Two Steps Forward…

They do say “two steps forward, one step back”, and that seems about right.

Yesterday, Sunday, I attended another group in the city that piqued my interest. It did not work out well, and the result is that I have lost most of the internal grounding I accomplished with the women’s group, but not all. The group I attended, although it advertised to accept all sorts, in reality had some pressures that I am not able to cope with at this point in my grieving process. The people were lovely, all of them, but the dynamic of the group brought unwanted emotions to the fore, and my emotions are too intense, powerful, and painful right now to cope with in a room full of strangers. I cried, and that felt so very discouraging and humiliating. I will try again in the spring I think, or whenever I have worked though my present crisis, to a point where I have a firmer sense of my new self, to the point where I can handle the group pressures. It was too soon for this particular group.

I am feeling my loss afresh, last night and today. Part of the process I think, and I have to go through it. Every step is important, whether it feels good or not.

Today I am back on the internet, searching for more activities and groups.

I am working on my genealogy book today, a software update became available, making creating the book a lot easier. Also, on the roster for today, I am spending a lot of time working on the website update, which is really a complete redesign. The crochet blanket is coming along slowly, and is a comfort to me, knowing the project is always there at my side, the familiar stitch allowing me to work with my hands without any mental effort.

The weekend was quiet, without much discussion, the holding pattern is taking hold I suspect. Attila and I shopped for groceries, ate some meals together, watched a bit of Netflix together, and had little contact other than that. A friendly manner prevailed. Attila did manage to get some old speakers, that I had been using with the previous iMac, working with his iPad, allowing him a much better listening experience than the speaker on the iPad. The speakers had been sitting in the living room, no longer needed and unused, so that I am very glad they are now in use, and out of the living room. A step forward in the creation of his studio.

So another week begins, who knows what it will hold for me.

Today I am staying at home, there are freezing rain warnings for today and tonight, and it is not a good time to be out and about. I slept for four hours last night, from 10 p.m. until 2:13 a.m., then the pain woke me up and got me out of bed. I lay down again in the morning, after Attila left for work, and slept for an hour and a bit. I will continue with this pattern for the foreseeable future, getting as much sleep as I can at night, then taking an extended nap in the mornings whenever possible. I hope, in this way, to avoid taking medications. I have stopped taking melatonin, as it makes no difference at all. Eventually I hope the present pattern morphs into a good night’s sleep, so that I can omit the morning nap. It is a plan, and like all of my plans, it may or may not work, but needs to be given a chance.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

FREEZING RAIN WARNING IN EFFECT
-3°C
Date: 10:00 AM EST Monday 22 January 2018
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -2.8°C
Dew point: -5.8°C
Humidity: 80%
Wind: NE 26 km/h
Wind Chill: -10
Visibility: 19 km

Quote

“That’s the key to having it all: stop expecting it to look like what you thought it was going to look like.”
Cindy Chupack

Three Fat Robins

I am sitting in my rocking chair looking out the living room windows. In the ash tree there are three fat robins, very fat robins. Then two more fat robins join them, then more and more and more fat robins congregate on the tree. The robins look content. They fly to and from the crabapple tree in our front yard, where small red fruit offer “ice wine” for birds. I continue to be amazed at seeing robins in February, and to see so many of them together in the same place at the same time.

We are expecting freezing rain this morning. The roads were clear when Attila left for work pre-dawn, so his journey would have been relatively safe. I hope that the freezing rain comes and goes long before his journey home.

I am not getting out for my daily walk very often now, February is like that. I imagine that within a few weeks that will change, and the roads and sidewalks will be clear of ice and snow. In the meantime, I have taken to spending periods of time standing to work on my laptop, standing is not as good as walking, but it is better than sitting. I am going for variety.

For several decades I have created a web presence, and administrated the web site, for a organic farm. The owners are wonderful people, and we made an arrangement that in return for my services we would receive organic food. This has worked out very well for us, and for them. When we lived in the little city, the farm was nearby and we could drive out to pick up the organic products, or they would drop them off when they were visiting the city. When we moved to the country house, the distance was too far for pickup or delivery. The solution we came up with was dried organic basil, lots and lots of dried organic basil. Every year they send me a package in the post containing the basil. The divine aroma would permeate the air at the Post Office near the country house, the clerks would always comment on it.

The dried basil we received would always include the stems, some of which were too woody to use. My solution was to use my marble mortar and pestle to grind the dried basil into a powder.

