Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tragedy in Our Birdy Kingdom

Today was a day of small tragedies among the birds in our yard.  The crows have returned after a wonderfully long absence of many months.  Unfortunately at least one of our tiny downy woodpeckers and several of the smallest red polls have fallen prey to their hunting habits.  Spring is a sad time around here for the birds hearty enough to have survived the long cold winter, if the crows show up to seek food.  I admit I shed a tear for the dead woodpeckers I saw being carried off early this morning.  It is life/death in the wonderful world of hunter and prey, a stark reality for any species, but it still hurt my heart. The rest of the small birds in our yard left us today and will likely not return until next fall, if at all. Even the nut hatches have left us. After being so free of crows for the past year after a giant cull carried out by the local wildlife wardens, today was a harsh reminder that when it comes to birds like that there is no effective way for us to get rid of them and protect the song birds.  Such is life in the birdie kingdom. 

On a happier note, this evening our yard is being swarmed by robins. The red breasted males are SO fat they look like they are about to pop!  The mourning dove pair is building a nest somewhere very close to the house and their cooing cries fill my ears in the early mornings.  I will send up a prayer or two for my little downys who were victims of the big crows and try to focus my attention on the remaining junkos and the returning larger birds.  Outside of town the huge raptors have returned to the fields and spend the early mornings sunning themselves on telephone poles along the roadside.  The snowy owls are huge and handsome sitting on the fence posts, their eyes moving continually in the search for prey and for bigger hunter birds. The geese who returned before the ice melted on the ponds can finally fly in for a landing without skidding across icy surfaces and landing in a heap as they attempt to stop.

Despite my sadness over the little birds, I have gratitude for other things today.  I am grateful we were able to return from Regina the day before a huge spring storm hit that area, leaving over a foot of wet heavy snow on the ground, breaking tree branches right off and bending the tops of large trees right down to the ground.  I am grateful we are not once again stranded on a highway that has been closed due to snow and ice.  I am grateful the wee skiff of snow we had here last night was gone by noon today.  I am grateful that the temperatures are to rise dramatically by the end of this week.  If strong winds accompany the rise in temperature then any flooding here will be minimal and short lived.

Counting the days until my husband's study leave and hoping my sore foot is going to be healed sufficiently by then to accomplish all I need to do during that time.  Am thinking I may put my boot cast on and try that for a few days to completely immobilize the area that is so sore and swollen.  Maybe if there is some torn or otherwise damaged tissue, being immobilized for a week will help.  Taping it this morning helped a bit, but not as much as I was hoping for.  Grrrrr....stupid foot!  Grrrr....stupid me for creating this mess in the first place by not dealing soon enough with the bone spur pain. Duh!!


New Restaurant in Town Take Two

What fun we had last night eating out at the newest local restaurant!  We tried it right after they opened and apart from a few glitches typical of any new restaurant opening and the worst soup on the planet, it was fairly good.

So last night, to celebrate the day of waiting around in hospitals and clinics, we headed over there again.  Well, don't know what was going on over there but we had an hysterical time.  We are concerned though that these dear folk who run the restaurant will not get enough business and end up closing out if the experience we had last night is typical of what has been going on over there.  We are wondering if this is the first restaurant they have opened in Canada and are simply not at all in touch with Canadian expectations.  haha  For us the night was truly "cute".

When we arrived, our harried waitress, a local gal who was finishing up her second day on the job, barely had time to seat us before racing back to the business computer cash register programme to continue her job of putting in the information from the meal receipts from the lunch hour and early afternoon.  Apparently the system wasn't running very smoothly and there was a lot of "ooooh, blast it", and "oh crap, crap, crap" coming out of her mouth as she fought to run the programme properly.  It was very funny listening to her.  It wasn't as funny watching her systematically scratching at the hair under her topknot, with the same fingers that were going to be bringing our food out of the kitchen, as she tried so valiantly to complete her task.

We also got a kick out of the wife of the owner, dressed in her ethnic garb and looking so lovely, wandering about with bowls of soup seeking out the table they belonged at.....one bowl at a time.....shuffle, shuffle shuffle, stop, gaze about,  big yawn, shuffle some more, look about for the possible orderers of the soup and eventually arriving at the correct table.  Each person at that table received everything they had ordered..........eventually.  In between delivering their food she stopped to tinker with the light switches, dimming, brightening again, plunging us twice into total darkness before setting the switch where it had been before the light show began.

We had a long wait for our food.  The people across from us were experiencing a similar wait.  As the minutes ticked by, turning into an hour or more, we began conversing and laughing about our mutual experience. Another table soon joined in.  Yet another table gave up on ever receiving their meals and walked out of the restaurant, not more than ten seconds before the restaurant owner emerged from the kitchen with their meals. When he couldn't find the people after wandering from table to table the look of consternation on his face was hilarious.  The waitress appeared from behind the computer and told him the people had given up and left. No, she hadn't tried to stop them or ask them why they were leaving, although the man's wife had been in an obvious flap over their departure. She apparently does not speak English so she hadn't spoken to them either.  The owner was rather angry.....with the people who left, not with his waitress who ignored the people leaving, nor his staff in the kitchen for being so slow.  The waitress looked over at us, shrugged her shoulders and left him to his tantrum while the rest of us got the giggles because the situation was becoming so ludicrous.

The people we were kibbutzing with had ordered the same meal we had ordered: the steak sandwich special.  A caesar salad was included in the price......with THEIR order but not with OURS.  Huh?? We were impressed with the look of their meal when it arrived.  A very large strip of well cooked steak with sauteed mushrooms and onions was laid out on a very fresh, lightly buttered garlic bread roll and their salads looked very fresh and delicious.  It was all very plain but apparently very tasty as well.  Our new restaurant buddies were happy with that.  About 30 minutes later, as they were finishing their meal, our plates arrived.  We had the steak with trimmings on the bun, but no salads.  I asked if the salads were coming in separate bowls and the waitress told us that salad was not included.  We checked with the other table to see if their salads had been included or if they had ordered them separately.   Nope, when they had ordered their meal the salads were included.  I thought I was going to come right off my chair at this point due to intense hunger being built on top of a most stressful and worrisome day.  But the peace of my husband kept me cool headed enough to tell the waitress that if that was the case we would pay for 2 salads as well since the salad was the deciding factor for us in placing our order in the first place.  Sigh......in the meantime would it be possible to have a refill on my drink which had been consumed in its entirety twenty minutes earlier?  It would not be.  Oh, okay then........

We got our salads a few minutes later and truly we did enjoy the meal when it finally arrived.  The steak sandwich was excellent, decent quality meat with very little fat to trim off, the mushrooms and onions were cooked properly and the bun was incredibly fresh.  The salad was freshly made and delicious without the sloppy drenching in dressing that some restaurants inflict on their caesar salads.  The owner of the restaurant delivered our meals and said "You CAN have the salad with the meal.", in a tone of voice that suggested it should have been up to US to tell the the waitress that salad was included in our order.  Huh???

