I did it!

I did it! I’ve worked two consecutive six day weeks in a negative environment. There were many times when it was all I could do to keep smiling and keep working. And I did it. Ask Attila, it was a very hard go for both of us.

window view on an autumn morning

window view on an autumn morning

So, here I am today looking forward to a much needed break.

Attila is in the kitchen, preparing the stuffing for the turkey. We bought several frozen turkeys when they were on sale just before Thanksgiving. Roast turkey is a wonderful Sunday dinner, and will provide us with at least a week of quick leftover meals and then another week of turkey soup for our lunches.

I am adjusting my diet again. My cholesterol level is creeping up, it is an inherited trait. However, exercise and diet can help. I’ve been getting plenty of exercise, my job is very physically demanding. My diet could use some tweaking. Once again I am having oatmeal at breakfast, in the form of apple crisp. My daily snack is a quarter cup of roasted almonds. It is another year before I will have another blood test for cholesterol levels, and will then find out if there are any long term benefits to these tweaks.

Attila is boarding up the last few windows at the country house today. Heating season is about to begin in earnest, although we are hoping for another few weeks without snow!

My chores include laundry and filing. A recent request for two more copies of a book, that I published myself, are ready to go. I should give the purchaser a call and let them know that they can pick them up anytime.

There won’t be much work for me over the winter apparently, so I’m making plans to spend my time wisely. If I can manage to raise the funds for access to primary data, I’ll work on my families genealogy book. If not I’ll just putter along adding data from free sites online, which can provide useful information but isn’t an adequate source of reference for a publication. I enjoy both activities, so plans can be made regardless of financial circumstances.

As always I’ll be keeping my eye open for possible sources of income since my irregular job is going to go south for the winter. Not much hope of finding anything of course, as the sidewalks in this area have already been rolled up and put away; not much economic activity here in the winter months.

Although I completely exhausted after the last two weeks, I feel pretty good.

Worldly Distractions


0 °C
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 0.0°C
Dewpoint: -0.4°C
Humidity: 97 %
Wind: NW 9 km/h
Wind Chill: -3


“Abuse a man unjustly, and you will make friends for him.”
Edgar Watson Howe (1853 – 1937)

Worth being tired for…

Some things are worth being tired for…

Luna, Janus, Imp, Elf, Tink, Benny and Bim arrived last Wednesday evening and left this morning after I left for work.  The visit was a whirl of energy and light.  Gramma and Grampa had to work during each day, but there was plenty of time for fun.  We GeoCached at a lovely local park with a fantastic playground. Although we didn’t have anything to exchange at the geocache, we did find it and sign the logbook. I found the three LED flashlights in my backpack, still there since I got from the car dealer last time the car was serviced. So the grandchildren got flashlights at the geocache.

I couldn’t really say what else we did, just living, just being together. Imp and Elf are so grown up now, both in school three days a week. Imp thought up a new food combination and said it was very good; she took her toast with peanut butter and dipped it in a bit of pepper sprinkled onto a plate. Who would have though of it! Elf was very brave; they arrived after dark and Elf found the darkness of the forest “scary”. He and Gramma held hands and went to investigate, finding nothing but trees! Tink is a bouncing ball of raw enthusiasm! She watches Imp and Elf and is delighted when she can participate in whatever they are doing. She is walking short distances, between one set of outstretched arms and another.

Attila and I headed out to the little house on Saturday, stayed overnight and headed back home to our country house just after supper on Sunday. Attila prepared the cedar boards that will line the lower kitchen cupboards at the little house and I applied metal duct tape to designated junctions on the furnace ducts. We both enjoyed central heating with a thermostat! I’ve an obsession for thermostats. Terra and Lares came over for supper, so we got to wish Lares a happy birthday, as his birthday was Saturday. The drive home reminded us that winter is on its way; it was very, very foggy for most of the trip, so that driving required more focus than usual.

Most of the leaves have fallen and the skies are grey. Grey skies have a beauty to them, which pales as one grey day follows another. It still looks lovely to me this morning.

