Monday, February 29, 2016

Fa La La La La, Etcetera (thank you Walt Kelly and Pogo)

The sinus problems are definitely allergy related. I began treating the problems that way yesterday afternoon and today there is far less pain, my mind is clear and I have enough restored energy to head off to the funeral in Moose Jaw in a few hours. At least I don't sound like Donald Duck today when I talk!

It will be difficult to feel truly sad at today's funeral. The woman who died lived 96 very full years and will be joyfully reunited with her husband, who died quite some time ago. Having that hope of being reunited with loved ones who have gone before, like my paternal grandfather, takes away much of my own fear about death and dying. That is a very special hope of heaven for me. Looking forward to restoration in the Kingdom of God causes my mind to project beyond the actual death experience, ready to be amazed at what God has in store for his people there. We have no idea of the details and for me it adds to the sense of adventure about that next phase of life.

I have been meditating on the way my father has handled his family over the years and I think I may have finally figured out one of the reasons for his iron fisted control of us all. I suspect that it may be partly due to a warped attempt to protect us from harm. When I remember things he has said and done, I am starting to think he believes it is his role to make certain nothing will harm us if he can prevent it. His view of being protective is askew, but I think he would feel personally responsible and guilty, as if he had failed, if dire events occurred. His paranoia when Mom went/goes out alone, his terror that "someone will bonk her over the head" is all out of proportion to reality. When I was hit by a car when I was 18, his self-recriminations about allowing me to be out alone so late at night were over the top. He doesn't want to be held responsible for any bad things that happen to the rest of us. While it does not explain other harmful things he says or bizarre things he does, it does help me understand a possible motivation behind some of his control issues.

Apparently the morning temperature today is -18C. Quite a shock after so many warm days. However, in 48 hours we will be above zero once again. What a fabulous winter.

Have to do some major meal time shifting today to accommodate travelling to the funeral and back. Could have happily remained in bed for another hour, but will just eat at earlier hours than usual on my regular 5 hours between meals schedule.

Did you watch the Oscars last night? I watched everything because I didn't feel well enough to do much else, haha. Chris Rock was hilarious and did a fabulous job of handling the controversy over diversity in representation. I have his opening monologue recorded and will listen to it again. Lots of practical wisdom tucked into his humour. I enjoyed Leonardo di Caprio's acceptance speech. It had a kind humility to it. Learning he is a born and bred California boy has given me more patience with him over his rather ignorant comments in the past about the weather on the Canadian prairies. haha I loved the new screen banners that listed all the people each winner wanted to thank, ran them across the bottom of our tv screens and subsequently reduced the length of all the acceptance speeches...except the one from the winner of the Best Directing Award. He did go on, but he wasn't boring. There were a few additions to the programme that didn't seem to make sense, such as the sketch that included the three Star Wars robots. Either I missed something in the dialogue that explained what they were doing there, or something in the sketch went horribly awry. Whatever happened, the whole thing seemed like an excruciatingly unnecessary programme lengthener. Seeing the glamorous dresses is always fun for me. Lady Gaga looked so beautiful. I was just sorry that her impassioned performance on behalf of the sexual abuse survivors pivoted on a song with such a short set of lyrics sung over and over and over. I don't know what that issue, or most of the environmental issues that also brought on impassioned speeches have to do with the Oscars and I find it annoying, repetitive and sometimes ridiculous. Get on with the actual awards and do your politicking, crusading and protesting elsewhere.

If nothing else, I was reminded why I usually don't watch the Academy Awards. I prefer to wait until the next morning's newspapers to have a peek at the fancy clothes, although some of the hosts' opening monologues are worth a watch. Last night's certainly was.

Time for physio and getting ready to leave for the funeral.  It will be good to see friends from the church there I haven't seen in a long time.  So delighted my husband is able to come with me. This Monday off routine is working out very well for us.

It is a good day thus far, vastly improved over yesterday despite the cold temperature outside.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sinus Infection...Ow, Ow, Ow....

