Change of Scene

Snow all around us, coming down, blowing across, whipping up occasionally. It is so mild that great loads of snow plummet two stories to land with a great whumph!, as they slide from the metal roof. A good day to sit safe indoors. Which I have been doing a bit too much of lately, sitting that is. This will change as of next week, when I work almost every day until the beginning of April. A blessing to be working, and good exercise to boot.

This afternoon Attila helped me move my desk. The monitor faced the sliding glass doors and the daytime glare was significant. I sat with my back to the door. Now I am facing the windows and the monitor is facing the wall; much better. The arrangement also facilitates watching Netflix on the computer, as the easy chairs are setup up perfectly to view the monitor. We are trying Netflix, and have enjoyed it. The first high-speed bill reflecting our use of Netflix will determine if we continue to use the service.

Caitrìona called this morning from Florida, she is coming home next week. She has had a nice time, and would rather stay a few weeks more but the arrangements didn’t work out as she had hoped. Our gain, their loss.

Friday and Saturday were a little rough. Everyone I came into contact with was feeling a bit out of sorts. Also, I found myself on the silent end of social media, which I hadn’t experienced before, because I never invested any time or interest in social media before. I’m still feeling my way around in places like Twitter and Facebook, it isn’t always a warm fuzzy place. Lots of people I don’t know and never heard of, buzzing around making friends with each other. Facebook seems like a busy downtown street, where you can sit unnoticed for hours watching people pass by.

Attila and I have been doing the lets-stay-in-our-cave thing. Two fires thus far today have warmed the living space, Mist is a happy cat. The new desk location affords a fantastic view of white dusted pine trees and snow slowly drifting out of the sky. Moving the desk was a great idea; small change, big difference.

I am considering writing an ode to cabin fever.


-3 °C
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -3.0°C
Dewpoint: -4.9°C
Humidity: 87 %
Wind: S 11 km/h
Wind Chill: -7


“I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly.”
Michel de Montaigne
1533 – 1592


Right Kind of Genius

To my way of thinking we are living in a era where the cultural empire is creating a fast narrowing path to survival. The empire is ultimately self-destructive. There are historical precedents; the Roman empire, the Mayan empire… analyze these structures of power any way you like, from any disciplinary perspective, spend countless hours discussing what little we actually know of how they actually grew and died off, intellectual discussion doesn’t change that they existed, grew and disappeared but for built form. They were what they were, no matter how we analyze and categorize and philosophize.

The descendants of meek members of those cultures remain, healthy and strong. It seems a bit biblical really, the meek have inherited the earth many times over during written history and who knows how many times in the vast ages of human history before the written word.

Many times over the weak have inherited an earth much diminished by the unnatural growths of powerful structures that fed like parasites on a balanced system.

Here is where my thoughts on genius intersect with my thoughts on culture.

The right kind of genius would put the weight of its talent behind a balanced structure of human habitation and community. Since the beginning of written history the right kind of genius has not been culturally favoured. Genius instead has been siphoned off and poured into the foundations of imbalance, the gathering of resources into the hands of the few.

An example is Christaller, whose theory on central place was used extensively by the Nazi’s to create, among other things, a network of internment camps. Christaller’s contemporary, August Loesch, see also, was comparatively ignored; I wonder if this was because his intellectual integrity was not as useful to political and economic strategies. Dr. Loesch did not join the Nazi party.

These are names of people who carried genius. Much of the built form in our present day-to-day lives, in Europe and North America, has been shaped by the product of their minds in the hands of the powerful.

In spite of the successful efforts of this towering structure of wealth, that reaches towards the heaven of its own desires, the right kind of genius remains, germinal, a force of nature, not of culture. And that is as much “human nature” as is greed and competition; more so in my view.

I wish my world were an ancient tale, a sleeping beauty and I a prince to kiss us all awake, in time to live the lives we have been given.

May those who carry the seed of genius with integrity live happy and fulfilled lives. If they can, then we will. Thank you for existing.

What can I say, I am like this in the mornings.

Worldly Distractions


-10 °C
Condition: Snow
Pressure: 102.0 kPa
Visibility: 8 km
Temperature: -10.0°C
Dewpoint: -13.2°C
Humidity: 78 %
Wind: W 11 km/h
Wind Chill: -16


“I decided blacks should not have to experience the difficulties I had faced, so I decided to open a flying school and teach other black women to fly.”
Bessie Coleman

From the movie The Matrix
Lock: “Goddamnit, Morpheus! Not everyone believes what you believe!”
Morpheus: “My beliefs do not require them to.”


Here it is pre-dawn. The trees outside the window are just becoming visible through the windows. I’ve been awake for several hours now, no idea why. The fire is burning bright in the masonry heater, Attila is preparing the food he will take to work. I am sitting at the computer. Typical morning.

There is another WordPress update to install. It seems like the last update was only a few weeks ago. Accomplished before 9:00 a.m. this morning. The manual update always works the first time, it is just so time consuming!

Terra gave me a few Starbucks coupons for songs, pick of the week. This will be another wee project for today, something new.

An investigation of the online digital library service revealed that the library nearest the little house in the city accesses the same service used by the library near the country house. This is good news for the Kobo. Early this morning another interesting library book was finally ferreted out of the lists of formula romance and vampire novels. It is called Made in the USA by Billie Letts. There are good books in this library collection, but it helps to have a list of titles and authors ready to assist in the search for your preferred reading material. Most of my list is not offered in the online collection.

