Saturday, May 31, 2014

Mosquitos and Spiders and Ticks, O Boy!!

Spent a couple of hours this morning working in the front yard, mowing, weed whacking, dodging wasps and raking.  It felt so good to get it done and I am praying the forecast of showers for tomorrow is correct.  The ground is dried right out all ready after having snow for so late into the spring season.  Next week I want to get the dandelion spraying over with as soon as there is a predicted 3 or more days in a row with no rain.  With rain scheduled for midweek I think I will wait until that is over with.  

I have some excellent mosquito repellent so wasn't bothered at all by the swarms hanging around the doorways of the house and breezeway. That was a treat.  I remember being quite a mosquito magnet last summer.  Probably as the season goes along I will be again.

Since I got back inside I have been chasing down ticks and spiders.  A fat tick fell off the scarf I had wrapped around my neck and landed on the bedroom carpet.  Is there any sound and feeling more satisfying than the POP of a squashed tick???  I happily washed his little carcass down the bathroom sink.  However, since there was one tick there may have been more, so out came the hand mirror and I did a full body scan for more of the little beasties.  Fortunately there were none attached to me.  

During the tick check however my hair brush did turn up a couple of spiders who had been hiding on my head.  Smack, smack and that was the end of them.  When I tossed my grass stained clothes into the washer and the water began pouring into the machine, it dislodged another spider from somewhere in my clothes and I nabbed him as he was running for cover up the inside of the washing machine.  A few minutes later I noticed a huge hairy spider in the front entryway where I had come back into the house in my grubby clothes and I disposed of him as well.  

I am not an insect saver.  I don't kill them when I am outdoors but when they invade the inside of my house they are not going to live long once I find them.

Perhaps one day I will experience the same compassion my husband has for little bugs.  I have come a long way since the days that seeing a spider inside the house or crawling on my person would send me into a frantic dance of fear while I made useless attempts to try to kill them without having to actually touch them.  My husband would watch me freaking out and just laugh and laugh before coming to the rescue of the spider instead of ME! haha  

All the other work is done for today except for washing the kitchen and laundry room floors.  Time to get those done and then I am going to watch the movie "Mud" that I recorded earlier today.  Looking forward to finishing up the housework and kicking back for a couple of hours before it is time to make dinner.

Silly Memories of School Days Past

As my 60th birthday looms in a week's time I am discovering many an old and essentially useless memory arising in my mind, particularly first thing in the morning when I wake up.  Not sure why such ridiculous remembrances are surfacing, but it must be my age.

This morning I woke up thinking of junior high school, particularly a couple of the songs we sang in music class.  They seemed more like kindergarten aged songs, but there they both were in our junior high school, school board approved song book.  And I quote:

"Up in a balloon boys, up in a balloon.
 Sail around the little stars and all around the  moon.
 Up in a balloon boys, up in a balloon.
 Won't we have a jolly time, up in a balloon."  (Alan Mills)

I will leave it to your own imagination to come up with the lyrics we actually sang as we stood beside our desks in the music room, hoping the ears of our music teacher were not able to discern what was coming out of our mouths.

The little round I detested most and that my best friend swooned with ecstasy over every time we sang it, was White Coral Bells.  I thought it was ridiculous, especially at the advanced age of 13 years, but we sang it a lot!

" White coral bells upon a slender stalk.
   Lilies of the valley deck my garden walk.
  Oh don't you wish that you could hear them ring?
  That can happen only when the fairies sing." (Unknown)

Even as a very small child I had not believed in fairles or elves or gremlins or ogres or any other form of enchanted creatures, so singing such a ditty in junior high school was a humiliating form of torture for me despite the rather pretty little tune.

At least we city students were no longer forced to sing Men of Harlech like the rural students who still had the older song books. Yay!

I also remember our junior high school principal, Mr. Darragh.  He was a lovely man, always so cheerful, so willing to overlook the usual silly behaviours of junior high students and more upset than the erring student when disciplinary action had to be taken.  He taught us math in Grade 9 and rewarded us amply from a large supply of caramels in his coat pocket when we responded correctly to the questions on oral mathmatics exams.  We all had to be "cool" enough to mock him behind his back and act as if he was an absolute dork, which perhaps he was, but he was a well intentioned dork, a very kind person who wanted us to excell, to reach our academic potential in a school not known for the academic prowess of its students, so would do whatever he could to assist us in reaching higher goals. I remember him often using up the last couple of minutes of class when our work was completed by having us sing the Up in a Balloon song and seemed more delighted than offended as he pretended to misunderstand the rather dreadful lyrics we sneaked in.  I wish I had had the chance to know him as a family friend once junior high school was over.  He was a gem of a person.  He had a very nice daughter as well who also attended the school and I think that was rather unfortunate as the kids made her life miserable as the principal's daughter.  We were a cruel bunch.  I remember junior high as a time of near invisibility on the social scene for the most part, other than the occasional inclusion in a particular group of middle of the road popularity kids.  It was a safe place to be and I made no moves to leave it.

I remember my drama teacher as well, Mrs. Crocker.  When I defied my father, a rare occasion, to sign myself up for a drama class option instead of a music class where I would learn to play the cello (aiiii, yiiiii....), it was Mrs. Crocker who soothed my angry father when he came to the school office to see if he could have me moved back to cello class.  I don't know what she said to him, herself and Mr. Darragh, but I do know I remained in my beloved drama class, with only one reference to the cello on a later occasion by my bewildered father who was not used to being disobeyed.  God bless the two of them!!

I also spent some time thinking about my elementary school teachers and in particular I remember my grade 3 teacher, Miss Zintel, who had the longest fingernails I had ever seen.  They regularly scraped the chalk board and the sound of it sent me into orbit every time.  Loved her, loved her beautiful nails, hated the chalk board scraping.  As a troubled kid who bit her nails down to nothing every day, Miss Zintel's nails were to be envied above all others.  They were amazing to me.

Well, it has been fun thinking of these crazy events that seem to have happened 50 years ago........oh, wait....they DID happen 50 years ago!

But back to the immediate: dishwashing, floor mopping and lawn mowing await and I must get going so I can finish up before my husband returns from his day of meetings.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Joyful Thought For the Day

“Joys are always on their way to us. They are always traveling to us through the darkness of the night. There is never a night when they are not coming.” 

--Amy Carmichael

Our First Cat Bird

This morning I heard an odd noise when I opened the kitchen window.  It sounded a bit like a cat and yet....  I peered out into the yard but couldn't see any animals.

Later on my husband and I heard the sound again and realized it was coming from a bird we had never seen before who was sitting on the ground in our yard. It was sort of "meowing"!  We grabbed the bird identification books and finally found it.  It is indeed a cat bird.  It and its mate have hung around the yard all day, eating insects from under the leaves that we leave on the ground all winter.  They have flown up onto the deck and dipped their beaks into the birdbath.  According to the book they are rarely seen as they like to hide, but this pair must feel very secure.  They do blend into the landscape as far as their brown and black colouring but the little flash of red under the male's tail feathers helps us spot him in the foliage.

