Cold Snap

It is 6:30 a.m., I’ve been up and about for several hours. Attila left for work half an hour ago. It is a lovely time of day, at this time of year. The coloured lights on the Christmas Tree cast twinkling colour on the tinsel, as the forced air heating sets the airwaves in motion on either side of the room. My old hand made lamp casts a soft light from the far corner. It is warm inside these walls, and very cold just a few feet away, beyond the border of shelter.

The light is beginning to creep into the sky. My coffee cup sits empty beside me. Soon it will be time to rise from this comfortable chair, to prepare breakfast, and then to begin the day’s activities. I linger in the soft light, just a little while longer.

Attila and I are continuing to “try”, a complex shared activity that seems to be progressing slowly but surely (I think!).

Here I am writing again as the day begins to close. It is very cold outside, but Mist Cottage is warm and cozy, thanks to our most marvellous thermostat. My day passed quietly, crochet hook in hand, sitting in the warm sun, comfortable in my easy chair. Yesterday shovelling snow was my exercise for the day, today it was the elliptical machine for thirty minutes. I have slowly worked my way up to a half an hour on the machine, having started at fifteen minutes. So far it is very easy on my arthritic knees.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 6:00 AM EST Wednesday 13 December 2017
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 100.1 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -12.6°C
Dew point: -16.9°C
Humidity: 71%
Wind: NW 21 km/h
Wind Chill: -21
Visibility: 19 km


“Every individual has a place to fill in the world and is important in some respect whether he chooses to be so or not.”
Nathaniel Hawthorne
1804 – 1864

Thermostat Settings

We are experiencing a brief cold snap. It warmed up to -14C this morning, and the forecast low tonight is -18C. This has Attila and I appreciating our heating system and our beloved thermostat.

I am not going out for a walk today, it is just too cold for my arthritic knee. It is a shame really, the sun is shining this morning, and the road mostly clear. Yesterday I did go out for a stroll, but had to walk down the middle of the road from time to time, due to the ice left by our recent deluge of freezing rain. It was not a relaxing walk, but I was glad of it, and enjoyed the sunshine very much indeed.

Well, if there was ever a more mundane topic to write about than thermostat settings, I don’t know what it would be. I decided this morning, as I sat oh so comfortably in my rocking chair, that Mist Cottage is just about perfect right now. In order to remember how I achieved that feeling, recorded here are the thermostat settings and other pertinent factors that make life here, right now, so very comfortable. My memory is such that these kinds of details are not retained, I make no effort to retain them, I never have, and probably never will. In honour of my own idiosyncrasies I chronicle little details that I might appreciate later.

Thermostat Day Time Setting: 21.5C
Thermostat Night Time Setting: 18C

Honeywell Steam Humidifier Unit In Living Room: Low Setting
Alternatively freshly washed clothing drying on racks in the front bedroom.

Using the entrance through the garage to the basement door. Opening front door in living room on main floor only for deliveries.

t-shirt, turtle neck shirt, unlined fleece jacket
trousers, knee warmer when needed, socks, slippers
Note: It is necessary to temporarily remove the unlined fleece jacket if any physically active task is undertaken.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 9:00 AM EST Thursday 9 February 2017
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -14.1°C
Dew point: -20.1°C
Humidity: 61%
Wind: N 23 km/h
Wind Chill: -24
Visibility: 24 km


“I am not one of those who in expressing opinions confine themselves to facts.”
Mark Twain
1835 – 1910

It was supposed to be a joke, not taken literally!

Cold Snap

Last night the temperature outside dropped like a stone. From above freezing temperatures yesterday down to -18C this morning, with a wind chill of -28C. But I wouldn’t have known that the temperature had dropped if I hadn’t looked out the window at the thermometer! The thermostat is quietly and invisibly smoothing out my life, making sure that the temperature in the house remains relatively constant, and warm enough for comfort. My clothes are warm enough to don as soon as I rise from the bed. I can sit anywhere in the house and feel equally comfortable. And best of all, Attila need spend no time thinking about firewood, chopping firewood, totting firewood, or building fires. Oh the luxury!

