Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Thoughts For the Evening

I got thinking tonight about how my more liberal Christian friends have pulled back, and rightly so, from the old fundamental concepts of God as a mean spirited, arbitrarily judgemental, frighteningly controlling sort of person.  I also began thinking about how much too far some of them have swung in the other direction: so consumed with God as being all loving and forgiving to the point of barely needing to exist in his own created universe, they are in denial about having to experience the natural effects of some of their own bad decisions.

Some of my extremely fundamental Christian friends have come up with the same problems associated with seeing God as something he isn't, but for the opposite reason: looking at every cause and effect as a direct judgement by God for specific sins, obvious or hidden, in a person's life.

We have to be very careful to recognize when natural cause and effect are at work.  If I hit my finger with a hammer and hurt myself it seems to be a natural effect of my own carelessness, not God just waiting for me to pick up a hammer so he can manage to injure me with it because I did something bad earlier on that day.  I have counselled teens in the past who were freaking out about discovering themselves unwed and pregnant, thinking the baby was God's judgement upon them for having unprotected sex in an uncommitted relationship, when really having a baby is a possible consequence of sex no matter the circumstances of the act itself.  Have sex/possibly have a baby...or an STD.  Both are natural consequences of a natural act, not God being mean in order to punish us.

To suggest though that God is loving to the point where he will prevent us from suffering the consequences of our own behaviour, natural consequences that are built into life on this planet, is unrealistic and gives the wrong impression of God as well.  Whatever happens to us that seems bad, the result of natural cause and effect, he will guide us through it, forgive us if necessary and help us to be transformed as we pick ourselves up and try not to end up in a similar circumstance, but we do have to sometimes suffer natural consequences, either as a result of our own behaviour or decisions, or as a result of something coming at us from outside ourselves, like war or weather disasters.  

We live in a cause and effect world.  To accuse God of punishing us every time we experience the natural result of a cause, or to act and talk as though there should be no painful consequences when we deliberately set ourselves up to be hurt or have to experience pain from an outside source, is making God too small, too ineffective to be the creator and sustainer of his and our universe.  

It is tempting for all of us to want to make God into a being we are comfortable with, someone who treats others and the world around us in the ways we think he should, someone who can fit into a likeness and image we can hang onto and fully understand in our own minds.  It is certainly a struggle for me when I have to reap the consequences of my own actions or feel I don't deserve to suffer from things that aren't a result of my own doing.

It is all about learning to accept and to trust the way he works in the world and in our lives.  Not so easy when the consequences occur.

Monday, March 30, 2015

FINALLY... A Day Off For and With My Hubby!!

Today was an excellent day once again.  My exhausted husband was able to take the day off and he made the most of his time.  He slept in, he made pancakes for breakfast, he got a bit of unpacking done in his home office.  His REAL project for the day though was doing some electrical rewiring in the bathroom.  I am not sure why he is so keen to make so many "unapproved" improvements in a tacky rental unit, but he had a bee in his bonnet about the wiring in there.  The maintenance electricians here set up the bathroom switches so that every time the light switch went on the fan came on as well.  It was wired in such a way that plugging in a small night light didn't work either. The night light would only work when the main switch was turned on...in fact nothing would work in the plug in without that light switch in the on position.  The fan is loud.  We have not been able to hear the telephone ringing nor people knocking at the doors when that bathroom light is on.  Stumbling around in the dark to try to use the bathroom in the middle of the night has been a real problem because of the fan coming on automatically if we switched on the light.  NO MORE!  We now have 2 switches, one each for fan and light, as well as 2 plugs that are useable without either switch having to be on.  The night light is now in one of those plugs, beaming cheerily for the old folks when we use the bathroom at 4am!  

We spent half the day in a series of building supply stores getting the parts needed for that project, as well as a couple of other improvement projects my husband is working on.  I discovered some nice racking for putting up unobtrusively in the kitchen, assuming that soon we will open one of the packed boxes still in the basement and discover our herbs and spices.  hohoho  I am getting so tired of cooking with black pepper, lemon/lime juices, fish rub and poultry seasoning, but they are the only flavourings we have come across in the past few weeks.  Sigh...

We spent so much of the afternoon potting about in the building supply stores that it was nearly time for dinner when we were done.  As it happened we were in the vicinity of an Earls restaurant and had a hefty gift certificate from one of our former church congregations.  So we indulged ourselves and spent half of it on our dinner tonight.  I ordered a chicken pecan salad and it was delicious!!  The chicken breast was encrusted with pecan rub, the salad contained beautifully fresh leafy greens along with slivered parmesan, candied pecans, sliced pears, cold beet chunks and a wonderful goat cheese coulis.  It was just the right amount of food, fabulously delicious and I enjoyed every mouthful.  Earls is still doing chain restaurant fare exceptionally well.  I am looking forward to a return visit in the near future to use the rest of our gift certificate.  My husband had a small steak with perfectly cooked asparagus and their skinny french fries. The fries are nothing special, except for them not being drenched in salt, thank goodness, so that certainly improves them from our point of view.  We are definitely enjoying living somewhere that has enough decent restaurants to inspire a few spontaneous decisions to eat in them.

After we arrived home my husband completed his electrical project in good time and is now sitting back watching some television.  I can tell I am relaxed and feeling well today because I really did enjoy wandering around the building supply stores....again......haha.  

Despite the surprise interruption in my day of laundry, I will be able to take the last load out of the dryer in about 20 minutes and it will be just after 10pm.  

Our other treat earlier this evening was a 40 minute SKPE with our son.  He has to return to Canada the end of May for a week or 2, but now has the option to return to New York for the month of June for an extra few weeks to round out his apprenticeship there.  We are happy for him. He looks so happy and content.  Thank you Lord, it has been a long time coming.

Tonight I will luxuriate under my brand new duvet and pillow, plus a brilliantly coloured new duvet cover and matching pillowcase.  We decided earlier today that it is time to get rid of most of our old bedding.  Now that we no longer have a guest room even the nicest of our extra bedding and linens will not be used and are just taking up closet space we desperately need for other things.  We will keep the blow up queen sized mattress and one set of linens and blankets that fit it for those occasional "surprise guest" emergencies. The rest of the bedding and the old "foamies" will have to go.  I am happy about it because some of the bedding is too dilapidated for company to use anyway and there are also some nice blankets, pillow shams and bedspreads that someone shopping in the thrift stores will be thrilled to come across.

So, off to an early bedtime once again.  My husband will be able to sleep in again in the morning as it is to be his other day off this week, despite having to attend a luncheon with the Bishop and a retired Archbishop.  No doubt either before or after the luncheon he will end up doing some work at the office as well, but I pray he can resist the temptation.  With it being Holy Week this week, culminating in the Easter Sunday services, even though he has not started yet in his new parish he will be attending and preaching at other mid week services, so between those and his regular office days it is going to be a busy week as usual.

I am supposed to be going for coffee with my husband's cousin in the morning. Hope it works out because she is really fun and I am looking forward to it.

Time to get the last of the laundry loads out of the dryer and get to bed.  Hope it is as sunny and warm tomorrow as it was today....even with the strong prairie winds blowing all afternoon, it was most pleasant to be out and about.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

A Nearly Perfect Sunday Excursion

For me a day like today is near perfection.  The sun shone ALL day and the temperature rose to a springlike (finally!) +12C.  The snow is nearly gone, other than the remaining piles created by shovelling and bobcat work earlier in the winter.  The highways are clear and dry.