Today the cat birds have been accompanied by two kinds of thrush, the usual robins and 4 different breeds of sparrows, the yellow warblers, the gold finches, red finches, doves and grackles.  I filled the bird bath last night before I went to bed and by noon today I had to fill it again.  So many birds are drinking from it and the larger birds like to bath in it, so the water either disappears or needs a clean out more than once a day.  My husband is writing down the names of birds that have been coming this year that we have not seen before, recording the date each one appears.  I didn't know that birds can be so interesting to watch, particularly the social heirarchy between breeds.  I am learning quickly who is in charge....usually the larger robins!

Typical My Son

My son called last night to say goodbye as he was flying out on a late flight to New York, the final school term looming.  He had dutifully called his grandparents as well.  What struck me though as totally typical of him is that he had to squeeze in a quick trip across the city before he went to the airport.

Why would a last minute, very inconvenient trip be a typical thing for him to do?  It is the reason for the trip:  the landlord of his art studio has a 12 year old son who adores Eli.  The boy is extremely creative as Eli was at that age. The boy is too creative to be satisfied with the status quo as Eli was at that age.  The boy is suffering rejection and torment from his peers and expressions of anger and frustration from his teachers because of it as Eli did at that age.  Eli has been trying hard to encourage the boy to not give up, to try to play the expected roles as much as he can bear to do it in order to get through his last 6 years of public school, but to retain his creative state of mind.  The boy was upset that he had missed seeing Eli before Eli had packed up his part of the studio and departed. So, Eli was heading to the boy's home to say goodbye in person.  He is now known as Uncle Eli.  The boy's parents have all become good friends with my son and it is so nice for him to have a surrogate family.

Yup, typical my son, going out of his way to do a small thing for someone who needs encouragement.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Spirit of Gentleness

It was an interesting morning of blood lab work the day we left for the city.  I raced to the lab nice and early to be among the first in line for my tests, partly because I had been fasting for a long time and was nearly crazed with hunger and partly because my husband wanted to get on the road as early as possible that morning.

Things started off badly and only got worse as my time in the lab dragged on.  Although I was there long before the lab actually opened, there were all ready 4 people registered ahead of me.  Our lab does not automatically take fasting diabetics first.  Fortunately they are scrupulous about making certain people are taken for tests in the order in which they registered at the desk.  As I was waiting for what should have been my turn, a nurse arrived with a patient from the hospital and of course that person was taken into the lab ahead of me.  My stomach was growling rather fiercely about that time.

After an extra 10 minute wait over what I had been expecting, it was finally my turn.  By now it was nearly 15 minutes later than the time I had told my husband to expect me to arrive home to pick him up.  I was feeling extremely hungry.  I noticed that my favourite lab tech was on duty and that was encouraging because she is incredibly fast and efficient with my tiny rolling veins and never has a problem inserting needles into the right spot on either arm.  Unfortunately when I sat down in the chair and rolled up my sleeve, a new lab tech was asked to take my blood samples.  She is a lovely gal, recently arrived from Africa and had a sunny smile and pleasant personality, BUT she had no idea how to find my fairly well hidden veins.  She ever so gently probed the inside of my elbows on both arms....for nearly ten minutes.  (No, I am not exaggerating the time in order to make a good story!)  Back and forth she poked and prodded so gently her finger barely made contact with my skin.  I pleaded with her to just put the needle into the largest and most obvious vein near the inside of my elbow.  It is a vein lab techs try to avoid at all costs on all patients because it does leave a bruise every time.  I was trying not to panic about my rapidly dropping blood sugar but I urged her rather strongly to go ahead and use that vein.  She insisted it was a bad idea because of the bruising. I told her that no one I know of ever died from a bruise and I didn't plan to be the first.  She was quite unconvinced, so decided she would attempt to insert the needle into a feeble pulsing she THOUGHT she could feel on the other side of my inner elbow.  

Sigh.......she ever so graciously changed the needle to a smaller size so it would hurt me less.  I told her I didn't care if it hurt me....as in "please dear, just get on with it..." but she explained to me that she had no desire to injure any of her patients and, still smiling her beautiful smile, left the room to locate a smaller needle.  I don't know how long she was gone because I was concentrating so much on dispelling feelings of hunger, but eventually she returned and got the equipment set up again.  In went the needle.  No blood came through the tubing.  She wiggled the needle back and forth, around and around, I turned white as a sheet even though it didn't hurt, but managed to stay conscious.  I was hoping the blood I could feel draining from my head would find its way into that needle but no such luck.  The needle was firmly jammed into muscle tissue and as she wiggled it about it hit a nerve.  Half of my hand instantly went numb and remained that way for the rest of the day.


Total time sitting in the lab chair at this point was 17 minutes.  I told her that really I was in a hurry because I have diabetes and needed desperately to eat breakfast, so she then agreed to use the outer vein and hang the bruise that would develop.  I could tell she really didn't want to hurt me any more than she inadvertently had, but she gamely poked the needle into that big vein.  Hallelujah!  Blood appeared in the plastic tubing and began heading through to the glass tube on the other end of the apparatus.  Just as the flow was about to enter the tube the entire process ground to a halt.  No blood went into the tube and no more blood came out of my arm.  Now what was wrong???  The poor girl dug and dug and dug some more but no success.  Fortunately I have a high pain tolerance and the numbness from the first site of entry was spreading, so I still felt very little. It turned out the seal on the tube was broken so no blood would go into it.  The girl decided it was time to get some help from the tech I had assumed would be taking my blood in the first place.

At this point I had been in the chair for 21 minutes and I was expecting my husband to be riding to the hospital on his bicycle to find me, assuming I had been in some kind of accident or met with some other time schedule destroying fate.

A couple of minutes later my gal reappeared with the more experienced tech.  This woman located a good vein on my other arm almost immediately, once again reassembled the equipment and presto, on the first try we had blood flowing freely into a total of 6 different tubes.   Total time spent with lab tech number 2 was just under 2 minutes.  Sigh......

I managed to make it out of the lab and home without passing out from hunger and frustration.  I just knew my husband would be all ready to go and freaking out about my disappearance.  

I knew nothing as it turned out.  When I walked in the door, my husband was still in his pajamas, nothing was packed up and he was still eating breakfast.  Wha???

Turns out that about the time he was preparing to start his day, all proud of himself that he would be ready to race out the door, suitcase in hand as soon as I returned, the phone rang.  It was a parishioner whose wife had just been admitted to hospital and was in a very bad way.  Please, please, please could my husband stop and visit her before we left for the city?  Well, of course he could. That is what he does and very happily too.  I was relieved that he hadn't been waiting for me and worrying.  I was very sad about our parishioner's wife because she has suffered so much and was getting better after many months of health problems.  

So my being late actually meant my husband was home to get the phone call so he could do a pastoral visit that morning.  Things have a way of working out. The lady was delighted he had come.  We still got the the city just before afternoon rush hour began and it actually put us onto a much better schedule for the entire trip.

