Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Comfort Dinner

If you have spent your life on the prairies, or grown up in a small western city like the Calgary of the 1950's as I did, you will relate to this dining blog.

Some of the restaurants of our current town of residence are a lot like the diners in Calgary back when I was a kid.  Last night after an arduous therapy session that included more pain than usual,  followed by my first foray back into the shopping mall, my foot was exhausted, my brain was exhausted and I craved some old fashioned comfort food.

Dell was tired too and I didn't want him to have to cook, so we went to one of the local eateries.  I knew it was where I wanted to go for the prairie ambience and a taste of the old style diner food I remember from my childhood.

The restaurant did not disappoint.  While our waitress refrained from the standard diner "youse" vocabulary, she was loud, proud of being so busy and obviously racing about full speed ahead hoping we would all notice her diligence.  An elderly man sitting in the booth behind me, deaf as a post, attempted to carry on a conversation with another fellow 2 booths away, preventing Dell and I from talking to each other as we couldn't compete with the hollering between the 2 of them, but providing us with some great chuckles and grins as the 2 men tried to hear what each other had said.  The unfinished wood panelling on the walls (is that even legal in a food establishment??) was stained and starting to loosen at the corners.  The panelling and the filthy looking torn green carpet were visibly incongruous with the newly upholstered booths and re-topped tables.  It is likely the panelling and carpet will remain as they are until the booths and tables are once again ready to be changed.  While everything around us was well scrubbed for immediate cleanliness, the furnishings were beyond ever looking clean again.

We looked at the Evening Specials board and made our choices.  I chose a seafood platter which I assumed would be still  highly overpriced for what I would get.  Sure enough:  small town quality, big city price, but we were there for the particular experience and we got it in spades. The food is from the 50's but the prices are totally up to date!  haha  

I started with the cream of broccoli soup and here were the textures and flavours I was craving:  thick floury glop made up the body of the soup broth, and in it floated large awkwardly cut pieces of rubbery broccoli.  I poured as much pepper into it as I could stand and sighed with pleasure.  There is a steamed, stainless steel tinged flavourlessness in these old fashioned soups and that is exactly what I was after.  I felt like I was 5 years old again back in Calgary at the old Bay Cafeteria with my grandma.

My main course consisted of a rather nice mixture of properly cooked vegetables in a tasty herb mixture. There were baby corn cobs, cauliflower, carrot, yellow peppers, and onion but once again in large unevenly cut pieces.  This dish had at least been prepared right in the restaurant kitchen.  My standard 2 ice cream scoops of mashed potatoes were covered in thick layer of beef gravy....if you have never eaten a mouthful of battered cod smothered in commercial beef gravy you are missing a real 1950's treat! Forget the tartar sauce, bring on the cornstarch thickened commercial gravy!!  Absolutely! I am not kidding. Deeeelish!! (well at least for a '50's kid) As I suspected the fish had not been prepared fresh in the kitchen.  The shrimp, cod and halibut must have been prepared, battered and frozen somewhere else on the planet and the pieces simply thrown into a deep fryer at my local restaurant.  The oil hadn't been quite fresh.......aah, just as I remember.  I could almost see a press seam in the batter along the outside edges of the pieces of fish.  At least there was a fair amount of actual fish under that batter and it wasn't over cooked.  BUT the most hilarious part of the seafood platter was that there were exactly TWO shrimp on my plate. Yup, TWO!!!  Guess the cook didn't want to get too carried away providing seafood on the seafood platter.  Wouldn't want the customers getting ideas above their station.  I was laughing too hard to ask the waitress where the rest of them had disappeared to.  hahaha  We never did get our garlic toast but we were so full of fat and grease and salty batter that we couldn't have eaten it.  We washed our meal down with good old fashioned Pepsi and the 50's diner picture was complete for me.  What a wonderful time!  Our first date in 3 months!

I came home and slept like a log......or maybe it was a grease induced coma, but today I woke up feeling just great for the first time in weeks.  Yay 50's diner, the great provider of comfort food after a long and painful day.

Tonight my physiotherapist is coming to dinner. Dell is making butter chicken, basmati rice, palak paneer (spinach and cheese curd), and mangalore (curried cauliflower and potatoes)  Time to step things up after last night's date.  I think it is commonly known as "one extreme to the other"!!

Therapy Update etc.

Yesterday was the weekly physio appt.  It went far better than I was expecting and I can now walk inside the house without my cane.  With the latest onslaught of snow and ice I am not allowed to go out without it nor without my good strong husband to hang onto, but it is freeing to be working on correcting my gait at home without a cane to trip over.  I have new exercises now and all of them are standing exercises at last, working toward practical movements.  

On the one hand it is really exciting.  On the other hand it is one more phase completed in returning to my real life and leaving behind my spoiled and pampered existence of the past 3 months.  I have to be honest and admit I shed a little tear about that this morning.

Physio always ends with a wonderful deep massage on my foot.  Yesterday's was a bit brutal but those tendons have got to stretch and stretch they did.  I am conscious still this morning of a change in movement for my ankle after that massage.  It is good.

After physio I took my first little walk around the downtown grocery store, followed by a trip to the local prairie style mall.  Our mall has become typical of the smaller town prairie malls of the first 12 years of this century:  mostly empty bays with the odd store, usually clothing or dollar stores, interspersed along the ever darkening indoor walkways. Economically retail is in terrible shape in prairie towns.  Bottom line profits for the chain retail stores has led them to close their smaller centre venues and concentrate the money on the city stores.  The relative ease of travel to the cities for "supplies" even for elderly drivers has also taken a heavy toll on the local retail businesses.  In terms of retail our little town is becoming a ghost town and it is happening at a frightening rate of speed.  At this point at our mall you can't purchase so much as a glass of juice, let alone a snack or a meal.  We have even lost one of our McDonalds outlets!  As nice as it was to get out of the house yesterday, the walk around the mall was depressing.  When I felt my foot had reached its limit for exercise I sat down on a bench in the mall and watched the people for awhile.....all 7 of them that passed by.  There were a few more in the mall grocery store  but only because it was a shopping day for one of the nearby Hutterite colonies. I began to realize why staying mostly in the house for 3 months in a row has not been depressing!

To end my first day out we decided to use a gift certificate we had been given for a local restaurant.  That experience is worth of its own posting so will do that later today.  haha

I have a set schedule now for my physio exercises.  I have from 1pm to 2pm set aside and will have a blast doing some that are like doing line dancing.  One of them has steps that remind me of doing the old Charleston!!  (look it up, young people, look it up!)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Worried About a Friend

I have just read an email from a dear friend and it has me rather upset for her.  A few days ago she and her husband were returning home to SK from a lovely trip in the Caribbean when she felt nauseated on the plane.  As she attempted to get to the washroom she suddenly fainted, fell, and now has a spiral fracture of her left fibula.  She has fainted a few times in the past few weeks with no diagnosis yet as to why.  Now she has a broken leg and is stranded in Toronto while flights cancelled due to storms on the weekend are rebooked and rescheduled.  She and her husband are supposed to be returning to SK tomorrow evening.  

One reason I find this friend so easy to love is that she has a wonderful sense of humour, PLUS things happen to her that are the sorts of things that also seem to happen to me. 

