An Open Window

There is nothing like an open window to make a day peaceful. It doesn’t matter that in the distance there are hammers hammering, diggers digging, men shouting, radios playing, trucks on the highway humming… it doesn’t matter. What I mostly hear is the wind in the leaves, the cooing of the rock dove outside the window. The peaceful sounds are accompanied by a light breeze playing through the house, curtains billowing then resting with a sigh, and the sight of white clouds in a blue sky.

Now, all that is needed here is a night rain, long and steady, to give the gasping landscape relief.

After recently upgrading our internet connection to an unlimited account, to avoid paying for over usage, which is outrageously costly, I noticed while looking at the most recent bill, that the account number didn’t seem right. Sure enough, they changed it! But, since upgrading the account a payment had been made to the old account number. Carefully checking the previous bill, the payment had been processed as it should have been. A call to the company revealed that there was a short grace period where payments to the previous account numbers would transferred to the new account. Well, it is a good thing I noticed! There were no clues in the bill that this change had occurred, and it was not an easy catch to notice it, those long account numbers aren’t usually read. I caught it though, and updated the payment process. Dodged that bullet!

This evening a load of rotting mouldy wood was on its way to the dump. There will be a charge for this, but it was decided that even though the wood could be taken to the Rideau Camp for a camp fire, the journey with the material in the back of Tank would be extremely unpleasant, the smell is very strong. As well, there are drought conditions here, and it would be very ill advised to have a campfire, even if they are not yet banned. So the dump it was.

Whether canned goods are being processed in lower quality containers, or the can opener suddenly wore out, opening cans had become an ordeal. The final straw came about a week ago, when I suffered two deep cuts to my hands while attempting to open a can. The cuts are still not completely healed. So, after a short bit of research, a new can opener was ordered, and it arrived a few days ago. Wow, what a difference, the new can opener, a ZYLISS, works like a charm. The problem must have been with the old can opener, it had just worn out. The need to avoid canned goods due to the difficulty in opening them has ended. I feel like a new woman.

Earlier in the month the pepper mill stopped working, replaced by a Peugeot, made affordable only because it was temporarily on sale at a significant discount.

It’s the little things, the things that you interact with every day, or often, where you appreciate small but significant changes. Almost every day I use either the pepper mill, or the can opener, and every day that I do, I notice how well the new tools work.

A modest investment has provided a large amount of pleasure.

Attila and I were craving pizza last night. Nope, not gonna make pizza right now, so that craving will have be put on hold. Instead Nachos, with Guacamole on the side, were prepared and enjoyed. A quick and nutritious dinner. And tonight it is a bowl of hearty Vegetable Soup. But that pizza is still on my mind!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 1:00 PM EDT Wednesday 18 July 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 22.1°C
Dew point: 6.2°C
Humidity: 35%
Wind: NW 11 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“We touch other peoples lives simply by existing.”
J. K. Rowling


I am feeling rather flat these days, not unhappy, just flat. The uncertainty of the future is very wearing, but there is nothing to be done about it at present. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, I keep telling myself.

Today the sun shone! I had to run errands today, so off I went, and it was beautiful out there! The snow, the new snow that we received in the last few days, is melting, melting, melting. Apparently there is cold weather on the way this weekend, hopefully it will be the last of the seriously cold weather!

Today was also bill paying day, and doing some spring cleaning on the computers, they are quite a mess! Soon the weather will be nice and I won’t feel much like doing anything on the computer.

Last weekend when we did the grocery shopping, I spied some very nice looking avocados, but they were very, very green. Today they are ripe, perfect! Tonight’s dinner consists of Guacamole and corn chips for Attila, and Guacamole and low sodium crackers for me. I love Guacamole. I make it by mashing the avocado, then adding salsa to the desired consistency and taste, it is oh so simple and oh so good. The next meal I cook will probably be next Monday, I am so looking forward to trying out Bex’s dish!

There are a few jobs that need doing before the big window installation. The red pine flooring still hasn’t been moved out of the basement, Attila wanted to wait for warmer weather, as it was decided it would come out through a window. Since the window installation isn’t expected until April, there is still a large window of time within which to accomplish this.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 3:00 PM EDT Thursday 15 March 2018
Condition: Light Snowshower
Pressure: 100.0 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 2.6C
Dew point: -7.4C
Humidity: 48%
Wind: WNW 15 gust 27 km/h
Visibility: 24 km


“We none of us expect to be in smooth water all our days.”
Jane Austen
1775 – 1817


Monday, February 16, 2015

Today is family day, and I am reminded that “family”, and what we celebrate in the term “family”, can have a wide variety of meanings. Attila left this morning, and I experienced my usual teary response as he drove away. And what do I think about it all? I think I am very lucky to have someone that I do miss! And who misses me! It isn’t the perfect “family” day, but it does highlight how lucky Attila and I are to be able to spend any time together at all.

