Thursday, May 31, 2012

Just Gimme a Minute, Okay?

Well, the first round of downtown chores are done and now some inside work begins.  

BUT FIRST I need to stop shaking.  I got a late start on the grocery shopping chore so my husband told me to just call today a dietary cheat day and pick up burgers on the way home for our late lunch.  Going to the drive-through timed me for a set of events that happens regularly I suppose to most of us, but throws me for a loop every time.

I handled the usual Pot Hole Rodeo across town to the fast food restaurant okay......missed every one of the "leedle boogers" as a dear French Canadian friend likes to call them. So I was feeling pretty good about that.  Not going to be me who ruins a brand new and very expensive car repair by driving into the local road craters.

Coming back though was a bit of a nightmare.  I was driving behind a car full of younger teens, a newly licensed driver I am guessing by the apparent age of the fellow behind the wheel. As we both started rounding a corner he suddenly slammed on the brakes as hard as possible, jerked to a complete stop, and he and his passengers proceeded to do The Wave before driving on.  I am quite certain by the body language that not one of them, including the driver, had any idea there was a car directly behind them. Thank the Lord I have always been trained not to follow too closely behind another vehicle or there would have been a bad collision.  As it was, I also slammed on my brakes as hard as possible, front end of my car around the corner and back end sticking out into the traffic behind me. Fortunately the car behind me that was not turning had a driver who saw what had happened and was able to swerve to avoid hitting my back end.  Aaaargh.....

The worst part of that event turned out to be the 2 bags of groceries and the bag of fast food that all fell forward with a thud onto the floor.  Fortunately none of the groceries sustained any leaking milk cartons nor smushed pounds of butter. Unfortunately when the fast food bag landed on the floor it opened completely up and both cartons of french fries tipped and scattered their contents all over the carpet.  Sigh........yes, the dirty mats that our filthy shoes rest on after they hop, skip and jump around the mud in the alley behind our garage.  I looked at the fries sitting there in the filth, fought the urge to bang my forehead on the steering wheel, and pulled over to the curb.  I at first assumed they would have to be tossed out in the garbage at home, but then I remembered what I had just paid for these wizened up, greasy little potatoes and decided that if I lived in a developing nation, or was a street person who had to dumpster dive behind restaurants in order to eat, a little dirt or gritty sand wouldn't be enough to discourage me from eating them.  I scooped them up, blew them off, and tossed them back into the cartons.  What the heck!

At the next corner there is a 4 way stop. People here are very good about 4 way stops for the most part. There isn't much cheating and proceeding out of turn.  I saw the vehicle that was going to get there just ahead of me, a huge SUV, and saw it signalling to turn left in front of me.  I stopped as I am supposed to and that is most fortunate because the SUV didn't do more than a bit of a slow down. Stop sign?  What stop sign?  Following the SUV were 2 teens on bicycles.  Not only didn't they stop, they provided me with their own set of hand signals to let me know I had better not run them down.  Sigh.....

As soon as the intersection cleared I crawled through.  At the following intersection there was a vehicle stopping for a red light ahead of me and the driver was signalling for a left hand turn.  I came up behind him and started to pull up beside him on his right hand side so that I could make a right hand turn.  Just as I began to pull in beside him he suddenly whipped over to the right and flew around the corner, left signal light still blinking, just missing my front bumper by an inch.  The shaking started right about this time.

I got myself around the corner and headed for home. One more turn.....left turn, and right into a brand new pot hole I had never seen before.  Fortunately it would seem I didn't dislodge this morning's new tire balance.  Aiiii yiiiii.........

Some days are like this.  When Dell asked me why his fries were gritty I told him to pretend he was back in India!!

Thanks for "listening".  Now I feel better.  

Quotes from Jane Austen Novels

Today in the mail I received an itsy bitsy teeny of quotes from Jane Austen novels.  

(You thought I was going to say bikini, didn't you?  teehee No friend I have is so cruel as to send me something that would make me feel so conscious of no longer being able to sport such swim wear!)

Anyway it is a very neat mini volume entitled "Jane Austen's Little Instruction Book" and is published by Peter Pauper Press Inc., 2008; edited by Sophie Bedford-PIerce with an introduction by Barbara Paulding.  This short paragraph is larger than the actual book. It is SO cute, so little.  I love it.

So here is to-day's quote and it is from Mansfield Park:
"The enthusiasm of a woman's love is even beyond the biographer's." 

Think about that one....particularly if you are a woman....or maybe a man who is on the receiving end of that kind of love.

These little books can be viewed at the publisher's website:

But..........It Was On Sale!!

Apparently I am not going to live down a city grocery store purchase on this last trip west.  What would you do in the same situation?  Wouldn't you take advantage of a good sale if you found one?  Well.......wouldn't you?

The grocery store I found sells the same brand of toilet paper that we use.  A pack of 36 rolls of the stuff sells at my local grocer's for about $23.  The wonderful sale I found had the same 36 roll packs for less than $15, maximum 2 packs per person per visit!!!  Now wouldn't you stock up at that price?  Well.......wouldn't you?

I bought a pack at the reduced price on Saturday, but then Monday I started thinking again about what a great deal it was. Didn't know if it was just a weekend sale but decided to brave the post weekend Monday lineups at the store cashiers and take another little lookee to see if the sale was still on.  IT WAS!!!  I dragged another 72 rolls to the cashier and happily waited in line for nearly 20 minutes to pay for my purchases.  Wouldn't you do the same if you could save over $27 on 3 big packs of your favourite brand? Well.....wouldn't you?

But then came the task of telling my husband that beside all the things we had to bring back from Mom's, in our teeny tiny car, we had to also manage to bring back 108 rolls of toilet paper.  Um.......honey.....I found us a really great deal:  you know  how you want me to do better at finding things on sale?  Well,  um........I did that....... The look on his face was something to behold I must say.....  I thought my sister-in-law was going to choke, she was laughing so hard.......sigh.....

Aaah, but when you do the right thing, solutions to new problems you created in doing it tend to appear don't they?  Well.........don't they?

One of the things to bring back is an old steamer style trunk. Well guess what?  All hundred and eight rolls fit exactly into that big trunk!  It was no big deal at all to bring them home!!  Aha!!!  I didn't do such a dumb thing after all did I?  Well.........did I?

My husband's face brightened up a bit when he realized everything fit okay into the car even though it was packed to the roof with stuff.  It brightened even more when he realized that my other 2 purchases (ALSO ON SALE!!)  were a bag of almonds and a new cotton shirt, both just for himself. (Still waiting to tell him about the SALE I found on womens wear.....that I took advantage of....actually quite a large advantage of...but you would too........wouldn't you?)

So admit it:  if you had to tell your husband that he had to fit 108 rolls of toilet paper into an all ready over crowded car, wouldn't you too buy him a wee giftie or 2 (ALSO ON SALE!!) to soften the blow?  Well......wouldn't you??  

Despite many appearances to the contrary, I know exactly what I am doing..........

I do know.

Don't I??  

The Dastardly Deed is Done

Wow, what a week!  It was crazy hectic but turned out so well.  My mother-in-law is safely ensconced in her new assisted living suite and my husband and his sister are completely exhausted from the effort, but the deed is done, we are all safely home and mom is adjusting well apparently to her new place.

The mover was amazing. He specializes in moving the elderly.  All mom's pictures were up on the walls before he left, the furniture she was able to take was arranged as closely as possible to the way it had been arranged in her former suite, and he gave the family great advice:  don't move all the things she will not use again down to her new place and then have to return later to go through it.  Going through that much collected stuff had not been part of the plan originally, but now, other than a couple of suitcases of photos and other paper treasures, mostly everything has been sorted and dealt with.  What a relief.  Everyone is exhausted from the extra work, but it was worth it.  The "keep for our own family memorabilia" pile is sitting in our house to be gone through on the weekend, the thrift store pile has been delivered to same, the throw away pile has been disposed of.  Amazing!

