Saturday, June 30, 2012

Summer Shoesies!

Had a most wonderful time at today's wedding.  The weather was perfect for an outdoor event, bright and sunny, and DRY for a change!  Even the horseflies loved it, and the bridal party who were standing under the trees have the bleeding bites on their necks and legs to prove it!

The preacher kept his message short.  Way to go honey on such a hot day with most of us standing for the ceremony. My husband knows how to do a wedding!  When my husband completed his blessing for the newlyweds at the end of the ceremony with the phrase, "The Lord be with you.", they completely forgot to respond with, "And also with you", so my husband said, "Aaaaaand also with me, you may kiss the bride."  If you are familiar with the usual Anglican responses it was pretty funny. 

Even the 2 wee kidlets, aged not yet 3, who were the ring bearers, did their job properly...Adara and Kazmin, the cutest pair ever!  It was a truly lovely ceremony with a good blend of formal and casual, humour and solemnity.

My job was to pin the boutonnieres onto the groomsmans' suit lapels.  I was dreading it as I am so uncoordinated with such things. I was expecting them to look like their flowers had been pinned on by the local drunk.  But it turned out to be easy peasey since the florist used rare earth magnets instead of pins. Once I managed to pull the boutonnieres apart from each other in the package......no mean feat with those magnets all sticking to each other.....the job was done and properly in a matter of a minute.  YAY RARE EARTH MAGNETS!

In between the wedding and the reception we deaked into town to the Chinese cafe to have a cup of tea.  Wow, that was fun!  The restaurant was deserted as most of the town was over at the local arena celebrating the 100th anniversary of the rural municipality......well, maybe I am being too noble about the reason for their disappearance from the downtown streets:  actually there was a big beer garden at the arena.....hmmmm....

But I digress.  We had our cup of tea, but we had other treats.  Friends of the family who own the restaurant were visiting from out of town. They were steaming large ears of corn for their own consumption in the absence of any paying customers.  Yes, we were invited to share and share we did. Then out from the kitchen came grandma, visiting from China, bearing 2 large bamboo steamer baskets filled with steamed buns.  Would we like to try them?  YOU BETCHA'!!  Oh, they were fantastic!  The best kind of homemade bread with nary a chemical or preservative added. We dipped them in a Chinese sauce somewhat like kimchee and they were amazing.  We visited together and felt very much a part of this happy group.  What a lovely time.  Now if we only spoke some Chinese...maybe some day.

The reception for the wedding was a  lot of fun, but we didn't exactly pork out on the banquet after our afternoon of treats at the restaurant.  We sat with friends from church. We laughed.  We talked.  We toasted the happy couple.  

There were 2 "best" things at this reception.  The first is that for the first time in a year I wore my SAS summer sandals that do not require orthotics to protect the bone spurs under my heels and have adjustable straps so I was able to secure my ankle beautifully so it didn't wobble.  To be able to go out with no stockings on such a hot day, to be free of the dreaded sports shoes, the orthotics, the socks of any kind.....I think I experienced something akin to how a convict feels in that first  hour of freedom after a long incarceration.  Emotionally it was just that liberating.


The other "best" is the way the bride and groom at the wedding handled the party favours usually found at each place setting around the tables, usually scattered all over the hall by the time the guests leave, so many wasted or lost or left behind.  Instead there was a table next to the exit door and on it were tiny gift bags with ribbon ties.  All around the table were glass jars filled with chocolates, sugar candies, bubble gum, mini pretzels, scotch mints.  In each jar were small scoops with which to fill the the gift bags with your choice of sweet treats.  No one was stuck with a party favour they didn't know what to do with.  We took what we wanted or left well enough alone.  Very smart.  Love the idea!

What a neat Saturday!  All manner of events and friends.  Tomorrow we head back to this town for the RM 100th anniversary ecumenical church service.  My husband only has to do the prayers this time, and we have another priest here in this town to take their service so he had no sermon to prepare this week. What a nice break during a very busy time.  We may not have time off this long weekend, but it is turning out to be a very fun one anyway. 

Those Guilty Pleasures

This afternoon I was talking to someone who, it turns out, reads this little blog.  By the time we were done talking I was feeling kind of odd about her readership.  It seems that there are some people like herself who view reading my blog as their daily guilty pleasure......some otherwise intelligent and well educated people secretly watch soap operas to relax, some read my blog.

I am not sure how I feel about this.........should I be hurt?  Should I be offended?  What do her comments say about the readers who openly admit to reading this blog and gettting the occasional bona fide chuckle from it? Should THEY be hurt?  Should THEY be offended? 

AND more importantly what does her admission to reading my blog say about her, herself?  

VERDICT:  if reading my blog is a guilty pleasure for the well educated intellectual, so be it.  Better those readers than none at all!  ENJOY!  

Oh.........note to my guilty pleasure admitting friend:  Your secret is safe with me.....I'll never tell......

What do you mean I just did tell??  I didn't even mention your name.....teehee 


The Other Side....by Mary Gordon

Am reading a rather depressing novel at the moment, title and author listed above.  It is well written so that both assists with the reader's ability to cope with the unhappiness of,  and adds to the depressing nature of, the characters in the story. If you need to feel edified, encouraged, and filled with hope about the state of humankind, this may not be the book for you.  As well written and interesting as it is, it is not bedtime reading for people who live their novels emotionally.

Here is a quote:  "Has he (Vincent) enjoyed his life?  Parts of it have been enjoyable.
     You could look back at your own life and see it, broken into parts, divided like a field cut up for different crops.  But where you were living any part of your life, that was the whole of it.  You didn't say, Eventually there will be another part of life from which this will be separated.  Even the breaks, the new starts, terminations, crossings over.  You didn't let go of the part of your life you were living.  Nothing became the past while you were living it. 
     Things bled from one part of your life into the new part so that it seemed a piece, and when the terrible times came that was the trouble.  You believed it never would break up. The past became the past only when it could no longer wound you. And then you lost some kind of interest in it. It became less real to you.  You could no longer recognize it as your life.  Only some thread reminded you that you were always the same person.  Birth to death, you were the same."
(The Other Side by Mary Gordon, page 272, 273.  Viking Penguin publishers: New York, 1989.) 


Am switching up my just before bedtime reading so I stop waking up feeling depressed!  This novel is a day time read for me because the emotionally depressing lives of the characters are far too realistically authored.  


Friday, June 29, 2012

Young Love and Great Shopping

Today was a lovely day!  After a busy morning of mending and funeral preparations for next week, we headed off to our "other town" and church.  We had a lot of fun eating Chinese food at their wonderful cafe, then while my husband spent some time doing pastoral visits I toured the little shops and purchased a few fun items.

I mean, why should I pay $6 for a bottle of run of the mill grapeseed oil at the Co-op grocery when I can pay 2 and half times that much for a more gourmet brand? Right??  Of course right!!

And who would be able to resist new tea towels made from organic cotton that are blue jean blue?? Well, not ME!  And you would not have been able to resist them either!  Right?? Of course right!! C'mon! They are BLUE JEAN BLUE!! One deep blue denim, one baby blue denim and one stonewash.  How often do you see those colours in a tea towel??  Riiiight??

