Forever and the Parallax Effect

The weather has gone from -34C yesterday morning to -5C this morning! Tropical!

Forever

Dressing after the morning shower, the concept of forever hit me between the eyes. The clothing in the closet may possibly last for the rest of my life, which is my personal forever.

When my time comes, tomorrow will not be available for things to get better, change, evolve.

This puts a new spin on buying clothing. Every piece I purchase, from now on, has to delight me, because I just might be wearing it for the rest of my life.

With this in mind, I am considering culling my wardrobe to a few loved pieces of clothing. If I am lucky I will wear them out and need new ones!

Parallax

Parallax is a concept generally used to describe visual perspectives. In my world parallax is much more than a description of physical objects. I intuitively extend the concept of parallax to all aspects of life, space, time, emotions, science, relationships, social systems… if I can think about it, parallax is relevant.

Home

I have been reading about decluttering. It is a lot more fun to read about it, and to experience the end results, than it is to actually do it. For now I am just thinking about it. Kitchen appliances are the focus of those lines of thought this morning. What kitchen appliances do we use regularly?

Countertop Storage for daily easy access:
1. microwave oven
2. coffee maker
3. toaster
4. food processor
5. mixer (bread etc.)

Cupboard storage for frequent access:
1. crock pots, several from 40 to 2 years old

There, that is a start on kitchen planning. The thing is, our kitchen’s are so small that these five appliances take up almost all of the counter space! As we move forward with our renovations on the little house in the city, this is information can form a basis for design.

Today Attila is working on our annual tax returns today. Some assistance is required from me, downloading bank statements, printing forms and such like.

My soup was completed yesterday, I had been working on it for days. Starting with soup bones is a lot of work. The amount of fat to be skimmed away was shocking, at least three cups. In the end I bottled five litres of soup, four of which will be frozen for future consumption. Attila has declared the soup a success. There are two more bags of soup bones in the freezer, waiting for my attentions.

Yesterday I suddenly developed a headache. I get severe headaches when my bangs touch my eyebrows. Weird. I have no explanation for it. Today Attila offered to trim my bangs, and he did fine job.

When we lived in the city, back in 2003 and earlier, I got the occasional haircut from Michael. He was great! I liked him and it was always a pleasant experience getting my hair cut. The only good haircut I have had, since we left the city to live in the country, has been from Harriet!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-5°C
Date: 1:00 PM EST Saturday 4 January 2014
Condition:Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -4.7°C
Dewpoint: -10.6°C
Humidity: 64%
Wind:
S 28 km/h
Wind Chill: -12

Quote

“A wonderful place to vacation, ended up being not a great place to live.”
ctg492
Source: http://www.simplelivingforum.net/showthread.php?4015-Radical-Downsizing-amp-Happiness/page3

Amen to this little bit of wisdom! Living in vacation land has much in common with portraying an actor, with the day job, appearing in the community of The Truman Show. The lights go on, you show up, you read your script, act your part, you go off set, the lights go out.

The other quote from ctg492 that tickled my funny bone, was describing living in vacation land as “rotting in paradise.” If you want community in vacation land you have to be able to survive in a community of one, or possibly two. It is a lot of work, sustaining such a small community! Attila and I have become adept at it.

Community Transition

Yesterday, my first day back at the country house, was a transitional day. Transitional days are not my favourite days, but if I want to gad about, then I must tolerate transitional days, they go with the territory.

Attila is still recovering from his session with Hogweed, and had asked me to purchase an antihistamine for him, which I did. He ran out of his original supply on Sunday, and the itching was getting progressively worse. He slept very little on Sunday night, due to the itching, and by the time I arrived home he looked gaunt with lack of sleep. The antihistamine I brought home for him worked wonders within a half an hour, allowing him to sleep soundly through the night last night. He looked refreshed and very relieved this morning.

I had mixed feelings about coming back to the mosquitoes. It was lovely to see Attila, hear his voice, hug him and laugh with him. However, Attila is mostly at work when he is awake, so there isn’t much time for interaction. That leaves me, on my own, in the house, with mosquitoes clinging in droves to the screens, wishing they had access to the interior of the house, or that I would venture into the outdoors where they would have a chance at a feast. Little bloodsuckers! I can look at the outdoors, but I would not choose to spend any time out there. During the late spring and early summer, I am housebound at the country house, due to the intense insect population.

It takes work to feel content when one is housebound. I have my techniques, which have to be mindfully implemented in order to be effective. While at the little house in the city I could wander outdoors at any time of day, to work in the garden, take out the compost, or any of a number of activities. I didn’t have to think about it, I had true freedom of movement. It was even possible there, to stand in the driveway and chat with neighbours! We have wonderful neighbours at the little house in the city.

At the country house there is not the freedom of movement that I can take for granted at the little house in the city. Outdoor oriented tasks require chemical repellants or protective clothing. I usually line up a few tasks that need this sort of personal preparation, and then perform them all at once, so that I only need apply chemicals to my skin, or gear up with special protective clothing once, to get the jobs done. It can be done, but it takes a bit of getting used to.

