Mountains

Friday, April 24, 2015
Country House

Yesterday I woke up at 3:55 a.m., and did not go back to sleep. I was too excited to sleep, and had a lot to do!

The first thing I did was lie about in bed for an hour with Diesel. He loves cuddling up in the bed, lying next to me with his front legs draped over my arm. It would be the last of this shared morning ritual, at least for now, so I wanted it to be a good one.

At 4:55 a.m. I was up, wandering around, coffee cup in hand, making sure all the last minute things were tossed into boxes and lined up at the door. By 5:10 a.m. I had finished my coffee, eaten my breakfast, and started to load the car. By 5:38 a.m. I was setting off out of the driveway. Light was just beginning to filter into the sky. I drove for four hours, with one stop for fuel, two hours into the journey. At 9:38 a.m. I wheeled into the town near our country house, with the list of things Attila needed from town. By 11:00 a.m. I was home!

It started snowing as I headed north near the beginning of the trip. Sometimes it snowed hard, and sometimes it snowed wet, and sometimes it cleared up a bit. The road was wet and clear despite the snow, except for one stretch where it had accumulated on the road into a slushy mess. It was snowing when I got to the country house, it snowed last night, and it is snowing again today. Yikes!

I am too busy to notice the weather right now. The stack of backed up administrative paperwork is, well, it is staggering, it is a mountain. Yesterday I worked to organize it, I sorted it into piles. I also did things like activate my credit card, which had to be done from the telephone here at the country house. There were several missives in the mail that required that I go online to fill in forms, which I could not do from the little house because all the required reference documents are here at the country house.

Now to the good part of the day yesterday. Attila! He managed to come home for lunch, so that we didn’t have to wait until evening to see each other. I spent some time in the morning yesterday, cooking a rice and bean casserole for our lunch. So, at last, we were sitting across the table from one another eating beans! What can I tell you, it was one of life’s special moments.

Today I am at it again! Two of my clients had issues with their web sites, so I resolved the problems. I had to spend an hour or so on the line with their web hosts to get it sorted, it helps so much that they have authorized me to work on their accounts, I can accomplish a lot more when I don’t keep having to seek permission to do things with their accounts. Sometimes these little issues seem like a big deal to people if they are not familiar with how the sites work. Luckily the fixes were simple, quick and easy. Everyone is happy!

Yesterday I sorted the paperwork that was here at the country house. Today I was hoping to sort the paperwork I brought back with me, but it doesn’t look like I am going to get that far, at least not today!

Laundry! Over the last two weeks I saved my dirty laundry for the country house, where we have a washer and dryer of our own. I have been doing laundry since yesterday afternoon, and I am not done yet! The drying rack is at the little house in the city, as I needed it down there. I washed my laundry at the laundromat all winter, and hung it up to dry in the house. I waited with these last loads though, to come home to the country house. I don’t like laundromats. I have met some lovely people there, but then I have also had to spend time around people I didn’t want to make eye contact with. Attila compares laundromats to sleazy bars, full of unhappy people. He has a point. But only to a point, because after all, I was there!

Today was bill paying day, and Attila and I are very happy that the financial crunch came, and the financial crunch went. We paid back the money we robbed from Peter to pay Paul. Now Peter and Paul are both happy. It works for everyone!

As I am sorting paperwork, cooking, doing laundry, sitting and talking to Mist, I am also getting distracted by computer work that needs to be done. I just realized that Google hits my old site files first, and has decided not index this site because the original journal was hand coded html, created long before cell phone use was common. I’ll have to change that, I have a few ideas, but I won’t be trying implement anything until after the country house goes on the market.

I also found a better program to handle the book I am currently writing, and have purchased it and downloaded it. I want to play with it now! But the paperwork and the cleaning have claimed my time, for now at least.

The house is not ready to go on the market. It is a lot closer than it was when I left to stay at the little house for the winter. Attila replaced the baseboards in the family room, and it is a big improvement. Other than the bathroom floor replacement, and a few little maintenance jobs, we are down to cleaning. Heating with wood is a messy business, we have a lot of cleaning to do!

We hope that by the end of next week we will have progressed far enough to bring in the realtors for evaluations. Then we will need to chose a realtor, pick a price, and get the sign up at the end of the driveway.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

2°C
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Friday 24 April 2015
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 1.7°C
Dewpoint: -7.9°C
Humidity: 49%
Wind: WNW 26 km/h

Quote

“There are two ways of exerting one’s strength: one is pushing down, the other is pulling up.”
Booker T. Washington
1856 – 1915

[It seems to me that big business and politicians believe in talking up while pushing down.]

