Life In The First Person

The new window is in. Actually, it went in yesterday evening, and was well sealed with caulking, and foam insulation. The bedroom was comfortable for sleeping, and even though it got very chilly during the night, the temperature in the room did not fall below 15C.

Today heavy rainfall makes Attila grateful that the new window is going in from the covered porch, which means the work area remains dry. The fibreglass insulation went in this morning, the vapour barrier applied. That small rectangle of vapour barrier is the only vapour barrier in the whole room, as it was not commonly used when this house was built. Eventually we will remove all of the old drywall, which has holes punched through it, to rewire, insluate, apply vapour barrier to all exterior walls and then install new drywall. Another year, many years from now, we will tackle that project. For now though, Attila will install drywall over this small patch of wall, mud it, sand it, and paint it. When the trim has been installed, the job will be done!

DSCF1442 The new to us window is in! It isn’t pretty yet, that will take some time, but it is functional. The newspaper covers the bottom pane, for privacy when the lights are on at night. We decided that Attila will not spend the time to finish it attractively, we are going to be replacing this drywall when we renovate the whole room, so for now a coat of primer over dry rough mudding will suffice, as well as some trim, and curtains, we have lots of old curtains!

In reading one of the blogs I follow this morning, I was led to think about why I blog. I did not start out “blogging”. When I wrote my first entry and posted it online, there was no such thing as a blog, or if there was I had never heard of it. There were a few of us, John Bailey, and others, who created our own web sites and posted blog entries, everything was hand coded by the authors. I held out coding my own web pages until 2010, after eleven years of posting journal entries. I thought of them as journal entries, my personal journal.

What were my motivations?

I have always been an avid reader. Although I have read books voraciously since early childhood, the greatest volume of reading that I have done has been scientific and scholarly publications, which is a function of my fifteen years of post secondary education. However, in the books I have chosen to read, I have loved reading about the day-to-day lives of people, it says so very much about them. My chosen reading list includes books like, to name but a very few:

Fernand Braudel’s Civilization and Capitalism 15th-18th Century, Vol. 1: The Structures of Everyday Life. I picked this book up second hand at a University Book Store and loved it. Unfortunately it was a very unpopular book with a few of the ultra conservative professors in my department, and I was chastised for reading it, so I continued to secretly read it. It was not an assigned reading. My assigned reading list, approved by these professors, grew longer at this point.

Lillian Schlissel’s Women’s Diaries of the Westward Journey. I enjoyed this book immensely, and it was again not an assigned reading during those intense university years. This book was a gift for my birthday, I think the year was 1988, the inscription reads, To Maggie, Happy Advance Birthday, Love Joan, Paul, and Alexis. People I love and are part of my life to this day. This book includes many quotations from actual journal entries, words written by women who journeyed the USA Overland Trail, across the continent to Oregon and California, from 1840 to 1870. Their lives were conscribed in many ways by the culture, by the expectations based on gender, but in many ways they moved beyond the bounds of common expectations.

Frances and Joseph Gies’ Marriage And The Family In The Middle Ages. A book I picked up at the University of Toronto book store, again not on my reading list. This book gave me a broader context within which to place my own experiences. A book dense with relatively reliable information, I read with enthusiasm and came away, as I read the last page and closed the book, feeling differently about myself and the world around me. A quote: “Family life among the other major Genoese social class, that of the artisans – craftsmen, shopkeepers, petty merchants, laborers – differed markedly from that of the aristocrats.” It was this book that brought to my attention that the stories of the aristocrats (the wealthy) seldom speak to the reality of the majority of the population (rest of the population), at any time in history.

Helen Duncan’s Kate Rice Prospector. This book was a gift from Steve-Paul, for another birthday I believe. It outlines the life of a very unusual woman, a very intelligent, independent woman, who railed against the machine of sexism. She won some of her battles, lived most of her life the way she wanted to, and spent the very last years of her life enclosed in the structures of the society she struggled against. Her story was in many ways inspiring, but in many ways it was also disheartening. Helen Duncan, who wrote the book, had met Kate Rice, and interviewed many of the people who knew her. The book had a particular slant, one which I found less than approving of Kate’s choices and lifestyle. I enjoyed the book, both in learning about Kate Rice’s life, but also in learning how Kate’s life was judged by an author living an “acceptable” life. This book affirmed that “beauty” is indeed in the eye of the beholder, and that our writing says more about us than it does about the subjects we write about.

