Silence By Degrees

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Today is cold and sunny. There is a snow storm on the way, lots of snow the weather people say. Winter isn’t done with us yet.

It is a quiet weekend here at Mist Cottage. A little bit of baking going on, a little bit of food preparation for next week, using the off-peak hydro prices by cooking ingredients. Our wedding anniversary is coming up next week, and we are celebrating with a homemade pizza, and a movie. I have my menu carefully planned for that day, so that I can afford to eat the sodium in the bacon bits we Attila cooked today. Eating out is out of the question.

I chatted with my Mom and Sister-The-Middle-Girl this afternoon, on FaceTime. My Mom looks so beautiful these days! She is bright eyed and rosy cheeked, her hair framing her face perfectly. Her recovery from her health issue is amazing. My Sister-The-Middle-Girl is looking quite beautiful these days too. Life must be agreeing with them!

Last week I chatted with Sister-The-Youngest-Girl over FaceTime, which was lovely. She is renovating her kitchen, a very big job. She and Beau Bob have gutted the kitchen, the electricians are still finishing up their part of the renovation, and the drywalling has been started this weekend. By the time we get there for a visit again, it will be finished. I am looking forward to seeing it!

Attila and I are not planning projects this summer. He will be touching up the paint on the house siding, putting in a larger garden, installing the cap on the basement waterproofing membrane, and finishing off the bathroom drywall. I am thinking about staining the exterior concrete walls of our basement, which would take me all summer. In a few weeks we will be venturing out into the yard with an eye to spring cleanup, but we have to wait out this coming snow storm first.

My crochet hooks should arrive in the next two weeks, I will be starting to watch for them next week. Yesterday morning’s second attempt at the single crochet stitch was more successful and I can see that I am going to have fun with it, once I get used to it. Now my thoughts are wandering to a suitable first project, and I have decided on a washcloth, a very simple washcloth. I like like the idea of functional creations, and eventually I would like to make soft fluffy washcloths. My first one will be made with this $1.00 ball of yarn, and my $1.00 crochet hook. Soon enough though, my new crochet hooks will arrive, and I will begin to cast my eye towards other balls of wool.

I have not been going out for walks, it is just too cold for my arthritic knee. I am loath to do any further damage to the knee, as each time it goes on me, it will not regain the functionality I have. I will lose mobility by increments, so I am being very careful not experience any incremental episodes. I have my fingers crossed that by next week the big snowfall we are expecting will have melted, and the temperature will rise above freezing during the day, so that I can begin to venture forth.

We are enjoying the coziness of Mist Cottage during this cold snap, the thermostat continues to charm us!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Another cold morning, with a major snow storm on the way tonight. Again I am staying indoors, not risking injury to my knee. The inactivity of winter has resulted in a moderate rise in my blood pressure levels, or so I surmise the cause. I am anxious now for the milder weather and the disappearance of snow and ice. It is a time for patience! Next month I am to go in for further testing for my high blood pressure, and afterwards I have an appointment with a cardiologist. At this point I am wondering if another type of medication might help, but that is something to discuss with the cardiologist. With my anaphylaxis, my options are limited as to safe medications.

This morning I have taken an internal walk down memory lane. Joan Lansberry posted a link to a BBC video of desert sounds. I closed my eyes and listened, the sounds, and the vibrations of the sounds from the computer provided me with a pleasant physical experience. I could not find the actual video to share here, but I did find a series of BBC video soundscapes, mostly of human activity, but some of nature’s activity.

We lived deep in a the Ontario bush for about a decade, we had only two neighbours within sight, who as “snowbirds” were often south during the winter. The noise was constant, snowmobiles, ATVs, private planes, speeding sports cars, huge motor boats, and transport trucks on the highways miles and miles away. These sounds became the white noise in our lives, we were rarely conscious of it. We could hear nature, but not without the steady hum, and sometimes din, of modern human activity. However, I considered it a paradise of silence compared to living in a small urban area.

Then I spent a week 60 miles north of Longlac. It was an education. There were no human sounds, not a plane, not a hint of a motor of any kind in the distance, the only tones and notes were created by non-human activity. The “silence” was striking, deeply unnerving. After 24 hours it caught me, and the inner calm that descended is like no other I have ever experienced. This was a rare and precious experience, which resulted from a one of a kind circumstance, and it is unlikely I will ever have the experience again. It would not be achievable for most people on planet earth. I am grateful to have encountered it.

P.S. I found downtown Toronto a close second to this experience. Noise there was constant, and like the wind, it blew a melody of activity that transcended individual sounds. Downtown Toronto was, for me, akin to visiting humans in the wild.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 9:00 PM EDT Sunday 12 March 2017
Condition: Mainly Clear
Pressure: 103.1 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -9.7°C
Dew point: -20.4°C
Humidity: 42%
Wind: WNW 10 km/h
Wind Chill: -15
Visibility: 24 km


“I have learnt silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to these teachers.”
Kahlil Gibran
1883 – 1931

Freezing Rain

This morning dawned grey and dreary.

