First Trip To The Rideau Camp

11:50 am

It is almost noon, and the first load of laundry of the season is out to dry on the line across the back porch. In the winter the laundry is dried on racks in the front bedroom, which has multiple benefits; it saves hydro and humidifies the air during the heating season.

It has been a busy weekend and week so far. On Sunday last Terra and Lares brought Sunny and Sky for a little visit, since they were in town on errands and in the area. Terra had been keeping the babies close to home, for the most part, with few visitors, because their lungs are still catching up after having been born prematurely. She feels more comfortable now taking them out and about, as the season for some of the more dangerous conditions is over for the winter. The babies are still a wee bit small for their age, ten months old today. They are rosy and healthy and progressing as one would expect. Both babies sit up, and crawl. Sunny will actually pull herself up on chairs and grandma’s knee, and loves to walk around with the helping hands of loving adults. While they were here Lares prepared their lunch, and fed Sunny, while Terra fed Sky. Lares has been ill with some kind of flu or food poisoning for the last little while, he was looking rather worn, so off they went home.

After Terra and her family left, we packed some muffins and grapes, loaded some mildewed scrap wood from the garage into tank, dressed in our finest ratty old work clothes, donned our rubber boots, and headed for the Rideau Camp. Our first visit of the season. I will be one year ago this weekend that we took possession of the Camp property. We arrived to sunshine and blue skies. We collected fallen branches from around the camp, and soon a camp fire was burning merrily in the fire pit. Nothing had changed, except for a few fallen branches, since we left for home last November. It was warm enough that by the end of the afternoon we were both in shirtsleeves, and quite comfortable. The new crocheted hat, to keep the hair out of my eyes while working at the camp, lived up to expectation.

So many things were forgotten on the first trip out to the camp. Most felt was the absence of the camera. Most appreciated was the fact that there was tiolet paper from last season still sitting in tank.

Monday and Tuesday were pretty much consumed by travelling to the city to have a 24 hour blood pressure monitor attached on Monday, and handed back on Tuesday. The highlight of my spring came when the doctor reviewing the results with me said, “why are you here?” Apparently my blood pressure averages 126/80 now, couldn’t be better! So I will continue on the low dosage of medication, the low sodium, low sugar diet, daily apple cider vinegar, and daily activity, as it all seems to be working in my best interest. The good results are not a result of significant weight loss, or increasing medication.

There are more doctors appointments next week. One with the cardiologist to review the moderate issues with my heart valves. One for an ultrasound and bone density test. And one to have a mole removed and biopsied. At some point another appointment will be needed to discuss the results of the ultrasound and bone density test, the pap smear, and the mole biopsy. Then, with any luck, I will be tuned up and ready for the summer. Fingers crossed that there are no surprises.

Today I am working on my book. All the images have been collected, and now they need to be added to the book, and captioned. The software in use is not good at doing this job, so a different software package is used for the image layouts, the results are saved as PDF files, which will in turn be imported one by one into the book. This is going to take some time!

The crocheting continues to be fun. The washcloth made with the half double crochet stitch is complete, and I can see a few mistakes I made, as well as a somewhat uneven width due to differences in the tension as I went along. I’ve decided to save it as is and move on to the next stitch, the double crochet stitch. I tried it yesterday and had to frog (tear apart) the whole effort, today is another day and I’ll give it a another go.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 12:00 PM EDT Wednesday 5 April 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 7.5°C
Dew point: 2.4°C
Humidity: 70%
Wind: NNE 9 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“Ninety-eight percent of the adults in this country are decent, hard-working, honest Americans. It’s the other lousy two percent that get all the publicity. But then–we elected them.”
Lily Tomlin
1939 –

[This was originally meant to be humourous, in a sardonic way. Now it isn’t funny.]


February has been a very, very quiet month. Winter arrived in February, which means I only get out for a walk occasionally. Today was one of those days that I got out there to pound the pavement. Our snowstorm on Sunday left quite a bit of snow behind, and the temperature has remained below freezing ever since, so that the snow is still with us. That meant that sections of the road were covered with snow packed to ice. Conditions for a walk were not ideal, and several times I had to inch my way onto the ice at the side of the road, when a vehicle approached at speed, speeding on a quiet residential street. If one of the neighbours decides to petition for a speed bump I will be signing on the dotted line to support it. Although I had to remain alert and cautious, I enjoyed my walk, taking in the crisp breeze and enjoying the odd ray of sunshine that shone down on me through breaks in the cloud.