I am looking forward to my next blood lab work in 3 months.  I am hoping I get that same girl to do my testing.  It will be interesting to see if she is more confident as she gains experience in the lab.  Right now she is too tentative and gentle for her own good.  What a sweetie!  She is going to be a true asset to the medical staff there once she gains some confidence in herself.  She was just a bit too afraid to try things with me the other day, but that will change.  For such a dear soul I don't mind being a bit of a guinea pig.  I am just grateful that I didn't faint from low blood sugar as it would have really upset her.  I think she would have felt responsible.

Even the simplest things in life can contain interest and humour.  

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Missing My Favourite Japanese Restaurants Today

For some reason I started thinking this morning about some of the wonderful restaurants we were able to enjoy in Tokyo.  I remember the expense fer shur!!  haha  Some friends took us to a lovely exclusive place one evening and paid nearly one thousand dollars Canadian for the 4 of us for dinner.

Ooh, it was lovely.  The food was exquisitely prepared and presented, the private tatami room was warm and welcoming.  We sampled approximately 20 different dishes and enjoyed steaming cup after cup of several types of green tea.  Since our hosts were teetotalers we didn't have to worry about how we were going to avoid drinking after dinner sake...not our favourite beverage even now.

What I remember most however is the service.  Aaaah...it was so elegant.  Our waitress was the epitome of Japanese service industry culture.  When she entered our tatami room she of course removed her geta shoes.  Then she crossed the mats to our table on her knees, balancing the trays of food in her hands, managing through some secret feat to stay upright and not get her knees tangled up in her kimono.  When she arrived at the table she bowed from the waist and, in traditional Japanese fashion, excused herself for "bothering" us ("Shitsurei shimasu") as she deftly set the food dishes down on the tabletop.  When she left the room, still on her knees, she backed out so that she never turned her back to us as that would be considered very rude.  I can't remember now how many times she arrived at our table and went through this same performance. I felt like royalty and that is the idea at such wonderful restaurants.  Even the more American style Denny's diner serving staff made us feel special.  That is just the way it is done in Japan for the most part.

In stark contrast, I also remember the first little restaurant we went to when we returned to Canada.  It wasn't a dive or a cheap chain, it was a relatively decent family style restaurant.  When our server walked up to our table and asked us, "What'll youse have?", my husband and I looked at each other, sighed deeply and realized we were definitely back at home in Canada.  I told the dear girl that "I'llse have a salad" but my attempts to alert her to what she had said went right over her head.

The first part of my morning reminiscence was definitely the best part. Perhaps it was the delightful food we ate in the city the past couple of days that got me thinking about it and made me a bit homesick for Tokyo.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Happy Tired

We arrived home this evening around dinner time after a very fast trip to the city yesterday.  We are both exhausted but it was worth the trip.

On the way there we stopped at our favourite little pub in the dinosaur valley parkway.  I discovered a perfect lunch item for me there on days where I am in the car travelling for so many hours with no real exercise:  10 small haddock "bites" with a salad.  It is on the appetizer menu and a year ago I would never haver thought to order an appetizer as my main meal, but now it seems to be the perfect amount of food.

A couple of hours later we arrived at my parents' home.  What a great visit we had, as well as exchanging late gifts for Mothers' Day and early gifts for Father's Day and my birthday.  We took my parents to their nearest hardware/homestore to pick up some items that are too heavy for them to carry home on a bus and awkward in a taxi.  It always feels good to be able to help them out with things that are still no big deal to us, yet require a lot of planning and energy on their part if left to their own devices. My husband was able to fix their tv as well.

Then we went to my parents' favourite Greek restaurant for dinner to continue the "special day" celebrations.  Again, I ordered from the appetizer menu:  lamb/pork meatballs, 3 very large meatballs that are a meal in themselves and smothered in a rich savory tomato sauce with plenty of garlic and just a smattering of freshly grated parmesan.  The dish came with a small piece of crusty loaf so I got most of my required carbs.  I also ordered an appetizer sized spanikopita with some trepidation as to how much phyllo pastry would be wrapped around likely a tiny amount of spinach and feta.  I was happily delighted to discover the phyllo was a single thin layer and perfectly filled with the rich vegetable and cheese, sitting on a large daub of red pepper dip.  I sneaked one bite of my husband's pita and hummus appetizer.  There was a spoon of bruschetta on top of the hummus but it enhanced the flavour, rather than detracting from it; a nice surprise.  My parents ordered creme brulee for dessert and I couldn't resist one teaspoon....so delicious but so rich that the one teaspoon was quite enough.  My husband didn't have any dessert because he knew mom had made an apple pie fresh that morning just for him!  He did enjoy it very much and there is another large slice of it sitting on the kitchen table here at home for him to enjoy just as much tomorrow!

We spent the night at my husband's sister's house.  Now that she has sold it we realize it was our last night there, probably our last view of the place where we have happy memories of living there with her once for a few months, of her gourmet dinners and welcoming in her new husband a few years ago.  My husband loaded up our car with some things he is storing for her and we left the house this morning to return to my parents' home to share a breakfast visit together.  After we said good-bye to them, we headed out to do a bit of shopping of our own: my husband to the nearest appropriate grocery for mountain hiking food and me to the department store next door to find a couple of summer shirts....just had to spend my birthday money gift on ME this year!  haha

As we were on our way to the next store we passed a brand new Korean/Japanese grocery and just had to stop and look around.  Quite a long time later we left the store with 3 bags of groceries we hadn't planned to purchase at all on this trip, but the norii was so fresh and crispy and the packaged shredded squid was incredibly fresh and delicious.  I found a candy snack I can have occasionally as well:  green tea Kit Kat bars!!  They are tiny, individually packaged mini-bars and looking at the contents I think I can have one about once every 2 or 3 weeks for a snack.  Once I adjusted my eyes to the green matcha covering instead of the usual milk chocolate covering I quite enjoyed my little treat this afternoon.

We stopped at a couple of other places for hiking supplies and then decided we should have a nice lunch before leaving the city. It didn't take long to locate a delicious Indian buffet.  I admit I overindulged just a wee bit.  I find that whenever I am in the city that last meal before returning home is just too tempting to restrain myself and be sensible.  We have no proper ethic food in our town....well, not quite true. There is one place that has a couple of authentic  curry dishes but the service at the restaurant is slow to near non-existent, among other problems, so we have ceased going there. We would love to support the place but.....  Anyway, our meal was delicious.  3 restaurant meals in 2 days means an overdose of sodium so for tonight's very late dinner we had plain chicken breasts, a tiny helping of sliced potato and onions, and sauteed red pepper with asparagus and zucchini.  My entire dinner contained less than 250mg of sodium.  That is going to have to set the standard for the next week or so.  When I check my blood pressure tomorrow it will be interesting to see if it is rising with all the added sodium and the dearth of exercise for 2 days.

The best part of coming home is unpacking all the groceries!  Or maybe taking the tags off my new shirts and putting them on the ironing board!  Or unpacking my suitcase and thinking about having been away and seeing my parents for the first time in 4 months!

