Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Thinner Summer

I made a wonderful discovery earlier this week while out walking in the heat:  I have lost sufficient weight that when  I walk down the street the insides of my thighs no longer rub together!!  Only a person who has weighed enough to struggle with sweaty, chafed inner thighs on a miserably hot day will understand why such a thing is worth a blog post of its very own!!!!

An Intense Day

It was an intense day yesterday in every possible way.  My husband had an intense 7 hour round trip drive to assist at a funeral filled with intense emotion, held in intense heat.

The funeral was held in a giant grain storage quonset with seats for 750 folk but nearly 1000 people came to pay their respects to the 2 boys who died and their remaining family. Although the funeral was held in the late morning, by the time it ended my husband could feel the heat attracted by the metal building radiating off the walls and into space occupied by so many.  The local Huttarian Brethren created and built a rather unique coffin that held the bodies of both boys.  Apparently they had been best friends all their young lives and so it seemed fitting to bury them together.  The intensity of the grief really hit my husband.  As an assistant, not in charge of the entire funeral and of comforting the family, he was unable to be distracted by leading the event.  As he sat and looked out over the congregants he said their grief was palpable and left him with an extremely heavy heart.  Our entire diocese was effected by these deaths.  

Today has been a bit less intense.  The temperature this afternoon is only +27C in comparison with yesteday's +33C.  That few degrees cooler makes a big difference in being able to cope with the warmth of the summer.  My husband spent the morning getting caught up on paper work, completing his blog entry for our national church blog and getting ready to travel to our other town for a day of pastoral visits and mentoring.  

I started my day off very actively. By 8:30am I was out in my incredibly ugly but functional yard work wear, hacking at the tall weeds in the property along the alleyway behind the garage. All the rain last week gave those weeds super powers in the area of growth!  It is wonderful to have a very large and powerful weed whacker as I had the entire job completed in about an hour.  Getting active so early in the day keeps me geared up for my afternoon and evening walks.  Really enjoyed this afternoon's foray downtown as the things I needed to purchase were all in stock and at least somewhat reasonably priced.  It was sufficiently cooler than yesterday's sweat inducing wander about town that I was able to pick up the pace a bit.  I am finding that although I am getting my daily exercise done, I simply lack the same nervous energy that happens when it is cooler outside.  I haven't accomplished much power walking the past week.

Well, enough of a break....time to go and fill our water jugs with RO water, clean out the bird bath, mend a pair of pants and then see what I feel like cooking for dinner.  I am on my own tonight as my husband has a dinner meeting out of town.  Some chicken is looking rather appealing and I think I will stir fry it with some Korean brown rice, corn and leftover spaghetti squash.  It sounds like an odd combination, BUT a tablespoon of salsa over the top of it all and it will be delicious.

Hope you are all enjoying your day today, wherever you may be.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Bit of Everything

The temperature is finally starting to rise into the +30's.  At last it is truly summer on the prairies.  I was able to mow the front grass this morning before it got too hot.  I can't believe it takes me over 2hours, including the weed whipping.  Guess I am just not so speedy.

My husband had planned to go out tonight and set up the tall ladder so he could trim our overgrown hedge.  It is over 6 feet tall, nearly 10 feet at the corner.  However, he got a nice surprise today.  Later this month some men from the local church are going to cut the whole thing down to a more reasonable height. YIPPEE! He is very busy right now in his last week of work before holidays, so is very relieved he doesn't have to tackle that hedge. Tomorrow I will go out and take off the limbs that are starting to hang out and over the sidewalk so people can walk by without getting tangled up.

Some men from the church are coming over in a couple of weeks to lay laminate wood flooring in the rectory living room and take out the badly stained carpet.  What a lovely treat for me...less allergens and a floor that will be so easy to keep clean and fresh looking.

The lady who found my lost ring delivered it to my front door this afternoon.  It is really comforting to have it back again.  She had another parishioner with her and they came in for a cup of tea and a short visit.  What fun to have company in the middle of a week day afternoon. My husband was able to take a few minutes out of his day to join in....and to make the tea.  Have I all ready mentioned I make the worst tea on the planet?

We received some pay today, unexpectedly, for an event at the church last month.  What a nice treat that will help with holiday expenses.

My husband is heading out very early in the morning so that he can drive nearly 3 hours to assist at the funeral for the 2 boys killed in a farming accident earlier this week.  It is going to be a huge funeral.  Chairs for 750 people are being set up in a large grain storage quonset building, but we suspect that won't be nearly enough seating.  The parents of the boys are from a founding family of the town. They are well known by many generations of people from miles around.  Unfortunately, due to the grain dust and the incredible heat predicted for tomorrow, I can't go with my husband.  I can't risk a severe asthma attack from the grain dust after a 3 hour drive when he is needed at the funeral and can't just take me home at the drop of a hat...or an atomizer.  I will have to be there in spirit and in prayer.

