and Grandpa. I remember commenting to my Grandpa that there were a lot of dead coniferous trees along the road. He thought that was hilarious! Of course, they were Tamaracks. He teased me about dead coniferous trees for years, and I’ve never forgotten that Tamaracks shed their needles.
Tamarack

Worldly Distractions

Weather

12°C
Date: 1:00 PM EDT Tuesday 3 May 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 12.4°C
Dewpoint: 3.7°C
Humidity: 55%
Wind: ESE 18 km/h

Quote

“The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting”
Milan Kundera
1929 –
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (1975)

Sunny Days

Thursday, April 28, 2016

It temperature dipped below freezing last night, but bounced back up after the light of dawn. Although this cold weather is not much to my liking, I am grateful not be on the west coast of Scotland right now, where some areas have received three inches of snow, and it has been described as the heaviest snow fall of the winter; on April 28th, imagine that.

Yesterday I watched a YouTube video, “Elizabeth at 90 – A Family Tribute”. When returning to get the link to include here, the video was gone, with the message “This video contains content from BBC Worldwide, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.” Such a shame really, as we can’t get the BBC programming here in Canada, and now I can’t share the link. I enjoyed the tribute very much, it showed me a side of Queen Elizabeth I hadn’t really seen before, it was chiefly narrated by Prince Charles, in conversation with Queen Elizabeth, and includes comments from many members of the Royal Family.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Today dawned sunny, and slightly colder than yesterday morning. However, the temperature had not fallen below freezing last night, so the temperature rose through morning at a quicker pace.

This morning I was thinking of a story a friend of mine told me about his daughter. When she was quite young they were playing hide and seek. To avoid being found she would cover her eyes and shout, “you can’t see me.” In her innocence she believed that this tactic worked.

Next door to us live two little boys. They are as different as “chalk and cheese”. The older loves to talk, he makes eye contact, smiles a lot, and is affectionate. The younger loves to explore, he asks questions, and will walk through any door that is open, anywhere. When I arrived home in the car last week, after having been out, the older boy ran up to the car door as I emerged, threw his arms around my neck and gave me a big hug. Then off he ran to join his mother and brother, as they headed down the street for their walk. He whispered to his mother, “I have a secret. I hugged her.” Then he giggled. Who wouldn’t be completely charmed by such a boy.

Today I searched for “Elizabeth at 90 – A Family Tribute”, and found that someone else had posted it to YouTube. I guess the BBC is going to have their hands full trying to put the Genie back in the box. Really though, it is such a lovely tribute to the Queen that I feel it should be freely available to the public. As I watched it I realized that what I appreciate about the Queen is the continuity she has provided. My whole life her picture has officiated the classrooms where I was taught, the libraries I visited, and many other public places. One of my Aunts kept a Royal Scrapbook, which I loved to look at when I was young. The Royal Family didn’t play an active role in my existence, but the Queen has always been there, actively demonstrating that with privilege and honour came responsibility and consideration.

Projects that needed to be accomplished before our next visit to the Rideau Camp were tackled.

First, there have been various media alerts that tick season has begun. While the Lyme Disease carrying black ticks are not found near Mist Cottage, or our Ancestral Camp, the Rideau Camp is in black tick territory. This means that we need to exercise caution while working, or recreating, at the Rideau Camp. To that end, Attila’s coveralls needed to be treated with permethrin, to aid in repelling ticks. This morning, when I carefully applied the permethrin spray to Attila’s coveralls, I treated an old pair of pants of mine. That gives me two pairs of pants that will repel ticks, mosquitoes, and black flies. I only have one treated shirt, an old, large man’s shirt that I picked up at a used clothing store. A second one is called for, and is on the shopping list for the next visit to the charity shops. In addition, a pair of sharp tweezers for tick removal was added to the first aid kit. Best to be prepared.

Second, the driveway and parking area at the Rideau camp are crushed stone. There are a lot of tall weeds growing up out of the crushed stone. I am going to spray the area of crushed stone with a mixture of epsom salts, vinegar, and Dawn detergent, to get rid of the weeds there.