Thousands of books have influenced my thinking, and my heart. The range of personalities, paths of thought, values, writing styles, life experiences, life paths, life choices… the range of exposure has been exhilarating, fascinating, and has given me a respect for diversity and tolerance and my own ignorance, that I would not have had, had I remained within the limits of the world views in my own small context.

Life handed me some tragic circumstances. I decided to write a journal, not to record those tragedies, but to record how I felt about being alive, how I saw life, the universe, and everything. I decided to ignore how other’s judged my life, to define myself by my own values. I decided to write, not about the circumscribed world of logic, debate, argument, scholarship… but about the life in the trenches. To write not about the ins and outs of politics, and finance, and religion, and powers that rule the world, and the schools of thought that conscribe discourse, but about how all of that translates into a lived life. Life in the first person, I suppose, is what I call my journal entries.

So seldom on these pages do I enter any kind of scholarly rendition. I could if I so chose. I have been trained well to write scholarly tomes, and have done so, published them in scholarly journals, presented them at scholarly conferences. But I count my real success in life as how I have come to love myself, who I am, how I choose to live, what I choose to see in people, that I choose, above all else, “what love does”.

I continue to read a great range authors of the written word. I read blogs, and books, written by all kinds of people, pursuing different interests, living in different parts of the world, different ages, genders (more than two!), different levels of education, different languages (translated into English). They all have one thing in common, the authors are kind, thoughtful people, who know who they are, and write from the heart. It doesn’t take much to impress me, but there are few who do.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

WIND WARNING IN EFFECT
RAINFALL WARNING IN EFFECT
7°C
Date: 3:00 PM EDT Sunday 29 October 2017
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 100.5 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 7.2°C
Dew point: 6.2°C
Humidity: 93%
Wind: N 13 km/h
Visibility: 6 km

Quote

“He who pursues fame at the risk of losing his self is not a scholar.”
Chuang-tzu
369 BC – 286 BC

Endless Self Promotion

Life has been very quiet since our visitors left on Tuesday. Which is a good thing really, quiet is good; just a little on the quiet side is all.

The weather has been sunny, so that we have been able to proceed with the deck staining project. On Wednesday night Attila applied the second coat to most of the deck, and last night he finished the job. Hopefully this penetrating stain will last through the winter!

Luna brought a very large zucchini with her when she visited, and left it here for us. I used half of it, with some carrots, onion, garlic and olive oil, to make a soup. The other half was cut into medallions and baked as Zesty Zucchini, which is very good. The soup, well it was palatable, but nothing to write home about.

We have gathered together all the materials we think we need to proceed with the toilet installation at the little house in the city. It will be tricky, we will only be visiting overnight on our next visit. I do not relish staying in a house with no toilet! We get there late in the day on our overnight visits, so we won’t be installing the toilet until the following morning. Tricky! Thank goodness there is a McDonalds restaurant, an all-night gas bar, and a WalMart within easy driving distance; we will need to visit their facilities I am sure.

I think this is the worst of the renovation at the little house in the city. We knew the bathroom was truly a disaster, but we were hoping we could get the old toilet out and the new in quickly. That did not happen. Better luck next time!

I have been posting away on Facebook and have to admit that it is the most depressing place to spend time, in my life. I like reading the postings of others, as they alert me to all kinds of truly interesting things on the internet. That is a plus. Be that as it may, the depressing aspect is the “social” aspect of the media. It isn’t really “social” at all. It seems more to me like a bulletin board, sitting out in the wilderness, in the rain, with signs of recent human activity pinned in brightly coloured notes all over it, but no sign whatsoever of the humans themselves. Bleak, a loud and colourful bleakness, and emptier for all the noise and colour.

On the other hand, I find the blogs that I follow quite interesting, and affirming. The blogs I follow are offered as modes of communication, rather then vehicles of self-promotion and propaganda; commercial viability is not a factor in their creation. There is always the opportunity to interact. These are lives I can understand and relate to, the experiences shared are familiar. There is very little high drama, lots of details about day-to-day life; the best kind of “reality” there is. I read blogs written by people of all ages, although with the younger crowd it is difficult to find a blog that does not fall under the category of “self-promotion”; it seems to be how they see the world. Many of the under forty blogs start out with the portrayal of a dramatic shift in lifestyle, that disintegrate quickly into a retreat back to the mainstream. Much of what is written by the under forty crowd reminds me of the Smurfs. Still, I have managed to unearth the writings of some very interesting blogs by people under forty.