The laughter in her painful story stems from the flight attendants' refusal to move her from the floor of the plane in order to avoid more damage to her leg.  She lay on the floor for over 90 minutes until the plane landed in Toronto.  She had fainted right in front of the washroom doors, trapping some poor gentleman inside the washroom the entire time.  The flight staff kept passing him new magazines to read in there!  hahahahaha Now THAT'S funny!!!!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Coming to HBO March 8

I am delighted that last night's Academy Award winning documentary is coming to HBO on March 8. 

The documentary, by Pakistani/Canadian Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, is called "Saving Face" and follows plastic surgeon Dr. Mohammad Jawad and 2 of his female patients who have had acid thrown into their faces as a form of abuse and punishment.

Film maker Obaid-Chinoy dedicated her award to all the women of Pakistan as they continue their fight against such abuse.  I applaud her courage in making this film and bringing this kind of abuse into the light.

I was also delighted to hear Canadian actor Christopher Plummer's witty acceptance speech for his best supporting actor award for Beginners.  It is about time! 

The Awards were full of the usual vacuous people with silly expensive diva dresses and musical chairs spouses/partners as well as host Billy Crystal and his tired, aging Jewish comedian delivery of expected jokes.  The whole show seemed to be tired this year despite the best and shortest acceptance speeches that I appreciated as a viewer.  I remember when the Academy Awards ran up to an hour overtime.  Last night it ran over less than 8 minutes. That was a relief.

Movies are not doing so well at the box office any more.  Now there are satellite movie channels, Netflix, computer downloads and even apps to download movies onto iPads and cell phone screens.  I don't think all this technology is helping to improve the quality of movies.  There may be little reason to create a huge screen blockbuster these days as the viewing screens are becoming smaller for the audience.  It seems any old garbage will do any more for a movie, as evidenced by the popularity of the Harold and Kumar movies and the fact that a gross female toilet joke movie, Bridesmaids, was actually nominated for Best Picture! 

Like a number of other people I think I have seen my last Academy Awards. The number of new movies I watch each year is rapidly declining. The movies aren't interesting any more, the scripts and plot lines are the basest possible and some excellent actors are being forced into participating in this filth in order to stay employed.

Movies from North America, like access to medical assistance, seem to be going in reverse and sending us backward into 3rd world status.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Grandma's Symptoms

A reader has asked me about the symptoms my grandmother displayed after her so called epileptic seizures began.  They are so very odd that I will describe them here for interest sake.

Grandma only had 2 or 3 episodes that would be described today as true epileptic seizures.  She had her first stroke  in her very early 30's and Dad remembers he and Pop caring for her for a long time as she recovered, but with no apparent lingering symptoms despite the severity of the attack.  Her first seizure after that happened when I was in elementary school about 15 years later.  She got up in the middle of the night and had a seizure in the bathroom of her and Pop's apartment and damaged herself quite severely by hitting the toilet and sink when she fell.

From that time on Grandma had brain function problems on a regular basis.  She was a constant smoker and it is miracle she didn't manage to burn down any of the places she and Pop lived over the years.  The dark humour of our family reared itself when Pop went back to work several years after his retirement from the a dispatcher for their local fire department.

Grandma didn't display any overt symptoms of her problem.  There was no slurred speech, no struggle to find words or to hang onto objects, no ungainly limping when she walked.  Unless she had an episode when you were with her you would not know there was anything wrong with her. 

But many times when we were sitting talking there would be an episode.  Grandma would be talking and suddenly stop mid sentence.  Immediately she would begin to hum, one note clear and strong.  After a few seconds of this  humming she would stop and it was as if she had entered a kind of catatonic state.  Her eyes were glazed over and saw nothing, her brain didn't register, and her body continued to sit erect in her chair as if she was a well crafted wax figure. She would sit immobilized for a few seconds or up to a couple of minutes.  Usually she had a lit cigarette in her hand which would occasionally have time to burn down to her fingers and burn her skin, with no apparent mental reaction, before she began once again to hum.  She would hum for several more seconds and then her eyes would clear and she would continue her conversation right from the last word she had uttered as if no passage of time had occurred. If we had removed a cigarette from her hand her first words after completing the sentence she had zoned out on, were often, "Where the hell is my cigarette?" She had no idea her mind had been MIA.

As a kid it terrified me.  It didn't happen every hour or even every day.  No one knew when it would happen.  After the humming and zoning out started she only had a couple of the larger seizures in the 20 or so years before another stroke ended her life at 62.

Pop returned to work after retirement partly to have a break from having to watch her every second, but that increased his stress by having to worry about whether or she would burn herself badly or burn down their apartment building while he was at work. She refused to have someone stay with her and flatly, doggedly refused to give up her cigarettes. She gave herself, the carpets and furniture, some very bad burns over the years.  Now, as an adult myself I can't imagine the stress my Pop and father went through worrying about her.

The night we got the phone call that she had passed away my father was hysterical with grief.  They had been close, particularly after her first stroke when Dad had been old enough to truly look after her.  My Pop never really recovered and made a very bad second marriage not too long before he himself died of cancer.  My feisty little grandma had been like a runaway train in our forceful despite her tiny stature, and not giving a rat's patootie about other peoples' opinions. My dad is a lot like her in that respect.  From his mother he learned that he had the power to do whatever he wanted whenever he wanted and if other people didn't like it, well too bad for them, he couldn't care less.  He has, and he doesn't....just like Grandma.

She survived many things as a child and young adult, some of which we can only speculate about.  She had many secrets which she nursed to herself and if Pop knew about them he never told.  In her later life she survived her brain problems with dignity and a refusal to let them stop her from living life in her own way.     

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Child's Garden of Wonder

Today I have been thinking about the amazing ability  young children have to enjoy the experience of the newness of the world around them.

What I am remembering today is the first time we took our son, Eli, to the mountains for a full day of exploring.  He was about 8 months old and Dell strapped Eli on his back in a child's backpack seat.  That made him taller than Dell and brought him closer to the tree branches and long grasses on the mountainside beside the trail. There were some squirrels that captured his attention and they enjoyed eating the peanuts he fed them when we stopped by a big rock to eat our lunch.

As we wandered along Eli was so involved in the wonderful world of flora and fauna, so amazed by what he was seeing, that he was rendered nearly speechless for the entire day.  The squirrels elicited a few little squeaks of pleasure from my son's lips, but for the most part he was completely awestruck by every tree leaf, twig, mountain flower and insect.  He wanted to stop and pat the tree trunks, examine every flower petal and insect mottled leaf, and gaze endlessly at the narrow river below us that led eventually to a gushing waterfall that sprayed water on his eager upturned face. He giggled at the ants crossing the trail and waved his hands at the bluebottle flies.  The wonder on his face never ceased for the several hours we were there. It was as if he couldn't believe what he was seeing. At one point he held up a particularly lovely green leaf and his eyes filled with tears as he managed to stammer, "Pretty.....pretty..." He sobbed when we had to leave this magical kingdom for the drive home.

