Monday, September 30, 2013

A New TV Show I Am Enjoying

My husband and I have found that rare programme we BOTH enjoy watching on tv.  Occasionally it happens.  This year's shared show is called The Blacklist.

We enjoyed the first episode last week and hoped that tonight's episode would be as interesting.  It was.  James Spader's character is witty and intelligent and he plays it well as always.  I suppose one drawback is that the character seems just a bit too slick and seems to have access to all kinds of information coming to him about the criminal world, even when he is incarcerated in a hidden lockdown FBI facility, but he is so likeable that some of the more obvious flaws in the plot and the dialogue are easy to ignore.

We have enjoyed the twists and turns in the plot line both weeks...some are easily foreseeable and others not.  There is one plot line that appears to be heading for an obvious outcome but we are suspicious that since it seems like such a done deal, there could be an unexpected twist in this as well closer to the end of the season.

However, speaking of the end of the season, this particular programme is on NBC.  NBC is well known for cancelling its shows part way through the season, usually just far enough along in the number of episodes to have hooked its mainline viewers.  Since tv is all about the numbers and ratings and NBC is one of the networks least concerned about cancelling any show that can't start off strong in the ratings, we have been burned a few times by getting interested and even emotionally involved in a few programmes that suddenly disappeared well before the end of their first seasons.

Do we dare begin to get really interested in The Blacklist or are we setting ourselves up for disappointment once again?  We have decided to track the ratings on this show and if it seems it isn't carrying its weight in the numbers/ratings game, we will disconnect ourselves and stop watching it at first hint of a cancellation. We have observed that any great hue and cry of protest coming from staunchly loyal viewers had no effect on having the shows reinstated since there were never enough of us to make the money roll in to the network.  

Parenthood has been one of the delightful exceptions to the NBC rule as they actually gave it a chance to catch on even though it didn't open to great ratings in its first few weeks.  I hope that if The Blacklist continues to be as well written and interesting as it has started out to be that it will be with us for the full season as well.

Out of the Mouths of Babes.....And Elderly Parents.....

I have often heard people wonder, as I myself have, what children are thinking when they come out with comments that stop us in our tracks.  Some of their comments are quite humorous, or embarrassing and some seem to make no sense whatsoever.

I have decided the same can be true of senior citizens.  Today it is my own parents I am thinking of.  Sometimes they do leave me rather confused about their thought processes even on their better days.

This weekend I received a call from them but it was, unusually, from their cell phone number.  My first thought, likely due to their ages and medical conditions, was that one of them had been rushed to hospital in some sort of serious condition.  I saw the number, panicked, grabbed the phone and shouted out "Hello, what is wrong?"  My dad sounded somewhat confused by my greeting when he responded, "Well, nothing is wrong with us.  I am just calling to tell you our land line hasn't been working for the past couple of hours."  Okaaaaay....not sure why I needed to know that since if I had to reach them and couldn't get through on their home phone within a reasonable number of hours, I would call their cell phone. That has been our agreement for several years.  I thanked Dad for letting me know because I couldn't figure out anything else to say about it, occasionally out of order telephones being a fairly common occurence.  Less than 3 minutes later Mom called back on the land line to tell me it was working again.  Okaaaaay....

Even today, 3 days later, I cannot imagine why that particular exchange was necessary but, I am having a good laugh about it.  Poor Mom and Dad have crossed over that invisible line that delineates the elderly in years to the elderly in mind. From working with seniors for so many years I know how easily the smallest disruption of routine can become a near tragedy, particularly for people like my father who are close to being completely housebound.  When there is little else to do or think about of more interest, a telephone ceasing to work properly for a few hours assumes the disastrous proportions of the sinking of the Titanic.  

I know this and yet.......when it is your own parents who are starting down that slippery mental slope it is less easy to discern and to deal with even after the realization dawns.

Over the next few months I am assuming we will "enjoy" many other such verbal exchanges and I will recognize the same changes in thought process as former elderly clients I dealt with over a couple of decades.

As I enter middle age myself I am observing a few changes in my own thought processes that are concerning to me.  My husband and I have hit that stage of life where we are ever more aware of our own dwindling abilities to think and to act as rationally, easily, happily as we have previously.  Despite no discernable serious change in the past few years, we are simply not as carefree as we once were.  (And please TRY to refrain from your own thoughts following a path that leads to,  "So, these people are finally growing up and taking life seriously!!"  Please at least TRY to not go there.) seems we have peaked and are now on the other side of the hill.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Autumn Prairie Winds

According to the weather forecast for this coming week we are to experience 3 or 4 days of rain and cooler temperatures.  I believe there must be some truth to that forecast because of the extreme winds we have had here today.

Driving the 60 km back home this morning after our other church service it was difficult to keep the car on the road.  The wind was literally howling the way it only does on prairie landscapes.  The tall candlestick weeds, between 2 and 3 feet in height, were laying almost flat on the ground as the wind pushed and pushed at them until they couldn't stand at all.  The prairie grasses and crops not yet harvested were rippling the same way water does in horror movies just before the water monster appears to gobble up an unsuspecting character.  A meadowlark flying into the wind was flapping its tiny wings as hard and fast as it could and not really getting anywhere at all.  It appeared to be suspended in mid air.  The harvest dust was thick in the air and as the clouds grew darker and grew thicker, trapping the grain dust closer to the ground, visibility became an issue as we got closer to home. In our town itself we drove into a bad dust and dirt storm.  

We hoped that by the time the local church service was over the wind would have died down, but no such luck.  We came out of church to the sight of many small branches and piles of leaves down out of the trees and scattered all across the streets and boulevards, wind still howling.  

My husband opted to walk 7 blocks to the hospital to visit a parishioner.  Once he arrived home again he admitted he should have worn some kind of protection over his eyes as the dirt was blowing so hard right into his face.  

I drove a mile or so to the edge of town to the discount grocery and managed to fight the wind and dirt as I walked across the parking lot into the store, but coming out again with my grocery bags I was hit in the face and the legs with large clumps of sand and dirt.  My face stung and so much dirt blew into my hair I had to come home and wash it right away.  My clothes dumped dust all over the seat in the car on the way home.  My glasses had so much grain dust on them I had to clean them before I could drive home or I wouldn't have been able to see the road very well.  Only once before in my life have I been hit by so much wind driven dirt and dust that stung so badly as the wind drove it against me.

As I cleaned up back at home I started thinking about the settlers on the prairies and the horrendous dust storms they must have experienced as the land was cleared for farming and any natural wind barriers disappeared.  Today was only a small experience, the mere edge of the kind of wind storms those first prairie farmers experienced in the wide open spaces they lived in.  Here in the centre of town at least there are buildings set beside each other, creating a few spaces to retreat into when caught in such winds. Those settlers had nothing for miles around their first places of residence.  

After once being caught in a "dust devil" that filled my nose and eyes with dust, as well as nearly flattening me to the ground right outside my own house a few years ago, I have developed a healthy respect for strong winds.  We have a "where to go for safety" plan should we be in the path of one of the tornadoes that have begun springing up with more frequency and intensity each year we have lived here.

The power of weather is so evident on the prairies and while sometimes it is scary to me, there is a certain thrill in seeing and experiencing some of the amazing forces that weather is capable of producing.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Hey, Did You Know It Is Possible To Be Not Only Awake But Semi-Functioning at 5am On A Saturday?