In the morning it is back to the real world.  My dental claim for some work I need done has been denied for reasons I don't understand, so the dentist and I need to have a chat about what we are going to do next so I can get the help I need as soon as possible.  Bills have to be paid, groceries purchased, hospital visits made and the house cleaned and polished for company that is coming on the weekend.

Somehow real life is easier to bear when a nice little break away happens every so often.  Last night I was too excited to sleep more than about 3 hours so it is time to go and catch up on some rest in order that I may enjoy tomorrow as much as I have enjoyed the past 2 days.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Church Was Such Fun Today

This morning at our local church we had the Lutheran pastor and congregation come to visit.  It was a delightful service.  I think it encouraged both of our small congregations that getting together a bit more often for worship and potluck meals could be a good thing indeed!

The music was great fun as the musicians from both churches practised together yesterday and led us so well.  Having guitars and piano and a lead singer brought out the best in the congregational singing.  My husband's one disappointment in his ministry is that he is so unable to sing.  So, having a gal lead out from the midst of the musicians was very helpful to us all.

I realize it is difficult for people who attend larger churches to understand how simply having a coordinated group of instrumentalists and a strong lead singer could be such a big deal to us, but we are such a small group as a rule and it isn't always possible to have so many gifted musicians all at once.  Our regular pianist played beautifully as usual and shared the keyboard with the Lutheran pianist.  It was quite wonderful.

People outdid themselves bringing in food for the potluck and there was some sharing of the dishwashing between members of both churches afterward.  It was a great time for us all.

Some humour was added during the service as the 2 pastors and our deacon all bumbled around at the front trying to coordinate the leading of the service and the serving of communion when health and work related issues prevented them from being very prepared in advance. hahaha  Well, something to work on for next time, but they were very funny to watch.  Being "typical men" they seemed to assume that once they all got there things would just work out and they sort of did, barring some confusion around the procedure for the Eucharist, but we all survived things not being completely organized.  No reason to feel uptight about anything, that is for sure, no worries about whether or not we were in the right place at the right time.  We all got served the wine and the bread eventually and went happily on with the rest of the service.

It was a very good day! (AND I snagged an invitation for coffee one evening with the Lutheran pastor's wife.....yay!!! Another new friend!)

Attack of the Bohemian Waxwings! And Merzbow!!

Yesterday evening a small flock of Bohemian Waxwings arrived in our yard.  They were singing and flying around between the trees at near light speed, scaring away the smaller finches and warblers.  Finally eight of the dozen or so travellers arranged themselves around the perimeter of the bird waterer for a drink.  Beaks down in the water, bums up and tails spread for balance.

The beautiful bright yellow band across the bottom of their tail feathers is eye catching when they spread their tails so wide. The small tuft of feathers behind their heads makes them easy to identify. They are very lovely birds and they look fairly large in comparison to the teeny yellow warblers.

This afternoon we have been watching and listening to a bright red male finch.  He has been singing nearly nonstop for the past 45 minutes. The female he is attempting to impress, isn't!  Either that or she is playing hard to get.  It is cute watching them interact.


My son had a successful opening at CSA Space the other night. Lots of friends and art collectors came to "have a boo" as his grandmother used to say.  He and one of the curators then went to his studio and spent until 7am the next day packing up paintings to be shipped to Bard for the summer school term.  This summer, if he has any chance to get over the exhaustion of preparation, he will be able to complete his thesis and have his final art exhibition that is school related.  He is going to be a dorm dean so hopefully that goes well and isn't another huge stress to add into an all ready stressful and overly busy school term.  I hope he is able to fly back to school next January for his commencement ceremony.  I hope his new degree will translate into some adjunct teaching before too many months go by after graduation.  I am envious that one of the reasons he heads south a week before school begins is to fulfill a requirement that each student visit the Sigmar Polke retrospective exhibit in New York City before they start classes.  How I wish I could also see it.  Friends are putting together a farewell for my son this week, glad for another excuse to get everyone together to feast.

Noise musician Merzbow did a concert in Vancouver the other night and my son was fortunate to be able to go to hear him.  I was rather jealous as I am a big noise music fan, but I did find some postings of his works online, including a 14 minute number from that concert in Vancouver.  So, while it isn't the same as being completely surrounded and submerged in the sounds at the live, mind and emotion altering concert, it was fun to participate from a distance in my son's enjoyable evening.

My husband is showing some progress today in beating back the rest of his 'flu' and bronchial infection.  He is looking better, was able to get up early and do the 2 church services and is actually taking time to relax for the rest of the afternoon before doing some more planning tonight for upcoming deanery events.

I spent part of the afternoon going once again through my ever smaller wardrobe, finding more things that I have to be honest enough to admit are just too big now, no matter how much I may like them.  I took what I thought was my entire load of discards to the thrift store yesterday, but this afternoon I found more things that really do have to go.  They just look too big under the arms and across the back. I thought I could wear each item just a few more times, but no, they look downright silly.

Maybe it is time to do a sweep through all the cupboards once again and see if there are other types of items I could get rid of.  I have to decide what two art pieces I am willing to sell or otherwise dispose of in order to accommodate the two new pieces coming next weekend.

Aaaargh....it seems all I have done for the past 15 years, since we began moving from place to place so often, is get rid of my "stuff".  My husband has all manner of "good" reasons to hang onto all sorts of things that in my mind should have been disposed of 14 moves ago, so one of us has to keep cutting back.  Living in this larger rancher style house has given me entirely too much wall space to fill with good paintings and photos.  And I have filled the spaces rather well....too well....with too high quality of artworks, so how do I get rid of any of them? No artsy, craftsy, etsy wall hangings around here. Well, guess I just have to be as brutal with those as I have been with my clothes. Sigh....it is going to be so difficult.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Fresh Air!!

It is a beautiful spring day again today.  The temperature is creeping up toward +26C, there is only the slightest bit of breeze rather than the gale force winds we often get here and I just put the screen windows in place.  Today is the first day it has been warm enough to open the windows and let the fresh air inside.  It is a day I look forward to every year at this time.

The birds cheeping and hooting and squawking is much louder and more fun to listen to with the windows open.  Their reactions to us, now that our voices can be heard so close to the feeders by the kitchen window, are very cute to watch.  First there is a complete stop in all the action at the feeder, then little heads begin to turn, tracking the source of the sound.  The gold finches tend to scatter immediately but the other finches kind of shrug their non-existent shoulders and resume their food consumption. The sparrows and robins ignore us as if they know we are not only no threat, but an inferior species barely worthy of their attention.  Any noise we make has the blue jays screeching all the louder.  Like the sparrows and robins they are not worried about the noises we make, as long as we have the food and water in the right places in the late afternoons when they make their pit stop.

Had a very good appointment at the hospital this morning. My feet are behaving themselves.  There are no numb spots, no circulation problems and no ulcers, so no worries for now.  I am delighted.  Unless my tests on Monday show up something unexpected that requires more input from the diabetes RN and the dietician, my appointments with them are finished until further notice.  I am down to testing blood twice a week and if a particularly unusual circumstance arises that makes me wonder what is happening with my sugars.  A little worry that I am too structured in my approach to my disease was allayed when I explained how much structure I require to continue walking on my present path to wellness.  I am a project person and need that kind of structured thought and action in order to accomplish the goals I set for myself.