So, I headed out to Moose Jaw to church early this morning.  It was so much fun to be there and to be able to sing in the choir for Palm Sunday service.  Marching around outside the church singing Hosannas, singing the familiar Palm Sunday service hymns, being with good friends in Christ.  It was a wonderful morning in every way.

Had a late lunch with my good friend Patty.  After being away from here for 5 years is there anything more satisfying than getting together with best friends and sisters and brothers in the Lord that I have known for so many years? Nope, nothing quite compares.

Driving back and forth on dry highways was such a blessing....although I have to say that the condition of the TransCanada here is not very great.  The potholes are getting bigger, there are a lot of "wavy" sections that throw my car around and the general condition of the pavement is deteriorating rapidly.  Too much ice combined with too many large trucking rigs all winter are wreaking havoc on the highways across Canada.

After seeing the horrendous hog wallow sized pot holes on the Moose Jaw streets I will no longer complain about the comparatively teensy weensy pot holes that comprise most of the streets immediately around our housing development.  O for shame Moose Jaw, o for shame!!!

It has been a grand day and now I can relax here at home while I wait for my husband to return from our former parish.  I do hope it went well and that there were good vibes between our parish members and the candidate for possible new priest that went up there with my husband.  I would so like to see the parish really growing and thriving once again. The leg work has been done. Old hurts have been healed for many people.  The people deserve someone who has a true love for them and a heart to see their parish thrive now that they are ready to receive new people into the flock.

Time for dinner.......salmon steak...YES!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Zam, Zam, Thank You Ma'am! (smirk....)

I have discovered my fast food restaurant of choice: Zam Zam Wrap!

It is located in a quiet corner of Cornwall Center, tucked away on the opposite end of the mall from the food courts and features halal foods etc.  I ordered a "build your own" salad.  Beside the usual Subway type salad offerings, minus the spinach, it had my favourite pickled turnip slices and tzatziki sauce.  That was delicious enough on its own, but I asked for the topping of chicken that turned out to be delightful bits of chopped chicken ladeled across the entire top of the salad, nice and warm from the tasty herbs it had been steeped in.  O my it was delicious!  And so inexpensive. It was less than ten dollars and was nearly enough salad for two meals for me.  The diet Pepsi I had with it was a bit jarring for flavour, but I was so entranced by the salad preparation I neglected to take a proper gander at the list of beverages!!  Next time....

And there will be a next time.  It was worth the bus ride to the Center just for the salad!  I am going to check the other mall directories and see if there are any other Zam Zam locations in this city.  Yes, there was probably a ton of sodium in the chicken, but being able to get a salad without any grain carbs provided along with it and still be so filling is worth the exposure to the salt.  

The bus routes to places I need to go are, I am finding, fairly direct, easy to transfer to and fro when necessary.  Of course the transit system in such a small city leaves much to be desired, but for someone like myself who has lots of time to plan these cross city treks and not worry overly much about squeezing bus trips in between other deadlines, it is certainly sufficient.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Best Anniversary Treat!

Short version: my husband didn't have to stay over at the monastery tonight after all, so he came home for the night.  We were able to have an anniversary dinner out and a really great discussion about the retreat he was at and about the things that happened here at home in his absence.  He brought me a lovely gift of 2 Japanese plates and I gave him 2 of his favourite large sized chocolate bars because he likes edible gifts above all else. haha  Tomorrow his meetings will be at the office instead of out at the monastery, so he will be home in time to have another nice evening at home before his weekend excursion.  YAY!  It is all good! (Well, having to get up unexpectedly at 6:30am is less than spectacular, BUT what the hey....he came home!!)

Tracking the Emotions

The human mind is a frail element of our being.  I have been trying to track a few unexpected reactions I have had since moving here and come up with some reasoning behind a few days of battling mild depression since we arrived.

During the 5 years we lived in our last parish I was alone a lot of the time. Health issues cropped up one after the other, extended family issues took up a lot of my time and my ability to reach out regularly to parishioners and local people there was hampered by everything else that was going on in my life.  I didn't realize until we moved that I spent far too much time there removed from direct human contact.

Since arriving here many of the health and family issues are resolving and my energy, both physically and mentally, are on the rise.  I have had few days where I haven't seen or talked to people other than my husband.

So, why some days of mild depression?  It has happened on those few days where I had no plans to see people.  Days without social interaction have become days of fighting emotional panic: what if I am slipping back into the loneliess of our last posting???  What if I don't see anyone else this week???  What if...... and on it goes; subconsciously a fear of loneliness has developed.

Recognizing problems and fears and naming them is certainly the beginning of solving them.  Yesterday morning I woke up in a panic because I had no specific plans for the day that involved other people.  That is when I began to figure out what the problem has been since we moved here. 

After I prayed about what to do about this issue I started thinking back to the days I have been alone this week.  I have had only two days without company or a coffee time out with someone else.  Even on one of those days, the day I went to the doctor, I met people sitting in the waiting room and we struck up quite a good conversation.  It was unexpected and rather interesting.  It made me feel cheery inside for the rest of the day.

Yesterday was the other day completely on my own and I could have had the same kind of emotional panic going on, but because I woke up thinking about the issue and sorting it out, I had a very good day after all and accomplished a fair amount of work around here.  In the middle of the afternoon I realized I was starting to feel sluggish and unhappy, so I went for a walk to the grocery store and said a happy hello to absolutely every person I passed along the way.  They all responded very positively and I felt buoyed up by the time I arrived home.  During the evening I planned the lunch for my company today.  Tomorrow my husband will be home for the evening before he leaves again and I have a list of possibilities for my own plans while he is gone.

Thinking ahead in order to see the upcoming days that could create emotional stress for me is key to organizing life events that will keep my mind balanced out while I make the adjustments necessary to living in a new place once again.

I spent so much time alone in our last town that I have traumatized myself.  Time to get over it and get on with a new life in a new city.  Creative thinking and planning is called for.  Seeking out events to attend, buses routes for days I am carless, social experiences with friends, organizing well my times alone...all are necessary to maintain good mental health for me.  Thank you Lord for helping me sort this out.  I will force myself to go to greater lengths once again to maintain social contacts with the people where I actually live and will get back into the habit of planning in advance. 

It is all good news.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Sunny Chocolate Birds!

It is chilly outside today but the sun is shining brightly and is melting the snow slowly but surely.  I had no reason to go out, but by mid afternoon I couldn't stand to be inside any more.  Off I wandered to the grocery store and discovered a couple of purchases to make that will be utilized soon enough as to have made the trip worthwhile.  I mailed a few Easter cards to far away relatives as well and scuffed my feet along the pavement coming home to delay the inevitable arrival back indoors. Having the huge park across the street is making me anxious for the rest of the snow to melt and the warm spring temperatures to hurry up and arrive so I can get out and walk to my heart's content.

I had an  opportunity to sample Lindt's new Intense Black Currant Chocolate.  O my....if I ever see it for sale anywhere I am going to have to avert my eyes and race by it double quick time.  It could create a huge downfall to my carefully disciplined diet.  O my... it was absolutely delicious!!  Talk about a diabetic's nightmare..... YUMMY!!

Heard quite a racket going on outside just after lunch.  There was squawking and honking and flapping close to my kitchen window. Outside were 2 large Canada geese tramping through the snow mounds on the lawn.  They looked pretty chilly and were not impressed with their surroundings.  I miss my birds very much from our last town of residence so it was great to have geese so close to our place, inches from my window actually.  They  must nest in the park for the summer, or at least take advantage of its usual riches of food on the way through.  I imagine they are not finding much to eat here just yet.  Hope they will be okay.  Their compatriots were squawking up a storm up in the sky overhead.  They are the first birds I have noticed since we got here, apart from a few forlorn looking sparrows.

