2016 Retrospective

Although the calendar year is a mere human artifact, it is one that is familiar to me, and so has meaning in my life. It is time to say farewell to 2016.

A year in retrospect, the highlights.

At the end of the years I always think of A Tale Of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Who is to know what will come, I think to myself. How will we know until the end what was the best, and what was the worst, I ask myself.

The year began with Attila starting on regular night shift at his job. This was a big improvement over working rotating shifts, as he had done since our move to Mist Cottage the previous September. By May he had been offered a promotion to a position that was day shift, and allowed weekends off. This was the first time since we have been together that he has had weekends off, it felt like a miracle, and it still does.

Early winter also saw my Mom facing cancer treatment. There was worry involved for those of us who love her. Not a whine or a whimper escaped her though. She underwent radiation therapy with incredible courage, in her typical indomitable way. And now at the end of a very long year for my Mom, she is cancer free, and recovering from the severe effects of radiation treatment. The side effects of the radiation treatment were severe, and are ongoing. Mom seems to have made her peace with the reality, and has resumed almost all of her previous activities, and is a going concern once more. Sometimes I am in awe of my Mom.

Mom 1945 6 Parry Sound High School picture My Mom at the age of 15, cropped from a school picture, at the end of the second world war.

In the spring of 2016 Attila and I found and purchased the Rideau Camp. We spent every spare minute working there, clearing brambles, brush, dead trees, logs, and garbage. We built a fire pit and a compost toilet system. It was easily the happiest spring of my life, and Attila feels the same way about it.

DSCF8642 This is the Rideau Camp at the end of May, 2016. At this point we had owned the property for seven weeks, the brambles that covered the flat area between the gravel and the wood pile had been cleared and burned by then. We were preparing the camp fire pit, and enjoying picnics every weekend at the Camp.

We also purchased Iris the trailer during the spring. She is a 1976/7 Triple E Surfside trailer, in reasonable condition. We enjoyed camping at our Rideau Camp, and at our Ancestral Camp.

TrailerWEB Iris, on March 5, when we picked her up. It snowed that day!

Also in the early spring we demolished the garden shed at Mist Cottage, and Attila replaced it with a solidly built shed. This project was to take only a few weeks, but the summer had other plans for our time, and it was finally completed in late October. Attila also installed a dishwasher in August, and I must say it is game changer in the kitchen, we love it!

DSCF9742 The renewed Garden Shed, ready for duty at last on October 9, solid and roomy and hopefully mouse proof!

NewImage The new dishwasher. Our counter space is limited, you can see all of it in the photo, and it makes a huge difference when the dirty dishes are piled in the appliance and not on the counters. It also takes little time to wash and air dry the dishes, which are very easy to put away in such a small kitchen.

In late spring Sunny and Sky were born, 7 weeks premature. They were in NICU for six weeks, and Sky had a few touch and go moments. They came home with Terra and Lares, began to thrive, and are beautiful babies. One of Sky’s middle names is Robert, my brother Carl’s middle name, which is just a coincidence as the babie’s middle names are all after Lares side of the family, but it gives me comfort nevertheless.

FullSizeRender Sunny (left) and Sky (right) at 5 months (Gestational 3 months).

We had our first ever summer vacation last July. It was an event we anticipated with great excitement. It just goes to show you that you never know what is around the corner. After spending a few days at our Ancestral Camp, we returned home, then received the news that my brother had suffered a massive heart attack and lay unconscious in a hospital in Toronto. He experienced cardiac arrest for 15 minutes before being resuscitated, and never regained consciousness; my Mom, and all of my siblings were by his side through the long days of hope and disappointment. His funeral was held weeks later. Losing my brother was a profound experience for me, we were babies together, I feel his absence to the core of my being. Carl was an organ donor, and saved three lives.

LittleBrother1970sAtGrannys My brother Carl, at Granny and Grandpa’s house. He returned to spend time at the house almost every year, and that is where we experienced our reunion the summer before last.