.....BUT I"m still cheery!
Had to cancel my fun evening today of facials with my friend, but I'm still cheery!
Survived well the impromptu and surprisingly short visit with the difficult friend and I'm still cheery!
Ow, ow, ow, but I'm still cheery!
Thank you Lord!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

I Got Cheery and Look What Happened!

Not long after my last post the phone rang. It was a friend from Moose Jaw. She said she was feeling happy and spontaneous, so if I was too, she would drive in for lunch and a movie. Yay!

So, I shut off the laundry, threw on some clean clothes and shortly afterward my friend arrived. We had such fun. She is doing a childrens' story at her church tomorrow, about the fig tree that was fruitless. She made up the most hilarious song from the point of view of the barren tree. The kids will love it and will remember that Bible story for a long time. haha

We had a late lunch at Earls on Albert. The service couldn't have been much worse, but once we actually received our meals we had to agree the food had not suffered from the lack of organization on the part of the day managers who were too busy chatting with friends to bother seating us...or anyone the half empty restaurant. We enjoyed our lunch, but will not be returning any time soon. What a fiasco. My pecan, chicken rocket salad was fantastic as ever, so it was worth it.

Then we spent some time at a small but packed with product gift shop. I never did find out the name of the place, but what a lot of cute, if badly over priced giftware. It was a blast looking through the place. My friend bought me a gift: a pair of bright red socks with pieces of sushi portrayed on them. SOOOO cute! I can't wait to wear them. Thank you so much my friend!

Then we went to see the movie "Brooklyn". It was very slow, but very enjoyable. We had fun watching the excellent portrayal of rural Irish mentality. It was like watching some of my own family members on the screen. haha

Just finishing up the laundry. An old friend of my husband's just called to say he is on town and coming over....he is difficult for me to deal with, so am VERY glad I got my "cheery" back before his arrival.  haha

Better go wash the dinner dishes and finish the laundry. Looks like my hope to surprise a friend in Moose Jaw tomorrow morning to hear her sing has been scuttled by the weather....snowing just enough to melt then freeze on the highway overnight and the temperature is dropping down closer to seasonal for the next few days. Well, in that case I will go with my husband to the congregation he has to visit. That will be fun too.

Lifting The Spirit

From my prayer book:

"Lord, buoy my spirits. I need more joy in my life. Daily living and trials can be so depleting; I just can't do it on my own.  Help me to laugh more and enjoy life again.  Help me to have a childlike, playful spirit--a lighter heart, Lord."

I have caught myself all month missing out on my usual default setting of JOY.  Not like me....I think the stress of so many wounded and dying friends and family has taken a larger toll than I originally thought.  Time to buck up and get back on the Happy Wagon.

Today is a good day...getting lots done around the house, all showered and hair is done decently, laundry now on the go, meals to make and the food is all ready to be prepared now for lunch and dinner. My husband has a meeting with a parishioner followed by a busy afternoon at the office so he is busy and content today.

Colder weather will hit us overnight and we have about three much colder days and overnights before another warm up.  Hopefully the change in temperatures will not be accompanied by freezing rain.  I have a couple of trips to Moose Jaw I want to make...of course on the coldest two days of the three. hahaha  

Looking forward to church tomorrow.  Unfortunately we will be elsewhere with my husband filling in at a different church, but still it will be nice to be worshipping again with a parish group.  I missed two weeks in a row and wow, I can certainly tell I have missed out on that joint sharing of the Lord's work in our lives.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Dad's Home!

I am delighted that Dad has now arrived home from the hospital.  He got in twenty minutes ago and phoned me immediately.  He sounds well....another escape from what we all thought was his inevitable departure from this earth....and he has "fessed up" to lying about the TIAs he insisted he DIDN'T have!  Now we can all just be honest for once about the situation.  The doctor from the hospital has completely redone his meds after consultation with his regular GP and his heart specialist and the pharmacy that has handled his meds for a few decades.  Next week he will visit his GP and have a phone consultation with the heart specialist.  Wow, this emergency room doctor has been on top of things right from the time of his admission.  We are all very impressed with her.