My husband spent the week in Regina at the annual autumn clergy conference.  He raced home on the last day in order to get to an important church vestry meeting, came home to eat supper and collapsed for the rest of the evening.  He was up early the next morning to get some work done before assisting with our big autumn church fundraising luncheon here in town and spent a long afternoon doing counselling.  In the evening we drove to another town to enjoy participating in a 50th anniversary.  It was a great day even though he was very tired.

This morning we had to get up just before 5am to get him ready to return to Regina with his deacon for a 2 hour meeting and lunch with the other priests and their deacons...another 10 hour round trip with little sleep...the third such trip in less than 2 weeks.  He has missed his days off now two weeks in a row so I am  just waiting for the crash to come.  We were supposed to go to Calgary to see my family this coming Monday and Tuesday but that isn't going to happen.  I can't do that to him.  It can wait a week.  My parents are doing incredibly well at the moment, all things considered.  Thank you God!  Very happy that I have been able to respond to a few emails in my attempt to remain awake so I can get to our church pancake breakfast at 7:30am....and only a few typos in each of them. haha Yeah....I can tell I am tired...I sent the emails and THEN proofed them...oops....but being able to type at all this early in the morning is an indication of some level of proper function, isn't it??

Actually I have been awake since just before 3am so maybe my consciousness is not quite as high as I think it is, but at least I am still awake.  

Only an hour now to fill before the breakfast....I can stay awake....I had a cup of "real" tea to make certain...I can do this...I can...I can...


NO NO!! Wake up!!  Only an hour...I can do it.

This coming week my husband and I have a lot of medical "stuff" going on.  SO hoping my husband will do well with a minor surgical procedure the same day I see a new doctor in an attempt to get more tests to find out what is wrong with me as I enter my fifth month of "the little symptoms that grew".  I don't know when I have been so frustrated with attempts to get answers. I am somewhat better.  It has been a good week, very little pain.....until this morning when it resurfaced. Shoot!

My husband's sister and her husband are arriving the night before all this medical "stuff".  I feel badly that they have to spend most of their visiting time here barely seeing either of us and hope they can extend their stay by a day so we can get a bit of quality time all together.

My son appears to have sold a painting or two this past week...tuition money for his last summer of school in 2014!  YAY!!  Hoping that all works out for him.

A dear dear friend is coming through town at the end of next week and we are going for coffee together...really looking forward to that. She and I are in the same place in some areas of our lives and we seem to be able to encourage each other and rejoice with each other.  

How exciting to have company and drop in visits to look forward to this week.  Anytime we have medical "stuff" we appreciate having other things to look forward to.

Okay, time to get showered up and ready for the pancake breakfast. YAY! Success! I have stayed awake, done a bit of writing and feel good about the upcoming day!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Musical Side Note.....

Yes, to answer some questions that have come my way since I wrote about O'Sullivan vs Green, I am well aware that many of Keith's Green's songs contain less than perfectly pure theological lyrics.  I am well aware that there is a lack of meditational type depth and that some of his songs are now considered to be just plain silly.  I don't disagree with any of those questions or comments.  He wrote those songs during the final demise of the "hippie" movement, a time of emotional, ideological and theological naivety, a far cry from the "sophisticated" theological mentality we Christians see ourselves as now being responsible for promoting.  I was involved in that movement and still remember that pure joy in the Lord was as necessary to people like me as good theology was and is now. Also, remember his songs were written for the young people of the time so of course we can see more of the youthful "silliness" than we could then.

 Remember too that, unlike may of the wandering and unmelodic Vineyard songs, Green's songs were not written for the purpose of being used for congregational singing.  (and in my opinion a lot of those Vineyard choruses shouldn't have been written or used for that purpose either)  His songs were written to be performed, usually by himself, to be uplifting emotionally, to be entertaining etc.  It isn't wrong to write songs about our own personal experiences and sing them for the purpose of edifying or strictly entertaining others.  There are times when theological correctness can go by the boards for a few minutes in order for people who are struggling through trials to reconnect with God on a strictly emotional level.  I don't recommend that such songs be sung by church congregations...mind you I don't recommend the old hymn Gentle Jesus Meek and Mild either as I believe he was neither a lot of the time according to what I read in The Bible.....but occasionally we can be both entertained and uplifted by someone's personal experience with God as expressed through music.  Those experiences are not always framed in proper theology and sometimes that is okay.  

As our interpretations of theology change over the decades who knows when a once wonderfully "correct" hymn or song will be set aside due to new and enlightened interpretations of theology and changes in culture, or some other song previously discarded due to apparently imperfect theology of lyric will be resurrected and its lyricist applauded for being ahead of her or his time.

While I don't appreciate emotionally manipulative spiritual songs, there are times when they are exactly what I need in order to be reminded that in the midst of our perfect or imperfect theology, one of the bottom lines of Christianity is still as simple as "Jesus loves me, this I know." And that's okay.

NOW it is Autumn: the Autumn of My Discontent!!

It was sunny this morning when we woke up.  The day looked cheerful right from the start, particularly after two days of overcast skies and the threat of rain that materialized all around us but never here in town.

However we got a bit of a start when a large robin hopped from the edge of the bird bath into the water and actually skidded across to the other side of the bowl....on a thick surface of ice.  My husband went out to take the ice off and said it was nearly a half inch thick.  (notice my casual post by post mix of Imperial and Metric measures...sorry about that).  Time to activate the heat tape once again on that bird bath. 

Our first hard frost.  Autumn....  The promise of winter to come...again.....(still??  We did have over 7 months of it this past season after all.)

We had a big lunchtime fundraiser at one of our churches today.  As I left the building afterward and saw the change in the position of the sun in the sky and noticed the difference in light conditions compared to a week ago, smelled the slightly decaying odor of the first leaves on the ground and dipped and swayed to avoid hordes of wasps that hover around this time of year, I realized I can no longer be in denial about the onset of winter in a few weeks' time. Brrrrr.....internally I am all ready feeling shaky and miserable before the first snow and ice ever arrive.

Now time to have a short nap before leaving town to go celebate a 50th anniversary in another town quite a few miles down the road.  It will be dark before we come home......and we are coming home pretty early so my husband can leave for Regina in the morning...his third trip there and back in 2 weeks...and he has to leave at 5:30am.  Guess I won't have any trouble being up and ready to help out at our church pancake breakfast in the morning.  I will have been up for nearly 3 hours before it even starts.  I am tired just thinking about it.  Normally there is NO 5am in my world!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I Am Turning Into A Little Old Woman....Sigh....

On my most recent clothes shopping trip I purchased 2, TWO, cardigan sweaters.  Not only did I purchase them, I have worn them both so often they have each had to be washed all ready....twice!  The sweaters are identical, just in two different colours.

Cardigan sweaters....right up there with rubber boots in my mind when it comes to fashion.......worn by aging, eucalyptus odored aunties.....felt hatted church ladies in shapeless scuff sleeved wool coats, sweater sleeves hanging out beyond coat sleeves and brushing their arthritic knuckles while they spewed pepperminted breath in my direction during the sermons....grandma in the garden on  windy days clutching her sweater around her middle with one hand and pulling weeds out of dried grey soil with the other, ...these are my childhood memories and impressions of cardigan sweaters.

