Silence By Degrees

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Today is cold and sunny. There is a snow storm on the way, lots of snow the weather people say. Winter isn’t done with us yet.

It is a quiet weekend here at Mist Cottage. A little bit of baking going on, a little bit of food preparation for next week, using the off-peak hydro prices by cooking ingredients. Our wedding anniversary is coming up next week, and we are celebrating with a homemade pizza, and a movie. I have my menu carefully planned for that day, so that I can afford to eat the sodium in the bacon bits we Attila cooked today. Eating out is out of the question.

I chatted with my Mom and Sister-The-Middle-Girl this afternoon, on FaceTime. My Mom looks so beautiful these days! She is bright eyed and rosy cheeked, her hair framing her face perfectly. Her recovery from her health issue is amazing. My Sister-The-Middle-Girl is looking quite beautiful these days too. Life must be agreeing with them!

Last week I chatted with Sister-The-Youngest-Girl over FaceTime, which was lovely. She is renovating her kitchen, a very big job. She and Beau Bob have gutted the kitchen, the electricians are still finishing up their part of the renovation, and the drywalling has been started this weekend. By the time we get there for a visit again, it will be finished. I am looking forward to seeing it!

Attila and I are not planning projects this summer. He will be touching up the paint on the house siding, putting in a larger garden, installing the cap on the basement waterproofing membrane, and finishing off the bathroom drywall. I am thinking about staining the exterior concrete walls of our basement, which would take me all summer. In a few weeks we will be venturing out into the yard with an eye to spring cleanup, but we have to wait out this coming snow storm first.

My crochet hooks should arrive in the next two weeks, I will be starting to watch for them next week. Yesterday morning’s second attempt at the single crochet stitch was more successful and I can see that I am going to have fun with it, once I get used to it. Now my thoughts are wandering to a suitable first project, and I have decided on a washcloth, a very simple washcloth. I like like the idea of functional creations, and eventually I would like to make soft fluffy washcloths. My first one will be made with this $1.00 ball of yarn, and my $1.00 crochet hook. Soon enough though, my new crochet hooks will arrive, and I will begin to cast my eye towards other balls of wool.

I have not been going out for walks, it is just too cold for my arthritic knee. I am loath to do any further damage to the knee, as each time it goes on me, it will not regain the functionality I have. I will lose mobility by increments, so I am being very careful not experience any incremental episodes. I have my fingers crossed that by next week the big snowfall we are expecting will have melted, and the temperature will rise above freezing during the day, so that I can begin to venture forth.

We are enjoying the coziness of Mist Cottage during this cold snap, the thermostat continues to charm us!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Another cold morning, with a major snow storm on the way tonight. Again I am staying indoors, not risking injury to my knee. The inactivity of winter has resulted in a moderate rise in my blood pressure levels, or so I surmise the cause. I am anxious now for the milder weather and the disappearance of snow and ice. It is a time for patience! Next month I am to go in for further testing for my high blood pressure, and afterwards I have an appointment with a cardiologist. At this point I am wondering if another type of medication might help, but that is something to discuss with the cardiologist. With my anaphylaxis, my options are limited as to safe medications.

This morning I have taken an internal walk down memory lane. Joan Lansberry posted a link to a BBC video of desert sounds. I closed my eyes and listened, the sounds, and the vibrations of the sounds from the computer provided me with a pleasant physical experience. I could not find the actual video to share here, but I did find a series of BBC video soundscapes, mostly of human activity, but some of nature’s activity.

We lived deep in a the Ontario bush for about a decade, we had only two neighbours within sight, who as “snowbirds” were often south during the winter. The noise was constant, snowmobiles, ATVs, private planes, speeding sports cars, huge motor boats, and transport trucks on the highways miles and miles away. These sounds became the white noise in our lives, we were rarely conscious of it. We could hear nature, but not without the steady hum, and sometimes din, of modern human activity. However, I considered it a paradise of silence compared to living in a small urban area.