We also had an additional side show while we ate.  The people at the other table who had finished their meal ahead of us were lined up at the computer to pay.  It took the waitress nearly 5 full minutes to get the programme she had been working on shut down so that she could bring up the programme that would contain their billing information.  This began a whole new raft of giggles between us and them.  I felt sorry for the waitress as it became more clear that her inability with the computer was based on lack of job training in how to use the programmes before she was hired.  After all her work to find their bill for them as the minutes continued to tick by, we were further amused by the fact that when the people tried to pay cash for their meal there wasn't any change in the cash register.  haha  Oh it was hysterically funny.  The waitress went to find the owner who appeared eventually, in distress once again and wondering why the people were not paying with a credit card. They were very polite as they explained that they WERE going to pay cash and he had better come up with some change.  The dear man looked about to burst with frustration as he turned his own pants pockets inside out looking for lint covered coins and bills in order to give them change.

My reaction to this performance was that I too wanted to pay in cash and have to ask for change so I could see Act Two!  hahahaha  A dear pair of senior ladies beat us to the cash register and so we were able to witness the owner and his waitress try to figure out how to put the information from the bill into the computer when the 2 ladies were paying separately, AND only one of them would be getting the seniors' discount!  hahaha  Yes, we stood at the cash register for nearly 15 minutes while this situation was sorted out.  By this time I was laughing so hard on the inside and working so hard to keep my laughter from bubbling to the outside, I was nearly falling on the floor.  hahaha  Since I was using a crutch to get around, I suppose a fall to the floor could have been blamed on losing my balance and the real reason for it gone unnoticed, but I did manage to contain myself long enough to leave the restaurant before I exploded.  Sadly I did not have to ask for change. By the time I added in a decent tip for the beleaguered waitress with the fresh hair dye under her fingernails from all that topknot scratching, all I had to do was hand her a tweny and a ten dollar bill and say farewell.

While we were eating our meal we were wondering what price we would be charged.  Would our salads be included as they were for our new friends at the neighbouring table or would we have to pay extra for them?  Well.....when we paid we were not given any sort of itemized receipt, nor any other kind of receipt as the machine refused to print anything at all.  hahaha  The price didn't sound quite right to me, but I waited until I got home to try to figure it out.  Apparently we didn't pay full price for the salads, but neither were they included in our meal price. The closest I can get to what our payment included is if we were charged for one salad but not the other and even then the price doesn't quite match.  As far as being charged the correct price for our meal, this is the second time in as many visits that we were apparently over charged.  I hate to say this but it will be Strike Three  You're Out! if it happens next time.

Yes Virginia, there is going to be a next time.  I want to try their other ethnic foods from a country I have never been to and have never tried cuisine from.  I suspect that if it is as good as the curried meal I had there the first visit and last night's excellent steak, I will enjoy it very much.  I want to see what surprises the next visit holds in store for us as far as the service. I want to try to figure out if the food is slow arriving because the cooks have to run out to the field behind the building and actually slaughter the animals before they cook the meat.  

But mostly I want to support this family in their Canadian business venture.  They obviously do not know how to run a restaurant in this country.  The owner obviously wants to do well, his staff to do their best and is frustrated and angry when we boorish and rushed Canadians react in ways he doesn't understand. His wife is obviously confused by the speed at which customers expect to be dealt with.  We want to become regulars there and get to know the people if at all possible in the coming months.  If we can get the charges for the meals figured out we will be very eager to support these folk. We want to help the new waitress understand that when she is handling other peoples' food she should not be scratching her head nor touching her face at work without washing her hands thoroughly every time when she is done. We would dearly love to teach them how to make Canadian style soup; that it is more than simply boiling up a large pot of hot water and tossing in a small can of diced tomatoes, the result being a pale pink pot of watery tastelessness! We see a lot of hope for an excellent authentic ethnic cuisine restaurant, the first ever in our town.  If things can tighten up so that the locals accept the place all will be well, but if not the place is doomed.   We have fallen in love with this quirky little cafe and its owners and staff and pray for the best for them all. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Weather is Changing Every Half Hour....Must be Spring on the Prairies

Today's constant weather changes are very normal for the beginning of spring, but Someone up there forgot to remind them that spring actually began a month ago!!!!  

Between 7am and 6pm we experienced light rain showers, (light mud), severe wind gusts, (drying mud), sunshine, warm temperatures, a light breeze, (dry packed mud), dark clouds, freezing rain and snow flurries (frozen mud).

Right now it is too dark to see what is going on outside and I don't want to actually!  Tomorrow will bring a whole new set of weather conditions requiring us to don light coats, winter coats, sandals, snow boots, capri's, long underwear and a variety of layered clothing fashions depending on the hour of the day.

The provincial highways began flooding in some areas over the weekend but fortunately so far the ice on the rivers is fairly thin and not separating into huge thick blocks that clog up the drainage routes.  Hopefully that will be the case everywhere.  The fields are draining into the road ditches here and the ditches can't drain quickly enough, so the highway west of town was flooded in some areas.  It is quite an experience to be driving along and suddenly discover the road has apparently disappeared under a sea of water.  Very dangerous for so many reasons.  If the road is wet this evening, it will be a skating rink in the morning after this freezing rain, but in 3 of 4 days time the temperatures should be closer to seasonal.......hopefully.  Brrrrrrr.........and the day started off with such promise!

An Exhausting Day With Medical Stuff!

Today is the sort of day off my husband must dread!  In other words he really didn't get one today. Praising God he has Tuesdays off as well and is even going to take it this week the way he is supposed to instead of doing his usual cheat.

The day started off on the wrong "foot" (a word that will take on more significance shortly).  We were barely awake when the phone rang.  Like the idiot I so often am, I forgot about it being my husband's day off after a huge weekend of meetings at Diocesan Synod and I answered the phone without checking the call display.  It was a long and involved work related call.  More contacts had to be made due to a loss in the parish this weekend and for bereavement situations there is no desire to cling to a day off.  Bringing comfort to sad, hurting hearts is part and parcel of the pastoral call and the pastoral heart.

By this time it was after 11am and we hadn't eaten yet.  My foot had lost the bone spur pain of the past 3 weeks overnight, but in its stead was a swollen, red, very very sore spot on the inside of my heel just below the ankle.  It was so bad I couldn't walk at all without my crutches.  After trying to rest it all morning and not put any weight on it there was no improvement at all, so off to hospital emergency I went after phoning to ask if there was a doctor in outpatient today. Eureka!  A doctor was there.