My own parents were glad for a wee visit as well.  For once I was allowed to do some dinner preparation and dishes and felt our brief time together was positive and helpful to them.  There was time to use the car to do a few necessary errands that would have been impossible for them to do using the transit system.  I can see how close they are to the edge of being able to continue completely independent living and so am preparing myself for what is soon to come. They are both 85 and have managed amazingly well despite some serious long term health issues.

So now we are home and peering through the window blinds at the foot high lawn in front of our house....amazing what a little rain can do over the course of a single week when followed by warm sunny days.  I need to go out this morning and mow lawn and start spraying the rest of the weeds....and do the laundry.....and take care of all the mail......and do some banking......and grocery shop......yeaaaahhh........time to go back to bed and get some more sleep........ 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

By the Way.......

We are heading west to do a week of parental care and will have zero access to the internet during that time. So, no posts for a few days.  I will miss daily blogging and the great interaction with other people it has brought into my life, but I think I will survive the computer free week...I hope....wish my lawn could be  growth free as well while I am gone as the rain we are experiencing has it growing by inches every day! Sigh.........I had forgotten after a few years of apt. living, how much work having a yard creates!  I don't suppose I could prevail upon the folk taking care of our house in our absence......naaaa...I couldn't do that........could I?

More inane chatter next week.  Have a good one everybody!

A Rather Amazing Day!

Today was incredibly special for a number of reasons.

This afternoon we attended a memorial service for our friend Jill.  It was a wonderful tribute to someone who never let adversity stop her from accomplishing her mission in life.  Jill was a spirited evangelist most of her life and brought many people to Jesus.

It also was a longer service than we had expected when we planned out the rest of our day.

We felt just terrible that we had to actually leave the service before it was over.  Of course we had been seated by the usher about 5 rows from the front of the huge sanctuary and so everyone saw us leaving so very rudely.  It was embarrassing to say the least. Here were the Anglican priest and his wife walking out early during a funeral for the Alliance pastor's wife......bad form, bad form!!!

However, the pastoral counselling session resulted in a new soul entering the Kingdom of God.  It was thrilling.  I think that Jill would have forgiven our hasty exit from her memorial service for that event.  That was the sort of event she lived for and it seemed a fitting ending to the afternoon of tributes to a woman so spiritually gifted. 

Another wonderful meeting happened last evening.  

Through a series of blog links that I looked at several years ago I began regularly reading the blogs of a pastor and his wife in another province.  We hooked up as well via email once or twice a few years ago.  Turns out this couple used to live in the same town as Jill and her husband and knew them well.  So, they came to the funeral yesterday.

We were able to meet them and they came to our home for the evening.   What fun for Dell to have another pastor to talk to, to share the joys and failures of ministry.  We can see why this couple have had a ministry of going into troubled churches and bringing healing and hope.  They made us feel very loved within the first 2 minutes of our visit.  We shared all manner of things, laughed and drank tea was a fun evening.  

With great gratitude to the blogosphere we are enjoying having new friends.

The other small joy for us was when a thunder storm rolled through town and the electrical power DIDN'T go out!  Trust me, this is an event worthy of dance and song.  In our town the electricity only needs to become aware of lightning in a neighbouring municipality to have empathy outages!!  But yesterday there were no clocks to reset, no computers beeping to let us know they were starving for power, no entertainment systems to resurrect.....

All in all a glorious day! Thank you God!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Theological Dunderhead

It is a happy long weekend Monday around my house.  My phone has not been ringing off the hook today, even though my husband is at home, so I have accomplished a ton of work. A day uninterrupted and voila, the house is cleaned from top to bottom!  YAY!!

To occupy my mind while doing these tasks I started thinking about where I am at right now spiritually.  Some things have changed for me over the past 2 years.

In our last town I had many folks that I met just hanging around downtown, or while riding the transit buses, who wanted to know about Jesus and why I choose to try to follow him.  None of these people are theological scholars, some are so illiterate they would have a difficult time dealing with the liturgy in my denominational services, some are mentally ill and struggling just to cope with each day.  I fell in love with these people. All of them were lonely and eager to chat, some were in quite desperate life circumstances.  It was very easy to talk to them about Jesus and to tell them about him so simply.  Basic Sunday school theology was all that was required for most of them.  Over a period of several years some of the conversations we had actually bore solid spiritual fruit.  It was an amazing time of ministry and making new friends I would have never chosen under different circumstances. 

But now my husband has returned to full time double Masters degree  seminary.  We have moved away from my dear street friends and I have not connected in my new town with people who are anything like them.  That is okay, it is time to do other things and I am enjoying the things I am now doing.  

However, new ministry for my husband has me surrounded by theologians, and Masters and Doctorate level conversation once again.  That is a good thing, I continue to learn wonderful scholarly things, but I find I am not participating in many conversations with my husband and his pastor/professor friends.   It isn't that I don't understand their conversation:  I audited the classes and read the textbooks. But because I don't have those letters after my name I am afraid to participate, and to have to admit to my lack of immersion in the theological studies they dearly love.  As soon as these people find out I do not have a degree at their level I am usually immediately written off as having nothing to offer, and perhaps they are correct.  I likely don't.  But sometimes it hurts to be written off so thoroughly by people who are making rather large assumptions about me when they don't know me at all. 

When my husband was still in seminary he invited 2 pastors, new to the area, to have dinner in our home. The lady pastor walked in my door, greeted me, asked me what degree programme I was taking and when I said I wasn't taking a degree programme, her response was to say, "oh..", turn around and not say another word to me in my own home for the rest of the evening. She and her husband wrote me off in that instant and we never did really connect on any other level over the several years we were aquainted. It was the first time that had happened to me, but it certainly was not the last.

Some people are very impressed by their academic abilities and others equally impressed by their own ignorance, and darned proud in both cases.  Is there some kind of middle ground person who isn't satisfied with the usual Sunday school theology taught in many church services and also isn't afraid to talk to the least academic folk around?  

Does it so often have to be a "them" and "us" mentality and practise between those who are well educated and those who simply haven't the same knowledge for whatever reason?  Is it not possible to get together at least occasionally with people of differing interests than our own and attempt to carry on some sort of meaningful conversation?  Can neither side expand their own minds to accommodate the other once in awhile?

Do uneducated people have to behave as if people who are educated automatically think they are  better quality  people, and worthy of scorn?  Do they have to assume that academic knowledge automatically precludes pragmatism?

Do well educated people have to behave as if having a conversation with the less well educated is going to taint them in some way?

I realize I am talking in sweeping generalities here. There are wonderful people on both sides of the academic vs non-academic issue who are capable of relating to a broad swath of other human beings, but those on each side of this particular issue sometimes seem all too capable of looking down on each other and not taking each other seriously.

When all the people involved are part of the Christian community it is a problem! We often find the grace to love the "unlovely" when we are part of different social communities, but when our paths cross in the church community both sides can become somewhat uppity!  

I feel that my own spiritual life has suffered in the past couple of years because I am  too afraid to attempt to participate more often in the academic discussions. I find myself refusing to be drawn in now even when the opportunity is presented.  I need to get over it!  Just because I enjoy street people (and often prefer them) doesn't mean I am some kind of stupid person.  I have to stop acting as though it does.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Delicious Sunday

What a lovely day today....a warm sunny day....a nice relief after all the bad news of the week.  Even church went well in both towns despite low numbers due to long weekend holidays.  Learned a new song in one of the churches, a good lively little number that I hope we sing again soon.

