Thursday, May 26, 2016

First It Was Geese and Now It Is........

.....a gopher who has industriously dug him or her self a HUGE gaping opening to an underground tunnel right beside our front step. There is a giant mound of gravel and shredded plastic sheeting that used to cover the former flower bed beside the door step.  Twice I have caught the creature coming out of there this week, plus have scared him or her out from under our deck upon opening the back door and stepping outside.  The tubby little butterball generally runs right past me across the bottom step and disappears under the deck of the couple next door.  Sigh.........

As much as I hated to do it, I contacted the exterminator from our maintenance crew.  Hopefully now that the rain has stopped he will be here soon before this problem becomes any worse.  Where there is one gopher successfully tunnelling in under the buildings there will soon be more.  O the joys of living right across the road from a giant parkland area.  

As far as the geese, our owl statues are no longer having any effect on the three, 3, THREE couples and one single male who spend their childless days traipsing across our lawn, often bedding down for a few hours right in front of the statues, still posturing and honking, but finally understanding no grief is going to come from those other "birds". Sigh...BIG sigh....double sigh sigh........  The amount of poo I have picked up in the past few days is dreadful.  Now there are several piles between the deck and our car, but with two days of steady rain the poo piles are too squooshy to be picked up. I will have to wait now until they dry out to remove them.  Aiii yiiii.... And no, goose poo does not break down in the rain or any other conditions to become any sort of useable fertilizer!!!

It would appear that the couples with goslings have put the run on these three pair of childless geese and their male buddy and what better place to hang out for fresh grass, bugs and parking lot puddles than right here behind our suite?!!??  Occasionally I still summon the energy to go out with the corn broom and wiggle it behind the owls, but I noticed today that even then those blasted geese are not getting a move on nearly as quickly and they are not staying away nearly as long.  

The dumb geese are too smart now for my owl statues...and yes that "Berra-like 'ism'" is intentional!! My husband tried taking out his bear horn yesterday and gave it a blast at all 7 of the birds but they completely ignored him. Only the neighbours were upset....I mean seriously, have you heard a bear horn blast?  It could deafen another human being!  I had a fit when he used that.  However, in a way I am thankful it didn't work because if it had he would be outsie using it constantly, alienating our wonderful neighbours with all that ghastly noise.

Well, I guess our goose is cooked, pardon the pun.  It is back to picking up poo on a nearly daily basis once again. AND it is only the end of May!  How many birds are we going to have to contend with by the time they are preparing for the autumn migration???  If it is as bad as last  year we are going to have to seriously consider a move out of here, away from the lake and the park.  I have never seen such a mess and no effort is being made on the part of the management here to gain any sort of control over the situation. I know it would be a lot of work to start with, but surely there is something that could be tried so that the little kids who play outside here are protected from the diseases contained in bird poo and the adults could protect their shoes from all that crap on the grass.
Surely, surely....SIGH SIGH SIGH......

Floggin' the Old Bod!

Had a long talk with my physiotherapist yesterday. The result is a return to three exercises I can do without stressing my knee again....each exercise is to be done once a day...100 reps each...up from 12! Apparently he is as frustrated by my lack of progress as I am, so now out come the big guns! I started today. After breakfast I will be doing 100 full bridges, after lunch I move on to 100 hip abductions, after dinner I will be aiming for 100 "clam legs" with the theraband for extra resistance. Okay, I admit I was only able to do 50 each of my morning and afternoon exercises. But to move from 12 to 50 reps is a pretty good start I think. Tomorrow I will try to add 10 more reps each.
Apparently I have weak butt muscles....muscles? You mean there is something back there besides fat and sagging skin? Wow!

So I have rested more than anything else over the past two weeks and my knee is nearly healed again. However, I feel fat and indolent. Tomorrow morning I am doing the last big load of grocery shopping before holidays. While my husband is away mountain climbing I will give the suite a good cleaning. I may take a little trip to Moose Jaw...maybe two trips...or none at all. It will be my call. Yay!