The neighbours at the country house are an altogether different kettle of fish, than the neighbours at the little house in the city. At the country house most of our neighbours are very affluent seasonal recreators, who are friendly in their own way, which usually consists of wanting something; asking me to rake their yards, or watch their property for them when they are away (with NO thought to reciprocity), or having some sort of comment about what we should be doing with the property. They are recreating, we are eaking out a living in the reality behind the “smoke and mirror” of their fantasies. The few neighbours we have that live here year round are busy catering to the seasonal recreators; that is they are busy maintaining the “smoke and mirror” fantasy. This is required if one wants to make a living in this area, where the economy is totally dependent on seasonal residents It is a very specialized form of tourism. Many of the locals here experience extreme envy and resentment towards the affluence of the “cidiots”, without whom there would be no local economy at all.

I do not like the “neighbourhood” or “community” which surrounds the country house. This may be the ultimate NIMBY location in Ontario, perhaps even Canada. They don’t call us the Malibu of the North for nothing.

I have ancestral roots in the area. During that time the majority of the population lived and worked in these communities, with some rare exceptions. The communities consisted of hard working, intelligent and caring people. That world is all but gone. Rural properties are predominantly owned by seasonal “residents”, looking for development opportunities or prestigious recreational addresses. The local economy seeks to serve the seasonal property owners. Most of the rural world I knew as child is resting, peacefully forgotten, in the cemeteries. The seasonal people, with their affluence, urban expectations, and fantasies, have almost completely overtaken this countryside.

All those executives that have sociopathic and psychopathic qualities, they are the ones that can afford, and own, property here. Their influence permeates every aspect of life.

Psychopathy and the CEO: Top executives have four times the incidence of psychopathy as the rest of us

Why (Some) Psychopaths Make Great CEOs

Skilled Executive or Psychopath?

The Corporate Psychopath

Reading this over, I see that living in the “community” where our country house is located is a source of unhappiness in my life. It is a good investment, owning property in such an area. Oh, but the cost!

Attila and I have our eyes open for the opportunity to move on, in a way that is positive, and will not impoverish us completely. When that window opens we will be climbing through it.

A sense of belonging is a basic human need. This is a seasonally oriented community, that I do not want to belong to; that is a problem.

I needed to write about these things, that is part of the transition from a location I like, to a location I do not like.

Now I will move on to being at the country house and making the best of it. “If it isn’t OK, then it isn’t finished.”

Attila woke me up this morning, announcing that the power was out. I called the power outage phone number and was informed that more than 10,000 customers had no power, and that the estimated wait time, for the return of services, was three hours. Attila decided to go to work early, and to come home for breakfast after the power was restored. As soon as the power came back on, a few hours later, I called Attila at work, and home he came for a bite to eat and a coffee.

This morning the township is trimming a tree across the road. Large noisy trucks, and a towed chipper have been brought in. I wonder what criteria they use for choosing trees to fell or trim. Certainly the huge dead branches, on the oaks along the township road allowance, in front of our house, pose a threat to people strolling by and vehicles driving by. It is the township’s call though.

The only time I contacted them about an issue, relating to an unapproved roadway being built along the side of our property, they failed to investigate the subject of my concern, and instead sent an inspector to our house to “inspect” us. Since there were no issues at our house, it was a wasted visit, and the issue I was concerned about went unaddressed. I got the hint though, if I contact them they will send in the bureaucrats to inspect my home. After one experience, I have decided not to attempt to interact with the township again. We are not affluent or influential enough to have our voice heard, without a fight. I have more important battles on my plate.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

18°C
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.9 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 18.3°C
Dewpoint: 13.4°C
Humidity: 73%
Wind: NE 13 km/h

Quote

“Everything will be alright in the end; if it’s not alright then it’s not the end”.
Line by the character Sonny in the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Progress All Around

It is a lovely morning out there this morning. Sunshine. Birds singing. Dump trucks dumping gravel next door, ah the sounds of progress.

Attila has been busy moving his mountain, he works till dark every night after dinner.

Attila versus the Big Wood, after one week.

Attila versus the Big Wood, after one week.

This past week I’ve been busy updating web sites and tackling my own mountains, mountains of telephone calls and faxed documents. Sometimes, bureaucratically, everything seems to go haywire. A government agency lost a cheque I’d sent; they cashed it but didn’t record that process properly and were after me for another cheque. So, many telephone calls later they acknowledged the cheque they cashed and things have been set right. I knew it would work out, however, it was a very time consuming issue. This past week has seen other issues arise that were equally time consuming and even less important in the general scheme of things. Still, the issues had to be dealt with, which is what I’ve been doing every evening for the last week.

