Good Tired

Today the sun shone brightly all day long. It lifts my spirits, a day so full of sunshine!

Attila and I have been making plans to rearrange the house, what little of it there is, to accommodate our new living arrangement. Furniture needed to be moved, belongings needed to be sorted, and everything needed to be reorganized.

Saturday morning we began the odyssey. Attila did most of the heavy lifting, I was in constant motion moving things around, which was vital, to make enough space available to actually move an object. Things are packed very tightly in this little house. Sunday morning was a day of the same, constant motion. By Sunday night the beds were where they needed to be, which was the goal for the weekend, sound sleep is needed during the work week.

Today I was busy all day long organizing, and the job is far from complete.

I am tired, physically tired, and it feels right.

A big part of this realigned living arrangement is books. Thousands of books. Books to be moved, stacked, reshelved, and reorganized. The books are all back on the shelves, but not on the shelves where I want them to reside. I will be moving books around for a few weeks to come.

There are three items that I am willing to give up, so far. A yoga mat, my days of getting down on the floor to do exercises are over. A pair of memory foam slippers, that don’t fit and haven’t been worn over the last decade, they are like new. A pair of black dress shoes, my favourite shoes in the world; but alas they no longer fit well, and I am old and unwilling to submit myself to discomfort for any reason other than necessity. Not much of a list after three days of organizing and purging!

The new basement windows were covered with newspaper held up with painter’s tape. That was an immediate and temporary solution, meant to maintain privacy. This morning three pressure rods were fed into three white cafe curtains, which were then hung over the basement windows. They are perfect! These are the cafe curtains that hung over the old windows in the living room.

The bottom of the clothes closet, the only clothes closet in the house, was dirty, not having been cleaned since 2010. It took a few hours to empty the closet, vacuum, wash the floor, dry the floor, and then store things away again.

The charging station needed a new home. To that end a set of tall drawers in the living room were pulled away from the wall, and a power bar plugged into the outlet behind it. Once the dresser was pushed back into place the dresser top became the new charging station.

There were dozens of other little tasks that kept me busy all day long.

So here it is, the light outside the window is dimming, and I am sitting in my easy chair, tuckered right out. It is a good tired.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 7:00 PM EDT Monday 26 March 2018
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 103.7 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 5.0°C
Dew point: -8.1°C
Humidity: 38%
Wind: SW 7 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“I never think of the future – it comes soon enough.”
Albert Einstein
1879 – 1955

Window Treatments

It looks lovely outside. Through these beautiful windows the sunny outside world seems beckoning. When I ventured out into the yard a few minutes ago though, it was chilly, very chilly. It is more like a lovely winter’s day, than a spring day.

The new windows are amazing! I love them, literally. It is surprising how much one can appreciate, even love, an inanimate object. I would love to open these new windows! That will have to wait for spring-like weather to arrive; it isn’t anywhere to be seen in the local two week weather forecast.

I purchased three inexpensive tension curtain rods, two for the living room windows, and one or the front bedroom window.

The front bedroom has been a storage room since 2010. Its time has come. The window treatment was one cafe curtain, dark green check, and one shower curtain, mauve flowered. This arrangement has provided privacy, as well as a jarring visual effect. This morning I used the tension rod to hang the shower curtain over the window once again. The cafe curtain is going into retirement. I am still thinking through this window treatment.

The basement window treatment is currently newspaper taped to the frame with painters tape. It does the job.

The kitchen window works well with the curtains I made three years ago. Rehung, job done.

Over the back bedroom window a 40 year old set of custom made blackout drapes have hung at the window. Their quality was outstanding, when these were made for my family room, during my first, fairly affluent, stab at marriage. The drapes are like new, but for a small water stain on the back lining, which is not visible from the interior. These drapes have been put back on the job, and just might hang there for the long term. So what if they look like the 70s! They are the 70s.

The living room windows are the big challenge. Using the tension rods, the previous cafe curtains were easily hung. But they did not suit me. Next I tried a pair of sheers that I had found at the dump, crisp, white, beautiful, like-new sheers, that for some unknown reason were discarded. They did not provide enough privacy, and down they came. Next I rummaged through totes in the front bedroom, until I located the floor length sheers that had hung in the master bedroom at the country house. I like these the best so far. I can see out, the light comes in, and during the day you can’t see in. Also, I think they dampen the noise of the construction at the end of the street, which is in full swing now. The issue will be, what to do at night, when they will put the living room on display, if there are any lights on in the house. Thinking cap on.

