Monday, March 31, 2014

A Shortage of Meds in My Country

Today we had to face a new and frightening reality about the state of our health care once again.  After waiting for over 3 years for our town to have actual medical doctors, today we found out that we are now short of some medications....not only here where we live, but nation-wide.

My husband needs B12 injections at least once per month in order to stay on top of his chronic fatigue syndrome.  A month ago he used the last injection here at home and needed to get his prescription filled.  He was shocked last week when the pharmacist told him it had been back ordered for about 10 months and he couldn't fill the prescription.

Then I found some news articles written in the past 2 weeks explaining that a factory in Quebec that manufactures the injectable B12 has been closed for some time as it no longer met the standards required to operate in a medicine producing capacity.  The other factories in Canada have not been able to pick up the slack.  While supposedly a large batch of B12 is to be released this week, there is no guarantee that any of it will reach our little town out here in the prairies.

In desperation, exhaustion building by the minute over the past 2 weeks, my husband went to his physician this afternoon to see if there was any available at the clinic or hospital, but no, there is not.  The only option for my husband and many just like him, is to take the maximum allowed dose of B12 in capsule form (and my husband takes twice as much as that hoping that there will be enough floating around in his system that some will be absorbed) and hope for the best.

As if the lack of availability of a simple injectable like B12 isn't bad enough, the doctor also gave my husband a verbal list of all the other medications Canada is now short of, including some important chemo therapy drugs that many cancer patients need desperately to have.  My husband left the clinic feeling rather shell shocked from the number of meds not available at the moment anywhere in the country and possibly not for a long time to come.  I know that the medication I take for osteoporisis is back ordered, at least the generic version of it is.  Fortunately for me the standard med is still available at twice the cost, but only 55% is covered by our health plan despite having a letter of approval from the provincial government that allows me any coverage of that drug at all.  I am grateful I can afford to pay the difference or I would have no meds for that condition that I personally can take without an allergic reaction.

Today was a learning experience.  We had no idea that the state of our medicine availability in Canada was becoming so desperate and for so many people.  I am very worried about my husband and praying like mad he can manage to handle all his ever growing work load and still find sufficient consecutive hours to rest.  He is going to have to try harder on that one in the coming weeks.

We have been down the road of  my husband's CFS crashes before and I don't feel strong enough to survive another one if that happens to him again.  Thankfully we both know the signs so well that lately, as they have begun to crop up again, we have both been paying attention and making necessary adjustments each week to help my husband cope. Hopefully he can get enough B12 into his system over the next few weeks to avoid a crash.

So glad to find out what is going on here in my own country, the lack of medications available, the number of folk truly suffering as a result.  It is quite shocking and hopefully this situation can be resolved one way or another very soon.

Here's Mud In Yer Eye!

My husband's sermon yesterday was about the blind man that Jesus healed as recorded in John 9: 1-41.

It is such a tribute to the creation by God of the earth.  Jesus spit into some dirt and made mud that he then smeared over the eyes of the blind man before telling him to go and wash in the waters of Siloam, creating sight where there had been none since the birth of this man.

As is so typical of God, the restoration of the man's sight was done in a way that would be completely atypical of our human ways of doing such a thing.  Can you imagine: here is a man who had been blind his entire life and Jesus offers to heal him by sticking mud into his eyes??  Who would do that?  I don't know if that was some sort of common healing practice in that culture, it sounds completely bizarre to us.  Jesus did not come to the man as a recognized healer of physical ills and so they thought he had some kind of ego problem when he assured the man that if he obeyed His commands his sight would be healed.  Jesus to them at that point was simply another person born into sin like the rest of us, nobody special, so how dare He trumpet His own horn about healing someone who had been blind since birth?

One thing I do credit the authorities for doing and that is checking with the man's parents to be sure of their facts regarding the man's sightless status.  They wanted to be sure they were looking at the same man they had known for his lifetime. They wanted information from his family about who this Jesus fellow was.  That is only wisdom when we seem to be seeing something that is too wild to be believed.  His parents though had a typical human response when faced with interrogation that could result in their being in trouble in the community:  "We don't know who this Jesus guy is either.  Our son is an adult in his own right. Ask HIM!!" haha

The healed man had obeyed Jesus before he could even see Him. The offer of sight after a lifetime of blindness was too good a deal to refuse.  I love the simplicity of his answers when he was grilled by the authorities about who it was that had healed him and how He had accomplished it.  His response was, "Whether this Jesus be a sinner or not, one thing I know:  before I was blind and now I can see."

Alas, when they realized the man truly had been healed by Jesus they were upset about it, confused and angry and they drove the man out of town in case he was going to become some kind of heretic and become a disciple of Jesus, while they didn't yet recognize Jesus' spiritual authority.

And isn't that just like us:  when something happens we don't understand or don't want to understand; when God does things that initially look strange to us or he uses people we don't think are qualified to be used in ministry, we balk.  We refuse to believe this event or this person could end up being God's answer to our problems.  We react in anger or confusion or bitterness instead of continuing to pray and wait to see just how God may be involved in the answers to our prayers or in our life's circumstances.

My husband asked us how we feel when we see something we don't want to believe?  Most of us had to say we often remain skeptical about things that don't seem possible or probable to us, no  matter what the visual evidence.  He asked us if we ever experienced answers to prayer through people we would deem least likely to be bringing us the answers.  He asked if we had ever experienced answers to prayer that seemed initially to be moving in the exact opposite direction of what the answer eventually turned out to be.

After reading this story again and listening to my husband's questions and sermon, I decided I have to be more open again to God doing the unusual or the risky or the downright frightening as I go about my life.  When the prophet Samuel was led to choose David the shepherd boy to be King of Israel, overlooking his many older and far more qualified brothers, the Lord said through him: "...for the Lord sees not as a man sees, for man looks on the outward appearance but the Lord looks on the heart."
(I Samuel 16:7)

I am sure that Jesus knew the heart of that blind man, that he would be grateful for his healing and that he would whole heartedly become a disciple of Jesus.  He was not disappointed. The man knew Jesus was someone special and instead of questioning him about His apparently rather odd method of healing his vision, he simply accepted what Jesus had done for him and became His follower.

