Wednesday, September 28, 2016

So Glad To Be Home In My Own Bed Tonight!

It has been a hectic 4 days....all the driving back and forth to Calgary makes this past Sunday afternoon, the day we left, seem like it was a month ago!

It was a very good trip.  We were able to see a fair number of trees still sporting their fall golden, yellow and red leaves, although the incredible west winds have all ready stripped far too many of them off the branches.  There was sufficient green of all shades left in the foliage in the medians and fields to relieve the dreaded brown of autumn that has recently started to appear.  The roads were clear and dry, there was a good mix of sun and cloud in the sky and the temperatures were very comfortable both in the city and along the highway route.

Mom and Dad are doing as well as can be expected.  Dad is rejoicing that he has not recently had to take as many "breakaway" hydropmorph pills in between the prescribed daily doses, as his back is feeling so much better.  Hmmmm...I can certainly grasp why it is so much improved as far as pain level:  he sleeps for about 2 hours right after breakfast most days, sleeps another average of 3 hours after lunch and is ready for and in bed shortly after 8pm.  Sitting up in various chairs is what bothers him, but he spends so many hours a day lying prone on the bed that his back pain has subsided to a more manageable level.

We spent our 2 days together visiting and running errands around Dad's naps, as well as enjoying 3 meals out in restaurants.  Mom and Dad especially enjoyed the good old faithful Broken Plate Greek style restaurant last night.  My husband and I had a sushi meal the night before at OHanami, but it has changed hands and  has a completely Korean cooking and waiting staff.  The quality of some of the food has gone down a bit, plus it is more Korean and Korean/Japanese fusion than it used to be. My meal was particularly disappointing. My tempura was oily, not properly drained before hitting the plate and my chicken karaage seemed to be made of the same ground "chicken lips" as the chicken nuggets in fast food restaurants.  Blecch, pooey!!!  Next time we will go for Indian food at a wonderful place that is practically next door to the Japanese/Korean disaster.  

A highlight for Mom was going with my husband to the Silk Road spice shop and the Tea Traders over in Inglewood area.  She has wanted to visit both places to see the quirkyness of the decor and the wide range of product artfully packed into very small vendor spaces. Dad and I waited in the car while she and my husband took their tour. O how she enjoyed it. Dad was too tired to go in as we had just come from a long drive across the city to an eyeglass vendor for a new lens for his glasses.  I don't think it is possible to drive anywhere in the city that could be farther from their home.  He was done in just from that brief appointment, but he rallied sufficiently to say he needed lunch just about the time we were returning him to home and passing a favourite little lunch place of his. hahaha  We took them to the Cheesecake for lunch the other day we were there. They have favourite menu items they order every time there and we never mind taking them to chain restaurants so that they can enjoy the old standards.

On one of our drives we took them downtown so they could see the amazing architecture of the new music centre built around the old King Edward hotel.  The centre dwarfs the little old heritage hotel that was a hot bed for blues for decades in Calgary.  The hotel sign has been spiffed up and the brick work on the outside redone...really, although it is technically a heritage building, the sense of loneliness and abandonment that made the original hotel endearing in all its east side downtown shabbiness, has been totally lost.  It used to sit beside a vacant lot in one of the seediest, scariest areas of  the downtown.  It had an ambiance all its very own that is gone now.  The King Eddy is the only bar I have ever passed out in...and that was from the thickness of the cloying cigarette smoke, not from imbibing.  haha  Talk about a silly memory, eh? haha

Although it was such a brief visit it was a good one, a successful visit not only due to the number of errands accomplished, but by being able to understand the new needs of my parents and being able to accept the losses in their lives that effected and will effect all subsequent visits.

Dad doesn't want any kind of "party" or other gathering with friends for his 90th and after seeing the condition he is in we understand why. He could never cope with that kind of excitement for more than about a half hour.  He can't stay upright long enough and he can't sit long enough and he can't stay awake long enough to be a good host or have any fun.  Instead he wants us to fly his grandson in from wherever the fellow happens to be at the time and have a dinner with just our family.  It is easier, granted, but I am disappointed for him that he is no longer capable of being the social butterly, center of attention he has always demanded to be.  It is a huge change for him and for the rest of us.

I am delighted that mom's kidney failure symptoms have actually abated quite a lot over the past 3 months now.  Wow...that is amazing and wonderful for her.  I suspect the stress around the move to their present location was added to the health issues Dad was just beginning to develop and now that she is feeling settled and more content, despite having to care for dad, her body is responding positively to the reduction of those stresses.