I can't help but giggle at mom, just a wee bit.  She is glad Dad is well enough to be at home, but she is also struggling somewhat with the possible loss of her freedom of movement once again.  However, Dad is actually very happy that Mom has been getting to know some of the other folk in the facility and is delighted that she is no longer spending her time alone watching tv every minute of the day.  I am thrilled he is finally loosing the strings at least a bit so that she can enjoy her life more doing things she wants to do that don't interest him much.  Perhaps it is because she can do them within the confines of the building that has helped him allow her these new freedoms. Whatever it is, I am genuinely grateful for it.

So time to email the grandson and let him know his Grandfather has left hospital.  Then I am going to go and admire the beautiful second owl statue I purchased this morning.  The two of them together are an imposing looking pair.  I bought this new one at the Canadian Tire on the east side of the city, right near The Breakfast Bistro, and it WAS close to the noon hour when I was up there so........yummy chicken burger and caesar salad for lunch.  Just couldn't resist the temptation.........hohoho!! A few extra carbs was my treat after a very early trip to the lab this morning for my quarterly tests! 

Now I am tired, so I am going to just rest and relax after my physio exercises.  Hopefully the next set will arrive from my physiotherapist by Monday.  I have noticed a huge difference in my pain and discomfort levels just in the past week. Suddenly going up stairs without my cane is easier, I have longer stretches both sitting and standing where I am not aware of any physical is most encouraging.  I am walking outside as much as is safe without my cane and I think covering larger areas without assistance is also strengthening the thigh muscles that have taken so beastly long to recover. email to the son and some physio, practise the choir hymns for a funeral in Moose Jaw on Monday afternoon and some rest before it is time to make dinner.  A good day happening around here and also for my parents.

Brrrrr....Back To Urban Life

Yesterday, while I was shopping in a hardware store, four masked and armed gunmen were demanding money and electronics in a heist happening just across the parking lot at another retail outlet.  Brrrr....back to urban life!  The relative safety of the islolated community we moved here from does look pretty good on occasion. As long as you didn't get in the way of the local drug community you were pretty safe there and it stayed "underground" most of the time.  It was easy to avoid.  Slowly I am again getting used to the daily news reports of murder and arson and armed robbery happening all around me.

Dad is improving. He is still in hospital but is getting more mobile again with his walker, going up and down the hallways there.  Mom is enjoying every moment alone that she can.  Hoping for another more detailed report today or tomorrow.

I spent a good deal of time on the phone with out of town friends yesterday.  It was refreshing and fun.  It also gave me the excuse I needed to give myself for taking most of the day off from doing one whit of work around the house once I got home from the morning shopping and banking chores. I just feel tired from not sleeping very well the past few nights.

This morning it was time to get up at 6:30am again, this time so I could race off to the lab for my quarterly diabetes tests. Today was the short list so I thought I would be home plenty early. Wow, was I ever wrong!  For some reason a lot more people than usual showed up to line up outside the lab before it opened at 7am and there were all ready 12 folk ahead of me when I got into line.  Breakfast was a long time coming this morning after I finally got in, tested and back home. My husband made himself late for work waiting for me to come home so he could be sure I had not fallen on the ice over in the lab parking lot. My mundane breakfast fare has never tasted so wonderful after the long wait for it!

Now it is time to head out east to the many hardware stores there.  I found one plaster owl to put on our back deck in an attempt to scare the poopy gooses away this spring and I want to get one more.  Unfortunately it is too early for the new garden stock to be in, but there are a few leftovers from last year so I did find one in Canadian Tire at an exorbitant price....but I would rather pay it than spend my sunny days avoiding dark green shat trying to walk to my car.

The sun has been shining all week and wow, does it ever improve my temperament!  The grey skies on top of family health stresses were making me feel downright crabby!

