Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Loss of a Common Language

Lately I have been listening more closely to our parishioners, people at social events, people standing around chatting in the post office and grocery stores, my son's peers and other younger folk I run across in the course of a week.  As I have listened and done some reading of late, ( eg: The Malaise of Modernity by Charles Taylor and Conscientious Objections: stirring up trouble about language, technology, and education by Neil Postman) I am realizing what a great loss we are suffering as we continue year by year to lose a common language of reference to things outside of ourselves; our insistence that our identity must come from within ourselves based on our own perceptions of reality.

Universally accepted definitions, authorities and other frames of reference that began their most serious decline in the time of the Romantic Era poets and artists and have carried over into more modern forms of art and literature, have found their way into every day modern culture.  I have become my own point of reference and subsequently invent my own descriptive language to describe what I believe and feel about myself and about the world around me. Attempts by others outside my own self to relate or connect me to outside authorities or broader definitions I did not arrive at by my own process of thought or feeling are to be either ignored or disdained or run from in terror in case they begin to influence my own personal "truths".

Perhaps one contributing factor causing the people of my son's generation to persist in this refusal to seek or to accept a common language, common authority, is in part due to a modern style of parenting that tells me as a mother that my child must never experience any form of criticism, any form of authority outside his own perception of what is right or wrong, any interaction with others that may harm his own feelings of self-worth. Self esteem, positive self talk....self, self, is all about the self and so the loss of common language to define society and commonly understood morality are racing forward like a runaway train. I am no longer accountable to my society or a common Creator for what I believe or how I behave.

We are losing our common understanding of the way the social universe works and we are following a frightening path leading toward the end of our civilization if we can't turn ourselves away from ourselves and begin once again defining ourselves in relationship to others in order to regain a less fragmented society.

There are so many contributing factors to our preoccupation with ourselves as individuals, to our loss of common language, morality and authority, but this is only a blog so all I can do here is give my little rant and move on. The more I read and listen I realize what we humans are losing and how it is affecting our society, so the more concerned I am becoming for future generations.

We are so involved with ourselves, with our own definitions of ourselves and our place in the world as individuals that we have fallen as a society into the very trap the bible describes as "each one doing what is right in his own eyes".  According to the bible the end result is not going to be pretty........ 

Just My Opinion on NDE's

A friend recently lent me a book about the near death experience of a Dr. Eben Alexander, an American neurosurgeon.  It is titled "Proof of Heaven".  While it isn't my sort of reading material as a rule and I am tremendously skeptical about the actual reality of most NDE's, I admit it is a somewhat interesting read.....and my skepticism of NDE's remains intact.

Dr. Alexander had his vision while extremely ill with a rare disease and in a deep coma lasting several days.  At the end of his book is a list of his own hypotheses as to how his supposed fantastic experience in the supernatural world could have come about for strictly neurological reasons.  I am thinking that perhaps he needs to review that list as a reminder of what may have actually happened in reality.

The reason for my skepticism is that his descriptions of what he claimed to see and experience while in the coma are not related to the heaven of the do I know this?  It is because Jesus was not a part of his vision in any way. From what I have been able to research about the man since he wrote his book he still has no belief in Jesus Christ.  In the "other world" of his experience all are saved according to the voiceless inner communication bonding with a god who tells him that there is nothing he could ever do that is wrong.  He is loved and nothing will ever change that.

Well, I believe that last statement, but according to the Bible he, and all of us, can indeed do a number of things that are wrong in the eyes of God.  That is why Jesus Christ, a part of the triune God, appeared on earth in human form in order to show us the way to a holy God.  If there was nothing any of us could ever do that was wrong then Jesus and his sacrifice would never have been necessary in the first place.  The God of Love that the Bible tells us about would not subject a part of his very self to unnecessary human suffering on a cruel cross for our sake if there had been no reason to do so, or at the very least would not have told the human population that their belief in Jesus and his resurrection was necessary to obtain an everlasting life in the presence of the Creator God. The Bible talks of the Holy Spirit creating a transformation of character for disciples of Christ.  If we can do no wrong then transformation would not be necessary.

There is a bit of a paradox in the book in regard to this very issue:  we can apparently do no wrong in the eyes of this god, and yet somehow we are saved by our good works. If we can do no wrong then how do our works affect our ultimate salvation? This is somewhat opposite of the biblical teachings where our good works often grow out of the transformation of our redeemed characters, rather than being the vehicles of our salvation.

I am not denigrating Dr. Alexander's experience.  If he truly experienced this "vision" and is not crafting a science fiction novel that he is passing off as reality in order to test the gullibility of those of us who read it....and I am going to assume he is writing of a true personal experience...then my hope and my prayer is that his exploration of spiritual things did not grind to a complete halt after his vision occurred.  

If Dr. Alexander did indeed have this experience then I do not doubt his sincerity in the sharing of his story.  There may indeed be a degree of positive transformation in his attitude about spiritual life and supernatural places and beings.  For me, as a disciple of Christ, the absence of Jesus in his vision tells me personally that there is an excellent chance his vision was not a heavenly one.

Some of the visions of Julian of Norwich and Teresa of Avila, some of them also occurring during times of illness, seem a bit odd to me as well, but the difference is that both of them experienced a transformation of their lives in obedience to Jesus Christ whose presence was manifest to them during their visions.  This was not the case for Dr. Alexander.

So whatever happened to Dr. Alexander I hope that he will at some point meet the biblical Christ and sort out the realities and/or fantasies that happened to him while he was in the coma.

For myself his book  has been a good reminder to check out my own transformation experience.  Is it continuing to happen or have I become complacent about how I live my life in relation to the love and forgiveness of God through Christ?  Am I behaving as if God has told me I can do nothing wrong? 

Food for thought indeed.........

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Learning the Dental Vocabulary

Last evening I was talking to a friend who has worked as a dental assistant for over 30 years.  I mentioned to her that my last extraction had been a "snap".  There was a quick inhalation of breath on her part and then she informed me that when you are talking about dental work you do not use the word "snap" to describe anything good.  "Snap" is a word in the dental office that means a tooth has literally snapped off at the root, or that the root itself has snapped in the process of being extracted.  This is not a good thing.

The other word that I do not want to hear when I am part way through a dental procedure is the word "crumble".  Apparently "crumble" means I may be in even more dire straits as a patient than when I hear "snap"!  Now I understand my dentist's agitation during the first extraction when she told her assistant that she felt the crown was about to crumble and received no response other than a big sigh.

Fortunately for me there has been no snapping nor crumbling of late.

