Little Things

We did manage to spend a few hours celebrating Christmas with our Grandbabies, at Terra and Lare’s house. Luna drove to Terra’s house to visit her for a few days after Christmas, and we were invited for a Turkey Dinner. We had a lovely time, and the Grandbabies enjoyed the modest gifts we had for them.

My daughters are good mothers, the Grandbabies are such wonderful little people! Willow (5 months old) slept in my arms the whole time we were there. We see them so seldom that they change a lot between visits, Imp is insightful, Elf is full of technical information, Tink is imaginative, Sunny loves to repeat any word you can utter aloud, Sky loves trucks, and Willow is cuddly.

The first day of 2019 was blissfully uneventful.

I baked all day.

Mincemeat Squares, Apple Muffins, White Bread
Cooling: Mincemeat Squares, Apple Muffins, White Bread

I baked muffins, which were almost a disaster, but not quite. I forgot the sugar. The recipe only calls for two tablespoons of sugar, so little that you hardly notice when it isn’t included. But I do notice. These muffins are for Attila’s lunches on workdays, so I feel bad when I forget the sugar. This isn’t the first time either, I have forgotten the sugar many times. I am so focused on reducing sugar in my diet that it has become habitual to leave it out of recipes. But it is not appropriate to leave it out of Attila’s muffins!

Two measures were taken as a result of the forgotten sugar. The first was in the batch being baked. They were just put into the oven when I remembered I hadn’t added the sugar. So out they came immediately. Using a teaspoon I made a little hole in the middle of the batter for each muffin, and dropped a half a teaspoon of sugar into each hole. Then I returned them to the oven to bake. When they were baked and cooled, I tried one. Not bad, but still not quite as good as they would have been had I remembered to add the sugar to the batter itself.

The second measure was to move the sugar canister from its relatively obscure location beside the back door, to a more prominent location on the kitchen counter. Hopefully the in-my-face location of the sugar canister will remind me to add the sugar next time I bake muffins for Attila.

I baked Mincemeat Squares for dessert for New Year’s Day. I used my home canned Green Tomato Mincemeat. Oh my it was good!

I am on a special diet this week, starting today, no roughage. That means no whole wheat bread, seeds, nuts, vegetable peels, red meats, whole grains of any kind, that sort of thing. I can no longer tolerate store bought white bread. I just can’t eat it. All of the bread we buy is whole grain or rye, so that would not do. The solution was to bake a loaf of white bread. Oh my it is good!

Our New Year’s Dinner consisted of Roast Pork, Oven Roasted Potatoes, Blue Hubbard Squash, and corn. The Pork Roast was done in the Instant Pot. Oh my it was good! It is Attila’s all-time favourite meal.

Attila had a busy first day of the year as well. He continues to work on the garage. The wiring for the lights is now complete, and includes an electrical outlet for his power tools. It is now possible for him to work in the garage, rather than in the back yard on the grass as he has been doing since 2010. He also cleared the workbench, which has been piled to the ceiling with spare wood. Trim was installed around the eaves of the garage, where the winter wind was whistling through. There was even time to work on expanding the garden, using plain cardboard as mulch, topped with leaves.

Attila made Turkey Soup yesterday. It was his second batch. He made a batch last week with the carcass from our Christmas Turkey. Yesterday he made a batch from the turkey carcass leftover from Terra’s Christmas Turkey. Terra and Lares do not eat leftovers. They are very different from us.

This is our first winter with the new windows installed, and the additional insulation in the attic, and new roof on the garage. These changes have
altered the microclimate in the house. The old windows were far from airtight, particularly in the basement. One of the old windows in the basement had no glass, just nailed on boards, with a lot of gaps. When the furnace operated, the gap around the filter drew in fresh air, which entered unfettered around the basement windows. Fresh air can no longer freely enter the basement via the windows. As a result the gap at the filter was drawing air from the basement itself, we could smell the slightly musty aroma of the basement concrete floor every time the heat came on.

The air feeding the furnace needs to come to the furnace through the cold air return, not through the gap by the furnace filter. Our system has not been functioning as best it could. But until this winter the situation had not come to our attention. It would have eventually, but we have been busy with other projects here at Mist Cottage. However, this winter the smell has arrested our attention.

