Friday, June 28, 2013

So What Do I Do When I Am Waiting To Leave On a Road Trip??

Yup, I blog inane posts!!

Wake up my husband, wake up!!!  LET'S GO!!!  Get a move on! Shake shimmy and roll!! Move 'em out!  Let's head 'er! Hit the road Jack!!


Okay, patience is not my strongest virtue.........


Once a Week Treat

I have been scouting about for a treat I can have once a week that is not cake nor cookies nor chocolate and have found the perfect one for me.

My treat is a small bowl of Astro Original flavoured yogurt, either lime or caramel.  Ooooh, yummy!! Astro has the smoothest flavours of any of the flavoured yogurts I have tried.

Well, of course it does:  a half cup contains 11% of my daily fat intake and 24% of those fats are saturated fats.  The discovery of Astro flavours is making my regular daily brands of 0% flavoured yogurts look and taste pretty lame.

However, I shall be disciplined and maintain my once a week treat, not caving in to temptation to have it more often than that.

My big treat though for this week, instead of indulging in the Astro, will be the Booster Juice banana smoothie I am going to have for breakfast tomorrow morning...AND, because it is a long weekend holiday time, there WILL be a Taco Time burrito and Mexi-fries for lunch!  At least my more plebeian tastes are least.......what is there about the absence of a particular fast foot restaurant in the town where you live that makes the food there so appealing, when, if you had an outlet in your own town you would never deign to eat there??

Change of Habit

I have heard many times that once a habit in life is established it takes 3 weeks for a person to mentally process the change and leave the old habitual behaviour behind.  

I never thought much about that possibility until recently when I changed my computer passwords.  It has taken, including today, exactly 21 days for me to put in the new passwords automatically, without having to stop and think first and without dazedly and mindlessly typing in the old ones when I first stumble into my office in the mornings.

It is incredibly embarrassing for some reason to accidentally type in old passwords and have your computer remind you with an onscreen message that you have changed your passwords X number of days ago....didn't you??????  The computer makes you feel that it is far more intelligent than you are, stupid password changer who can't even remember that you did!!

So now I am officially a stereotype.  It didn't only take me approximately 3 weeks to get in a new habit with my computer, it took me exactly 3 weeks.

Next time I have to change some long established habit, particularly as relates to my computer, I am going to pay better attention and try to leave the stereotypical behaviour behind!  It is my personal goal to give my computer fewer reasons to mock me with messages on my own monitor!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Little Too Excited About a Working Weekend Out of Town

I think I am somewhat over excited to be going away this weekend....mostly to either watch my husband work, to have to scramble to amuse myself for several hours a day while he works with others, to watch others work....  I am actually wondering why I even agreed to accompany him on this weekend of work.

However, the excitement of a brief road trip has grabbed me.  I know that because, right now at 9:30pm,  my suitcase is packed with everything I will need except my toothbrush and deodorant, and is sitting at the back door waiting to be put into the car in the morning. It has been there since 5pm!!!

It doesn't take a lot to make me happy I guess......a car, my suitcase, my husband......nearly any destination and any reason to hit the road will do.

One Adorable Dog Video

 This is the cutest puppy video in a long time!  I love it.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A New Summer Allergy, O Joy O Bliss!!

This spring I have noticed an ever increasing itch all over my body after mowing the lawn.  It starts on the back of my neck and works its way down my torso, but a good long shower immediately after mowing takes care of it.  I have been assuming that it is some kind of mild grass allergy and until today, when I discovered the real culprit, thought my "rest of the day" exhaustion after grass cutting to be a result of old age and general lack of fitness.

Today though I finally discovered the real problem and the source of the itch and the ensuing tiredness.

Today the itch started on the back of my neck within seconds of brushing my head and neck under the large oak tree in the middle of our front lawn.  It isn't possible to mow on that side of the lawn without coming into contact with that huge tree.  I had to spend a fair amount of time in contact with the leaves and branches in the course of my work and my back and stomach were so itchy I thought I was going to have to abandon the project 1/3 of the way through.

I persevered though and finished the lawn just before the arrival of a short rain.  The itch was driving me crazier than it ever had before and when I peeled off my work clothes to have a shower I could see why.  The mild rash I have experienced previously this spring had progressed to large patches of small water blisters.  Yikes!! Shades of childhood when blisters of all sized indicated various skin allergies to things I haven't reacted to since becoming and adult.  My husband confirmed it was as bad as it appeared to be.  Even the tops of my feet were blistered and they had no contact with the tree at all.

This explains the utter exhaustion I have experienced from the very first pass of the lawnmower under that tree.  It is a growing allergy as each year I have had a bit more itch than the year before.  Now that it has progressed to the blister stage I have to take serious precautions for future mowing.  Usually that part of the grass is among the first to be mowed.  Now that section will wait until the end.  When I get to that point in the mowing process now I will don my waterproof climbing jacket from MEC and zip the hood up over my head to keep my neck completely covered.

When I reach the blister stage of these sorts of allergies it is time to be very careful.  No wonder I have been so tired after one of these reactions hits me.  The histamines are going crazy, the immune system is running full steam ahead, so my body is in rebellion against the allergy symptoms.

So much explained now about why I can barely cope with the aftermath of lawn mowing.  It is all making sense:  'tis not old age....'tis histamines!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Philosophical Question

Is something infinitely small the same as nothing?

God Sees The Little Sparrow Fall Etc.......

When I was a little girl in Sunday School we often sang "God Sees The Little Sparrow Fall".  The song went like this: (can't find the name of the original composer or lyricist and the lyrics can vary)

God sees the little sparrow fall, it meets his tender view.
If God so loves the little birds I know he loves me too.

He paints the lilies of the field, perfumes each lily bell.
If God so loves the little flowers I know he loves me well.

God sees the little birds and flowers and all things large and small.
He'll not forget his little ones, I know he loves us all. 

There was never any discussion about the meaning of the song to us as children.  Probably the Sunday school teachers and choir leaders thought the meaning of the song, proclaiming God's love for his creation, was rather obvious.

However at the age of 5, the thought of death terrified me into a sleep disorder that has plagued me all my life. Every time we sang the song my mind would stick onto the first verse.  The idea that the little sparrow fell and likely never got up again and that this was a picture of God's love not only for the birds but for us, sent me into an emotional tail spin.  How could God let the little sparrow fall if he loved it so much!  And what was going to happen to the rest of us if even the birds weren't safe????  As a 5 year old I didn't have the emotional, intellectual or academic capacity to dwell rationally on thoughts of death and how God's love is manifest even then.

No, I didn't ask questions about it.  When I was 5 years old I had all ready learned that my place in the world was one of attempting to remain invisible and not bother anyone with my childish thoughts. (Just to clarify, my Sunday school teachers were NOT the ones responsible for it and would gladly have done their best to answer any questions I would have dared to ask at the time.)  I desperately wanted to ask but was too shy and tongue tied and terrified that the rest of the class would overhear me; so much so that nothing would come out of my mouth in SS class.

