Winter Arrived!

I have been thinking about Icarus, a person who reached his potential in a manner of speaking, an individual who followed his dream, soared with the eagles, believed in himself, dared to break the rules. I often wonder about the advice given by those who were positioned in life to catch the right updrafts, and were blessed with the right sort of wings; I wonder at their assumption that the ingredients to their rise is due to their own desires and determination. I guess death, who so far as I know none of us escapes, will provide them with their Icarus moment.

On Saturday Attila and I headed out to the Rideau Camp, after a leisurely morning, lingering over our morning coffee. The weather was beautiful, warm, windy, and sunny, it would have seemed a lovely day even if it had arrived in July or August. Within an hour of our arrival we were down to our short sleeved shirts, and even then felt hot when we exerted ourselves. Attila stacked logs, I burned brush, and from time to time we both sat enjoying the roar of wind gusts and the rattle of bare branches. We knew it was the end of the fair weather season, so before we left we stacked our chairs, tipped the picnic table on its side so that the snow would slide off it, and arranged all the logs and branches for future burning where they could easily dry after the snow melts come spring. Reluctantly we left for home as the sun began to disappear behind the clouds, in the late afternoon. We drove under increasingly cloudy skies, through very strong winds. Soon it began to rain, just a few drops on the windshield at first, which turned into a downpour as we approached our driveway.

On Sunday morning winter arrived with a flourish. The temperature hovered around freezing then began to fall, and a light rain fell through the early morning. The trip to the grocery store around noon included walking across a very windy parking lot, hunkered down against the falling temperature. We came out of the grocery store to find vehicles recently arrived from north of town, covered with snow. Shortly after we arrived home the snow began to fall here, at first mixed with rain, but soon turning to small white flakes whipping across the view out the window. For me this is the first snow of the season, because it is accumulating for the first time, rather than melting on contact.

Cooking without using salt is going to take some getting used to. Today’s menu includes a lasagna pasta casserole, made with macaroni, meat sauce, and soft cheeses. After reading the label on the can of spaghetti sauce, it was shocking to discover that the small can of sauce contained 3699 mg of sodium. Clearly the contents could not be used for my low sodium meat sauce. So the content of the can was divided into three lots, two frozen in jars for future use, and one lot added to the meat sauce, bringing the total sodium content of the sauce to 1233 mg of sodium. A can of sodium free canned tomatoes were added as well. The recipe will probably provide us with two meals, which is four hearty servings, so that each serving will contain 308 mg of sodium, which is acceptable for a meal. Finding a canned tomato sauce with a low-sodium content is on my to-do list.

Attila spent Sunday reorganizing the garage. We will be using the garage door as our main entrance through the winter months, and right now one has to navigate a tunnel of junk to get into the house. The front door opens directly into our small living space, and when it is opened in the winter, the heat is sucked out the door within seconds. The garage entrance is sheltered, and the basement is not heated, so that not nearly as much heat is lost when that entrance is used. The other advantage to not using the front door during the winter is that snow need only be removed when it gets deep enough to obstruct opening the door, which is not very often.

Drying laundry on a clothesline during a snowstorm does not work well, as Attila discovered yesterday. The clothes were covered in snow when he brought them back in. We have two very handy folding drying racks, they are set up in the hallway, and his clothes should be dry by morning. He cannot dry them in the dryer, because he works with lubricating oils, which end up penetrating his coveralls to soil his clothing. Those clothes have to be hung up to dry after they are washed.

My Sunday was busy, sorting through the “stuff” in the second bedroom, a room where everything we don’t know what to do with ends up, and there is a lot of that kind of stuff, still. Four boxes of things to give away have been packed and sit in the middle of the bedroom floor. Also, the summer shoes were stowed away in a tote, to be stored in the basement for a few months until the white weather is discontinued. Still, things don’t seem any roomier in here!! More must go.