My husband's sermon was a wonderful lesson in simple logic:  if we are called to follow Jesus then he must be going somewhere. So where is he going?  He is going into the world to spread the good news of God's love.  So if Jesus has now returned to heaven but is also continuing his presence on the earth, how can he be in 2 places at the same time? It is through his people, us who contain his Spirit, whose mission it is to spread the good news of God's love. Since not everyone has heard of God's love there is still much for us as his people to do.  Why is this necessary in the first place?  It is necessary because we are living in 2 worlds:  the world that God loves so much he sent his only son to live and die and rise again to show the way to God, and the world that does not love God back; the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world, and it is all mixed ip together.  Jesus is trying to show us how to bring the Kingdom of God to the kingdom of this world by coming to earth and showing his people how to do it too.  

And then after church came the weekly question for Sunday afternoons: what are we going to do for lunch?  Too tired to eat out.  So what's in the refrigerator?  We decided on simple pita wrapped sausages but somehow that grew to include fresh farm asparagus and home made french fries and salad.  YUUUUMMM!!!

So, cereal for supper then?  Yup.....

In other good news, a friend from BC who is currently visiting in Tokyo, attended our former church there this morning and met some of our dear Japanese friends.  He sent photos.  What wonderful memories of our time there.   However at this moment I am too full to even enjoy the thought of fresh sushi.  What?  Too full to even think of sushi without enjoying the thought???

So, cereal for supper then?  Yup.....   

Friday, May 18, 2012

Happy News At Last!!

Just got a phone call from the son!  He is leaving for college in about 3 weeks but is getting all the To Do's knocked off his list one by one.

The good news today is that his finances have completely come together now, he got at least a bit of student loan approved as of today, and he has sublet his apt. for the entire time he will be away. What a huge relief that is.  

He also was able to take on an animation design project for an event in his city that will be good advertising for his work, and also net him some extra cash.  This will tickle his little workaholic heart.  Unfortunately the event where his work is being featured will be occurring after he has left for school, but how lovely to be asked and to be able to squeeze in time do the work.

I really needed an emotional boost today and am so grateful to have one. Nothing makes me happier than other peoples' good news! YAY!!  Congratulations son, the path set before you is clear.

More Bad News for the Local Retail Sector

As you can tell from my morning posts I am feeling pretty sad today.....losing Jill from our lives is a real blow and I can't seem to stop crying for her husband and family.  Going into the post office and other downtown businesses this morning and seeing her funeral card posted in all of them gave me a strong sense of loss, not only personally, but for our town and church community. Jill was the best example I have ever seen as far as being a ministry helpmeet for her husband.

Anyway, I decided to walk off my sadness by going for my first walk downtown and back since November.  It felt so good to be outside on my own, going wherever I wanted to go with only some swelling of my ankle to show for it.  The sky is very overcast, a few drops of rain sprinkle down every few minutes, the temperatures are coolish....a perfect day for me to be out walking.  I took myself out for lunch and was gone for 2 hours. It was lovely. 

The humidity brings out the smell of the newly blooming lilacs and although that really bothers my allergies it smelled terrific today. Achoooooo!!!  I brushed my hand against one of the blossoming branches and although I washed my hands thoroughly when I got home, the odor has remained.  So I am alternately grinning with joy about the new birth of spring flowers and sneezing like a maniac.  

Went into the dollar store to pick up a couple of things and found out that, after over 8 months of attempting to sell the store, there has been no sale and so the store will simply close out next month.  Another gaping hole is appearing in the downtown retail business sector.   How tough of shape is a town in when a large successful dollar store has no buyers???

Unlike some towns, we cannot blame an influx of new businesses along the highway for the declining retail opportunities downtown.  Even one of the major highway stores closed down last year and the mall out there has very few stores left in it. It started losing stores about 3 years ago and the trend has continued.

The future here is going to be interesting indeed.  Hopefully there will be better news coming soon to our town and area. 

The Passing of Jill Baker

Thank you for praying for Ron and Jill. Jill went to be with Jesus last night. We are waiting to hear about funeral arrangements. Please pray for Ron.  This is devastating and completely unexpected for him.  Pray for their family. Thank you so much. So grateful that Ron has a large and supportive congregation.

Difficult Times For Our Town

Woke up this morning to some sad news on the local radio station.  Of our 3 remaining doctors, 2 are now leaving.  One is an older fellow who likely would have retired a couple of years ago if we weren't in such dire straits here for medical services, the other apparently moving on to "greener pastures"....that wouldn't take much unfortunately. My husband and I are realizing that due to my personal medical problems it is no longer safe for me to live here.  Will see what the medical recruiters here are able to do by the fall, but I have to become more proactive about my doctor situation....or lack of doctor situation.  While our new multiplex is thriving for the moment, our medical and retail sectors are closing faster than a screen door in a hurricane.

And now we are losing 2 more congregants this summer from one of our churches.  They too are moving on to new towns far away.

I feel like I am living in limbo here. What is going to happen over the next year in our town, in our churches? People who need to be working in certain careers simply cannot sustain their jobs here. Their bosses are closing down the businesses.  They are packing up and moving on. As I see the surrounding towns dying off little by little and I see the same trend beginning in our town, I wonder where we will all be 5 years from now.  

Apparently we are getting 3 new hotels here with longer term agreements for accommodation for oilfield and railway workers doing short term projects, but oil is an iffy  kind of business. Right now there is some action in our part of the province there, but for how long?

Living here is in some ways like living on the edge of death.  I see it happening quietly all around the town, one store/business after another disappearing with little fanfare, and wonder how long it will be before it touches my husband and I in a serious way: the loss of more congregants, more 5 hour round trip drives into the city trying to find medical assistance. So far the medical inconveniences have been relatively minor and only a little bit expensive so I am grateful for that.

But what is going to happen to our many many seniors in this town who have medical emergencies regularly?  They are all ready going into Alberta for treatments and eye appointments etc., seeking rides from their friends and families to get to appointments for the smallest medical necessities.  What is going to happen when they have heart attacks and strokes and cannot get help immediately? We have all ready seen what can happen in these instances.  How many more deaths and long term disabilities due to lack of immediate medical attention  will there be?

I am worried about our town and its people. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Prayer Update and an Urgent Request

For my prayer warrior readers:  this morning we received an urgent request for prayer for the local Alliance minister's wife, Jill.  She is younger than we are, but has had a pace maker for some years.  Tests in the city over the past few days have brought complications, resulting in her being twice revived and now fluid is filling her lungs.  The family has been called to come to the hospital.  Please ask the Lord for mercy for Jill and for her husband Ron and their family.  Thank you.

Update on June:  she is now home full time, but is not in good condition.  It is not safe to leave her alone in the house as her coordination is not great and she is having trouble putting thoughts and words together.  She and her husband are trying to sell their house to downsize and she needs a lot of assistance.  So the family are trying to help out, but it is tough going.  A fundraiser in the community has been a big help but June will not be able to work again in all likelihood.  Thank you for continuing to pray for her.  

We have now reached the age group where our peers are experiencing so many age related problems.  Dell and I are as well.  This is a tough phase of life for all of us to face.  Let's continue to support each other.  I so appreciate your prayers for these dear friends.

Hearty Prairie Plants

Just before midnight we had a tremendous wind arise from the west.  The force of the wind here always amazes me and last night was no exception. I was certain we were going to have a small tornado pass through the area. The trees were bending low, the house was creaking more than I have ever heard it, black dirt was blowing down the street.

This morning I woke up wondering what kind of damage I would survey outside.  There is virtually none!  A few small twigs and short, narrow branches are apparent on the lawn, nothing serious, really very few of them.  I looked up and down the street and there is no sign of damage from the wind anywhere to be found around here.  A few more shingles are down from the rotting roof on our church.  That's about it.

