A Day In The Life

6:40 a.m.

Dawn is slowly creeping over the landscape. Another morning begins. Attila has left for work, the roads are clear and dry for now, so his journey will be relatively safe.

The Christmas tree branches have relaxed and settled into a comfortable position, the tree occupies a third of the available floor space in the living room. Although it is crowded, it is cozy in this small space we call home. I have no plans for the day, aside from getting out for my daily walk.

7:10 a.m.

While sipping my morning coffee, and enjoying the Christmas lights on the tree and in the window, I have been thinking about our purging project. We passed along our 1961 Electrolux vacuum cleaner and accessories to our niece and her fiancé. I have two binders of genealogical records that I will be gifting to another family history researcher, but the the arrangements to drop them off have yet to be made. There are two bank boxes full of vintage Mac software that will be donated to a collector, which Terra will pick up tomorrow, to take to Luna’s house when they get together for Christmas, from where the collector will pick them up. There is a box of clothing and dishes to be donated to the Salvation Army Store, and our old broken VCR to be dropped off at the electronic recycling bin. And then there is the box of home video VHS tapes, which has dwindled and will hopefully be completely converted to mp4 files before Christmas arrives. All of these items, with the exception of the binders, take up precious floor space.

My mind wanders to imagining what items in the house can go next.

We are making progress. A year ago we were still maneuvering our way through tunnels of boxes and belongings. Two years ago I was living alone here at Mist Cottage, with Diesel the cat for company, missing Attila horribly and hoping a move would work out. Three years ago we were struggling through a brutally cold and snowy winter at the country house, and I was waging a losing battle with cabin fever. We are making progress.

8:00 a.m.

Every time the forced air heating system kicks in, the air moves past the Christmas tree and fills the house with a delicious scent of pine. Another reason to love a furnace and a thermostat, not that I needed one.

11:20 a.m.

The sun was shining so I grabbed the opportunity to get out for my walk. There was quite a brisk wind, and temperature was around -5C, so it was nippier out there than we have been used to. I could only go part of the my usual route though, the sidewalk became increasingly difficult to navigate, with mounds of ice where people had dropped shovelfuls of snow. By the time I neared home the sky was overcast and it looked like we could get some snowfall.

The next few hours found me organizing my keys, they were quite chaotic. We have keys to two doors to the house, the trailer, the shed, our two vehicles, the mailbox, and a various other locks. I always destroy a fingernail when organizing keys, so now I have one very hacked up, sore fingernail to contend with until it grows out and can be trimmed evenly. But my keys are very well organized now, I must say.

While I was working on the keys, I became involved in cleaning out my backpack. I carry it as a purse, and haven’t tackled organizing it for quite some time. Another big job. One of the bonuses was that I found my Medic Alter bracelet. I wear a Medic Alert necklace, but many medical professionals fail to notice it. I want to wear the bracelet every time I visit a medical person, so I am glad I found it. It is too annoying to wear day-to-day.

Finally I sat down to take a little break and check my email. I receive email notices of free or cost reduced ebooks. Most of what is on offer I am not interested in, but this morning I found a book I am interested in reading. It is called “Letters From The Trenches”, by Jacqueline Wadsworth. It was 99 cents, well within my budget. I like first hand accounts of historical times, and this is what she offers in this book. Not for me are descriptions, numbers, and facts about the grand doings of the powerful, although that is what is mostly considered “history”. No, I like to hear from the people who lived the experiences.

“I have made no mention of military decorations, though some men in the book did receive them. My view is that there must have been an enormous number who deserved recognition but went unnoticed, and thought it fairest to present everyone as equals.”
Page 17, Letters from the Trenches, Jacqueline Wadsworth, 2014

This is my kind of book!

1:00 p.m.

The keys and backpack are cleaned and organized, I’ve only a small batch of keys for which I know not the locks. The weather is worsening, the sky is completely grey, and the gusts of wind very strong, with occasional driving snow. I am warm and cozy in Mist Cottage, and enjoying the book I just purchased.

9:30 p.m.