When we moved here over a year and a half ago, there were boxes everywhere, and two of a lot of things, so that items were stored all over the place, with little logic. Attila and I knew the mortar and pestle were here someplace, but we could not find the set. Months and months passed, still, no matter how hard we searched, we could not find it. I have been using my hands to process the basil, and that is not a happy solution, although it works. I have been missing my mortar and pestle.

Yesterday I found it! It was in a box at the back of the lower kitchen cupboards, which are dark and deep. I was looking for the hand mixer, hauling out every item in the cupboard, when I came upon a box that held not only the hand mixer, but the mortar and pestle as well. Thank goodness!

After being washed and dried, the mortar and pestle were put to work. A 1.5 litre mason jar full of dried organic basil was reduced to a .5 litre mason jar of ground basil. It took hours to accomplish this, but it is worthwhile, and the end result is organic ground basil that has excellent flavour. Basil is my favourite herb.

I had been looking for the hand mixer because I wanted to make a cream soup for my lunch. The soup was made from pre-cooked frozen sweet potatoes that were prepared and placed in the freezer last year, onion flakes, garlic granules, and some 1% milk. It was very good soup.

Yesterday’s snack was a few rice crackers, eaten with the homemade hummus that Attila prepared over the weekend.

Food preparation is a major part of our daily life, since almost all of what we consume has to be prepared at home. Since Terra was an infant, when I acquired my allergy, I have had to watch every single thing I put in my mouth, and anything the medical professional want to inject into my body. The allergy came as a shock, as allergies were not something that plagued the members of my family. Now, not only do I have to avoid my allergen, which is a common preservative and widely used, I need to avoid sodium and sugar. There is a contrast here of course. The allergy is a sudden death, life threatening rare condition. The sodium and sugar are a long term hazard, a hazard to all of us, and if I slip and consume more than I should of either, I just feel crappy and further compromise my heart. Anaphylaxis is a very serious condition, while heart healthy eating is a long game, something humans need to adopt as a matter of lifestyle.

The effect of buying a new used computer was more intrusive than we had anticipated. We are now back on track, and enjoying the new used iMac a great deal. I am using it to work on my book, as it has a large high resolution screen that is easy on my eyes, and lets me work more easily with the three or four programs window simultaneously. I am making a little progress, but it is still slow going. It doesn’t help that I continue to do research as I go along, that is the only fun part!

The new computer also serves as our entertainment centre. Attached to it is an optical drive, which we use to watch the DVDs we have purchased over the years.

At present we are watching our copies of Northern Exposure. I think this is our fourth time through the series, which began airing in 1990. There seems to be nothing comparable being produced today. Northern Exposure is entertainment focused on characters and relationships, rather than betrayals and violence. The array of personalities, challenges, and value systems portrayed in the program is truly impressive. I have participated in two communities consisting of a similar array of difference, and they were vibrant and bright lights in the universe; easily the very best of what humans can achieve, in my view.

I find it interesting that there were many episode writers, mostly men, but some women, and each episode that followed in the series was written by a different writer, and directed by a different director. There were also many directors. I wonder if that is what made it so great, no rutted thinking. The consistency in quality of writing, directing, and acting didn’t changed.
[I find it amusing that Donald Trump has been mentioned in passing twice, as the icon of decadent, unthinking wealth. We are beginning to watch Season Three now, which aired in 1991/92.]

Worldly Distractions

Weather

FREEZING RAIN WARNING IN EFFECT
-7°C
Date: 8:00 AM EST Tuesday 7 February 2017
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.4 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -6.5°C
Dew point: -9.1°C
Humidity: 82%
Wind: NE 24 gust 34 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

Freezing Rain

The weather here is hideous today. How fortunate that we got out to visit our Rideau Camp on Sunday, when it was mild and cloudy, and the roads were clear and dry. When Attila left for work at 6 a.m. there was already a crust of ice on everything. I assumed he arrived safely at work because I received no messages. By noon it was a mixture of sleet, snow, and freezing rain. I watched a video with a city bus in the nearby city sliding down the street on sheer ice, scary. I crossed my fingers all day, hoping that the roads are good for Attila’s commute home.

Today is paperwork day. We got the business tax returns off last week, and I did all the annual paperwork associated with that. A big pain in the patootie for businesses that provide no income and no profit, quite the opposite, they cost us money out of our own pockets to keep them going. They are online businesses that get up to 100 visitors a day, and I consider them my contribution to the kind of Canada I want to live in. Attila and I have put our money where our mouths are, and the benefits of the businesses are for others, as it is only work and expense for us. We consider the businesses to be our form of volunteer work, invisible as such and taken for granted by those that use the services. We aren’t in it for money or glory, so things are as they should be. So far the only recognition I have been given for my efforts is a threatening hate letter from someone in Nova Scotia who assumed we were a big time corporation. Assumptions are such idiotic things!

