Last of the Summery Days

Summer is definitely over, and autumn is moving right along. It was warm and sticky yesterday, a humidex of 27C wasn’t very comfortable. Some time was spent sitting and watching the wind strip the trees of their orange and yellow glory. Sitting on the porch allows a perusal of the yard, sort of like stopping to smell the roses, but in this case it was stopping to assess the projects. A lawn chair under the tree near the back of the yard had overturned in the wind. It was covered with dead leaves, and was brushed off before bringing it onto the porch and setting it in place for Attila to sit in. All of the white plastic lawn chairs were stacked neatly. The three five gallon pails that littered the porch were collected, cleaned, stacked, and stowed away in Iris the trailer. These pails constitute the benign element of our composting toilet system at the Rideau Camp. The orange one is a backup to use as a toilet, but it is still unused and new. The white one contains peat moss for use with the composting toilet. The blue one is used for various things that do not require that it be sterilized. These buckets will go out to the Rideau Camp in the spring.

Yesterday I decided to read the letter informing us that we were being audited. Attila takes care of the taxes, but he had been dragging his feet on getting this taken care of, and I was beginning to fret about it. I was shocked to read that we had 30 days to respond, and that there were only a few days left to make that response. Obviously Attila dropped the ball on this one. When Attila got home from work we got busy preparing the documents needed for submission. There were quite a few of them, scanned into digital files to submit online. I did all the scanning, there were 26 files with multiple documents in each file. This took hours. When we finally logged in to submit the files, we discovered that only 10 files can be submitted. good God! Back to the drawing board. I ended up converting all the files to pdf format, then downloading software to merge pdf files, then merging files with similar information in them, such as fuel receipts. Finally, I had reduced the number of files to eight, we were ready for submission. Sigh. When we finally logged in to the site, we discovered that each file had to be uploaded separately, with a description. We were both rather weary by the time we clicked on the Submit button! I have my fingers crossed that we got it right and that will be the end of it!

Early this morning Attila loaded the old G4, Apple Display, speakers, and scanner, into Tank. I will be driving to the city to the Restore today, to leave all of this in the ewaste bin, which is open to the public, to remove items for free. I hope someone rescues the system! The living room seems almost bare now that it has been moved out, it took up almost 20% of the floor space, which tells you how little there is.

While I was out and about I dropped off a twin comforter set at the local women’s shelter. It is in excellent condition, freshly washed, and is suitable for a little boy. This comforter set came free, with the free twin bed I found at a local yard sale. We gave the bed away to a single Dad setting up his first apartment with his son, and Attila was using the comforter, but when we bought the duvets, the comforter was no longer needed. While I was at the Women’s Shelter I asked if they needed a twin box spring, and happily they said they could use it, so this evening Attila dragged it out to the car and secured it on the roof racks for the short drive to the shelter.

The weather was wonderful today, a bit chilly, definitely sweater weather, but sunny and breezy and colourful. I enjoyed my drive into the city and home again. It was a good day to be out and driving around, as it is supposed to rain for the next few days.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

14°C
Date: 9:00 PM EDT Wednesday 19 October 2016
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.1 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 14.4°C
Dewpoint: 12.1°C
Humidity: 86%
Wind: SW 10 km/h

Quote

“Human Dignity has gleamed only now and then and here and there, in lonely splendour, throughout the ages, a hope of the better men, never an achievement of the majority.”
James Thurber
1894 – 1961

Having lived a relatively isolated youth, I read avidly, and mistakenly thought that the literature that I read represented the world beyond my experience. Such a disappointment that literature shone a light on the few, while the world was populated by the many.

Yesterday’s News

I wrote this entry yesterday, but did not upload it. Today, while chopping vegetables and peeling tomatoes for spaghetti sauce, I am managing to get it out of the nest.

Sports were always a personal best kind of experience for me, the competition aspect was not my focus. I did enjoy winning, but I would have pushed my limits and built my skill levels for the sheer joy of it, even if I lost every competition.

I recently wrote this as a comment on one of Bex’s entries about the Red Sox.

“I loved to play sports as a kid, track and field as an individual competitor and team sports. I have never enjoyed watching sports being played, not even one tiny bit, nada, nothing! It bores me to distraction. I never thought much about it until a very dear friend of mine, who was an avid hockey fan, was watching a game on television. How he enjoyed it! He genuinely enjoyed it, and it dawned on me that I could not see what he saw in the game. I am sports blind!!!!!!”

I truly don’t know what I am missing; and never will!

The drive to and from work has been magnificent! Some of the trees are beginning to change colour, and between bursts of rain, mist drifting down from the hills, and brilliant sunshine, the visual experience has been worth the trip. These distant shifts are worth taking, just so that I can enjoy the drive there and back!