I should have guessed something new was happening when we got to emerg and were sent instead, admission slip in hand, up to the main nursing station for the hospital wards. The nurses there took my paper work and directed my husband and I to a small waiting room where we were the only people waiting for the doctor.....on a Monday?  After a weekend with no available doctors and emergency department closures for 2 or 3 days?  I thought we were just lucky that all the other patients had been seen in the earlier part of the morning.  After only 45 minutes I was taken into an examination room where a nurse good my vitals and then asked me what I was there for.  I told her and she then informed me that the out patient doctor was actually working out of the medical clinic today.  I asked her why neither the hospital admissions nor the nurses at the desk had mentioned that and sent me there.  She didn't know. She said THEY likely didn't know........4 hours into a Monday out patient schedule and NONE of them were aware of this??  O well, this is par for the course any more in most medical situations in the prairies, even in the cities.  Then the nurse asked me exactly what was wrong.  And this is the cool part of being in the "wrong" place today seeking help.  The nurse was able to call over to the clinic to see if the outpatient doctor would like x-rays done on my foot before leaving the hospital.  The doctor would, approved it and faxed over the paperwork to x-ray.  6 "photos" later and I was off to the clinic where they were all ready expecting me.  Instead of a long wait at the clinic, only to be sent back for a long wait at the hospital for x-rays, followed by a second long wait at the clinic, I was spared one whole step in the process.

The clinic was still swarming with out patients left over from prior to 10am and by this time it was nearly 1:30pm.  My husband and I sat around together for an hour in the waiting room until I finally took pity on him and sent him grocery shopping and back home to relax.  I knew it would be a long time until I saw someone.  He looked at me with the same look of gratitude a new puppy gives you when it realizes you are not going to kick it for piddling on the carpet.  

Long story short, I was finally seen, held for reports from the radiologist in S'toon who was faxxed my x-rays and then informed that the spontaneous osteoporosis fracture we had all been expecting to show up in the x-rays was in fact not there at all.  Another temporary condition brought on by walking incorrectly for 3 weeks to protect myself from bone spur pain was the culprit.  I came home with a large tube of topical anti-inflammatory, instructions of how best to relax and stay off my foot for a few days and immense gigantic eternal gratitude that it was not a fracture after all. I can admit now how close I came to sobbing at the thought that spontaneous fractures in my feet had all ready begun. They will happen eventually because of my medical condition but I am hoping for at least another ten good years first.

I did get the results though of my last bone densitometry that I will be discussing with my specialist in June.  He will be disappointed by how much my bone density has dropped in the past nearly 3 years during my experimental drug "holiday", but some kind of drop was expected and he has a good new med to try me on when next we meet.

So me 'n' my crutches are going to be good friends once again for a few days at least.  I have no upper body strength, probably even less than when I started using them for my broken ankle last winter, so I need to start doing some kind of proper exercises to strengthen my arms and shoulders again.

So that was my day.  In a little while I will post about the restaurant we ate dinner in tonight.  hahaha What an experience that was!  hahaha

A Touching Experience

This weekend we were away for Diocesan Synod meetings.  The meetings were interesting, differences of opinion regarding the various motions and resolutions to be voted on during the business portions were given respectfully and in order, resolutions that will positively lead our Diocese through the next several years were passed, the food was excellent, our hotel room comfy and quiet, the highways were dry for a change, we dodged most of the potholes created by the severe winter, there were many new people to meet, old friends to greet....it was worth the long drive and the many hours of sitting in meetings to learn so much about how our diocese is run.

I skipped the concert portion of the entertainment one evening so I could just relax away from all the people.  After a hot shower and hair wash I climbed under the big soft comforter and put on the television.  There was nothing on that I wanted to see but ended up watching a programme on the community ACCESS channel.  On the screen there appeared the interior of the community centre from the little town of Moosomin, Saskatchewan.  A large number of senior citizens were dancing to the music provided by a Mr. Ed Hinckie and his one man band.  Mr. Hickie is also a senior, although his voice is pretty strong yet and he played a mean keyboard.  As I watched the seniors dancing I shed a little tear.  There were old married couples completely attuned to each others' dance moves after years of sharing the dance floor together, elderly single ladies who danced together for the sheer fun of it in the absence of sufficient numbers of single men, but mostly what I noticed was the spark of good fun happening in all the dancer's eyes.  It was a simple evening of dancing at the community centre. There were no fancy decorations, no one was dressed up in unnecessary finery, it was just a group of longtime friends from that community celebrating the gifts of fun, laughter, music and dance.

The film was grainy, there were bright blinding spots at the top corner of the screen from the dazzling tube lights hanging from the ceiling of the centre, the one man band was a little bit old fashioned and at one point the cameraman must have left his post between dance sets as the camera gave us a fascinating and instructive 3 minutes by remaining fixed on a dear older man blowing his nose on a bright red handkerchief the size of a small country before stuffing it back into the pocket of his jeans. I took note of the little flourish he gave that handkerchief before it disappeared into his pants, wondering what sort of interesting substances he had just flicked across the room and where they had next adhered themselves!

Even that made me weepy.  The little programme reminded me of simpler, happier times.  It reminded me of my own childhood when the adults would get together to sing around the piano and dance in the rumpus room downstairs in our house.  Most weekends that was as exciting as it got, but everyone was content....even though there were no giant red handkerchiefs in anyone's pockets nor nose blowing permitted anywhere outside of the washroom.

Friday, April 26, 2013

O Me of Little Faith

A friend here in town blogged recently that he had, in faith that spring IS finally arriving, put his snow shovels away in his garage. 

I admire his courage.  I do not share it.  

Flurries are forecast for next Tuesday and while that forecast will likely change several times over the weekend, my winter paranoia still runs rampant.  My shovels still stand in silent salute, one at the front door, one at the back door and one in the garage.

If the forecast drop in temperature does indeed occur next Tuesday then there will be more snow coming down than mere flurries.

Meanwhile we still can't park our car in the garage.  The water is pooled in the deep muddy ruts as the neighbours' snow banks behind their fences continue to melt.  Once it is dry enough we will have to shovel off the tops of those ruts and try to fill in the deep tire tracks.  Otherwise the dried muddy ridges will be so high our car will high centre and we will be stuck....on dry dirt that is simply too high for our little car to navigate. I suppose we could contact the town to come with a load of gravel, or contact the utility company that made the huge mess of the alley last fall and didn't return to return to fix it back up, but looking at the thick mud and lack of gravel in the rest of the alleyways on our side of town I am fairly certain the town isn't interested in improving alleyways.  Most folk with perfectly good garages park on the front street and don't seem to be at all concerned that they can't access their own inside parking places.  A little lacking in oomph here....arguing with local authorities is apparently frowned upon....standing up for your own rights about such things is not that common here from what I can gather.  The main response I have heard when I have asked about the alleyway situation is, "O well, what can you do?"  Well there is a lot you can do, but I seem to be alone in wanting to do it. 