Tea’s Ready

5:00 a.m., Saturday, April 4, 2015, Little House in the City

At 3:00 a.m. I was wide awake, and fighting dark thoughts. It happens. The dark thoughts are real, they are relevant, it isn’t worry, it is stark reality. At 3:00 a.m. the dark thoughts seem like the only reality. And that isn’t true. It isn’t true at all. So I spent the wee hours awake, giving the dark side of reality its due, working my way towards putting it all into perspective. By first light, the job was done.

It certainly helped to have Diesel cuddling up to me, as I pondered life, the universe, and everything! He is such an affectionate cat. He has taken to sleeping nose to nose with me. Most of the time I don’t mind this, but this morning he sneezed, and my face got splattered. That had me up in hurry, to wash my face! My first reaction though, was to laugh out loud. Cats do not like to be laughed at! Diesel soon recovered though, and we were best of friends again by the time my face dried.

It was snowing out this morning! It won’t stick around long. The sky was grey though, not very cheerful. On overcast days I like to turn on a few extra interior lights, to keep it cheerful. By 8:00 a.m. the sun was shining bright. How beautiful it is! The fresh fallen snow had melted away already.

I have been testing different nutritional analysis software, for my own use. I prefer not to use an online service, as the internet is not reliable, and there are times and places in my life that it isn’t available at all. I upgraded my recipe software to a version with USDA data, which will analyze my recipes, and also allow me to use my recipes as ingredients. This is handy for things like home canned beans, which I use as an ingredient.

We have eaten almost all of the beans I canned during the last pressure canning session, so next week I plan on putting in a few days canning beans. They are so nutritious, and relatively inexpensive.

I am very keen to setup a canning equipment storage area in the basement here at the little house in the city. The basement is unfinished, dusty, and has a lot of little critters in it, like spiders. I don’t mind these things, but the jars stored as they are now in open boxes, need a lot of preparation time devoted to cleaning. The new system I have in mind was one written about on a blog, she used clear plastic bins with lids, to store the empty canning jars, so that they were clean when she needed them and just needed to be rinsed before use.

What canning means at our house, is that the blue box is relatively empty. When we use a “can” of beans, or tomatoes, the container is recycled by us, we use the jars again and again and again. That means we have jars everywhere! That is why a good storage system is so interesting to me.

We have started to filter tap water for drinking purposes. This has a huge impact on the blue box as well. The blue box now only contains the occasional can from canned goods, soda water cans, plastics, and paper products. The blue box now takes about a month to fill.

The compost heap in the back yard has been great to have! I would like to build a box around it, as right now it is just a heap. The heap works well, very well, but a box surrounding the heap would be more visually appealing. We don’t have any issues with animals because we never ever put out meat or fat waste, that goes in the garbage. Right now I am generating about one grocery bag of garbage a month.

We are planning a garden again this spring, here at the little house in the city. Terra added our seed order to hers, to reduce shipping costs. Who knows how often we will be here at the little house to tend a garden during the summer!

Attila is expecting to arrive this evening. He will stay overnight, and head north to the country house tomorrow, and back to work on Monday. We are switching vehicles, I will need the little car to park for my appointment at the Orthopaedic Clinic this month. Tank is too tall for the parking garage! There is no other affordable parking near the hospital, and I won’t be walking long distances with my knee. So we will switch, and Tank will be heading north tomorrow with Attila.

The vehicle switch is just as well, as I will be doing most of the travelling between homes now that the weather is more predictable. There is a house to put on the market in the north, and a yard that requires a lot of maintenance in the spring in the south. It will be a busy spring and summer for me! It is a given that Attila will have a busy spring and summer, as he will continue to work six days a week, and will soon be adding many hours of overtime to that.

And now I think I will sit myself down at the kitchen table and have that cup of tea!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Little House in the City
-1°C
Date: 7:12 AM EDT Saturday 4 April 2015
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 5 km
Temperature: -1.2°C
Dewpoint: -2.0°C
Humidity: 94%
Wind: NW 20 km/h
Wind Chill: -7

Country House
-5°C
Date: 7:00 AM EDT Saturday 4 April 2015
Condition: Sunny
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -4.6°C
Dewpoint: -10.4°C
Humidity: 64%
Wind: NW 17 km/h
Wind Chill: -11