And now I have them....2, TWO, of them.....two identical sweaters in two different colours....each worn so often in the past month that they have both needed to be washed twice all ready.....

Ehhhhh?  What's that you say dearie?   


Feelin' All Sparkly

What a great morning!  Not too hot.  In fact there may be rain on the way so the sky has been overcast today.  It has been perfect for walking out of doors.  The wasps have found somewhere else to hibernate today while they wait for the rain to pass, no visible mosquitoes.

I was up early this morning and walked a goodly distance to the new dentist's office for a cleaning of my teeth.  Oooh, it feels so good, all polished up and whitened and wonderful.  Finding a dental office that is modern and focusing on pain free treatments of every kind has taken away my fears at last.  I enjoy going to the dentist now and getting the help I need.

After my appointment I took another long walk into the downtown for mail check and a bag of frozen corn niblets.  My husband won't be with me for meals today so I can pig out on the things he is most allergic to.  I even bought an oatmeal cookie, just because I could without tempting him to eat something he shouldn't.

Ran into 4 different parisioners downtown so it was lovely to visit a bit and get caught up on their news.  I feel like I have been ill for so long I am out of touch with our own congregants!

I do have some pain again today, but it isn't very bad, not at all debilitating....not sure I like where it is located in relationship to the painful spot in my neck, but maybe I have just pulled a muscle by laying on my one elbow to read in bed the past few nights.  I have sponge washed my tv pillow and am waiting for it to completely dry before using it again...maybe tomorrow night.

All in all though it is a good day.  I am going to finish eating my taco mix for lunch and pad it out with some niblets corn.  Mmmm...hamburger browned with minced onions, taco spice mix and refried beans, cooked together and then spooned into a large bowl with grated strong cheddar, diced fresh tomatoes, chopped lettuce and black olives (and now corn niblets too) spread over the top.  

Absolute culinary heaven!!  And simple too!!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Is My Imagination Working Overtime or Am I Getting Healthier?

I woke up at about 6:30am to take the garbage bin out to the curb.  This morning I felt differently than I have most mornings in the past couple of months and realized that it was because there was no pain happening in the glands in my neck.  Hmmmm......I assumed I was imagining it, but felt hopeful in fact that I was conscious of my entire self starting to relax.  I went back to sleep for over an hour, which is nearly unheard of for me once I am so completely awake.  If the dental office hadn't called at 8:18am to confirm my appointment for tomorrow I might still be asleep.  

So far though so good.  My neck is a bit stiff, but most of the pain is gone...for the first time in over 2 months....was there a salivary blockage that finally unblocked itself as I slept?  The lumps are much smaller, MUCH smaller.  2 of them have disappeared since bedtime last night.  My sinuses and ear have unblocked themselves as well.

I am trying not to get too excited just in case this is only a break in the action and the pain will return later, or show up elsewhere.  However, for now it is amazing and energizing to be nearly pain free.  Eating breakfast didn't set off the pain again.  Talking on the phone didn't either.   Long may it last!

I changed my bed linens, made a creative breakfast for myself (who says you can't eat tacos stuffed with salad for breakfast??), did some tidying up, folded some laundry and now I am going to wash and vacuum floors and clean the bathrooms.  Actual energy is happening for the first time in weeks.

But I'm not cancelling my doctor's appointment scheduled for next week.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Despair vs Hope; Alone But Not Alone

I've had some thoughts on my heart for awhile and I suspect being ill and worn out for several months has left me more circumspect than usual.  

Yesterday some older song lyrics came to mind, one describing the human despair that happens in the dark times of life and how hopeless everything seems, the other about how hope can be restored by the Lord despite all the tragedies of life.  

The first song I thought of was Gilbert O'Sullivan's "Alone Again Naturally".  See link below for lyrics:

O'Sullivan writes lyrics about life's common tragedies:  being left at the altar, the death of a father and the remaining spouse's despair, the desolation that comes with being left alone over and over again in our earthly life.  The lyrics refer to the singer's giving himself over to doubt in the existence of God since life seems to be an ongoing sequence of heartbreak.  The song is realistic, filled with the type of angst we all encounter in life and the temptation to either blame an invisible God or else use our personal circumstances as evidence that there is no God at all.  I can well relate to the feelings and the anguish expressed in this song because I am a human being and therefore not insulated from the reality of human experience.

On the other hand we have the upbeat and bouncy delight of Keith Green's "You Put This Love In My Heart".  See link below for lyrics:

Green's lyrics show the singer to be no stranger to life's problems and the feelings of loneliness that tempt us all.  However he acknowledges that it is his relationship with God that leaves him feeling that he is definitely not alone in the world, no matter what human circumstances he finds himself in.  He admits he has suffered feelings of loneliness and depression but has allowed God to take those feelings from him and replace them with a knowledge that he is never truly alone.  While on the surface the lyrics, coupled with the lively music, may not seem to have the depth of feeling O'Sullivan's lyrics have, they are actually rather profound. I realized after hearing it a couple of times in a row that I couldn't dismiss it as a frivolous song.

Keith Green's song reminds me of the forgiveness that God extends to his now less than perfect human creation, but O'Sullivan's song reminds me that in order to fully appreciate our forgiven state in God's Kingdom we also have to extend forgiveness to God for all the bad things that he has allowed to happen in our lives.    

Forgiveness is a two way street if it is to be truly effective in its outworking.  God forgives us for falling short of his perfection and we forgive God for allowing sin to enter the world in the first place, the results of which touch us all at different times in our lives. God forgives us for giving in sometimes to our human emotions and their often negative out workings and we forgive God for letting us experience human pain in specific incidents of life.

Two different songs, two different outlooks on life.  Both lyricists have me thinking a lot about life these days and about my responses to the inevitable disasters that befall us as humans.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

A Week of Pure Joy!

For once the pre-trip excitement was not wasted nor destroyed by the reality of the trip!  What a fantastic week we have just experienced. For me it made up in part for the disaster that was our annual vacation time.

No, I am not all healthy and well again; my neck is still swollen and sore, my ear is still plugging overnight and the rashes are driving me crazy while I await my next medical appointment, but none of it seemed to matter while we were away.

My husband thoroughly enjoyed his seminary class and has definitely whet my enthusiasm for reviewing his text books with him.  I learned many new things just from his rehearsing the class discussion with me on the drive home.

The weather was wonderful, only one day of rain, but o my....I had forgotten how the entire look of the prairie landscape can change within one week.  When we drove south there were many fields left to be harvested, the leaves on most of the trees were more green than yellow, the long grasses were a lovely deep summer green and even the weeds in the ditches were maintaining their post bloom colours.  Coming back a week later the fields of grain were nearly all cut and combined, or at least swathed and awaiting pickup, so the dark browns and blacks of the soil were exposed.  The leaves on the trees were more yellow and rust brown than green and the rising winds had blown many of them to the ground.  The undergrowth on the little hills of the Qu'Appelle Valley had gone from bright green to light beige and dark brown and the general landscape took on the autumn look that depresses me so badly.  (Don't get me wrong...I love the autumn with the leaves changing colour and the retreat of so many of the biting, stinging insects, but the lack of bright colours other than on the tree leaves really gets me down...maybe because I know what the next season is going to be...the dreaded winter!)  How quickly the scenery changes on the prairies....