Days like today I realize I need to regain that simplicity in my own faith.  When I was a new Christian I didn't question everything to the depths I do now.  Of course some of my initial naivety had to change as I matured as an adult and as a person of faith, but I have to guard against taking up too large a protective shield of skepticism when some of the things I see going on and that happen to me spiritually bring answers to prayer and direction to my life.

In my own life the Lord has often used rather unorthodox methods to lead me and to get my attention focused on Himself. Maybe it is time for some more of that!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Saved From Western Society's Trap

I enjoy my life.  I particularly enjoy the pace of my life. For the past few years it has been a slow pace compared to most of my peers and certainly much slower than it is for the majority of my son's generation.

This morning I was talking about the pace of life with a friend who is struggling to free herself from the ever intensifying pressure of our society to be engaged in something "educationally and/or socially significant" every moment of every day.

She is at an age where getting more education is not going to be that useful to her, as her chances of being hired in a new field of endeavor and using a new degree are slim to none. Yet the pressure to over-educate herself and to continue to climb the promotional ladder is severe. She all ready has a high stress job that she is struggling to continue doing as her age and physical health issues catch up with her in a position where she is surrounded by younger folk.  Her struggle to decide what she should to to handle the job stress, while not picking up more stress by deliberately ending up unemployed for a period of time, is huge.  Although it has been awhile now, I can still relate to that type of confusion.

As I see how much pressure most of my friends are under to be "useful" every second of their lives, I am grateful I was forced out of the job market for health reasons quite some time ago.  

I am not embarrassed if I have to admit I spent an hour in the middle of the day reading a book that has no value outside of my own enjoyment of it. I am happy to take on the occasional volunteer job, jobs of my own choosing and for as long or short a time period as I want to handle. I am no longer embarrassed at my lack of formal education in certain realms that affect our lives.  It is lovely to be able to understand what my husband's theological pals are discussing without the pressure of having to join in the conversation if I don't want to.  I have no formal degree to defend.  I don't have to prove myself to anyone.  It doesn't matter to me what anyone else thinks of me or my lifestyle or my circumstances.  If I am not taken seriously because I am seen as being too idle, too poor, too old, too fat, too stupid,well then such is life.  I can't think of anyone whose respect is so necessary to my life that I need to present a particular image to them. The need to protect myself, to boast about my every busy moment, to care about the opinions of others who don't have a right to judge my life, is all over.

As I listen to various friends and relatives relate their busy schedules to me, I revel in the freedom to set my own schedule and my own pace each day.  At this point in my life I am beholden to no one to be anyone in particular, to do any sort of activity that will give me bragging rights in the wonderful world of, "Look everyone, see how busy and important I am!"

Aaaaaah, it feels good........


Noah and Hollywood

Late the other night I posted a rant about the new Hollywood movie "Noah" and how horrified I am by the reaction from some parts of the Christian church to the portrayal of Noah as simply a human environmentalist instead of an obedient follower of the Lord God.  After I read it over a few times I deleted it because it was so negative.  My exhaustion was showing that evening and I sounded silly.

So here is attempt number two:

It disturbs me when my fellow believers freak out over a non-biblical portrayal of biblical characters and events by atheists and others in the wild and wacky world of Hollywood movies.

I think I can say it that way quite calmly and rationally.

It seems that so often there is a knee jerk reaction from parts of the Christian and other religious communities when people who don't believe in God, make no claim to believe in God or the Bible or anything spiritual at all, decide to portray spiritual epics in their own way and for their own purposes.  Sometimes our outrage about these types of things is out of all proportion to reality.

My own reaction is more along the lines of "meh...".  Bible stories hold a fascination for many people and for many reasons.  When people deliberately choose to retell the stories and leave God out of it, or twist what has been written, or give a secular interpretation to what has been preserved in the Bible, that is up to them.  Who knows what good things God will bring out of their possible error?  This is God we are talking about here and if we know our Bible stories at all, we know he is capable of using absolutely anything to speak to people about his existence and his love for us. (I am thinking of Balaam's donkey, Jonah's whale as examples.)

Since the box office/ratings are what Hollywood is all about, (and none of us can claim to not know that), if we want to protest the making of a movie we don't appreciate it is quite simple to register that protest by refusing to go and see it, to refuse to rent it from the video stores and to decide to not watch it when it shows up on the satellite movie channels on our tv's.  

If the bottom line of the makers of non-biblical biblical epics is money then we don't have to give them any of ours.  Easy peasy, simple, clear cut and the best way to not make fools of ourselves in public.

End of rant.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Sodium Journal

I spent a few hours the other evening participating in a diabetes webinar.  One of the things I found out is that the guideline for recommended daily sodium intake is in the process of changing.  The Canada Food Guide folks are hoping the Canadian government will soon be on the bandwagon in making sure that the nutrition value labels on our foods are updated to reflect these new and seemingly impossible to adhere to standards.

According to the presenter on our webinar the new daily standard is going to be lowered to 1500mg sodium per day!  That is a big drop, a necessary drop and one that is going to either be ignored completely or else stand the food production companies on their heads!!

For the sake of our health I hope this news of a lower standard is true.  On the other hand, in our culture and with our accepted diets it is going to be a big shock trying to return to more fresh foods, purchase less prepared foods and slash most restaurant meals from our entertainment budgets.  When I had dinner out the other night, despite my best efforts, I am guessing I consumed nearly 1500 mg of sodium in that meal alone.  It was that salty.

So, I have decided to start keeping a personal sodium journal.  I will record the number of mg of sodium in everything I eat that is labelled with a daily nutritional value label.  

I all ready know cheese is going to be one of my worst offenders, my biggest downfall.  The cheese I love most may be only 17% MF, but it still contains a tremendous amount of sodium.  I haven't been able to purchase whole wheat crackers that are sodium free and there are often over 150mg of sodium in one slice of whole wheat bread!  There are 5mg of sodium in my 100g container of fruit yogurt that comprises my luncheon dessert each day.