Then I spent a week 60 miles north of Longlac. It was an education. There were no human sounds, not a plane, not a hint of a motor of any kind in the distance, the only tones and notes were created by non-human activity. The “silence” was striking, deeply unnerving. After 24 hours it caught me, and the inner calm that descended is like no other I have ever experienced. This was a rare and precious experience, which resulted from a one of a kind circumstance, and it is unlikely I will ever have the experience again. It would not be achievable for most people on planet earth. I am grateful to have encountered it.

P.S. I found downtown Toronto a close second to this experience. Noise there was constant, and like the wind, it blew a melody of activity that transcended individual sounds. Downtown Toronto was, for me, akin to visiting humans in the wild.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-10°C
Date: 9:00 PM EDT Sunday 12 March 2017
Condition: Mainly Clear
Pressure: 103.1 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -9.7°C
Dew point: -20.4°C
Humidity: 42%
Wind: WNW 10 km/h
Wind Chill: -15
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“I have learnt silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to these teachers.”
Kahlil Gibran
1883 – 1931

You Lose Some, You Win Some

Since January I have experienced tummy upsets, gastrointestinal issues. The cause has been a mystery. A partial explanation has been surmised.

I may be lactose intolerant.

In January I began to eat ricotta cheese with some regularity, because it was a low sodium choice. My issues began in mid-January. Experiments have ensued. The problem was relieved when the ricotta cheese was removed from the diet. Next, bocconcini was purchased, another soft, low sodium cheese. Bingo, within twenty four hours all of the symptoms returned. The next experiment is under way, removing all dairy from the diet. Removing milk from my already highly restricted diet is a hardship. To that end I purchased some plain almond beverage to use as a dairy substitute, which seems to agree with me, at least for now.

We are in the grips of another cold snap. The temperature should begin to rise by the end of next week, but most of March Break will be cold for the kids who are off school this coming week in Ontario. It is very windy as well, so the wind chill is significant. Attila and I are cozy here in our little house, with our magnificent thermostat!

On Tuesday, when I took the car in for servicing, I ran a few errands in town while the car was in the shop. One of the things I purchased was garbage tags. On Friday morning Attila asked me where I had put them. I though they were still in my bag, but when I checked I couldn’t see them there. Then I thought I must have put them away somewhere and forgotten about it. We looked everywhere, which does not take long in our small house. Then I though I might have dropped them when I purchased them, or at the garage when I was paying the bill. Not wanting to call the town office or the garage to ask if they had seen them, I continued to search. A few hours later, after I had removed every last item from my bag, I found them tucked between some papers. What a relief.

I was thinking about this little escapade this morning. I was upset at the time, while looking for the tags. It wasn’t the loss of the money, and the additional money that would have to be spent on new tags, that I found upsetting. It was that I might have come home and put the tags away somewhere, and had not been able to remember a thing about it. The degree of memory loss that would represent really threw me into a tizzy! Luckily, there was no memory loss involved, I didn’t remember where I put them because I didn’t put them anywhere and there was nothing to remember. There was just careless placement of the tags at time of purchase, and a search for them that was less than thorough. I made sure I showed Attila where I decided to store the tags!

The work on the book continues. The book includes the families of twelve brothers and sisters, and at last I am working on the images for the youngest child. Much more to do, adding the images to page layout of the book, captioning the images, including references for each image.

I continue to practice my crochet skills every day. The yarn and hook sit by my chair, ready for me to pick them up whenever the whim strikes. I tried my first single crochet stitch yesterday, it did not go well, but I am undeterred. Today I tried again, it was a little easier, a little bit better, and tomorrow I will try again, and the day after that. It will come. I don’t know what inspires me to spend time with my greatest physical weakness, but inspired I am. I guess I want to push my boundaries a little bit, I have time now, to be patient with myself.

