Tuesday, June 30, 2015

It's Almost Like Home

I have just returned from a walk to the mail box several blocks away and wish I could be out there for another hour or more, but alas, I must now remain at home for my appointment with SaskTel.

It is so beautiful out there.  The rain is gentle and warm as the usual prairie breeze is absent this morning. The smoke is hanging down just the way it does on the place I wish I could again call home: Vancouver Island.  The absence of mosquitos due to the dry spring is just like icing on a cake, the final touch of excellence.

When I got back here I couldn't force myself to immediately open the door and step inside.  Just had to stand out in the rain for a couple of minutes until I noticed some neighbours peering out their windows at me and probably thinking I am a complete loony.  Guess I need to have a cigarette in the house to stand out there holding in this weather and then no one would think anything of me getting soaked in the rain on my own porch. haha

It is probably a good thing I no longer live on the Island....or in Ireland....or in any part of the world that tends to be rainy, foggy, green and warm for great periods of time.  Such beauty brings me to tears almost every time I see and experience it.  The Celtic aspect of my geneology seems to have worked overtime all my life: this kind of weather, medieval weapons displays, Celtic pipes and drums, all bring me to tears.  It is kind of embarrassing actually, but it seems to be just the way it is for me.

When I go for walks on the Island, through the lacy ferns and huge cedars, I am always a blubbering mess by the time my walk is ended.  My husband thinks it is hysterically funny but restrains his responses admirably and lets me go to it for as long as it takes to get over it.  Such a sweet man, no matter how confusing he finds me to be.  I am indeed blessed.

Wet Smoke

Overnight we had a bit of drizzly rain.  Mixed with the thick smoke in the air it makes the entire city smell like a campsight smells right after the first attempts to dowse the campfire at the end of a week in the Great Outdoors.  YEEEUCK!!  The smoke is to remain with us for at least today before the winds change direction and give us a break.  I just wish this moisture, scant as it is, would occur up north in the fire zone and give the firefighters and residents up there a break as well.

For me it is next to a miracle that I do not have clogged sinuses, swollen glands and an impossibly sore throat to deal with.  Those are the usual smoke exposure symptoms, but all I am suffering is a bad case of groggy tiredness...feeling a bit more stupid than usual.  

I DID have a great sleep last night though.  The new fan in my room provided just the right amount of white noise without being so loud that the fan itself kept me awake. Another sleep like last night's and I will be feeling great.

Off tomorrow to Art in the Park.  Picking up some friends to go with us and then lunch together before we come home again.  It is going to be a really fun time!  YAY, something social AND artsy....with food afterward...the perfect event! haha

Today I await a SaskTel installer to come and straighten out the glitches from our last phone bill.  Then all will be well in the bill paying department of my life.

Later in the week comes the dreaded underwear shopping.....boo hoo!  I detest trying to find what I want and what fits and and and...it is going to take hours and I am going to be near tears before I am done.  Based on past experience it is a day to be dreaded, BUT I have a wedding shower to go to on the weekend that will be  ton of fun so will focus on that! haha

It is all good.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Gag-alicious!

Today we are being slammed by northern forest fires' smoke.  The slightly sweet smell has invaded every corner of our home, yard, car....it is absolutely everywhere, turning the sun into a bright orange ball in the sky and creating a thick "fog" on the ground that makes it somewhat difficult to see clearly for more than a block in any direction. The city is filled up with it.  YUCKO!!  How I would love to shut the windows here against it and keep it out, but it is still too hot to do that.

Fortunately for me, the smoke is burning from "dry" fires.  There has been too little moisture in the north country this year so all the burning trees are pretty dry and being completely consumed by the flames. There is very little floating organic matter in the air as a result, so my asthma is not a problem and my throat isn't even sore today.  My eyes aren't itching and burning, so although it is rather unpleasant around here today, there is not presently a big health problem for myself.  I am grateful and I am praying for people who ARE being badly effected.