And then there was the gift towel set with linen lace added to make them particularly lovely and gift-like; a gift towel set with a high thread count that makes them soft and absorbent (practical) as well as a lovely shower gift  should I ever meet anyone ever again young enough to be having a wedding shower.  A person should be prepared in advance for such a possibility, right?  You don't want wedding showers to sneak up on you and find you unprepared in the gift department. At my age it could happen so easily. Right??  Of course right!!

Oh, and then........the navy blue napkins for my dinner set that are so difficult to locate these days, especially around these parts.   An absolute must to purchase. Right?? Of course right!!

There were also the microfiber dishcloths, the anti frizz hair conditioner, and the perfect but impossible to locate after a year of searching hairbrush.  After seeking all 3 items here in town for several months and finding none of them, (and forgetting twice now to look for them in Calgary where they are considerably less expensive...sigh), how could I NOT purchase them all at once in the "other town"??  Well, I couldn't not....not...not...(how many "nots" do I need to eliminate that double negative anyway?) Right?? Of course right!!

Besides, I have a great shopping history with the "other town".  I last went shopping there 2 years ago and spent an exorbitant amount of money on one average looking tea towel that turned out to be the thickest, most absorbent tea towel ever. And it still looks like new!  See, I NEED to spend the extra money to shop there more often. Right?? Of course right!!  (Any notes of encouragement to my husband on this subject are greatly appreciated...the old party pooper!)

One store in particular fascinated me.  You would never find a store like this in an urban centre, never!  It is housed in a former meat market and the products, an eclectic mix of greeting cards, Watkins products, home tools, kids clothes, candles, and mail order catalogue items, are displayed in the interior baskets of old meat freezers!!  I spent longer in this tiny, cram packed store than any of the others, scoring myself a great deal (take note husband) on super cutsy gift wrap paper...an absolute necessity, particularly if I ever need to wrap that fancy gift towel set for a wedding shower in the future.  Right? Of course right!!

Exhausted from my completely unexpected shopping spree I returned to the church building and had a long nap on the old couch in the youth lounge, then caught up on some reading.  Played the church piano for awhile too and that was fun.

From there we headed out of town to a beautiful farmstead for a wedding rehearsal.  So much work with elegant plants and bright flowers in large pots, a framed and sheer curtained canopy with a bouquet of lilacs over the archway, little ironwork stands decorated with tasteful loops of flower garlands.  The weather forecast for the big day tomorrow is as perfect as the setting.  And unlike the last farmstead wedding we attended there are no cows to crash the ceremonies unexpectedly and send the guests and the chairs scattering hither and yon. 


A perk sometimes of being the wife of the priest officiating at weddings is an invitation to rehearsal or wedding dinners. Tonight's meal was particularly fabulous: the best lasagna we have ever eaten, a perfect caesar salad....homemade, NOT bottled, dressing and in just the right amount....no soggy lettuce! There were hefty, meaty ribs, a bean salad and 2 desserts, a plethora of drinks of all kinds....what a feast and what a privilege to be able to parttake! 


My husband did the marriage counselling for this pair and they are the sweetest couple in the world.  Friends from all over Canada have come to celebrate with them and the gathering was noisy and fun filled.  It was an evening of remembering our much younger days via this group of great young people.  It will be such fun to see them again tomorrow all dressed up in their wedding finery and share this special event with them.  We are touched that they want to spend time conversing with us....two old fogys who do love relating to people their age.


Another day away from home tomorrow....no more shopping, but a beautiful wedding, a joining of 2 kind souls.......young love and the committment it is bringing this couple is encouraging to see.
   

  

Dark Prairie Skies

Since moving to the prairies I have learned a new definition for the word "overcast" in reference to the sky conditions.  The prairie weather persons' definition of "overcast" is actually "dark"!

D.A.R.K!!

O-v-e-r-c-a-s-t on the prairies = DARK!

To date, in my experience with sky conditions, "overcast" has meant light to medium grey clouds partially obscuring the sun for brief periods throughout the day, still allowing for at least a few bright sun's rays to shine to earth even at the most cloudy times, blots and blips and patches of blue sky still visible to the naked eye.

But here it seems to mean that ugly black clouds will fill the entire sky to the point where the exact location of the sun is obscured, blotted out, nearly impossible to discover.


"Overcast" around here means that it appears a giant rain storm is imminent, only the rain never happens.  

"Overcast" around here means that all the lights in the house have to be put on even at what should be the sunniest noon time to avoid tripping over throw rugs, or my own big feet, while traipsing about the interior darkness.

"Overcast" here where I live is just a fancy 8 letter word for:  DARK!

Other Blogs I Particularly Enjoy

Two of my favourite theological (etc.) blogs are by a prof (Eric Ortland) and a current student and pastor (Amanda MacInnes)  from Briercrest Seminary here in Saskatchewan.  Check them out:

scatterings1976.blogspot.ca

cheesewearingtheology.com

They are both a great mix of academic and practical theology, as well as some discussion about seminary and family life on the prairies.  Thank you Eric, and Amanda, for your great writing and ideas and above all your frankess.
 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Counselling

Got thinking this morning about how much better I am coping with my family responsibilities for aging parents since finally going for counselling when I was 50 years old.  Obviously it took me long enough to go and get assistance but I am so glad I did.

My childhood was one of mixed messages and resulting confusion.  My parents really did the best they could but they are simply 2 people who would have fared better if they had not had children.  Parenting was too stressful for them, although they tried their best with the role.

When my husband attended a seminary with a very good counselling programme I decided it was time to become a client and see what I could do about some of my problems. It was amazingly beneficial just to hear a counsellor say that it was understandable that I would be confused after some of the things that happened growing up.


I know I have written about this before, but in the past few weeks I have spent quite a bit of time with my parents and it has been just fine. At a time in their lives when I could feel particularly resentful about the time and effort it takes to assist aging parents I feel free to help them, rather than obligated; free to see them as themselves and me as myself, instead of being overly aware to the point of emotional disability of our family connection.  I am simply no longer emotionally invested in a painful relationship. We don't have to tippy toe around each other any more in fear of setting off an emotional fire storm.

To be able to see my parents as 2 senior citizens in a place of needing help that I can give them is a very freeing experience.  I truly do want to help as much as they will allow me to.  It is a privilege and not a drudge.

It is amazing what a few months of counselling with a well trained someone who can confirm some things for me about my own right to my own feelings, and help me direct them into healthy expressions that benefit not only myself but my whole family, has done to improve life.  After years of unhappiness I stand amazed at the changes in my own feelings and how those have brought healing to me and subsequently into the lives of my parents as well.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Wild Week of Weather

Wow, it is one crazy spring introducing summer this year.  In the past week we have had everything from sun and heat to torrential downpours, small tornados, bubble clouds, and hail of all sizes:  pea gravel, egg, and baseball sized stones. Happily for our town we have been spared the huge hailstones but some of the farmers around the area have not been so fortunate.  This morning we are once again resetting clocks after another power outage and looking at all the tree limbs, leaves and other debris we are going to be tidying up once the rain finally stops.  Many towns and cities around us have been far harder hit by the weather than we have been, but I admit it is somewhat daunting to move here and THEN discover we are living in the "tornado alley" of the prairies.

