Biological Clock


That was the temperature at the Rideau Camp this morning. Here at Mist Cottage, where we wisely spent the night, the morning temperature is 3C. Inside the house the temperature was 18C when I arose at 6:25 a.m. The heat has not yet been turned on this autumn. This little house retained much of its heat through a cold night, despite the thin sheet of plywood, that is the wall below the new windows in the dining area. With any luck we can avoid turning the heat on for another few weeks!

Frost! We will see how much of the garden has succumbed!

Another sunny day has dawned. I sit in the living room, in my comfortable chair, watching the light quicken. On my lap is the computer, on which I enter these characters on the page. To my side is my crocheted blanket project, ready to be taken up at any time, as the mood strikes. As well, there sits my new book, Kristan Lavransdatter, by Sigrid Undset, waiting to keep me company. I have books in progress here at my easy chair, beside the throne in the bathroom, and at Grace The Trailer. Everywhere I go I have familiar friends waiting for me, anxious to tell me their news and spend time with me.

Attila sleeps. He requires much more sleep than I do. It has always been this way. Until I moved myself into a twin bed some years ago, I seldom had a good night’s sleep. Attila snores. In addition he has severe, very severe, restless leg syndrome. His legs would shake the bed like an earthquake, jerking me awake, then his snoring would keep me awake after the sudden jarring movement. Before sleeping with Attila, I was a single Mom. Sleep was a light experience, when every noise in the house, during the night, would put me on the alert. All of these factors combined, with my “farm girl” biological clock, early to bed, early to rise, to make for many nights of sleep deficit. “Sleeping in” isn’t something I have ever done, although it does happen when I run a high fever, so I kind of know what it is like. The only up side of being sick is that I can rest effortlessly.

Today we have been working on the new windows. They are coming along. Attila prepared the interior wall, I installed the insulation, and the vapour barrier. Attila installed the drywall over the vapour barrier. We are hoping to get the drywall mudded, and the exterior wall painted by the end of the day.

DSCF1331 My part of the project was to install the fiberglass insulation, apply the vapour barrier and then seal the vapour barrier with tuck tape. The sealing wasn’t as easy as it might have been, because Attila had to cut the previous vapour barrier close to the edge of the drywall. That meant I had to add small pieces of tuck tape extending underneath the drywall around the window, so that the seal would be intact. It tool a long time and a lot of patience. It isn’t pretty, but it is functional!

DSCF1336 The drywall is on, the mudding is going to be a bit of work, as parts of the drywall around the window were damaged when Attila removed the trim from the previous windows. Now he needs to insulate around the window frames, seal them, and then the windows are ready for the trim. Attila will build me a window sill, which will take extra time, but we both like window sills, so it will be worth the extra effort.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 12:00 PM EDT Sunday 1 October 2017
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 103.0 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 14.4°C
Dew point: 5.3°C
Humidity: 54%
Wind: WSW 13 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary.”
Robert Louis Stevenson
1850 – 1894

It shows!

Fairy Book

Attila and I are regaining our balance after the fraught first days of the new regime under President Donald Trump. We restrict our exposure to the madness to a few hours a day, to stay current, and alert as to how things are playing out in the world around us. I mention it here only as an acknowledgement in my memoirs, that we are indeed aware and concerned about the current state of affairs in North America. I won’t be engaging in any discussion about it here, and restrict interaction about these current events to my Facebook timeline, and even there I don’t participate in discussions about politics.

I will not be responding to political comments here.

Attila and I had a quiet weekend. We caught up on cooking. Attila made a large pot of split pea soup. I made oatmeal bread, which tastes heavenly, but the crumb is not right, it is so crumbly that it has to be sliced thick, and so it is not good for the sandwiches Attila takes in his lunch. I baked banana pineapple muffins. We made croutons for our luxurious daily green salads. We read, we talked, we went for a walk.

The sun is shining this morning, and yet there are fine snowflakes falling from the sky. Yesterday the sun shone brightly all day long, and I did get out for a walk. I had to make myself go for the walk though, internally I was very, very resistant. Once out under the trees, staring into the blue sky, I was glad I had forced myself out the door.

Recently I purchased two used books as gifts to myself. The first was the book On the Night You Were Born, by Nancy Tillman, 1st Edition (October 17, 2006). It was only in good condition, but it was being sold at a price I could afford. It will arrive before the end of February. I want to read this to each of my Grandbabies, because I think it provides a feeling that life is a gift, and that the arrival of each of my Grandbabies was a gift to the world, not just to their own family. All babies are gifts of life.

The second book I purchased was again a book I would like to read to my Grandbabies. The book was the Flower Fairies Of The Wayside, by Cicely Mary Barker, Hardcover. It is a book of flowers, with a poem for each and an illustration for each that features children interacting with the flower. In an ideal world I would be able to spend time with my Grandbabies going for walks, and exploring some of the plants that are featured. I doubt that will happen, we do not see them often, and do not get to go on outings of our choosing with them. I hope to be able to read these books to them though, that will probably happen. If not, perhaps someday they will read this journal, find the books for themselves, and read with my memory and love beside them.

The winter has been very mild, until yesterday, which was comparatively cold. It seems like winter weather is just beginning. Tomorrow it will be February, 47 days until spring. Attila and I saw dozens of robins flitting about in the trees, when we were out for a walk on Sunday. I saw them again yesterday. They look fat and happy. This is unusual, as we they usually return to this area only in the spring, or at least that is what they used to do. Something has changed.