So, the stores out to the east will all be open now and it is time to cruise! Here's hoping I can find one more owl for the back deck....if one is sufficient to scare away the geese, two should be even better.  Thank you to my husband's brother in law for the good suggestion!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Trying To Get To The Truth Of the Matter

My mom and I had quite a chat last night.  I have been merrily reporting that Dad's brain scans were definitive that no actual TIA's occured and that his problems were a result of the dehydration.  Yeah.....well....

Apparently the doctor called mom yesterday afternoon after Mom had gone to visit Dad and Mom was given a completely different story.  Sigh....

The doctor said that the tests wre definitive that dad DID have 2 small strokes!  When mom asked her where Dad had gotten the report HE had given her, the doctor said she had no idea because the test results were totally clear and she is the attending physician, the one who has been ordering all these tests and giving Dad the results.  Today she has scheduled heart tests,  as well as limb movement and balance tests at physiotherapy.  Dad has twice fallen and banged up his elbows trying to move from the side of his bed into a standing position so he can pivot into the chair that is right there!  He has been under strict instructions he is not to leave that bed ever without calling for nursing assistance, but no surprise, he doesn't listen. Have the falls been because of the strokes or is he still that weak from the dehydration?  The doctor wants to find out.

Mom was so confused by all this, so I asked her who had given her ALL the previous reports that stroke has not played into his problems.  As I suspected, she heard this from Dad every time they talked.  He was absolutely adamant the tests showed he had not had a stroke.  Sigh....  It is a little bit possible Dad is that confused, but it is more likely he is lying, again, to try to save Mom from worrying even more about him.  When is he going to figure out that being kept in the dark hurts her even more in the long run and could hurt him fatally at any time?  Sigh....

I told Mom that she is better off right now believing the doctor who actually interpreted the test results and assume Dad has had a couple of small strokes.  She agreed after we talked it over.  She said that if he gets home sometime to their suite in the near future, she will be calling for an ambulance at any time he shows any symptoms of being in less than stellar condition.  She also told the doctor, who has decided Dad needs some drastic changes in his meds (and I so agree with her on that one) that she was not to send Dad home until he had been in hospital long enough for the doctor to judge whether or not the changes were going to work!  Good for Mom for standing her ground this time.  She cannot cope any longer with him muddling through meds changes if it isn't going well.

Thankfully Mom has completely recovered from her little episode, got downstairs to the dining room Monday for the special event Chinese luncheon, which she thoroughly enjoyed and got all the laundry completed that has been building up in the suite for over a week. She went to Bingo on her own and plans to attend Happy Hour on her own tomorrow afternoon. I think she is quite pleased with herself, haha.  I am proud of her for stepping out on her own instead of cowering alone in the suite waiting for Dad to arrive and start giving orders.  

So now I am sure hoping we have the correct information about Dad.  Pretty sure we do now that the doctor has contacted mom herself behind his back.  Dad has been on an ungodly amount of Tylenol on top of his hydromorph for the past year and it is no wonder he sleeps a lot now. He has been sedated for months.  I just hope and pray the hospital doctor is correct that changing his meds is necessary and that it buys him more time awake to enjoy life for awhile.

That is what is going on at this point.

We had fun with my husband's sister and her husband again yesterday.  We ate a most delicious brunch at Breakfast Bistro, followed by 2 shows at the IMAX: Humpback Whales which was fantastic, and Wild America which was not very fantastic, but had some great photography.  After a bit of a rest we headed over to Unique Bistro for dinner and I all ready blogged about what happened there.  After dinner the women lingered at the restaurant for awhile then came home here to visit for a couple of hours while the men returned to the IMAX to see the new Star Wars.  I think we had a better time than they did. O my, they were disappointed in the plot to speak off apparently, just a rehash of old plot items and lots of banging and crashing about on the screen.  I am glad now I haven't seen it and I won't bother.  I thought the first three were so cute and I don't want to spoil those happy memories with what has been filmed this time around.

