My current crochet project. I am loving this blanket, which will be a twin bed size when it is completed. The colour pattern is random, as each ball of yarn begins with a different colour, and I like the effect. (Suzette stitch, Bernat Pop Foggy Notion, 4 worsted, 5.0 hook). This blanket was originally intended for Grace The Trailer, but Attila wants it at home, so it stays at Mist Cottage. I think I might crochet a second one, so that we each have one for our beds, and then maybe another few for the living room so we can cuddle under them in the winter, while reading. And then maybe another couple for Grace The Trailer… luckily I am enjoying the simplicity of creating this blanket!
It is chilly today, with the sun popping out from behind the clouds from time to time, to fill the living room with light. The weather people predict one more gasp at warmish weather, and we are considering staying overnight in Grace The Trailer, at the Rideau Camp, on that warm night. It will soon be time to bring home all fabric and food from Grace The Trailer, to close the slide out, and to put the winter covering over it. Once the cover is on Grace The Trailer, we will visit the Rideau Camp, but not stay there overnight.
I am looking forward to getting back out to the Rideau Camp. Attila has installed new windows in the dining area here at Mist Cottage, which has required that we stick close to home for the last few weeks. The window install began just as I was dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s related to the property dispute. This means that we haven’t been back to the Rideau Camp to relax after the kerfluffle. The property dispute was deeply disturbing, I felt violated, and then had to fight for my rights as a property owner. I do not like fighting for anything, I like challenges, but I am not keen on conflict between humans, particularly when it is uncalled for. The whole exercise exhausted me on many levels. One side effect was that I had stopped sleeping through the night, an affliction that persisted until last night. Last night I slept soundly through the night. It was a great relief.
The new windows in the dining area at Mist Cottage turned out much better than I had anticipated. We bought inexpensive, energy efficient windows, a common stock item. I did not expect to like them. I love them! Attila finished the project last night, the paint is dry this morning, and I am contemplating what window treatment to use, if any. We don’t really have to have a window treatment, as they are very high and no one can see in. In addition, they are protected from the southern exposure sunlight by an awning. Curtains would make them even more energy efficient than they already are, so I am thinking about it.
The new windows in the dining area of the kitchen, completed just last night. The kitchen is still in chaos. I find kitchen renovation to be the most intrusive of all the types of renovations we have done. We have decided to put down a commercial grade vinyl tile floor in this kitchen. As you can see on the left side of the floor, part of the existing vinyl flooring had been torn up, and was like that when we purchased the house in 2010. We had planned on waiting until we had finished replacing all the insulation and drywall on the main floor, before tackling the floors. In that long term plan the kitchen would have a red pine floor, painted white. But that is taking too long for my liking, and putting too much pressure on us to undertake new projects, so that we can get to the point where we can install the pine floors. So, I want a new floor right now, and Attila agreed. We will put white vinyl tile over the existing floor, anticipating that perhaps someday, and perhaps never, we will tear it all up and install red pine floors. If we decide to replace the kitchen cabinets at some future date, then the red pine floors would be installed. However, I like the old, owner installed cupboards, in all their crudeness.
Our next project, a new kitchen floor! At last!!
The vinyl tiles to be installed in the kitchen: Armstrong 12-in x 12-in Cool White Speckle Commercial Vinyl Tile.
These are old fashioned tiles, the colour runs the whole depth of the tile, so if they get scratched the surface colour remains the same. We find that the vinyl with the thin surface of colour on a backing do not wear well at our house. The layer of colour is easily marred by a falling knife, a moved refrigerator, anything, and then it looks bad, and it is hard to clean. This tile is also much cheaper, at 88 cents per tile we are able to put the new floor in for well under $200. Attila will use a special bonding agent to lay the new floor over the old floor.
Although the calendar year is a mere human artifact, it is one that is familiar to me, and so has meaning in my life. It is time to say farewell to 2016.
A year in retrospect, the highlights.