Last week a young aborist came to the door, hired by our neighbour to take down a tree near his cottage. It seems that the best way to bring the neighbour’s tree down is to fell it across our yard. The aborist does not “do cleanup”, which means Attila would harvest the wood; that represents more free firewood to heat the house during the winter. It was also suggested that two tall, unhealthy poplars be brought down as well, one of them growing on our property, to compensate us for allowing our land to be used during the tree removal process. We aren’t sure when all this will get done. I suppose one day I’ll arrive home to find three large trees lying across the back yard.

I’ve been looking around lately for my sense of humour. It seems to have slipped out for a break. It has told me, not in so many words of course, that it isn’t coming back until I provide it with an amenable environment. I take that to mean it is waiting at the door, until work slows down and I am no longer required to spend hours each day with a humourless negative force.

This morning I’m heading into work. I never know what to expect. Some days I meet the “Wrath of Khan” at the door as I enter. On those days I seldom do anything right or fast enough, in her opinion. Some days are easier, where the only challenge is to work hard and do a good job; these days usually only occur when my co-worker has made a mistake before I arrive and decides not to cast the first stone. What will it be like this morning? Well, that’s the fun of it, the suspense!

Give me strength.

I having a very bad time at work, dealing with a negative co-worker, it weighs heavily on me and my stomach is acting up over it again. Give me strength!

This morning Attila got up early and set a full fire in the masonry heater. When I woke up the coffee was on and the fire was just beginning to blaze. Luxury! Wood heat is a lot of work. I find myself resenting the time Attila must spend ensuring adequate firewood and I dislike that extended travel is curtailed by the regime of heating with wood. But oh, the joy in those morning and evening fires!

I talked with Terra yesterday afternoon, she is a very busy woman! Hers is an on-call position and she works varied shifts, sometimes nights, sometimes evenings, sometimes days. Her biggest challenge is getting adequate sleep! Lares has taken on a part-time job in addition to his full-time job. I feel very lucky that we get to see them each time we visit our little house!

Luna and Janus and the grandkids and the granddogs are coming for a “sleepover” visit to our country house this week; at least that is the plan. We are really looking forward to it. I hope the weather is nice so we can play outside with the kids!

Attila arrived home at lunch time with a flat tire! He put the spare tire on the car and returned to work. I took another spare tire and the flat tire and rim to a garage, where they quickly put the new tire on the rim. Quick work on their part and now it is sorted.

Most of the leaves have fallen, but the oak trees are still holding their leaves so there is little advantage in starting the autumn yard cleanup just yet. This is a very pretty time of year in Ontario.

Worldly Distractions


10 °C
Condition: Light Rainshower
Pressure: 100.9 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 10.0°C
Dewpoint: 4.2°C
Humidity: 67 %
Wind: W 9 km/


“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”
(341 BC – 270 BC)

Present and Past

A sunny day here and Attila is using it to its fullest advantage.  He is repairing the roof on the screened in porch, which has had issues since it was built; largely due to some unusual design specifications I insisted on.  He is also gathering materials to take to the little house when we next visit.  Further winterization of our country house is also high on his list for today.  He will install the insulated panels over the windows downstairs and parts of the windows upstairs, literally boarding up the windows to prevent excessive heat loss.  And finally, there is a lot of wood to split!

I am having a very busy day as well.  I’ve been baking apple crisp, two so far and another will go into the oven this afternoon.  I baked bread yesterday for the first time since we started commuting to the little house on a regular basis.  Attila is extremely pleased to be eating homemade bread again, as he does not consider commercially made bread to be palatable.

