We had an amazing couple of days away from home!! I am too zonked to even go with my husband to our early church service this morning. What a grand time we had....a very simple time, but so refreshing.
Friday we actually got away on time! My husband, tired as he is, was able to pack up his overnight gear on Thursday, so we didn't have the stress of having to rush come Friday morning. (I am always packed up 2 days ahead of time to go anywhere...not that I love going away or anything....smirk....)
Blessing of blessings, the predicted fresh snow and blowing snow along our route never materialized...not so much as the hint of a snowflake for the entire trip. The roads were bare and dry. It was very very cold, but when there is no blowing snow, no ice, we don't care so much about the cold.
We had an uneventful drive to our first destination. Our hotel was fresh and clean with brand new blankets and bedding. First order upon arrival was for each of us to meet with good buddies for visiting and a cup of tea. It was really fun to surprise my friend and share lots of much needed laughter. Dell met with a colleague friend, one of the canoeing buddies from last summer, and that was fun for him.
Our evening meeting was with very good friends as well. The dinner provided was amazing and the dessert was something I could have a teensy weensy taste of. It contained chia seeds and yam paste and tasted delicious without being too sweet. The daughter of our hosts is very health conscious and is experimenting with many a wild and woolly recipe. This one was certainly a success. We shared some wine and stories and it was a very normalizing experience for us in the midst of such a crazy time of year in ministry.
Saturday was a wonderful morning as well. My husband went off to a meeting of Diocesan Council after an early morning rise and short jaunt into the city. While he was thus engaged I went clothes shopping. The dread of the expedition turned to wonder for me as I discovered how many sizes I have dropped in the past 4 months.
I felt like such a dough head when I went into the first store. I had no idea what size to look for. When a salesclerk came to assist me and she asked me what size I wore, I wailed, "I don't have any idea!" I hastened to tell her it was because of recent weight loss (not memory loss) that has taken me out of the Plus sizes for the first time in 15 years and she turned into a tremendously helpful person for me. We tried on 3 different sizes of pants and shirts and jackets and it turns out I am now a size 12 in regular women's wear!! I have dropped 4 sizes. I am intensely grateful for this diabetic diet and the exercise plan. Once we got the size figured out it was all I could do to not go crazy buying and buying and buying some more. However, knowing I am trying to save money for our trip to the west coast in a few weeks time I restrained myself.....somewhat.
I came away with 4 new pair of pants, a jacket and 4 shirts. O how proudly I strutted around that shopping centre, waving my bags and only just managing to refrain from crowing with excitement. I actually enjoyed a clothes shopping trip. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed buying clothes. The older my body gets the happier I am to be able to find nice clothing that covers up the flaws, the wrinkles, the flab and the general old age.
I was a bit concerned about eating 2 restaurant meals in a row yesterday, but it turned out just fine. I went to the shopping centre food court at noon armed with my list of carb, fat, salt and sugar nutrition counts for each of the fast food booths there. One of the joys of the internet is being able to track down such information, invaluable for diabetics, low sodiums and gluten frees.
Taco Time had a couple of items I could handle. One thing I discovered in the course of my research is that anything with chicken tends to have far less sodium added to it than foods containing beef. I was able to order 2 chicken tacos, one of which I ate and the other I simply unrolled and ate the chicken and salad inside, using the second soft taco as a plate, instead of eating it. I could have also enjoyed a chicken taco salad and not eaten more than a bite or two of the crusty corn flour bowl it is served in. Of course there was still far more sodium than I needed, but that is expected in any restaurant meal.