How I would love to recapture that kind of wonder about the world...about anything at all really. Life has become so practical and far too "grown up" to express or even to genuinely feel such childlike emotions stirred by something so simple as a leaf.  I want that kind of naivety back....somewhere in my life there must be room for it.  I had glimpses of it when visiting other countries, but still my adult reflexes got in my way. I am sometimes accused of being too much of a free spirit and that is true to an extent, but I still feel myself drawing back from the intensity of emotion that occasionally rears itself over a simple thing of beauty.  I don't want to do that any more.  I want to enjoy deep and true emotions without feeling the need to be embarrassed or apologetic if someone else sees.  I am certain it must be in me still.....I want to be able to release it sometimes and once again experience that pure joy.

My Own Family

 I am going to concentrate on my grandparents in this post.  I don't want to say a lot about my own parents or about growing up. My parents should not have had children but they did the best they could.  After a year of narrative therapy with a wonderful counsellor, I am in the process of "rewriting" my own history from a more positive point of view and it will take awhile yet.  What I will say is that, unlike my husband, I became an adult with no skills such as cooking, sewing, or carpentry, no clue as to what I wanted to do with my life and no concept of how to get there if I had known.  I knew how to clean a house and how to pick out nice clothes and how to be a good listener, the sum total of my skill set.  Running a chain saw was completely out of the bounds even of my imagination, let alone abilities.  My husband is an amazing man who saw and continues to see beyond my ability to be afraid of anything new, my physical challenges with chronic asthma and allergies, my inability to think through the simplest problems, my emotional confusion, and my lack of life skills. As far as the things of this earth he has been my salvation.

Both my maternal and paternal grandparents left me with a concept for a new tv game show.  It would be called "How Did These People Ever Get Together??" 

My dad's parents were a most interesting pair:  Pop was a peasant Irishman as I have written in a previous post.....born in County Armagh Ireland in 1903, emigrating to  Canada in 1905.  He had several brothers, none of whom I really ever knew well as I don't think my Dad was that close to any of them.  I have vague memories of a couple of them.  One of them joined a religious cult and I met none of my relatives on his side of the family as a result.  Pop was a real man's man, tradesman, strong in some ways but an emotional pushover in others.  He worked hard but making money wasn't his goal.  He enjoyed his work and he enjoyed his buddies.  He wasn't a drinker, although he may have smoked himself to an early death. He wasn't necessarily the brightest candle on the cake in some ways, but he had a heart of gold.  He was the provincial head honcho of a secret society that threw the best kids parties in all the land, and while as an adult I grew to have no use for that secret society I do respect his lifelong committment to it and the integrity with which he protected its tenets.  

Pop married Grandma in the 1920's.  Grandma was a feisty outspoken woman.  Her mother was what was known in the earlier part of the last centry as a "half breed" and in Grandma's society of the early 1900's it was not acceptable to descend from such a person. To add insult to injury her father and mother divorced prior to 1920 and thus was another scandal added to her all ready difficult young life.  She was the oldest of the 4 children and her youngest sister died of diptheria at 19, a devastating loss to Grandma who had more or less taken care of her siblings after the departure of their mother.  I did meet her father and his second wife when I was a little girl, and I remember the second wife as being a cold and forbidding woman.  Great Grandpa had no interest in me at all and I saw him only rarely. Grandma's ancestors had been United Empire Loyalists and I have our family quilt from that era.  Some of her male relatives moved south into the United States in the 1800's and married black women, freed slaves apparently.  The family history of these men ends with the recording of their marriages. On old copies of the family tree we see entries like "John Maither married Eliza Smith (black)" and thus ended any further entries to that branch of the family.

Pop and Grandma spent a lot of time arguing about their various trades businesses.  In fact I can't think of anything they didn't argue about.  haha  They seemed to have nothing whatever in common but they loved each other underneath all the outward fierceness.  They were both good to me although Grandma had a sharp tongue that kept me somewhat frightened of her.  When Grandma developed a type of epilepsy, the great catch all phrase for unexplained interruptions in normal brain function, Pop cared for her so well.  It was a terrible trial for them to deal with this illness over several decades but he never complained.  I remember them coming to visit us once after they had moved to another province. Grandma had experienced an "incident" in the car before they arrived so Pop came in our door carrying her on his back.  When she died of a stroke at the age of 62 it devastated him for the few years he outlived her. He was never the same after that.

My mother's parents seemed a pair equally mismatched.  Grannie was the original definition of the term "Bible thumper" and Grandpa was a reprobate of biblical proportions. They could not have been more opposite!  I never heard any stories as to how they got together and my imagination is too limited to figure it out!!  Grandpa was a farmer, a taxi business operator, a hunter and fisherman, a real guy's guy.  He supported his 6 daughters financially but remained emotionally uninvolved in their lives.  Grannie was forever making sure that the girls went to church and Bible camps and they went to junior high school on a staunchly evangelical campus in another town.  I suspect Grannie felt vindicated when one of the girls became an African missionary, the highest rung on the evangelical ladder in those days.  The girls all turned out well, 6 completely different personalities and interests in life.  I never really knew Grandpa, in fact I suspect he deliberately scheduled fishing trips and hunting trips when he knew we were coming to minimize the amount of time he had to spend in a house full of family, but I remember that man could step dance like no one else. He would always be called upon to step dance at my cousin's weddings. It was amazing. I also remember a time when I was quite young, visiting their house and playing with little toy cars.  There was a huge ironwork furnace grate in the living room floor and I accidentally dropped a plastic car down there into the furnace.  I was horrified.  I had visions of having broken the furnace and the rank odor of melting plastic taking over the house.  I started to cry and Grandpa heard me so he came to investigate.  I confessed to what had happened and he patted me on the head and said it was nothing to worry about. And that was the end of more discussion and no punishment.  The simplicity of his response has stayed etched in my memory as it wasn't what I was used to. That is the only time I remember him actually speaking directly to me and it was a lovely encounter.

Looking back at my grandparents and my memories of them I will always wonder how either set got together: 2 couples, each person, each pair so different from the other.  I wish I knew more about them, more family history, but recording details would have been a luxury none of them could afford to take the time to do.  I have some very old photos of them that spark my interest each time I look at them, but I won't ever know now any more about them than what I remember of my own encounters and what few details my parents can remember.  All 4 of my grandparents seemed like hard people in their own way, tough from having to survive life in the early part of the last century.  Mom's dad did well financially and was a big time farmer even during the depression, with hired men and hired house girls year round.  Dad's dad didn't fare as well financially but was always employed even during the worst of times. It was a different work ethic than my husband's family but an equally demanding one. It rubbed off on my own parents in some ways as my mom was in an elite group of married career women in the 1950's and my father battled rheumatic fever to become a music teacher and a school teacher, taking summer school courses nearly every year of my young life to complete the university courses he had to leave when he became ill.  

My husband and son are both workaholics like our parents  and grandparents were. As for me....well someone has to sit back and take it easy and just create a home for the workaholics to come home to on their rare breaks from work.  Taking care of them has been my whole life and many of my own jobs have ended in order to take care of them better.  I like and have always liked being a stay at home wife and mom and resented all my jobs for taking me away from that over the years. I am not sure what I have in common with my grandparents or parents but I see certain family traits in myself sometimes.  It is fascinating how such things are passed on.  

Families.........can't live with them, wouldn't be alive without them. 