So, "buy a truck" someone here said to us.  Ummmm.....no....I think not.  We can't afford a truck for one thing. For another thing we are not truck people.  We had a truck once, years ago.  While it was handy for hauling carpentry tools and such to and from work, we just couldn't get into the idea of using it for personal purposes.  We found ourselves walking all over town for appointments rather than drive that truck.  I refuse to be bullied into buying a vehicle we don't want simply because the town and the utility companies refuse to do their jobs through to completion.

If next winter is anything like this winter we may have to rethink our vehicle stance.......sigh.....

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Compromised Cards

I learned something useful today.  I learned that if you have a credit card with a chip it is safest to only use it in machines that take chips and it is not as safe to use the old machines still requiring a swipe instead.

I learned this today when I received a call from my credit card company about a business data base being compromised....a data base containing my credit card information.  It happened a a place I have regularly frequented and that continues to use its old swipe machine.  

So, there is a new card, new security number etc. on its way to me and my old card is kaput immediately, shut down, out of service, no longer accepted by any machine anywhere.

I am grateful to my credit card company for their prompt attention to this, for checking with me to see what transactions I have actually put through and am expecting to have to pay for and what transactions have not been approved by me, myself and I.

The world of technology, for me, continues to have its ups and downs but I am not going to allow the occasional experience like this to put me off the benefits.  I will just be more careful about the details from now on.  It is more confirmation for me as well that I am not so stupid for refusing to make purchases online and for continuing to refuse to use online banking and bill paying options.

Another life lesson learned.

Easy Peasy

Life has been simplified since the decision of our province to allow me access to specialists and lab tests in the province next door without going through the process of procuring letters from our government medical agency stating they have agreed to pay for those services.

I used to have to make an appointment with my local doctor to confirm that person would back me up in requesting those letters of approval.  Getting into a local doctor for a non-emergency appointment here can take up to 3 months as we are so short of medical assistance in our community.  The appointment would consist of explaining why I needed to go for the tests and specialists in another province and then the wait would begin: the wait for the local doctor to confirm with the out of province specialist that the tests were necessary, another anxious wait for the local doctor to actually write the letter and fax it to the province.  Sometimes that step alone took several weeks of telephone badgering to ensure it had actually been sent away.  Is it possible to feel any more guilty than when badgering an all ready severely overworked doctor for "mere" paperwork?? Then another long wait for the provincial medical department to send their response back to the local doctor would ensue: more badgering by myself to find out if the letter had arrived at our clinic.  Then convincing the records person that I needed a copy of that letter to take out of province with me to confirm to the intake receptionist at the lab and specialist offices there that I had permission to be there and that the tests and appointments would be paid for.  This process took between 3 and 6 months every time.

With the change of provincial procedure I am now able to telephone the specialists and labs and make my own appointments....just like that.......a little application of the touch tone dialing technique and the deed is done.  I am no longer received by intake staff as though I am some sort of inter-provincial medical spy and my own province is no longer questioning myself and my local doctor with third degree intensity when we make requests.

These changes happened as my husband and I were beginning to question our ability to stay in this location.  My need for tests and specialists in another province was creating a tense and sometimes untenable situation.  Now we can relax.  All is well in the world of medical testing and treatment for me.

I am so grateful for the simplification. Yes, I can still be bumped for the sake of a patient who resides in the province where I have to go for my tests and appointments, but it is still so much easier for me than it was before.  Sometimes things work out just at the right time.

Pop History in Song

I have been enjoying listening to old Allan Sherman songs.  I enjoy them for the sheer fun and ridiculous lyrics, but I also enjoy them because they are a record of the culture of the day.  They record for posterity that the 1960's had far more going on culturally than Jesus People, hippies, drugs, San Francisco and free love. 

Younger people today wouldn't even understand some of the references in the songs.  Many will have never heard of the transistor radio mentioned in The Twelve Gifts of Christmas, nor understand why its being made in Japan had significance.  His song about the creation of man made fabrics in the 1960's, (Encron is a Brand New Fabric), would leave them shaking their heads as to why this would be a big deal.  No topic is safe from being skewered in his silly yet clever satire:  politics, (Won't You Come Home Disraeli), music (Pop Hates the Beatles), technology (Automation....what person under the age of 50 even knows what that word meant way back then?), the introduction of the night time television serial (Peyton Place USA), the explosion of acronymns in common daily language (Al N Yetta). Even vending machines (Vending Machines) and going to kids camp (Camp Grenada) are filled with pop references from the early 1960's that would leave most younger people shaking their heads and wondering what the big deal was in composing silly songs about such things and why Sherman's schtick is so hilarious to old folk like myself.

For me these songs are an historical record of my preteen and teenaged years.  I grew up in a era where there was great fear alongside the excitement about automation.  Robots were going to take over all the jobs currently held by people and mass unemployment would be created.  Man made fabrics were featured on page 2 of the daily newspapers.  Dacron and polyester were new then and the possibilities for creating exciting fashions were thought to be endless as a result.  Paper product dresses were going to be the wave of the future.  Acronyms that are used in today's text messaging and in business of all kinds were rare back then.  If your business or job title could be turned into an acronym it was because your business or name were famous. They were "household names". (And who uses that expression any more?) 

Today's young person would find these silly songs to be extremely dated in topic, the broad humour too obviously silly and the interspersed sly digs too obscure. For me Sherman's songs are a history lesson about my own life and culture as a young person. They remind me that many of today's luxuries, products and lifestyles were new back then and I remember the excitement and fear and change that accompanied the introduction of each one.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Mud Mud Mud and More Mud

We have traded in snow and ice for mud.......tons and tons of mud it seems.  Streets, sidewalks, gutters, parking lots, potholes, shoes and pant leg hems......all are covered, filled and filthy with mud...a sure sign that spring has finally arrived on the prairies.

Do I hear a Hip Hip Hooray???

N. T. Wright's Opinion

A few minutes ago I was cleaning out my desk drawers and found a loose piece of paper upon which was a typed response written by N. T. Wright in response to a well known scientist who declared heaven to be a fairytale. The first part of the article is not in my desk drawers so I went searching on line to find out where I got the following quote from.  I feel his response is a good general one that could be said to  almost any expert in any field of endeavor who would make a public declaration about a religious belief (or anything else) he or she has not actually studied in depth.  

"(The person being responded to) is working with a very low-grade and sub-biblical view of 'going to heaven'.  Of course, if faced with the fully Christian two-stage view of what happens after death--first, a time 'with Christ' in 'heaven' or 'paradise' and then, when God renews the whole creation, bodily resurrection--(the person being responded to) would no doubt dismiss that as incredible. But I wonder if (the person being responded to) has ever even stopped to look properly, with (the person's) high-octane intellect, at the evidence for Jesus and the resurrection?  I doubt it--(.......) haven't.  Until (the person being responded to) has, (that person's) opinion about all this is worth about the same as mine on (that person's area of expertise), i.e. not much."