The best sight when I opened the front door was the nanking cherry bush.  There are a few flower petals on the ground, but I expected it to be buck naked by this morning.  At the moment it appears the wind barely effected it.  The blossoms are teeny and delicate, mild pink, only a shade darker than a Japanese cherry blossom, and  covering nearly the full length of each branch.  AND they are still there this morning despite the huge gusts of wind that continued for most of the night.

While my husband and I were preparing for a possible run to the church basement for protection from a tornado, the trees and bushes and their beautiful spring flowers survived as though very little had happened during the night. Wow!! These plants are tough breeds!

Just like the local human population, they have survived a lot of set backs and have come out still blooming on the other side.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I Think That I Shall Never See a Sight as Scary as a Bee!

Today when I was mowing the front lawn I was rejoicing at the beautiful pink flowers presently covering the giant nanking cherry bush near our front door.

It was more difficult to rejoice as my mower and I neared the bush and realized it was bursting with honey bees: another reminder that I can't let this spring and summer go by without purchasing an adrenaline kit in case I get stung.  Last year it was an over abundance of wasps that had the entire town moving about outside in fear and trepidation.

I am grateful that honey bees die when they sting because it makes them far more cautious, far more prudent about who poses a large enough threat to give their lives for. I was all around that tree cutting lawn, close enough for the ends of the branches to rub against my arms, but none of the bees acted threatened nor took to dive bombing me to chase me off. But still, despite their apparent understanding of my lack of threat, sometime one of them could get carried away trying to protect the rest of them and stick it to me!!

Wasps are another matter. They sting randomly and too often for no apparent reason......are they like humans who bang their heads repeatedly against a wall because it feels so good when they stop? Are they just showing off for the surrounding bees? "Nyaa nyaa, we can sting and still live and you can't. Nyaa nyaa!"  Whatever it is I fear them the most of any outdoor buzzy creature.

Today I got my first mosquito bite but no serious allergic reactions to be concerned about there.......only West Nile Virus...piece o' cake!

Another Step Toward Recovery

After a long day of spraying weeds, mowing lawn and all the usual daily indoor tasks, I finally got around to doing my physiotherapy at 9:30pm.  

I admit it has been a bit more discouraging of late. The fastest rate of progress for broken ankles is during the first 3 months after starting therapy, and that has definitely held true in my own case. I do notice that progress in the last couple of weeks has been slow and the remaining swelling has not gone down much.

BUT tonight when I had to sit on my heels and try to stretch my tendons in the front of my leg so that it would lie flat on the floor from knee to toe the same as my other leg, I had my first complete success.  For the past month there has been no discernable progress in stretching that tendon.  Until tonight I could fit between 1 and 2 finger widths between my shin and the floor.  Tonight I could actually feel the tendon and muscles relax sufficiently to touch down on the carpet and hold themselves there for nearly the full minute.  Apparently there is progress still to be made.

I am  beyond grateful! Slow and steady IS winning this race!

The Weeds Are Sprayed At Last

So happy to report that the yellow carpet of dandelions has been sprayed well this morning.  I woke up early to calm air and sunshine so out I went. The back area was all sprayed prior to breakfast.

Then the nozzle on the sprayer seized up and so I will have to wait to do the front yard next week after Dell has time to fix the nozzle and the predicted weekend rain is over.  That means I can get one more cut in this afternoon on the front lawn.

Although he loves me dearly and will fix the nozzle on the weekend,  I found out that my husband has a deep seated belief that I should not be spraying toxic chemicals onto the weeds and killing them.  Ideally I agree with his ode to the environment.  However we are living in the church rectory, are surrounded by neighbours who do spray and who, along with our congregants, will not remotely appreciate our gift of dandelion seeds that will cover the town if we let them continue to grow in such massive bunches.  I understand that by mowing more often we can keep the seeds to a minimum, but since the topsoil on the front lawn is decimated if we don't get rid of the weeds that is all that will grow out there.  The bit of grass still clinging on needs all the assistance it can get.  The church needs a new roof more than the rectory needs to have all the lawn torn up and completely redone this year.

So we have a big disagreement on how to handle noxious weeds and toxic chemicals, my husband and me.  So, um, haven't had the heart to let him know the first half hour outside was spent spraying along the alleyway and the side of the garage with a chemical that is non-descriminatory and will kill absolutely everything. bad......

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Didache

Spent some time today, between loads of laundry, ironing, downtown chores, dishes, and other mundane tasks,  looking at some of the text of the Didache (the teachings of the Apostles). It is a Christian treatise dating back to the end of the first century or early second century, according to most Christian scholars.  It didn't make it into the New Testament canon but is fascinating to read.  The very first line is "Teaching of the Lord to the Gentiles (or Nations) by the Twelve Apostles". This first line is what originally caught my interest and got me reading the English translations of these teachings.

These writings of the Apostolic Fathers show how the early church struggled with so many of the same issues of church practise and personal behaviour that we do today.  

My interest in The Didache was reignited recently after a long break from any real studying, and then this evening I also discovered a blog post about this treatise on  Do's and Don't's of the Christian life have always intrigued me and this blog post highlights the difference between following particular rules of behaviour as an act of legalism vs an act of worship as taught by The Didache.

If you haven't read any of the teachings of the Apostolic Fathers, and are interested, some of the texts are on line so give them a whirl.

So, proofreading my husband's seminary assignments and auditing his classes were not a complete waste of time for me after all!  Today turned into a productive day for body AND mind AND spirit....kind of glad the wind storm outside scotched my weed spraying attempts.

Dumb Stupid Prairie Wind

I am pouting this morning....pouting like a 2 year old!  haha The reason:  my plan to arise uber early this morning to spray weeds before the wind came up has come to nought.

It has been howling since about 5am and is getting worse all the time.  Trying to spray in this would result in me inhaling and swallowing more spray than would land on the weeds! And the neighbours may discover their own plants are dying as a result of blowback...wouldn't that make me popular, eh?? haha  Wow, what a windy day.  Apparently it is to herald rain in another day or 2.  Ooh, it would have been so perfect to spray today, let it percolate and then have the rain come at the right time to wash the dregs of the spray down into the roots. Sigh.....

But, as my husband so wisely (snidely?) told me: you can't ever predict with farming. haha

Yesterday a friend with a new small plane flew up here from Calgary, all excited to show us his new purchase, but the wind was so bad when he arrived he couldn't land! So he turned around and went home without seeing us at all.  Now THAT is prairie wind!

And I have thought for years that planes stayed in the air because of me pulling upward on my seat for the duration of my flights...but really it is hurricane force winds. Who knew???  Maybe this knowledge will help me to relax my grip on the seat next time I fly.

Or not.......

Monday, May 14, 2012

Please Check Out the Following Blog Site

Kait Dugan's wonderful theological blog site contained these excellent thoughts recently. The role of feminism in Christianity has been a hot topic for decades and I love Kait's ideas.
Check it out in its entirety at:
The post is titled: Patriarchy and Kenosis

At times it feels as though I don’t identify with a lot of the language that surfaces in feminist circles. The language of “rights” and “empowerment” are difficult for me to fully grasp, let alone accept. In my mind, the Gospel has no room for language of “rights” since the very notion of what it means to be a disciple is to deny oneself, pick up your cross, and follow Jesus Christ as Lord in life and possibly into death. You can only find your life when you lose it. The Gospel promises liberation, but only once death occurs. Sunday comes after Friday. And so the language of rights creates this space of autonomy and control that the Gospel specifically calls me to forfeit and lay down for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

I apologize if the link to her site isn't working on my blog. Trying to get that reset. So, do take time to type her blog addie into your search engine and read her excellent posts.  
Thanks to Amanda at for introducing me to Kait Dugan's site.  Amanda's theological blog is one I truly enjoy.  

