For My Journey

What an intense time we have had here over the last few weeks. The intense experiences just seem to keep coming. What I am realizing is that in each instance, there has been a gift, a treasure, a vital necessary thing that I have needed in my journey through this experience called life.

Mist, in her gentle passing, gave me the experience of a gentle and loving parting. She experienced no fear, no distress during her last hours. She was ready to go, and yet she made time for Attila and I, allowing Attila to brush her as we sat with her in the examination room at the veterinary’s office, allowing me to tickle her chin, nuzzling me. She trusted us and loved us until her last breath, as we did her. That trust is something I needed for my journey.

Reenie, in her boldly lived life, endless capacity for hope, and love, taught me so much about living my own life. I needed her bright light, that she shone so generously on the world, for my journey.

Yesterday, I reunited with my closest younger brother, in age, who I last saw almost thirty years ago. He and I, we shared some very challenging times during our very early years, when we were children, just children. We have both traveled far since then.

He was staying at our Granny and Grandpa’s house, with a friend, an engineer. They were enjoying a few days away from the city to go fishing. He had visited our Granny and Grandpa’s house many times over the years, but I had not managed to visit at the same time. On every visit to Granny and Grandpa’s house I would check to see if he was there, or if he had been there.

Attila and I were visiting our camp, and decided to check on Granny and Grandpa’s house before we left. We knew immediately, as we walked to the back of the house, that someone was staying there. I went inside, calling my brother’s name, but no one was there. I made a call, and found out that he and his friend were staying there, were driving a truck, and had probably gone fishing, those were the only details we had.

We had seen a truck at the boat launch on our way through, so we returned to the boat launch. There was a truck there, so we went down to the shoreline to wait for the return of the fishermen. We met a local couple who were fishing with their son. The fishermen in their boat were nowhere to be seen, so we spent several hours chatting with the fisher-family on the shore. Eventually we saw a boat coming in to the boat launch, so we went to see if it was my brother. It was not. My brother had not been out fishing, as there were no more vehicles at the boat launch, so there were no more boats coming in.

Attila and I decided to head home, and to drop in at Granny and Grandpa’s house on our way by. After parking at the front of the house, we passed the kitchen window. There were lights on, voices from within. We came into the house and my brother rose to say hello, not knowing at first who we were. Then he recognized me. What a joy to see him, to hug him, to know that he was fine. We talked for hours and hours and hours, catching up, filling each other in on the last thirty years of our lives. The years fell away from us as we talked, and we were very young children again, together laughing, grinning. We were very close in our very early years, had great adventures together, in our brief time of innocence. That bond we formed in those early years had only grown stronger over the decades. The young boy who held his mother’s hand for a family photo, adored his younger sisters and brothers, was alive and strong in the man. It seems so very right that this gift was given to us at our Granny and Grandpa’s house, a place that we had both given and received unconditional love. That enduring bond of love and faith that I share with my younger brother was something that I need for my journey.

So the universe has been exceedingly kind to me of late, giving me gifts that I did not know I needed, gifts that have lifted weights from my soul, gifts that have lit dark corridors that had been locked away behind closed doors.

It is enough to make one believe in angels.

Granny and Grandpa’s house, last summer when Luna, Janus, Imp, Elf, and Tink visited. Luna was visiting her Great Grandmother and Grandfather’s house, and the Grandbabies were visiting their GG Grandmother and Grandfather’s house. Five generations of connection.
DSCF3079 grannys house 400x266

Worldly Distractions

Weather

19°C
Date: 7:00 PM EDT Monday 10 August 2015
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.9 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 19.4°C
Dewpoint: 18.0°C
Humidity: 92%
Wind: calm

Quote

“The lack of emotional security of our American young people is due, I believe, to their isolation from the larger family unit. No two people – no mere father and mother – as I have often said, are enough to provide emotional security for a child. He needs to feel himself one in a world of kinfolk, persons of variety in age and temperament, and yet allied to himself by an indissoluble bond which he cannot break if he could, for nature has welded him into it before he was born.”
Pearl S. Buck
1892 – 1973

The Country House

On Monday morning I decided I wanted to go back to the country house. So I donned my work clothes and headed outside to cut the grass in the front lawn, so that it just might remain presentable for a few weeks until we had a chance to come back to the little house to cut it again. I spent the day packing, and setting the little house up to be left for long periods of time.

