OK, I am officially tired of this now. It is almost 5 a.m. and I have been awake since 3 a.m. I have been waking up at 3 a.m. now for more than a week, an extremely tiresome situation. This morning I thought I might go back to sleep, and it might have happened, maybe, but Attila snores, and he was making quite a racket. Of course, my inability to drop off to sleep might not be related to the snoring at all, after all, Attila hasn’t been snoring on any of the other 3 a.m. eye openers I’ve been experiencing, and I didn’t fall asleep on those mornings either. By 4 a.m. I grew tired of lying in my bed in the dark, so I arose, came out into the living room and turned on the Christmas tree lights.

I am not napping. I don’t catch up. I don’t feel tired, not at any point in the day, except my usual “down time” around 4 p.m.

So here I sit, looking out the window at blackness, staring into the computer monitor, seeking noiseless amusement until the rest of the world stirs… which in my case is Attila, “nobody here but us chickens” as they say. I don’t mind doing this every so often, but it is getting quite tedious now. This is the longest bout of this form of insomnia that I have had in a long time. The other form of insomnia that visits me, is not being able to fall asleep at bedtime. Of the two forms, I prefer this one, waking up super early.

Attila sleeps, as a rule, three or more hours per night than I do. He seems to need more sleep, and doesn’t seem to have any trouble getting to sleep, or staying asleep.

I think today I will try to think of a change of scene, get out and about somewhere, to break up the energy a bit. Maybe that will help. But where to go! Shopping is the only rock solid choice, always available, no invitation needed, just bring money. But shopping is boring when you don’t need or want anything, and I really don’t need or want anything. I will probably go shopping though, as it is such a readily available activity. I might do my $5 challenge shop, spend hours looking for the perfect $5 purchase… this gets more challenging every year.

The temperature outside has dropped significantly overnight, and it looks like we will be having a cold snap for the rest of 2017. Our oil furnace takes over heating the house when it gets this cold (as low as -26C is predicted), so I’ll be kept busy attempting to keep the humidity above 30% in the house. The humidifier is running 24/7, moistened clothes are draped by every heating register, and laundry is hung to air dry… with all this the humidity hovers and dips around 30% relative humidity.

One of my gifts from Attila this year is a pair of genuine Crocs. I have a dollar store pair, that I have worn for many years, which are more like spongy marshmallows on my feet than shoes. The soles of the cheap knock-offs are so flimsy that I can feel coins on the floor underfoot, and they are not altogether stable. The Crocs are infinitely better shoes! They are more comfortable and more stable to start with, and the soles are sturdy enough to protect my feet, even out of doors. I wear them as slippers in the winter here at Mist Cottage, to keep my feet from losing heat to the unheated floors.

After a big turkey dinner there will be leftover turkey dinners for the rest of the week, which is something we both look forward to.

The card table has been setup in the living room, and a jigsaw puzzle started. We both enjoy jigsaw puzzles. I have many fond memories of doing puzzles at my Granny and Grandpa’s house, during long summer days, and in later years with my Mom and sisters, including just this past visit for our Christmas get together. The puzzle we are working on now, at Mist Cottage, is an image of Van Gogh’s Starry Night, which we purchased at the Van Gogh exhibition in Ottawa, in 2012, at the National Gallery.

It is now 6 a.m. I have been awake for three hours and feel comfortable making a wee bit of noise in the house, so I am off to the kitchen to start brewing the morning coffee!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 5:00 AM EST Tuesday 26 December 2017
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 102.2 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -11.7°C
Dew point: -18.0°C
Humidity: 60%
Wind: W 18 gust 27 km/h
Wind Chill: -20


“On a lazy Saturday morning when you’re lying in bed, drifting in and out of sleep, there is a space where fantasy and reality become one. Are you awake, or are you dreaming? You see people and things; some are familiar; some are strange. You talk, you feel, but you move without walking; you fly without wings. Your mind and your body exist, but on separate planes. Time stands still. For me, this is the feeling I have when ideas come.”
Lynn Johnston
1947 –

My daughter’s have described something similarly pleasant to this, and Attila has as well. This drifting state has never been a desirable encounter for me. What Ms. Johnston describes sounds like a fairy tale. I envy that people could have this experience.