At the end of the years I always think of A Tale Of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Who is to know what will come, I think to myself. How will we know until the end what was the best, and what was the worst, I ask myself.
The year began with Attila starting on regular night shift at his job. This was a big improvement over working rotating shifts, as he had done since our move to Mist Cottage the previous September. By May he had been offered a promotion to a position that was day shift, and allowed weekends off. This was the first time since we have been together that he has had weekends off, it felt like a miracle, and it still does.
Early winter also saw my Mom facing cancer treatment. There was worry involved for those of us who love her. Not a whine or a whimper escaped her though. She underwent radiation therapy with incredible courage, in her typical indomitable way. And now at the end of a very long year for my Mom, she is cancer free, and recovering from the severe effects of radiation treatment. The side effects of the radiation treatment were severe, and are ongoing. Mom seems to have made her peace with the reality, and has resumed almost all of her previous activities, and is a going concern once more. Sometimes I am in awe of my Mom.
My Mom at the age of 15, cropped from a school picture, at the end of the second world war.
In the spring of 2016 Attila and I found and purchased the Rideau Camp. We spent every spare minute working there, clearing brambles, brush, dead trees, logs, and garbage. We built a fire pit and a compost toilet system. It was easily the happiest spring of my life, and Attila feels the same way about it.
This is the Rideau Camp at the end of May, 2016. At this point we had owned the property for seven weeks, the brambles that covered the flat area between the gravel and the wood pile had been cleared and burned by then. We were preparing the camp fire pit, and enjoying picnics every weekend at the Camp.
We also purchased Iris the trailer during the spring. She is a 1976/7 Triple E Surfside trailer, in reasonable condition. We enjoyed camping at our Rideau Camp, and at our Ancestral Camp.
Iris, on March 5, when we picked her up. It snowed that day!
Also in the early spring we demolished the garden shed at Mist Cottage, and Attila replaced it with a solidly built shed. This project was to take only a few weeks, but the summer had other plans for our time, and it was finally completed in late October. Attila also installed a dishwasher in August, and I must say it is game changer in the kitchen, we love it!
The renewed Garden Shed, ready for duty at last on October 9, solid and roomy and hopefully mouse proof!
The new dishwasher. Our counter space is limited, you can see all of it in the photo, and it makes a huge difference when the dirty dishes are piled in the appliance and not on the counters. It also takes little time to wash and air dry the dishes, which are very easy to put away in such a small kitchen.
In late spring Sunny and Sky were born, 7 weeks premature. They were in NICU for six weeks, and Sky had a few touch and go moments. They came home with Terra and Lares, began to thrive, and are beautiful babies. One of Sky’s middle names is Robert, my brother Carl’s middle name, which is just a coincidence as the babie’s middle names are all after Lares side of the family, but it gives me comfort nevertheless.
Sunny (left) and Sky (right) at 5 months (Gestational 3 months).
We had our first ever summer vacation last July. It was an event we anticipated with great excitement. It just goes to show you that you never know what is around the corner. After spending a few days at our Ancestral Camp, we returned home, then received the news that my brother had suffered a massive heart attack and lay unconscious in a hospital in Toronto. He experienced cardiac arrest for 15 minutes before being resuscitated, and never regained consciousness; my Mom, and all of my siblings were by his side through the long days of hope and disappointment. His funeral was held weeks later. Losing my brother was a profound experience for me, we were babies together, I feel his absence to the core of my being. Carl was an organ donor, and saved three lives.
My brother Carl, at Granny and Grandpa’s house. He returned to spend time at the house almost every year, and that is where we experienced our reunion the summer before last.