I have never been a fan of prepared tomato sauces like salsas and spaghetti sauces but I have been sneaking a heaping tablespoon of them here and there for a bit of variety at meals.  No more!!  I can get sodium free tomato sauce at my local Coop grocery and will continue to make my own sauces and salsas once my supply of fresh frozen tomatoes in the freezer is used up.  I have been purchasing lower sodium tinned tuna on occasion but will now cut back on that as well and cook more fresh frozen fish. Oh how I wish I lived out on the coast and could eat fish, REAL fish, far more often.

Since my diagnosis 4 months ago I have rid myself of the craving for refined sugars, basically eliminating most of them from my diet.  Now comes the really difficult task of purging my sodium cravings from my head and body.  I have been doing my own cooking most days for the past 4 months with a restaurant meal about once every 2 weeks.  I suspect that if I can cut out as much sodium as I want to cut from my diet, the restaurant meals will become as unbearable to eat due to excess salt as desserts are for me now with all their sugary sweetness.

I will purchase a new journal tomorrow and start entering my sodium intake on April 1.  Cutting out so much sodium is going to call for far more creativity on my part in the wonderful world of food.  

It will be worth the effort. In the last 4 months I have all ready seen a huge drop in my blood pressure just from staying clear of fast foods and the processed foods I used to always have on hand for busy days when I had no time to cook properly.

At the time of my diagnosis my BP was peaking under stress at 151/87. Now when I am stressed it is peaking at 125/76.   If I can gain control of my "white coat syndrome" when I go for testing at the clinic I hope my readings will be closer to what they are when I test at times I am relaxed: somewhere between 106/62 and 118/71.  My highest BP as a diabetic should not be higher than 130/80, which it was the last time I was at the clinic listening to the intern inform me that if I react negatively to acers then the doctor could shunt my kidneys.  (At least she made her point as I have not forgotten one terrifying word that came out of her mouth!!)

So now I have a new project to amuse myself with: keeping a sodium intake journal.  No doubt I am going to learn a tremendous amount about my diet and my body's reactions to reduced saltiness in my food.  One of the needs listed for diabetics is a calculator and using it to calculate sodium percentages is one of many good uses for it in the hands of a diabetic. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Medical Conundrum

A dear dear friend is dying of cancer.  She was diagnosed less than 2 weeks ago and had a huge surgery yesterday.  She began bleeding post surgery and was given a 20% chance to live.  Living would mean a feeding tube for the rest of her life and only a vague consciousness of the world around her.......yet the surgery was done, giving her a 50% chance of "living".

Situations like these are ones I confess I struggle with mightily.  My friend is a widow who desperately misses her husband who died about 3 years ago.  She is a strong believer in the afterlife and has a strong desire to go there, rather than to continue on suffering here on earth.  However the doctors have taken oaths to keep people like my friend alive regardless of the quality of the life she will have.  

I can't imagine the thinking process that a medical person must have to go through in life and death situations when that person has a chance to extend a life that will not be worth living and yet cannot choose death for the patient even if it is the best thing in the long run.  How do surgeons and doctors and nurses cope emotionally with events like this one? I couldn't handle it.  I admire them because they do their best in tricky instances like this where no decision is completely right or wrong, where the patient is going to pay a heavy price regardless of the outcome...death or a near vegetative state.

Sigh.....all I can do is ask God sincerely if he couldn't just release my friend from the horror of continued life on this earth.  I don't know what else I could pray for.  It is the most merciful thing I can come up with but it is up to God to do what is best.  Sometimes I have no idea why keeping my friend alive could be the best thing.  I am grateful it isn't up to me to decide her fate in the end.

Please God take care of my dear friend.

An Uninterrupted Day Today......I Hope.......

After yesterday's non-stop GO GO GO to dental appointments, diabetes clinics and diabetes webinar sessions, I need today to just be at peace in my own home, doing a bit of shovelling outside and progressing at my own pace on the housework inside.

I am happily tired today.  I have a ton of work to accomplish, it is nearly 9am and I have not started any of it yet, but I have enjoyed reading some newspapers, lounging over my breakfast and gearing up for the rest of the day.  My husband is happily occupied elsewhere for the day so I can just do as I please. 

What pleases me today is to be left alone, to be quite honest.  Tonight I am supposed to be going out for dinner with a friend and I am looking forward to it very much, but prior to that I have to get my own work done....no phone calls, no more emails until later this evening....just a day to do the work that I need to do.  Sometimes other peoples' lives and problems take up enough of my time that I start lagging behind on my own jobs here at home.  I let that happen all the time because I enjoy being available to my friends and family.  Usually it is A-OK, but today is a day for my own work to be accomplished.  

It is official: I am taking a day off from the rest of the world and getting the jobs done here at home that will make both myself and my husband happy and comfortable in our own space.  Ooooh, that feels good!!  Sometimes I have to declare my own intentions to myself or I fail miserably at accomplishing needed goals.  How quickly I forget that my husband and I also have daily needs to be attended to.

Yup, it is going to be a great day of good deeds done right here at my house!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Snow Snow Snow Snow Snow

My dear husband has generously and graciously rearranged his schedule today to allow me to use the car for my appointments at the hospital.  It is snowing fairly heavily outside today....our first spring snow and it is a doozy.  Hopefully by the time he absolutely has to leave town for his out of town committments the ploughs will have been out clearing the highways.

I am not complaining about the snow.  Compared to the storm presently hitting the state of Virginia and that is on its way to the Maritmes with wind gusts well over 100km and over a foot of predicted snow, what we have here is pretty insignificant.  The arrival of the snow also means that our daytime temperatures will be rising over the next week.  Besides, I do enjoy getting out and shovelling. That will be my task once my afternoon appointments are over.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Week of "Happy's"!

This week begins our annual season of Happiness Celebrations.  Today is my husband's birthday. Tomorrow is our 37th wedding anniversary.  Our son has a birthday in 2 weeks and my husband's sister has a birthday a week after that.  It is a fun time of phone calls, greeting cards and celebratory emails back and forth among the family members.