Supposedly this is the last day of crazy rain and wind for awhile, but I will believe that when it happens.

Friday and Saturday we are involved in a wedding....an outdoor wedding in a beautiful backyard.....we hope......   

Saturday, June 23, 2012

And Now the Sushi is Over Too!

The last set of chopsticks is put away, the sushi plates are cleaned and shined,  the remaining sushi fixings are in the refrigerator and the rice pots, cleavers and cutting boards are disinfected and ready for next time.  It was a great time with the teens again today.

We didn't know if they would actually come over or not.  There is a live band concert in the park today, one of the rare town teen events, and we thought they might just spend the day there, forgetting all about sushi.

But at exactly 2:30pm they started to arrive. We had 8 returnees from last night and one of them brought 2 friends who are visiting from out of town.

Dell purchased all the necessary ingredients and prepared the rice, then he let each one make their own sushi roll. What fun!  They were willing to try everything, even the raw salmon and wasabi.   Only one of them decided at first taste that sushi is not for him. The rest ate at least one whole roll each and some ate even more.  It was a hoot to watch them.

One of last night's visitors paid attention to where the cleaned dishes went after dinner.  He went straight to the cupboard and hauled out the chopsticks and plates.  He was trying to impress us because apparently he wants to live here now. hahaha He dyed his hair bright red last night after he got home in honour of the Japanese flag! We were indeed suitably impressed but met his request to live here with a "Nnnnnnno!" haha  

Dell and I were absolutely loopy from exhaustion after 3 hours outside this morning doing yardwork and we made the worst sushi rolls in the crowd. But the kids forgave us.  They are great kids.

So, off to do the church bulletin and get packed up for an out of town doctor appointment. We have a 5 hour drive after services tomorrow and I suspect we will have to change drivers about every 20 minutes. 

Tired.........but happy!  Yardwork FINALLY done, teenagers fed and loved.  Life is good today.

Friday, June 22, 2012

It's All Over But the Sushi

The dust has settled in our kitchen and dining area.  The youth and their sponsors have been fed and visited with.  The remaining currie and rice are refrigerated. Most of the dishes have been done. The extra chairs have been returned to the church hall.

So, it is all over but the sushi.

Sushi you say?  What is this about sushi?  There has been no previous post about sushi.

Somehow in the course of our visit with the youth  tonight we discovered that about 8 of them actually love sushi and are disgusted that they can't get it here in town. They were sufficiently knowledgeable about sushi that we know they do eat it, like it when they get to have it, and are not just pulling our legs in an attempt to be "cool". 

Somehow as we discussed this information it morphed into an invitation from them to us (!!) to return to our home tomorrow mid afternoon so that we can feed them a "lupper" of fresh sushi. In all our spare time tomorrow (the time when we should be cutting lawn and spraying weeds, killing ants and deciding how to rid ourselves of the Richardsons Ground Squirrel aka miserable **&!!*gopher we have discovered to be the culprit digging in the flower bed by our front steps) we may be making sushi for some previously unknown teenagers.

Assuming they show up.  They are teens after all. What seemed so exciting this evening may pale in the bright noon of day when they awake.  


One can only hope.......


Seriously, it was great to connect with these kids.  We had an awesome time with them and they seemed to be okay about spending time with the old dudes for awhile.  Maybe something good can come from this connection. We have been out of the youth loop for a long time now, but young people don't really change that much from generation to generation.  The fashions and hair styles change, but inwardly most teens are still asking the same basic question they asked when I was their age.

The question is: do you love me?

Stil Blububub-ing but Getting Some Work Done

So, it is 2pm and some of the day's tasks are actually done.  

The walking up to the mail is done, the renewing of the post box and the collecting of a wonderful parcel is done.  

The purchasing of the vitamins is done.

The banking is done.

The vegging in front of the garbage on tv is done. 

So, only the curry making, dishes, bed making, the post-guest guest room cleaning, weed whacking, lawn mowing and ant spraying left to do......

Yeah...........SO not all going to happen.

And that is why God created "tomorrow"!


Blububububububub.......

I am tiiiiiired........tiiiiiiired I tell you!  After such a busy week I was looking forward to my day alone today to have a rest, but no such luck.  Tonight my husband has invited the town youth group to our home as part of their progressive dinner.  I need to make Japanese curry for 30 people, and I need to get it going RIGHT NOW!  Aaaarrgh........hoping his absence for the entire day means that I am cooking and he is washing up after the kids leave........yeah.......it is fun to dream.........

If I was at all smart I would get up from this desk and go make the curry so it can set up properly during the day and be at its flavourful best when the kids arrive.  Then I would do the dishes from breakfast....the large sized breakfast we have when we feed overnight guests.  Then I would cover myself with mosquito spray and go out to the back of the lot and whack weeds.  Then I would go to the front yard and attempt to mow down the tall grass that has arisen in the past 10 days of pouring rain. Then I would walk up to the post office and renew our postal box and pick up a waiting parcel.
 
Good thing I'm too tiiiiiiiiiired to be smart today.  Other than the curry and dishes I am doing squat. Surely there is some kind of garbage on tv I can while away the hours vegging in front of.  

As long as I can manage to put on clothes by the time the kids arrive tonight it is all good, right?

 Hey, I did shovel the mud out of the garage this morning; so I haven't wasted the entire day.......not yet........ 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Don't Do Drugs....Clean House Instead

The house cleaning marathon is over.  It is done. Completed. Finished.  

I am also over and done.  Completed. Finished. AND exhausted.  

BUT I feel wonderful!  I did a darned good job on the old place and nothing gets my adrenline going  like the 30 seconds immediately following my recognition that I have achieved my goal.  It is a kind of high.

In fact, I am flying so high that when the phone rang just now I was feeling rather giddy.  The call was from my  bone specialist's office confirming my appointment for next week.  Since I started the process for an appointment in December of last year and have all ready had it cancelled twice, I was stoked to have it confirmed.

Um, perhaps a little too stoked......blush.......

When the receptionist told me the purpose for her call my response was, "Really?  It is actually going to happen this time? YIPPEEEEEEEEE!"

Yes, really.........


Her smirking face was nearly visible to me due to her tone of voice when she said, "I take it we will indeed see you then, Susan?"
"Um....yeah...see you then." Click........

I am happy...what can I say?

I guess not saying anything is good now, right?  Sigh.....        

But, Soft....What Light Through Yonder Window Breaks

Before I start my marathon of house cleaning I must pose a few questions:  what is this bright orb shining in the sky to the east of my house??  Why is the sky suddenly blue?? After nearly 3 weeks of daily rain, why are there no clouds in the sky?? Could the shining orb be........gasp......could it really be.........the SUN????  

Be still my heart!  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Most Interesting Funeral

This afternoon my husband presided over the funeral of a man who was once very involved in our church until his health dictated otherwise.

It is the most interesting funeral I have ever attended.  The deceased played his violin in local dance bands and his violin was attached to the top of his casket in a fitting tribute to his musical ability.

