An Open Window

There is nothing like an open window to make a day peaceful. It doesn’t matter that in the distance there are hammers hammering, diggers digging, men shouting, radios playing, trucks on the highway humming… it doesn’t matter. What I mostly hear is the wind in the leaves, the cooing of the rock dove outside the window. The peaceful sounds are accompanied by a light breeze playing through the house, curtains billowing then resting with a sigh, and the sight of white clouds in a blue sky.

Now, all that is needed here is a night rain, long and steady, to give the gasping landscape relief.

After recently upgrading our internet connection to an unlimited account, to avoid paying for over usage, which is outrageously costly, I noticed while looking at the most recent bill, that the account number didn’t seem right. Sure enough, they changed it! But, since upgrading the account a payment had been made to the old account number. Carefully checking the previous bill, the payment had been processed as it should have been. A call to the company revealed that there was a short grace period where payments to the previous account numbers would transferred to the new account. Well, it is a good thing I noticed! There were no clues in the bill that this change had occurred, and it was not an easy catch to notice it, those long account numbers aren’t usually read. I caught it though, and updated the payment process. Dodged that bullet!

This evening a load of rotting mouldy wood was on its way to the dump. There will be a charge for this, but it was decided that even though the wood could be taken to the Rideau Camp for a camp fire, the journey with the material in the back of Tank would be extremely unpleasant, the smell is very strong. As well, there are drought conditions here, and it would be very ill advised to have a campfire, even if they are not yet banned. So the dump it was.

Whether canned goods are being processed in lower quality containers, or the can opener suddenly wore out, opening cans had become an ordeal. The final straw came about a week ago, when I suffered two deep cuts to my hands while attempting to open a can. The cuts are still not completely healed. So, after a short bit of research, a new can opener was ordered, and it arrived a few days ago. Wow, what a difference, the new can opener, a ZYLISS, works like a charm. The problem must have been with the old can opener, it had just worn out. The need to avoid canned goods due to the difficulty in opening them has ended. I feel like a new woman.

Earlier in the month the pepper mill stopped working, replaced by a Peugeot, made affordable only because it was temporarily on sale at a significant discount.

It’s the little things, the things that you interact with every day, or often, where you appreciate small but significant changes. Almost every day I use either the pepper mill, or the can opener, and every day that I do, I notice how well the new tools work.

A modest investment has provided a large amount of pleasure.

Attila and I were craving pizza last night. Nope, not gonna make pizza right now, so that craving will have be put on hold. Instead Nachos, with Guacamole on the side, were prepared and enjoyed. A quick and nutritious dinner. And tonight it is a bowl of hearty Vegetable Soup. But that pizza is still on my mind!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

22°C
Date: 1:00 PM EDT Wednesday 18 July 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 22.1°C
Dew point: 6.2°C
Humidity: 35%
Wind: NW 11 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“We touch other peoples lives simply by existing.”
J. K. Rowling

A Few Days

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Today I learned that it is not wise to wear crock type footwear on chilly rainy days. Puddles in parking lots, when the temperature is hovering around 10C, are just waiting for the unsuspecting Crock wearer. I will not be a Crock wearer on another such day, nor will I be unsuspecting.

Tonight supper consisted of leftover homemade pizza, and seedless grapes for dessert. I love fast food pizza, ordered and pickup up, but only on the first day. It looses its appeal when reheated. Homemade pizza is good the first night, and just as good the second or third night. The real bonus for me is is that homemade pizza crust contains no sodium, so that a few slices of pizza won’t put me into sodium overload. Although I love it, I don’t put pepperoni on pizza, it is too high sodium. I do like a bit of low-sodium bacon cooked and crumbled on my homemade pizza, with sweet onions, sweet peppers, and mushrooms. I use my homemade Red Pepper Sauce as well, no sodium in that. The cheese, well, it is the cheese I have to watch, high in sodium, and in cholesterol. The biggest drawback to homemade pizza is that I have to make it, but then, so far Attila is willing participant in pizza construction, so it isn’t so bad at all.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Well, I started this entry yesterday and got distracted. It didn’t take much to distract me either. Attila was going to the garden centre to spend a $20 gift certificate he received, so I decided to go with him. Today he will plant the tomatoes, peppers, and rosemary. The compost toilets at the Rideau Camp use peat moss, so a good supply was purchased for the 2018 season. It was raining the during the entire visit to the garden centre, which was only partially sheltered. I wore a parka and heavy winter boots, which allowed me to remain comfortable while I wandered about. It is lovely to spend time around growing things… the labels are a big bonus, suddenly I know what I am looking at.

