An Open Window

There is nothing like an open window to make a day peaceful. It doesn’t matter that in the distance there are hammers hammering, diggers digging, men shouting, radios playing, trucks on the highway humming… it doesn’t matter. What I mostly hear is the wind in the leaves, the cooing of the rock dove outside the window. The peaceful sounds are accompanied by a light breeze playing through the house, curtains billowing then resting with a sigh, and the sight of white clouds in a blue sky.

Now, all that is needed here is a night rain, long and steady, to give the gasping landscape relief.

After recently upgrading our internet connection to an unlimited account, to avoid paying for over usage, which is outrageously costly, I noticed while looking at the most recent bill, that the account number didn’t seem right. Sure enough, they changed it! But, since upgrading the account a payment had been made to the old account number. Carefully checking the previous bill, the payment had been processed as it should have been. A call to the company revealed that there was a short grace period where payments to the previous account numbers would transferred to the new account. Well, it is a good thing I noticed! There were no clues in the bill that this change had occurred, and it was not an easy catch to notice it, those long account numbers aren’t usually read. I caught it though, and updated the payment process. Dodged that bullet!

This evening a load of rotting mouldy wood was on its way to the dump. There will be a charge for this, but it was decided that even though the wood could be taken to the Rideau Camp for a camp fire, the journey with the material in the back of Tank would be extremely unpleasant, the smell is very strong. As well, there are drought conditions here, and it would be very ill advised to have a campfire, even if they are not yet banned. So the dump it was.

Whether canned goods are being processed in lower quality containers, or the can opener suddenly wore out, opening cans had become an ordeal. The final straw came about a week ago, when I suffered two deep cuts to my hands while attempting to open a can. The cuts are still not completely healed. So, after a short bit of research, a new can opener was ordered, and it arrived a few days ago. Wow, what a difference, the new can opener, a ZYLISS, works like a charm. The problem must have been with the old can opener, it had just worn out. The need to avoid canned goods due to the difficulty in opening them has ended. I feel like a new woman.

Earlier in the month the pepper mill stopped working, replaced by a Peugeot, made affordable only because it was temporarily on sale at a significant discount.

It’s the little things, the things that you interact with every day, or often, where you appreciate small but significant changes. Almost every day I use either the pepper mill, or the can opener, and every day that I do, I notice how well the new tools work.

A modest investment has provided a large amount of pleasure.

Attila and I were craving pizza last night. Nope, not gonna make pizza right now, so that craving will have be put on hold. Instead Nachos, with Guacamole on the side, were prepared and enjoyed. A quick and nutritious dinner. And tonight it is a bowl of hearty Vegetable Soup. But that pizza is still on my mind!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

22°C
Date: 1:00 PM EDT Wednesday 18 July 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: 22.1°C
Dew point: 6.2°C
Humidity: 35%
Wind: NW 11 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“We touch other peoples lives simply by existing.”
J. K. Rowling

A Few Days

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Today I learned that it is not wise to wear crock type footwear on chilly rainy days. Puddles in parking lots, when the temperature is hovering around 10C, are just waiting for the unsuspecting Crock wearer. I will not be a Crock wearer on another such day, nor will I be unsuspecting.

Tonight supper consisted of leftover homemade pizza, and seedless grapes for dessert. I love fast food pizza, ordered and pickup up, but only on the first day. It looses its appeal when reheated. Homemade pizza is good the first night, and just as good the second or third night. The real bonus for me is is that homemade pizza crust contains no sodium, so that a few slices of pizza won’t put me into sodium overload. Although I love it, I don’t put pepperoni on pizza, it is too high sodium. I do like a bit of low-sodium bacon cooked and crumbled on my homemade pizza, with sweet onions, sweet peppers, and mushrooms. I use my homemade Red Pepper Sauce as well, no sodium in that. The cheese, well, it is the cheese I have to watch, high in sodium, and in cholesterol. The biggest drawback to homemade pizza is that I have to make it, but then, so far Attila is willing participant in pizza construction, so it isn’t so bad at all.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Well, I started this entry yesterday and got distracted. It didn’t take much to distract me either. Attila was going to the garden centre to spend a $20 gift certificate he received, so I decided to go with him. Today he will plant the tomatoes, peppers, and rosemary. The compost toilets at the Rideau Camp use peat moss, so a good supply was purchased for the 2018 season. It was raining the during the entire visit to the garden centre, which was only partially sheltered. I wore a parka and heavy winter boots, which allowed me to remain comfortable while I wandered about. It is lovely to spend time around growing things… the labels are a big bonus, suddenly I know what I am looking at.