My most recent visit to the doctor revealed that my blood pressure is excellent but my cholesterol levels are slowly creeping up.  Yikes.  I had hoped to reduce my dosage on that medication because it has terrible effects on my digestive system.  Rather than reducing the dosage, I’m facing an eventual increase.  So, after reading various forums where people have talked about what worked them in reducing their cholesterol levels, I decided to eat nuts and oatmeal daily.  I used to eat granola daily, but I now find it far too difficult to chew, since the difficulties I had at the dentist’s office.  However, I’ve come up with a plan, and that is the oatmeal apple crisp, made with very little fat or sugar and lots and lots of apples.  Nuts make a very satisfying snack food.  I began with walnuts and will add almonds to my list of snacks.  To that end I purchased a kilogram of raw almonds last weekend, and today roasted them.  Delicious!  I spread a single layer on a cookie sheet and baked them at 350F for 15 minutes, very simple.  I’ll store them in large glass canning jars.

I was tooting around on the computer when I ran into a few blasts from the past.  One is an article describing a school closing in Toronto.  I began my teaching career at this school, just after it opened its doors to students.  Now it is closing!  How time flies and how things change.  This is the article describing the closure of Arlington Senior Public School.

My university years in Toronto were filled with wonderful experiences and very wonderful friends. I found an article that includes one of my friends. I was glad to see that she is surviving, and sad to see that she has had to struggle to do so. Kris Scheuer wrote an article that describes Mary Milne’s struggle with hunger, representative of the struggle of many in Toronto and elsewhere.

Worldly Distractions


13 °C
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 13.0°C
Dewpoint: 3.1°C
Humidity: 51 %
Wind: WNW 15 km/h


“Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.”
Kurt Vonnegut
(1922 – 2007)


Ageism, the lucky amongst us are going to face this type of discrimination, later rather than sooner.

I urge every one of us to keep an eye on how we interact with people younger or older than ourselves. Respect for differences should cover just about any situation. When we assume the way we look at the world is “normal”, we do a disservice to everyone, including ourselves.

I wonder, why would I find the comment, “you look so young” complimentary? It always upsets me, makes me feel uncomfortable and unhappy, aware of impending loss. I can tell it is meant as a compliment, so I smile. But if this is so important to people, what the heck am I going to do when I don’t look so young??? It will happen, if I’m lucky. I really don’t want to think of myself as “young looking”; I want to be “Maggie looking” and I want that to be all right. I can carry “Maggie looking” to my the end of my days, it is that flexible a compliment.

My Dad died of colon cancer. I have regular colonoscopies, which, for me, are always potentially fatal due to human error with medications (my allergy). I hate them, the colonoscopies that is, but I do it. I am always glad to come home alive. Between colonoscopies, which are five years apart, I annually complete the home “Fecal Occult Blood Test”, FOBT. I hate these too, but I don’t have to fear for my life to do this test. This isn’t pretty stuff. I read recently that a new blood test may offer an equally efficacious test for colon cancer. Please, please, please let it be true!

A lovely sunny day here! Attila is working this morning, I have the day off. A bonus because I will be working on the next two Saturdays. Day four of curing the fireplace is well under way. The masonry heater is not charged yet though, so very little heat is emanating from it. By Sunday it will retain some heat from the firings and the house will begin to warm up. Monday we can burn a full fire!

Curing the Masonry Heater October 2010

Curing the Masonry Heater October 2010

The apples we picked on our holidays are keeping well so far, but there is some urgency in eating and cooking with them before they begin to go soft and ultimately rot. Yesterday I made an apple crisp. I haven’t made a dessert in a very long time, I gain a lot of weight when desserts are sitting on the counter, testing my resolve.

Yesterday I seared two round steaks in the cast iron dutch oven, then added cubed potatoes, sliced onions, cubed carrots, pepper corns, bay leaf and water. By the time Attila arrived home hours later, our dinner was ready. There was enough left over for two additional meals! That is our solution to ready-made meals, we don’t buy them ready-made, we prepare enough for several days when we cook from raw ingredients. I guess some people don’t like left-overs; aren’t ready-made meals off the shelves in the grocery store already left-overs? I guess we see things differently.

Worldly Distractions


6 °C
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 101.8 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 6.0°C
Dewpoint: 2.6°C
Humidity: 79 %
Wind: NNW 9 km/h


“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”
Marcel Proust
(1871 – 1922)