Stream of Consciousness.......

This morning I was out whipping weeds.....seeds......mowing lawn......Moe is my most unfavourite of the three stooges......stages.......not good to use for drama productions in school gymnasiums.....stadiums.......Mosaic Place...sports....sorts of sports.......Australian rules football....yay....stupid professional sports......amateur sports for kids.......parents living through their kids and creating trouble for the refs.....deaf....deaf ears that things fall on......falling falling down furnace duct trying to escape police back home........Tokyo........home is where the heart is....was....I know he is Wiz of a Wiz if ever a Wiz there was, because of the wonderful things he does the Wizard of  Oz is one because....because, because, beause, because, becauuuuuuse....because of the wonderful things he does.......tra la la la la la la........Lala of lakes and rivers, gently flowing streams....streams of consciousness...state of unconsciousness....coma.....Coma....not the greatest stars.....stars upon th'ars...swimming pools and movie stars....super stars....nova....blame it on the bossa nova....Nova Scotia...........Annapolis Valley.......autumn leaves.......drift by your window, the autumn leaves of red and gold, I feel your lips, the summer kisses, the sunburned hands I used to hold; since you went away.....away from here.........near beer....Moussy.....wussy.....what's new pussy cat.....the cat in the hat.....where is my summer hat for walking downtown....where all the lights are bright....if we had any lights in this town....highlights.....low lifes.......roues and dad.....macular degeneration...sad for my the guitar.....donating to young man's guitar fund felt so good....freedom to help others outside the ties.....Alex Keaton...Eaton Centre.....Calgary........the beginning of life.......loss of hospital where I was born.......loss of hospital where son was born......loss....loss......loss of boss.....hop on pop.......time to stop.......

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Rough Morning

Despite the beautiful weather, relaxing church service and subsequent coffee hour, today has been rough.

The good news is that Dell's beloved honorary assistant and his family are moving to our former town to take over leadership at our former church.

The bad news is that Dell's beloved honorary assistant and his family are moving to our former town to take over leadership at our former church.

We are thrilled for them and devastated for us. Dell is left without the assistance he has been of course so grateful to have, but more than that a family of dear friends is leaving us.  The congregation was in tears when the announcement was made, although we have all known for a long time these wonderful friends would be moving on this summer.  Dell couldn't look at any of them while the announcement was being made because he would have cried too.

In 2 fleeting months they will be gone.  We are going to be very lonely without this family that we bonded to so quickly.

They are going to a busy church with an active and wonderful congregation, so as sad as we are to lose them we can't help being thankful for this opportunity for them in his first full time parish position.  The assistance he will get from the other experienced leaders there will be invaluable. The friends they will make will cheer their hearts as they pull up stakes and move on.

Happy/Sad:  aren't many circumstances in life just that way?

I just HAD to go out for Chinese food after church to deal with my upset!  Just had to.........and a chocolate peanut butter cup for dessert since it is also Mothers Day.  All very soothing for my queasy emotion stretched tummy.  So glad such announcements at church are rare.  I do wish our friends all the best but this is a rough day.

An Admission........Sigh.....

Okay, yes, there is a reason I was so pumped and thrilled with myself for cutting the grass etc. yesterday that is more than just excitement over the good healing of my ankle.

I have to admit that all that work came close to not happening.  I wanted to wear my little hikers to keep my shoes from getting grass stained, but the last time I wore the hikers was the morning I fell and broke my ankle.  As I pulled them out of the boot rack I realized I haven't worn them, or even seen them, since the day of my fall.

The laces on the boot I had on my bad foot were still splayed open from when Dell took my boot off in the hospital. I wouldn't let anyone but him take it off because I was so scared at the time.  They were still stiff from the muck on the boulevard from when my whole weight landed on my foot and drove my boot into the cold topsoil right under the snow.

I felt kind of sick to my stomach looking at it, and had trouble forcing myself to put it on. Once it was on and retied and I stood up, I swore I could hear that cracking sound of bones breaking all over again and I nearly fainted. My stomach heaved and I thought I was going to lose my breakfast all over the bootroom.

I sat back down and closed my eyes and prayed.  It took a few minutes actually to get over the fear, stand back up, walk around the house a few times to get my system calmed down. Then out I went rejoicing not only that I am well enough to do yard work but that I conquered an emotional glitch caused by the small trauma of last November's fall.

So, not only old, but wussy too.............there, that is my confession.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

By George Old Man, I Did It...Indeed I Did!!

I am delighted to report that this morning I spent nearly 3 hours outside mowing and trimming the front lawn and boulevard, sweeping up the sidewalks, and weed whacking a few things in the side yard!  My ankle behaved itself admirably other than a bit more swelling than usual, but it is calming down now.

It is one of those rare perfect spring days:  about +22C, sunny, no wind, no mosquitos, few flies, and only a few bees about, not a wasp yet in sight. If the outdoors could be like this all summer long I would spend far more time there. 

Time to hang up the fake wasp nests before the real wasps arrive and start getting established. There, a good job for my husband on his next day off.

I will rest for this afternoon and attend the church service this evening.  This way my ankle gets a decent rest. 

While I am resting I will contemplate tomorrow afternoon's or Monday's outdoor work: spraying the thick carpet of dandelions that are all over the ground between the back of the house and the alley way. They are EVERYWHERE!  It looks like I fertilized them last year instead of killing them!  GROSS!!

Today I am so proud of ME! Dell is away at a community event for the day and it was so lovely to just wander around with the lawn mower with no instructions added, no admonitions every few minutes that I should come in and rest my ankle, no running into the house to make meals for hubby before I was done outside.

The perfect a wee nap!!   

Friday, May 11, 2012

Interesting Hospital Visitor

My Father brings a certain amount of flair with him everywhere he goes.  When he came to visit my newborn son for the first time he brought more than that!

The week prior to my son's birth my dad fell out of his apple tree mid pruning.  He sprained both legs and so was in a wheelchair for several weeks to recover.

A few days after his grandson was born he coerced a friend into packing up himself, the wheelchair and my mom, and the friend drove them up from the city to our little town.

Mom wheeled Dad into the hospital, a blanket over his legs, looking like one of the extendicare patients, obviously in pain.  She wheeled him to the triage station where dad asked one of the nurses if she could please direct him to maternity.

She looked him up and down, taking in the wheelchair, the blanket, the pained face and the fact that he is male.   

"Maternity???  Buddy, you had better have a damned good reason!!!"

And thus did the nursing staff meet my family.......

Hospital Adventures

When my son was born our province was in the middle of a province-wide nurses strike.  Our little hospital was one of only two non-union hospitals in the entire province.  Every emergency case for miles around was ambulanced to us.  It made for interesting times during the 11 days my son and I were there waiting for him to gain enough weight to leave the hospital for home.  11 days of watching seriously injured folk from car accidents waiting on gurneys outside my maternity room door was daunting.  11 days of over worked, stressed out, nursing staff understandably created problems for everyone.

Normally my preemie son, bright purple at birth from the lack of oxygen that triggered his early arrival, would have been ambulanced to the city to a neo-natal unit, but the strike pre-empted that possibility and he had to stay in the ancient nursery of our little old hospital while we all hoped for the best.  God is good.  He survived not having the breathing apparatus he should have had for the first few days, the foot flicking technique of the nurses to try to keep him awake long enough to actually drink a few drops of milk, and 24 hours under the bilirubin lamp to take care of his bit of jaundice.

