Tai Chi was a misery today. I can’t really keep up with the class, which doesn’t bother me at all. When something is difficult, I stop and watch. I might look confused, I am, and that is how I need to feel and look while I am figuring things out. I made no demands on anyone else, or on the pace of the lesson. When you have significant differences, it takes time to transform what you see, into what your body will actually do. I get there, at my own pace. Apparently, today, my own pace was not acceptable to one self-important female social engineer, who constantly directed me, interrupted my concentration and flow, and even told me I shouldn’t practise at home. What a know-it-all ass she was. I have been home from class for a few hours now, and I am still feeling annoyed! Can you tell?

I’ll try a different class next week and see how it goes.

It is sunny and beautiful here today, and warm, and windy. I enjoyed my drive to class, and my drive back.

It seems I did reach a turning point last week. Nothing has changed here at Mist Cottage, as far as I can tell, the change is within me. The holding pattern is doing just that, holding. It offers no particular hope, just each day of undisrupted existence, the present, nothing more. I am having trouble sleeping again, awakening at 1:30 a.m. most mornings, despite a consistent bedtime every evening. The insomnia will just have to be waited out, it was better for a while, now it isn’t, but hopefully it will be again soon. I continue to cycle through the different stages of grief, but the lows aren’t so low as they were.

I was supposed to do some banking at the end of last week, and I completely forgot about it. So this afternoon I headed over the bank, and managed to get the whole process completed. What a relief to get it all done, before I forget about it again. Now I can forget about it in peace.

I have been back at baking homemade 60% whole wheat bread. The first three pound loaf came out as a brick, it could have been used for a wall. The second loaf was much better. My loaves last one week, and by the end of the week the bread is very dry. I made bread yesterday, and this time I added 1 teaspoon of ascorbic acid powder. I notice a difference in the crumb, it is better, and the taste has improved, a subtle improvement. By the end of the week it will be evident if the ascorbic acid addresses the dryness issue.

Mom has been on the road since Saturday, and is due to arrive home today! She is driving herself home from Florida. It is so nice that the weather is decent for her journey, and to greet her as she returns to Ontario.

The spring equinox arrives in three weeks and one day!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 2:00 PM EST Monday 26 February 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.1 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 5.9°C
Dew point: -3.0°C
Humidity: 53%
Wind: W 21 gust 33 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“I shut my eyes in order to see.”
Paul Gauguin
1848 – 1903

An Amble Scramble Day

6:00 a.m.

The roads are bad today. Attila called me when he arrived at work to warn me about it, and to offer advice on which roads to take to my appointment this morning. This is the worst part about winter, travel on bad roads. Tank and I will be fine, universe willing, but it will be a white knuckle commute to the appointment.

We are settling in to our winter routines, and at the same time breaking some of them from time to time. Last night we ventured out to a live music performance, and really enjoyed it. The down side is that Attila has a late night, and 5 a.m. comes very early for him the next morning. It does for me too, and usually this is of no consequence, since I am home and could nap if I needed to. Today, of course, is an exception, because I have to drive to an appointment. Luckily this takes place in the morning, my best time of day, so I will be alert and functioning at my best for the drive.

A thought occurred to me early this morning, as I was pondering life, the universe, and everything… which could be described as thinking about nothing. This morning I was thinking about the stars, and I wondered where my energy would find a home if the monsters controlling human “progress” return the earth to an inert state. I thought about life travelling. Then I wondered about spores, those dreadful, wonderful little entities that represent life, and death. I wondered if they survived a vacuum. I wondered if my energy would be contained in an interstellar travelling spore, landing somewhere out there in the unfathomable future. That is when I came across the theory of panspermia.

Panspermia is a new concept in my little world, and has opened up several lines of thought. I love having something wondrous to hitch my obsessions to.

2:00 p.m.

I have returned from my appointment. A 60 km round trip, it began on a less travelled road, which was icy in spots, but presented no real problems at the posted speed limit. The roads were completely clear by the time I left the appointment for my journey home.

The lived experience of our two different heat sources is quite marked. Our oil furnace outputs frequent, short blasts of hot dry air. When the oil furnace is doing its magic, the air is much warmer, and the humidity in the house decreases at an astonishing rate. I often feel overly warm when the furnace is pushing air around, and comfortable between firings.

