Not much exciting…

OK, I had a day off last week, Sunday. I spent it picking up sopping grass patties from the yard and nodding off while Attila drove to and from the little house in the city.

Here it is, the long weekend. The roads are packed with travelers coming to our neck of the woods. The stores are busy. The population here is about to swell one hundred fold. [Oops, I almost forgot to mention the private planes used by some of the cottage owners to ferry themselves back and forth from their other residences to their lakeside estates, one just noisily flew overhead, how could I forget them!]

I’ll be working. Attila will be working. I’ll be struggling to get as much work done as I can, so that I might get a day off by Monday. This is the last really big push at my new part-time job, then it will wind down slowly and end by the summer. May has been a crazy month.

The bills are paid.

Life is good.

I’m not aware of much these days, as I seldom come up for air, working, working, working.

Our world smells wonderful just now. It has been a sunny, warm day. Attila is taking advantage of it and is mowing the lawn here at the country house, for the first time this year. I do not envy him, as I suspect that he is stirring up the black flies as he goes. People say they are atrocious this year. I’ve a few whopping big bites to prove it!

The mosquitoes have arrived as well. When I stand near the sliding glass door, just on the other side of the screen there are a good many of those lightweights pressing their hopeful proboscises against the wire, praying for personal contact. A few have managed to find their way into the house, even into the bedroom. Soon we will be spending time at the end of each day hunting them down before we try to sleep.

A bit of luck has come our way. Attila found a used window for $20, which will replace the large basement window at our little house in the city. This is a blessing, as the present window is barely holding together and has no insulation value at all. In fact, the wind blows right through all its various cracks and fissures. The new window should help keep heating costs down next winter, and allow us to have an open window in the basement during the summer; it has a built in screen!

So, not much exciting going on here. We sleep, then we eat, then we go to work, then we come home, then we eat, then I work again and Attila tends to firewood and the yardwork, then we sleep… and on it goes.

Worldly Distractions


23 °C
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 23.0°C
Dewpoint: 14.4°C
Humidity: 58 %
Wind: W 17 km/h
Humidex: 27


“The courage to be is the courage to accept oneself, in spite of being unacceptable.”
Paul Tillich
1886 – 1965


Paul Tillich

“a German-American theologian and Christian existentialist philosopher. Tillich was one of the most influential Protestant theologians of the 20th century…

Tillich was a Professor of Theology at the University of Dresden and the University of Leipzig. He held the same post at the University of Frankfurt during 1929-33.
While at Frankfurt, Tillich gave public lectures and speeches throughout Germany that brought him into conflict with the Nazi movement. When Hitler became German Chancellor in 1933, Tillich was dismissed from his position…”


Three inches of snow! That is what greeted us this morning as light crept across the landscape. A few hours later, the snow is beginning to slide off the roof, to land on the deck and gardens with great loud thumps. Music to my ears!

I am coping with the visitation of white by keeping the blinds closed, and the full spectrum light by my desk burning bright. I am hoping that out-of-sight-out-of-mind will result in the complete disappearance of the unwanted frozen white stuff. I’ll have a peek again tomorrow morning to see how things are going out there!

I’ve just had a message from Annie. I’ve been worried about her, as she hasn’t been in touch since January. With good reason, as it happens. Her father passed away in February, and her mother and mother-in-law are all in need of her attentions as they cope with loss and ill health, one in Canada, the other in England. Annie seems to be holding up well, although her sense of humour isn’t quite as sharp as is usual, just at the moment.

Henry and Em are going to pop in tonight to pick up some bulk food supplies I ordered for them, and had delivered here yesterday. They will be our first visitors since last autumn, the first in 2011. I confess to being very much out of touch with the art of welcoming visitors to our home; I find myself “making-strange”. Funny old world. Isolation exacts its own price. Life is what it is.

Our most recent visitors were Luna and family, last October. Luna is quite a photographer, and she took some lovely photos of an outing we took to a local park. Here is one of me.

Maggie at the park, 2010

Maggie at the park, 2010

Worldly Distractions


-1 °C
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.0 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -1.0°C
Dewpoint: -1.0°C
Humidity: 100 %
Wind: W 9 km/h
Wind Chill: -4


“She learned to give them the benefit of the doubt but not be surprised at anything involving them. This alone probably added decades to her life.”
The Warmth of Other Suns
by Isabel Wilkerson

Just Keeps Going

The house is now feeling a bit cool, but that is not surprising since the temperature has been dipping below -20C every night since Saturday. Now, the weather people say, the temperature will begin to rise. I hope it just keeps going!

Clearing Sky, Near Peterborough Ontario, February 19,2011

Clearing Sky, Near Peterborough Ontario, February 19,2011

The mess on the desk is finally dwindling, as a result of concentrated effort. It seems time is leading the way to clutter; I’m fighting the good fight. One of the things I love about visiting the little house in the city is that there are few belongings there; life is simple there. All the complicated issues are saved for our day-to-day life in the country house.

A notice came in the mail yesterday; time of use metering will begin here in a few weeks. This complicates life even further and as far as electric heat is concerned, the time of use electricity prices just terminated any hope of using the electric heaters. Heating exclusively with wood has been a cost-cutting, environmental choice until now; heating with wood has become a necessity.

