Maggie’s Golden Memories

When there are painful or stressful things going on in my life, I tend to channel myself around them like a diverted river, or a road detour. It is the rare life that proceeds without the downs, and mine is not one of them.

I have a few issues in my life that I am dealing with at the moment. Most of them are chronic, ongoing, ho hum problems; problems that elicit deep sighs rather than panic. They are the potholes in the road I travel. Chronic Kidney Disease is the latest issue that I am slowly transforming from shock to oh well. I don’t write about indentifiable people problems here, because people problems involve other people, the stories are shared, the problems need to be addressed with the people involved, and outside of that, the issues are private.

In my world it is the wonderful things that I allow to occupy my mind and my heart. Although this is natural tendency, it has taken some practise over the years to learn how to balance the light with the dark. The dark side is part of the human experience, for me as for most people. I have periods of time when I acknowledge and spend time honouring the dark experiences and shadows that inhabit my life. I respectfully visit these regions, but I don’t live there.

Sunrise, morning coffee, bird song, Attila’s smile, the beauty and wonder of the Rideau Camp, our Ancestral Camp, my Granny and Grandpa’s house, the love, tenacity and strength of my Mom, the love I feel for my siblings, my wonderful friends, the list of loving and wonderful things in my life is long. Even in the bleakest of times I have found much to love in my life. Decades ago my dear friend Patrick called this coping mechanism of mine, “Maggie’s Golden Memories”. Hell yes.

It is cold this morning, well below freezing. Tonight is predicted to be even colder, -10C. I hope to sleep through that. Daytime temperatures are predicted to remain above freezing for the next week and beyond. That is something to celebrate.

This week Attila and I are dealing with the legal aspects of attaining ownership of the Rideau Camp. Visits to the banker and the lawyer are planned.

I spoke with the nurse at my GP’s office near the country house. Talking to the woman who books appointments is fruitless, she asks for details, makes comments, and I am often side-tracked onto fruitless and frustrating avenues of conversation. The nurse is wonderful, friendly, direct, succinct and efficient. The reports from my hospital visit were not in my file, so she is going to look into that, talk to the GP, and call me back when she has information for me. I feel a lot better after having spoken with her last night.

My big accomplishment for the day was to obtain a copy of our Open Air Camp Fire Permit, which we need to have a camp fire at the Rideau Camp. It took some doing, over the phone and email, and I couldn’t have done it without the help of the Administrator for fire services, she was terrific. I enjoyed the whole process, due to the relaxed and friendly manner of the Administrator. Some people are wonderfully suited to their jobs, and she is one of those people.

So Attila and I are set for this weekend’s day trips to the Rideau Camp. Grilled cheese sandwiches over an open fire here we come!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 6:00 AM EDT Tuesday 5 April 2016
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.9 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -8.2°C
Dewpoint: -17.1°C
Humidity: 49%
Wind: N 13 km/h
Wind Chill: -14


“A love of tradition has never weakened a nation, indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril; but the new view must come, the world must roll forward.”
Sir Winston Churchill
1874 – 1965

Lost and Found

The ground was blanketed in white when I threw open the kitchen curtains this morning. Attila said the roads were slippery on his way home from work. The sun has been peeping out from behind the clouds, off and on all day, and most of the snow has melted under its scrutiny. The roads were already dry when I ventured out for my daily walk around noon.

Attila sleeps during the day, and I find that I am very conscious of how much noise I am making. I avoid using noisy appliances like the vacuum cleaner. I even turn the sound down on my computer when I am using it during the day. The house is small, and it would be very easy to disturb Attila’s rest.

I began the process of contacting my GP near the country house, to inquire about the Chronic Kidney Disease diagnosis. I really don’t know what to expect. A message was left with the receptionist, as the doctor and his nurse were with a patient when I called. I requested that the nurse call me back; she is very good about things like that. Now all I have to do is to be patient, and see how things unfold.