Our air source heat pump outputs an extended flow of much cooler air, at the same temperature to which the thermostat is set. This air is not nearly as dry as the air heated by the flame of the oil furnace. At times, when this room temperature air is circulating, I feel a bit chilled by the “breeze”.

Today the weather is mild, and the air source heat pump is heating the house. I am now happily snuggled under my crocheted blanket, warm as toast, as the cool breezes flow around the house.

Lares installed the air source heat pump for us, and configured the system to work with the oil furnace. It has just occurred to me to ask him if the thermostat can be configured to decrease the temperature when the oil furnace is heating the house, and increase it when the air source heat pump is heating the house. That would be very handy!

I have taken a temporary break in the search for a suitable counsellor for Attila and I. There was no room at the inn, so to speak, when I called every acceptable-to-me counsellor within driving distance. I will try again in the new year, calling the same people and inquiring about a waiting list. In the meantime we continue to communicate with some intensity from time to time, with long breaks of relative harmony in between. This seems a good holding pattern until we can find someone suitable.

The lack of access to health care has been a real problem since we moved to Mist Cottage. The emergency department at the hospital continues to be overcrowded, with extremely long wait times for non-emergency issues, eight hours on my last visit, as it is used by many as an inadequate substitute for a family doctor or nurse practitioner. One cannot get regular prescriptions from the hospital, leaving seniors and others with chronic health issues, such as high blood pressure, scrambling to find a means to get the needed medications. People don’t notice the problem until they are an unwilling part of it.

Yesterday my Mom arrived in Florida, and settled into her winter home. She sent me a photo of her apartment, it is compact and walking distance to the ocean beach. Her first day there and she was already walking on the beach, and dipping her feet in the ocean.

I try to do a non-daily task every day. Yesterday it was baking muffins. Today it was washing a load of laundry and hanging it on racks, set up in the kitchen, to dry. Tomorrow, who knows.

Last night Attila and I travelled 80 km round trip to the city to listen to live music. It is what I enjoy most, particularly in small venues. We both enjoyed ourselves very much. Attila is stretched a bit to do this during the week, when the music we wanted to hear was on offer, as he had to get up this morning at 5 a.m. to go to work. Our compromise was that we left, far earlier than either of us would have like to, so that we arrived home and were tucked up in bed before midnight. A couple of real Cinderellas.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 2:00 PM EST Wednesday 20 December 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.4 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -0.7°C
Dew point: -9.2°C
Humidity: 53%
Wind: WNW 18 gust 32 km/h
Wind Chill: -6
Visibility: 24 km


“Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assaults of thought on the unthinking.”
John Maynard Keynes
1883 – 1946

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

I just delighted myself by reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas aloud to myself. Many decades too late to delight my Granny, and my Mother, who read us poetry every night as bedtime stories.

When I was four my Granny and Mother helped me memorize this poem, to recite at a school Christmas Concert, at the one room school house that my Mother had attended as a child.

I was a shy child, very unused to the company of people other than my parents, grandparents, and siblings. The thought of standing up and reciting in front of an audience, most of whom were unknown to me, was terrifying.

I memorized most of the poem, and then balked, and insisted I could not remember the lines, deliberately making mistakes. I did not perform that poem at the Christmas Concert, nor any other poem. I think my Granny and Mother were disappointed.

The Christmas Concert was a magical event, with every child who attended school there performing some little thing, a poem, a song, and the audience sang along as the students all stood on the “stage” and sang Christmas Carols. Every child received a small gift, including me. It was the highlight of all social events in my life, so wonderful that someone once said of it, “heaven couldn’t be any better than this.” I measure all social activity by this experience, and have been lucky enough to experience similarly magical occasions… Mary’s Christmas open house… Fat Albert’s open stage… an evening with Michael Smith and musical friends at a small intimate cafe… my social life has had its sweet moments in time.