What different worlds we have lived in, what different exposures colour our realities, and sketch our internal landscapes. The drifting state is a terrain of nightmares and horrors in my universe, a no man’s land where angels, and I, fear to tread. I would not tarry there for all the world. I find my peace and inspiration elsewhere.

One cannot assume that any experience is universal. We, and certain uses of you, and one, are truly royal words.

The Reserve

I have been waking up very early for the last week or so, sometimes as early as 4:00 a.m. I don’t like it much.

Once I fell asleep again, which inspired me on subsequent mornings, to roll over and wait for sleep. It hasn’t come again. So now I am getting up when I wake up, turning up the thermostat. [Thermostat! I love that word.] I turn the Christmas tree lights on, as it is still dark. I sit quietly with the lights for a while, then I get out the laptop and check out a few things on the internet. I am not fully committed to the computer though, my attention frequently wanders to the windows. It has become a game, waiting for the first signs of dawn. This morning the dawn was lovely, with a few pink clouds, which disappeared into a blue sky.

Our Christmas was lovely. Just the two of us celebrating together. Terra messaged a picture of herself with Lares and Sunny and Sky, wishing us a Merry Christmas. My Mom and my sisters sent email messages and messaged; and we spoke via FaceTime twice on Christmas Day, which is always a treat. We also got to say hello to my Brother-The-Middle-Boy, who was visiting with Mom for Christmas, and my nephew, and my niece. Later in the day we spoke with Attila’s Mom, by telephone to the US, she is an American Citizen. We exchanged gifts and spent our day reading (me), cooking (Attila), watching a few films, and listening to Christmas Choirs. Attila cooked a delicious turkey dinner, with all the trimmings (no salt added). I made Mincemeat Muffins, a recipe I made up the Friday before Christmas, they are a big hit around here.

Yesterday we decided to brave the retail wilds and go shopping, which took us to the city.

First, we dropped off a large box of items to the Salvation Army Thrift Store. While we were at the thrift store, I found and purchased for $1.00 a perforated metal container to place dirty cutlery in, while it waits to go into the dishwasher. I like donating to the Salvation Army Thrift Store because their resale prices are very low, so that the items can be obtained more easily by people who can barely afford food and shelter and heat. Value Village prices are ridiculously high, so I donate nothing to them; a significant proportion of their clientele are not in the least bit needy. I shop there myself.

We bought everything on our list, and one extra item. Actually, there was only one item on our list, and that was a sink drainer/stopper for our kitchen sink. On Christmas Day the old one literally broke, the metal gave out and it was stuck in the drain so tightly that Attila could only get it out with some effort. We think it is the original, which would make it over 50 years old. I looked for replacement at the Salvation Army Store, because you just never know what you will find there, but they didn’t have a used one. So we set off from the thrift store to Home Depot and found a replacement for $10, which I hope will last another 50 years, so that when it breaks it will be someone else’s problem, although I imagine they will throw out the sink rather than replace the stopper.

While at Home Depot we also purchased a Carbon Monoxide Detector. We had one at the Country House, because we heated with wood, and we left it for the new owners. Mist Cottage really does need one since it is partially heated with an oil furnace. A Carbon Monoxide Detectors is a costly item. We also found a small level, a tool, for $2.00 that we will used to level Iris the trailer next summer.

That concluded our shopping excursion. An added benefit was that we walked around quite a bit while looking at all the things we didn’t need or want. It is an odd feeling, not needing anything! I love it.

Yesterday morning, before we left on our shopping excursion, our microwave began to make a disturbing sound. My morning bowl of oatmeal emerged from the microwave undercooked. Attila’s breakfast also heated to the odd sound, and it too was undercooked. Our microwave was no longer viable.