Friday, February 24, 2012

My In-Laws

Yesterday my sister-in-law had some surgery.  It will leave her walking pain free for the first time in a very long time.  She has done well with the procedure and will be able to walk again in a few weeks without a cast.

Talking to her last night got me thinking about my family of in-laws.  We are not a close bunch. It isn't in me to be close to anyone much.  As a rule I don't do "close", even with friends of many years.

But I have a lot of admiration for my husband's family. Both his parents were prairie farm born and raised, learning at very young ages that life is about hard work and lots of it. As adults their work ethic continued.  Dad went off to the war weeks after marrying Mom.  It wasn't long before he was sent overseas and she didn't see him again for 4 years. He saw some hard times and after an injury  in the Italian campaign he was at last shipped home, a different man than the one Mom married.  While he was gone Mom worked, and worked hard.

They homesteaded in central Alberta shortly after the war, close to the shores of Lesser Slave Lake, in a community that in those days I can only describe as the hillbilly centre of Alberta. When I first visited there in the '70's it  hadn't changed much.  Most of the people were poorly educated, although incredibly hard working.  Mom and Dad had not had opportunity for advanced education either but they stood out from the crowd because of their interest in the "outside world" that seemed to be missing from many of their neighbours.  My husband and his sister learned quickly that their family did not consider the home area to be the centre of the universe.  The local school teachers and visitors from out of town were often "put up" at my husband's family farm home, a small 2 room cabin with a wood stove and lanterns, so that all the family could learn about the world around them.  The love of learning has stuck with both my husband and his sister to this day and they both enjoyed a university education. There was little money at the best of times in subsistance farming, no tv, and a party line phone for only the last few years of their occupancy in that house.  Dad was a kind of horse whisperer who did amazing well with livestock, and kept their ancient farm machinery running.  His strength provided him with the opportunity to be the bouncer at community dances.  Mom cooked, cleaned, sewed, mother'd, farmed, drove the truck and also kept the farm running when Dad became very ill while my husband was a teenager.  The illness eventually ended their farming life so the farm was sold for pittance and off Mom and Dad went to Vancouver Island. They were able to purchase 2 acres there and once again worked and worked hard to build a lovely 2 bedroom home. They spent months living in the garage they erected first and of course the entire house structure was built by themselves, as both were excellent carpenters. They invented their own tools when unable to purchase or find the usual ones, a skill my husband has learned and utilizes to this day. They cared for Mom's elderly parents for many years.

Dad passed away in 2001 and Mom is bravely soldiering on as best she can with a debilitating chronic illness and the loss of memory that often happens to people nearing the age of 92.  Dell's sister spends weeks and weeks of every year going to be with Mom and helping with her medical and living arrangements while working as a highschool tutor after a long life of teaching and enjoying a new marriage with a husband who works as hard as she does.

They are a long living tough breed, this family I have married into.  They are true Prairie Folk. There was no time on the prairies when my in-laws were growing up for frivolity or special interests or hobbies.  Making a living day to day was all there was time for.  I see the remnants of that still here in the town where we live: people in their 90's still actively farming their own land, working in the businesses their parents founded in the dust bowl land of the Dirty Thirties.  I am humbled and tempted to be embarrassed by my own lack of ability to work that hard and to be so focused on survival.  I am trying to learn as much as I can from these practical souls.  My own family background is a bit different and it shows in the differences between my husband and I.  

One of the first times I went anywhere with my husband-to-be we visited one of his work sites.  We had barely arrived when he started a large chain saw, handed it over to me with a command to watch for kickback and pointed to a pile of trees he expected me to saw the branches off of.  There are reasons I nearly passed out from shock and terror but that will be in my next post about my own family.         

Great News From Japan

Such a happy day for us today!  A dear friend in Japan had to undergo a long surgery on Feb. 10 to repair some serious heart problems.  It was touch and go as to the outcome of the surgery, but today we received word from him that the surgery was a success.  He is well and happy and whole.  This same friend was unable to let us know for several months after last year's earthquake and tsunami that he and his 2 country homes had not been lost in the horrendous shaking and floods in Fukushima Prefecture, and for a time we thought he had died.  But now we know he is fine, healing from a frightening surgery, and all is well.  I don't know how to say "Whew!" in Japanese but that is how I feel!

The Healing Power of Chinese Food Canadian Style!

Last night I stayed home alone overnight for the first time since my accident.  Now that I can walk with a cane at least well enough to get around the kitchen properly again it is safe for Dell to be away when he needs to be for work.

So, I decided that since we have hardly eaten any restaurant food at all in over 3 months it was time to give myself a treat:  cantonese chow mein, szechwan chicken with peppers, mixed veggies, and almond chicken.  I admit I prefer Canadian style Chinese fare to the real Chinese cuisine.  There is something tummy comforting in all the fat and salt and gummy sauces mixed into the somewhat boring selection of vegetables and not quite credible bits of meat.  Real Chinese cuisine, although far healthier of course, includes a few too many fish heads and other fishy body parts to settle well with either my digestive system or my olfactory nerves. 

For under $50 I ended up with enough food to feed myself for a week!  However after dinner last night and lunch today the rest will be eaten up for tonight's dinner when Dell gets home from a very busy couple of days. Dell likes to eat!  With a winter storm warning hanging over our entire province for the next 48 hours it will be our little treat without ever having to leave the house.  15 or more cm of snow accompanied by the white out conditions spawned by winds of 60-80 km will not faze us.  Nope, not us with our tummies crammed full of the aforementioned delights.  

I woke up in the wee hours this morning with the first throbbing ankle I have experienced since the break.....working it too hard with the physio I suppose.  I started to worry a bit, but then the tummy filled with Chinese food reminded me of how great life can be.  I lulled myself back to sleep with thoughts of broccoli al dente and giant prawns.  When I woke up again a few hours later my ankle was fine. 

Chinese Food: the great healer of my body and mind. Sometimes life is very good indeed!     

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Church Strikes (Itself) Again

My heart is very sad today.  It is heavy with grief for the kingdom of God on earth.  We have shot ourselves in the foot in public  once again.

The other day I was reading the daily newspaper from a town I used to live in some years ago.  A group from a church of one denomination had sent a letter to the editor of the paper denouncing a church of another denomination for making  decisions about their practises and beliefs that are different from those of the group writing the letter.  They were quite proud of the fact that they disagreed and seemed to think that their opposing stance somehow elevated them in the sight of God and all humanity.  It was an outright attack on the second church and it occured in the most public and secular of forums.

I was very sad that members of Christ's church would use a public secular forum like a daily newpaper to air their disagreements and anger toward each other.  A letter that appeared in that same paper today echoed my thoughts, although in keeping with those thoughts that letter should perhaps not have been printed in the same forum either.  (The fact that it was signed by someone with the same name I use when writing on some blog sites is unfortunate.)

