Monday, September 1, 2014

From Zero to Hero

 As much as I don't like blogging about news or politics, I am delighted that the Alberta court of appeals decided in favour of a teacher who was suspended and then fired for giving 0's to students for homework that was not finished or was not handed in.  His school had a no 0's policy and he was brave enough and realistic enough about the real world to go ahead and give the, what I consider proper, 0 grade when deserved by the neglectful students.  The courts not only upheld what he did, he was awarded all his back pay and pension top up for the time he was out of the classroom.

This teacher was doing the students a huge favour by allowing them to suffer the consequences of their own actions.  That is the way the world still works to a large extent, even in North America, the most deluded continent in the world when it comes to ideas of "self-esteem" and "positive self talk" and its emphasis on the rights of children.  Unfortunately childrens' rights are being translated into allowing the poor kids to do and say whatever they want, whenever they want; no limits or discipline or borders to their actions.  Why can't we understand that we are not loving them by allowing them to run wild?  Why do we not understand true discipline as a loving teacher that keeps them from all kinds of harm and dire consequences because their lack of life experience gives them unrealistic expectations about their own ideas and actions?  I am not talking about abusing them, I am talking about helping them understand cause and effect. Leading them to believe otherwise is cruelty, not love.

It seems that so many parents I have known over the past 2 generations of offspring being born are not enforcing standards or discipline because they are just plain too lazy to put in the time and effort it takes to truly help their children.  I hear all kinds of excuses about not wanting to damage the child's self-esteem etc., but in reality it seems to translate into a simple selfishness that puts everything from the parents' all mighty careers to their bowling league buddies ahead of expressing true love for their own kids. The kids are left too often to absorb life's lessons through some kind of mysterious and non-existent osmosis.

We now have a generation of people in their 20's and 30's who have no concept of being motivated and disciplined enough to even bother to show up for work on time, who can't grasp that their personal needs and wants are not the centre of everyone else's universe, who are sincerely shocked when anyone challenges them about their words and actions, who strive and fail over and over to reach goals in areas they have no ability to attain even though they envision themselves as being able. What could be more self-esteem destroying than that??  

All we have really taught our kids is how to be selfish and self-centered.  How is this being loving parents?  I wonder what would happen to North Americans, particularly this latest generation of Millenials, if there was to be a major war on our own soil.  How would they deal with losing all their perceived rights?  Emotionally and mentally they would be the first to feel the heat of a harsh reality that is so foreign to them as they begin their adult lives still with a child's naivety.

Having said that, I applaud all the parents and children who have muddled through the maze of today's families and the lack of cohesion in societal standards and who are faring pretty well for themselves.  Fortunately there are still a few of them left.

Hopefully the rest of the population will begin to understand that the Alberta teacher who gave 0's to students who did not do their school work was actually doing more to help them with life than the school policy that forbade him doing it.  Love is NOT never having to say you're sorry!!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Newbies on the Block

We can now add house wrens and grosbeaks to the list of birds frequenting the feeders.  The house wrens are so adorable....so tiny with their teeny tails sticking up in the air.  Mrs. Grosbeak was able to put the run on the finches only temporarily. They are not ones to give up on using the feeders and have practised fighting among themselves, so her attempts were somewhat futile. She gave up after awhile and grudgingly allowed them to share the seeds and nuts that fell onto the tabletop under the feeders.  We were trying to watch a movie while all this was going on, but the birds were far more interesting to see.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A Couple of Terrifying Health Days

The past couple of days saw a huge rise in my post-prandial blood sugar readings.  "Spiking" is what it is called and it is what all diabetics try their hardest to avoid.  A 2 to 3 point rise between pre- and post-prandial is the most you want to see.

For 2 days my count was going up 4 points and higher after every meal.  I confess that I completely freaked out.  Last night I was a mess worrying that after all my work in the past 9 months, this disease was all ready progressing!  That day will come, but I was so hoping for at least another year of success at this level of treatment.

This morning I woke up feeling quite well after an excellent night's sleep.  The fuzzy head I have been fighting for the last 2 days was gone.  The inability to stay awake that plagued me for that same time period also seemed to be over.  Hmmmmm..... I was assuming I felt that way because my blood sugar was so high, but today's numbers have not been spiking at all.  To check them, I ate exactly the same foods and amounts at meals that I did yesterday.  No spiking....will see what happens at dinner this evening, but I think I may have a clue as to what happened the past 2 days.