We have almost conquered the leaky basement here. After two days of rain this week we have only the teensiest bit of water still coming in at the usual corner. One more coat of sealant should end the water leak entirely. Yay! Now we just have to live here for at least two more years to absorb the cost and energy expended to make this crazy suite liveable! haha

Tomorrow evening is the annual lobster dinner fundraiser at our church. It sold out in a week as it is so popular. I am really looking forward to the food, friendly visiting and incredible noise level in the basement fellowship hall that so needs some sound tiles put into the ceiling...ooooh, the cost....

Saturday I will deliver my husband to his first rendezvous point to hook up with camping buddy number one. And I will be gloriously free WITH the car for a few days.

The sun is presently struggling to break through the clouds and it is time to decide what to prepare for dinner........

Monday, May 23, 2016

Fa La La La La Etcetera!

I am grateful for the short lived rain showers late this afternoon after a rather chilly day.  At least the wind has not been howling since it was so bad on Saturday.  The geese who hang out at our complex are standing around a large puddle in the parking lot drinking their fill of grubby water.  There are 2 pair and a single male who seems to have finally wormed his way into the group after spending the past month being chased away by the males in the other 2 pair.  Now it isn't unusual to see the 5 of them waltzing past early in the morning and around dinnertime each evening.  We have an old whisk broom that we can wave up  behind the tallest owl statue on our deck railing if the geese stop moving in front of our area of the lawn.  Once that boom starts waving, like flappy owl wings, they move on as quickly as their little webbed feet and waggly behinds will carry them.  It is hilarious to watch.  I have only had to go outside twice this weekend to pick up a few droppings from the grass, yay!!

My husband spent the entire day packing and preparing for his big climbing trip that has been postponed to next weekend.  All he has left to do is purchase the last few food items and pack them properly just before he leaves home.  Hopefully his buddy from down the road can also find a replacement for his own Sunday preaching gig and then they can depart late Saturday afternoon after my husband's committee meeting.  Praying like ten bears it will all work out this time, no snow, not raining every day they are in the mountains, a decent campsite for a few nights....from my mouth to God's ear!

I get to play the game of old age together with my husband later this week.  He has rescheduled some medical lab work so that he and I can go in together one morning and get our tests done and over with for another few months.  He was supposed to go tomorrow but forgot how many hours he has to fast for this test, so was mentally unprepared for it all. haha  He has to go to the clinic as soon as it opens in the morning anyway to get his stitches out and I think with all the other things he has to do tomorrow it won't hurt him to change those lab tests.  Since we have to head to Swift Current in the late afternoon for an evening meeting that will not have us home until close to midnight, any other committment he can take out of the day prior to leaving is a good idea.

With all the resting I have been doing over the past 2 weeks my knee is finally becoming much less painful.  The lack of exercise has put my blood sugar up a good half point at all times, but I had to balance that against the injury to my knee and the knee won out!  I don't mind the chronic pain in my hip now, but to have the opposite knee giving me what for all the time was getting to be too much to handle!  Sure feels good to see the swelling gone and to have only the smallest remnants of discomfort left under my kneecap.  About 3 more days of relative inactivity should fix it up the rest of the way and then I have to be very careful for another few weeks.  How this is going to effect my time in Vancouver I am trying not to think about! haha