I have not slept for more than a scant few hours each night of being away, for various reasons, so I am shutting my computer down now and having a bit earlier bedtime than usual. This morning we both woke up at 3am, so by just after 4am we were packed up and on the road for home.  We stopped more often than usual along the way for food, gasoline and to change drivers, but were still home 8 hours later.

My husband deserves an award for giving up the only 3 days he has had off in the past 3 weeks and spending it driving back and forth to Calgary to help look after my parents. Bless you dear!  It was the right thing for us to do before the snow arrives next week.

Winnie The Pooh, I GET You!!!

A friend reminded me today of a favourite Pooh saying.  If you are having one of "those" days, where other people's demands are stressing you, it will make sense to you!

"We can't all and some of us don't. That's all there is to it."

Clap if you GET it as well!!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Made It Safely! Hallelujah!

Church went so well this morning. The worship band from East Side United Church provided the music and it was a great time! It was fun to sing some songs my husband and I know from other denominations and our own parishioners gamely attempted them all: Lots of laughs and clapping along.

Then came the dreaded drive to the city....it always takes us the better part of nine hours with food and gasoline stops, changing drivers, stopping to wash bug guts off the windshield and what have you. Today I did all the driving and heavy footed it most of the way, cutting an hour off the trip despite the usual number of stops. I make no apologies. (You realize that for someone my age, "heavy footing it" means keeping up to the rest of the traffic flow.) The time flew past rather nicely. Going home will be less stressful and lighter on the gas pedal.

Mom and Dad were in good spirits when we arrived. We had a lovely visit, did a couple of chores for them and planned our day for tomorrow.

Now, if we can manage to get this guest room cooled down, we will be ready for a good sleep. If the weather tomorrow is anything at all as lovely as today, it will be fun driving my parents around the city....more sunshine, warmth and light breezes, please!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Busy Saturday Morning Despite the Rain!

It is 8:30am on this chilly day with the rain still pouring down. It is a most gloomy day.

However, I decided to be cheery and get a few things done: I have driven out to the east side to the Superstore to purchase the delicious Tong Garden peanuts only they seem to carry, to the bank, to the post office and lastly to the drive through oil change establishment for fresh oil and filters for the car. (perhaps THIS week's trip to Calgary will be the last one for the poor old vehicle??? How many times  in the last four or five months have I made that assumption??? Sigh......)

Now it is time for a shower. My hair needs a thorough washing and some styling before we leave tomorrow.  Guess some packing up of clothes and breakfast foods is in order as well.

I admit the long, monotonous drive tomorrow, to be repeated on Wednesday's return trip, is something we both have been dreading, but as the time approaches we are realizing how badly we need this time together to catch up on conversation about what we have each been up to this past two weeks. There has been zero time to talk together. Yuck! It will be easier for my husband to separate himself from work if we are far away. As it is he has several work related calls that have to be made from Calgary on Monday. This is the job that never ends, it just goes on and on my friend.....

How many thousands, millions, of people world wide are in the same position of overwork for insufficient return? Technology has not made our lives easier! It has crowded out the very leisure time it was supposed to increase. It has made us too accessible to bosses, friends, family and complete strangers. It has raised the level of expectancy as to our availability to everyone else. For us personally the benefits are being outweighed right now by the pitfalls.

Even our bishop, on his badly needed holiday in the U. K. is answering a certain number of work related emails and text messages each day.....ridiculous!

I am praying my husband will get some time away from his job expectations during this otherwise hectic, very short, family visit. They are going to amp up again when we return.

New topic: it amazes me how I can go to bed stuffed full of steak and wake up at 6:30am all ready for breakfast! Aiiii yiiiii......

Friday, September 23, 2016

Aaaaargh!! I'm Too Full!

Tonight marks the end of our participation in the local annual Anglican Church fall dinners! I have watched my food intake quite well and made certain to get my evening exercise regime done....until this evening.

It started off well. I knew dinner would be served too late for me, so I dutifully had a small snack of  4 whole wheat crackers and a slice of low fat cheese at 4pm. By the time I was served my dinner it was well a after 7pm and I was ready to chow down.