Tomorrow is our wedding anniversary:  38 years!  Of course, as usual, my husband is out of town for work.  He will be gone again on the weekend so I hope we have time to celebrate Friday evening, his one night home in a ten day stretch of work related absences.  ALSO, today is his birthday: 63 years old. Wow.........For both of us, OLD is the operative word.  Some days we both feel every day of our ages.

I am happy to be having a lunch guest tomorrow.  The Bishop's wife is coming to share a meal with me.  She is hilarious and I am so looking forward to our visit.  We both find ourselves married to seriously academic men who began ministry later in life and are now fully committed to ministry positions neither of them thought they would ever qualify to have.  She and I have a fair amount in common and we do like to laugh together and pray together.  We are both also on similar special diets so lunch is going to be pretty sparse and simple to prepare: hardboiled eggs, a bit of cold chicken and a lot of salad veggies will be the sum total of the "feast", but we will feel well after we eat and that is the main thing.

I have been experimenting with my PVR and now have to erase all manner of programmes that are not worth watching, but at least I understand how the thing works now.  My husband has 3 or 4 programmes each week he likes to see, so when he gets home Friday evening there they will be ready for him to watch....after we celebrate our anniversary with dinner out....well, actually maybe we should wait until next week when we can focus on the celebration and not getting his weekend travels planned.  He will be exhausted anyway...yeah, next week will be better for a dinner out.  Monday night is a slow night at the restaurants, so a good night for us to be out and about. 

Easter will soon be upon us.  It is so early this year, I can't believe it.  My poor husband has to make return trips to our former parish this weekend to introduce a pastoral candidate to the folk there and then again next weekend to do the Easter services.  Glad as he is to make both trips, it would be a lot easier if it wasn't 2 weekends in a row that he has to make the 10 hour excursion.  He has to preach at the Cathedral here on Good Friday and we are hoping to have a young couple we adore here for dinner that night.

So much going on, so much coming up. If this weather continues and the snow keeps melting I am going to try to go to Moose Jaw to church on Sunday....and now I am going to go and start reading a book I ordered last week. UPS just delivered it. I want to enjoy reading it and then get it passed along to my parents as they introduced me to this particular series and we are all enjoying the storyline.  HOPEFULLY this one is the last of the series as it is so long between books we have to go back and re-read the one previously so we can keep up with the action.   

HAPPY SOON TO BE SPRING!!  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Chuckling.....

I am having a little giggle all to myself.  teehee

Was just talking on the phone to a new friend here in town and told her I had found a doctor today.  She excitedly told me about HER doctor and it turns out to be the same one I decided to avoid! hahaha  All the reasons I wasn't that enthused about having him are the very reasons she thinks he is the perfect doctor for her. I am glad he is a good doctor and I am glad she has a good working relationship with him.  The kicker is that when she moved to town a couple of years ago she also checked out the doctor I have chosen.  She rejected that doctor for all the same reasons I picked her as the one best for me. hahaha

Isn't it grand that there are medical personnel available to accommodate all manner of personalities and needs that patients have?!

BINGO!! I Have a Doctor!!!

This afternoon I trudged 5 blocks through the teeming snow and over the slush and ice to have a meet and greet with a lovely doctor that I am very comfortable with.  What a relief. She was interested in my medical history, glad I have kept up with my lab tests in the absence of a local doctor, more than willing to take me on as a patient and very willing to keep my lab work and physical exams on my present schedule.  I am so grateful and so happy that my wandering through the snowy wilderness was worth it.

My new doctor is from Bangladesh, got her medical training in South Africa (usually a VERY good sign) and has been in Regina for the past 8 years, seems to like it and plans to stay for awhile.  All good news.

The relief is intense.  Thank you Lord for an apparently good doctor who is so willing to have me and who actually looked at my history before deciding to take me.  I showed up in her office looking like a drowned rat, fuzzy hair cascading about my shoulders and slop from the street up one pant leg and still she accepted me.  Whew!!

Spring Snow

What a beautiful sight I awoke to this morning at 6:30am: the snowflakes were coming down in such a thick blanket I could barely see across the street to the park.  It was still somewhat dark and the snow coming down under the illumination of the street lights was a gorgeous mass of sparkling white. I love spring storms.

Not sure how many centimeters we have had thus far.  I swept off the back and front porches a couple of times all ready and they need it again now, just after 11am.  

The SaskTv tech arrived this morning to install the PVR on the tv system and said that there is a treacherous layer of ice under all that snow.  I watched several service vehicles sliding around as they entered the parking area and had to traverse the now frozen "pond" that covers the entire entryway to the lot.

I think my walk to the doctor's office this afternoon is going to be more interesting than I want it to be, particularly if I can't locate my winter spiked cane in the dismal disaster that is still our basement storage area.  Well, it will be a new adventure if nothing else.  Hopefully I can manage the 10 block return trip without injuring myself.  Taking the bus for a total of 2 stops there and back again for nearly 6 dollars simply does not appeal to my skinflint Celtic heart. hohoho!!

After the tv tech left I set up a couple of shows to be recorded later today.  Might as well find out if I actually do understand what the man explained to me about how to make the system work.  As he was explaining the recording and replay procedures he held the remote facing away from me and I had to keep asking him what buttons he was pushing! haha.  He is the same age as my son, so grew up surrounded by and therefore knowledgeable about the ever expanding world of home technology services.  I'll see if this old codger has the info figured out or not when I return from the doctor and attempt to locate the shows I think I am going to be recording while I am away.  

At least I can record one show and watch another at the same time.  I can record two programmes at once, so that is handy and will help avoid conflicts in the late autumn when the rest of the country goes off DST once again for the winter; when shows that came on before or after each other the rest of the year start colliding into the same time slots.

By this post you would think all I do is watch tv for enterainment.  I am so glad to be able to say that I do not, particularly since we moved here and there are so many more people to keep busy visiting and dining and praying with.

Onward through the snow this afternoon.  SO glad my husband had to take the car to retreat after all.  I would be so tempted to drive to the clinic in this weather, slipping and sliding along the streets with the rest of the vehicles and driving around and around the small crowded clinic parking lot waiting for a space to open up for my car.  In the big picture, walking will usually be the easiest way to get there, should this doctor and I decide we can have a good doctor/patient relationship.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Slight Changes in Plans

We planned to go to Moose Jaw yesterday to support two good friends in their confirmation with the Bishop.  However, exhaustion and tummy bugs, bouncing blood sugar and the like prevented us from going. So glad we are both recovered and healthy today!

Instead of travelling the highway to church we confined ourselves to attending the Service of Light at the Cathedral here in Regina in the late afternoon.  My husband had a reading to do and it did guarantee us a worship service this weekend.  It was a lovely service and I wore a heavy tapestry scarf to put over my nose throughout the worship time because it is also an incense filled service.  The kind they used yesterday seemed particularly flowery and potent.  Without the scarf I wouldn't have lasted thirty seconds.  As it is my lungs are a bit congested today from it.  Glad I went though because I learned a couple of hymns that are new to me and the service itself was very nice.  Visiting with some aquaintances afterward and making plans to see more of them in the near future was a bonus!

We went out for Indian food afterward for dinner.  O yum...Flavours of India.  It isn't fancy, but it is hearty and tasty.  For some reason my body will accept an extra carb unit or two with Indian food that it doesn't accept with any other cuisine.  My sugar was up well less than two points post prandial.  Of course I made sure I had some good exercise as always: a trip to the grocery store to stock up for the week, stretching and jogging.  BUT, very little more exercise than I usually have in the evenings. Yay Indian food carbs!