My parents are doing okay right now so that is a relief. Dad's back has been bugging him ever since he had his skeletal survey 2 weeks ago.  He had to lie on a completely flat, hard table for the test and coming so soon after the severe back spasm it was too much. He has taken a lot of extra morphine since then, but it is slowly getting better.  Tomorrow he has his final blood work and then meets with the haematologist on May 31st to get a more complete prognosis on his leukemia.  I have to remember he is nearly 90 years old and so things happen at that age.  Poor Dad: the osteoporosis has him addicted to morphine, he has had at least a half dozen heart attacks and has a heart murmur, he has had a non-life threatening skin cancer for several years, his macular degeneration is worsening and childhood exposure to asbestos has effected his lungs and his breathing.  He hasn't been able to admit his hearing is not as crisp as it has been but we really noticed it during our last visit. What does the man have to look forward to?  As he said recently, "I feel like I am just putting in time until I can die."  Completely understandable, isn't it?  He isn't particularly depressed about life, just resigned to the inevitable.  I am proud of him for being less depressed than I think he has a right to be.  Mom continues to do amazingly well. She will turn 90 in just over a year now and I can only pray that failing kidney keeps going for her for awhile longer.  Other than that she is in amazing physical condition and mentally there hasn't been much loss of ability to date.

Son is doing very well, has a painting featured with others from a group of artists whose paintings are also being featured in a well known photographer's next showing at VAG.  I am excited for him.  It is more exposure for his work and the photographer is excellent, has had shows all over the world.  So looking forward to seeing our son's studio and his latest works when we get out to see him next month.  The closer he gets to completing his US visa the better his home city is looking to him it seems, haha.  He has kind of been dragging his feet with the application lately, but is determined to get it done and to hope it is accepted by the powers that be.  He is not particularly enamoured of NYC as a long term place to stay, but he knows it is a necessary move for a few years for the sake of his career.  I hope and pray it all works out for him. Last week he found out that if he can get his application taken care of by the end of the summer, he has work for a few months in NYC staring sometime this fall.  Here's hoping....

Part of my daily prayer from the wee book goes like this:
"....Help me provide a healthy environment in my home with less dirt and dust and fewer germs."
I sort of laughed when I read that as it seemed an odd thing to be praying about for some reason. However, as I look around this dusty old place with the dirt on the windowsills beside the open windows...dirt that blew in during that wind storm on Saturday...the never ending food and drink droppings that I am constantly removing from the kitchen floor and the carpet fibre lint that covers the furniture constantly as the old broadloom disintegrates, it does seem very fitting for me to be praying that way.

Well, time for a blood test. Wonder how high it is going to be this time??  I kept a move on pretty steadily for nearly 90 consecutive minutes after dinner tonight, so hope it helped.  I can't seem to remember that when I have so little exercise going on for the sake of my knee, I must also reduce my carb intake by one unit at lunch and dinner. hard can it be to remember such a small thing???  Guess my denial that it is going to make such a big difference is in full bloom! hahaha  Anyway, here's hoping it isn't too terrible  tonight!

Better go to bed at an earlier time than usual tonight as tomorrow is going to be a very busy day, lots of long distance driving and a lot of time for me to waste sitting around Swift Current while my husband has his meeting.

A Long Weekend Treat

I am so grateful my reaction to the mold ingestion was pretty much over by early evening! Some friends called to invite us over for a walk along the creek side near their house. What a lovely place to walk....far prettier to me than the main paths around Wascana "Lake"!

I will be driving myself to their neighbourhood next time I want to take a walk "just because" with no destination goal in mind. Finally I have found the sort of pretty place here that is peaceful and beautiful....and gloriously free of goose poop!

On one side of the path is a grassy strip that drops down to the creek. On the other side there are wide wooden staircases every so often leading down through big old elm and poplar trees and into an old and rather exclusive neighbourhood. It is just gorgeous and, like the rest of the city, still mosquito-free!

I was limping pretty badly by the time we completed our somewhat abbreviated walk...stupid hip and knee...but I felt exhilarated by my first longer walk on uneven terrain and deteriorating city sidewalks without so much as a stumble. Whew! A little confidence is returning. I just have to remember not to rush.

For my reward I was handed a glass of a favourite wine along with a bowl of fresh fruit and cream. Yum! So happy I ate an early dinner that permitted me a delicious evening snack! We had a peaceful and relaxing visit together.

