Britbox

It is snowing out there this morning. It accumulates on the tree branches, white icing, then it slowly disappears into clear drops that drip, drip, drip. Occasionally the sun peeks out, sending a blaze of pleasure across the living room, before hiding once more behind the sheet of gray that is the sky.

I haven’t had cabin fever since the winter of 2013/2014, the last winter I spent at the country house. The following winter I stayed alone at Mist Cottage during the winter months, and even though I saw no one, received no visitors other than Attila, and spent all of my time alone within the four walls of Mist Cottage, I did not experience cabin fever. We moved here in September of 2015, so that after my lone winter, I did not have to spend another in the country. I will always remember those winters as the bleakest, loneliest period of my life, particularly the months of February and March, when the cold white aloneness entered my very soul.

This snow that is coming down now, it is disappointing. This disappointment is relatively benign. Even being housebound over the weekend due to the severe ice storm, that raged for over two days, has not dampened my spirits. Soon the sun will shine, the temperature will rise, and I will open these beautiful windows and let the breeze play through the house.

The day today will be filled with small tasks, all aimed at organizing “stuff”. Now that all my books are out and easily available, the temptation to graze on words is strong. I am resisting that urge though, and moving through more pragmatic activities: bill paying, appointment making, purging, cleaning.

Attila has been busy working on the house, winterizing. The rim joist perimeter in the basement has provided an incredible amount of air circulation from the great outdoors. This is not a good thing. The fellow who insulated our attic recommended sealing the cracks at the rim joists, the insulating, then applying vapour barrier. Attila has accomplished this for about 1/4 of the perimeter of the basement. Since the temperature is hovering around 0C now, and will rise from there, I doubt I will notice the difference until next winter, when the cold winds howl and batter the house. Although I might not notice a difference, there may be a noticeable lowering of the hydro bill, once the project is completed.

The garage project has been slated for June, according to Attila’s latest plan. He wants to spend May planting his garden.

My projects involve organizing “stuff”, which is ongoing, and not subject to interference by weather conditions. My crochet blanket is coming along slowly, no hurry, just a row or so a day, keeps my hand in. I am thinking of doing some pressure canning, but haven’t been motivated to get started on it yet. Tonight I am preparing baked chicken, roast potatoes, and green beans for dinner. Attila plans his second supper himself, he always eats two suppers over the course of an evening.

I did some exploring, feeling the need for additional entertainment sources, as Netflix, and Prime Video offerings are just too violent and nihilistic, or banal and shallow, for my taste. I tried BBC iPlayer, not available in Canada. I tried PBS, not available in Canada. Then someone on Facebook shared a link to Britbox, which recently became available in Canada. I had a look and signed up for the free trial. The first program I am watching is Unforgotten. Wow! This is a very good program. The initial episode of the season involves the discovery of a long dead person, the short, to the point visual image of the dead person is not dwelt upon, but included as a viable part of the story. The rest of the season’s episodes involve finding justice for the person who was found dead, developing the story of their lives, their loved ones, their enemies. It is an excellent program! One murder a season I can handle, as opposed to the more common North American multiple, graphically violent deaths in every episode.

Soon I will begin to think about what I want to do when the weather warms, and being outdoors holds some appeal! Soon the weather won’t make the roads impassable, footpaths treacherous, plans precarious. Waiting!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

1°C
Date: 7:48 AM EDT Tuesday 17 April 2018
Condition: Light Snowshower
Pressure: 100.2 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 0.6°C
Dew point: -1.1°C
Humidity: 88%
Wind: WSW 17 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Even now,” she thought, “almost no one remembers Esteban and Pepita, but myself. Camila alone remembers Uncle Pio and her son; this woman, her mother. But soon we shall die and all memory of those five will have left the earth, and we ourselves shall be loved for a while and then forgotten. But the love will have been enough; all those impulses of love return to the love that made them. Even memory is not necessary for love. There is a land of the living and the land of the dead and the bridge is love, the only survival, the only meaning.”
Thornton Wilder

love… the only survival, the only meaning

Thinking of you Reenie, your message, your life.