Diesel isn’t impressed with tears. He has decided he needs a good deal of “consoling”, as he finds if disconcerting to be around someone who is teary. Are cats narcissists? A little cuddle on the couch did both of us a world of good.

And then on with the day. The temperature has risen to -20C, which is cold, but not as cold as it has been the last few days. The sun is shining, which is very cheerful, and beautiful. I spent the rest of the day puttering about. Attila brought down three four-litre-jugs, saved from our maple syrup purchases in the past. These make excellent drinking water jugs. I cleaned them, sterilized them, filled them with filtered water, and stored them in the basement for emergencies. Hopefully these jugs of water will never be needed, just refreshed annually.

For lunch I fixed myself some Guacamole, and enjoyed it with a few corn chips. For dinner I indulged in a spinach frittata for one.

To soften the intensity of the day, I watched the movie “Only The Lonely”, with John Candy and Maureen O’Hara. It worked well, providing a distraction, and a light, positive tone.

The evening closed with a chat with Attila, via FaceTime. I am glad he arrived there, in the north, safe and sound. Mist is glad to see him too, and now that the second firing of the day is under way in the masonry heater, she has decided that he has been chastised sufficiently for his absence.

All is well, February marches on.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The cold snap continues! It was a fortunate decision to have the fuel oil tank filled a few weeks ago! The gauge is heading down towards 3/4 full, which will mean that the month of February will have burned a quarter of a tank of fuel oil.

Every day there are at up to two dozen Asian Ladybugs crawling around the dining table in the kitchen. I kill every one of them, as I see them. This week, for the very first time, I was “bitten”. One of the ladybugs managed to crawl up the sleeve of my sweater and bit me on the arm. It didn’t hurt, but it was noticeable; I thought my sweater had caught and was pulling on a hair on my arm. It was a ladybug bite!

The cold is getting to me! The week long blast of cold weather brought a few mild, brief bouts of melancholy with it. At the country house these feelings begin to manifest with much more intensity by the first week in January. With a larger repertoire of coping mechanisms here at the little house in the city, the dreaded cabin fever may even fail to make an appearance this winter!

This week has been busy with interesting activities. I received a wonderful healing massage! I had provided computer support for the woman who leads the Yoga class, and in exchange I received the massage. It was a great experience, and very timely. Yoga class was attended the next day. And yesterday was laundromat day, which turned out to be a fascinating experience. I struck up a conversation with the one other woman at the laundromat, and it turned out that she attended the same primary school as I did, knew my younger brother well, and she attended the same church as my best friend from primary school. She and her husband had just moved to the area near our little house in the city, from the North, just a bit further north than our country house. They moved south because there is no work in the north. This is the very first time in my adult years that I have met anyone who attended the same public school as I did! A definite blast from the past.

Laundry day here at the little house in the city always has a decorative affect on the decor. Socks and underwear, t-shirts and trousers, festoon every horizontal line of furniture. It dries quickly in the arid atmosphere of the heated house, but is left overnight, so that it is bone dry when it is folded and put away. Diesel has decided that hanging socks are meant to be cat toys, he is one happy cat!

Today was grocery day. The list was compiled over several days, listed by store, to make each visit quick. The little house in the city offers a variety of choices when shopping for food, all of them appealing in different ways. For reasonably priced stock items, there is a NoFrills grocery store. For fresh produce there is a Walmart grocery section. For frozen items there is a local store that sells only frozen foods. Today the shopping trip was planned so as to visit stores in the order of items of increasing susceptibility to the cold. The items from the first store would have to wait in Tank while the items from the subsequent stores were being purchased. The frozen items were purchased first, the fresh vegetables, being most susceptible, were purchased last.

I have yet to get out for a “walk”! I am managing the knee exercises most days, missing a day here and there, but keeping up with it for the most part. But the walks just haven’t been feasible. There is snow on the roads, and that is where I began having issues with the knee, walking on snow. The sidewalks are impossibly snowy and rough, so the road is the only option at present. If we get a break from this arctic cold, the roads will clear quickly, and I will begin short walks on side streets. While I wait for clear roads, and eventually clear sidewalks, I make sure that I am out and about every day, walking the aisles of some store or other, for that little bit of walking.

