Ups & Downs

Wednesday, 10:30 a.m.

Believe it or not, yesterday was a down day. I have a summer cold, which began to show itself Sunday evening when I was sitting out on the back porch. I thought the cough, sore throat, and headache were from the citronella candle, made in China, but I haven’t been near that since, and the cough and sore throat persist. There is no fever, thank goodness, just this cough, sore throat, headache, and sneezing. It isn’t debilitating, just annoying.

Yesterday was a down day in another way, emotionally. It wasn’t that there was anything negative happening in my little world, quite the opposite. Attila and I have been amicably living together here at Mist Cottage, no changes there. I’ve been enjoying the open windows, the birdsong, the breezes whispering to me through the leaves outside the open windows, wonderful. But despite all of this good fortune, and good fortune it is, I was feeling a bit anxious. I don’t know what it was about, but this morning it has completely dissipated.

I plan on taking on a difficult project today. I want to apply a plastic film to the new big window in the basement, for privacy. It has a “curtain” at the moment, an old blue plastic shower curtain that I bought at the Dollar Store in 2010 for $1.00. But it does not do the new window justice. Last Friday I measured the window, cut the plastic film pieces to size, then set it all aside for another day. Today is the day. I am all thumbs when it comes to doing this kind of thing, so my patience cup has to be full.

The first part of the project involves cleaning the window. There are lots of bugs in the basement, so I’ll vacuum the bugs off the window, and from around the area around the window. Then I’ll use vinegar in a spray bottle to wash it clean. When it is dry the film will be applied. Two pieces of film needed to be cut for each window, as the glass surface is much larger than the width of the film.

But first, it is time to close the windows! The temperature outside, now, at 10:30 a.m., has risen to 23C. As much as I love the open windows, I enjoy physical comfort even more, so the windows will be closed, the curtains drawn, for the day.

OK, back to the project of the day. I did all the preparation of the windows, and applied the film. Well, what can I say, there are multiple bubbles that, no matter how many times I lifted the stuff and tried again, are still there. And there they will stay! Then I wanted to hang a light coloured curtain. White seemed like a good choice, as that window gets full sun during the day. A rummage through the fabric tote, nothing gets thrown out around here, revealed a beautiful wrap around skirt, that was a gift. It was worn about 35 pounds ago, and it is doubtful that this old body, as long as it remains healthy, will not be returning to that time and place and weight. It fit over the window beautifully, and is so cheerful in the dreary basement. There will be good memories of Joannie on every visit downstairs to retrieve or store cooking equipment, and it will be enjoyed when passing by that window, every time I leave or enter the house. Some solutions are just so very satisfying.

Wednesday, 12:25 p.m.

Hot! It is hot out there, too hot to run errands in town.

One of the two cheques that were “in the mail” has arrived. The grant for the attic insulation is exactly what we were promised. It is such a relief to see it, as I had overextended our financial situation quite a bit to take advantage of the grant program. It required an up front payment for the work done, and when all the paperwork was approved, a cheque would be sent in the mail. A trip to the bank to deposit the cheque will bring closure on the attic insulation project. One more cheque to come, for the new windows. It is a much more significant cheque, the windows were a lot more expensive than the attic insulation. I want to go to the bank, but after opening the door just now, I decided against it. Too hot!

Once the sun hits the back porch in the afternoons, it is too hot to sit out. Yesterday I hung a curtain rod across a portion of the porch and hung a white sheet on it. Shade. That is one section taken care of, there are two more. There are no more curtain rods here, so a purchase will be necessary. Luckily there are a few very old white sheets in the cupboard, as I said, very little gets thrown out around here. In the meantime, cotton sheets will be pinned across the porch clothesline, to provide partial shade. Yesterday afternoon, when two sheets were up on the porch, the temperature fell from 36C to 32C. The difference will be even more noticeable when the rods are in place, and sheets are hung on them, they will block all of the afternoon sun. The clothesline blocks only about 80% of the sunshine, it hangs lower than the curtain rod.

I know that they say don’t keep things just because someday you might need them… but hen’s teeth, we almost always end up using the old stuff… sometimes it takes 30 years to get around to it though. It is a calculated risk.

Posted this entry and forgot the picture I had taken of the Tamarack! It looses its needles for the winter, they are back again.

Tamarack Spring 2018 Ontario Canada Tamarack in spring, Ontario, Canada.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 10:00 AM EDT Wednesday 30 May 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 22.9°C
Dew point: 10.5°C
Humidity: 45%
Wind: SSE 5 gust 28 km/h
Humidex: 24
Visibility: 24 km


“Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash.”
George S. Patton
1885 – 1945

Fruity Hint

Sometimes mistakes can yield surprising results. This morning I was half asleep when I prepared my mug of coffee. I reached into the refrigerator, on autopilot, took out the cranberry juice instead of the milk, and poured it into my coffee. Shaking my head at my distracted state, I put the juice back into the refrigerator, pulled out the milk and maple syrup, my usual condiments for coffee, and added the usual amounts. The coffee was lovely, the fruity hint was very pleasant.

After a series of sunny mild days, today began with cloud cover, which dissipated over the course of the morning to bring us back to another sunny day. It is cooler than it has been, but still well above freezing.

Having spent the last few days cleaning Iris, other projects beckon. The curtains in Iris need tie backs, so it is time to get out the fabric scrap tote and rummage around for something nice, in yellow, because the formica table top is yellow, and because yellow is bright. I like bright.

The list of things needed from the fabric store is getting longer. Curtain clips are needed for the new dining area curtains, which are currently functional but hanging in a decidedly bizarre manner. Decorative binding is needed for the sleeve ends on my 23 year old parka, the edges are now fraying, I’ve left it too long.

