Now I Believe in Spring

Taken a few days ago when Attila and I were out for a walk. The north side of the road.
Spring canadian shield

The sun shone yesterday. It is just coming up over the horizon this morning. What a buzz!

We are not quite out of the winter woods yet though. Tomorrow night’s low temperature is supposed to dip to -12C. But after that…

I took the Christmas lights down from around the windows yesterday. In the dead of winter these colourful lights are a small source of cheer and comfort. Now it is April, and the sun is so wonderful that it makes me believe in spring. Twinkling lights are not needed when the nights are not long, or dark.

Our internet connection disappeared yesterday morning. I fiddled with it for a bit, then called the help line. They fiddled with it for a bit, then admitted the problem was at their end. The call was escalated to somewhere in cyberspace, and my only option, at that point, was to wait. Service was restored sometime during the evening. So here I am.

We finally managed to make the trip to town for supplies. On the sunny side of the road, the north side where the sun shines on the rocks from across the tree-free pavement, the snow is retreating from the rock cuts. The south side of the road is still “dead of winter” white. I watched the north side of the road there and back again. It was wonderful to be out and about. And it was wonderful to arrive home from the trip in daylight! In the winter it is dark before Attila gets home from work. Arriving home in daylight is another reason to believe in spring.

Today I am going to pre-order a fresh vegetable and fruit basket, the one I described a few posts ago, from the local government. It will be interesting to see if this is worthwhile for us. Attila is a numbers guy, and he will be tallying up the contents of the basket and measuring the exact savings. There may not be any savings for us, because we shop so frugally and carefully. Still, I am hopeful.

I have a Kobo, the older original model. I love it, it was a Christmas gift from Luna and Terra and families, a much appreciated gift. I have to say that it isn’t always user friendly. Perhaps the newer versions are better. Primarily, I read books borrowed from the library. I have received gift certificates for purchasing books from Kobo, so I have a few very lovely pieces of literature that were purchased.

Both with purchases, and library loans, there have been technical difficulties. These difficulties have been resolvable; they are irritating. For instance, I borrowed a book yesterday and had to download it twice, and connect and reconnect my Kobo twice to get the book loaded onto the Kobo. Annoying!

Well, if that is my worst problem, I am leading a very lucky life.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-8 °C
Condition: Sunny
Pressure: 102.4 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -8.5°C
Dewpoint: -9.6°C
Humidity: 92 %
Wind: SSE 8 km/h
Wind Chill: -13

Quote

“Whatever you are by nature, keep to it; never desert your line of talent. Be what nature intended you for and you will succeed.”
Sydney Smith
1771 – 1845

Presentable

Another beautiful sunny day today. The wind last Friday brought down quite a few branches, some of them of considerable size. There was no damage as a result and Attila used his chain saw to cut them to size, so that we burned them in the masonry heater for firewood last night. That worked out rather well.

On our journey to the little house last Saturday, I began to take pictures of the passing landscape from my seat in the car. The weather had already improved tremendously when I began to shoot the pictures. I aimed the camera out the side window, paying no attention to what I was capturing, or even if I was capturing any images.

Sun emerging from cloud. February 19, 2011

Sun emerging from cloud. February 19, 2011

While we were at the little house in the city we did a bit of window shopping. At least that is the way it started out. I don’t remember if I have mentioned in this journal that my winter coat is 17, almost 18 years old. I have worn this coat exclusively for the last 17 years, and still wear it with enthusiasm. However, it is a bit shabby, which isn’t a problem until I have a job interview and then it becomes a concern. The coat also gets dirty and cannot be washed through the winter months because I have nothing else to keep me warm while it takes a few days to dry. Shabby and dirty are a problem for job interviews. The upshot of all this is that while browsing through the mens department of a clothing store I found a lovely grey coat with fur trim on the hood, machine washable, warm and very presentable, at a greatly reduced price. It was marked down to $69 from $249. We decided that since I wear coats for close to 20 years, that this might be a very good investment. So, I have a new winter coat to wear to my interview this week.

