Monday, August 21, 2017

Now THAT'S a Good Day Off!

My husband and I truly enjoyed our day together. Wisely, he shut off his phone and so we managed to have a whole day uninterrupted by demands from work. Yay!!!!!!!!

We had a decent sleep in this morning and a leisurely breakfast. Then we spent nearly six hours driving around the city purchasing groceries and last minute "bits" of canoe trip gear. We had a blast! It was a successful day of purchasing, but also one of laughter. UNINTERRUPTED purchasing and laughter! Yay!!!!!!

When we finally wore ourselves completely out, we came home for a light dinner and a couple of hours of watching a favourite tv programme and some newscasts.

Such simple amusements that we have had too few of together! It was a great day! Yay!!!!!!

We came home to some photos our son emailed us from the vineyard in the Hamptons where he has spent the past several days. It is beautiful with green lawns and huge trees surrounding the rows of grape vines. He got to go fishing in a kayak with his boss, first time ever to fish, and caught quite a few porgys that they were cooking up for tonight's dinner. Yes, we received photos of those as well, haha. Yup, always exciting to look at a plate of dead fish! And yes son, we are proud of your efforts, haha! Hope they tasted a LOT better than they look on that plate. hahahaha

The end of our happy day was marred somewhat by what we recognize is one of the causes of our recent "disturbance in the force".  We received the results of our relative's recent CT scan, post cancer treatments. We had some questions about the scan because we were fairly certain it was not an effective tool for seeking out this type of cancer. Sure enough, it turned out the scan was actually used to check the status of some spots on the lungs that were detected last January. Our relative was not told about the existence of these spots until this scan was scheduled in July, so you can imagine the shock. What these spots are exactly is unknown, but not obviously some other form of cancer, so that is great news. Since the follow up appointment with the specialist is not until the end of November we take that as a good sign as well. If the spots on my parents' lungs are any indication of other possibilities for our relative, the spots could be, like my dad's, a result of asbestos exposure earlier in life. Or, as in my mother's case, they could be small calcium deposits. Both conditions require regular monitoring, but are not life threatening. We are praying for our relative that these spots are insignificant and can be diagnosed as such! Thank you so much for your continued prayers.

I have to get up early in the morning to go to the dentist for my permanent crown. So grateful I had no problems with the temporary crown and have been able to chew properly. Yay!!!!!!

And so, to bed!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

And Just Like That It Is Ending

Over the last two days the revelation is hitting me: summer is on the way to being over once again.  

As I went for my long walk on Saturday morning I was very surprised to see how many leaves, all ready yellow and brown due to the lack of moisture this summer, had fallen from the trees and landed in the gutters along the streets. The strong winds were blowing them up around my ankles as I walked or I might not have been as aware of them.

The wasps are ravenous, furious, acting completely crazy.  That is how wasps act when the end of the summer season is soon to be upon us. In another couple of weeks as the temperatures cool down to autumn seasonals they will become sluggish and dopey.  For wasps and I inhabiting the same space, that happy (for me at least) time of year is nearly here.

The wind and general air temperature have lost that "hot smothering" feeling that happens starting in about mid-June each year.  The temperatures are still in the mid to upper +20C's but there has been a change in the scent and texture of the air around the city.  

This morning I wore a suit jacket over my sleeveless blouse...I wore it all day!  That is the first time since the end of May that I have been able to wear something with sleeves without feeling like I was going to pass out from heat.

This afternoon some black clouds filled the sky to the northwest and, although the air temperature didn't drop much and there was no rain whatsoever, I found myself feeling chilly for the first time in a very long time....even with my suit jacket on.

Tonight as I climbed the stairs from the living room up to the bedrooms, I realized I should have put the light on in the stairwell.  It was pitch black upstairs even though there were blinds open still in the bedrooms....and the time was only 8:30pm! Sure enough, as I peered out the windows the sun was nearly completely set.  The long, luxurious evenings that make me feel like every day will never have to end, are all over for another summer season.

Despite some extremely hot days that I thought would "do me in", this has been the best summer I have had on the prairies over the last 14 years.  The lack of rain gave me a few months off from having to staunch the flow of rain water into our basement.  The constantly sunny skies were a wonderful treat.  Even the heat was endurable because I detest winter so much as to prefer a few days of +33C to an outdoor carpet of ice and dead, brown lawns covered with mounds of snow.