So, a great spring day is happening around here.  My husband has the car over  the tire store getting the summer tires put on the car....we didn't dare take them off until very recently as the threat of snow continued so long into the spring.

It is all good. 

A Tear and a Chuckle......

Really enjoyed this Youtube offering someone sent to me today.  It is a father giving a short speech about his daughter to her groom right before the wedding vows:

 www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/eqEkPjUbmIA?rel=0

Thursday, May 22, 2014

For the Birds

I got a kick this evening out of a female American gold finch. haha  I was sitting in the living room looking at how my husband had pruned the apple tree in front of the window, when she appeared on one of it's branches with a small piece of a fabric softener sheet.  She draped it over one of the small twigs and flew off.  After spending part of the morning removing such things that had blown into our yard over the winter, I wasn't that excited to see her deposit more garbage into the tree.  However, she was back a minute later with the rest of the dryer sheet clasped between her little feet.  She dropped it over a larger branch, hopped over to the smaller piece she had left behind orginally, snatched it up in her beak, then pulled the large piece with her one foot until she got it firmly attached to her toe and flew off into a much larger tree where she is obviously building, or maybe repairing, a nest.  Ooh, those baby birdies are going to be really comfortable with that fabric softener sheet to sit on. haha  Mommy gold finch was very determined to carry it up there and she succeeded.

All the yard work today made me tired, but I perked up late this afternoon when an email came in from my husband's sister.  She and her husband listed their house for sale late yesterday afternoon and today it sold for almost full price and no conditions.  She was stunned that it went so quickly, but how delightful that some of the properties they are looking at buying will still be available.  We are quite delighted that this plan is coming together for them.

Had the greatest conversation today with friends who, after a 30 year wait, were able to get themselves moved back east to Ontario after a long life in Alberta.  They are ecstatic with their new town.  She is from Ontario originally, but he had never lived anywhere but Alberta and was worried it might not work out for him. He LOVES being close to Niagara Falls and the Great Lakes and wonderful shopping and restaurants and churches and and and and and......it was so encouraging to talk to them both today.

My parents have signed up to start participating in Dashing Dishes!  I am excited for them.  They will get 8 entrees each per month, prepared to their specifications from the available combinations of meats and veggies, herbs and spices.  As seniors they don't even have to be at the monthly meeting place to line up with the other folk to put their own entrees together.  The staff at Dashing Dishes will do it for them. All my parents have to do is forward a copy of the monthly menu back to Dashing Dishes with their personal choices marked a few days ahead of the day everyone gets together to choose their combinations, then show up in a taxi with their cooler on the agreed upon evening and collect their food all ready bagged.  I am very excited for them.  I had some doubts about them getting into line with a time limit to put their choices together from 8 different food stations, but now that they don't have the stress of doing that in the midst of the many other folk participating, it is a great deal.  It is an answer to prayer!

Tomorrow morning I have my feet tested as part of the diabetes follow up at the hospital.  I broke a toe nearly 2 weeks ago so I hope that doesn't interfere with the testing procedure.  The bruising is nearly faded but the pain is still pretty intense if I try to bend that toe in a direction it doesn't want to go, or put too much pressure on it from my hard leather shoes.  Monday I go for the lab work that has to be done every 6 months and I am praying my liver numbers have dropped substantially or else the doctor has to try to diagnose yet another medical problem. If the healing of the symptoms over the past 3 months is a good indicator then my liver must be healing itself after I ruined it with that too long unrecognized medication allergy last year.  Hoping for good news on Monday and hopefully the food I ate on our trip to Vancouver that was not part of my diet has not raised the level of my A1C too much.  At least my weight loss has stabilized now after losing about 50 pounds and I have enjoyed buying a few clothes that are not from the plus size stores.

After my hospital tests we are going to go and see my parents for the rest of the day.  It is a long drive for a short visit, but after seeing them every month last year it has been difficult to see them so rarely this year. Haven't seen them since January.   

My husband has a Diocesan meeting on the weekend...another long drive that begins before 6:30am and won't be over until well into that same evening. So happy he has  2 other clergy to ride with so they can share the driving.  I am going to spend the day using the new paper shredder I purchased this week.  My annual bill file is so filled with things left over from last year that are no longer needed that the seams of the folders are starting to split.  

The following weekend we are getting company from out of town for a couple of days.  Really looking forward to that.  They are in full time ministry too so we have lots in common.  We met them at seminary and became fast friends.  Then it is nearly time for my husband's first mountain hike of the spring.  That is a plus for having his days off during the week days. He can go with his retired climbing buddies when there are fewer folk out in the mountains and they can really enjoy the space.  He is trying to get in shape to do a good hike to start the season so I hope he is successful.  

Lots of fun things coming up in the midst of some other more difficult things. It is so nice to have these things to look forward to as life becomes more difficult in ways I don't need to discuss here right now.  Hopefully the issues will resolve themselves and soon.  In the meantime we take our fun when we can get it, we enjoy the birds and trees in our yard, we rejoice at having new people in our local church and we have good memories of our time with our son last month.     


The Lawn is Done and So Am I!

At last the long grass is cut, the leaves mulched, the loose garbage picked up from in the hedge and around the bases of the trees.  The way the wind swirls into our front yard all winter not only creates giant snow drifts along the front of our house, it also fills those drifts with styrofoam cups, plastic bags, cigarette packaging and other bits of pieces of junk that blow through town.  It feels wonderful to have it all cleaned up.  The mower barely made it through the long grass on the one side of the property...wow, a few days ago there was barely enough to see and suddenly, after a ton of rain, it became very long very quickly.  The trees on the other side of the front lawn have drained most of the moisture from the thin layer of top soil so not much grass is growing.  The lawnmower rallied once I got over there.

Of course now there are the annual multiple skin allergies to deal with every time I am out working on the yard, but compared to last summer when I was so incredibly ill and my body out of whack completely, the rashes and itches disappeared quickly and maintained far less intensity than last year.  My husband is going to take care of the side yard and behind the house into the alleyway.  If I only have the front lawn and boulevard to do I will be able to handle the allergies and enjoy the work.

Spring....YES!! AND only one mosquito bite to show for my troubles!

Good Thoughts For The Day

"If you are depressed you are living in the past.
  If you are anxious you are living in the future.
  If you are at peace you are living in the present."
--Lao Tzu

"Putting away your phone and paying attention to the people talking to you has its own App.  It's called "RESPECT"!
--Unknown

"Everybody is a genius.  But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid."
--Unknown  

Good thoughts to carry with me as I head out to start my great first of the spring yardwork adventure! 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Buzz Whirr Slap Slap

It's official now: SPRING IS HERE!

I know it is here because today I encountered my first mosquitoes, hangin' out around the front door, ready to bite the  second someone emerges from the house. Today that someone was me!

I know it is here because the amount of garbage that blew into the yard over the winter was very obvious to the human eye today when the sun came out and the temperature soared to its most spring-like thus far.