Approaches

Terra and Lares have taken possession of their old “new” house and are entering into the adventure with great spirit. They arrived to find the oil tank leaking, fixed that, then found that the furnace was not working, fixed that… and so it went. They are able to laugh and enjoy themselves as they take control of their new home.

I have had FaceTime on my computer for a long, long time. However, it is a Mac to Mac thing, so I’ve really had no opportunity to use it to talk to my loved ones, who have all been windows people. Terra got a new iPhone, and within minutes we had FaceTime up and running. Love it. She was able to give me a little tour of the apartment they are moving out of; boxes!

I have been working on my genealogy research diligently, there is a lot of work to be done referencing all the material I am entering into the database. Slow going, but mostly enjoyable and worthwhile.

I am taping these single thickness bubble envelopes to the single pane glass to see if we can save a bit of energy during the winter!

Waste not, want not; I’ve always heard this proverb and believe it to be true, for the most part. Attila and I are proceeding with our “spend no money” renovation plans. Of course, it is only a goal, to spend no money; a goal we do not reach because we always end up spending some money. Be that as it may, I am always on the lookout to repurpose objects. An experiment I am currently undertaking at the little house is to add insulation to the old windows. I have saved a few bubble wrap envelopes, and as you can see I have taped them to the single pane glass of a window at the little house in the city. We cannot afford new windows, and the old ones are hardly energy efficient. It is worth a try, we shall see if it makes any noticeable difference in the amount of heating fuel we use over the winter.

The nice thing about this bubble envelope window treatment is that the light comes through. The white envelope lets more light into the room from outside, and the manilla envelope filters the light into a glowing golden colour. Both are quite nice, particularly when this window treatment is hidden behind a curtain that hides the details and lets the light through.

I mentioned this to a woman where I worked last week and she thought it was weird and made sure I knew it. She has lots of money, so thinking inside the box is a very comfortable place for her; so I left her there.

Attila is going to use this computer for surfing the Internet and communicating by email.

This morning the iBook G4 got a good maintenance and configuration session; it was set up for Attila’s exclusive use. I have configured the internet, the browser and bookmarks, and the email client so that he can login at startup and begin surfing or communicating by email. It took a while to choose the software, because it is a 2004 model, the operating system is old and a lot of the current software will not work with it. I found optimal programs to allow almost all functions on the internet to work properly, it took some time, but it was worth it.

At last I am baking bread again! Bread baking took a real dive when I worked full time. For more than a year I got up six days a week, put one foot in front of the other and dragged myself through each day, collapsing in exhaustion when the necessary domestic chores were done after work. My bread baking skills slipped significantly as a result of that long break. I’ve produced six loaves of edible but not great bread. They keep getting better, so maybe sometime before Christmas the bread will be as mouth watering as it was before I started working all hours. Attila has his fingers crossed, because he is the one who eats most of the bread.

Winter is approaching. During the first few months of winter weather, through November and December, I fare well. The snow and cold weather are a beautiful novelty, contact with people who know my name is frequent enough to maintain equilibrium and there are a lot of projects on the go as we adjust to below freezing temperatures, snow and ice.

Then January arrives, cold and relatively featureless physically and psychologically. Social contact begins to suffer from the weather and the flat white landscape stretches as far as the eye can see and soul can reach. Winter seeps slowly into my bones. By February I am struggling with cabin fever. By March I am considering running away from home, flying to Australia, hitchhiking to Mexico, taking a train to Florida. Of course I do none of those things, throwing caution to the wind is not my modus operandi, but in March they seem like a good idea. March is a difficult month in this little corner of rural Ontario.

Of course, then April arrives and the colour of spring chases away the dark and lonely days. The challenge is over until the following January.

Last February Attila and I were both working and so could afford to take a few days off work without wages. It was a one-off, as we can ill afford to lose wages on one income. I wrote the following during that blessed break from the bleak:

Attila and I have had a few days off work, an unpaid
mini-holiday. Much needed and we feel well deserved. The interlude is
well worth the tightened belts.

Change has always been a pivotal component in the way I live, think,
feel, breath. The constant drone of working full-time and part-time
numbs the life right out of life. The natural flow of change becomes
blocked and clogged like arteries victimized by too much butter and red
meat. The pressure of change builds in my life, when I’ve no time to
live.