My liver continues to remain sensitive after all the damage it incurred last year.  The night before this incredible rise in my blood sugar began I walked into the path of some outdoor insect killer spray.  I got quite a face full of the stuff before being able to back away from it and it was the next day I felt so lousy and the sugar spikes began.  Killer chemicals have always bothered my health, long before the diabetes began.  Weed sprays and insect sprays and farm chemicals have made me ill for weeks at a time on many occasions in my life.

SO, I may be completely wrong about this, but I am wondering if the reaction I had to the insect spray caused a reaction in my body as it was cleansed by my liver that shot my blood sugar up;  OR if there was some other small infection going on in my system that I was unaware of, apart from the lethargy and fuzzy head.

Just wondering is all......

As far as today goes, so far so good......

Work and the Autumn Season

I am looking forward to tagging along with my husband on some of his work related jaunts this autumn.  He starts back to work this coming week and is only in the parish for a few days before heading off on other Diocesan related business.  I get to tag along on the trip.  We get paid mileage, hotel and meals, so that is a lovely perk and I will also get to meet people I haven't had a chance to meet before.

A couple of weeks later it will be time to head to clergy conference, Diocesan Council, a centennial anniversary for one of the parishes in our deanery and the final training session with the bishop and our deacon before the man's ordination to the full priesthood.  I get to go along to help with the long drive and spend that entire week in our last city of residence, visiting friends and reaquainting myself with a place that has seen some changes since I was last there.

I am praying we have a nice autumn season, Indian summer, that we have at least a couple of months left to us before the snow begins to fall once again.  The summer has flown by this year and all ready we have to start thinking about how to prepare once again for ice and drifting and bad roads.  

How I wish the winter months would seem to pass as quickly as the spring and summer months do.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Invading Hordes

My husband and his friend are not the only beings that entered the rectory late last night.  While unpacking the vehicle in the dark, after a most enjoyable canoe trip, mosquitoes poured into the house as the guys opened and shut the front door while they hauled their packs and gear back into the house.

Aiiiii yiiiii.....it was an absolute invasion of the wee winged wonders.

So many came into the house that I stood on a stool just inside the front door, whacking them with a fly swatter as they gathered on the white ceiling tiles in the entryway.  I am sure my husband's friend thought I was certifiably crazy, but I can't stand mosquitoes.  I get huge welts from their bites and then scratch them too much during the night when the itching is most intense.

I whacked all the mosquitoes I could manage in the front entryway.  Then I moved into the kitchen and whacked at the the ones who had made it that far into the house.  My office and the bedroom are just off that entryway as well and during the night I was up swatting at them with a shoe as they landed on the walls and my bed blankets.  Needless to say I had a rather poor sleep, waking to that incessant and irritating buzzing noise they make when they are flying close to my ears.  This morning I discovered another batch of them in my bathroom. Everything in that room is white so they were easy to see, even when they weren't in flight.

It is now mid afternoon and I seem to have located and destroyed the majority of the little creatures.  My husband and I also rooted out some spiders that came in with the camp gear, but no doubt I will continue to find a few of those over the next several days as they know how to stay well hidden inside the house.

Getting back to what is actually important about the return of the canoeists: they had a marvellous time, ate too much, teased each other unmercifully about anything and everything. stayed healthy other than an hour's bout my husband had with a reaction to eating the skin on a yellow zucchini when he knows better than to ingest zucchini skins.  The weather was perfect, there were more mosquitoes in our house last night than they saw along their outdoor route, the one long portage they had to do was survivable and they learned quite a bit about what happens when you take too much unnecessary gear in a canoe!

They particularly enjoy the food and wine pairings that they do for the evening meals.  As always it was a great time for a group of diverse men with otherwise very different interests and professions. 

My husband is exhausted and napping this afternoon. I am so glad he has a few more days before he has to return to work....although he has to finish an article for the SaskAnglican newspaper that is due this evening and respond to some work emails that require immediate attention. But these will only take this afternoon and evening to complete and then he is free again until after the Labour Day weekend.

Sleep on, happily exhausted husband.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Discovering My Own Social Hub At Long Last

Well now....after nearly 5 years in our present location I have finally figured out where to meet the people I know here to have a social visit...that is somewhere other than pushing my grocery cart around the local Co-op store!