Attila and I have also needed to consider an invitation to a hearing by the Township Committee of Adjustment to grant right-of-way over an existing private lane way (not ours but very close to our property). This is at our country house. What this actually means is that someone is planning a big building project near us and want a guarantee that they will have road access before they make this huge investment. It means, for us, more traffic, another new neighbour and we are not going to oppose it. In the long term it will enhance the value of our property, or so we think.

There is some development activity going on around us, most of it by speculators buying up tracts of land they feel will become more valuable over time, mostly waterfront. Who knows what the future will bring. We are grateful we own enough property, which is not waterfront, to maintain a small bit of forest that will not be developed. It won’t save the world, but it will keep our home surrounded by trees and wildlife.

The process of displacement of the local population in cottage country is as effective as the Scottish Clearances, although much slower, almost invisible and not as brutal. As the demand for waterfront property increased, the prices rose as did the taxes. Eventually, families with property on the more popular lakes were forced to sell because they simply could not pay the taxes on such valuable property. They did gain financially, but their ties to the community were lost. Slowly, since the end of WWII there has been a shift in ownership of waterfront properties in these townships; from local families who had been in the area since the first land grants were made available, to urban based families seeking a vacation property.

What exists now are increasingly distinct segments of population. On the one hand, there are the locals, who consist of entrepreneurs owning businesses that serve the seasonal and affluent summer population and the locals who work for the entrepreneurs, usually at very low rates of pay and for only the summer season. There is a lot of poverty in the area, which is almost invisible as it exists well away from the waterfront properties. On the other hand, there are the seasonal residents, who either vacation in their seasonal homes or spend only the summers here and are usually but not always retired and winter in warmer climates. Occasionally people reside year round in their cottages, this seldom last more than a season or two, the winters are harsh and bear no resemblance to the holiday atmosphere of the summer months.

The prices at the local shops are meant for those who can afford to buy the best, and who don’t worry about the price. The vast majority of the local population does not need the best, nor can they afford it. So, the local working population has to leave the area to find food and other goods and services that they can afford. I think you get the drift here, slowly but surely this area is losing its vibrancy and ability to support a working population of families. The solution to this social issue has been to bring in large numbers of seasonal workers from the third world to work here, as they can live in residences and go home at the end of the holiday season. They are wonderful people, for the most part, but have no long-term commitment to the community, as their real lives take place far, far away.

When Annie and Frank came to visit us some years ago, from England, they were shocked at the price of fresh fruit; as compared to London, Ontario. They had stopped at a local shop to buy us a basket of fresh fruit, as a treat. Even they, with two urban jobs, could not afford to buy fruit at this shop, so they settled for one plum each for the four of us.

The grocery store here is kept open during the winter as a courtesy to the local population. Their sales for the winter are less than the sales made on one long weekend in the summer. They are making a real contribution to the community by staying open, and there are a few local business owners who really make an effort to keep the community viable.

This juxtaposition of privilege and want make for strange politics and unbalanced communities, in my opinion.

Of course, visitors to the area see none of this, and if I were a visitor I would not see it either. I am certain that the visitors at the G8 meetings were totally unaware of the poverty that exists in the area, and I’m not convinced they would care if they did know. Their world “ain’t broke” so their not fixing it, again in my opinion.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

18 °C
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 101.4 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 18.0°C
Dewpoint: 9.7°C
Humidity: 58 %
Wind: NNE 11 km/h

Quote 

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”
George Bernard Shaw
1856 – 1950

Note

George Bernard Shaw

“…an Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics. Although his first profitable writing was music and literary criticism, in which capacity he wrote many highly articulate pieces of journalism, his main talent was for drama, and he wrote more than 60 plays. Nearly all his writings address prevailing social problems, but have a vein of comedy which makes their stark themes more palatable. Shaw examined education, marriage, religion, government, health care, and class privilege.

Shaw's Corner residence of George Bernard Shaw

Shaw's Corner residence of George Bernard Shaw


He was most angered by what he perceived as the exploitation of the working class. An ardent socialist, Shaw wrote many brochures and speeches for the Fabian Society. He became an accomplished orator in the furtherance of its causes, which included gaining equal rights for men and women, alleviating abuses of the working class, rescinding private ownership of productive land, and promoting healthy lifestyles. For a short time he was active in local politics, serving on the London County Council…

Influenced by his reading, he became a dedicated Socialist and a charter member of the Fabian Society, a middle class organization established in 1884 to promote the gradual spread of socialism by peaceful means. In the course of his political activities he met Charlotte Payne-Townshend, an Irish heiress and fellow Fabian; they married in 1898. The marriage was never consummated, at Charlotte’s insistence, though he had had a number of affairs with married women; Peters posits that Shaw was a repressed homosexual. Shaw declined to stand as an MP, but in 1897 he was elected as a local councillor to the London County Council as a Progressive.
In 1906 the Shaws moved into a house, now called Shaw’s Corner, in Ayot St. Lawrence, a small village in Hertfordshire, England; it was to be their home for the remainder of their lives, although they also maintained a residence at 29 Fitzroy Square in London…