To read the complete post,click on the following link:



Healthy Meals

Lately I have been a near model of healthy eating.  Breakfasts of yogurt and a bit of cheese with a large glass of water, lunches of fish and salad with a large glass of water, fruit and nuts for snack times with smaller glasses of water, at least 3 kinds of vegetables with a protein dinner based around roast beef or chicken with a large glass of water, have comprised the majority of my meal times over the past month.  I should be feeling wonderful, losing weight, getting in shape for all the spring walking outdoors (she says in faith), and there has been progress made in those areas, BUT I am so sick of bland root vegetables I could scream.

Admittedly I do have a mild sensitivity to most vegetables.  They are not full blown allergies, but vegetables and I have never gotten on well.  Years of allergy tests confirmed I do have a problem with them, lettuce in particular, but a person has to get their vitamins, minerals and fibre from the best available natural sources so I plough doggedly on with these wonderfully healthy, yet completely tasteless meals.  O, yes, they do have flavour to them but no matter what kinds of herbs and spices I use to jazz them up the taste is something less than appealing most of the time. 

Curries are the easiest and most tasty way to use up vegetables and almost enjoy downing them at mealtimes.  We have a good range of Japanese, Indian and Vietnamese curry pastes and herb blends, Korean peppers and kim chee, Mexican hot chili peppers and a good mortar and pestle for making our own blends tucked away in all the food cupboards and fridge.  Making curry is a lot of work though and the last 2 days I have been too busy to mess with it.

So a couple of nights ago I cooked a roast in the oven and tossed in potatoes, carrots, onions, turnips and parsnips.  It was an okay  meal. Good Alberta beef from a friend was absolutely delicious and so flavourful.  But those veggies....yucko!  They cooked beautifully, had great texture and my husband assures me the flavour was bountiful, but even with a cheat of a bit of butter mashed into them I couldn't enjoy them.

It was the same experience with the soup we had for dinner last night.  It is great soup.  It is flavourful soup.  It is filled with healthy veggies like lentils and onions and carrots, among others.  But it has a problem in my opinion.  It tastes like something I would buy at the restaurant in a health food store. My husband raved about the soup, but to me it has that same vague scent of old wood shavings and a taste like dried leaves and sod.  It is a good health food store restaurant kind of soup, not my style at all, but remarkably healthy. 

Since I can't make curries for every meal I have decided to treat these good healthy food experiences as if they are times to take medicine.  The food is the medicine that keeps my body healthy.  As an adult I can force myself to take medicine because I know that although it isn't the most enjoyable experience each day, it is preserving my life in a better condition than if I ate pizza or fast food burgers more than the once a month that I do now.

At the church spaghetti dinner  last weekend one of our parishioners put so much hot sauce onto his spaghetti sauce that his face turned bright red from the heat.  He and I commiserated over the lack of interesting herbs and spices in the average prairie person's diet.  It was so encouraging to see this elderly man, beet red in the face from his spicy dinner, extolling the virtues, for body and soul, of hot peppery meals.

Well, today I will see how best to tart up the rest of that roast beef meal from a couple of nights ago. If I wasn't cooking salt free perhaps the addition of salt would help, but if the rest of the herbs I put in the stew pot didn't do the trick, well........guess I will see what I can come up with by dinner.  More bay leaves never hurt a beef roast meal after all ready being cooked and I have some ground bayleaf that just may save the day. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Taxes Done!!!

My husband finally woke up just before 11am!  I don't remember the last time he slept in so late of a morning.  It certainly refreshed him and gave him the needed eagerness to dispatch his tax forms this afternoon.  

So all that is left is to mail everything away in the morning. YAY!  All done for another year.  Life is good.  

In other news:  Although the temperatures remained far below seasonal, the sun stayed out all day today for the first time since last fall sometime.  It must have been incredibly blinding out there because the garbage men managed to miss our bin as it sat out on the street awaiting pickup today.  Ours was the only one missed.  Hopefully the lid for the can will fit tightly in place until they return a week from now for the next pickup.  Yikes....what a stench that will be!

It was kind of nice to have an entire day to schlepp around in my "pj's".  After a hot shower and hair washing this morning I put on a clean pair of sweat pants and an old floppy shirt.  My husband had a craving for a veggie sub sandwich and since we don't have a lot of variety in fresh veggies in the refrigerator at the moment, he headed to the local SubWay and brought some home.  We made soup for dinner with the potatoes and carrots, onions and lentils that are not really the sandwichy sorts of veggies we craved at lunch time.

Once the neighbour's back alley snow drift melts away the mud in the alley will dry up enough that we will be able to use the garage again.  The mud we tracked in there, huge clods of the stuff that fell off our tires when it began to dry overnight last week, is finally dry enough to shovel back outside.  The whole front street is lined with cars and half ton trucks. None of us can slog through the alleyway mud without covering our vehicles with muck and risking getting stuck.  Ooh, it is a far cry from city life out here........

Tomorrow is laundry day.  It is so lovely to have a laundry area large enough to sort all the clothes into piles and not be tripping over them all day long on wash day.  Maybe the sun will return.....although I have just checked the weather forecast and discovered that tomorrow we are going to get........are you ready for this.........drum roll please.....more.....SNOW!!!! hahaha  Nope, not kidding!  Well, it won't last long..........hopefully.........

If My Dear Husband Would Wake Up This Morning......

....we could get going on those taxes and be done in a couple of hours.  Perhaps he is sleeping in later than he has in a few decades because subconsciously he is dreading spending any more time on them.  I would love to have a shower and wash my hair now and be all ready to dive into the remaining paper work, but when the shower is on the noise it makes in the bedroom is similar to the sound you hear standing at the railing looking over Niagara Falls.  Even Sleeping Buddy on the other side of the wall can't sleep through it.

O well, we will get to the paperwork eventually.

I have been thinking of and praying for a parishioner who is undergoing some heart tests today and looking for some answers for some medical problems that cropped up recently.

I am praying for a parishioner who underwent surgery a couple of weeks ago and ended up with a serious infection that has made him ill ever since, and hoping today's sunshine will spur his body on toward healing.

 I have been thinking of and praying for my parents as they continue to attempt living in their own place when by rights at least one of them should be in a nursing home being properly cared for.  I am thinking of how unrealistic their expectations are about the future.  I am wondering if they need to remain in their mode of denial in order to cope with the upcoming changes that are inevitable.  I am praying for continued wisdom and discernment for their home care helpers and nurses, as they may be able to convince my parents to face reality simply because those care givers are not me, their daughter who bailed on her duties as only daughter, who deserted them to marry and have a life of her own.

I am thinking of the precious souls from our parish who have gone home to heaven since our arrival here and who I miss very much.  In a couple of weeks we will be holding a memorial service for one of them who departed some months ago and I cherish the memory of this dear soul who was so kind to us.  

