Saturday, October 31, 2015

There, I feel better now

About 60 kids came to the door after all, yay! Now I feel properly Halloweeny!

Time to go pack for our trip to Calgary tomorrow!

Terminal Cuteness!!

Is it possible to die of laughter after being exposed to cuteness for an entire afternoon? If so, I am doomed!

I spent the afternoon mall hopping with a friend. The major indoor malls here sponsor Halloween for families and every store has an employee whose job it is to stand in the doorway of the venue and pass out candy to any kids who show up in costume. What a great and safe idea for Halloween goodies, plus mom and dad can have both the kids and thei considerable haul of treats back home before 5pm. The malls were subsequently packed to capacity, which made our shopping trip difficult to accomplish, but it was worth the trip to see all the kids in their costumes. Kudos to the many parents who also costumed up to make it a truly family affair!

We saw every costume there is to see. The kids were hilarious, particularly the teensiest ones who were stumbling through the crowds in oversized, drooping costumes and looking completely bewildered, they are my faves. We saw every member of the animal kingdom, super heroes, Star Wars and other space aged characters, princes and princesses dressed in jewel toned colours...my fave princess was an exhausted wee blonde girl, princess dress falling down over one shoulder, being dragged along by one arm by her father and sobbing, "I don't want any more candy...waaaah...!" haha

After the first hour, my friend and I took refuge in a store that had a big "Out of Candy!" sign in the window. The place was completely deserted and had a comfy chair for me to sit on for awhile before venturing back into the fray.

Now I am sitting back at home at nearly 6pm and not one child has arrived to carry away even one of the 130 treats I have waiting in a big bowl. Sigh.... Surely there will be kids....surely out of 321 separate townhouses filled with families there will be kids. Tell me there will be kids.....sigh....

Looking outside I have seen exactly 2 children visible. They arrived in a mini van driven by their mom, went next door to the home of someone they obviously know all ready, piled back into the van and drove away again. Sigh...

Perhaps my afternoon at the malls is all the Halloween fun I am going to have this year....just like last year and the 5 years before that, when we lived far from most young families in our town. Sigh....

Come On Sun

What was originally forecast as a lovely day has turned into a cold, rainy yuck of a day. My Halloween decorations outside the door are soggy, drooping disasters. It is 11am now and the sun is peeping out occasionally from behind the dark clouds, but the cold wind continues to howl. Eek! Hopefully it will clear off for the littlest costumed tads who start usually arriving for their candy by 4pm!

I am waiting for my friend to arrive so we can go out for lunch and do a bit of shopping. I should be ironing and packing while I wait, but inane blogging is much more fun! hohoho....

My husband and I dibbled our way through some government paper work this morning after having to arise before we were ready and while trying to eat breakfast at the same time. O my...our advanced age was showing. We couldn't seem to think clearly and made mistakes on the simplest questions. By the time I made myriad trips up and down the stairs to the office to check old tax info, etc., got white out sufficiently applied over our mistakes on the forms, wiped the peanut butter from one corner of the paper and rewrote some answers, I don't know which of us was more frustrated. What a crazy start to the day. My husband just barely got to work on time for his first meeting!

I still feel sleepy and disoriented after laying awake for a couple of hours in the night listening to the wind rocking our creaky old building....I think instead of ironing while I wait for my friend, I am going to have a nap!

Friday, October 30, 2015

I'm Walkin', Yes Indeed!!

Today I spent a lot of time doing laundry, but this afternoon when I stepped outside to check the mailbox I realized how warm, sunny and just darned beautiful it was out there.  I immediately experienced "cabin fever" and knew I had to get out of the house.  

Just being outside on a much sunnier, warmer day than we have had this week lifted my spirits considerably.  It felt so good to be outside. For once the sky wasn't grey and the wind wasn't howling.  I drove to a couple of grocery stores I don't usually go to, parked as far away from the entrance as I could stand to walk and took my sweet time getting inside.  I actually found some of the rice pudding I have been trying to purchase for the past couple of weeks! Bonus!!  Then I drove to a mall and had a very nice time moseying through the parking lot and making one lap of the mall before my hip pooped out.  I was smart this time and actually sat on a comfy couch in the mall for a few minutes before making the final leg of my trip back to the car.

I am so grateful my husband chose to walk to work again today, leaving me that precious old crate of a vehicle of ours so I could be free for awhile to get out and go.  Thank you so much!!

Tomorrow is ironing, packing, lunch with a friend.  It is to be even warmer tomorrow, yay!  

I checked the CTV city area map today to find out how many kids I may possibly expect for candy treats tomorrow night on Halloween, and I could have well over 1oo...yikes, good thing I am prepared!  If it turns out to be far less than that, well, the last group of kids at my door is in for a treat...they will get all the candy that remains in the bowl.  Last year I gave over 50 treats to the final child at my door and he was absolutely thrilled. hahaha  He could have started and ended his trick or treating right at my door.

So, a good day today, NO bad news all day from anyone and another day tomorrow that has potential for wonderful times. YAY!

More Great News About Sandy From Her Son

"The words of foothills hospital staff, therapists and doctors: "your mom is a modern miracle."
We had a family meeting on Monday with moms recovery staff, and they were pretty impressed with her progress up to this point. Then yesterday happened: she walked the entire length of the hallway with nothing but a walking board to help hold her up. The staff actually had to stop her! I'm told the entire ward was cheering her on.
We heard a great analogy for moms journey. She is in a sea of chaos with little 'islands of clarity'. It explains why some moments she is almost completely herself, then will drift off into nowhere it seems. Yesterday was by far her 'clearest' day yet. She also knew what to do when presented with a bucket of soapy water and a washcloth (wiped her face smile emoticon, and she was also able to use some complex logic in matching colors and numbers together via a deck of cards.
It is still so incredible to see the near and far reaching support that continues to pour in. Your prayers and love have been heard and felt."

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Channeling Pollyanna

I feel a need to call on all my "cheery" skills today.

I am sore and tired in reaction to my 'flu' shot, it has been cold, grey and windy outside all week and I am reading a most depressing book about a father with a severely handicapped son. Blaaaaaah!

So, I have set the book aside for one that is more cheery and in a few minutes I am going to force myself to get dressed and make use of the car my husband left here today so he could exercise by walking to work this morning,

I have decided to stop focusing on the discomfort I have from the pin heads poking at my leg and butt muscles until I see the surgeon in January.

I have also decided to stop stressing over the dingbat who purchased my parents' condo and who has been hassling them over incredibly stupid and unnecessary things ever since. Still trusting God that this sale will be completed by this time next week. Their real estate agent AND the buyer's are ready to strangle the person. Well, God is mightier than all of us dingbats, so....

Starting to feel cheerier all ready, feeling a bit of an energy surge, so should take advantage of it, get dressed and get a "wiggle on" as my mom used to say, haha.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

One More Quote From Lamott's Help. Thanks. Wow.

"What can we say beyond Wow, in the presence of glorious art, in music so magnificent that it can't have originated solely on this side of things? Wonder takes our breath away, and makes room for new breath. That's why they call it breathtaking. We're individuals in time and space who are often gravely lost, and then miraculously, in art, found.
     In art, we feel the breath of the invisible, of the eternal--which Elie Wiesel described in Night as "that time when question and answer would become ONE." Wow, what horror that man saw, and what beauty, truth, and silence he still managed to create from it. In paintings, music, poetry, architecture, we feel the elusive energy that moves through us and the air and the ground all the time, that usually disperses and turns chaotic in our busy-ness and distractedness and moodiness.  Artists channel it, corral it, make it visible to the rest of us. The best works of art are like semaphores of our experience, signaling what we didn't know was true but do now.
     In museums, when we behold framed greatness, genius embracing passion, obsession, discipline, and possibly madness, our mouths drop open. For a short time, we see past all that is jumbled, mysterious, marvelous, and ugly. Instead, we glimpse life, beauty, grief, or evil, love captured and truth held up to the light.  Art makes it hard to ignore truth, that Life explodes and blooms, consumes, rots and radiates and slithers; that eternity really is in a blade of grass. Jethro Tull sang that the same God who made kittens also made snakes in the grass.  We stand before Monet and Rothko and the Sphinx and Georgia O'Keefe and are speechless, in awe.  Awe is why we are here. And this state is the prayer: "Wow."