I think it could have been a great help to me if someone had explained to me that death is part of the process in living an earthly life, that God has a purpose for death in this realm and there is a reason it came about through the disobedience of the original humans, that their disobedience effected the rest of the planet and the lives of the humans yet to come; that rather than a reflection of a vengeful, petulant God who doesn't like to be disagreed with, it is a consequence of sin that prevents us from living forever on the earth in our present imperfect state; that God sent Jesus to show us the way to our Heavenly Father where after death he will change us into what we are meant to be, no longer hampered by the cares of our present life.

When I was 5 years old I was interested in how things worked in the earthly and spiritual realms.  There are some great ways to explain the basics to a 5 year old so that songs like this one don't scare them half to death in the opening verse.  I am not the only child who didn't have explanations of our SS songs and the implied deeper meanings behind some of them.  It did make me very careful to be there for my own child to talk about the meaning behind various songs and stories in the Bible, to provide an environment where any and all questions could be safely asked and hopefully responded to in an age appropriate way. I didn't always succeed, but I tried.

As an adult the implied meaning behind that first 2 lines of the song is profound.  There has to be death.  Experiencing the death of our earthly existence is the gateway to a better life. Jesus came to show us that.  Allowing the death of decaying bodies and sinful selves so we are not trapped in them forever is a sign, ultimately, of God's love and deliverance.

So what horrible sin has a sparrow committed to cause it to have to die?  Probably none, but again, to be delivered from the need to watch for predators and risk starvation in harsh winters is a sign of its creator's love.

Think about it..........

Wine From the Vine When You Need To Get Your Poop In A Group

I was reading the biblical Book of Proverbs the other day and got thinking about Proverbs 31:6: Let beer be for those who are perishing, wine for those who are in anguish! Let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more. NIV

It started me thinking (warning: rambling thoughts ahead) that if the instruction is to give someone who is suffering (see also 1 Timothy 5:23) beer or wine or some other kind of strong drink, it implies that the consumption of such is to be initiated by those who see someone else's need for coping assistance and not by the person struggling to cope.

To me it implies that the struggling person consuming the strong drink is part of a caring community who are taking care of the struggling person, offering solace during an extremely difficult time, not leaving her or him alone to try to drink away the misery, but keeping a close eye on that person to be sure there is no falling into the excess mentioned in, for example, Ephesians 5: 18: Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit.....KJV

How terribly sad to feel so alone in times of grief or fear that a person would find herself trying to drink away the unhappiness with no one there to care enough to help control the intake of alcohol and deal with the problems in a more constructive way.

Every city and town we have ever lived in has had a plethora of people who are emotionally and socially alone.  They have consumed alcohol in such large, or at least regular daily amounts they are addicted to it and have either not had a community to help them prevent the addiction or have turned their backs on the community that offered assistance.

I have been blessed in my life to have many caring friends and family, some in the church and some not, who have been able to sit down with me in my most unhappy times and minister life to me.  Occasionally a glass of wine has accompanied our times together, enough to relax the tension, enough to honestly share the problems but insufficient to lead to a drunken disaster.

The Bible is quite explicit about the use of wine and other strong drink.  It recognizes its proper use and warns often of the dangers of excess.  To me the key to any consumption, when under the stresses of life, is the involvement of a loving and trustworthy community, one where trust is well established so that an admonition about not abusing alcohol is understood, appreciated and obeyed, where there is sufficient mutual love that support can be gained without the need for over indulgence in drink, while being able to enjoy its better properties.

I bless the Lord particularly for dear friends who are wine importers and are part of that community for me.  This past weekend when they visited, they knew in a very short time that I was not myself and needed some comforting.  A glass of wine and a good visit where honesty in conversation was allowed and encouraged was helpful.  We relaxed and prayed together and I felt cared for and able to take a better look at what is bothering me and start taking more concrete steps to deal with it.

So, some rambling thoughts.  (PLEASE NOTE: I am not encouraging anyone to drink alcohol.  Such things are private decisions between people and God and their own consciences.)

Lots of thoughts to be gleaned from a simple sounding Bible verse that actually has a lot of depth.

PS I grew up in a household of mature adults who occasionally served wine with dinner, have watched the destructive toll alcohol had on some other family members and friends, all ready been through the years of anti-alcohol church life and community and come back around to my parents' way of thinking.  I have participated in every side of the pro and con alcohol consumption debate, so no need to post either pro- or anti-alcohol sermon links for me in the comments section of the blog. Thank you.

Why Do People Need To Be Told The Obvious??

It never ceases to amaze me how people can be so incredibly stupid about their own safety.  The link below is to a clip of Calgary's Mayor Nenshi telling people to stay away from and keep their canoes etc. off the swollen, fast moving river that, while down from the days of the flooding, is still dangerous.   People trying to navigate a flooding river that has all ready claimed several lives: where is your common sense???

Monday, June 24, 2013

Another Day Off Bites the Dust

Today was once again not a day off for my husband.  The work phone calls and "need to be answered immediately" emails started up by 8am and didn't quit all day.  A Diocesan interview had been scheduled some time ago for my husband and some of the parishioners for this afternoon, but the other calls, planning meetings and work related events were not.  No worries, this is a typical day off.

The GREAT part is that my husband finally seems to be getting over the virus that struck him 6 weeks ago.  Despite a very tiring weekend and lack of sleep for 3 nights running, he bounced out of bed with the first work related call this morning and continued to bounce cheerfully through the rest of his day. Even his memory was in working order the entire day!!

Missed days off can always be taken at a later time and my husband has learned over the decades that he must indeed take them at some point for the sake of his health, but he felt so grand today for getting so much accomplished and feeling so well while doing it all. He is all set up to tackle his next administration day in the office.

He inspired me to do some work myself today.  Lots of laundry and other housework are all completed a day ahead of schedule, leaving me time for resting tomorrow if the forecast rain comes and I can't mow the lawn.  When it is time to pack up for the upcoming working weekend out of town, I may actually be ready to pack up because I won't be behind on my pre-travel chores.  

The week is all ready starting out well.  The weekend meetings, meals, accommodation and other visiting are set up and while it is mostly work related, it will still be a very fun long weekend AND we have been able to arrange to stay away an extra day so my dear husband will HAVE to have one of his days off next week!  YAY!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

I Won't Ever Stay Up Half The Night Again When We Have An Early Morning Church Service......

....I won't I won't I won't I won't I won't I won't!!!!  

After sitting up until after 1am visiting this morning and having to wake up and get moving before 7am so we could get to our first church service, I am absolutely wilted fourteen hours later.

Do you ever feel like you are so tired you can barely push one foot ahead of the other all day; have the feeling that your  head has swollen to twice the size and weight, making it far too heavy for your neck to cheerfully support; feel your sinuses pounding, neck muscles aching, eyes burning and vision fuzzy, brain disengaged no matter how strenuously you try to follow conversations?  That has been my day today.

Despite the stress of attempting to keep going for the entire day, including a 4 hour pastoral visit in a town way to the west of us that encompassed the late afternoon and evening hours, it has been a really good day: successful pastoral visits of several kinds, a chance to share in worship with our visiting friends, fun visits during church coffee hour, fabulous meals provided by others with not so much as a dish that I was responsible to wash....caramel has been a day of pure joy.  