Instead of the usual hymn prelude the members of one of the dance bands he played with, and he played with them only a few weeks ago for the last time, played a medley of old time dance tunes.  We were swinging in the pews to Tiny Bubbles, The French Song, Ramona, The Band Played On and olde tyme waltzes.  We did sing one hymn part way through the service and the other was sung on CD by a well known country western singer. 

The  attendees came from a mixture of religious backgrounds: Roman Catholics, Atheists, Mormons and even a handful of actual Anglicans.  My husband's homily took a lot of time to prepare in order to attempt to say something spiritually meaningful to all the groups represented.

The deceased had requested an Anglican funeral. Well, it was in the Anglican church with an Anglican priest, and we did use the Anglican liturgy and interment service, but really it was a community funeral with something for almost everyone.

I didn't get the opportunity to congratulate the family on their tribute and eulogy for their father and grandfather.   It was well written and well presented.  There was only one, not 5, not 11, not 17!  Not every family has a member so gifted who can write and present such a stirring and personal tribute that is also concise and non-repetitive like the one we heard today. I wish personally that all families did have such a one.  The man had farmed all his life and one of his friends read an excellent poem about the faith of farmers that was very appropriate and also short!


 The entire funeral service lasted 34 minutes.  It was a muggy day and the church was hot and humid.  Everyone appreciated the amount of music, praying and speaking that was accomplished in such a short time.  Lunch was provided afterward by our church ladies and as usual it was quite a spread.


I was thinking afterward that my dear old grannie would have been completely horrified by the entire affair.  Dance music at a Christian funeral?? In a Christian church?? Country songs??? Perish the thought!!!


But I kind of enjoyed it.  It suited the man who had passed away.  It was a tribute to the giftings he shared with his community.  It gave all the band members a chance to honour his memory and honour their time together.  Our church pianist also plays with that band and watching her face alight with joy as she played the old tunes gave me such pleasure.  I hope she will feel free to crank out even more old time tunes after Sunday services than she does all ready.  Her playing is always both tasteful and energetic.

The interaction between people of different faiths and world views seems so strong in rural towns.  It seems in the city it can be much easier to restrict socialization to those who are just like ourselves in belief and practise.  It is more easy to isolate ourselves socially if we choose to.

In rural towns like ours the small population dictates that our lives will automatically be influenced by people with different ideas than our own, unless of course we want to be hermits.  In some ways it is cliquey in small towns, but the opportunity and necessity to integrate our lives with others whose involvement in churches and service clubs different than our own is ever present.  


The funeral today was evidence of that.  The man who passed away influenced and associated with people representing the ideals of their differing world views.  Today we all came together to celebrate his life and how he had touched us.  For me it seemed a good thing.

A Teeny Bright Spot Here in Town

So happy to read this morning that our Dollar Store has been purchased at the last minute and will continue to operate.  In a town this size the dollar stores are like a department store would be in an urban centre: vital to the community in the absence of other, better quality, discount stores. The store will only close for a day while the transfer of ownership takes place.  This is good news for our town. It is fantastic news for the employees of the store who will be able to remain employed.

I have one crazy schedule of cleaning, cooking, entertaining, church volunteer work for the rest of this week.  AND I am fighting a respiratory ailment.  I can only hope and pray I can meet all the committments of the next 4 days and still be healthy enough to get to the city for a most important doctor's appointment next week.  

Somehow the work will be accomplished, the appointments met, and the dollar store  saved.  Such is life........stressful and restful, exciting and mundane, all at once.  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Fun At The Movies

Tonight a friend and I went to see Dark Shadows. What a fun film!  The script was witty, the acting was befitting this take on one of the original night time comedic soap operas, and since I was in high school in 1972 when this movie is mostly set, I caught all the cultural references.  The sound track was perfect.  There were lots of subtle comedy bits.  For me it is another successful Burton/Depp collaboration. So glad I went to see it. So nice to see a comedic film that doesn't have to be over the top gross to be considered funny. Yes, the plot is completely ridiculous.  It is supposed to be, all the cast obviously understood its soap opera roots, and that is why it works.  It is a movie for adults, not children. 
3 stars out of 4 from me.

So Many Choices..........

There is a funeral at one of our churches tomorrow and I agreed to make a plate of sandwiches for the luncheon afterward.  Now comes the difficult choice for fillings!

Do I choose from among the standard fare? The dearly beloved? The expected? The bland?  The egg salad or tuna or ham and cheese?

OR do I take my life in my hands and offer a different choice than the standard fare? Could I offer instead a filling roast beef and pickle?  A decadent ham pate?  A racy selection of deli meats?

Then of course there is the task of choosing the sandwich base.  Brown bunwiches or white?  Mixed grain bread or gluten free? Pitas or naans?

Oh the choices are endless.  But what is the acceptable decision?  It is complicated by being the wife of the priest.  

"What????  SHE brought THAT????" 

Maybe it is best to play it safe after all.  

Monday, June 18, 2012

Thank You Google

Google has repaired the errors on my blog site.  If you have posted any comments in the last 7 days that have disappeared from the site, and you know who you are, feel free to repost. They should stick around this time.

Our Own Brand of "Happy Meal"

Being "foodies", my husband and I have found the roots of our main complaint about prairie living: the absence of good restaurants, particularly in more rural areas and the distances we have to drive to find grocery stores that carry the products we need to create our own favourite meals at home.

However, we found a delightful restaurant in Moose Jaw last weekend.  We have been craving a nice restaurant meal since our anniversary in March and our subsequent birthdays in the following months.  Had a lovely Greek meal in Calgary at a favourite place about a month ago but that has been the extent of our forays into the wonderful world of excellent restaurant meals in quite awhile.

The search for a restaurant in Moose Jaw didn't begin on a positive note.  There is a new restaurant there that we were excited to see.  It was surrounded by vehicles so we expected a bit of a wait to be seated.  We went prancing in the door, quite proud of ourselves to have been aware enough of our surroundings to realize dear old Moose Jaw has a new place to dine.

Our prancing stopped rather immediately inside that door as we peered around and saw no one available to seat us, nor was anyone seated at any of the tables other than one long table right beside the entrance. All the folk seated there were wearing identical black shirts and white pants.  Oh, there was some kind of convention in town so the staff was tres busy with them.  We would wait until a staff appeared to take us to one of the many empty tables.  The smells coming from the kitchen had us drooling with anticipation.  Suddenly several men came out of the kitchen bearing platters of delicious looking food.  They of course took it straight over to the one table filled with guests.  Instead of putting the platters down though, they began showing the food off to the seated patrons and giving detailed explanations of what was on the platters, how the food was prepared........and........how it was to be served to customers.  None of these servers were looking our way at all.  Waaaaaaiiiiit a minute:  the seated people in the matching shirts all had the name of the restaurant embroidered on those shirts. One of them caught my eye and whispered loudly at me that they were not open yet for business.  Of course...we had just crashed a staff training session for a restaurant still closed to the public.  To satisfy occupational health and safety the front door had to be kept unlocked in case of a fire or other disaster.  hahahahaha Only to us would this happen.......we slunk back out the door in shame...no more proud prancing for us......