The basement suite we stayed in was interesting...perfect for our needs with a choice of many beds and bedrooms, a fully stocked kitchen that held our groceries nicely, nice big bathroom, desks and computer friendly hookups all over the place...and in a town where most people still do not lock their doors and can leave windows wide open at street level all day and night.  We became used to that very quickly.  With only one channel on the aging television there was no worry about my husband becoming distracted from the work at hand and no reason for me to stay up late watching news, news and more news.  Ergo: we both went to bed at decent times and had some long sleeps, which is always beneficial to us.  However, I have discovered that the concept of cleanliness, even for paying guests, is not always the same as my own, particularly on the prairies it seems.  'Nuff said...we were grateful for an affordable place with lots of space, very nice landlords. Any cleaning I chose to do to make things more habitable for us did keep me occupied when I needed a break from reading or watching the news.  I  do admit to one irritable moment when I discovered a pile of fingernail clippings sitting on a dresser beside my bed, the leavings of a previous tenant, making me suspicious about the cleanliness of the sheets (checked it out and no worries there) and wishing there was a little less greasy film and/or dust on a few items....oh, and a few less crispy fly carcasses in the kitchen sink would have been a less stressful welcome.  However, when all was said (very little) and done (a fair amount), we did have a wonderful time there. As it turned out our landlords had just been handed some frightening stresses of their own in the week previous to our arrival, so my irritation at the condition of the suite dissipated rather quickly. Before we left I cleaned some more to save them some work before their next rental and cursed myself for being so annoyed over small details that, were I not from Alberta, I wouldn't have worried over at all.

Every day I drove to our former city of residence, a mere 40 km return trip.  Every day I wandered through retail and grocery stores, stocking up on various items that are not for sale here in our town.  Every day I visited with several friends.  It was wonderful, relaxing, fun, exhilarating and most importantly, very healing. Some meals out with my greatest buddy, deep conversations with friends from my former church, one of those wonderful 3 hour coffee times with a beloved couple whose friendship with us has continued to grow even after over 3 years away, fantastic home made borscht luncheon with another close friend, very chatty breakfasts with  my husband each morning as he discussed what would be coming up in his class that day, a delightful pot luck dinner with new and old friends, complete with little kids racing through the house hollering and laughing, interrupted conversations between the adults that became a game of how to finish them before the next onslaught of desperately cute little ones talking over each other as each tried to tell us how much fun they were having, meeting up unexpectedly with old friends from campus days...each day brought new adventures with friends.  I hadn't realized how desperately I was in need of more face to face friend contact with people I feel close to.

One of my favourite drives back from the city was just at dusk.  On both sides of the highway there were dozens of vehicles in the fields:  combines, swathers, grain trucks.  After several dry weeks the farmers knew rain was coming in the early hours of the next morning and the push was on to cut and pick up as much grain as possible before the water arrived.  The grain dust in the air was so thick it was impossible to see very far ahead on the highway.  Maximum speed slowed from 110km to about 80km.  In behind the thick bank of grain dust in the air the sun was setting and the colours were amazing:  fiery orange, flashy pink and deep purple.  It was absolutely beautiful. It would have been too dangerous to pull onto the shoulder and watch the sun complete its journey but I did enjoy what I was able to see as I drove slowly back to our basement suite.

So it was a great week.  I slogged through the mornings until my ear cleared out sufficiently to hear people speaking without my asking them to repeat everything, I ignored the pain in my neck glands, I forced one foot in front of the other in between those wonderful visits where I could sit down on big comfy chairs and couches and I enjoyed every minute of the week.  It was great seeing my husband so very happy.

Only one health issue, short lived, happened to my husband this time out.  He accidentally ate something at lunch on our final day that triggered one of his few Type A allergies.  We had to drive a couple of hours out of town that night for a Diocesan meeting and he wasn't sure he was going to be able to overcome the tummy troubles sufficiently to make the meeting.  However, I was able to do the driving while he slept.  We arrived in sufficient time to sit quietly in a restaurant while he ingested poached eggs and toast and tea. By the time he had to be at the meeting his tummy had settled nicely and he was able to go and participate fully.
Everything worked out well.

The only other issue that arose for him was the loss of the little white tab that attaches to the front neckline of his clergy shirt, the identifying clergy collar.  We never did find it after a full scale search of the suite, luggage, car.  A priest doesn't arrive at Diocesan meetings minus his clergy collar...well, he could but it would be embarrassing to have to explain that it had somehow gotten lost in a very small car or in a single size garment bag. So my husband took an empty yogurt container and experimented with cutting strips from it and turning them white side out, bending them to fit into the slots in his clergy shirt neckline.  hahaha  Well, he managed it okay with the assistance of a small, hidden pin to keep the plastic tab from falling forward enough to expose the yogurt label on the the other side. haha  My husband is nothing if not inventive.  He managed to keep it in place for the length of the meeting and no one was any the wiser.

So, back to the same old same old here at home.  My husband is doing morning services today while I stay home and try to clear the fuzz from my ear and get my pain under control, this afternoon he has an article to write for the Diocesan newspaper, then tomorrow he leaves for Lumsden SK to attend clergy conference at the monastery there.  I will stay home this time so that I can go to a dental appt. and get this rectory cleaned properly....o my, it is in a bad way with all my ill health and absences.  I don't want to let anyone in here until it is done.  Once this next week of travel committments is over, my husband will be able to settle back into the autumn routine...good plans are afoot for Sunday School for Oct. when harvest is all over, there are some fun church activities planned that include the community at large....good things to look forward to.

What a blessing this past week has been and there are more good things to come.

First Online News Spelling Error of the Week

Early this morning I was reading a favourite online news site article and came across one of the most hilarious spelling errors I have seen to date.  The article was a recent police report from a town where I used to live.  Apparently the local constabulary were investigating a report of "suspicious PRISONS in a residential area".  hahahaha  

Personally I find all prisons to be somewhat suspicious, even those not located in residential areas. hahaha 

How on earth could the word "persons" get mixed up with the word "prisons"?  Likely a spell checker to blame...or else one of the computer programmes that decides for you what word you want to use.  I am more suspicious of those programmes than I am of either persons or prisons, to be honest.

Yup, one of the cutest errors yet.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

One More Sleep

Tomorrow after church we are heading off to seminary for my husband's second week of annual Diocesan study leave.  He is taking another Old Testament course and  I am not auditing this time.  I will read the textbooks later on.  Just not feeling well enough to concentrate on academics right now.  Instead I have a busy social schedule planned with friends in the area.  I can't wait!  For me it will be a bit of a mini-holiday to start making up for our thwarted summer break.  My husband views taking a theological course much like a holiday anyway, so he is happy as well.

One nice thing for me is that I will likely  have little to zero internet access this coming week.  It is a relief.  I like to take a complete internet break a couple of times a year so I don't feel like I am honour bound to report my every move day to day. I am actually a far more private person than many of my friends and family realize. There is so much I don't say in emails and blogs and phone calls. When people want to know every detail of where I am or why I haven't answered their emails and phone calls in less than 24 hours I feel kind of trapped or stalked or something.  After a break from all things internet for a week or so I feel like I have regained control of my own life.