We have had a bit of excitement here at Mist Cottage. We have mouse traps set in the garage, and so far this autumn we have caught a dozen mice. This morning Attila noticed that the traps had been sprung, but had not caught anything. Decidedly odd. When I went to get the mail this morning, I noticed some very small footprints in the snow beside the garage door, it didn’t look like mouse tracks, and I thought, oh no, rats! This evening Attila was busy in the garage when he caught sight of a small white rodent-like animal darting about, he concluded since it was not concerned about being seen, that it was a pet of some kind. He set the live trap with some lettuce, and sure enough, a few hours later a gerbil was staring out at us from behind bars. The poor little guy had been out of doors since at least very early this morning.

All the peanut butter in the mouse traps had been eaten, which is too bad, because peanut butter is not good for gerbils. We brought him inside and gave him some lettuce, and a jar lid full of water. Attila called on the neighbours across the street because they have children and might be missing a pet gerbil. No, they didn’t own such a pet, but they thought the little girl down the street had a gerbil, but her family wasn’t home. We also wonder if the two little boys next door had a gerbil, but they weren’t home either. We will be asking around the neighbourhood to see if anyone is missing a gerbil! I wonder how it escaped!

So, tonight we have an overnight guest.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-7°C
Date: 7:00 AM EST Wednesday 14 December 2016
Condition: Mainly Clear
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -6.9°C
Dew point: -13.2°C
Humidity: 61%
Wind: W 18 gust 37 km/h
Wind Chill: -14
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Believe nothing against another but on good authority; and never report what may hurt another, unless it be a greater hurt to some other to conceal it.”
William Penn
1644 – 1718

Christmas Celebrations

I decided to try discontinuing my high blood pressure medication altogether, after successfully reducing the dosage back to the original low dosage I had been taking. Within 24 hours my blood pressure had skyrocketed. So I decided that the medication was working to a limited and inadequate degree, and that I would be better off taking the original low dosage. I began taking the medication at bedtime, and in the morning my blood pressure was a little bit lower, but still higher than it needs to be. It is a work in progress.

My appointment at the walk-in clinic two weeks was fruitful. My blood pressure was borderline high when the doctor took it. He thought my nuclear heart test looked normal, but didn’t touch on much about it. I didn’t pursue it because I am more concerned about getting my blood pressure down, and stabilized. We discussed a few things, I brought my daily blood pressure readings to show him, and he decided I should see a blood pressure specialist. The appointment will be requested by his office, and they will call me to schedule the visit. I am relieved, and I am hoping that the specialist is someone I can work with!

In the meantime I continue with my low sodium, low sugar meal plans.

I did slip a little bit this past week and weekend though! Terra had Attila and I, and Luna and her family over for our Christmas celebration last Thursday night. It was the only time Luna could commit to travelling to Terra’s house. We had a lovely time with the five Grandbabies! Luna’s three seemed to like the books we got them Christmas, and they definitely liked the cash. Terra’s two are too young to be aware of gift giving, but they are old enough to love having all the family there and celebrating together. We have seven grandchildren now, five of them belong to my two daughters, and two of them belong to Attila’s daughter. We had a lovely chicken dinner, cooked by the very busy Terra, who even found time to decorate two Christmas trees! Attila and I said goodnight relatively early, as Attila had to be up at 5 a.m. the next morning to be off to work.

On Saturday we travelled to join in a celebration of the season with my Mom, which my Sister-The-Youngest-Girl held at her house. It was lovely! We had a delicious turkey dinner with all the trimmings and lots of scrumptious vegetables. My Mom made delicious muffins that were safe for me to eat, a real treat. It was great to see my Mom, Brother-The-Middle-Boy, both of my sisters and their partners, and one of my nieces and her fiancé.

