Thursday, December 31, 2015

Seeing Out The Old Year With Full Reps...and an Orange Curd Tart!

So happy to be doing all 450 reps each day as of this week. It is like my muscles are craving all that stretching and joint manipulation. No matter how much I would prefer not to be locked into that half hour physio event after every meal five days a week, it makes me feel so good I never miss a session.

My husband bought me a beautiful lunch today for my Christmas gift. We tried to go to The Cottage but it was closed. So, back to Unique Bistro. I was just as happy because I was able to eat a very low carb chicken and salad meal in order to blissfully enjoy my final dessert "cheat" of the holiday season: an award winning orange curd tart with cardamom and a light licorice/balsamic glaze. Yes, my husband shared it with me, so that cut my sugar intake. Oooo, what a treat, right up there with the bistro's chai brûlée. Thus ends the holiday feasting. Back to my stringent diabetic menu. I am ready for it, not remotely tempted to push the dietary limits any further.

Our New Years Eve is as quiet as the rest of our holiday. We are snuggling on the couch, watching the Ron James comedy special, snacking on smoked Gouda, Brie and ciabatta rounds. It is quite lovely.

Perhaps we will be able to sleep in on the first morning of 2016, relaxing into this next new year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Thank You Lord For Physiotherapy!!!!

Oh how grateful I am as I see some small progress in restoring the mobility to my hip.  I can tell it will never be completely normal because of the type of hardware attached to the bones, but it is certainly gaining ground in mobility and the pain is down to almost nil, other than that glorious pain of healing that accompanies muscles stretching themselves back into shape. Whew! There is definitely hope being restored alongside the mobility, even after only 8 days of actual exercises. (I learned with the broken ankle that the admonition from my therapist to exercise Monday to Friday and then take the next 2 days off has a purpose and I am following that advice once again.)  I look forward now to my physio after each meal, instead of dreading the strain involved.  

We were going to try to see the new Star Wars this afternoon, but decided that even at the 2D theatres there would likely be far too many younger kids and pre-teens for us to enjoy the movie.  We will wait until all the kids are back in school and then take one of my husband's evenings off work to go, maybe in a couple of weeks.  He is going to try to take Mondays and Tuesdays off consistently starting the second week of January as he has so many Saturdays all ready this coming year scheduled with meetings.  We will see how that works.  Praying it will be a good thing and a manageable schedule each week...although it all ready has to change the last week of January due to a visiting VIP my husband will be responsible for spending time with.

I am trying to think of and get my hands onto appropriate Epiphany gifts for some of the office staff by Monday.  The Burns-Hanley store is closed this week and won't reopen until next Tuesday, but I am hoping my husband can take something in for the staff on Monday before the office opens again to the public later in the week.  Hmmmm....I am going to have to be creative. Dietary issues effect most of the staff so simply baking something yummy is not the best option unfortunately.  Lots to think about over the next 4 days.  

Choir begins again this coming Sunday afternoon.  It will be our second last rehearsal before the concert the following weekend.  I am still trying to decide how enthused I am about staying involved for the second term that takes us into May sometime.  Typical of me, I would miss the people there so much that leaving choir would be difficult, more difficult because of missing people than because of missing the singing!  I confess I really didn't care for many of our songs this term because so many of them are Christmas-y and don't appeal to me. Will see what we are going to be learning next term I guess.

We ended up staying home today for the entire day.  As it happened, we BOTH slept in until nearly 10:30am.  I had a late night snack prior to bedtime and so I didn't wake up famished so late in the morning.  As a result our mealtimes have been out of whack all day, but I have still been able to retain the right number of hours between meals.  Next week when my husband returns to work and the alarm clock goes at 6:30am once again it is going to be a huge shock to my system.  We are aiming for early bedtimes for the next few days to be prepared for the change.  My husband spent the day doing computer back ups and getting things set up so that we can both use the printer without dragging cables across the hallway, thus setting up a tripping hazard for us both.  He also put huge sheets of cardboard up on the basement walls to help the place retain some heat upstairs.  The foundation is cement, put up in 1949, and there is no insulation whatsoever either inside or out.  Result: the leaking of warm air is ridiculous and I am so tired of wearing thick sweaters all day indoors.  There is a lot of leakage from the second storey as well because any batt isulation that started out in the walls has sunk to the lowest point, leaving many cold spots along every outside wall.  At least we are sleeping well because you can't accuse the upstairs of being too hot!  I am also hoping to save a bit now on the electric bill.  We have taped and put shims around the basement windows and that is helping as well.  When you can stick your finger between the window sill and the cement wall and find the end of your finger outside in the cold it is time to take measures to repair the problem, even temporarily.  What a crazy old place we are living in.

My son certainly got a surprise this morning when a 4.3 earthquake shook the house where he stays after he was in bed sleeping.  He at first thought it was his neighbours starting one of their violent fights, but then realized the entire house was shaking, not just his floor.  How grateful he and all of us are that there was no real damage anywhere and that the quake was mild, AND at least 50km below sea level so there was no worry about tsunamis.   I saw an interview on the tv news later this afternoon with a fellow from Chile who lives in Vancouver now and he was chuckling at the upset this small tremor caused his fellow residents.  Apparently compared to the tremors in his homeland this little quake was hardly worth noting. I have to admit his comments made me feel better about my son living on the west coast.

Well, off to find something relaxing on tv to watch before bed tonight.

 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

And Just Like That Life Is Good Again!

Yup, my husband DID come home yesterday buoyed by the fun of moving furniture around the office with his colleagues, smiling, excited by the great one on one visit he had with the Bishop before the others arrived; a visit that answered some of his anxieties about how things are going to change in the new year. The upset stomach of the previous days was completely gone and he was eager to take me out for a lovely dinner....which he did!

We drove over to Unique Bistro for a scrumptious curried chicken dinner that included their always fabulous el dente green beans and carrots and pan seared baby potatoes. We knew we would have a bit of a wait since everything is prepared fresh, so we ordered a calamari appetizer to start. There is just a slight hint of warm herbs in the coating that turns a usually bland appetizer into a tasty treat.

My husband was SO happy with his dinner that we returned to Unique Bistro for lunch today! haha

The morning was spent grocery shopping and banking, so I was more than happy to relax over another yummy meal I did not have to cook or clean up afterward. My husband enjoyed the gnocchi with radicchio, cherry tomatoes and bocconcini in cream sauce, while I had a most wonderful breakfast feast: FIVE strips of well cooked bacon, two scrambled eggs, two slices of skinny whole wheat toast that only embodied one carb unit between them and hash browns made from freshly cut potatoes, skins still on. My husband shared my bacon, potatoes and toast so that I could order a dessert to share: chai brûlée with a side of whipped cream and raspberry/chocolate drizzle. O wow.....yummy!

My afternoon physio had the added attraction today of burning up some carbs, yo ho ho!

So it didn't take long to switch my bad mood of yesterday afternoon back to my usually somewhat sunnier disposition. It is all good in the end. It almost always is.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Hi Ho Crappo It's Back To Work He Goes.....sigh....

After a super fun day yesterday, with Cafe Church Lessons and Carols and a marvellous evening at our church office manager's home for (at last!) a turkey dinner and visiting fun, reality intruded on my holiday time with my husband in no uncertain terms.

Yup, my husband, along with the Bishop and some volunteers, is over at the Synod office. They are using half a day, (I'll believe THAT when it actually happens), to move my husband's office furniture into a bigger, brighter space and turn his old office into a chapel for the staff. I am not impressed, to say the least. And of course his office cell rang this morning with a request that he do a hospital visit in the next couple of days. That one is fine because people can't help having medical emergencies requiring spiritual encouragement from a priest. I am just so disappointed about the office move coming in the middle of our time together, plus a rather large concern about my husband's health. He is still not physically recovered from the stress of the past four months. He needed at least 2 more days to be sure he will be okay in time to return to full time work next week. Also, we had plans for today before we found out about the office move, but instead I am doing laundry, delaying my grocery shopping because my husband needed the car for taking tools and a dolly to work.

So yeah, I am ticked off today.  I am a grown up so I will get over it. Just for today I am not happy.