So glad I spoke with my knowledgeable friend.  When I am talking to anyone now in the dental office I will be careful to watch my language!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Sweet Gift

Yesterday the doorbell rang mid afternoon. I wasn't expecting anyone and my husband was busy with meetings and couldn't answer the door, so I hauled my butt off the couch, clutched my ice pack to my swollen cheek and made it to the door before the visitor walked away again.
The man at the door was a new aquaintance from the wine and appetizers evening.  We had never seen him in town before and didn't actually get his name, but he showed a real interest in the food and a good knowledge about wines, quite interesting to talk to. I was surprised to see him at our door and even more surprised when he handed me a white tailed deer roast from his latest hunting expedition. He told me how to best cook it and that he was so happy to meet my husband...a man who shares his own interest in cooking and good food.  We are hoping he will come again at a time when my husband is available to visit.  In a small prairie town I am suspicious that his excitement over Dell's sushi plate stems from a lack of men he can talk to about his cooking hobby, similar to the way Dell has a lack of fellows locally with any interest in talking about philosophy and theology. It has taken Dell 3 years to find a non-pastor friend to talk about his interests with here.
No surprise that theology and cooking are not hot topics of conversation in a place filled with robust farmers, hunters and fishermen.  They have no time to investigate either topic in the hard ongoing work of making a living from the land.But what a pleasant surprise to meet the fellow who came to our door bearing meat! I hope he and Dell will be able to hit it off and share their cooking hobby sometime.

God's Power in the Storm

I am rarely as impressed by the power of God in his creation as I am when experiencing extreme weather.  I had a pretty good sleep last night but awakened to the violent shaking of the rectory roof.  Yesterday was a lovely day with a high temperature of -8C.  It was foggy in the morning, our only alert that a big weather system was going to bring in some kind of change for the worse, but by afternoon the sun was shining, the road conditions were improving and it was quite lovely for an end of January day.  The members of our parish council were all able to drive into town and return home quite safely.  What a great day all around.

This morning the weather has changed again and the fascinating weather, despite the difficulties it creates for us sometimes, is one of the things I truly do love about living on the prairies.  We have thick falling snow this morning, a steady wind of 40k and huge gusts of up to 60k....about every 3 seconds!!  The highway warnings are all ready posted on the internet and radio broadcasts as the snow swirls and sticks to the road in thick clumpy drifts with icy patches hidden underneath the curling edges of those drifts as the snow eddies across the highways.  The temperature has dropped to -21C and will continue to drop throughout the day to a bone rattling -35C by this evening.

It is a wonderful week for my husband to be off work for his little post-Christmas break.  We are storm stayed for a day or 2 at least, we can't go anywhere between weather and my dental recovery, it is too stormy to even bother going downtown for any errands until tomorrow or the next day......or the day after that.  We have plenty of food in the house, our bird feeders outside are well stocked with seeds and nuts and fresh water, the furnace and humidifier are working well.  I am learning that despite the inconveniences sometimes, being storm stayed for a few days can have its advantages.  My husband and I will be able to rest without that edgy guilt thing that we both have if we are not working or doing ministry every single minute of every day....pretty interesting that although it is God himself who created Sabbath rest, we his people continually fall for the lies of our own culture that tell us any time spent not producing something tangible is wasted. It is a constant battle in our house.  To be honest I am not sure just how relaxed my husband will be this week.  However we have learned to our detriment in times past that deciding to "just use today, only today of my time off work, to catch up on those administrative emails so I can relax" never brings the expected relaxation.  Instead it just increases the mental turmoil in a ministry that is never going to be "caught up".  It is the nature of the job. 

So it will be an interesting 5 days.  While I have idyllic visions of 5 days of peace, joy, relaxation and rest, I suspect it is going to be torturous for my husband to be at home, 20 feet away from the church office where so many administrative tasks await.  It will be an exercise in discipline for him to turn his mind to other tasks around the house and to rest for his body and mind.

May the God of the Sabbath assist him, with the same power as the raging elements outside, to sit back and clear the work cobwebs from his tired mind so that he can return to work with his usual energy and enthusiasm in order to accomplish all that needs doing in a reasonable amount of time.

God of the Sabbath.  God of the storm. God of one extreme to the other and everything in between.  

Our God is an awesome God.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Feelin' Better Now That It's Through

That wicked tooth is now out, a filling left to go next month and all is well!!  Thanks for all the concern dear friends and family! 

Final Extraction

The weather outside is in  a state of flux.  A dramatic increase in temperature has brought such heavy fog upon us that travel is not recommended on most area highways this morning.  Fog, icy patches, blowing snow and pavement frost have made for a grey and most unedifying day; by the end of the morning most peoples' moods will be as grey as the great outdoors.  Somehow it seems a fitting day to have a tooth extracted.

However, my mood is at least somewhat brighter than the fog and snowy greyness.  I am so happy that at last a tooth that has given intermittent problems over the past few years is finally coming out.  Discovering such a great dentist and such a cheery bunch of dental assistants has encouraged me that going to the dentist does not have to be a somber, terrifying experience.  It has also encouraged me that large groups of women can work well together, after some disappointing experiences in the past with that scenario.  If I am ever tempted to severe depression I think I will just go over and sit in the waiting room of the dental office.  In a half hour I will be super charged and happy again.

This extraction, a filling next month, and that should be the end of major dental work for awhile.

A good friend is graduating today with his Bachelor degree so that is very happy news for us, our son heads off in a couple of days for his next adventure, my parents seem to be settling into a routine now that Dad is home and he is trying hard to follow the doctor's orders and behave himself by using his walker ALL the time, my husband begins his mandatory "5 days off after Christmas" once he completes the parish council meeting this afternoon and the cold snap hitting us again overnight and lasting for the next 3 days will guarantee we will not be travelling anywhere. Maybe we can get some home projects completed at last after the busy season we just experienced.....and before Lent starts.

Still trying to decide if I want to brave a personal retreat at the monastery where the clergy retreat is taking place next week.  3 days alone with only my Bible and a notebook, 3 days of silence, 3 days of my husband being near and yet so far as he has his own retreat with the other clergy......kind of a daunting prospect as I all ready spend so much time alone here as it is.  Hmmmm....not sure what God is calling me to do but if I don't get a room booked by today there likely won't be any available.  The monastery retreat centre is a very busy place at all times. I guess if there is "no room at the inn" for me that will answer my question.

So all is well on this foggy grey morning.  The stress over my parents' situation has abated at least somewhat and soon this tooth will be out of my head.  Lots of good possibilities for this coming week of rest and home projects.  I am encouraged.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Nothing Could Be Finer!