I am getting my hair cut this week.  I am so happy to be able to get it done prior to holidays.

We got looking at our September schedule today and discovered that the way the dates fall for clergy conference and a couple of diocesan committees my husband is on means we get to be out of town and in a motel for 8 (EIGHT) nights in a row so that he can attend all these mandatory events.  I will be able to stay in my favourite prairie town and see lots of friends while he is otherwise engaged.  YIPPEE!  YES!!!  It makes up for the disappointment of my spring and summer plans falling through.

If all goes well, we are going to take our final week of holidays sometime in October.  Our plan is to do a repeat of our spring trip if we can get into our usual hotel.  Our son will have come back to earth by then, regrouped, and have his exhibition at the Burnaby Art Gallery well under way.  We may actually be able to be there in time to see it.  So far we are batting a big fat zero for being able to make it to any of his art shows.  His present show at Ottawa Art Gallery was impossible for us to get to and of course we couldn't afford the time or money to fly to New York for the final school exhibition last weekend.  I love Vancouver and hope we can indeed return there for our last holiday of the year.

On this past Sunday some former members of one of our congregations were visiting in the area and able to attend the church service.  It was wonderful to see them again.  The kids have grown so tall and matured a lot since I last saw them.

Later this week we are going to the next town north to visit our 100 year old parishioner.  I want to get her a very special card.

On our very first day of holidays next week some Alberta friends are stopping in for breakfast as they pass through the area.  We are so looking forward to seeing them.

Things have been going well this past week.  There are many things coming up in the near future that I am looking forward to.  Road trips always make me happy and the thought of all the ones coming up is filling me with joy.  Although my husband will be travelling to do a lot of work at the other end of the road, a change is always restful for him no matter how much work he has to do when he gets there.  

Well, time for sleep.  We have to get up at a ridiculously early hour in the morning so my husband can get to that funeral on time.  He is looking forward to being able to express his sympathy in person to the family. 

Oh, wait.....there is boxing on tv. Maybe I can just stay up a little longer to watch it and just enjoy being tired tomorrow?? 

 

The Return of the Ring

I received an email yesterday from one of the parishioners in our other church and it contained happy news for me.

I have been so disappointed since losing a very special ring several months ago somewhere in the vicinity of that church.  It just fell off my finger and while it wasn't the end of the world, it was very annoying as I like that ring so much and it wasn't inexpensive to purchase.  I announced the loss at church the week after I realized it was missing and one of the ladies told me she would petition St. Anthony, patron saint of lost articles, on my behalf.

Yesterday that same lady was cleaning the church and hall.  She moved a heavy potted plant toward the end of her vaccuming and there was my ring hiding under it.  She took a photo of the ring to send me to confirm it as my missing item and was thrilled that her petitions in prayer had resulted in finding it.  Me too!!

Thank you Heather, thank you St. Anthony, thank you Lord for a prayer answered.  Just one of those little answers that make a person feel loved by God because, while not a life and death necessity, it is a tremendous encouragement (for her and for me) to continue to pray and to seek that which is lost...on so many levels, not just missing items.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

And Now a Word From Elizabeth Barrett Browning

 
From ‘Aurora Leigh’  By Elizabeth Barrett Browning  (1806–1861)
The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917.  Nicholson & Lee, eds. 

TRUTH, so far, in my book;—the truth which draws          
Through all things upwards,—that a twofold world
Must go to a perfect cosmos. Natural things
And spiritual,—who separates those two     
In art, in morals, or the social drift            5
Tears up the bond of nature and brings death,          
Paints futile pictures, writes unreal verse,   
Leads vulgar days, deals ignorantly with men,        
Is wrong, in short, at all points. We divide   
This apple of life, and cut it through the pips,—             10
The perfect round which fitted Venus’ hand
Has perished as utterly as if we ate  
Both halves. Without the spiritual, observe,
The natural’s impossible,—no form,
No motion: without sensuous, spiritual                15
Is inappreciable,—no beauty or power:        
And in this twofold sphere the twofold man
(For still the artist is intensely a man)         
Holds firmly by the natural, to reach
The spiritual beyond it,—fixes still          20
The type with mortal vision, to pierce through,       
With eyes immortal, to the antetype
Some call the ideal,—better call the real,    
And certain to be called so presently
When things shall have their names. Look long enough              25
On any peasant’s face here, coarse and lined,          
You’ll catch Antinous somewhere in that clay,       
As perfect featured as he yearns at Rome    
From marble pale with beauty; then persist,
And, if your apprehension’s competent,               30
You’ll find some fairer angel at his back,    
As much exceeding him as he the boor,       
And pushing him with empyreal disdain      
For ever out of sight. Aye, Carrington          
Is glad of such a creed: an artist must,                 35
Who paints a tree, a leaf, a common stone   
With just his hand, and finds it suddenly     
A-piece with and conterminous to his soul. 
Why else do these things move him, leaf, or stone?
The bird’s not moved, that pecks at a spring-shoot;        40
Nor yet the horse, before a quarry, a-graze: 
But man, the twofold creature, apprehends  
The twofold manner, in and outwardly,        
And nothing in the world comes single to him,       
A mere itself,—cup, column, or candlestick,                   45
All patterns of what shall be in the Mount;  
The whole temporal show related royally,   
And built up to eterne significance   
Through the open arms of God. ‘There’s nothing great       
Nor small’, has said a poet of our day,                 50
Whose voice will ring beyond the curfew of eve     
And not be thrown out by the matin’s bell:  
And truly, I reiterate, nothing’s small!         
No lily-muffled hum of a summer-bee,        
But finds some coupling with the spinning stars;            55
No pebble at your foot, but proves a sphere;
No chaffinch, but implies the cherubim;      
And (glancing on my own thin, vein├Ęd wrist),         
In such a little tremor of the blood   
The whole strong clamour of a vehement soul                 60
Doth utter itself distinct. Earth’s crammed with heaven,    
And every common bush afire with God;     
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,    
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries,
And daub their natural faces unaware                  65
More and more from the first similitude.