Thank you summer for being so special this year.  I doubt there will be another summer in this area of the world that will be able to top it.

There's a Disturbance In The Force Around Here

Late last evening my husband and I had a long talk. We both admitted to feeling a strong "disturbance" in our inner selves of late. We have felt this way before over the years. Occasionally there has been no apparent reason for it beyond having to handle a few more of life's stresses than we have been prepared for, other times it has signalled an oncoming change of job or location, other times it has been a time of preparation before hearing difficult news, this time we aren't certain of the reason for it...not yet anyway. I suspect this time it is tied to several areas of ongoing uncertainty in our lives, wondering how some issues we face are going to play out. We never enjoy this feeling but there has always been a reason for it. It has always had its roots in an upcoming "new reality" that has sometimes been shocking or disappointing, but equally often has ended up propelling us into new and unexpected adventures.

As we pray through this we are hoping the reasons will soon be made clear.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

O the Things That You'll See......(thank you Dr. Seuss)

What a wonderful walk downtown to the Farmers' Market!  The howling gales of wind kept the wasps at a minimum and I so enjoyed getting out in the fresh, comfortably warm air!

I saw a few very interesting sights along my journey today. hahahaha  The first two were at the Farmers' Market itself.  There among the many vegetable stands and Middle Eastern baking booths was a large display of wool winter hats, scarves and mittens.  Standing amid the display making the sales was a friend of mine from choir.  Her mother is the artisan who crafts these beautiful, wearable and infinitely practical winter items.  Lovely as they are it was rather jarring to see this reminder of the season yet to come sitting out in the middle of the sunshine and heat, on dry pavement and being sold by my friend who was wearing sunglasses, a gorgeous pink sun dress and a matching wide brimmed hat!  The middle of August just struck me as an incongruous time to be selling winter woolies! I managed to stifle my giggles and not embarrass myself in front of my friend.  I got a great deal on a new winter wool hat for myself.  I suspect our friendship had a lot to do with the price actually.  100% Canadian wool, black and white and fits me perfectly.  I have not had a decent winter hat in several years because they cost the earth and I have been managing okay without one...well, more or less okay.  Thank you my friend....I know what you did for me.  The change I received when I paid for my hat was given to a particular street person with whom I have struck up a bit of a friendship over the past few months.  It was nice to have a visit with him once again.  He is looking extremely ill, much worse than a few weeks ago when I last saw him and I suspect he may not be long for this world.  

The only other thing I purchased was a bag of zaatar pitas.  The women who bake them remembered me from my last purchases and also gave me a deal. WOW!  My husband is going to love these. Usually I have purchased them on weekends he has been working out of town and since they are fresh baked the morning of the Market, I generally have them eaten before he gets home.

The other interesting sight at the Farmers' Market was a baking table that featured "diabetic cookies".  The cookies are baked with Splenda instead of refined sugar, but what struck me as absolutely hilarious is that the cookies are stuffed full of standard made sugary chocolate chips! hahahaha  There are so many sugar chips in each cookie as to nearly eliminate the rest of the flour and Splenda mixture all together.  They are pretty  much thick bunches of 
"non-friendly to diabetics" chocolate chips loosely held together with a minimal amount of cookie dough. Thanks for thinking of us diabetics lady, or trying to at least.....BUT I passed on a purchase there, hahaha. 

I bagged up the pitas and my new hat and headed to the bank to pay my phone bill. Then it was time to walk back home.

Just leaving the downtown area I came upon a group of young people who appeared to be in their early to mid 20's.  They were wearing what appeared to be home made costumes resembling a cross between super heros and some kind of medieval outfits. They were hooking themselves into safety rigging and, under the watchful eye of some fire rescue workers, were hauling themselves up and down the outside of one of the local "skyscrapers" while their proud family members took photos for some reason.  I have NO idea what they were doing and didn't bother to ask because looking up at such things makes me dizzy, so I just kept walking.