On Tuesday morning I arose at 4:30 a.m., had my coffee, got dressed, ate my breakfast, downed a bunch of painkillers, packed the car, closed up the little house, and drove north. The five hour drive wasn’t too bad, my bruises and fractured tailbone went numb after a while. The only challenging times were when I stopped at a rest stop to use the ladies room, getting back into a sitting position in the car was extremely uncomfortable, until the bruises and tailbone went numb again.

I arrived home around 10 a.m. after an uneventful drive, the best kind ever. I texted Attila to let him know I was home, unpacked my gear, and made myself at home. Attila came home for lunch and it was lovely!

Today is Canada Day. Attila and I did a few chores around the house, and cleaned in case a showing was requested during the day, although that seemed unlikely on a statutory holiday. Then we drove out to our camp, it looked great! The weather was sunny and warm and breezy. We puttered about at the camp, clearing branches that had fallen over the winter, then we walked over to Granny and Grandpa’s house, just down the road. There we sat, me on the porch, Attila on the ground so that he could enjoy the sun. The breezes made the landscape playful and teased us with enchanting fragrances, of pine, and grass, and a nearby spring. A natural spring has a certain aroma, I don’t know how to describe it, but I love it. It reminds me of the spring where my Granny and Grandpa filled milk cans with fresh water, to use at their house, they did not have running water at the time. They always had a milk can of water in the kitchen, with a metal dipper hanging on a nail beside it. When we were thirsty we would fill the dipper with spring water, and quench our thirst. Sitting on the porch today, with Attila near, and the fragrance of happy memories in the air, a deep thirst of another kind was quenched.

After we left Granny and Grandpa’s house we headed over to Harriet’s cottage and dropped in for a little visit. They had company staying with them for a few days, but made us welcome and shared a snack with us, it was very pleasant. Then we headed home.

I am sorry to say that all that time in the car, the five hour drive on Tuesday morning, and the several hours we spent in the car today, have taken their toll on my tailbone, and the bruising. I am very sore and very tired. I believe pain wears a person out, and I feel very worn.

No matter, I will take a few painkillers, go to bed early, and dream about the wonderful day I just experienced.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

16°C
Date: 9:36 PM EDT Wednesday 1 July 2015
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 15.5°C
Dewpoint: 12.8°C
Humidity: 84%
Wind: N 8 km/h

Quote

“There is only one you… Don’t you dare change just because you’re outnumbered!”
Charles Swindoll

Insect Repellent Clothing

The driveway at the camp is partially in! We were able to park at our camp, for the very first time. That is the good news. The less exciting news is that the driveway will cost almost twice as much as originally anticipated. Sounds wrong, we know, but the estimate was given before the township listed their requirements for the driveway. They insisted it be almost twice as wide as is usual, which requires more culvert, a lot more crushed stone, and more work than anticipated. So we are going ahead with it, but have to decline any further spending in 2014, maybe even 2015.

Still, we are just thrilled to have the driveway. Today was sunny, breezy and warm. We ate our first meal at the camp today, seated on our lawn chairs, looking out at our wonderful view; it was heavenly, quite literally.

We both worked Saturday. In the evening we drove over to Harriet and Hogan’s cottage for a visit, and were delighted to find that Ariel, her special friend Arnie, and her daughter and daughter’s boyfriend were also visiting the cottage for the weekend. We shared a meal of moose burgers. The moose burgers were compliments of our Ariel’s daughter’s boyfriend, who hunts. Since we didn’t know the exact ingredients, I had a carefully cooked chicken breast. By all accounts the moose burgers were delicious!

After our meal, Hogan took us all out on the lake for a boat ride. Ariel’s daughter and her boyfriend fished from the back of the boat, as we slowly toured the lake. Arnie took a turn fishing as well. The fish weren’t really biting, but everyone had a lovely time.

The grand finale of the evening was a campfire by the lake, with a breathtaking view of the sunset across the lake.

Harriet and Hogan are warm and indulgent hosts; one feels very well looked after!

We left late, tired and very happy.

Sunday Attila and I headed to the camp, which is when we discovered that the driveway construction was under way. I dropped Attila off at the camp, and proceeded to Harriet’s cottage for a bit of a visit. I had a chance for a chat with Ariel, and with Harriet; good for the soul.

