Blowing Snow

There are theories about chaos, official theories, well thought out theories, exploitable theories. But chaos as I know it on a first-name-basis, is not subject to any theory. Of course, I try, I really try, to fit it into some kind of a manageable box, where I can view it from the outside, comfortably. And sometimes I actually achieve containment, but only briefly, it is temporary.

Awareness brings more questions than it does answers.

I am reminded, constantly, that we humans are a mystery, as often to ourselves as to others.

The world was white when I got up this morning at 5:00 a.m. Winter has arrived here at Mist Cottage, our first snow. When Attila left for work, the tire tracks left in his wake were deep. The snow plow passed by at 7:45 a.m. I wish now I had asked Attila where the snow shovel was stored in the chaos of the garage, before he left for work this morning. I didn’t think of it! He would have grabbed it for me and set it where I could reach it.

Just after I wrote the above paragraph, about the snow, I heard loud noises outside the house. There was our neighbour with his snowblower, clearing out the end of our driveway, and a path almost to the door! This is the fellow that wanted people in the neighbourhood to show up at the town Council meetings to protest the rental unit development proposals, for a private road to go in at the end of our cramped dead-end street. We showed up at every pertinent meeting to show support, because we value the community spirit on this street. The community lost, the developer and mayor (stated conflict of interest) won, approval was given, environmental protections were altered with approved rezoning. I think the community spirit on our street might survive the new development, even though 80 additional vehicles squeezing up and down the narrow street will make it very congested.

After the driveway was cleared, I bundled up and went out to the garage to look for the snow shovel. There it was, on the other side of mountains of loose stuff that was stacked high. Determined, I waded through and over the pile, careful to find firm footing on the floor, which I could feel but could not see. I managed to grab a corner of the shovel, reaching to the point where I was almost lying down, and drag it across the mountain of stuff, then throw it over the mountain of stuff to where I could pick it up, from the path cleared to the door. Then it was time to extricate myself from the mountain of stuff, which was accomplished with huffing and puffing. The shovel was then used to clear the snow immediately in front of the door, and around the mailbox, so that the mailperson could get to it without any issues.

The roads were awful, icy, slushy, and slippery. The snow continued to fall. Tank lumbered slowly through all this, paying no attention at all to the impatient drivers behind her, who wanted to drive faster than the speed limit in these conditions. They have Tank to thank for their safe passage through town!

After arriving home from the Post Office, mission accomplished, Tank was parked at the end of the driveway, which had been cleared by the neighbour. The snow shovel was fetched from the garage and within a half an hour almost all of the rest of the snow was cleared, from around where Tank had been parked, and around Iris the trailer.

Not an altogether unpleasant experience getting my chore done this morning, thanks to our neighbour’s good will, and his snow blower.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-7°C
Date: 7:00 AM EST Tuesday 12 December 2017
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 100.1 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -7.1°C
Dew point: -8.9°C
Humidity: 87%
Wind:
NE 21 km/h
Wind Chill: -14
Visibility: 2 km

Quote

“You’re dealing with the demon of external validation. You can’t beat external validation. You want to know why? Because it feels sooo good.”
Northern Exposure, Gran Prix, 1994

Winter Arrived!

I have been thinking about Icarus, a person who reached his potential in a manner of speaking, an individual who followed his dream, soared with the eagles, believed in himself, dared to break the rules. I often wonder about the advice given by those who were positioned in life to catch the right updrafts, and were blessed with the right sort of wings; I wonder at their assumption that the ingredients to their rise is due to their own desires and determination. I guess death, who so far as I know none of us escapes, will provide them with their Icarus moment.