A couple of blocks past downtown was another interesting sight:  I saw a man walking quickly toward me with a thick, coral coloured scarf wrapped around his neck.  It seemed like an awfully hot day to be wearing a scarf!  However, as we got closer to each other and I saw the "scarf" moving around and the "tail" waving about in mid air, I realized it was not a scarf at all, but a beautiful, coral and white coloured snake of some kind!  hahaha  The fellow was wearing a teeshirt that proclaimed him to be a member of a snake handlers' association here in Regina and he was racing to an event.  He couldn't find a closer parking spot to his venue so was forced to don his beautiful snake buddy and try to get it to the event unscathed.  Luckily for him I love snakes and am not a screamer when I happen upon one unexpectedly. hahaha 

As I returned to our complex I decided to stop and have a gander at two of the only half dozen units actually participating in today's multi-family garage sale, not because I need anything but to try to encourage my discouraged neighbours.  I came home three dollars poorer though.  My next door neighbour makes beautiful jewellery, so she relieved me of two dollars for two lovely necklaces that I will get a lot of wear out of.  I don't have a lot of jewellery and rarely buy things just because I like them, but only if they will specifically go with outfits I have.  The other participant relieved me of my last dollar in change.  Buried in a huge and most unattractive pile of "stuff" on her lawn was a small drainboard that would fit perfectly on my dish tray by the kitchen sink.  I have never purchased a new one because most of them are too big for the tiny tray I have and I have managed more or less without one all these years.  This one looked kind of rusted out and I had no intention of purchasing it either, but when the owner's ADORABLE WITH A CAPITAL "A" 2 year old white-blonde haired daughter, in a teensy purple Hawaiian flowered dress, picked it up and said "Here lady, this is for you!", huge smile taking up her entire face, of course I bought it.  Sigh....I am such a sucker for kids!  I brought the wretched thing home feeling very foolish for having allowed myself to be scammed by a 2 year old, but as I washed it I realized the "rust" was not rust at all!  It was simply a buildup of something red'n'yukky that had been spilled on it at some point in the past.  Now that it is clean and bleached it looks brand new!  Okay kid, ya' got me, but it worked out just fine and will get a lot of use here.

Since part of the management sponsored event today includes free burgers and hot dogs, iced cream and drinks, I had a big, fat, juicy burger with mustard on a whole wheat bun for lunch.  Honestly, that cheap, cholesterol packed (and inducing) ground beef tasted absolutely fantastic.  It was all I could do to refrain from trying to cram another one down my throat before coming back to my suite.  The craving for protein has been intense the past few days, so a few minutes ago I got out my food journal and checked back on the past 2 weeks of meals I have ingested. Sure enough....I have been lacking in protein for rather a long time!  It is a good thing I have radically increased my cooked vegetables again, but in the process of filling up on those I have neglected meats of all kinds.  A bit of chicken every couple of days does not a balanced diet make!  So, now the craving and the overindulgence last night at the party make sense.

My neighbour in the building next to me just came over to show me what his 5 year old son purchased this morning from someone at the garage sale.  My neighbour was killing himself laughing about the purchase.  He gave his son some money and allowed him to go shopping by himself for the first time.  He expected the boy to bring home some kind of toy or craft project, but what he actually purchased was a colourful, foot high statue of a Hindu goddess!  hahahaha  It is the last thing his shocked father expected him to come home with. hahahahahaha  Hilarious!  His son is very proud of his purchase and happily showed it to me. He was glowing with the success of his first shopping trip alone! hahahaha

O the things that you'll see............

So, it is on the way to 3pm now.  I think I will watch the news for a few minutes and then have a nap.

The Dreaded Saturday Is Once More Upon Me

My husband went into work a bit later than usual this morning. Turns out he needed to take the vehicle to transport our moving dolly and some other tools for the office move going on this weekend.

Losing the vehicle at least sets my course for the rest of the day. I will be walking downtown to the bank to pay the phone bill and check out what dregs the Farmers' Market has left by the time I get showered and dressed and up there.  Since I couldn't decide what course of scintillating action I should take today, I admit it is kind of pleasant that my choice was made for me by virtue of circumstance. 

Wow....I can't seem to get my act together for Saturday plans.  You would think that after having a job that has taken him to work on Saturdays for over seven years now, I would be used to my husband not being around on the weekends.  Not so........very peculiar.  I just can't seem to get my "poop in  a group" a few days in advance of Saturdays.  The day always dawns with me wondering what to do with myself when I am all ready caught up on housework and laundry and cooking.  Today is no different and after losing sleep during the night for several hours I can't say I have strong motivation to do anything more than wallow in complaining about it.   