I have had Food Mills recommended to me numerous times. I recently found a relatively good quality one on sale, a Cuisinart Food Mill. It arrived this past week. I tried it for the first time last night. Attila had unearthed yet another bag of vintage whole tomatoes from the freezer. I removed the stem and ends, popped them frozen and whole into a large soup pot, then heated them up until they were thawed and warm. They were drained, ladled into the food mill, and in about 20 minutes a lovely tomato sauce was extracted. Two 500 ml jars of tomato sauce are labelled and in the freezer.

Who knew!! I am in love with the Food Mill. It is so easy, I wonder at the decades I’ve lived without it. How did I do that? I wish I had listened to all of you who told me about the Food Mill quite a while ago!

The skins and seeds were left in the food mill. I scraped them onto a piece of waxed paper, spread them thin, and place the waxed paper on the cooking rack. I am hoping to place the dried skin and seeds in the blender to create a powder for flavouring. The results may or may not be satisfactory.

The clean up was super easy.

Inspired by last night’s success in the kitchen, pre-dawn found me in back there, beginning preparations for my complete protein Vegetable Soup. I was happily chopping vegetables, sautéing the beef and onions, grabbing the bits of this and that that I had saved over the last week, adding them to the soup pot, when Attila rose with the sun.

Attila is planting his garden today. I watch. I occasionally offer input, but never criticism. Breakfast on the back porch consisted of a toasted bagel, and a banana smoothie. Funny how how food tastes even better when you are watching someone else work! But really, Attila is playing, not working, he enjoys gardening so much.

Well, here it is, almost noon, and I am still sitting in my pyjamas; quite comfortably I might add.

I think I’ll get dressed now, and go wander in the garden, see if Attila wants any help.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

18°C
Date: 11:00 AM EDT Sunday 20 May 2018
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: 18.4°C
Dew point: 12.6°C
Humidity: 69%
Wind: NNW 21 gust 32 km/h
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none.”
Thomas Carlyle
1795 – 1881

Keeping Busy

The weekend passed quietly. The weather was unpleasant, snow, freezing rain, gray skies. Time passed peacefully. Attila spent his time cooking foods for himself, foods he loves, foods I will not and cannot eat. He also rearranged the furniture, so that when the fellow, who is coming to do the final measurements for the new windows, can gain easy access. Any talking that Attila and I do is respectful, and, at last, honest. We seem to be moving from rigid civility, to a more relaxed and detached form of communication. There is a calm here, the shattered pieces of my life have settled into temporary positions, they begin to gather a bit of dust, to look familiar… temporarily familiar.

I continue to practise my Tai Chi, and have almost committed the first three moves to memory. The class has covered six moves, so I am moving much more slowly than the class, but I will carry on with what I have learned, and fudge through the rest. This week another three moves will be covered, making nine altogether. Eventually, perhaps in years, I will catch up with a beginner’s class, and maybe even master all 108 moves. I feel pretty chucked about learning the first three!

I baked my usual batch of muffins. Muffins usually comprise at least one of my meals or a snack each day. They are low-sodium, low-cholesterol, lactose free, and low-sugar… and include a vegetable or fruit, flax seed, oat bran, coconut, raisins, oatmeal, an egg, olive or avocado oil, nuts, sunflower seeds, and anything else healthy that comes to hand.

On Saturday I also cooked 4 ½ litres of vegetable soup. I did add some sodium to the soup, about a quarter teaspoon in the recipe, which adds to the taste, but still loads me with very little sodium for a single bowl of soup.

Yesterday I made another loaf of whole wheat bread. This time I followed the recipe given in the bread machine manual for sandwich bread, but instead of 5 ½ cups of bread flour, I substituted 3 cups of whole wheat flour, 2 ½ cups fo bread flour, and 1 tablespoon of gluten flour. The loaf was almost perfect! The recipe called for a whole teaspoon of salt, which I used, so the bread has a bit more sodium than I would have liked. But since it is a 3 lb. loaf of bread, one slice still does not add a lot of sodium to my diet.

I also worked quite a few hours editing the web site that I have been working on. It is nearing completion, but there are still tweaks needed before I configure the servers so that the domain name takes people to the new site. When it is all working as it should I will delete the old site.

I have been spending time with my books. I am revisiting some older books, old friends, and continuing to read several new acquisitions, such as Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset. It was also great fun to reread some of the children’s books in my collection, stories I read to my kids, and some that I read to my Grandbabies.