--Anne Lamott, Help. Thanks. Wow.  The three essential prayers; Riverhead Books; New York, 2012.

Happy News From the Family

Dad just called to say their counter offer on their condo has been accepted, so pending the outcome of the two building inspections, it should be a done deal in about a week's time.  So, SO relieved and hoping of course for no unexpected last minute glitches that seem to characterize the real estate business these days.  The buyer's bank will have a difficult time finding anything wrong with either inspection because the whole place is in excellent condition, constantly maintained properly and my parents' agent is very familiar with the place. He will be present for both inspections.  He has been involved since the building was erected nearly twenty years ago and his own mother sold my parents their unit at the time.

I am nearly beside myself with excitement!!  My parents have always assumed that my father's medical conditions would guarantee he will be the first of the two of them to die, but as I see my mother slowly but surely wearing out, I am not as convinced as they are as to the future turn of events.  To know that my now sweetly dibbled father will be safe and taken care of should my mother die first is such a blessed relief to me.  To know their sale money is being well invested and that they will not have any foreseeable financial worries for many years is also a great weight off all our shoulders.  My husband and I are going to meet with their financial advisor next week so we can see and understand how this is all going to work.  It was the advisor's idea to meet with us, so that he is covered with the family and we can see he is not making up stories to dupe seniors, who are apparently his specialty clients.

O, thank you Lord...thank you to those of you who have been praying for my parents.  Now, if it all just clears the final couple of hurdles my parents can be moved by the end of November according to the fellow they talked to yesterday who specializes in moving the elderly.  It is a similar deal to the one we had when my husband's mother passed away so very unexpectedly a few years ago.  The fellow and his crew will come in and move the things my parents are taking with them, then they will take the charitable donations to the proper outlets, some things will go to auction and they will also take the junk to the dump...and all for a most reasonable price. What goes where is decided while my parents are still in their condo, so basically when moving day arrives all my parents have to do is walk out the door and across the street to their new place.

Ooh, sorry for going on and on about this....I am just SO happy for them and so relieved about the future for all of us.  For the moment, all is well and it is such a great feeling. 

Is there any greater feeling than that of "Whew"???!!?

This is definitely a case of Lamott's HELP. THANKS. WOW.

Death and Life

"If we stay where we are, where we're stuck, where we're comfortable and safe, we die there.  We become like mushrooms, living in the dark, with poop up to our chins.  If you want to know only what you already know, you're dying.  You're saying: Leave me alone; I don't mind this little rathole.  It's warm and dry.  Really, it's fine.
      When nothing new can get in, that's death.  When oxygen can't find a way in , you die.  But new is scary, and new can be disappointing, and confusing--we had this all figured out, and now we don't.
     New is life."

---Anne Lamott, "Help. Thanks. Wow.  The three essential prayers"; Riverhead Books; New York, 2012.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Today's Little Serendipities

This afternoon and evening went as well as this morning!  What a great time we had today.  Although we were late getting home after the tire change because of a delay with the delivery truck that had our new tires on it, we still got back in time to have a lovely meal and visit with our friend tonight.

What was very cool about the truck delay is that it gave us time to wander over to the Rexall Drugs in Moose Jaw...about the closest place/longest walk my hip was able to handle this afternoon and lo and behold, not only did they have some of the grocery items my husband needs to take to his staff breakfast tomorrow, they also are offering 'flu shots!  So, we got into a very short lineup and had our shots.  Not only does my husband not have to now go running off to the early opening grocery store in the morning to get staff breakfast items, he doesn't have to drag his tired self off to the local mall on Thursday evening for a 'flu shot...all ready done, thank you so much!

So delighted by how much we accomplished today and the ease with which everything took place....despite the pouring rain and near freezing cold and winds that could have made us feel miserable about all the driving and walking outdoors.

Tomorrow is a rest day for me. My husband has to return to work, but tomorrow it is parish work that he truly enjoys, so he is happy to go.  Friday he has a long trip out of town for meetings and Saturday he will probably go into the office while there is no one else there, so he can get caught up on a few things before we leave on Sunday.

Laundry and Halloween will complete MY week...it is all good thus far.

Oh...AND great news from my parents about the next possibility for their move to seniors' living. Praying so much that the person who has suddenly appeared with a deep interest in their condo will accept their counter offer so they can get moved. Their investment manager has given them the financial green light to make this move and now, if their possible sale can go through, they will be moving just before Christmas.  Hopefully by the end of the week or so all will have been approved for the sale....from our mouths to God's ear.....what a relief it would be for the whole family if they could get into this place that soon.

Leaking Basements: the Mother of Invention

The cold wind doth blow....and now we have snow!

Well, only a few big fat flakes coming down this afternoon in the midst of the big rainfall, but still, it is a reminder of what is soon to come.  Thanking God once again for our appointment this afternoon in Moose Jaw to have our winter tires put on.  It isn't going to be the most pleasant drive, so am glad it is only about 45 minutes each way.  At least the rain isn't freezing.  Farther north of us there is quite a bit more snow falling and sticking to the lawns.  

The rain today inspired my husband to deal with the eavestroughing across the front of our place after we got home from our morning hair cuts and shopping.  The bucket lift that our complex uses to clean the eavestroughs at the end of the summers has broken down and wasn't fixed in time to complete our  building.  The rain that collects in our packed eavestroughing spills over the edge and drains itself down along our basement wall...the one that has leaked so much in the past.  My husband has one more coat of parging and sealant to put on that wall, but so far it hasn't leaked again since he put the first 2 coats on.  However today he lost patience with the water spilling over the edge of the trough and decided to invent a way to try to move the packed leaves and other dirt out of the way without having to sneak a big tall ladder along the front of our place and risk injuring himself or getting in trouble with the management.

He disappeared into the basement for a few minutes and then emerged carrying a snow ski with a bar clamp attached at an angle to the toe end of it.  He came up into the bedroom, removed the screen from the window, opened the window, leaned out holding the ski and directed the end of the bar clamp up into the eavestrough.  He made several passes with the bar clamp along the inside of the trough, pushing huge amounts of leaves and twigs and dirt along to the end of the trough at the edge of the building, where the rain washed it immediately down the drainpipe and onto the ground below.  The water is now running well along the trough, down the pipe and draining onto the lawn where it is supposed to be draining!  There is no longer water cascading over the edge of the trough outside the bedroom window.  Good on him!!

Happy to have hair cuts, some dollar store purchases, a new pair of comfy flip flops for house slippers now that the last pair has worn itself down to nearly nothing between my foot and the floor.  Happy to find a pair still available despite the season when most of the summer footwear has been stored away for next year.  Got them for less than half price too....BONUS!

We had to return my medical assist equipment to SaskAbilities today and since they are very close to a great Lebanese bakery and "shwarma joint", we picked up some giant sized pitas and ended up eating our lunch there....oooh, a small fresh whole wheat pita stuffed with chicken shwarma, hummus, tabloui salad, pickled turnip, banana peppers, lettuce, tomato, black olives, tzatziki and feta cheese.  It was fabulously tasty.  My husband enjoyed his platter with curried rice and chicken, stuffed grape leaves and salad.  The place does a booming business with the industrial area employees, but we were early enough to get a seat in its small restaurant area.  I was feeling disappointed that we had to leave downtown too early to lunch at Zam Zam's, but this place is run by the sister of Zam Zam's manager and has equally delicious food and some other menu items not available at the downtown outlet.


So, on Thursday I will be able to take the car and head to the east side shopping area to get some things I couldn't get at the mall today and look for some groceries at the big Superstore that our little independent neighbourhood grocery no longer carries.  It is just wonderful to be able to drive myself places again and do some shopping without being completely dependent on having someone else driving or even being with me for the trip.  YIPPEE!