Genealogy and crochet, two projects focused on lines that are woven together to make something beautiful.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-13°C
Date: 11:00 AM EST Saturday 11 March 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.4 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -12.6°C
Dew point: -22.8°C
Humidity: 43%
Wind: WNW 25 gust 39 km/h
Wind Chill: -22
Visibility: 24 km

Quote
“Remember that there is nothing stable in human affairs; therefore avoid undue elation in prosperity, or undue depression in adversity.”
Socrates
469 BC – 399 BC

“Marilyn: My uncle once told me about a warrior who had a fine stallion. Everybody said how lucky he was to have such a horse. “Maybe,” he said. One day the stallion ran off. The people said the warrior was unlucky. “Maybe,” he said. Next day, the stallion returned, leading a string of fine ponies. The people said it was very lucky. “Maybe,” the warrior said. Later, the warrior’s son was thrown from one of the ponies and broke his leg. The people said it was unlucky. “Maybe,” the warrior said. The next week, the chief led a war party against another tribe. Many young men were killed. But, because of his broken leg, the warrior’s son was left behind, and so was spared.”
A parable told my the character Marilyn Whirlwind on Northern Exposure.

Keep Thinking

Why? Why do I keep thinking that if I just keep baking sourdough bread for Attila he will change his mind and like it? I did it again this morning. The whole wheat, sourdough, garlic, onion bread is rising in the oven. I guess I thought that if I added garlic and onion to the bread, two things he loves, that he would suddenly see the light and love the sourdough. Tonight will be the test!

Various family photos that have been sent my way over the last 24 years are being gathered together and piled up by the printer/scanner. After scanning eight photographs, it was disappointing to note that the resolution on the scanner was set to 50PPI resolution, too low. Back to the drawing board. The resolution was increased to 300PPI, and the project began again. There is one photograph I am looking for, it is a picture of my Great Grandparents on their farm, with my Great Aunts and Uncles, with the horse drawn farm implements. This photograph hangs in the local community centre near their homestead, where I saw it for the first time. The owner of the photograph was tracked down, and a copy was sent to me, but now I cannot locate where I stored it! Since the move, organization has suffered here at Mist Cottage. The search continues.

The weather turned cold last night, and will stay that way for the next three or four days. I don’t really mind, as it was an expected event. The oil furnace will provide some of the heat during this cold spell, increasing the volume of the fuel delivery at the end of the month. The air source heat pump has been in use often this winter, it takes over heating the house when the temperature outdoors rises above -7C. The hydro bills have been increasing. The humidifier was left out for the eventuality of a cold snap, and it is murmuring in the corner, attending to my health.

I continue to practise my crochet skills, this tension business is going to take a lot of figuring out; but once I develop a technique that works I will never look back.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-8°C
Date: 11:00 AM EST Thursday 2 March 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -7.9°C
Dew point: -15.7°C
Humidity: 54%
Wind: WNW 31 gust 45 km/h
Wind Chill: -17
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases.”
Carl Jung
1875 – 1961

Thermostat Settings

We are experiencing a brief cold snap. It warmed up to -14C this morning, and the forecast low tonight is -18C. This has Attila and I appreciating our heating system and our beloved thermostat.

I am not going out for a walk today, it is just too cold for my arthritic knee. It is a shame really, the sun is shining this morning, and the road mostly clear. Yesterday I did go out for a stroll, but had to walk down the middle of the road from time to time, due to the ice left by our recent deluge of freezing rain. It was not a relaxing walk, but I was glad of it, and enjoyed the sunshine very much indeed.

Well, if there was ever a more mundane topic to write about than thermostat settings, I don’t know what it would be. I decided this morning, as I sat oh so comfortably in my rocking chair, that Mist Cottage is just about perfect right now. In order to remember how I achieved that feeling, recorded here are the thermostat settings and other pertinent factors that make life here, right now, so very comfortable. My memory is such that these kinds of details are not retained, I make no effort to retain them, I never have, and probably never will. In honour of my own idiosyncrasies I chronicle little details that I might appreciate later.