I have had Food Mills recommended to me numerous times. I recently found a relatively good quality one on sale, a Cuisinart Food Mill. It arrived this past week. I tried it for the first time last night. Attila had unearthed yet another bag of vintage whole tomatoes from the freezer. I removed the stem and ends, popped them frozen and whole into a large soup pot, then heated them up until they were thawed and warm. They were drained, ladled into the food mill, and in about 20 minutes a lovely tomato sauce was extracted. Two 500 ml jars of tomato sauce are labelled and in the freezer.

Who knew!! I am in love with the Food Mill. It is so easy, I wonder at the decades I’ve lived without it. How did I do that? I wish I had listened to all of you who told me about the Food Mill quite a while ago!

The skins and seeds were left in the food mill. I scraped them onto a piece of waxed paper, spread them thin, and place the waxed paper on the cooking rack. I am hoping to place the dried skin and seeds in the blender to create a powder for flavouring. The results may or may not be satisfactory.

The clean up was super easy.

Inspired by last night’s success in the kitchen, pre-dawn found me in back there, beginning preparations for my complete protein Vegetable Soup. I was happily chopping vegetables, sautéing the beef and onions, grabbing the bits of this and that that I had saved over the last week, adding them to the soup pot, when Attila rose with the sun.

Attila is planting his garden today. I watch. I occasionally offer input, but never criticism. Breakfast on the back porch consisted of a toasted bagel, and a banana smoothie. Funny how how food tastes even better when you are watching someone else work! But really, Attila is playing, not working, he enjoys gardening so much.

Well, here it is, almost noon, and I am still sitting in my pyjamas; quite comfortably I might add.

I think I’ll get dressed now, and go wander in the garden, see if Attila wants any help.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

18°C
Date: 11:00 AM EDT Sunday 20 May 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 18.4°C
Dew point: 12.6°C
Humidity: 69%
Wind: NNW 21 gust 32 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none.”
Thomas Carlyle
1795 – 1881

A Good List

It has been four weeks today, since Attila announced the end of our marriage, the emotional aspect of our marriage, but not the legal, not yet, that is in a holding pattern.

What a ride.

So far a fairly workable holding pattern has been established, where we live separate lives, interacting with increasingly few of our old routines. Civility and consideration prevail. This has its pros and cons. There is no good choice as to how this marriage deconstructs, so I am making a series of small controlled decisions, choosing among the hard and sad choices as they come up. They are coming up a lot, life is hard.

I cycle through all the stages of grief, to varying degrees, in various orders, depending on the particular circumstance of a given day.

I am getting through this.

Next week I have two of my own activities planned, and one outing with Attila planned. I am an outsider everywhere, in this place of small towns and tiny cities, and it takes a long time for an outsider to be inside anything, so patience and fortitude are required. Eventually something will take root, somewhere, probably in an unexpected circumstance. I have to keep going so that I run into that unexpected circumstance.

So that is the state of my life at present.

I had some kind of bug, and my gastrointestinal system was in rebellion. It was an uncomfortable night, but I did manage to get about five hours sleep, so really it wasn’t so bad. I am feeling better this morning.

Terra stopped by with Sunny and Sky for a short but delightful visit yesterday evening. Her pregnancy appears to be going well, the Grandbaby is due in July. Luna called this morning for a chat while en route to Elf’s diving lessons, Tink’s gymnastics lessons, all three, Imp, Elf, and Tink, in the car chatting up a storm on speaker phone. All six Grandbabies are well and happy.

Today I washed and dried a set of sheets, after having changed out the bedding. I’ve read a bit, crocheted a bit, puttered a bit around the house. Attila and I went grocery shopping.

This afternoon I will work on genealogy, my web site update, read for a bit, and write in my paper journal. This evening Attila and I will watch a movie over dinner. Attila has begun cooking a weekly Saturday feast for himself, foods I cannot and/or would not eat, full of sodium and sugar and cholesterol, although he continues to avoid my allergen. I treat myself to a slice of pizza, and plan the whole day’s menu around it, reducing sodium, sugar and cholesterol, so that I can eat my slice without concern for having overdone things.

