the new year

Attila and I celebrated New Years Eve with a long, cozy FaceTime chat. When we rang off at 10 p.m. we were both headed for our pillows. We greeted each other first thing the next morning, the next year, and chatted over coffee, before signing off and getting down to little odd jobs around our respective places of residence. We spoke several times during the day, and ended our first day of the New Year with another long and cozy chat.

On New Years Eve and New Years Day I chatted with Harriet, who has time off work right now. My Mom wrote to say she was enjoying walking with her friends, playing cards, and just generally having a great time. Terra stopped by for a brief chat after her session at the nearby gym, Lares side of the family provides a lot of drama in their lives. They don’t need “reality” TV!

Yesterday my “big adventure” was a trip to the laundromat. I gathered up the dirty laundry into a pillow case, donned my coat, carried it out to Tank, and drove to the nearby laundromat. Once there I carried in my laundry, and realized, just after entering through the door, that I had not brought the laundry soap! So, back out to Tank I went, drove home, grabbed the laundry soap, and then drove back to the laundromat.

After washing the laundry, I decided to dry it a bit before taking it home. The dryers were stacked. I loaded my laundry into the lower dryer, put the quarter in and hit the start button. The empty dryer above sprang into action, drying nothing at all. I had a closer look at the panels. BIG arrows indicated where to put your change for the upper and the lower dryer. In a new environment auto-pilot does not work well! I got out my change purse and set the lower dryer in action.

The clothes were damp when I loaded them into the pillow case to take them home. I had decided to hang them to dry at home, since the humidity in the house is now at 33%, which is quite low. I draped socks and underwear, t-shirts and trousers, all over the chairs in the living room and dining room. It looked pretty chaotic, but this would only be a temporary situation.

I decided to make a large macaroni and cheese casserole, to eat intermittently with my chili, for my supper. I use dry macaroni, and make a white sauce with cheese when I make macaroni and cheese. The kitchen is small, so as I was finishing there were dirty dishes everywhere, cheese grater, pots and pans, wooden spoons. More chaos!

That was when Terra arrived. Since I had to clear a chair for her to sit on, I apologized for the chaos.

She said, “Mom, if I had to follow a tunnel through piles of newspapers and boxes, then I would be worried about you. You have seen my house at times, stop worrying!”

One of the things I love about Terra is that she says exactly what she thinks. There are no guessing games with Terra! Most of the time this is refreshing, occasionally it can be disconcerting, and I wouldn’t have her any other way!

I have managed to go for my walk every day for over a week now, and I feel much better for it. It is worth repeating the advice to wear two pairs of socks, and firmly secure the laces on boots, as this has made all the difference in the world. My blister is almost healed and I do not feel it at all when I am walking.

I do notice that the knee I injured last summer bothers me a bit on my walks. When I sense that it is tired I slow my pace, and then quicken it slowly. I notice the other people out walking always pass me by, as they walk much more quickly than I do. But you know, I am just grateful to be out there walking!

Colder weather is on the way next week, according to the weather people.

As Attila says, “At is January!”

This morning it was -10C and windy, so there was a significant wind chill factor. My parka was made for days like this! I bought this parka in 1993, so it is 21 years old. It has been my only winter coat for that long, I have no other. It is a GoreTex parka, made for inclement weather, made in Canada. It cost the moon when I bought it, but when you consider this parka is in almost new condition after 21 years of constant use, it was very inexpensive over the long term. The benefits are outstanding. I bought a men’s size large, there was method in my madness. The parka has a thin lining, that will keep me warm if I am active in temperatures as low as -15C. Because it fits bigs, I can layer under it, so that at -35C, with a Cowichan sweater underneath, the parka will keep me warm for hours, and if I am active, indefinitely. It is windproof, so I do not loose body heat to high winds. It is waterproof, so I can walk in winter rain and remain comfortable and dry.

I have been so happy with my GoreTex parka that I bought GoreTex winter boots, that lace up. My feet are always warm and dry, even when it is -35C, even in winter rain.

There is some efficacy in the saying that there is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 8:00 AM EST Saturday 3 January 2015
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 103.2 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -10.2°C
Dewpoint: -14.3°C
Humidity: 72%
Wind: NE 12 km/h
Wind Chill: -16


“My pipe is out, my glass is dry;
My fire is almost ashes too;
But once again, before you go,
And I prepare to meet the New:
Old Year! a parting word that’s true,
For we’ve been comrades, you and I —
I thank God for each day of you;
There! bless you now! Old Year, good-bye!”

Robert Service, The Passing of the Year

Two Mice

I had a restless night.

The ringing of the cell phone woke me up this morning. That was my cue to call Attila with FaceTime. We had a lovely chat, and both agreed, the visual element adds a lot to the interaction, the visual is important. All too soon it was time for Attila to sign off and finish his preparations for work.

I puttered a bit, then decided to see if I could go back to sleep. I crawled into bed, and then the computer dinged. I knew that ding, it has a short history! Yesterday, Terra messaged me in the morning with, “you home”? I replied yes, and then realized she was standing at the front door. I hadn’t heard her knock, but I did hear the ding on the computer. We had a laugh about that.

So this morning, when the computer dinged, I thought she just might be at the front door. I jumped out of bed quick like, and texted her back that yes, I was up.

And I was close, she was on her way. What happened was, she was coming off the night shift this morning and was on her way home. She passed the hospital, and saw a vehicle that looked just like Tank going into the Emergency parking lot. She thought it might be me, but didn’t know my license plate number, so she texted and drove over to the little house. She was very relieved to see Tank sitting innocently in the driveway. It wasn’t me at the hospital. My girl worries about me, bless her soul.