Above Bathroom Vanity Little House in the City, February 2011

Above Bathroom Vanity Little House in the City, February 2011

One of our next projects at the little house is to install a medicine cabinet above the sink in the bathroom. When we bought the property there was only a hole in the wall where a vanity might go. Who knows why, best not to know I think. Anyway, last summer I found a newish medicine cabinet for $11 at a ReStore, a fundraising entity for Habitat for Humanity. Installing the medicine cabinet is on the list, but will require more than a one night stay to accomplish, so perhaps when Attila has another Saturday off in a few months he will be able to tackle this project.

There is no counter space in the bathroom at the little house in the city. Toiletries were carried in and out as needed until I came up with my clever, cost free solution. The bottom half of a plastic pop bottle, with a slit near the top on one side, is hung from a stick-on hook, placed on the wall above the sink. Clever yes. Pretty no. Functional yes, it works.

I’ve been thinking about Facebook this morning. One thing I like about it is that people I know are there, on the other end of the ether, so to speak. At times we are sharing the moment. A strange connectedness in absentia.

Google facilitated a search on sharing the moment, and this site came to my attention. Apparently the site was created by a graduate school student in Helsinki. The ideas are far from practical, from a mass-produced, economy-of-scale, lets-make-a-profit perspective. The ideas are interesting nonetheless. The M.A. Thesis of Michihito Mizutani explores sharing the moment in various ways. Truth be told though, I’d rather share the moment in physical proximity to my friends and loved ones. And there is nothing like strolling down a busy city sidewalk. The most interesting concept I found at this site though, is one aimed at sharing culture and cleansing the planet, the Global-loon Proposal. Quite imaginative; I think it is the geographer in me that is drawn to this particular design.

Worldly Distractions


-4 °C
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -4.0°C
Dewpoint: -4.8°C
Humidity: 94 %
Wind: 4 km/h
Wind Chill: -6


“Patience serves as a protection against wrongs as clothes do against cold. For if you put on more clothes as the cold increases, it will have no power to hurt you. So in like manner you must grow in patience when you meet with great wrongs, and they will then be powerless to vex your mind.”
Leonardo da Vinci
1452 – 1519
(translator unknown)

All you can do is your best.

All you can do is your best. I attended the interview today and did just that, my best. I wasn’t happy with a few of the things I said; answers could have been better said, better examples might have been provided. It was a pleasant experience. I am pretty sure I did not procure the position. There was one question that seemed pivotal, it was yes or no answer and lies would have been transparent… my answer was no and it was probably the wrong answer. The real indicator was, they did not request references. Kudos to them though, they treated me with respect and dignity throughout.

Sun Emerges Near Peterborough Ontario, February 19, 2011

Sun Emerges Near Peterborough Ontario, February 19, 2011

So, that out of the way, on with the rest of my life.

The weather is much warmer, but the weather people say there is to be another night of -21C, Friday night. Sheesh.

I am exhausted. Interview preparations and the experience itself have left me yawning and nodding off at the keyboard this afternoon. And wouldn’t you know it, after sitting down in my easy chair for a short winter’s nap, the cell phone rang. Wrong number of course, we don’t use our cell phone except for emergency calls. That was that for the nap.

Worldly Distractions


-1 °C
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Visibility: 13 km
Temperature: -1.0°C
Dewpoint: -2.6°C
Humidity: 89 %
Wind: W 13 km/h
Wind Chill: -5


“If you think you’re too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito.”
Betty Reese [Who is Betty Reese?]

Just Keeps Going

The house is now feeling a bit cool, but that is not surprising since the temperature has been dipping below -20C every night since Saturday. Now, the weather people say, the temperature will begin to rise. I hope it just keeps going!

Clearing Sky, Near Peterborough Ontario, February 19,2011

Clearing Sky, Near Peterborough Ontario, February 19,2011

The mess on the desk is finally dwindling, as a result of concentrated effort. It seems time is leading the way to clutter; I’m fighting the good fight. One of the things I love about visiting the little house in the city is that there are few belongings there; life is simple there. All the complicated issues are saved for our day-to-day life in the country house.

A notice came in the mail yesterday; time of use metering will begin here in a few weeks. This complicates life even further and as far as electric heat is concerned, the time of use electricity prices just terminated any hope of using the electric heaters. Heating exclusively with wood has been a cost-cutting, environmental choice until now; heating with wood has become a necessity.

Luna got in touch yesterday to say that they are moving again, soon. Janus has been offered a transfer and a promotion. Their destination is a long way from our country house, and from the little house in the city. We will miss seeing the grandchildren. I rejoice that Terra and Lares are still living near the little house in the city.

This is a singer/songwriter I’ve enjoyed listening to for many years. I heard him live in Toronto, and had a chat with him; there are some wonderful people in this world of ours. This song is a particular favorite, it resonates deep into the feelings of loss I experience(d) when loved ones have passed.

Worldly Distractions


-21 °C
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 103.0 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -21.0°C
Dewpoint: -22.8°C
Humidity: 86 %
Wind: calm


“Nothing contributes so much to tranquilizing the mind as a steady purpose – a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.”
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
1797 – 1851