By August my blood pressure was high, very high, and would not come down, even after quadrupling my medication. I began a round of doctors appointments at the walk-in-clinic (after more than a year, we still can’t find a family doctor), and had a nuclear stress test on my heart (normal!). The levels slowly lowered, but are still in the “high blood pressure” range. In September I adopted a low-sodium, low-sugar diet, and began taking Apple Cider Vinegar before each meal, which helped. By October I had decided to reduce the ineffective and redundant medication dosage back to the original low dosage, which made no difference at all, but I did find that discontinuing the medication resulted in my blood pressure skyrocketing again, so went back to taking the low dosage. The dietary changes are an intense experience, because something like a pickle and piece of bread could put me over my daily limit for sodium. I also found that food without sodium or sugar is not all that interesting, so that as soon as hunger is satisfied, I stop eating. I no longer eat for pleasure, because it is not pleasurable, just necessary. There has been a slight weight loss.

The most significant feature of 2016 has been that we live at Mist Cottage, and that Attila has regular working hours and weekends off. These two situations are game changers, and have improved our experience of life immeasurably.

It was a year of much joy and deep sorrow.

P.S. I invite you to share the highlights of your 2016, would love to hear them!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 7:05 AM EST Saturday 31 December 2016
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -4.3°C
Dew point: -6.3°C
Humidity: 86%
Wind: E 18 km/h
Wind Chill: -10
Visibility: 3 km


“You better live your best and act your best and think your best today, for today is the sure preparation for tomorrow and all the other tomorrows that follow.”
Harriet Martineau
1802 – 1876

A Series of Wonderful Events

A cluster of wonderful things are happening for the people around me, just at the moment. Life can be like that, with the good, and the bad, a series of events can take your breath away. I’ve had both in my life, clusters of negative events, and clusters of positive events. I like the clusters of positive events the best!

Closest to home is the good news that came for Attila yesterday. Last January he applied for a better position with the company he works for. He was interviewed last month, and had to take tests after that. Yesterday he got the call, he got the job. The pay is a bit better, which is great, because at the present pay level every single penny counts, so more penny’s are most welcome. But the real bonus, the most wonderful part of the new job, is that at least for the foreseeable future Attila will be working days! Imagine that, no sleep schedules to contend with, hooray! Of course Attila will be taking on more responsibility and will have to learn yet another set of skills, but he will get into the rhythm of that within weeks. I don’t think it will take us very long to get used to the day shift, as we have been lucky enough to have worked the day shift most of our lives. Attila’s good fortune affects my life directly.

Within the family good news came last week for my sister-the-oldest-girl. Her daughter was accepted into medical school in Ontario. My niece has worked long and hard at university for the last four years to achieve this goal. My sister has worked hard to finance my niece’s education. So this is great news for their family! Now the hard work begins for my niece!

More good new within the family for my my sister-the-youngest-girl. Her youngest daughter completed her undergraduate degree. My sister has successfully seen all three of her children through to completing their university degrees.

Well, that is three, the usual cluster of events in my experience. This was a very good cluster I think, a lot of positive life changing events.

This is our first weekend of the new day shift schedule, we have both Saturday and Sunday off, and Attila does not have to sleep during the day on Sunday so that he can work Sunday night. Since the weather is cloudy, rainy, and cool, we decided to stay home at Mist Cottage and putter with domestic chores. Today Attila will be pruning trees, I will be spraying clothing with permethrin and replacing the drawer linings in Iris. We will head out to the camp for a brief visit later in the week, on a sunny day, to see what it looks like with the leaves out, determine how bad the biting bugs are, and decide what next needs doing before we take Iris out for her maiden voyage.

Another cool and rainy day here, green growing things are looking perky. I decided to move one piece of furniture in the living room to a new and better location. But, that meant that almost every other piece of furniture in the living room had to be moved too, and everything had to be cleaned. That one little decision, to move one piece of furniture, took over the whole day. Yikes, small space living is exciting!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 7:00 AM EDT Saturday 14 May 2016
Condition: Mist
Pressure: 100.6 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 6 km
Temperature: 9.9°C
Dewpoint: 8.8°C
Humidity: 93%
Wind: SSE 9 km/h


We must not allow the clock and the calendar to blind us to the fact that each moment of life is a miracle and mystery.
H. G. Wells
1866 – 1946