Routines are important to me. Life can get very complicated with my anaphylaxis, and our multiple properties, so anything that streamlines recurring tasks is welcome.

One routine I have had to forego is a daily walk, until now. At the country house I made huge efforts to get out for a walk, but the barriers eventually wore away my determination. I could not develop any kind of routine for walking at the country house.

The spring and summer brought black flies and mosquitoes, and not just a few. Going out of doors meant wearing protective clothing. Walking in protective clothing is not enjoyable, and it is uncomfortable when the body begins to generate heat from the exercise. Heat from exercise attracts even more of the blood sucking insects. It became a chore to don all the protective gear for a truly uncomfortable experience. I simply stopped being able to make myself do it.

The autumn brings hunting season. The “bite” here is a lot worse than that the blood sucking insects. Hunters actually hunt on our land, so going for a walk is risky business, one never knows if one will be “mistaken for a swan”. This is not paranoia, just after we moved to the country house a woman, a seasonal cottager, was shot dead by a hunter while she was out for her walk. It wasn’t near our house, but the lesson is transferrable to anywhere that hunting is practised. I cannot make myself go for walks during hunting season.

The winter brings snow, which is ploughed into very high snow banks. It also brings ice, which is slippery. It also brings snowmobiles, which charge up and down our street at high speeds. I would not have a chance, if a snowmobile came upon me, around a corner, at high speed. I am not nimble enough in my senior years to leap almost my own height to get onto the snowbank, and out of their way. There is no other avenue of escape on the narrow country road. I cannot make myself go for walks in the winter.

Walking has always been my exercise of choice. Walking is something I love to do. So, this winter I am taking advantage of being at the little house in the city. Here there are sidewalks. Here there are few biting insects. Here there are no hunters with guns. Here there are no snowmobiles on the sidewalks, or ATVs for that matter. So far this winter the roads and sidewalks have been clear of snow and ice. At the little house in the city I can develop the routine of daily walking, with few interruptions due to environmental conditions.

My health will slowly improve due to my ability to go for a walk.

I am not the only senior out there walking! During my walk I see at least a half a dozen other seniors out walking, some with dogs, some with their life partner, some by themselves as I am.

Another benefit I enjoy at the little house in the city is that the people are friendly. To smile at a passing stranger costs nothing, and the people in this town spend their smiles freely. Every morning that I have been on a walk someone has said “good morning” to me.

At the country house we have few neighbours, and their combined greetings can be counted on two hands… and that is over an eleven year span of time. In the shops in town, I am not treated as a valued customer, because I am not a valued customer. The shop keepers cater to the wealthy seasonal people, low-income locals are not considered valuable customers. The one exception is the local grocery store, the staff there are friendly to all, the store is kept open over the winter as a courtesy to the local residents, which is very much appreciated. The liquor store and beer store might also be friendly, but since I don’t need to shop there I do not know. As for the rest, I haven’t had a good experience yet, as a customer or as an employee.

Attila experiences the country house location in a completely different way than I do. That is due to several factors. He is a white, well educated, male, this goes a long, long way to garner acceptance in provincial Canadian society. Another factor is that he has a decent employer, and his hard work is appreciated. This is unusual anywhere. Another factor is that Attila enjoys many of the people he meets through his work. Since his employer treats him as a valued employee, the customers treat him with similar consideration. The country house location is not toxic for Attila, quite the opposite.

I had a good day today. I went for my walk, following a tip yesterday from Randy, wearing two pairs of socks and securing my laces carefully. I experienced no pain during the walk, and the blister did not bleed!

Later in the day I gathered together all the unused items that have accumulated over the last five years here at the little house in the city. There are two piles of items, clothing for the Salvation Army store, and building materials for the ReStore. I visited the Salvation Army in town, but it was closed until next week. So I took myself off to the grocery store for milk, and came away with three bags of groceries. Bacon was on sale, so I bought a few pounds, and I also bought myself a treat for New Year’s Eve. Attila and I will be spending New Year’s Eve together, via FaceTime, and I wanted a treat for the celebration. I eventually settled on cashews. I love cashews, but they cost the moon! Still, they are better for me than the other alternatives I was considering, which were sweet or salty.

After returning home from the grocery store I started a batch of chili. I used the remainder of the first batch of baked beans I canned. I enjoyed a bowl for supper, set aside two helpings for another two suppers later in the week, and froze five more servings in the freezer.

I seem to be settling in, here at the little house in the city.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 8:00 PM EST Tuesday 30 December 2014
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.8 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -7.8°C
Dewpoint: -13.9°C
Humidity: 62%
Wind: NNE 7 km/h
Wind Chill: -12


“Since you are like no other being ever created since the beginning of time, you are incomparable.”
Brenda Ueland

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TopsyTurvy (Teri)

I’m glad you’re settling in, though I’m sorry that you and Attila will only be FaceTiming for New Years Eve.