The broken microwave was one that Luna and Janus gave us six years ago, to use at Mist Cottage. They had upgraded all of their appliances and donated the redundant microwave to us. It was old when we got it six years ago, and it has worked reliably ever since, until yesterday.

Because we had two houses, we had two microwaves. When we moved to Mist Cottage over a year ago, we brought the country house microwave with us, and stored it in the basement here at Mist Cottage. It was relatively new, and had been used for only a few months when it was packed away for the move. So obtaining a new microwave oven was as easy as carrying a box up from the basement, unwrapping the microwave, and setting it on the counter. The two appliances that wear out with some frequency at our house are the microwave oven and the coffee maker. I have one more coffee maker, and a two slice toaster, in reserve in the basement. There are no more microwave ovens in reserve.

Slowly but surely our downsizing is progressing.

Yesterday we got rid of two boxes! One was full of items donated to the Salvation Army Thrift Store, and the other was the last microwave oven from the basement.

We attempted to drop off the old microwave oven and the old VCR, but the eWaste drop off centre was temporarily shut down, so we will have to go again another time.

The weather has been unpleasant, and good at the same time. Unpleasant because it has been raining and it is too cold to go out walking in the rain, and good because it is raining and not snowing.

Dawn has arrived here at Mist Cottage. Attila sleeps on. I have enjoyed my morning coffee. The day beckons!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 8:00 AM EST Wednesday 28 December 2016
Condition:Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -2.0°C
Dew point: -5.5°C
Humidity: 77%
Wind: W 12 km/h
Wind Chill: -6
Visibility: 24 km


“A gift, with a kind countenance, is a double present.”
Thomas Fuller
1608 – 1661

Need and Want

This morning I decided to fill an hour or so with “virtual shopping”. What I mean by “virtual”, in this instance, is that I had no intention whatsoever of purchasing anything. I was only intending to pretend to shop.

I visited Kijiji, and found nothing I was interested in. I visited, and found nothing I was interested in. The only items I might be interested in, and do not need, could not be purchased sight unseen. I would like to buy comfortable clothing that I feel is attractive. But what attracts me on the rack, or on a model, is not necessarily something that will look reasonable hanging on my body. I need to take my time, to try things on, to consider carefully. That is fun for another time. I would like to buy comfortable casual shoes, as the ones that I have are more than ten years old, and they are beginning to show serious wear. Shoes need to be comfortable and suitable for walking some distance, so trying on shoes before a purchase is a necessity. Again, that is fun for another time. Beyond that, I can think of nothing that I need, and nothing that I want.

How odd, to come to a point in my life where my needs are met, so completely that I feel no want.

Of course, there are larger items that I am interested in. We would love to: rebuild the garden shed in the back yard; gut and rebuild the walls in the bedrooms and the living room; replace the windows and doors in those rooms; install new flooring in every room but the bathroom; renovate the back porch and repair the roof; put a new roof on the garage. Well, you get the picture, there is a lot of renovating yet to be done.

We would also love to find an inexpensive and small travel trailer, so that we can spend our one week vacation at our camp “up north”. YES, we get a one week vacation in the SUMMER with Attila’s new job!

But, all of these larger items are not integral to our happiness, or even our comfort. They are just things to dream about.

We bought two significant items recently, both were needed.

One of the items was a Squatty Potty. The medications I have to take have affected the efficiency of my processing unit. I knew from experience that squat toilets offer a superior experience, but had not devised a way to emulate them in our home. I will say that this product, although I do not find it miraculous, is something I would not want to live without.

The other item is MagicJackGo. We have been using our cell phones as the only means by which businesses and government agencies can contact us. This has been very problematic, as cell phones cost a lot of money to operate, and I find the messaging system inadequate. My pay-as-you-go cell phone costs fifty cents a minute to use. I reviewed many alternatives, and finally decided to try the MagicJackGo. Although the ads boast prices such as $39.95, don’t you believe it! For that price you have to also purchase a power pack, which is supposedly free, but you are billed an additional $19.95 for it, plus almost $18 shipping if you live in Canada. The unit is $69.96, plus 15% sales tax, at the local Walmart. On top of that, whether you buy it online or in the store, one must pay an extra $10 plus 15% sales tax, to obtain a Canadian phone number. The first year of service is free, and includes outgoing and incoming calls within North America, that is in Canada and the continental U.S. All in all we paid almost $100 to get the unit, a Canadian phone number, and one years service.