You realize of course that should my husband return home today in a joyous mood, brimming with enthusiasm about his new office and delighted by the camaraderie with his colleagues, feeling healthy once again, all my negative feelings will vanish without a trace.  I admit, I am easily mollified.....because I hate feeling ticked off.

 Being happy is so much easier and so much more fun.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

What Are You Doing On Boxing Day?

We are watching boxing on tv! Seriously.....Louis vs Bence for the Canadian Cruiser Weight championship....tee hee...Boxing Day....boxing match...tee hee.....

Most hilarious fight ever: Dylan Carman vs Eric Martell for Canadian Heavy Weight championship.
It was an absolute barroom brawl! No technical boxing here, just a roundhouse punch fest with lots of pushing, shoving, craziness...hahaha! I've never seen anything like it, hahaha!

Christmas Chicken

Would you believe it has taken me all these decades to learn how to properly roast a chicken in the oven?? Finally I was told by a family friend what to do in order to cook it thoroughly without drying it out.

So simple: preheat the oven to 425F degrees, put the chicken into the oven in a covered roasting pan, leave the heat on for an hour and fifteen minutes, then turn the heat completely off, but leave the chicken covered in the oven for another hour. Easy peasy!

My husband put a second pan of teensy potatoes in as well, skins on and lightly brushed with olive oil. He put them into the oven 30 minutes after the chicken went in and took them out at the same time I removed the chicken roaster. We cooked some peas and Brussels sprouts, opened a bottle of Selbach and had a plain but delicious Christmas dinner.

Today the exhaustion and stress of the past 4 months came down on my husband like a sledge hammer. His face is dead white, his brain is fuzzy, his entire body aches and his tummy is severely upset. It is the usual experience after a long time of being too busy. It will be at least three days before he is really up to going anywhere, but should recover his energy before returning to work the first week of January.

As for me, after a brutal week of new physiotherapy exercises and some accompanying tears of pain and discouragement, I am seeing progress all ready! My weak thigh muscles have latched onto the exercises like a drowning person to a life raft. There are many months ahead of hard work, possibly a trip or two to my friend's physiotherapy clinic five hours away, bit it will be worth it. Despite having a truly lousy Christmas in some ways, (as in no family visits added into exhaustion and discouragement ), there is joy that my recovery is going better.

Our son had three or four Christmas parties and dinners this past week, as well as a previous celebration of Hannukah. In fact he went out for Chinese food at lunchtime yesterday with his Jewish friends before his Christmas Day dinner out! My parents also had several celebrations. My husband's sister and her husband spent Christmas Day with his son before enjoying dinner out. It is easier sitting here inactive just knowing the rest of the family had good times to enjoy.

It is -20C this afternoon, finally getting seasonal weather for the weekend before it warms up a bit again. We had planned to go out until my husband realized he feels lousy, but I am just as happy to remain at home with him. Yeah....I could go out and do the few "chores" in need of doing, but now that I have been so spoiled by our El Niño winter, I am happy to leave them until after the weekend.

Happy Boxing Day everybody!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Beautiful Christmas Eve

The fluffy snowflakes have been falling intermittently all day. We definitely get to enjoy a white Christmas. Yay!

I attended the beautiful afternoon family service at Living Spirit Centre today. The worship space was packed out with folk from the three church congregations who share the space, lots of adorable little kids to chuckle at as they waved the light sticks they had been given, while we adults held out lighted candles as we sang Silent Night. We sang so many carols. I sat with my husband's cousin's husband and we had our own little duet going on because none of the people sitting around us knew the carols, even with the lyrics printed out in their bulletins. My husband and I have noticed over the last few years that few people outside the church folk know even the standard Christmas carols any more. It is kind of sad. So many of the good old traditions of the season have been lost. Even the radio stations play the more politically correct, secular songs like "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree". While in our society it is understandable, I miss the days when even the least religious of people still had no qualms about singing the carols during the season.

In a few minutes we will leave home again to enjoy our own congregation's Christmas Eve Eucharist service. I am so excited to attend. The evening service on Christmas Eve IS my Christmas celebration. Other than seeing whatever family is available, our son this year, church on the Eve is most spiritually meaningful event to me.

Time to go!

Rejoice, rejoice a Saviour is born.
To God be glory....

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

I Know My Husband Is Working Too Hard When....

....he walks home from work like he did tonight, is an hour later than usual...and has forgotten he actually DROVE to work this morning.  Sigh.... He is currently walking back to the office to retrieve the car.....sigh....poor fellow....

Is Anything Better Than Hope Restored?

On this final day of Advent I have been meditating on the joy of hope being restored in peoples' lives. We are on the cusp of the transition between Advent and Christmas, moving from repentance from what is out of sync with God in our own lives, fasting and praying for the disasters of our world, to the miraculous hope we have in the incarnation, celebrating the birth of Jesus and looking ahead with expectation to what he will do in our lives and in the world in the coming year.

In the past year I have been privileged to witness the hope for a safer, better life shining in the faces of incoming refugees, the thrill of hope on the faces of parents contemplating the life to come for their newborn child, the hopeful tears on the faces of newly reconciled former enemies whose walk with Christ finally led them to repent and forgive each other and to build a new and loving relationship, the hope and subsequent transformation of a life newly dedicated to following Jesus.

Just this week in my own life I have been given hope for better restoration for my broken hip. Even that small and relatively insignificant hope has made today's grey sky seem less dreary and invited me to become more motivated about planning some outings on the upcoming cold winter days.

The recent work related retreat my husband went on has restored his hope and motivation in his ministry.

New hope for his future career has motivated my son to walk in more peace and joy than he has in several years.

My parents' lives have been transformed by their recent move and they have hope for fun and friendship after being too isolated socially for too long.

Our parishioners are experiencing hope and joy as they see the congregation growing and being restored to life and liveliness.

Hope is a powerful motivator in transforming our lives. If hope deferred makes the heart sick, the restoration of hope heals the heart, eases the worries of the mind and motivates the body to action.

May 2016 turn out to be a year of restored hope for peace in the world, for the depressed to find reason for joy, for dysfunctional lives to be transformed, for anger to be changed to forgiveness, for restoration of the Church's call to the mission of bringing the message of God's hope to the whole world through Christ.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Good Kind of Discomfort

I just completed my first set of reps in the new physio regime. To say I hurt is a serious understatement. I couldn't even complete all ten reps on some of the exercises because of pain in the joint and weak muscles, BUT it is a start...a great start to a better recovery! Within two days I aim to make at least twenty of my thirty required daily reps, with a full cycle underway by the weekend.

How well I remember the even worse pain at the beginning of the physiotherapy for my ankle. I vividly remember hanging onto the edge of the kitchen sink, desperately trying to balance while standing only on the injured leg and raising myself up on tip toe. I remember the first few days, giving up by the third rep, standing on my good leg instead, leaning over the edge of the sink and sobbing from the pain and frustration, as well as the fear that I would never be able to walk again.

Today there was also pain, but far less frustration and very little fear. This time around I have great faith that all the work WILL bring about a positive result! I learned discipline from my mother as I watched her battle through a hip replacement, daily, faithfully, doing her excruciatingly painful physiotherapy. It paid off, as did the physio for my own ankle.

So after dinner this evening it will be time for round two. I WILL get myself down on the floor. I WILL get my leg back behind me and rest my ankle on the arm of a chair while straightening my torso and leaning backwards. I WILL squat half way down with my butt in the air, an elastic around my knees and walk in that stance around the living room. I WILL hug my knee to my chest over and over. I WILL put my good foot on the third stair with my good knee bent and my bad leg stretched out behind me and maintain the position for a full minute. I WILL make a half bridge with my good leg while pressing down on the heel of my bad leg and raising my buttocks off the floor. I WILL wrap the elastic around my knees and try to push them apart. I WILL stand on tip toes and balance on my bad leg repetition after repetition. I WILL stretch, bend, sway and rotate that joint and those thigh muscles. I WILL! I WILL!! I WILL!

My Worst Fears Confirmed, But It's All Good News From There!