So where to go?  It was still early so we decided to risk getting into the one place in town that requires reservations in order to guarantee a table.  As it turned out we were able to secure the last unreserved table in the place.  A great feast awaited us at Kergano's.  No doubt there is a website for this restaurant, so if you are in Moose Jaw or visiting the area, check it out online and see if you too feel it is worth a visit.

It has a tiny seating capacity, maybe it holds 30 people at best.  The food is freshly prepared each day and many of the ingredients are locally grown, organic, and so fresh.  The waiters know everything from the origin of each ingredient, to how it is prepared, to what beverage best matches your meal.  These people are actually properly trained to meet their customers' demands and answer their questions. These people know how to serve the public and how to work.  Just watching them was a treat in itself. Just for a couple of hours, (there is no rush put on the patrons here. The meals are a bit expensive perhaps in some peoples' opinions, but you are purchasing the ambience and the relaxed atmosphere as well as the wonderful food.), we could pretend we were far far away from daily life.

The menu is small. The specials change according to what is available that day.  When we were there one of the specials was pickerel from a nearby lake.  Dell opted for the spicy lamb stew special when he found out from the waiter that the lamb was purchased from friends just outside the city.  I chose an 8 oz. sirloin steak, medium rare, with prawns.  Dell's lamb was tender enough to slice with his fork and my steak was nearly that tender as well.  The prawns were perfect, still slightly crunchy rather than chewy from overcooking as is typical.  Along with our meat we received a nice amount of oven roasted vegetables:  zucchini strips, carrots and even beets. If you have never had oven roasted beets you are missing a great treat. I do not like beets in any form. I LOVED these beets!  We also received a little patty of browned mashed potatoes with a dill/mayo droozle on top.  It was just enough of a droozle to catch a mild dill flavour but it was not a huge glop of bottled dressing plopped on the top of the potatoes.  It was visually attractive and a nice bonus added to a standard mashed potato. A thin line of hot sauce circled the outside edge of each plate for those of us who like just a tad of extra spiciness dipped onto our meat, but could be treated as a plating decoration for those who don't.  Our meal price also included a huge bowl for each of us of caesar salad.  The salad was fresh and crispy. If you have eaten at many prairie rural restaurants you will realize why such a thing that would obviously served fresh in the city is worth noting out here.  We have suffered through 7 or 8 years now of salads with brown edged lettuce as rural SK is last on the produce truck run from any direction.  Mixed into our lettuce were large thin slices of romano cheese, a touch of feta, a light dressing that was so delicious and again not glopped in from a bottle of pre-made. But the best part of the salad was the wicked amount of fresh garlic.  It was wonderful to savor the warmth in our mouths.  YUMMY!  

For appetizer we ordered perogies and discovered these to be deep fried to a dark brown puffiness. Were they as healthy as the salad and the entrees?  Nope! But dipped in a dill/yogourt mix they were fantastic to the taste.

Even Dell's beer, created and bottled in Saskatoon, was delicious.  My only mistake was opting for a glass of red wine from a winery I hadn't heard of before. Alas, wine snob that I have come to be, it didn't live up to its billing. But it was the only dischordant note to an otherwise near perfect meal.

This was the celebratory meal we had been seeking since March.  It was worth every penny for the wonderfully fresh prepared food and relaxed evening out.  We could be tempted to make the 4 hour round trip drive again just for another meal at that restaurant. 

So good to know it is there......and long may it last!     

      


So Crazy Daily Living is Also Becoming the Norm!

Today I am starting slowly to feel better.  Have been out to run  errands, deal with some bank issues, get some groceries...yeah, on the road to wellness.  Got a surprise phone call from our son last night and it is interesting how such a call can make even the lousiest day seem so much more happy.

The day has started off in what is starting to become the daily norm.  haha  It is technically Dell's day off......but as a minister....well....if you are a minister or married to one or the child of one........well....you know how days "off" go.......haha  

We were barely out of bed when the doorbell rang with church related business. Too bad all of you can't see Dell jumping out of bed and trying to locate his trousers so he can go and answer the door.  It would get millions of hits from lovers of comedy on public sites. hahaha  The meeting with this visitor resulted in him having to head into the office to make some calls while I raced out to the bank. It is hair cut day for me and I needed cash for the appointment.  

When I got to the bank it was before opening by quite a few minutes so I realized I would have to use the ATM for my cash. One little problem:  the ATM had been broken over the course of the weekend and the bank employees were waiting to have it repaired by a company with a 4 hour drive to come service the machine. Okay, so no problem I could write a cheque for my hairdresser.  Off to my appointment where I stood at the door for a long time waiting for someone to answer it. My hairdresser operates out of her home and when she finally came to the door she was very surprised to see me. She had completely forgotten about my appointment with all that is going on in her life these days. She tidied up a spot for me in her little hairdressing unit and her cat and I  had a lovely visit while she got her 3 year old twins set up to play so she could cut my hair.  What a sweetie, she could have just asked me to return at a different time or day.  She didn't even mind me writing her a cheque for the cut and some product.

Everything seemed to be working out just fine until I next went and collected my mail from the post office. The only envelope in the box was from the bank informing me that a very large cheque I deposited 2 weeks previously had bounced!  NSF!!  NOOOOO!!!!  Back to the bank to find out what was going on.  Did I have enough funds to prevent the cheque I had just written to the hairdresser from also bouncing?  Did I have enough after that to pay the satellite bill? Did that leave me with any cash to get through to pay day?  The answers were yes, yes, and no.  Home to ask the writer of the bounced cheque what had happened.  Fortunately it was a misunderstanding on the part of a couple of gals in charge of the deposits for that account, and we will have our money back in a couple of days. Fortunately too, it did uncover a discrepancy at the bank itself so Dell raced downtown to the bank to see if he could straighten it all out.  

He was back at the house sometime later to inform me that in the stress of the moment heading down to the bank to confront them, when he got there he locked his keys in the car and could he please borrow mind and return to get it?!   Okay....but before he could go the doorbell rang.....again.......and the same person who had come in the morning was standing there.....again.....hahaha Another small problem fixed and off the man went.  Dell went back downtown for the car and actually got it back without further incident.  

He said he felt better about the day as he was coming back from downtown.  Ahead of him was a town vehicle pulling some kind of machinery behind it.  At the corner near our house the machinery managed to tip over somehow, and what a mess.  The fellow driving the town vehicle was beside himself over this little accident.  Hopefully the machine wasn't damaged.  

So we are not alone in having a series of little stressers today.  Of course we are not, but you know how some days a person feels particularly singled out for torture by the universe?   We have been tempted to feel that way over the past week.  Silly? Yes.  Human? Also yes.  We are SO human in this house, and our reactions to days like today remind us all too often that we forsake our assurance of God's love and provision at the drop of a hat.....or a locked in the car key....or a bounced cheque. 

Time to grow up and just enjoy the daily hassles of life.  It is how we know we are alive and breathing,  that we are real people in a real world.  And that God is there to pat us on the head and tell us it is okay to be human, or to give us a pep talk when we cling to our humanity and try to leave him out of the equation.  

We love to complain, find every reason to do so, and that is the problem.  God is not so much into that sort of thing when he knows we are just feeling sorry for ourselves........like my husband and I were this morning.