By August my blood pressure was high, very high, and would not come down, even after quadrupling my medication. I began a round of doctors appointments at the walk-in-clinic (after more than a year, we still can’t find a family doctor), and had a nuclear stress test on my heart (normal!). The levels slowly lowered, but are still in the “high blood pressure” range. In September I adopted a low-sodium, low-sugar diet, and began taking Apple Cider Vinegar before each meal, which helped. By October I had decided to reduce the ineffective and redundant medication dosage back to the original low dosage, which made no difference at all, but I did find that discontinuing the medication resulted in my blood pressure skyrocketing again, so went back to taking the low dosage. The dietary changes are an intense experience, because something like a pickle and piece of bread could put me over my daily limit for sodium. I also found that food without sodium or sugar is not all that interesting, so that as soon as hunger is satisfied, I stop eating. I no longer eat for pleasure, because it is not pleasurable, just necessary. There has been a slight weight loss.
The most significant feature of 2016 has been that we live at Mist Cottage, and that Attila has regular working hours and weekends off. These two situations are game changers, and have improved our experience of life immeasurably.
It was a year of much joy and deep sorrow.
P.S. I invite you to share the highlights of your 2016, would love to hear them!
Date: 7:05 AM EST Saturday 31 December 2016
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Dew point: -6.3°C
Wind: E 18 km/h
Wind Chill: -10
Visibility: 3 km
“You better live your best and act your best and think your best today, for today is the sure preparation for tomorrow and all the other tomorrows that follow.”
1802 – 1876
Here it is, our first New Year’s Day at Mist Cottage. Attila and I agree, moving to Mist Cottage was a great, and positive, change for us.
2015 saw me living alone for the winter at Mist Cottage, returning to the country house to ready it, and put it up for sale, keeping up appearances through the summer as a seemingly endless stream of people came to look at it, and finally selling it at the end of August, with only two weeks to pack and get moved out. Three truck loads (27 foot trucks) later, Mist Cottage was stuffed to the rafters with boxes and large pieces of furniture. Then came the unpacking, and the purging. We estimate that we have given away about one truckload of items, many of them going to Terra, some to Luna, some to my sister, and most to the local women’s shelter and men’s mission.
2015 saw Attila struggling alone at the country house all winter, keeping the wood fire burning, keeping Mist warm, working long hours. Then in the spring it was time to get the house up to snuff to put it on the market, more hard work. Attila found the constant parade of viewers inconvenient, as it interrupted his lifestyle, which is more relaxed than a lifestyle that supports an immaculately clean, sweet smelling, and tidy home. Then Attila was faced with packing up and moving us to Mist Cottage, over a two week period of time. I did much of the packing, and he did all the loading himself, all three 27 foot truckloads, with one exception, a fellow from work was paid to help him lift the heaviest furniture into the truck, he assisted Attila for two hours. Then came the unloading. At Mist Cottage Lares and Terra helped unload one truckload, Attila unloaded the two other truckloads by himself. Then he was back on the road with Tank, heading back to his job near the country house, where he lived in Tank for two weeks, while he looked for work near Mist Cottage. He found work after two weeks, working for a temp agency, and began that job with less than a day’s notice, working nights. He kept his eyes open and applied for a nearby permanent job, which was offered to him, and he began in the middle of October. And there he is now!
2015 saw our Mist’s health decline rapidly, so that we accompanied her to the vet’s office, where she peacefully passed away. She was over 18 years old and had lived with us since 2001. We miss her very much, and I think of her often.
2015 brought the happy news that Terra is soon to be a mother, something she and Lares have wanted for many years.
2015 saw the Grandbabies spending their summer in Ireland, which they enjoyed very much. Janus gained a significant promotion in the autumn, becoming a Captain in his job as a pilot with a major airline. Luna is living her dream as a stay-at-home Mom, and doing a fine job.
2015 was a good year for Attila’s Mom, as his youngest brother bought a lovely house in Michigan for her to live in. The house is very near Attila’s middle brother’s home, where her 6 year old Grandson, Attila’s nephew, is a constant companion.
2015 brought us good times with my sisters and my Mom, and a brief reunion with my oldest brother. The family is facing a few health challenges, facing them bravely, with every expectation of good outcomes.
Like 2001, 2004, and 2010, 2015 brought many significant changes for Attila and I. 2015 was a busy year, and a challenging year in many ways. There is nothing like a manageable challenge to add spice to life. All things considered, it was a very happy year.