Perhaps we will be permitted to sleep in a bit tomorrow.  Perhaps the diocesan "fundraiser  financial company marketer interviewer" that is coming to the church tomorrow to do interviews about whether or not our diocese is in a position to begin a capital campaign will NOT call at 8am to gain access to the church for her interviews with our parishioners and my husband.  Perhaps he will get a partial day off on his day off this week,

I am going to put some serious time into bleaching and ironing the church towels and tablecloths we used for the wine tasting event.  It is the sort of mindless task I enjoy doing when I am this tired.  It makes me feel like I have accomplished something but without having to put more than minimal thought and effort into the project.

So, I won't ever stay up half the night again when we have an early morning church service....
I won't I won't I won't I won't I won't I won't.........
Well...........until the next time...........

So They Finally Got UP!!

Yesterday I had a long wait for our company to awaken so we could spend the day visiting and preparing for the wine tasting evening they were presenting in our community.  It was worth it.  All of us are so tired and the day got off to a slow start, but we made up for that as the day went along.  

The culmination of the great day was the wine tasting/food pairing event in the evening.  A friendly, cozy group of wine aficionados gathered together and we had the time of our lives. The particular wines presented (some Luzons, the best Eikendal red and so on and so on...) were fabulous and the pairings with chicken or goat cheese or mixed greens or bacon wrapped prunes or fresh figs and asparagus sprayed with lavender vinegar, made for lots of good conversation throughout the evening.

We headed to bed just after 1am and of course, upon waking at 7am to get to church in our other town, felt completely exhausted and in that state we are scurrying around to get ready to go.  I am jamming my breakfast d0wn while typing this post.

It has been a wonderful weekend.......and no, Auntie P, we are not hung over, just tired.  At a tasting of 5 wines you don't consume more than 1 to 1.5 glasses in total, so stop worrying okay?  All is well in Church Land.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Chief Rabbi, You Are RIGHT ON!!

Here is the link to a great blog post on a fascinating blog.  This post deals with the new atheism and barbarism.  So well written, Chief Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks!

A House Filled With Sleepers-In

Yawn..........we sat up until 1am visiting good friends who are here with us for the weekend.  Is there anything more fun that reconnecting with good friends you haven't seen for awhile?  What a great weekend we are having.....or WILL be having if the rest of my household ever wakes up!!

Come on youse guys!!  I have been up for 2 hours all ready waiting to visit and laugh and be silly and solve the world's problems and watch the AB flood coverage on tv and eat gourmet cheeses and crackers for breakfast and take a walk together and prepare for tonight's wine tasting evening and and and and and and.........the phone hasn't even rung yet this morning to wake everyone up before they are ready! (thankfully)

Come on everybody.........WAKE UP ALL READY will ya'???!!!

Friday, June 21, 2013

OUR Families Are Safe But..........

.....I just feel ill for all the other families who have lost everything they own in the Alberta flooding.  Sigh........I can't even imagine the devastation of such loss.  Flood insurance on private property is not available here so many people, other than possibly collecting some flood insurance on their vehicles if they signed up for it, truly have lost everything. As poor as my husband and I have been during our lives on several occasions, we have never lost absolutely everything the way some of these dear people now have.  Admittedly we have only rarely had anything worth losing and so anything we have lost has never been the heart wrenching upset these people are experiencing.

So, in go the donations to the Alberta Red Cross and whatever other charitable associations will be organizing to help the tens of thousands of flood survivors to regain their footing in life.  Canadians can be a generous bunch when disasters happen and I pray that will be the case once again.

At this point 3 bodies have been found in the river south of Calgary and another person is missing and presumed drowned.  Grateful as I am there have not been any more deaths to date, I feel so sad for those who died and for their families and friends.  Certainly the quick action on the part of those who evacuated and rescued people in the flooded areas, as well as those who obeyed evacuation orders and have stayed away from the water's edge, are responsible for there being so few deaths.

The rivers should peak tomorrow sometime, then start to recede and then the clean up begins.  Calgary is determined the Stampede is going to go ahead 2 weeks from now despite the entire grounds presently being under water. The Saddledome is filled with water to the 14th tier of seating at last report.  Major roadways are completely under water.  High River, south of Calgary, has evacuated almost all of the 13,000 residents, the hospital; Sundre long term care patients have been sent to Innisfail and Olds, Canmore subdivisions along the Cougar Creek are destroyed; the flooding is now hitting Banff to the west and heading toward Lethbridge and Medicine Hat to the south east of  Calgary.

Guess we can all be grateful that the Bow and Elbow Rivers along with their feeder tributaries are somewhat smaller than rivers like the mighty Mississippi or the devastation would be even more wide spread.  My stomach binds up badly enough as it is when I see the pictures of huge tree limbs, children's toys, garbage cans and parts of buildings floating through the downtown streets.

Like most native Albertans who grew up in Calgary and never ever saw flooding worth reporting there, I think I am kind of in shock and disbelief at what is happening to my native city.  My husband sees the death of his plans to go hiking and climbing in Kananaskis country on his next few days off.  It isn't even physically possible to access the area at this point.


Kudos Calgary On Your Evacuation Procedures

This morning I read with great disgust some of the whining and crabbing comments of a few of the thousands of Calgarians told to evacuate their homes due to flooding and possible flooding in their areas of the city.

They are intensely dissatisfied because they felt bullied into leaving their homes before being forced out by high water levels, inconvenienced unnecessarily by the City of Calgary evacuation forces, put upon, coerced into abandoning their earthly possessions, even before evidence of flooding hit their streets. They feel betrayed by evacuation overkill.

Even though I appreciate how they feel about being so badly inconvenienced, reading these comments infuriates me.  Yes, it is very likely some folk were evacuated who, when all is said and done, didn't need to be.  It is possible the City of Calgary went into overdrive to protect its citizens from danger and even "merely" possible danger.  It is possible some people have been unnecessarily inconvenienced for the sake of taking every precaution to save lives.

And this is so very wrong??  Are you kidding me???  Have they no idea whatsoever how quickly water can rise and become threatening?  Do they really want to play fast and loose with their own lives?  Do they enjoy bellyaching so much that they prefer to risk their lives and then have yet another reason to complain about their city rescue teams as they find themselves packing up a small box of belongings in less than an hour's time and fleeing through knee deep water because they were not evacuated sooner?

The whole thing smacks of the wide spread mentality out here in the west that says, "Nobody's going to tell ME what to do!"  It is an unattractive mentality at the best of times and it is particularly ridiculous when people refuse to evacuate for their own safety, just because they were told by someone else to do it. Yes, they have the right to refuse to go, no one has twisted their arms behind their backs and physically forced them out.  One comment that angered me the most: "I will go when I am damned good and ready to go!"  Well, sir, you have the right to that decision, but if you find yourself in serious danger as a result don't turn around then and again blame the evacuation teams who tried to tell you in advance to get yourself out of a possibly dangerous situation.

Yes it is inconvenient and very worrisome to abandon home and possessions that could then be vandalized, miss out on work and school, flee for your lives and then discover it wasn't actually necessary. However is it not wiser to take the precaution?  How can you be so very ungrateful to the City for attempting to ensure your safety?  