Oh...and tonight we are taking our friend for Indian food!  O my....this has turned into a 4 restaurant post-synod celebration!!  Urp.......will I ever cook again????

Monday, October 26, 2015

Our Wise and Gracious Bishop!

My husband arrived home from Synod late yesterday afternoon, elated, exhausted and ready to celebrate the success of the venture.

Part of his elation is that our Bishop announced to the office staff after Synod ended that he is closing the office for the next two days so they can all have a much needed and greatly deserved rest! 

My husband was determined to celebrate with fish and chips and a good ale for dinner last night, so off we went exploring to see what we could find on a Sunday evening not too far from home.  After a couple of attempts at restaurants that were just too noisy and crowded for us, we ended up at Shannon's Irish Pub and Grill.  It was perfect for our needs.  We were rather early so it wasn't crowded and it is just enough off the "beaten track" as far as Sunday shopping traffic that we had a soft booth to sit in, quietly played 80's and 90's top ten tunes in the background and a most wonderful meal for our celebration.

My husband enjoyed his fish and chips. The chips had the skins on, just the way he likes them, they were not presalted...also the way he likes them. They were crispy and fresh and the fish also was delicious.  I ordered the beer marinated hamburger...o my...the best burger I have had in years, although the patty could have been a bit larger...maybe I just wanted more?  haha  The accompanying salad was very fresh and tasty.  The menu isn't gourmet, but the food is freshly prepared and cooked.  I indulged in a glass of red wine that wasn't nearly as horrible as I expected it would be. haha  My husband indulged in a pint of Smithwicks.  It was a most lovely evening, topped off by watching the Golovkin/Lemieux boxing match that occured a week ago.  Poor Lemieux didn't have much of a chance, but wow, he gets full credit for not giving up.  If the referee had not ended the fight in the 8th round I doubt Lemieux would have stopped until he had been knocked completely unconscious.  He is one plucky fellow!  I am so glad we got to see it!

This morning we woke up at our usual time, unfortunately, BUT it gave us time to sit after breakfast, visiting for nearly three hours, staring at the thick fog outside.  Once that cleared I headed off to the bank and grocery store.  Now it is sunny and much warmer than it was earlier, although we are not going to set any records for heat this week.

We decided to have a second celebration this evening and return to Bushwakkers.  I am craving their marvellous taco salad.  My husband is just happy to order a meal that requires no prep or dishwashing on our part! haha  Although he experienced that all through Synod he was too busy and anxious to enjoy any of that good food and ate very little.  I think he is making up for lost time in September when I was laid up with this hip and we had no meals out for more than a month.  He seems to live in constant subconscious fear that living in the city will come to a sudden and unexpected halt and we will once again find ourselves living in some kind of rural area with no interesting places to eat or shop.  Hopefully he will soon relax about that.  I finally have.

Tomorrow morning is our time at the downtown mall shopping centre...maybe lunch at Zam Zam's?? Why not try for a triple play on the celebrating?? I all ready found my black winter blazer today in a store near the bank, but we have other bits of this and that to pick up there.  I am very excited that my husband is off work and able to come with me.  I want to stop at the Dollar Store and pick up some kind of cheap pumpkin decoration for our door so that the local kids will know we have treats for them on Halloween. 

Well, now my husband has come in and suggested we drive to our favourite tire store in Moose Jaw tomorrow afternoon and look at winter tires.  We need 2 new ones put on.  We have the other 2 that are almost like new.  If we get the 2 new ones studded we will be ready for winter.  Ahhh, tomorrow is looking like another fun day!! Gettin' ready for this weekend's road trip!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Power in the Broom!

At about 7pm yesterday I realized I was completely fed up with two days of enforced rest. I hobbled down to the basement to the food storage unit to find some bottled water, took a good look at the basement floor and decided it was in desperate need of a good vacuuming.

Those stairs are too dangerous for me to be hauling vacuums up and down them, so I settled for balancing the broom and dustpan under my arm and giving that poor, dilapidated old floor the best sweeping I could manage. I even did a semi decent job of sweeping the stairs on the way back up. Next week my husband can vacuum the rest of it and also the rafters once again. It felt so good to accomplish something useful.

The men were back from Synod an hour earlier than the previous evening, so we were able to enjoy a short visit before heading off to sleep. My husband is delighted with how smoothly things have actually gone, as well as by the incredibly positive attitudes displayed at all the meetings. Incredibly, all the resolutions were unanimously passed, except for one that will have to be carried forward to next synod due to one abstaining vote. This level of complete agreement is nearly unheard of. What a joy these business meetings have been. He is so relieved.

So happy I can go to choir practise this afternoon. I have once again been graciously offered a ride. Looking forward to it! But, oh, those old wooden chairs....not quite as thrilled with those! So glad we stand so much of the time.

Will finish reading my Margaret Atwood novel this morning, ("Alias Grace"), then move on to another borrowed Anne Lamott book, ("Help, Thanks, Wow. The Three Essential Prayers").

So happy to see the sun once again. It is another chilly day, but that sun covers a multitude of weather  "sins".

Tomorrow I need to call the tire shop and see if I can still get an appointment this week to put the snow tires on before our trip to Calgary next weekend. Maybe I can get the car into our favourite place in Moose Jaw and see how my hip copes with that short drive, before the nine hour Alberta trip.

Time for a drink of water and a good read! Happy Sunday!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Poem

A shadow flits before me,
Not thou, but like to thee.
Ah, Christ, that it were possible
For one short hour to see
The souls we loved, that they might tell us
What and where they be!

--Alfred, Lord Tennyson,
    "Maud", 1855.

No Go....

My husband I got to sleep very late last night. He was ravenous when he got home from Synod at about 10:30pm, so we were awake for another hour while he ate and told me all about how well things went all day. Our billet friend walked in the door, said he had a great day, and went straight to bed!

Off the men went again before 8am. I am going to treat myself to a personal spa day here at home: shower, hair, foot massage....yay!

One small disappointment for tomorrow, sigh.... Looking at the Synod schedule for Sunday, I realize I can't go to the church service. Only having one car plus my husband not being able to leave the last of the business meetings that occur for two hours prior to the service to pick me up, him having to remain for at least an hour after it is all over to help take down the Synod set up before he can bring me home for lunch, my need to get to choir practise before I would be able to get there, plus, even if I could arrange rides with other people back and forth, I cannot possibly expect my hip to sit for two hours on a hard church pew, followed by another two hours on the dreadful hard, narrow choir chairs.

In other words, wisdom dictates I stay home tomorrow morning.

Now for my confession: it isn't the service I am as upset about missing as it is not being able to see and fellowship with visiting friends from around the diocese.  O for shame, I know.....

But that's the truth.....

Friday, October 23, 2015

14 Hours and Counting

My husband has been at work now for the past fourteen hours, heading into fifteen as I write.  Tomorrow's Synod meetings will bring more of the same.  Thanking God that it all ends at about noon on Sunday so that he can come home and collapse for a day and a half.  I can't help hoping that by some miracle he can take Monday and Tuesday off together, but a miracle is what that would take and I am not overly hopeful.  

It has been an incredibly long day for me here as well. Saturdays are not known for having a lot of visits, emails or telephone contacts as people are busy with their own weekend activities with family.  However, still the day has passed.

I was in bed when the guys left this morning and now I am heading off there once again.  The day of rest has surely helped my hip and I should sleep well.

My parents met with a financial advisor today and he believes that financially they can indeed handle their hoped for move.  Now, if he can just confirm that by Monday and if the person who just made them an offer can wait until then for their counter offer, as it is incredible that they have even received an offer in the dismal real estate market right now.........from my mouth to God's ear......may it all work out so they can move into the beautiful suite they have chosen........

My Present Fave TV Commercial

I love, love, love the new PC organic baby food commercial on tv right now. Cutest kids/babies ever!

A Rest Day For Me

By the time our billet for Synod arrived last night I was pretty sore from all the housework, shopping, etc. that I accomplished this week.  By bedtime I had spent sufficient time in pain that my blood sugar was soaring.