My husband and I purchased 2 fans at the hardware store today.  I have one going in my office and one downstairs.  My husband is so skilled at orienting them with the opened windows and the airless, closed window rooms so that we get maximum production from the fans.

I am not looking forward to dusting this townhouse once the temperatures drop in a few days time.  With the windows open so much and now the fans blowing everything about, a layer of dust is forming on absolutely everything in here. It can't be helped, it is just how it is during hot summers.  The forest fire smoke also deposits the teensiest bit of ash as well into the air, so the dust contains some larger particles than usual.  So very grateful for the dry fire and the resulting lack of organic matter as that is helping keep the dust particles fairly easy to remove later on this week.

My husband was craving sushi for lunch, so we went to a decent Korean/Japanese fusion restaurant.  My tempura was excellent but unfortunately the chicken karaage was badly done...tasty, but mostly batter, deep fried and similar to that horrible batter that is served in Canadian style chinese food restaurants around chicken balls and bits of shrimp. The batter was not correct for karaage and I think they forgot to put the chicken in!! But that is okay....live and learn what to order and what not to order in restaurants.  I bought some fresh chicken at the grocery later on and we will have an excellent home made chicken dish for dinner tonight.

Found the home goods store a young friend has registered her wedding gift list at, so purchased a couple of things there for her.  The prices are most reasonable there and I was pleased to know I have something she actually wants to have.  I love gift registries as they are so helpful.  There is nothing worse than discovering your thoughtfully chosen and usually expensive wedding gift has been regifted to someone else later on.

So, another good day...a smoky, stinky sort of day, but good nonetheless.   

Pub Crawlin' Research

My husband and son, following in the tradition of my husband's mother, enjoy eating in pubs...not lounges and bars, but as close to true pubs as we can get out here on the prairies.

Since son is coming to visit in about 3 weeks time, my husband has felt honour bound to locate some decent local pubs for the 2 of them to enjoy some feasting and some craft brews.  I am indifferent because I can't drink beer anyway, but in the course of our "research" have discovered some of the nicest salads and burgers in the city.

To date we have enjoyed in particular: Bushwakkers, Leopold's and The Lobby.  The noise levels vary, with The Lobby having the loudest music thus far, but their small menu has some very tasty items.  The last 2 on the list have the outdoor patio option as well, so if you don't mind sharing your meal with wasps and spiders that is an option...I suppose.....

That should be enough pub crawling for the duration of his short visit and there is also Bombay House for a nice Indian meal.  I will force myself to cook the rest of the time, teehee.  Since the boy used to be one of the best restaurant meat/fish grillers in the city of Edmonton we are going to have one good meal of decent steak courtesy of his skills.

So, off to face another beastly hot day.  My husband is going to help me find a couple of floor fans today.  If they don't help the heat situation, they will at least provide me with some white noise at night.  Between the yapping dog 2 doors down and the start this morning of 6 weeks of road and curb repair on the main street outside our house, I am needing a bit of help to get enough sleep.  The dog yaps consistently between 2am and 6am and the road crews are on the job by, or even before, 5:30am.  As usual my inability to lock out noise when I need to sleep is threatening to ruin my wonderful summer, but the fans will help a lot.  Apparently I am the only person in the entire complex that is awakened by the dog in the night and I am tired of being the whinger and complainer, so trust the fans will help enough to mitigate my complaints. I want to be awake and cheery enough to enjoy all the good things summer has to offer.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

So How Do I Know It Is Finally Summer Around Here?

I know it because it is 11pm and it is still +32C outside with not so much as a light breeze to accompany the heat that has risen quickly to my second storey bedroom.

It know it because the kids in our complex are out of school now and one of them is outside in the parking lot screaming her lungs out and running just out of her furious father's reach as he tries to grab her and wrestle her into the house.