Why do we want to publically air our differences? Why do we experience, let alone strongly express in public, such incredible anger toward our own brothers and sisters in the Lord over differences in doctrine and practise in the first place?  And why, why, why do we feel a need to express it in a place where we give people who yet don't know Jesus another reason to shy away from him?? The Bible itself remains more silent than is comfortable for many of us when it comes to the details of acceptable doctrine and practise.  Could it be at least partly so that we as God's people can rather concentrate on learning to love and forgive and generally become more godly in our actions and reactions as we live our lives in the world?  Could it be that kindness and generosity as a lifestyle is more important overall than particulars of doctrines and church rites that bring us to near physical blows at times? Isn't God big enough and powerful enough to help us over time change whatever is wrong in our doctrines and practises? Is he more offended by our incorrect doctrines than by our anger toward those who disagree with us?  If he was, wouldn't he have intervened before now to give his church an outward unity?  Isn't a loving unity in the midst of diversity really what the kingdom is all about?

If those who do not yet know Jesus can't see loving forgiving unity between all of us with our varying scriptural interpretations how will they develop an interest in Jesus?  What do they see that makes us different and safer and more loving than the world in which they all ready live?  How can Jesus be seen to be compassionate and loving and accepting when his own people are not treating each other that way?

None of these are new thoughts of course.  There isn't space here to share all the theological knowledge and academic research surrounding this issue. However each time a person not yet knowing Jesus confronts me about these  sorts of issues I am frustrated and sad that Jesus is hampered once again by our refusal to give up our humanness, our refusal to die to ourselves and allow his life to shine through us in order to reach out to a dying world.  

Lord,  where am I also guilty of these sorts of things?  How can I better show you to the world around me without getting hung up in, and angry about, differences that I in my humanness perceive to be so much larger than they really are? How can I better utilize your love and mercy to cover the "sins" of my brothers and sisters, to better understand and utilize your clear instructions in Matthew 18 and other scriptures when there is disagreement?  We are losing the battle to reconcile the world to you because of our own foolishness and pride.
Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lord have mercy. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Here's Hoping for The Boy

Our son has his first interview scheduled in March at one of the grad schools he has applied to for next autumn.  Of course it is the most expensive of the lot, with the least amount of scholarships available to foreign students.  haha 'Twas ever thus!  An interview certainly doesn't mean acceptance for a Canadian applicant at an American university, particularly with the economy in both countries being the way it is.   However, he is so ready for a change I can't help but hope he does indeed get accepted somewhere this year.  Life as an artist is never easy and the politics of the art world are a slippery slope he has so far survived admirably, but he has been living in the same city for about 10 years now. The arts community even in a city that big is fairly small and has its limitations.  How I hope this is his year to break out and expand his abilities and his career options within the fabulous world of fine arts. But I will miss him.  If he gets into any of the schools he applied for he will be even farther away.  Even though he is a grown man and I will be very excited for him to return to school, my mother's heart is a bit sore about the possibility of having even more distance between us.  A mom is always a mom.  That is just a reality of life.

The Land O' Limbo

As of yesterday's physio I am in that limbo land between being an invalid and being not quite healed sufficiently to completely resume my former activities.  It is a place of both hope and frustration.

My spiritual life is a lot like that as well.  I know the miry pit I was in before I met Jesus.  I know that when I see him face to face in Heaven I will experience all God's promises in their fullness.

But in the meantime here I am living on planet Earth in a decaying aging body, trying and too often failing to live up to the lofty spiritual goals of being loving, peaceable, enduring, joyful, forgiving, patient, kind, faithful and good. Galatians 5:22 gives me a lot to hope for as the Holy Spirit attempts to change me into such a person despite the frustration of the process.

So in this land of spiritual limbo there is a lot of hope and a lot of frustration.  It is an interesting place to live. I wouldn't trade it for anything else just yet.  My time to experience the fullness of God's promises will come. For now I am content to wallow in the combination of hope and frustration, the fleeting overpowering successes and temporary ecstatic joys of my current life.  God never changes despite all the changes his Spirit leads me through.  In him is my constant hope for the future both here on earth and in the life of the world to come.    

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I'm Walking!!!

Today has been an amazing day!  I am walking!!  Physio was very helpful again today and when I left the office it was minus my crutches and cast, and plus my old faithful one point cane and my sports shoes!  We left a pile of appliances at the physio office and my wheelchair will be returned to the hospital next week. My cast is going into souvenir storage along with the metal pins and plate from my broken hip so many years ago.  I can't believe it!  I have been working hard and a lot of people have been praying for me so I shouldn't be surprised to be at this stage nearly 6 weeks earlier than expected, but it was a lovely surprise today nonetheless. At the moment I am very grateful for adrenalin as I am flying so high.  If it wasn't for adrenalin I would be passed out on the bed from exhaustion and exertion.  

Tonight is a Shrove pancake supper at one of our churches and I will be able to go.  Now that I don't have the cast I will be able to wear real more sweat pants!!!  I may really splurge and put on makeup!!  Good thing my sports shoes are black with purple highlights.  Ya' gotta be classy to go to a pancake supper after all! heeheehee (At my age no one cares what I look like, but I have to try to restore at least a wee bit of pride in my appearance, and try to pretend I am NOT wearing black and purple sports shoes.)

You realize of course that tomorrow's blog entry will be an angst riddled maudlin disaster because my new exercises are incredibly difficult and will be painful for the first few days.  BUT for now I rejoice.  Gratitude fills my heart.  Thanks so much for caring and praying for me.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Lap (foot??) of Luxury!

Today is a Wonderful Day!!!!

Today in the mail I received my new Superfeet insoles from Mountain Equipment Coop.  This brand was recommended to me by a nursing friend who has also fought a battle with the mighty bone spur.  I was afraid to put the insole into my cast, because, what if it didn't work for me?  BUT it does!!  I have been wandering about the house with my 4 point cane quite happily all afternoon with almost zero pain from the bone spur.  I have done my physio with the insole in use and it has gone well.  Dell will trim the toe a bit so that it fits into my sport shoe for physio tomorrow.  WOW, this is great!  Thank you to my friend who recommended this as a possibility, thank you to Superfeet company and thanks to MEC for carrying these marvellous bits of medical technology!  Tomorrow is a no fear physio day to look forward to.  YAY!!
Dell is also happy because he ordered a new pair of gaiters for his next outdoor, into the wilds, foray....quite possibly his next trip to shovel our front sidewalk.........teehee  They are lovely red and black with wide velcro closures for adjusting the tightness around the leg and far better closers at the top to keep them snug and snow free inside.  Good old MEC.  I was losing confidence in them with all the new product lines of recent years made in countries we don't like to support for political reasons.  But we found some goodies and are happy once again.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

You Know it is Lent When You are an Anglican Priest because.....

It is that time again......LENT!  Since my husband is a priest in the Anglican Church this is what his schedule for the first week of Lent looks like:

Monday:  supposedly a regular day off and perhaps he will be able to discipline himself to take it off and not think about work....yeah....