Yesterday we received a message from Terra, asking us if we could come and take care of Sunny and Sky for a few hours. Terra is working shift work, and Lares is on call on the weekends. Lares was on a call and couldn’t leave to come home in time for Terra to leave for work. Their regular babysitter could not take the babies, so Terra messaged us and asked if we were busy. Happily our plans for the day were flexible, so it was an immediate “we will be there” response.

We arrived well before Terra had to leave for work, so Sunny and Sky had lots of time to adjust to our presence before their Mom left. We had a wonderful time playing with them, for about three hours. They are very active little people, curious, good natured, and very rambunctious. The three hours flew by and before we knew it Lares was home. Their faces lit up when Lares came into the room. He had another job to go to, and was taking them with him. He bundled them up, and off we all went, they to the job site (a house with children to play with), us to the grocery store before it closed. I was surprised at how tired I was when we got home!

My Mom left for Florida early Sunday morning. I sure hope I inherited her genes, 86 and nothing slows her down for long. She arrived at her first stop along the way Sunday night, texted my sisters, and later messaged me. She will stop along the way again, for another night tonight, before she reaches her destination in Florida tomorrow. Mom has the same incredible independence, and force of character, that my Grandpa enjoyed.

And so another quiet day begins here at Mist Cottage. Christmas approaches and my shopping is done, what little of it there was. This year we have six Grandbabies. God willing, next year we will have seven Grandbabies. Our budget for gift giving is very limited, so we have opted for one Dollar Store toy for each child, candy, and a high quality book for each child. It was fun to search for just the right book for each child, attempting to match the reading material with the particular interests of each individual. Hopefully the exercise was successful!

My projects for the day have been crocheting, and making a large soup pot full of Vegetable Beef Soup, a on-the-fly variation of my Vegetable Soup recipe. My soups are “stone soup” affairs. I begin with either caramelized onions, or braised ground beef if I am getting extravagant, and build from there. Today’s soup has a bag of frozen Italian Vegetables, and a few cups of our pureed Hubbard Squash added to it. We will eat if for our dinner tonight, and then I will enjoy it for quick lunches for the rest of the week. Attila spent time on the weekend preparing his Pea Soup, a favourite of his.

Twice neighbours have arrived at our mailbox to deliver Christmas Cards. We will be delivering our cards to them very soon!

It has been snowing all day. The snow plow just rumbled past. I have about 40 minutes, to get myself bundled up and out there with my shovel, before Attila arrives home. I hope that snow bank isn’t too high! Mom, aren’t you glad your in the south!!!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 7:00 AM EST Monday 18 December 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -10.2°C
Dew point: -14.0°C
Humidity: 74%
Wind: NE 16 km/h
Wind Chill: -17
Visibility: 24 km


“I don’t own a cell phone or a pager. I just hang around everyone I know, all the time. If someone wants to get a hold of me, they just say ‘Mitch,’ and I say ‘what?’ and turn my head slightly.”
Mitch Hedberg
1968 – 2005



Tank did me proud!

While I was staying at the little house in the city, Tank was a bit unwieldy. When visiting the shops, we parked on the periphery of the lot, where there were few vehicles, and chose parking spaces that could be “driven through”.

Yesterday morning I awoke at three, mused till four thirty, arose at five, and was backing out of the driveway by five thirty. The morning was crisp, snappish, and the stars were brilliant above.

The roads were empty as Tank made its way down the dark roadways towards Highway 401. An oncoming vehicle flashed its lights at us, letting me know that I had only Tank’s parking lights lit. I found the headlight switch, then we were good.

It was when I merged into the traffic on the 401 that Tank came into its own. The transport trucks on the highway, approaching the merging lane, were many, and travelling fast. Merging was effortless. Tank handles like a dream on the high speed highways! Who knew! Tank is the largest vehicle I have owned, and I am impressed. I have driven a large motor home, but it was awkward, difficult to manage, and had a full compliment of “unseatbelted” passengers, very unnerving. Tank, well, Tank’s real element is highway driving. Tank is an “off road” style vehicle, so this was a surprise.

Several stops for fuel revealed that Tank will cost approximately $30 per trip more for fuel, than Four Doors. Not bad!

After arriving home at the country house I unloaded everything, and got down to the business of putting all that gear away.

Then Attila came home for lunch, which was a real treat for both of us.

