This morning I’ve decided to resume muffin baking. To that end a tub of frozen pureed squash has been fetched from the freezer in the basement, and is thawing on the kitchen counter.

I love live music. This is something I discovered in my thirties, after my first marriage ended, and my own likes and dislikes were allowed to bloom. Living in downtown Toronto, I was able to enjoy live music everywhere I went, bars, cafes, walking down the street, open stages, musical get togethers with musical friends, and in many more ways. At that time I wrote a lot of poetry, and read my work at open stages, and sometimes in bars (where I found a surprisingly appreciative audience, if I got on stage before the serious drinking started). All that was a lifetime ago, and since then there has been no other social activity that has held the same appeal.

Attila and I have decided that we will explore music venues within driving distance of Mist Cottage. Last night we drove for about 40 minutes to listen to a band at a bar, and enjoyed ourselves immensely. The band was friendly, the staff at the bar were friendly, the other patrons were friendly, no one really cared who we were, they were just happy to have us there… it was a social-engineer-free zone. We will be exploring other venues in the weeks to come, and in the years to come. Who knows, I might start writing again, and do a reading here and there, or maybe not, it depends on how I feel at any given moment.

Up until last night every evening musical event Attila and I have attended, in the last fifteen years or so, has been “stiff”, with the performers feeling too special, too focused on building a “fan” base, to genuinely connect with the people in the audience, the hosting individuals feeling too excited about their own importance to be genuinely present to anyone but the performers they are so enamoured with. This kind of atmosphere is not appealing to me, or to Attila. No performer is so special that being genuine with people is beneath their dignity. The most talented people are usually “over themselves” very early on in the game. Part of the magic of creativity is in its openness, absent in the performer/adoring-fan binary cage.

It is very cold today! I was only out of doors for a short time. Every year a Christmas card arrives in our mailbox, addressed to our neighbour at our address. Every year I bundle up, walk over the neighbour’s house, and pop it into their mailbox. Today was delivery day.

This isn’t the jolliest Christmas I’ve ever experienced. Without realizing it, I’ve been listening to canned playlists of Christmas music, instead of my cherished collection of Christmas music on CDs. Why? I find I don’t want to associate the the disoriented feelings I have this year with the music I love. I want to listen to that music in future years and enjoy it without triggering the sad feelings I have this year. If the universe allows, these sad feelings will fade, and their existence used as a tool, but not revisited as part of Christmas memories. One pass through these feelings will be enough. There are lots of good feelings floating around at Mist Cottage this Christmas, making good will and hope the order of every day. That in itself is a wonderful thing.

In the colder weather Mist Cottage switches automatically from heating with the air source heat pump to the oil furnace. When that happens the air dries out, everything dries out, and the humidity in the house plummets. Today soaked washcloths are draped in front of every heat register, where they dry in less an hour, at which time they are carted over the sink, soaked again, and placed back in front of the registers. The humidity level is being maintained in this way, but no gains are being made, it is holding steady at 28%.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 7:00 AM EST Thursday 14 December 2017
Condition: Mainly Clear
Pressure: 100.8 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -20.1°C
Dew point: -23.3°C
Humidity: 76%
Wind: NNW 10 km/h
Wind Chill: -27
Visibility: 24 km


“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.”
Helen Keller
1880 – 1968


The days are beginning to blend. With no regularly scheduled activities in the outside world the days begin to run into each other, broken only by Attila’s occasional day off work. It reminds me of summers during my childhood, when weeks passed without any contact with the outside world, and days grew slowly along with the trees, uncluttered by human agendas. How glorious, some of those days, spent with siblings, bonded by time and place. Little wonder I became a geographer.

Today is sunny and gloriously yellow. Most of the leaves around our home turned a shade of yellow or orange this year, there has been very little red in this autumn’s palette.

I baked bread yesterday and put the loaves in the freezer for the coming week. Today I cooked black eyed peas in the pressure cooker and have used them to prepare Mexican Bean Casserole in the crockpot. Upon reading the manufacturers instructions, I added a tablespoon of oil to the water in the pressure cooker before sealing it and cooking the peas. The seal is a bit wonky, and was leaking the first time I tried to heat the cooker to pressure. I let it cool down, removed the lid, adjusted the rubber seal and made a second attempt, which worked perfectly. The black eyed peas cooked in four minutes.

Caveat: Cook beans in a crockpot at your own risk, do it the right way. “Dried beans, especially kidney, contain a natural toxin. These toxins are easily destroyed by boiling. Safe steps for preparing would include soaking the beans for 12 hours, rinsing, and then boiling for at least 10 minutes, before adding the beans to a slow cooker.” University of Minnesota Extension

I took a trip to the dump this morning, to dispose of our microwave oven. It is about two years old and is quite a disappointment. It popped loudly when Attila pressed the start button on Tuesday evening and let forth a terrible stench. Then it stopped working altogether. I delivered it to the e-waste centre. Of course, not having been there before, I drove past the weigh scale and shouldn’t have. The young man at the gate came out to find out what I was up to, which is in everyone’s best interest I think. I promised I would check in properly next time I brought something to the dump, so we parted with a smile.

We are able to burn full fires in the masonry heater now, and to close the damper when the flames have burned themselves out. It is cosy and warm in the house. Mist is in her glory, sleeping sprawled across the floor, or pillows, or a chair, or wherever she happens to find herself when she begins yawning.

Now that we have wood heat, it is dry in the living area. I have dragged out my clothes rack and am drying a load of laundry in front of the heater.

I found a bit of mould growing in one of the used maple syrup containers I had saved, so I spent some time cleaning it out with aqueous oxygen. Which led to cleaning the kitchen sinks as well, and the burners on the range. It all needed doing, and so was not time wasted. Although why I am even thinking in terms of time wasted I do not know!

I am de-cluttering the living area this afternoon, objects have a way of piling up in corners when we aren’t looking. My goal is to get things straightened away in here, then to create a floor plan and move the furniture around in a winter arrangement. The masonry fireplace, ignored during the most of the year, becomes the central point of the house during the heating season. We like to sit and watch it, and we like to warm our toes in front of a roaring fire as well. The seating needs to be re-arranged to accommodate the shift in focus.

I find my mind meandering today. It flies from one thought to another, touching only briefly on each one. On days like this I have to make myself focus on each particular task, so that I complete each one successfully.

We heard George play last weekend, hearing him play live is really something to look forward to, and he is one of the nicest people you could ever meet. He writes beautiful love songs, or perhaps they are hymns, if there is a difference. We have one of his CDs and listen to it over and over…

Worldly Distractions


7 °C
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.2 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 7.4°C
Dewpoint: 0.2°C
Humidity: 60 %
Wind: W 8 km/h


“Love is a snowmobile racing across the tundra and then suddenly it flips over, pinning you underneath. At night, the ice weasels come.”
Matt Groening (1954 – )
[I just HATE ice weasels!!)