On Saturday Attila and I headed out to the Rideau Camp, after a leisurely morning, lingering over our morning coffee. The weather was beautiful, warm, windy, and sunny, it would have seemed a lovely day even if it had arrived in July or August. Within an hour of our arrival we were down to our short sleeved shirts, and even then felt hot when we exerted ourselves. Attila stacked logs, I burned brush, and from time to time we both sat enjoying the roar of wind gusts and the rattle of bare branches. We knew it was the end of the fair weather season, so before we left we stacked our chairs, tipped the picnic table on its side so that the snow would slide off it, and arranged all the logs and branches for future burning where they could easily dry after the snow melts come spring. Reluctantly we left for home as the sun began to disappear behind the clouds, in the late afternoon. We drove under increasingly cloudy skies, through very strong winds. Soon it began to rain, just a few drops on the windshield at first, which turned into a downpour as we approached our driveway.

On Sunday morning winter arrived with a flourish. The temperature hovered around freezing then began to fall, and a light rain fell through the early morning. The trip to the grocery store around noon included walking across a very windy parking lot, hunkered down against the falling temperature. We came out of the grocery store to find vehicles recently arrived from north of town, covered with snow. Shortly after we arrived home the snow began to fall here, at first mixed with rain, but soon turning to small white flakes whipping across the view out the window. For me this is the first snow of the season, because it is accumulating for the first time, rather than melting on contact.

Cooking without using salt is going to take some getting used to. Today’s menu includes a lasagna pasta casserole, made with macaroni, meat sauce, and soft cheeses. After reading the label on the can of spaghetti sauce, it was shocking to discover that the small can of sauce contained 3699 mg of sodium. Clearly the contents could not be used for my low sodium meat sauce. So the content of the can was divided into three lots, two frozen in jars for future use, and one lot added to the meat sauce, bringing the total sodium content of the sauce to 1233 mg of sodium. A can of sodium free canned tomatoes were added as well. The recipe will probably provide us with two meals, which is four hearty servings, so that each serving will contain 308 mg of sodium, which is acceptable for a meal. Finding a canned tomato sauce with a low-sodium content is on my to-do list.

Attila spent Sunday reorganizing the garage. We will be using the garage door as our main entrance through the winter months, and right now one has to navigate a tunnel of junk to get into the house. The front door opens directly into our small living space, and when it is opened in the winter, the heat is sucked out the door within seconds. The garage entrance is sheltered, and the basement is not heated, so that not nearly as much heat is lost when that entrance is used. The other advantage to not using the front door during the winter is that snow need only be removed when it gets deep enough to obstruct opening the door, which is not very often.

Drying laundry on a clothesline during a snowstorm does not work well, as Attila discovered yesterday. The clothes were covered in snow when he brought them back in. We have two very handy folding drying racks, they are set up in the hallway, and his clothes should be dry by morning. He cannot dry them in the dryer, because he works with lubricating oils, which end up penetrating his coveralls to soil his clothing. Those clothes have to be hung up to dry after they are washed.

My Sunday was busy, sorting through the “stuff” in the second bedroom, a room where everything we don’t know what to do with ends up, and there is a lot of that kind of stuff, still. Four boxes of things to give away have been packed and sit in the middle of the bedroom floor. Also, the summer shoes were stowed away in a tote, to be stored in the basement for a few months until the white weather is discontinued. Still, things don’t seem any roomier in here!! More must go.

My MacBook Air has been giving me grief the last few days. It suddenly dies. The battery has been in need of servicing for quite some time, but I haven’t bothered to find an authorized service center to do the job, as it will cost around $200, and I am just fine using the power adapter to keep it connected to an electrical source at all times. There seems to be some sort of issue with it, so I might just break down and take it in for servicing, or then again, I might think about replacing the computer, as it is a 2012 model, no longer on warranty, and will eventually be unable to keep up with operating system updates.

The iMac is a 2007 model, and is now old enough that it cannot accept the new operating system updates, it will hold forever with El Capitan. It seems slower and slower to us all the time, as it struggles to use its limited resources to cope with the increasingly demanding modern digital world. It still succeeds though, as our primary entertainment centre, and work horse when long repetitive tasks need to be performed.

This morning Attila left for work in a dark, snowy world. It was snowing quite hard, and the wind was gusting at 70 km/hr, he was in for quite a journey to work. Having seen the weather report last night, he arose earlier than usual this morning and left for work earlier than usual, to contend with the driving conditions. As he was headed out the door I noticed he was wearing only a light jacket, and quickly fetched his winter parka, he might need it! We tend to watch out for each other in this way.

