Monday, January 7, 2019

It was cold last night with a -23C wind chill. I didn’t notice, for which I am truly grateful. I did add an extra comforter on the the bed though, and spent the night quite comfortably; it was needed, or I would have been too hot. Tomorrow we are expecting rain. Weather has a logic of its own.

Attila worked in the garage until bedtime last night. Now that his projects are not dominated by a deadline, he enthusiastically works away until the goal is reached. He finished his new workbench, using only wood that had been collected free of charge, or purchased at incredibly low prices when he worked in the lumber industry. The new work bench has a lot of storage, so once he organizes his tools and such, I should be able to find anything I need to tackle the small projects that interest me. What I will notice most though, is how bare the basement will feel when he moves his tools and building supplies out into the garage!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

It is much warmer today. Freezing rain fell over the course of the night and collected in a thick sheet over all, but melted quickly so that the roads were passable by morning. The sky is cloudy and grey, grey, grey, so very grey!

Today I am thinking about my least favourite things. Here are three, prioritized. I think everyone’s list will be different, and I think mine is a fairly lucky list!

1. Mean spirited expression of any kind. I feel either disgusted or ill, or both, when I have to witness this. I think most people have these thoughts or feelings from time to time, and acting on them is optional, a choice. Our species is capable of toilet training, so restraint is something we are capable of, there is precedent.

2. Medical Treatment Involving anything injected of ingested, as per my anaphylaxis. A constant threat.

3. Colonoscopy Preparation. What misery. I have had many different preparations for a colonoscopy. The one below has been the best so far, directly quoted. Because the test only comes up every five years, and I won’t be able to find the instruction sheet five years from now, I just know it, I am putting this in my journal so I can find it when I REALLY need it! I will get new instructions of course, but I’ve tried a lot of different preps, and this one did not hospitalize me, cause back spasms, or result in severe dehydration. It is hands down the best successful colonoscopy prep procuedure I’ve tried. Some preps are easier on the body than others, this one is the most humane I’ve tried.

Skip the next bit if it is too much detail.


Because the colonoscopy preparation has been such an ordeal for my body, I decided to try a special diet for the week before the examination. This was hugely beneficial for me, but might not be for someone else. I stuck to:

White bread, pasta, and rice.

Well-cooked vegetables without skin.

Fruit without skin or seeds.

Lean meat, chicken, or fish.


Peanut Butter.


“Bowel Preparation:

1 box PICO-SALAX: the box contains 2 packets. you will need to take both of them as instructed below. Do NOT follow the instructions on the PICO-SALAX insert.
[Note: I used PURG-ODAN, an identical product for half the price. 2 sachets each containing 16.1 g of powder with three active ingredients: sodium picosulfate 10 mg, magnesium oxide 3.5 g, and citric acid 12 g. Also each sachet contains non-medicinal ingredients: orange flavour, potassium bicarbonate, and sodium saccharin.]

Bowel Preparation Instructions:

A. Three days and Two Days before the Examination:
– at 5:00 p.m. take 2 DULCOLAX tablets (5 mg. each) with water, each evening.

B. On the day before the Examination:
– Diet for this day is restricted to CLEAR LIQUIDS ONLY for the ENTIRE DAY. No solids to be taken. Clear liquids can include Apple Juice, jell-o, chicken broth, Gatorade/Powerade (clear), Popsicles, water, ice, black tea or coffee, decaffeinated pop, etc. NO MILK PRODUCTS or other liquid that you cannot see through.
[Note: no red, pink, or purple coloured liquids.]

Again, do not follow the instructions on the PICO-SALAX insert. Instead:

At 11:00 a.m.: take the 1st packet of PICO-SALAX. Mix it in a 5 ounce (150 ml) mug of cold water. Stir while drinking to ensure all of the laxative has dissolved. Drink at least one glass of water each hour over the next three hours. Take extra clear fluids if desired. The laxative will produce 2-6 watery bowel movements.
[Note: I found this to be accurate, three, the first one hour after drinking the potion. This is important because from this point forward one must be steps away from the throne, time is of the essence. I drank one extra cup of water and 590 ml Gatorade.]