Then I was off to visit the local dump. I had a few items to drop off at the “dump store”, perfectly good items that someone else might well need. I did not see anything there though, that I thought we could use. It was “slim pickins” at the dump store.

When I returned to the camp, our contractor was there explaining the increased expense to Attila, and we amicably gave the go ahead to complete the job as he suggested.

After we ate a lovely lunch at the camp, we walked down the road to Granny and Grandpa’s house; Attila with his chain saw and come-along, and me with loppers and gloves. While Attila felled the last three dead elms, I began to remove brambles and weeds from my Granny’s gardens. We finished our respective tasks just as Ariel and her crew pulled into the driveway, to have a look at Granny’s house, before driving back to the city. We had a nice tour of the house, and walked down to the camp to have a look at it as well. Then they were waving goodbye, as they drove off into the beautiful sunny evening.

Attila and I continued to work on the garden, until we were both tired. Slowly we returned to the camp, walking down the road with chain saw, loppers, and assorted gear in tow. We had a cold drink, then packed the car and headed into the beautiful sunny evening ourselves.

Now I would like to share a discovery that I made, one of great import to Attila and I. Attila had a birthday in the first weeks of June. I wanted to get him a present that would make his life more pleasant. I looked at bug shirts, and different types of insect repellents. I rejected special netted clothing immediately; Attila would not tolerate cumbersome clothing. Insect repellents work temporarily, until the hard work begins, and sweat carries most of the protection away.

Then I discovered insect repellent clothing! Who knew! Intrigued, my research began. I found shirts that claimed to repell mosquitoes! The reviews of such clothing seemed to support the claims made by the retailers. However, the price of the shirts are prohibitive for persons of average income; particulary if the shirts are meant for working out of doors, rather than for recreation.

“Back to the drawing board!” I found that the chemical used to create these bug repellent shirts is available for the DIY enthusiast. A company, Sawyers, in the USA manufactures the chemical in a spray bottle, which can be used to treat a piece of clothing, rendering it “bug proof.”

So, that is what Attila got for his birthday.

On Saturday I arrived home from work a few hours before Attila. We had pre-selected clothing, a set of shirt and pants, for both Attila and I. The clothing was hung on the line, outside, and the spray was applied to the outer surfaces of the clothing. I took great care not to breath the mist, or to allow the mist to touch my skin. Mist, of course, was safely tucked indoors and well away from the area where I worked. After thoroughly spraying the clothing, it was left to dry overnight.

Please note: This chemical, in its liquid form, is very dangerous for cats. Read the instructions that come with the chemcical carefully, and follow them meticulously!

When we arrived at the camp on Sunday, we donned our mosquito repellent clothing and began our tasks. It was warm. We were working hard, sweating, and attracting mosquitoes, deer flies, black flies, and no see-ums. And… the mosquito repellent clothing worked! Not one bite through the thin cloth of our shirts, or our trousers; not one bite.

And… there was a magical side to the experience. The mosquitoes and flies were attracted to us, but would not land, or come close to our clothing. As we worked, and we sweated, more and more insects honed in on us, and more and more dragonflies darted around us, enjoying a feast as they consumed the hovering and hopeful biting insects. The dragonflies perched near us when we sat to rest, and sprang into action if an insect came near us. I love dragonflies! One even settled on Attila’s shoulder, resting until a mosquito buzzed around Attila’s head, and then swooped in to the rescue.

We were able to sit relatively undisturbed, at the camp lot, in the bush, with the dragonflies keeping watch over us.

My only disappointment for the weekend was, I forgot my camera!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

24°C
Date: 8:00 PM EDT Sunday 22 June 2014
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 23.8°C
Dewpoint: 8.4°C
Humidity: 37%
Wind: W 5 km/h

Quote

“Whenever I dwell for any length of time on my own shortcomings, they gradually begin to seem mild, harmless, rather engaging little things, not at all like the staring defects in other people’s characters.”
Margaret Halsey

Buckwheat Husk Pillow

The treatment recommended by the Dermatologist has been working for Attila. The Hogweed is gone, thank goodness. The episode with the Hogweed triggered a severe Eczema event, affecting a high proportion of Attila’s skin. That too is now healing nicely. The treatments must be diligently kept up, several times a day, but the effort is certainly worth the result. The correct diagnosis is so essential to getting the right treatment! The really great aspect of this treatment is that Attila has been able to continue working.