Yesterday, since I could not sit, when I was tired of standing I lay down on the couch. Without knowing it, I fell asleep, only to awaken an hour or so later to find that I had fallen asleep. That meant that I was awake for several hours in the middle of the night. In turn, that meant that I slept in, Attila letting me sleep as he knew I’d been up during the night. It was light when awoke, a rare event.

I talked with Sister-The-Youngest-Girl this morning, she calls from time to time with her bluetooth system, from her car, while she is commuting to work. She has a long commute, so this seems an excellent way to stay in touch. All is well in her world, except that the branch of the company she works for has been sold, and future employment is up in the air for all of the employees right now. It doesn’t make for relaxing days at work!

After chatting with my sister, I puttered in the kitchen, doing dishes, and putting together a braised beef dinner in the cast iron Dutch Oven. It simmered all day, and will make an excellent dinner.

Around 10:00 a.m. the freezing rain began to pelt the windows, and the world outside began to shimmer in the cold. That meant that Attila drove to work before the freezing rain started. I continued all day, off and on, so that Attila’s drive home from work was through patches of freezing rain, and slippery roads. He arrived home late, but safe.

I enjoyed my day in the cozy warmth of Mist Cottage, taking a few tours of apartment’s in Japan, and reading a little about what it is like to teach in the schools there. Where the rest of the day went I just don’t know, and luckily, there is no need to know.

I am happy to say that my blood pressure levels are mostly within normal range now, as I continue with my very low sodium and sugar diet, continue to take some form of daily exercise, and occasionally now imbibe the Apple Cider Vinegar concoction. My back is returning to normal, which I credit to the Robax medication, which brought relief from the pain almost immediately, and made me drowsy enough to ensure I rested while my back healed. I took three pills, over the course of two days, and that seemed to do the trick. The maximum dosage per day is 6 pills, or 12 pills over two days, so I am very glad that only three pills were required for relief.

My visit to the Clinic for the CAD test brought me close to the walk-in clinic, so I visited there for a prescription renewal while I was in the city. The ECHO test had come back, it seems my valves have mild sclerosis, which is not unusual for someone my age. Another test has been scheduled for a year from now, to keep an eye on the condition. It may, or may not, get worse.

The weather prevented me from getting out for my walk today, but I did spend quite a bit of time standing at the computer, and puttering in the kitchen, so I think I did fairly well anyway.

I have been ignoring the whole President Donald Trump show, I have nothing to add to the fray, and feel no temptation at all to say rude and insulting things about anyone, no matter how pathetic their behaviour. I have no words of wisdom, in fact I am somewhat speechless at the current state of affairs. As for those who urge one to worry oneself into ill health, fie on you! We need our strength. A door has closed, we need not watch the closed door, but remain vigilant to find the open windows.

In our insignificant little world there are loving people who treat each other with relative respect. Attila and I do what we can, when we can, to alleviate any suffering we see around us. We have much to celebrate, much to fear, and will do our best to weather these interesting times.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 3:52 PM EST Tuesday 17 January 2017
Condition: Light Drizzle
Pressure: 101.4 kPa
Tendency: Falling…
Temperature: 0.5°C
Dew point: -2.4°C
Humidity: 81%
Wind: ENE 27 gust 38 km/h
Visibility: 8 km


“Do not believe that he who seeks to comfort you lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. His life has much difficulty… Were it otherwise he would never have been able to find those words.”
Rainer Maria Rilke
1875 – 1926


We had a lovely weekend. A weekend! My sister and her hubby came for a visit on Saturday. We had a spaghetti supper, then headed downtown to look at the Christmas display, which is quite pretty. We also visited some of the older buildings in town, viewing the architecture of the exteriors, which were well lit.

They stayed the night, and that was an adventure, but we did it. We made enough room for the pull out couch to be opened up into a bed, which Sis says was quite comfortable, with the memory foam that we added to the top of the mattress.

The next day, after a bacon and egg breakfast, we all drove down to Terra and Lares place to show it off to their Auntie and Uncle. Terra and Lares were out of town visiting Lares’ brother’s brand new baby girl, born on the 11th of November. So we walked around the property, peered through the windows, and enjoyed the wonderful view. The dogs watched us through the sliding doors, they were so cute! Attila and I also took the visit as an opportunity to drop off a chair we were giving to Terra and Lares.

Sis and hubby then drove towards home, taking the scenic route, which they quite enjoyed by all accounts, travelling through wine country, on the slower, quieter highways. Attila and I headed home.

The weather is unbelievably pleasant for mid-November! The sun shone all day, and one needed nothing but a sweater to stay comfortable out of doors.

