Yay!

The garage roof is on! All the metal sheets are installed, Attila did it all last night.

When Attila came home from work yesterday we had a little chat. I relayed to him how important it was to me to get the last metal panels on the roof, for my peace of mind. I’ve made only comments of encouragement up until this point, but I realized that if installing those last panels was not made a priority, I would not be a happy camper. Better to say something, I reckoned.

As a result of our not altogether relaxed conversation, Attila tackled the last panels last night, after he ate his dinner. He feels a lot of pressure when I insist on something being done the way I think it should be done, when he is doing the labour, in this case I was insisting that, before anything else, the last metal panels had to go onto the roof. He enjoys a project less when he has to accommodate another viewpoint, but he did agree with the logic of it, and proceeded accordingly.

Attila finished installing the last panels before darkness fell last night. There are still tasks involved to finish the metal panel installation, but the panels are where they need to be, ready to do the job they need to do.

This morning I arose at 5:00 a.m. I could hear distant thunder. Sitting with my morning coffee, I watched the lightning and marvelled at the rain. For half an hour you could find me stationed at the dining room window, gazing out at the metal roof, watching the rain run down and away in little rivers. Later you could find me standing dry and comfortable, in the garage itself, listening to rain pounding on the metal roof. I felt vindicated in pushing for finishing off the metal roof panel installation last night!

It had been my plan to work on cleaning the garage in the early morning, before the heat of the day set in. The humidity was so high, that I decided that bending down to the floor to vacuum, while reaching over to the shop vac to hold fast the hose where it attaches, was overly ambitious. A new shop vac hose was in order, I decided. By the time the store opened, Canadian Tire, and the new shop vac hose was home and tested, the heat in the garage was stifling. I missed my window of opportunity for cleaning today, but early tomorrow morning I’ll be ready to get back to it for a few hours!

I did though, manage to wash a load of laundry, and hang it out to dry under the back porch. In this humidity, it didn’t dry very fast, but eventually it did dry.

Today Attila was working on the area of the roof that abuts the garden shed. This small section is complicated, as he must custom fit the roofing materials for this small area. After completing the lower section there, he moved to the front of the garage, where the wall above the doors needs to be rebuilt. Attila’s peace of mind will begin when this has been completed, since it is visible to the street. When the wall has been rebuilt and painted, then, Attila says, he will take a morning off, and we will go for a walk.

The Instant Pot is going to cook dinner on the back porch this evening, Sweet & Sour Meatballs With Rice and Mixed Vegetables. The Instant Pot won’t have to work very hard to be hot enough to cook dinner, on the porch in the heat of the early evening.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Heat Warning
29°C
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Saturday 30 June 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 29.0°C
Dew point: 23.2°C
Humidity: 71%
Wind: WSW 18 km/h
Humidex: 39
Visibility: 19 km

Quote

“We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.”
Albert Einstein
1879 – 1955

Sittin’ On The Back Porch

I am sitting on the back porch to write this entry, at least the beginning of it. It is 10:41 a.m., and the heat is beginning to close in. I’ve washed and just hung to dry a load of laundry, which has been sitting messily on the floor for over a week. It was time to deal with it. A quickening breeze is making the air more comfortable, but soon, I can tell, the heat and humidity will increase beyond my ability to physically compensate for it, and I will be driven indoors, where the heat pump keeps the temperature at 23C, and below 55% humidity. But for now, for the first time since Sunday, it is now Wednesday, I am out of doors.

Our back porch is lovely in the morning. In the afternoon the sun shines into the porch and it becomes uncomfortably hot, in the summer it becomes unbearably hot. In my dreams we renovate the porch to extend the roof so that much of the porch will remain shaded in the afternoons, making it a viable space in which to spend time all day long.

Even thought the heat wave carries on, the leaves are turning on the trees, and beginning to fall. They rustle, a familiar autumn sound.

We have lost our third family of neighbours in the house next door. When we first bought Mist Cottage, a family with three children lived there. As soon as we painted the exterior of our house, and it looked acceptable, they put their house on the market, and moved to a larger house in town. The people who bought it were an unmarried couple, he much older than she, who eventually married, and eventually stopped making their mortgage payments, renting the house out. The family that rented the house, a couple with two small sons and a brother in the basement, managed to buy it as the bank was foreclosing, and struggled to keep up with the expenses and maintenance. They chopped down every tree on their property, except the very tall one that required a professional to remove it. They gutted part of the house to “renovate”, and did not make progress after tearing things apart. The couple with their children disappeared in the spring, saying that they were going to spend the summer in a large trailer they had purchased at a seasonal camp site, leaving the brother in the basement and a tenant on the main floor of the house. Apparently this did not work out all that well, the tenant has moved out, all the furniture has been moved out, and the brother and father have been working on the house, and moving things out at intervals. It now sits empty. We wonder who will be there next, and hope for the best.