Attila seems to be dealing well with this prolonged cold snap. He finds it much easier to cope with heating the house in the extreme cold when I am not living in the house he is trying to keep warm. If he fails to maintain it at a comfortable temperature, there is no one in the house who is suffering. Mist has a bed close to the masonry heater, and is quite content to curl up in that warm little nest, all day long. I however, require comfortable temperatures in other areas of the living area, like the kitchen. It isn’t healthy for me to sit in the one warm spot in the room all day long, without moving. When I am living at the little house in the city, with the thermostat at my command, there is no issue with comfortable indoor temperatures. In one sense, my absence takes a weight off Attila’s shoulders, if he “fails” to maintain a comfortable temperature, he is the only one to notice. Attila is used to working outdoors during these intense arctic episodes in the weather, so he hardly notices it when it is coolish in the house.

Worldly Distractions


Little House in the City

Date: 6:00 AM EST Monday 16 February 2015
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.8 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -26.0°C
Dewpoint: -31.3°C
Humidity: 62%
Wind: W 8 km/h
Wind Chill: -33

-22°C (-7.6)
Date: 5:00 AM EST Friday 20 February 2015
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: rising
Temperature: -22.3°C
Dewpoint: -27.0°C
Humidity: 66%
Wind: W 17 km/h
Wind Chill: -33 (-27.4)

Country House

-33°C (-27.4)
Date: 6:00 AM EST Monday 16 February 2015
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 103.0 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -33.4°C
Dewpoint: -37.0°C
Humidity: 71%
Wind: NNW 4 km/h
Wind Chill: -38 (-36.4)

-27°C (-16.6)
Date: 5:00 AM EST Friday 20 February 2015
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.4 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -27.2°C
Dewpoint: -30.7°C
Humidity: 73%
Wind: WNW 11 km/h
Wind Chill: -36 (-32.8)


“You can’t have a light without a dark to stick it in.”
Arlo Guthrie


We are getting our blizzard tonight! Nothing so serious as the conditions in Massachusetts, but wild looking nevertheless. The winds are gusting to 68 km/h, which is whipping the snow past the windows. I will be shovelling snow again tomorrow!

My birthday has come and gone. I was a bit leery about spending my birthday by myself, but my misgivings were unfounded. I had a grand day indeed. After chatting with Attila in the morning, over a cup of coffee, I read for a while, and puttered about the house. Then I put on my winter glad rags and headed off to one of the local grocery stores, the one that is a little more “up market”. I had a few things on my list, but mostly I was determined to find something special for my birthday. And that I did. I bought myself two potted plants, a red kalanchoe, and a pink and white cyclamen. Then I decided to treat myself to “junk” food for my birthday. I bought two beautiful avocados, and a bag of organic corn chips. I also splurged on a pint of fresh blueberries. I spent the rest of the day reading, watching movies, and snacking on guacamole and corn chips, and eating fresh blueberries. What decadence. I received birthday greetings from my sisters, my Mom, and friends. Terra and Lares dropped by for bit, with a chocolate bar for me, and a candle for me to blow out. Luna took a video of the Grandbabies singing Happy Birthday to me, and it was grand! I called Luna and we chatted for quite a while. Unfortunately the Grandbabies and Janus had already left to go skiing for the day, so I missed talking to them. And then of course, my day ended with a lovely FaceTime chat with Attila. It was a grand birthday!

And I made a discovery as a result of my culinary indulgences. I found out that blueberries are marvellous when sprinkled on a toast with peanut butter.

My Visitor: Diesel

Yesterday Terra and Lares arrived with Diesel, one of their three cats. Diesel is about seven or eight years old, and he is extremely affectionate and good natured. He does not like dogs, and so was staying hidden in upper floor of Terra’s house, where the dogs were not allowed to go. He was a bit lonely up there though, so Terra though that he might benefit from having some time as an “only cat”. Of course the benefits will be mutual, I will gain some much appreciated company. He took to the house immediately, exploring every nook and cranny. It is a little house, so that did not take long. Then he hid when Lares brother and brother’s girlfriend arrived to pick them up. Diesel stayed in hiding for about a half an hour, then emerged to ask for some attention. We sat on the couch, me petting, him purring. Last night he slept with me, at the foot of the bed.

Terra will miss Diesel; she loves her pets. He is only visiting, and will go home when I return to the country house in the spring or early summer.

Worldly Distractions


The Little House in the City

Date: 4:12 PM EST Thursday 29 January 2015
Condition: Light Snowshower
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 2 km
Temperature: -1.6°C
Dewpoint: -5.5°C
Humidity: 75%
Wind: S 47 gust 68 km/h
Wind Chill: -10

The Country House

Date: 5:48 PM EST Thursday 29 January 2015
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 100.7 kPa
Visibility: 5 km
Temperature: -5.2°C
Dewpoint: -5.7°C
Humidity: 96%
Wind: calm


“Poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.”
G. K. Chesterton
1874 – 1936