The vacant house next door has sold. We saw two vehicles in the driveway last night, and observed a millennial couple arrive back in one of the vehicles this morning, Tim Hortons paper coffee cups in hand. Attila says that where he works many people show up in the morning with two paper cups of Tim Hortons coffee, around $4 worth, that is $20 a week for morning coffee, and about $1000 a year. The last millennial couple who lived next door and who lost the house to the bank, there have been two such couples since we bought Mist Cottage, didn’t make their mortgage payments, but they did find the funds for Tim Hortons coffee, daily. Their priorities are much different than mine. I find it odd what some people regard as a necessity of life. Coffee above shelter… something is wrong there.

What cheerful note can I end my visit here with? I am healthy. I have food, and shelter. I am loved. I am making fewer spelling mistakes as I write these entries. A good list!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

3°C
Date: 11:00 AM EST Saturday 27 January 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 3.4°C
Dew point: -1.6°C
Humidity: 70%
Wind: SSW 20 gust 29 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“When one can hear people moving, one does not so much mind, about one’s fears.”
Ann Radcliffe
1764 – 1823

Heat Wave!

Today is so hot, and humid. My Mom is happy as a clam, she loves the heat. Me, I am safe at home, in the air conditioned luxury of Mist Cottage. Attila, well… Attila is outside, working on the exterior south wall of the house, and the exterior south wall of the garage, scraping paint, and repainting. He has finished scraping and painting the wall the house, and had just finished scraping the wall of the garage. I offered to help, but Attila pointed out that having to take me to the hospital for heat exhaustion would not really be of much help to him. He has a point. I do not tolerate the heat well.

This afternoon it will feel like 39C with the humidex. Tonight the temperature will fall to 17C. It is a real roller coaster ride!

This morning I attended a three hour workshop on storing family photos and documents. It was excellent, and the cost was entirely reasonable at $8. I have not really done anything like this since I stopped going to Yoga class, which is more than two years ago. When a description of this workshop popped up in my email box, I called immediately to reserve a seat. This morning I was resistant, I had to make myself get dressed and get out the door on time. It was well worth overcoming inertia.

I haven’t been eating a lot lately, the dental work is still giving me a bit of grief, which is normal. When Attila got home from work yesterday, he asked me what I wanted for dinner. I responded by asking him what HE wanted for dinner. His response was immediate, pizza! We haven’t had pizza since last spring, it is not summer food, requiring the oven to bake. We decided that since it was the first day autumn, an oven meal would be appropriate, even though the temperature outside was hot enough to fry eggs on the back porch railing. So we celebrated the Autumn Equinox by making a homemade pizza, and sitting down to eat it in front of Netflix, watching an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. We know it is autumn, the trees know it is autumn, only the weather doesn’t know it is autumn.

The pizza was better than ever. The pre-made pizza sauce from the grocery store is shockingly high in sodium, which is unacceptable for me. On last night’s pizza, we used a jar of the Tomato Red Pepper Sauce, made earlier in September, in place of the pre-made pizza sauce. The homemade sauce is very low in sodium, so that my part of the pizza got more than the two tablespoons of sauce usually allowed. It was wonderful! And to think, we have another 34 jars of Tomato Red Pepper Sauce… 34 pizzas!

It seems to be my year for run ins with insects. In this heat the yellow jackets are everywhere, huge ones! I went out to see how Attila was doing with his project, and a yellow jacket must have come back into the house with me on my clothing. Then it must have ended up on the floor, where my bare foot came into contact with it, and it stung the bottom of my toe. I felt it. My toe has a “blister” and is quite sore still. I killed the yellow jacket. There are a lot of wasps around our house, the nests seem to be right under the shingles. Attila sprayed and destroyed a nest one evening last week, that was under the awning outside the dining area windows. There was also a huge cone shaped hornets next in our flowering tree in the front yard this summer, which was sprayed in August, and is now inactive. We had another nest of hornets under the compost, the black plastic bin. Attila was planning on spraying it before digging it out, but an animal, probably a skunk, got to it first, dug out the nest and ate all the wasps. Yay!

Boiling dishclothes DSCF1260 A pot full of dishcloths and facecloths, boiling them up to kill the bacteria, five minutes does the trick!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

HEAT WARNING IN EFFECT
23°C
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Saturday 23 September 2017
Condition: Mainly Sunny
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 23.4°C
Dew point: 20.2°C
Humidity: 82%
Wind: S 22 km/h
Humidex: 31
Visibility: 24 km

Today Mainly sunny. High 31. Humidex 39. UV index 6 or high.
Tonight Clear. Fog patches developing overnight. Low 17.

Quote

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”
George Orwell
1903 – 1950

Long Weekend

We had a lovely Victoria Day long weekend. On Friday night we made a pizza from scratch, low-sodium, low-cholesterol of course, and watched a film on Netflix.