I know it is here because the grass is nearly 6cm high and in need now of its first cut.

I know it is here because I saw a dandelion in the front yard and a thistle growing in the side yard.

I know it is here because the buds on the trees are finally visible.

I know it is here because the yard is filled with goldfinches and grosbeaks and warblers and doves and sparrows and robins and house finches.

Tomorrow I will get to experience the beginning of spring in all its glory.

Tomorrow I will rake up the garbage and spread last autumn's leaves evenly over the front lawn in the morning and then mow in the afternoon.

Tomorrow I will inspect the house and garage and trees for the first signs of wasp nests being daubed together so that I can get rid of them right away.

Tomorrow I will don my outdoor work clothes and spray mosquitoe spray on my arms and legs.

Tomorrow I will move the pansies out of doors and into a big planter on the back deck.

Tomorrow will be MY first day to truly experience the spring.

I can't wait!!  YIPPEE!!!

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Book of Ruth by Jane Hamilton

The Book of Ruth, by Jane Hamilton (Anchor Books, Doubleday, New York,1988)

If you are not aware of the complete despair and angst and horror that occur in other peoples' lives, you will be by the time you finish reading this well written and emotionally graphic book.

If you have ever found your own life circumstances to be less than ideal, leading to a feeling of defeat, of little hope for future improvement, yet there is a niggling ideal in the far recesses of your mind that causes you to  wonder occasionally if it is worth attempting to reach, then you will identify with the characters in this novel.

I identified so strongly with the emotions of the central character, the narrator of this story, that I couldn't sleep last night after I finished reading it.  I had nightmares during the night about certain times and events from my own life that are long passed away.

As the story builds with agonizing slowness to the main climax, tragedy, of the narrative, the actual disaster is not really a surprise.  It is simply the obvious outcome to the relationships among the characters.

The story ends with the narrator recovering from being beaten nearly to death, staying with her young child in the home of an aunt who has some strong ideas of how the narrator is going to better herself in the years to come, but the narrator has some strong opinions of her own.  We are left hanging at the end, unsure of the final outcome of the narrator's life, what her decision is going to be: to pull herself forward in life with the assistance of family or to disappear back into the quagmire of her old life and give up whatever slim motivation she has rallied in her mind to improve her circumstances.

A few years ago I read Jane Hamilton's A Map of the World and it too had a strong emotional impact on me.  On the one hand perhaps it is best right now if I take a break from reading books about people who are badly treated by the circumstances and cultures they find themselves born into and find something more uplifting, but I doubt I will find any other novels that portray despair ringed with scant hope as graphically and accurately as Jane Hamilton's.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Why Does It Always Happen To My Husband???

No one loves animals or has a more tender heart for them than my dear husband.  His tender heart was bruised today, through no fault of his own, when he hit a muskrat and killed it on the way to church this morning.

There has been so much rain in the past few days that the sections of that road closest to the ditches on each side are flooded with water.  It isn't deep water, but it covers the road sufficiently that various birds float on the water, not recognizing the need to move for oncoming vehicles as they blast through the giant puddles.  As we rounded one bend we swerved to avoid two young antelope standing in the middle of the highway, water up around their "ankles", taking big gulps to quench their thirst.

The fairly large muskrat that had the misfortune to attempt to race across the road in front of us was not so fortunate.  I have never seen one moving so fast through such shallow water and it seemed to have a bead on our car's front tires.  My husband hit the brakes, wrenched the steering wheel in what seemed like 6 directions at once, nearly rolled our car into the deep water in the ditch and ultimately was unable to miss hitting the muskrat.  It was absolutely horrible.  My husband was devastated.  We stopped to make sure it was actually dead, not just injured and in pain and then we had to drive on and do a church service as if all was well in our world.

As I have blogged previously, this is the man who saves spiders that I find in the house, hates killing mosquitoes even when they are biting him, returns ticks to the trees after they have landed on him out in the yard, cries when he has to catch mice in traps and is the one person who animals choose to be with when they are dying!!!  He is just so kind and calm.


I felt so badly for him this morning.  It was terrible again for him on the return trip home when we had to pass the muskrat carcass again.  This time I was the one who wanted to cry....for him, not the muskrat, although I was plenty sad about that as well.

It is always interesting trying to drive to that town on our bumpy, pot holey little secondary highway as there are so many animals and birds along the route in the spring and fall.  There isn't a lot of traffic on it so they feel more secure than they should out there.  We try to drive very carefully, particularly in certain sections where the road is lower than the land and collects water for part of the year.

My poor husband...may that be the end of his animal based traumas for this year.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Finally....An Afternoon Out of the House

Okay....it was for a funeral, but it was AWAY from the house, so it qualifies as an afternoon out!  Yes it does!!

My husband managed to conduct the memorial without coughing or clearing his throat, no sniffling, snuffling or wheezing!  I helped a bit in the church kitchen during the post service snack time and visited with anyone and everyone I could find that had a couple of minutes to chatter with me.  

I made iced tea, sliced cheese, prepared plates and dried a few dishes...and talked and talked and talked....to anyone who would listen.  It has been a lonely week stuck inside with this bronchial "thing"!

I did the driving back and forth to the other town, swerving crazily around the potholes and sink holes in the so called secondary highway....more like a goat track with some left over tar and pavement spread about here and there for 40 of the 60km.  It was fun to get out in the sunshine today and drive about the countryside, careening between the holes and squealing around the corners.  I am not sure if my husband slept all the way there and back because he is so ill still, or because my driving is so terrifying on that stretch of road that he was afraid to open his eyes.  Well, whatever, I had a lot of fun.

Once he and the grieving family returned from the graveside committal service, he and I each ate half a muffin, a slice of cheese and a couple of grapes before realizing we are actually still too ill to be out and about for so many hours, so we repeated the crazy drive in reverse and are now relaxing for an hour before it is time to make dinner, pj's back on and slippers dangling off our heavy wool stocking-ed toes.

 Early tomorrow morning we have to return to that town for church....maybe I will get to drive again!!

Or maybe not.......

Friday, May 16, 2014

Counting Down the Days

I am counting the days now until our son leaves for his final term at Bard in New York State.  He leaves in a couple of weeks and next time I need to fly somewhere I am putting him in charge of finding an affordable flight!  That man finds deals in places no one knew existed!!

Even while he is gone there are good things happening for him in our own country.  Next week he has a small show of painting "sketches" on display at CSA Space in Vancouver and in June he is part of a group show at Ottawa Art Gallery.  With a name like Eli Bornowsky his work isn't difficult to find online...there aren't many people around with that name, that is for sure. Poor soul....we didn't do him any favours with that name, but he seems to have made the most of it.

Once he is gone I will be counting the days until he returns....no, not just Mommy Noises going on here, I am awaiting his return because I have purchased one of the paintings he is showing in Ottawa and I can't wait to be able to get it once the show is over and he is back to prepare it for shipping out here.  It is very large and is a 2 piece canvas, the second being much smaller and only visually related to the larger one by the most tiny of imagined threads.