Kudos to Calgary for its preparation and evacuation plan!!  This is more than a rehearsal. This is the real thing and the proof that you have a plan, a plan that has and will save lives in the face of natural disasters. Your "better safe than sorry" attitude and planning is a great example to other cities who may be faced with flooding in the future.  Bringing in extra police from other cities to protect the homes and possessions of the evacuated neighbourhoods is great! Making good use of your personnel resources to evacuate each specific neighbourhood completely on the first walk through rather than taking out a street or two and then having to race back over and over to evacuate more people as the waters rise is a very smart, more cost effective, way to go.

Thank you City of Calgary for protecting friends near and dear to me through your careful planning and excellent execution of the evacuation. 

So Much Flooding

A good friend just contacted me to say that her husband and his boss, who work in their local hospital, are being helicopter'd into Canmore Alberta to assist with the problems created by severe flooding of the hospital there.  They will be up all night working and all tomorrow and for however long.

As the story of the flooding continues to unfold it is difficult to get any sleep tonight.  By 11pm even downtown Calgary was being evacuated and the water was creeping down some of the main streets.

My sister-in-law and her husband live just above a large Calgary golf course and residential area. Everyone on the level of the course has been evacuated.  The rels live a good 50 feet above the evacuation point, so as long as the dam holds on the reservoir near them they will be okay. Hopefully my parents are far enough removed from danger in their area of the city that they will be able to stay put and not have the stress and fear associated with seniors having to be evacuated with no family anywhere near to come and be with them.

In another town south of Calgary the pictures are coming on the news of people being evacuated by tractors, helicopters, fire trucks, combines and even manure spreaders. Any piece of heavy equipment capable of navigating the deep waters is being called into service for the rescue operation.  The most touching interview I heard was with the owner of a day home for small children.  She was stranded in her home with many other peoples' children until they could all be rescued and the children be reunited with their terrified parents. I can only imagine what the woman was going through worrying about her wee charges and their safety.

I suppose we are going to try to have to sleep tonight. As the night wears on we are hearing reports of more evacuated areas and these are areas where we have good friends.

Tomorrow is a busy day here for us and we have overnight company arriving once again after dinner, a funeral to do and the wine tasting evening the next day and a very busy Sunday once again...busier than usual in fact.  I am supposed to be teaching an English lesson in the morning but did not hear from my student....we have our own rain induced problems at the moment and since the road into his country home is a 5km dirt road, no gravel, I am guessing he has not been able to get to his home for the past 2 days or more.  His home is inaccessible in severe weather conditions and he ends up staying with friends, at his place of employment and what have you when we have weather conditions like this.  We have to park our own car on the front street because we can no longer navigate the deep mud that is the alleyway between our backyard garage and the street.  Our poor car is now being pummeled with rain and wind and small branches being blown off the trees.  

The mosquitoes are so thick after our 2 days of rain that I can't go outside at all without being sprayed head to toe with repellent.  My husband ran out to the car a couple of hours ago to retrieve his glasses and was covered in mosquitoes before he got to the end of the front walk.  The only difference between here and the far north after a big rain is that we don't have blackflies and no-see-em's here.

It will be lovely when the low pressure system stuck over the western half of the prairies decides to move on! Bring on the sunshine!!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Poor Flooded Alberta......Are We Next??

I am worried about family and friends in Alberta.  There is serious flooding going on in the southern part of the province that hasn't been seen to this extent for a very long time. Some areas have received 150mm rain in the past 2 days and there is much more rain on the way.  Two of the neighbourhoods I once lived in along the river valley in Calgary have all ready been evacuated and there may be 100,000 people or more forced from their homes before this week is over.  I feel so badly for them. Some people will lose everything.  The main and secondary highways to and through the Rocky Mountain parks are closed from mud slides and sinkholes and deep water.

And so by the weekend it is highly likely there will be flooding in southern Saskatchewan as well as the churning mass of water heads eastward.  We are also getting our share of heavy rain to add into the mix.  Cloud burst after cloud burst......what a crazy year for weather.  

We have watched massive flooding in other parts of the world for many years and now we are getting a small taste of what some of these countries have gone through.

Here's hoping the rain will soon stop, the water levels in the rivers and creeks drop substantially over night and that no one will die in the flooding.  

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Sucker For Ciabatta Bread

For the past 2 days I have given into my ciabatta bread temptation, and after taking such a long and healthy break away from bread carbs....sigh...but it has been SO worth it.  2 days of my favourite sub style sandwiches mean I am on a carb fast of sorts now for at least a week to get over all the bad bad bad (for me) ingredients in the bread....but it has been SO worth it!

Here is my favourite sub:

For 2 people, slice a foot long ciabatta loaf in half the short way, then slice each half lengthwise, lightly butter each half with no salt butter and toast in the toaster oven or facsimile.

After toasting, spread on a thin layer of your favourite condiments that taste great with a layer each of:
thick sliced freshly roasted chicken or turkey (real meat please, not deli disasters)
4 slices of 50% less sodium pre-cooked bacon
2 slices of a large perfectly round tomato
thin slices of cucumber
thin slices of your favourite red or green or orange or yellow pepper
chopped lettuce or spinach (or both, yummy!)
paper thin slices of low sodium dill pickle 

So that I have porked out on this sandwich 2 days in a row I am going to have to live on soft cooked veggies for a week to get my body over my binge.

Would I do it again in a month or so?  In a heartbeat!!!

And Again With the Thunderstorms..........

WOW...another storm on the way for overnight and into tomorrow. This is one wild week and I am loving it despite the paranoia that accompanies the crazy weather.  I MAY get to walk downtown tomorrow to meet a friend for lunch if there is a lull in the lightning.  Too much of that stuff would require her to come pick me up.  Really hoping I will be able to walk in the rain even if it is a heavy downpour.  Lightning, lightning, go away.........

Is the Latest Always the Greatest?

Every day on television I see advertising for the latest and greatest technological gadgets, new apps for "existing but constantly requiring updating" gadgets, new and improved growing larger gadgets and new and improved shrinking smaller gadgets. The amount of money people have to spend on a monthly basis to use these hand held gadgets is staggering!

The more I learn about the capabilities of the various gadgets the more I realize I don't actually need any of them. 

I refuse to do my banking online because my bank is 3 blocks from my house.  I can walk there and back and get exercise as well as having personal contact with the bank employees. I also have less worry about identity theft.

I don't shop online anymore after trying it twice on "secure" sites and having to then replace my credit card both times after the data banks of these "secure" sites were hacked.

I don't have a need for sites that give recipes because I have a cupboard filled with good cookbooks. There is nothing like the joy of sitting on a tall stool in my kitchen perusing those tattered, dog eared pages.

I don't need to have an online book site because I get such a thrill out of handling actual books. It is so much easier for me to mark pages I want to return to with a bookmark or a post it note than to spend time irritating my eyes scrolling up and down the tiny screen.