Most days, DH and I walk our dogs together in the early evening. Of course, if I’m not feeling up to it, if it’s icy or if I’m just feeling cold, then I won’t go out on those days. For that reason winter is the time I’m least likely to walk, but usually I enjoy it when we go out.

A few days ago I read an article that advocated finding one thing a day to throw out, sell, or give away, in order to remove clutter from our lives. I’m making an effort to do that right now, as we have far too many things that really no longer have a function in our home but still serve to clutter it. I’d prefer to see things streamlined as I’m not a fan of clutter, myself, but DH OTOH is very big on holding onto all kinds of things that have no use. *sigh*

Connection! I also love cashews, as does DH for that matter. We’ve found that the there are brands here in vacuum-packed cans that are less expensive than most other ways of packaging. Even less expensive than bulk. DH has his can that he usually brings to work to snack on at his desk. I have my can, which I sometimes mix with pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, and/or the odd carob chips.

I’m glad you’ll be able to be more social at the city house.


I was just considering finding some cashews online in bulk because Paul gave me a small packet of them for Xmas and, of course, they are gone already! Yum. I must eat more nuts. I wanted to get the plain unsalted kind though, with no oil, (dry-roasted?) next time. He also gave me a can of peanuts which I haven’t scoffed down yet, but I’m thinking about it. I need to make more dog cookies soon too.
Happy New Year Maggie… it’s been a joy ride knowing you this past year… always something interesting and intelligent and fun from your blog and your life… thank you! xoxox

TopsyTurvy (Teri)

Maggie, saw you posting on Nora’s board about downloading books. As I said to Nora, you might check out BookBub. I researched it before I joined and haven’t found any negatives. I downloaded 18 free new books my first day, but they have very low cost books too, and it’s all based on your preferences.

Irene Bean

My routines have become so routine they’ve nearly become invisible, though essential to the comfortable rhythm in my life I enjoy. Until I read this post, I hadn’t given much thought to my routines. Despite dramatic changes in my days and nights… routines still are an important element. Little things like having the coffee ready to perk in the morning – requiring only a simple click. As my life shifts so have my routines. I change my sheets in stages – strip, partially flip feather top, wash sheets, dry, completely flip feather top, remake bed in stages. It’s a new routine that gives a pleasant sense of order and right and accomplishment and empowerment.

Happy New Year, lovey. xo


Happy New Year to you and your fella. I’ll have my fella here in the same house, but he’ll be snoring by 9! I usually bring in the new year all by my lonesome self. This year I may not even make it till midnight … snoring begins to seem like a better idea.


Maggie, I may be the only one who does not like routines. They feel too flat to me. Perhaps it is because I am a multi-tasker (despite all the negatives I have read about it) and keeping routines may be beyond my scope. 🙂

I did not realize how buggy it is there during spring. NC has teeny tiny little biting bugs that you can not even see or feel (until much later) in the summer. Very annoying. I used to walk a lot until my legs became ‘silly’. The healthiest people I know walk. They also hate bad weather that keeps them from walking. I am glad to read that you will become healthier walking.

Nice that you are among people who greet and show caring in the little house. Having someone say “hello” to you daily is user friendly! That does not happen here. Usually when we are shopping people are generally friendlier. Maybe here at the complex they are afraid you will show up at their door if they are too nice!

Interesting what you shared about ‘valued customers’….

I’m happy also to read your two socks kept your blister in line while walking. Yay!

I collected a few things last week for the thrift shop. But most of what we donated and gave away last year in all 3 states cleared out a lot of ‘stuff’. Some I wish we had held onto but I was in a different frame of mind a year ago. Now we are rebuilding and I’m finally starting to enjoy it. Have done it numerous times but was YOUNGER!

Cashews….I guess we all love them. I get them at Trader Joe’s and they are just cashews with nothing least that is what the label claims. I also love pecans. I too make a mix of sunflower seeds (roasted but no salt), walnuts, pecans, cashews, raisins, (pumpkin when we can afford it), and choco chips. It’s yummy.

The chili sounds like an excellent idea in cold weather which we are experiencing here. Cold for us that is. I am going to make a batch in the crockpot soon.

Hope you have a pleasant time with Attila tonight via FaceTime. I don’t think Hubby has ever been up at midnight on Dec. 31st. I’m usually doing something and distracted from it anyway.

Hoping you, Attila, and Mist have an abundant, happy, more together with each other time, and healthy 2015! Cheers. x0x0x0x


Best wishes for 2015-for health, happiness and stability-to Maggie, Attila and all the other readers as well.

TopsyTurvy (Teri)

Happy New Year to you, Attila, and Mist, Maggie! Wishing you reasonable weather and more time together than you currently believed possible.