I am going to have to take down every painting and photo I currently have up in this house and reorganize the space so that I can make the most of showing my new piece when it arrives, but without also detracting from the beautiful photos I have from the talented Robert Harden from Prairie Magic Digital Photography when I rearrange.

This is the kind of "house cleaning" I enjoy the very most!!!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

And Now a Word From Julian of Norwich

“God is our Mother. It is a characteristic of God to overcome evil with good.  Jesus Christ therefore, who himself overcame evil with good, is our true Mother. We received our ‘Being’ from Him ¬ and this is where His Maternity starts. ¬ And with it comes the gentle Protection and Guard of Love which will never cease to surround us.  Just as God is our Father, so God is also our Mother."  (Julian of Norwich)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Finally! A Shirt Sleeve Day!!

I took a short walk around downtown this afternoon.  The sun was brilliantly shining, the wind wasn't nearly as strong as it usually is here in the late afternoons and the temperature was +19C.  

How lovely to walk down the street sans a coat of any kind, just my short shirt sleeves and a summer turtleneck shirt to keep the bit of breeze off my neck.  Finally it feels like spring. It is the perfect time of year: that limbo time between the start of spring and the arrival of the mosquitoes.  I LOVE the start of spring and the last 2 weeks of autumn for the lack of insects compared to the months in between.

My husband had his expected wretched night last night, the worst ever, but after a couple of naps today he is feeling somewhat better.  I am hoping he is as improved by tomorrow as I was after that many days and that he can accomplish what he needs to accomplish for the rest of this week....at a far FAR slower pace than usual.

Cheery, yellow text font for a cheery, sunny day.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

My Husband's Turn To Feel Lousy

It is my husband's turn to feel like he wants to just roll over and die until he can feel better.  His symptoms are near carbon copies of mine from last Saturday, so I am quite certain tonight and tomorrow will be his worst days of wrestling with this wretched 'flu'.

Today I was able to drive downtown for a few minutes to pick up some groceries and pharmacy items.  While the exercise completely exhausted me and I had to wear a mask over my nose and throat around town....which of course did not  make me stand out like a sore thumb and cause people to stop and turn and stare at me like I am an alien....nope, of course not, didn't happen, not even 11 times in less than 2 square blocks....it still felt good to get out and be in the sunshine, despite the brisk winds that blew my hair in all directions and threatened to whip my scarf and mask right off.

Tonight I found the pansies in the church kitchen that I received for making a donation to the Pancreatic Cancer foundation on behalf of a couple of friends, so I rescued some of them and placed them in the centre of my dining room table until it is warm enough to plant them outside.  They are white and blue and purple and cheery.

Once my husband is awake and healthy enough again to notice their existence he will be pleased to see them.

Anilmals Adopting Animals; Life in the Kingdom?

I watched a most interesting programme on Animal Planet yesterday.  It was about animal species adopting members of other species as observed in various animal rescue stations around the world.

Some of the stations are salvaging wounded or abandoned animals who have been raised in captivity and will never have the learned skills and survival capacity to be introduced into the wild to join others of their own kind.  Other stations and programmes are assisting completely wild animals prepare themselves to re-enter the wild after being injured, or else abandoned and discovered so early in their lives that they can still be trained to retain their wildness and go back to their own territories.

What is being learned about the responses between species when the need for survival no longer trumps all other social interactions is quite fascinating.

Dogs are one of the main sources of teaching social interactions to most of the animals being kept in the rescue stations, because, as one of the animal scientists put it, "Dogs are everybody's friends!" haha  Watching dogs adopt, play with, feed and protect small hyenas, monkeys and lion/tiger cubs was fascinating.  Dogs provide the means to assist the human rescuers to gradually withdraw their presence from wild animals they are trying to reintroduce to their own species before being released to fend for themselves.

Some of the most amazing "friendships" were presented on the programme.  My favourites were a large *orangutan who has bonded with a dog buddy and a goat who has turned himself into the caregiver for a blind horse and leads him around the property so that the horse doesn't bump into things or get lost or lose track of his food.  In many cases, bonding and imprinting is happening between species that, in their natural habitat, would be enemies because they must vie for common and ever decreasing food sources.  When there is no need to fight for survival there are social changes that can occur between the species.

The purpose of the programme was to listen to various animal behaviouralists and breeders and rescuers discuss their findings about animal emotions and emotional responses.  There is just so much we don't know, but rescue stations like the ones on the programme are helping scientists to realize that there are differences between hardwired behaviour, instinctual behaviour and now the possibility that in some way animals are actually making moral choices to care for other animals in need.  

Their findings thus far certainly support my husband's and my agreement with the idea that biblical pictures of "the lion and lamb will lie down together" in the descriptions of life after the return of Christ, are not simply metaphors but may be actual realistic descriptions.

If there is no more daily struggle for survival, no need for competition between species, no need for human interference among other members of the animal kingdom....in other words the removal of the conditions we took on once sin entered the world.....would we not all be free to be who God originally intended us to be?

Would not the higher purposes of creation in all its forms become evident?  Would not each creature regain its rightful place in the creation?

What I saw on tv yesterday brought home to me a more realistic concept of life when heaven and earth are once again in harmony with each other, when the Creator is again in the head of creation; Creator and creatures at peace.

My concept of life after Christ's return has always been a bit foggy.  What I saw yesterday has given me new hope of the realities of that time.  Certainly it has given me something to think about.


*the aforementioned orangutan seems to have imprinted to some extent with its keeper.  It actually goes swimming in the keeper's home swimming pool!!  Orangutans are not swimmers, but you should see this fellow travel under the water!!!  He also bottle feeds some of the newborn animals at the property.


A New Feathered Friend

Over the past week we have had some new visitors to the feeders: a small cluster of female grosbeaks.  We have never seen the males before, but this morning there was one sipping water very daintily from our trough.  The difference in appearance between the females and this male is quite startling.

The females are quite tiny, various shades of blah brown and beige and white, barely discernible from the sparrows we have in abundance. They have a pale cap of brown and white stripes.

This male however is much larger, nearly 3 times the size of the females,  beautiful black and white with yellow under his wings and a big red bib under his throat.  The males and females of this species don't even appear to be related, they are that different from each other.

This male seems to have strayed slightly from his usual habitat in the more forested areas of the province, which would explain why we have never seen such a bird here before our previous 4 years of residence.  

What a treat to see such a colourful bird pecking along the tree branches for small insects and buds.

May is such a great month for us to be able to see birds as they migrate through our region on their way to spring nesting grounds and summer feeding areas.  

Monday, May 12, 2014

I MUST Be Starting To Feel Better!

My husband claims I am officially "on the mend".  He is right, although I still didn't feel able to get dressed today, or do any cooking.

However the telltale signs are there:  I woke up this morning fretting about the house needing a good cleaning, about the mess that accumulates with both of us being ill over several days and about the yard work in desperate need of being started.  How I am itching to get out there, rake out the stones and garbage buried among the fallen leaves from last fall before taking out the mulcher and giving the grass its first attention of the season.  We can both tell I am starting to get over this 'flu' because I am crabby with the need to get going with catching up on the house and yard work.

