For My Journey

What an intense time we have had here over the last few weeks. The intense experiences just seem to keep coming. What I am realizing is that in each instance, there has been a gift, a treasure, a vital necessary thing that I have needed in my journey through this experience called life.

Mist, in her gentle passing, gave me the experience of a gentle and loving parting. She experienced no fear, no distress during her last hours. She was ready to go, and yet she made time for Attila and I, allowing Attila to brush her as we sat with her in the examination room at the veterinary’s office, allowing me to tickle her chin, nuzzling me. She trusted us and loved us until her last breath, as we did her. That trust is something I needed for my journey.

Reenie, in her boldly lived life, endless capacity for hope, and love, taught me so much about living my own life. I needed her bright light, that she shone so generously on the world, for my journey.

Yesterday, I reunited with my closest younger brother, in age, who I last saw almost thirty years ago. He and I, we shared some very challenging times during our very early years, when we were children, just children. We have both traveled far since then.

He was staying at our Granny and Grandpa’s house, with a friend, an engineer. They were enjoying a few days away from the city to go fishing. He had visited our Granny and Grandpa’s house many times over the years, but I had not managed to visit at the same time. On every visit to Granny and Grandpa’s house I would check to see if he was there, or if he had been there.

Attila and I were visiting our camp, and decided to check on Granny and Grandpa’s house before we left. We knew immediately, as we walked to the back of the house, that someone was staying there. I went inside, calling my brother’s name, but no one was there. I made a call, and found out that he and his friend were staying there, were driving a truck, and had probably gone fishing, those were the only details we had.

We had seen a truck at the boat launch on our way through, so we returned to the boat launch. There was a truck there, so we went down to the shoreline to wait for the return of the fishermen. We met a local couple who were fishing with their son. The fishermen in their boat were nowhere to be seen, so we spent several hours chatting with the fisher-family on the shore. Eventually we saw a boat coming in to the boat launch, so we went to see if it was my brother. It was not. My brother had not been out fishing, as there were no more vehicles at the boat launch, so there were no more boats coming in.

Attila and I decided to head home, and to drop in at Granny and Grandpa’s house on our way by. After parking at the front of the house, we passed the kitchen window. There were lights on, voices from within. We came into the house and my brother rose to say hello, not knowing at first who we were. Then he recognized me. What a joy to see him, to hug him, to know that he was fine. We talked for hours and hours and hours, catching up, filling each other in on the last thirty years of our lives. The years fell away from us as we talked, and we were very young children again, together laughing, grinning. We were very close in our very early years, had great adventures together, in our brief time of innocence. That bond we formed in those early years had only grown stronger over the decades. The young boy who held his mother’s hand for a family photo, adored his younger sisters and brothers, was alive and strong in the man. It seems so very right that this gift was given to us at our Granny and Grandpa’s house, a place that we had both given and received unconditional love. That enduring bond of love and faith that I share with my younger brother was something that I need for my journey.

So the universe has been exceedingly kind to me of late, giving me gifts that I did not know I needed, gifts that have lifted weights from my soul, gifts that have lit dark corridors that had been locked away behind closed doors.

It is enough to make one believe in angels.

Granny and Grandpa’s house, last summer when Luna, Janus, Imp, Elf, and Tink visited. Luna was visiting her Great Grandmother and Grandfather’s house, and the Grandbabies were visiting their GG Grandmother and Grandfather’s house. Five generations of connection.
DSCF3079 grannys house 400x266

Worldly Distractions

Weather

19°C
Date: 7:00 PM EDT Monday 10 August 2015
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 100.9 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 19.4°C
Dewpoint: 18.0°C
Humidity: 92%
Wind: calm

Quote

“The lack of emotional security of our American young people is due, I believe, to their isolation from the larger family unit. No two people – no mere father and mother – as I have often said, are enough to provide emotional security for a child. He needs to feel himself one in a world of kinfolk, persons of variety in age and temperament, and yet allied to himself by an indissoluble bond which he cannot break if he could, for nature has welded him into it before he was born.”
Pearl S. Buck
1892 – 1973

Honorable Me

I am now recovering nicely from my fall almost a month ago. The hematoma is still there, still painful to the touch, but it is smaller and much less intrusive. Pain from my tailbone has been with me for decades, my body already has ways of coping with that, so the fracture isn’t as intrusive as it might otherwise be. I am also nicely recovering from a nasty summer cold, which saw me feverish and miserable for two days, but only two days, which was a blessing. I probably picked that up in the emergency ward at the hospital, which is not an ideal place for non-life threatening health issues. Where we live, there are no other options.

The weather has been wonderful, until today, which has brought with it a slow steady rain.