My Mom made a quilt for my bed as a gift and I just love it! Last night I slept under it, so cozy and warm. It is red and white mostly, a Christmas theme, bright and cheery and beautiful and so precious. Mom also knitted me a second knee warmer for my arthritic knee, just in time, winter arrived with a flourish last night. My sisters gave us each a bowl, we use the large Corelle bowls instead of dinner plates for most of our meals, and we needed more to accommodate our “dishwasher lifestyle”. We even got to give away our 1961 Electrolux vacuum cleaner. My niece and her fiancé just bought their first house, and didn’t have a vacuum cleaner of their own. They are both engineers, and really gave the built to last machine a good looking over, enjoying the technology. They needed a vacuum cleaner, and we needed to move the Electrolux to new home, it worked for everyone.

We stayed overnight at my Sister-The-Youngest-Girl’s home, as did my Brother-The-Middle-Boy, and we had a lovely breakfast together before heading back home. My Brother-The-Middle-Boy lives along our route home, so we gave him a lift home. It was wonderful to see where he lives, he lives in downtown Toronto in a lovely building, which is very conveniently located so that almost anything he might need is within walking distance. After we waved goodbye to my brother, Attila took a wrong turn and we became lost. we spent about 40 minutes touring the streets of Toronto, before finding the 401 again, and continuing on our way home.

It was snowing when we started out on our journey home, and continued to snow. The roads were wet and visibility was good, with the exception of about a 50 km stretch of highway that was ice covered as sleet hammered the windshield of the car. We proceeded at a snails pace and made it to the other side of the weather, where the road became merely wet, and the sleet became snow once more.

It snowed all night here, and it was still snowing this morning. Attila arose earlier than usual this morning, leaving himself time to shovel out the driveway. By 8 a.m. the snow plow had gone by and left quite a pile of snow across the end of the driveway. At 9:00 a.m. I was out in the great outdoors with my trusty snow shovel. I started to clear the end of the driveway, and was delighted when our neighbour headed towards me with his snowblower. He cleared the end of the driveway with ease, leaving me with only a few small fiddly bits to complete. I shovelled the walk to the front door, and the deck at the front of the house, then decided I had better take a break. The snow was wet and heavy. A few hours later I headed back outside to use a broom to remove the snow from the top of Iris the trailer, and Tank. It was a good workout!

By the time Attila had arrived home from work, most of the areas where the snow had been cleared were completely bare and dry, it had been a mild day.

This afternoon I baked croutons, and this evening I made a batch of squash muffins, which are my pumpkin muffin recipe, but squash has been substituted for pumpkin. It feels pretty satisfying to eat a muffin and know you are getting almost a whole serving of vegetable!

This Christmas Attila wanted a real tree. I wanted an artificial tree, but agreed to a real tree for several reasons. The most important reason is that having a real tree means more to Attila than having an artificial tree means to me. Another reason is that the real tree will be picked up at the roadside for recycling, and will not need to be stored in this tiny house. And the last reason is that we hope to find an artificial tree on sale after Christmas, something within our budget.

We drove around town tonight, after we purchased our groceries for the week, looking for someplace to purchase a real Christmas tree. The NoFrills had none, Canadian Tire had none, Walmart had none… we were beginning to get worried as we were running out of places to look. Then we drove by the Metro grocery store, and they had beautiful trees for sale, a bit pricey, but we figured that if we wanted a tree we had better take what we could find. So after bringing our groceries home, Attila went back to the store for the tree.

The Christmas tree is sitting in our living room, and the smell of the pine is deliriously wonderful. We will let it sit quietly in its corner overnight, to allow gravity to bring the branches down to their normal position. Tomorrow night we will decorate the tree.

I love that I am going to share the living room with a sweet smelling tree for the next few weeks!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

2°C
Date: 8:32 AM EST Monday 12 December 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.5 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 2.2°C
Dew point: 1.2°C
Humidity: 93%
Wind: SSW 23 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Efficiency is intelligent laziness.”
Anonymous

The Blue Mouse

The weather has warmed a little, but is still far below the average temperature for this time of year. The wind is up though, so the wind chill is still significant. The sky is cloudy and grey. Without the warmth of the sun coming in through the south windows, and with the wind whipping away any heat that escapes the house, it is chillier indoors, but still comfortable.

Attila is outdoors through all of this weather, outdoors all day long. The wind chill is significantly more intense at his workplace, because he works right on the waterfront, where the wind picks up speed across the open ice before hitting land. The country house is located in the lee of a ridge, and is surrounded by forest, so that the wind chill is never as severe at home.

