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

Weather

-1°C
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

Quote

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

A Hole in the Universe

My brother with our dog, by the tractor. This was taken on our fruit farm in Niagara the summer of 1957.
1957brother

How many times I have written this entry, how many times minus one I have been overwhelmed with emotion, deleted it, closed the program, risen from my chair, and wandered away to do something, anything, to keep my conscious mind busy.

There is a hole in my universe, an empty space where there was once an energy, a voice, bedrock, a known corner of the world. I find myself leaking, emotions, tears, thoughts…

My eldest brother died on Sunday, July 17, at 11:20 a.m. We were there by his side, Attila and I, my Mom, my sisters and their partners, my brothers, one in person and one in spirit who could not be there. For four days we kept watch at my brother’s bedside, hoping against the odds that he would show signs of life, the fluttering of an eyelid, an attempt to talk, a movement of the hand. Attila and I sat quietly with him the day they raised his body temperature, suspended the sedation, waiting for him to open his eyes, to know we were there. But it was his time, and no matter how hard we hoped for his company, it was not to be. I will be forever grateful that I got to hold his hand at the end of his life, as I held it when he first appeared in my life, so many decades ago.

He had had a heart attack. He collapsed just after the ambulance arrived after having trouble catching his brea†h. He was unconscious and without a pulse for ten minutes on his way into the Emergency department at the hospital, and his pulse was lost a second time. After four days on life support, and extensive testing, we had to accept that he had suffered brain death, and would not recover. I found it very hard to accept, he looked so rosy and heathy and peaceful; his body was being kept alive by the life support measures that were in place.

The doctor and nurses Joseph and Sharon in the ICU were wonderful. The doctor talked to us daily, answered any and all questions with gentleness and patience, and kept my Mom informed up to the minute. My brother became an organ donor, making it possible for three people to live healthy lives.

We said our goodbyes. All of our lives there have been the six of us, and it just feels wrong that now we are five.

There are many ways in which I am mourning my little brother, some of them bittersweet, some of them are soft and glowing, and some of them are involved and difficult. He was a complex and intelligent man, courageous in all circumstances, fiercely protective of family, and he has left an indelible mark on the lives of those who loved him.

Safe journey little brother, walk with the angels.