The crochet blanket project is lovely to have at the ready beside my easy chair. I reach for it every day, working a few rows until my arms tire, then folding it neatly and placing it on my little side table, ready for another little visit tomorrow.

This is the part of the winter where I find it difficult to keep physically active. Roads and walkways are covered with snow and ice. Walkways are treacherous, because the snow and ice are in ruts, some hidden, which can turn an ankle, twist a knee, unexpectedly, and cause months of painful recovery. I have not been using the elliptical machine as much as I should do, but I did spend 25 minutes with it yesterday.

As I write, the sun is beginning to peek out from time to time, from behind the clouds. The house is peaceful, making its sounds, a creak here and there, the ticking clock, the hum of the refrigerator, and the intermittent and persistent sound of distant vehicles, that carry unknown people to unknown destination. When I look out the window, there is one tree left in my line of vision, it is an ash tree in the yard next door. Its bare branches sway slightly in the winter breeze, and occasionally distant birds fly across the sky, behind the silhouetted branches.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-3°C
Date: 10:10 AM EST Monday 12 February 2018
Condition: Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 103.1 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -2.8°C
Dew point: -7.4°C
Humidity: 71%
Wind: WNW 19 km/h
Wind Chill: -9
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“All things are difficult before they are easy.”
Dr. Thomas Fuller
1654 – 1734

Gray Day

Today I made a huge bath of vegetable beef soup, and a tuna noodle casserole. The soup is for me, it has a wee bit of sodium in it, but not a significant amount. The soup recipe makes four litres of soup. The tuna noodle casserole is sodium reduced, taking sodium in the canned tuna and in the can of sodium reduced cream of mushroom soup. The casserole will provide one dinner for two, and a lunch for one (Attila).

A grey day out there today. It snowed off and on, so any thoughts I had of venturing out were vanquished in white. Adding to the greyness of the day is the new view from the living room window. I used to look out and see the tops of the trees in the distance, so wonderful. They have all been chopped down and bulldozed into a corner of the property slated for rental units at the end of the street. Now all I see out the window is grey sky, and rooftops; no branches swaying in the wind, no branches to hold a line of gentle of white snow. I miss the trees.

February is such a wintry month!

My insurance company has gone paperless, offering no alternative options. Now I have to logon to the internet to see the bill, it isn’t available any other way. I hate this! The internet requires a device and an account, which I have at the moment, but that can change, for anyone, that can change, and then where are you!

Things are quiet at Mist Cottage. It doesn’t feel like “home” anymore, it feels like a place I am staying. It is a nice place to stay. I feel homesick from time to time, there is no home to go back to though, there is only forward, until I can establish a new home for myself, here or elsewhere. Some things just take time, time, time.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

-6°C
Date: 3:00 PM EST Friday 9 February 2018
Condition: Light Snow
Pressure: 102.8 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -5.9°C
Dew point: -7.7°C
Humidity: 87%
Wind: S 8 km/h
Wind Chill: -10
Visibility: 3 km

Quote

“Time cools, time clarifies; no mood can be maintained quite unaltered through the course of hours.”
Mark Twain
1835 – 1910

Serendipitous

Today was a restless day. So much so that in the afternoon I made a sudden decision to head for the city, to attend a women’s group. It turned out that I liked it, and joined. It was a serendipitous discovery, this group. Just what I needed. Sometimes the universe gives you what you need, and this was one of those miraculous times.

This evening Attila and I continued to talk, and have put ourselves into a holding pattern as we are. This is more comfortable for me, I welcome the stability of the status quo, not a great status quo, but a temporarily stable one, which gives me time and space to establish a world away from home.

On the domestic front, a batch of vegetable soup sits on the range, to be completed tomorrow. My crochet blanket project is coming along, just about through the second ball of yarn, then on to the next, there will be eight balls of yarn used.

Sleep, or lack of, is still an issue. I will try an increasing the amount of melatonin, in a last attempt at using an over the counter remedy. If that doesn’t work, then next week I will visit the walk-in clinic and explore my options. If I feel too tired to drive, Attila will take sick leave and provide transportation. I will get this sleep thing sorted.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

0°C
Date: 7:00 PM EST Friday 19 January 2018
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.0 kPa
Tendency: Falling
Temperature: -0.3°C
Dew point: -4.7°C
Humidity: 72%
Wind: SSW 21 km/h
Wind Chill: -6
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Feel the fear and do it anyway.”
Susan Jeffers