Last night was the most fun I have had in our town since I moved here nearly 3 years ago.  Today I am exhausted and sore from all the work I did to contribute to the evening's success, but it is worth every aching muscle and all the lost hours of sleep.

Our dear wine importer friend, Doug Reichel of Fine Wines Saskatchewan, teamed up with our local SLG franchise operator, Bonnie, and put on a wonderful wine tasting evening in our church hall.  We sampled 5 different wines from the Bodega Melipal Argentinian vinyards and Doug paired them with 5 hors d'hoeurves prepared by his wonderful and creative wife Catherine.  Our little town doesn't get much opportunity to have a truly well prepared and culturally edifying evening such as we had last evening and we thoroughly enjoyed every second of it.

Bonnie and I took over the kitchen to set up and prepare Catherine's hors d'hoeurves while one of the Melipal vintners explained the grapes used in each wine, the length of the fermentation process etc. and told fascinating stories of how her family aquired the vinyards, what their future plans are and some great family stories.  I always find it amazing how much work has gone into that little bottle of wine sitting on the table in front of me.  My husband made some sushi to go with the Rose and we discovered that it is so smooth and so full even our hot wasabi couldn't take away from the taste.  Finally we have a fine wine that will pair beautifully with spicy foods.

Between preparing and serving the food and all the clean up afterward, which several folk mercifully stayed to assist me with, I hardly slept last night between my mind reliving all the fun we had and the soreness of my ankle and back, but wow I would do it again tonight if opportunity arose. 

Before our evening's entertainment began there we were at our other church hall in the other town enjoying immensely the congregation's annual roast beef dinner.  It is simple prairie food: tender roast beef, carrots and peas, mashed potatoes and gravy, vats full of mashed turnip and home made desserts.  Urp!  We made little in the way of successful attempts to not overindulge prior to the wine tasting evening back at home.  Simple food prepared and cooked properly.......well, there is nothing like it.

I feel blessed to have been able to partake of all this food fun BEFORE I have another tooth extracted tomorrow morning.  How horrible would it have been to be faced with all the food and frivolity and not be able to participate and enjoy it.......the stuff nightmares are made of.

Friday, January 25, 2013

5 Days Off After Christmas and Other Joys

It has been a fairly long wait after Christmas for my husband to be able to take the 5 days off he is technically supposed to take immediately after the holiday happens.  This year at least he is taking them.  He hasn't always been able to.  When you work in a small rural parish it is often easier to just stay around and do the work yourself than to have to find enough people able and willing to take not only the Sunday services but all the other work commitments that 5 weekdays can hold. As it happens, there are 5 days he can take this coming week that require only one person willing to replace him for a nursing home service and our people are so willing to assist there that it shouldn't be a huge problem.  Our parishioners are very helpful whenever they can be, we are just so short of people resources, particularly during this time of annual, well earned vacation times of winter snow birding down south of the border and to exotic foreign lands. My husband is fighting some kind of viral infection at the moment so this week that suddenly opened itself to be taken off couldn't have come at a better time.  Sometimes the magic works.........

He does have a major meeting Monday afternoon, an annual parish council meeting that is very important, so he will not be using Monday as a day off, but the rest of the week will be good.  My other tooth extraction is Monday morning so I won't be in any condition during the week to pester him to do anything.  He can rest and I can heal and it is going to be incredibly awesome......she says by faith.  Perhaps if we both recover in time we can slip down to Calgary and check on my parents now that Dad is happily home from hospital.  Or perhaps we could go a lesser distance to our local city for a day and get some badly needed grocery items, or an office chair or.......whatever we want. Or perhaps we could just pull the drapes, unplug the phone and go nowhere at all.

Whatever happens or doesn't happen it is going to be a good week without the stresses of work at a time when my husband just isn't feeling on top of his game.  God's care of us is sometimes immediately evident.  Wow!

A phone call from our son added to our joy tonight.  An attempt made by himself and a friend to start an artist's petition in his city some time ago has resulted in that city's decision to consider allowing their large art museum to purchase a piece of prime downtown property that was to go to some developers instead.  He is now on the committee with others who will attempt to make this happen. What a boost it would be to the culture of the city whose art museum is shamefully small and underfunded for a city of that size and with an international reputation for supporting the arts.  He has secured funding and a space at a local university campus to do a noise and performance art production the middle of next month and is in charge of the gallery where he works while his boss is away for the month.  In the middle of that he is also curating a show for a group of artists.  He has been invited to do shows of his own in Ontario and BC in 2013 and 2014 at some pretty decent galleries so that is also exciting.  Second year of school is coming up this summer as well.  Yes, I am proud of him but I also go on and on about him because he has come out of a dark time in his life when it appeared his career was disappearing faster than water down an open drain. The changes are fascinating to me.  He has prayed and worked and prayed and worked some more in all areas of his life and it is bearing fruit.  He has regained his more disciplined lifestyle and a deeper spiritual life.  It is all good and I write about him because I am marvelling at how God has pulled him out of a deep pit of despair and helped restore him to himself.

My English student did impressively well at his lesson today.  He practises for hours every week and his hard work is showing up in his reading and conversation.  If  he can't change his accent enough to suit him it won't be from lack of trying.

The music is chosen and practised for Sunday morning, the bulletins are done, the church hall kitchen has had a bit of a spiffing up by me tonight in preparation for the rental group coming in tomorrow evening for the wine tasting.  20 guests is the minimum number to put on such an evening and by this morning we were well over that number so that is encouraging.

I got my hair cut today and the last of the old colour is now gone gone gone!!  I am delighted.  There is more natural dark hair left on my head than I was expecting and the way the grey has come in reminds me of the old black and white test pattern on CBC television, but I am growing to like the look.  haha

We listened to a friend's sermon tonight....what a great thing some of the church websites are when we can hear for ourselves how our friend preached last Sunday morning at his church.  Good content and great delivery.

So now it is time to do a swack load of dishes before heading to bed.  My husband made lentil/chick pea soup tonight so there are a "few" dishes.  If he will cook I will happily do the clean up. The aroma in this house is amazing and I know I am going to go to bed feeling hungry tonight just from that fabulous smell.

May all the rest of the weekend go as well and as productively as today has gone and may my husband start to feel better. Amen!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fun For the Son

Our son has once again fallen with his nose in the butter.  His wonderful week in Toronto, so unexpectedly and joyously sponsored by new friends he had not met prior to their accommodating him there, is not the end of his good fortune this winter.