We kicked off our celebrations yesterday when we received some cards and gifts in the mail.  My parents go a little bit overboard sometimes with those because we so rarely get to see them in person to celebrate together, but it was fun on a dreary, cold day to find something exciting at the post office just for us.  Today there were family phone calls.  We went out for dinner this evening: medium rare steak for him and a turkey schnitzel and perogies for me.  I get a small sized dinner portion that has the exact number of carb units I require for dinner and then I add in an extra half hour of exercise after dinner here at home, just in case.....haha.

Tomorrow is our anniversary and as usual we are so busy there will be no opportunity to celebrate other than a card exchange as we pass each other running off to various meetings and medical events, so we had to pack all the excitement into this evening's brief time out for a meal away from home....followed by the added bliss of coming out of the restaurant to a car that wouldn't start because I had hit the  switch for the lights as I got out of the car on our way in, over an hour previously. haha  

I learned something though about recharging the battery that I didn't know before. Bless my husband for filling me in.  Apparently if it hasn't been too many minutes since the battery powered out, you can do a couple of little things to try to recharge it sufficiently to get it started again.  Unfortunately this car is an automatic so the old push start doesn't work, BUT tonight I learned something to try if I don't have access to assistance from someone else.  My heart dropped into my stomach when I first turned the ignition key and there was absolutely no response.  My husband and I sat and looked at each other in horror because we were going to miss a boxing match on tv if we couldn't get going. (Now there's a fantastically fun birthday celebration: watching guys punch each other in the face!!) We sat for a minute and then in frustration I tried the ignition key again.  There was a slight, half rev and then it died again.  However, when he heard that pitiful purring attempt coming from the engine, my husband grinned and said perhaps all was not lost.  (We could have called someone from the church to come and boost us, but we had no phone directory with us and have no numbers memorized for parishioners at this point in time and we didn't want to wait for a CAA tow truck to come just for a battery boost.)  So, my husband pulled out his stop watch and said we would wait for 5 minutes and then try to start the car one more time.  He told me that little buzz we heard on my second attempt at starting it indicated the battery was trying to re-boost itself and so it couldn't have been dead that long.  He told me, once the 5 minutes was up, to turn the key and if there were 2 to 3 little buzzes, to push my foot slowly down onto the gas pedal and see if it would start.  Sure enough:  I turned the key, the engine sputtered a couple of times, I slowly applied the gas and it started right up!  Yippee!!! Thank you dear husband for this new and useful info!

We got home in time to watch the last 10 rounds of a 12 round match and it was a really interesting fight.  We missed quite a few broadcasted fights last fall so are enjoying the rebroadcasts right now.  Thank you TSN!

I am glad we could go out for a bit of dinner tonight as our anniversary tomorrow is the usual washout for celebrations.  haha  I start the day with a spa treatment for my teeth (AKA a cleaning) while my husband leads a Bible Study at the seniors' manor.  Somewhere in there we may cross paths back at home, eating our lunches at differing times, before he heads out of town for a couple of days of ministry elsewhere and I head over to the hospital for a diabetes clinic.  I will get home from that just before dinner and after bolting down my food it will be time for a diabetes webinar that will take up most of my evening hours.  Perhaps my husband will remember to phone me later in the evening and let me know how he spent our anniversary. haha  The next evening I have plans to go out for dinner with a local buddy who is so much fun to spend time with. Can't wait for that.

Before we know it the weekend will be upon us once again.  It is all ready Tuesday and it seems like only yesterday we were in the city having fun.  It is true that as we get older the time seems to race past far too quickly, far too often.

There are more celebrations to come with other family members who are celebrating birthdays in the next couple of weeks.  This is an exciting time of year.....lots of reasons to celebrate, including  the onset of spring. YIPPEE!!!  I can say that because the predicted snow today didn't arrive, although I suspect it will be snowing tomorrow instead as I am trying to do these marathon walks back and forth to dentist and hospital.  
  

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Something in the Air

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.    

Thursday, March 20, 2014

O Dad, Poor Dad, Doctor's Cancelled Your Spine Treatments and I'm Feelin' So Sad...

My dad got the word yesterday that he will not be receiving spinal gel injections after all.  The latest MRI showed that there has been too much recent healing of the newest round of fractures on their own and not enough fluid is present for the injections to proceed.

I assumed Dad would be devastated and yes, he is disappointed, as are we all, BUT I found out he has been dreading the actual procedure ever since he was at the doctor's and found out what it entailed.  There was a chance that in the process of "pounding out" the place where the injections would happen, more damage COULD happen to the vertebrae.  

So, that is pretty much the end of the line for Dad as far as any way of treating him further for his fractures and his daily pain.  He will have a follow up with his back specialist in a few weeks, go over his regimen of exercises and morphine drugs to see if there is any tiny change that could help anything at all, but there is little hope of that.  

The main thing for me is that Dad is at peace about this latest disappointment.  He is content, as much as anyone can be, to continue doing whatever he has to do each day to rest and be still to help keep the pain from becoming overwhelming.  He has accepted that he will be on his morphine pills for the rest of his life and that unfortunately his body cannot tolerate any higher doses.  

My mom is a brick, handling the vagaries of Dad's condition...of his several health conditions. While I pray for Dad to be able to manage his emotions as he enters this phase of  aging and ill health, I pray for her as well. She has her own health issues and we have to be careful we don't all just assume she will be able to continue with her present level of coping with and caring for Dad. Dad is 87 and Mom soon will be. 

Sometimes it is difficult to live  this far away and other times I realize it is likely for the best in terms of the drain on me. When we lived in the same city a few years ago, long before most of my and their health issues arose, there was a lot of stress and we realized that some distance can be more relaxed and less of a drain on us all.

Hopefully I can go to see them soon and help them out with some things, give their drivers and shopping assistants a break for a few days.

Yup, It's Spring All Right....Know How I Can Tell?

There are some serious hints going on today that spring has definitely arrived out here in the middle of nowhere!

1.  Since I had no transportation and had to walk to the hospital this morning to see the dietician and RN, (GOOD appointment, very encouraging), I of course awakened to our first freezing rain of the spring season. Out from winter storage came my spiked walking cane.