Here is a photo to warm the cockles of your heart, our very own septic tank at the Rideau Camp. This gem was part of the deal, it came with the camp. Unfortunately it is garbage, it leaks, it is cracked. We won’t be stuffing this 5 foot high inheritance into a green garbage bag, throwing a tag on the bag, and putting it on the curb to go out with the trash! It might come in handy during a flood, we could stand on it.
Septic tank

Worldly Distractions

Weather

5°C
Date: 10:00 AM EDT Thursday 28 April 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.1 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 5.2°C
Dewpoint: -6.4°C
Humidity: 43%
Wind: NNE 17 gust 30 km/h

4°C
Date: 8:00 AM EDT Friday 29 April 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.0 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 4.4°C
Dewpoint: -7.4°C
Humidity: 42%
Wind: NE 26 gust 37 km/h

Quote

“Anything that has real and lasting value is always a gift from within.”
Franz Kafka
1883 – 1924

April Snow Showers

It was raining when I arose early this morning. The earth and things that grow in the earth needed the moisture, it was getting very dry. Shortly before 10:00 a.m. the rain turned to sleet, and then soon thereafter into snow. The snow melted on contact, there was no accumulation. The wind came up, and it was biting cold outside. By noon the sun was trying to peek out from behind the clouds, but it was still just above freezing. By the time Attila was awake and moving around the wind had died down and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.

Last Friday Attila split and transplanted three lilac bushes. The idea is to have them growing between our yard and view across the back neighbour’s yard out to the street on the other side. Attila also transplanted day lilies to a spot along the back fence, and prepared a sunny bed at the back of the yard for the Irises, which we transplanted from the front of the house when we had the perimeter of the basement dug up. We want to plant vegetables in the garden this year, so the Irises are being moved yet again. The snow and the rain were a welcome event, now all the transplants have had a good soaking in their new locations.

While grocery shopping Attila stopped to look at sweets. Oh dear, I have been neglecting him! I mentioned to him that I could bake him something sweet, and he readily opted for the home baked goodies. This afternoon I baked Blueberry Squares, one of Attila’s favourites.

My diet altered when I received the false diagnosis of Chronic Kidney Disease, and I have to say it altered for the better. I now keep containers of cooked rice, macaroni, peas and corn, and beans and carrots in the refrigerator. I eat one cup of vegetables mixed with a half a cup of either rice or macaroni. To this mixture I add two teaspoons of olive oil and either two tablespoons of Sweet Thai Chili Sauce, or two teaspoons of Roasted Garlic and Peppers herb mixture. I eat whatever combination suits my fancy for breakfast and lunch, so that I am eating two cups of vegetables every day, at a minimum. The olive oil is an important element of the dish, as it gives the meal lasting power, as fat digests slowly. Eventually I will try additional kinds of herbs or sauces. These ingredients make for quick and easy meals, and offer a lot of on-the-spot variations.

The Sweet Thai Chili Sauce that we have on hand contains Potassium Sorbate and glucose/fructose, both of which I have decided to avoid when possible. I have found a recipe to make my own Sweet Thai Chili Sauce, without any preservatives or glucose/fructose, and I am looking forward to giving it a try when the current supply is gone.

I love pastries, and the grocery store always has quite a selection. Attila and I were looking at the labels on the pastries today, they all contained glucose/fructose, paragraphs of chemicals, and the calorie count was shocking. I have decided that a Muesli bun, at 220 calories, with a little margarine and honey on it, will suit me just as well, be much lower in calories, have fewer chemicals in it, and be more nutritious than any of the pastries we saw in the store.

We are back to making our homemade pizza every once and a while, one large pizza will serve as two meals. I like to make the pizza for the night before we are to head for the Rideau Camp. The next evening, when we arrive home from the Camp, tired and ready for a meal, Attila makes a salad, and I heat up the pizza. Perfect.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

0°C
Date: 9:42 AM EDT Tuesday 26 April 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.0 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 11 km
Temperature: 0.0°C
Dewpoint: -1.9°C
Humidity: 87%
Wind: NNE 31 gust 50 km/h
Wind Chill: -7

Quote

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
Charles Darwin
1809 – 1882

Why the narrowness of greed might eventually die out in the human species, if we last long enough.