Tonight I found myself craving a spinach salad for dinner, so off I went to Humpty's, where such a delight is to be found in this town. For the umpteenth time in a row, I ran into quite a few people there that I know.  One of them arrived after I did, was also alone, so she joined me and we had a great time together.  Then other friends arrived and more visiting occurred.  This is becoming a pattern.

I need to hang at Humpty's more.  What a hoot! Humpty's of all places...haha.

Autumn is All Ready in the Air

On the weekend I realized how much earlier the sun is now setting in the evenings.  The sun isn't fully out until closer to 8am each morning.  It is lower in the sky now and there is a slightly different look and feel, darker and heavier, to the atmosphere outside; a less bright, more yellow hued look to the landscape.  The smells of summer emanating from the foliage have disappeared.  Even in town there are the beginnings of green leaves turning yellow as they receive less daily sunlight. Tiny aphids have arrived, signalling the end of summer.  The flowers in my flower box outside the front door and in front of the church are looking droopy, some of the underleaves starting to turn brown.  Migrating song birds are all ready appearing in our side yard, munching themselves silly at the feeders and moving on again a few days later.

To be honest I am feeling somewhat ripped off about this early seasonal change.  It is because we were cheated out of our usual lovely spring weather this year.  It was replaced by late melting snow, freezing cold winds and rain well into June.  Moving so quickly from winter into summer, with no more than a couple of weeks of real spring, makes the somewhat early onset of autumn seem wrong!

What I am hoping for is a nice long Indian summer to make up for the shortness of the warm seasons this year.

Tonight my husband and his friend from Alberta will return to our home after their canoe trip.  I am so grateful for the technology that allowed them to email me a message of their safe arrival at each evening's camping location.  Sadly, not far from where they were last night, another canoeist was not so fortunate as they have been this week.  His overturned canoe and drowned body were found by some local fishermen, his very much alive wife located on land a few miles away. She had been alone with no supplies for 8 days after her husband's canoe overturned in rapids rated as beginner level.  It was her long practised outdoor survival skills that saved her life.  It reminded me how fortunate my own husband has been thus far on all his outdoor adventures.  I can't imagine how this woman may be feeling about the loss of her long time companion.

Today I am putting my diabetes information into a more organized arrangement in a 3 ring binder instead of having piles of papers and brochures all around the kitchen and my office. After lunch I am going for a long walk, rejoicing that my time alone this past few days has gone so well.

My son called me last night as he walked the several miles between his apt. and his studio.  He was in a chatty mood about some personal things that he still enjoys discussing with his mom.  As I see myself aging and, knowing the eventual and inevitable changes that will happen to my mind and body at some point in the next decade or so, I treasure even more our times of conversation and personal sharing.  The day will come when I can no longer relate to what he is talking about, will become more self-absorbed due to health issues and will not be able to emotionally handle the sadder events of his life.  Lord willing I will do all I am able to hold off that time of life for a long time yet.  I reached that point with my own parents some years ago now and it was a sad realization for me the day I understood how deeply our relationship had changed due to the aging process.  I saw it with my elder care clients.  While it is a natural event that comes with aging, it is one part of that process I truly dread.

The weather is perfect today for a good long walk after lunch.  I will need it to walk off all the salmon I am planning to eat at lunch time.  Yesterday I found good sized salmon filets....real ocean salmon, not farm raised.  Yes, it would have been frozen for transport so it is not "fresh from the ocean" quality, but in comparison to the farm salmon....welll, there is no comparison in the flavour and texture of the meat.  I paid a horrendous amount of money for sufficient fish to feed 2 people for 2 small meals and wondered on the way home from the store if I had lost my mind.  However, it was SO good at dinner last night that I stopped worrying about the price.  I managed to not overcook it for once....a bad habit of mine....and it was perfect!  A little freshly squeezed lemon juice and fresh from the garden dillweed and it was to die for.  I ate too much, I know it....it is a rather fattier fish than I should have very often on my diet.  I was so stuffed that I slept for 7 hours straight last night and was an hour late waking up for breakfast this morning.  I have some left for today but will refrain from stuffing myself quite so full so that my husband can share the remains of it tomorrow.

Wonder what kind of fun my afternoon walk will bring me today.