My MacBook Air has been giving me grief the last few days. It suddenly dies. The battery has been in need of servicing for quite some time, but I haven’t bothered to find an authorized service center to do the job, as it will cost around $200, and I am just fine using the power adapter to keep it connected to an electrical source at all times. There seems to be some sort of issue with it, so I might just break down and take it in for servicing, or then again, I might think about replacing the computer, as it is a 2012 model, no longer on warranty, and will eventually be unable to keep up with operating system updates.

The iMac is a 2007 model, and is now old enough that it cannot accept the new operating system updates, it will hold forever with El Capitan. It seems slower and slower to us all the time, as it struggles to use its limited resources to cope with the increasingly demanding modern digital world. It still succeeds though, as our primary entertainment centre, and work horse when long repetitive tasks need to be performed.

This morning Attila left for work in a dark, snowy world. It was snowing quite hard, and the wind was gusting at 70 km/hr, he was in for quite a journey to work. Having seen the weather report last night, he arose earlier than usual this morning and left for work earlier than usual, to contend with the driving conditions. As he was headed out the door I noticed he was wearing only a light jacket, and quickly fetched his winter parka, he might need it! We tend to watch out for each other in this way.

Today is not a day for walking! The snow plow did go by around 7 a.m., leaving the roads level, but slippery in spots. This town does not plow the sidewalks, so that one must walk on the road unless able to trek through rutted ice and snow. I originally tore the meniscus in my knee trying to walk on the sidewalks here in town, so I walk on the road. My walking season will now be sporadic, and it will be challenging to get enough exercise for the next three to four months. Time to set the kitchen timer for 30 minutes, and keep doing housework until the dinger rings.

The senior’s organization here offers recreational programs at a reasonable cost. However, attending a class for an hour a week is a poor substitute for a daily walk. There are walking programs in the high school gym, but again, twice a week isn’t enough to keep fit, and I loath the social aspect of attending these sorts of confined opportunities to move about. Attila suggested a treadmill, but I looked around the entire house, which I can do standing in the living room, it is very small here, and wondered, where would we put it?!?!?

We have been here at Mist Cottage for just over a year now (September 10th was our one year anniversary), and although we have donated almost two truckloads of possessions to our children, the Women’s Shelter, the Men’s Shelter, and a Homeless Shelter, we are still living in a cluttered space. Every day I try to sort through something, to either organize or purge. Settling in here is like peeling an onion, so many layers! In theory, at some point, we will find the innermost layer.

Autumn on the Frontenac Arch, a feature of the Canadian Shield, and more specifically, our Rideau Camp. When we took possession of this property last April, there were two large pumpkins, an empty beer bottle, and a dead potted Chrysanthemum sitting under this pine tree. By the end of April animals had eaten every last bit of the pumpkins, we used the soil from the dead plant as fill in a low spot beside the drive, and left the beer bottle in situ. An empty beer or liquor bottle seems to be a theme when we acquire a piece of land here in Ontario. We found many empty beer bottles on the property at the country house, some of them broken. We found empty liquor bottles at the Ancestral Camp in Parry Sound, intact and dating from the turn of the 20th century. We found empty beer bottles in the dilapidated garden shed here at Mist Cottage, and fittingly, there was the empty beer bottle at the Rideau Camp.
Autumn 2016 Frontenac Arch DSCF0237

Worldly Distractions


Date: 3:00 PM EST Sunday 20 November 2016
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 100.0 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -2.4°C
Dew point: -4.1°C
Humidity: 88%
Wind: WNW 28 gust 40 km/h
Wind Chill: -9
Visibility: 1 km

Date: 8:00 AM EST Monday 21 November 2016
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 100.3 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -4.1°C
Dew point: -6.6°C
Humidity: 83%
Wind: W 32 gust 44 km/h
Wind Chill: -12
Visibility: 4 km


“You have to know how to accept rejection and reject acceptance.”