So now I must decide if I should shut down the house computers. Yesterday was a mixture of weather: sun, rain, wind, hail, and a ton of lightning and thunder.  The last 2 items have just begun again and are forecast for every other day this week.  Next to complain about will be power outages.....yeehaw...more complaints!  You ready Lord?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Road Trips Are Becoming The Norm

Today I am tired and fighting the 'flu.  I knew something like that was happening when I found myself unable to sleep more than about 2 hours per night over the past week. Today I am really fighting it.  For some reason it takes me sometimes up to 2 weeks to either battle off or succumb to a bout of 'flu. Exhausting stuff. 

BUT a good weekend anyway.  We ended up 5 hours away from here by Friday afternoon. A fellow clergy person and supportive friend passed away somewhat unexpectedly and it was an honour to be able to attend the Saturday funeral.  After the ceremony there was a lively gathering of the man's friends and co-workers that provided some good visiting for one and all.  We were able to connect with old friends and have some special conversations as we remembered the deceased and how helpful he had been to each of us at various times over the years.  If I hadn't been feeling so wretchedly exhausted it would have been an even more amazing day.


Services today were a bit tense and sad.  Our Bishop has accepted a position elsewhere and will be sadly, deeply missed.  It was difficult this morning telling the people who didn't all ready know about it.  This afternoon I should be at a service, BBQ and farewell for my husband's honorary assistant who is also moving on to another assignment. But I am so tired and feeling so lousy it is likely better to stay home and refrain from making a case of the 'flu my farewell gift to our dear friend. 


As the day is wearing on I am losing any ability to be particularly funny, or witty, or interesting, or even coherent, so will close this entry. When I am feeling better I will talk about the WONDERFUL meal we had in a Moose Jaw restaurant while we were away. Wow, it was worth every penny of the price and the food nearly brought me to tears, it has been so long since I had a restaurant meal that great.  Being so far from cities has given me a complete lack of interest in eating out, but this was....SO delicious........more later.


Must. Nap! 

Hopefully the rolling thunder that has just begun will not keep me awake.



Blog Still Showing Up Errors I Don't Know How To Report

So, I will just continue to post entries until the entire site decides to either heal itself or shut down completely. Whatever.......
 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Takin' A Break

Gonna take a posting break for 2 or 3 days and see if I can't get some help with the problems I am experiencing suddenly in trying to access various pages of this blogger site.  So tired of HELP codes and problem reporting codes and on and on with apparently no way to report anything to anyone helpful.  So will chat again in a few days when hopefully the problems are solved.

And Another Day "Like That"

I guess yesterday's craziness was just preparation for today. Today I was fighting the 'flu' or somesuch, and never did get dressed, but that didn't stop the day from happening.

In the course of the day there were: (feel free to burst into the music from The 12 Days of Christmas)
- 6 loads of laundry
-1 hour of folding
-2 hours of ironing
-3 meals prepared
-3 loads of dishes
-9 phone calls fielded
-1 incorrectly sized furnace filter exchanged for proper size
-8 Sunday hymns a-chosen
-40 church bulletins a-printed
-1 church hall window broken
-1 RCMP officer visiting
-1 newly stitched up perpetrator dealt with
-3 rounds of physiotherapy
-2 beds freshly linen'd
-4 emails replied to
-2 blog entries written
-1 blog comment disappearing for no reason at all
-3 failed attempts to report problems with my blog to Google
-2 parishioners who each locked their keys in the church
-1 fast food burger and fries left to get cold so my husband could respond to an emergency email after a totally exhausting day in the other town at the other church planning a special service for the weekend and accepting an invitation to teach a course at a local college in the fall and doing a bunch of pastoral visiting and trying to work out his summer holiday and camp schedule to have the services covered in his absence and going to a vestry meeting and finding out his deanery day for tomorrow has been moved to next week and that we have to go to a funeral 4 hours away on Saturday and that the watch pin in his pocket is for his watch and not my watch and installing the new furnace filter
-And a Japanese Transistor Radio....oh, no, wait a minute that is Allan Sherman's version.......

I'm tired............


Some Days Are Like That

Yesterday so many silly things happened it was hard to know if we should laugh or cry. 

The day began auspiciously as it happened when I took a cooked chicken out of the fridge to prepare a breakfast treat and lost my grip on it.  The entire chicken fell with a splat onto the kitchen floor. It didn't just land flat down and stay here. Nope, it slowly rolled over and over right across the kitchen, coating the whole carcass in dust, a couple of squashed itsy bitsy spiders with which our house is innundated, and who knows what else?  So, no chicken for breakfast, or any other time, and I hope the garbage can is enjoying its unexpected chicken delight.

My husband brought home a new pack of rechargeable batteries and spent most of the day looking for our battery charger.  As of midnight last night there is still no success.  In 17 moves we have never lost anything but this charger has evaporated into the atmosphere........it wasted a lot of his time on a busy day.

On one of his many re-checks into the file cabinet drawers for the charger, a big metal handle on the cabinet broke right off into his hand.  It can't be fixed.  

I went looking for piano wire yesterday so I could hang a picture.  I knew I had some and eventually located it, neatly tucked away in a plastic container that also contains an assortment of nails, screws, picture hooks and the like. As I pulled out the wire I lost my grip on the container and it upended itself onto the laundry room floor.  I spent over half an hour picking up and sorting the said nails, screws, picture hooks and the like.

Trying to assist my busy husband I decided I would go to the local hardware and get a badly needed new furnace filter.  Checked the size with my husband, took the bag with me to the store and had the clerk assist me so I would get the right one.  Got home with it okay, but when my husband went to install it, well, it was the wrong size. WAY too small.....how did this happen???

Just before bed an error message appeared on my blog. Something is wrong when I try to access my postings page.  A helpful window popped up with a code I could use to report the error to the blog help site. Only one problem: there is NOWHERE on the entire site to get tech help or to report the code. There are pre-posted answers to commonly asked questions, but the only input place I could locate was a site to report to Google whether or not I found the site helpful.  That is the only place I could find where I was allowed actual input, and my question will not be answered by this particular site.

Sigh......maybe today will be less frustrating......

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Other Even Wee'er Giftie

So this enquiring mind wants to know:  where did the conference gift packers find ju jubes that look like little Bibles????  Inflated bare foot business card holders and Bible shaped ju jubes.....where did these people find this hilarious "stuff"??? 

Eerie Wee Giftie

My husband just unpacked the gift bag he received at his conference last weekend.  He presented me with the wierdest little business card holder I have ever seen:  an inflated plastic FOOT!!!  The business card goes between the big toe and the second in command.  EERIEEEE!!!  Especially in view of the current news of the Montreal case of murder and dismemberment and the foot of the victim being mailed to our federal government.  The gifts were chosen and bags packed up weeks prior to that newsworthy event, but what a shock the delegates got when they opened the gift bags to discover these card holders. And now it sits proudly, if eerily, on my desk.  Apart from the association with the Montreal case, I have to admit it is terminally cute.  I kinda like it.....

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ooh My Aching Ankle

One day I will learn not to push the envelope on health issues. Perhaps today would be a good day to start!