Our garden continues to provide us with fresh green beans and tomatoes, and the occasional zucchini. The few squash that have grown are sizeable, and it seems the mild weather will hold long enough for most of them to mature, so that they can be harvested. Sadly, the scarlet runner beans are no longer putting out blooms, so that as we harvest the beans as the come of size, there are no more coming behind them.

The day is sunny, but rain is predicted this afternoon, which the gardens will be glad of. Attila has been watering them every day, using bath water, which he carried out in a large five gallon bucket. It hasn’t rained since we arrived home from our cold, wet vacation.

My days are passing quickly at the moment. The genealogy book that I stopped working on last spring is in need of careful thought. Yesterday was spent editing references. They are a real mess, after 22 years of making entries. Over those 22 years technology has required many changes. At first, all my records were paper, and a lot of the information I acquired was garnered from painstakingly reading microfiches at libraries. The database computer software I used was relatively rudimentary, and has undergone a myriad of updates and improvements. Each time the software changed, so did the way I could enter my sources, and my researched information. There are still restrictions in the software, for instance the source field will accept only 225 characters, not nearly enough! I spend a lot of time butchering the source material so that it conforms to the 225 character restriction. Conventions changed as well, evolved you could say. My sources needed serious editing to make them consistent. Although they will never be totally consistent, they are within acceptable limits now.

My crochet project, a blanket/afghan, is so relaxing. The colours are soothing, the yarn soft and yielding to the touch. The stitch I am using is very plain, the Suzette Stitch, and very easy. Because the stitch is dense, the blanket is thick, and will be very warm. I am thinking of doing another in washable wool, wool blankets are so lovely and warm.

I have begun my book by Sigrid Undset, Kristin Lavransdatter. The introduction was disappointing, it described the plot too carefully, revealing details that I would rather discover myself as I moved through the book. Having begun the first chapter, I encountered Norwegian words that my mind pronounced, or tried to, and decided to find an online service to provide pronunciations of the names of the main characters and places. I will eventually be able to pronounce these words correctly, but for now I must refer to the audio example every time. auditory learning is not my strong point. Which is interesting because Luna, my eldest, find auditory learning extremely easy. Everyone is so different!

Sound! From my seat on the back porch I can hear, the songs of cicadas, a cement truck, the backup warning beeps of a large truck at a distant construction site, stationary saws at the house under construction a few doors away, the neighbour raking leaves, a bird chirping, a train whistle, two neighbours chatting over the hedge between their yards. We do not live in a quiet place, but the neighbourhood itself is relatively quiet.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

24C
Date: 10:00 AM EDT Wednesday 27 September 2017
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 23.8°C
Dew point: 22.4°C
Humidity: 92%
Wind: S 20 km/h
Humidex: 33
Visibility: 13 km

Today
Increasing cloudiness late this morning. 40 percent chance of showers. Wind southwest 20 km/h becoming northwest 20 gusting to 40 this afternoon. High 28 with temperature falling to 24 this afternoon. Humidex 36. UV index 5 or moderate.
Tonight
A few clouds. Wind northwest 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light late this evening. Low 10.

Quote

“Time does not change us. It just unfolds us.”
Max Frisch
1911 – 1991

Heat Wave!

Today is so hot, and humid. My Mom is happy as a clam, she loves the heat. Me, I am safe at home, in the air conditioned luxury of Mist Cottage. Attila, well… Attila is outside, working on the exterior south wall of the house, and the exterior south wall of the garage, scraping paint, and repainting. He has finished scraping and painting the wall the house, and had just finished scraping the wall of the garage. I offered to help, but Attila pointed out that having to take me to the hospital for heat exhaustion would not really be of much help to him. He has a point. I do not tolerate the heat well.

This afternoon it will feel like 39C with the humidex. Tonight the temperature will fall to 17C. It is a real roller coaster ride!

This morning I attended a three hour workshop on storing family photos and documents. It was excellent, and the cost was entirely reasonable at $8. I have not really done anything like this since I stopped going to Yoga class, which is more than two years ago. When a description of this workshop popped up in my email box, I called immediately to reserve a seat. This morning I was resistant, I had to make myself get dressed and get out the door on time. It was well worth overcoming inertia.