I don't know why I feel that way sometimes.  I just do.  It is part of the reason I don't have any social networking going on other than this blog, no Facebook nor Twitter nor anything like that.  (the other part is that when friends tell me some of the things they have shared with other friends on social networks it all seems so inane that I have no interest in own inane blithering on my blog and the ensuing comments and other conversations is enough for me in the arena of social networking)

So, a nice break away from all the usual electronic relating is just what I need at the moment.  It is time to regroup, regain perspective, regain appreciation for what the internet does to keep me connected with friends and relatives who are geographically far away from me.

Maybe it is because I have been feeling so wretched for such a long time.  Ever since I was a small child my response to illness has been to pull away and be alone until I am healed and whole again.  The internet and telephone have been really helpful for garnering prayer support and getting some good suggestions from friends about how to deal with these illnesses.  But I am tired of talking about my health now.  I am bored with it.  There is nothing of interest happening these days and so health is all I have to talk about.  BORING!


So here's to an internet free week. Hopefully when I return home I will have something to say that is actually of interest and doesn't involve a tidal wave of health issues.

Have a great week to you soon!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Solve Yer Own Country's Problems First, Okay?

In the past week or two an aging rock 'n' roll performer who lives in another country has joined an ever growing group of "celebrities" who are panning Canada's oil sands projects.  Some of their reasons have some validity, particularly in regard to the long term environmental impact, some of them have even done a bit of research about the oil sands and that is commendable.

What alternately annoys me and makes me chuckle is how focused they are on this particular issue when the environmental, economic, military and social problems in their own country are raging out of control. Where is their activism particularly apparent when it comes to their own country's problems?  

To me it is a case of "show me the money".   Please people, show me what you have done to improve the lot of your own country of residence.  Tell me about the protests there you have participated in and how effective they have been in the problem solving process.  Send me copies of the interviews with your own government representatives that have resulted in concrete change for the better. Tell me about the hours and months of research you have done so that you can address your own country's problems intelligently through your access to the media. When you have made great headway in resolving your own country's problems then you will have my ear and my interest in how you would propose to assist my country with its problems.

At the moment it seems to me that mostly what is happening is that you have simply picked up on your own government's mentality that it must play the role of chief of police for the entire planet...or at least to those parts of the planet that are its best economic allies and provide its nation with products its own country is not able to produce in sufficient quantities for itself.

At the moment your rantings about my country's oil sands projects have about as much importance to me as a non-Canadian former game show host who spent years raving on about setting free an elephant from a Canadian zoo...never mind that the animal had spent its life in the zoo and would have starved to death or been killed immediately by predators in the wild....when zoos in his own country are filled with similarly hard done by elephants for who he has taken little or no responsibility. 

So that is my own rant for today.  Back off people.  Deal with your own country's problems first and foremost if you want to gain credibility here.  Then when you have succeeded in your homeland do some actual intelligent research on my country's problems before you start interfering in things outside your own borders.

PS Since you are entertainers for the most part, may I suggest you stick to what you do best...or at least better than you do with your protesting against my country...well, at least some of you do.....

There, I feel better.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Dis'a and Dat'a

I expected to get my ultrasound results back by today.  No such luck.  Is my doctor away from the office this week?  Are the results unclear?  Do they show nothing to worry about and so the doctor has decided not to waste his time contacting me?  

The question for me is this: do I call the clinic tomorrow and spend the day on pins and needles waiting to hear back from the doctor and maybe getting news I don't want to hear OR do I just forget about it for a week, head off Sunday afternoon with my husband to his seminary many miles away so we can enjoy his study leave week together in blissful ignorance and take whatever news awaits me when I get home?

If the news is troubling what would be the percentage in knowing that immediately prior to being away for a week?  My husband can't cancel his mandatory study leave on the off chance he will have to take me to the city hospital for more tests or what have you, only to find out he didn't need to do that.  If he goes and I stay home I am carless and can't get to the city anyway.  Why not have a week of study and fun before coming home to face bad news....IF there is even any to face??!!

As I put the options down in writing I think I have made my decision. If the doctor doesn't call tomorrow I will leave for the week, enjoy every minute of it, and come home to whatever news awaits me.   

There!  Aren't you just fascinated by the way my mind works through issues?  NOT! hahaha

Yesterday was a nice day:  my husband had a deanery meeting in another town so I volunteered to come along to help do the driving.  He is nearly over his lung infection, but a 6 hour round trip with a meeting in the middle was going to be a lot to face. He is barely back to work as it is.  We had a lovely drive, he had a super meeting with lots of encouragement from colleagues, I went window shopping and bought us a new office chair...and it wasn't even in the window...., had lunch at a fun restaurant, enjoyed a time of prayer with my husband and friends at the end of the meeting, locked myself out of my own car when I let myself become distracted and felt like an idiot having to disturb my husband after his meetings had started, had a fantastic visit with a former parishioner of ours who now lives in this other town, was thrilled when she presented me with a beautiful  scarf and a cloth tote bag. She is incredibly talented at all things crafty...and all things carpentry...and...and....and....  What fun to see her and hear all her news.  Wasn't feeling all that great, but slogged through the day okay, visiting my friend being a real highlight.

Today I woke up with a bit less pain in my lymph nodes in one place and now tonight more pain in a different place.  It is moving around and around and I am so incredibly tired of never knowing where it is going to pop up next.  I never before have had so many ultrasound images taken of such a tiny place on my neck and I wonder if the pain is moving about to try to keep away from the possibility of more of that gel covered ultrasound "stick" pushing at it!! hahaha  Got some errands done this morning AND managed once again to lock myself out of the car downtown. dear patient husband donned his bright pink and white bicycle helmet and came to unlock the car for his dark red house shirt, old jeans, torn plastic shoes and grey blue over jacket.  Ooooh, he was a sight to behold.  hahaha  But he only looked foolish, I actually was foolish...and distracted by a wonderful gift we received in the mail today...the gift that caused me to be at the bank unexpectedly in the first place.  Rule for driving for the rest of this week:  DO NOT BE SO DISTRACTED THAT I LOCK MYSELF OUT OF THE CAR AGAIN!!  

My husband had a good day at work today.  He is facing some difficult "people" issues in the coming weeks and I am so glad he is getting his strength and health back to do it.  We enjoyed our dinner together tonight just talking over the issues and figuring out the wisest course of action.

So many friends and colleagues telephoned today to see how we are feeling since their concentrated prayer efforts began on our behalf.  If we ever want to feel loved we just ask people for prayer.  What a lot of wonderful friends care about us and the state of our health.  We are blessed.  When someone is praying for us it certainly inspires us to keep up our prayers on their behalf as well. Some of them are facing some very tough problems these days so it is a privilege to be praying for each other with great hope in God for answers and help.

Tomorrow will be a day of ironing and packing up for our week away.  I was able to do the laundry today and get everything put away afterward.  Felt stronger today.  My husband told me I am looking better today than I have in several weeks.  Even the constant body rash from whatever it is I am allergic to was less severe today.  I have finally learned to grab the bottle of hand sanitizer to rub on the rash to take out the itch and painful sting.  I remember as a kid my friends' parents putting alcohol on their "bee bites" to take out the works darned well! 