I am looking forward to 2016, whatever it may bring.
Last night Attila and I enjoyed watching “fluffy” movies, Willow, and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. These movies are on VHS tapes, and we haven’t watched them for years. They were purchased to be viewed with Terra and Luna, when they were kids and still lived at home. We made a homemade pizza, and both stayed up to bring in the New Year, which we haven’t done in more than a decade! This morning, our first meal was lovely, coffee, grapefruit, sausages for Attila, toasted homemade bread with marmalade for me.
As I write Attila sleeps. Where he works there are numerous plant locations, and apparently employees are frequently moved where they are needed most. So next week Attila begins working at another plant for the same company, in the same town where he has been working. His shifts change back to eight hour night shifts, six nights a week for the foreseeable future. The foreseeable future is short in duration with the company, we are told, so that we are expecting frequent changes. So far all the changes initiated by the company have worked well for us.
Attila is maintaining his night shift sleep schedule through this weekend, as he just came off working three night shifts this past week, between Christmas and New Years. Since he stays up all night, there is some concern that he will keep me awake as he goes about his normal activities. We have solved this by running an air cleaner in the bedroom while I am sleeping. It produces a “white noise”, which allows me to sleep though any of the noises Attila makes during his active waking hours.
We are off to a good start, this first day of 2016.
We planted a lavender plant in the garden last summer, and despite my absence the plant thrived. I picked the blooms in the autumn, and dried them in a bowl in the kitchen. It yielded about two tablespoons of dried blooms. This was enough for an experiment! I stripped the blooms from the stems, lightly crushed them, placed them in a jar, added olive oil to cover, and hope to extract the oil after several weeks, to end up with lavender essential oil. It smells wonderful already, so I am optimistic that the final product will be good.
Date: 10:00 AM EST Friday 1 January 2016
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 101.4 kPa
Visibility: 19 km
Wind: WSW 18 gust 28 km/h
Wind Chill: -6
“But penance need not be paid in suffering…It can be paid in forward motion. Correcting the mistake is a positive move, a nurturing move.”
What used to work, doesn’t, not anymore. The way we organized our two homes was based on living in two places, the future unknown. Here we are, in the unknown future, merging two completely separate households. For instance, we used to keep the cutlery here in clean used tomato tins on the table, always available, taking up a little bit of space. We used to keep the cutlery at the country house in the kitchen drawer, we had four good sized drawers there. Living at Mist Cottage is an altogether different set of circumstances. There is no longer any room for the tomato tins on the table, there are only three tiny drawers in the old fashioned kitchen cupboards. The cutlery has ended up in a drawer in the butcher block cart, at least for now; the former set has been bundled together with elastic bands. And so it goes on, and on, and on. I imagine there will be several rounds of reorganization, of which this is the first. I have started a “camping” tote, where I put duplicates that might be used for camping, such as the cutlery bundles, the rest of the duplicates are in the “yard sale” tote.
Yesterday Attila received word that he needed to perform an online test for a promising job application here. He has an old flip phone, with pay as you go minutes on it; the tests were totally beyond the capability of his technology. He decided to drive home last night, yes, five hours home, so that he could do the online test on my laptop. As soon as he was off work he set out, and arrived around 9:00 p.m. It took until midnight to install the necessary software, configure the computer, do the tests, have a bite to eat, unload the boxes that he brought in Tank, have a much appreciated bath, and lay down to rest until the alarm went off. Attila arose at 2:00 a.m., made coffee, packed a bit, ate a bit, and waved goodbye as he drove off to the north, at 2:30 a.m. He made good time, arriving for work at 7:00 a.m., when he texted me to let me know he had arrived safely.
I did not go back to sleep after he left, perhaps due to all the excitement. Occasionally I feel waves of weariness, so I sit quietly for a little while, before my whirling mind has me on my feet, and puttering with something interesting I found in a box.