A combination of bad weather this week and my husband's probable need for the car at clergy retreat this time, so that he can get the visiting Primate of Canada to the airport the day prior to retreat's end, means I am without transportation after all.  I don't mind.  It is so incredibly icy outside that I have no great desire to go gadding about the city exploring.  My meet and greet with a second doctor is tomorrow afternoon, but it is only about five blocks away and I can certainly manage to walk that far. If we get the heavy snow that is predicted tomorrow, well, I have skinny jeans that tuck into my boots to keep me dry and if it is totally wicked outside the bus stops right outside my front door and will take me two stops up to the clinic.  There is still enough to do indoors right now that I can certainly manage without a car....good grief, I managed whole weeks at a time in a carless state in our last little town, stuck inside often for the entire time and with no company dropping by, so this week will be a slice 'o' rice!!  

This morning my husband headed to the office to get some work done and will then join the rest of the staff in sponsoring a lunch with the Primate prior to heading out to the retreat.  The ladies on staff have prepared prime rib of beef and freshly baked loaves of bread for the meal.  They are an incredible pair of cooks and their presence has assisted in transforming the Diocese office from a mere place of business into a place of genuine hospitality.  What an awesome day my husband is having.  

My one remaining auntie called me from Lloydminster this morning and we had a wonderful talk on the phone.  So good to hear from her.  Gave my week an excellent start.  Good plans for next week to see a cousin of my husband's.  A coffee time is in the offing with one of the diocesan deacons.  My husband's sister is coming to visit in a couple of weeks' time. Back to our former parish for Easter services. We are heading to Assiniboia in mid April to do a church service there, so another new place to visit.  

The next few weeks will be hectic and also a lot of fun.  Life is good.  It almost always is. There are usually only a few glitches along the way in the big scheme of things.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Perhaps I Just Wasn't In the Mood?

This afternoon I downloaded the movie "St. Vincent" on my tv.  Bill Murray, as usual, gave a superb performance, but on the whole I didn't really  enjoy the movie that much.

The movie couldn't decide if it was a comedy or a drama, so maybe that threw me off despite the predictable warm 'n' fuzzy story line, complete with expected happy ending: feisty, wicked old curmudgeon shows heart of gold that has been warped by the circumstances of life and it takes a child to redeem the man in the eyes of the community; a child with a sad family circumstance who, in grand Hollywood movie style, is more intelligent than the combined total of adults in his life.

Ick, pooey!  And what else is new?

I think what really put me off was the ending:  the man was redeemed in the eyes of the community and in the eyes of the boy's family, BUT the man himself did not change his ways despite his position of being newly socially redeemed.

In other words, there was no transformation of his character.  Basically all his apparent redemption amounted to was public acceptance of his continued irresponsible and downright wicked lifestyle.  All that was "transformed" was their ability to accept his sad excuse for a life.  Instead of moving from acceptance to assisting him to smarten up and transform himself into the person they knew he could be, they stopped at the acceptance stage and left him continuing to drown in the disasters of his own making.

All I could think of at the end was how Jesus also accepts us exactly the way we are when we first meet him: warts and wounds and evil and all.  BUT he doesn't stop there.  He loves us into a transformation of our character for our own spiritual and moral safety. He loves us too much to leave us wallowing in our old habits and thoughts and actions.  Instead he shows us a more healing and whole way to live in the presence of God, our heavenly father.

At the end of the movie, the nasty old curmudgeon remained just that. He was left not only to continue to hurt himself with his bad life habits, but to think that it was very well to do so because his community stopped at acceptance and didn't really love him enough to help him change for the better.

Lots to think about..........

PS

I didn't have time yesterday to contact the phone company about the barrage of middle of the night calls from Azerbaijan.  However, I think my late night buddy may have realized the fruitlessness of his continued calls here.  There were no incoming calls last night or during the night.  Hopefully he has located the correct number for the person he has been attempting to contact.  I feel badly I couldn't be of any help there, but his level of agitation wouldn't permit him to hear me. I hope and pray he hasn't been experiencing some kind of terrible emergency that he hasn't gotten any help for due to the incorrect phone number.

O great, now I have a complete stranger to worry about...from Azerbaijan...good grief!!  I didn't lose any sleep over it last night but now I need to pray for the fellow that all will be well in his world.

Second Verse, Same as the First...a Little Bit Colder and a Little Bit Worse

It is the second day of spring in southern Saskatchewan....a repeat of the first day of spring except that there is even more snow, colder temperatures and the added feature of strong winds.  Brrrr!!

Looks like the groundhogs who predicted a later lifting of the winter weather are the winners this year.  Brrrr!!!

I am very happy I did my bit of extra grocery shopping and other chores yesterday instead of waiting until today. My husband needs the car for work today and I became used to the warmer weather we had last week so quickly that I intend to just sit on my duff here at home and do my shivering indoors.

There is lots of work to do here that will keep me busy for most of the day.  No need to be gadding about, thank goodness.

Two friends are being confirmed at the Moose Jaw church tomorrow and we had planned to attend, but it appears the highway conditions will dictate otherwise.  It is disappointing but perhaps a congratulatory email or phone call will have to do.

At least tomorrow we won't have to arise at 6:30am!  While my husband is at clergy conference next week I have no plans to get up that early ANY day of the week!!  I am so spoiled that way since I had to give up my own job a few years ago...very few days of early risings...until now.  However, it has been amazingly easy to adjust to the early risings and early bedtimes.  I can't complain.

Time to make breakfast and get my husband going to his next long day of meetings.  I think I will just leave the blinds and curtains shut until later in the day when I am ready to see the snow and ice building up outside....tomorrow's spring weather addition will be freezing rain turning to snow.  O GOODY!!  hahaha

Friday, March 20, 2015

O Happy Day

I have now been awake for 19 hours in a row, but found renewed energy as the day went on.  

House cleaning about 800 square feet less space has reduced the entire project to about two and a half to three hours tops.  I cleaned all the rooms, except the two we are still moving into, in exactly two hours.  There, a huge bonus of living in a smaller space!!

I was able to avoid napping this afternoon by the arrival of the carpet repair man just about the time I was wondering if more exercise or laying down would do me the most good.  The blue nail polish is now gone from the bedroom floor and a nice, clean, new square of carpet has taken its place.  That was the last job here holding us up from completing the move in.  Unfortunately my husband has only a half day off this weekend to utilize the opportunity and then he is gone for about ten days, but at least when he returns the job will be accomplished in a couple of days or so.  YAY!

The air was somewhat bracing when I did my daily grocery shopping, so that woke me up in a hurry!  My PC grocery card is now functioning and I only need about 4 and a half billion points accrued before I can actually get a discount on some products. hahaha  I truly do not understand all these point systems...let me rephrase that:  I do not understand the point of the points!!  Just lower the costs of each product by a couple of cents over all and forget the points and the cards and the giveaways and the special deals for card holders, etc. etc. ad nauseum.  Points for grocery discounts, points for gasoline discounts, points for airline fare reductions, points for free nights in hotels and on and on it goes.  The Loblaws chain gasoline kiosks are about the best deal because you can get Superbucks to use against your next grocery purchase at one of their affiliated stores WITHOUT even having the point card!  YAY!!