Church hymns are picked for the next couple of weeks, the "water guy" is coming tomorrow with a 3 week supply of drinking water, only the bulletin to do for church on Sunday, chicken is thawing in the refrigerator for a decent dinner again tomorrow so only Saturday to wonder about what to prepare for meals before leaving Sunday afternoon.  Plans are made for next week with friends on and off campus for the times my husband is in class and I am not.  I feel a bit healthier and far more organized today than I have in weeks.

Mom and Dad are doing pretty well considering everything.  They made it out safely from their suite during a false fire alarm yesterday at their condo.  Dad has had his upper body cast scraped back around the neck and under the arms and around the waist so he can sit down better with it on.  The great huge contraption weighs only 4 pounds but he is so light and tiny now that he can hardly carry it without staggering from the weight.  Mom took a 2 hour bus ride across the city to her hearing aid retailer and got her new aids ordered this morning.  She is having the time of her life at age 86, touring all over the city. When she left the hearing aid specialist today she realized she had a few minutes before her bus came so she went into a bakery and brought home 2 giant gooey cinnamon buns for herself and dad to share.  Friends brought them fruit from the Okanagan the other day so yesterday Mom made plum pie. She and Dad ate most of the pie by bed time. haha  They are enjoying their Meals on Wheels dinners.  They each get different meals for lunch and dinner, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. They are huge meals. So, on the days they get meals delivered they each eat half of each meal. Then the next day they switch meals and eat the other half of the other person's meal from the day before. Having MoW delivered 3 days a week and being able to stretch those meals into at least 5 days gives mom the energy to do some cooking herself the other day or two.  Their home care and condo cleaning situations are working out well and it is a big load off my mind until I can get out there to see them in a few more weeks.

Today was a very encouraging day.  I am feeling well tonight with the pain being in the background instead of creating that ever present irritation that makes my eyebrows furrow and builds fuzzy distraction in my head.  I am feeling less worried about my husband's health as his lung infection dissipates.  He had his annual physical this week and got a fantastic report so he is encouraged to lose a bit of weight and get more exercise. We have been going back to the local walking track at last and it is good for us both.

So that is all the news that's fit to print.  Our lives have not been particularly exciting in the past few weeks with all these silly health problems, but by next week things should be more exciting.   Hopefully will have lots of good things to report by the time the study leave week is over.   

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

One Heck of a Good Deal!

This afternoon I was able to take advantage of a great sale going on at the local library.  I wandered over there to purchase a couple of books at their sale and found a wonderful deal.  For this month only, with the purchase of a ten dollar book tote bag, I could fill the entire bag to overflowing for another five dollars.  What a lot of fun to look through several hundred books as I started filling the tote bag.  I came home with the bag and twenty-three books to enjoy over the next several weeks.  A lot of the sale books were tacky romance novels, but with some concentrated digging I was able to locate those books that are more to my liking.  Thank you local library.  What a fantastic deal...and I love my baby pink tote that has "Go to bed with a different author every night...courtesy of your local library." stamped on the side. teehee

Youth Being Youth

We Canadians were shocked earlier this week when it came to media attention that extremely inappropriate frosh week chants, extolling forced under age sex, were happening on two of our university campuses.

Administration was quick to act, consequences are being enforced, as well they should be.  We as a nation are highly irate and extremely embarrassed that our own well educated and socially aware youth are blatantly choosing to endorse something so base, so immoral, so disgusting. Yes we should be.

However I think we need to step back for a few minutes to also consider the thought process of these older teens and newly twenties.  Can we remember the way we also thought, or didn't think, when we were in that age group?  Can some of us remember that time of trying to establish our new independence as young adults, that time of making sure that our families and friends realized we were on our own path, creating a life of our own choosing?  Can we remember the accompanying immaturity that plagued us as we started down that shaky path to true adulthood?

Can we remember when we discovered the shock value in the routines of comedians like Lenny  Bruce and George Carlin, or when we started watching late night television comedy programmes that pushed the envelope on what was considered humorous to previous generations? Can we remember the somewhat titillating thrill we felt the first time we heard bad language and graphic lyrics used to bring attention through music to social and political issues in our day?  Can we remember how we admired people who were not afraid to use shocking language and graphic depictions of sex and violence as they tried to point out what was wrong in the world?  Shock value in music, comedy, activism appealed to us because it seemed that was the way to say that we weren't afraid to let our parents and mentors know that we would find our own values.  Oh, we were going to create a brave new world. We would be the masters of our own destinies, we would turn the world upside down with our academic brilliance and an intelligence that would mock our ancestors and show them how we were so much more "in the know" about the world than they were.

We also had no idea whatsoever what we were talking about or what the consequences of some of our shocking actions and conversations could be.

I suspect that many of the university students who participated in the gross chants of frosh week fall into some of these categories.  They are chanting shocking things simply because they can; because it is a way of rebelling against family and childhood and displaying their independence, a way of thumbing their noses at the old ways as they attempt to forge their own pathways in life. And let's face it....young people simply don't yet have the understanding that comes with more life experience as to just how shocking and dreadful those chants really are.  Most of them truly don't understand  the awful reality of the words and ideas they are chanting about. I am guessing that most of the participants in the chants are not those who suffered from sexual abuse as children.  (I am guessing as well that even some of the participants realized the childishness of the whole exercise as they were participating and were all ready assuming it to be a last hurrah as they grow past such things.)

Each generation of new adults uses shock value in their expressions of music, humour, activism to show they are "different" than the generation before.  As each generation accepts another step in the decline of morality as the norm, what subsequent generations have to say and do to be ever more shocking in their expression is also going to have to take another step down the morality ladder, closer to the bottom of the barrel. 

This should not surprise us.  It should sadden us.  It should make us more determined than ever to take every opportunity to help young people understand actions and possible consequences.  It should anger us about the direction our entire society is going to the point where we actively do all we can to try to reverse the direction and save our young people from further downfall into decay.

I am very sorry that these young people did what they did, that many of them likely did not understand and maybe still don't fully understand what they were actually promoting in what they thought was simply a somewhat shocking chant during the annual humiliating (and completely unnecessary) frosh week activities. I am glad that the universities involved are taking direct action against this dreadful event.  Let's just keep things in perspective when we consider the age of the students, the lack of life experience for most of them that hinders their full understanding of the horrible things they were chanting about. Let's remember some of the shocking things we ourselves said and did at that age.*  Let's remember that, like ourselves, most of these young people will grow up and get past what they participated in this week and look back at those actions in later years with some sense of shame, some recognition such as we had as we aged that we weren't as brilliant or as shocking or as intelligent at the time as we thought we were.

*This is written with the knowledge and understanding that not every young person goes through this process of needing shock value in their maturing years to make their break away from family and create their own brave new world of personal values.  I am speaking very generally and from my own memories of growing up.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Fun with Google....Part Two Hundred Thirty Seven and Counting!

Myself and, apparently hundreds if not thousands, of other bloggers have not been able to access our own blogs this morning.  Some problem has occurred and is wreaking havoc across Google Blog Land.  I signed myself into the discussion group started over the wierd message we have all been getting today and after reading many postings finally got some help to access.  Still have no idea what is going on, if using the recommended point of access is valid or just someone who hacked into Google blogs and is having all of us on for some nefarious purpose, but for now I will use that method of access.

So, if I disappear for awhile or you have trouble accessing my blog posts, just hang tough along with me and we shall see what happens over the next few days.  In the meantime I have a couple of new spam comments to delete on an old posting before my blog disappears right off the screen...or whatever.....

