Sweet

The weather was overcast all weekend, snow fell on Saturday, but only a few isolated flurries. It was good weather for a journey, and on Saturday we left Mist Cottage at about 8:00 a.m., to make our way to a Christmas get together at my Sister-The-Youngest-Girl’s house. The weather was perfect for travelling, both on the way there, and on the way home again, our easiest trip ever in regards to road conditions and traffic.

On Saturday my two sisters, their husbands, my Mom, and Attila and I, sat down to a Christmas feast. There was roast turkey, dressing, four vegetables, and condiments, followed by apple pie, lemon meringue pie, date squares, chocolate chip cookies, and ice cream. My Sister-The-Youngest-Girl cooked the meal, and I helped with the dressing. The meal was cooked without salt, and it was so very delicious, I didn’t miss the salt at all. I think my taste buds have completely adjusted to the low sodium diet, most foods taste good without any salt added. The desserts were my downfall, I had a serving of everything on offer, and enjoyed every single bite! What a good time we had! Mom, my sisters, and I, worked on a jig saw puzzle in the dining room, through the evening. The “fellas” watched a hockey game.

This morning, unable to resist temptation, I enjoyed a serving of each kind of dessert. What a breakfast! At home we don’t keep sweets in the house, and no longer eat dessert, so this was my big chance to “have it all”, so I did, lol.

Over the last month or so I have been working on a pair of slippers to give my mom for Christmas. Her feet get cold sometimes, so I decided she needs foot blankets. I found a pattern and used the same yarn that I purchased to make the water balloons for the Grandbabies.

DSCF1651 Foot blankets for my Mom, aka slippers.

My sisters, Mom, and I, had our Christmas get together rather early this year, because Mom is heading for Florida, any day now. She will drive from Ontario, Canada, to Florida, by herself. She has done this for many years, except for the last two when she was sorting out health issues. She is ready to roar once again, and is busy getting her gear ready to go. We loved being able to see her before she leaves!

I talked with Luna on the weekend, she recently had a birthday. She is well, and was telling me that they will be spending Christmas in Quebec, because Janus works through Christmas, and he is stationed out of Quebec at the moment, so Luna and Imp and Elf and Tink are going there so they can all be together for Christmas. We might see them as they pass by on their way home after Christmas.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-1°C
Date: 5:00 PM EST Sunday 10 December 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.9 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -0.7°C
Dew point: -7.7°C
Humidity: 59%
Wind: WSW 31 gust 40 km/h
Wind Chill: -8
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Remember not only to say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.”
Benjamin Franklin
1706 – 1790

The Reserve

I have been waking up very early for the last week or so, sometimes as early as 4:00 a.m. I don’t like it much.

Once I fell asleep again, which inspired me on subsequent mornings, to roll over and wait for sleep. It hasn’t come again. So now I am getting up when I wake up, turning up the thermostat. [Thermostat! I love that word.] I turn the Christmas tree lights on, as it is still dark. I sit quietly with the lights for a while, then I get out the laptop and check out a few things on the internet. I am not fully committed to the computer though, my attention frequently wanders to the windows. It has become a game, waiting for the first signs of dawn. This morning the dawn was lovely, with a few pink clouds, which disappeared into a blue sky.

Our Christmas was lovely. Just the two of us celebrating together. Terra messaged a picture of herself with Lares and Sunny and Sky, wishing us a Merry Christmas. My Mom and my sisters sent email messages and messaged; and we spoke via FaceTime twice on Christmas Day, which is always a treat. We also got to say hello to my Brother-The-Middle-Boy, who was visiting with Mom for Christmas, and my nephew, and my niece. Later in the day we spoke with Attila’s Mom, by telephone to the US, she is an American Citizen. We exchanged gifts and spent our day reading (me), cooking (Attila), watching a few films, and listening to Christmas Choirs. Attila cooked a delicious turkey dinner, with all the trimmings (no salt added). I made Mincemeat Muffins, a recipe I made up the Friday before Christmas, they are a big hit around here.

Yesterday we decided to brave the retail wilds and go shopping, which took us to the city.