It was a nice day really, the little sag midday offset by the excellent church service in the morning and our visit with friends in the evening. Now it is after midnight. I am hoping the walk in the warm spring air tired me out sufficiently for a good night's sleep!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

An OK Restaurant I Can't Eat At....Sigh....

I have to admit I rarely enjoy restaurant buffets, but I was happy to accompany my husband to the lunch buffet at Brewster's after church. We heard good things about it and he has been wanting to go there for some time.

Well, it was good enough, better than others I have been to in Regina, with a wonderful variety. My husband enjoyed it, even if it was less than special, but I got into trouble on the second mouthful and it ruined the rest of my lunch. The lightly floured and herbed white fish was the culprit. After enjoying a forkful of Caesar salad that was quite a bit tastier and better prepared than the Greko fiasco salad, I took a huge bite of the delicious looking fish. It was perfectly cooked, nicely herbed....but something wasn't quite right. I chewed and swallowed, chewed and swallowed, trying to figure out what the odd under taste was. Suddenly it hit me: mold!

Understand, I have a sensitivity to molds that gives me the ability to taste it in micro amounts. There probably wasn't enough mold in that coating to hurt anyone, but for me it left an after taste and gave me a fuzzy brain and a bad case of the crabbies that lasted for several hours afterward. It made me hyper sensitive to the other itsy bitsy annoyances that plague many buffets: annoyances like room temperature scrambled eggs and chilly veggie mix that came with the slices of medium rare roast beef that unfortunately was carved with the grain instead of against the grain, resulting in perfectly tasty bites of toughness that could have been avoided had the roast simply been carved properly. The beef and pepper kabobs were good, but again, not hot enough. The lasagna and penne appeared to be fine, the other salads were okay and the smoked salmon was excellent. The bacon and sausages were all stuck together in clumps in their respective trays, so I gave up trying to separate one slice of bacon from its buddies when I realized it was rather undercooked for my personal preference. For my husband it was cooked just right, so he kept at the task of separation until he secured one lone piece. haha There were teeny squares of cheese bread that were delicious and I was able to limit myself to one, despite the temptation to return for another. The desserts looked pretty good but I can't eat them, so no idea how they tasted. My husband reported that the potato crisps were actually rather soggy and underdone, but I noticed he ate a fair number of them, haha. The shrimp were lovely and clean and there were at least three different sauces for them. I should have tried a couple, but the man ahead of me in line filled his entire plate with them, leaving none for the rest of us. The man likes mini-shrimp I guess, haha. What I should have done was gone directly to the fresh omelette station, filled the thing up with as many fresh veggies as it could hold, topped my plate with a few spoons of Greek salad and just called it a day. Live and learn. I could also have avoided having the worry that one of the fast fingered kids littering the place had touched any of the food on my plate while it was still in the trays, eeeeeyukkkko!!!

I'm sorry but I am just not a buffet kinda gal. Other peoples' fingers, dander, drool, dust, sweat and loose hairs in my food is not appealing, to put it politely.

The excellent waiter gave us a fifteen per cent seniors' discount, even though we don't quite qualify yet, so that took the edge off the disappointment of my own experience. There were several delicious items, but once the mold hits my system the reaction is instant and spoils everything else I eat.

My husband isn't keen to return either and we were trying to figure out why, since he enjoyed his meal much more than I did. We decided it is because we have been so blessed in recent months with truly excellent fare, we are no longer willing to settle for average. Some of the newer chain restaurants even have some delicious items to choose from.

I guess we should just be relieved that after a long absence from anything resembling quality restaurant fare, our palates can still discern the difference between decent meals and those that are questionable at best!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

If I Couldn't See That It Is Dry Outside....

.....I would swear we have been in the middle of a day long blizzard! The wind has been howling non-stop for the past 18 hours, and I do mean howling!!  Sitting still for even a half hour of reading gives me a concept of early settlers actually losing their minds from listening to the seemingly never ending prairie gales. I had to put the television on tonight to block the noise.