I have to admit to feeling a little better after eliminating all the recommended foods from my diet. Not a huge change, but the pressure in my head is definitely not so intense now.

I spent the morning looking for a birth registration that I have somehow misplaced. I know I saw it years ago. Because I usually save all of these files, I have been looking for it in my backups, no luck so far. There is probably something odd about it, like a misspelled name, so I will have to keep on plugging away with the search.

The book is coming together very, very slowly. Because I am now working on more recent generations there is a lot more documentation to cover, and a lot more detail about people’s lives.

For instance, there is the instance of my Great Grand Aunt Mary Ann. She was born in 1846 in Lanark County, Ontario, a first born child. She was deaf and blind from birth. In 1884, at the age of 38, Mary Ann gave birth to a baby girl, Mary Ann. No father was listed and the baby Mary Ann was registered with her mother’s surname. Later baby Mary Ann would adopt an alternative given name, keeping her original surname. This is the birth registration I have lost track of, and am searching for, I know I have it somewhere in my files. I will include a copy of the registration in the book, as it is an important to link the baby Mary Ann as a member of our family.

After the birth of the baby my Great Grand Aunt lived with her family until the death of her mother in 1897. When her mother died she moved in with one of her younger brothers (my Great Grandfather) and his family. There is no record at all of the baby Mary Ann in the census, until after she marries. I believe that the baby Mary Ann was brought up as my Great Grandfather’s child, as her descendants believe him to be the baby’s father. Since he was only 11 years old when the baby was born, it seems unlikely that he is the baby’s father, even though it is technically possible.

In 1914 my Great Grand Aunt Mary Ann moved in with her daughter and his husband, who were to care for her for the rest of her life, according to a legal agreement between my Great Grandfather and Great Grand Aunt Mary Ann’s daughter. For some reason, it did not work out, and in 1921 Great Grand Aunt Mary Ann is found incarcerated in a Home of Refuge, where she lives until the time of her death in 1922 at the age of 75. Unfortunately her death registration declares that her family is unknown. How very sad.

My Great Grandfather arranged for and paid for her burial, far from home.

I knew nothing of Great Grand Aunt Mary Ann when I was growing up, and was shocked when her Grandson’s wife contacted me in 2002 to inquire about a family connection. Thinking I knew all of my Great Aunts and Uncles, I told her that there was no family connection. But the claim niggled away at me, and I began to research the possibility, only to find that indeed Mary Ann’s Grandson is a member of the family, and little Mary Ann the baby was probably raised as one of my Great Grandfather’s children. I have written to and apologized to the Grandson’s wife, for such a glaring error. It just goes to show you that there are a lot of hidden details in silence, and census records are not necessarily accurate historical records. As one of my relatives told me during an interview, “people just hid them in the basement when the census people came around.”

Worldly Distractions


Date: 5:00 PM EDT Monday 4 April 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -1.3°C
Dewpoint: -16.0°C
Humidity: 32%
Wind: N 21 km/h
Wind Chill: -7


“Do something every day that you don’t want to do; this is the golden rule for acquiring the habit of doing your duty without pain.”
Mark Twain
1835 – 1910

With me it is always the dishes!

April Snow Showers

Friday, April 1, 2016

At last, here we are in April. This year April is feeling a little shy, arriving with warm breezes and showers, only to take a brief retreat into sub-zero temperatures and snow for her first week debut.

This week has been the week of legal and financial arrangements in regards to the Rideau Camp, and tidying up the loose ends around the trailer purchase. Next week we take possession of the camp, it is very exciting.

Attila leaves almost all the administrative aspects of life to me, except for tax returns, a task I was responsible for my whole adult life until Attila took it over, to my great relief.

Wednesday was a cleaning day. The weather was mild and sunny, perfect for opening up Iris and getting started on a thorough wash down.