Later this month he is heading to Los Angeles with his boss for an art book fair.  They have to keep costs down on this trip and so registered for accommodation with an online booking agency where first you pay, then they tell you where you are going to stay.  

So, where are they being put up for their week in LA? What little hole in the wall dive are they stuck with?  What miserable, ratty, seedy dump of a hotel did their agency come up with?

Yeah........ratty?  Seedy?  Dumpy dive?  

Guess again!

They have a week booked at the beautiful Westin Bonaventure, known for its amazing modern architecture!

What a great winter our son is having!  We are very happy for him.

Zonked!! Subtitle: From Maple Creek's Icy Mountains

Today I feel like I have been hit by a freight train: sore, exhausted, back aching...quite a comedown after yesterday's fun.

It is partly because I have been confined for so long that a day of shopping and eating out in another town was more excitement than I have had the joy of handling for awhile.

It is partly because I spent over 2 hours standing up, slow walking, standing around in the stores perusing the goodies and my ankle began to protest by the end of the afternoon.

It is partly because the howling winds overnight woke me up too many times last night and I had trouble getting back to sleep.

But it is mainly because during my hours of walking yesterday I had to hold myself so carefully to prevent a slip or a fall on the deep ice remaining on the streets  of Maple Creek.  No wonder my back is screaming today.

When we first arrived the sidewalks were very clear of ice and snow......the downtown retailers and local residents are to be congratulated for their obvious effort to make the pavement safe for pedestrian traffic.  The ploughs had cleared as much ice off the driving lanes as well as they possibly could given the volume if ice they were faced with.  However, shortly after I started my trek downtown a fine covering of snow came down.  It was just enough to make any small patches of thin ice that ran down from the eaves of the buildings, to fan out across the sidewalk in a few spots, very difficult to see.  In order to be sure I wouldn't fall I spent 2 hours doing the Seniors' Shuffle from one store to the next.  The alleyways and dips where the sidewalks met the streets for easy wheelchair access around town were covered in ice that was a good 3 to 5 inches in depth.  Heavy truck tires had gouged big hunks out of the sheets of ice where they accessed the alleyways.  Even if the ice had still been smooth it would have been slightly easier to navigate with that shuffly step I have perfected that doesn't require actually lifting my feet off the ground.  But with the huge gouges  in the ice the surface was rutted into ice hills and valleys, the edges of which were nearly impossible to discern under the light dusting of snow.  So those particular seams and joints from one block to another were treacherous for me.  I know I was as tense as a cat stalking a bird and today my muscles are letting me know it.  

Of course the aches and pains were not helped this morning when I spent well over an hour shovelling us out from last night's storm. And that was just the front of the house. My husband was able to tackle the back of the property so that he could get his car out of the garage to go to work today.  It is an excellent division of shovelling labour.  The sidewalk in front of the house is fairly flat and easy walking for my ankle. The back has all manner of wee hills and dales lurking under the snow that twist and strain those still tender ligaments of mine.

We got the place all shovelled out in time for the meter man to come and change our meter.  The gas meter on this house was installed in 1986 and hasn't been inspected nor changed since.  Great to get that accomplished.......and by a certified professional.  My husband didn't have to do THIS task himself!  

The highway to our other town was down to one skinny lane of traffic early this morning and travel was not recommended so my husband had to go to work late today.  I am glad because it gave him an extra half hour to sleep in and then a bit of time to recover from shovelling before the gas meter man left with his giant truck that had been parked behind the garage, effectively blocking my husband's departure.  

Tonight my husband is the speaker in the other town for the Day of Christian Unity.  It is a subject that is near and dear to his heart and he will give a great speech, of that I have no doubt.  He will be very late arriving home tonight but I made a huge pot of Japanese curry and rice a few minutes ago for him to come home to. 

In other news I learned from one of mom's friends that my dad is going home tomorrow. Mom hasn't told me yet.  I think she is too shocked and terrified as to how she is going to be able to manage him at home on her own.  Also my family has this weird habit of not telling me anything of significance so they don't worry me.....then they wonder why I freak out when the news finally breaks.  They do it to each other as well and it is the strangest thing how they decide for each other and for me how each of us is going to react to news of significance and then make communication difficult due to incorrect assumptions.   Oh, well, I just pray it isn't too soon for him or for my mom.  It is always disheartening to return home after a long stay in hospital because your automatic response at home is to try to jump up to answer phones and race about like you did before you had to go to hospital. Usually you are not that much better when first arriving home.  I have been through that a few times.  Dad isn't one to rest himself when he needs to so who knows how long his time at home will last.  Mom also found out her 2 eye surgeries have been moved up by over 6 weeks from their originally scheduled dates.  I am glad for her but realize how much hassle it is going to create for both of them if dad is still at home.  I was to be going down for the original surgery dates to take her to the hospital and take care of her. Now her appointments are happening during the last of my own dental procedures which can't wait any longer than they all ready have and the installation weekend of our new bishop which we can't miss either.  A friend of mom's is driving her as far as he knows, but he has his own medical appointments around that time as well.  

So, on we go with the usual stuff of life.  I think I am going to stuff myself into bed for an hour now before I do any more of my required tasks of the day.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Snowin' and Blowin' Road Trip

Today we headed to Maple Creek for a deanery chapter meeting for my husband and his colleagues in this part of our diocese.  What a wonderful chance to get out of town just for a day....only a few hours round trip drive, no overnight suitcases to pack, no hotels to book, travelling both directions in the daylight.....a really great little day.

While my husband was at his meetings I decided to go exploring in the local shops and grocery stores neatly packed together on the 2 block long main street shopping district.  For such a teeny town with minimal retail it was a delightful experience.  I was able to meander through 2 small grocery stores, a hardware, a discount retail, 2 gift shops, 2 pharmacies, a kitchen knickknack store, a packed out clothing store and a home decor store that is to die for.  I understand the owner of the home decor store is putting the store up for sale as the local population doesn't shop there......guess they don't believe in paying a bit more for great quality furniture and cabinets, which is really a shame.  I would love to go back there and refurnish my entire house.  If I owned this rectory as my own that is exactly what I would do.  The furniture in this store was tasteful and beautiful but a ton of funky fun in some cases as well.  

I ate lunch at a lovely restaurant that did not serve Chinese food, unlike the other restaurants downtown.....a very tasty quesdilla with chicken, cheese and bacon (and I didn't have to go searching for the filling for a change!) and a home made salsa, yam fries that I did not have to pay extra for when I substituted them for potato fries and non-sweetened iced tea.  YES! For dessert I wandered down to the cappuccino bar for a maple spice steamer and a fresh melty chocolate chip cookie.  Yum! The cooky was small but so delicious and rich another one would have spoiled the experience.  