Because I have a new winter coat in case I need to go outdoors, the old coat has gone into the washing machine and is now sparkling clean. It should be dry enough to wear again in a few days.

Today I am preparing for the interview on Thursday, then I’m going to forget all about it until I’m sitting in the office being interviewed. I like the interviews. It is the applications and preparations for interviews that I hate most about looking for work. I suppose this is an acquired dislike, due to the profound lack of success experienced thus far.

The printer is out of colour ink. I don’t need colour ink, so this wasn’t of much concern. However, the printer thought otherwise and refused to function at all without a new colour cartridge, which is $50 I’m not going to be spending; you see the dilemma here, $50 for an ink cartridge, $69 for a beautiful winter coat, choices, choices, made mine already. After searching the printer documentation for some time, no solution to the problem was found. A google search for a solution was very successful; the cure was to find the cartridge settings buried deep in layers of menus, change the settings to black only and then to hold down the reset button for five seconds. Worked a charm and the black and white documents I need for my interview are printed.

The Kobo continues to satisfy. I eventually heard from the company about the book that I bought online and could not access. They could not resolve the problem, to give me access to the book, so they refunded my credit card. Strange, that they couldn’t manage to make the book available for download, very strange. However, the issue is resolved and I am quite satisfied. The book in progress at the moment is Beauty by Sherri S. Tepper, which has been renewed and downloaded several times from the library. Having interesting reading material available all the time is wonderful!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-19 °C
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -19.0°C
Dewpoint: -22.6°C
Humidity: 74 %
Wind: NNW 5 km/h
Wind Chill: -23

Quote 

“Egotism is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity.”
Frank Leahy

Warming

The house is once again cozy and warm.  The weather outside has warmed considerably and the thermal mass in the house is warming as well.

We signed up for a free month of Netflix, and I’ve been hard at work making the most of the service while we have it.  I’ve been checking out programs that must run on channels we never get on television, like Drop Dead Diva and Huff.  There are a lot of older excellent movies we have not seen yet, out here in the bush.  We watched “A Beautiful Mind”, about the life of John Forbes Nash, Jr., a Nobel Laureate in Economics. Funny thing though, Mr. Nash doesn’t look a bit like Russell Crowe, who gave an entirely sympathetic performance as the troubled economist.

The Kobo continues to delight me.  However, they have not addressed the issue that a book I purchased from them is not available for download onto the Kobo, as it should be.  I’ll have to send them yet another email about this.  How long should this take!  They’ve got my money, I’ve got no book!

Tomorrow I am back at work, thank goodness. I become extremely inactive when confined to the house for long periods of time. My work is physically challenging. I’ll be tired tomorrow night and then I should acclimatize to the increased activity levels.

Today has been quiet, filled with pleasant conversation and very enjoyable.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-5 °C
Condition: Snow
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Visibility: 5 km
Temperature: -5.0°C
Dewpoint: -5.0°C
Humidity: 100 %
Wind: calm

Quote

“The name we give to something shapes our attitude toward it.”
Katherine Paterson

Clutter Queens

Attila and I discussed a trip to the village this morning, a trip I would take.  It snowed all night and it is still snowing.  I can hear snow blowers in the distance, as people clear their drives.  Soon the plows will be clearing the roads.  Perhaps tomorrow would be a better day for a trip.  The errands can wait a day or two or three.  Attila has returned to work and the days of being cocooned in a snowy wonderland have begun in earnest.

January this morning.

January this morning.

WordPress has a new security upgrade that needed installing.  The task was tackled this morning, and completed.  For some reason the automatic update does not work for on this system, it stalls and it fails, every time.  After trying the automatic update once again, this morning, I reverted to a manual install.  All went well and it took less than half an hour, start to finish.

Reflecting on style, I’ve been a minimalist all my life.  Growing up on a farm gave me an acute sense of function.  In addition, my Grandfather had no admiration, and much contempt, for “doo-dads”.  Little wonder my focus is function.