Other than that I plan to have a marvellous day!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Amazing Encouragement From An Old Friend

Tonight we received an email filled with good news about, and warm greetings from, an old friend.  It speaks to us both about God's power to transform a life and gives us hope for our own selves as we head into the future.

Many years ago this old friend was married to someone and their marriage was a disaster.  All our lives were in quite a state of spiritual disarray at the time and we were unable to be the kind of help we should have been to our friends, probably contributing to their problems instead of helping them.  Our friends split up, divorced each other and we lost touch with them both.

The email tonight was from someone in another part of Canada who just met our old friend and quite by "accident" discovered we are mutually aquainted. What a delight to receive greetings from our friend, to hear about a new marriage filled with young children, a strong walk with Jesus, involvement in a solid church and in the school where the children attend. The news is energizing!  

Our friend has come out of a deep miry pit and been transformed in heart and life.  It means there is hope for ourselves as well to continue on in a life of transformation at the hands of a trustworthy heavenly Father.  We are delighted and too excited to sleep tonight.  

My husband's sermon today included some ideas  from the book of Jeremiah on being able to trust God, "the potter", that he knows what to make of us, "the clay"; how he reserves the right to change his mind on what direction we are going to go and who we are going to be, based on our own obedient decisions or lack thereof; how he can choose to smash down the clay and rebuild it into an even more useful vessel.  Our friend's life illustrates exactly that.  We are thinking about how it has been shown to us in our lives as well.

Today was a tough day.  Situations arose that need to be dealt with.  It will not be pleasant.  There is a certain amount of dread about what is coming over the next few weeks with these situations, with health issues and what have you.  Just about the time we felt somewhat tired and overwhelmed this evening, the email arrived.  What fantastic news and how wonderful that our friend remembers us with fondness from what was a terrible time in all our lives.  Amazing! Invigorating!

New Technology Plus Memory and Other Losses

Last evening, just before bed, I was watching a group of people on television who were competing in teams to copy a detailed tea room setting.  They had a fairly long time to see how the room was set up, then were sent on another task for about fifteen minutes.  When they returned they had to physically set a tea room up exactly as the room they had seen: furniture, knick knacks, table settings, creating a fireplace fire where they themselves had to then boil the tea kettle, etc.

The exercise reminded me of the old game we used to play at camp and birthday parties where a tray covered in various items was brought out for us to look at and then after a 1 minute look and short distraction, we had to write down every item we could remember seeing on the tray.  This was just a bigger version with a few more things to remember. 

The people involved ranged in age from late teens to middle fifties.  I was quite surprised that the team with the highest number of older people not only correctly completed the task first, but that they did it so much more quickly and correctly than the team composed mostly of the youngest members of the group.  The younger team seemed completely confused right from the start of the task, couldn't seem to remember where even the larger pieces of furniture were to be placed, let alone the tea service and other small paraphernalia, couldn't seem to grasp the concept of working as a team.  

I have always associated young people with quick thinking, alert memories, organized thoughts that tend to outstrip their older friends and family.  However, something was very much different about this particular group of them.

Finally several of them admitted they had no idea how they were supposed to remember all those details when they were not allowed to take photos of the room with their ipads/cell phones to use as reminders.  I was completely shocked.  It appears these dear young folk have not had to train their own visualization skills to help them remember details.  Anything visual they want to remember is easily photographed and their brain cells have no reason to be exercised in visual memory retention.

Later on I watched a national newscast extolling the wonders of a new style of GPS system for hand held devices that works like a seeing eye dog, or a white cane, works for the visually impaired.  As people walk around the streets with their eyes on their ipads and cell phone screens, emailing, taking photos, Facebooking, tweeting and doing everything EXCEPT watching where they are going, the new system will inform them if they are about to walk into a lamp post, or into a car in the middle of the road, or another person, or any obstacle they may be too distracted to be aware of.

Am I the only person on the planet who is frightened by this sort of change in our lifestyles?  Are we training ourselves to become so stupid that we can't even walk down the street without needing our hand held technology to tell us if we are going to walk into something and hurt ourselves???  Do we need our hand held technology to tell us we have come to a street corner and if we step off the curb we are going to be hit by a vehicle?  Are we in such bondage to our ipads and cell phones that we can't stand on the curb and physically raise our eyes to see if it is safe or not to cross the road and have our own brains compute the answer for us?  Are we becoming incapable of lifting our heads up high enough to see lamp posts and oncoming pedestrians and have our brains tell us that if we don't move we are going to have an accident??

I was very disappointed when our schools traded in brain power for calculators for basic math skills, worried in fact.  At this point I have skipped way beyond "disappointed" and "worried" and headed straight for "terrified".  What are we doing to ourselves?  What are we doing to our future generations?

One of our North American hardware store chains has started a campaign to get our kids away from technology that isolates them socially and creates health problems from lack of exercise.  The theme of their campaign is to "bring back play".  I have to applaud them.  However I am absolutely stunned to realize how many children have to be taught HOW to play and how to relate to their peers through physical and mental activity, teamwork and the like.

Technology is a wonderful thing in this day and age...amazing in fact.  What we are doing with it in terms of radically changing our lifestyles is not so wonderful to me...amazing, yes, but not in a good way.  

I have, until last night at least, been kicking myself for being so slow to join the technological parade of hand held devices.  My cell phone is used for emergency purposes and to check in on the elderly relatives when I am travelling.  I have no ipods nor ipads nor wii's nor video game systems......only an aging computer with a nice flatscreen attached.  The car I drive has no GPS system, handy as those can be, and it doesn't now, nor will it ever, parallel park itself.   It doesn't speak to me as I drive....not about anything. It is blessedly silent so I can concentrate on driving! I have to figure out my own pathways, crank the steering wheel myself to accomplish driving and parking maneuvers, shift gears and clutch with my own 2 feet and hands.  When I want to remember how something looks it is up to my own memory to do its job as I don't have the technology to rely on having grainy photos to remind me of everything my eyes have seen on any given day.  I have to remember what people tell me when we talk because I don't stand in front of them with any sort of cell phone recording technology copying our conversation for future referral.  It is my entire mind and body I must exercise, not just my thumbs and forefingers.

When I was young I didn't understand all the old people yearning for "the good old days".  Maybe they saw, even way back then, what I as a young person couldn't see.  Perhaps they could see how some of the new ways were eradicating skillsets that would result in a whole new generation suffering due to diminishing abilities.

Nooooow I get it!  I suspect it is time for us all to be very afraid...of how we are diminishing ourselves mentally and physically and socially without realizing we are even doing so.

An old adage tells us "A place for everything and everything in its place."  When it comes to technology perhaps we could allow that old adage to get us thinking wisely about its use.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Cleansing Rain

Woke up at 6am to the glorious sound of falling rain.  After two weeks of daily highs in the +32C range, the cooling of the air outside and inside the house is a great relief.  I am sorry for the farmers if this causes a delay in their harvesting, but even some of them have admitted the crops have been getting too dry.
So I have thrown open all the windows, letting the cool breeze waft through the house.  Much cooler temperatures are forecast for the next week, averaging around +23C, just perfect for this time of year; warm enough to dry out the crops fairly quickly and cool enough for my husband and I to enjoy some window washing and garage cleaning without sweltering.  