At about 4pm it hit me that we had company coming for supper and I hadn't even thought of what to do with the meat I had thawed, let alone what to serve with it.  I am SO bad for that loss of momentum right about the time I need to be the most creative and efficient in the kitchen.  I wandered over to the refrigerator and opened it, waiting for a flash of inspiration to hit me.  I am such a plain cook at the best of times.  After a couple of minutes of thinking about it I came up with a rice and chicken dish with a great number of veggies added, a garden salad, cheese bread and a fruit salad for dessert.  Easy peasy and it tasted sufficiently fine.  The wine our guests brought probably contributed to the flavour as well!!  haha

Our first dinner company in our new place...it felt good!  Having company in for a meal certainly contrbutes to the feeling of actually living  in the city and not just visiting it.

I am determined to be in bed before 10pm...that gives me exactly 13 minutes if I am going to be successful.

Nighty night!

Elusive Sleep

It is just after 5am.  I have been awake...again....since about 2:30am because...again....the phone has been ringing during the wee hours of the morning.  Someone from Azerbaijan has been calling and calling and calling and calling and callling...morning, noon and night for the past few days.  

During the daytime hours I have answered the call a few times and tried to explain to the poor overwrought fellow on the other end of the line that the person he is trying to reach does not have this phone number.  He demands to speak to the person over and over but can't seem to calm down enough to listen to my explanation that he has the wrong number.

The night before last he called 8 times between 4am and 6am.  He called twice more in the middle of the morning.  After my last conversation with him in the afternoon I thought he finally understood, so I didn't unplug the phones before I went to bed last night. Sigh...my stupid....  

So here I sit wide awake after only a few hours of sleep earlier on.  I am going to have to call the phone company today and see what I can do about blocking the fellow's phone number. After a week of his persistent phone calls we have reached "ludicrous speed".

Laying awake 2 nights in a row is not good for my mental health.  While prayer is helpful, occasionally, like tonight, I still can't go back to sleep despite the time spent talking to God because my mind starts racing with thoughts of many other things.  By about 4am I am flirting with depression because so many negative thoughts start flooding in when I am this tired.  I know this about myself and do all I can to combat it.  Like right now...I am blogging because being up and active in some way sends the depression possibilities fleeing.  

As I sit here writing I am starting to see the humour in the situation.  How many people from Regina SK get to chat on a daily basis with a complete stranger from Azerbaijan for a whole week, right?  He is so adamant he has the correct phone number and I am equally adamant he does not!  I can barely understand his English and he apparently can't truly comprehend the phrase, "No, the person you are calling does not live here and this is not his telephone number."  His response is a very upset, loud, aggressive, "Yes, he does and yes it is!", followed by constant, completely unintelligible blithering that I can't seem to interrupt no matter how loud my own blithering becomes as I attempt to break into his stream of consciousness.

We go back and forth like this for a minute or two before I finally get completely frustrated and hang up the phone.  By now I am feeling like I am caught in the Azerbaijanian version of "Who's On First?"!!!  hahahaha

So far he has only called once this morning.  I suspect my inability to sleep afterward is because my whole body is tensed waiting for the phone to ring again.  O yes, I remember why I couldn't unplug: it is because the phone needs charging and I need to use it in another few hours.

We are having friends in for dinner tonight.  After getting some more groceries this morning for that meal, trying once again to get my PC points grocery card properly activated after spending half the day on the phone in that attempt yesterday, getting my son's proxy voting ballot for the upcoming plebisite for Vancouver Transit Tax to the post office, ironing my husband's work clothes, cleaning the suite, working with the carpet man to remove some stains in the living room after he replaces a section of carpet in a bedroom and finally staggering into the kitchen to prepare the dinner, all on top of so little sleep, I am afraid of falling asleep at the table and waking up with my face in my dinner instead of enjoying the visit with our friends.

My husband will be away for the better part of the next 2 weeks so I need to get some sleep tonight and spend some time tomorrow planning out what I am going to do while he is away.  It will be my reconnaisance experience so that I have a better idea of what I will do with myself when he is in Africa for another 2 weeks later in the spring.  Mind you, the weather should be stable by then, no more snow and ice to worry about, so I should be able to get out on the road to see friends and family.  At least now I am in some kind of city so there actually are things of interest to do right here where I live. With the forecast for a return of snowy conditions, I am extremely grateful to know I will have the car.

Just thinking about all those things and people I can now occupy my time with has chased far away any temptation to be feeling blue.  The sheer busyness of my day today will keep me awake, I will deal with my Azerbaijanian phone buddy, I will enjoy my company this evening and I will start making plans for myself for the next couple of weeks.  It is all good!

My blog may be pretty boring lately for others to read, but writing things down is certainly assisting me in getting adjusted to a new place and a new life.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Finding a New Doctor

This afternoon I attended my first "meet 'n' greet" with a local doctor.  I am sorry to say I don't think this man is going to be my physician of choice.  He is a nice enough man, just not of the kind of mindset I am looking for.

He had no interest in any of my last 18 months of lab tests, wouldn't even look at them, had no interest in seeing any of my past records and wants to give me a physical and run my lab work in April....all the same tests I just had done 3 weeks ago that don't need to be done again until May.  He asked me a few questions about my health and then told me he would be happy to take me on as a patient.  I was given no opportunity to ask him any questions about himself or his practice.

The last straw was his disdain for the treatment my osteoporosis specialist has me on and was not at all interested in why I am not taking any of the usual medications for that condition. My mentioning that the specialist is one of the top osteoporisis doctors in Canada meant nothing it would seem.  Apparently listening is not his forte when he is with a patient. Making sure I realized that he is in charge seemed very important to him.

As soon as I returned home I called the other clinic that is close to our place and made an appointment for a "meet 'n' greet" with a doctor there next week.  Three doctors in that clinic are still taking new patients, so if this one doesn't work out either, perhaps one of the other two will.  I have a couple of months to find someone before my next lab work has to be done. 

I am very happy with the pharmacy I chose to have my prescriptions forwarded on to.  They are very accommodating and helpful...also a few dollars less expensive than my last pharmacy.  The pharmacist here expressed real concern about the cost of one of my prescriptions and wondered if I have insurance to have it reimbursed. Fortunately I do through my husband's plan at work.  She actually called me at home to ask me and to tell me how much the prescription will cost. Very nice!

So, for the most part things are going very well here.  It is nice to have a bit of choice in who my next doctor will be.  I don't remember the last time I lived in a place large enough for that to happen.

Had a good chat with a friend in Ontario today.  We have been friends for a number of years, although when we lived in the same town we didn't really know each other at all.  Funny how you sometimes connect later on with someone you lived close to geographically but hardly had a chance to know at the time.  Now we have both moved on from there and have a wonderful e-mail and phone friendship. I think having a good friend in Ontario should be a great reason to save up a few dollars and take a quick trip out that way sometime in the next year or so.  I love Ontario but haven't had nearly as many opportunities to return there over the past decade as I would have liked.

Snow and cold are on their way here once again.  Can't complain as we have had a lovely break from the bad weather.  I took a long long walk today and so enjoyed it...being outside is a balm to the soul after the long winter days indoors.

Local friends are coming for dinner Friday night.  I am so looking forward to seeing them.  We all lived in Moose Jaw for awhile and they are lovely folk.  Really looking forward to it.  

My son sent an email last night detailing some very good changes happening in his life right now. I think he is finally getting free of the funk he has been in for the past several years.  I am very excited for him.

Life is pretty good at the moment.

You Dirty Rat......

Today I had the joy of seeing my first rat up close and personal.  I have seen a couple from a distance in times past, on the west coast, but this one was right here on the lawn...fortunately dead as it turned out.  Put on a new pair of disposable gloves and deposited it head first into a garbage bag to take to the complex bin.  Yeeeeeucck!!!  I have decided that rats are just as terrifying when they are dead as they are when they are alive.