Quote

“It was his subconscious which told him this—that infuriating part of a person’s brain which never responds to interrogation, merely gives little meaningful nudges and then sits humming quietly to itself, saying nothing.”
Douglas Adams 1952-2001
The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

“Two qualities are indispensable: first, an intellect that, even in the darkest hour, retains some glimmerings of the inner light which leads to truth; and second, the courage to follow this faint light wherever it may lead.”
Carl von Clausewitz
1780-1831

A Happy Day

Diesel and I slept through the worst of the frigid night, warm enough at 16C. The cold snap continues. Attila is holding up well, he was cheerful enough when I talked to him pre-dawn this morning, I could hear the crackling of the fire in the masonry heater as we chatted. Neither abode received any overnight snowfall, for that at least we are grateful. The weather people say the temperatures should begin to rise towards normal by the end of the weekend. We shall see!

Yesterday it snowed most of the day, and the plough went through mid-day. The five inch thick, slushy mess at the end of the driveway needed to be shifted. That would be me! I struggled with it for a few hours and got it cleared. It is getting tricky for me, because the banks near the road are shoulder high now, and that is a long way up for me and my snow shovel. Still, little loads, many times, and eventually the job gets done. No new snow this morning, and the sun is shining, so I have a much appreciated reprieve from shovelling. The kind neighbour across the street has gone south for the next month or so, I surely miss him! I don’t blame him though, Attila and I would love to follow suit.

To keep active, a shopping trip to Walmart was planned. The trip provided a good long walk, cruising up and down the aisles. When my back began to ache, I headed for the checkout, to pay a whole $4.03 for my spinach, bananas, fresh ginger root, and fresh garlic.

Later in the day I grabbed the full compost bucket, and a dustpan, threw on my parka, slipped into my boots, and headed out to the compost at the back of the yard. Attila had shovelled out a path for me, as my last trip was exhausting, battling through knee deep snow. This trip was not nearly so challenging. I dug into the snow at the compost pile with the dustpan, dumped the greenery into it, then used the dustpan to shovel snow back onto it, to prevent the brisk wind gusts from scattering the future soil. As I turned and headed back to the house, I had to stop and enjoy the scene. The wind was brisk and frigid, the sky a brilliant blue, the air clean and invigorating, the naked trees danced with each gust of wind.

And now I am sitting comfortably in my easy chair, and Diesel is nestled comfortably on his human, me. He is a big cat, so in order to type on the keyboard, I have to turn to the side of the chair and reach onto the small table where the computer rests. Diesel watches me, occasionally becoming annoyed with the computer, bunting his head against it hard enough to move it. I persevere, and Diesel forgives me. What happy days that allow these simple pleasures such great importance.

I am looking forward to chatting with Attila later tonight, to hear how his day went, out there in the arctic cold.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Little House in the City

-19°C
Date: 7:00 AM EST Monday 23 February 2015
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 103.2 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -19.3°C
Dewpoint: -24.9°C
Humidity: 62%
Wind: NNW 14 km/h
Wind Chill: -28

Country House

-25°C
Date: 7:00 AM EST Monday 23 February 2015
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 103.3 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -25.2°C
Dewpoint: -28.5°C
Humidity: 75%
Wind:WNW 9 km/h
Wind Chill: -33

Quote

“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

Friday The Thirteenth

Friday, February 13, 2015

I guess I’ve been lucky all through my life. Friday the thirteenth has not been a day related to bad luck in my world. With one notable exception, one person who was born on a Friday the Thirteenth was an exceptionally negative element in my life for many years, changing the course of my path significantly. All water under the bridge now, but it was difficult to cope with at the time. I need to acknowledge that one black mark against Friday the Thirteenth in my reverie, as I acknowledging reality, which although it can be harsh, is crucial to my mental health. For me, acknowledging harsh realities is not the same as giving them power to darken how I see the world. Quite the opposite really, placing them in light of day puts them where I can see them, so that they can be easily balanced with the realities that fill most of my life, which are positive. Dark forces rely on darkness and denial to maintain their power.

Yesterday Terra and Lares arrived early to drive me to my appointment with the Orthopaedic Surgeon. It was just my luck that the snow plough drove by just after they called to say they were on their way. There was a six inch pile of mushy slushy junk across the end of the driveway. If the weather report had predicted warmer temperatures for the day, I would have left it. But the thermometer was to drop during the day, and I didn’t want a huge ice barrier left across the end of the driveway during the cold snap. So out I want with my shovel. I cleared the end of the driveway and was just finishing with that when Terra and Lares drove up. They stopped the end of the driveway, jumped out, grabbed the snow shovel from me, and finished most of the driveway. Then Lares rummaged in the garage and found a bag of snow melt, brought it out and applied it to the shovelled area.