Friday, September 6, 2013

A Television Station Preview I Am Enjoying

Satellite tv stations seem to come and go and change hands with some frequency.  On my Bell Communications system, the former BOLD network is now Cottage TV and I am enjoying a couple of months of free previews.

This afternoon I watched an hour documentary on the long established refugee camps in Lebanon as well as a tour of Beirut, explaining various aspects of the local economy, culture and how the camps have effected the area.  One of the interesting aspects of the economy is how many women have taken to sewing and embroidering the most beautiful wall hangings, clothing, linens and what have you.  So many of the men cannot seem to find meaningful or sufficient employment for a number of reasons, so the women are using their considerable skills at handiwork to create income for their families.

I watched the most beautiful children smiling and "hamming it up" for the television cameras and laughed at how kids are just kids in most every country around the world...predictable in their ability to find joy in the smallest and most insignificant events, to be excited beyond sensibility when a camera is turned their way.

A group of wealthy American yacht owners went as a group to visit some of the local Muslims and watch what goes on in their weekly worship services.  Some of them were terrified to go and wondered if the worst would happen to them. Some of their Muslim hosts were equally afraid that the day together would end in disaster at the hands of the frightening westerners. In the end they all seemed happy to be able to dispel some of their worst fears and stereotypes.  Seeing everyone learning about their differences in culture and world views was of great interest; watching them laughing together as they feasted on wonderful Lebanese foods while the cooks stood by giggling with relief at the good reception to their delicious dishes reminded me of our own church ladies serving up a banquet and watching for a positive response from the guests.   The way the programme was filmed made me feel as if I was part of that amazing day.

I am going to spend more time watching Cottage TV while I am in recovery mode.  Another enjoyable station is Travel.  It appears I will not be taking any more travels out of the country, at least not any time in the foreseeable future, so have decided that arm chair travelling ( or in this case couch potato travelling) will suffice.  The quality of travel documentaries has risen dramatically in the past few years.  

Of course, as soon as I am over this round of illness and can get outside and busy again the tv will cease to exist other than for a couple of weekly programmes I enjoy....if they have even been renewed for this season....I have become leery of starting any new series on NBC as they seem to wait until people are really enjoying their more intelligent programming before deciding we are too small an audience and cancelling our favourites mid season.  If they would give more of their series a longer chance to be televised I suspect they would find it worthwhile and the Money God would eventually be appeased, arise and bless them.

For now I will enjoy my afternoons of world travels onscreen.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Ultrasound For An "Or Something".... Blecch!! Pooey!!

Well, by noon my blessed bladder was letting me know why I couldn't sleep last night so off I went to spend the rest of the day at the clinic waiting to see the on call doctor....a very nice man and most competent.  We are blessed with all the new doctors here. By year end our clinic will be close to fully staffed for the first time in several years.  Hallelujah!

So more meds for this new "condition" and an ultrasound scheduled for my parotid gland on Monday, since it is newly swollen and it isn't mumps this time.  The doctor says I have developed a blocked salivary gland...."or something".

What is it about that casual "or something" that instantly makes my stomach want to pucker inward on itself.  Please doctors and medical personnel, do not casually toss off an "or something" when you are diagnosing me...or anyone else!!  Ya'll hear me? DO NOT SAY THAT!

But the present good news is that I do not have to find a way to travel over 2 hours to the city any more for the required ultrasound.  It can now be done right here at home in the local hospital radiology lab.  YIPPEE!!  It can be done 4 days from now and at the reasonable time of noon, with no preparation.  Just show up on time and voila, the test will be done. 

I have subsequently talked to my friend who suffered the same condition not long ago and she has given me some wonderful ideas about biting into fresh lemons a few times a day to cause the saliva to flow as my body tries to rid itself of the sour juice.  That little blockage just may pop right out of there.  It did for her, why not for me? Right?  Unless the dreaded "or something" is responsible and it is not a blockage at all.

Humph...."or something".....not a phrase I appreciate when I am this tired and need several good nights of sleep between now and the ultrasound.  

Tummy, you need to calm down! Quit gripping yourself so darned tightly!  Between the sore glands at one end and the bladder problem at the other end, I don't need any more trouble with the organs in between!! 

When Sleep is Elusive

So what do YOU do when sleep eludes you completely at nights?

Not sure what is going on with me but I went to bed just after 11pm last night, it is now nearly 5am and I have slept exactly 32 minutes.  

It is too hot for one thing.  The daytime high here yesterday was +31C and so far the temperature has dropped to +15C with nary a breeze to rustle a leaf outside.  +15C is supposed to be a day time temperature, not a nighttime one.

My legs and upper back are aching  ever so slightly from mowing the lawn yesterday morning.  Well, yes, I know I am still not fully recovered from all the health issues of the past month, but that grass was getting so long it took more than one swipe with the mower to get all the tops of the grass blades and a few weeds that survived last month's ultra weed spraying.  I fiddled around with the mower for over 90 minutes.  Thankfully I started at 8am before the heat hit, while the front yard was still mostly in the shade.  Maybe I just shocked my system by tackling a big job like that as my first foray back to the wonderful world of work after such a long break.

My husband had to give in and see the doctor on call yesterday.  He is on powerful antibiotics for the next 7 days and has to be up early this morning to go for some tests at the hospital lab.  He dozed out before he set his alarm so I set mine.  I have noticed that often on nights when my alarm is set I do not sleep.  In fact almost every Saturday night into Sunday morning when I have to get up early to get to our other church service, my sleep is down to between two and three hours maximum.  Am I developing some kind of mental trauma when the alarm is set for mornings because it is the exception rather than the rule in my life?  Even at that, a half hour of sleep is really pushing the envelope for me.

Am I awake because I took an antihistamine yesterday after lawn mowing and my system is on overdrive as I haven't taken one for so long?

Am I awake because I had a 40 minute sleep on the living room couch in the late afternoon yesterday?

Am I awake because I overdid the cooking and other chores after mowing the lawn?  While my husband was at the doctor's office I threw together a huge pot of chicken veggie soup and after he returned home I spent a long time picking out some groceries and running other errands downtown.  I did a couple of loads of laundry too and some general tidying up around the house....usually indicative that I am getting better.  When mess irks me it is a good sign.

Have I simply turned the last corner toward healing and my body is reacting to that?

Is my body telling me I am on the verge of yet another relapse?

I prayed for everyone I could think of when I first woke up and realized I wasn't going to be going back to sleep for awhile.  I read a book for over an hour.  I switched my computer on and entered an online contest.  I read today's online newspaper updates from overseas and across Canada. I updated my bankbook.

In between these activities I tried laying down in bed, but ended up tossing and turning and being generally uncomfortable.

Meanwhile my husband is actually getting some decent sleep with far fewer bouts of coughing to wake him up compared to the past few nights. That is wonderful!  In the past 6 hours he has been awake coughing only twice.

Guess now I can add blogging to my list of "middle of the night" fun filled activities.

I am so wired at this point I doubt I will sleep again until bedtime tonight.  Wait, that isn't true.  If I put the tv on this afternoon I will be asleep within a couple of minutes and have a long nap...hopefully...with any success at all.  As long as this never ending night is not because I am relapsing into another round of illness, there will be an opportunity to catch up on my sleep.  

What a crazy night!! Hope it is the last one like this for awhile!