Traditional Camp

The sun comes out and the sun goes in behind the clouds this morning. It is the beginning of what both Attila and I hope will be a quiet and uneventful week.

We made a brief visit to our Traditional Camp in Parry Sound on the weekend, where everything is looking as we left it, thank goodness. The last time we were there was last summer, when we were on our first one week vacation in over 20 years, and it was a disaster. That was the week my brother had a sudden heart attack and passed away. This year, around the same time of year we were in the area to attend a reunion of cousins at my sister’s cottage. Thoughts of my brother and how much my Granny and Grandpa’s house meant to him were at the back of my mind all weekend.

The reunion was organized by my Sister-The-Middle-Girl, and my cousin who is renting a cottage on the same beach as my sister’s cottage. Together with my Sister-The-Youngest-Girl they organized and hosted a get together of all of my Grandpa and Granny’s living Granddaughters, seven of us, except for one Granddaughter who did not attend. We all drove over from the cottages to my Granny and Grandpa’s house and multiple photos were taken of the group. I hadn’t seen one of my cousins for over 30 years, it was wonderful to catch up. My newlywed niece and her husband were there; they treated us to a slide show of their beautiful wedding. My Mom was there, and I got to spend a lovely evening chatting with her. Mom and her daughters, and our spouses but one, all stayed Saturday night at Sister-The-Middle-Girl’s cottage, it was comfortable, and the cottage and beach are beautiful. My Sister-The-Middle-Girl has a beautiful cottage facing west on the lake, the sunsets are stunning.

It is now a 5 ½ to 6 hour drive, one way, to reach our Traditional Camp. We decided to take a scenic journey, heading straight north for quite a distance before turning west to travel through hills and forests. The drive was a treat, the scenery was so beautiful. We took the same route home, but there was quite a bit more traffic, many slower moving RVs on the road, that crawled up the many hills. We were very tired when we arrived home.

I have been growing my hair out for what seems like forever. The idea was to have long hair with no bangs. It is driving me to distraction at times, and at its present length it looks awful all of the time. Usually I do not care, as no one sees me here in the house, or at the camp, save for Attila. It was too bad though that it was looking the way it did for those once in a lifetime pictures at the reunion. I will be very glad indeed when the bangs grow long enough to at least stay tucked neatly behind my ears.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 10:00 AM EDT Monday 10 July 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.4 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 21.9°C
Dew point: 17.6°C
Humidity: 76%
Wind: SSW 19 km/h
Humidex: 28
Visibility: 24 km


“My definition of an expert in any field is a person who knows enough about what’s really going on to be scared.”
P. J. Plauger

Insect Repellent Clothing

The driveway at the camp is partially in! We were able to park at our camp, for the very first time. That is the good news. The less exciting news is that the driveway will cost almost twice as much as originally anticipated. Sounds wrong, we know, but the estimate was given before the township listed their requirements for the driveway. They insisted it be almost twice as wide as is usual, which requires more culvert, a lot more crushed stone, and more work than anticipated. So we are going ahead with it, but have to decline any further spending in 2014, maybe even 2015.

Still, we are just thrilled to have the driveway. Today was sunny, breezy and warm. We ate our first meal at the camp today, seated on our lawn chairs, looking out at our wonderful view; it was heavenly, quite literally.

We both worked Saturday. In the evening we drove over to Harriet and Hogan’s cottage for a visit, and were delighted to find that Ariel, her special friend Arnie, and her daughter and daughter’s boyfriend were also visiting the cottage for the weekend. We shared a meal of moose burgers. The moose burgers were compliments of our Ariel’s daughter’s boyfriend, who hunts. Since we didn’t know the exact ingredients, I had a carefully cooked chicken breast. By all accounts the moose burgers were delicious!

After our meal, Hogan took us all out on the lake for a boat ride. Ariel’s daughter and her boyfriend fished from the back of the boat, as we slowly toured the lake. Arnie took a turn fishing as well. The fish weren’t really biting, but everyone had a lovely time.

The grand finale of the evening was a campfire by the lake, with a breathtaking view of the sunset across the lake.

Harriet and Hogan are warm and indulgent hosts; one feels very well looked after!

We left late, tired and very happy.