Other than the wind it has been a super day! My husband woke me out of a sound sleep at 7am so that I could time my meals properly around our brunch plans. Although the restaurant we planned to go to was too packed out to get a table, we ended up elsewhere enjoying taco salads and scrambled eggs with salsa. What fun!

We got ourselves to the water distribution centre before it closed, so we have decent drinking water for the next two weeks, plus my husband found a knife shop in Victoria Square mall that did a fast and fantastic sharpening job on his machetes and hunting knives. Thank you "Cutting Edge" for good work at a reasonable price.

While my husband was knife shopping, I was window shopping at all the ladies' wear stores. What fun! I need nothing, I purchased nothing, I tried on lots of things to fill time and enjoyed it.

We had a short visit with two sets of neighbours when we arrived home. We laughed at all the neighbourhood kids playing in the piles of dirt and sand and gravel the management here trucked in yesterday and dumped into our parking lot. They were digging big holes, riding bikes up and over the piles, they climbed into the large garbage disposal unit and emerged with short planks and pieces of drywall to drag over to the piles for more creative possibilities for play. When the grounds crew returns on Tuesday morning they will discover their materials for planting new lawns here are filled with chopped up pieces of drywall, assorted bits of wood, kids' shoes and socks, bicycle mirrors and other assorted and unexpected "treasures". They had no idea they were actually installing playground equipment! haha There are landscaping materials littered all over the parking lot. hahahaha The kids had a riot out there today.

We recently watched a documentary about how children who experience more unsupervised play, ie NOT organized sports, dance lessons etc., every day of the week, develop far more creativity and better social skills. Watching the kids of all ages playing together and finding scrap materials to make castles and such in the dirt piles, we have no trouble believing that.

We now regularly have three pair of "childless" geese here several times day. They still squawk at the owls  as they pass by, but are lingering a bit longer and doing their business more often along our path to the car. My husband regularly puts the run on them, but they seem to view him as a pesty nuisance to ignore more often than not, haha. Today one of the kids abandoned a soccer ball between our deck and the parking lot. That threw them for a loop. They stood back gawking at it and honking, inching slowly toward it, but unsure if it was going to hurt them or not. My husband could not resist going outside and rolling the ball toward them. When the ball started moving they all had a fit and ran the other direction as quickly as they were able to waddle. It looked hilarious! They didn't come back at all for the remainder of the evening! I took a pair of old rubber gloves, some towelling and a plastic bag outside and picked up the few mounds of poop the geese left behind. I can hardly believe that now, under my kitchen sink, there is a sealed plastic bag containing those gloves and a label that says, "For Picking Up Goose Poop"! Aiiiii yiiiii....

Tonight we watched a couple of back episodes of "The Blind Spot". We will finish watching this season, but if it is renewed I doubt we will continue. The two lead actors act every scene with their teeth clenched in their attempts to portray the intensity of their roles. It is just silly! It is the "poor man's version of "The Blacklist" I am afraid. The side stories are kind of interesting but the weekly plots are predictable.

Off to church in the morning. It is Trinity Sunday and my husband says he has a very practical sermon. I will be interested to find out how he comes up with a practical life application from this special day in the church calendar year!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Something I Appreciate About FaceBook!

I don't have a FaceBook account but I do have a very appreciative attitude toward it for the number of silly "forwards" that no longer appear in my email inbox.  Most of my friends and family just post those things to their FaceBook pages and I no longer have to wade through so many of them to find personal emails.  Years ago it was crazy how many forwards appeared on my screen.  Some are great fun, but most of them I could live without.  So, thank you FaceBook!  I don't mind forwards on occasion, but have had very few I bothered to read in their entirety, or got much out of.  The inanities of life have mostly been transplanted to FaceBook and I have this blog page on which to post my own, so it is all good!