Windows new living room The new living room windows. Someday, when I look back at this photograph, these might look like just another set of double hung windows. But today, they look like magical portals.
Note: I blotted out the street view on the bottom panes, digitally with the colour light blue.

At long last, the house is ready for a little bit of interior investment, in thought, time, and perhaps a little bit of cash, perhaps. I am taking it slowly though, no cash investment until I see what works and what does not. There is no hurry.

A sudden silence has descended in the neighbourhood. The construction workers are taking their lunch break!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 11:00 AM EDT Friday 23 March 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.0 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 1.2°C
Dew point: -9.3°C
Humidity: 46%
Wind: NNW 9 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“What is life but a series of inspired follies? The difficulty is to find them to do. Never lose a chance: it doesn’t come every day.”
George Bernard Shaw
1856 – 1950

I Can See Clearly Now

Tuesday and Wednesday were completely consumed by the window installations. By Tuesday at quitting time, the crew had all of the new windows in place, and sealed for the night. In just two days there are ALL new windows, completely and beautifully installed, here at Mist Cottage!

This job would have taken Attila years to do by himself.

The crew was great, the three young fellows were consistently pleasant, and respectful of my home, and my personal space. It wasn’t easy being respectful of my personal space, because the house is so small that no matter what window they were working on, they could see almost every inch of the interior of the house, but they managed it.

The crew wasn’t just pleasant, they were really good at what they were doing. The installation was done very professionally, the old windows removed from the house, and the property, the window openings completely stripped, new framing installed, then the new windows, carefully insulated, carefully and beautifully trimmed, both the interior and the exterior. The only issue was that one of the living room windows has a cracked pane of glass, it arrived that way from the factory. Rather than delay the job a replacement pane has been ordered, and should arrive in two to three weeks, at which time they will come back and replace the glass. Other than that, not a single glitch.

The weather was cold on Tuesday, the day there were holes in the house all day long. I turned the heat off for the day. It was fortunate that all of the windows were in place and sealed by Tuesday night, which meant I could turn the heat on, and leave it on. Today I was quite comfortable, although I did keep the heat at 17C for the day, because the fellows were coming in and out of the house with great frequency.

The old window treatments don’t work well with the new windows, so a lot of thought will need to go into privacy issues, while maintaining the view.

I have killed only one ladybug today, and that ladybug may have come in with the crew, as they moved in and out of the house all day long. On the other hand, the bugs in the terrarium (the space between the single pane glass of the old living room windows, and the ill fitting storm windows) were an endless source of amusement. They crawled all over the glass, creating an ever changing “bug mobile”, that was in constant motion, as I gazed out the windows. No more! I’ll adjust.

I feel exhausted! Sharing the house with three relatively unknown males, no matter how nice they were, for two days, was not relaxing. My routines were disrupted. Also, the house is in a state of disruption, as belongings kept having to be moved around to create enough space to work on the windows. Tiny houses are work. It will take weeks to put things right again. It will be a labour of love though, as the house is one step closer to its final state. It is no longer necessary to figure future window renovations into the way things need to be organized.

Attila will now turn his attention to the garage roof project. It could not be started before the window installations were complete, and now that they are he can set his own schedule.

For almost 25 years I thought in terms of “we”, in my thinking, when I spoke, and when I wrote. I am making a concerted effort to think in terms of “me”, or in general terms. The “we” is a difficult habit to break. It is no longer agonizingly painful when I have to rephrase a sentence with a “we” in it, and eventually this will come naturally. Old dog, new trick.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 8:00 PM EDT Wednesday 21 March 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.4 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 0.1°C
Dew point: -9.7°C
Humidity: 48%
Wind: N 11 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.”
Harry S. Truman
1884 – 1972

A Hole In My House

The first day of spring! Spring is memorable this year. This is a memorable year, in so many, many ways.

I received a telephone call yesterday afternoon. There was a cancellation at the company that will do the installation of the new windows, could we go ahead with the installation tomorrow, which is today?

Well, yes!

Last night was spent moving furniture out of the way, and storing items that might be damaged by the dust created by the installation. Of course, the house is so very small, that for each window, “stuff” has to be moved out of the way, to block a different window, which will in turn have to have the stuff cleared away for the installation. In this way, I will be running ahead of the crew for the next few days, moving things out of the way as they approach the next window.