We do think about what we would do here if the power went out for any length of time. We do not have much of a backup plan for such an eventuality, although we discuss the issue from time to time. Hopefully we have a lot of time to develop a suitable plan of action.

At night I turn the thermostat down to 17C (62.6F). In the morning I turn the thermostat up to 20.5C (68.9F). At these temperatures I am almost always comfortable, and never suffer a chill. I wear an undershirt, a shirt, a zip up sweater, and from time to time a down vest, so that the layers can be removed or added as needed. On my feet I wear cotton socks and slip resistant running shoes, which keep my feet protected from the cold floors over the unheated basement.

We talk about insulating the basement, but it is a big job, and too costly on our present budget. As it is, our heating bills are manageable. Who knows though, with electricity prices about to jump even higher, insulating the basement may become an expensive necessity. Many of the renovation improvements on our list will reduce our energy bills!

I get ahead of myself thinking about renovations though, because this month is the month in which we will feel the brunt of our reduced income, and the stretch to pay all of the holiday and moving related bills. It is the month when our property tax bill will arrive, and it is a significant bill. It is the month where Attila’s time off without pay during the holiday season will be keenly felt. It was worth it!

Come March we should be back on our feet. And we are enjoying the benefits of our expenditures, a decent internet service, a local telephone number, comfortable beds, and increased storage, precious time shared with family, to name just a few.

This morning I am back to organizing and purging. I have a few items to attend to, such as arranging a service appointment for a recall on our car, and working on an appeal to lower our taxes, as our house is assessed far above what it is actually worth, and we are paying taxes on a phantom, and false, level of investment.

I baked all last weekend so that Attila would have bread, and squares, and cookies for his lunches this week. I like to do my baking when the hydro is less than half price, which it is on the weekends.

I am thinking I should create two lists of tasks, one of tasks that require no electricity to perform, and another one of tasks that require significant electricity to perform.

Today it is so cold that I am seriously considering not going out for my walk. My arthritic knee was painful after walking when the temperature was hovering around freezing. I dread to think how it would feel if I attempted to walk on a windy day with a -25C wind chill factor. So, to compensate for not getting out for my walk, I am cleaning the house, washing the floors with a cloth always works up a sweat.

My pile of items to donate is beginning to get large again. I will soon be tackling the basement, which is chock full of boxes! I know there are two huge totes full of text books, and three large filing cabinets full of teaching materials, and PhD research materials, all destined for the bonfire. It is a wonder to me that I spent so much of my life focused on these things! I would think of it as a waste of time, but for my enjoyment of learning and developing highly disciplined and analytical thinking skills. I think the thing that gave me the most pleasure as my skills increased, was to realize that my intuition has always been accurate. The more I learned, the more I trusted that my own feelings and thoughts have always been based on keen observation and relatively unbiased analysis. I also learned, as I suspected, that no one and nothing is completely unbiased in this world, including science, including me.

I will close with a short report on the Big Berkey. We continue to use it for all of our drinking water, and I love it. In our small kitchen it has a place of honour, where it is used off and on all day long. It is worth every penny, and then some. We use tap water for drinking, and the Berkey removes all traces of chlorine, and all kinds of things I can’t taste or smell. Other side-benefits are that we are not drinking water stored in plastic, and we are not generating piles of empty water bottles to be recycled.

The Big Berkey in our kitchen, clean fresh water on tap. Beside the stainless steel Big Berkey sits the Cuisinart, purchased when Luna was a tiny tot. The bowl has been replaced once, and the machine is still going strong after close to forty years of continued use. The Cuisinart has paid for itself many times over, and I expect the Big Berkey will do the same.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 7:00 AM EST Monday 4 January 2016
Condition: Mainly Clear
Pressure: 102.5 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -17.9°C
Dewpoint: -23.2°C
Humidity: 64%
Wind: N 19 km/h
Wind Chill: -28


“Nobody outside of a baby carriage or a judge’s chamber believes in an unprejudiced point of view.”
Lillian Hellman
1905 – 1984