Thermostat Day Time Setting: 21.5C
Thermostat Night Time Setting: 18C

Humidity:
Honeywell Steam Humidifier Unit In Living Room: Low Setting
Alternatively freshly washed clothing drying on racks in the front bedroom.

Entrance:
Using the entrance through the garage to the basement door. Opening front door in living room on main floor only for deliveries.

Clothing:
Layers
t-shirt, turtle neck shirt, unlined fleece jacket
trousers, knee warmer when needed, socks, slippers
Note: It is necessary to temporarily remove the unlined fleece jacket if any physically active task is undertaken.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-14°C
Date: 9:00 AM EST Thursday 9 February 2017
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -14.1°C
Dew point: -20.1°C
Humidity: 61%
Wind: N 23 km/h
Wind Chill: -24
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“I am not one of those who in expressing opinions confine themselves to facts.”
Mark Twain
1835 – 1910

It was supposed to be a joke, not taken literally!

Mini Winter

Monday, February 15, 2016

We lost power during the night. I would not have known, but for the flashing lights of the clocks on the range and the microwave in the kitchen, which caught my attention when I arose to put the kettle on for coffee this morning. There was a point in the night when I was vaguely aware of feeling chilly, but it did not awaken me. The power could not have been out for long, it was cold enough last night that the house would have become frigid very quickly, had the heating system failed.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A blizzard! First we had a cold snap, and now we have a blizzard. This is a mini-winter, a very short and intense version of the six months of winter we received every winter at the country house, all compressed into a week or two.

We are receiving a steady driven bombardment of heavy wet horizontal whiteness. Attila said the drive home from work this morning was dangerous. The roads had not been ploughed at all, so the conditions were a slippery undefined roadway, with poor visibility from the driven snow. He arrived safe and sound, and after a short rest, he headed out the door to start shovelling the drive.

I was unable to assist him. The recent cold snap meant that our heat was supplied by the oil furnace. The heat from the oil furnace is warmer, and much dryer than the heat supplied by the heat pump. We were down to 27% humidity in the house this morning, and my nose bleeds have begun again. I wanted to help Attila with the snow shovelling, but dared not risk it because any exertion would result in another nose bleed. I wet a few towels in the sink and hung them to dry, which will hopefully bring the humidity up and give my poor nose some relief.

As Attila slept today the snowfall intensified, and it snowed all day long. Then the snow plow came through, and it piled the snow waist high across the end of our driveway. When Attila arose from his rest, he had a little snack, bundled himself up in warm clothing and headed back out with his snow shovel. I don’t know how much snow fell, but I do know that the grass around the composter was visible yesterday, and today the composter has disappeared underneath the snow.

Attila shovels the driveway for the second time today. It is still snowing!
Attila shovels feb 16 2016

The computer backup project is going great guns now, almost all the files are on the cloud, on the external usb drive, and burned onto DVDs. There is a learning curve with the cloud and cloud related software, but every challenge is tackled and resolved in time. The real issue is that I must make myself keep going until the whole project is completed. It would be so very easy to get distracted with other projects, as this backing up odyssey plods on and on and on.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-22°C
Date: 6:00 AM EST Monday 15 February 2016
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 103.0 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -21.5°C
Dewpoint: -24.7°C
Humidity: 76%
Wind: NE 12 km/h
Wind Chill: -30

WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT (it arrived!)
-3°C
Date: 8:00 AM EST Tuesday 16 February 2016
Condition: Snow
Pressure: 100.8 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 0.6 km
Temperature: -3.2°C
Dewpoint: -4.3°C
Humidity: 92%
Wind: NNE 18 km/h
Wind Chill: -9

Quote

“You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, “Why not?”
George Bernard Shaw
1856 – 1950