Sunday Attila and I headed to the camp, which is when we discovered that the driveway construction was under way. I dropped Attila off at the camp, and proceeded to Harriet’s cottage for a bit of a visit. I had a chance for a chat with Ariel, and with Harriet; good for the soul.

Then I was off to visit the local dump. I had a few items to drop off at the “dump store”, perfectly good items that someone else might well need. I did not see anything there though, that I thought we could use. It was “slim pickins” at the dump store.

When I returned to the camp, our contractor was there explaining the increased expense to Attila, and we amicably gave the go ahead to complete the job as he suggested.

After we ate a lovely lunch at the camp, we walked down the road to Granny and Grandpa’s house; Attila with his chain saw and come-along, and me with loppers and gloves. While Attila felled the last three dead elms, I began to remove brambles and weeds from my Granny’s gardens. We finished our respective tasks just as Ariel and her crew pulled into the driveway, to have a look at Granny’s house, before driving back to the city. We had a nice tour of the house, and walked down to the camp to have a look at it as well. Then they were waving goodbye, as they drove off into the beautiful sunny evening.

Attila and I continued to work on the garden, until we were both tired. Slowly we returned to the camp, walking down the road with chain saw, loppers, and assorted gear in tow. We had a cold drink, then packed the car and headed into the beautiful sunny evening ourselves.

Now I would like to share a discovery that I made, one of great import to Attila and I. Attila had a birthday in the first weeks of June. I wanted to get him a present that would make his life more pleasant. I looked at bug shirts, and different types of insect repellents. I rejected special netted clothing immediately; Attila would not tolerate cumbersome clothing. Insect repellents work temporarily, until the hard work begins, and sweat carries most of the protection away.

Then I discovered insect repellent clothing! Who knew! Intrigued, my research began. I found shirts that claimed to repell mosquitoes! The reviews of such clothing seemed to support the claims made by the retailers. However, the price of the shirts are prohibitive for persons of average income; particulary if the shirts are meant for working out of doors, rather than for recreation.

“Back to the drawing board!” I found that the chemical used to create these bug repellent shirts is available for the DIY enthusiast. A company, Sawyers, in the USA manufactures the chemical in a spray bottle, which can be used to treat a piece of clothing, rendering it “bug proof.”

So, that is what Attila got for his birthday.

On Saturday I arrived home from work a few hours before Attila. We had pre-selected clothing, a set of shirt and pants, for both Attila and I. The clothing was hung on the line, outside, and the spray was applied to the outer surfaces of the clothing. I took great care not to breath the mist, or to allow the mist to touch my skin. Mist, of course, was safely tucked indoors and well away from the area where I worked. After thoroughly spraying the clothing, it was left to dry overnight.

Please note: This chemical, in its liquid form, is very dangerous for cats. Read the instructions that come with the chemcical carefully, and follow them meticulously!

When we arrived at the camp on Sunday, we donned our mosquito repellent clothing and began our tasks. It was warm. We were working hard, sweating, and attracting mosquitoes, deer flies, black flies, and no see-ums. And… the mosquito repellent clothing worked! Not one bite through the thin cloth of our shirts, or our trousers; not one bite.

And… there was a magical side to the experience. The mosquitoes and flies were attracted to us, but would not land, or come close to our clothing. As we worked, and we sweated, more and more insects honed in on us, and more and more dragonflies darted around us, enjoying a feast as they consumed the hovering and hopeful biting insects. The dragonflies perched near us when we sat to rest, and sprang into action if an insect came near us. I love dragonflies! One even settled on Attila’s shoulder, resting until a mosquito buzzed around Attila’s head, and then swooped in to the rescue.

We were able to sit relatively undisturbed, at the camp lot, in the bush, with the dragonflies keeping watch over us.

My only disappointment for the weekend was, I forgot my camera!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 8:00 PM EDT Sunday 22 June 2014
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 23.8°C
Dewpoint: 8.4°C
Humidity: 37%
Wind: W 5 km/h


“Whenever I dwell for any length of time on my own shortcomings, they gradually begin to seem mild, harmless, rather engaging little things, not at all like the staring defects in other people’s characters.”
Margaret Halsey

Coming up for air…

Before going to work…

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

Lately I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed by the poor management at work, wondering why the supervisor doesn’t just make that return phone call to a customer, show up for that appointment on time etc. At the moment there aren’t any checks and balances taking place on his activities, hope the company catches on sometime soon. In the meantime I try to mediate the distress the customers are feeling. I am beginning to worry that the poor fellow is suffering from the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s, which is not an implausible explanation for his behavior. He seems like a nice enough man, as far as human beings go, but something is amiss.