I don't have a need for apps to discover cutsey little household decorating tips because I don't own my home and am pretty much stuck with things the way they are.  If I want to decorate I can go happily to a furniture or home decor store by putting down my hand held gadget and hoisting my butt off the sofa for a nice walk or drive to the nearest store to see for myself what is actually available.  I can crinkle the towels and curtains to check out the wrinkle capacity of the material.  I can run a hand over the back of the sofa and chair to see if they are good quality leather or just a well appointed "cheat".  I love the tactile experience of home shopping in an actual store.

I have no need of an app to access the latest jokes or cutsey videos of kids muffing up the lyrics to hymns and patriotic songs.  If I develop a need that desperate for those things my desktop computer will suffice for the short amount of time those sorts of things hold my attention.

I don't need a camera on my cell phone and to be honest I am growing a bit weary of squinting at the bleary photos other people seem so desperate to share with  me on their wee phone of people I don't know and would never recognize anyway after seeing them in such poorly taken of sunsets that never turn out as well as the actual amazing vision of the real thing even in larger of pets I will never of wonderful holidays reduced to a less than 4" by 6" screen and therebye making what I am looking at even more of a mystery.  "Well, this isn't the best picture and it is kinda small...." is becoming a mantra I can do without hearing quite so often.

I don't need to have access to cell phone calls or text messages everywhere I go, every minute of the day. No one does.  Whoever bought into that idea  has fallen for a great big lie!  While it is great to have those capacities to be doing business when you are out of the office, or for the kids to reach you in case of an emergency, chatting on the phone and texting other people when you are in the middle of a strictly social event is downright rude and I have reached a point where I am prepared to just walk out of a tea party at my own home if people answer their phones and send texts for non-emergency purposes while we are visiting.  All these hand held gadgets are turning us into a society of social boors.  "Do you mind if I just answer this call/text?" has become another mantra I can do without.

I am in middle of a full blown rebellion against hand held technological gadgets.  Much of the information I can access at all times is not necessary information (eg 90% of the postings on Facebook walls) and even though it can be fun, it doesn't need to be accessed on a 24 hour, no matter where I am or who I am with, basis. It is becoming another addiction we can all do without.

Beginning nearly every paragraph in the post with the word "I" is deliberate.   I still real person....a real person who delights in actual face to face contact with other people.....who has realized she does NOT need to know thousands of items of meaningless trivia when her time could be better spent with other people talking together about things that matter to each of them....who feels that using cell phones and texting when visiting is a social gaffe....who resents the raised voices shouting into cell phones in public places like restaurants and grocery stores.....who fears we are becoming completely inactive as we sit around hour after hour wasting time accessing information we don't need just because we can....who appreciates all the apps and sites,  the fun and the amazing things available through hand held technological gadgets, but can also freely admit she can enjoy life more with less of them.

Side note:  I am sorry to find out that Mountain Equipment Coop has decided to change their easily recognizable mountain peak logo, with the actual name of their store on it, to a bland green square featuring the letters MEC in the middle of it.  Apparently we have so little time in our lives that we can't read 3 full words at a time any more.  MEC.....another acronym that could mean anything to someone unfamiliar with the company.  MEC could stand for Mainline Economic Crisis....or Major Evangelical Conservative.....or Mixed Emotional Crises....or...well, you get my drift.  I doubt the Toronto Dominion bank will be impressed since their logo also consists of a square the same shade of green with TD in the centre of it.  I suppose the reduction of business names to a series of letters that tell you nothing about what kind of business it is has evolved in part to ensure that their logos fit onto the teeny screens of most of those blasted hand held devices.

Sorry, but for me the latest is not always the greatest. 
PS How many people under the age of 40 even know that TD stands for Toronto Dominion....or that CIBC stands for Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce........just sayin'.... 

Dodged Another Weather Bullet

Other than rain, a ton 'o' thunder and a couple of close lightning strikes last night, our town fared well in the midst of the big storm.  Even the winds during the night were not strong enough to do any damage to the local foliage.

While nearly 3 hours of rolling thunder was a bit daunting, as we suspected the worst of the storm went north and south of us, saving its hail and bad winds for other places.  We are relieved and grateful and we hope the hail damage was not bad in the towns and countryside where it landed.  

By midnight it seemed even the thunder was slacking off so we put on the nightclothes and headed off to bed for a grand sleep.

More rain over the next couple of days and then it appears we will get the needed sun and warmth for awhile.   Oooh, I don't even want to think about the new millions of mosquitoes we are going to be battling after this much rain.  

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sleeping In Our Clothes Tonight

We are having one of our rare moves up, in this area of the prairies, from a weather watch to a severe weather warning.  Since our town tends to avoid a lot of the major storms for some reason, the warning may not amount to much here.

However, I have been tracking the storm online and it appears that the worst of what we are going to get isn't going to be here for another couple of hours, right around bed time.  So far the storm has dropped nickel and quarter sized hail on some areas close to us and I am praying hard for those farmers whose crops have only in the past 2 weeks begun to see the light of day, poking fragile heads of wheat and barley, oats and lentils, through the deeply black, rich soil.  To be hailed out this early in the year would be a heart breaker after surviving the stresses of this year's very late planting.

On the rare occasion that we are in any sort of weather danger this time of year....and since we live in the Canadian version of Tornado Alley.....I tend to sleep in my clothes instead of putting on the usual nighttime attire, my purse and other important papers beside my bed where I will be leaping out should the need arise to head for the church basement.  We have only a crawl space under our house and by the time we access it by moving the washer and dryer any bad winds will have done their damage on the house and perhaps ourselves. 

My husband has left the door to the church basement unlocked....possibly to placate ME if I start getting nervous in the winds and hail.  He is such a good sport about my tendency to weather paranoia this time of year.  He says it is left over from the very real problems and fears of our winters, so that makes me feel less wussy and silly when I worry about the spring and summer storms.  At least he admits my concerns about winter ice and snow are not just inventions of my own with no basis in reality.  

Of course our hope is that we will once again avoid the worst this storm is sending to the surrounding towns and countryside, knowing one day it IS going to be our turn for major damage, but should we awaken in the morning in our wrinkled summer clothes, purse and papers still nestled comfortably beside us, we will be joyful indeed.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Haha...So Much For the Showering and Hair Washing!

Woke up this morning to discover we have no running water at all.  Today must be the day the temporary water supply pipes are being installed during the summer of repairs for the town water mains and sewer system.  I woke up needing a shower and a hair wash.  Had this urge to do both things last night but I was so tired I wimped out.....dumb, dumb, dumb.....again with the "still small voice" and I chose to ignore my better instincts.

So we boiled up some water we had set aside for days like this and had at least a bit of a proper wash, then headed out of town to have a lunch "date" at the nearest Indian restaurant, over 80km away.  It was an incredibly nice day.  Usually my poor husband spends his day off in a nearly comatose state for most of the day, doing some personal computer work is about as exciting as it gets for either of us.  So, today was special.

It was a beautiful day for a drive in the country.  The rain appears to be over for awhile, the green is starting in the fields as the crops begin to come up, the ponds and sloughs are full to the top from the last deluge and ducks are happily swimming about in them, ducking for weeds and water bug meals.  The sky is finally a true summer blue and the few clouds in it are fluffy and brilliant white.  "Pretty" is a word invented for days like today.