That child breathed, ate, and surivived the bilirubin lamp through the sheer force of his mother's will and his father's calm serenity.  We massaged his chest and back to make sure he was relaxed enough to breathe steadily. Oh, how we prayed. We did that for several days at regular intervals. He couldn't nurse at all and finally I told the nurses in no uncertain terms to forget it.  I was no longer going to fight with that process while my baby's weight continued to drop 24 hours post birth.  Once again screaming came in handy.  They brought his little layette crib into my room and there it stayed.  As long as he was with me I was quiet!!  Every hour for 2 days I massaged his throat to get him to open his mouth, placed a few drops of milk on his tongue, closed his mouth for him and massaged his throat again to get him to swallow. Oh, how we prayed. By the time we checked out he was using a preemie bottle successfully.  

The bilirubin experience was one neither of us survived very comfortably.  To protect the baby's eyes there were eye patches held in place by a net cap that covered most of his head.  Unfortunately he was so tiny the cap kept riding up until it pulled the patches off his eyes completely and he was rolling around naked except for his diaper, making his little "I am terrified" squeaks of distress.  So for 24 hours I stayed awake and stood at the nursery window.  The nurses had no time to check on him.  I can't even imagine what they were going through during this strike that brought them 10 times the normal patient load.  So I stood for hours at the window and each time the patches pulled off his eyes, I snuck in to replace them and the cap.  It is amazing how motherly adrenaline will pump for hours and keep a mom awake in the protection of her child.  

Finally he was released from that lamp and rewrapped in a tight blanket that made him feel safer. The doctor came to me that afternoon in high dudgeon!  "I have been told that you are not sleeping Mrs. B.  The nurses say that you are up all night long and they are not going to take the blame if you get sick from lack of sleep!"  Ahh, so the non-available nurses were also finks!  I told him in no uncertain terms why I had been awake all night and that was the end of that conversation.  An hour later one of the more aware nurses scuttled down to my room to let me in on the fact that the doctor planned to send me home and keep my son in hospital without me.  I immediately called my husband to come and take home all my clothes.  When the doctor came to order me home I told him the only way I was leaving was either with my son or completely naked since I wasn't allowed to take the hospital duds out of the building.  End of threat from him!

The other problem wrought by the strike was a lack of cleaning staff in our room.  Oh, actually it was more a lack of cleaning by the cleaning staff in our room.  My roommate and I were afraid to use the bathroom as it was so dirty after 2 days with no sign of a cleaning staff in our area.  On the 3rd morning I decided enough was enough, so I got up at 5:30am and snuck down the hallway to a big cleaning supply closet where the cleansers and sponges were kept.  I smuggled both to our room, pulled a giant metal bed pan from our room closet, filled it with hot water and commensed cleaning the bathroom, "stem to stern" as they say.  Once the fixtures were cleaned I got down on my hands and knees and washed the floor.  It felt SO good to be active and helpful.  As I was backing out of the bathroom, giving the floor a last swipe with the sponge, I backed into someone standing behind me.  It was my roommate's doctor and his face was bright purple.  "Mrs. B.  WHAT in the name of God are you doing??"  So I told him what kind of messes had remained in our bathroom and how I realized the staff was under stress and requests for a cleaning had gone unheeded, so I wanted to be helpful.

Apparently my"helpfulness" triggered a full scale investigation into the state of the hospital's cleaning practises and one of the head maintenance ladies was fired the next afternoon.  Oh my....she came down to my room before she left the premises. (finked out again apparently)  She gave me Hail Columbia about my actions and the consequences for herself and informed me that, "I have been cleaning in this hospital for over 30 years!"  My frightened response was that if she had been cleaning for that long then she should have a better idea of how to do it properly!  I sounded nasty and strong, so she harrumphed out of my room and left me in peace, never to appear again, but really I was terrified of her and I cried when she left. I felt terrible about her being fired, necessary though it may have been.

As you can imagine, the second my son hit the 5 pound mark my husband raced down to the hospital with my clothes, the baby's clothes, and against the doctor's advice I checked us both out of there. (As you can also imagine, the nursing staff was ecstatic to lose me as a patient!) I was told that my son would lose weight and stop breathing and I would be back within 48 hours.  I knew that would not happen and home we went. When I took him in to the doctor for his 6 week check up the boy weighed in at 11 pounds, 6 ounces and he had no problems with breathing or feeding with a full sized bottle.  The doctor was happy and so was I.

Yes, it was a struggle.  I had so little sleep for that first 6 weeks it is a near miracle that I didn't become ill myself. My husband took time off work to help out and we willed life into that little boy.  God gave us strength. He answered our prayers.  The nursing staff at the hospital finally forgave me for being probably the worst patient and least compliant new mom they had ever dealt with, and they rejoiced with me at his healthy condition when I returned him to hospital at 8 weeks for a small surgical proceedure.

It all worked out. My son is a healthy and productive member of society. That old hospital has been torn down and a lovely new facility stands in its place.  It is now unionized and so the disasters the staff at that time faced have been replaced by new disasters, but they have never had to deal with me again.  Nor I with them....

We are all happy campers.

Birthing a Baby

It is a beautiful spring day today....finally.  My son was born on just such a day as this many years ago.

I didn't start the day with any notion of having a baby by mid morning.  There were nearly 6 weeks to go until the due date.  In my inexperience with childbirth and children in general, I hadn't realized the tremendous distress my back muscles had experienced the day before and the inabilty to get comfortable for sleeping that night signalled the onset of labour. Duh!

My husband drove off to work that morning, a fair distance out of town, and I prepared to have a shower and start my day.  As I stepped into the tub my back began to spasm.  Oooowwwweeee!!!  Then I had a few twinges in my abdominal muscles that made it very uncomfortable to balance my feet on the slippery tub surface.  I finally figured out that these were actually labour-like pains, but in our pre-natal classes we had been warned and warned not to bother the hospital staff with the false labour that is so common in the last weeks leading up to a birth.  When I literally couldn't stand up any more I decided perhaps I should call the hospital and check.  Thank goodness I was at least bright enough to pick up the phone!  The triage nurse listened to my symptoms and told me in no uncertain terms, "You get the hell down here right now!!!"  I was more terrified by her than by any pain, so I finally reached my husband on the job site and home he came.

In pre-natal classes we were told that my husband should pack up a bag of items to bring to the hospital:  a rubber ball for me to squeeze during pains, a book for himself to read, various items to distract us both from the pains.  I waited in our vehicle while he was preparing our little bag of "stuff" when the thought suddenly hit me that if we didn't get going on our 15 km drive to the hospital and get going quickly, the baby might not wait for us.  Finally my dear husband ambled out of the house with his collection of distractors and away we went.  Unfortunately, for all his dilgence in remembering every item that was to go into the bag, he never got to use any of them.

Fortunately he thought to call the hospital to say we were on the way because by the time we arrived in the parking lot my head was pushing against the driver's door and my feet were jammed against the passenger door as I tried desperately to keep that baby from arriving before we did!

So here is something I don't understand about hospital arrivals such as this:  as we pulled into the lot a nurse came running out the door flogging a wheelchair in my direction as fast as she and it could go.  It was kind of scary to see this apparition racing in my direction.  Plus, when you are having a baby and that close to delivery it is no longer possible to sit down!!  Jamming one's pregnancy butt between the handrails of a narrow wheelchair is barely possible to start with, but then to have to push down on the handrails with all your might by your elbows in order to keep your butt aloft...well, it is a huge struggle a pregnant person doesn't need!!   

Our little old hospital was not well set up in some ways.  In order to reach the so-called maternity ward, (right next to the operating rooms in order to give us terrified birthing moms a solid view of accident victims on our way to the delivery room....guess it was so we would stop feeling sorry for ourselves??), we had to go through the extended care.  My dear nurse was running as quickly as possible and we careened around many an older person in bathrobe, bearing toothbrush and shaving mug, paralyzed into place apparently by the speed at which we were attempting to get around them without knocking any of them over.  It was a thrill ride unlike any other I have been on in any amusement park.