Today dawned sunny and cold! -8C is not warm. The crew has been here for an hour and a half, there is a hole in the corner of the house, where the living room windows have been removed. An interesting little detail, as they removed the windows, is that the insulation around the original windows was a quilt, cut into strips and stuffed into the cavities. As they pulled out these strips, out flew the flies! Aha, that is where the bugs have been hiding out, crawling into the house. Hopefully this window installation will go a long way toward keeping the little critters out.

As I have been writing, the new living room windows have been secured in place, and the sequence of which windows will be done next has been decided by the crew. That means moving lots of stuff out of their way, so I’ve been busy with that. Of course all the curtains have to come down, and all the hardware unscrewed and stored in plastic bags with labels. Yikes, it has just occurred to me that none of the current window dressings will actually work on the new windows! I will need to think carefully about what sort of window treatments would work best.

I am bundled up with a toque, boots, an insulated vest, and I am thinking about where my fingerless gloves got off to. I think the house will be slightly warmer once the living room windows are sealed with insulation, because the sun beats through those windows for most of the day.

I am so excited that this process is in full gear! It has been eight years in the waiting, since we purchased this little house as a wreck of a house. The single pane glass in the windows, along with the faulty and ill fitting storm windows, made for cold spots in the house, in the winter, and hot spots in the summer. Attila had replaced three of the windows with used windows, the kitchen, the dining area, and the back bedroom. The used windows were a huge improvement, but they were not energy efficient windows. The new windows are energy star windows, energy efficient. And they all open!!! Being able to open a window is so wonderful!

It is possible that they will finish most of the main floor today, at least as far as removing the old windows, placing the new windows in place, and sealing them off. The company will also trim the windows, inside and out. What a luxury it is to have a crew of fellows, who do this thing daily, take on the project. Three men, three days, and voila, Mist Cottage will be transformed!

I am taking photographs of the process, and will need to take photographs of the finished windows for the grant program.

No more terrarium!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 9:00 AM EDT Tuesday 20 March 2018
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -7.8°C
Dew point: -15.9°C
Humidity: 53%
Wind: NNE 16 km/h
Wind Chill: -14
Visibility: 24 km


“Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.”
G. K. Chesterton
1874 – 1936

Who Knows

How different this new life is, compared to what I thought it would be at this point in my life, compared to what it was last spring. I thought I was in a relatively happy, even if financially restricted, retirement, living in a place I find pleasant, living with someone who I loved and who loved me. Although our circumstances were decidedly modest, I felt the important things in life were covered. Was it a dream? It was a nice dream, if it was a dream. Maybe it was real though, real with an unexpected expiration date. Of course, everything alive has an expiration date. This particular one was not the one written on the package, it came much earlier.

The holding pattern with Attila is, well, it is holding. For the most part the time passes pleasantly. The future is unknown, uncertain, unpredictable. The grieving process is ongoing, which is only natural, but I now have short periods of significant respite from the pain. The one true thing is still the one true thing, I am living with a man who does not want to be in a married relationship with me. There is no question that we care for one another. Other truths have not emerged. In time they probably will, it is a matter of letting things take their natural course. Patience is a necessity. This situation uses up most of my stores of patience.

The weekend was cold! It is cold out there this morning too. I found no place I wanted to go alone this past weekend. Attila says he is too worn out from the daily grind of his job to want to go out, except on very rare occasions, except to shop for food at bargain prices. He loves to eat, he loves to shop for the food he eats. I usually do this with him, as it is an opportunity to walk around in the store for half an hour or more, exercise, and limited social contact. Since I don’t eat much, and can’t eat most of the food in the stores, it isn’t an activity that inspires any joy. Other activities will have to be ones I attend by myself. I am working on that.

I filled the weekend with my projects, and with the baking of bread and muffins. On Saturday night Attila and I made a homemade pizza, and watched a movie, which is always a treat. Less and less often do we eat the same foods, at the same time. Surprisingly, this has led to a significant reduction in domestic tension. My dietary restrictions are difficult for me to bear with good grace, but I have no choice. Attila has a choice, and he has made it.

The world is full of hints of spring! Every day I find all kinds of bugs in the house. Asian beetles, house flies, wasps, Western Conifer Seed Bugs, they enter around the living room window, and other locations, and I find them all over the house. I don’t believe in escorting insects to the out of doors, if they have entered my home, they are unwelcome invaders, and they are quickly dispatched and disposed of. This is a spring ritual here at Mist Cottage. At the country house it was a completely different array of insects that made spring weather interesting.

The snow is gone, although a few small patches remain in shaded areas of the remaining bush behind the house. The imminent destruction of those trees is nigh, by next March there will be a hive of rental units where there were once tall and majestic trees.