First, we dropped off a large box of items to the Salvation Army Thrift Store. While we were at the thrift store, I found and purchased for $1.00 a perforated metal container to place dirty cutlery in, while it waits to go into the dishwasher. I like donating to the Salvation Army Thrift Store because their resale prices are very low, so that the items can be obtained more easily by people who can barely afford food and shelter and heat. Value Village prices are ridiculously high, so I donate nothing to them; a significant proportion of their clientele are not in the least bit needy. I shop there myself.

We bought everything on our list, and one extra item. Actually, there was only one item on our list, and that was a sink drainer/stopper for our kitchen sink. On Christmas Day the old one literally broke, the metal gave out and it was stuck in the drain so tightly that Attila could only get it out with some effort. We think it is the original, which would make it over 50 years old. I looked for replacement at the Salvation Army Store, because you just never know what you will find there, but they didn’t have a used one. So we set off from the thrift store to Home Depot and found a replacement for $10, which I hope will last another 50 years, so that when it breaks it will be someone else’s problem, although I imagine they will throw out the sink rather than replace the stopper.

While at Home Depot we also purchased a Carbon Monoxide Detector. We had one at the Country House, because we heated with wood, and we left it for the new owners. Mist Cottage really does need one since it is partially heated with an oil furnace. A Carbon Monoxide Detectors is a costly item. We also found a small level, a tool, for $2.00 that we will used to level Iris the trailer next summer.

That concluded our shopping excursion. An added benefit was that we walked around quite a bit while looking at all the things we didn’t need or want. It is an odd feeling, not needing anything! I love it.

Yesterday morning, before we left on our shopping excursion, our microwave began to make a disturbing sound. My morning bowl of oatmeal emerged from the microwave undercooked. Attila’s breakfast also heated to the odd sound, and it too was undercooked. Our microwave was no longer viable.

The broken microwave was one that Luna and Janus gave us six years ago, to use at Mist Cottage. They had upgraded all of their appliances and donated the redundant microwave to us. It was old when we got it six years ago, and it has worked reliably ever since, until yesterday.

Because we had two houses, we had two microwaves. When we moved to Mist Cottage over a year ago, we brought the country house microwave with us, and stored it in the basement here at Mist Cottage. It was relatively new, and had been used for only a few months when it was packed away for the move. So obtaining a new microwave oven was as easy as carrying a box up from the basement, unwrapping the microwave, and setting it on the counter. The two appliances that wear out with some frequency at our house are the microwave oven and the coffee maker. I have one more coffee maker, and a two slice toaster, in reserve in the basement. There are no more microwave ovens in reserve.

Slowly but surely our downsizing is progressing.

Yesterday we got rid of two boxes! One was full of items donated to the Salvation Army Thrift Store, and the other was the last microwave oven from the basement.

We attempted to drop off the old microwave oven and the old VCR, but the eWaste drop off centre was temporarily shut down, so we will have to go again another time.

The weather has been unpleasant, and good at the same time. Unpleasant because it has been raining and it is too cold to go out walking in the rain, and good because it is raining and not snowing.

Dawn has arrived here at Mist Cottage. Attila sleeps on. I have enjoyed my morning coffee. The day beckons!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-2°C
Date: 8:00 AM EST Wednesday 28 December 2016
Condition:Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -2.0°C
Dew point: -5.5°C
Humidity: 77%
Wind: W 12 km/h
Wind Chill: -6
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“A gift, with a kind countenance, is a double present.”
Thomas Fuller
1608 – 1661

Imp and Elf and Tink

After a quiet, relaxing Christmas morning, Attila and I were ready for action!  And action is what we got.  Luna, Janus, and the Grandbabies arrived for Christmas dinner.  They stayed until yesterday morning, but truth be told, it felt as if they came and went in just a few hours, the time passed to happily and swiftly.

Imp and Elf and Tink liked the gifts we gave them, which always feels good.  One of the gifts was a $10 gift card for Walmart.  So on Boxing Day off we went to Walmart to see about spending the $10.  The trip turned out to be more of a lesson on how little one can buy for $10!  Imp found one small item that she liked, on which to spend a portion of the $10.  Elf could find nothing he wanted in the $10 range.  Tink had some of her allowance to spend as well, so she found a craft kits that she liked, and bought it.