My husband was hoping I wouldn't realize that the plastic house shaped "mouse traps" with the giant tunnels in front of our building's basement windows are actually rat traps. So sorry darlin', but I figured it out today.  The rats come across from the huge city park across the road and with the amount of dog poop and garbage I have found outside here, it is no wonder they have targeted our building.  

The rats will be in for a surprise this spring because one local source of garbage has been and will continue to be cleaned up!!  There is one more bank of snow close to the back deck that has yet to melt. No doubt there is more garbage and poop hiding under it to be cleaned up at the first opportunity.  I'm up for it.  I am now on an anti-rat crusade!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Poop's Been Scooped! (And Other Good News)

After a morning of grocery shopping and other errands, I returned home just before lunch determined to take advantage of the cooler temperature and shovel off some of the dog poop from our back yard area.  I donned some disposable latex gloves, grabbed a big bag and shovel and headed out to do the deed.

I had been outside less than 10 minutes before two of the grounds maintenance crew arrived to take over the job of poop removal.  It was so kind of them.  I know, I know, technically it is their job and not mine, but I didn't want to ask for any more work to be done here than I have had to ask for in the very short time we have lived in this building.  Whether they simply didn't want me doing it, or it was because of the cinnamon buns I took over to all the staff yesterday to thank them for what they have done for us all ready, I don't know. I do know that within another 20 minutes the yard was clear of all that stinky muck.  A little bobcat arrived with a small bucket to scrape off any remaining poop and now we can walk safely between our place and the parking lot.  YAY!! 

A couple of hours later one of the office staff arrived with a written request to access our suite on Friday afternoon so that the damaged square of carpet can be replaced.  To the best of our knowledge that should be the last of the repairs that should have been completed before we moved in.  Fortunately it is in my husband's office space and that room is still in complete chaos, so it will be easy to yard things out of there so the carpet man can do his job.  

I received a phone call today from the diabetic nurse I worked with in our last town. She called to give me the results of my last short version lab work from two weeks ago.  Happily, despite the stress, the bad food, the outright cheating with the desserts on several occasions, my hbA1c has not changed at all.  It is exactly the same as it has been for the last two sets of lab tests.  It is a good number.  I am thinking it may be possible to lower it even further now that my life is back on an even keel and I am eating out a lot less often....or at least eating far more diabetes friendly restaurant food than was possible for a few weeks before the last set of tests.  Creatinine levels are down even lower than last time and all the other related tests are lower as well, all within normal range.  I am delighted.  I feel I am getting a better idea now of what is possible and can start being less paranoid about the whole condition, while sticking more closely to the proper diet and exercise once again.  I was bubbling over with joy by the time afternoon arrived.

Today I discovered some  yummy bean flour falafel, corn product free, that looked like a real treat.  I made some for supper.  My technique for making and keeping the proper round patties shape requires a bit more work and experience...tonight I didn't use enough oil so they didn't cook evenly and some of them broke when I tried to turn them over and oozed uncooked mixture into the pan.  However, it was far more successful than the last time I tried.  Some of them came out of the pan still kind of round...ish....  I have to be less afraid of using enough oil in the pan and be prepared to do a lot more rolling of the patties in a towel afterward to remove the excess oil.  Next time!!!  So near and yet so far.....  Decided to make a meat loaf as well. Haven't made one for years.  I sauteed some chopped onion and added chopped cauliflower, yellow and red pepper bits and celery to the pan.  The mixture added real body to the meat loaf and fulfilled my vegetable requirements in a different way that was quite palatable.  The huge amount of Italian seasoning I added helped too of course.  A slathering of home made tomato sauce on top for the last half hour of cooking kept it moist.  For some reason the Italian seasoning went just fine with the falafel and we had a much better dinner than I anticipated.  I am not the most creative of cooks and often my most creative attempts fall somewhat short of perfection.  When I thought of having falalfel I had a more middle eastern meat dish in mind, but then realized I still have no idea where the herbs and spices box has disappeared to since we moved.  It must be in the basement, buried under something else.  The other day I purchased an Italian herb mix in desperation to have something to add to meat and tomato dishes, so now I am glad I did.

Nothing of interest on tv tonight....like most nights actually.  However, once my husband is more into the routine of his job and his early morning hours and bedtimes, we will start taking advantage of the inexpensive movie rentals available through our SaskMax tv programme.  That will make sleepy evenings more interesting.

Tomorrow afternoon I have a "meet 'n' greet" with the doctor closest to our home.  O how I pray it works out...that he would accept me as a patient and that I would be happy to have him as a doctor.  I have all ready transferred my prescriptions to the pharmacy beside his clinic, in hopes it can work out well.

So, another busy day tomorrow.  My husband was determined to continue the move in process this evening after dinner and a short rest. The short rest has turned into 2 hours and his eyes are batting shut.  I suspect any more moving excitement will be waiting until his half day off on Thursday. After that he begins a 12 day stretch with no time off, so hopefully the rest of the house can wait until that is over.  He is the only one suffering now from lack of organization in his own personal spaces.  Hoping he can soon take some time just for himself around here.

Time to go and do some exercise and keep my determination to stay on track with my health!  Each day here seems to improve and that is most motivating all around.

I Told Ya', I Told Ya'!!

My sweet husband scoffs every year when I insist on the correctness of the old adage for March weather on the prairies: "In like a lamb, out like a lion" and vice versa.  Each year the weather proves the adage to be generally true and it is happening again this year.  

The first part of March here was unseasonably warm with no new snow to speak of. Spring officially begins on Friday and the weather report tells us we are in for a return to the cold weather and more snow.  My husband is not impressed, very disappointed, very sorry and wishing I could be proven wrong this year in sticking to the adage in my thinking. heehee  

Ooooh, it is SO awful being right....again....tenth year in a row....heehee heehee

Monday, March 16, 2015

Poop Soup, Poop in a Group

Most all the snow in our back yard melted this weekend, revealing a disastrous mess of dog poop left behind by the pet of the former tenant.  Ooooh YUCK!!!!  It is literally impossible to walk off the bottom back step and head over to the parking space without stepping in a big, wet, mooshy, squishy, stinky ball of dog poop.  I admit to being somewhat naive and confess I have never seen anything like this before...at least not so close to where I live.  

It can't be moved until it all dries out or until it freezes solid again and can picked up.  In the meantime my husband got a few sticks of wood to put down for us to walk on until we get into the poop free zone closer to the car.  We got the wood from the maintenance people.  The office staff said they have been made aware over the weekend of several suites sporting the same problem and are going to have to start enforcing the clean up measures supposedly in place for the pet owners here.  My husband is so disgusted that even though his hands have never touched the stuff here, every time he comes into the house he washes his hands just because looking at it makes him feel so dirty.  

We put a big old mat outside the back door on our teeny deck and all shoes are wiped there and taken off before entering the suite.  Inside the door are 2 more mats "just in case"!  

The melt has also revealed all manner of broken kids' toys, empty whiskey bottles, torn clothing and even a dead mouse.  The place looks like a tenement at the moment but there is just enough ice left under the offending bits of junk to hold them in place for awhile yet.  When I tried ripping the old purple scarf out of the front window bed I nearly ripped my arm off in the attempt, while the scarf stayed firmly in place.  It is embedded into the last of the ice there.

I don't actually mind cleaning up this kind of thing.  We have learned a bit about some of the problems experienced by the last tenant and we can't help but feel some compassion for her and for her child who is growing up in a real disaster of a household.  Some people have very tough lives. That is just reality. It doesn't matter how or why they ended up in such a mess, it is enough that they have.  