At 3:00 p.m.: take the 2nd packet of PICO-SALAX. Mix in a 5 ounce (150 ml) mug of cold water, again stirring while drinking. Continue to drink at least a glass of water each over the next three hours. Take extra clear fluids if desires. There be further watery bowel movements.
[Note: The last statement is an understatement. This is where the real show begins! 30 minutes after drinking, things got going, and continued with some frequency, 12 times in my case, spanning six hours. Drinking the directed amount of water is essential, but extra will result in more frequent and violent episodes, I drank approximately two extra cup of water and 300 ml Gatorade.]

After midnight: take nothing by mouth. DO NOT EAT OR DRINK AFTER MIDNIGHT.

DAY OF THE TEST: Important Information.

No breakfast. No solids or liquids: 2 – 4 ounces of water only is desired. Take medication only as directed by physician.

EXAMINATION: …After the examination, drink lots of fluids and resume your normal diet.
[Note: the medical person advised easing back into a normal diet, slowly, particularly with greasy foods.]

Addendum: Why isn’t there a Joe’s Gentle Enema Service near every hospital!



Date: 10:00 AM EST Monday 7 January 2019
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 103.5 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -11.6°C
Dew point: -16.0°C
Humidity: 70%
Wind: ENE 18 km/h
Wind Chill: -1

Date: 1:00 PM EST Tuesday 8 January 2019
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.7 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 3.1°C
Dew point: 2.5°C
Humidity: 96%
Wind: SSE 16 km/h
Visibility: 19 km


“I don’t think anyone can DO anything that would make him worthy of love. Love is a gift and cannot be earned. It can only be given.”
Gordon Atkinson


The new refrigerator seems to be working well so far, which is overnight, things are cold and the items in the freezer are frozen. It makes some noise, but less than the old model, so it is an improvement. Being energy star compliant, it uses a third less electricity annually, which might help marginally on the hydro bills.

Frankly, when a refrigerator saves $30.00 annually on a hydro bill, it isn’t going to make much difference to us or the environment. In my opinion most of the power guzzling is done by industry and commerce, so they are the ones that really need to look at trimming their carbon footprints. The residents of the whole township here could save 200 KWh a year on hydro, and it would still pale by comparison, if one industry in the township cut their consumption significantly. It seems to me the powers that be would have us believe we are doing something significant, when in fact we are not. I am sure that when we save energy we are facilitating conservation, but I doubt domestic use represents any significant electricity usage. I think these programs are a placebo, seeking to make the general populace feel as if they have agency. Just saying.

Today my to do list included a call to Ontario Hydro to see if we can have the old refrigerator picked up. Apparently not, it isn’t old enough, it has to be 20 years old, but it was built in 1995. It is too young for the program. The next call was to the local landfill, who will accept the old refrigerator for a fee of $23.00. We will need to borrow a truck to get it there, which can be tricky, but I think Attila will manage it. I will have to keep reminding him though, it won’t be high on his to do list. I would do it, but I do not have access to a truck, and even if I did, it would be a tough go getting that refrigerator in and out of the truck by myself.

The house is a tip! It is time to get all domestic. The next few days will be spent cleaning and organizing. Attila will be working on the drywall, ensuring that all the areas within child-reach are covered with drywall. Luna, Janus, and the Grandbabies will be visiting soon.

My recovery from the colonoscopy preparation is moving along nicely. I am still very queasy in my stomach. The older I get, the longer my stomach stays upset after an “event”, such as violent vomiting. The five failed and one successful punctures, for the IV’s I received in hospital emergency and day surgery, are still bruised and sore. I tire easily. It could be a lot worse. I am keeping an eye out for signs of kidney damage, a rare side effect of sodium phosphate. I am in the highter risk category, due to my age and a medication that I take daily. The warnings say this side effect could show up as much a three months after ingesting sodium phosphate.

I am getting plenty of sleep, eating well and drinking a lot of fluids. There isn’t much more I can do, nature takes its own time.

I commented on my last entry that I am now researching colon hydrotherapy for the bowel cleansing process, for my next colonoscopy in five years time. I am surprised that the medical establishment has not embraced this gentler, non-medicinal technique to cleanse a bowel, particularly for those of us who react strongly to the chemicals used for the process. It wasn’t mentioned in the instructions from the specialist. It isn’t performed by doctors here in Ontario, but at spa’s. That makes it hit or miss in my opinion. There are no rigorous standards of care to ensure the procedure is done correctly, or even safely. I will proceed very cautiously with this, but I will investigate the options thoroughly. There must be a private clinic somewhere within driving distance, where they can perform this adequately and safely.