I know it because the screaming girl's dog is also out running around and barking as loudly as the girl is screaming and the father is yelling...at both of them....to be quiet.  hahaha

I know it because the noise of the traffic on the road outside my bedroom window is magnified so much due to the weather conditions.

I know it because the smoke from forest fires up north is drifting down here and filling my home with the most dreadful, allergy inducing odors.

I know it because after a cold miserable spring the summer crept up on me before I had time to purchase a fan to not only attempt to cool down the house, but also to create some white noise to dull the sounds from outside so I can try to get some sleep at nights.

I know it because I don't have to worry about plugging in the car to keep it warm enough to start on a cold morning.

I know it because the prospect of highway drives to anywhere at all inspire feelings of adventure rather than the dread the icy winter highways instill in my mind.

I know it because the flowers are blooming and the trees are beautifully leafed out.

I know it because the woodpeckers that I FINALLY spotted in the trees this morning are peeping and eating bugs and providing no end of entertainment for me now that I have located them outside the living room windows.

I know it because the sky is deep summer blue and what few clouds have appeared lately are absolutely starchy bright white against that pretty sky.

I know it because I can go for a walk outside anytime I want, in sandals, without any concern about vibram soles and yak-traks on the bottom of my boots to prevent me from falling down.

I know it because I am happy despite being rather Sleepless in Regina over this past week.

I know it because when upsets occur or the old depression threatens I am able to get over it in a matter of hours or a day at most and get on with the joy of living.

Summer....what a great season, but short as it is, it gets me through the rest of the year rather nicely.

Happy Clappy Day...Fa La La La Etctera!

Today's beautifully hot, breezeless, summer day reminds me of a somewhat inane but relentlessly cheery ditty I used to sing at a teen church group many years ago:

It's a happy day and I thank God for the weather.
It's a happy day and I'm livin' it for my Lord.
It's a happy day and things are gonna get better,
'Cause I'm livin' each day by the promises in God's word.

haha Good memories of younger days!

Church was so much fun this morning.  My husband ended up coming home early yesterday due to heat stroke, so he rearranged a few computer cables down to the cool of the basement and set up a little old machine we still have.  He sat down there and got his sermon set up for today after a bit of rest, but this morning something went haywire when he went to wire it into the printer on the second floor and he lost the whole sermon.  Thankfully he is excellent at saying a prayer as he goes to the pulpit to preach and then "winging" it, hopefully under the direction of the Holy Spirit! haha  It went well today.  The Gospel reading was about Jesus healing the woman in a crowd who had been chronically ill for 12 years, because she reached out and touched his clothes, believing even that would heal her.  The passage about the healing of Jairus' young daughter was also included. (Mark 5: 21-43) In both cases the people were healed through touching or being touched by Jesus. My husband is attempting to encourage our somewhat discouraged church and our diocese that new growth, revitalization and the restoration of personal spiritual strength will only come from that direct relationship with Jesus and that even good things like trying harder and thinking positively are not the bottom line answer to revival in our lives or in our churches. It was well received.

At coffee the women surrounded me and told me that now that my husband has been inducted and declared his intention publicly to be their priest, they feel free to just be themselves with me and wow, they were VERY MUCH themselves and VERY REAL in their conversation. hahaha  However, it was a breath of fresh air to see who they honestly are as individuals and as a group.  I am going to be very happy in this group.

We had one little glitch during the announcement time:  my husband presented the church with the gift he was given by our British friends, the knit nativity scene.  As he pulled the figures out of a tote bag, one by one, to be admired by the congregation, he came to the end of what was in there and realized Baby Jesus had gone missing.  I raced out to the car to see if I had dropped him on the floor in there, but there was no Baby Jesus to be found.