I haven’t been eating a lot lately, the dental work is still giving me a bit of grief, which is normal. When Attila got home from work yesterday, he asked me what I wanted for dinner. I responded by asking him what HE wanted for dinner. His response was immediate, pizza! We haven’t had pizza since last spring, it is not summer food, requiring the oven to bake. We decided that since it was the first day autumn, an oven meal would be appropriate, even though the temperature outside was hot enough to fry eggs on the back porch railing. So we celebrated the Autumn Equinox by making a homemade pizza, and sitting down to eat it in front of Netflix, watching an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. We know it is autumn, the trees know it is autumn, only the weather doesn’t know it is autumn.

The pizza was better than ever. The pre-made pizza sauce from the grocery store is shockingly high in sodium, which is unacceptable for me. On last night’s pizza, we used a jar of the Tomato Red Pepper Sauce, made earlier in September, in place of the pre-made pizza sauce. The homemade sauce is very low in sodium, so that my part of the pizza got more than the two tablespoons of sauce usually allowed. It was wonderful! And to think, we have another 34 jars of Tomato Red Pepper Sauce… 34 pizzas!

It seems to be my year for run ins with insects. In this heat the yellow jackets are everywhere, huge ones! I went out to see how Attila was doing with his project, and a yellow jacket must have come back into the house with me on my clothing. Then it must have ended up on the floor, where my bare foot came into contact with it, and it stung the bottom of my toe. I felt it. My toe has a “blister” and is quite sore still. I killed the yellow jacket. There are a lot of wasps around our house, the nests seem to be right under the shingles. Attila sprayed and destroyed a nest one evening last week, that was under the awning outside the dining area windows. There was also a huge cone shaped hornets next in our flowering tree in the front yard this summer, which was sprayed in August, and is now inactive. We had another nest of hornets under the compost, the black plastic bin. Attila was planning on spraying it before digging it out, but an animal, probably a skunk, got to it first, dug out the nest and ate all the wasps. Yay!

Boiling dishclothes DSCF1260 A pot full of dishcloths and facecloths, boiling them up to kill the bacteria, five minutes does the trick!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

HEAT WARNING IN EFFECT
23°C
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Saturday 23 September 2017
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 23.4°C
Dew point: 20.2°C
Humidity: 82%
Wind: S 22 km/h
Humidex: 31
Visibility: 24 km

Today Mainly sunny. High 31. Humidex 39. UV index 6 or high.
Tonight Clear. Fog patches developing overnight. Low 17.

Quote

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
George Orwell
1903 – 1950

Waitin’ for the Window

Technology is changing so quickly now that there is no keeping up with it. Purchasing anything technological is like stepping onto a moving escalator, you are only staying in the same place and up to date with your item for a nanosecond, then it is uncool, and within months, sometimes days, it is obsolete. So, I use my old technology as long as it will hang in and do the job. My computers are an example of this.

I have an old G4, still going strong, but I never turn it on. It doesn’t do wireless, or play video DVDs, or run the necessary browsers to interact with most web sites. But it still works just the way it was meant to the year I bought it.

Then there is the iMac. Much newer, the iMac was the machine that helped me live through a horrendous end-of-the-endless-winter March, when I sat by my window for days and days, watching for the delivery van; there was no other traffic on the street, I could have heard it coming, but I watched all day long, and that sense of anticipation kept me from falling into the depths of cabin fever. The iMac is old enough that it will no longer be adequate for the requirements of operating system updates. It, like the G4, will move out of sight on the endless escalator of progress. So far it is used daily as our entertainment system. When that function becomes untenable, it too will cease to be used on a regular basis, and will sit in its perfection in a corner.

Now I use a 2012 MacBook Air as my daily computer. It is already aging, the battery no longer holds a charge for very long, but the operating system updates should be viable for a few more years. We tried to use the MacBook Air to run our short Tai Chi video when we were at the Rideau Camp last weekend, it only lasted 10 minutes on the first day, then it ran out of juice. I imagine I will be using the MacBook Air until it too is conveyed out of site on the moving stairway to heaven.

Attila and I have come to postpone purchases of technology until we have no choice because the old equipment simply will not function as needed. We wait for the window of opportunity that will give us a product that will move as far into the future as is possible. Atilla is using our first cell phone, pay as you go, a flip phone with a broken hinge and a dodgy battery, that we purchased the summer of 2006, 10 years ago. It can still function as an emergency contact device. Attila does not like to be called during his work day, when he goes to work we have no contact with each other at all until he arrives home. Having a cell phone for texting would be a complete waste of time for him. He has no need of a smart phone. I am keeping my eyes open for a heavy duty cell phone on sale, one that works well without data and bells and whistles. Perhaps this item does not exist. If I wait long enough something like it might come to exist at any time. I am waitin’ for the window of opportunity to open.