Local VOIP basic service charges $14.99 per month for the first six months, then $34.99 a month or more forever more. Clearly, if MagicJackGo works out, it is significantly less expensive than our service providers VOIP offering. Local VOIP service, comparable to MagicJackGo costs $52.99 per month for the first six months and $62.99 per month or more thereafter. Add 15% sales tax to all these figures.

We can’t even contemplate a Bell telephone land line, they are priced beyond our means, weighing in from $36.95 to $51.95 plus 15% sales tax.

Setting up MagicJackGo was not as straightforward as I might have hoped. The method for using my computer to set it up failed completely, and I have no idea why. Not to be deterred, I went on to try a direct connection to the modem, which worked on the first try. Now we have a Panasonic phone plugged into the line, a Canadian phone number local to where we live, and an answering machine. I have my fingers crossed that we do not run into technical difficulties in the long run, as I have read about numerous customers reporting this issue.

When I went to bed last night it was just beginning to snow. When I got up this morning several inches had accumulated, and there was a bitter wind. About a half an hour before Attila was to arrive home from work, the snow plough came through.

Winter arrived many days ago, winter weather arrived last night.

I donned my warm clothing and headed out to the garage to see if I could find the snow shovel. I wasn’t sure where it ended up after the big move. Right enough, there it was where I would have expected it to be, leaning up against the wall near the door. I unlocked the door, grabbed the shovel, and began to shovel a narrow path from the door towards the road. Attila drove up and parked across the end of the driveway, when I was about half way down the driveway. He waited until my shovelled path reached the road, then he took over.

After a while Attila decided to take a break, and during that short break he found another snow shovel, meant to be kept in a car. So we both shovelled snow until the driveway was clear.

We are expecting more snow, and freezing drizzle, later today. I have my fingers crossed that the roads will be good by the time Attila has to leave for work. As you can see below, the weather reports are rapidly changing.

Just for fun, have a look at a globe showing active surface wind movement on planet earth, it is fascinating. You can visually understand the storm Frank, and see why York is getting such a lot of rain.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 10:00 AM EST Tuesday 29 December 2015
Condition: Light Freezing Drizzle
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 3 km
Temperature: -6.9°C
Dewpoint: -8.6°C
Humidity: 88%
Wind: NE 32 km/h
Wind Chill: -16

Date: 2:08 PM EST Tuesday 29 December 2015
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 101.3 kPa
Tendency: falling
Temperature: -3.8°C
Dewpoint: -4.8°C
Humidity: 92%
Wind: NE 9 km/h
Wind Chill: -8


“Too many have dispensed with generosity in order to practice charity.”
Albert Camus
1913 – 1960

Catching Up

We had a very good time at the party last weekend. I am talking about the overnight Christmas Party at the resort, the one that got my knickers into a twist. It is my experience, that if I am stressed about having to do something, it is best to do all my emoting well before the event. When the feeling of being overwhelmed is externalized, it is acknowledged and dealt with before the event. This “clears the decks”, keeping the negative feelings from sullying the experience, because they have already been dealt with.

We arrived to a very nice room, with a wood burning fireplace, a refrigerator, coffeemaker, wifi, TV. After settling in, we dressed for dinner, then joined the party. The waitress had been alerted to my situation, and she bent over backwards to make sure I was as comfortable as possible. The food was great, Attila said, and the company was pleasant. We even danced during the evening. Attila and I and a female employee were the last to leave the party room, which was still going strong at 1 a.m. The beds were comfortable. We joined the rest of the staff for breakfast, again I brought my own, and afterwards packed the car and headed home.