Tuesday: (Town 1)
-complete agenda for weekend vestry retreat and check/respond to administrative emails  
-meet with music committee at 2pm
-assist with preparation for Shrove pancake supper
-attend and serve at Shrove pancake supper 5-7pm
-perform Imposition of Ashes service 7-8pm
-church camp meeting, policy setting 8-10pm

-Bible Study at senior's manor 9:30-11am
-begin sermon preparation/emails
-leave for other church, 60 km away, at 3pm
(Town 2)
-pastoral visiting 4-6pm
-Imposition of Ashes service 7-8pm

Thursday: (Town 2)
-sermon prep and ministerial meeting 9am - 1pm
-Lenten Bible study 2pm
-pastoral visiting and leadership meeting 3-6pm
-Lenten Bible study 7-9pm
-stay in Town 2 overnight and work on sermon

Friday: (Town 2)
-work on Sunday service and Lenten talk for today
-assist in preparation of Lenten lunch with ACW
-lunch and service noon -1pm
(Town 1)
-pastoral visiting/emails 2pm-5pm
-choose music and prepare bulletin for Sunday

Saturday: (Town 1)
-special vestry meeting 8:30am
-vestry retreat 9am to 3:30pm
-tie up loose ends and sermon for Sunday

Sunday:  (Town 2)
-head off for Town 2 8am
-Sunday morning service 9am -10:30am
(Town 1)
-service 11:30am -1pm
-coffee hour 1-2pm
-collapse in preparation for next week 2pm----   

My Lord What A Mornin'....

It has just turned up 9am on my clock but I feel that a full day has been put in all ready.  As per usual on a Sunday morning I woke up at 4:21am.  Should I awaken any other morning at that time I am asleep again within minutes, but "never never on a Sunday, a Sunday, a Sunday...."  So my eyes are puffy and hard to keep open but I am too jazzed to fall asleep again now.

My poor husband also got his day off to a rocky start. He had a fairly decent sleep and was well prepared to go blasting off at 8am to our other church in another town, but lo and behold the car battery was dead as a duck.  Apparently he left the park lights on when last he returned the car to the garage 3 days ago.  My husband used to be the most cool, calm, collected guy in the universe before middle age hit him, the epitome of peace.  However this morning he panicked.  Even though he got hold of his honourary assistant to take over in case the car battery wouldn't charge, even though he was able to find a dear parishioner here awake at 8am who was able to come charge the battery, my poor man just freaked right out.  

Oh, it wasn't obvious on the outside.  On the outside he appeared relatively serene as usual.  BUT, I had to remind him to bring me the phone before he left, AND when I checked it I realized he had not put the other house line phone over in the church back on its cradle in the midst of his frantic calls.  I had no dial tone whatsoever.  What to do......I needed to have use of the phone in case he called from the road to say there were more car problems and tell me what to do about the service here if he couldn't come back in time.

Well, it is amazing how much confidence the addition of that new railing beside our treacherous back stairs gave me this morning.  I decided it was time to get brave.  So I pulled my shoe onto my good foot, found my office keys and decided to brave those stairs on my own so I could go over to the church and get the phone hung up properly over there.

When I opened the back door into the covered breezeway leading to the church I discovered all the back lights on both in the breezeway and outside in the alley, the garage doors hanging open and the office door unlocked and hanging open as well.  Thank goodness I decided to be so brave.  The poor husband had been in such a panic to get to his first service he left with no thought of all the invitations he was leaving for the local thieves to plunder our personal garage junk as well as the church technology.  Okay, now no way to back out of this venture.

Thanks to the marvellous firm wooden railing I easily crutched down the steps for the first time in nearly 3 months!!! NO help required!!  Got the lights shut out and the doors all shut.  Whew!  The adrenalin was pumping with the thrill of my new independence!!  Crutched down to the church and realized of course there is no railing on the 4 steps up into the office, BUT the treads are far deeper than the back house steps. Now that I can put a wee bit of weight on the bad foot while balancing with the crutches I made it easily up the steps to the office, got the phone hung up properly and although it was a bit more frightening, managed to get crutched back down the office steps without catching the toe of my cast on each step behind me.  Into the breezeway and realized I was shaking like a leaf as the adrenalin wore off in a hurry.  Got back to the railing at the treacherous house steps and easily got up the first 3, but then had no strength to manage the last higher one.  I felt like a punctured balloon!  Pushed the door open, swung around and sat down on the laundry room floor as everything started to go white in front of my eyes.  BUT suddenly the thrill of my little escape from the house, alone, unassisted and uninjured, hit me full force, the colours of the universe returned to my vision, I rolled over and grabbed the washing machine and stood up.  I made it!!

I have a dial tone on my phone again inside the house, my usual Sunday morning callers will not panic when they can't get through,  and my husband will come home to a tidy arrangement of doors and shut off lights so he has no upset about leaving such a disaster behind him.  

If you have never been stuck inside a house for months at a time unable to safely leave it then my little write up today will sound like much ado about nothing.  BUT if you have ever been trapped in your own home due to injury and risked re-injuring yourself by leaving it some morning without assistance, then you will revel with me in my morning's adventure. My first time out to test that railing was supposed to be 2 hours from now when I planned to make my triumphal re-entry to church services.  BUT I am so completely exhausted I think I will finally go and catch up on my missing sleep.  Maybe next Sunday..........zzzzzzzzzz  

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Me 'n' Andy Rooney....Non-Travel Buddies

Andy Rooney, former 60 Minutes commentator, passed away at the age of 92 on Nov. 4, 2011 following complications from surgery.  I will miss him.  Maybe it is because we are both stubborn Irish types, but I find myself cheering some of Andy Rooney's comments even when I disagree with his opinions.  However when it comes to today's travels we are on the same wave length. It is simply too much work any more.  Here are Andy Rooney's thoughts on air travel:

It is a mystery to me why anyone wants to go anywhere.  Getting someplace else is such a pain that staying put is an increasingly attractive alternative to travel.  Flight, once a grand and exhilarating experience that took you out of your world and into another in hours, has been turned into an event to be endured with clenched teeth.  The terrorists, the airlines and the Government have teamed up to destroy what was once a magic delight.
(from the book Common Nonsense Addressed to the Reading Public. Public Affairs: New York, 2004, page 248.) 'n' Andy....I think my travelling days are over too...

Friday, February 17, 2012

Wedding Memories of Old

Aquaintances of ours just celebrated their 6th wedding anniversary.  They had some hilarious experiences on their wedding day and it got me thinking about our own upcoming 35th wedding anniversary later this year.  As usual our anniversary falls during a time of special church meetings, pastoral conferences etc., and I don't remember the last time we were able to celebrate our anniversary anywhere near the correct day........if at all....although on our 20th we got away to Banff for 3 amazing days on the town.......

Anyway, I doubt that much special will happen this year either, but I started thinking about our actual wedding day and I'm not sure it is worth remembering really, other than for the humour we saw in it later.

If I have one bit of advice to couples about to marry it would be this: try to ensure that at least one set of parents, and even a small handful of friends are on board about your marriage!  It keeps things less complicated, less painful and less stressful!  Trust me.......please........I could not go through that level of family and social stress a second time.

After a nearly year long engagement spent trying to convince family and friends alike that our marrying was a good idea, and allowing our families to run roughshod over our own plans in order to have things their more traditional way to restore the peace, the wedding nearly cratered 4 days before it happened.  I came down with the worst illness I have ever had and it literally drained most of the fluid from my body.  I couldn't eat or move but I could have called the toilet my BFF, had there been such a thing in those days.  2 days before the wedding I decided we had to cancel it as I was either going to be dead by then or at least in the hospital.  My father called our family physician and explained the situation.  The dear doctor actually came to the house that evening bearing a vial containing 3 large pills.  His instructions were clear:  to take one immediately, and only take the other 2 if necessary but they likely wouldn't be needed, AND not to tell anyone he had given them to me!  He actually frightened me, but I took the first pill and proceeded to sleep for nearly 14 hours.  The next afternoon when I woke up I felt very weak but hungry. There was no more toilet hugging and I made it to our wedding rehearsal and dinner.  Unbelievable!!  But what a way to start.  Fortunately all our attendants were able to attend the dinner and that kept the family feuding to a minimum while the attendants quarrelled among themselves as to the wisdom of our being wed. Sigh......