Luna got in touch yesterday to say that they are moving again, soon. Janus has been offered a transfer and a promotion. Their destination is a long way from our country house, and from the little house in the city. We will miss seeing the grandchildren. I rejoice that Terra and Lares are still living near the little house in the city.

This is a singer/songwriter I’ve enjoyed listening to for many years. I heard him live in Toronto, and had a chat with him; there are some wonderful people in this world of ours. This song is a particular favorite, it resonates deep into the feelings of loss I experience(d) when loved ones have passed.

Worldly Distractions


-21 °C
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 103.0 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -21.0°C
Dewpoint: -22.8°C
Humidity: 86 %
Wind: calm


“Nothing contributes so much to tranquilizing the mind as a steady purpose – a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.”
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
1797 – 1851

Cold Snap

Cold. Mist sits in front of the masonry heater when the fire is burning, basking in the warmth. Mist sits in front of the masonry heater when it is not firing, yowling loudly to let us know that it is chilly in the house and a roaring fire would be appropriate. Three full fires a day are the maximum we will burn in the masonry heater, as no additional heat is to be gained by additional firings beyond three. This afternoon Attila will build a fire in the little cast iron wood stove in the basement for additional heat.

Tonight we definitely need to sleep under the eiderdown.

We decided to make a dash for the grocery store this afternoon after Attila got home from work. The drive alone took more than an hour round trip, and it took us about an hour to do our shopping. The second we arrived back Attila built a fire in the little wood stove downstairs. While we were away the indoor temperature near the masonry heater dropped two degrees centigrade, to 16C.

Dinner is already made, we are having leftovers. I pan fried haddock last night; dredged in flour and ground pepper, browned lightly in olive oil, with lots of chopped garlic. Attila feels it was the best fish dinner he has ever had. The taste was outstanding. The presentation, well as far as I’m concerned the presentation could be improved. I guess if it really bothered me, I could eat with my eyes closed.

Extreme weather, like poor health, has a way of overwhelming other aspects of every day life.

Worldly Distractions


-15 °C
Condition: Snow
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Visibility: 2 km
Temperature: -15.0°C
Dewpoint: -16.7°C
Humidity: 87 %
Wind: NW 4 km/h
Wind Chill: -18
Tonight and Tomorrow morning:
Significant wind chill tonight into Sunday morning.
This is a warning that extreme wind chill conditions are imminent or occurring in these regions. Monitor weather conditions..Listen for updated statements.
Clearing skies with increasing northerly winds will give cold wind chill values in the minus 35 to 40 range beginning overnight and continuing into Sunday morning. People outdoors should exercise extreme caution as frostbite on exposed skin may occur in as little as ten minutes.


“The best way to keep one’s word is not to give it.”
Napoleon Bonaparte
1769 – 1821

Clogged Ink

The month of December has seen me attending a program for old workers.  As result I am not home during the day.  That means we have only two fires in the masonry heater (fireplace) each day.  Nights have been cold, below -15C, for quite a while now.  We need a third fire during the day, from time to time, to keep the house reasonably comfortable.  This has not been happening.

I am working from home today.  It is 17C near the masonry heater, the temperature falls as you move toward the perimeter of the house.   It was when the ink refused to flow from the pen that the cold became an issue.  One pen after another refused to give up its ink.  The pens must be warmed by the fireplace before they will work.

There is a silver lining to this chilly cloud; sleep conditions are optimized.  The eiderdown makes for cozy, deep slumber in the cold bedroom.

The old workers program did not find any work placement for the two old women who participated.  Even temporary subsidized positions are non-existent in this area, at least for the two old women in the program.  This does not feel good.  The bright side is that resumes are polished and interview skills are honed, so that if any positions materialize, one might apply for them.  However, nepotism is probably the main (perhaps the only) method of attaining positions capable of sustaining life.  All in all, the program “giveth and taketh” away.  It gave me better resumes and interview skills, it took away almost any hope I had of using the interview skills or gaining any kind of regular employment.  I am still sending out applications.

I feel downhearted about the results of the old workers program; only because I allowed myself to buy into their enthusiasm and premise that  having a great resume and doing well in interviews might solve the non-employment problem.  More employment opportunities would solve the non-employment problem.  Unemployment in Canada only means recently without work and still receiving a steady government insurance income.  Attila and I have both been there and appreciated the income when we were both out of work in 2005.  Non-employment means that one has no income at all when the government income runs its course and ceases.  I would not be surprised if the non-employed outnumber the unemployed significantly.  The Canadian government ignores people who are non-employed, interested only in the unemployed when it comes to keeping statistics to use in drafting economic policy.

Well, enough about that!  My time was not wasted and I survived financially for one more month.  Small mercies.

It is snowing again today and, since I don’t have to commute, I am enjoying the beauty of slowly drifting snowflakes.  I like working at home, beautiful scenery, familiar tools, nearby food and washroom, no interruptions and I can burn that third midday fire to make the house cosier.

Southwestern Ontario was hit by serious snow storms this past week, closed highways, military rescue units removing people from closed roads, icy, slushy, zero visibility conditions on most highways and roads… we feel lucky by comparison.

Worldly Distractions


-10 °C
Condition: Snow
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -10.0°C
Dewpoint: -10.8°C
Humidity: 94 %
Wind: SSE 5 km/h
Wind Chill: -13


“We are able to laugh when we achieve detachment, if only for a moment.”
May Sarton