It is time to get back out there for my daily walks, an activity that was suspended while cleaning Iris the trailer. It is wonderful to enjoy watching the birds enjoy themselves.

Last January Attila applied for a different job where he works, and this morning he was interviewed. Next there will be a battery of tests to pass, then who knows, there is no timeline on the process. The outcome is merely interesting, as things are fine just the way they are, no changes are necessary to enjoy life.

Volunteer Work

Next week wraps up some of the volunteer work I have been involved with for the last eight months. It has been challenging, interesting, and low profile. If I said more about it, the low profile aspect to it would be spoiled. I value the low profile aspect of the work. I was very happy to have the opportunity to be involved with it, as it tapped some of my talents, that have gone unused since I left the academy.

The Rideau Camp

I have been thinking about the wealth that our Rideau Camp has brought into our lives. Attila and I both value time alone in the bush, we both find it soothing and rejuvenating. At the Rideau Camp there are just the two of us, and although we touch base with each other frequently, most of our time is spent on solitary activities that allow us to be completely alone in the forest. There is nothing quite like being alone with yourself in the bush, and since we own the land, there are no other people to interrupt the peacefulness of it. Our spirits are much calmer for having such a haven. It is a Waldeny experience, if one needs to ground it in a literary sense.

The Rideau Camp is unlike the country house, which was in the bush, our Rideau Camp has no buildings to maintain, nor are the neighbours near enough to be seen, although occasionally they are heard. We need only enjoy our Rideau Camp, much as Attila and I enjoyed the bush when we were children.

Preparing Iris for a stay at the Rideau Camp is fun, and a much smaller project than owning a cottage in the country, particularly one that needs to be heated all winter. This winter Iris will be all tucked up in the yard at Mist Cottage, sitting quietly without needing attention until next spring. But I am getting ahead of myself here, we are still looking forward to Iris’ maiden voyage.

Bedroom Curtains

Our old windows are covered by old curtains, sort of. The living room hosts the curtains left by the previous owners at the country house when we bought it. I recently shortened them to fit the living room windows, and they will do nicely until we replace the windows. The front bedroom hosted heavily lined blackout curtains, that were custom made for the family room in the huge home I owned with my first husband. They are incredibly well made, almost 40 years old and every bit as nice as they were the day they were made, but not quite so stylish now as they were then. The back bedroom curtains are inexpensive, bright and light, cotton dollar store shower curtains, which I like very much. Attila sleeps during the day in the back bedroom, so the nice and light aspect wasn’t really working in there. I decided to hang the blackout curtains in the room where Attila sleeps during the day, and the bright light shower curtains in the front bedroom where they would let in the morning sun. Attila moved the heavy boxes blocking the windows out of my way and I was off to the races. An hour later the curtains had been switched, and we now have a more functional living space.

We have reached a plateau in our renovation and purging. We really cannot move forward until the garden shed is repaired and made functional. The basement and the garage are in a state of semi-chaos, waiting for the garden shed to open up more storage space. when the dust has settled after the garden shed is updated, which may take the whole summer/fall season, we will have to decide what project we want to work on next.

Genealogy Book

I keep thinking that I need to get working again on my genealogy book. The devil is in the details, and there are oodles of details. It took a very long time to find a way to prepare for print, the images related to just one person, My Great Aunt Mary Ann.

Currently I am working on preparing a timeline table of my Great Great Grandfather’s life, and the life of my Great Great Great Uncle, so that I can demonstrate why I theorize they are one and the same person, and to emphasize why I cannot definitively state that they are same person. This fellow is a lot of work, and none of the four or five other researchers in my family line have found any documents to pin down who he was. The female researchers are much more open to the possibility that he was the same man, while the male researchers are a lot more reluctant to entertain thoughts that he may have been, since that would mean he was a bigamist. I tend to think I am right about him being the same man, because Great Great Grandpa surrounded his existence with mystery, no documents exist to tell us about where he came from, who his parents were, where he died, or where he was buried. If I were a bigamist that is exactly the approach I would take. The family story told to generations is that he was murdered for his money, but even that story is fraught with conflicting evidence in the records. I have the data collated for this table, but fitting it onto a printed page is taking some time. After that the table is ready for print, the discussion about it needs to be cohesively written.

That is just two people out of the hundreds that will be described in the book. They are the most controversial though, it will be easier going when Great Great Grandfather Alexander, and his daughter Mary Ann have been dealt with to my satisfaction.

And then of course there are the references, which are formatted in a higgledy piggledy way, using different conventions. This will not do, I am trying to rewrite them as I go along, but there are hundreds and hundreds of them to deal with, and this will take time.

I tend to work on this difficult beginning to the book in short spurts, taking long breaks to think about the approach I am taking, and to search for data that may have been missed.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 10:00 AM EDT Thursday 21 April 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 11.1°C
Dewpoint: -1.6°C
Humidity: 41%
Wind: SE 7 km/h


“There were many selfish people about these days, people who seemed not to care if they scraped the cars of others or bumped into people while waking on the street. Mma Ramotswe knew that this was what happened when towns became bigger and people became strangers to one another; she knew too that this was a consequence of increasing prosperity, which, curiously enough, just seemed to bring out greed and selfishness.
Life was far better, though Mma Ramotswe, if we knew who we were. In the days when she was a schoolgirl in the Mooched the village in which she had been born, everybody had known exactly who you were, and they often knew exactly who your parents, and your parents’ parents, had been…”
The No. 1 Detective Agency Series, Book 6, The Company of Cheerful Ladies
Alexander McCall Smith