I have been forcing myself to work on my book. I admit to extreme inertia when it comes to working on my book these days, who knew I would dislike searching my archives for copies of images, and references. I haven’t even reached the stage of inserting the images into the book! Still, a few times a week I manage to get myself seated in front of the new iMac, to work for a few hours. Progress is not steady.

Attila’s Christmas gift to me was a set of books written by Elena Ferrante. I have been enjoying the first book. It took some time to become engaged in the story, but now I am hooked.

Last weekend Attila cooked a full turkey dinner, which will provide us with our daily dinner for a about a week, and after that turkey soup for many days. The dressing for the turkey was made with my sodium-free bread, so that I could eat it without compromising my food choices for the day. On Sunday I baked two loaves of sodium-free bread, and low-sodium squash muffins for Attila’s lunches this week. I had planned on a visit to a farmer’s market in the nearby city on Sunday, but the snow storm made a cozy day at Mist Cottage seem very appealing; maybe next weekend we will venture out.

I am enjoying my mornings here at Mist Cottage. Attila leaves before dawn each day, and I am always awake to give him a hug before he heads out for work. Usually I sit in my rocking chair after Attila departs, taking my morning coffee, watching the dawn slowly arrive through the living room windows. Every morning I am delighted by this scene, it is as if an animated Maxfield Parrish painting slowly comes to life before my eyes. I love where we live now. Mist Cottage, this neighbourhood, this town, they are not perfect, and I do have some small complaints and concerns, but they are only truly small, there is nothing in our context to mar our happiness here, such a contrast with our life at the country house.

Lull brook winter detail Lull Brook Winter, Maxfield Parrish, 1945

Worldly Distractions


Date: 8:00 AM EST Tuesday 14 February 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -10.0°C
Dew point: -11.8°C
Humidity: 87%
Wind: ENE 8 km/h
Wind Chill: -15
Visibility: 19 km


“I began to have an idea of my life, not as the slow shaping of achievement to fit my preconceived purposes, but as the gradual discovery and growth of a purpose which I did not know.”
Joanna Field

“Marion Milner, sometimes known as Marion Blackett-Milner, was a British author and psychoanalyst. Outside psychotherapeutic circles, she is better known by her pseudonym, Joanna Field, as a pioneer of introspective journaling.” Source: Wikipedia

This n’ That

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The skies are blue again today, and the gardens need rain! Attila and I are saving household grey water, which I carry outside and use to water the garden. The only water we are letting go down the drains is when we flush the toilet.

Today was my annual mammogram, which is mildly unpleasant, but doesn’t last long. So far I’ve been lucky, the results have come back clear. It might be my imagination, but sometimes I feel they are disappointed that my results are always good.; nah, couldn’t be.

Today I prepared more clothing for outdoor use, spraying it with permethrin. I sprayed Attila’s running shoes, my sandals, and a third pair of socks for myself.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

This morning I sprayed with permethrin again, two t-shirts and one pair of socks for Attila. Even though it was raining, I managed to apply the spray on the back porch, well out of the rain, allowing the newly inundated fabric to dry on the line.

I am aware of two mosquito bites that drew blood thus far this summer season. The first was through the stretchy pants I wore at the Rideau Camp. The second was this morning in the front yard at Mist Cottage, and I didn’t feel it, but visually caught the nasty little bugger first hand. With any luck, neither of these two enterprising mosquitoes carried West Nile Virus. Frankly, one can take precautions, but it is impossible to completely avoid mosquito bites if they live where you live.