Finally we found an empty room in which to place me to await the doctor's assessment of my situation.  His assessment of my situation was, "Get her to delivery!  STAT!  That baby is coming NOW!!"  And 12 minutes later I gave a mighty scream and a mighty push and the doctor's prophecy came true.  A teeny preemie came into the world.

It was during that intense 12 minutes that I experienced a revelation about pre-natal classes.  I realized that the purpose of them is not for assisting the mother with her birthing process as much as it is for the comfort of the doctors and delivery nurses!  All that breathing to keep you from screaming nonstop is to protect the ears of the hospital staff.  Oh, I did try the breathing for a couple of minutes.  My husband coached me, a student nurse coached me, but I decided that I would like to try screaming, just to see what that was like in comparison to the breathing exercises.  

Well, let me tell you!  My dears, if you are at the end of a painful labour process screaming is the only way to go.  I had no idea I could scream like that and it felt so good!!  Once I started to wail it was nearly impossible to stop, and wow, talk about distracting from pain.  It is amazing, I have to say.  

The doctor and nurses didn't agree with this assessment, except for  my birthing coach who had in past years been a home birth delivery nurse in England.  Oh how I love her to this day. When the doctor told me to get it together and stop screaming, she turned on him like a wild dog: "Have YOU ever had a baby?",  she asked him.  "Well no, of course not.", he admitted.  "Then you just shut up!  Go ahead dear and scream all you want."  Aaaaah, a wise woman.

The student nurse though really hurt my feelings, when, as soon as my son was born she burst into tears and hollered, "I am NEVER haing a baby!  NEVER!!" and stomped out of the room. 


2 weeks after my son was born I received a phone call from the leader of the pre-natal classes I attended. She asked me how the breathing exercises had helped me and if I had been able to use them successfully.  I agreed that there was some help available through their programme but that really the best advice I could give a birthing mom would be to scream long and loudly whenever she felt the need as that is what had helped me the most.  The lady hung up in my ear.


The 11 days my son and I spent in the hospital waiting for his weight to hit the 5 pound mark so he could come home included many adventures that I will post separately for the sake of post length.

What a trip.........    

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Dealiing With Unwanted Mailings

Yesterday I got a letter in the mail from the head office of a popular magazine.  I was glad to receive it, but rather annoyed and embarrassed as to why the letter had been necessary.

In January I received a copy of the magazine along with a bill for a year's subscription.  Since I hadn't subscribed to the magazine I was a bit confused.  I wracked my brain to think of when I might have had some form of communication with this publication and came up blank.  I know I am old, but I am not yet at the stage of sending off subscription requests to magazines I wouldn't even keep in the bathroom for a cheap read!

The magazine arrived nicely wrapped in plastic so I bundled it up in a new envelope without opening the wrapping and returned it and the bill, along with a note to say a mistake had been made.  I use the word "mistake" lightly as it is more likely my name was taken off a mailing list in hopes I would feel forced to pay the bill and subscribe.

Whatever really happened I don't know, but it took me nearly a half hour of internet time to locate an address to return these things.  This is a popular magazine so I was surprised at the difficulty in locating a snail mail address of any kind.

Stupidly I thought that would be the end of it.  2 weeks later the next copy of the magazine arrived.  I paid out another rather expensive amount to return it, along with a copy of the letter I had sent previously.  Over the next 6 weeks this happened 2 more times.

I decided if I was to continue to return an entire year's subscription for this magazine I would end up spending nearly twice the subscription cost mailing the magazines back unopened.  So I sent my 4th copy of the letter along with the unopened magazine, but on the bottom of the letter I hand wrote a short sentence that if I received any more copies of the magazine or any more bills then the subscription department would be speaking to my legal representation.

I popped it into the mail only 2 weeks ago.  All ready yesterday I received an apologetic response from the head office of the magazine with an assurance that the mistake was entirely their own (ya' think??) and that I would receive no more communications from them.  

It is nice to know I won't be spending any more money on postage and that I don't have this hanging over my head any more, but I hate having to make threats in order to deal with an unwanted situation.   

It makes me feel as slimy as the people who started this in the first place.  Ugh!  

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Monday and Tuesday....Back on Track

Life settled down once we got through the weekend, thank goodness!!  

Monday was delightful.

Dell had a 12 hour sleep that left him quite refreshed.  We made no plans for Monday other than taking  up on a surprise opportunity to have dinner with a couple we were only just getting to know when we left Moose Jaw 2 years ago.  I met him while he was still driving city transit bus and got to know him through the wonderful photos he takes.  Getting to know him and his wife as friends has been a bonus blessing we are most grateful for.  They are a lot of fun! Hugs all around and then a presentation to us of 3 wonderful large photos: one of the local river park walkway taken in the previous morning's mist, a black and white of the church Dell helped renovate before we left Moose Jaw that Dell is delighted with, and a beautiful photo of the  heritage site at  St. Columba Anglican church near Buffalo Pound Lake. What an unexpected delight!  

Prior to dinner we had a most relaxing day.  Dell drove out to the seminary at Caronport in the morning to do some research while I breakfasted with a best buddy.  In the afternoon we enjoyed clothes shopping for Dell, visiting a friend who operates a book store, and then a wonderful taste tour of a new balsamic vinegar and olive oil shop.  Yes, just had to buy a couple of bottles of vinegar; one a 25 year old vinegar with a dark brooding bite that will be wonderful on radiccio and other more bitter tasting veggies, the other a light white vinegar perfect for fruit salads and lighter lettuces.  YUM!

How delightful to be able to have a full day together with the only committments being fun ones!!  And in a big enough centre to get out and do things that most people in bigger centres take for granted. We had a wonderful day! The stresses of the previous 3 days began to fade.

Tuesday Dell had to return to Regina for a clergy day he thoroughly enjoyed while I met a friend for early breakfast and then spent the rest of the day window shopping and visiting bus rider friends from our former days in Moose Jaw.  I used my cane and managed to spend nearly 8 hours wandering about amusing myself.  It was relaxing and refreshing and fun!  Splurged on an outfit that actually fits me.  (I have lost a few applause necessary......oh well, if you must....)

We had a relaxed snack for dinner and got home just as it was turning dark.  The light conditions were perfect for my eyes for a change and I drove most of the way while Dell "happy napped" and chattered away in between dozes.  

Today reality returned along with Dell's job as he raced out early this morning to do Bible study at the seniors' manor.  This afternoon he will catch up on emails and administration for the church and then tonight prepare his final notes and assignments to email to his weekend students.  But reality arrived happily this time.  We had time away, truly away. We rested and laughed and talked and met with many dear friends.  This past 5 days will carry us forward with joy.

Thank you God for this past few days, warts and all. 


And Then There Was Sunday!

Yeah........Sunday started off with a fizzle rather than a bang.  You know, that fizzle sound your car ignition makes to let you know there is no power left in the battery and said car is now dead as a duck? You know, that sound that strikes a death knell into the depths of your heart when you are 15 minutes away from getting to church on time and you know you have at least a 20 minute wait for a boost to come from the nearest CAA location?  Yeah, that one.

The night before when we left after class to travel to our hotel in Moose Jaw, I was driving.  Dell slept most of the way there and I was nearly as tired as he was just because of all the stresses associated with the class, getting lost, teeny beds, Japanese bathrooms...need I go on??  The fuse in our car that is supposed to sound a little buzzer to let you know you have left the car lights on is apparently blown out, so the buzzer did not come on, nor has it since, and I left the lights on in the car overnight. How, in the pitch black of night, could I possibly not have noticed my lights were on??  Now THAT is tired!! (You do realize I am never going to live this one down. Not ever.  Never. I do not leave lights on in cars overnight.  Not ever.  Never.  Until now. Dell at last has his revenge.)  