Attila and I are having dinner with Harriet and Hogan this evening. Harriet prepares lovely, allergen free meals, so the food is something to look forward to! It will be lovely to visit them at the cottage, which is small, simple, homey; an extremely pleasant place to be.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 4:00 PM EDT Friday 9 August 2013
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 24.3°C
Dewpoint: 11.5°C
Humidity: 44%
Wind: WSW 13 km/h
Humidex: 26


“Dare to be yourself.”
Andre Gide
1869 – 1951

Maggie the Unnailer

Today I feel like Rosie the Riveter, in my oversized and wonderfully loose bib overalls and steel-toed shoes, hammer in hand, standing on the ladder pulling nails out of wall studs. Pulling out nails while standing on a ladder is tricky business. Erring on the side of caution, I hold on to the studs for dear life, as I muscle those nails out of the wood. I have discovered that I very much like demolition, particularly when I can take my time.

Maggie the Unnailer, enjoying the golden years. Removing nails left behind by the fake wood panelling; doing the prep work to install drywall.
Maggie at work

August has begun as it will continue. Yesterday Attila visited the Dermatologist and will spend the next three weeks following a routine set out by the doctor. Next week I briefly visit the hospital for my every-five-year, routine colonoscopy. The month of August ends with five days of work. The money is needed, but I’d rather not go there, really I would rather not. It makes me more than a little unhappy. I will go though.

One bright spot in August is a promised overnight visit from Luna, Janus and the three Grandbabies.

Luna, Janus and the Grandbabies haven’t been here in years, so this is a very rare and special occasion. We are planning to have the Grandbabies help us bring firewood out of the bush; nothing strenuous or dangerous, and just enough effort to be fun. It will be an experience for them, because they will be helping with the full-blown, heating-exclusively-with-wood job; this isn’t just cottage or summer camp fun. If it is not raining we might have a campfire, complete with hot dogs, hamburgers, grilled cheese sandwiches and s’mores.

Janus has a new job which will find them all living seasonally in Europe, for several months each year. We will see them a lot less than we see them now, which is about twice a year. The Grandbabies are growing up so fast! I think I’ve made my peace with not seeing them often enough to know them as people; we usually only see them at family gatherings, large, happy, hectic times. It hurts to think about it, so I don’t; it is what it is.

The weather today is perfect, from where I am standing. Sunny, a few clouds in the sky, mild, breezy and quiet but for the sounds of things that grow.

Worldly Distractions


Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 19.6°C
Dewpoint: 13.4°C
Humidity: 67%
Wind: W 11 km/h


“Nothing in education is so astonishing as the amount of ignorance it accumulates in the form of inert facts.”
Henry Adams

Home Again

I returned to the country house yesterday. The trip was pleasant, in spite of all the construction delays and the dearth of transport trucks. It is so nice to be spending time with Attila again!

Attila saw the Dermatologist today, who has provided him with multiple prescriptions, and a three week plan of action. Attila will follow the instructions to the letter. The really bright side, of the consultation, is that the plan of action includes Attila returning to work! We hope to see significant improvement. Time will tell.

Attila has accomplished much, in the way of replacing the fake wood panelling with drywall, in the hall at the country house. It is going to look great! I might even give him a hand with removing the old panelling. The drywall is too heavy for me to work with.

I had plans to apply the second coat of stain to the deck today. However, two consecutive days without precipitation are needed for the deck to dry adequately, before applying stain. It rained last night, so the project will have to wait for a combination of free time and two sunny days.

The last third of a four litre jug of maple syrup has some mold on it. After skimming off the mold, the maple syrup was heated to the point of boiling, then skimmed again. After two smaller jugs were sterilized with aqueous oxygen, the cooled maple syrup was poured into them and refrigerated.

Worldly Distractions


Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 101.0 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 22.0°C
Dewpoint: 13.8°C
Humidity: 59%
Wind: WNW 15 gust 28 km/h
Humidex: 25


“Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos – the trees, the clouds, everything.”
Thich Nhat Hanh