Fortunately, I managed to have a much better sleep than usual last night, despite the discomfort, so I am back down to normal sugars this morning.

Our guest arrived just in time for dinner and seemed to enjoy his meal immensely.  Since he is also diabetic, I was able to have the kinds of evening snacks available for him that he can enjoy.  We munched away happily on our whole wheat crackers and low fat Swiss cheese.  haha  He and my husband are up having breakfast now before heading off for last minute Synod preparations at the office and I am wondering how he is coping without coffee.  I forgot to let him know ahead of time that we don't have coffee here, so hopefully my husband will be able to point him to the coffee pot once they arrive at work.  The executive financial officer MUSt have her coffee as soon as she arrives at the office, so there is always a pot made immediately in the morning.

I can't believe how easily I am getting off as far as meals over the next 3 days.  Absolutely everything edible is provided at the Synod for every meal and snack other than breakfast.  I don't even have to get out of bed to make these fellows breakfast.  I just set out everything on the dining table the night before, dishes and cereal, bread and peanut butter etc.  They are quite capable of finding whatever else they need and leaving the clean up for me to do at my leisure.

Despite squeaky floors in this old townhouse, we all slept well.  We did a single file trip to the washroom at 2am and then we all slept until the alarm went at 6:30am, with barely a sound coming from any of the bedrooms.  It was great, so I think I can relax now about how our guest is going to sleep here.  He was delighted with having a mattress on the floor...what is it with men, even middle aged men, who so enjoy camping out on the floor, even when visiting someone else's home?  haha  I get quite a chuckle out of it.

Today I have a heavy day planned: resting, relaxing, resting, relaxing!!  My hip is toast because I pushed it to the limit and it is complaining.  As happy as I am to have accomplished so much this week, I still have to take activity in small doses...at least smaller than I have been.

So family and friends, that is the update here.  I need to make an appointment for next week to get the car into for winter tires.  We are supposed to have our first flurries this coming Tuesday evening.  Eeek.....winter....can't ignore its onset any more.  Yikes!

My only other plan for next week is to take the bus downtown for my hair appointment and a couple of other small items I need to purchase at the mall.  I expect that will about finish me off for the rest of the week!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Pooped Out But Happy

So happy to have completed the vacuuming again today as well as washing floors, dragging rocking chairs and other furniture around to make room in the wee office for our overnight company who arrives tomorrow, having lunch with a friend, grocery shopping and banking.  Now it is nearly 11pm and I am finally ready to think about going to bed to read for awhile so I can sleep.  Hoping I can sleep for at least 6 hours for a change.  I was doing so well until I broke my hip and now my sleep disorder has started up again after a couple of years of being mostly free from it.  No wonder I have been feeling so negative and owly all week...insufficient rest for too many nights in a row.  Here's hoping for better tonight! After the workout my hip got today I should definitely be exhausted to the point of actually sleeping!!

An Update on Sandy

Finally received an update on Sandy for those of you who are praying for her.  This report, written by her son, was forwarded to me today:

We spoke with moms physiotherapist, and he told us the biggest recovery curve is between 3-6 months after a brain injury. Mom is 11 weeks in, and has shown slow, steady improvement the entire time, which is what they hope to see. We're remaining steadfast in our belief that the next three months will be a big recovery period.
She has been able to tell dad 'I love you' once, and a second time she said 'I love you too'. She knows her last name, and occasionally will attempt to speak, but we are not sure what she is trying to say. The important part is that she is trying.
While in her physio sling last week, dad had about a 10 second dance with her. She was aware, put her arms around him and moved side to side a little.
Slow and steady. Thankful for all your continued love and support!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

It Is Raining Today....YAY....It Isn't SNOW!

It is a perfect day for me today!  The rain, coming on the heels of one of the best night's sleep I have had in over a week, is refreshing to my soul.  I feel the depression I have been flirting with lifting and dissipating.  How I do love rain!  AND the fact that it is not snow is like icing on a very big cake!

Today is laundry day.  In a few minutes I will go down to the basement and sort the clothes.  It will be a day with lots of stair climbing and I will be able to compare how my hip responds with how it responded ten days ago when I last washed clothes.  I see so many improvements.  It is most encouraging.

After reading through Trudeau's pre-election platform I am feeling a bit better about the election results this morning.  The difficult part for me is that I didn't want ANY of the three major political party leaders running our country!  How pathetic is that, right?  How picky am I?

Two more days until our Synod billet arrives. So glad it is someone we know...from our former parish.  He is coming a day early so can go in to work with my husband on Friday and help him with the last minute details of set up etc.  It will be nice for my husband and will keep our friend extra busy and involved.  My husband is hoping the man will agree to fill the last open space on one of the committees.  The man is pretty good at participating, so hopefully that will work out.

I am looking forward to the combined diocesan church service at the Cathedral Sunday  morning.  Church services around the diocese are cancelled so that all parishioners can attend it.  However, I suspect it will be much too far to travel for those on the outskirts of our large geographical area and I also suspect some of the locals who could make it will opt to sleep in instead.  How cynical am I? hahaha  Not cynical, just realistic.  If we were all more committed to the cause of Christ our churches would not be in such decline.

All ready I am stoked about choir practise next Sunday.  What fun and what a good learning experience as well.

I am going to get brave today and phone my hair dresser for an appointment next week.  Going there will entail a bus ride both directions, but it is easier than attempting to park our car in the parkade at that mall and have a terribly long walk into the building.  I have opted to take my chances, even if I risk annoying the bus drivers over having to wait for me to take a seat before they drive off, as well as asking for permission to leave via the front of the bus because the back doors are too awkward for me to handle when I am using a cane.  On the way home I can ride all the way around the bottom of the loop, through the university campus and get off again at the same stop in front of my house where I board the bus to get downtown in the first place. It will be my adventure for the week! Sightseeing around the campus will be fun.

The dear lady we visited in hospice on Sunday afternoon died yesterday.  I am sad for her family.  Her husband is going to feel rather lost I think without her. He is also quite elderly and uses a walker. Fortunately his son and daughter in law live here in the city and his daughters Stateside are flying in very soon.  How sad to lose this dear lady, but how wonderful that she is no longer suffering.

Well, off to make that phone call and start the laundry.  It is a CLEAN day!  Clean clothes, clean body and clean hair....oh what a joy to be showering again and seeing my hip able to bend more each time as I dry my toes afterward.  Healing well, thanking God.

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Election is Over

And the Liberals will form a majority government.

We have another Trudeau at the helm of our dear country...sigh....

1. Eat Breakfast...Check 2. Vote in Federal Election...Check

If you live in Canada, please do whatever you need to do to get to a polling station and exercise your still existing freedom to vote!  If we forfeit our right to do so, it won't be many years  before that right is lost to us.

My husband and I decided to get up and get going early this morning to avoid long lineups and crowds.  My hip is still not up for standing about for an hour or more at a polling station.  So, we arrived before 7:45am at the school where we were to cast our ballots.  It was great.  There was ample parking space, we walked into the school gym with our ID and electoral cards, voted and were back in our own parking lot at home just after 8am.  
I don't know what is going to happen.  The way the media is pushing Justin Trudeau at us all, I am wondering if he will indeed be our next prime minister.  I just hope that younger people are not going to be swayed by his youth and his desire to legalize marijuana and will look carefully at his other platform issues.  If they are part of an arts or music community they may be more likely to vote for the Mulcair's NDP candidates, if they can get past his age and his more homespun appearance.  While people in our financial bracket are paying far less tax than in previous years and families are getting some tax breaks that are new, I wonder how many of them realize the present lower taxes are at the expense of arts and sciences spending.

I have never had such a difficult time deciding who to vote for in a federal election.  There is of course the good idea to vote for the party and local candidate who best represents my own values and wishes. On the other hand there are times to seek the "smartest" voting choice in order to prevent a party that upsets or frightens me from having a landslide victory and majority government.  AAARRRRGGGGH!  Today was a real toughie for me in some ways, although I thought I had made a firm choice weeks ago.  I don't think it is a bad thing to have a last minute struggle to confirm or change a choice.  One vote does make a difference because it is added to all the other votes.