Home from work, after supper…

While I was hard at work this morning, so was Attila working hard at home. He made two trips to the local dump, the first with the old toilet and the second with a stationary bicycle that he picked up at the side of the road years ago, thinking I might like it. I didn’t. It has been sitting in our back yard ever since. Not anymore. It is now safely displayed in the recycle shed at the local dump.

Our little green Toyota is 13 years old and needs a bit of TLC. So Attila changed her oil and wired up her dragging muffler system. Good as new; ahem, well that is not possible. She will go for a few years yet though, on short trips.

Attila and I are enjoying a quiet evening. We have watched an episode of Northern Exposure, our favorite TV series and now we are looking at Internet news footage on Hurricane Irene. Our Rogers High Speed is so slow that each page takes almost five minutes to load, but does eventually load. This is working well for Attila, I can hear him snoring as he dozes, resting comfortably on his easy chair. It is working well for me too, because I’m writing this journal entry as I am waiting for the web pages to load.

Harriet called from her cottage, we are going to head over for a visit tomorrow, we haven’t seen them since Canada Day weekend. I’m looking forward to seeing them, catching up with the news, sitting on the beach, perhaps even a boat ride!

Recently a new cookbook arrived at our house, courtesy of Attila’s employer, they were clearing stock. My quote tonight is from that book, we found the writer very amusing. There is a recipe for cabbage stew that I really want to try. Cabbage is a wonder food, it is inexpensive, nutritious and easy to cook with. The Cookbook is The Sicilian Gentelman’s Cookbook, by Don Barrata, Firefly Books, 2002.

Worldly Distractions


22 °C
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 22.0°C
Dewpoint: 17.8°C
Humidity: 77 %
Wind: NW 9 km/h
Humidex: 28


“On Dieting Without Hunger

The old man was once called upon to be best man at a wedding, but found that the formal dinner jacket and pants he owned had drastically shrunk after years of storage with too many mothballs. This is an invariable consequence even when the most expensive mothballs are used. Rather than take up an argument with the local mothball dealer, my father decided to reduce his own girth and thus outfox the villain.

Far from eating less, he simply took to cooking himself each night a stew of vegetables or fish, and eating all he wished…
The suit fit fine, though a little loosely, at the wedding…

So much, then, for the complex and extravagant diets after which modern sophisticates chase. They will chase in vain until, exhausted and disillusioned and tired of tilting at obscure windmills, they return to basics: rich, glorious soup…

Of course, there was the problem that his other suits were then too large (You might have noticed that we live in an imperfect world)…”

Source: The Sicilian Gentleman’s Cookbook page 79


Still here! Working, working, working…

Attila and I are definitely getting closer to contentment. We have decided to drive into the village to go for a walk every evening. We can now do this because Attila has worked every waking hour since the firewood was delivered, to get it stacked and ready for next winter. He is so close to finishing the job so that he is winding down, taking time for himself, and for me, and walking every evening this week.

We live in Muskoka, an area listed as one of National Geographic’s ten best summer trips in 2011. Of course, we are not on a summer trip, we live and work here, which is completely different than being on holiday. So it is a real treat to have the opportunity to go for a quiet evening walk.

We have lived here seven years and are just now able to spare enough time to go for a walk together of an evening. Better late than never.

This week one of our walks was out into the wild to assess the wild blueberry crop. Not much to write home about there, the berries are sparse. They should be ripe next week, so we will probably spend one evening picking, which will only yield enough blueberries for one batch of blueberry pancakes. It will be fun, but more of an amusement than a real supplement to our food supply.

The weather has been beautiful, hot and sunny almost every day. It has been cooling down at night so that we are able to keep the house at a reasonable temperature just by leaving the windows and curtains closed until the heat of the day passes.

We do not have a chesterfield in our living room at the country house or the little house in the city. At both locations we have a chair for Attila and a chair for me. We have a futon at our country house, that folds down to a double bed, but it isn’t very comfortable and I consider it a poor investment. I always have to take a painkiller if I have slept on the futon. We have a pull out couch at our little house in the city that becomes a double bed, which is very comfortable and is in our bedroom there, made up and ready for us when we visit. There has been only one comfortable place to lie down at our country house and at the little house in the city. That changed during the the last month.