The solution, we hope, was to construct a duct tape flap over the gap around the furnace filter. When the furnace draws fresh air, the flap is suctioned tight to the gap, which in turn forces the furnace to draw fresh air from the cold air return ducts from the main floor of the house. It seems to be working well. It might even reduce our electricity bills (all of our heat is electric when the temperature is above -7C), and hopefully maintain a higher humidity on the main floor of the house during the winter months. By spring we will know if these benefits have been realize.

Worldly

Weather

-12°C
Date: 10:00 AM EST Wednesday 2 January 2019
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 103.0 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -11.7°C
Dew point: -17.0°C
Humidity: 65%
Wind: NE 13 km/h
Wind Chill: -18
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“A harbor, even if it is a little harbor, is a good thing… It takes something from the world, and has something to give in return.”
Sarah Orne Jewett
1849 – 1909


Activities

I am humbled. Tai Chi is hard! I learned the first three moves, sort of, and then zoned out on the subsequent moves. Two challenges, overcoming my self-consciousness about my arm, which was the object of some curiosity by the instructors, which was not verbalized, and some curiosity by other participants, again not verbalized. This is my issue, this self-consciousness about a visible difference, there is no intolerance at the class. The other challenge is my knee, one of the moves hurts, at least the way I was doing it hurt. The lesson moved too fast for me to concentrate on how to perform the move without hurting my knee, so that was when I lost concentration on learning. I will have to go slowly, and focus on protecting my knee, above following the moves. I am determined to attend regularly, and to focus on doing my pain free best. I feel that eventually I will become comfortable with exposing the way my arm functions, in a group, no one really cares about it but me, and comfortable with slowing myself down to do only what I can do comfortably, without risking injury to my bad knee.

I think Tai Chi is a go for me. The group is pleasant, friendly, and large enough that the small cliques of familiars do not dominate the context. Most people seem to be there as individuals.

Luckily the skies were clear, and the roads bare, for my journey. It is quite an evening out, one hour to drive there, two hours at the class, then one hour to drive home, a four hour adventure. It was getting dark when I started out, it was pitch black as I returned home. It will be interesting to see how the light changes during my travels back and forth to the class.

For now, I think, my activity schedule is full enough. I need some time for the people, times, and places of these activities to become familiar. Although I will push myself to enter into new and unfamiliar social settings, it isn’t something I enjoy. I will let the dust settle on these all-new activities before considering extending my reach. I have meditation and Tai Chi, and the women’s group… and once I am more emotionally balanced I will return to the group where I cried, and see how I feel about it. All of these activities are an hour’s journey by highway, one way. At this point in my life, this is a viable situation, at least when the weather is reasonable and the roads are clear, which is much of the time.

It is becoming obvious to me that the extreme isolation, that I experienced while living at the country house, has had a quite an effect on how I feel about social situations, and not in a good way. I have work to do here!

After I arrived home last night, sitting in my easy chair relaxing, I detected a burning smell. Attila smelled it too. We went through the house, looking at everything that was plugged into an electrical outlet, investigated the refrigerator, the range, everything we could think of that involved electricity. I felt the smell was coming from the heating duct work, so Attila checked the furnace, and sure enough, something was awry with the furnace.

Attila turned off the heat. I made a telephone call to Lares, who is an HVAC person, and he talked Attila through a quick fix. That was at 11:00 p.m. last night. At 3:30 a.m. there was a definite problem with the furnace, the sound it was making was worrying. Attila got up and turned off the heat, then went back to bed. Thinking he had taken care of the issue, I went back to sleep. When I awoke at 4:30 the house had chilled to 16C and falling. When Attila arose he headed to the basement to try again, no joy. I sent a message to Lares, unwilling to telephone him at such an early hour, to let him know we were without heat. About fifteen minutes before he had to leave for work, Attila got the furnace running again. He found our two small electric heaters, and showed me how to shut down the furnace in case it malfunctioned again.

AT 7:00 a.m. the furnace was still functioning, but by 7:05 a.m. it was malfunctioning again, so I had to shut it down. Lares wrote a message to say he would drop in here on his way to work, which he did, and in about 30 minutes he had the furnace up and running! What a relief!

The plow went by and dumped a huge load of snow at the end of the driveway, about 20 minutes before Lares arrived. I was out there with my shovel, and I got it cleaned up so that Lares could park comfortably. I am a little sore now! Time for a little rest and an anti-inflammatory.