Do you know how embarrassing it can be to LOSE Baby Jesus, even in 3 inch knit form?? hahaha Talk about being teased!  I am never going to live that one down.  As soon as we got home we started searching for him and it wasn't long before we "found the babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a".....pile of old leaves and spider webs down below our deck where I had apparently spilled him rather unceremoniously out of Mother Mary's arms as we left for church in our usual "WE ARE LATE AGAIN" hurry.  hahaha

I am grateful he was found so easily as I had diverted my husband from his dash to a favourite restaurant for lunch in order to come back home first for the search.  Despite my need to find Jesus before I could relax enough to eat, we managed to get to the restaurant right before the main after church crowd arrived, so my husband quickly forgave me for my carelessness earlier in the morning.  Not that he was upset, just kind of chuckling at my utter predictablilty in losing the central figure of the creche display. haha

So, pastoral phone calls have been made this afternoon, waiting emails answered, the cycle of window opening and shutting in order to cope with the "+33C and no air conditioning in here" weather has been taken care of and now we are going to just relax and watch some boxing on tv.  Poor old Saskatchewan Rough Riders lost yet another pre-season game yesterday, this time to Winnipeg, as well as losing a star player to a season ending injury.  The Canadian women's FIFA team was trounced by the English team and are now out of contention for the Cup, so it wasn't a happy bunch of sports talk around the post-church coffee table today.  The golfers in the crowd changed the subject to their favourite sport and that was much less depressing.

We discovered last night that there is a new Battlebots series on tv, so my husband was in his glory watching that and talking about how HE would have been able to make this bot or that bot so much better. hahahaha  Battlebots?? Are you kidding me? Have we come to this kind of mindless stress relieving tv content???  YUP!!  hahaha  Such is life.

It IS a happy day and I DO thank God for the weather AND for his promises to love and care for us no matter what!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Hey La Hey La My Boyfriend's Back

Even though he was gone only 3 days, it was great to have my husband arrive home safely yesterday evening.  Of course he is on his way out the door again at this moment to participate in a funeral for a former bishop, but at least there was time to visit for an hour last night before he had to get some sleep for today's activities.  This afternoon is an abbrieviated Diocesan Council meeting and then it will be sermon tweaking time for tomorrow's church service.  Church tomorrow and then, hopefully but I am not holding my breath, he will have an actual day off on Monday....it has been at least a couple of weeks since he has had one of those, other than a couple of supposedly days off where he was actually answering his work emails and writing sermons, newspaper articles and work related blog posts from here at home. 

So I am here once again "picking up the pieces" from Cyclone Dell's latest trip through the house. haha  

Bless him, last night he found a board in the basement that is perfect for holding up the kitchen window screen in the evenings to cool this place down before bedtime during these rather hot days.  The window, like most everything else around here, doesn't work just quite right, but the board will do to keep it propped open.  It would be easier to just open the front and back inside doors and open the screens in the storm doors, but neither of those doors seal properly so when we have tried that we have found the townhouse filled up with spiders and other bugs in record time as they stream in through the cracks in the seal.  The doors have been painted over so any times they just don't close properly any more, so even attempting to rehang them has met with little success. haha  Aaaah, the joys of rental properties....it has been a long time since we last rented a place from a big management company and we had kind of forgotten..... (but we are very happy here despite the foibles of the building, so don't get me wrong)....

My husband had a wonderful couple of days away.  He took our British visitors to a pub luncheon in one of our former parishes, then on to visit Mary and Pete and their parish congregation.  While he was staying at our Diocesan camp, the Brits were billeted out to a couple in a lovely cabin down on the river south of Maple Creek.  The next day they toured an amazing cattle ranch and the following day Dell took them on their first ever canoe trip.  They had a wonderful time and my husband had a few hours to answer work emails, trek through the beautiful trees in Cypress Hills park and get some decent sleep in the quiet of the presently deserted camp.  He is still exhausted, but feeling generally better after a kind of a break away.

So, another hot day but we did get 10 minutes worth of rain last night.  It all helps and the temperatures are supposed to drop back to the mid +20's by Tuesday.  Yay! Life is good.