I spent over 3 hours looking through the stores in that small strip of downtown and had the best time.  What fun!  It is bitterly cold today so the downtown was deserted and I had most of the store aisles to myself.  I did make a few small purchases, including another lovely bamboo cutting board to replace one of the old plastic ones I have been bleaching and reusing for too many years.  I also found a replacement pair of pot holders for a raggedy old pair I should have thrown out years ago.  The new ones are denim and sewn up to look like a pair of jeans with a bright red tee shirt.  I will enjoy giggling every time I use them.  Found a handful of grocery items considerably cheaper than they are here at home so got those as well. Found a cute blouse on sale in a nice red colour that will go with a couple of my scarves.

I arrived back at the meeting venue to collect my husband just as they were about to  begin their final payer time so got in on that before we came home.  He had a wonderful day as well and we are very happy we drove down there together.

Coming home was a bit more interesting than the morning drive.  The first 3 hours were okay but for the final hour we were driving through a near white out as the winds picked up out of the east and blew all the snow from the fields across the road at about windshield height.  Drifts were forming along the narrow shoulder beside us and I had to trade with Dell for driving for the last 20 minutes.  I started drifting over toward the centre line and couldn't seem to force my eyes to look farther ahead and watch the shoulder line instead.  Snow blindness is not a safe state for driving, so my husband took over and we arrived home safely.

As I watch the darkness setting in and the snow coming down, as I listen to the howling winds, my focus is starting to come off the joy of the day and refocus on the shovelling out of sidewalks and back alley we are going to have to do in the morning so my husband can get to our other town for a day of meetings and prayers for Day of Christian Unity.  Guess we will be "up 'n' at 'em" early to clear a path for him to get the car out to the street and for the meter changer to get to the meter and into the house from both front and back doors.

Eeeee, winter.......I am all ready tired and we haven't started tomorrow's shovelling yet!  

Monday, January 21, 2013

Whatever Happened to Our Actual GOLD Medalist from the London 2012 Olympics??

Ever since the London Olympics ended last year I have been waiting to hear more about our one and only gold medallist, trampolinist Rosannagh MacLennan.  As our only gold medallist at that Olympics I was expecting and naively hoping for a great deal of fanfare, hoopla and general riotous ado upon her return to Canada. I assumed, wrongly, that at the very least she would be the automatic choice to carry the flag for Canada at the closing ceremonies.

But no, she won her medal and seemingly dropped right off the media map and even the Olympic charts in the wake of the antics of the Canadian women's soccer team who didn't even win a gold medal for our country.  Perhaps their low brow language and arguing with refs made for more colourful media presentation, but how crass of our own country's Olympic committee to overlook Rosie in the carrying of the Canadian flag.  So the soccer players raised Canadian women's soccer to a higher level of attention on the Olympic stage, so did Rosie for women's trampoline.

Ever since the Olympics I have continued to see media updates, particularly about Christine Sinclair and rarely so much of a mention of Ms. MacLennan.  It has been very annoying to me.  

So this evening I did another internet search looking for some news info about our one and only Gold Medal champion from the London Olympics of 2012.  There was very little.  From what I can gather the only event worthy of mention by the national media that she was asked to participate in was the laying of a wreath last Remembrance Day at the national ceremony in Ottawa. 

Apparently that is all.  No other invitations for important Canadian events, sports related or otherwise. Nada.  Nothing.  Zip Doodly.

I had a look at her website, read her post-Olympic blog entries and discovered she spent some time in Liberia last fall, sponsored by CIDA, participating in the Right To Play programme.  It seems it has been a very meaningful experience for her in her own life and I am sure she inspired many of the children she was in contact with there. I suppose it was reported somewhere that I missed seeing, but nothing showed up tonight on the www.

Since the Olympics ended there have been a plethora of news items in Canada about the colourful Ms, Sinclair, even my brand of laundry detergent has given her sponsorship and I have no desire to take anything away from her or her excellent soccer skills, but I would really enjoy seeing Ms. MacLennan receive some better national support for her own Olympic skills in trampoline...GOLD medal skills!

It is wonderful that our women's soccer team medalled in 2012. But Rosie brought home our only gold medal.  Apparently her quiet, humble personality is not exciting enough for our media nor our national  sports organizations to give her the fanfare she rightfully deserved then and deserves now.  Not making her our flag bearer at the closing ceremonies was a gigantic slap in the face.

Yes, I am an outsider to the wheelings and dealing behind the scenes at such a huge international event and there may have been reasons for the seeming slight that I have no knowledge of. Ms. MacLennan may have been just fine with the whole idea of not being our flag bearer, but if there are good reasons to ignore our one and only gold medal winner it would have been nice for those of us at home looking on to have been privy to some of those reasons.

I speak only for myself, but it irritated me at the time and continues to irritate me that a non-gold medalist has become our media's and national event planners' darling, fantastic athlete as she is, but then her whole team is equally worthy of attention........

There, now I feel better.

A Very Cool Day Off Doing A Little Bit 'o' Dis an' Dat

Today is the kind of day off for my husband that we really enjoy, even on a day as cold as this one.  We have had wind chills of -30C most of the day and the sky is overcast with bits of light snowfall on occasion, but our hearts are warm and sunny.  Today we have had a day like most "normal" folk experience all the time.

We've done emails and gone grocery shopping and done other errands, eaten a take out lunch and made a huge vat of chicken vegetable soup, napped and watched tv, written letters, done some internet research and talked on the phone with a cousin of mine we don't get to visit often, but who is responsible for getting us to Japan ten years ago and who we feel close to as a result.  AND now it is only 4:30pm and we have the entire evening to putz around and enjoy.  I LOVE days off like this.

Tonight we are going to download a sermon given yesterday by a friend in his church 2 provinces away from us and we are really looking forward to that.  He is a professional computer tekkie, but also a very good preacher and we wonder if God is going to move him into more of that sort of ministry.

Another friend sent us a video and some lovely photos from a winery in Argentina.  My husband will download them to our church computer and show them on Saturday night in the church hall during a wine tasting event our friend is hosting for our community.  Wine paired with various hors d'oeurves will make for a wonderful relaxing evening. He is bringing the vintner from Argentina with him so it promises to be an evening of learning as well as fun.

We have a fat loaf of French bread just begging to be made into French toast for dinner tonight....slathered in  berries and real maple syrup.......good thing we ate so many veggies with our take out lunch today!!