The house has had no recent viewers, we have accepted that it will not likely sell this summer. So we ordered firewood, a big financial investment, enough to take us through the winter, which Attila has been busy stacking in the woodshed. It looks like we will be spending much of next winter apart, something that neither of us is happy about.

I have been working feverishly on my genealogy book, and have taken up a new temporary volunteer position as a member of working group studying health care outcomes for older people. Most of the volunteer work I do is self-generated, anonymous, and low-profile, so this is a bit of a departure for me.

I am looking forward to getting back to my physiotherapist recommended exercises, which have fallen by the wayside as I recover from my fall. I have also given up my daily walk, as I am back at the country house, where walking is distasteful rather than a source of pleasure. I find that to sustain a health routine, it must be something I do not come to loath, as I have walking at the country house. At the little house in the city I look forward to walking, every day, and it is sometimes the highlight of my day. What a contrast: location, location, location!

As I continue to follow my natural way of eating, my weight continues to fall towards my own “normal”. This is quite pleasing. I enjoy eating things I shouldn’t, and I still do that from time to time, but I love the control aspects of eating to live. Mostly, I just avoid big helpings, empty calories, and drink lots of water, not much of a formula, but it works for me.

The unfortunate truth that our “puddle problem” was indeed Mist generated has led us to keep her confined to the mud room, where we clean up after her daily. She still uses the kitty litter most of the time, but will unpredictably resort to using the floor, or furniture, occasionally. Occasionally is too much for us. The objectionable smell has all but disappeared in the rest of the house, thank goodness.

Mist is also becoming a bit more difficult to care for in other ways. Yesterday I heard a loud crash, and went downstairs to investigate. She had been on the windowsill, looking out the window, and decided to break through the window screen to gain entrance to the screened in porch. Having accomplished that goal, by demolishing the window screen, she was actively seeking a way to break through the screens in the screened in porch, to escape into the yard. I caught her before she made her great escape, which likely would have cost her her life, as the wildlife here is ever present, and always looking for its next meal. When I opened the door to the screened in porch she stared at me, then sauntered slowly past me into the mud room for a bite to eat. “No problem here,” she seemed to say.

Now we must keep the window closed to keep her safe, and have placed an air cleaning unit in the mud room to keep the air cleaned and the smell under control, at least to some degree. Attila will have to make time to repair the screen for future house viewings.

All in all things seem pretty darn good right now. I am loving this summer weather, with a few moderately hot days, around 30C, cooling night temperatures, occasional rain, and lots of sunny days.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

15°C
Date: 2:41 PM EDT Friday 17 July 2015
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Visibility: 10 km
Temperature: 15.3°C
Dewpoint: 14.7°C
Humidity: 96%
Wind: SE 18 gust 32 km/h

Quote

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”
George Bernard Shaw
1856 – 1950

[Well! I am feeling pretty damn honorable just now!]

Mountains

Friday, April 24, 2015
Country House

Yesterday I woke up at 3:55 a.m., and did not go back to sleep. I was too excited to sleep, and had a lot to do!

The first thing I did was lie about in bed for an hour with Diesel. He loves cuddling up in the bed, lying next to me with his front legs draped over my arm. It would be the last of this shared morning ritual, at least for now, so I wanted it to be a good one.

At 4:55 a.m. I was up, wandering around, coffee cup in hand, making sure all the last minute things were tossed into boxes and lined up at the door. By 5:10 a.m. I had finished my coffee, eaten my breakfast, and started to load the car. By 5:38 a.m. I was setting off out of the driveway. Light was just beginning to filter into the sky. I drove for four hours, with one stop for fuel, two hours into the journey. At 9:38 a.m. I wheeled into the town near our country house, with the list of things Attila needed from town. By 11:00 a.m. I was home!

It started snowing as I headed north near the beginning of the trip. Sometimes it snowed hard, and sometimes it snowed wet, and sometimes it cleared up a bit. The road was wet and clear despite the snow, except for one stretch where it had accumulated on the road into a slushy mess. It was snowing when I got to the country house, it snowed last night, and it is snowing again today. Yikes!

I am too busy to notice the weather right now. The stack of backed up administrative paperwork is, well, it is staggering, it is a mountain. Yesterday I worked to organize it, I sorted it into piles. I also did things like activate my credit card, which had to be done from the telephone here at the country house. There were several missives in the mail that required that I go online to fill in forms, which I could not do from the little house because all the required reference documents are here at the country house.