Portulaca, last blooms before tonight’s killing frost.
Dscf3580 portulaca

This morning I came across this link, and decided to post it here. I re-tweeted it and added my small voice as a supporter, because recyclable electronics would make a very big difference to the whole planet. If we don’t create garbage, we do not have to dispose of it. The idea is that phones have interchangeable parts for upgrading, so that they are customizable and easy to upgrade, very little is discarded in an upgrade. This is being pitched to the big corporations, the makers of cell phones, the only ones who can change manufacturing at this scale. It is called Phonebloks.

I don’t usually sign up to support activist type links, but this one has some potential for making a difference, I hope. It interests me because we are using a cell phone purchased over seven years ago, and it works fine, and we don’t need to upgrade or replace it. But we are truly unusual. Eventually the technology of the seven year old cell phone will be so outdated that it will not function. That has not happened yet, but when it does we will have to consider purchasing a new one. And I hope that something like Phonebloks are being used by that time. It would be great to be able to purchase a basic model cheaply and let the people who want the bells and whistles, and can afford to pay for them, pay for them on their models!

Mist and I are back to the quiet days of solitude that constitute our life at the country house. Attila leaves early in the morning and returns eleven hours later, a few hours before it is time to retire for the night. Occasionally a vehicle drives by, or vacationers walk by on their hikes, there is always human activity around and about. But the wildlife is more numerous than humans, bluejays and rabbits, foxes and squirrels, wild turkeys and owls, and coyotes howling in the distance. This solitude is wonderful in short stretches.

I have noticed over the last few days of work, that a lot of people in this area, where the main industry is tourism and seasonal residences, freqquently want to tell me how successful and important they are. It is always pleasant and friendly, and I always share a bit of my own history with them as we interact. But I am wondering if the kind of superficial pleasantry, that is based on career achievements, is really all that healthy for any of us. Surely we are more than our achievements. Surely we have something in common that is of interest; or perhaps we do not. I have yet to discover an alternative way to relate to the people who identify so intensely with their personal success. I do try talking about the weather.

I read today about a 95 year old man, in a nursing home in Chicago, USA, who was jolted with a taser, then shot at close range with dollar sized bean bags, in the abdomen, by police. The bean bag injuries killed him. The police claimed he had a knife, an investigation is to follow. Near here a young man, alone in a streetcar in Toronto, Canada, was recently gunned down, shot nine times by a police officer standing well away from the streetcar, on the street.

Mr. Falconer, who has represented the families of victims in similar incidents, said the case invites much deeper reflection on police training.

“From day one, it’s drilled into [police officers’] minds that the existence of a knife and the failure to follow an order gives them grounds to end another person’s life,” he said. “This is not new. This is just the latest death and it was caught on video.”
Source: National Post

The young man was wielding a knife, but he could not reach anyone at all. Why not shoot his arm to disarm him, with one shot, if he was that dangerous? Well, it could be because the officer “had grounds” to kill, and that is what he wanted to do, so he did. The video that circulated on the web is very clear, and one wonders about the officer’s judgement, well, the lack of judgement. The police are getting a lot of bad press, and deservedly so.

And on a human level, legal arguments aside, how do you live with yourself after shooting a kid dead using nine bullets, from a safe distance, with a lot of backup right beside you? Really, there was no other way to disarm a lone and distant knife wielding teenager? As a member of the public, how do I trust an organization that thinks this kind of killing is reasonable?

I am no stranger to violence, and have relied on the police on several occasions to secure my safety. The males involved in these incidences were violent, resistant to reason, but carried no visible weapons and followed orders from the police. In every instance, the police officer used verbal communication to diffuse the tension, and proceeded from there with no physical force needed. So, I find it hard to characterize the majority of officers as using their powers and weapons in an unreasonable way. My experience was exactly the opposite. I was grateful to the officers involved, truly grateful for their mature and cool headed actions. They did not behave like thugs or a “group of drunk bouncers with guns and tasers” (Bobby Wiseman).

Let us hope that the police forces in North America expunge officers who demonstrate what is, in my opinion, a dangerous lack of judgement, who fail to “serve and protect” all of us, even those lone individuals with knives, and not enough common sense to follow orders from the police. Police forces owe it to the public, to themselves, and to the officers who do a good job, each and every day, to diligently monitor their own.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

0°C
7:00 AM EDT Monday 23 September 2013
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.1 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 0.4°C
Dewpoint: 0.4°C
Humidity: 100%
Wind: NNW 5 km/h

Quote

“O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven;
It hath the primal eldest curse upon ‘t,
A brother’s murder.”
William Shakespeare
1564 – 1616
“Hamlet”, Act 3 scene 3