One of the extravagances that we have indulged in this summer is to purchase a good quality single bed for our spare room. This single expenditure has changed my entire life. Attila suffers from restless leg syndrome, and from snoring. Usually I fall asleep first and I don’t notice either. But there are nights when I have something on my mind and I do not rest easily; those nights have been almost sleepless for me for the last 18 years. Now, when I am restless and cannot settle into sleep, I can crawl into the single bed, where there is no movement and little noise. I sleep soundly on those nights. The world seems a much kinder place when one has had a good night’s sleep. My world has become a much kinder place, and all because of a little single bed in the spare room.

When we visited our little house in the city last weekend I was having one of my restless nights the first night we were there; we had a rare two-day weekend, and drove down on Friday night. As I lay awake I thought how wonderful it would be to have a single bed in the other bedroom.

“Yes,” I thought to myself, “tomorrow I am going to see about buying a single bed for this house too!”

Then Luna and Janus and Imp and Elf and Tink and Benny and Bim arrived for a visit, pulling a little trailer full of items for our little house in the city. The universe is looking out for me, they brought a bunk bed with mattresses! So now we have extra single beds at our little house too.

What a lovely weekend we had! Luna and Janus arrived on Saturday. Terra came over Saturday morning when she came off her night shift, so that we had a house full of loved ones. When I woke up Saturday morning I found Terra quietly playing with Imp and Elf and Tink in the second bedroom, everyone happy. Later Lares arrived and the company was complete. On Saturday afternoon Terra and Lares, with Luna and Janus, took Imp and Elf to see the latest Cars movie, it was a big event. Tink stayed with us and played happily for hours and hours. However, about two hours before the movie goers arrived back, Tink suddenly felt the need to see her mother and father, and of course they were not there. She wept. Tink will be two years old in September.

There was nothing for it but to put a Madeline video on the machine in the living room, where Tink sat on her riding toy. It distracted her from feeling miserable. After a short while I noticed she was leaning face down on the toy, fast asleep, worn out from emotion. I grabbed the crib mattress that Luna and Janus had brought with them, placed it in front of the TV, carried Tink over to it and lay her down. She slept peacefully until the gang was back from the movies and then carried on with her day, although she did give me the occasional dirty look throughout the evening. A very resilient little girl!

We relaxed, sat outside under the trees on lawn chairs, BBQ’d our dinner, and had a great visit.

This weekend Terra and Lares are visiting us in the country. They have already had a big adventure. They arrived last night about 11:30 pm, and after chatting a bit we all turned in for the night. However, Lares has asthma and needed his puffer during the night, hot, humid and very stuffy weather we are having. He forgot his puffer at home, so at 2:00 am off they went to the hospital, an hours drive away. They had a good experience there, in and out they said. They arrived back here about 4 am but had locked themselves out. Their choices were to wake us up or sleep in the car; they slept in the car!

I slept through the entire adventure. When Attila and I got up in the morning I was surprised that the lights were on in the room where I though Terra and Lares were sleeping. Then when we opened up the windows we heard Terra outside. Shocked, we rushed downstairs to let them into the house.

We do let our company sleep in beds here, really we do!

After Attila left for work this morning, they went back to bed to get some well earned rest.

Worldly Distractions


19 °C
Pressure: 102.0 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 19.0°C
Dewpoint: 13.7°C
Humidity: 71 %
Wind: SE 4 km/h


“If I could save time in a bottle
The first thing that I’d like to do
Is to save every day ’til eternity passes away
Just to spend them with you..”
Time in a Bottle by Jim Croce


Jim Croce

“James Joseph Croce, better known as Jim Croce, was born in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on January 10, 1943, to Jim and Flora Croce. Jim took a strong interest in music at a very, very young age. At five, he learned to play his first song on the accordion, “Lady of Spain.” He says, “I was the original underachiever. I’d shake that thing and smile, but I was sort of a late bloomer.” Croce attended Upper Darby High School in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. After his graduation in 1960, Croce went to work for a construction company, staying employed there for three years before deciding to enroll at Villanova University in 1961…