Tuesday morning was filled with errands. Attila had his prescription transferred from a pharmacy near the country house to a pharmacy near Mist Cottage, the same pharmacy where I get my prescriptions filled. They hire local people, the owners live in town, and the employees act as if they own the business and want it to do well. I called them this morning and the prescription was ready for pickup. When I got home I noticed they were using our country home address, so I gave them a call and gave them our current address, so I think we are now up to date.

I also made a telephone call to Toronto, and was very pleased to be informed that the conviction for parking offence ticket that I received in the mail is in the process of being cancelled. Thank goodness I can finally stop fretting about getting that thing cancelled, it took many telephone calls, and an email request, to get the cancellation started. I was told a letter would be sent to me in the mail, confirming the cancellation.

Also on my list was a trip to the bank. When Attila and I bought paint for the new garden shed, we sent in the forms to receive a rebate. The cheque arrived and needed to be deposited in our account. Luckily the bank is a short walk from the pharmacy, so I could park once and walk to the places I needed to go.

My next stop was the library. I returned two books that I had read, renewed a third book which I hadn’t had a chance to read, and selected two additional books. I was looking for a book by a particular author, Patrick Rothfuss, but the library did not have any of his books on the shelf. I will have to try the Ontario Library Service and see if I can find one of his books there. His work sounded interesting in a short article that I read, and I wanted to see if his books lived up to the hype.

The weather would have been lovely this week had it not been for the humidity. It is supposed to be very warm all week, with possible thunderstorms. The garden needs the rain, so a rainy day will be welcome. We have eaten fresh green beans from the garden for the last three nights, the same plants that we planted in the spring are flowering and bearing again after the long summer heat and drought. The Scarlet Runner beans are thriving, with plentiful blooms and lush foliage; Attila tells me there are quite a few beans which will soon be ready for harvesting. We have only had two tomatoes from our plants, a disappointing harvest to say the least. So far we have had no peppers from the plants that we put in in the spring. We harvested a dozen or so heads of garlic earlier in the summer. The garden wasn’t all that we had hoped this year, the drought took its toll. I hope to have a rain harvesting system in place by next summer, just in case another drought occurs.

My high blood pressure has not responded well to the doubling of my current medication. Three readings by doctors confirmed that my hypertension was no longer being controlled by the low doses of medication I was taking. It was hoped that doubling the medication would bring it down; it has not, the four readings I have taken were all unacceptably high. I have a machine at home that measures my blood pressure, and it is accurate when compared to the measurements taken at the doctor’s office. I have a follow up appointment next week with the drop-in clinic doctor, so I am hoping he can come up with a plan to bring my blood pressure down to acceptable levels. This is a sudden development, my skyrocketing blood pressure, it was normal when taken at the Emergency department in March of this year. I honestly feel the change is due to the overload of stressful events that played out this summer, culminating with the sudden passing of my brother. I will keep at this until I get my blood pressure back within the normal range.

Luckily our little house is very comfortable. This summer has been very hot and humid, only one day was comfortable enough to turn off the heat pump and open the windows. It isn’t as restrictive as winter, there is no snow to contend with, no winter coats, no boots. But it has been a summer where outdoor activity has been downright unhealthy for those of us who can’t tolerate extreme heat. Today I stepped out onto the back porch to fetch a water basin, and the air felt like warm soup, hard to breath and watery. I look forward to autumn.

At this point in time my writing rambles along like a bee visiting blooms in a garden!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

23°C
Date: 9:00 AM EDT Thursday 8 September 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.9 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 23.2°C
Dewpoint: 22.4°C
Humidity: 95%
Wind: S 13 km/h
Humidex: 33

Quote

“I do not take a single newspaper, nor read one a month, and I feel myself infinitely the happier for it.”
Thomas Jefferson
1743 – 1826

I wonder what he would think of the super-sized information highways of today!

Scarlet Runner Beans

I’ve been keeping busy, very, very busy, keeping my speed up to that I can leap over chasms. My days are mostly pleasant.

We have had rain! It rained yesterday morning, which prevented me from taking my walk as early as I had planned. By the time the rain stopped and I stepped outside, it was like entering a sauna. I decided to take my walk anyway, but to avoid issues I walked very slowly, not pushing myself. I was soaked with sweat by the time I arrived home, safe and sound.