Will I NEVER Learn????

I did something very stupid last night at dinner time.  I was lonely and decided to take myself out for dinner at a downtown restaurant that serves a delicious smaller portion of a chicken caesar salad, with one small slice of garlic toast and not an over abundance of dressing.  There are enough carbs without being too many.  

Without thinking, I ordered a diet cola as my drink.  One of the first things you learn in diabetes class about eating out is that you don't order any sort of soda unless it comes in an unopened can so you can verify that it is indeed a diet drink.  Why did I not think last night to ask if the drinks came in a can or from a soda fountain??  DUH!!

When my drink came, directly from the fountain, instead of tasting it first to ensure it was not sugared soda, I squeezed the lemon juice from the salad's accompanying lemon wedge into the glass and drank it down!  About 2o minutes later, as I was finishing up my salad, my waitress appeared to inform me she had accidentally given me regular soda instead of diet and hoped that was okay, giggle giggle, con, con, con with cuteness.

Alas, I had to inform her in no uncertain terms that it most certainly was not okay, that I had diabetes and had just consumed enough sugar to put me into a coma.  Of course I was wasting my breath and my anger because why would she care about my health issues, right?  Her response was a cheery, "Oh, okay.  Your bill comes to......"  Sigh.....really the main fault was my own for not thinking about what I was ordering and ensuring my own safety.  Double DUH!!

So, live and learn.  I exercised for a full hour between my 20 minute walk home from downtown and the stretching exercises and then doing power laps around the house for another half hour or more.  Fortunately for me, all the exercise kept my sugar at a reasonable number and it only climbed 2.6 points out of a possible "still kinda safe" 3 points.  

I scared myself so badly it is unlikely I will ever forget again about restaurant soda problems.  Maybe that is not such a bad thing.  The scare lasted into today, so when I had to make an almond cake for a potluck lunch we will be at tomorrow, I was happy to just eat my allowed 1.5 inch un-iced square of it to test it out before wrapping it up.  It made for a nice snack at snack time and I require no more of it now that I know it turned out well.  (I am not a baker, so even the most simple cakes and cookies need a test taste before I dare give them to anyone else.)

If a person's blood sugar drops much under 4.0, a quarter cup of sugared soda is usually all that is required to raise the blood sugar back to normal range.  I consumed about that much plus another full cup!  Aiii yiiii....I am so grateful to God that I didn't spiral out of control and that I at least had sufficient grasp on reality to understand it was time to exercise like a maniac for a good long time.  His grace truly was sufficient for me last night!  WHEW!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Congratulations Son!!

I am delighted to report that my son was able to successfully defend his Masters thesis yesterday.  Apparently it was a brutal panel and even though he was informed at that time of his passing grade, the chair of the committee called him again this morning to talk some more.  His world view, coupled with his resulting philosophies, is beyond their comprehension apparently and his success thus far in his field, even with those ideologies  has astounded them.  

What it really is, is that he is just like his father in the wonderful world of logical argument.  They both have the ability to take anyone's apparently logical ideas, stretch out the logic to its ultimate conclusion and then slap the other person in the face with his or her own world view and its ultimate illogic. I wish I had been secretly there to listen to the heated discussion that ensued yesterday. According to my son it was rather intense.

What matters to his parents and the rest of the family is that ultimately he passed and will how have his Master of Fine Arts degree.  We have all sacrificed to make this happen for him and he has achieved his goal. 

HUGE CONGRATULATIONS SON!!!  WE ARE VERY PROUD OF YOU!! 

You have worked like a mad fool to make this degree happen.  You have defended your ideas with your usual precision and dogged determination and you have not backed down from your personal beliefs about art and life.

When you get home we are going to find a way to come and visit and hear the rest of the story of your final summer at university. We look forward with great excitement to what happens next.