There is no point in calling this woman to account for the horrendous disaster she turned this place into.  No doubt the management company has taken her entire month's rent sized damage deposit all ready, just to get the inside repairs mostly done before we got here.  It won't kill us to clean up a few things and be extremely grateful that our lives are not in the same mess as hers.  I hope things can change for her some day, also that her child can escape the lifestyle she is growing up in.  

We have moved here at a good time. The present staff are appalled by how these places have been going downhill in the past 2 years and are starting to take measures to prevent any more downward motion.  I hope and pray they can be successful in their efforts.  We will do our part in the cleanup and hope we aren't exposed to any more unnecessary pet poop over the coming months.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Lovely Weekend!!

We had a most satisfying weekend.  By rights we should have stayed home and continued the moving in process here, but we are so glad we went away instead.  Tomorrow my husband has most of the day off so we can do some more work here then, refreshed and ready to tackle the job with more zeal and less frustration.

Our dinner with friends Friday evening went very well.  The four of us have not been together for a long time.  It was a warm enough evening to walk from their house to the restaurant, several blocks away.  They live in an older neighbourhood filled with huge overhanging trees and brick houses.  It was a lovely walk on nearly dry streets and sidewalks, even lovelier coming home later in the dark, our tummies full of very spicy Indian food, the pale streetlights and yellow lighted lamps from peoples' living rooms lighting the way.  Good food, good conversation, good exercise.

Saturday morning we left early for Maple Creek to see our friends there.  The weather was warm and sunny, becoming even warmer, although more overcast, the further west we drove.  We didn't know what to expect in MC.  Our friend is dying of ALS and her husband is carrying a heavy burden of caring for her on top of leading his church and participating in all the other activities he is responsible for in the Diocese.  Various members of their families have been coming from all over the world to visit before she leaves us for the last time.  We expected her to be emaciated from nutritional loss and we had been told by her husband that she was only able to speak for about 30 seconds at a time, needed to use a Boogie Board for written communication and that we should limit our questions to those requiring "yes" and "no" answers because of the atrophying of her tongue and throat muscles.  We went prepared for the worst but were shocked when we arrived and she opened the door: not a pound of weight loss, lovely hairstyle and outfit and sporting new glasses with spiffy red frames! Only a neck brace would alert someone that there is a problem.  Over the next 2 hours she talked and talked and talked some more, assisting my husband in understanding the job he has just taken on...he has it only because of her illness making it impossible for herself to continue in that role....telling us about her recent doctor's appointment, instructing us in food and nutrition that should help my husband's CFS and my diabetes.  The only thing she used the Boogie Board for was to write down a couple of book titles and authors for our information.  While all this was going on, her husband was in the kitchen...a trained chef in London before becoming an Anglican priest...freaking out that she was talking so much and preparing us an amazing Indian feast...more fabulous Indian food...heaven in a dish!!!

She told us a few more details of her latest trip to the ALS clinic in the city: specifically that they were unable to surgically insert the feeding tube she needs to have in her stomach.  Physically she could handle it, but the foods that have to be used in those tubes contain too many ingredients that make her sick with other problems.  Unless they can come up with some other kind of food product that can be used in those tubes, she will not be having one at all.  Her decision to refuse the tube and the subsequent problems with the foods is based on her assurance that she knows exactly where she is going when she dies and she has no fear.  When she can no longer chew and swallow she has decided it will be time to let nature take its course, go into hospice care and leave this life behind. She is a courageous woman and truly believes all that she has taught in the church as a priest in her own right over the years.  She is facing the future with peace and with incredible joy.

We sat over dinner and watched her slowly but surely eat a large helping of Indian "eggs in gravy", saffron rice and a most delicious pudding she invented a few years ago made with tapioca starch, carob powder, blueberries and bananas.  I couldn't resist having one extra carb unit with my supper to take advantage of the opportunity to try that pudding....YUMMY!!!  The doctor is very impressed and pleased that her ability to chew and swallow has actually been restored somewhat in the past few weeks and that her lung capacity has increased by over 10% since her last test 3 weeks ago.  We are thrilled for her.

When we finally rolled our stomachs out the door to go to our hotel for the night, we were shocked in a GOOD way by her present condition and we pray it continues for a long time to come.

My husband decided we needed a bit of a getaway from the chaos of our townhouse and from all the new and busy events of his job, so he booked us into the Resort Inn just south of MC on the Saskatchewan side of Cypress Hills Provincial Park.  O how beautiful it is there....it is SK's answer to Banff, just minus the mountains.  The pine trees outside our bedroom window were thick and untouched, filled with nuthatches and woodpeckers, a few magpies here and there.  After a good night's sleep on excellent mattresses in a plain but amenity filled room, we had an inexpensive but nutritious breakfast in the dining room at the hotel before heading back to MC for church.  In the course of that short drive we saw deer, raccoons, bunnies and a huge moose!!  The animals were icing on the cake of our mini-retreat!  What a nice time: short but very sweet.  I would love to return there. Rates on the off season are incredibly reasonable and we want to return either once more before the summer tourists, or in the fall after Labour Day.  There are all manner of trails to walk on, a lake and in the summer there are horses to ride, a swimming pool, a dairy bar, a small climbing wall, canoeing...it is a great place for adults as well as for the kids who attend a couple of camps there in summer.  We were so fortunate to be there at this time of year with the unexpected warm weather between the first big melt and the likely arrival of some wicked spring storms over the next couple of weeks.  It was most refreshing...seeing that moose was a real treat for me. It has been a few years since we lived in Sundre Alberta and had a female moose and her young living very close to our back yard.

My husband preached at the MC church this morning to give his burdened friend a bit of a break.  His sermon went well and went over well.  BUT the wonderful thing was that SHE was able to attend church for the first time in several weeks.  We were certain she would not be there after such a tiring visit the evening before with us.  She did come though and she made it through the entire service and coffee hour afterward, still talking and talking.  It was uplifting to us to see her so happy and enjoying the contact with all their parishioners.

The drive home was uneventful.  My husband napped while I drove and we talked about our weekend.  I haven't been this busy all in one week for a long time, so I am completely exhausted, but so happy for the reason!!  It is so great to be feeling well enough again to socialize and have some fun with other people. I got talking to one of the ladies in MC and it turns out we have very similar spiritual backgrounds.  After our chat we exchanged phone numbers and plan to do some over the phone praying together in the near future.  That was an unexpected treat.

Being so bagged tonight we had a "cheat" supper.  I brought home half my lunch from the restaurant today, so used it to create something tasty for my husband, while I resorted to a slice of bread with peanut butter, a couple of prunes, some yogurt and a protein bar so I wouldn't have to cook! haha  Since I overamped on fresh veggies at lunch time I thought it would be okay to do that for once.

Even though my husband is taking most of tomorrow off work, I think we will still go to bed really early so we can get up and get some moving in done here.  He has to take some time to book innoculations for himself and the Bishop for their May trip overseas, but hopefully can let work rest for the afternoon at least.  

If this coming week is half as busy with "people stuff" as last week was I am going to have to start taking naps in the afternoon!!! hahaha  A happy weekend indeed!

Friday, March 13, 2015

All the Little Pieces Coming Together

The sun is shining brightly and it is warm enough outside this afternoon that I was able to go out and clean up some of the doggy doo, broken toys, old socks and general garbage that have been appearing under the melting snow.  There is a bright purple scarf still stuck in the ice at the front of the suite that I am eager to remove.  Hopefully that last heap of ice holding it in place will melt over the weekend. 