She and I had a nice chat. While we were chatting, I checked the hall cupboard to see if I had caught any mice. Two! One in each trap. I asked Terra if she wanted to take care of them for me, and she most emphatically declined, :). I closed the cupboard door and we chatted a bit more, then Terra headed home to get some sleep.

After she left I finished sipping my coffee. Then I put some newspaper down just in front of the cupboard. I donned a pair of latex gloves, opened the cupboard and removed the mice from the traps, flushing them down the toilet. Attila has always done this with dead mice, but this was my first attempt at it. Usually I bury them, but that is not practical in the winter. The mice had not had a chance to touch the actual bait, cheese, so I reset the traps, put them back into the cupboard, and shut the door.

The thing I like about the traps is that they are instant oblivion for the mouse, no pain, no warning. It is more humane than the sticky traps, or the electric traps that I looked at. I don’t like mice, but I do not wish them to suffer.

I hope that is the last of the mice, but I am not optimistic. For today at least, I am done dealing with them.

We will continue to look for places where they might be coming in, and take measures to prevent their annual entry in the autumn. I was just reading about mouse-proofing a home, and am going to inspect the perimeter of the house, looking for openings 1/4 inch or larger. We obviously have missed an opening, somewhere!

It just occurred to me that my restless nights might well be a result of the rustlings of our unwanted guests, and last night the sudden snaps of their demise. I am a very, very light sleeper, so it is entirely possible that 3:00 a.m. is the magic hour for mice! That is the hour I usually awaken during the night, for no apparent reason. Just a theory.

To distance myself from my early morning mouse duty, I surfed the web for a while and puttered around the kitchen. Then I was ready to prepare breakfast. This morning it was lemon yogurt. I found the lemon yogurt on sale at the grocery store last weekend, when Attila and I were buying supplies. I love citrus flavours, and lemon is my favourite, so I bought a tub. I was skeptical, it didn’t sound very nice to me. Now it is my new favourite yogurt flavour!

Having gathered together vehicle related items, like a pen and notebook, a box of tissues, some blankets, a cooler with crackers kept in it for emergencies, snow brushes, snow shovel, and ratchet straps, they were all carted out and stowed away in Tank. Then, following the instructions in the manual, the seat was adjusted to perfection, to avoid injury from air bags, lots of warnings on that one.

Then Tank and I were off for our first adventure. We visited the grocery store. Very exciting. Milk and bread and pasta and vitamin pills were the only items on the list, but somehow I walked out of there with a cart full of items, which fit loosely into the back of Tank, where they rattled around all the way home.

It is colder today, still cloudy and grey. The sun makes few appearances, so sending out an all out, no holds barred, invitation seems appropriate. Any time sun, you are welcome to pay a visit any time!

Worldly Distractions


Date: 2:00 PM EST Wednesday 26 November 2014
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.2 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -0.4°C
Dewpoint: -6.6°C
Humidity: 63%
Wind: NNE 9 km/h
Wind Chill: -4

[It is below freezing and snowing at the country house!]


“I truly feel that there are as many ways of loving as there are people in the world and as there are days in the life of those people.”
Mary S. Calderone

Post Computer Shock Syndrome

A photo from last spring, taken along the road on a trip to the little house in the city, taken from the moving car.
Old barn

It is all done, almost dusted. All files are now moved to the computers on which they need to reside. All computer hard drives are backed up. The old G4 tower is ready to head down to the little house in the city, where it will serve as a sound system, a youtube movie system, a cookbook, and a reference library of collected domestic tomes and manuals. It might even be connected to the high speed internet connection using an RJ45 cable. I had been hoping the Airport Extreme wireless card from the iBook would be compatible with the older computer, but alas, it is not. The iBook is whole in its box, ready for recycling or whatever fate awaits it, and some of its parts are sitting on my desk to be sold.

It has taken a few weeks to get to this point with the computers. It occupied my time and my mind. No more! I feel somewhat at a loss as to what to do with my time, a sort of temporary post computer shock syndrome. It will not last long, reality awaits.

At the little house in the city the seating has been whatever we could find. My seat in the living room is a wooden rocking chair, that I sat on, and slept on, with newborn Terra always in my arms, when I brought her home from the hospital. At that time her arrival was such a miracle that I refused to put her down, and held her close for the first few months of her life. She and I spent a lot of hours sitting in that chair. Now that I am older the chair is no longer comfortable for me, and so it will go to Terra as soon as a replacement has been installed. To that end I have dismantled an aging Ikea chair that we have been using at the country house, to use at the little house in the city. My old bones find the Ikea chair much more comfortable.

In the shower this morning, a random though popped into my head. It concerns yesterday’s quote:

“Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.”
George Orwell (1903 – 1950)

As the water poured over my face, I thought, “There is another element of time to this statement. Each generation, when they are young, imagines themselves to be more intelligent than those who came before them. But when they have matured, mostly with time, age, and experience, they feel wiser than the generation that comes after them, because they now understand that they were not actually more intelligent than the generation that came before them.”

Life is cyclical.

Thoughts can be very amusing at times.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 11:04 AM EST Saturday 9 November 2013
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.6 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 1.2°C
Dewpoint: 0.5°C
Humidity: 95%
Wind: SE 17 km/h


“I have found the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.”
Harry S Truman (1884 – 1972)

[Does not always work out well with minors! It is the only sane approach with adult children.]