Our company is on their way home today.  Looks like they will have good roads and weather for the trip.  YAY!  It was a lot of fun to have company for a few days so we could get out and do more things on my husband's days off and also it gave me a distraction from the worry on the home front.

From today's daily prayer:

"Lord, help me to find some relief from stress in m life. I need to value rest and make time to relax.  I cast my cares on You, my burden bearer. HELP ME FIND JOY AGAIN IN THE THINGS I LIKE TO DO....." 

.....especially in music..... 

Goodbye Unique Bistro, Hello India Palace!

Despite the increase in decent restaurants in Regina in recent years, it seems the local population still does not have the palate for truly fine dining. Sadly, our favourite bistro has had to give up on its delicious duck confit and other fabulous menu items in order to remain viable. Surrounding chains like Earls and Chop House are thriving with their overpriced "fast food for the middle class" menus, while truly well prepared, interesting fresh foods that Unique Bistro offered have not caught on. Sigh....

We were very surprised, but not delightfully so, to discover last night that the owners of Unique have been forced to turn their establishment into yet another of the city's many Indian buffets. Yes, the food is as delicious and fresh as the items on their previous menu. There are no other Indian restaurants in the immediate area, so their business has picked up considerably, but for us personally it was a culinary blow to the side of the head. We all ready have a plethora of Indian food choices and enjoyed the bistro menu because it truly was unique.

The owner was happy that we stayed to enjoy the buffet. He even agreed to prepare the last of the chef's award winning cardamom/orange tarts which will no longer be served. The chai brûlée is all ready unavailable. O, I am so very disappointed. Bless that dear man though...he prepared the two remaining tarts for us at no extra charge. Twenty dollars worth of dessert was a lovely way to be thanked for being among the small group of Unique Bistro regulars.

So, we will return for the buffet. My husband can eat everything as all the dishes are mildly spiced for the bland prairie palate, so his tummy has no issues there. For me, as tasty as it was, it was bland compared to Dawat. At least it is closer to home than Dawat, so we will be at India Palace fairly often. The owners and chef are such lovely, accommodating people we hate to let them down!

We are still seeking good western Chinese Food. I like Sushi and I Love Sushi leave a lot to be desired, but their popularity gives us a clue as to why places like Unique Bistro can't survive here.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Kindness That Makes Me Cry

I have just spent ten minutes sobbing my heart out.  In today's mail there was a sealed white envelope with no writing whatsoever on it anywhere. With some trepidation I opened it, expecting to find some type of advertising at best or at worst a vitriolic message from someone who expresses hatred for Angican priests or Christians in general...yes, that has happened to us before and it is terrifying to be at the receiving end of something like that.

I certainly did not expect to find a beautiful card and hand written note from our former neighbour gal telling us what great neighbours we were to her and her son; how she was happy to know there are still people like us around. My husband was quite touched by her message. I only held it together for a minute before the tears came. What a beautiful thing for this dear young mom to do. She included a photo of her year old son at Christmas....what a cutie patootie!

We felt so strongly that we had failed her and her now ex when they split up and moved out, like we had missed so many opportunities to be kind to them all. Apparently not....thank you Lord for this encouragement that even the small efforts to reach out can mean something to hurting people. O how we miss them, even their crazy dog!

Well, we are greatly encouraged to continue reaching out to our neighbours in any small way we can. We wonder sometimes if people in the complex like us to be friendly or if they would rather be left completely alone. Better to err on the side of friendliness, I think.

We just returned from the provincial museum, leaving our company there to enjoy the rest of the exhibits. My husband needs his regular Monday nap time and I need a snack as we are going for a late dinner and an evening of live blues. We took them on a tour of my husband's church, stopped at I Like Sushi for buffet lunch and for shopping at Oliv for some white balsamic and light olive oils. It was been a happily busy day.

Mom called this morning. The staff at her complex removed her isolation status just before lunch so she could enjoy the special Chinese meal she had a ticket for. I am pleased about that. Dad found a phone outside his room so he called her to say the tests yesterday confirmed he did not have TIAs after all. Everything that happened was the result of the severe dehydration. So, once his electrolytes straighten out and his strength returns he should be home. He has been told he must eat more at meal times as he is not getting the nutrients he needs.