I am thinking about other parishioners who are aging and experiencing losses in their abilities, losing ground with their health, yet are so accepting and so cheery about the realities they are facing over the coming years. I am thinking I want to be like them in that way as I continue my own march toward old age.

I am thinking about the sun and slightly warmer temperatures we have outside this morning.  I am thinking that even with the mud and dust and dirt everywhere as we inch slowly toward spring weather, it is lovely to see the blue skies.  Winter....summer.....other than being able to walk outside more my life doesn't change much from season to season, but it is nice to know I will get more exercise as soon as the lawn is free of snow and dry enough to mow and weed and mulch again.

I am thinking about the mud eventually drying up sufficiently in the alleyway that we can cease parking our car on the front street and return it to the garage overnight.

I am trying to come up with more interesting things to think about than mowing lawns and battling summer wasps and mosquitoes, but I am failing.  Maybe I will go and have that shower and try to convince my husband I was SURE he was awake before I put the water on....we WILL get to those taxes today at some point!

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Productive Day

Today was a good day.  Even though the temperature outside hovered around the 0 mark all day, at least the sun was out and the wind was not so strong as it has been lately.  I was able to do downtown chores in a light jacket.  That felt so good.

So, we didn't get our income taxes finished today, but we did get many other tasks accomplished.  Lamp switches were repaired, a big banking project was completed, the feeders and watering hole for the birds were tidied up and refilled with food and drink, initial arrangements were made for some medical tests in another province, articles were partially written for publication at a later date, some studying was done in preparation for an upcoming study leave, decent meals were prepared with clean up and dish washing accomplished.  It was a satisfying day.

Tomorrow we will spend the day going over and completing the taxes.  Things are not as straight forward as they used to be with my husband's change of career, but we have all the pertinent info and the forms are quite understandable.  

Mercifully the telephone has not rung once today with any calls not related to our work projects.  It was lovely not to be distracted.  Hopefully that will happen again tomorrow.  I can't get over how respectful our parishioners are about us having Mondays off work.  They never bother us on Mondays unless there is a true emergency.  What a blessing for us and how thoughtful of them. 

So now we are going to relax and watch Beasts of the Southern Wild.  The reviews were pretty good and there were some Oscar nominations for it this past year.  Looking forward to a nice quiet evening together.  By the end of this week we will be on our way to Synod with another delegate and it will be a crazy busy time with a lot of information to digest and several votes on church policy to be taken.  Going to enjoy this precious 2 days alone as much as we can.

Hope everyone who reads this is having as good a day as we are today.  

Sunday, April 21, 2013

No Wonder We Are Losing Our Ability to Communicate

I was reading something in a book today that I was finding rather interesting; that is, until I came across a sentence in the book that used the phrase "embarrassed of".

Embarrassed OF?????  As in "Judy was embarrassed OF Henry".  Judy should have been embarrassed BY Henry!!  It is possible that on a bad grammatical day Judy could be embarrassed AT Henry's behaviour, but really she should be embarrassed BY that as well.

I am finding more news articles, novels and short stories in which the writer has substituted the word "OF" for the word "BY". The authors in question are otherwise well educated and sometimes prolifically published.  Yet their preposition list is being reduced to a single word:  OF!

Several years ago I was assisting some foreign students with their English conversational skills and noticed that the word OF was taking the place of other more appropriate prepositions.  It took months of effort to help them make the change in their use of prepositions.  Now I am discovering more Born in Canada English speakers and writers making the same error.

I am obviously no expert myself in the art of English writing and expression but this latest twist in our language has me confused.  Using OF so consistently in places where it ought not to be in English writing and conversation is reducing my ability to comprehend the meaning of what I am hearing and reading.

North American English has been devolving for some time in my opinion.  The way younger people speak today is very different than the way my generation was taught to speak. (and I don't mean the latest fad teen slang)  The ability to spell and use punctuation is becoming more optional it seems. 

 My questions are: when did this particular change in the use of prepositions begin to occur and where did it originate?

Dreaming of Spring

The wind is howling,
The sky is dark.
The firs and the spruces sway.
There's never been such a day
In west central S-K.

But it is April the 21st.
And my stuffy head is about to burst.

I'm dreaming of the spring sunshine,
With every breath of cold damp air
That I breathe so sadly,
Makes me feel badly
And fills me with dark despair, ooo ooo ooo oooooo

I'm dreaming of the spring sunshine,
With every blogging post I write.
 May the flowers be soon blooming bright,
And may all your spring time showers
Not be filled with snow like ours.
And may all all all your spring time days be
Briiiiiight, briiiiiight, briiiiiiiiiiiiiight!

(with apologies to Irving Berlin, Bing Crosby and every musical arranger of "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" on the face of the earth)

Chilly Sunshine

The sun is shining today.  Finally.  But it isn't warming the air.  We are aiming for the grand high temperature today of +1C, big whoop!  

The wind is strong. Standing in it for more than a few seconds chills to the bone. The smell of snow is still being carried by the wind.  That means somewhere else in the prairies there is still snow coming down.  Until that lingering odor of snow leaves the wind we know we are not safe from another storm before the real spring arrives. 

But, joy of joys:  for the first time since last November we drove to the other town for early morning service on ice-free and snow-free roads.  Ice and snow have been replaced by terrifyingly deep pot holes and gouges in the pavement.  We have never seen pot holes like that on our local highway prior to this winter.  We hope and pray the county has sufficient funds to put more hard top over them and not just pack them with asphalt that will be ripped up within weeks by the tires on the semi rigs.

We need now the daytime high temperatures of +15 to melt off the remaining snow and ice on streets and in fields.  Supposedly we are to get that in about a week's time.  How much flooding will occur as a result?  When will the farmers be able to start seeding and planting a crop?  If they can't get out there in the next couple of weeks some of them will end up not seeding this year.  Snow, ice, flooding and mega doses of mud to contend with.  I would last 2 years as a farmer before I had a complete breakdown from the stress.

Next weekend is Synod.  We are delegates and we need to be there to participate in the discussion of the business items and cast our votes on changes in policy.  

Again with the weekend........I am tempted to start taking bets that the final huge snow storm of the season will take place next weekend while we are travelling.  Every weekend for months storms have arrived in our part of the province.  Even this weekend we had slush and snow and rain for 2 days.

So, what do you want to bet that the last big snowy, traffic stopping blowout happens next weekend while we are travelling??

Not that I'm paranoid or anything...........

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Successful Fundraiser

Yesterday's long day of setting up the church hall and making the 3 types of spaghetti sauces paid off this evening.  As our guests entered the hall for our All You Can Eat Spaghetti Dinner they were greeted with the cheery sight of red and white checked table cloths on each table, along with candles, red napkins and a small potted ivy in  a red foil pot.  Flowers decorated all the windows, curtains hung on several of the walls to create a warmer ambiance in the hall.  It was quite lovely and worth every bit of effort put into it.