Last night I wore a pair of non-sport shoes to the 100 day celebration. I have done that a few times now and gotten away with it, but last night I wore the other shoes for too long a period of time.  By the time I got into bed my ankle was paining me for the first time in many weeks.

Those shoes cut into the swollen area just below the tibia and so it has been throbbing a lot for the past 18 hours.  During the night my calf muscles seized up several times, not an actual cramp, but that last feeling you get from your calf muscles just before they cramp and the pain sends you into orbit.  The activity of my muscles and tendons during the night put a lot of strain on the plate in my fibula and I had more little shooting pains there today than I have had since I stopped wearing my cast to bed at night. Today my ankle was sore and swollen for the entire day. Even my low cut sports shoe cut into the swollen areas.

So I am not writing this because I think anyone else will find it fascinating or particularly worthy of their reading time, but for myself to remind that self not to do such a stupid thing again as wearing a non-sport shoe for 5 or more hours in a row. Not yet. Maybe not ever.

Dumb Suzie! Dumb, dumb, dumb!!  

Don't Bother....But I WANT To!

I have learned a new phrase since I moved here, and in our community it is used like a mantra.  

It is:  O, don't bother.

In this area it is a phrase that generally connotes care and concern for the person offering to do something.  It only occasionally means someone truly doesn't want you to make good on an offer of assistance and will be ticked off if you persist. This is a new way of communication for me.


I suspect people here are very used to simply making do after many decades of hard work, sometimes having little time for the niceties or for making improvements or for attaining true excellence.  Recently I was told, again, quite proudly that "we are a make-do people."  That is the truth.  For a long time this has been one of the have-not provinces in Canada and expectations are low, complacency and resignation are high.

To imply that you expect someone to put themselves out for you is very bad form for the most part.  People here are independent, they don't ask for help, they take care of themselves and their own.  To ask to help with something or to contribute something more than the norm can be construed as insulting; as a suggestion that the best they have been able to make do with is not good enough.  It can make people like myself appear to be bossy know-it-all's.  

So my task is set before me:  to learn how to communicate that an offer to help with something, to invite over for a nice dinner, to go the extra mile on a gift, is NOT a bother for me; to get the idea across that when I care about you I want to bother, and because I care it actually isn't a bother but a joy.  Asking about making changes in things or offering a suggestion to be considered is not a hidden criticism that what someone else is doing is inadequate or insufficient or wrong. This is what I need to learn how to communicate.

Good thing I love a challenge because my Type A personality gets in my way on occasion, but I can learn.  I CAN learn. I am GOING to learn!  I love the people  here where I live.  I want them to know that and I will continue to work at showing it in more indirect and socially acceptable ways.  They have been so patient with me..... 


100 Day Party For Billy

Yesterday we had a very good time at the chinese food cafe in another town.  100 days ago yesterday a son was born to the owners of the restaurant and so a special celebration was held for all the regular customers to attend.  The 100 day celebration is held as a "good luck" party, a way to say that the baby has survived the first 100 days so may he have health and prosperity to last 100 years.

The parents cooked up a huge buffet of food and spent most of their evening serving all the guests.  Most of the town was there I think.  It was crowded with one happy bunch of folk who were certainly enjoying the free meal.  It was the kind of event where rural populations shine.  The walls were down, the social groups blended well, there was joy and conversation between people who don't normally spend any time together.

Grandma is here from China for a few months, and of course has complete charge of wee Chee (Billy).  She brought him out for viewings several times in the course of the evening, whisking him past each table so quickly we barely caught a glimpse of the tiny guest of honour.  When some of the guests started to rush toward him for a better look, Grandma tucked him partially behind her back with one hand while putting the other up in front of her like stop sign, and hollering, "NO! NO! NO!!"  Chee got a great kick out of this routine and giggled and smiled as Grandma slung him about like a sack of potatoes in her attempts to keep him from being charged at.  It was like watching a celebrity bodyguard warding off the paparazzi. In fact I think celebrities could learn a thing or two from Grandma!

I was a bit shocked at the number of guests who turned out to take advantage of the free meal but who brought nary a gift for the young man.  I don't understand that sort of thing, but it isn't any of my business I suppose.  Just saying......could be another of the cultural differences I am trying still to understand.

One of the most hilarious occurrences was when the older sisters of wee Chee arrived in the dining room with their gaggle of girlfriends from school.  The balloon bouquets weighted to the floor around the gift table were the targets of great and noisy wrangling.  The visiting girls wanted to take them and pull them apart so they could each have a balloon. Billy's sisters were determined they would do no such thing.  There was a lot of grabbing of the balloon strings, a lot of tugging back and forth, and a fair amount of name calling.  Mama raced in temporarily to convince the girls to put the bouquets down again and stop arguing, but as soon as her back was turned it all began again.  About the time the hair pulling started, one of the local school teachers tried to go to the rescue. She got the girls to drop the bouquets to have their photo taken.  Once again, the peace lasted as long as it took her cell phone to snap the picture. Then it got pretty ugly for a few moments until Mama capitulated and cut one of the bouquets apart to distribute the balloons.  Of course, human nature being what it is, as soon as each girl achieved her goal of having her own personal balloon, the interest waned and the balloons were tossed aside seconds later to be ignored for the rest of the evening.


Isn't that typical of people everywhere?  We dress up in our pink frilly dresses and patent leather shoes in order to impress, then we blow it by engaging in some kind of knock-down-drag-'em-out fight with each other over some completely unimportant thing or issue, just to gain "possession" of some kind: possession of an item we wouldn't have had any interest in if someone else hadn't wanted it, possession of the only correct answer, possession of the right to be right.  Oh, it never ends.


You can dress us up  on the outside but eventually the rot on the inside seeps out to betray who we really are.  We are all hiding a certain amount of interior rot.  So we shouldn't be freaked out when sometimes it shows in ourselves or others.  We are humans.  We are selfish.  We are self-absorbed.  It is all about ourselves. 

I am relieved that God can see past the rot to the creation he loves; can help us deal with some of the rot as we turn ourselves and our behaviour over to his loving care.  So relieved for myself that I don't have to worry about my self esteem or self actualization or whatever other "self" buzzword and direction is the new flavour of the week.  To follow Jesus I get to learn about dying to self and about Jesus attempting to live through me.  It is quite a relief even though it is a life long process that stalls out on occasion when my self doesn't want to get out of the way.  

Don't you ever just get sick of yourself?  I do. Living for me, me, me is incredibly stressful.  Not getting what I think I deserve tears me apart if myself is my main focus.  Protecting my self from the condemnation or even simple criticism from others can be all consuming. When all I have is my self then every slight, every misunderstanding with other "selfs"  creates far more anger, drama and tension than I need to have to deal with.  Striving constantly to get what my own self, in my own opinion deserves, drains my energy and leaves me frustrated and paranoid....depressed and edgy.  Constantly having to protect, promote, and pacify my self is utterly exhausting!

Now that I know Jesus better I have to admit I am happy to discover that my life is not actually all about me. Whew, what a relief!!    



Very Cute Photos

This is a cute page of photos called How the Denominations View Each Other.  I got a kick out of it. Kudos to the photographer and his ideas.


http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150778014451191&set=a.10150778012421191.385564.550701190&type=1&ref=nf

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Survived the Weekend...Whew!