Below the front bunk there is storage, and in that storage area was a tarp, I believe it is the original tarp for the trailer, which would make it almost 40 years old. It was only when it was picked up to be carried outside that the overwhelming odour of mildew filled the trailer and our nostrils. The tarp was dry, but there were areas that were black with mildew, particularly around the grommets for the poles. Out it came and over the back clothes line it went. It received a heavy spraying of hydrogen peroxide to kill the mildew and spores. It will be left on the line for a week or so, to be rinsed by rain and snow, then bleached by the sun.

The awning for Iris. After several days in the rain, snow, and sunshine, it still smells like mildew. We will have to use bleach, I hate to, but I think we have to.

Because significant reaching and stretching were involved to reach the mildew under the front bunk, Attila did the grunt work with brush and cloth. When it was finished the hatches were left open to allow the area to dry, it looks great. After I mark where I want the to drill ventilation holes in the side of the bunk, Attila will drill them out, which should alleviate any further mildew issues in that area of the trailer.

I tackled the mildew on the ceiling around the vent opening. Weeks ago I had dismantled the interior section of the roof vent, exposing the wet and mildewed areas. The area had dried thoroughly, thanks to the tarp over the trailer which prevents further leaks. The inside area around the roof vent opening is now ready for the new roof vent to be installed.

The windows in the trailer were left open for the rest of the day, and by the time I went out after dark to close Iris up for the night, she there was only a hint of mildew odour. That should be taken care of during our next cleaning session, as there is one more area of mildew at the back of the trailer, where we had discovered the leak.

Another small “stitch in time” step taken. Electrical tape was used to cover a small opening in the fibreglass near the wheel well of the trailer. The little round hole was the size of a dime, which is supposedly big enough for a mouse to pass through. Wasps also might come in that way to make a nest. The way in is now blocked.

The new roof vent will be installed when there is a week of sunny warm weather. Then the tarp can be safely removed and a hole in the roof temporarily opened to the sky.

On Wednesday night we caught a second mouse in the basement. The second mouse is what I call a field mouse, while the first mouse we caught is what I call a house mouse. They are very different breeds. This says to me that we have an entry point in the house that really needs to be plugged up. But where! Attila’s theory is that they are coming through the attic and down the chimney frame, so that is where the first measures will be taken.

As I write there is a Grackle pecking away at the wood on the roof facia. I rise from my chair, unlock the front door and step out onto the landing. The Grackle flies off and out of site. As I watch her, I wonder how many generations of Grackles it will take before they forget about our roof as a nesting ground. Do Grackles have endless social memory? Will I be chasing Grackles away from my roof for the duration? I return to my chair and begin to type. The Grackle returns and up I get.

Earlier in the spring we killed quite a few wasps near that corner of the house. There are a lot of wasps here. We remove nests around the roof constantly. There are fewer now though, than when we first bought the place, so perhaps our efforts are diminishing the population. I surely hope so.

On the CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease) front, I continue to watch my protein, potassium, and phosphorus consumption. The biggest intrusion in my diet so far is avoiding beans, potatoes, tomatoes, whole grains, and spinach. I am amazed at the number of condiments that contain phosphorus (phosphate). The salad dressing I have been enjoying on my salads uses it as a preservative, to my disappointment. I have several bottles of the salad dressing, bought on sale, which I will consume slowly, with small daily servings. Attila doesn’t like it, or he would eat it. Then I will move on to homemade salad dressing, which will contain none of the minerals I am trying to cut down on. Commercial products like salad dressing, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, BBQ sauce, and the list goes on, use phosphates in their recipes. We don’t eat a lot of processed foods, but we do enjoy our condiments. I will be looking for kidney friendly recipes for all of these things. Even if I eventually find that my condition is not serious enough to necessitate big changes in diet, I think I will continue to avoid phosphates in food, knowing how much stress they put on the kidneys.

I find it interesting that at this point I feel no symptoms related to Chronic Kidney Disease, which from what I have been reading, is perfectly normal. I have my fingers crossed that it never develops to the point where I do feel symptoms.