Our dinner guests had a choice of 3 different sauces, a traditional oven baked sauce, a spicy meat sauce and a garlic free vegetarian.  Caesar salad and fresh home made buns completed the main course and the dessert was a light angel food cake topped with spoonfuls of berries and a dollop of whipped cream.  Tea, coffee, juice, beer and 3 types of wine were available.  

Instead of having 2 sittings as we have had in former years we only had one sitting, jamming everyone in cheek by jowl, but it went over very well.  Babies cried, toddlers ran about the place giggling, moms and dads had happy surrogate baby sitters all over the hall, seniors relaxed and visited together with their friends and family members.  Every table had a tag hidden under someone's napkin and the lucky tag holder was able to take home the ivy plant on their table.  Bonus!

One of our enterprising parishioners who had suffered along with the rest of our exhausted small kitchen group at last year's dinner, as we struggled to meet all the demands of the event, telephoned all manner of folk earlier in the week to come and help  us.  He called  many former parishioners who had left the church for various reasons, parishioners who are still on the parish roll, but for one reason or another don't come any more.  He had people that my husband and I have not seen ever, at all, in the 3 years we have been here, serving up meals and doing dishes.  It was wonderful to meet all these fine people and get to put faces to names we have heard and seen before, but never before met their "owners".

Everyone was laughing and getting into the spirit of the evening. There was a good spirit about the place tonight...a great spirit of cooperation and fun, in some cases of forgiveness after some pretty serious past hurts and wounds.  God was at work tonight in a wonderful way that we don't always experience in such large groups.  It was a wonderful mix of new friends and old, extended families, holidaying visitors we have seen at other times on their way through town and complete strangers.  

We had so much help this year that the clean up was over and everyone was gone from the kitchen a good hour and a half earlier than last year.  We are so very grateful for their willingness to come and help, to participate once again in the fun and fellowship of a small town church social event.  

Our dinner fundraisers are always good, but tonight there was something special in the air, some extra feeling of joy and peace and fun.

Thank you God.  Thank you vestry and ACW group. Thank you parishioners. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Oh, and by the way, husband you looked amazing tonight in your black clergy  shirt with the chef hat and apron as you dished up the sauces.  Kind of a bonus for me to be with the best looking guy in the room!

And Now It is..........


(and snowing.....)

And raining.

Forgive me Rock Paper Scissors, but:
Rain washes snow.

Snow slushes rain.

And slush trumps rain AND snow.

But the sun is coming out.  The day is brightening.  Tomorrow's forecast for snow has changed to merely overcast skies.

There may be a bit of a heat wave next week.
In which case heat will melt snow and snowmelt will flood roads.     


Friday, April 19, 2013

Hey Guess What??

It is 10pm on Friday April 19.

Guess what is going on outside right now.




Big surprise, eh?  


Our Personal Restaurant

I am ready to swoon with delight about now due to the combination of cooking odours floating around the place.  

The day was spent in the church kitchen with some of our parishioners, setting up the hall and preparing several types of Italian style spaghetti sauce for our big spaghetti dinner fundraiser tomorrow evening.

Once the sauce was prepared and set to cool I came home and made a pot full of Japanese curry for our dinner tonight.

Walking back into the church hall to refrigerate the spaghetti sauce for the night, the amazing smell of fresh basil, oregano and garlic was deliriously overwhelming.  Coming back into my own kitchen my senses were deluged with the indescribably delicious pervasiveness of Japanese herb and fruit curry paste.  

In the breezeway connecting the church hall with our house, the two ethnic cultural foods collide in a burst of nose tickling, tummy tingling aromas.  

Aaaaaah....it is going to be a marvellous weekend of feasting.  Priest's perk:  if there is any spaghetti sauce left after tomorrow evening's event, he will likely get to bring a carton of it home for our enjoyment the next day.


Dang and Blast, I Blew It Yesterday!

I was tired yesterday.  I should have spent the day doing a tremendous amount of household chores.  I didn't.

Instead I broke my own rule about how much time I can spend on the phone on any given day and talked my face off for hours....and hours.....and hours.........sigh.....I was a bad girl......chat chat chat talk talk talk......

2 of the calls had been prearranged so I expected to be on the phone with those 2 friends for a longer period of time than I have been allowing myself to talk to any one person on the phone in the course of any one call. Unfortunately, because I also got carried away chattering like a crazy person to all the other callers of the day, by the time I was less than an hour into my second prearranged call my phone died........and it was only 8:30pm!  Now that was embarrassing to say the least.

Hopefully I have now shamed myself into better discipline and obedience to my own rules for telephone use.

I had most of the day yesterday to do house work because my husband was out of town for the day.  His day away each week is when I do the bulk of the cleaning because I can do it uninterrupted.  But not yesterday.  I really was exhausted and likely wouldn't have accomplished a whole lot around here, but that is still no excuse for how long I was on the phone.  My ear is actually sore today.  Serves me right.

Okay, I am going to put myself back into the programme I established for myself and NOT do again what I did yesterday.

My name is Susan and I am a telephoneaholic.  I have been chat free for 24 hours.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

My Sentiments Exactly!!

 A good friend forwarded the link below.  It is a winsome ditty written by another prairie-ite who is fed up to the back teeth with our apparently never ending winter.  I suppose on some level it is supposed to be humorous, and it is, but to those of us in the same position as the composer and performer of the song it is a struggle to laugh because it is too true. ho ho ho  snow snow snow....and yes, it actually is snowing again today and will continue to do so for 3 more days. Once again our ability to travel on Sunday morning to our other church congregation is in jeopardy. 

But I digress.......watch the video below, sing along and enjoy........  


PS  We actually have more snow than the composer has at her house........we win....no, wait, that would be....we lose......sigh...... gimme one o' them thar lime beers.....I'm not really much of a drinker but hey, with a spring like this I'll take whatever solace I can find.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

My Favourite Kind of Ministry Day

Today has been a wonderful day of visiting with our home bound parish seniors who live in several towns in the area.  Seniors are some of my favourite folk.  There is something about the way their eyes light up and their faces take on gigantic sun beam grins when they realize they have visitors......something that cheers me down to the tips of my toes.

Today we have hollered ourselves hoarse into  little microphones attached to head phone style hearing aids, sat on big old puffy couches holding hands with our senior friends, consumed myriad cups of coffee, stuffed ourselves with ginger snaps and  muffins to the point where there will be no need of dinner tonight, shared current news and old memories, listened, laughed, cried, prayed, and shared in the Eucharist together.  For some of them my husband's home communion services are the only time they are able to have any sort of spiritual leadership and fellowship and connection with their former church.  

Visiting seniors is always a blessing to me and I pray they have each received even half the blessing that I have received from our time together.

When I took on my first elder care position 25 years ago, took it in great fear and trepidation because I knew nothing about seniors, I had no idea how much love I was going to have for them and for how many decades that love would continue to grow.  Seniors are AMAZING!