It was interesting, when I looked up from my shovel as they came down the street, Terra was driving, and Lares had his hand across his eyes and was shaking his head. I do believe he was shaking his head because I was out there shovelling snow so they could get in! Terra tells me I am very independent! I don’t think she always approves of that, but as long as I can, I will be doing things for myself. Then, when I can’t do things for myself, I will ask for help and be thankful for it!

My appointment was interesting and extremely beneficial. I was almost immediately escorted to an examination room, and interviewed for intake. The surgeon arrived within minutes and we reviewed my knee issue. He sent me next door for x-rays, and then I was back in the examination room. Soon afterward, it is a teaching hospital, the Intern arrived and reviewed the problem, did an examination, and left. A short time later he arrived back with the surgeon himself, to discuss the x-rays, and treatment.

The upshot is that I have early arthritis in the knee, and mild meniscus damage. Surgery would be premature. I am relieved! I opted for a shot of cortisone under the knee cap to aid in healing, which turned out to be the truly time consuming aspect of the visit. The cortisone was allergen free, but the anesthetic was not. Since it is a teaching hospital, this eventuality was not regarded as an annoyance, as it has in similar circumstances, in three other hospitals where I have received treatment. Just the opposite, the allergen was regarded as an interesting problem to solve! And they did solve it, eventually bringing an alternative anaesthetic from the pharmacy at the hospital. If they had not found the alternative anaesthetic, they were prepared to do the injection without an anaesthetic. I would have gone through with it even then, but was extremely relieved that they were able to locate an allergen free product. The shot did not hurt, just a very strong feeling of pressure. My knee felt almost immediately better. We had to stay at the hospital for an additional half an hour, waiting to ensure I did not have an allergic reaction, before leaving the proximity of the emergency department. All was well.

Ongoing, I will be taking a temporary course of painkillers, attending physiotherapy, and beginning to go for walks again, lengthening my walks slowly as the days go by. I have a follow-up appointment in two months, to see how this regime is working. The surgeon emphasized that the exercises provided to me by the physiotherapist are crucial, and must be done EVERY day. I find that much routine difficult to maintain, but the alternative is pain, so it is a priority!

Diesel was a bit disoriented when I arrived home. He really would like me to stay put, here in the house! It is partly because he likes to sleep on my bed, and could not. I put the cyclamen in the bedroom while I was away, and shut the door to keep him from getting into it. I spent a few hours with him sleeping on my lap; he felt a lot better for it.

This morning was an early one here at the little house in the city. At 4:09 a.m. I was ready to get up and get started with my day. I had a lot to accomplish during the morning hours. It was recycling day, so the recyclables had to be gathered and brought to the curb early. It was pay day, so bills needed to be paid. A computer support visit was scheduled for the morning hours, which I needed to prepare for. AND, the big event, Attila was packing the car and getting ready to travel to the little house in the city! Anticipation about Attila’s visit is probably what inspired the early rising this morning.

Cold! What a cold day! Tank started up without issue, the new battery is working well.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Attila arrived safely on Friday afternoon, in time to share a hearty lunch!

He gave me a Valentine’s Day surprise. He made me Chocolates with cherry centres! They are my favourite!

Attila shovelled the snow off the garage roof, and it only took him about an hour. He started to carve out a path to the front door, and came in for a short break in the warmth of the house. While he was in the house the neighbour from across the street snuck over with his snowblower and cleared the path to the house! What a guy!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

We have been enjoying our time together immensely. Friday we did our shopping, and took the little car in for a lube and oil change, then we settled in for the weekend. It has been a cold one!

This morning there was another mound of snow across the driveway, but Attila took care of that in less than thirty minutes. We spent the rest of the day just hanging out, watching a movie, cooking, puttering. It was lovely.

Attila leave in the morning to return to the country house. The masonry heater will have discharged in his absence and he will need at least three full firings to recharge it. So, he must arrive home in time to chop the wood and accomplish two firings in the masonry heater tomorrow, before dark.