When I went for my walk this morning I realized that it isn’t just Grackles who are enjoying the spring weather. There were lots of Chickadees, Robins, and Blue Jays flying from tree to tree, calling out to each other. The buds are just beginning to quicken on the maple trees. It was a beautiful mild morning out there, and sunny.

A Robin enjoying the sunshine and balmy weather in the back yard.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Today Attila and I took a drive out to see the Rideau Camp. It was sunny off and on, after having snowed during the morning before we left. It was cold, with the wind it was very cold.

The trip was interesting as an alternate route was chosen. There was property for sale along the alternate route, near the Rideau Camp, and Attila wanted to have a look at it. The road in to the available property was pretty bad, the potholes were very large, but it wasn’t too far in. The land itself was half the price we paid for our camp, but 1/3 the size. It was wet, with standing pools of water along the road, and there was a ditch in front of the property that would necessitate putting in a culvert and a driveway. We had to put in a driveway like that at our Ancestral Camp, and it is a pricey project, increasing the actual price of the property by quite a bit. Attila was satisfied that we chose the right property when we bought our Rideau Camp!

We proceeded towards the Rideau Camp, parked, and took a stroll down to the water. The water level was quite high, and the wind felt bitter as it blew in across the lapping waves. After walking back to the car, we walked around checking out the drainage patterns on the property, which is easy to do at this time of year because there is a lot of runoff, and there are no leaves on the trees.

After eating our lunch in the car, where we were warm and cozy, we headed home so that Attila could sleep before he heads off to work tonight.

Sunday seems to be the day we venture out in the car to explore.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 10:00 AM EDT Friday 1 April 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 99.8 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 10.2°C
Dewpoint: 8.2°C
Humidity: 87%
Wind: iWSW 15 km/h

Date: 5:00 PM EDT Sunday 3 April 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.4 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -2.3°C
Dewpoint: -18.5°C
Humidity: 28%
Wind: W 20 gust 37 km/h
Wind Chill: -8


“A stupid man’s report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand.”
Bertrand Russell
1872 – 1970

This is why the mass media is of no practical positive use to the human species.

Every little breeze…

Tuesday, April 28, 2015, Country House

It has been a grand day!

The paperwork is almost, but not quite, under control. Just a few more piles to go! I need to move a few of the files to secure locations in anticipation of people wandering through our house when it is for sale. The problem is, when I move them, I forget where they were moved to! I am still thinking about it, and plan on recording the list of what I moved on the computer, so I can refer to the list when I cannot find things I need.

The sun shone brightly all day, and it was warmish, 17C outside. By mid-morning the windows were flung open, letting in the cool breeze, birdsong, the whispers of pine boughs, the rustle of dry leaves. On a day like this is hard to think about selling this house. One thought about winter though, and I am hard at work getting it ready to sell. Someone belongs in this place, and I hope they find their way home!

Mist enjoyed having the windows open. She awoke from her nap, on my easy chair, to sniff the fresh air, then followed her nose to the open sliding door. There she sat and groomed herself, content. She is a happy cat.

Over the winter the new stain on the deck peeled. The peeling stain was unsightly. The vacuum cleaner, with the carpet beater bar, did a great job of lifting off the peeling paint, to leave a flat surface.

Some of my sites garner an infinitesimal income from ads via Google and other ad companies based in the USA. To be paid these very small sums (we are talking in the realm of $10 US) the tax forms for the IRS must be filled out, and filed with the companies that pay out for the ads. This legislation came into being in 2010, but hasn’t affected me until now because it has been that long since I have been owed a payment. The process took a large chunk of the day! That “paperwork” is done now though, thank goodness.

Next on the agenda is to move this site to the root directory, to comply with Googles new mobile policy. Right now the old html site is served from the root directory. It needs to be moved to a sub-directory, and this newer compliant blog software moved to the root. Sigh. It is a big job. I’ve done it a few times already this winter, and I do get better at it, but it is still a time consuming task.