Today is not a day for walking! The snow plow did go by around 7 a.m., leaving the roads level, but slippery in spots. This town does not plow the sidewalks, so that one must walk on the road unless able to trek through rutted ice and snow. I originally tore the meniscus in my knee trying to walk on the sidewalks here in town, so I walk on the road. My walking season will now be sporadic, and it will be challenging to get enough exercise for the next three to four months. Time to set the kitchen timer for 30 minutes, and keep doing housework until the dinger rings.

The senior’s organization here offers recreational programs at a reasonable cost. However, attending a class for an hour a week is a poor substitute for a daily walk. There are walking programs in the high school gym, but again, twice a week isn’t enough to keep fit, and I loath the social aspect of attending these sorts of confined opportunities to move about. Attila suggested a treadmill, but I looked around the entire house, which I can do standing in the living room, it is very small here, and wondered, where would we put it?!?!?

We have been here at Mist Cottage for just over a year now (September 10th was our one year anniversary), and although we have donated almost two truckloads of possessions to our children, the Women’s Shelter, the Men’s Shelter, and a Homeless Shelter, we are still living in a cluttered space. Every day I try to sort through something, to either organize or purge. Settling in here is like peeling an onion, so many layers! In theory, at some point, we will find the innermost layer.

Autumn on the Frontenac Arch, a feature of the Canadian Shield, and more specifically, our Rideau Camp. When we took possession of this property last April, there were two large pumpkins, an empty beer bottle, and a dead potted Chrysanthemum sitting under this pine tree. By the end of April animals had eaten every last bit of the pumpkins, we used the soil from the dead plant as fill in a low spot beside the drive, and left the beer bottle in situ. An empty beer or liquor bottle seems to be a theme when we acquire a piece of land here in Ontario. We found many empty beer bottles on the property at the country house, some of them broken. We found empty liquor bottles at the Ancestral Camp in Parry Sound, intact and dating from the turn of the 20th century. We found empty beer bottles in the dilapidated garden shed here at Mist Cottage, and fittingly, there was the empty beer bottle at the Rideau Camp.
Autumn 2016 Frontenac Arch DSCF0237

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-2°C
Date: 3:00 PM EST Sunday 20 November 2016
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 100.0 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -2.4°C
Dew point: -4.1°C
Humidity: 88%
Wind: WNW 28 gust 40 km/h
Wind Chill: -9
Visibility: 1 km

SNOWFALL WARNING IN EFFECT
-4°C
Date: 8:00 AM EST Monday 21 November 2016
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 100.3 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -4.1°C
Dew point: -6.6°C
Humidity: 83%
Wind: W 32 gust 44 km/h
Wind Chill: -12
Visibility: 4 km

Quote

“You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance.”

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”
[Done! ergo Tech Neck]

Ray Bradbury
1920 – 2012

First Snow

I follow a few online groups that allow members to offer free items, and to request free items. To date I have not needed any of the items on offer, but you never know. Why do I continue to follow these groups if I have nothing to offer, and need nothing? Well, for one thing, they amuse me. People mostly offer free items like egg cartons, broken bathroom scales, or a half a bag of sand. People mostly request things like beds, exercise bikes, washing machines, computers, or cell phones. I find it hilarious that the items people are giving away are so very divergent from what people seem to want free of charge. And of course, I just might find a recycled gem in there, something we could truly use, and used will do.

I am sitting in my new comfortable rocking chair gazing out of the living room window. there is a stiff breeze, and it is snowing. It is a light snow, which will probably melt on contact. Our first snow of the season. I really must press Attila to get Iris the trailer positioned so that snow can be easily removed around her, and to move the snow blower into the new garden shed. Moving the snow blower involves removing the garage door to get it out, so it is a project that will take a whole evening, or half a day. Better to get it done now than wait until we are desperate to use it!