2.  Since we have to drive to the city tomorrow and have no option but to go, of course there is to be somewhere between 2 and 4 cm of fresh snow to fall on top of the freezing rain and that will be accompanied later this afternoon by wind gusts of between 50 and 70km, rendering the highways nearly impassable by tomorrow morning.

3.  The town where my husband spent the night last night is all ready experiencing the beginnings of a small blizzard and by the time he comes home this afternoon he will be praising God for having the foresight to take a shovel with him in the trunk of the car.  Hopefully he will be home before the need to dig a driving lane down the middle of the road becomes necessary.

4. Overnight low temperatures will be dropping again for a few nights to -19C, with daytime highs of about -9C, even though it is nearly the end of MARCH!!! This will guarantee the ice that forms tonight will grace us with its presence for at least the next week.

Welcome to the prairie spring.  Sounds a bit daunting doesn't it?

However, here is the good news:  it is possible that the actual performance of the weather will not end up being as dire as presently predicted, or it will be even worse.... but even if it is, by tomorrow it will be clearing off again and the icy highways will last only as long as OUR trip to the city and back!


Guaranteed that as soon as WE are off the roads  for any length of time, the real spring weather will be on its way.  I am all ready praying for our trip the end of April as it seems it could be the perfect time for the last of the spring blowout blizzards!!!

Not that I'm paranoid or anything....based on our past experiences here or anything.....

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ooooh, I Love Opera!

Last evening I spent some quality time listening to some older recordings of mezzo-soprano Cecilia Bartoli.  I particularly enjoy her 1996 recording titled "Chant D'Amour; Melodies Francaises", where she is accompanied by the tremendously talented pianist Myung-Whun Chung.  While listening to recordings is not nearly as much fun as watching her intensely animated live performances, it is always a treat to hear her renditions of such lovely operatic music.  I have a 1999 recording of her duets with Bryn Terfel that I also like very much.  Hopefully I will remember to one of these days order in her most recent recording of her lead role in "Norma" by Vincenzo Bellini.  The reviews on her performance  vary from scathing to adulation, at least as far as far as her interpretation of the character and of the music, so I am really looking forward to hearing it myself.  There are few criticisms of her voice itself though so it should be a wonderful experience. That lovely voice has matured so beautifully over the last 15 years.

I am also trying to educate myself more about Canadian Art, in particular the Group of Seven.  Sigh.....to be honest I am not that excited about most of the works from that particular group of artists.  I am not denying their talents, it is more a matter of personal preference in style.  My son is giving a lecture on Lawren Harris at VAG in April and I would love to be there to listen to his take on this particular artist and his works.  While I prefer Harris' later, more abstract works, particularly for the way he has captured the colours of the Canadian north, they still don't thrill me.  The broad brush strokes and simplification of the content don't hold my attention. As a group presentation, his abstract works seem to all blend together in my mind into one big grey, blue, white and brown haze.  That is just me and I am no artist, nor am I well educated about any aspect of art, but I remember the first time I saw a small collection of the G7 artists at the Glenbow Foundation in Calgary and I remember feeling distinctly disappointed for the most part.  

Emily Carr's paintings leave me cold too, as far as eliciting any sort of response other than kind of a "yeah...so?", or maybe even a "meh....". I prefer the minimalist works of Saskatchewan artist Agnes Martin for their complete lack of pretention.

So, it is time to start educating myself more thoroughly in order to gain a better appreciation for Canada's best known artists.  At this time my ignorance knows no bounds and it is time to change that to at least some small degree.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Just Playin'

Today should have been a day to start cleaning house again, but I decided to delay and give myself a play day.  I had a great time in between phone calls and emails.

This morning I made my own brand of spaghetti sauce, this time adding in the stalk ends of some fresh asparagus (had the tips for lunch...DEEEElish!!) and a liberal addition of tabasco sauce.  We will be breathing fire after dinner tonight and our tummies will feel warm and happy!!  Love the spicy food.  My ancient blender was put to good use as it ground up the peppers and onions, tomatoes and asparagus.  I added lots of lean hamburger to it as well this time.  It tastes wonderful.

This afternoon I took time to go outside and play in the water that is pooling on the low spot on our front sidewalk.  It was warm enough to use a spade and chip away all the ice hanging off the higher ground under the hedge and along the opposite boulevard.  I dug a trench on the lower side of the sidewalk for the water to drain down toward the natural drainage point.  Mucking about in the water and mud was such fun and as an adult I don't need to apologize for getting the bottom of my boots muddy and soaking my pant legs!!  Hopefully by morning most of the water will have drained off the sidewalk sufficiently to allow pedestrians better access on their route to work downtown.

And now it is time to go and heat up that spaghetti sauce again so we can eat dinner before my husband has to attend a vestry meeting.  What a fun day, with a fun reward of spaghetti dinner at the end of it.

Thrilled For My Friends!!

Today has been a good news kind of day for several of my friends.  I am delighted for them all.  Today was a day when it was fun to pick up the telephone and hear such delight coming from the other end of the line.

One friend sold her house today.  She has been stuck in a bad situation in a rather horrible little community......for over 30 years!  What excitement her call generated today.  We have held each other up emotionally through some pretty rough times over the years and I couldn't be happier that she will be moving to her province and town of choice within a matter of a very few weeks.

Another friend had fabulous news to share about a personal situation that has made her world a dark place for the past little while.  The situation has not changed but she is gaining new control over her dealings with it. She is sleeping better and paying attention to how to react when she is forced into the situation that, with good reason, so upsets her.

Another friend is dealing with a temporary health issue and learning about how to get some help until such time as it passes and she is free of it.

Other friends have called or emailed recently with other kinds of good news.  One of our friends let us know he has had his travelling van refitted, a new motor put into it so it will be ready for spring and summer hiking trips with my husband at the first opportunity to get out into the mountains together.

Friends with grown children have contacted us to let us know about the wonderful universities and career positions their children have been accepted into over the past couple of months.  There is little more exciting for parents than to see their children stepping out on good paths in life.  

A young friend with her first child let me know how much fun her family had this week celebrating his first birthday.  It made me smile as I remembered my own son's first birthday, buried to the armpits in icing on his giant rabbit cake.