The day of my wedding I woke up feeling just fine, got myself and the reluctant bridesmaids dressed, and off we went to the church for an 11am ceremony.  When I got there the first person I saw was my husband-to-be dressed in his finest old pair of jeans, and matching jean shirt under his new suit vest and jacket.  Now you have to understand that 2 weeks prior to this my husband had kept me sitting in the middle of a mall for FOUR HOURS while he hemmed and hawed and fretted about spending a mere hundred dollars on his first ever purchased suit.  I was ready to kick him then and ready to kill him when I saw he was not wearing ALL of it!! This was the kind of sillyness our parents expected would happen and I for one was not going to give them the satisfaction!! As it was I was all ready wearing an unbleached Indian cotton dress of my husband-to-be's choice and that had created sufficient family tensions. We had a bit of a row right then and there.  Within a couple of minutes I was in the bathroom at the church with mascara streaming down my face and he was in the church broom closet sobbing.

I praise God for a wise and experienced pastor who had helped us overcome so many other issues.  He took my man outside into the back alley and talked to him about mutual submission in a marriage.  He talked about Jesus giving his life for us, so could my husband-to-be not see his way clear to give up his jeans for his new bride and the families?  By the time they returned I had redone my makeup, been hugged soundly by all my bridesmaids and was just relieved the blasted wedding was actually going to happen.  I don't think my father trusted it would, right up to the last second, as instead of walking me down the aisle it was more of a running trot.  

My only clear memory of the ceremony is the sound of my new mother-in-law sobbing as we said our I Do's, and the snoring of my new father-in-law who found the whole thing went on too long for him.

I do however remember the longest slowest receiving line in history.  It was my first experience of having everyone from both families and all our friends recite their life stories to us as we tried to hurry them along.  I had also not realized that my husband had set up a separate communion service afterward, BEFORE the food, to placate his relatives of a different sect.  Most of our dear friends came to the service.  Not one of his relatives came because it wasn't sufficiently of their sect for them to attend........sigh..... By the time we got to the reception the guests were ready to stampede to the nearest fast food restaurant.  The reception was not that long, but it seemed to drag on forever since only our minister, and my husband and I were happy people that day. Actually we had 2 ministers, but the second one wasn't happy because my husband had once been engaged to the man's daughter and he'd had high hopes.......sigh.....  

The icing on the cake of the whole fascinating day happened just at the end of the reception when my mother disappeared.  Where in the blazes was she, and where was my little suitcase she was supposed to deliver to me when it was time for us to leave on our weekend honeymoon???  After nearly 30 minutes of frantic searching the door opened and my mother staggered into the room clutching my travel bag.  She had to regain her composure and catch her breath before she could tell us what had happened. Apparently one of the guests in attendance had the exact same suitcase.  The gal had brought hers with her because after the reception she had to race down the street to another church parking lot where she was catching a chartered bus to take her and some of her church members on a long trip out of the province.  By some misfortune our 2 bags had ended up sitting beside each other in the coat room of our wedding chapel and she had grabbed the wrong one.  My mother just happened to notice a few minutes later that the suitcase left in the coat room had her name on it and not mine! Fortunately my mother knew where this gal was heading and ran at top speed after her, catching her just in time to make the exchange!  My mother never was an athletic type and I have been grateful since that day she didn't have a heart attack from the speed at which she had to move. 

Finally we got away from the church with full, if stressfully upset, tummies and were able to go to a quiet lounge for a stiff drink with probably the only 2 friends that truly supported our marriage.  It was a crazy day all around and things just got crazier after that, but that is a tale for another day.  

Quite a few years later my father-in-law was visiting us and he told me one day that our wedding day had been the worst day of my mother-in-law's life.  I gave him a beady eyed stare and replied, "It was the worst day of my life too Dad, it really was!"  

The best revenge: after all the prophesies of doom and gloom about our future as a couple we are still together 35 years later and still the best of friends.  Take that ye naysayers, take that!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

More Changes in Societal Attitudes

Tonight I was watching a silly programme on tv. One of the people on the show said that she was participating on this tv show so that when her child is old enough to know that Mommy participated in this show then the child will be so proud of Mommy.

HUH???  The CHILD will be proud of MOMMY?  What is wrong with this picture??  I hear this kind of thought more with every passing year: parents wanting to do silly and outrageous things so their children will be proud of them.  What happened to the idea that CHILDREN do things so that the PARENTS will be proud of THEM??  Society is going in reverse to my way of thinking.

What has caused this new generation of parents to be so incredibly insecure that they need the approval of their children in order to find fulfillment?  As a parent I am to do what keeps my children safe by providing reasonable boundaries, teach them about life skills, morality, values, and do it out of love for them.  Parenting is about me giving them security so that they can grow away from me and create their own good lives.  Sometimes they will go through stages where all they feel for me is hatred for clipping their wings until they are ready to fly, but that seems normal to me.  I am not a parent in order to be liked, nor to be accepted unconditionally by my child, although hopefully there will be some of that along the way of course.  

When my 8 year old son and the neighbourhood children were standing in the middle of the road throwing rocks at cars one day, I ran out into the street and hauled my son back home to explain to him why this was a bad thing to do for so many reasons, but he was made to understand the primary reason I dragged him off the road was for his own safety.  While I was doing that the other 2 younger moms were hemming and hawing over on the sidewalk about how their children would be upset with them if they did to their children what I had done with my son.  I wanted to shout out, "Hey ladies, this isn't about YOU and your insecurities, this is about keeping your children safe and teaching them to respect other people and their property."

The shock I felt that day toward the attitude of those moms was repeated tonight when I was watching the tv show.  Since when were little children created to bring security and self esteem to their adult parents?? What a terrible stress to put upon a child.  It seems too many parents are having children nowadays to make themselves feel secure and important.  This creeps me out and makes me very frightened for today's children, who are not responsible to make Mommy feel good about herself.  

Oh, and Mommy, by the way, when your children are old enough to see the old DVD's or whatever technology your tv performance was recorded on, I can guarantee you they will not be proud of you.  They will not be NOT proud of you either.  Chances are great that they will have never heard of that show and will not care one whit that you were on it nor whether you performed well or not.  By then you will simply be another out of touch old person and the best you can expect is a condescending pat on the head after they finish yawning about it all. At worst they will be obviously embarrassed by you. If you are expecting your children to provide you with emotional healing from your insecurities you are in for a big surprise, and don't you dare blame them for not being able to take on the stress you yourself put them under. And so the insecurities become generational. Wow!! 

Authority Figures

Why is it that for some of us any kind of authority figure terrifies us?  In my own case I know where the problem arose and I have spent my life trying to deal with it and move past it with some success, but there are days when I still struggle.