The URL for my daily entries will change slightly when I accomplish all this, and I am hoping to manage a seamless redirect to the new file structure after the switch.

The process has begun but won’t get into full swing until tomorrow, when I am more alert. This requires focus, and by evening my focus has fled. I could make myself do it, successfully, but why force myself!

Attila is spending his evening finishing the job of replacing the bathroom floor. Mist is in there “helping” him. He is extremely patient with her, even though she insists on sitting on the exact spot where he needs to work. She knows how to get attention, does our Mist.

Later this week, Attila will replace the malfunctioning water pump. I am really looking forward to that update!

Thursday, 30 April, 2015, Country House

I finished the paperwork yesterday, although Attila has a few odds and ends that can only be processed by him, and they are on hold until he has a break from sprucing the place up for the realtor.

The bathroom floor was completed Tuesday night.

Attila and I spent Wednesday evening attending his appointment in town and shopping for supplies. He shops for himself at grocery stores, because he eats at least four times as much as I do, and his tastes are quite different than mine. He stocked up on condiments. I think Attila may be the condiment king! He bought sauces, pickled peppers, and olives. I like bland food, Attila loves acidic and hot spicy food. I cook basic recipes and Attila adds his own flavouring. I eat the basic food, and enjoy it. Attila is now stocked up on what he regards as taste bud essentials. I bought a package of mushrooms for myself, which were on sale. Otherwise, everything I need is here at the house.

Yesterday, Wednesday, I attempted to clone and move the Maggie Turner blog. I used a plugin for the server software. It was a complete mess! The plugin rewrote files to a ubiquitous user called nobody, making them inaccessible to me. That necessitated some interaction with the domain host, who adjusted the ownership on the files so I could access them. It took all day, and at the end of the day I was a little bit further behind than I had been in the morning.

Today I finished cleaning up the mess on the server, and abandoned the cloning plugin, choosing instead to do a manual move from the sub-directory to the root. That worked, except that I skipped a step, which caused untold grief. I had to work backwards, back to the beginning, then start again, including the missed step. Everything worked fine, except for a few of the pages. I searched everywhere trying to figure out what the problem was! I even ended up poking around in the mysql database, to see if the field for the url was correct. It was. In the end I tracked it down to the .htaccess file, corrected that, and it all worked as it should.

NEW URL for Maggie Turner: Page by Page is

I hadn’t been getting any hits from search engines in the last while, so I decided not to bother with the permanent redirects, except for the main site, and let Google take its time to re-spider the site and correct the records.

Attila has come home, we have eaten a quiet meal of leftovers, and spent the rest of the evening puttering with our respective projects. Attila is tweaking the bathroom floor project. I have done a mountain of dishes. I’ve paid some bills. The evening is beginning to lower, the eggshell blue sky is dappled with clouds, some of them dark, promising overnight rain.

After carefully watching Mist’s activities, I took advantage of her jaunt to stretch her legs. I cleaned my easy chair today, which is now Mist’s easy chair. It was matted with cat hair, and bits of loose litter. Mist sniffed at the clean surface when she returned for her nap, looked disgruntled, settled into the chair, and went to sleep. All is well in Mist’s world tonight.

Just a last little note to say that the cursed auto-correct has ceased to torment me. I did not find one single erroneous word in this entry, not one! Maybe auto-correct got better with the last few operating system updates, or maybe I was successful in disabling it. As long as it stays gone, I don’t need to know what happened to it!

Worldly Distractions


Country House
Date: 7:00 PM EDT Thursday 30 April 2015
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 16.5°C
Dewpoint: 6.3°C
Humidity: 51%
Wind: WNW 11 km/h


“Anonymity is the truest expression of altruism.”
Eric Gibson


I arrived home Thursday, worked madly at the paperwork all afternoon Thursday, and all day Friday, and all day today. I am still not done! I am getting close though, only two piles left to process. These are all the bills and paperwork since last October, and it sure was piled high and deep!