I wonder what else this day will bring!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-10°C
Date: 5:00 AM EST Tuesday 30 January 2018
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -9.6°C
Dew point: -11.8°C
Humidity: 84%
Wind: N 20 gust 30 km/h
Wind Chill: -17

Quote

Watch your thoughts, they become words.
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.
Unknown

Oh My!

I have been experiencing a whole range of emotions for the last month or so, none of them pleasant. I have wondered why I wasn’t feeling angry. That question has not been answered, and may not be, as it has now lost its relevance. Oh my! This morning I am not feeling anger, that would be too mild a descriptor for this red hot burning emotion that is now front and center. I think rage would be a more appropriate word to use, red hot, yet controlled, rage.

The thing about rage, at least my rage, is that it burns very bright, and what it burns are the ragged edges of the pain that has ripped my life apart, leaving the core of it open and vulnerable. Such pain! And such rage!

I won’t be sharing any of this rage with Attila. This is my rage, my tool to move forward. I own it, and I want it in my life. I know exactly where the rage comes from, what (and who) has caused it, why it is legitimate, why it is healthy, why it is crucial.

I have been here before, with lesser bouts of rage. This particular rage is about trust, and breach of trust. It is about betrayal. It is also about cowardice and self-interest in people I have trusted, weakness of character, the unwillingness to own that weakness, to feel humility when that weakness has negatively impacted another human being, and the unwillingness to grow through the experience.

This is a rage that does not need, nor does it seek, revenge, justice, or any kind of redress. It is a rage that rails against the vagaries of fate, of human character, of living in a world where injustices abound, for all of us.

Of course, it is Attila that has brought this rage to my door, his choices are the focus of my rage.

It serves no purpose in my life to let this rage randomly lash out, to rampage through the slender threads of the new life I am weaving for myself. That would be self-destructive. Perhaps, at some future date, I will feel it appropriate to share these feelings with Attila, perhaps. Perhaps not.

Attila has stuck around to witness the devastation he has created. In part, he is owning his choices, and the impact they have on another human being, me, and the other people in our lives who have come to love and trust him.

Right now I will be moving slowly forward, experiencing this rage as fully as I am able. The new tools that this rage will provide for me will help me build the new life, that I am being forced to create.

Clunkity, clunkity, clunk goes my life.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-6°C
Date: 6:00 AM EST Monday 29 January 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.9 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -5.7°C
Dew point: -11.5°C
Humidity: 64%
Wind: NNE 15 km/h
Wind Chill: -11
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“The price of greatness is responsibility.”
Sir Winston Churchill
1874 – 1965

Tai Chi

I am going to try Tai Chi, as Sandra suggested in her comment on my last post. I’ve tried it before. Once, twenty years ago, with Attila, at a community centre. I didn’t care for it, as the instructor was obviously disturbed by the limitations of my arm, and he centred me out in front of the class. It was not a good fit. I also tried to attend a year or so ago, and was given inaccurate information that saw me sitting in an empty parking lot of a church, wondering where everybody was, I was in the wrong place and never did figure out where it was held. I am determined this time though, to ignore the less than diplomatic reactions of those who find difference unsettling, to get to the right place at the right time, and to take my time and learn Tai Chi as I can do it. I can take beginner’s classes three time a week, if I so choose, but I probably won’t go that often. I won’t be good at it, but that really doesn’t matter to me at all. There is pleasure in excellence, and there is pleasure in participation, both or either are fine with me.

I missed the open house yesterday, so I wrote the Tai Chi organization an email and received a response this morning. I can register at the first class, a flat rate that allows me to attend any class offered, whenever I choose to attend, which is perfect, particularly with the vagaries of winter driving. I will attend my first class tomorrow, as long as the roads are OK. The forecast is good.

All of these activities are more than 40 km away, so there will be a lot of travelling, and some expense for fuel and vehicle. Thank goodness I have a vehicle, and so far, the funds to pay for transportation. I will do what I can, when I can, for as long as I can.

Today I took it upon myself to rearrange the furniture in the living room, to suit my own flow. Attila does not use the living room much, so really, my own flow is all that needs to be accommodated. Luckily most of the furniture is easy to move around, and I like the new arrangement very much. My easy chair still catches the morning sun, and provides me with a view of tree branches, sky and cloud. My Hoya now sits in the corner by the windows, catching more light than it is used to, it sat there once before and loved it. The iMac now occupies a high shelf, it is so streamlined that it fits easily, the keyboard and mouse on the shelf below, just the right height to be used standing. It is still quite a challenge to place the elliptical machine gracefully in this tiny room, it is worth the space it takes up though, as I use it regularly. Sometimes an outward change is needed to represent all the inward changes that are going on, an externalization of process.