I am torn between a sense of hope and optimism and a sense of impending dread as I await tonight's tv election coverage.  It seems our country is poised on the brink of possible major changes....or not.....I don't know.

Yesterday I was tired from being out and about all day Saturday, sitting on uncomfortable chairs for hours on end, so I stayed home from church to rest.  I am glad I did, even though I really missed seeing everyone and hearing my husband's sermon.  Choir practise was brutal on my hip as I was not fully rested up from the day before.  BUT what fun we had.  It is time now to stop rehearsing "bar by bar" and start pulling together the shading, tightening up our endings, and giving the songs some personality.  I finally had my long overdue audition prior to the beginning of practise and the director seems pleased enough to have me, so that is a relief.  Our first small performance is in the Rotary Christmas Carol festival on December 3rd.  Mostly we are just showing up to sing, "oooh, ooooh, ooooh" as an accompaniment to one of our director's other choirs as they sing a Gordon Lightfoot song, but it will still be fun to be there and hear other groups singing.  Our outfits are simple: black bottoms and coloured jewel-toned tops, our choice of short sleeves or long.  In the spring the performance tops change to pastels.

This is going to sound just awful, but one of the "extra" reasons I am enjoying choir so much is that when people now ask me what I am doing to fill my time here I have something to say, something specific and time consuming, so people get off my case about keeping busy and stop telling me all the things they think I should be doing with myself.  Aiiii yiiiii....I know people are just trying to be helpful, but sometimes it gets to be a bit overwhelming and I find myself feeling I have to create and then defend my own reasons for what I am NOT doing.  It is exhausting.  Bless you choir practise!

Had a bit of a surprise when I got my winter clothes out of the bins to iron and hang up last week.  I have so many casual suit style jackets it is scandalous, but somehow I have missed having a basic black jacket.  I have pinks and blues and greys and browns and greens, but no black!  Guess I am going to have to purchase one item more of winter clothing after all, after being so proud of myself for having an entire winter ahead that would require not one clothing purchase.  Of the 11 jackets gracing my clothing rack at the moment, I have only actually purchased 3 of them new.  5 of them came from a friend who was tired of all her clothes and wanted to shop for new items and 3 came from a thrift store and cost about four dollars each! 

Speaking of clothes it is time to go and complete the ironing chore I began last week and assumed I would be finished with 5 days ago!  There has been neither time nor energy since the first day of ironing to finish up.  Now that I am able to get dressed every day and gad about when given half a chance I can't wait any longer to get the rest of the pants ironed...oh, and two of those jackets I mentioned.

Late yesterday afternoon we went to the Salvation Army hospice to visit an elderly, dying parishioner.  She was not able to speak to us yesterday.  O how she has failed over the past week.  It was sad to see and I pray she can go home to the Lord very soon.  We prayed for and annointed her with oil and left feeling rather bereft. She is a dear lady who gave us such a warm welcome when we arrived at St. Philips, before her cancer returned with a vengeance and is taking her away from us all.  Hospice visits are rather difficult at the best of times. You wonder if the person you visit even knows you are there and understands how much you love them. I know every visit brings back memories to my husband of his own mother dying in hospice care and the hours he spent with her in her final week of life...a difficult memory.

We both felt completely wrung out emotionally and physically by the time we left hospice.  My hip was giving me grief from the afternoon's sitting on the most old and uncomfortable choir chairs ever invented, my husband was so tired.  We started discussing dinner plans and decided we couldn't face any more leftover curry, delicious as my husband makes it, or cooking something fresh. About that time we happened to be driving past Tandoori Kabob restaurant and they have a marvellous Sunday evening buffet.  It is quite a hole in the wall, so to speak, the parking situation is atrocious, but we braved it all and had the most wonderful food, relaxing visit, some quiet space together.  We arrived home afterward feeling much better, ready for a very early bed time.  (I have to learn to stop trying to go to bed early....9pm is at least 2 hours too soon for me.  I was awake every hour starting at 1am and today I feel useless and stupid.)

Can't put off the ironing project any longer, so up and at it sister!  I can pray for my husband while I am ironing.  He was supposed to take time off today so he can get through the next 7 days of work and Synod without collapsing from the stress and work, but there is no time for time off until after Synod is over.  Knowing his health issues and history it is not much short of a miracle that he has held together this well over the past six weeks.  Here's to the next week of intense work for him and all the other office staff and Synod planners, and some relief to follow.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

What Makes Me Remember These Things??

I woke up this morning remembering a mountain hiking expedition with friends many, many years ago...several decades ago now.  In those days the problems that seemed to plague every trip were more cause for coming up with creative solutions than for discouragement.  Aaaah, youth...

The trip I am remembering is one out to the west of Calgary in the North Ghost River area.  When we all started out that day I believe the goal was for a short weekend adventure: fording the river to set up camp at the base of the mountain on Friday evening, a short climb (a high hike really) up the Devil's Head on Saturday, a second night's campout, and a return home early Sunday morning.

The party of 6 went out in two separate vehicles: Friend Gordon's old, but reliable half ton truck and Friend Ken's not always so reliable old Mazda car.  There were people and gear stashed in every available corner of these two old autos.  

The first problem arose between the town of Cochrane and the North Ghost.  A sudden rain squall blew up and within seconds the windshield wipers on the old truck stopped working.  We couldn't see anything at all about the time we were getting to the Forestry Trunk Road and some of the prime wilderness.  What to do?  It wasn't the wiper blades themselves, it was the motion mechanism that was completely broken.  My husband found some relatively decent old parachute cord in the truck box, so he tied a good long piece on the end of each wiper blade, then threaded the other end of each cord in through the truck windows.  While Gord continued to drive through the rain storm, my husband sat in the passenger seat and pulled on the inside ends of the parachute cords. He was able to get a good wiping motion going with the blades.  The cords actually pulled the blades closer to the glass than they had been previously so they wiped the windshield even dryer than before!  It was a good trick to pull so we could keep going on our trek.

Since we hadn't gotten out of the city until after work on the Friday evening we were unable to ford the North Ghost River before the water got running too high, plus it was all ready getting dark, so we were unable to get camp set up at the foot of the Devil's Head.  Trying to car camp on a dirt covered river bank with that many people and too small vehicles is not an experience I would recommend!!  There was no appropriate place to set up any tents even if it hadn't been dark all ready by the time we arrived. The cooking gear was stashed underneath most of the rest of the load of gear, so we didn' even eat dinner other than a shared bag of gorp and some water.  We would make up for it when we set up camp across the river early the next morning.

Extremely early the next morning we heard the Mazda start up before those of us in the truck were even awake after our short and fitful night's sleep.  Ken, ever the impatient one, decided to take his Mazda full of climbers and gear across the river and get a head start.  The best place to ford was just around the bend from where we were sitting with the truck.  An hour later we got going as well, drove around the corner of the high bank to where we planned to ford the truck across and there was the Mazda, stranded in high water, right in the middle of the river!  The level hadn't had a chance to drop yet, as it would have an hour or so later, if Ken could have just been patient enough to wait. As it was, the water had been too deep to take such a low slung vehicle across.  It took us all awhile to winch the thing onto a high sand bar, closer to the opposite bank.  Of course the water had shorted out the engine and it needed significant time to dry out before it could be driven across the rest of the ford and through the bush to where we were planning to set up camp.  Fortunately the truck was JUST enough higher than the car to prevent it from suffering a similar fate.