An hour ago I couldn't stand it any longer.  Still in my nightgown and thick wool socks, I hauled the vacuum cleaner out and sucked up the dirt and lint from the kitchen and dining room floors and the front and back entryways.  I could easily complete all the vacuuming tomorrow if I feel just a bit better than I do today.  The rest of the basic cleaning could be caught up by Thursday and then I could head outside and enjoy the sunshine and the lawn preparation.

Of course that bit of vacuuming has exhausted me, but there is hope now that I am healing and if I don't overdo it too much I will be able to get lots done quite soon.  YAY!

It must be that good leftover spaghetti and salad from the weekend fundraiser that is making me strong!  YUM!!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Good-bye Old Rugged Cross

Yesterday morning was significant for our church here in town.  Over a year ago a new cross was constructed to replace the old one on the little church spire on the roof.  It is lovely; sizeable enough to be visible without looking out of proportion to the small spire, clad in clean, shiny white metal.  It took a long time to have it installed as we awaited the availability of a proper lift and bucket that would carry people to the roof and give them enough room to manipulate the old one off the roof and get the new one attached while standing in the bucket, rather than attempting to stand on the new metal roof covering and risking their lives in the attempt.

The old cross up there has been up there for decades, the paint long ago peeled off, haven for assorted crows and ravens who could dig their talons into the soft wood and hang on even in the midst of the highest winds.  Their presence up there made the whole building look spooky and abandoned, and as if no one cared about the most popular symbol of our faith: the crucifixion cross.

Well, the whole place looks rather swish now.  Those poor old birds are going to have a heck of a time getting a grip on that new metal.  They gave up trying to land on the roof any more shortly after that metal was installed.  The whole building looks fresher, the new roof that was completed last year looks even nicer.  There was a nice group of parishioners who came to install and watch the installation. My husband put on his alb and a bright red stole and prayed a blessing upon the cross before it ascended to the spire.  Getting that project completed is another source of hope for our congregation about their future as a church.  People in the neighbourhood are catching onto the fact that we are still active, still viable.  A new couple has started coming to church and have been heartily welcomed into the family.  They have all ready been a big help to us.

After a successful dinner (we weren't there, but the excitement about how well things went translated into several emails and phone calls today from happy parishioners), our group of guitarists got together in the sanctuary for a jam session and others stayed to enjoy it.  That is part of the restoration of life here that we have been praying for over the past 4 years, believing against all hope some days, as have our congregants, that God is not finished with us yet.

New cross, new roof, new attendees, new musical life, new attitudes, new hope for the future.  It is all good!

My Husband's Turn

By noon yesterday it was becoming apparent that my husband was being attacked with this 'flu' as quickly and completely as I have been.  So, by 2pm he had excused himself from doing any more work on the church fundraising dinner and by 5pm had other plans in place (we hope, anyway) for 2 services he was to do today.  I feel so badly for him.  He just started to recover from months of  inadequate B12 and now he has the same darned 'flu' I have.  

Well, this too shall pass.  It is certainly enforcing some rest after our first few days home post-vacation.  There is something good about that part of it.

A cheery phone call from our son this morning certainly brightened our day.  He was visiting with his favourite barista until it was time to catch the train to church with another good friend.  He is so rarely able to get to church with any consistency and it was nice to know he feels sufficiently caught up now on his school work to take the time to be with other believers and hear an apparently excellent sermon on Romans 12.  The chapter reinforces some ideas his dad had given him for the next time he gets "painters' block"; ideas about taking time to praise God for all the good things of the day instead of focusing on the frustration of the blockage.

Hearing our son sounding so bright and cheerful this morning gave us a great attitude toward the rest of the day even though we continued to feel rather tough.  Although I finally slept well last night for the first night in the past several, I was so exhausted and my blood pressure still so low that I barely got out of bed until a few minutes ago.  My husband decided to have his own sneak out for 15 minutes this afternoon to drive to the grocery store for milk and orange juice, as well as set up some new feed and water for the birds.  He knows that his roughest nights may be tonight or tomorrow night.

Dinner tasted so good today.  It was simple: whole wheat pitas with a scoop of last night's spaghetti sauce and some grated cheese for a baked instant pizza, along with large handsful of chopped lettuce, also left over from last night, droozled with Rozendal vinegar and Oliv balsamic. Such simple fare and so delicious. The sauce is the one my husband made originally for the fundraiser before he became ill so I knew it would be really tasty and it was.

I am leaving out 1 to 1.5. carbohydrate units out of each meal until I am well, in order to keep my blood sugars where they need to be.  So far it is working well after a couple of scary days before I clued in to that need for change.  Being ill seems to addle my ability to make decisions as badly as it addles my body! BUT when I thought I was going to faint again this afternoon, I actually remembered what to do and in a short time the feeling passed.  I sucked on a couple of very salty crackers....I am wondering if my campaign against excess sodium is actually working a bit too well.....must discuss it with the doctor again.

Here's to a brighter, healthier day tomorrow!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

The BAD Method of Fainting!

I haven't fainted since I was 15 years old.  Unfortunately I did faint again this morning and for the same reason: serious respiratory infection resulting in virtually no sleep over night and a resulting drop in blood pressure when I finally got out of bed to make breakfast.

Here is what I did wrong today:  instead of accepting the fact that I was likely going to faint and sitting down on the floor with my hands over my head, or sliding into the nearest chair and putting my head between my knees, first I was in denial and then I panicked.  I was a bit faint yesterday morning as well but overcame it nicely and assumed I could again today.  Wrong!  I decided to try to head back to bed, 3 rooms away from the kitchen, way too far away when I was that light headed.  Instead of abandoning my breakfast attempts on the kitchen counter, for some reason I grabbed a full glass of milk, a nectarine and a bowl of cereal and tried to take all those things with me to bed.  Duh!!

I don't remember how I got from the kitchen to the door frame just outside my bedroom.  I do remember the feeling of careening into the door frame and smashing my face and one foot against the wood.  The next thing I remember is "coming to" on the bedroom carpet, less than 2 feet from my bed, milk and cereal, mashed nectarine and dishes scattered everywhere.  My clothes were soaked with milk and cereal crumbs, there was a spray of milk all over the side of my file cabinet in the office beside the bedroom, my toe was aching badly because I broke it when I hit the door frame and my glasses were all scratched and wonky on my face.  4 hours later my poor toe is still very swollen and red, my face aches and there are beautiful blue bruises appearing on one leg.

My husband was in another room when I fainted.  He heard 2 big bangs, one when I hit the door and one when I landed on the floor.  He so patiently helped me strip off my sodden nightwear and got me into bed.  Then he cleaned up all my mess and brought me breakfast in bed.  How do people who live alone cope with illnesses like this?

The poor man is also coming down with whatever this is.  He is a couple of days behind me with his symptoms so we will try to get ourselves to the doctor on Monday and get some help.

Don't know if we picked this up on the airplane when we were away or at the ordination just before we left or where exactly it found us, but we need to get some help and get over it. Next time I feel so faint I WILL do the right thing so as not to have a repeat of this morning's silliness.