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”
[Done! ergo Tech Neck]

Ray Bradbury
1920 – 2012

Digital Housekeeping

Sunshine, it brings light into life in so many ways! Today was beautiful. It was -24C out there when I arose this morning. Now, at 5 p.m. it is -10C. The blue sky and white snow were so beckoning that I bundled up and headed out for my walk. Oh how I appreciate the knee warmer my Mom knitted for me, it kept my knee functioning and pain free for the whole 20 minutes that I was out of doors. I feel much better for getting out for my walk, as I have been confined to the house through the cold snap earlier in the week, and then the blizzard that followed.

The backup project is proceeding slowly. I have about 40GB of music files, some of which are backed up on CD, and some not backed up at all. I began the sort today, storing the files that have already been burned to CDs in a separate folder. That was step one. Step two will be burning the rest of the files on data DVDs. The files need to be organized, saved on both of the computers, the external usb drive, the Cloud, and the DVDs. Then the bulk of the project will be complete.

My oh my, how I regret not having been consistent with the digital housekeeping over the last 24 years.

I have a G4 computer that was purchased around 2001, it is still going strong. It is dated and will not manage online activities. It is just too old. Terra had expressed an interest in Photoshop and the Adobe creative software packages, all of which I owned when the G4 was new. I sent all the hardware and software to Terra. However, she barely got started with it when she found out she was pregnant. That is the end of learning Photoshop! She will be returning the computer and accessories, to get it out of her way. I have yet to decide what to do with it! Really, it would only be good for working on office tasks, like letter writing, database management, spreadsheets, modest graphics work, etc. It is extremely slow compared to new computers, so I doubt anyone would want to use it at all. But of course, there are no viruses, trojans, or malware of any kind developed for that machine, so it would be good for working with and storing sensitive information.

I have only had two Macintosh computers that wore out on me over the last 24 years, and both of them were laptops. The rest of my computers just keep going and going and going… I have given away the Apple llE, the 7300, and even the laptops that had worn out. The G4 is still going strong after 15 years, although it cannot be updated to the current operating system. The iMac is still going strong after 9 years, and can still be updated to current operating systems; it is getting very slow. My present main computer has been very reliable, a four year old MacBook Air, and it still does everything I need it to do.

I am not sure what I will do with my time when I get all of these computers backed up. I think it would be a fine idea for spring to arrive, just as I finish the job. Tomorrow would be good. Did you hear that spring? I am into it if you are.

The birthday rose. Attila gave me a potted pink rose for my birthday. The blooms are spent now, and the plant is sending out new delicate green leaves.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 5:00 PM EST Thursday 18 February 2016
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 103.8 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -10.0°C
Dewpoint: -18.6°C
Humidity: 50%
Wind: SW 7 km/h
Wind Chill: -14


“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.”
Henry Ward Beecher
1813 – 1887

First Snow 2013

Timers are my best friends. They are accommodating, understanding, uncritical, and essential. I have a manual timer for the kitchen, at timer on the range, and a timer on the computer. Today they were all three put to good use.

Geeky Computer Details

After seven hours of downloading and updating, Mavericks for Mac is installed on the MacBook Air. This task requires intense focus for short periods of time. Simultaneously, the iBook was wiped clean and then fresh operating system was installed. Simultaneously the iMac software updates were installed. Simultaneously the old G4 was dragged out of the dark regions of the closet, the monitor for it carefully balanced as it was brought down from the top shelves of the closet, and the whole works hooked up and started up.

And I was responsible for getting dinner into the cast iron dutch oven, in a timely manner.

The real challenge was dinner. The timer told me when to get up and turn the searing meat, when to add the onions, when to add the potatoes, and finally when to add the carrots. Without the timer the meat might have burned, a vegetable might have been forgotten, or the stove might not have been set at the correct temperature for the afternoon.

The outcome with the computers is mixed.

The iBook is toast. I could not mount it in target mode on the G4, as I had hoped. It did start up on its own, and worked long enough for me to erase the drive and reinstall the original operating system, which started up and worked like a charm. Then it froze. Then it would not startup again. There is some sort of issue, perhaps overheating, who really knows. But, since it is a 2004 model, and will not run up to date software, it is not worth spending any more time trying to rescue. Rest in peace, faithful iBook.