Now to the good part of the day yesterday. Attila! He managed to come home for lunch, so that we didn’t have to wait until evening to see each other. I spent some time in the morning yesterday, cooking a rice and bean casserole for our lunch. So, at last, we were sitting across the table from one another eating beans! What can I tell you, it was one of life’s special moments.

Today I am at it again! Two of my clients had issues with their web sites, so I resolved the problems. I had to spend an hour or so on the line with their web hosts to get it sorted, it helps so much that they have authorized me to work on their accounts, I can accomplish a lot more when I don’t keep having to seek permission to do things with their accounts. Sometimes these little issues seem like a big deal to people if they are not familiar with how the sites work. Luckily the fixes were simple, quick and easy. Everyone is happy!

Yesterday I sorted the paperwork that was here at the country house. Today I was hoping to sort the paperwork I brought back with me, but it doesn’t look like I am going to get that far, at least not today!

Laundry! Over the last two weeks I saved my dirty laundry for the country house, where we have a washer and dryer of our own. I have been doing laundry since yesterday afternoon, and I am not done yet! The drying rack is at the little house in the city, as I needed it down there. I washed my laundry at the laundromat all winter, and hung it up to dry in the house. I waited with these last loads though, to come home to the country house. I don’t like laundromats. I have met some lovely people there, but then I have also had to spend time around people I didn’t want to make eye contact with. Attila compares laundromats to sleazy bars, full of unhappy people. He has a point. But only to a point, because after all, I was there!

Today was bill paying day, and Attila and I are very happy that the financial crunch came, and the financial crunch went. We paid back the money we robbed from Peter to pay Paul. Now Peter and Paul are both happy. It works for everyone!

As I am sorting paperwork, cooking, doing laundry, sitting and talking to Mist, I am also getting distracted by computer work that needs to be done. I just realized that Google hits my old site files first, and has decided not index this site because the original journal was hand coded html, created long before cell phone use was common. I’ll have to change that, I have a few ideas, but I won’t be trying implement anything until after the country house goes on the market.

I also found a better program to handle the book I am currently writing, and have purchased it and downloaded it. I want to play with it now! But the paperwork and the cleaning have claimed my time, for now at least.

The house is not ready to go on the market. It is a lot closer than it was when I left to stay at the little house for the winter. Attila replaced the baseboards in the family room, and it is a big improvement. Other than the bathroom floor replacement, and a few little maintenance jobs, we are down to cleaning. Heating with wood is a messy business, we have a lot of cleaning to do!

We hope that by the end of next week we will have progressed far enough to bring in the realtors for evaluations. Then we will need to chose a realtor, pick a price, and get the sign up at the end of the driveway.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

2°C
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Friday 24 April 2015
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 1.7°C
Dewpoint: -7.9°C
Humidity: 49%
Wind: WNW 26 km/h

Quote

“There are two ways of exerting one’s strength: one is pushing down, the other is pulling up.”
Booker T. Washington
1856 – 1915

[It seems to me that big business and politicians believe in talking up while pushing down.]

Sweeping Clean the Corners

Granny’s Porch, where she and I shelled peas, sitting on wooden kitchen chairs, after picking them from the garden down the road. How sweet the peas tasted; I still love peas.
Grannysporch

Sleep has been catching up with me; last night’s deep, sound sleep was very welcome.

Life is very quiet at the moment. So quiet that the passing of the road grater is a big event! It certainly is a noisy event. The weekend approaches, and by the end of today the SUVs will be teeming along the roads at breakneck speed, heading for their “wilderness” sanctuaries. The relentless hum of motors will fill the backspaces of sound, as the big boats dart hither and thither across the waterways, going nowhere in particular.

There is no current interest from buyers, in our country house (the conditional offer fell through). There is no news from the township, about an access permit for the camp. Those are the big ticket items on time and money, in our lives at the moment, and both seem dormant. They will both require a continued investment in my least favourite activity… waiting.

Mist is celebrating life by sleeping away most of the day, and much of the night. Her favourite times of the day are first thing in the morning, just after we awaken, and last thing in the evening, as we sit on the sofa chatting before sleep claims us all. She sits quietly every morning, waiting for her milk bowl to be filled, the blinds to be opened, the food dish to be topped up, and all the water bowls to be filled. In the evening she sits between Attila and I on the sofa. She turns her head toward Attila, expecting and receiving an affectionate pet, then she turns her head toward me, expecting and receiving three little whistle blows near her ears, three little puffs of air and a hint of sound for her deaf ears. Her purring becomes deeper and louder as the she turns from one of us to the other, over and over, until she curls up in that warm space between us, and sleeps, still purring.

So the days pass. Attila works, long hours, hard hours. I clean, work on my digital projects, research possibilities on the internet, cook, get through the long inactive hours with a minimum of discomfort.