The day is sunny and mild. Terra and Lares stopped by with Sunny and Sky, just for a ten minute visit, we stayed out in the front yard where the kids could wander and explore. My new neighbour’s dog was quite excited by the kids, so the neighbours, who moved in yesterday, came out to see to the puppy, and introductions were made. They seems like a nice young couple, very young, but polite and personable. Their puppy is very rambunctious, and seems very friendly. I am glad someone is in the house again. The former owners, with the two little boys, almost gutted the place to renovate, and then left it undone. The new owners are under a timeline to finish the renovations for the mortgage and insurance people, I am rooting for them!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

3°C
Date: 12:00 PM EST Sunday 28 January 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.5 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 2.8°C
Dew point: -1.1°C
Humidity: 76%
Wind: WSW 14 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“All things are difficult before they are easy.”
Dr. Thomas Fuller
1654 – 1734

A Good List

It has been four weeks today, since Attila announced the end of our marriage, the emotional aspect of our marriage, but not the legal, not yet, that is in a holding pattern.

What a ride.

So far a fairly workable holding pattern has been established, where we live separate lives, interacting with increasingly few of our old routines. Civility and consideration prevail. This has its pros and cons. There is no good choice as to how this marriage deconstructs, so I am making a series of small controlled decisions, choosing among the hard and sad choices as they come up. They are coming up a lot, life is hard.

I cycle through all the stages of grief, to varying degrees, in various orders, depending on the particular circumstance of a given day.

I am getting through this.

Next week I have two of my own activities planned, and one outing with Attila planned. I am an outsider everywhere, in this place of small towns and tiny cities, and it takes a long time for an outsider to be inside anything, so patience and fortitude are required. Eventually something will take root, somewhere, probably in an unexpected circumstance. I have to keep going so that I run into that unexpected circumstance.

So that is the state of my life at present.

I had some kind of bug, and my gastrointestinal system was in rebellion. It was an uncomfortable night, but I did manage to get about five hours sleep, so really it wasn’t so bad. I am feeling better this morning.

Terra stopped by with Sunny and Sky for a short but delightful visit yesterday evening. Her pregnancy appears to be going well, the Grandbaby is due in July. Luna called this morning for a chat while en route to Elf’s diving lessons, Tink’s gymnastics lessons, all three, Imp, Elf, and Tink, in the car chatting up a storm on speaker phone. All six Grandbabies are well and happy.

Today I washed and dried a set of sheets, after having changed out the bedding. I’ve read a bit, crocheted a bit, puttered a bit around the house. Attila and I went grocery shopping.

This afternoon I will work on genealogy, my web site update, read for a bit, and write in my paper journal. This evening Attila and I will watch a movie over dinner. Attila has begun cooking a weekly Saturday feast for himself, foods I cannot and/or would not eat, full of sodium and sugar and cholesterol, although he continues to avoid my allergen. I treat myself to a slice of pizza, and plan the whole day’s menu around it, reducing sodium, sugar and cholesterol, so that I can eat my slice without concern for having overdone things.

The vacant house next door has sold. We saw two vehicles in the driveway last night, and observed a millennial couple arrive back in one of the vehicles this morning, Tim Hortons paper coffee cups in hand. Attila says that where he works many people show up in the morning with two paper cups of Tim Hortons coffee, around $4 worth, that is $20 a week for morning coffee, and about $1000 a year. The last millennial couple who lived next door and who lost the house to the bank, there have been two such couples since we bought Mist Cottage, didn’t make their mortgage payments, but they did find the funds for Tim Hortons coffee, daily. Their priorities are much different than mine. I find it odd what some people regard as a necessity of life. Coffee above shelter… something is wrong there.

What cheerful note can I end my visit here with? I am healthy. I have food, and shelter. I am loved. I am making fewer spelling mistakes as I write these entries. A good list!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

3°C
Date: 11:00 AM EST Saturday 27 January 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 3.4°C
Dew point: -1.6°C
Humidity: 70%
Wind: SSW 20 gust 29 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“When one can hear people moving, one does not so much mind, about one’s fears.”
Ann Radcliffe
1764 – 1823