Shopping for graduation gifts for our parish graduates was successful.  YAY!  AND we had the most wonderful Indian meal.  A Bangladeshi fellow and his family who had a busy little restaurant in Toronto have moved out here due to the lower operating costs and wanting a safer, smaller place in which to raise their children.  They are the first family in this area to have established a successful Indian menu.  They are very wise:  while they have a grand selection of Indian foods they also have retained some regular prairie fare.  Everything from bacon and eggs to sandwiches and burgers, Greek style chicken dinners to Indian food is available.  Bangladeshi food has a little different take on it than the Indian restaurants in the nearest city and I really enjoyed my meal.  It is reasonable priced so adding in the gasoline required to get there and back is no big deal.  Life here improves all the time.

Well, time for a nap...fully tummy, successful shopping, a nice drive out.....what a lovely day off my husband shared with me today.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Pushed To The Limit

Tonight I had a phone call from some dear friends.  It made me wonder where some people get the strength to deal with days like they had today...although in their case I know where it comes from and I so admire their faith.

This morning they were involved in a meeting that turned into an attempt at a hostile takeover of the organization they are involved with. It came out of the blue and shook them up badly. Now they have to decide how they can counteract.

They came home to the news that "her" sister has been diagnosed with a virulent form of cancer...shockingly aggressive........that requires immediate and radical surgery.  The woman has a husband who also has severe health issues and cannot manage on his own. They live far away from family and support systems.  What a worry for my friend and the rest of the family.

A few hours later "he" received word that his brother in law was in a terrible accident and is in hospital, broken in body, long term prognosis unknown.

They had the kind of day we all dread....that series of devastating events that push our emotions to the limit.  

I know these people fairly well.  They have strong faith in God.  They will be available to help their families and associates. They will push through their own health issues and emotional pain to do what they need to do to help the others involved.  

Watching my friends walking in faith that somehow God will give grace and strength in the midst of devastating days gives me renewed faith for my own walk with God.  Whatever uncertainties and tragedies we experience, He is always there.  

He doesn't remove us from the human experience but he stays with us and guides us through.  Jesus experienced the deepest of griefs and suffering and he doesn't want to remove his people from too many of the opportunities to share in his suffering. God allows us to experience these most human of experiences, but he has sent us the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to give us the strength to endure the material disasters and overcome the emotional trauma.  Sometimes it can be a long journey and we cheapen the chance to learn more about his ability to help us and about what he experienced in his human body for our sake, when we assume there is something faithless in intense, ongoing emotional responses to the negative experiences in life...when we feel some kind of peer induced obligation to "positive self-talk" our way back into emotional stability before we are really there and assume we are healed simply because we decided it isn't a good "testimony" to be too slow about it.

I don't have a lot of angst over the idea that human beings suffer.  While it is never easy to accept suffering, we are not alone.  God Himself chose to suffer through an earthly incarnation. His suffering was as unjust by most human standards as any we also go through in life.  He's been there. He understands.  That's why I trust him.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Done (In)!!

So now my house is completely cleaned for another week and my overnight company is on her way back here in a couple of hours, after spending the day with my husband teaching seminars to our parishioners.  I am pooped!!  Cleaning bathroom fixtures is quite taxing with all the bending and twisting and squatting.  2 full sized bathrooms with tiled walls and ceilings, open shelving, plastic bins and mirrors everywhere, translates into a long time of cleaning.  It is really nice though to be able to wash the walls and ceilings every week.  Whoever did that particular renovation in this old house deserves a medal!!

Now I am going to read my book for a couple of hours before starting dinner for us all.  Our guest has some food allergies and sensitivities similar to my husband's when his CFS is bothering him so I know the drill!  Tonight we are keeping it simple:  some brown rice and onion, chicken strips with fresh dill and lemon juice, green beans and a simple salad.  None of us eat dessert so that certainly makes life easy!

Sleep evaded me most of the last night so I will probably do more dozing now than reading of my book, but hopefully I will be able to sleep tonight and make it to the church service in the other town early in the morning.  Our guest is going to be speaking at both services and she is so interesting to listen to.  I don't want to miss either of her sermons tomorrow, even if they are essentially the same message at both churches!

Using water in our house became a little more complicated yesterday.  Now that the town is replacing some ancient water mains near our house, we will be boiling all our drinking water for about a month.  It is very inconvenient, but at least we can order in filtered water for drinking and tooth brushing. I have a huge pot of well boiled water sitting on the stove and a big bottle of bleach under the kitchen sink for adding to the rinse water when I wash dishes.  Thanking God we can still shower and do laundry with this temporary water line in place.  If we had been unable to use the tap water at all, the next month while awaiting the new permanent line would be as close to being a pioneer as I ever want to get!!

Son is delighted to be back in university.  He had his "pass/fail" review of his last year's work the other day and he passed. He enjoyed the critique, both good and bad.  He is an avid learner in his field of endeavor just like his dad.

Myself...well, I am content at this point to have a clean house and food my guest can eat without becoming ill.  Life will be more interesting again when I can get out walking and doing other exercises....only a couple of more weeks!  YAY!

A Fantastic Description of Living in Saskatchewan For the First Time

If you are interested in what it is like being a first time prairie dweller, after living in several other cultures previously, take a look at the June 13th posting of a good friend, Eric Ortland.  He sums up so accurately and so succinctly the specific culture of Saskatchewan.  It could be myself talking.......except that I don't write as well as he does.  Thank you Eric for expressing so precisely how my husband and I feel about living in our new prairie culture.
Here is the link:

Thursday, June 13, 2013

My Favourite Potato Salad

I love potato salad.  For the past few summers I have been tinkering with my recipe to make it more interesting and flavourful.  Today I finally hit the jackpot!  If you like potato salad, give this one a try.

Sue's Views Potato Salad Extravaganza (for a large group dinner)

Peel, cut and boil to cook 12 medium sized potatoes. Drain, allow to cool then mash to creamy smoothness. Add a large pinch of salt and a pinch of freshly ground pepper.

Prepare 8 hard boiled eggs, shell and cut into 8ths.  Put into a large mixing bowl.
Add to the mixing bowl:
2 medium peeled and grated carrots
6 diced radishes
6 medium diced dill pickles
4 finely chopped green onions
1/2 cup hot dog mustard
1/2 cup dill pickle brine
1 cup (or to taste) real mayonnaise
1/4 cup commercial salad herb mix

Add contents of mixing bowl to the mashed potatoes.  Mix well.

To serve, place salad in fancy bowl of choice. 
Sprinkle top of salad generously with red paprika and freshly chopped dill.

My Kinda Day

I am sitting here watching rain pouring down from the blackened sky, cascading out of the downspout onto the lawn, dripping off the tree leaves.  Oh, it is lovely.  There are so many trees and bushes around the house that if I sit and look out at certain angles it is easy to pretend I am back on Vancouver Island on my husband's family acreage. A few cedar trees would make the illusion complete.  The song birds are sitting just under the eaves outside the patio door and they are singing their lungs out.  What a wonderful afternoon.

