Conventional Wisdom

Sometimes not being within the range of “normal” is a distinct disadvantage. Occasionally though, it a wonderful thing. Today it was a wonderful thing.

My follow up appointment with the cardiologist was today, my blood pressure was normal. This appointment coincided with receiving the results of a recent blood test that measured my cholesterol levels. I had discontinued taking cholesterol medication last summer, as it was elevating my levels rather than lowering them. The recent blood test was meant to provide a base line for future comparison. The results were that my cholesterol is very high, which is not unexpected, as it has been very high for a very long time, perhaps all of my life, although I wasn’t tested a baby, or as a child. The thing is, as the cardiologist had both the results of my carotid scan, and the blood test, he determined that high cholesterol, in my case, does not result in artery wall plaque deposits. I have no plaque deposits at all. So, in my case, I don’t really need to take cholesterol lowering drugs, and he recommended not taking them because I don’t need them. Great news! He felt that I need not return, and gave me a clean bill of health!

One thing he did discuss with me was the need to have a CT scan done of my head, checking for aneurisms. My Aunt died at the age of 63 from a burst aneurism in her brain. Apparently the tendency to have aneurisms runs in families. So on my next visit to the walk-in clinic I will be pushing for a CT scan to check for aneurisms, and an appointment to have my nostril cauterized to prevent nose bleeds.

This may be the last summery day of 2017! It is warm and sunny, a bit humid too. A lovely day.

On Saturday we travelled to have a Thanksgiving Dinner, cooked by Sister-The-Youngest-Girl, and attended by various family members. I got to see my Mom, and my Sister-The-Middle-Girl, which is always a treat. We had a great time, visiting, relaxing, good food, good company. Sister-The-Youngest-Girl, Mom, and I had fun working on a jigsaw puzzle, something my Mom has done with her children since we were small. Mom is pretty good at it, the rest of us struggle to keep up with her. The drive was miserable, both on the way there, and on the way home. The highways were clogged with traffic, expanding a three hour drive into a four and half hour journey, each way. We arrived at the get together, and home afterward, safe and sound, which in the end is all that really matters.

At the Thanksgiving get together, my Mom gave me a photograph portrait of my brother Carl and I, when he was just a baby, and I wasn’t much more. In the photograph he is just sitting up with support, and I am 18 months older, so I would have been around two years old, give or take a few months. My brother was a beautiful baby, I thought he was my baby, and I adored him. I was the eldest of six, and I thought of all my younger siblings as “my babies”, as older siblings do sometimes. Carl passed away last summer, while Attila and I were on vacation, it was a terrible shock.

Maggie Carl 1953 DSCF1347 Taken of my brother Carl and I when I was two years old. Four more children would be born in quick succession after this photo was taken, all my little brothers and sisters.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 1:00 PM EDT Tuesday 10 October 2017
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.9 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 21.1°C
Dew point: 15.9°C
Humidity: 72%
Wind: SW 17 km/h
Humidex: 26
Visibility: 24 km


“The people I distrust most are those who want to improve our lives but have only one course of action.”
Frank Herbert
1920 – 1986


Saturday, October 8, 2016

I slept in until 6:52 a.m.!!!! Wow! A rare event! Getting knocked back by this Shingles Vaccination has an upside.

By 9:30 a.m. we had our picnic lunch packed, along with equipment, and had headed out to the Rideau Camp. It was a chilly day, and we were both glad to have brought jackets along with us. Attila worked at removing cedar logs from the log pile, and extracting dead branches, which I burned. Everything was damp when we got there, so I took extra care setting the fire in the fire pit. We saved the branches from two dead Juniper bushes, the fine spindly branches burn easily. Attila dug out last week’s ashes, to use as landfill, and I set about setting my fire. I used dry newspaper, four sheets crumpled, on the bottom, then a two inch layer of fine Juniper branches, then some pine branches about one inch in diameter, and then some larger pine branches. I lit the newspaper and within a few minutes we had a roaring fire. The flames from the dry newspaper were able to dry out the Juniper branches so that they burned well. The flames from the Juniper branches were able to dry out the pine branches so that they burned well. When the fire was roaring, I began to add the damp cedar branches as Attila pulled them out of the ground. This went on all day.

At about noon I let the fire burn itself down to ashes, so that Attila could grill our cheese and onion on rye sandwiches. There really is nothing like a cheese sandwich grilled over an open fire, oh so delicious.