Now I am home and my husband is doing a hospital visit.  How lovely to have been able to take an entire day to visit with parishioners.  These are the ministry days I live for.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

An Excellent Article on Gnosticism in the Christian Church

If you have access to Journals for Preachers (possibly through the ATLA database, ATLA Serials), may I suggest you read "Preaching Easter at Old First Gnostic" by Thomas G. Long, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.  His article is in the Easter 2012 edition.

I don't have permission to reprint any of the article here, but it is a worthy read.  He cites writers such as Harold Bloom, John Shelby Spong, Joel Osteen, Elaine Pagels, Robin R. Meyers, Rudolph Bultmann and Marcus Borg, among others, and explains clearly the effect their ideas have had on modern Christianity.  He compares their teachings of Jesus as teacher and ethicist who assists us as we seek spiritual enlightenment using our own human resources with the older Christian teachings of Jesus as teacher and saviour from sin and explains why the difference matters.

What I enjoy is that while he points out in some detail why gnostic belief is a detriment to historic Christianity, he does not revile nor vilify gnostics, but deals with their ideas calmly and with an eye to restoration of the biblical truths they are not currently interested in proclaiming.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Praying for the People Of and In Boston

Today I am sick at heart for the people attending the Boston Marathon and for the population and businesses effected by today's multiple bombings near the race finish line in that city.  A happy event celebrating fitness and community has turned into a tragedy for hundreds of people.  Over 1000 of my fellow Canadians were in attendance for the Marathon today.

I pray for those who witnessed the events of this sad day and even more for those injured and for the families of those who have died. As I write this there has been a third death announced, from injuries sustained in the blasts and there are others in hospital who may not live much longer.  Many people have been seriously injured, limbs have been lost; physicians are removing ball bearings from peoples' bodies, the presence of which indicates that the bomber(s) had the intention to inflict the most devastating injuries possible upon innocent folk.

I pray for all Americans as they likely begin the sad return to tighter, more restrictive security measures at community events, at airports and transportation stations.

And I pray for those who committed this heinous act.  Fortunately, after the initial two blasts, at least two other bombs were discovered by security forces and dismantled, saving possibly many hundreds more people from disaster.  The blasts and the way the bombs were created indicate that much thought and effort was put into creating this horrendous scenario.  The minds that thought up this plan and brought it to fruition are intelligent and well educated in the art of making and detonating bombs.  Possibly brilliant minds have been misdirected into twisting the out working of that brilliance into actions that are destroying rather than saving, terrifying instead of calming.  These people need our prayers just as much as those who have been injured and otherwise seriously effected by today's events.

The popular old cliche of the 1970's "make love not war" is taking on new meaning in the past decade right here in the Americas.  It is no longer simply a jazzy little adage expressing a naive sentiment by those of us who knew that the war in Vietnam was a bad thing for us to be involved in, but who could not really foresee true acts of terrorism happening in our own countries.  It was directed at our own military and state police sometimes, but I don't remember there being a great consciousness that we would, in our lifetimes, be applying that thought to other true acts of terrorism on home soil....acts that would sometimes originate from foreign lands. 

We may not know for some time, if ever, if today's act of terrorism in Boston originated locally, domestically or internationally.  But an act of terrorism it most certainly is.  Whoever caused this event today has managed to wreak havoc with our thoughts and our fears.  In acts of terrorism the terrorists always win through the power of fear that plays on our minds afterward.  Every act of terrorism causes us to change our national lifestyles, laws, future plans.

The only thing I know how to do at this time, living so far away from Boston as to be useless in helping the injured, is to pray for God's intervention and help for everyone involved:  those who are innocent and those who are guilty.  All need to see the power of God to transform their lives in different ways, ways that bring healing and help and deliverance from all evil.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Prerequisite for Rural Canadian Pastors

Several different pastor friends have posted photos online this morning of their snowy weekend driving disasters.  Most of the photos were taken from either inside their vehicles and shot through the front windshield, or taken as they stood beside their vehicles, windshields included in the photos. 

Along with the snow and ice that all have in common on our prairie roads this weekend, I noted one other common feature:  each and every vehicle had a large, flying gravel induced, crack across or in the middle of the windshields; cracks that match the ones we had on our old windshield before we replaced it a couple of weeks ago. (and which will no doubt lose its lustre and uncracked condition before too long) 

Flying gravel and small rocks bouncing off the the tires of passing half tons, speeding cars, grain trucks and snow ploughs are a fact of life in rural ministry....of rural anything actually.  

Had a good chuckle looking at all those cracked windshields this morning.  Even a small detail like that in common with other ministers makes a person feel less alone while sitting out here in the snow.

So, Here We Sit in Another Pile of Fresh Snow (insert hysterical laughter here)

As I sit here looking out at the one foot drift of snow that has blown across ALL of our sidewalks this morning, I am grateful to the members of our other church for setting up their own service for today.  The highways are still closed so my husband is stuck at home again this morning.  Missing so many services in the past couple of months because of snow drifts and ice cover is making him feel like The Phantom Priest! Even if the highways weren't closed we would have a difficult time digging the car out of the garage and digging a track down the alley so we could get to the street.

Guess that is the end of our movie and discussion event that was to take place there this afternoon.  Fortunately such things are easy to reschedule.  The way things go around here at this time of year, who knows?  If the sun were to come out in the next hour and warm things up the roads could be completely free of ice and snow come movie event time.  Today, I doubt it will happen, but I have seen stranger things than that around here.

I feel so sorry though for our other church because one of their main fund raisers was last evening.  There is Shepherd's Pie and a live band and it is a ton of fun.  However, the band was unable to travel and didn't arrive.  There were a few people who came from around town for the food and visiting, but as a fund raiser it was "a bust".  I am hoping that the band will have an evening free sometime before the end of this year so we can try it again.  Not having success last night is going to put a huge dint in the church finances for the rest of the year.

We are proud of the 10 hearty souls who braved last night's storm to come to the church service here in town, most of them seniors driving about in the miserable ice and snow, one of them walking through the drifts and sliding on the ice because it was easier than bringing his car through the storm!  How wonderful to see them all.

So it is going to be a lazy Sunday at home most likely.  Aaaahhhh.....  Hopefully my husband can make the most of his unexpected time off this morning and sleep in a bit.  The lovely thing about prairie people is that they completely understand why their priest cannot make it to church today.  They roll with the punches and deal with the disappointments this weather brings.  They are practical and able to understand when things are changed due to weather.  It happens.

Well, best go and get some food out of the freezer. Today there will be no lunch out after church and so I want to create something extra yummy here at home.  

I think I will let my husband do the shovelling this time as his balance on the icy sidewalks underneath the snow is far superior to mine....there, does that sound like a good reason for me not doing it? Do I sound authentic???  Is that a believable line of reasoning to use on him?? heeheehee