This morning I asked some friends to pray for me that I would have the strength today to clean the entire house, today being the only day I have to do the whole house before company arrives tomorrow afternoon.  Wow, the power of prayer was strong today.  I worked for well over 4 hours without taking a break and everything is done except the bathroom fixtures.  I decided at that point to be reasonable and leave those fixtures for today.  I can get up an hour earlier tomorrow morning and do them to quit while I am still physically ahead.  

There is nothing like accomplishing a really large task in a relatively short time, with hours still left in the day to do other things, to make me feel utterly fantastic.

So, I had better get a move on and get the gigantic potato salad made that I promised to take to the church for our latest foodie fundraiser.  My delicious tuna salad lunch is nicely digested, I had a doze for ten minutes, answered a couple of emails and now I need to return to work.

It doesn't take much to make me happy. Being able to complete a few simple tasks around the house and other small personal goals are all it takes. Some days I wish all of life was this uncomplicated.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Have You Ever Cooked One of Those Meals That SHOULD Have Been Really Tasty, But.......

I was pumped tonight about the dinner I decided to make.  It wasn't complicated but it was going to be so tasty!  

The meal was going to be moist and delicious onion and mustard turkey burgers, with fresh out of the garden asparagus and our favourite brown rice, the flavourful shirakiku.  Yummmmmmm...........

Unfortunately the meal turned out to be one of the worst, most bland and tasteless disasters I have ever created.  What a disappointment.  Somehow I overcooked the asparagus!!  NOOOOOO!!  It wasn't terrible I suppose, it wasn't mushy, just too soft and the flavour was a bit flat as a result.  I ended up putting a pat of butter into the serving bowl to perk it up. There's my mom's old prairie trick: no meal so tasteless that a pat of butter or a mound of freshly ground salt won't fix it.  Yikes.....  The rice, usually THE most delicious brown rice, took forever to cook for some reason.....the reason being I covered it in the nabe pot with just a bit too much water and that is always a bad thing if the rice is going to be cooked at the same time as the rest of the meal.  Too much water equals tasteless when it comes to rice, even a good rice like this one.  The turkey burgers were okay I guess, but I didn't put enough mustard into them to bring out the flavour of the green onions.  I don't use salt when I cook so using sufficient other herbs and spices is kind of critical to make the palate happy.  I don't know when I last cooked such a dreadful meal.

My blessed husband took it in stride.  Not one to criticize, he got up from the table half a dozen bites into his dinner and returned with a large jar of spicy mango chutney, which he proceeded to spoon liberally onto every item on his plate.......even the asparagus....sigh..... When the chutney comes out and covers even his vegetables then I know the meal really is as terrible as I am thinking it is.  HUGE sigh......

Fortunately he has a meeting tonight to keep his thoughts distracted from the sad meal he had for dinner. 

As for me, my punishment is going to be 30 lashes with a wet soba noodle....and a lunch out at a nice restaurant tomorrow to get myself over my sorrows....well, hey, you don't expect ME to eat the tasteless leftovers do you??  DO YOU??? 

You Know You've Waited Too Long To Recycle The Bottles and Cans When........ takes an entire afternoon PLUS to sort them where you have stored them in the garage and bag or box them in their proper categories. don't actually have sufficient bags and boxes in which to put them and have to make a special foray to the cardboard recycling bin to get more packing.

.....only the driver can fit into the car to drive the bottles and cans to the recycling because there are so many bags and boxes jammed into the trunk, the back window, the back seat, the floors and the passenger seat. look around the interior of the garage as you are backing the car out and realize the garage looks twice as big inside as it did before removing all the bottles and cans. have to ask the person in charge of the recycling depot if they can afford to take an order as large as yours before you actually haul all the bags and boxes out of the car and the person in charge has to go ask the employees and floor supervisor first. takes nearly a half hour to dump and add up all the bottles and cans at the depot. leave the depot, after dumping all those bottles and cans, worth between five and twenty-five cents each, with a cheque for one hundred and twenty dollars!  Aiiiii.........

Deep Reading

Someone asked the the other day, seeing me reading an excellent novel set in India, (A Fine Balance, by Rohinton Mistry; McClelland and Stewart Ltd., 1995.), if all I read are novels or would I be open to reading something a bit "deeper"? 

I had to chuckle to myself.  The person asking the question doesn't know me at all, just noticed that I had twice been seen in a public place reading a novel, ergo, some assumptions.

I do indeed read many books with far more "deep" and academic content.  Mostly they are theology texts or some "lighter" philosophy books.  However I am careful to read them from within the confines of my own home.  While I do learn a tremendous amount from these wonderful books, I find myself in a bit of a dilemma when it comes to discussing them with anyone else, so generally I limit my comments to discussion with my husband, the one who understands me best and is least annoyed by my pestering him with my often ignorant questions.

Most of the people I know well are either seasoned academics who don't have the time or desire to assist me with my ideas and questions, because I am simply not "one of them" and they have busy lives surrounded by people who share their passions for the academic life and mien (both outward and inward).  Since I don't have the background education in philosophy and other areas to carry on a truly intelligent and well rounded discussion, nor the ability at this point to hold my own in any sort of disagreement, there is little interest in talking about such things with me.  This I completely understand and am sympathetic to. Some of these people have careers teaching academics to students and after school is over they need to spend time talking to their peers instead.  It makes sense.

The rest of my friends and family only have limited interest in the things that interest me when it comes to learning more about philosophy and theology and that is just fine.  I have limited interest in some of their pursuits as well.  This is why relationships work with people outside our everyday field of study, or career, or leisure time pursuits. Each person brings a variety of knowledge into a conversation and within bounds, we have some sort of concern for the other person's passions.

So I sometime find myself trapped between two extremes in life:  one the one hand there is my husband and his friends and colleagues who deign to allow me access to their discussions sometimes. Many are able to help me along my own path to understanding, but also require a great deal of time, naturally and expectedly, to have time without my "beginner" questions and ideas.  On the other hand I know many people who have no interest at all in any sort of deeper discussion possibilities in these areas of interest to me. 

I feel  like I am walking a tightrope some days, between the very academic crowd of people in our lives and those who are not interested nor capable in walking with me into these areas.  Balancing between the desire for more academic knowledge and being able to live the life I have to live each day is not always easy.

Hence, there are some weeks where I am happy to lose myself in the fantasy world of characters in a well written novel.   There are some very good novels out there, although they are not always easy to discover. Research is required, as well as time to search endlessly through library and book store shelves.  Every once in awhile you find a wonderful gem.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Gooooood boy!!

This week is too busy for me.....way too much work has to be done this week for the sake of taking care of other peoples' needs on top of our own and while I do enjoy doing that, I feel overwhelmed today.  The work has tight time frames to get everything accomplished on time. My week is filled with church events, fundraisers and preparing for a couple of nights of overnight company on the weekend.

This morning was supposed to be grass cutting morning.  Rain predicted originally to begin on Thursday is on its way later this morning and we are in for about 4 days of moisture in a row.  I assumed the race would be on as soon as the rest of the neighbourhood was  awake and I could run the mower without disturbing anyone.  Mowing lawn wears me out completely as the area I have to mow is not set up well for speed....and neither am I!