I continue to drastically cut my sodium intake, it has been almost a week and there has been no affect on my blood pressure at all, it is still just as high as it was when I first became concerned about it. I have also begun 20 minutes of vigorous house cleaning every day, a period where I don’t stop moving, and am up and down stairs quite a bit. I used to these tasks intermittently, now I am doing everything in a cluster of activity. This has no perceivable effect on my blood pressure levels. Splitting the high cholesterol pills and taking the half dose daily has similarly no perceivable affect on my high blood pressure. The quadrupled dosage of blood pressure lowering medication has had no perceivable affect on my blood pressure levels. I can feel whatever the problem is as a pressure in my head. I will be taking myself back to the walk-in clinic very soon.

I remember when my Grandmother began having strokes, before there were effective medications to control high blood pressure. She was advised to make what the “experts” now call “lifestyle changes”, like walking every day. She did all of this, but she continued to suffer from small strokes, and eventually had a massive stroke that took her life. This condition is hereditary, it is serious, and I will resist being sent home by medical people to alter my lifestyle, when my lifestyle has been, and is, relatively healthy to begin with. My Granny led a wonderfully healthy lifestyle, she just pulled a short straw in the genetic draw, and it looks like I might have as well.

Other than the snow, it has been an entirely unremarkable day.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

3°C
Date: 8:00 PM EDT Thursday 27 October 2016
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 3.1°C
Dew point: 2.4°C
Humidity: 95%
Wind: ENE 14 km/h
Visibility: 6 km

Quote

“Follow the grain in your own wood.”
Howard Thurman

First Snow Autumn 2014

The week has been eventful.

Our national media community has been rocked by revelations of violent behaviour towards women, by one of Canada’s prominent talk show hosts, Jian Ghomeshi. Plenty of news about him everywhere in the Canadian media, so I do not want to discuss him here. Also, the Ebola virus continues to spread, and people in Africa continue to die, there is no way to tell if this issue will impact all humans on the planet, or if it will be contained, another issue well covered by the media, so that I do not want to discuss it here. I mention these two events only to mark them in my personal journal, this journal, as an acknowledgement of the larger context in which I live.

Closer to home, the real estate listing for our country house expired yesterday. The realtor called to inquire if we wanted to extend the listing, we did not. She came by later in the day to remove the signs and we had a brief and friendly chat. She said it was the quietest year for home sales she has ever experienced. She is retirement age, and has been selling real estate in this area for more than three decades. That puts our experiences, or lack of of it, into perspective.

We decided to let the listing expire for the winter at least. Heating with wood is hard work, and messy. Most of our lower floor windows and some of our main floor windows will be boarded up for the winter, so that we can afford to heat the place. Both of these things do not make for an appealing home for sale. Someone with a higher income would enjoy this house, using the electric heating system, the masonry heater for pleasure firings, and not having to worry about the extra heat loss from the beautiful windows.

Yesterday was cold and wet and blustery. I fear the weather was very unpleasant for little trick or treaters as they made their visits. There were no trick or treaters within miles of us, and I only remembered it was Hallowe’en because Terra sent me a picture of herself, in costume for her workplace.

This morning is much the same, cold and blustery, with one addition, our first snow. It fell during the night, leaving a light dusting on the ground and above, where it was underlined as far as the eye could see by tree branches.

The First Snow: Autumn 2014
First snow fall 2014

I spent the yesterday morning helping out at a local business for a few hours. It is quite a change in activity level, going from being sequestered in the living area of our house for weeks, then working at mild physical activity. I was exhausted! So much so that I went to bed early, and slept in until almost 6:00 a.m., well past the the time when I usually awaken.

As for our plans for today when Attila gets home from work, domestic tasks are at the forefront. Attila will board up the windows for the winter. We have thawed a turkey and will have a turkey dinner with dressing and all the trimmings for dinner.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-1°C
Date: 10:00 AM EDT Saturday 1 November 2014
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -0.9°C
Dewpoint: -2.9°C
Humidity: 86%
Wind: NNW 17 gust 28 km/h
Wind Chill: -6

Quote

“The world is round; it has no point.”
Adrienne E. Gusoff

First Snow 2013

Timers are my best friends. They are accommodating, understanding, uncritical, and essential. I have a manual timer for the kitchen, at timer on the range, and a timer on the computer. Today they were all three put to good use.