What a great time of good news.  With the imminent arrival of spring it seems fitting to receive other good news on every possible front.

Happy Clappy Feet!

This morning I went all out and paid for a proper pair of Naot walking shoes.  Ooooh, my feet are so happy!!  I don't remember the last time I bought proper shoes....or any kind of shoes at all other than a couple of pair of cheap sneakers when my ankle was healing a couple of years ago.  

I am very easy on shoes for some reason.  I bought a pair of brown suede shoes in Alberta 12 years ago and I am still wearing them. I wear them a lot. They look barely worn.  I have a pair of hunter green dress shoes that look great with black outfits and I purchased those shoes over 15 years ago.   9 years ago I grabbed a little pair of inexpensive "leather look" shoes when I found myself in need of some comfy walkers one weekend when I was out of town.  I assumed they could just be spares and then thrown out as soon as I bought proper shoes again.  Yup, still wearing them regularly with pants that cover up the toes so that the cheapness of those shoes is not so noticeable. hahaha

Today I wasn't planning on buying shoes, as we are going to the city on the weekend for part of a day and shopping is one of the things I have to do there. The mall my husband has to drop me at while he attends a meeting is not known however for having proper shoe stores. It has the usual mish mash of department store shoes, all too wide for me, as well as a discount shoe store that still carries those inexpensive "leather looks" that are identical to the ones I bought 9 years ago.  I will go there and pick up a couple of pair of flip flops if they have their summer sandals in stock, as those make great house slippers year round....comfy on the bone spurs as they mould around my heels over the first few weeks of use.

This morning when I went to the bank to pay some bills I happened to peer into the window of one of the little clothing stores on main street and noticed they had a Naot display sign, so after doing my banking I went back to the store to investigate.  In less than 10 minutes I had a big shoe box with me as I exited the store.  One thing I love about Naots is that their tie shoes are usually narrow enough for me to wear.  They have  a sort of built in arch support/heel orthotics arrangement that lets me walk comfortably for a long time without pain.  I have found with footwear that generally you get what you pay for, so my wallet isn't complaining too loudly about what I spent on my new shoes.  

Now, when I go shopping in the city next weekend I can do so in comfort.  I can check hem lengths on summer pants quite easily as I will all ready be wearing the shoes that I will have on when I wear the new pants at home.  

Every so often it is a lot of fun to have a shopping serendipity like I had today.  Yippee!!  Maybe, just maybe, now that I have lost some weight I will enjoy clothes shopping again....maybe......maybe....maybe......

Monday, March 17, 2014

Old Time Summer Memory Tunes


Here are a couple of old songs that, thanks to YouTube, have reminded me of some of the more fun summers of my younger life. hahaha
ENJOY! 

Remember Sawyer Brown?  Yup, and they are still touring!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpdscS3UYDA


And then there are the old faithfuls, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8u7-Ht05v2M

So, what kind of nutsy summers did this woman experience you ask?

Heehee....I'll never tell........... 

Professor Eric's Take on the Timelessness of the Old Testament

My husband often preaches from the Old Testament readings on Sundays.  Like Professor Eric he finds it timeless and applicable in so many ways despite its cultural roots being so different from our own.  We enjoyed reading Professor Eric's ideas about the OT.  Click on the link below to read his latest installment, posted on March 15, 2014:

http://scatterings1976.blogspot.ca/

Crazy Dreamin'

If awards were given for crazy dreams my husband would get at least first runner up.  I can't wait every morning to hear what ridiculous scenario he dreamed about during the night.

2 nights ago he was dreaming about Zorro.  Zorro!!  The two of them were trying to convince people that they should join them as crime fighters throughout the world, but that in order to do that they should first come to my husband's Bible study group. hahahahahaha  I can at least see some of the background reason for that dream, as in one of our churches there is a distinct lack of interest in having any sort of Bible study outside of Sunday morning church, but to have to draw on the resources of Zorro???  Really???  hahahahaha

Last night's was even funnier.  In last night's dream my husband was involved with the Pirates of the Caribbean.  He and Jack Sparrow were trying to recruit new residents for the local nursing home.......wha?????  AND they didn't even have to be retired pirates to qualify for residency status....so I can't understand then why it was such a battle to locate new people for this lush seniors' care facility.  hahahahaha

Being able to remember his crazy dreams is a good sign for my husband.  It means he is getting over some of the stress he has had in his job lately.  I have noticed as well in his sermons and public speeches that his sense of humour is surfacing again.  He is waking up feeling cheery in the mornings.  He doesn't always deal well with long cold winters like the one we just had.  As spring struggles toward arrival this year he is responding well to the warmer days and the sight of snow melting in the fields and on the streets.

So now I can't wait for tomorrow morning now to hear what his latest silly nighttime adventure is going to be.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Me, the Eighth Dwarf: "Dummy"!

Today at lunch time I misread the nutrition label on a new brand of pitas I wanted to try.  Short version is that I ended up eating twice as many carbohydrates as I am supposed to have at lunchtime. "Dummy" is my middle name apparently!!
So, how best to counteract the error?  Yup: the dreaded exercise!  I did dishes, walked around and around inside the house, marched on the spot, did my back exercises and walked laps around the church and hall for 110 minutes of the 120 minutes prior to postprandial blood testing.
It was certainly worth it: my sugars were up only 1.7 points.  2 points is a good rise and 3 points is as big a rise as you want to go.  Whew!!
No one will ever convince me that large amounts of exercise don't assist in maintaining good health, particularly for diabetics.  I will never believe it.

And now I am going to celebrate by sitting on my bottom for an hour to read a book that arrived in the mail this week.  Perhaps, since I had to get up at 5:30am to help my husband prepare for an out of town meeting, I will even fall asleep and have a wee nap.....zzzzzzz....

Rocky 'n' Mikey

Thank you HBO for a rebroadcast this morning of last fall's bout between Rocky Martinez and Mikey Garcia~it was a good fight, evenly matched opponents for the first 5 or 6 rounds and I enjoyed their energy.  Garcia knocked Martinez to the canvas 56 seconds into the 8th round with a vicious body shot.  