However, I sometimes envy what I regard as the “clutter queens”.  Clutter queens are people who, with a sense for appeal, create very busy objects and spaces that largely serve no purpose at all except that they are fun to look at.  I’ve tried this approach, and the upshot is truly unnerving, for myself or anyone else who has to expose themselves to the resulting object or space.  This is on my mind because I’ve been reading blogs, some of them are full of appealing, visual fluff.  If I don’t stop to look at the fluff in detail, I enjoy the web page and the content of the actual entry.  Once I begin to pay attention to content of the fluff, the joy withers on the vine.

I’ve plans for my Kobo this morning!  Helena sent me an eGift of Kobo credits, just because she says, so I can select a few more books to read!  What a treat.  It seems too, that it might be possible to download library books to the Kobo through my local library services.  Well, I have my reservations about that, services are limited here, the Township does not have Inter-library Loan services, even within the Township!  I’m game to give the digital download a try though, I’ve nothing to lose except a bit of patience and a little of my time.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-3 °C
Condition: Snow
Pressure: 100.8 kPa
Visibility: 5 km
Temperature: -3.0°C
Dewpoint: -3.3°C
Humidity: 98 %
Wind: SSW 11 km/h
Wind Chill: -7

Quote

“Put more trust in nobility of character than in an oath.”
Solon
638 BC – 559 BC

Plentiful

Attila and I set forth on Friday last for our little house in the city.  We arrived Christmas Eve day, after an uneventful drive on bare, dry roads.

As we drove up to the little house, a smiling metal sculpted snowman smiled at us from the front porch.  Terra and Lares had been busy acting as Christmas Elves and had completely decorated our little house!  The tree was up in the corner, lights festooned the entire perimeter of the living room, snowmen smiled from almost every corner of the house.  There were bright Christmas tins, candle holders and an audacious snowman fruit bowl that ended up being a huge hit with Tink.

Terra and Lares joined us Christmas Eve, and how wonderful it was to have them with us.  Christmas Day Terra had to work, and she and Lares arrived in the early evening to share a turkey dinner with us.

Luna arrived Christmas Day with Imp and Elf and Tink and Benny and Bim.  Janus had to work, and we did miss him.  Luckily Attila had the second bedroom painted adequately, so that the room was transformed with cots and sleeping mattresses for Luna and the grandbabies.

What a wonderful time we all had.  I can’t remember that we did anything that was particularly special, or spectacular…  The time flew by us as we were busy just being together.

Imp and Elf and Tink are wonderful children! How we love them. Imp is tall and independent, Elf is wiry and full of smiles and giggles and Tink is a no-nonsense little girl with a melting grin that shows off her two new front teeth.

Terra and Luna got together for my gift, which was generous beyond the actual cost.  They conspired to give me a kobo.  I am in love!  I have read the entire Castle of Otranto, by Horace Walpole, and I’ve made my first book purchase. It took me hours to choose, so many wonderful books to read! In the end, Ursula Leguin’s Lavinia caught my fancy. I love having a good book to curl up with!

This means no more 40 kilometer round trips to the nearest full service library; no more worrying about gas money; no more worries about traveling on treacherous roads in treacherous weather; no more worrying about due dates and fines. I now have to purchase books, but I can also receive gift certificates for eBooks. Suddenly I am a very easy person to buy gifts for!

I’ve been like a small child with a security blanket; clutching my kobo as I travel from house to car, car to house… The kobo will fit in my backpack and can be read while waiting in lines, waiting in waiting rooms, while traveling as a passenger… sigh, how wonderful.

Food! My how we have enjoyed the holiday food this year! Turkey dinner, apple pie, mincemeat squares, Luna’s shortbread and chocolate chip cookies, Attila’s chocolate chip cookies, nuts, clementines, chocolates… Chocolates are last but certainly not least!

Attila has been chopping wood since we arrived home. The indoor temperature is rising and soon I’ll be able to remove my parka. The electric heaters kept the house well above freezing while we were away, which is a relief, at least until the next electric bill arrives in the mail, LOL!

I am working New Year’s Eve Day, but not too late. Attila returns to work tomorrow morning.

Our New Year celebration will be a quiet one. We will sit in front of the fire and enjoy remembering the very good times we have had over the past year, and all the truly wonderful things that have happened for the people we love.