After breakfast there were errands to run in town. The modem from the country house had to be returned to Bell, who mailed a shipping label, which was brought to Mist Cottage last night. That necessitated a visit to the Post Office for a shipping receipt, for proof of shipping. The morning jaunt also included visits to the banks, to request change of address on accounts. The last stop was the grocery store for some milk.
The rest of the day was about unpacking the boxes brought down in Tank last night, which will take another few days to complete. Every time the kitchen counters become relatively clear, another box is emptied and the clutter is back. Eventually, one would think, the steady parade of boxes will diminish!
The country house. The realtor took this photo, and managed to portray the house the way we see it, quite a talent.
This is the main living area of the country house, where I spent most of my time over the last eleven years.
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Wednesday 16 September 2015
Pressure: 102.6 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Wind: W 13 km/h
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Wednesday 16 September 2015
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 102.6 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Wind: S 22 km/h
“You’re never too old to become younger.”
1892 – 1980
I awoke thinking about Attila, and how his night in Tank went. He called shortly after I arose, and was as cheerful as ever. He said that he was warm enough, tried various configurations in positioning, finally settling on curling up on the back seat, and feels that it was a good night’s sleep, but that there are a few kinks to work out still. My relief was instant, hearing his voice, hearing about his night, what he would have for breakfast. All is well with my camping husband in the North.
There are so many things to do here at Mist Cottage, that it is hard to stay focused on just one! It is best to sit and think before beginning the day.
This morning, I sat in my easy chair, listening to classical piano music on my computer, watching the screen display my collection of art images, and I was struck with awe. Life is such a gift, the good, the bad, the boring, the exciting… all of it, except perhaps chronic pain, is a gift.
And love, what a gift that is. It isn’t always easy, it isn’t always happy, but it is the silver line that I have followed all my life.
It began for me with my Mother, who is fully human, a glorious person who gave much more than she ever got. She brought me into this world, she was my first home, she was my first love, we shared a body during my most vulnerable time, and when it was time, she gave me up to the world, and established my life in it. And through difficult circumstances she always did her very best to see me, and my siblings, right. It took me many years to come to terms with the circumstances of my youth, but through those years my love, admiration, and appreciation for my Mother never wavered. You are as beautiful to me now Mom, as you were when I first gazed up from your arms, into your beautiful face.
What my mother began became the theme of my entire life. I have loved such wonderful people. I adored my Grandparents, their lives, and their home, were the eye of the storm of my childhood. I love my brothers and sisters with a love and bond so deep that it is beyond words. We shared so much, saw each other at our worst, at our best, and we survived, each in our own way. I love my children as I love myself, find joy in their triumphs, pain in their suffering, and find myself staring at them in wonder, marvelling at their beauty in my eyes. I love my grandchildren with such joyful abandon, such joy as I did not know existed before I met them. I love my friends, the stars in my heaven, no two alike, all uniquely and marvellously their very own selves. They are life forces that run close to my sliver line. My first deep romantic love, for a singer/songwriter, came to me as a window opens on a sunny day, bringing warm breezes, bright colours, heavenly scents, and a view of the world that shone bright, and still does; he was my starting place, reflecting back to me parts of myself that had remained hidden until I met him. He passed away in 1996. And now, the heavens have granted me Attila. From the start, when we were “friends”, I knew that I wanted him in my life, and could not imagine a universe without him in it. We recognized one another, in the midst of the chaos that is the world, that was our lives.
When Reenie wrote in her very last blog entry “Love”, it touched my very soul. Reenie knew about the silver line, she lived unwaveringly along her own silver line.
Tipping my coffee mug, and saying to those who are following their own silver lines, “to love”!
Attila’s “Camp” in the North
Date: 6:00 AM EDT Monday 14 September 2015
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Date: 6:00 AM EDT Monday 14 September 2015
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Visibility: 24 km
Wind: WNW 21 gust 32 km/h
“Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.”
1872 – 1970
[I feel it is important to love as boldly and broadly as possible. We need to weave our star blankets strong, make them warm, wrap as many people into them as possible. Maggie]