Croce met his future wife Ingrid Jacobson at this time, during a hootenanny at Philadelphia Convention Hall, where he was judging a contest. When they married, he converted to Judaism…

Croce, 30, Maury Muehleisen, 24, and four others died in a small commercial plane crash on September 20, 1973, shortly before his ABC single, “I Got a Name”, was to be released.
Croce had just completed a concert at Northwestern State University’s Prather Coliseum in Natchitoches, Louisiana, and was flying to Sherman, Texas, for a concert at Austin College. The pilot and all passengers (Croce; Muehleisen; Croce’s booking agent Kenneth D. Cortose; George Stevens, the comic who was the show’s warm-up act; and Croce’s road manager Dennis Rast) were killed when the plane crashed at around 10:45 pm EDT on September 20, 1973, about an hour after the end of the concert…

Jim and Ingrid Croce’s son Adrian James Croce was born September 28, 1971, and is now an accomplished singer-songwriter, musician, and pianist, performing under the name A.J. Croce. He has released seven CDs of original music, beginning with a self-titled CD in 1993, and one best-of CD (Early On: The American Recordings 1993–1998). A.J. Croce is also the owner/operator of his own record label, Seedling Records.
Croce’s widow owns and manages Croce’s Restaurant & Jazz Bar, a project she and Jim had jokingly discussed a decade earlier, located in the historic Gaslamp Quarter in downtown San Diego, California. She opened the business in 1985.”

Attila’s Mountain

Attila is working every evening to get our firewood stacked and stored for this winter. He is making progress.

Attila's Wood Mountain becoming a molehill.

Attila's Wood Mountain becoming a molehill.

It has been a hectic week. I discovered that I was tired of going to work in the morning! How did I discover this? Well, I was at the intersection where I turn right to go to work, and without thinking I put on my left turn signal. I had to prevent myself from driving the other way! Sometimes our inner voice takes matters into its own hands.

I do like my job, it is just that I’d like a little break! I am working this Saturday at my part-time job and I think that is what I am reacting to, working six days rather than five. Five is enough, but I won’t give up the part-time job as it would be a real peach if it morphed into permanent hours. One foot in front of the other, the universe has it all in hand.

It rained so hard today that the cars on the highway pulled over to the side of the road, as visibility was zero at speed. It was an odd sight, to see cars lining the highway. The heavy rain lasted for about ten minutes, then everyone went happily on their way.

We travelled to the little house in the city last weekend, the drive was beautiful. I saw this billboard as we were driving south the last time, and had to stop and take a picture this time! Click on the image to load the larger version so that you can read the billboard.

South of Orillia, Ontario, June 2011

South of Orillia, Ontario, June 2011

Worldly Distractions


19 °C
Pressure: 100.2 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 19.0°C
Dewpoint: 18.3°C
Humidity: 96 %


“Son, always tell the truth. Then you’ll never have to remember what you said the last time.”
Sam Rayburn
1882 – 1961


Sam Rayburn

“Rayburn was born in Roane County, Tennessee, and was baptized by Elder H.G. Ball in the Primitive Baptist Church, also known as Old Line Baptist or Hard Shell Baptist Church….

often called “Mr. Sam,” or “Mr. Democrat,” was a Democratic lawmaker from Bonham, Texas, who served as the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives for seventeen years, the longest tenure in U.S. history…

He had married once, to Metze Jones (1897–1982), sister of Texas Congressman Marvin Jones and Rayburn’s colleague, but the marriage ended quickly and no one really ever knew why…

Although many Texas legislators were on the payroll of public service corporations, Rayburn refused to do so. As he recounted in a speech during his congressional campaign:
“When I became a member of the law firm of Steger, Thurmond and Rayburn, Messrs. Thurmond and Steger were representing the Santa Fe Railroad Company, receiving pay monthly. When the first check came after I entered the firm, Mr. Thurmond brought to my desk one-third of the amount of the check, explaining what it was for. I said to him that I was a member of the Legislature, representing the people of Fannin County, and that my experience had taught me that men who represent the people should be as far removed as possible from concerns whose interests he was liable to be called on to legislate concerning, and that on that ground I would not accept a dollar of the railroad’s money, though I was legally entitled to it. I never did take a dollar of it. I have been guided by the principle in all my dealings.”,,,

He was also readily accessible to constituents, who were invited to come to his home in Bonham and visit without prior notice.,,,”