Attila had his second appointment with the Dermatologist this past week, and has been provided with an additional cream, cortisone, to be used on a temporary basis. He will go back to the Dermatologist again at the end of September for an assessment of the treatments.

When I work I seldom write. That is because when I work I have to shut down most of who I am, and put on a customer service, bottom of the rung employee, smile and keep it going every single minute that I am paid to do so. That takes a lot out of me, so I when I come home I rest and heal.

I will be working again next week, but today was a day off. We spent our one day together doing errands. We travelled to town to fill prescriptions, buy supplies and put some reasonably priced fuel in our vehicle. The prices of food and fuel in the village where we live are so much higher than they are in town, that we more than cover the cost of fuel for the drive and the cost of wear and tear on the car, when we travel all that way to make our purchases. If we had to pay local prices, we would be going without, a lot.

Actually, the gas station in our village has closed its pumps, permanently, so the closest fuel station is about 6 km. away. The fuel stations close to us are on highways, expensive, and meant to service travellers, rather than locals, so there is no shopping or other services available, just fuel.

About two weeks ago I took delivery of a buckwheat husk pillow. My main motivation is that people had described them as “cool” in the summer. I am a person who is almost always too hot in the spring, fall and summer. I will have to wait until the next heat wave to determine if the pillow is significantly cooler than other types of pillows.

However, I can report that the pillow surprisingly comfortable. The first night spent with the pillow provided me with a new experience. At one point I woke up, and detected that there was a light on in the living room. That might mean that Attila had not yet come to bed, that Attila had arisen during the night for a variety of reasons, or that it was morning. The thing was, when I awoke and saw the light, I could not tell whether I had slept for a short while and Attila was still up, or if Attila was up in the deep of the night, or if it was morning. I had absolutely no sense of time spent in the bed! This was a new experience, directly related to the buckwheat husk pillow. As it turned out it was morning, time to get up.

I am thinking that a mattress filled with buckwheat husks would be very comfortable; which led me to thinking about historical mattress materials. I constantly read that early settlers in North America used straw as mattress filling. I wonder why straw would have been preferred to buckwheat husks? Was straw cheaper, more easily obtainable, warmer, or merely traditional? I have found many “essays” online, describing Asian use of buckwheat filled mattresses, but these “essays” are not written by researchers, people who consult actual historical documents, they are written by entrepreneurs selling buckwheat husk products. So I consider myself uninformed as to the historical use of buckwheat husk filled mattresses.

Granny’s House in the late 1800s, early 1900s; before it was purchased by our family. It was built as a railway store, the false front, porch and balcony were removed, and the store relocated to the side addition, when our family took it over in 1930.

It was purchased by my Great Great Grandfather in 1930, then occupied by my recently married Grandparents, early in the Depression years. My Great Great Grandfather lived on the next farm down the road, which is where my Grandfather grew up. Both my Grandfather and Grandmother descended from families who were amongst the first European pioneers to settle in the area. The European families arrived in the region when land grants opened up in 1870. The first generations to arrive in the area had been born in Ireland and Scotland, and emigrated to Canada for a better life.

CHC002292877
Granny’s House as it stands today.
DSCF3070 grannys house

Worldly Distractions

Weather

RAINFALL WARNING IN EFFECT
Thunderstorms
17°C
Date: 8:30 PM EDT Sunday 25 August 2013
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 102.1 kPa
Visibility: 4 km
Temperature: 17.0°C
Dewpoint: 16.0°C
Humidity: 94%

Quote

“Ultimately, the only power to which man should aspire is that which he exercises over himself.”
Elie Wiesel
1928 –

Note:

Eliezer “Elie” Wiesel

“Eliezer “Elie” Wiesel KBE (/ˈɛli vɨˈzɛl/; born September 30, 1928) is a Romanian-born Jewish-American[1] professor and political activist. He is the author of 57 books, including Night, a work based on his experiences as a prisoner in the Auschwitz, Buna, and Buchenwald concentration camps. Wiesel is also the Advisory Board chairman of the newspaper Algemeiner Journal.

When Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, the Norwegian Nobel Committee called him a “messenger to mankind,” stating that through his struggle to come to terms with “his own personal experience of total humiliation and of the utter contempt for humanity shown in Hitler’s death camps”, as well as his “practical work in the cause of peace”, Wiesel had delivered a powerful message “of peace, atonement and human dignity” to humanity.”