This morning the music of Hildegard von Bingen fills the empty space left when the road grater has slowly moved on to smooth the surfaces of other byways.

I has been raining now for several days. Today the humidity is a miserable 90%. We thought the mosquitoes were wicked bad last Sunday at the camp, but Attila says they are worse now. I watch from behind the blessed screens that allow the fresh air in, and keep the minuscule marauders out.

I am thinking about lists this morning. I need lists to keep my interest in the physical world going. It would be effortless for me to drift away, in my thoughts, visiting my internal worlds that are so rich, so enticing. I do enjoy the physical plane, but it cannot hold my interest for very long. If I have a list of things to do, then I can tie my balloon to it, check off the items as they are accomplished, and still flutter in the breeze of lateral thinking. It has always been this way. I am more aware that it is not like this for everyone, now that I am older.

With all this time alone, there are moments when discouragement creeps into the way of the world. Progress has been made of course, over the years, as despair seems to have been permanently routed. Having made it into my senior years, I feel that in doing so I have accomplished much, making despair redundant in my life. Discouragement though, keeps accumulating, unseen in unused corners of my mind, until suddenly it seems to overtake the known world. It needs constant, regular housekeeping, does discouragement. Like the doing of dishes, the making of beds, and the brushing of teeth, the sweeping out of discouragement needs doing on a regular basis. All is clear for the moment!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

15°C
Date: 10:43 AM EDT Friday 13 June 2014
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 100.8 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 15.1°C
Dewpoint: 13.6°C
Humidity: 90%
Wind: W 8 km/h

Quote

“If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.”
Thomas A. Edison (1847 – 1931)

Small Pleasures

Mist the Kitty is getting old. She is deaf, possibly blind in one eye, and limps a bit when she first begins to move around after her naps. She still has frequent “crazy cat” sessions, where she charges around the house and up and down the stairs, chasing phantom mice and bats.

She loves our company, sitting between us of an evening, just chillin’. She has become accustomed to having me around the house, since I haven’t been working at all since November. So accustomed is she to my company, that when I returned from my trip to town to renew my health card, she was waiting by the door. I received a scathing verbal scolding, for about five minutes after my return. After assuring herself that I understood my transgression, she curled up on the couch and went to sleep. Humans are hard work.

Her pleasures are few. Sleeping and eating occupy most of her time. She enjoys her milk every morning. She is an avid drinker of water. I must take care not to set my mug of drinking water on a low table, or on the floor. She has a special radar for such an occasion, within minutes she will have snuck up on my mug, and I will suddenly hear her lapping up my water, head in the mug. She loves being brushed, and this has become Attila’s ritual with her, several times a day she will jump into his lap for a good brushing. She loves the winter firings in the masonry heater, waiting in front of the heater every morning, staring at Attila as she sits erect and regal, emanating expectation. She loves to sit at the window and watch the birds in the trees, which is not possible in the winter when the blinds are closed against the cold. She loves it when I whistle softly and blow gently by her ears; I think she can hear a little of the high pitched sound, and likes the head to head attention. Mist is a very happy cat!

A lot of posts on Facebook are expressed through a graphic with a quote printed onto it. I am a big fan of quotes, I include one with every journal entry; sometimes tied into my prose, other times as a “what do you make of it” exercise. But I am growing tired, and almost offended, by the Graphic/Quote avalanche on Facebook. Quotes are, of themselves, without context. They are usually very general and can be adopted by many philosophical positions. The way they are bandied about on Facebook renders them almost meaningless as a form of cogent communication. I have come to think of Graphic/Quote offerings as representing a superficial agreement, like politeness, where there is no depth of understanding, no meeting of minds; only an agreed upon facade. I regard the Graphic/Quote as a form of intellectual herding. Facebook seems a classic case of “the medium is the message” [Marshall McLuhan].

The posts on Facebook that entail the author’s own thoughts, feelings, descriptions, and links to information that interest them, are a treat. Those friends are on my close friends list, usually the only posts I read these days. I now ignore “friends” who ignore me, nothing personal, just following the do unto others adage. You can assume you are on my reading list, if your reading this.

Snowing still, since last night. Shovel, shovel, toil and trouble.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-3°C
Date: 9:36 AM EST Friday 17 January 2014
Condition: Light Snow
(HA! I see 4 inches have fallen since we went to bed last night!)
Pressure: 100.7 kPa
Visibility: 5 km
Temperature: -3.3°C
Dewpoint: -4.1°C
Humidity: 94%
Wind: SE 15 km/h
Wind Chill: -9

Quote

“Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.”
Will Durant
1885 – 1981