Diesel and I are going to miss Attila. Mist is going to be very glad to see him. She has been safe and warm in the country house, which is being heated with electric heaters in Attila’s absence. The cost of this visit will be high, as heating the country house with electricity, in this extreme cold, will be pricey. It was worth it though, to be able to spend a little time together.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Little House in the City

EXTREME COLD WARNING IN EFFECT
-25°C (-13)
Date: 5:00 AM EST Friday 13 February 2015
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 102.4 kPa
Tendency: rising
Temperature: -24.5°C
Dewpoint: -29.0°C
Humidity: 66%
Wind: W 6 km/h
Wind Chill: -30 (-22F)

-20°C (-4F)
Date: 8:00 PM EST Sunday 15 February 2015
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.6 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -20.4°C
Dewpoint: -27.7°C
Humidity: 53%
Wind: NNW 26 gust 38 km/h
Wind Chill: -32 (-25.6F)

Country House

EXTREME COLD WARNING IN EFFECT
-28°C (-18.4F)
Observed at: Muskoka Airport
Date: 5:00 AM EST Friday 13 February 2015
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -28.3°C
Dewpoint: -31.1°C
Humidity: 78%
Wind: NW 8 km/h
Wind Chill: -36 (-32.8F)

-24°C (-11.2F)
Date: 9:00 PM EST Sunday 15 February 2015
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 103.1 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -23.7°C
Dewpoint: -30.7°C
Humidity: 54%
Wind: WNW 9 km/h
Wind Chill: -31 (-23.8F)

Quote

“I have to say, this global “warming” is turning out to be quite a disappointment.”
Attila, after coming into the house after shovelling the drive, in the wind with a a -38 wind chill factor, February 2015.

Visitor

We are getting our blizzard tonight! Nothing so serious as the conditions in Massachusetts, but wild looking nevertheless. The winds are gusting to 68 km/h, which is whipping the snow past the windows. I will be shovelling snow again tomorrow!

My birthday has come and gone. I was a bit leery about spending my birthday by myself, but my misgivings were unfounded. I had a grand day indeed. After chatting with Attila in the morning, over a cup of coffee, I read for a while, and puttered about the house. Then I put on my winter glad rags and headed off to one of the local grocery stores, the one that is a little more “up market”. I had a few things on my list, but mostly I was determined to find something special for my birthday. And that I did. I bought myself two potted plants, a red kalanchoe, and a pink and white cyclamen. Then I decided to treat myself to “junk” food for my birthday. I bought two beautiful avocados, and a bag of organic corn chips. I also splurged on a pint of fresh blueberries. I spent the rest of the day reading, watching movies, and snacking on guacamole and corn chips, and eating fresh blueberries. What decadence. I received birthday greetings from my sisters, my Mom, and friends. Terra and Lares dropped by for bit, with a chocolate bar for me, and a candle for me to blow out. Luna took a video of the Grandbabies singing Happy Birthday to me, and it was grand! I called Luna and we chatted for quite a while. Unfortunately the Grandbabies and Janus had already left to go skiing for the day, so I missed talking to them. And then of course, my day ended with a lovely FaceTime chat with Attila. It was a grand birthday!

And I made a discovery as a result of my culinary indulgences. I found out that blueberries are marvellous when sprinkled on a toast with peanut butter.

My Visitor: Diesel
Diesel

Yesterday Terra and Lares arrived with Diesel, one of their three cats. Diesel is about seven or eight years old, and he is extremely affectionate and good natured. He does not like dogs, and so was staying hidden in upper floor of Terra’s house, where the dogs were not allowed to go. He was a bit lonely up there though, so Terra though that he might benefit from having some time as an “only cat”. Of course the benefits will be mutual, I will gain some much appreciated company. He took to the house immediately, exploring every nook and cranny. It is a little house, so that did not take long. Then he hid when Lares brother and brother’s girlfriend arrived to pick them up. Diesel stayed in hiding for about a half an hour, then emerged to ask for some attention. We sat on the couch, me petting, him purring. Last night he slept with me, at the foot of the bed.

Terra will miss Diesel; she loves her pets. He is only visiting, and will go home when I return to the country house in the spring or early summer.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

The Little House in the City

SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT IN EFFECT – snow and high winds
-2°C
Date: 4:12 PM EST Thursday 29 January 2015
Condition: Light Snowshower
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 2 km
Temperature: -1.6°C
Dewpoint: -5.5°C
Humidity: 75%
Wind: S 47 gust 68 km/h
Wind Chill: -10

The Country House

SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT IN EFFECT – freezing drizzle
-5°C
Date: 5:48 PM EST Thursday 29 January 2015
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 100.7 kPa
Visibility: 5 km
Temperature: -5.2°C
Dewpoint: -5.7°C
Humidity: 96%
Wind: calm

Quote

“Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.”
G. K. Chesterton
1874 – 1936