Have been receiving more positive reports on the health of both my parents and so hopefully that will be the trend, for a few days at least.  It is nice to have even a short break from worrying each day about what is happening to them.  Mom sounded so well on the phone and Dad is feeling hopeful and less confused as the weaning off the morphine continues.

Yup, a good day off today.  I am grateful for the accompanying peace of mind and spirit.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The Joy of a Great Relationship With Our Son

Like most every family with adult children, we have had our ups and downs in relationship over the years.  Over the past couple of years we have had a true restoration of relationship after some iffy times and are enjoying once again open communication over our various joys and sorrows in life.

It has been many many years since we last received a phone call at 1:30am from our son like we did the other night.  He had just arrived home from his first art show in Toronto, having been sponsored for an entire week by some incredibly wonderful people there who took care of his every need for accommodation, food and transportation, made him feel like a celebrity, introduced him to some of the local art dealers and came to his opening with their friends. He was flying pretty high with excitement and couldn't contain himself so he gave us a call.

When the phone rings at a pastor's house at that time of the early morning, particularly when that pastor has many elderly parishioners, in-laws in hospital and a son on an airplane flying across the country, that ringing telephone generally signals some kind of disaster.  We woke with a start and lurched into the office to answer the phone, expecting the worst.  

To hear a wide awake and cheery, "Hi guys, I just got home and I had a fantastic time!", coming over the telephone line assured our forgiveness instantly for the terrifying middle of the night wake up.  We laughed and laughed over his adventures and were so grateful to God for the wonderful couple who took care of him "down east".  He had so much news to tell and needed to wind down so he could sleep before having to return to work only a few hours later.  We were eager to hear it and hung up marvelling that he would want to share all the news with his parents before anyone else.  What a blessing.

Many 32 year old men have wives or partners who would be the 1:30am recipients of all that excitement and we pray our son also may find someone like that again to share his life and dreams with in the middle of the night.  But for now, we are delighted to be the ones to hear all the news as it happens, regardless of the time of day. 

It hasn't always been this way between us and some day will not be again for any number of good reasons, but what a thrill to have that phone call.  The rest of our week has been intensely stressful but we have spent some time relaxing by reliving that simple phone call and the joyful conversation. 

Someone's in the Kitchen with Suzie!

 And that someone is her dear husband! What fun we had last night taking out our stresses and anxieties by working in the kitchen together.  He made a huge vat of wonderful stew and I set up a stock pot for chicken broth, soon to become a big vat of soup.  We ate stew for lunch today and will likely have more for dinner. It is fabulous, but the wonderful stewing smell that pervaded our house for the night woke me up at 4am with ravenous hunger brewing in my tummy!

At 11pm we were out digging holes in a snow bank behind the house to stash the hot pots filled with food for a quick cool.  Within an hour we were able to bring them both into the breezeway for the night.  What fun to get up this morning (again, after 4am emails and reading for a couple of hours) and bring all that food in for a reheating and preparation of the stew for lunch.  Tonight I will take the bones out of the stock pot, prepare the fresh veggies for the soup and cook it all up for a third time.  I am so happy my husband taught me how to make decent soup sans salt.

As we were rejoicing today on our afternoon break from tomorrow's church services preparation, joyfully sloshing stew into freezer cartons, we came to a sudden jolting realization:  remember my blog from a few days ago about all the meat we had purchased with our Christmas gift cards?  Um, well, you probably remembered, but WE certainly didn't remember. Of course you know exactly where all that meat is, don't you? is all in the little freezer in our refrigerator, the only freezer we have, and there is NO space left to freeze all the cartons of stew and the soon to be cartons of chicken vegetable soup!!  (Add laughter bordering on hysteria HERE)

The remains of the stew has completed its cooling process, the cartons are lidded and ready to be frozen, there isn't much room in the refrigerator for those cartons either....BUT my husband assures me that with some careful rearranging in the tiny freezer he will be able to get everything in there including the stew guarantees about my soup.

My husband is the eternal optimist about such things.  He is indeed a champion packer upper and small space filler, however I suspect this job may actually be beyond him.  'Twill be an interesting night watching him trying to jam all this food in there.  I suspect the cartons will have to go and instead we will repack the food into large flat ziplock bags that can stack up well with no extra plastic lids and corners to fill up space like cartons do.  

How could we forget that much meat so soon after our excitement about purchasing it??  Stress can do crazy things....just like this!! hohoho   Guess we will be eating a AWFUL LOT of stew and soup over the coming week......

Friday, January 18, 2013

What Next??

During the night last night my mother woke up with terrible pains in her chest that were radiating down both arms.  She assumed it was her acid reflux acting up and tried not to worry about it, but by this morning it was even worse.  So, she arranged a doctor's appointment and our dear friend Bob, as usual, stepped in to care for her.  He drove her to the doctor, waited for her, then drove her to the hospital emergency on doctor's orders where he sat and waited for close to 6 hours for her to undergo various tests and hear the results.  He made himself and his friend late for their opera date tonight while he sat with my mother.  As an only child who cannot for many reasons be there for mom and dad right now geographically I don't know what we would all do without him or how to properly thank him for what he is doing in taking my place right now for my parents.

My mom discovered she is correct.  It is acid reflux and with all the stress she has had to deal with in the past 8 weeks it is no wonder she is having issues with her own health.  When she was first diagnosed years ago she was having the same intense symptoms she is having now, so back to her old diet and meds regime to deal with it until it calms down once again.

I am as worried about mom as I am about dad.  But, as they both told me this week there is no point in going there right now.  Dad gets in a blind panic when we are driving on the winter highways and often makes himself ill worrying about it.  Mom can't handle the extra stress of having anyone else around right now.  It is sad when parents can't relax with their own children but it is a natural progression in old age to be more stressed than excited at the prospect of a visit of more than a few hours in length.  I am once again very grateful for the years of elder care I did so that I can understand better why that is.  When my husband (and the car) are free to take me back to the city to see them, hopefully in another week or 2, we will go and do what we can to run errands for them both and hie away home again before it becomes too much for them to handle.

As for me, balancing long distance care for my parents on top of daily care for my husband when he is having so many CFS symptoms right now, plus 2 years of dealing with my son's problems, is almost more than I can handle myself.  I am so exhausted mentally and emotionally all I want to do is crawl into bed and stay there for a few months.  I don't like feeling helpless as I am programmed to problem solve. I can't solve any of the current family health issues. I can only listen and sympathize, empathize where possible, and be done with it. That is what is wearing me out.  Being in the middle of a series of painful dental procedures isn't helping me get to the city right away either.  It is frustrating all the way around. 