Yeah....complaining....ooooh, it feels kind of good!

In other news: the party we attended last evening was a lot of fun.  Most of the other guests were parishioners from the parish of St. Mary, where our host is the priest.  What a friendly bunch of people!  I have not had so many women introduce themselves to me without being prodded by a third party in many a year.  It was fabulous.  Even though they all knew each other all ready and we were the only "outsiders" we were completely included in the conversations and fun.  Their husbands warmly embraced my husband and he genuinely enjoyed himself. For the first time in ever so long we found it disappointing to have to leave so early because of my husband working today.  Usually it is our "good excuse" to flee less than welcoming social situations.  It was a truly lovely time for us. 

The annual canoe trip has, as usual, taken over my husband's every waking moment when he is not thinking about work.  It is so great to see him so enthused about something apart from ministry, something he looks forward to so very much each year at this time.  "Goin' with the guys" is something he has not had enough of in his adult life and I rejoice that he has this chance to be with his closest buddies here for a whole week on the water.  Next weekend will be the weekend our suite looks like a cyclone went through it as all the gear and food is spread about for packing purposes.  It is really a sight to see....I could charge money to passersby to come see how many things can be spread out in a relatively small space in order to be ready to go on this trek.

Our management company is sponsoring a BBQ today here in our court. The entire complex has been invited to set up garage sale tables at each interested suite and make a community  building day of it.  The affair was scheduled to begin a half hour ago. Thus far all I can see is the food court set up in the parking lot with the staff members standing around wondering what to do next. There are no residents there asking for coffee and treats, there is not one single garage sale table set up in any of the three courts I can see from our place.  I am afraid the whole thing may turn out to be a big bust.  I feel badly that I didn't rally the troops in our court by having a table set up.  Seriously, the notice about the garage sale possibility arrived exactly 1 day after I packed up what I could have put out for sale and donated it all to Community Living.   Guess I will take a short tour around the complex after I get showered and dressed and see who, if anyone, has anything for sale.  As I think about it, really it isn't that surprising if the garage sale component doesn't work well here.  I am guessing that at least 2/3 of our tenants are relatively recent immigrants to Canada from various Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries.  Many of them will not yet know what a garage sale is and even more of them will have so few possessions of their own that they will have nothing extra to sell.

Well, better quit lallygagging and get ready to meet this day of who knows what events.

Ummmm....Happy To Help??

So....about that fantastically realistic fake wasp nest we hung outside on our back wasps are really enjoying the instant home we created for them.  As of last night several of the drones have taken up residence inside it to use as a home base during their food hunting forays.  

Big. Depressed. Sigh.......... 

However, you have to admire their ingenuity, don't you?  Not as stupid as one would be tempted to think.

So, now our ministry has extended to include providing accommodation for wandering  wasps....does our nobility never end??

(Slap knees and double over with laughter!)

How Dumb AM I? I'm SO Dumb......

......I over indulged on the protein component at the party meal last night, so here I am awake at 4:30am still feeling sated, heavy and frustrated by my lack of self-control!

Ooooh, but it tasted so wonderful at the time: bison burgers and roast bison, barbecued to a delicious medium well done, still just slightly pink in the centre, tender, tasty....oooooh it was too difficult to resist that second helping. Bison is my most favourite meat. Cooked properly it is, to me, the tastiest protein on the planet. Our hosts know how to cook it properly, oh yes they do!! Happy, contented sigh.........

Wrapping my tastebuds in the bison's deliciousness lulled my brain to sleep as far as realizing how I was going to feel part way through the coming night. I can't even blame some noisy neighbours for waking me up because I was all ready awake listening to my stomach rumbling its discontent about being too full.

Why do I do this to myself??? My lack of self-control during only one meal has ruined my sleep and will make my coming day kind of miserable as a result. I can sense my plans for a long walk to the Farmers' Market changing to a car trip even as I am sitting here writing, but I don't want to give up the needed walk. My only exercise yesterday was housework, good as that is for me, but it doesn't replace the good cardio work out of a long brisk walk. Maybe I can talk my tired self into keeping the original plan. Could I regain sufficient self-discipline for that? I suspect I had better!

Dumb, dumb, dumb....yup, I definitely have my moments of stupidity. Urp......burp......ugh.....