Yesterday I had to miss physio due to my sinus infection.....not a huge deal and whoever was slotted into my appointment time was probably thrilled to get in to the therapist as the waiting times are so long.  Instead of just relaxing and enjoying my day to lay in bed and heal, I was a total wreck.  As the time of my cancelled appointment drew near my mind was filling itself with things to say in case I got a call demanding to know why I had cancelled the appt.  How would I express my symptoms in such a way as to not get into trouble for cancelling? Was someone from the office going to call and check to see if I really was ill?  The whole thing was completely irrational. My local physiotherapist is not going to holler at me and act as if life has been destroyed on this planet because I had to miss one appointment.

Whenever I have someone to whom I am beholden for leadership, for deadlines, for submission as their employee, I start feeling as if I am a little school girl dreading being sent to the principal's office for punishment.  I was never sent to the principal's office in my life!  I was so scared of getting in trouble all through school that I never got in any real trouble!!  I wasn't  ever frightened of any of my school principals, but I knew what would happen at home if I got in trouble at school.  The over reaction there was far more terrifying than anything the principal would have done.  The whole fear experience was quite ridiculous but I realize it is because I never learned to stand up for myself.  I still struggle with that. 

I was easily bullied on the playground and I am sometimes easily bullied now.  I have had to submit to some authorities who were not gifted to handle their positions wisely nor professionally and such people can spot from a mile away a person easily bullied.  We are like magnets to each other.

While I have actually had some success in the past few years in learning how to behave like an adult when I am responsible to other people, there are still days like yesterday when I am tired and ill and vulnerable to all manner of old tapes playing in my head that I thought I had destroyed, or at least damaged sufficiently to stop the tape.  I don't mind admitting that.  

The craziest part of this is that I am not the least bit afraid to go to God and tell him when I have screwed things up, or admit to him that I have not fulfilled my committments to him properly.  While other human beings being angry with me can reduce me to tears even at my age, the creator of the universe, who could squash me like a bug if he wanted to, is the first person I run to when I miss an "appointment" with him. Could it be because I am assured of his constant love and forgiveness for me that I am not so assured of when dealing with mere people?  

That has to be it. I need to think about this some more........

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Too Much Sress For My Poor Husband!

This morning is one of those mornings where I just want to lock the doors, turn off the phones, axe the computers, and crawl under a warm blanket until tomorrow.  My dear husband feels even more that way.  haha  Pastoral life can be draining sometimes and the memory begins to become over taxed.

My husband is supposed to be 5 hours away at a clergy retreat this week.  Since it isn't mandatory and he is still catching up from being ill in January, plus I can't yet stay alone for a whole week, he got permission to stay here. He thought perhaps he could manage to get a bit of an extra day off this week to make up for missing the retreat.....yeah....

Yesterday, his actual first day off, he ended up on the roof shovelling off snow and breaking up an ice dam as the melt water on our lovely day cascaded down through the ceiling into our front entry way.  He ended up doing some emergency banking, but when he got home I had to inform him he had not paid the full amount of a due bill so, back to the bank.  He spent a long time helping me with the personal reference for our friend, fixed a problem with my computer and basically had no time left to unplug a backed up drain.

This morning the phone rang and woke us up.  It was a local pastor asking where my husband was as the meeting was starting.......the very meeting, the very important meeting, that had caused him originally to cancel his attendance at clergy retreat.  I haven't seen the man hop out of bed, dress and go flying out the door at that rate of speed in a long time.  Just after he left a phone call came in about an emergency vestry meeting that has to happen tomorrow....did I mention that as of a couple of days ago we now apparently have no treasurers in place in our parish...SURPRISE!!!  Then a lady dropped in just as he was getting home from the forgotten meeting.  She and my husband had to have a chat about some new policies they have to assist in creating soon for our diocesan camp.  

It is now nearly noon on what is normally a regular day off for my huband. So far it hasn't happened.  And it won't.  There are other things he has to do today now and that drain still needs to be unplugged and another trip to the bank and grocery store have to happen.  

I am so thankful that I had to cancel my physiotherapy appt. this afternoon due to my sinus headache because the man has no time to take me........although he does have to make a fast trip over there to return some of the physio equipment I am no longer using so that the other therapist can use it today......aiiiii yiiiii

Well, now we don't feel quite so badly about all this:  just got an email from a pastor friend that got up to answer the door to a parishioner yesterday afternoon at his home and realized that he hadn't gotten dressed that morning before he started working on his sermon and was still in his pajamas.  

It's a fun crazy life..........   

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Rose In any Other Language!


A Prayer by Thomas Merton

“My Lord God I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that my desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.” by Thomas Merton

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Integrity Honesty Assistance

Over the next couple of days my husband and I will be writing a personal reference for a dear friend who is going into full time ordained ministry.  

References are difficult for me......not the actual writing or coming up with answers to suit the topics listed on the questionnaire, but difficulty in knowing if I have managed to convey the essence of the person I am writing about. Am I giving a true picture of his character, his heart?

I can easily recite instances where I have seen this person acting as a godly influence, or working as a team player, or having the ability to mediate a dispute.  The entire reference for me could easily be written and mailed way in less than an hour.  

However I will struggle for weeks afterward wondering if I have done right by my friend.  I can disclose honestly the many good things he has done in my own experience of watching his behaviour for several years.  I am able to assist in this journey of his by agreeing to write the reference.  But I struggle with questions of integrity:  have I truly portrayed this person in his fullness of character to the best of my ability? Have I written anything truly useful to him? 

My friend is not someone who is entering a contest or a school or trying to get a job as a waiter or retail salesperson.  He has a passionate heart for Jesus, for the church and for ministry to those who are not familiar with God.  This reference is only a small part of his process and may not have much influence on what happens to him during his ordination process, but I want it to reflect his genuine spiritual gifts and who he has become in the past few years.

So this week will be a stretching week for me and I am so glad my husband will also be part of the process.  We have to talk about 12 different areas of this man's life and a sentence or 2 per question will not be sufficient.  Pray for us.........and for our friend!  Thanks!

Solutions Presenting Themselves

A Banner Day for pain control!!
What a week for answers to prayer:  2 different friends with bone spur problems have given me practical solutions that can be implemented quite quickly, and also a good contact for an orthotics person once I am out of this cast.  In the meantime I have come up with a better padding for under my heel and was able to use the 4 point cane a bit more often today.  I am grateful to my friends who are so quick to help me when they can!  Friends are one of the greatest answers to prayer!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

How Do You Spell Relief??


That is correct!  I want to be able to return the wheelchair to the hospital by the end of this month if possible, but for now I can roll around the house and reach all but 2 small things that need to be dusted.  

I detest dust!  My husband detests dusting! 

Others have done a fine job of dusting for me since the accident, BUT: me wanna do it mysefff!!  I am hoping to be down to using a cane by March 1 and that is my goal if the ankle and bone spur will just cooperate. Then I can dust and do other cleaning far more easily, but for now I am delighted to add another task back to the doin' it myself list.  

Ooh, ooh, AND I can clean my own bathroom vanity and mirror properly now as well.  I LOVE GETTING WELL!!!   God is good.....

Okay, okay I promise to try to blog about something you are actually interested in.............eventually......this is MY blog after all, teehee....