My second crochet blanket is coming along slowly. I have been enjoying working a few rows on it, during the day. The rhythm of the hook and yarn is comforting, grounding, and totally within my control. It feels good to have control over something.

The book Kristin Lavransdatter is another source of enjoyment. I like to read books slowly, coming back to them over and over again, sitting down to have a cup of tea with them. Almost like having a chat with a friend. Although, admittedly, they aren’t good listeners.

At my last Tai Chi class, it was suggested to me that Tai Chi “wasn’t for me”.

The beginners lesson had gone well for me, as far as I was concerned. There was a move taught that involved the turning of the foot, in a way that looked like it would hurt my knee. I didn’t do that move, but stopped and resumed when the action returned to the doable. That odd turn of the foot can be accommodated eventually, but the move will need to be carefully orchestrated to avoid injury. I have the first five moves comfortably learned. The beginners class has moved way beyond those first five moves, and I have not progressed with the class. This doesn’t worry me in the slightest. I follow along with whatever is being taught in the beginners class, knowing that any practise is good, even if I don’t remember any of what has been taught. What I do has no effect on anyone else, the classes proceed at the prescribed pace, the other people in the class proceed at the prescribed pace, I proceed at my pace.

Apparently the issue is when the whole group, including the beginners, gathers to do the routine, when it becomes glaringly obvious I have not learned more than five moves. I imitate, sometimes successfully, what I see around me, and when I cannot, or the moves seem beyond my knee, I just stop and watch until something familiar comes up, then I start again. This works well for me.

During the last Tai Chi lesson I attended, during the whole group session, I became tired, after an hour and half on my feet, doing things that I found challenging, and decided to wait it out in the wings. I moved to the side of the gym and stood quietly and contentedly watching the others. One woman looked over at me, she seemed concerned, she seemed upset, I smiled and nodded that I was OK. The leader came across the gym to talk with me, I explained that I was a slow learner, and watching was helpful; she seemed content with that, made her way back across the gym, and carried on with the group. However, another older woman, so far it has been older women who target me, came over to give “advice” at the end of the session. She suggested to me that Tai Chi was not for me.

I was enjoying the whole thing until that point. But really, what is it with these Tai Chi gals of a certain age, why are their knickers getting into such a twist over a little bit of unobtrusive variance. I go to Tai Chi to be active, relax, and learn. It is not an olympic sport, and it is advertised as offering health benefits. They sure aren’t meeting that goal in the realm of mental health!!! It is not something I feel I have to pick up at all costs, or on a particular schedule. It certainly isn’t very relaxing, feeling all this pressure to learn in a certain way, and perform to certain standards on schedule. It is only a few individuals applying all the pressure, but they seem relentless in their quest. It only takes one rotten apple, as they say.

The pressure to conform seems ever present in “clubs”. There are types of conformity that bring pleasure, psychic comfort, safety, and a whole variety of other positive social benefits. There are also types of conformity that hobble, reduce, impede, and generally interfere with the natural flow of human social interactions. My Tai Chi class embodies both, an interesting mix. Perhaps over time, the busy little Tai Chi “social engineers” who plague me will cease to register with me, even as an annoyance.

Well, my first forays into the wide world have not been unmitigated successes. I am batting 0. What I have gained through these explorations is an increased confidence in getting out there on my own. I am also getting used to being out of my comfort zone. Back to the drawing board, as they say. The spring should bring a whole new array of opportunities, so who knows what lies ahead.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 8:00 AM EDT Monday 19 March 2018
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 102.1 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -9.2°C
Dew point: -20.6°C
Humidity: 39%
Wind: N 16 km/h
Wind Chill: -18
Visibility: 24 km


“On October 20, 1949 the Hollywood columnist Erskine Johnson published the tale. This is the earliest instance located by QI:

Groucho Marx’s letter of resignation to the Friars’ Club: “I don’t want to belong to any club that would accept me as one of its members.”

On October 13, 1951 the only son of Groucho, Arthur Marx, published a version of the anecdote in Collier’s Magazine. This is the earliest variant by a close family member with intimate knowledge of Groucho. Over the years Arthur Marx recounted different narratives of this episode, and some will be presented further below. In 1951 he said that Groucho joined the Friars Club at the insistence of friends, but he did not participate. So Groucho sent in a letter of resignation:

In the next mail, he received a letter from the club’s president, wanting to know why he had resigned. My father promptly wrote back, “Because I don’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member!”…