“All the lonely people, where do they all come from”?

Here is a video that reflects how I feel about social media, and outlines the concepts very succinctly:

http://www.upworthy.com/loneliness-illustrated-so-beautifully-you-will-need-to-tell-someone?g=3&c=ufb1

Being a part of Facebook is being a part of nothing.

While eating breakfast, gazing out the window into the sunshine, I became aware of a steady stream of flying insects passing up and by. Further investigation showed that there were thousands and thousands of these insects, launching themselves up and away, from the rocks and stumps near the ground. What are they? I have no idea, but I can see they are not mosquitoes. I do hope they are not planning on infesting and killing any of our forest. One never knows these days, what imported menace will emerge to permanently change the landscape! Hopefully they are harmless and will provide a rich resource for the ecosystem here.

I think they would all agree, it is a beautiful day in the neighbourhood.

Granny’s House
DSCF3070 grannys house

Worldly Distractions

Weather

23°C
Date: 12:00 PM EDT Saturday 17 August 2013
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 102.6 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 23.0°C
Dewpoint: 9.7°C
Humidity: 42%
Wind: WNW 8 km/h

Quote

“The multitude of books is making us ignorant.”
Voltaire
1694 – 1778

It’s a Miss Piggy World

I’ve no work for the next few days, which means I can let down my guard for a few days and feel my emotions. Emotions put me at risk of expressing myself. I do not dare say what I think when I am at work, that is not what they pay me to do. As you might imagine, it is hard work for me to remain completely emotionally detached during most of my waking hours. I manage it though!

There are a few blogs I read regularly. The people writing the blogs are different ages, live in different areas and do not know one another. They are modest, balanced people who focus on sharing who they are, what they know and what interests them. They describe lives that include the young and the old and everyone in between. I find their approaches to life varied and balanced. But is very hard to find a balanced blog!

How do I perceive balance in a blog: focus beyond self and self-promotion.

Most blogs I bump into are clearly written by the Millennial types, see below. Of course such a category based on age is a gross generalization and merely leads to agist finger pointing. There are living people born in the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s that are every bit as focused on money, image and fame as those born after January 1, 1982. What I have observed is that the MEDIA has been increasingly promoting money, image and fame, and is reaching further into the socialization of children with biased communication modes; first Radio, then Television and Telephone, Computers, and beyond into the mind shaping technologies of FaceBook, YouTube, Twitter and the like.

Still, some of the most unbalanced blogs I bump into are written by young mothers born after 1982, not all of them, but a lot of them. None of these young women seem to have parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles or any kind of community beyond their own few friends of “other mothers” and nuclear family. Most of them are selling their “expertise” via classes, self-published books or “consulting”; they are trying to sell “expertise” that is plain old, every-day common sense for a lot of people. Frankly, I doubt there is much money, image or fame coming their way. However, “fake it till you make it” seems to be the order of the day. It is painful to watch, boring to read.

“Millennials—those born after Jan. 1, 1982—are much more likely than Baby Boomers (now aged 50+) to value money, image and [I would say OR not AND, all equally odious] fame than things like self-acceptance, community and the environment, suggests an extensive new study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.”
Source: http://oncampus.macleans.ca/education/2012/03/19/study-confirms-millennials-are-generation-me/

Here are a list of what I consider to be the red flags of social imbalance on personal blogs:

1. Reference to offering expertise by means of “teaching”, “courses”, “counselling”, “consulting”, “instructional self-authored and published books” and the like. This is not the same as “show and tell” which I regard as healthy “sharing”. I do read some blogs where the blogger is selling self-authoured, self-published book(s), but these are people with years of experience, a balanced approach to life and a lot of humility.

2. Re-presenting information/misinformation from other sources, without references, as factual or even original material. It is an “urban myth” nightmare out there!!! Health and nutrition are particularly infected topics.

3. The blog title sports a popular buzz word, like “homestead”.

4. Representation of “family” as consisting only of the author, spouse and children. This is mediated when the author actually has no parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles…

If you would like to add to this list, please submit a comment for consideration.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-1 °C
Condition:Snow
Pressure:102.2 kPa
Visibility:16 km
Temperature:-0.7°C
Dewpoint:-3.6°C
Humidity:81 %
Wind:NW 9 km/h

Quote

“There is the satisfaction of providing your public with a vision of true beautology, true sytlisity, – how can I put it? – true glamorositude.”
Miss Piggy the Muppet