Attila’s employer was generous to all, hosting such a fantastic overnight party at a resort. They also had special decorations for the tables, and gifts for every single employee and guest. They know how to do things up right, and their employees are happy to give their all at work, because it works both ways. Attila’s employers are Gold Star employers.

Monday morning, just as morning was dawning, I climbed into Tank and set my sights for the little house in the city. Several hours after I left, Attila and Mist headed out in Four Doors, for the same destination. Our respective journeys were uneventful, we all arrived safely. Attila will be here, gone again, back here, gone again, and so on, over the next few weeks. Tank and Mist and I will be staying on at the little house for the duration of December.

It has been some time since we stocked up on supplies, so part of Monday, and all day Tuesday, Attila and doodled around the city gathering supplies from various sources. Most of our money went to food, but we did buy a few other items.

One thing Attila decided to splurge on this year is a pair of gloves for work. They had to be extremely rugged, as he handles a lot of lumber and construction materials. They had to be warm, as he works long hours out of doors. They had to be waterproof, as he works in the snow and rain. I researched gloves for Attila for quite a while before finding all of these qualities in a glove at a reasonable cost. I did find them, and could order them, at a store near the little house in the city. I ordered two pairs. Today Attila picked them up, and it seems that will do nicely. The real test is when Attila wears them at work. He will know soon enough if they are up to the job.

We hit our usual hotspots, the Thrift Store, and the ReStore.

At the Thrift Store I found a red blouse that will do nicely for next Christmas, for only $1.00. This is a real relief, as the price is certainly right, for an item of clothing to be worn one day a year, possibly only once. I also found a lovely wool scarf.

At the ReStore we found some high quality glue for $2.00, assorted screws for $1.00, and some ceramic cabinet hardware for $1.00 per knob.

On this trip we need to obtain a local cell phone for the little house in the city. Our cell phone is attached to our country house. Since Attila and I drive separate vehicles long distances now, we both need an emergency cell phone. Attila will take the cell phone attached to the country house location, and I will use the “new ” cell phone attached to the little house in the city.

Yesterday I broke down and ventured out in Four Doors to look for a new cell phone. There are only two local stores that sell them, and I visited both of them. In the end I purchased an Alcatel phone with a Telus sim card. It is a cheap flip phone, with no bells, no whistles, just send and receive calls. I called customer support to assist me with setting it up, and then tried to top up the cell phone using my credit card. No can do, the address for the cell phone is the little house in the city, the address for the credit card is for the country house. The addresses have to be the same. My only option was to make a trip this morning to purchase a top up pin number. I went for the $100 that is good for 365 days. This saves me from forgetting more than once a year, to top up the cell phone!

Attila and I are happily puttering about today. I have strung Christmas lights on the front windows, hung a few Christmas ornaments in the windows, put up the tiny artificial Christmas tree, and decorated it. I made a big pot of spaghetti sauce, and invited Terra and Lares for supper. Should be fun!

Attila rerouted the electrical wiring to the kitchen, as it had been installed in a crazy way. While he was at it, he installed a new updated electrical switch box, and a new plate to cover it all. He also got started on installing the new light fixture above the kitchen sink. The light fixture that was there when we purchased the house in 2010 never worked.

Mist meowed weakly twice after being brought into the little house from the car, when we arrived on Monday. She adjusted immediately, and has been as happy as a clam. She seems to love the little house, and had staked out her hiding places, as well as Attila’s chair!

Tired! I am feeling tired, so I fear the proofreading on this entry is not up to snuff. I will do better next time!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 3:00 PM EST Wednesday 10 December 2014
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 2 km
Temperature: -2.7°C
Dewpoint: -4.7°C
Humidity: 86%
Wind: NNW 29 gust 43 km/h
Wind Chill: -10


“I love life…Yeah, I’m sad, but at the same time, I’m really happy that something could make me feel that sad. It’s like…It makes me feel alive, you know. It makes me feel human. The only way I could feel this sad now is if I felt something really good before. So I have to take the bad with the good. So I guess what I’m feeling is like a beautiful sadness.”
Trey Parker and Matt Stone