By the time we rescued the car it was getting to be mid morning and we could see our hiking time slipping away rapidly.  Ken had not eaten any breakfast to this point, assuming he would have lots of time to eat after setting up camp, seeing he had taken his party of climbers out to the river just before 5am. By this time it was after 9am and he was starving.  So, he built a little fire with some twigs and prepared to make some toast...only one problem...how was he going to cook it when all the gear was still stashed in the trunk of the car and it would take too long a time to dig out his cooking gear?  Ken was SO hungry he couldn't wait any longer, so my most hilarious memory of the trip is of him, stripping off his hiking boots, socks and pants for the second time that morning after having to strip down the first time in order to make it to shore from his stranded car, wading out to the still stranded Mazda, wrenching the roof rack off the roof, hauling it back to shore and settling it over the camp fire so he could put slices of bread on it and make toast.  hahahaha  There he was, butt naked,  gorging his hungry, frustrated self on toast he made on his car's roof rack over a teensy camp fire on the bank of the river, while his car remained stranded on a sand bar.  

It took hours for the car to dry out enough to start revving again.  By then it wasn't even worth trying to drive in the other 4 or 5 km to the base of the mountain.  It wasn't worth setting up an overnight camp there, as by this time it was far too late to hike up even a teeny mountain like the Devil's Head.  We all had to be home sufficiently early the next day that we decided to haul the Mazda back across the river and head for home.  By the time we got it winched back across with the truck it was late afternoon.  About the time we wondered if we would regret our decision to not even bother going to the camp area and setting up for at least an overnight in the tents, the sky suddenly clouded over and huge torrents of rain began to fall.  Well, at the very least it guaranteed we had no regrets about our decision to simply abandon the place early.

It poured rain all the way back to Calgary and my husband's arms were hurting severely from having to pull on those parachute cords all the way back!  The Mazda coughed and sputtered an awful lot on the way back, but it made it back to Ken's without breaking down.

So many trips, so many vehicle problems, so many creative solutions and other ideas.  It seems that almost all of my husband's climbing and hiking trips have ended up being even more interesting than expected due to vehicle issues.  

Aaaahhh for the good old days..........hah!

First Nations Workshop

I enjoyed attending a workshop yesterday where I discovered many signs of hope beginning to become apparent on the reserves in our area. I was reminded of the Old Testament admonition to not despise the day of small beginnings. It was good to learn how many groups, communities and agencies in our city are working not only to improve conditions for aboriginals here, but also to work toward better integration of aboriginal and white cultures. The number of young aboriginals graduating from high school and going on to graduate from post secondary institutions here is on the rise. The younger generations seem to be more determined to overcome the long term problems carried on through several generations of residential school wounds. While there is a tremendous amount of work to be done, work that will take decades to accomplish, there is a stronger move to eradicate racism on both sides. So, although signs of hope are small, they may be mighty. We are all paying a price for broken treaties. So much work to do.....

The best word of wisdom came from a Roman Catholic sister who works in an urban First Nation context full time. Sister Reanne explained how one of the problems for sympathetic white folk, particularly Christians, is that we have been trained that "helping" means "problem solving", "doing", "fixing", when what is really required of us is simply to listen and to attempt to build relationships within the aboriginal community. Listening to aboriginal people tell their stories is the best thing to do. If they know they are being heard, they are capable of solving their own problems, like any other people group. Our mistake has been in seeing aboriginals as in need of our Great White Help...adding  to the us vs them mentality.

My husband and I are now on Sister's email list to find out where and when some of the local pow wows and other events that are open to the public to attend are happening. We have great gaps in our experience with the other largest local culture and it is time to change that. If the truth is what sets people free, then my husband and I need to learn more of the truth so we can be part of dispelling the racist based lies that still abound against both cultures.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Industrial Hardware

This morning I had my six week checkup with the surgeon who repaired my hip.  It went incredibly well!  He is pleased with my progress and my x-rays showed an encouraging amount of new bone growth filling in the crack where the pins and plate pulled the broken pieces together.  The break was actually in the hip itself....femur, shemur....the break is in the same spot as one of the main breaks that happened 43 years ago when I had my little run in with that big car out on the street.  

I have been telling my husband for the past couple of weeks that one of the reasons I can't get comfortable enough to turn myself over in bed onto the broken hip and why I can't seem to get comfortable sitting on hard chairs or even narrow toilet seats, is because I feel like I am lying or sitting on a big piece of metal.

Well, guess what? I AM lying/sitting on a big piece of metal...two pieces in fact!  Sticking up above both the pin and the plate are two tall, humungus metal pin heads.  One sticks up into the muscle tissue of my thigh and the other sticks out into the side muscles of my butt!!  Unless my muscle tissue either thickens or gets a lot tougher, I am going to be feeling these metal pin heads....GIANT things....every time I lay over on that side or sit on a narrow, hard surface.  These giant pin heads are what pulled the pin and plate into the bone and then pulled the pieces of bone together so firmly.

The good news is that these huge pieces of hardware have done their job for my bones.  The "iffy" news is that if they continue to bother me into the new year I am going to have to schedule a second surgery to have the pin heads removed.  I have no idea what the surgeon said after he mentioned this distinct possibility....MORE surgery.....a year from now??? 

Whaaaaa?  
Waaaaah!!!!

Fortunately my husband accompanied me to the appointment so he has been able to fill in the blank spaces in my mind and let me know what the surgeon said after this shocking news.  

Well, I don't have to think about that right now so I won't.  I have 3 months to relax and not think about it and that is what I am going to do.

I wish I had copies of the x-rays to post on here. hahaha  My husband told me that the inside of my upper thigh and hip area looks like it is sprouting industrial hardware.  I look like a pipeline construction project in there!!! Hilarious!

After we left the hospital I was able to distract myself with a protracted grocery shopping trip, some post office errands and a trip to the bank.  In the afternoon I went out once again just to get outside and enjoy the beautiful warm autumn day.  In about 3 more days all this warmth and sunshine will be over until next spring.

My day kind of unravelled around all these errands so I am glad I was able to physically accomplish them and think good thoughts.  My parents called with some disappointing news.  I got an email about a weekend activity that upset me and has left me in a bit of a stressful state until a resolution is reached.  My husband decided the cost of our favourite hotel in Calgary is going to be too expensive when we head there in November, so now we are staying in a different hotel for just over half that price....in a lousy Day's Inn.  I am incredibly, overwhelmingly, to the point of tears, disappointed.  Here we go again: us and all the Pee Wee sports teams filling the place with kid noise and odd hours of activity while they go to hockey camp, little to no sound proofing between rooms and a ghastly hotel breakfast...the word "breakfast" is far too good a word for what the so called food is like at these places.

I admit to going from exhilarated to completely crabby in the space of about 90 minutes today and unfortunately I have remained in a state of crabby for the past 4 or 5 hours.  This is despite the amazing and delicious sole and pickerel dinner my husband made for me...that tells you just HOW intensely disappointed and crabby I am.  Great food cooked by my "could have been a chef" husband usually fixes all ills.

Not today....yucko!

Once I accept my fate at the Day's Inn, wrap my pea sized brain around the second surgery possibility and accept whatever the outcome of what may be a disastrous Sunday event, I will be back to my Pollyanna self.  

I will be.

I know it.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Pesky Unwanted Phone Calls

I admit to not being the brightest candle on the birthday cake, so am proud of myself for finally discovering the best way to eliminate ongoing phone calls from scammers, survey companies and other unsolicited and unappreciated calls.

What I have found most effective lately for ensuring I do not get more than one call back from solicitors and computer generated calls is simply to pick up my wireless, press the Talk button as if I was going to answer, then say nothing. If there is a recorded message I just let it play...and play...and play, until the system on the other end of the line hangs up. Sometimes it takes a second call before the calls stop coming from that party, but I would rather have two attempts to reach me than twenty-seven in a week!  If there is a live person on the other end of the line, they soon lose patience when I keep them on the line and refuse to speak after saying hello, or not even bothering with that much conversation. There again, there is sometimes a second attempt to reach me either later that day or later in the week, but usually that is the end of it.

I have been tracking unsolicited solicitors over the past two months. Until I started refusing to speak after answering, I was averaging fifteen to twenty of those calls per week. In the past two weeks I have had a total of three such calls.