I am very grateful for the wonderful conversation I had with my dad yesterday on the phone.  Since I only call once a week, it guarantees the nursing staff will take the desk phone down to dad's room for 5 minutes and we can have a great little chat.  Dad is improving.  He is being slowly weaned off the morphine and his back spasms have simmered down after 2 months of rest.  Today he was able to use his walker to walk the few steps to the bathroom and back to his bed unaided.  He can wheelchair himself down to the dining room for 2 meals a day and take himself in the chair down to the lounge to use the phone and call my mom.

It is a relief to see some improvements in dad's situation.  Now if mom can start to relax a bit it will help her a lot.  There have been some issues to deal with as far as incorrect billing for her newspaper and some other billing problems, a flooded bathroom due to broken pipes in another tenant's apt. at her complex.......things my dad has always dealt with.  But she has managed to deal with them all on her own and very effectively at that.  The stress though has not been good.

The situation with my family members right now reminds me of an old joke:  when a pastor was asked what his favourite portion of Scripture was he replied that it was the phrase, "And it came to pass.......".  It seemed like an odd choice for a pastor so the questioner asked him why that was his favourite portion.  His response was:  "It came to pass, it didn't come to stay!!"

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Boiling Over Blockading

There are many news articles in the papers today about the Idle No More protesters blocking traffic and trains on major highways and rail lines.  Government officials are upset, the police are mealy mouthed about possible arrests and the outcome thus far for the protesters seems murky at best.

I am not going to share my own views about the issues causing the protests.  I believe that some of the First Nations concerns are valid and others are not, but I do believe they are not winning any of the supporters over that they could have had if they had not started trampling on the rights of others to travel where they need to go.

Protesters often have good cause for protesting.  Peaceful protests are a good Canadian right thus far.  However, interfering with the daily lives of the very people whose support could add more weight to a good cause and assist in getting things changed at a government level seems most unwise.

Give me information at the protest sites.  Send out a facts sheet in the mail.  Give me a CLEAR list of the issues and why they matter to you and to us all, as I believe some of the Idle No More issues do.  Issue well written and informative press releases to the media so that the actual issues are heard by the general public.   If I relied only on media reports about the Idle No More movement I would still have little idea as to what issues are causing the uprising in the first place.  Media reports of late seem to assume readers and listeners have discovered the facts behind the media reports before those reports are ever made public and it is frustrating in the extreme.

So, protesters, if you want my support give me the facts, demonstrate without taking away my own freedoms, such as the freedom to travel to work unhindered.  Then I will be very willing to listen to your issues and throw my support behind you as much as I possibly can.

Is there Anything More Delicious Than a Farm Fresh Chicken?

I have a confession to make:  I have never, prior to last evening, roasted a chicken in the oven.  I admit it.  I accept my 50 lashes with a wet buckwheat noodle.  Bad bad bad!!  I always purchase the various parts separately and use them in other dishes

But last night I stepped out in faith, trussed and herb'd and onion'd that bird and tossed it into a casserole dish that served as a tiny roaster.  I don't even own a proper roaster for putting chickens into.  Fortunately this little dish worked well.

The only mistake I made was cooking the chicken right side up with the breast meat down on the bottom of the dish, but part way through the cooking when I checked on the progress I realized why the chicken looked a bit odd, and turned it upside down properly.  I re-herb'd and re-onioned the chicken breast and the extra herbs certainly added to the flavour.  Delicious!  I used poultry sesasoning, onion bits, paprika and butter on the outside and a whole small onion plus herbes de provence inside the cavity.  It was a nice combination.  

So I learned there is no big trick in roasting a is just like doing a turkey only in miniature. The Hutterites around here that grew this chicken really know how to raise a tasty bird to go along with the wonderful vegetables they sell us in the summers.

The chicken and the potatoes we ate with it last night, and shared with friends, were gifts from parishioners and that made the meal even more special.  The friends enjoyed it and ate well so it must have been okay.

So, I guess I won't have to live another 50+ years before I roast another chicken.  I thought, for some reason, it would be more complicated than it is.

You may now stop snickering, guffawing and doubling over with laughter.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Meat Meat and More Meat

My husband and I are both feeling better today than we have in a few days.  I seem to be beating this sinus infection and the sun has come out after nearly a week of grey days, so my husband also has more energy today.
We decided to use all the money and grocery gift cards today that we received from our churches for Christmas.  We decided to purchase the more expensive items like meats and cheeses.  And so we had a grand time choosing several hundred dollars worth of pork roasts, bacon, beef roasts, ground chicken, chicken breasts, extra lean burger, sausages and salmon filets.  My husband chose some good asiago, white Irish cheddars, Dubliners, orange cheddars, Swiss cheeses and a good sized block of hard parmesan.  The bries are usually not ripe when we get them here so didn't bother this time.  We are pleased with our haul.  What a wonderful gift for the priest and his wife.  We have enough meats and cheeses to last us for the rest of the winter.  More importantly we feel cared for by those we are trying to serve.  It is a great honour to be the recipients of such bounty.

Then we took a gift card for a restaurant, also from a parishioner, and took ourselves out for lunch.  My husband ordered a huge vegetarian pizza, half of which he brought home to supplement our supper of left over casserole from last night.  (chicken with eggplant, red pepper, onion, potato, carrot, zucchini, broccoli with a mixture of Italian seasonings and herbes de provence and tomato sauce)  I ordered a huge chicken caesar salad and ate almost the whole thing! Since I am allergic to lettuce I will no doubt pay for it later with an upset stomach, but I don't care. It was delicious!!

We still have a Tim Horton's gift card to use.  Knowing us, instead of stretching it out, one tea and doughnut at a time, we will likely go and have the 2 biggest lunch combos they have and use the whole thing at once.  

There is something about gift cards, even the ones you can take back to use again and again until the purchase amount is exhausted:  it is SUCH a treat to have them that we just wallow in the fun of being able to spend that much money all at one time on such decadence. 

Being so appreciated is wonderful and we don't feel worthy sometimes of an outpouring like this one.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to us!  Every time we eat the meat and share the cheeses we will be reminded that our people care for us as we also care for them.

Monday, January 14, 2013

A Big Package For A Little Lady

This afternoon I went to the post office and discovered a parcel delivery card in our mail box.  It was a package of hilarious greeting cards sent from an out of province friend.  Ahh, easy peasy to tuck into my large purse and carry across the street to my warm car.

However, just ahead of me in line to pick up the parcel was one of the tiniest ladies I have ever seen and she was also collecting a parcel she was obviously not expecting.  The box was HUGE and heavy.  She managed to manipulate it off the postal counter somehow despite the counter being only a few inches below her forehead for height.  She was fussing because she was on foot and could not manage to get that big box home without help.  So I offered her a ride.