There was a stack of papers to be filed, almost a foot thick. They have been calling my name for the last six months. It took all morning, but the pile is now gone, information is recorded where it needs to be recorded, and the top of the desk can be seen for the second time since we moved here.

A walk was out of the question today. I like to think all the bending and reaching involved with filing in the low cabinets is a bit of a substitute in the way of exercise. I still cannot sit for very long at one time, which as it turns out, isn’t such a bad thing, as I get a lot done around the house when I have to be on my feet with such frequency. The only down side is that I dare not lie down, because if I do I fall asleep, and if I fall asleep during the day I have a hard time sleeping at night.

For Christmas I received the books written by Elena Ferrante. I haven’t started to read them yet, they are a treat to be saved until I am ready to fully enjoy them.

The book is bogging down on the images, they are so much work to collect, source, caption, and place properly in the book. The program does not help me much with this process, so it is quite a lot of work. I think this will be my last book, unless my genealogy software offers substantial improvements of on the process of creating one.

Log pile january 2017 The Rideau Camp, January 2017. What is left of the log pile is in front of the stacked cedar logs. We are almost there, just a few more dead trees to drag out of the pile and burn, and a few more logs to stack. All of the logs that can be seen stacked were in the pile, higgledy, piggledy. When the wood is cleared out of the pile, the earth needs to be levelled. The crushed stone that still needs to be spread is on the right of the image, and spreading that is going to be a lot of heavy work. We will have to pace ourselves with that project. Next summer will give us lots to do at the Rideau Camp.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

FREEZING RAIN WARNING IN EFFECT
Date: 11:35 AM EST Tuesday 24 January 2017
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 100.4 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -2.3°C
Dew point: -3.7°C
Humidity: 90%
Wind: NNE 18 gust 31 km/h
Wind Chill: -8
Visibility: 2 km

Quote

“To find a fault is easy; to do better may be difficult.”
Plutarch
46 AD – 120 AD

Freezing Rain

This morning dawned grey and dreary.

Yesterday, since I could not sit, when I was tired of standing I lay down on the couch. Without knowing it, I fell asleep, only to awaken an hour or so later to find that I had fallen asleep. That meant that I was awake for several hours in the middle of the night. In turn, that meant that I slept in, Attila letting me sleep as he knew I’d been up during the night. It was light when awoke, a rare event.

I talked with Sister-The-Youngest-Girl this morning, she calls from time to time with her bluetooth system, from her car, while she is commuting to work. She has a long commute, so this seems an excellent way to stay in touch. All is well in her world, except that the branch of the company she works for has been sold, and future employment is up in the air for all of the employees right now. It doesn’t make for relaxing days at work!

After chatting with my sister, I puttered in the kitchen, doing dishes, and putting together a braised beef dinner in the cast iron Dutch Oven. It simmered all day, and will make an excellent dinner.

Around 10:00 a.m. the freezing rain began to pelt the windows, and the world outside began to shimmer in the cold. That meant that Attila drove to work before the freezing rain started. I continued all day, off and on, so that Attila’s drive home from work was through patches of freezing rain, and slippery roads. He arrived home late, but safe.

I enjoyed my day in the cozy warmth of Mist Cottage, taking a few tours of apartment’s in Japan, and reading a little about what it is like to teach in the schools there. Where the rest of the day went I just don’t know, and luckily, there is no need to know.

I am happy to say that my blood pressure levels are mostly within normal range now, as I continue with my very low sodium and sugar diet, continue to take some form of daily exercise, and occasionally now imbibe the Apple Cider Vinegar concoction. My back is returning to normal, which I credit to the Robax medication, which brought relief from the pain almost immediately, and made me drowsy enough to ensure I rested while my back healed. I took three pills, over the course of two days, and that seemed to do the trick. The maximum dosage per day is 6 pills, or 12 pills over two days, so I am very glad that only three pills were required for relief.

My visit to the Clinic for the CAD test brought me close to the walk-in clinic, so I visited there for a prescription renewal while I was in the city. The ECHO test had come back, it seems my valves have mild sclerosis, which is not unusual for someone my age. Another test has been scheduled for a year from now, to keep an eye on the condition. It may, or may not, get worse.