The old G4, ca 1999, works like a charm. The monitor is an old one, but will not work with the new computers and that is a shame, because it is the best monitor I have every owned. The G4 has a nice pair of speakers, that again will not work with the new computers. So I am considering setting up the old G4 as a stereo system, CD player. The other reason I would like to hang on to the G4 is that it has some great software on it, like Photoshop and Mac OS9.

The iMac updates completed without any issues.

The Mavericks update on the MacBook Air was seamless. There were a few surprises though.
1. Mail behaved very strangely at startup and had thrown some of my important messages in the trash. They were retrieved successfully.
2. The old version of Little Snitch had to be uninstalled and the new version installed. It is security software, and so it was the first priority.
3. Another was trying to find the settings to allow TypeIt4Me to run correctly. I did eventually stumble upon them, via the software itself.
4. Another issue is that Netflix won’t run. Apparently a newer version of Silverlight was required, which had to be located and downloaded. Silverlight too had to be uninstalled, and then reinstalled. Also the browser needed to be shutdown and restarted after the install, in order for the plug-in to work properly, which it now does.

I suppose a few more glitches will be discovered as time goes on.

After working on all four computers simultaneously throughout the day, two of them could be shut down. The G4 to be relegated back to the closet. The iBook readied for recycling.

Yesterday I almost missed my 14 year anniversary in online journaling. So much has changed since I began, with the technology, and even in my own life. When I began to write this journal, Terra was still a teenager living at home, and Luna had recently moved to Calgary, Alberta. Now Terra has a husband and home of her own. Luna has a husband and three children, and will be moving to England after Christmas. Attila and I started out together in our first city house, moved to the country house, and now own another city house, in a different city, where we would like to retire.

I seldom read what I have written in the past. However, when trying to remember the details of some life event, I do a search on my blog to jog the memory. It works a treat.

Just as Attila and I emerged from the back door for our evening walk, a heavy wet snow began to fall. As we walked it weakened, and by the time we had travelled a quarter of a mile it had stopped snowing altogether. It melted as soon as it came into contact with the earth. Tonight 2 cm of snow will accumulate, according to the weather mavens.

It seems we have charged the masonry heater just in time!

Worldly Distractions


Date:10:15 PM EDT Wednesday 23 October 2013
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 100.8 kPa
Visibility: 2 km
Temperature: 0.1°C
Dewpoint: 0.1°C
Humidity: 100%
Wind: calm


“A handful of patience is worth more than a bushel of brains.”
Dutch Proverb

Old Friends

OOPS, just mailed out an entry notice without the link. Sorry! Hope you find this, haven’t got my auto-fill program (TypeIt4Me) up and running yet. I am more a creature of habit than I would care to admit.

I have been reading, almost daily, the same book for over four years, since November of 2008. Today I finished the last few pages and wept. The ending was sad and hopeful, and reached around all of my barriers to touch me in places that are rarely accessible to myself or others.

I began reading, for the second time, the second part of “The Forsyte Chronicles”, A Modern Comedy, in early November of 2008. Since that time my aged copy of the book has sat waiting for me, to be picked up and read a few paragraphs at a time, as I visited the “loo”. Perhaps this is too much information, but the context is relevant to me, and this is my memoir, so I include it.

Soames Forsyte is a character for whom I initially felt little, if any, sympathy. Some of his qualities have grown on me over the years, and unbeknownst to me, a real affection for him developed. I wept real tears when his story ended and I read the last pages of the book that centred around the events of his life.

The characters in books have been my companions since my early pre-school years, when I learned to read my first words. I still remember those first fictional characters, two Eskimo children. I remember the hot smell of summer, in an upstairs bedroom at my Grandparents house, where I sat in a private struggle to bring those children in the pictures to life. My Mom and my Grandmother had been teaching me the fundamentals of reading, I used the tools they gave me to forge my own way into a world that they had introduced through the stories and poems recited and read to us as children. I made reading my own at an early age.