I spent yesterday afternoon with the physiotherapist who saved me from needing permanent walking aids when I shattered my ankle a few years ago.  How often is a person so blessed as to have a FORMER therapist make a 10 hour round trip to give an unofficial assessment on his day off???  I am blessed beyond measure....as is my husband, because once my session was finished the two of them resumed their former philosphical and theological discussions as if their last visit was yesterday instead of over a year ago.

As a result of our time together I am going to be signing legal documents naming this fellow as my therapist once again and giving him permission to access my former and upcoming x-rays and my surgical reports!  YIPPEE!!!  HELP is on the way!

I have known for some weeks that my recovery is not going as well as it should be.  My big thigh muscles are incredibly weak still, over 3 months post surgery and the joint continues to shoot out an incredible jolt of pain if I happen to put certain stresses of movement upon it. It could be a result of the location of the screw heads.

The therapist was as shocked as I have been that no one has recommended I go to physio here in the city. I suspect it is partly because, like most places in this province, there is a dearth of physiotherapists and the ones that are here, even in private practise, are so overbooked they can't handle any more patients other than dire emergencies.  The attitude being tossed my way is that I am doing "well enough for a woman my age". Thank you Lord that my former therapist doesn't accept that idea.  

So, I now have 11 exercises to do every day for the next month that will push my pain levels rather high, but must be done if I want to walk or rotate my hip anywhere near to normal ever again.  What a wonderful relief to know it can still be accomplished despite this very late start.  Depending on the actual placement of the screw heads from those Gamma nails, I will possibly change the exercises again after my next set of x-rays and appointment with the surgeon in January.  The therapist is hoping I will be able to rebuild and strengthen the muscle tissue to the point of not having to have a second surgery later next year to remove those heads.  YES!!  From our mouths to God's ears!

I admit I have been feeling a tad frightened about my progress or lack thereof, but after yesterday's assessment hope is restored.  As far as I am concerned this fellow is the best in the business and I have been so fortunate to have met him and to have become part of his extended client list.  Thank you Lord!!! 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Ack!! What Was I Thinking????

Today was ridiculous in terms of my blood sugar...I deserve to be ill after what I did today!  Duh.....

We picked a bad place to go for lunch after church and that was the start of the stupidity.  It was a buffet restaurant that shall remain nameless because, although the food wasn't great and there was hardly anything there any diabetic could safely eat, the owners, cooks and waiting staff were so friendly and kind I don't want to say anything negative about the place.  We were literally the only people in the packed venue that are not regulars!  Everyone knew each other from the neighbourhood where the restaurant is located and the staff knew everyone's favourite dishes, the names of their kids and grandkids, where they worked or how long they had been retired. What a great atmosphere.  If the food was more suitable for me and a bit better quality we could find ourselves spending a lot of time there.  We felt very welcomed into the group.  However, I know I ate too many salty, fatty, carb-y things despite my best attempts to simply enjoy the green lettuce and the sliced cucumber.  Sigh....I couldn't convince my el cheapo self that the buffet price was low enough to cover one small bowl of greens with a teaspoon of dressing.

I wasn't even thinking about the fact that we were having our choir Christmas party after rehearsal this afternoon.  AND of course there were a couple of small snacky items there I just HAD to try, but the "worst-est", "stupidest", "thoughtless-est" thing I ingested was the cider our director had made for us....from a premix...FULL of sugar, in fact more than 90% of the mix was refined cane sugar.  It is the sort of drink that is advised for drinking during crises of low blood sugar, but even then only a quarter of a cup.  I was so excited to have apple cider that all remembrance of being diabetic fled from my mind until I had finished drinking an entire coffee mug of the stuff, smacked my lips and then, ONLY then had my memory return with the full horror of what I had done hitting me right upside the head!  In the midst of being so very careful not to eat more than a carb unit of snack food at the party, especially with a high carb count at lunch, I completely blew it with that drink.  DUH!

With some trepidation I tested my sugar two hours later...6.8.  Yikes...o yes, it could have been a lot worse, but 6.8 at 5pm on any day for any reason is far, far too high.  I have had to delay dinner now and test every 30 minutes until it comes back down to a reasonable number, ready to rise again with a proper meal.  Testing will also tell me if it is dropping too quickly because of the rate that refined sugar is processed by the body.  

Where has my head been today??  My brain must have atrophied while I was in that grocery store lineup the other day.  Being diabetic is no longer new, no longer news to me.  

Well, I got my own attention back that is for sure.  Time to refocus for the rest of the holiday season!!!  I can't do this again any time soon...any...time....ever...again!!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

I Sure Know How To Pick 'Em.....NOT!!

The past couple of days have not been great in the details...the amazing answers to several prayers have been nothing short of shockingly delightful, but the daily tasks have shown need of improvement.

As I was making my lunch in between laundry loads a couple of days ago I managed, within the space of 10 minutes or less, to pitch my cane accidentally down the basement stairs, drop a full basket of newly cleaned and dried laundry into a heap of dirty sweepings in the middle of basement floor, drop a container of rice pudding upside down on the kitchen floor and watch the lid split open for the contents to splatter everywhere, requiring several minutes of cleaning up, schmear chocolate pudding all over my hands, get peanut butter stuck onto the side of the hot toaster oven, nick my finger with a paring knife and break the bread bag just trying to pry the twist tie off the plastic. Sigh... 
Welcome to my world.........

These little annoyances paled in comparison to yesterday's waiting in line at a grocery cashier.  Aiii yiiii yiiii....do I know how to pick the slowest lineup in the entire mega store???  O yes I do!!!  I tried to plot my path, chart my course, find the fastest moving lineup there was, all to no avail.  As I stood in the rarely moving line up at the cashier's counter I had chosen I had the thrill of watching customer after customer arrive after me at other counters and leave the store with their full bags of groceries long before I even had a chance to unload my cart.  

And why was this you may ask??  Well, I will tell you why: the ONE and ONLY lady in front of me was so busy texting on her smart phone that she had no time to unload her own cart.  

Frantic texting, frantic texting, frantic texting....unloading 2 items from her full cart.  Chuckling, chuckling, chuckling at whatever texts were coming in on her screen....unloading 3 items from her cart.  Slow, slow, slow text responses....unloading 1 item from her cart.  She was putting on quite a show, but as an audience of one I simply could not give her a good review!!  

While this little snail was ever so slowly getting her grocery items onto the conveyer belt to go to the cashier, the cashier herself was smiling broadly, looking about the store, the ceiling, the floor, her grin getting broader and goofier the longer she had to wait to run each of the lady's items through the price scanner.  By the time everything had been unloaded from that cart in front of me I had watched THREE other customers complete their transactions at the till beside me and leave the store with their purchases, while I stood still getting more p#$%*d off by the second.  As the minutes had dragged by I realized I had entered the Land of the Invisible Waiting Customers and no one, least of all these two clowns, could care less that this Marvel of Texting was holding up the line...well, me at least.  I WAS the line.  Everyone but me had been smart enough, sufficiently discerning to pass by Giggling Texting Woman and Goofylips the Cashier. Sigh....

Finally, FINALLY, the last of the woman's items was through the scanner and waiting to be bagged.  Yes, waiting...at this store you bag your own groceries as a rule, but now that the woman had at last put her "raztenfratzen" phone back into her purse, she had a huge decision to make before she could begin the task of bagging:  should she bag these groceries and take them to her car, then drive across the lot to a different grocery store to complete her shopping experience, or should she bag these groceries and take them to her car and then return to this very same grocery store to complete her shopping experience???  

The cashier seemed to think that discussing these choices ad nauseum was the perfect way to do the job for which she is being paid....perhaps she is being paid so little that checking out groceries for one customer per morning is as much as she feels she needs to accomplish to earn her pay.  Unfortunately I was the second customer in line....sigh....

A bored, yawning young man from Customer Service happened to be walking past us as this endless and meaningless discussion was taking place so he decided to join in the fun.  AAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHH!!

Lady, for #%%$*& sake, bag up the blasted groceries and take them to your &*%%^$ car and THEN decide where to buy the rest of them!!!!