Again, it started off so well. I avoided taking a bun, just had a small spoon of both the Caesar salad and home made baked bean medley, found the teensiest baked potato in the bowl and had less than a tablespoon in total of sour cream and crumbled bacon on my potato. I had a small glass of red wine to allow for a couple of forks-full of brownie dessert. Yup, I did all the right things, took all the correct amounts of food......until it came to the  BBQ'd steak! All the steaks were 10 ounces. Since I am allowed three ounces per meal, I knew I needed to cut off two thirds of that steak, wrap it and take it home for another day.

Did I do that? No....I did not.

My steak was a perfect medium rare. It had very little fat. It was so tender it was nearly melting in my mouth. I did not cut two thirds off the steak to take home for later. I just ate it.  I ate it all. I ate every last mouthful.

Ooooooo, it was delicious.

Ooooooo, I am now suffering despite the (somewhat shortened and diluted) post prandial exercise.

My stomach wants to split open from to top to bottom. It wants to burst out of the constraint of  my clothes and lie like the lumpy son the the Goodyear Blimp on my lap.

I am tempted so shed a few tears from the discomfort.

Oooooooo.....never again.....no more ten ounce steaks at one sitting.....discomfort, thy name is gluttony........


Again With the Travels for Work

My husband is now making plans to attend the next national Executive Archdeacons Conference....this November it is in Newfoundland!  He is terribly excited as he has not been to Newfoundland since 1973 when he worked on building housing for Metis and non-status Indians for the Toronto based group, Operation Beaver.  

I am happy for him.  Originally I had hoped to pay my own way to go along for the trip, but it is really too expensive with the recent and upcoming trips to see my parents.  Initially I was disappointed, but then it hit me: Newfoundland....in November!  Brrrrrrr!!!!!!  I think I can do without the long, blood sugar upsetting, plane flight only to arrive in a new place in miserable weather and having to find my way around on my own while my husband spends his days and most evenings in meetings.

I can be miserable in November right here in the comfort and relative "inexpensiveness" of my own home!!

November in Canada....blecch, pooey!!!

A Perfect Autumn Day Followed By a Stellar Celtic Concert

Yesterday was the most perfect autumn day and I am so happy to have been able to enjoy it before the rains set in overnight from a big system coming up from the USA that is in the process of dumping about 75mm of rain on us over the next 2 days.

I started off the day with a beautiful, relaxing walk through piles of downed yellow leaves between our suite and the neighbourhood grocery.  The sky was overcast but the temperature was warm and the breeze was mild: long sleeve shirt weather, but no jacket required.

I finished a large housecleaning project back at home and then spent the rest of the day making a large batch of stew, some cartons of which will go to Calgary with us to resettle in my parents' refrigerator.  It should provide them with several lunches.  My husband and I had a good feed of stew for dinner last night with some hot, toasted whole wheat bread and a bit of a cheat on the amount of butter we slathered them with! 

The sky became more overcast as the day wore on, I had to put the furnace on for awhile as the winds became stronger and chillier.  However, when my friend picked me up later in the evening to go to the Celtic concert, I was still able to get away with wearing only a suit jacket over my blouse without feeling chilly.

The concert was amazing!!!  It ran on until after 11pm, so we had to slip out during the encore so my friend could get enough sleep to be in good shape for work today.  I didn't care.  I received more than my $25 ticket price from the entertainment in the first half of the show.  

If you love Celitic music and ever have the chance to see the touring group "Echoes of Erin", make sure you take advantage of it and attend their show.  They are world class performers: musicians, singers, dancers and story tellers.  It isn't a large group, but each member has many musical talents and abilities.  O my goodness, Regina is blessed so often with touring groups that are magnificently talented.  Given the chance I would go and see the exact same show again tonight!!  This particular tour was subtitled, "Echoes of 1916" and featured music that led up to the 1916 Easter Uprising in Ireland's struggle for political independence.  Some of the songs and stories would break your heart. 

From the brochure we received at the concert:
"It traces the quest for Irish cultural and political independence, beginning with the 1798 rebellion, moving on to Young Ireland in the 1840's, Fenianism in the 1860's and the Gaelic Revival of 1880's onwards. Echoes of 1916 culminates in the Easter rising which consolidated republicanism as a central part of Irish nationalism."

I am most grateful my friend told me about this concert and invited me to come to it.  What a great way to end a nearly perfect day celebrating the onset of the autumn season. Never have I been prouder of my Irish ancestry!