That is why these last few days have afforded me a rainbow of
epiphanies. My internal skies are full of tears and bright sunlight.

I have come to know a few things more intimately.

My beliefs have foundations. The foundations are living entities that
evolve over time, and to add interest, will vary according to
perspective at any given time. My beliefs are the garden from which I
gather sustenance.

One epiphany related to an old knowledge, is that my personal happiness
is a gift to those who love me, and it honours those who have loved me
and have passed on to the next level of existence. Their happiness
is/was a gift received. Letting happiness pervade my life is desirable
in the greater scheme of things. I am allowed to experience personal
happiness even when many other’s are in no position to enjoy such
feelings. If an imbalance exists, it does not need to be restored by
removing my personal happiness for the sake of others. The path to
healthy restoration of balance in this world we live in is to increase
the personal happiness of others. To think local is to act global.

Nothing new here, just the same old wonderfulness of being alive.

Endlessly fascinating.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

0 °C
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 103.2 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -0.1°C
Dewpoint: -4.5°C
Humidity: 72 %
Wind: ESE 9 km/h
Wind Chill: -3

Quote

“Shut out all of your past except that which will help you weather your tomorrows.”
Sir William Osler
1849 – 1919

“Sir William Osler, 1st Baronet (July 12, 1849 – December 29, 1919) was a Canadian physician. He was one of the “Big Four” founding professors at Johns Hopkins Hospital as the first Professor of Medicine and founder of the Medical Service there. (The “Big Four” were William Osler, Professor of Medicine; William Stewart Halsted, Professor of Surgery; Howard A. Kelly, Professor of Gynecology; and William H. Welch, Professor of Pathology.) Osler created the first residency program for specialty training of physicians, and he was the first to bring medical students out of the lecture hall for bedside clinical training.

He has been called the “Father of modern medicine.” Osler was a multifaceted physician and individual, functioning as a pathologist, internist, educator, bibliophile, historian, author, and renowned practical joker…

An inveterate prankster, he wrote several humorous pieces under the pseudonym “Egerton Yorrick Davis”, even fooling the editors of the Philadelphia Medical News into publishing a report on the imaginary phenomenon of penis captivus, on December 13, 1884. The letter (still cited in all seriousness in a number of textbooks) was apparently a response to a report on the phenomenon of vaginismus reported three weeks previously in the Philadelphia Medical News by Osler’s colleague Theophilus Parvin.

Davis, a prolific writer of letters to medical societies, purported to be a retired US Army surgeon living in Caughnawaga, Quebec (now called Kahnawake), author of a controversial paper on the obstetrical habits of Native American tribes which was suppressed and unpublished. Osler would enhance Davis’ myth by signing Davis’ name to hotel registers and medical conference attendance lists; Davis was eventually reported drowned in the Lachine Rapids in 1884.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Osler

What I have in common with trees.

View from the kitchen this morning.

View from the kitchen this morning.

The sun was supposed to shine this morning, but it hasn’t shown up; there are hints in the distance that those shafts from heaven may strike us yet. White horizontal lines underlined in black mediate the the thick determined tree trunks, as they reach out in hope towards the return of light. Their luck is ours; we have a lot in common with trees.

This morning Attila and I are tidying the place. The dishes are almost done, the laundry drying on the racks in the living room overnight has been neatly folded and placed in drawers and hung on hangers; soon we will enjoy a quick breakfast before moving on to bread baking, income tax preparations and wood chopping. A day of quiet domestic occupations, in a world hushed behind a veil of white.

The imagination and costumes are a great way inspire enthusiasm. So I’ve found a “bread baking cape” which isn’t a cape at all, but an apron. I am more inspired by a cape than an apron though, so in my mind it has become a cape. Its my fantasy and I’ll do what I want to. Colour is good, in this black and white world of March, so today I’ll don my “bread baking cape” as I set out to mix and knead and bake.