Live solicitors are losing time and money when they continue to call a number where there is an answer but no response. When recorded messages have their own phone systems tied up uselessly for up to a full minute with no response at the other end after pick up, the system does not waste its own time continuing to call that number back.

For now at least, I have been spending far less time hobbling full speed toward my phone, only to discover I have inconvenienced myself for no good reason. I have not been faced with the temptation to cuss at, scream at, or blow a whistle into the ear of an unsuspecting phone solicitor. I am not plagued with rising blood pressure over a computer generated call that would not be adversely effected anyway by cussing, screaming or whistle blowing. My new method of dealing with these unwanted calls is better for myself as well as for the callers.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Ho Hum.....

Life is falling into a predictable pattern since our busy weekend: my husband is up to his ears in work and will be until the end of the month. I am stuck in the house between trying to keep from overdoing things with my hip and not having access to the car these days. All this time indoors while the last of the best autumn weather passes me by is starting to depress me. Hopefully I can use the car tomorrow for a short trip to the grocery store and post office after my husband goes to work. Surely he has at least tomorrow where he does not have so many things to carry to the office that he could return to walking....just for tomorrow?

Despite the good amount of work I have all ready accomplished today, I feel restless. Glad to get half my winter clothes out of the storage tubs and ironed, but I want to get OUT!!

The positive aspect of how I am feeling today is that it indicates I am feeling much better and experiencing somewhat better mobility. Every couple of days I realize the hip is moving just a bit more smoothly in directions it hasn't wanted to go.

Aaaaargh!! I detest having to slow down....so much.....for so many weeks....aaaaargh.....

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Cold Wind Doth Blow.....BUT We Don't Have Snow....YET!

After nearly 24 hours of high winds and pounding rain, there is a bit of sun showing from behind the grey clouds and the temperature is back up above 0 degrees!  YAY!

Driving out of town to a Thanksgiving dinner last night was a miserable experience.  The wind was blowing soaking tree leaves across our windshield as we approached the town where our friends live and it was very difficult to see as the windshield wipers struggled valiantly to remove them.  Coming home a few hours later was just as frightening, maybe more so, as the sun had gone down and there are so few lights anywhere along that stretch of highway.

The turkey dinner and the company we ate it with made the wretched drive worthwhile.  It was great fun to see one of our former parishioners there.  We had a marvellous visit with her.  The young woman who cooked the turkey and made the stuffing really outdid herself and wow, it was so delicious.  The hostess created a delicious, crustless, pumpkin/squash pie for dessert.  The lack of crust meant I could have a small taste of it.  YUMMY!  There were kids and cats and people and lego pieces all over the house and we had so much fun.

The morning church service went very well indeed.  Slowly some of the younger families are drifting back to church again now that there is a regular priest to supplement the leadership.  We all ready have to scout out a Sunday School teacher so that they can have their own time and space rather than trying to amuse themselves in the service itself.  Praying we can find someone who will be interested and gifted in doing that.  Most of their parents have been away from church for so long that we don't want them to have to lead the Sunday School and miss their own opportunity to be spiritually fed and to participate in the fellowship.

My husband gave a good sermon using the lectionary readings from, Job, Psalm 22 and Hebrews as he explained how often we get to the thanksgiving part of our spiritual lives DURING and AFTER passing through many painful experiences.  Being a Christian means, in a sense, getting a "heart transplant" from God as he tries to transform us into a better image of who he created us to be in the first place.  Many painful experiences can ensue as we learn how to find God and lean on him and even praise him for his faithfulness in the midst of less than stellar circumstances.  Knowing some of the situations some of our current parishioners face, it seemed timely.  I was personally relieved not to have to listen to the "same old, same old" message of Thanksgiving that I have heard so many times over the years; messages that are all about some kind of feel good God who doesn't want us to ever suffer and who seems powerless somehow to help us face the truths and realities of being human on planet earth.  I always called that god "fuzzy wuzzy God" and it never seemed right to me that on Thanksgiving weekend all the Christians are supposed to forget how miserable their experiences have been lately and act as if God has nothing to do with anything that to us seems bad, spewing out praises we aren't certain we are honestly feeling.  I appreciate sermons that present a bigger picture than the immediate circumstance, so enjoyed my husband's sermon immensely.  There was not one mention of the idea of "God's perfect will" vs "what God allows", (a concept I don't believe in anyway because I think God's thoughts are ultimately a bit too mysterious for humans to sort through and understand definitively), in an attempt to placate us about our problems and take the blame off God for what is going on in our lives.  There was no defending God for being God in this sermon.

So, today I am going to rest my leg a lot, other than my 30 reps of physio.  It was a happy, busy weekend and now I am tired.  I am relieved to look outside and see dry pavement and some tree leaves that are still defiantly green.  My husband is off work today and that always means it is going to be a good day.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Little Neighbourhood Dramas

It is another beautiful day today.  It is presently +25c, the sun is shining in the pale blue autumn sky, leaves are falling, the colours on the remaining leaves are vibrant reds and yellows, dandelions have started blooming again in some places that are protected from the wind and the  cold weather we had earlier in the week.  It has been a great day for enjoying doing the errands we ran this morning and my going out again for a Thanksgiving cheese cake splurge this afternoon with a friend from out of town.  (I will test my blood in a few minutes, but whatever the bad new is, I cheat like this so rarely I think I will survive one high count.)  My friend has no invites for Thanksgiving dinner this weekend and has to work tomorrow, so we both agreed to turf our diets and just enjoy a special treat together.

It has been a week of dramatic activities in our little complex over the past few days.  Rowdy drunks had to be removed from the court beside ours very early one morning, someone went on a rampage breaking car windows the following night, leaving piles of broken glass shards littering the length of the street beside our complex, the police were scouring the grounds yesterday afternoon removing a number of street folk who had succumbed to the combination of  drugs or alcohol ingested earlier in the morning and the hot sunny weather and were subsequently passed out under the beautiful big trees that are all over the complex here.  There has been a sharp increase in recent weeks of that sort of thing, more addicts around our places than management has ever seen before as they drift through on their way to seek warmer places in the surrounding parks to sleep on cold nights.  We have noticed that almost every day of the week now there are garbage pickers ripping through the carefully sealed bags we use here to toss out our household garbage and they are making far more mess than the regular weekend pickers we are all used to.  With the drop again in the economy due to the cessation of the  first time oil boom, there are just more needs out there among the economically challenged. Our area is a relatively new one to explore for them in hopes of finding more food and clothing and discarded items worth money, as their usual haunts are becoming depleted from over picking.

I did get a bit of a chuckle this morning over one little drama occuring right outside my bedroom window.  I woke up just before 8am to the sounds of someone sobbing outside.  When I got up and looked out my window I saw one of the little Muslim boys from the building beside us. He is about 5 or 6 years old and was sitting on the bus bench in front of our place, crying his precious little heart out.  I watched him for a few minutes, unsure of what to do, concerned about some of the unsavoury folk wandering past on the sidewalk, but a couple of minutes later the Muslim man who lives in our building, himself the father of two boys about that age, padded outside in a waist length, bright blue and white down parka, caftan-like robe billowing out from underneath it, his bare feet slapping against his sandals, his hands encased in dark winter gloves and beating themselves together to warm his fingers.  He knelt down beside the little boy and tried to talk to him, to console and cajole him.  All I heard was the little boy sobbing, "But I don't want to go to Muslim school today. I want to play with my friends!!"  I had to chuckle despite feeling badly for the little fellow. I remember the same reaction from my own son on occasion when Christian Sunday School interfered with his carefully laid social plans. After several minutes of attempting to make the little boy feel better and speed him on his way to classes, the man gave up and headed for the home of the boy's parents.  A couple of minutes later, mom and auntie appeared. They sat down with the wee man, hugged him and kissed him and talked quietly to him.  It was only a couple of minutes before the boy got up off the bench, blew his nose into a big handkerchief and got on his bicycle to go to school. Mom and auntie accompanied him and he seemed to have accepted his fate.  This afternoon I have been enjoying watching him playing all manner of outdoor games with his friends and brothers, so happy, giggling and shouting, likely having forgotten all about his upset earlier today. He is the cutest little fellow, "out cuted" only by the teensy First Nations toddler gal who lives beside him.  There are so many neat kids in here of every nationality, colour, religious background.  It is a fun place to live and I am enjoying getting to know finally some of the parents.  The cool thing about a broken leg and the accompanying mobility hardware is that the neighbours are not afraid to ask what happened to me and initiate a conversation.