Today Attila started working at his new job. He is working 12 hour shifts, I think they call it a “continental shift” rotation. This was his choice, he feels there are several advantages, like fewer trips to and from work, as he will be working fewer days to put in the same number of hours as the regular shift. We now have something tangible to adjust to!

My day has been happily busy.

The projects began with sweeping up the pine cones and needles on the driveway. There are a frightful number of pine cones and seeds from the next door neighbour’s ash tree. These were swept into piles, then dumped into a pail using a broom and dustpan. The organic debris was carted to the back yard and placed in the open compost.

When I took the first bucket to the back yard, our feline friend was sitting in front of the compost, trying his luck with hunting. He was glad to see me though, rubbed against my legs, and followed me back to the front driveway. There he enjoyed rolling in my gathered pile of pine cones and needles. I enjoyed his company.

The cell phone rang just after the first bucket load was dumped. It was Lares, stuck at the car dealership in town, as they decided his car needed more work than anticipated. He wondered if I would drive him home. So I stowed my bucket, broom, and dust pan in the garage. Then I loaded the firewood in to Tank, that we had saved for Terra and Lares, from the dead branches of the Crabapple tree in our front yard. Then I headed out to pick up Lares.

It was a beautiful day for a drive, Terra and Lares live about 20 minutes out of town. When we arrived I helped Lares stack the firewood, then headed indoors to visit with Terra and the dogs and the kitties. Terra was busy unpacking Christmas decorations. She does a lovely job of decorating her house for Christmas. We chatted for a bit, then Lares headed off to work, and I left to enjoy the beautiful drive home.

After a quick lunch, I prepared two more books for shipping. I was quite surprised to get an order from Australia. I know of the relatives there, and have corresponded with my distant cousin on many occasions. She ordered the book, much to my surprise, as she does excellent research herself. The postage was very costly.

Once home, the rest of the day was spent cleaning the driveway.

It has been a satisfying day.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 6:00 PM EST Monday 16 November 2015
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.8 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 6.2°C
Dewpoint: -4.9°C
Humidity: 45%
Wind: NE 15 km/h


“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
1929 – 1968

Economic Patriotism

I read this article about economic patriotism with interest and look forward to seeing the documentary when it is broadcast, if I can find it. I had not heard the term before, and like it a lot. I have tried to shop locally all my life, and it has become a bigger and bigger job as the years have passed.

One of the points the article makes is that people have lost touch with the seasonal nature of food production. I’ve always respected local and seasonal availability of food, which reflects my farming background. Another point being made in the article is that many consumer goods are being made in China, well, what other choices do any of us regular people have? Canada’s last company that made refrigerators closed down some years ago, Woods, and now China made appliances are the only option. The initial cost of these appliances is relatively inexpensive, in the short term. But they are poorly made and need to be replaced relatively often, which makes them extremely expensive in terms of purchase price, and environmental impact.

Regardless of how little influence the individual has, it seems to me it is worth making an effort. You just never know when the wings of butterfly will change the course of history.

I had a lovely chat with my Sister, who just returned from Europe, and is celebrating a birthday around this time of year. She and my Mom had a great time! She told me how much it cost, and it seemed quite reasonable to me. Money well spent, in my opinion. My Mom and my Sister are very compatible people, which makes travelling together a pleasure for both of them. They both arrived home tired and happy. My sister said her most cherished experience was eating lunch outdoors, in the parks of Paris. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it!

Tomorrow is the last day of September! The leaves are really turning colour, and are drifting down to mother earth in ever greater numbers. Attila and I had a quiet day, doing errands and getting ready to work on drywall at the country house.

I am contemplating a lone trip to the little house in the city, for a week or two, to get things organized. Attila has decided that he would like to attempt to build the front deck before the snow flies. His only available time for the project are the two weekends we have left for this year, and overnight visits.

The front porch is important, because at the little house in the city, that is the only direct entry into the house. It would be very nice to be able to walk in the front door!

The to-do list for this visit to the little house in the city gets longer and longer. I will be a busy woman on this visit.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 7:09 PM EDT Sunday 29 September 2013
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 18.0°C
Dewpoint: 14.2°C
Humidity: 78%
Wind: SSE 17 km/h


“Economics is extremely useful as a form of employment for economists.”
John Kenneth Galbraith

In Mr. Galbraith’s book, The Scotch, he describes growing up on a farm that raised Aberdeen Angus beef cattle, in Ontario, Canada. He describes being out for a walk, as a young man, with a young woman, both stopping at a fence by a field, watching the cattle. They observe a bull servicing a cow, and the following conversation ensues:
“He: “I think I would like to try something like that.”
She: “Well, it IS your cow.”
The Scotch, John Kenneth Galbraith
1908 – 2006

I have never liked the subject of “economics”, but I have always liked John Kenneth Galbraith, because he made me laugh.