Bread Baking Cape: to be worn backwards

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-10 °C
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 102.4 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -10.0°C
Dewpoint: -11.9°C
Humidity: 86 %
Wind: N 13 km/h
Wind Chill: -1

Quote 

The Cape
Songwriters: Clark, Susanna; Janosky, Jim; Clark, Guy;

Eight years old with flour sack cape
Tied all around his neck
He climbed up on the garage
Figurin’ what the heck
He screwed his courage up so tight
The whole thing come unwound
He got a runnin’ start and bless his heart
He headed for the ground

He’s one of those who knows that life
Is just a leap of faith
Spread your arms and hold you breath
Always trust your cape

All grown up with a flour sack cape
Tied all around his dream
He’s full of piss and vinegar
He’s bustin’ at the seams
He licked his finger and checked the wind
It’s gonna be do or die
He wasn’t scared of nothin’, Boys
He was pretty sure he could fly

Old and grey with a flour sack cape
Tied all around his head
He’s still jumpin’ off the garage
And will be till he’s dead
All these years the people said
He’s actin’ like a kid
He did not know he could not fly
So he did

Happy Endless Winter

Caitrìona arrived home from Florida on Thursday afternoon about 4:30 p.m. She left Florida on Wednesday morning, drove all the way to southern Ontario by herself. She arrived home, did a few little things and headed out the door to play bridge. What a gal!

Snow since this morning.

Snow since this morning.

The roads here have been bad the last few days. I worked this morning and at one point on the drive, the car was sliding sideways off the road. Managed to keep it true though, and soldiered on. By the time I headed for home the roads were wet, but not slippery. Since arriving home we have received around two inches of snow. It is sticking to everything!

The Internet connection conked out last night, and still wasn’t working this morning. A quick call to Rogers and the fellow did something mystical and it was suddenly working. I suspect that since we have been viewing Netflix our usage has increased significantly, and that they throttled the account, requiring a call in to get it “fixed”. Could be wrong though, maybe it was just all our lovely snow that brought the Internet down. I’ll never know.

If winter won’t go away, then we will just have to start the whole thing over again. So, Attila prepared a full course turkey dinner to mark the endless winter. Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, peas, squash and sweet potato. Then there are the leftovers. Happy endless winter!

It was laundry day today, and the racks of drying clothes are adding much needed humidity. The bills are paid (and we caught up!). The filing is done. The bit of legal paperwork on my desk has been brought up to date and awaits signatures before it is submitted.

And it is still snowing.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-1 °C
Condition: Snow
Pressure: 101.4 kPa
Visibility: 1 km
Temperature: -0.5°C
Dewpoint: -0.6°C
Humidity: 99 %
Wind: NNE 13 km/h
Wind Chill: -5

Quote 

“I’m not afraid of facts, I welcome facts but a congeries of facts is not equivalent to an idea. This is the essential fallacy of the so-called “scientific” mind. People who mistake facts for ideas are incomplete thinkers; they are gossips.”
Cynthia Ozick
1928-

Go Away Winter

Go away winter.

Never mind the ink not flowing in the pens this morning, my fingers won’t move. I have to type everything in at least twice because my numb old fingers can’t find the right keys. Will this winter ever end! Homeless people are going to heaven for surviving this without any kind of shelter. God help them.

I’m warming my cloths by the fireplace this morning, they should reach the toasty temperature of 14C beside the heater, if I’m lucky, before I have to put them on. I wanted to take a shower this morning, but it is just too cold in here to contemplate disrobing entirely and becoming wet. Today things are supposed to warm up out there, and by tonight the house may be warmer and more comfortable. I’ll have my shower tomorrow morning regardless of the indoor temperature, by that time getting clean again won’t really be optional if I want to go to work presentably.

This week is due to be very cold, it will be a week to put behind us with pleasure.

Here is someone I hadn’t heard of, but for the last episode of Northern Exposure. Once I had heard this song I had to find out more about it.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-26 °C
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 103.9 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -26.0°C
Dewpoint: -28.5°C
Humidity: 80 %
Wind: calm

Quote

“Adversities such as being homeless and going to prison has made many people stronger.”
Philip Emeagwali

(If you want a glimpse into what academic infighting can involve, read this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Philip_Emeagwali . I admit I didn’t read through the whole thing, couldn’t make myself do it. “Fiddling while Rome burns” comes to mind, buy hey, who am I.)