Work continues on my family history book. I have finally decided to use Scribus to create the digital copy, and now have a working draft of the book. This is the first volume, which covers the first three generations of the family from arrival in Canada from Scotland, in 1820. None of the individuals in this volume will be people I have met. My Grandfather would have met his paternal Grandmother, who is of the third generation in this volume, as he was two years old when she passed away.

The second volume will begin with the second generation from arrival, focusing on my direct family line, and will be a much longer volume than the first.

The pictures are slowing me down considerably, they are so challenging to edit for size and resolution. Still, a little bit each day!

My Granny and Grandpa, on their wedding day in May of 1929, in Parry Sound, Ontario, Canada. A photo for Volume Two of my book.
Granny grandpaWeddingDay1929

I received an email from my Uncle (through marriage to my Mom’s sister) in North Bay, Ontario. He is recovering from a “heart event”, his first, at the age of 87. His mother lived to the age of 95.

When I was a little girl, my younger sister was everyone’s “favourite”. She was cute, and small and cuddly; the “little angel” of the family. I was a big baby, almost ten pounds at birth, and injured at birth. I was big, and I was in pain, so I would never have been small and cuddly, although I was as cute as any other baby. Until my sister was born I had no idea that small and cuddly were desirable. The only family member who favoured me was my Uncle, he told me I was his favourite. At the time it meant a lot to me, although as the years have passed it has lost its meaning. Still, the sentiment I feel for my Uncle remains intact. He made me laugh, and he made me feel special, during a vulnerable period in my life.

My Aunt met my Uncle when she was teaching in Kirkland Lake, Ontario. He was a handsome mining engineer. Her cousin, whom I spoke with last summer, remembered how excited and thrilled my Aunt was to be dating such a wonderful, handsome man. My Aunt and Uncle married at my Granny’s house, my Mom the Maid of Honour, my younger sister and I Bridesmaids; I remember it well. My Granny decided that my younger sister, my younger brother, and myself, would be Baptized before the wedding ceremony, by the Minister of her church. My brother was quite young at the time, and was horrified by the man “throwing water on him”; he kicked the minister and hid under the dining room table. I don’t remember if my brother was officially baptized or not! We were children with a real sense of independence, and of self determination; often to my Mom’s dismay. I know how challenging it is to be the parent of a “free spirit”!

Paying bills today, it is not a favourite pastime! A vacuuming “accident” occurred this morning, that can only be mentioned in print, otherwise it is a secret! Diesel’s fabric mouse, the blue one, he has an orange one and a blue one, has been eaten by the vacuum cleaner! Diesel doesn’t know, and I am not telling! He still has his orange mouse. The 1961 model Electrolux vacuum cleaner has more suction than I am used to. It found that blue mouse behind a curtain, and gobbled it up whole, without even swallowing. The don’t make them like they used to, vacuum cleaners!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Little House in the City

-11C (12.2F)
Date: 10:00 AM EST Saturday 21 February 2015
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 102.0 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -10.5°C
Dewpoint: -15.5°C
Humidity: 67%
Wind: S 25 gust 35 km/h
Wind Chill: -19 (-2.2F)

Country House

-12C (10.4F)
Date: 10:00 AM EST Saturday 21 February 2015
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Visibility: 8 km
Temperature: -11.8°C
Dewpoint: -13.9°C
Humidity: 85%
Wind: SSE 13 km/h
Wind Chill: -18 (-0.4F)

Quote

“An intellectual is a person who has discovered something more interesting than sex.”
Aldous Huxley
1894 – 1963

Knee Trouble

I hurt my knee over a week ago. I was walking and it just gave out on me, it was very painful. The pain was significant for the first two days, and then it has been a little bit better every day since. I still have a bit of limp. but that is improving. Now it just aches sometimes, like a toothache.