Eventually she made her decision and slowly started bagging her things.  It was slow because by this time she and the cashier apparently had made the momentous decision to become BFF's, because while the cashier was at last scanning MY purchases and pushing them over into the conveyer belt farthest away from herself and Chatty Cathy, she barely had time to look at me,  or my purchases, let alone take my discount savings card, or, LORD FORBID, answer a rather pressing question I had about a price that rang into her till that was not the advertised price of the item.  When I was finally able to get her attention, 11 items later, she did correct her mistake, but by now nearly all my purchases were through.  I could get neither my cart nor myself over to the far conveyer belt to bag up because these 2 crazy women were still talking, Yappy Doodle was still slowly packing her groceries and I finally had to rudely butt in to say that I needed to get past her to bag my own.  She seemed quite surprised to see me, despite the two of us being less than ten feet apart for nearly a half hour at this point. Sigh....

She did let me past her with my cart, but then I had nowhere to put the cart because she had hers straddled across both packing lanes.  I asked if she could move her cart over to a more reasonable position, she glared at me like I had asked her to beat her children and refused.  "I will only be a minute you know.", she said. Well no, I didn't know that and as it turned out The Blabilator was also a skilled liar.  She remained in place for almost seven more minutes while I dodged around her trying to get my groceries into the bags and then into my own cart, which I had to keep moving back and forth so that the customers closest to me at another till could get THEIR carts out of the store.  O DOUBLE SIGH....

Finally I was done bagging and packing and was on my way out of the store. And where was El Blither? She was still yukking it up with the cashier while the next poor sucker was waiting in line.  Aiiii yiiii.....

I was so angry and so tired of being invisible that I hied myself over to the nearest pub for lunch.  It is a new place and eager to serve.  As a result I was not invisible there.  No I wasn't!  I had great service, wonderful food and a nice fresh slice of lime in my diet cola.  When hot sauce was requested the server brought out a BOX of over a dozen brands of hot sauce and I was able to take my pick....aaaaahhhh...feelin' better....then the sun came out like a blessing from God for putting up with the disaster at the store.  I went from being completely invisible to being pampered and spoiled by a server and by the universe itself.

The day ended up so well, (even if I didn't exactly pass this latest test in the School of the Spirit)....(I will do better next time, I will, I will!)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

More Like Winter At Last

Brrrrr....it has been -14C most of the morning, possibly heading for the grand and glorious high of -9C! Whoopee!! Finally it is winter, real winter, despite only having about 3cm of snow. It is not nice to finally be experiencing seasonal weather, but we knew it had to arrive sometime. If the temperatures can remain below zero until at least March we will have no more freezing rain. We have been blessed with more than six weeks less winter weather this year and for that I am intensely grateful. I admit I rather enjoy watching the wee snowflakes that are drifting down from the iron grey sky.

My husband slept in this morning in order to recover from the 14 hour day he worked yesterday, then did some correspondence for work here at home, before walking to the office after lunch. His lovely, warm, new down parka is getting a workout today. I am proud of him for not wimping out and driving to his office. He is finally admitting he needs to shape up, lose weight and work off instead of "eat off" his stress. Each office day he straps on his large backpack, containing his laptop, book of Canons, lunch, phone, keys and whatever is needed that day, boots up and walks out into the cold darkness of the morning. It is often just as cold and dark when he returns home in the evenings. At this rate he will lose weight and be in better shape in only a few weeks.

It is quite a chore now to reach my parents on the phone. haha They are not available Sunday morning as they can now go to church services in the complex if they have no ride to their own church. They are not available Tuesday morning because the home care nurse comes to give baths. They are not available Tuesday afternoon because they play Bingo. They are not available Wednesday morning because that is the morning they take the complex bus to the grocery store. They are not available Thursday morning because they have appointments with either the hair dresser or the podiatrist or.... They are not available Friday morning because the home care nurse returns to give bath number two. They are not available any afternoon or evening when entertainment is provided in the common room. They are not available any afternoon that they have scheduled visits with old friends who also live in the complex, or when visits have been scheduled with other friends...which seems to be at least twice a week, in around the provided entertainment. They are not available ANY day between 5pm and 7pm because they are in the dining room eating their evening meal and visiting with everyone in sight.  Their voices on the phone have gone from sounding like my phone calls are a long awaited life raft in a raging sea, to complete impatience that my calls are taking up precious time that could be spent doing FUN things!  hahahaha  It is completely fantastic and I have long awaited this sort of change for them in their lives.  How cute are they these days???!!

Off to a second Bishop's prayer meeting this evening.  Tonight we will concentrate on the more usual monthly agenda items and pray up a storm.  It is always a most encouraging time together as we battle on in trust that God will continue to heal and repair our diocese and bring glory to him.  

Then my husband has 2 precious and badly needed days off work.  So thrilled the retreat time earlier this week has been successful as far as coming up with some ideas to improve the work load for everyone in the new year. Hallelujah!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Shocking Rise!

The monthly power bills arrived in the mail today. I was not surprised or horrified by the 30% rise in the natural gas bill because every month is an actual reading of the gas meter, and with the onset of winter a person expects utility bills to rise with the ongoing use of the furnace. I was not however quite as mentally prepared for the increase in the electricity bill, even knowing this amount would be based on an estimate of how much electrical power used. My bill was 250% over last month's estimate. TWO HUNDRED and FIFTY PERCENT!!!???! Eeeeeeowwww goes my wallet! Apparently this city sends meter readers out for actual readings only four times a year. That means we have an actual to look forward to in January. I expect my bill to be somewhat more reasonable next month as a result. Anyway, I have adjusted to the shock and written out the appropriate cheques, haha What an upsy downsy day....upset over the condition of the world at large, a fabulous answer to prayer for my son and a shock over utility bills. haha Life is never boring even when it seems generally mundane these days.
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It Isn't World Peace, But It IS a Wonderful Answer To Prayer!

My son just called. His accountant has made a wonderful job of checking back over his taxes for the past three years and my son is going to receive a few thousand dollars back because of tuition credits that were missed over that time. We have been praying for the past three months for some kind of financial relief for him to be able to make his student loan payments without giving up his grocery money each month. My son is stunned. I am too! Isn't that typical of us humans? We pray in faith, thinking we are trusting God for the most positive possible answer, but then when we get it we are somewhat shocked!

My son will be able to pay off an entire year of student loan plus the interest....amazing...thank you Lord for your loving and merciful answer. I am as grateful as he is. Thanks to the alert accountant who has made it all possible.

Ember Day

Today is the first Ember Day in this ecclesiastical season of Embertides. It is a series of  three days (traditionally Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) one series per four seasons, set aside for fasting and prayer. Today's Ember Day has been chosen by our own Wascana Deanery as a day of fasting and prayer specifically for world peace. My husband, in between his regular meetings today, is doing four prayer services, three at our own church and one at another church, so that all parishioners will have an opportunity to participate in at least one of the services. For myself, although I am not permitted to fast, I am able to pray all day if so directed.

Two events from yesterday have given me inspiration to pray today: a time of Spirit led prayer with the other members of the Bishop's prayer team and the few minutes of televised US Republican candidate presidential debate on CNN I was able to catch before that prayer meeting.

The words and hopped up war mongering attitude of one of the candidates stuck with me, mostly because they appalled me. This particular candidate for the Republicans took the stance that ground troops are necessary in Syria to combat ISIL so that their members can be prevented from coming back to America to stage another 9/11 attack. I completely understand that fear. I understand that idea. I do. However, when I heard him say that the way to prevent them from coming here is to "kill them over there" my blood ran cold. The fellow was nearly apoplectic in his enthusiasm to kill, kill, kill. He was battling throughout that portion of the debate with a much calmer candidate who seems to understand the terrorist ideology better and had a rather different, possibly more effective solution, but one that would take longer to plan and implement. Unfortunately his wisdom was drowned out by the war monger and a couple of the other candidates. I fear that this will end up being a typical North American election where the candidates to run for the office of president will be chosen for their flair and entertainment value rather than for their longer enduring wisdom. We are standing on the precipice of another world war and its ensuing tragedy and disaster. My heart is sad.