It sure would be handy to have a couple of vaccines, one for West Nile Virus and the other for Lyme Disease; they might drastically reduce the number of people requiring health care services for these chronic illnesses. Since the drug companies won’t find this profitable, perhaps our government could enter the fray and get these things developed for the tax paying population in the country. And then there is the Zika virus, which as far as I know hasn’t been contracted in Canada, but like the others, it may only be a matter of time. Who needs vanity drugs, or GMO foods, neither of which enhance human life here on earth. Humans need to use their intelligence to prevent needless suffering and improve the standard of living for every single member on the planet, which also includes respecting the environment. Did I go off on a tangent here… yep, I guess I did.

Also on my to do list today is hanging out a load of laundry, which now has to wait until the permethrin sprayed clothes have dried on the line.

I worked all day yesterday on my book, it was exhausting. A cousin and her husband have been helping and encouraging me with the book, they have provided a wealth of information on their family, her Grandfather was a brother to my Great Grandfather and they all lived in the same area. My cousin sent me a list of people to contact for more details, and pictures, and stories. Yesterday I called the first person on my list. I wasn’t sure if it was him, the number was for a person with the same first initial, so I took a chance and called anyway. He answered the phone, and we hit is off right away. He is 80 years old and gave me a lot of great information, and says he is going to look up some details and phone me back, and also send some pictures for the book in the mail. I entered data for several hours after chatting with him.

I think the book might take forever if I keep up this sort of research, but really, it is so interesting and the people are so wonderful, that I can’t help but follow every lead.

This morning while researching online, I bumped into the death notice for a woman from my ancestral community. Because I keep records, and reference each record, I knew that Attila and I had met this woman while grocery shopping in the town near my Granny and Grandpa’s house. She was over 90 when we met her, and she asked us to help her with her groceries. We unloaded her cart at the check out, packed the bags, loaded them back into her cart, took the cart out to her car, and loaded the groceries into her car. We chatted the whole time, it was an privilege to assist her, and to have the chance to talk with her. She passed away this spring at the age of 100. I was drawn to her kind face in the death notice picture and read the whole notice, and when I entered the information into my database I saw the reference to our chat in the grocery store, and remembered the pleasant experience.

Attila is allotted a one week holiday this first year on the job. We don’t know when that week will be, since the whole system of allocation changed when he got the new position. Yesterday he applied for a specific week, and we don’t know how long it will take for the application to be either accepted or rejected. It would be nice to know, but we remain flexible about it, because we have our camp sites booked for the whole summer… we own them. If we had to reserve a campsite at a Provincial or Private Park we would be very upset by now, as we would have missed any opportunity to book a site, the campgrounds are booked solid during the summer months. Things have worked out well for us.

Local Natural Hazards of My Youth:

poison ivy
poison oak
rattle snakes (Granny and Grandpa’s house)

Local Natural Hazards Today:

poison ivy
poison oak
rattle snakes (Ancestral Camp)
mosquitoes (West Nile)
ticks (Lyme Disease)
Giant Hogweed (phototoxic)
Wild Parsnip (phototoxic)

Worldly Distractions


Date: 7:00 AM EDT Wednesday 1 June 2016
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.2 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 12.3°C
Dewpoint: 8.0°C
Humidity: 75%
Wind: NNE 13 km/h
Mainly sunny. High 23. UV index 7 or high.
A few clouds. Increasing cloudiness overnight. Low 16.

After a cool night, Mist Cottage did not cool down even 1C. She is holding on to that heat.

Date: 9:07 AM EDT Thursday 2 June 2016
Condition: Light Rainshower
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 16.9°C
Dewpoint: 14.4°C
Humidity: 85%
Wind: SSE 15 km/h
Mainly cloudy with 60 percent chance of showers and risk of a thunderstorm. Clearing this afternoon. High 25 except 21 near Lake Ontario. UV index 6 or high.
A few clouds. Low 15.


“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”
Louisa May Alcott
1832 – 1888

Fruity Hint

Sometimes mistakes can yield surprising results. This morning I was half asleep when I prepared my mug of coffee. I reached into the refrigerator, on autopilot, took out the cranberry juice instead of the milk, and poured it into my coffee. Shaking my head at my distracted state, I put the juice back into the refrigerator, pulled out the milk and maple syrup, my usual condiments for coffee, and added the usual amounts. The coffee was lovely, the fruity hint was very pleasant.