Lately many of the televised fights have had all the excitement of watching paint dry, but I am glad to have finally caught this particular fight.  There wasn't so much tentative dancing around the ring, not so much avoidance strategy as there was good solid punching by both fighters.

Can't wait to see what is broadcast next weekend.

Damnable Ice Dams

The writing in another newspaper article caught my attention this morning.  It was a report about the problem of ice dams that happen this time of year.  My husband was up on our roof here at home just the other day removing one to stop our roof from leaking from a large chunk of ice that was jammed into a crevice above our front entryway.

This particular article may have contained all manner of excellent suggestions for safely breaking up ice dams but my attention was distracted by some interesting spelling.

The article continually referred to ice damning and ice damns.  hahahaha  Although there have been occasions when I have found it damnable, I doubt it has ever successfully been damned into non-existence anywhere in the world.  This spelling error was rather cute.

Farther down the same page was an advertisement for "ice cream".  It is actually "iced cream" ( or more likely in this day and age, iced milk).  

Another article talked about something that was "damn good" instead of "damned good".  (lots of emphasis in this morning's newspapers on that little 4 letter word)

I do enjoy my morning newspaper reading.  There is always some unintentional error that is good for a chuckle.  Reading those errors makes me feel so much better about my own written mistakes.

Friday, March 14, 2014

How Appetites Change!

Perhaps only other sugar addicts, or perhaps alcoholics, will understand this, but I am experiencing freedom from sugar cravings for the first time in my life.  

All my life I have not been able to refrain from eating ALL the cookies in the tin, the ENTIRE cake in the pan, EVERY square of the chocolate bar....my cravings turned me into a runaway train. Some of my earliest memories are of me standing in the kitchen begging my mother, with sincerely desperate tears, to please please please leave a little extra cake batter on the mixer beaters for me to lick off when she was finished baking.

As an adult my cravings became so intense that unbidden images of sweet treats would suddenly invade my mind, from out of nowhere, no discernible triggers.  I would be walking down the street, entering the post office, driving through the country on a sunny summer day, when into my mind the picture of a sugary snack would appear.  In my mouth I could "taste" the sweetness, feel the texture of the food as I chewed and swallowed it.  As soon as that happened I knew I was doomed to drive to the nearest store for candy, or home to my kitchen to bake. I tried so hard to control it year after year with no satisfactory or long term results.

I discovered early in life that the only way to overcome the cravings was to distract myself by doing something energetic and time consuming until the craving passed. Sometimes I was busy for 2 or 3 days trying to get over it, to forget the mental images and to fill my mouth with crackers to try to be rid of the imagined sweet taste.  Sometimes it worked and other times I would end up throwing up until I could get something with refined sugar into my system.  Natural fruit sugars accomplished nothing in reducing the cravings.

By this time last year I was frightened at my inability to stop the cravings. Added to those cravings for refined sugar came the cravings for carbohydrates.  I know now that was the diabetes and I am so grateful I sought help when I did.

Now, nearly 4 months after the diagnosis, the diabetic diet and exactly 1 tsp. (ONE TEASPOON) of dessert later, the cravings seem to have ended at last.  I am so grateful! This is life changing for me.

The other night on television I watched an advertisement for what used to be one of my (many) favourite chocolate bars.  I saw the bar. I remembered the joy of pulling the paper and foil off those bars in times past.  I remembered what they felt like in my hand on the way to my mouth.  I remembered that first sweet, satisfying crunch and the explosion of chocolate, the relief I felt at having the craving satisfied.

There was however one major change in my reaction last night:  I no longer craved the chocolate bar.  I remembered it all but with no sign whatsoever of the return of sugar cravings.  It was shocking and wonderful all at the same time.  The relief this time was due to a realization that I could visualize all manner of candies and desserts with no desire to so much as taste the teensiest, weensiest bite of any of them.

Today I woke up thinking of cereal and oranges because I was hungry for breakfast.  I didn't lose sleep over not being able to eat refined sugars any more.  I didn't think of any of it all day, until I saw that same advertisement on tv this evening.  The reaction tonight was the same as the one I had last night, only I wasn't able to conjure up the memories of times past quite so vividly.  That is 2 reminders in 24 hours of what I have been able to give up eating and I have had no negative nor frighteningly out of control impulses to eat treats after seeing those ads.

This is a milestone for me.  I am very very happy about this huge change.  The sugar train has ground to a halt. The relief is as intense as the cravings used to be.

Signs of Spring

Spring is coming all right.  I can feel it.  

Although the crisp smell of the outdoor air has not given way to the heavier, cloying warmth of oncoming spring, there is a new lightness in my body and mind as the suffocating wintery feeling of being wrapped in a cloak begins to lift.  We have had sunny skies and slightly warmer temperatures for the past week.  The piles of snow have shrunk a bit.  The remaining ice on the sidewalks and streets has a shallow sheen of melt water on the top, making it treacherous for walking, but adding to the encouragement that spring is soon to arrive. There is a patch of brown dead looking grass appearing in the middle of my front lawn.  A bit of snow is to fall in the next 36 hours but the daytime temperatures will remain close to 0 and slightly above.  Night time temperatures are higher than -10C. I wake up every morning smiling instead of feeling grumpy. The winter bird population at our feeders is presently depleted as they move on to spring breeding grounds and we are in that lull period before the spring flocks arrive here from the south.

The annual miracle of spring is on the way.  I can feel it.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Words of Wisdom

Frederick Buechner said it best:

"Here is the world.  Beautiful and terrible things will happen.  Don't be afraid."

Big Fire in Moose Jaw Last Night....Are Our Friends Okay?

We woke up this morning to the news that several aging buildings in downtown Moose Jaw caught fire last night and that the buildings are pretty much destroyed.  Several businesses and upstairs apartments are gone; peoples' homes and livelihoods ruined.  Fortunately it appears that no one was killed nor injured and that is always the best blessing during such events.  We can only hope that everyone had proper insurance.  I can't imagine such losses.