I am grateful that in our small corner of the world there will be so many people seeking God's mercy in the midst of this mess we have created. How much chaos and death we have to both inflict and to suffer before God judges us ready to recognize and receive that merciful intervention, I do not know, but I am joining in with the others in our deanery and around the world who are seeking God's solution to the hatred and war that continue to plague us.

Lord Jesus, in your mercy, come and save us from our wicked ways.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

It Is A Near Miracle For My Parents In Their New Home

A friend who lives thousands of kilmeters away read my blog from yesterday and decided to give me a call last night. She knows I hate feeling lonely and, bless her, she was on the phone for a good long time with me.  I have so many amazing friends...how blessed I am!

Mom and Dad also called, just to let me know how happy they are in their new place.  They have been visiting the  friends there who have lived in the building for several years all ready, they have been cleaning up their plates at dinner every night and have only had one meal thus far they didn't really care for....amazing for my father who is a terribly picky eater....,they have attended most of the afternoon and evening social events of the past week and today are playing bingo in the afternoon, then taking the bus tour to see the Christmas light display at Spruce Meadows.  Their seating at dinner has them at a table right beside some of their friends so they have riotous times over their meals, talking and laughing and reminiscing about their friendship over the years.  Even my shy, hermit of a mom is reaching out to meet others and remembering their names.  They have had haircuts all ready at the hairdresser in the building and are quite pleased with the results.  In other words, we are ALL happy and relieved with their present accommodation.  Dad said he feels as if he has finally come home after a long wait.  I was afraid Mom would have trouble adjusting to having so many people around her all the time, but she loves it!  She feels less alone in dealing with dad and all his health issues.  Isn't it just great???!!?  Whew!  I am so happy for them.  It has been a stressful time for us all.  Mom was particularly excited to tell me that the lady who purchased their condo was ecstatic with the professional cleaning job Mom paid extra for after they moved out.  The lady had been a bit of a problem throughout the sales process, but she is so delighted with how new and clean the condo was when she moved in that all is now very well indeed.  Dad has all ready closed the door on that two decades of their life and is completely wrapped up in what is going on in the new place.  He and I are very much alike that way.  When we sold our house in Alberta, it was a couple of years before we even drove past the place when we visited friends in the town.  Movin' on is a sweet thing!

I have a heady afternoon of ironing planned for myself...that happens when you don't do laundry for over 2 weeks!!  Yikes...it is going to take hours to do all this stuff.  Thankfully I have nowhere I have to go on this foggy, overcast, chilly, freezing drizzle kind of day.  No car tomorrow as my husband has 3 church services to do on a day of fasting and prayer for world peace, so I can relax all day and get some other chores done at my leisure.  I will give the place a good cleaning again between now and the visit of a friend next Monday and then that is it until after Christmas week!

My husband will be home from his retreat with the Bishop in a few hours.  Then he is off, after a quick dinner, to our church vestry meeting.  He has to do so many services between now and late Christmas Eve that he is going to be completely wiped out for his few days off between Christmas and New Years Day.  So thankful he has those days.  Hoping he is coming home from retreat with some good ideas of how to change his job description to allow him more time to get everything done....and that the changes can come soon.  We have a wise bishop and so I have high hopes for some necessary changes for my husband and a couple of others on the office staff, come the new year.

Although I have been sneaking peeks at the ironing board and the stack of clothes beside it over the past few minutes, the job is not miraculously doing itself, so had better get with it....after lunch....and after the noon news....and....teehee.....  

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Place Seems a Tad Empty Today

Our son emailed in the early hours of the morning to say he had arrived back home over an hour late due to snow conditions in Edmonton where he caught his connecting flight.  It was nearly 2am before he got back to his place and I am glad he was able to use some Christmas gift money to hail a cab from the airport to go home.  He rented out his suite while he was away and made a few dollars there, so that was a good bonus.  I slept better once I knew he was safely ensconced in his own home once again.

Early this morning I drove my husband and his overnight gear over to the office where he met up with the Bishop and the Canon for Education. They went together from there to a retreat centre out of town for 2 days of prayer and discussion about what needs to change in all their job descriptions in order to be able to do a more reasonable amount of work each week.  At the moment there is far too much work for the 3 of them and something has to change or they will all be completely burnt out.  I am praying for wisdom and for faith to step out in trust that God will provide the badly needed funds that would allow either more staff or some other way to free each of them to get more rest and refreshment between the typical diocesan crises that arise and regularly  accompany these positions.  May the Lord give them each great discernment and complete agreement about what is to be done.

After I dropped my husband off I headed over to the post office to get a box for the one present we are giving this year.  By the time I was done there the grocery store was open so I purchased a week's supply of food that cost me very little as I used up most of the PC points to pay for the load...thank you Lord for PC points!!  I only paid $35 cash for my $125 purchase.  Since we have about six weeks between the December and January pay days due to the holidays, anything I can do to save money over that two months each year is a huge bonus!  

All my chores completed, I headed home. The groceries were unpacked and put away just before 9am!  YAY!!  I packed up the gift and headed back to the post office to send it off just as the misty rain began to freeze, so will spend the rest of this lovely day at home doing laundry.  Hopefully I won't have to go out again until tomorrow sometime.  Having to scrape the ice off the car windows every time I return to a parking lot after shopping grows old very quickly.  This weather continues to amaze me though as the ice is slushy again by mid afternoon every day.  Thank you once again El Nino.

I am looking forward to my lunch today: leftovers from the Pakistani feast we enjoyed yesterday.  Yum!!!  My son ordered a lot of very spicy dishes while I wimped out a bit and asked for medium spicing and my husband, who has developed a tender tummy when it comes to spicy foods, was reduced to ordering some very mildly spiced dishes.  Should be a good combo of spicings for me to enjoy today.  Yippee!!  There is just enough rice and naan left for my carb counts to be within range....oooh, some days life is very wonderful.

Off to do laundry.  I am going to keep myself very busy over the next couple of days.  After having both the men here for such a happy time of visiting, the townhouse seems to echo with emptiness with them both gone.  I suppose I need the down time...I suppose........

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Pip Pip Cheerio

Our final day together as a family for this visit has been glorious, both the visiting and the weather. It is +1C this afternoon, so the deep muddy slush is pretty ugly, but the bright sun means no one cares.

It was a real privilege to stand beside our son this morning in the church service, to introduce him to our congregation, to worship together and have his dad able to show off his skills as a preacher. Then off we went across the city to Tandoori Kebab for a marvellous lunch. We watched a televised boxing match for part of the afternoon, before both guys decided to grab a quick nap before it is time for Eli to pack for the flight home. I am so sad to see the end of this visit because it could be a very long time before we are together again. My travel insurance cost is going to be prohibitive should our son find himself living south of the border in a few months' time....well, best not to think about that yet.

I had a special time with Eli yesterday while his dad was at work. A pub lunch was followed by a most relaxing afternoon at MacKenzie Art Gallery. We specifically went to see Anthony McCall's Line Describing a Cone 2.0. It is a wonderful installation that is meditative as well as being an interesting concept piece. So happy we were able to see it together. My son saw the original piece in Germany several years ago. This more recent one has been digitized. To learn about McCall's work, this one in particular, give him/it a Google! Fascinating stuff!

One more hour until it is time to make a bit of dinner and head back to the airport....sigh....how I detest saying goodbye yet again. It has been a good, relaxed, fun time together and I am grateful we were able to share an early Christmas celebration. Yay!!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Thank You WestJet

When I picked my son up at the airport the other day, I was sitting in the arrivals area waiting for his plane to land when it hit me I had not brought any money to pay for parking.  I detest using my credit card for a charge under five dollars and using it in a parking machine takes forever, with other folk lined up impatiently waiting their turn.  So, I was delighted when an employee of WestJet approached me, asked me if I was parked in the lot to await an arrival and when I confirmed that I was indeed, she exchanged my green parking ticket with a yellow ticket that gave me completely free parking at the airport for however long my car was in the lot. What an unexpected and handy act of kindness from the airline.

Thank you WestJet!  You not only made my day a tad brighter, but also relieved a number of other airport patrons of a long wait behind me at the parking machine! On an icy, bleak day, you made me smile!

Is There Anything Sweeter Than Friendship?