He brought the new microwave oven into the kitchen, before he had to leave to go back to work. Immediately I set to rearranging the kitchen counters. I seem to be on a real roll with this rearranging the kitchen thing. After getting the kitchen sorted out, I turned my attention to the pile of bills on the table. Finally I stopped to rest, plugged in the computer and had a gander at what was going on online.

It was nice to be with Attila once more, and our evening patterns fell into place immediately. A shared dinner, dishes, firewood, masonry heater firing, numerous household tasks, a quiet chat, and then off to bed for a good night’s rest.

I planned my return north around the weather reports. Yesterday, Tuesday, was to be cloudy with a few flurries in the afternoon. Today however, did not look promising. Beyond a few days the weather reports are not accurate, so they are not helpful. My trip was made on clear, dry roads, with good visibility. I chose well it seems.

Now that I have an independent mode of transport, I can travel between the north and the little house on carefully chosen days, that offer ideal driving conditions. Attila, on the other hand, will have only certain days off work, which will dictate when he can travel.

Keeping record of Tank’s performance meant taking note of the mileage. A one-way trip to the little house in the city is 330 km. (200 miles), a round trip is 660 km. (400 miles). I drove north yesterday, will drive south next week. Attila will make three round trips during December, that is 1,980 km. or 1,200 miles of travel. Go, Attila go!

In 2015 I will be making most of the round trips, but not nearly so often as will Attila during the Christmas season. From the beginning of the New Year, until the spring, Attila will likely have three two-day breaks, that is three “weekends” in the first quarter of the year, one of them legislated statutory holiday. If the weather is cooperative he will visit the south on his breaks. The rest of the time Attila works six days a week, and travel is challenging and exhausting for him.

This morning it is snowing. It looked so charming, drifting down in front of the headlights, as Attila backed out of the driveway as he left for work. As the day wore on, the storm intensified, to blow snow, and drip drizzle. By mid afternoon it was by turns sunny, then stormy, then sunny. It would not surprise me if we lost our electric power again by the end of the day.

Facebook can bring interesting points to my attention. This morning it was a grammatical error that was pointed out, rudely and condescendingly I might add, by a commentor on Facebook. The error wa in an article written by someone else. I had read the article, as the commentor did, but missed the grammatical error. The grammatical error had no relevance at all to the article, that is why I considered it quite rude to focus on the error, rather than on the content of the article, and to express the correction using a very condescending and disrespectful demeanour. The commentor’s comment spoke volumes about him, and said little about the woman he was correcting. Unable to offer an intelligent objection in regard to the article, he resorted to a petty criticism of form.

The correction involved the use of “I” and “me” in a sentence with a compound pronoun. I learned grammar in primary school, and have seldom formally thought about it since. It could be that I make a huge number of grammatical errors, particularly the one pointed out by the commentor, since I did not catch it while reading the article. Some of my grammatical errors could be typing errors, and some of them may be a result of relying on colloquial modes of speech. I can’t claim ignorance, and will have to admit to a certain lack of respect for strict conventions, and love of common modes of speech.

It is all well and good to be obsessed with perfection, but to imply, through criticism of others, that your preference is the one and only universally correct way, is sorta silly. By all means use your perfectionism to provide welcome feedback to others, when appropriate. Make your presence welcome, you have the power.

So here is what I found while reviewing the grammatical rules on the use of “I” and “me” in sentences with compound pronouns.

“A good way to test whether you want to use “I” or “me” is to take the other pronoun out of the sentence and see if it still makes sense.”
Source: The I and Me Usage Cheat Sheet

On another note, my Mom arrived safely in Florida, and is settled into her town house, food shopping and all. She wrote that the weather is lovely there. I really like it that my Mom gets to spend time where she is happy.

I am going to cut myself off at this point and post this entry, as I think we just might lose our power tonight!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 5:44 AM EST Wednesday 3 December 2014
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Visibility: 3 km
Temperature: -1.6°C
Dewpoint: -1.6°C
Humidity: 100%
Wind: S 11 km/h
Wind Chill: -6


“We don’t know a millionth of one percent about anything.”
Thomas A. Edison
1847 – 1931