Last Saturday we had a lovely surprise. Luna and the Grandbabies arrived for a visit, staying for lunch and dinner. Imp and Elf and Tink are growing so fast now! Imp has grown quite tall. She and I had a great time going through some of the books on my bookshelf, trying to find the oldest book. I taught her where to look for the publication date at the front of the book. The oldest one we found was a leather bound copy of The Select Poetical Works of Lord Byron, Boston: Phillips, Sampson, & Company, 119 Washington Street, 1853. Elf had fun building a wooden chair, footstool and table from wood scraps leftover from the garden shed project. Attila spent some time teaching him to use the electric screw driver. Tink enjoyed playing with the dolls in the toy box. She read the first half of the book Go Dogs Go to me, and then I read the second half of the book to her. All three of the Grandbabies stopped to sit with me as I read, it was charming.

Terra and Lares stopped by for about ten minutes with the Sunny and Sky. The babies were all dressed up for a family occasion of some kind, on Lares side of the family. They weren’t here long enough to take pictures. The twins are now both over 7 pounds and are rosy and healthy. They sleep a lot, oh how quickly I forget. Attila and I got to hold them, briefly.

We had a few cool days, when the high temperature only reached 24C, and then the heat returned. It has been a summer of blistering heat. The drought ended last week with an all day rain, and we had had rain again yesterday.

My toe nail is turning colour and separating from the nail bed. It isn’t a big deal, but when it became very painful I decided to get it looked at to make sure that it hadn’t become something serious. My only option for a medical opinion, the emergency department at the hospital. I arrived there and joined the queue at 7:30 p.m. last night and arrived home at 2:15 a.m., the drive to and from is under five minutes. Most of that time I waited in an almost full to capacity waiting room, sitting across from a couple who were very obviously high on something, who were themselves waiting for a morning after pill, which they were discussing loudly, with the television in the room loudly describing gruesome murders and showing graphic reenactments. It was a long night, and the doctor visually diagnosed fungal infection and poor circulation, injected freezing, suggested salt water soaking and tylenol, 20 minutes tops, and sent me on my way.

There has to be a better way to deliver basic health care.

I slept until 7:20 am this morning, a very short night, and I feel horrid from a bad night’s sleep.

Things are looking green, and at last the Scarlet Runner Beans along the fence are filling in and blooming profusely. Yesterday morning I stood at the kitchen window for ten minutes or so, to watch a Humming Bird visit each bloom on the Scarlet Runners. Plants are on sale at the moment, particularly potted plants that suffered during the hot drought. We picked up a large pot of Echinacea, which Attila planted by the compost bin, where we think it will do very well. I am attempting to plant Monarch Butterfly friendly plants in the yard. I was most interested in a site devoted to creating Monarch friendly gardens. I haven’t seen any Monarch Butterflies this summer!

A bloom on the Scarlet Runner Beans. I will be watching these blooms again this morning, in hopes of seeing the Humming Bird feeding.
DSCF9434
The new Echinacea plant, already thriving beside the compost bin.
DSCF9424
The herbs and spices for a Lentil Salad. I made a Lentil Salad yesterday, assembling three batches of the herbs and spices needed. One I used to make the salad, and the other two I stored in small jars for future salads. There are so many herbs and spices that finding them all in the kitchen cupboard takes a bit of time, so doling out three measures into three containers saves me a lot of time.
DSCF9415

Worldly Distractions

Weather

24°C
Date: 11:00 AM EDT Thursday 25 August 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 23.6°C
Dewpoint: 21.7°C
Humidity: 89%
Wind: SSW 23 km/h
Humidex: 33

Quote

Why is it we feel
So little for each other, but for this,
That we with nature have no sympathy,
Or with such things as have no power to hold
Articulate language?
And never for each other shall we feel
As we may feel, till we have sympathy
With nature in her forms inanimate,
With objects such as have no power to hold
Articulate language. In all forms of things
There is a mind.

William Wordsworth, fragment from the Alfoxden Notebook, in Ernest de Selincourt and Helen Darbishire (editors), The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, Volume 5 (Oxford University Press 1949), page 340.

Poem for Carl Robert

I name you the bloom
on the scarlet runner beans
growing wildly up my fence
and the bristly heads
crowned with purple
of the Echinacea.

I name you the leaves
that loosely follow and
beckon and caress empty air
and the long grasses
undulating
pointing the way.

You who filled
certain crucial holes
in my universe
so that I could have walked
blindly through life.

How beautiful you were.
How beautiful you are.

Maggie Turner