Here is a lovely thing about small towns and immigrants  on the prairies:  she comes from a very small town in India, is very new to Canada and it obviously didn't once occur to her that a complete stranger like myself offering her a ride home could be an offer with any danger attached to it.  She was so grateful and I could tell she had no notion that she should be at all wary of myself, a possible thief or serial killer or some other dangerous sort of person.  Of course it never occurred to me that she could present any danger to me either.  Women seem to just know such things about each other sometimes.  

It was like a step back in time for me:  2 people, complete strangers to each other, able to talk and provide assistance to each other with nary a thought that anything bad could happen; not a worry about who each other could be nor what dangers could befall us if we drove off together across town.  It was like a return to my childhood growing up in an innocent kind of place where bad things were not expected to happen when one person was offering to assist another.

I so enjoyed it.  She invited me into her home for juice and a visit and unfortunately I wasn't able to take her up on her offer, but I would have had there been time.  I hope I run into her again. She is interesting and talkative, eager to tell me about her home country and full of questions about Canada.  The whole experience took about 3 minutes of my time but it gave a wonderful colour to the grey wintery day outside.

Cold and Hot and Cold and Hot and Cold

The Subject Line pretty much sums up this week's weather forecast and the state of my health.  Saturday afternoon I started coming down with a sinus infection and the hot fevers and cold chills continued unabated until early this afternoon.  Fortunately I have some sinus medication for my nose and a combination ice pack and hot pack for my forehead and still sore gums from the tooth extraction.  If I go to bed before midnight tonight and sleep as well as I have the last 2 nights all will be well.

The subject line also describes the temperatures in our house over the past week.  The weather outside has been changing too rapidly for the furnace inside to keep up.  I have been setting the furnace temperature too low overnight and so the furnace humidifier has not been coming on as often.  Ergo the sinus problems.  One thing I have learned in my life on the prairies is that during the dry air times of winter if the humidifier doesn't come on often enough to create rivulets of water down every window in the house at all times, I will not be able to breathe at all.  Bleaching the windows and frames and sills every spring to remove stains from all that water is a real pain, but after spending 2 winters of my life in abject misery due to lack of humidity I have learned I need that moisture all winter long.

The subject line is indicative of our weather changes happening every couple of days in recent weeks.  We had some nice days last week, then a couple of huge snow storms with accompanying temperature drops.  For the past 3 days it has been bitterly cold, leaving the snow and ice on the streets nice and solid and crunchy.  Tomorrow we will be on the receiving end of 2 days of warm tropical air coming in from the west coast that will sweep northward and then blow back down in our area........can you believe it?  TROPICAL air flow coming down from the NORTH to the prairies.  It means we will have major melting during the next 3 days. The piles of snow everywhere will begin to shrink rapidly and the ice on the streets will gather pools of water on top of itself with dangerous deep ice still lurking underneath, hidden just sufficiently for pedestrians to start taking a few nasty falls around town. That is the ice condition I fell and broke my ankle on last year.

By Friday the warm air will have moved on to some geographical location more appropriate to tropical air flow in winter, and all the melt water here will freeze solid once again.  When it does that water on top will turn glassy smooth like a skating rink.  I am guessing it will be at least a week before my husband will permit me to leave the house to go anywhere other than the attached garage and the passenger seat of our car.  I can't blame him. He was the one who had to care for me all last winter while I was confined to a wheelchair all because of one tiny misstep on the ice.

Cold and hot and cold and hot and cold.......yup, kind of a description of life in general, isn't it?

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Great Little British Movie

Last night we were very tired after church and wanted to sit quietly and watch a movie on tv.  There was absolutely nothing playing that interested us but one title caught our attention, more because it sounded like the most ho hum boring sort of movie ever.  What a delightful surprise though.  We loved it and made ourselves late to bed sitting up watching it.  Apparently it debuted at the Toronto Film Festival, but not being movie buffs we had not heard of it previously.

It is a delightful British Comedy Drama filmed in 2010 in the UK and Morocco and is titled "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen".  It is based on a novel of the same name by Paul Torday.  The premise is ridiculous and fun.  The romance relationship is charming and hilarious.  The script is witty in that "only the British" way that we love.

I won't say any more about it, other than it stars Ewan McGregor, Kirstin Scott Thomas, Emily Blunt and the ridiculously handsome Amr Waked as the sheik.  McGregor plays a character with Aspergers that is not over acted, not silly nor caricatured.  He does an amazing job.  Kirstin Scott Thomas is hilarious and Emily Blunt's character is nicely understated and real.

The title of this movie nearly put me right off even attempting to watch it as it sounded like a documentary, which I was not in the mood for last night.  What a lovely surprise this film was to me.  Now I am going to seek out a copy of the novel, knowing in advance that I am going to enjoy it immensely.

Bucking the Trends

After 18 long and sometimes embarrassing months, the dye has finally come out of my hair.  The last barely visible bits of it left in the ends will come off in a couple of weeks at my next haircut.  The worst parts of the past year and a half were the months when the line of colour met the line of new grey hair about half way down the length of my head.  A few odd looks passed between people when they saw that for the first time, but I didn't die from it and no doubt it will all be forgotten very soon by even the most fashion conscious among our population here.

As I look at my face now I realize how old it was starting to look underneath that mop of dark hair.  Dying the hair once you reach a certain stage of life just emphasizes age instead of taking away from it.  Some people can pull off the dyed hair look for more years than others........I am thinking of my friend Patty whose face has not aged one bit in the nearly 10 years I have known her and will be able to dye her hair for years to come without looking fake.

A couple of other women I know have also decided to follow my lead.  Some of them have only started but the line of demarcation for them shows a beautiful pure white growing in to replace the colour.  I was hoping that I would follow in my paternal grandfather's footsteps and mine too would grow in as a pure white mane of loveliness.  However, there are still a fair number of dark hairs in amongst an iron grey that does not impress me at all.  O well, I went through this process and overall I am pleased with the results.  

I have decided I am quite content to look like my real self and not some younger woman wannbe.  The natural look is not for everyone. Maybe it isn't for me either but people are too polite to say so to my face. haha

Whatever, I am happy to just be me.  Really, who was I trying to impress?  I suspect we spend a lot of time, money and effort trying to look younger and prettier than we are so that we can look good for other people who aren't looking at us anyway.

Maybe we are all so busy in OUR OWN attempts to impress others with the way we look that we aren't looking at EACH OTHER at all.