Of interest to Attila and I, is that the toys at Walmart were very “junky” compared to those at the Mastermind Toys Store where we bought their Christmas Presents, were mostly cheap plastic, and most of them cost, for one item, the same amount of money that we spend on food for the week.  We will definitely be visiting the Mastermind Toys Store again!

Imp remembered that we tried to make paper airplanes to throw into the bonfire earlier in December at Luna’s place.  We didn’t have much success, as none of us had a pattern.  Imp must have done some research to surprise me!  She asked me for a piece of paper, and this is what she left for me!

ImpXmas2015MistCottage

 

Tink enjoyed drawing with chalk on the chalkboard.  She drew a beautiful butterfly for us!  She also drew a great caterpillar.

TinkXmas2015MistCottage

On Boxing Day morning Elf was curious about what I do on the internet.  So I showed him this online journal.  He wanted to write something in the journal, so he dictated and I typed.  I corrected three instances of grammar, and other than that, these are his very words.

Elf: On Living in Ireland last summer.

One day a family was hiking up Mount Donegal. It was a rainy day. We were starting to walk beside a river. The water was very very clean and there was birds and all that. We would hop on the rocks when there was lots of rocks. We had so much fun jumping on the rocks.

One time I saw a bridge, it was very cool and went over the river. It was very rocky. I think we could see rocks like sand in the river from years and years of the rock going away. We couldn’t see the top of the mountain, it was so cloudy at the top.

So we climbed up more of the mountain, and it got beautifuler and beautifuler. You could see more and more of the water in the ocean. When we got up to a place, we had to stop because we didn’t have very much trail left. So we decided to walk on the rocks on the river for half the hike. I would do a whole bunch of silly stuff on the rocks, like meditating, and saying “it’s my teensy island”.

On the way up we could see a quarry where people used to mine. There were little old cabins made of cobblestone. A river would flow into the quarry. It was cool.

The more we got up the mountain it got foggier and foggier and boggier and boggier. We had lunch at a very long and big wall, that went all the way over the twelve bends. We went to almost the top, until one of us needed to use the loo, so we had to go down. But is was a glory to see all the things we saw on our trip.

We all had a lovely time!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-7°C
Date: 1:00 PM EST Monday 28 December 2015
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 103.6 kPa
Tendency: falling
Temperature: -7.2°C
Dewpoint: -12.4°C
Humidity: 67%
Wind: NNE 27 km/h
Wind Chill: -16

Quote

The Children’s Hour

Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day’s occupations,
That is known as the Children’s Hour.

I hear in the chamber above me
The patter of little feet,
The sound of a door that is opened,
And voices soft and sweet.

From my study I see in the lamplight,
Descending the broad hall stair,
Grave Alice, and laughing Allegra,
And Edith with golden hair.

A whisper, and then a silence:
Yet I know by their merry eyes
They are plotting and planning together
To take me by surprise.

A sudden rush from the stairway,
A sudden raid from the hall!
By three doors left unguarded
They enter my castle wall!

They climb up into my turret
O’er the arms and back of my chair;
If I try to escape, they surround me;
They seem to be everywhere.

They almost devour me with kisses,
Their arms about me entwine,
Till I think of the Bishop of Bingen
In his Mouse-Tower on the Rhine!

Do you think, o blue-eyed banditti,
Because you have scaled the wall,
Such an old mustache as I am
Is not a match for you all!

I have you fast in my fortress,
And will not let you depart,
But put you down into the dungeon
In the round-tower of my heart.

And there will I keep you forever,
Yes, forever and a day,
Till the walls shall crumble to ruin,
And moulder in dust away!!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
first published in the September 1860

[When I was a child, Mom would recite this to us at bedtime.  Still when I read it, I hear her voice.]

No Greater Gift

When all is said and done, there is one Christmas gift that remains in my memory and in my heart. It was given to me by my Mom.

Mom made every Christmas special, which was a miraculous feat considering the circumstances of my youth. It was magical. We received gifts, but not necessarily the ones we dreamt of as we wore out the Sears Christmas Catalogue. The real gift, hidden in the crayons and colouring books, the chocolate drops, and the annual banana and orange in the stocking, and the gift at the heart of the wrapped present under the brightly lit tree, was the fierce protection of, and delight in, our innocence and our vulnerabilities. Despite all odds, Santa arrived at our house after we fell asleep on Christmas Eve, no matter what other dramas were playing out in the world.