So, I just checked my blood sugar.  I am delighted that it is only at 7.4...too high for me of course so close to dinner time, but less than a 2 point rise from my post prandial lunch high count. Whew....sorta, kinda got away with it this one time.  I will not be eating dinner until it comes down substantially!  No pumpkin pie for me tomorrow at Thanksgiving dinner, but worth giving it up to have that little celebration with my friend today.  There you have it, my own little daily drama!! 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Venturing Out Alone....At Last

I ALMOST got away this morning to grocery shop on my own....almost....

I assumed that since I was up so early to eat my breakfast while my husband was sleeping in on a day off, since I planned to leave for the grocery store as soon as it opened at 8am, that I could get away in the car for the first time in over a month and fend for myself, cane and all.  "
 

Not to be...sigh....  When I got downstairs to eat, my husband woke up and remembered he had not picked up milk after work yesterday that he promised he would buy, leaving me with no milk for breakfast today.  He wouldn't hear of just waiting for milk until I got back from grocery shopping, wouldn't believe me that my diabetes could be "milk free" for one breakfast, so off he went in search of the nearest convenience store that was open earlier than early.

By the time he made it safely through some unexpected road construction, found a store and then figured out an alternate route home, I had finshed my breakfast and was feeling a bit ripped off that it was now after 8am and I was behind schedule.  I assumed he would either go back to bed or decide to have a nice leisurely Morning Off Breakfast but I was wrong.

He insisted on accompanying me to the grocery store and we arrived at about 8:30am.  Even clinging to the cart in lieu of my cane, to keep my leg from being overworked, I picked up my entire grocery list minus the 5 items he found for me in the same amount of time. hahahaha  Watching him shopping is painful...I can't take that long to compare prices and look at every brand...every time we are in the same store. hahahaha

We were home again just before 9am.  I dumped him off unceremoniously at the back door, waited while he carried in the grocery bags and then I drove off across the city to the bank for some weekend spending money. ALONE AT LAST!  

It was such a good feeling to conquor the driving again, to have to make my leg comfortable careening around corners and barreling down the main streets in order to keep up with the rag tag end of the Friday morning rush hour traffic.  I become rather paranoid and agoraphobic after more than 4 weeks of being more or less housebound and having to be driven by someone else when I do go anywhere.  Slowly life is returning to normal and I like it!!

After a good long rest this afternoon I had my husband haul up my tubs of winter clothes from storage.  Although the weekend temperatures are late summer balmy, it won't last much longer than that and I have to face ironing all those things that have been in storage sooner or later, might as well get started.  Today I settled for unpacking the winter clothes and hanging them up, then packing up the summer clothes.  If I iron for an hour a day for the next 2 or 3 days everything I hung up will be crisp and fresh again.

Talked to the son tonight.  It is time to make plans for him to fly out for a visit sometime in November for an early Christmas.  He and his dad have started comparing work schedules for that month, so soon we can be booking flights and getting ready for our usual good time together. SO glad to have that to look forward to.

Another friend was diagnosed with Type Two Diabetes today.  Thankfully he has a very good attitude and in anticipation of what he might hear from the doctor today he has all ready started counting carbs and reading webites about nutrition and healthy diabetic eating. It is all about the attitude and the ability to accept the necessary changes in lifestyle and I think he is acing both of those things.  Hang in my friend, the first 3 months are the most difficult.

Tomorrow we are going to check out a new store in town and relax some more.  It is so unusual for my husband to be home for an entire day with no committments and looking at the same plan for the next day that it feels like we are on holidays!  YEAH!!

My Dearest Winston

A friend reminded me tonight of one of my favourite quotes by Winston Churchill.  It makes me laugh every time:


"Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip."


That man said so many wise and witty things.  There was always just enough truth behind his words to capture my attention.  How I wish I could be as clever in my thoughts, as succinct in my expression, as completely secure and sure of myself as Mr. Churchill was.  How I wish I  could locate my book of his quotes that I have treasured for years and that I lost track of five or six moves ago.
 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

My Dear Husband

My husband made himself late for work yesterday carrying two week's worth of laundry down to the basement for me to wash and dry. The idea was that I would do that much, maybe even fold everything so that he could bring it all back upstairs after work and put things away.

As I was putting the first load into the washer I remembered we have two plasticized tote bags with sturdy handles that would facilitate my bringing up the dry laundry on my own. They worked well for stuffing all the items into and then made it so easy for me to transport to the second floor for folding and putting away. It entailed many trips up and down two flights of stairs, but I was finished well before my husband rushed home for a late dinner before heading out to his evening meeting.

He was happily shocked by what I had accomplished and we were both grateful the laundry was done all ready when he arrived home from his meeting just before 11pm! There is no way he would have been able to do any kind of laundry duty at that time of night.

He was not the only one so happily surprised however. As we wended our way upstairs to bed I remembered I had not put clean sheets on the bed. I nearly cried, I was so tired and sore. I did not have the heart to ask my husband to wrestle with the tightly fitted sheets. When I walked into the bedroom I could not believe my eyes. The bed was all made up with crisp clean sheets and the winter comforter. Between dinner and his evening meeting my husband sneaked into the bedroom and made up the bed.

Such a simple task not even worth mentioning as a rule, but such a tremendous treat to discover a freshly made up bed when broken, healing bones are aching from a day of exertion.

Oh I was and am so grateful!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

True Confessions

Today I need to make a few confessions about where I am really at these days: 

-- I am feeling ever so slightly bitter and twisted that the last of the warm, end of summer weather has gone by while I have been stuck inside and that the present morning temperature of -2C, with its accompanying dusting of frost on grounds and vehicles is depressing me somewhat.

-- I am not thrilled to be watching my husband teetering on the edge of another CFS episode due to the current long hours and huge deadline stresses at his work.  While I am very grateful he is still more or less on top of things, I confess I am living in a mild state of stress myself wondering if he is going to get through synod in 2 weeks time without falling completely apart for an entire week after it is finished.

-- I confess I did wear myself out completely yesterday moving furniture around in the living room so I could vacuum.  HOWEVER, I have no regrets because shortly after I was finished, I was handed a notice from the management company of our building to say that this very afternoon there will be maintenance folk descending upon our unit to check for past due maintenance issues, smoke detector and furnace checks and also checks to ensure we have no rodents or insect pests making themselves at home in our basement rafters, electrical outlets or carpets.  So, despite being exhausted and sore by last night, I am even happier that I accomplished what I did. Perhaps some of these dear ones will get some concept of what clean actually is...sorry, is that too catty?

-- I confess I sent my husband out to get us Indian take out food last night in the midst of the rush hour traffic after he left work.  There was no way I could cook dinner and when I heard the utter exhaustion in his voice when I called to ask him about getting take out, I knew I had been right to do all the house work myself.  The food was absolutely fabulous and we enjoyed it immensely, despite the hassle of him getting to the restaurant to pick it up.

-- I confess...and this is the BIGGIE of the day....that I am not going to attend the local philharmonic fall concert in November because they are singing Handel's Messiah.  I confess, despite risking being labelled a musical heritic or worse by other Christian friends, particularly old time missionaries, I find that other than the brief burst of light and life in the Hallelujah Chorus, the Messiah is one of the most monotonous, boring pieces of classical music I have ever had to listen to...dozens of times.... in 3 different countries over 5 decades....aaaargh!!!  Please....make it stop!!!! (Yes, I still believe Jesus is the divine yet human son of God and that the bible is the preserved word and stories of our God, I just can't put The Messiah on the same scale is all. So sorry, it is just how it is for me.)

Thus endeth my confessions for the day.