Am praying I don't have to talk to our wonderful neighbours about the amount of doggy mess all over the back area, including our place.  I don't want to start anything with otherwise lovely people.  I am hoping that in another month or so their young son will be crawling about on the grass and that will inspire them to clean up after their dog.  OR that the maintenance crew that mows the lawn will find it when they start spring work and deal with it so I don't have to say anything.  Couldn't ask for better neighbours otherwise and our place had been vacant for some time before we arrived, so.....here's hoping.  It was just great to be outside for awhile without a heavy coat and only latex gloves for garbage picking.  The lake beside us has receded and so our walls in the basement are not seeping today.  

The last of the downstairs art is now hung up in the dining room.  All the rest of the boxes and "stuff" are out of there and that room is completed.  As soon as my husband gets the rest of the cables and wires fished through from the basement for the internet we will get the tv properly placed in its little nook beside the stairs and the living room will be completely finished as well.  My room is done.  Hopefully we can get the pantry done in the basement quickly so my husband can spend a good long time getting his office ready.  He really needs that space but has given up so much time to get the things ready that I need.  What a sweetie.

Tonight we have been invited out for dinner by some friends here, a clergy colleague and his wife that we have known for a few years.  He is one of the canoeists my husband goes with to the Churchill River system every year.  They are a lively pair and I look forward to our evening.  No idea where we will go to eat....don't care...just fun to be having fun with friends.

As my allergies get dealt with and my foggy head continues to clear, I realize how happy I am these days.  It is a great feeling.

A Not So Sure Exactly How to Spend My Day, Day

Today there is thick fog outside as a warm air system attempts to arrive from the west.  The fog is quite beautiful to look at from our living room window as it drifts through the trees in the park across the road.  Hopefully it isn't wreaking havoc on the highways around the city.  We are looking at double digit highs over the weekend, reaching +12C by Sunday.  I am hoping for strong winds to accompany the rise in temperature so that most of the deep puddles will be dried up before any spring rains occur.  The soil here is such an odd mixture of sand and clay.  It retains water easily, thus accounting for the many flooded basements around here every spring.

My husband took the car to work today as he had so many things to carry over to his new office.  Although I had no plans to go anywhere, I admit I feel bereft.  I am not sure what I can unpack or arrange or clean today, having run out of things that don't need my husband's input or labour.  He says it would be good for me to have a day to just relax my mind and body and spirit....relax???  I didn't move all the way here to just relax!!!! I want to do and see and be and enjoy and.........!!  As I think about the past 2 weeks though, I can see he is right.  I need a day to unwind, as much as I don't want to take one.

It was such fun yesterday to drive along some of the main routes, checking out the locations of stores and restaurants and theatres.  I delivered a huge load of clothing and cookware to the Salvation Army thrift store and received a ten dollar off coupon from them.  My husband can use it next week when he goes looking for old sweaters to take on this summer's camping and canoeing trips. NICE!!! I am very happy about the coupon.

At the bank I ran into a good friend of mine who lives here now and we are getting together next week.  That was a treat.  I can't wait to visit and get caught up on her life.  She and her husband are from the Maritimes and are so easy to visit with.  We used to all live in Moose Jaw and now we are all here in Regina.  NICE!!!

My husband called just before he left work yesterday, wanting to go out for dinner to a little family type restaurant he saw the other day.  It isn't far from our place.  I won't mention it by name because the chef there is really trying to do something modern and different in his cooking and I am certain, based on the crowd there, that his efforts are being appreciated by all those "regulars".  For us though it was a case of him having great ideas but little concept of how to execute them.  The meal was disappointing, but our young waitress was very cute and very efficient, impressing my husband because she knew well the differences between Tabasco Brand hot sauce and Frank's.  He was not impressed that the restaurant doesn't carry Tabasco, so settled for an odd kind of Chinese chili hot sauce instead.  He detests Frank's, so was willing to take the risk...not sure it was a successful venture.

My husband had a chicken and brie sandwich that was a bit better than mediocre.  Had the ciabatta bun been toasted and there been less mayo or sauce or whatever it was on the bun it would have been better, but it was at least passable.  He ordered an appetizer that was quite different and not too bad:  smoked salmon strips on a vaguely toasted focaccia bread and slathered in a too sweet dark balsamic vinegar.  It was a HUGE portion for six dollars and we could almost have made a meal of that dish alone.  More toasting and less sweet slathering could have made it a delicious combination of foods we haven't tried before.  A less sweet balsamic would have brought out the taste of the good sized strips of smoked salmon instead of competing with it.  His "crispy fries" were unfortunately limp and rather chilly instead of crispy and warm.

There were so many carbohydrates on the menu it was difficult for me to find anything at all I could eat.  There were many kinds of pastas that are easy enough for me to say NO to, but many of the other dishes I could have tried were covered in all manner of sweetened sauces that apparently were cooked into the food, so I couldn't have them just left off or on the side.  I settled on a Mediterranean chicken salad.  Sigh....it sounded really good on the menu: again, some odd combinations that sounded worth trying.  It came on a bed of mixed greens....greens from right out of the bag or plastic bin, I am guessing not re-washed as there were so many pieces of limp. wizened, rotting red lettuce leaves, wilted greens and brown stems.  By the time I picked them all out of the large bowl there was less than half of it left to eat.  It was topped by a few dried out cranberries, stale cashews, creamy, slightly "off" feta and soggy grilled red peppers.  The approximately 1/4 breast of chicken covered in a tasty blend of Moroccan spices was quite delicious but there was so little of it as to be rather maddening.  This was a highly overpriced disaster, offset by the inexpensive and filling smoked salmon appetizer.

It seems the restaurant is kind of a neighbourhood place, likely a former steak house of many years ago, with a chef who has some good ideas to improve the menu, but doesn't know how to accomplish his goals all that well.  The waitress was inordinately proud of their new "upscale" menue.  We had a lot of fun wading through the food, giggling at the waitress, chuckling at the old steak house decor and really enjoying the fact that a local chef is trying so hard to reinvent the place.  Although I have never before paid so much for a rotting salad, it was still a lot of fun to be there, to watch other people oohing and aahing over their meals, to participate in supporting something new in this old city...even if it wasn't the greatest success.  Since I recently recovered from a mild e-coli infection brought on by improperly handled salad greens, I am hoping I will not have a resurgence of same after that salad.  

Having my husband suggest something spontaneous was like a return to the "good old days" before he got too tired and ill and miserable to do more than come home after work, stuff down his dinner and disappear into his office until bed time.  We were so giddy about it that we didn't care if the food was good or bad.  Seeing him so happy in his job again, his discipline to get to bed early enough to have sufficient energy day after day, is just wonderful.  His time off to move here was fine, but he is never happier than when he is working.  We capped off our evening watching The Black List and giggled our way as well through that rather gruesome programme.  During the commercial breaks we hauled the rest of the tea and spice boxes to the basement so we can get our pantry storage underway down there.  As soon as the rest of the shelves are set up we can haul all the bags and pails of lentils, beans and rices out of the kitchen cupboards and reclaim the space for dishes and cookware.  It won't take much effort now to complete the dining and living room spaces so that we will be ready for company next week. In fact, as I think about it, that is how I can spend today...moving the remaining "stuff" out of those rooms and stashing them....cramming them???....into what will be the upstairs office, along with all the other jammed in items still in boxes there.

So, out of town this weekend.  It will be emotionally draining visiting with our dying friend and her husband, but it will be very good to just share space and time together once again.  A road trip should re-energize us, despite the circumstances, and my husband's next days off should see him prepared to work with me on moving into the remaining rooms that are currently complete disasters of mess and ugliness.

Slowly but surely.....