The weather prevented me from getting out for my walk today, but I did spend quite a bit of time standing at the computer, and puttering in the kitchen, so I think I did fairly well anyway.

I have been ignoring the whole President Donald Trump show, I have nothing to add to the fray, and feel no temptation at all to say rude and insulting things about anyone, no matter how pathetic their behaviour. I have no words of wisdom, in fact I am somewhat speechless at the current state of affairs. As for those who urge one to worry oneself into ill health, fie on you! We need our strength. A door has closed, we need not watch the closed door, but remain vigilant to find the open windows.

In our insignificant little world there are loving people who treat each other with relative respect. Attila and I do what we can, when we can, to alleviate any suffering we see around us. We have much to celebrate, much to fear, and will do our best to weather these interesting times.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

FREEZING RAIN WARNING IN EFFECT
1°C
Date: 3:52 PM EST Tuesday 17 January 2017
Condition: Light Drizzle
Pressure: 101.4 kPa
Tendency: Falling…
Temperature: 0.5°C
Dew point: -2.4°C
Humidity: 81%
Wind: ENE 27 gust 38 km/h
Visibility: 8 km

Quote

“Do not believe that he who seeks to comfort you lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. His life has much difficulty… Were it otherwise he would never have been able to find those words.”
Rainer Maria Rilke
1875 – 1926

Turning Point

We expected February to bring some relief to our tight financial situation, and we have not been disappointed. Our bills can now be paid as they arrive, and we are even looking at putting away a few shekels to replenish our depleted safety net.

This month Attila received a small increase in his wages, he gained a benefits package, and I began to receive a small pension. We have by no means achieved affluence, but we are able to survive a bit more comfortably now.

My sister took a picture with her cell phone last night, of my Mom, and sent it along to me. Mom looks great, and I can see the relief in Mom’s eyes, that the treatments are almost over, next week will see the last of them.

A February Day. This was taken after the blizzard earlier in February. The tire hanging from our tree was there when we bought the house. We have left it there, and only altered it by drilling holes in the bottom of the tire so that water will drain away. The Grandbabies play on it a bit when they visit. It swings alone in the wind, waiting for attention, the rest of the time. We like it.
FeburaryDay2016

We had a terrible storm with freezing rain here yesterday but we were lucky in that it joined the earth in the form of slush, and not ice. The slush was almost three inches thick. A snow plow came by late in the day and scooped it into a great pile of slush across the end of the driveway. Attila shovelled that out this morning, as it is going down to -13C tonight, and everything out there will become hard and inanimate.

The slush after the freezing rain. I am waiting for this to disappear so that I can resume my daily walks!
FebuaryFreezingRain2016

I developed a very bad nosebleed just as Attila was leaving for work last night, and it took hours to get it under control. I managed to sleep through the night, but awoke to find it bleeding again, this time all over the bed and my night clothes. It bled off and on all day long. I think I have it stopped now, thank goodness. I am moving slowly though, as activity seems to trigger it. How every tiresome!

I have had a quiet day. After finally finishing my computer backup project yesterday, I decided to rearrange the computers to create an ergonomic work station for myself. I had been using the kitchen table, but the table is really too high for proper use of the keyboard, and the monitor of the laptop too low.

I moved the iMac, now only used for entertainment, to the top of a cabinet in the living room. The MacBook Air has taken over the computer desk where the iMac used to sit. The laptop now sits atop the elevated back section of the computer desk, where it is directly in front of my eyes. I setup a bluetooth keyboard and mouse to work with the laptop, and they rest on the keyboard tray, which is the proper height for my hands and arms. The bluetooth keyboard and mouse came with the iMac, and will work with any newish Apple computer. I am much more comfortable now, when I work for several hours at the computer.

It is very nice to have the MacBook Air off the kitchen table, it was in the way there, and I had move it in order to set the table to eat a meal.

Attila and I are beginning to think about how we might spend our one week vacation this summer. It has been many years since we have had vacation time in the summer, and there are so many activities to choose from! We are rich with possibilities.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

0°C
Date: 6:00 AM EST Thursday 25 February 2016
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 98.8 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 6 km
Temperature: 0.4°C
Dewpoint: -0.2°C
Humidity: 96%
Wind: SW 5 km/h

Quote

“To resist the frigidity of old age one must combine the body, the mind and the heart – and to keep them in parallel vigor one must exercise, study and love.”
Karl von Bonstetten