We survived a rather interesting drive through blowing snow and icy patches on our way to and from Moose Jaw this evening, but it was worth the bit of driving stress.

Our dear friends, who take an incredible amount of interest in our son, put on a Christmas dinner to die for!  So many kinds of appetizers, the best wines, mushroom and white wine soup, a roast goose brought home recently by our hunter host that was stuffed with rice and cranberries, all manner of roast vegetables, my own contribution of a green salad with blackberries and raspberries and white balsamic, a delicious dessert dish of fresh fruits chopped up with a healthy amount of Rozendal vinegar, truffles, ginger snaps...ooh, the meal was almost as fabulous as the visiting.

Eli just loves this family and so enjoys their life stories and experiences as well as appreciating the interest they show in his.  We laughed and ate and laughed some more, swapped stories, reminisced about previous visits, enjoyed the humour and conversation of their visiting daughter, sat around the Christmas tree and enjoyed its soft lights and thick layers of decorations.

The drive home seemed to go quickly despite having to drive more slowly than usual because of the packed snow and ice, because we had so many things to talk about after such a grand evening.

So now it is 1am and I really should get to bed.  My dear husband lasted until nearly midnight before excusing himself to get to sleep. The poor man has to work tomorrow for most of the day.  The son and I are going to try to sleep in a bit, then get some errands run and go to the MacKenzie Art Gallery for the afternoon.  We will spirit my husband away to Bushwakkers Pub for dinner after his day of work and just enjoy the last meal out before Eli leaves again on Sunday. As usual the time together seems to be ending far too quickly.

Tonight turned out, unexpectedly, to be our Christmas dinner.  Celebrating with friends was about perfect, the roast goose so delicious, the decorations so pretty around the house and around the dining room table.  We decided that trying to duplicate a Christmas dinner experience here tomorrow night would fall flat in comparision, so the big chicken stays in the freezer, the yams and parsnips can last another few days in the refrigerator and it is pub grub tomorrow night.  

Thank you Lord for this wonderful evening away from our place and the usual Friday night activities, for good friends, for good food and for a safe drive.

 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A Most Enjoyable Movie

We ended our lovely day of successful clothes shopping with our son, lunch at Zam Zam Wraps and general visiting, with the rental of an excellent movie: Mr. Holmes, starring the fantastic Ian McKellan.  The movie had only a General rating and it was rather nice to just enjoy the story and the acting without having to wonder when the next shocking/disgusting/unecessary expletive was going to erupt from a character's mouth.  It was a bit of icing on the cake of watching Mr. McKellan playing his Sherlock Holmes character at various ages as the story rotated between his memories of a past case and his aging and health issues of the present.  We watched the character age before our eyes, and it wasn't just excellent attention to detail by the make up artists.  Mr. McKellan's movements, facial expressions and manner aged right along with his character.  It was brilliant as usual. Laura Linney is also an excellent actress and we enjoyed her character as well.  There are so many movie channels and rental services with our television package that it is sometimes hard to choose what to try for fun, but my husband chose a "gooder" tonight.

Snow Covered Ice

Looks like the ice and the light covering of snow are here to stay. Drat! BUT, the daytime highs will be only a few degrees below zero, still about ten degrees warmer than usual for this time of year. Yay!

It is after 9am and the guys are still asleep. What a relief the tractors and bobcats right outside the bedroom windows are not waking them up as sand is being scooped out of a large pile in the parking lot beside our car. The lots and sidewalks in our complex will be passable on foot very soon. I am chuckling though because ever since the rental office closed here in our part of the complex, the maintenance folk are completely ignoring their instructions to refrain from driving machinery over the lawns. Our moving truck this past winter was not allowed to come anywhere near a convenient place for the movers to unload in order to avoid breaking any part of the underground sprinkling system with its heavy tires. Since the rental office relocated and there are no "superiors" to watch what is going on here, we have had huge tractor units, bobcats with heavy buckets, tree trunk chippers and other heavy equipment being driven and parked on the very lawns our movers were not allowed anywhere near with the van. There was a far thicker covering of snow over the watering system then than there has been since the present invasion of equipment running right past our doors.
Mind you, if we have to move out in winter conditions, there will be no office staff to see the moving van backing right up to our back stairs for loading purposes! There is usually something good in these sorts of situations, eh? haha!

I am grateful we are no longer living in our former parish because there was so much snow and freezing rain there overnight that the highways are ice covered and travel is not recommended. We would once again be spending the visit with our son worrying about how we were going to be able to get him to the airport over two hours away for his flight home, and how we would harness sufficient energy afterward to get ourselves home again. I shudder remembering the visits up there.

Our local highways have some icy patches, but hopefully the semi rigs will wear most of those off by tomorrow evening before we head to Moose Jaw. Winter conditions have finally arrived, but compared to other, non El Niño winters, this one has been quite fabulous thus far.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

It's Raining, It's Pouring, the Ice I'll Be Abhorring!

The rain started teeming down in such vast amounts late this evening that my husband and son, newly awakened from long evening naps, got out the umbrellas and went for a long walk in the darkness.  They had a great time but came home sopping wet. haha  Both of them were wearing grins a mile wide.  I knew why as soon as they walked back through the front door: they were remembering the long walks in the rain, late at night when our son was a young teenager and he needed to debrief in the week hours of the morning after a night out with friends or a date.  

We spent some time after their walk deciding how we are going to manage and cope with the thick ice that will be coating every surface by morning...a total nightmare, but we will work it out.  There is one art gallery we simply must get to and my son wants to find a good place for a haircut, plus a store that sells the real old time Lee jeans...both will take some research. This afternoon I stocked up on ice melt and there is a huge pile of sand next to our car in the parking lot. Between those two things we will manage around here despite the wicked ice cover.

I have to concentrate now on staying upright every time I leave the house...what a wonderful thing that I have had nearly two extra months this year to enjoy easy movement outside this winter before the ice arrived.  I am most fortunate!
 

He's Here....

....and looking healthy and content with life. Yup, our son arrived safely and on time this afternoon! We are a happy bunch. The first thing we did was to call my parents to check in on them and let them share their latest moving adventures with their grandson. It has been a grand reunion.

After my son and I left the airport we drove to the office to pick up dad...he proudly introduced Eli to all his colleagues. Then we went out for a very early supper, since our son had not had a chance to eat for over six hours. Now it is our "real" dinner time and, as I suspected would happen, both men are sound asleep! haha

Fortunately for me we received quite a few Christmas cards and letters in the mail today, so I have been amusing myself reading those. Now I am going to attend to my final round of physio for the day.

The weather forecast continues to improve, so again, WOW! And thank you Lord!

Wow...What a Wonderful Blessing!

I am not quite narcissistic enough to suppose that the revised and now rather improved weather forecast for today was a matter of God's divine intervention in the universe unfolding as it should, but I have to say I am pretty darned grateful to Him that picking up my son from the airport in 3 hours time is apparently not going to be the icy disaster that has been predicted up until early this morning.

We did get some rain very early this morning that froze in a few places, but now the sun is out, the temperature is just above zero and aiming for +4C this afternoon and the bit of ice on the road outside is all ready melted and starting to dry.  We are still scheduled for some freezing rain after midnight, but we will all be safely home in bed by then....or at least settled down in the living room for a late night visit over wine and cheese.  My husband has the next 2 days off, so once he is home today we don't care so much if the weather brings snow each day for the rest of the time our son is here.  As long as we can get to Moose Jaw and back on Friday night, that is really all I am concerned with now.

My husband got home shortly after 1am and was over in the office for an all day meeting just before 9am.  He is going to be pretty wiped out tomorrow, but I suspect both the men will be in that condition. They are both workaholics and a day off is a day to sleep in and do as little as possible.  I will confine myself to waiting on them hand and foot, but on Friday they ARE going to take me out somewhere in this city and do some fun sightseeing and eat out!  Like Al Capp's Mammy Yokum, "Ah has spoken!"

The bathroom fixtures are sparkling, I am dressed with my hair done and some makeup plastered on my deathly pale face, so I think it is safe to go out in public today.  I don't know when my sleep disorder is going to take a break and give me a good night's sleep again, but hopefully it will be soon.  I am tired of looking wan and weak day after day.