After a series of sunny mild days, today began with cloud cover, which dissipated over the course of the morning to bring us back to another sunny day. It is cooler than it has been, but still well above freezing.

Having spent the last few days cleaning Iris, other projects beckon. The curtains in Iris need tie backs, so it is time to get out the fabric scrap tote and rummage around for something nice, in yellow, because the formica table top is yellow, and because yellow is bright. I like bright.

The list of things needed from the fabric store is getting longer. Curtain clips are needed for the new dining area curtains, which are currently functional but hanging in a decidedly bizarre manner. Decorative binding is needed for the sleeve ends on my 23 year old parka, the edges are now fraying, I’ve left it too long.

It is time to get back out there for my daily walks, an activity that was suspended while cleaning Iris the trailer. It is wonderful to enjoy watching the birds enjoy themselves.

Last January Attila applied for a different job where he works, and this morning he was interviewed. Next there will be a battery of tests to pass, then who knows, there is no timeline on the process. The outcome is merely interesting, as things are fine just the way they are, no changes are necessary to enjoy life.

Volunteer Work

Next week wraps up some of the volunteer work I have been involved with for the last eight months. It has been challenging, interesting, and low profile. If I said more about it, the low profile aspect to it would be spoiled. I value the low profile aspect of the work. I was very happy to have the opportunity to be involved with it, as it tapped some of my talents, that have gone unused since I left the academy.

The Rideau Camp

I have been thinking about the wealth that our Rideau Camp has brought into our lives. Attila and I both value time alone in the bush, we both find it soothing and rejuvenating. At the Rideau Camp there are just the two of us, and although we touch base with each other frequently, most of our time is spent on solitary activities that allow us to be completely alone in the forest. There is nothing quite like being alone with yourself in the bush, and since we own the land, there are no other people to interrupt the peacefulness of it. Our spirits are much calmer for having such a haven. It is a Waldeny experience, if one needs to ground it in a literary sense.

The Rideau Camp is unlike the country house, which was in the bush, our Rideau Camp has no buildings to maintain, nor are the neighbours near enough to be seen, although occasionally they are heard. We need only enjoy our Rideau Camp, much as Attila and I enjoyed the bush when we were children.

Preparing Iris for a stay at the Rideau Camp is fun, and a much smaller project than owning a cottage in the country, particularly one that needs to be heated all winter. This winter Iris will be all tucked up in the yard at Mist Cottage, sitting quietly without needing attention until next spring. But I am getting ahead of myself here, we are still looking forward to Iris’ maiden voyage.

Bedroom Curtains

Our old windows are covered by old curtains, sort of. The living room hosts the curtains left by the previous owners at the country house when we bought it. I recently shortened them to fit the living room windows, and they will do nicely until we replace the windows. The front bedroom hosted heavily lined blackout curtains, that were custom made for the family room in the huge home I owned with my first husband. They are incredibly well made, almost 40 years old and every bit as nice as they were the day they were made, but not quite so stylish now as they were then. The back bedroom curtains are inexpensive, bright and light, cotton dollar store shower curtains, which I like very much. Attila sleeps during the day in the back bedroom, so the nice and light aspect wasn’t really working in there. I decided to hang the blackout curtains in the room where Attila sleeps during the day, and the bright light shower curtains in the front bedroom where they would let in the morning sun. Attila moved the heavy boxes blocking the windows out of my way and I was off to the races. An hour later the curtains had been switched, and we now have a more functional living space.

We have reached a plateau in our renovation and purging. We really cannot move forward until the garden shed is repaired and made functional. The basement and the garage are in a state of semi-chaos, waiting for the garden shed to open up more storage space. when the dust has settled after the garden shed is updated, which may take the whole summer/fall season, we will have to decide what project we want to work on next.

Genealogy Book

I keep thinking that I need to get working again on my genealogy book. The devil is in the details, and there are oodles of details. It took a very long time to find a way to prepare for print, the images related to just one person, My Great Aunt Mary Ann.