As I am typing I am glancing at another book I am reading, at a faster, but still slow rate. That is the book by Frank Harris, entitled Oscar Wilde. My reading schedule became totally disrupted when I was offered a full week of work. The excitement of Terra and Lares new home, and of seeing Luna, Janus and the Grandbabies, made for further delays in getting back to my reading.

This week has been filled with computer configuration, setting up Attila’s iBook, working through the bugs as we marry software to function through experience. For what Attila wants to do on the Internet and on a computer, the 2004 iBook works extremely well.

We recently acquired a low-end MacBook Air, for a variety of reasons.

Our little house in the city has no communication services at all. We have an emergency cell phone, an old one which was purchased in 2006 and operates now for under $100 per year. But when I am visiting the little house in the city by myself we find that when we talk by telephone the $100 worth of minutes are gone in no time at all. It severely restricts our communication.

FaceTime between two Mac computers over a high speed Internet connection is free. The 2004 iBook would not run FaceTime, so it could not be used as a communication device. Nor could it run NetFlix, our only source of video entertainment.

The MacBook is mobile and will probably travel everywhere with me; while the iMac is setup at our home in the country on a high speed connection. I can therefore use the MacBook to contact Attila using FaceTime on the iMac, from anywhere I can access high speed Internet, like at a MacDonald’s restaurant or the local library. I configured both computers and called myself on FaceTime, which was really quite interesting as everything I said to myself looped and was repeatedly repeated. It works, now all I have to do is run it by Attila and we are good to go.

To make all this truly convenient, all we need is high speed Internet service at the little house in the city to complete our communication and entertainment system. Unfortunately my research has revealed that the cost of a high speed connection at the little house in the city is beyond our means. The alternatives will work, convenience is not that important.

On Friday I installed software from a CD on my MacBook Air. The MacBook Air comes without an optical drive, so there is no way to directly install software from a CD. However, I followed instructions from the web site, setup the iMac to share its optical drive, approved the login from MacBook, and then installed as I would have if there had been a CD inserted in the MacBook, using the icon on the Remote Disk. A simple and fast process. Good to know how to do it so that I can access data CDs from the MacBook if needed.

The only real drawback to the MacBook is that it will not connect to my old external FireWire drive. There are adapters that can be purchased, but I’ve decided to use the Remote Drive thing with that as well, rather than purchase any more hardware.

Today, Saturday, Attila and I both worked. I am puttering indoors on this beautiful sunny day. Attila is using his circular saw to cut the large pile of softwood flooring, in the middle of driveway, into shorter pieces that can be more easily stored. And just in time, there is a skiff of snow out there this morning, and more on the way. We need a clear driveway to facilitate snow shovelling and winter is here.

Black Friday, which was yesterday, is a relatively new concept in Canada, it seems to consist entirely of retail sales, sales, sales, so the consumer will buy, buy, buy. It isn’t a day of celebration that we honour at our house.

The temperature dropped last night, an end to the warm spell we have been having this past week. We watch the weather predictions, knew it was coming, and made sure the masonry fireplace fully charged to handle the big freeze.

Worldly Distractions


-2 °C
Pressure:101.1 kPa
Visibility:16 km
Humidity:67 %
Wind:NW 24 km/h


“The man who says he is willing to meet you halfway is usually a poor judge of distance.”
Laurence J. Peter
1919 – 1988


“…an educator and “hierarchiologist”, best known to the general public for the formulation of the Peter Principle.

He was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, and began his career as a teacher in 1941. He received the degree of Doctor of Education from Washington State University in 1963.

In 1964, Peter moved to California, where he became an Associate Professor of Education, Director of the Evelyn Frieden Centre for Prescriptive Teaching, and Coordinator of Programs for Emotionally Disturbed Children at the University of Southern California.

He became widely famous in 1968, on the publication of The Peter Principle, in which he states: “In a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence … in time every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent to carry out its duties … Work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence.” The Peter Principle became one of the most profound principles of management from the University of Southern California. It is a heavily quoted principle at the Marshall School of Business.”
[AHA! It IS deliberate! The frustration of less than competent management is built right into the system.]