I admit I am glad this weekend is finally over!  It was stressful and tiring, good too, but I am exhausted.  Spent Friday evening and all day Saturday working on my homily for Saturday night's service and it just wasn't coming together.  I have never had such a difficult time with a homily before.  By the time I got to the service and things got underway I was quite nervous about giving it.  As the service progressed I realized it wasn't going to be as appropriate as I thought it would be, so when I stood up to give it I just tossed it completely.

The Holy Spirit had far better things to say about our readings and responses than anything I had come up with and I was so grateful those are the words that came out of my mouth when I stood up to speak. While I would never recommend that kind of homily "preparation" or lack thereof, on this one occasion it ended up in an impromptu presentation (at least on my part) that came together wonderfully well and was service appropriate. The Lord bailed me out, that is for sure!  If I hadn't had 2 excellent lay leaders as well to assist I wouldn't have had time to understand that my homily as written was so lacking, and may have actually given it instead.  Yikes!

Today I was not needed at the other congregation in the other town  and it was a relief.  The rain has filled the potholes in the "highway" (yeah....highway....yeah right.....) with so much water it is impossible to tell which ones are deep enough to cause car destruction should they be driven into.  Knowing I had to go that way this evening to pick up my husband many miles away, after Synod, it was quite a relief not to have to do it twice in one day.  I got to sleep in this morning, a rare treat.

Drove through every sort of rain condition on the trip south.  At times the clouds were so low to the ground it was like driving through misty fog.  Rather frightening to drive into not knowing it would only last for a few kilometers.  Drove into it right after the pothole parade on the first hour of the drive.  Fortunately there was little oncoming traffic during that first stage so I could drive right down the middle of the road and miss the worst of the craters.  The closer I got to my destination the fewer the puddles and lakes running across the highway.  The deer and the antelope were definitely out playing along the highway on both legs of the trip, enjoying the fresh greenery blooming in the ditches.  They all stayed off the road on this occasion as they munched happily along the side of the road.

Had a nice surprise happen 5 minutes after arriving down south.  Just got seated at a restaurant for dinner when I received a call from my husband. His carpool had all ready arrived in the town, an hour earlier than expected. He was able to join me for dinner!  Neither of us had eaten any lunch and we kept ordering food item after food item.  It was kind of embarrassing how much food we ordered, and ordered and ordered. We ate like little piggies and enjoyed every mouthful.  The waitress thought we were the most hilarious people on the planet so we made sure we amply rewarded her appreciation with a hefty tip.  She said she hadn't had a good night out at a comedy club in many a month but listening to us had more than made up for it.  We do so enjoy an appreciative audience......particularly when we have no idea what we were saying that was so hysterical!! Go figure.....

Then I turned around and drove all the way home again. My husband was too exhausted to drive, and I guess our impromtu comedy routine energized me sufficiently to get back without falling asleep at the wheel.  The rain had nearly stopped, the gale force prairie winds had all ready dried up the worst of the water from the road and it was a great trip back.  

We shared our weekend experiences and planned our day off tomorrow.  Compared to the past 6 weeks, the rest of this month appears to be a breeze for work committments and travel. We actually don't have to go anywhere out of the area now for a full 2 weeks!!  Please God, don't let that be too good to be true....please?  

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Another Loss To Our Town

Our town has lost another business. For reasons unknown our old standby, Humpty's Restaurant, will be closing completely in about 2 weeks time.  Okay, it is a cheap chain restaurant. The food is substandard perhaps.  It "ain't one o' yer class joints".  BUT it was busy and right on the main highway through town.  A good breakfast was always available for a lot less money than elsewhere.  The staff was cheery and friendly. It was clean and well appointed.  

Our town council has not been commenting publicly about all these closures.  We have no idea what is going on in this town.  Why are the franchise retailers unable to sell their franchises to other buyers?  What do we not know about the reasons we are losing so many businesses in the past 8 months?  

Our little town used to be the main hub in the wheel between major cities.  People in the surrounding area who didn't want to drive 2 hours or more for retail shopping always came here....for decades it has been this way.  Now we are dying and not by small degrees.  It is happening so quickly. 

Tonight after church I went to for a hot chocolate with a couple of ladies who have access to a lot of information about the retail owners here and they are distraught by what is going on.  No one seems to be saying why they are leaving their businesses and leaving town.  It is so sad watching our town heading into extinction like the other smaller towns around us who also have died out after many years of relative prosperity.  

The trouble with any kind of provincial "boom" time, if that boom is only in specific sectors, such as oil or potash for example, is that it only has a positive effect on certain segments of the population and businesses.  Those outside the specific arena of boom are often left struggling, losing staff, losing customers. Smaller centres like ours are left in the dust as boom money goes to the larger cities. Our doctors have mostly all left our area to head for urban clinics.  Retailers who have been making good profits are being closed out in centres like ours by their parent companies in order to pour those monies into improving the larger city stores for the sake of those bringing the boom money there. We have watched it happening in Alberta more than once over the past 4 decades and now it is happening here. The writing is on the wall for our town I suspect. It makes me sad. 

Rain, rain, go away.........

Rain has deluged our town and surrounding area for the past 24 hours. So far we have missed out on the tornados and flooding that are occurring to the south and west of us.  Grateful for that.

The rain on my 5 inch tall grass in the front yard at least shows off how gloriously green all that overgrowth is.  Fortunately most of my neigbours also missed their chances to mow lawn prior to the start of the downpour.  I am not alone here in growing a small foresty meadow in front of my house.

The fun part of the rain here is the performance I have to go through to get my car out of, and back into, the garage.  There has been no pea gravel put down on the back part of the property for years and years, so as soon as we have rain we have sticky deep mud out there. The weeds and grasses have not filled in sufficiently yet to provide ground cover to step on.  To step out of the car in order to close the garage door now would land me ankle deep in muck.  

So, as I leave the house I go to the far end of the breezeway that is attached to the house, garage and church.  I unlock the breezeway door at that end. Then I go back as far as the garage and open the big door to back the car out.  Instead of bucking mud to get out and shut the door (no, there is no automatic door closer here), I drive the car down the alley to the street, then around the corner to the church parking lot. I can get out on pavement there, lock the car, and walk around to the side of the breezeway and through the door I unlocked on the way out.  From there I walk back through the breezeway as far as the garage and go in from the inside to pull down the door and lock it.  Hopefully in the couple of minutes it has been open, the garage has not been entered by man nor beast. (Shoo, mousy mousy!!) Back out through the beezeway to the parking lot to once again unlock the car door, get in and drive away. Coming home is the same procedure in reverse.  It is somewhat time consuming but worth saving my shoes from getting covered with muck in the process.

Mud holds no terrors in this town......neither does pulling out of curbside parking spaces without shoulder checking and narrowly avoiding passing vehicles beside you, nor giant potholes in the streets. The good thing about the rain is that it makes it easy to see where the bad potholes are when they are filled with glistening water.  The rain has saved my new shock absorber struts, tires and wheel alignment because its visibility on the roads has prevented several drops into deep holes. 

See, even the rainiest, most frustrating, days have their good points!