The CAA man came to boost our car, and was a man of few words:
Left the lights on overnight eh?
Um, sorry to bother you early on a Sunday morning sir.
Teeny almost smirk.

End of conversation.

Dell drove us to church.  I was banished from operating the car for the rest of the day.  We were only 7 minutes late for church so only had to sit right at the VERY FRONT where everyone could see our sorry disruptive entrance.

But the greetings from our friends there were effusive and heart warming. Their joy at our visit was overwhelming and a soothing balm to our sore egos and emotions. They stayed and visited with us in the coffee room for nearly 2 hours after the service. What a wonderful restart to the the entire weekend.

Our favourite Thai food for lunch, dinner and conversation at the home of dear friends that evening.....what could be better?  Maybe Monday???

Divine Comedy of Errors aka Our Weekend Away

And a good time was had by all........eventually......

As you know from previous posts, just trying to get away on time to teach my husband's course this weekend was rather diffcult. We HAD to get away by 11am Friday to be on time for his first session, so by 11:15am we were finally on the road! Yeah...

Before we left I was in the office madly copying off  hard copy notes for the class and collating the pages.  The process went smoothly, the printer didn't cause any problems for a change, it was a smooth start to the morning....relatively speaking.....for us......

Dell was all packed by 11am and had only to make a quick stop into the church office to get a nice plastic sleeve for the copies of the class notes. We checked his office, my office, the church office, the dining room table, the kitchen island, and even the bathroom vanity, to be sure we had every last paper, book, and set of eye glasses he needed for his class.  Finally the trip came together smoothly, no more worries, everything organized, everything packed up..........yeeeeaaah........

The car held together for the trip, we had a delightful little luncheon part of the way there, gasoline was reasonably priced, and the weather was becoming drier and sunnier the closer we got to our destination.  We got to the monastery in Lumsden a full hour before we had to leave for the course in Regina and we were pretty proud of ourselves when we pulled into the monastery parking lot.  Met up immediately with our curricuulum coordinator who showed us to our room and we had the first surprise of the night:  instead of the 2 single beds in the room, as we had been told to expect, there was a very tiny supposedly double bed crammed against the wall. It was actually a 3/4 twin bed and we just groaned when we saw it.  Oh well, no time to think about the lack of sleep later on, we had to get to class.

But there were a few spare minutes yet so we looked around at the monastery store on our way out where I bought a piece of local pottery. Yes, more sue is ever so tiny, a little oriental style tea cup, not some massive decorative bowl. I restrained myself!  We also picked up a couple of lovely bargain items in the monastery rummage sale so that was fun.

We drove into Regina, timing our arrival just perfectly to set up projectors and sound boxes, hand out notes and meet the students. Of course we hadn't left any extra minutes to account for getting lost. Sigh....... well hey, we had been to the building before........twice.......  But I guess it was a few years ago and Dell (yes, it had to be all his fault, right?) had completely forgotten that the city is divided by the rail system into north and south sections with the same street names picking up on each side of the tracks. Yuuuup, we ended up on the wrong side of the tracks, a phrase that has new meaning to me now.  We drove around and drove around on all the correct streets, according to the signs, and no familiar building appeared!!  We drove around for the better part of 30 minutes before Dell finally clued in to what had happened.  We pulled the car over at one point so he could haul out his lap top and take a look at the Google map he had saved with the directions to the building. We  thought he was so smart to do this even though we thought we knew where we were going, 'cause you never know, right?  (Let me rephrase that...'cause WE never know!)  Well, guess what?  The title of the page came up on the screen, it showed as a saved page in the folder, but what came up was a blank page!!  That file map was NOT there anywhere.  Dell found a gas station and went in to talk to the lady behind the counter.  That is when he remembered we were on the wrong side of the tracks.  hahaha  Aiiiii yiiiiii! We got to class 5 minutes AFTER it was supposed to have started.  The curricuulum leader was telling everyone that she knew we had arrived at least as far as Lumsden because she had actually seen us and we had left for Regina at the same time!  We took the back road and she took the highway but she beat us there! Wow, did she ever!!

Dell quickly set up the projector and screen and grabbed the plastic sleeve to give the students their notes and handouts.  Only one problem: the notes and handouts were not in the sleeve.  There was a stack of papers in there, but they were not the notes and handouts. Aiiiii yiiiiii......where were the notes and handouts??? Dell tore his briefcase apart, no sign of them.  Back out the to the car, tearing through the trunk, tilting the seats back and forth..nary a note nor handout to be found.  No idea what had happened to them.  Dell did some quick improvisation as to how to do his first 2 sessions that night and away he finally went, only TWENTY minutes late into his first 1 hour session!!  Thank goodness for the wonderful meal provided for us for dinner as a group between the 2 calmed the waters considerably.  At least when the promised connecting electrical cord was not there to plug in the projector, someone from the class was able to pull a heavy duty 70 foot winter extention cord from their car and lend it to Dell.  Its bright neon yellow coating did keep us all awake.  It was absolutely mesmerizing!!

Eventually he found one copy of the handout and was able to get that printed out for the next morning at least, for all the good it did by then.  

Going back to the monastery that night we opted once again to take the back road as it would be shorter and faster and we were so tired. Well it is shorter all right, but it is not faster!!!!  The potholes we careened around on the return side of the road were deep enough to rip oil pans from chasses but at least we didn't do that....again.... There were deer and skunks and coyotes. There were downed signs that led to missed turns. There were bullet holes in the standing signs that rendered them indeciperable in the pitch darkness.  Eventually we found the monastery and drove in just as the folk who took the much longer highway route also arrived. Sigh.....

Oh it was a jolly night and about to become even jollier as we crammed ourselves into the teeny tiny bed for the night and lay rigid as ram rods so we wouldn't fall out. Actually it was so Dell wouldn't fall out. I was jammed tunmy to radiator against the outer wall.  We didn't even dare to giggle about our plight as the motion involved would have caused injuries to us both!  

The bathroom was somewhat Japanese for size. In order to get to it at 3am I had to pull myself carefully forward the length of the bed without taking the covers with me and thereby pulling them off my dear husband, locate my sport shoe at the bottom of the bed to slip my bad foot into so I could stand up, creep 2 steps into the bathroom and stand straddling the toilet so I could soothe the door past the bowl to shut it, remembering to reef on the handle to lift the door up as high as I could off the floor to keep it from grinding into the go back to bed the same performance in reverse.   

We were staying in the older wing of the monastery where the floor buckles and heaves and rolls. Try walking on that with a broken ankle!  I dare ya'!!

After a sleepless night that involved a lot of giggling despite the risk of injury, we toddled out to the monastery kitchen at about 5:30am to make ourselves some toast and tea.  There we met one of the still pajama clad monks who was none too thrilled to see us, was apparently practising a vow of silence, packed up his breakfast to take elsewhere, and flipped out the lights so we were left sitting in the dark. GOOOOOD morning!!!  And welcome to Lumsden.

To add to the fun, Dell had the worst allergy headache he has had in months and had to teach both days' classes with it refusing to subside. Oh it was a great start to our time away!!   Fortunately the class went very well indeed despite everything but we both breathed a huge sigh of relief when it, and all the testings, ended. Well, not ended exactly......(see next post)

And where were the missing notes and handouts? When we got home last night, there they were in a nice tidy pile atop the kitchen island; the very island we had made sure was clear of all objects before we left town!!  Nope, no idea......