Attila had two days off work last weekend. A rare event! We took advantage of it to drive down to stay overnight with Luna and Janus and the Grandbabies. We arrived shortly after lunch time, had a great visit with the kids. Janus was working, so when Luna drove off with the Grandbabies to a birthday party, Attila and I went shopping.

On Saturday morning I took a shower at the country house. It was grand, lots of hot water, lots of water pressure… until suddenly it stopped. Completely. No water at all. The water pump was not running. I called for Attila, but he was outside chopping wood. There was nothing for it but to get out of the tub, dry myself off, and begin to troubleshoot. Water came out of the bathroom taps, the water pump ran, no problem there. I decided then and there that we needed a new water pump. The one we have has been repaired with found parts, many times over. I think it is a good idea to invest the $300 in a water pump to sell the house. After all, most prospective buyers will turn on the taps to see what happens, they might even flush a toilet. We want a water pump that works!! So when we went shopping on Saturday, we were searching for a water pump. We found one that Attila wanted, bought it, bundled it into the car, and headed back to Luna’s house.

Shortly after we arrived back at Luna’s, she returned with the children. Then Janus arrived home from work, and took over the kitchen. He prepared a fantastic meal of BBQ pork chops, Caesar Salad, and home cut French Fries. We all wound our way up the three flights of stairs to the “family room”, where we watched the movie Madagascar, and ate popcorn. What a lovely time we had on Saturday! I was sitting on the floor beside Tink, who was very active. She would put her head on my shoulder from time to time. Then she put her head on my shoulder and fell asleep within seconds, literally seconds. I thought she was playing a joke, but no, she had fallen instantly asleep on my shoulder.

On Sunday Luna and Janus went shopping at Costco, leaving us with the Grandbabies. It was a lovely day, so we all headed outside, including Bim the dog. The children were busy making birds nests. They found toys that had collected water, poured the water into pails, added dry grass, mixed furiously, then used the device for flinging tennis balls for the dog to scoop out the mixture and set it to dry on the deck, to produce a fine collection of “bird’s nests”. When they needed grass, Attila or I would rake and de-thatch the lawn, and the children would collect the piles of dead grass we created. Imp was the chief bird’s nest maker, watching the process carefully, creating the perfect “bird’s nests”. Elf enjoyed riding his bicycle in the land behind the house, and cracking concrete “stones” using larger concrete stones. Tink helped her sister with the “bird’s nests”, and sat with Attila and I, in between us, arms wrapped around our shoulders. All three of the grandbabies played on the trampoline, even persuading Attila to give it a bit of whirl.

After Luna and Janus returned, we packed our things and off we went on our journey home. We will see them all again in a few weeks time, as we are having a family dinner at the country house, and they are driving up for it. Shortly after that they leave for Ireland. I didn’t know they were leaving before school is out, so that was a surprise. They are in the midst of packing and planning, getting ready for their temporary stay in Dublin. It is quite an adventure for all of them. They invited us to visit, but sadly Attila can get no time off from May to September, so we won’t be able to go.

Tonight Attila is starting into the projects that have to be done before the house goes on the market. He has torn out the main bathroom floor and has half the new floor installed. I have been carrying on with the overwhelming paperwork, and doing dishes. Soon we will call it a day, sit for a chat, and then head off to bed.

Mist is getting used to me being here again. She frequently comes over and meows at the top of her lungs, which she does because she is deaf. I stop whatever I am doing and spend some time petting her. When satisfied that she has had enough attention, she heads for my easy chair, which she has claimed as her own, and has another well deserved nap.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 8:00 PM EDT Monday 27 April 2015
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Visibility:16 km
Temperature: 9.7 C
Dewpoint: 1.4 C
Humidity: 56%
Wind: NNW 17 km/h


“Live always in the best company when you read.”
Sydney Smith
1771 – 1845