I can't believe we are flying so quickly through the Advent season and that in a matter of a couple of weeks it will be Christmas!  Shocking!  I haven't yet had the time to just sit and meditate on the past year, to spend time in true repentence for the past year's actions and thoughts, to experience anew the surety of God's forgiveness and to look forward with joyful expectation to the year to come.  Too much time has been spent dealing with health issues and family worries etc.  So, next week while my husband is away on retreat, I am going to participate in a bit of retreating of my own, some time alone here with the Lord for prayer and meditation on those very things.

There has been no word from my doctor about test results, so, unless there is some further test being done on my specimens that I was not made aware of that she is waiting on results for, I am going to assume my last tests showed negative results for the fearful possibilities she and I discussed. Another blessing today........wow.....thank you Lord once again.  AND if it turns out I am wrong and there is a call in the next week or so, thank you Lord anyway for giving me this wonderful, relaxed time to see my son with no spectre of immediate illness hanging over my head.

Still waiting to hear from my parents that they are safely installed in the new place.  With them, no news is good news as a rule, so I am assuming they are in recovery today, plus it is an hour earlier in the morning there, plus who knows if their phone is hooked up yet!!??  OK, yes, I admit I tried to call them last night and they were not yet connected.

Off to enjoy this glorious, so far ice free day!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Tough Job, But Someone Has To Do It

It is 10:30pm. My husband's meeting has just ended and he is leaving for home. It is a two and a half hour drive. It will be at least 1am when he arrives home. He has a meeting in the office early in the morning. Sigh....

He is going to be completely drained for our son's visit. I need to pray hard for strength for him, not only for tomorrow, but for the rest of this week. I am so grateful he is on retreat for two days next week.

Sometimes the demands of this job are completely ridiculous. Something has to change. Deciding what that is constitutes the reason for the retreat. I am grateful for our wise bishop who sees the need for change in several job descriptions to prevent burn out among the diocesan staff. We pray he is including himself in these stress relieving changes.

Mmmmm...Cozy Warm

My husband is out of town this evening for meetings with another parish, so I am enjoying just lazing about the place in my knee length flannel nightgown, covered over with, instead of a terry cloth robe, my ankle length cotton African dress.  What a great combination of layers.  Although our place is somewhat lacking in insulation and rather drafty, I am warm as toast in this crazy combo.  And yes, I do look ridiculous and no, I don't care.  I am warm, end of story!

It is going to be a long evening. There is zero of interest on television once this week's episode of "Getting On" airs.  I ate my dinner rather late and just finished the dishes before 8pm after a half hour of playing my piano.  Now it is time for physiotherapy exercises.

My parents should have completed their move today, however I told them not to call me even if their phone is actually hooked up on time, as they will be too tired to face even that small obligation.  Hopefully all went well today and the final cheque/key exchange between the lawyers will go well in a couple of days to end the deal so everyone can move on with their new lives.  Once they get adjusted and relaxed in their new surroundings my parents will be incredibly happy with what they have done.  I am so thrilled that now they are not alone and attempting to cope as if they were a good 20 years younger than they are.  What a relief for all of us.

Got all the dusting completed this morning.  Tomorrow morning the bathroom fixtures and mirrors will have their turn for a good cleaning and then, all being well, I will pick up our son at the airport after lunch.  Hopefully the now forecast poor weather at both ends of his trip will not create problems with flying and arrival times.  I am praying so hard that this will not be another nightmare trip for Eli, as he has had so incredibly many of those in recent years when flying within Canada.  He never has problems with his many flights in the USA, at least not like the problems on this side of the border.

After our amazing, dry, ice-free start to winter it appears it will all end tomorrow with a huge amount of rain that will freeze by dinnertime and leave us with the thickest ice base in a long time for the rest of this winter. Sigh....there are to be snow flurries on Thursday and those will make the ice even more slippery and treacherous, particularly for those of us who have much to fear when we fall down.  Poor Eli....every time he flies to the prairies to visit us the weather turns ugly about the time he arrives and stays that way until a day or two after he goes home again.  I was SO certain that wasn't going to happen this time...o how wrong it seems I am about that!!

I am grateful for the good deal I got a couple of months ago on a large jug of ice melt at the grocery store.  We will need to sprinkle it on the porch and back steps and around the car if I am going to be going anywhere over the next week. The day time highs will not be above zero any more, so whatever lands on the ground tomorrow we are stuck with for many weeks to come.

Well, it will all be fine just because our son is here.  We are taking him to Moose Jaw on Friday night for dinner with friends who love him as if he was their own son.  He is very happy about that, even though those people are nearly the age of his parents.  Eli is very good at intergenerational visiting and I do believe that if we had met this family while he was still a child he would have adopted them as a second mom and dad.  I am so looking forward to it and praying for passable highways by then.

How grateful I am that my husband will be home tonight before the rain and freezing begins...although I am praying for his safety, AND that he remembered his distance glasses because he will be not likely be home before midnight after several hours' drive in the dark.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Jus' Settin' A Spell.....

...waiting for the linoleum floors to dry after a vigorous scrubbing, so I can complete the vaccuming this afternoon.  I didn't even start my preparation for Eli's arrival until about an hour ago..mid afternoon. It is going to be a rush to finish cleaning all the floors before my husband comes home for dinner tonight, but I am determined to at least accomplish that much today. The other chores will have to wait for tomorrow.  

I am pooped!  Didn't sleep well at all again last night.  I think I have been letting the wait for test results get to me too much the past few days.  It will be a week tomorrow since the tests were redone so, unless my doctor is away today and tomorrow, I should hear something by tomorrow morning.  I know for certain she is at work Wednesday and for the rest of the week.  If there is no word by then I am going to assume there is nothing to report on and all is well!

Got up and dressed this morning in time to drive my husband to work. Together we got into the storage room there and loaded up the boxes and tins and bottles of left over cereal, salad dressings, soda pop, canned milk, tortilla rounds, potato chips, rice, soy sauce, and other dried foods leftover from the last diocesan camp and I drove the whole works over to a food bank collection station sponsored by our building management company.  It was a lot of  fun filling up their entire bin all by myself this morning, but it was exhausting.  I couldn't park very close to the door of the building, so had to lock up my cane and purse in the trunk of the car, then haul all the items to the inside collection bin a few at a time.  Trying to use my cane would have doubled or tripled the number of trips back and forth to deliver everything, so I decided to forget about using it.  By some near miracle I managed not to trip and fall again and everything was loaded into the bin in a fairly short amount of time.  I had a few groceries to purchase as well, the car needed filling with gasoline, a trip to the bank was necessary.  By the time I got home it was still only 9:30am, but it took me until 1:30pm to feel ready to tackle all the preparation I still need to do for my son's impending visit...less than 48 hours from now!

Thankfully I have  finally started on it all.  I may have to forego putting up the Christmas decorations as I can't find them in the boxes still stacked in the basement that we have not had time to go through yet.  Well, I have had plenty of time actually, but I dare not begin without my husband there to prevent me from throwing out some nearly sacred, but NEVER used item he can't bear to part with. hahaha

I don't think my son particularly cares about our old Christmas decorations though so maybe I can not bother with them at all this year.  We are not the "jingle bells and Christmas trees" sort of  family anyway.

Made a major booboo with a phone call to my parents this morning: I deliberately didn't phone them yesterday to wish them well on their move that was supposed to be happening tomorrow, because I didn't want to interrupt their last day to relax before the stress of the move. Sigh...how was I to know, since no one told me, that they and the mover negotiated to do the move today instead, a whole day early!  When Dad answered the phone this morning, he sounded more stressed than I have ever heard him, asked me what I wanted and when I said I had called to wish them well on their move, he nearly took my  head off telling me the packers were there and it was not a good time to be chatting with me.  Sigh....adding to their all ready over the top stress...just what I, the only daughter wanted to do!  Sigh again....with any luck Dad's bad memory will take over because of the stress and he will forget I called.

The floors are nearly dry now so I need to get back to work.  Nice chatting with you.......

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Success!!!!