I would like to finish my book by spring, but I fear I will not achieve this, my motivation to sit sorting through pictures is so very low. I try to make myself do it, but alas, I succeed for only a few hours each week.

Another project that I should, oh how that word should annoys me, get to this winter is to sew bias tape over the cuffs of my old winter parka. The cuff edges are fraying, the coat has been worn every winter since 1992/3, and this is the first sign of aging it has experienced. I bought the bias tape yesterday at the local Walmart, but getting the sewing machine out from under the piles of stuff, finding a flat surface to set it up on, and getting the job done, is something I fear I may not get around to. So many small impediments to the project. Really, I need to take it in stages, get the sewing machine out from under one day. Rearrange the kitchen table (the only table) the next day. Setup the sewing machine and sew the next day. Eventually I will do it, because I love that parka. Getting started is the challenge.

Getting started with bread making took me quite a while as well. I am eating the second loaf now, and will be baking my sodium-free bread for the foreseeable future. I really could have enjoyed sodium-free bread last fall when I first adopted this low-sodium diet, but it has taken me this long to get going on it.

Right now my routines include baking muffins for daily consumption, bread for my daily consumption, and all meals from scratch for both Attila and I. I try to go for a walk each day.

Now, if I could only motivate myself to get to my “should do” list!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 3:00 PM EST Tuesday 31 January 2017
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 100.7 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -3.9°C
Dew point: -10.6°C
Humidity: 60%
Wind: E 22 km/h
Wind Chill: -11
Visibility: 16 km


“Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.”
Henry David Thoreau
1817 – 1862

Christmas Cactus

I love that I am still visited by epiphanies.

I have suddenly discovered that I don’t care if the art I create is what I envisioned, or good, or if I have an opportunity to share it with anyone, or what other people might think of it.

Art is my opportunity to spend time with the beauty I see and hear and smell and touch in the world.

Funny, I’ve known this about writing since I could hold a book, and a pencil. Other forms of expression have been foreign to me though. In part that is because I grew up in an environment where the materials needed to pursue skills in self expression in “legitimate” ways like drawing, painting or music, were too costly to be available to me, or my siblings. Words, now words we could make our own, we could shape and form them, send them out to interact with the universe, see them fly into the distance, die in silence, and on very special occasions return to us, having resonated with another human being. We didn’t need money, or have to travel in the social circles of privilege to gain access to this art form, it was there. It is my Mom who gave us words. She read or recited to us every night, mostly poetry, sometimes she sang to us. Her Mother, my Granny, also read to us every night when we were with her. Their voices have followed me all the days of my life. As children we experienced wealth, and only felt our overt poverty when exposed to the ignorance and greed of the social environment around us.

I fear the personal power of words is now being taken from the poor, as technology dumbs down the population, discouraging bonding between humans, preventing the formation of communities as youth increasingly seek that 15 minutes of fame. But I digress.

On Monday of this week, on a mundane shopping trip to purchase food items, I spied some inexpensive Christmas Cactus plants for sale. I bought one. When I got it home I removed the bright plastic that wrapped itself around the pot, and placed the pot in a green vase, which I then placed near the cafe curtains in the front window. As I sit in my comfortable easy chair, laptop in lap, I find myself frequently glancing up, to soak in the simple beauty of the plant. I notice the change in the blooms day by day; the dance of the two little flies that came stowed away in its wide flat leaves; the ever changing quality of the silhouette as morning lamps give way to dawn which slips away at the end of the day delivering the outlines to where they began. And I find that I want to draw it, photograph it, spend intimate time with it. The process is the thing, the result is an undisclosed and unimaginable byproduct.

Christmas Cactus Midday

Christmas Cactus Midday

I am having the most peculiar day. I feel as if I have been tossed into a rock tumbler for the day. I lay awake last night until 2:00 a.m., at which time I arose and by turns began to putter about on the computer, did some reading, and sat quietly looking at the Christmas Cactus. At about 3:30 a.m. I went back to bed and listened to Attila snoring for an hour or more. The next thing I knew it was 6:00 a.m. and Attila was calling to me to wake up. After Attila left I completely lost track of time, finally remembering to eat my cold breakfast at noon, which was a bowl of oatmeal I had cooked at 8:00 a.m this morning, still sitting on the counter with a spoon at the ready beside it. The mail arrived while I was eating, forcing me to get dressed, in order to go out of doors to fetch it, as I was still sitting in my pyjamas. Forgetting to eat is unusual for me these days, although when I was younger and working on my PhD, I would forget to eat most meals, usually only getting around to eating when I prepared and served my girls their evening meal.

I have completed my Christmas shopping online, and most of it has been delivered to Mist Cottage, although there are a few items yet to arrive. I’ve decided that my grandchildren live in such comfortable circumstances that no gift that we could afford would ever seem magical to them. So I purchased for them gifts that I would have treasured as a child, which has a certain degree of magic for me regardless of how invisible the gifts end up beside the wealth of toys showered on the children by their parents, and the other, more affluent, grandparents. I have never had a natural feel for consumerism, and have never understood what possessions would delight my children, and now my grandchildren, so that I fear that even were we to have an open ended budget I would miss the mark. All we can offer besides our extremely modest material gifts (books that Attila and read when we were their age), are smiles and hugs and our time and genuine love and delight in their existence, which they seem to like more than our material offerings anyway.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 11:00 AM EST Thursday 1 December 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.1 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 6.5°C
Dew point: 1.4°C
Humidity: 70%
Wind: WSW 30 gust 47 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“Good taste is the enemy of creativity.”
Pablo Picasso
1881 – 1973