Today I also have to do several loads of laundry, iron, keep up with meals and dishes, get passport photos done, get to the bank, book some hotel rooms for later this month, parcel and mail some books, vacuum all the carpets; all the normal things a person does in a day but that are complicated by having to pace myself for the sake of my foot injury.  

Today is a light day compared to the rest of the week, particularly now that I don't have to spend nearly two hours mowing the lawn, thanks to my husband's pronouncement that it isn't at all necessary.  While it could last another couple of days before being mowed, but will be like a jungle to plough through if we have 4 days of rain, I am happy to go with his judgement.  The grass is very sparse and spindly due to the lack of topsoil.  Over mowing it just kills it, as I discovered to my dismay a couple of overly zealous summers ago.

Bless my husband for freeing me today to do the rest of the day's chores with less stress!

Monday, June 10, 2013

I Believe In..................??

Yesterday we had lunch at a Chinese food restaurant.  It happens to be the best Canadian fusion Chinese food in the area.  After our meal we opened the fortune cookies and had a good laugh over the little "fortunes" inside.

Afterward though I got thinking about those little strips of paper and the words of wisdom or prophesy or whatever you want to call the little "fortune phrases".  I thought again about what mine had written on it and I thought about how so many people truly believe in those sorts of fortune cookie prophesies, palm reading, seances, astrology and other forms of future seeking.  When I thought about the words from my own fortune cookie I thought about how much I would like to believe what it said:

"Contentment is just around the corner for you. Look forward!!"

Now, what middle aged person struggling with family and health and general life issues would not want to believe that???!??

However, as a former student of the occult, many many loooong years ago, I know the trap emotionally that springs open and shut when we try to delve into these realms.  There are so many prophetic sounding words and phrases in all these methods of future seeking that are worded very generally and can be interpreted in whatever way makes us most comfortable and secure.  So much of ourselves and our own ideas can infiltrate whatever we read or are told in such situations.  Nothing is definite, most of what is read or said is incomplete, there is very little concreteness upon which to rest.

I would love to be able to read the Bible that way....lots of people do I suppose....where everything I read I can interpret to be open ended, to be subject only to my own views, to ignore the parts I don't want to understand because of their implications of accountability between myself and God, to never delve deeper through study and prayer, to let my faith just be in some undefined and undefinable higher power who only reveals herself when it is convenient for me, who does my bidding and who requires no concrete evidence of my faith in her...those darned evidences my God does require, like out workings on earth of unconditional love to all people, peace, patience, long suffering with joyfulness, doing unto others as I would have them to unto me....those things that require action on my part that is for the good of others, sometimes inconveniently so, that require a death to myself rather than focusing on "exploring and reaching MY full potential" on my own apart from God.  There are a number of concrete instructions throughout the Bible that can't be easily reinterpreted and that bring me true security for the future.

My little fortune cookie has set off a train of thought for me this week that will keep me on my spiritual toes, checking myself for God's evidence of contentment.....

"Godliness with contentment is great gain." I Timothy 6:6

Saturday, June 8, 2013

A Bit of This and That.......

Saturday in the big service here tonight and I am accompaning the hymns.  Same at the other church at the morning service. Hopefully some folk will stick around for fellowship afterward since we don't have to race home to do a second service, for a change.  Lunch out at the Chinese restaurant there I suppose.  Then in the afternoon we are showing the film "The Mission" for our monthly community movie and discussion time.  My husband is going to be exhausted by the time he gets home.  He got a late start on his sermon this week and basically researched and wrote the entire thing this morning before racing out to the cemetery to do an interment of ashes.  My church bulletins are done for the weekend, meals prepared, dishes done and put away, hymns practised.......yeah, Saturday around here is just one thrill after another, hohoho!  At least it is a working day for us both so the time flies past quite quickly.  I appreciate that as there is absolutely nothing of interest going on otherwise for us today.  So grateful that, although more rain is forecast over the next 36 hours, the big rains of yesterday have not happened again. Huge downpour, a bit of a thunderstorm, lost the satellite dish for an hour in the evening, but the power stayed on in the house this time. Today there has been a bit of sun in between the hours of cloud cover.

Our son has hopefully left his sublet in Brooklyn by now and arrived safely at university in upstate New York.  What a great 2 or more weeks he had in Brooklyn and New York City, seeing friends, partying, reading, resting, drinking flat after flat of Seltzer to ward off a cold, investigating his neighbourhood there, going to all his favourite art museums, going to a Richard Foreman directed play, (a long time wish)....and on Monday summer classes begin.  We have not seen him this happy and excited since he completed his first term at university last year. All being well he will graduate with his MFA next summer.

In my dozy half asleep state yesterday morning I stupidly opened a questionable email and by afternoon had my computer on a 13 hour scan and clean cycle.  Only once before in my life have I done something so stupid and risked my entire computer hard drive.  I am so grateful that Google stopped a hacker from south of the border from gaining any more access to my files than I unwittingly gave her or him when I opened that email.  The hard drive is now cleansed of some malicious software and I have a new password, something I get every few months anyway.  Lesson: do not open emails in the morning until I am fully awake!!

My sister-in-law and her husband have purchased an RV.  They took it out yesterday for the first time.  It is fun to hear their excitement about their purchase and about the trips they are planning in the near future.  I am grateful it is them and not us....not being a camper of any kind, myself.  I would love it if it wasn't for the bugs....and the dirt....and the rain....and the bears....and the booming music coming from other RV's at 3am.... and other peoples' little kids coming past and asking embarrassing questions of me...and still having to make meals and do dishes on what is supposed to be a holiday.  My husband loves such trips and I tried for years to get into the whole thing, but eventually gave it up as a lost cause. My husband is so good about allowing me a few motels and shopping centres on our brief annual holiday.

Teaching an English pronunciation lesson on Monday morning.  That is always fun.  Tuesday is the annual ACW dinner at a restaurant with a short meeting afterward. That is always fun.  Thursday I have to make a giant potato salad for our fall luncheon fundraiser at the local church. That is always fun. The house has to be cleaned somewhere in the midst of this, (not always so fun!!) and within an inch of its life, as we may have overnight company on Sat. evening...a visiting priest who will be speaking at some parish retreat meetings on the weekend and giving the sermons at both churches on Sunday morning.  My husband has a very full week as well, preparing for the retreat, helping out at the fundraiser, some vestry meetings, preparing for the next week's parish council meeting etc. etc. etc. on top of the regular weekly events.

I am looking forward very much to a wine tasting event at our church hall in a couple of weeks.  The friends who put it together are staying over with us the night before so we will hopefully get to spend some quality time together that day before the event gets set up.  Nice to have something to look forward to that is so "us" and with some of our best friends.  And then it will almost be July!!  Can't believe it.

The house wrens have made an appearance this spring after a couple of years absence from our yard.  They are so very cute with their little tails sticking up in the air instead of lying flat out from their bodies the way the tails of the other birds do.  Some of them enjoy clinging to the narrow window sill outside the kitchen window, facing away from the window into the yard.  It is quite amusing to stand there doing dishes with a row of teeny wren butts pushed up against the window, tails aloft....right in my face!  haha  

So.......a little bit of this and that......nothing fascinating, just life.......a good life.