Geeky Computer Details

After seven hours of downloading and updating, Mavericks for Mac is installed on the MacBook Air. This task requires intense focus for short periods of time. Simultaneously, the iBook was wiped clean and then fresh operating system was installed. Simultaneously the iMac software updates were installed. Simultaneously the old G4 was dragged out of the dark regions of the closet, the monitor for it carefully balanced as it was brought down from the top shelves of the closet, and the whole works hooked up and started up.

And I was responsible for getting dinner into the cast iron dutch oven, in a timely manner.

The real challenge was dinner. The timer told me when to get up and turn the searing meat, when to add the onions, when to add the potatoes, and finally when to add the carrots. Without the timer the meat might have burned, a vegetable might have been forgotten, or the stove might not have been set at the correct temperature for the afternoon.

The outcome with the computers is mixed.

The iBook is toast. I could not mount it in target mode on the G4, as I had hoped. It did start up on its own, and worked long enough for me to erase the drive and reinstall the original operating system, which started up and worked like a charm. Then it froze. Then it would not startup again. There is some sort of issue, perhaps overheating, who really knows. But, since it is a 2004 model, and will not run up to date software, it is not worth spending any more time trying to rescue. Rest in peace, faithful iBook.

The old G4, ca 1999, works like a charm. The monitor is an old one, but will not work with the new computers and that is a shame, because it is the best monitor I have every owned. The G4 has a nice pair of speakers, that again will not work with the new computers. So I am considering setting up the old G4 as a stereo system, CD player. The other reason I would like to hang on to the G4 is that it has some great software on it, like Photoshop and Mac OS9.

The iMac updates completed without any issues.

The Mavericks update on the MacBook Air was seamless. There were a few surprises though.
1. Mail behaved very strangely at startup and had thrown some of my important messages in the trash. They were retrieved successfully.
2. The old version of Little Snitch had to be uninstalled and the new version installed. It is security software, and so it was the first priority.
3. Another was trying to find the settings to allow TypeIt4Me to run correctly. I did eventually stumble upon them, via the software itself.
4. Another issue is that Netflix won’t run. Apparently a newer version of Silverlight was required, which had to be located and downloaded. Silverlight too had to be uninstalled, and then reinstalled. Also the browser needed to be shutdown and restarted after the install, in order for the plug-in to work properly, which it now does.

I suppose a few more glitches will be discovered as time goes on.

After working on all four computers simultaneously throughout the day, two of them could be shut down. The G4 to be relegated back to the closet. The iBook readied for recycling.

Yesterday I almost missed my 14 year anniversary in online journaling. So much has changed since I began, with the technology, and even in my own life. When I began to write this journal, Terra was still a teenager living at home, and Luna had recently moved to Calgary, Alberta. Now Terra has a husband and home of her own. Luna has a husband and three children, and will be moving to England after Christmas. Attila and I started out together in our first city house, moved to the country house, and now own another city house, in a different city, where we would like to retire.

I seldom read what I have written in the past. However, when trying to remember the details of some life event, I do a search on my blog to jog the memory. It works a treat.

Just as Attila and I emerged from the back door for our evening walk, a heavy wet snow began to fall. As we walked it weakened, and by the time we had travelled a quarter of a mile it had stopped snowing altogether. It melted as soon as it came into contact with the earth. Tonight 2 cm of snow will accumulate, according to the weather mavens.

It seems we have charged the masonry heater just in time!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

0°C
Date:10:15 PM EDT Wednesday 23 October 2013
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 100.8 kPa
Visibility: 2 km
Temperature: 0.1°C
Dewpoint: 0.1°C
Humidity: 100%
Wind: calm

Quote

“A handful of patience is worth more than a bushel of brains.”
Dutch Proverb