The message to us was that we belonged to the human race, that we were valued members of the species. To be born, that made us special enough to deserve our innocence, and our sense of belonging.

There is no greater gift.

How I would love to share this gift with every child born to our species, on Christmas Day, or any other day of the year.

Wishing everyone peace and joy!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

7°C
Date: 9:00 AM EST Friday 25 December 2015
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 6.6°C
Dewpoint: 4.3°C
Humidity: 85%
Wind: SW 13 km/h

Quote

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
Dr. Seuss
How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

December!

Here we are, December already! I have been living in Mist Cottage for about 12 weeks now; Attila has been living here for 10 weeks. We have come a long way with our purging and unpacking, and we still have a long way to go! We are in a constant state of flux, furniture and belongings moved from here to there constantly, as the space is too small to set things aside easily while working on a project.

Yesterday I donated two boxes of items, and a green garbage bag full of clothing, to a local charity. The items have been unused for the last 25 years, and the clothing no longer fits. While in the city I also had new tires installed on the car that Attila uses to commute, and had my printer cartridge refilled. While I was waiting for the printer cartridge, and the tires, I walked around Costco, for over an hour, and I managed not to buy anything. We call Costco the $500 Store. It felt good to get all of these errands accomplished, while Attila was home sleeping in preparation for the night shift.

It was fortuitous that the tires were replaced yesterday, because the roads were very slippery due to ice, on Attila’s commute home from work this morning. He was able to navigate the roads with ease and confidence, and arrived home safely.

We purchased beds with storage drawers beneath, and they are to arrive next week. We also purchased a wardrobe that was on sale at an unbelievably low price, as part of a Black Friday sale. It wasn’t the one I was dreaming of, but it will serve the purpose, even if it falls apart after a short time, as cheap furniture often does. When Attila has assembled it, we can relieve the congestion in the one closet in the house, and perhaps begin to wear some of our regular clothing.

Last weekend Luna, Janus, and the Grandbabies arrived at Terra’s big country house, for a family Christmas celebration. It was the only time all of us were able to be in the same place, at the same time, for the next few months. We had a grand time! Terra prepared an outstanding turkey dinner. I brought pumpkin pie squares, which were gobbled up completely, to my surprise. As well, I brought a batch of Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies, and those too were gobbled up quickly. Presents were not the focus of the event, but Attila and I could not resist wrapping up little surprises for everyone to open.

When we lived in the country house, we were able to burn garbage that had sensitive information on it. This cannot be done at Mist Cottage, so we have been accumulating quite a bit of material in our “burn bag”. Luckily, we brought the “burn bag” with us to Terra’s house, and Lares was out in the back with a large fire to burn errant branches. They heat with wood, and Lares, with the help of Attila, Janus, and Elf, was busy felling the last of the trees for firewood, sectioning them, splitting them, and stacking the wood in the wood shed. I took the opportunity to incinerate the contents of the “burn bag”, assisted by Imp, and Elf, and Tink. They couldn’t get close to the fire, so we made paper airplanes out of the paper items, which they then sent sailing into the fire. Great fun!

My Mom is experiencing a health issue. She is receiving the medical attention she needs, is as cheerful as ever, and it isn’t slowing her down much! Love from all of us Mom!

The day slipped by me today. I went for my walk, in spite of the cold and drizzle. The trick was not to wear my glasses, which blur my vision when raindrops cling to them, and fog over completely when I come in from the outdoors. They are reading glasses, and I don’t need the when I am out walking.

I baked bread, and a batch of Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies, as squares instead of individual cookies.

Tonight I have the problem of deciding whether to sample the homemade bread, or the cookies. I am trying very hard not to sample both!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

5:37 PM EST Tuesday 1 December 2015
Condition: Light Drizzle
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 13 km
Temperature: 7.1°C
Dewpoint: 6.1°C
Humidity: 93%
Wind: SE 28 km/h

Quote

“Years ago my mother said to me, ‘In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.’ For years I was smart. I recommend pleasant.”
Written by Mary Chase (1887 – 1973
Spoken by character Elwood P. Dowd (Jimmy Stewart) in “Harvey”, 1950

[I love this movie!]