Currently I am working on preparing a timeline table of my Great Great Grandfather’s life, and the life of my Great Great Great Uncle, so that I can demonstrate why I theorize they are one and the same person, and to emphasize why I cannot definitively state that they are same person. This fellow is a lot of work, and none of the four or five other researchers in my family line have found any documents to pin down who he was. The female researchers are much more open to the possibility that he was the same man, while the male researchers are a lot more reluctant to entertain thoughts that he may have been, since that would mean he was a bigamist. I tend to think I am right about him being the same man, because Great Great Grandpa surrounded his existence with mystery, no documents exist to tell us about where he came from, who his parents were, where he died, or where he was buried. If I were a bigamist that is exactly the approach I would take. The family story told to generations is that he was murdered for his money, but even that story is fraught with conflicting evidence in the records. I have the data collated for this table, but fitting it onto a printed page is taking some time. After that the table is ready for print, the discussion about it needs to be cohesively written.

That is just two people out of the hundreds that will be described in the book. They are the most controversial though, it will be easier going when Great Great Grandfather Alexander, and his daughter Mary Ann have been dealt with to my satisfaction.

And then of course there are the references, which are formatted in a higgledy piggledy way, using different conventions. This will not do, I am trying to rewrite them as I go along, but there are hundreds and hundreds of them to deal with, and this will take time.

I tend to work on this difficult beginning to the book in short spurts, taking long breaks to think about the approach I am taking, and to search for data that may have been missed.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 10:00 AM EDT Thursday 21 April 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 11.1°C
Dewpoint: -1.6°C
Humidity: 41%
Wind: SE 7 km/h


“There were many selfish people about these days, people who seemed not to care if they scraped the cars of others or bumped into people while waking on the street. Mma Ramotswe knew that this was what happened when towns became bigger and people became strangers to one another; she knew too that this was a consequence of increasing prosperity, which, curiously enough, just seemed to bring out greed and selfishness.
Life was far better, though Mma Ramotswe, if we knew who we were. In the days when she was a schoolgirl in the Mooched the village in which she had been born, everybody had known exactly who you were, and they often knew exactly who your parents, and your parents’ parents, had been…”
The No. 1 Detective Agency Series, Book 6, The Company of Cheerful Ladies
Alexander McCall Smith

Out On The Town

To the south of us, on the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S., snow is falling, driving is banned in New York City, icy flood water is flowing through the streets in coastal areas. The storm is large, and very intrusive.

It is a wonder, here the sun shone all day, it was beautiful. It was cold, the wind had a real bite to it. We enjoyed the day, warm inside Mist Cottage, and warm when we bundled up to venture out for supplies.

I have been wearing my new knitted knee warmer constantly. I don’t know why it works so well. It could be that it makes my knee feel better because it was knitted just for me, by my Mom. It could be that the retained heat around my knee helps to relieve the pain of arthritis. Whatever the case may be, it works for me.

Attila and I went out on the town last night. It has been decades since we managed such a feat of leisure. We went out for dinner, at McDonalds, a restaurant that lists ALL the ingredients in their food, and offer great discount coupons from time to time. Then we headed over to the theatre to watch a movie, the tickets were inexpensive, but we felt like royalty, spending so much money on a discretionary activity. We enjoyed ourselves. We now have a familiar, pleasant outing to indulge in a few times each winter. We will be on the lookout for other outing possibilities.

Today we puttered. Several loads of laundry are festooned about the living room, drying to deliver lovely moist air. A trip to the grocery store was undertaken. I worked on the second volume of my genealogy book. This volume is much more challenging, as it includes people that I know, and will be of interest to many people who remember those described. The second volume will also include pictures and family stories, because the people are known. I am going over all the research details carefully to begin with. It is much more difficult to research more recent generations, as there are no available primary documents, much of the information has to be gathered by word of mouth.

The day flew by.

Attila is in the kitchen preparing a fish dinner. John Prine is serenading us over the computer speakers. Three loaves of freshly baked break sit on the counter, two of them destined for the freezer. It was not an exciting day, but it was a good one.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 5:00 PM EST Saturday 23 January 2016
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -8.4°C
Dewpoint: -15.7°C
Humidity: 56%
Wind: NNE 19 km/h
Wind Chill: -16


“Please accept my resignation, I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.”
Groucho Marx, What’s My Line, Mystery Guest, April 23, 1967