After we had eaten, I used small pine branches to get the fire going again. I didn’t need paper; setting the pine branches on the hot coals was very effective, within ten minutes the pine burst into flame and I was able to resume burning the branches that Attila was pulling out of the dirt in the log pile.

Can you see the frog? When I was reaching for a small fallen branch to burn in the camp fire, something jumped and rustled the leaves. I withdrew my hand quickly, looked around and could see nothing. Then then I heard the leaves near my feet rustle again, and I looked down to see a frog. He is a long way from water, and perhaps is attracted by the spiders, we have a lot of really big spiders in our bush. That fox we saw the other week would love to eat him for dinner, but first he would have to find him!
Frog 1
Can you see the frog? I panned in to the area where the frog was sitting.
Frog 2
Can you see the frog? I bet you can! There he sat, still as stone, for the better part of a half hour. Then he moved, and although he couldn’t have gone far, I couldn’t find him! His camouflage is very good. We avoided walking in that section of the camp during our visit, to ensure we didn’t step on him. He will have moved on by the time we return for our next visit.
Frog 3

We drove home into the sunset, quite literally. We drive west to return home, so that when we leave in the fading light, we are driving into the sunset. The drive home was quite beautiful, some of the farm fields along the way had been harvested, others had not. The fall colours in this part of Ontario are quite subdued, compared to what we enjoyed at our country house, but still quite beautiful.

As a treat for ourselves, after a day spent working in the bush, we ordered a pizza for our dinner. Pizza Pizza lists every single ingredient in their food, so I know what I can have, and what to avoid. We enjoyed our pizza, and topped off the evening by watching a few episodes of Upstairs Downstairs, an old favourite.

Monday, October 9, 2016

We had frost last night! It got some of the Scarlet Runner beans, where the wind had blown off the plastic sheeting that Attila had covered them with. The rest of the garden stayed covered and made it through.

It is finished!! Attila worked most of the day installing the rest of the shelves in the garden shed. This garden shed has taken from June to October to build, much longer than the two-weekends-and-the-week-in-between that was estimated when we made our plans for the summer. Of course family events this summer took priority over any projects. Our Grandbabies Sunny and Sky were born prematurely, which interrupted construction; and the sudden death of my brother Carl shut down projects for much of July and August. But at long last the project is finished, and today we started to move things into it. So far just empty appliance boxes (I keep them, I know!!!), and some camping equipment and extra coolers.

Here it is, the garden shed, all ready for occupancy.
The interior of the shed, at the top you can see the floor of the attic. The shelves were old steel hardware store shelves that were being thrown out, so Attila snatched them up, years ago, we have been moving these babies around, so it is great relief to be finally using them.
The drain, that I have been calling a French drain, but perhaps it isn’t strictly a French drain. It runs along the side of the shed. The photo shows all three stages of construction. On the right the crushed stone can be seen, then the black section to the left of the stone, near the middle, is garden fabric, and on the far left Attila has begun to cover the fabric with earth and sod. On the very far left is a rain barrel (really a large plastic garbage can) sitting on large piece of granite that we brought home from our Rideau Camp. The Camp is on the Canadian Shield, so there is lots of granite on the property.

I spent part of my morning choosing a new front entry door. The door we presently have does not work well, does not close property, and the wind blows in as a result. A new front door has been on our list since we purchased Mist Cottage six years ago. The door will be ordered and will take about a month to be delivered, then Attila will install it. We really should have thought to order it earlier, as November is not an ideal time of year to be installing a door; we weren’t anticipating that we would need to order it and have to wait for delivery. The new door should help us keep the house warm this winter. The present door will be saved to use at the Rideau Camp, when we build a garden shed there, someday.

The reaction to the Shingles Vaccine is beginning to dissipate. I received the shot last Tuesday. By Saturday the swollen, red, and itchy area had spread on the underside of my arm, from my underarm to my elbow. It was sore to the touch, and itchy, but didn’t really bother me too much unless I bumped it on something. Yesterday the area affected had diminished, but it was much itchier, and this morning the red swollen area has shrunk to it’s original size, about two inches in diameter, and it is no longer itchy. I think I am on the mend. I am still tired though, and sleeping 8 hours a night, so I am still recovering even though the redness and swelling have gone down significantly.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 7:00 AM EDT Monday 10 October 2016
Condition: Mainly Clear
Pressure: 103.0 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 0.2°C
Dewpoint: -1.4°C
Humidity: 89%
Wind: N 8 km/h


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