By the time I met my husband after his meeting I was feeling pretty good....except for one little problem with my skin that began about an hour after entering the shopping centre. I have shopped there for several hours at a stretch 3 different times over the past 4 years and this problem has occurred every time. (In all 3 cases I have been in the centre for well over 3 hours and within the first hour the symptoms begin.) An hour before I ate my lunch my skin began to itch, particularly on my hands and forearms. By the time I got seated for lunch the skin on all my fingers was bright red and a bit raw and sore. My forearms were rashy and more sore than itchy. My face was dry and my lips were getting red and sore as well. Since I had eaten breakfast foods that morning at the hotel I brought from home, I knew ingested foods were not the problem. My first stop in the centre was for a large cup of herbal tea to hydrate before the shopping marathon began. I purchased a bottle of water an hour before I had to meet my husband and glugged it down to stay hydrated but it didn't do anything to relieve the symptoms. When he picked me up early in the afternoon I looked like a lobster. The red had spread to my upper chest but fortunately my face was only dry and not too red looking, other than my lips.
We headed over to the Cathedral from the shopping centre. To cover the skin issue I had changed into one of my new outfits in one of the public washrooms before my husband arrived to get me. I didn't want to frighten anyone at the Cathedral with the rash and redness. The new pants and jacket covered all the worst spots and I purchased a scarf I don't really need to cover any bits of rash that might have crept up my neck before the afternoon meeting was completed. Honestly, what a hassle....
At the Cathedral, my husband and 2 other priests were collated as regional Archdeacons for our Diocese. It was a lovely church service and Eucharist with the members of the Diocesan Council and I was grateful to be included in the ceremony. We are awaiting some photos this coming week so that we have some good memories of the day to share with family and friends.
By the time we left the Cathedral, a couple of hours later, my skin was starting to feel better, the rash was slowly fading and the raw spots on my fingers were less sore and less red. This morning the red fingers are nearly back to normal, the other redness and rash on my forearms and chest are completely gone. My lips have lost their "just sucked on an acidic lemon" look. Is it something in the dust blowing around that particular shopping centre? Is it just the intense dryness of the air there? What on earth is going on in that place that affects me so badly?
It was after 4pm by the time we left the Cathedral, normally far too early for supper and we had a long drive home to face, but we decided to stay in the city long enough to have some good Indian food, something that is non-existent in our little home town. We calculated that by the time we drove out to the east side of the city to our favourite little buffet sufficient time between meals would have passed for me and my husband can eat Indian food any time of the day, so off we went.
The food at this restaurant is particularly good, the buffet is always fresh and there is an excellent variety of foods. The saag was spicy and good, the basmati rice perfectly cooked, the pakoras were not greasy, the lamb was "melt in your mouth" good, the tandoori chicken properly cooked through and not raw in the middle as some tandoori chicken seems to be, the butter chicken sauce so creamy I could only eat a bit of it, the eggplant and tomato dishes were tender and again, not greasy. I like a teaspoon of raiit on my salad greens as a treat. My husband filled his first plateful with potato chunks and peas in tomato sauce as a first go round at the buffet table. I have never met anyone who loves peas as much as he does. haha There is something about Indian food that is intensely satisfying for me. The teeny amounts of each thing that I am allowed was difficult to get used to at first, but now I find it is more than enough and I left the restaurant last night feeling comfortably full and emotionally calm after a hectic and fun weekend. I have decided the price for me at the buffet, where I can eat so little, is still worth it in order to so enjoy that bit of food and experience the ambience of the restaurant.
The drive home was also uneventful and on good, clear highways. We talked and talked and talked about our weekend with friends and colleagues, about the collation and my husband's new responsibilities, about our life in general.
After some of my recent complaints about not living like "normal people" (whatever that is), I finally had my chance this weekend....and it was too much for me! hahaha This morning my husband is at service in our other town and I am here blogging with that "toothpicks holding my sleepy eyes open" kind of feeling. I just have time for a short nap before I get ready to attend the service here in a couple of hours time.
I am grateful for a lot of things that happened this weekend. It was a good trip. My husband and I spent quality UNINTERRUPTED time together. We saw good, good friends, we ate wonderful meals, we had encouraging ministry meetings, we had a decent hotel room, we had good roads and no snow to plough through. The sun shone both days and our car started Sat. morning even though we forgot to take the cord with us to plug it in at the hotel. My husband received his promotion, I saw my best friends from our last town of residence. My blood sugar stayed well within range all weekend. I have new clothes that I really like.
We feel like we received a special blessing from God this weekend.