It has taken almost 9 months of weekly effort to manage to meet the other neighbours in our building, but today the efforts paid off!  There is a lovely Muslim family that lives in the other end of our building, the one family I have had little contact with since we arrived but who my husband and I have tried very hard to connect with on the few occasions we have seen each other.

When I arrived home from a VERY fun choir practise this afternoon I decided to let my sleeping husband stay that way and grabbed the large bag of garbage from the kitchen that needed to be dragged across the lawn and out to the bin in the parking lot.  As it happened, those very neighbours were standing on their back deck enjoying the sunshine and watching the poopy geese on the lawn.  As I dragged the bag over the grass the husband approached me and told me he would take the garbage bag to the bin for me.  I started to decline, but he said, "it is neighbours helping neighbours", so I let him.  It was a relief actually as that bin seems a lot farther away than it did before I broke my hip. haha

While he was doing that I struck up a conversation with his wife and she invited me to come for coffee some afternoon in the next couple of weeks as she knows I am home alone as often as she is.  Delightful!!  I don't want to pry, but I hope at some point we can talk about how and why they immigrated from "somewhere" to Canada and how they are faring since they arrived.  I cannot believe the incredibly frightening lives so many people live. I hope they did not end up in Canada because of terrifying situations in their home country.  I am guessing from their heavy accents they have not been in this country for too many years.

So, assuming all goes well there, we will have good relationships with 2 of the other 3 tenants in our building.  The other fellow that lives here is a middle aged fellow who is at work far more than he is at home.  He has spoken with my husband once or twice but we rarely see him.  He seems very nice as well, what little we know of him.

I am very glad we live in a city that is still small enough that we can actually meet and talk to the folk who live immediately around us.  It is a more secure feeling than being totally alone even though physically surrounded by other families.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

AMICI CONCERT January 10, 2016

For those of you family and friends who wish to attend our presentation on the above date at 7pm at Knox United Metropolitan, contact me for tickets before December 20th.
Tickets are $20 each for adults and $10 each for children under the age of 10 years.
For your money you can enjoy story telling, a singalong, fruit and chocolate fondue, as well as our choir performance. It should be a ton of fun.
I can't guarantee tickets will still be available to be sold at the door, so if you want tickets, phone or email me. I will get them for you.
Happy, happy, joy, joy!

An Early Start Today

I cannot believe I actually got to the grocery store just after opening this morning! Yay!

8:30am is a delightful time to grocery shop if a person is stuck doing that particular errand on a Saturday morning! There were so few other shoppers that only two cashiers were on duty and one of them was busy wiping down the other registers and conveyor belts. I purchased several hundred dollars worth of groceries and was home again in 45 minutes. Wow!

It is only 10am and I feel like the day is half over all ready. My husband also woke up early and has been tweaking his sermon for tomorrow...yes, yes, it is supposed to be a day off, but only from Archdeacon duties. Last Sunday after church, instead of writing tomorrow's sermon he was preparing final details for the midweek O Antiphons service.

Basically my husband is once again having to lose both his days off, or at least part of each one, for "special circumstances". So, what's new, right? Sigh.....the poor man....

Well, time for some work of my own and I am so happy to have many free hours stretching out ahead of me in which to do it!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Nummy Lunch

It is not usually a GOOD thing when I have eaten so much lunch at one sitting that I can't hoist myself into the car and do the grocery shopping I planned to do after the meal.

However, today I don't care!  The grocery store will still be there and filled with food when it opens tomorrow at 8:30am and I will be the first customer...I promise!

Today we went to what used to be the Melrose restaurant.  It used to be a great haunt for senior citizens and featured what I consider to be a typical 1970's style menu. We ate there exactly once several years ago on a trip through Regina.

Some time ago Melrose closed its doors. It is now Unique Bistro.  Today we were on our way past it after doing some banking and decided to pull in and try it out.  We are SO very glad we did.  The food was fabulous!

The menu is unique but without being so over the top for Reginans as to scare them away.  There are some deliciously new items to the city like a confit de canard on the appetizer list.  We were too hungry for appetizers though so I ordered a full entree for myself.  It was a boneless half chicken with a nice garlic aioli and some sliced brie, perfectly cooked el dente style carrots, green beans and a half corn cob, roasted small potatoes...and LOTS of each item.  It was a goodly amout of food for the price!  My husband ordered herbed chicken on a very fresh ciabatta bun with a nice helping of  lettuce, tomato slices and pickle and a tasty mayo sauce, along with well cooked yam fries.  He found his chicken a tad salty, but still delicious.  The service was very, very good as well.

Our fear with this lovely little restaurant is that it will not be able to overcome its reputation left over from when the building was Melrose.  Unique Bistro does not feature items that would be appealing to many seniors in this city.  The menu is new and fresh.  We hope that people will overlook the fact that the exterior of the building has not changed apart from the signage and give the new owners and chefs a try.  I hope that the owners can redo some of the exterior so that the point of new ownership is made more obvious.  We really enjoyed our meal and won't hesitate to return.

First Choir Performance for Moi in YEARS!!!

What fun I enjoyed last evening!  I was singing in a combined choir that was the closing act at the local Rotary Carol Festival and it was such a great time!  Some of the choir members were so nervous about being filmed by the local Access tv station but I never think about such things.  Partly I suspect because our personal here at home tv station server does not have a feed to the Access channel so I never have to worry about being tempted to take a look at myself doing embarrassing things during subsequent broadcasts through the Christmas season, and partly because I don't care if other people see me inadvertently making an idiot of myself on tv.  I am who I am and it is what it is and other silly cliches! Also, what a relief to be a choir member and not the director of this choir as I have been elsewhere in times past.  This performance was pure joy.  Unfortunately the live feed did not work so my husband didn't get to see any of the performances from the comfort of our living room sofa.

Our choir had not met nor performed with most of the members of the other choir, although some of our people are in both choirs year round.  What a friendly bunch of people comprise the church choir from Knox Metropolitan.  It was as much fun meeting and visiting with them as it was finally getting to perform again. Some of their members are coming to our Amici concert in January.  It is great how much the two choirs support each other's members.

I was able to be present for most of the choirs performing ahead of us and there is some good talent in this small city.  Some of the elementary school choirs were most impressive.  It was a nice night out and when I got home my husband and I had a good evening watching women's curling from Alberta.  The girlfriend of a relative of ours is on one of the teams so it was our opportunity to cheer her on from a distance.

Now my husband has 2 days off work....yeah....OFF??? OFF?????  Not exactly! He hasn't truly been off work today.  At noon we went over to the office together for the farewell event for the now former finance officer.  It was so teary and beautiful. Oh, how we will all miss her.  Her replacement is a lovely gentleman though and I suspect he will be just as dearly loved in short order.

After lunch my husband, who was brooding all through our meal, decided to return to the office for "a few minutes" to debrief with the Bishop about some issues that arose during the Bishop's 2 weeks away.  So far "a few minutes" has been over an hour, but I expected it.  I know the Bishop will be thrilled to get some of these items dealt with and I know my husband will relax far more if he has tomorrow completely free and clear, knowing he can go into work Monday and do what he needs to do with nothing left hanging from this past couple of weeks.

At least my dear husband is feeling a lot better after taking his full 2 days off last week and staying 100%...well, more like 90%...away from his office work.  Now he needs to take time to build up some energy reserves to finish getting through the Advent and Christmas seasons with all the extra church services added into an all ready full schedule.

The weather continues to hold on to marvellous above zero high temperatures and other than a few raindrops today in the +7C afternoon high, we have had no more moisture since the bit of snow a couple of weeks ago. YAY!  Thank you El Nino!

The Waiting Game

There is nothing as frustrating as waiting for test results from the doctor, is there?  I am fairly certain my results from Tuesday morning's retesting will be in at the clinic, but my doctor doesn't go into the clinic on Fridays. So now I have the whole weekend to wait to hear about going back in to see her.  I hope I can just relax and enjoy putting up a few Christmas decorations tomorrow, grocery shopping and preparing for my son's visit mid week.  

Waiting...I am SO good at waiting in most situations, (gifted actually, if I may say so about myself), BUT when it comes to medical test results, I am useless at relaxing and being patient.  Sigh...why am I like this????