On Saturday, the only sunny warmish day of the entire long weekend, we went to the Rideau Camp early in the morning and spent the day burning brush in the camp fire pit, and moving a bit of crushed stone.

On Sunday it rained, so we stayed home, puttered around the house, and enjoyed a visit from Sister-The-Youngest-Girl and Beau Bob, who dropped in on their way home after attending a family function to the East of us. They dropped of a big bag of clothing my Mom bought for me, she is an amazing shopper! I have numerous new summer blouses, a summer dress, two new sweat shirt jackets, and lots of new pairs of pants. I am enjoying trying things on, and so far everything fits.

On Monday it was cold and wet out of doors, another good day to stay in our nice warm house, rather than working outside at the Rideau Camp. Domestic chores aren’t boring to us, but they are repetitive. Cooking for the week to come, we made muffins for lunches, salad dressing for salads, croutons for salads, and topped up many of our canisters. And then we went shopping. We began at Rona, where we went to look at sheets of lattice. We did buy a sheet of lattice, grey to add privacy to our back porch, but we didn’t stop there. Ever since I sat with my sisters and my Mom on my sister’s back deck swing, I have wanted one here at Mist Cottage. Every spring when we visit the building material stores I sit on the swings in the display section of the store. Usually I find them either uncomfortable, or far too large for our minimized lifestyle. But on Monday, at Rona, I sat down in a small swing and knew that it was the one. So we bought it. It is smallish, lowish, and will someday fit on the back porch when it is renovated. Until that time it will sit under a sun tent on the back lawn.

We didn’t stop there. After leaving Rona we dropped into Costco. Our neighbour calls it the $500 store with good reason. We don’t visit it often because our bank account is always drained by the time we walk out the door. This visit was no exception. We didn’t buy anything we didn’t need, or anything we wouldn’t use. Our purchases were primarily food, fresh vegetables and baking ingredients. We even found some frozen burgers that were low sodium, although their frozen chicken is all seasoned, and so there is sodium where I can’t afford it with the chicken. Our most surprising purchase was a new cell phone for Attila. I have been looking at cell phones for Attila for about three years, as the one he uses was purchased the August before our first Grandbabies were born, in 2006. The cell phone still functioned, but the battery would not hold a charge for more than an hour or so once it was turned on, and the cell phone towers upon which it relies are being phased out in favour of newer technology. We were walking by the cell phone kiosk, and I stopped to ask if they had any flip phones, and the did! We looked at it, and instantly decided that it was time to replace the old cell phone. In fifteen minutes they had Attila up and running on the new cell phone, his account transferred, and it only cost $67. Hopefully Attila will be good for another few years now.

I have been pondering what crochet project to begin since I finished my market bag. As I was sitting at home having a look at Attila’s new cell phone, I thought it would be a good thing if it were protected from the rough and ready pockets of Attila. I looked on Amazon and couldn’t find anything low enough priced to interest me. Later I was putzing around looking at crochet stitches, and saw a new stitch pattern that I though I would like to try, and the pieces fell together, I would use that interesting stitch pattern to create a cell phone case for Attila’s new phone.

I didn’t really think much about it, I just started practising the new stitch pattern, the Lemon Peel Stitch, ripped it out a few times, then started to make the cell phone case.

DSCF0661 Attila’s new flip phone, a pay as you go wonder. We pay $100 for the year, and since we don’t use the phone much we seldom need to buy additional time. Beside the phone is the cell phone case I crocheted. I like it, as the phone slides out very easily if the bottom of the case is squeezed. The case is machine washable cotton.

Once I finished the cell phone case I decided I should write down what I had done. But my method of writing these kinds of things down is erratic. I decided to look at software to record the steps that were followed. I ended up finding some chart software at ravelry.com, where these two links were recommended in the forum:

Stitch Works Software

Windows: Windows: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7CaX7Dz9k8GTlhVNThlSVpBY1k/view
Os X: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B7CaX7Dz9k8GSGxlRG5JNm1XNnM/view?usp=sharing

I downloaded the software and started to play with it.

I am just tickled to have produced my first crochet pattern in chart form!

Flip Phone Case Open Ended: Left-Handed

I have had a lot of fun today!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

14°C
Date: 2:00 PM EDT Tuesday 23 May 2017
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 13.8°C
Dew point: 9.1°C
Humidity: 73%
Wind: S 18 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.”
Charles Du Bos