Our personal concern is for friends who have knocked themselves setting up a small business in the next building to the ones that burned down.  They have spent thousands of dollars renovating their own living space above the store.  While I am very grateful that it appears their building was not one of those that caught fire, I can tell from looking at the photos of the fire fighting efforts that their building is likely awash with water and the ensuing damage.  Their building is rather elderly as well and may not have fully withstood the water pressure from thousands of gallons being sprayed from fire hoses all over the block.  Even if they are all right, it will still be several days before the street in front of their shop is going to be open for pedestrian and motor traffic. They will lose a good deal of money in sales until it is.  Their stock would be easily ruined by water, so we hope and pray this will not set them back too badly.

Moose Jaw has experienced several devastating fires downtown in the past few years.  The last one of this magnitude was in the dead of winter and the ice damage from the freezing up of all that water from fire fighting caused nearly as much grief as the fire itself.  Thankfully there will be less of that this time with the much warmer temperatures of the oncoming spring.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Don't Cry Because It's Over. Smile Because It Happened!

I suspect most of us can look back on our lives and remember the friends, romantic partners, co-workers, aquaintances and others who came into our lives, initially bearing joy and happiness but eventually leaving us again and sometimes with a trail of sorrow in their wake.

I got thinking today about some of those people in my life and I had to smile a secret smile to myself.  Every person who came into my life and then moved on brought something special into my life.  When it ended, for whatever reason, the good things that occurred as a result of knowing each of those people stayed with me, helping to form who I am and to give me the preciousness of memories. 

Many people have entered my life and left it again, leaving me with memories to pull out on a day when I have time to reminisce about former times.   Some of the memories are not happy ones, but each person that came and went left some measure of joy behind for me to remember.  Those are the things I choose to remember about each person who has touched my life.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Happy Evening Plans

If you don't personally know me and the particular situation I am in you are probably wondering why I blog about such typical daily activities as I do, as if they are newsworthy, as if they matter, or as if anyone would care.  I suppose I am actually writing for the people who do know me and understand why so many little things are newsworthy for me.  I want to let my personal cheerleaders know that life has not stopped for me despite "everything" that I do not let on about here on this blog, so they will be encouraged that their prayers and support are translating into a normal life for me.  It is all good.

I am delighted that my husband and I are going out for a drive and dinner this evening.  That is, the driving time will be together but the dinners will be in separate restaurants!  haha  We are driving to our other town so that my husband can have a dinner meeting with one of the church committees.  It is kind of a private matter being discussed this evening and so my husband is going to drop me off at a different restaurant where I will enjoy food I most like (yup, chinese food again) and then while he continues his meeting after dinner, I will hike a couple of blocks over to our church after mine.  

If no one is renting the church hall tonight I will spend some time doing my evening exercises.  I am taking along some borrowed piano music and will practise on the old piano in the church proper.  I am also taking a book along that I am part way through reading and enjoying. (Thanks Jo, it is one of yours.)  The couple of hours I will be on my own will be most enjoyable.  Yes, I could stay home and do all those things, but it is always more fun to do things in a different environment just for a change.  Plus there is the bonus of having some alone time with my husband as we drive back and forth.  I am looking forward to my evening away.

While it isn't as warm today as it has been, the snow is still melting a bit.  A long slow melt is better anyway as it prevents basements and garages from flooding.  In AB there is flood fear happening again as their temperatures start hitting the double digits far sooner than ours will.  I don't think we are forecast to get warmer than a daytime high of +5 or so on one day and then it is back to highs of +1 and -1 for the rest of the week.  What footwear to don is the biggest question right now.  The downtown streets and parking lots are now pretty much snow free, but climbing through snow drifts to access vehicles at our own homes is sometimes a problem and will be for a few more days.

The rest of this week is a bit slow as far as plans, at least for me.  I am glad for that as things start to heat up again the next week and the last week of March is a near nightmare of appointments with doctors and dentists in between trying to figure out how best to acknowledge my husband's birthday and our anniversary on the 2 busiest days of the week for us both.  

So, off to reply to a couple of emails and then it is time for that good drive and fun food!    

Monday, March 10, 2014

A Beautiful Melty Day!

It's a beautiful day today.  The sun is shining, the ice on the sidewalks that froze overnight after yesterday's bit of melting is starting to get a watery sheen on top again as the rise in temperature returns.  We are right on the cusp of the return of spring.  If it isn't quite as warm as it usually is this time of year, well, after having windchills in the -50's only last week, this week is like paradise.  Aaaaahhhhh....my clothes feel too warm, my outdoor coat feels too heavy and it seems ridiculous that I still need to wear winter boots to tackle the snow. The piles of snow are all ready shrinking after only a couple of days of above zero temperatures.  The south business access road beside the main highway is completely flooded all ready, creating slow driving conditions to the gasoline station....at least for drivers that have the brains to refrain from deliberately racing through the deep puddle, deluging oncoming vehicles with muddy water and risking stalling out their own vehicles' engines.

The town and surrounding countryside are going to look kind of muddy and ugly for the next few weeks, the former pristine white snow occasionally refreshed by spring snow storms, but it would appear we are having an early spring here after all.  The appearance of the spring swallows and ducks over the weekend points to better weather to come.  

I have opened up the spring clothing bins and am preparing for an ironing fest, in hopes that at least a few winter sweaters and shirts can be binned until next year, while I prepare the spring clothes for wear in the very near future.

Our greedy birds have barely touched the fresh seeds and nuts in the feeders outside the kitchen windows since last week's cold snap ended.  They are moving on all ready to their spring nesting areas.  Even the sparrows have been getting their food elsewhere more often and are not stuffing themselves like baby pigs when they come through our yard.

Out here on the prairies, this is the exciting "stuff" of impending spring!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

I've Been in the Anglican Church Way Too Long Apparently!

I didn't get much sleep last night.  A horrible nightmare woke me up before 3am and that was the end of any sleep for me. Then I had to rise early to head to church in our other town.  Coming home my husband and I were talking about various news items and I started to tell him about a rural town that has decided to give up its town charter and join the surrounding rural municipality.  I couldn't think of the proper terminology as my brain was so foggy with exhaustion.  Unfortunately I told him the town was going to be "deconsecrated"!  Yes, he laughed uproariously and will never let me forget it. Sigh......