On Sunday we visited the camp, and the dump store. In order to keep a few items at the camp, we moved an old car top carrier, a plastic shell, behind one of the brush piles. For now it will hold an ancient and worthless, but useful, set of pots and pans, and two empty water jugs. We have a few old plastic dishes, which I plan on taking to the camp and leaving in the plastic shell. It will be interesting to see if the bears take any interest in the plastic shell.

Then we visited the dump, where we bumped into Harriet and her friend Nancy, who was visiting the cottage for the weekend. That is where I picked up an old 1961 Electrolux vacuum cleaner. It had two issues, the on/off switch did not work, so to turn the machine on and off one would have to plug it in, and unplug it. Also, and more seriously, the clasp that holds the canister end against the seal is broken, so the canister falls open, and suction is lost. My Mom had a canister Electrolux vacuum cleaner and it worked like a charm. It would be nice to use the one found at the dump today at the little house in the city.

Attila found an expensive chain saw at the dump, we do not know yet what is wrong with it, if anything. If we cannot fix these items we will return them to the dump to give someone else a shot at it.

Harriet found a stainless steel Thermos for Attila. Attila needs a new thermos at least once a year, sometimes more frequently. He works in a rough and tumble environment, and his thermoses take quite beating.

Then we drove back to Granny and Grandpa’s house, parked the car, and went for a walk down the track. I wanted to see if there were any wild raspberries there, as there were forty years ago. Sure enough, the wild raspberries are still lining that section of the track.

We moved slowly, I was being very cautious with my knee. The scented breeze was intoxicating. The familiarity of the path was comforting. It did not rain, as it was threatening to do. We enjoyed our walk, and could view our camp from the path.

That is when I noticed a young man in a bright orange t-shirt, who appeared to be coming out of our camp lot. He was on foot, carried nothing, and had no vehicle. Must be one of the neighbours checking out our old car top carrier. It is a little creepy, only a little, the thought that someone ventures over to check out our camp after we appear to leave. Really, he could come over and introduced himself to satisfy his curiosity, while we were there.

After our walk we drove into town and purchased supplies. Then it was home, dinner, and an early night.

Two projects were on the go this week. The first was to get the Electrolux working. I found a fellow online, Eluxurious, who collects them, and wrote a comment in his blog asking for help. What a great guy! He immediately identified the problem, and after following his advice I had the machine running smoothly in a about five minutes. He also suggested a great resource, the Vacuum Cleaner Collectors’ Club, which I will be reading with interest!

The house is now dust free and tidy! I like the Electrolux machine better than any vacuum cleaner I have ever owned. Of course, this 1961 model was the absolute top-of-the line machine in its day, and I have always purchased bottom-of-the-line machines, the ones I could afford, until now!

Now I have a Made in Canada vacuum cleaner, and stainless steel soup pot made in Canada… livin’ the dream!

The second project is to clean and sterilize a thermos found at the dump. It was dirty, but otherwise in like-new condition. After cleaning it with a steel scrub pad, bleach was added and the whole thing left overnight. This morning it was spotless, shiny as new. In order to dispose of the bleach, and not destroy our septic system, the bleach was poured into the stoppered sink, baking soda added to neutralize the acid, and then the inert mixture was allowed to drain into the septic.

My new 1961 Elux-O-Matic Vacuum, and Attila’s “new” Thermos.
Electrolux thermos

Monday night Attila took a drive to put some fuel in the car. On the way he must have run over a nail, and on the way back the nail blew out and the tire went flat. I thought he was gone a very long time, and had started to wonder if he had had an accident. He got the car off the road and managed to get the spare tire on to get home.

Yesterday I drove to town to see if I could get the tire repaired, I am running around in the car using the spare tire. Bad news I am afraid, the tire is ruined. I ordered a new one, which should arrive today, it did, and off I went the is morning for another round of change the tire. Success!

So, that is what we have been up to this lovely first half of July, 2014! Some downs, mostly ups!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

17°C
Date: 3:00 PM EDT Wednesday 16 July 2014
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 16.6°C
Dewpoint: 10.7°C
Humidity: 68%
Wind: W 15 gust 28 km/h

Quote

“Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression.”
Isaac Bashevis Singer
1904 – 1991