I am going to have a rest now too so I can enjoy our evening out.

The Family India Rubber Ball

Our long time family friend phoned me last evening to say he had been to see Dad again.  Apparently Dad is sitting up, talking away, loving his private hospital room with a view of the reservoir and its beautiful landscape.  There is no evidence whatsoever at this point that he has any damage from any TIAs or seizures.  Other than his electrolytes being seriously out of whack from the dehydration (he lost 2.5 kilos of weight in 4 days!), which may have caused him being so out of it when being awakened from a deep sleep, he seems to be recovering just fine.  He has more scans today and then, if all is well and he can be weened off the anti-seizure meds okay, he will be able to go home in a few days.  Dad is our living India Rubber Ball....from the depths of illness and despair, to a cheery, healthy as possible speciman of a man.  Since his first major heart attack at the age of 42, Dad has had a series of doctors who cannot believe he is still alive after all he has been through.  He "should" have died so many times in the past, but he bounces back resoundingly.  Each time we think "this is it" he comes back stronger than ever.  It is absolutely amazing.  It appears he may be about to pull the same rabbit out of the hat.  However, today's tests should be more definitive so we will see what happens from here. One day he will not bounce back but it has been quite a spectacle to behold him bouncing from one extreme to the other with his health. Friends from his church visited him last night and let him use their cell phone to call Mom. Hearing his voice and the strength that has returned to it was most encouraging for her.

Mom is just fine least she was last night.  Assuming she has no more symptoms of illness she will be able to come out of her isloation at 1pm today.  She plans to go to see Dad if she isn't too exhausted and then to do all the laundry tomorrow that has accrued over the past week.  I was relieved to hear her sounding like herself again as we talked.  Both my parents are so happy that their grandson has been regularly checking their progress.

Our company has arrived.  We had such a good visit last night and we have good plans for today: a tour of our church and the aboriginal paintings that line the walls as Stations of the Cross, a late pub lunch, a tour of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum...which I may skip as I have been there so often and cannot yet do as much walking as is planned for the day....then a late supper at another favourite pub, with some live blues.  More racing around tomorrow. It is nice to live in a place that has actual activities to participate in when company comes to visit.  

So, off to begin my day.  So far so good on the family news front!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Be Sure Your Sins Will Find You Out!

I baked an almond cake for our company who will be arriving momentarily.  Of course, I just HAD to try a piece to be sure I hadn't overcooked it...only an hour after lunch at the peak of my postprandial blood sugar rise.  I knew an hour later I would feel miserable and exactly an hour later I do feel miserable due to my own stupidity, but I just remembered I had not read my daily prayer yet so flipped open the little book to find today's date. Prayer is always a good distraction when feeling miserable from your own silly actions, right?

Here is today's prayer:
"Lord, help me to be a person who takes care of herself.  Help me to make wise decisions and to be a good steward of myself, the "temple" You have given me.  Help me not to abuse my body, but to care for it as You would want me to."

Yup, His eye is indeed "on the sparrow and I know He watches me."  I got caught by the Lord, cheating on my diet.  He doesn't condemn me.  He DOES let me know I have no secrets from Him and He isn't blind.....crap.....

There is nothing more embarrassing than not getting away with something silly and unnecessary, especially when God is the one who taps me on the shoulder and says, "Uh, by the way.....I saw what you did."


Good News From Mom

Mom and I had a good talk this morning.  Dad is apparently holding his own, although he is not much better than he was yesterday.  An old family friend who cares for my parents in my absence went to see Dad last night. Dad was able to sit up and carry on a conversation, although he was a bit confused...not surprising.  The nurse on the phone this morning said Dad had a fairly good night but that he was to rest today, no visitors.  Our family friend was only allowed in last night because the nurse called mom to see if he is family. Mom admitted he isn't but that he had been a friend for 63 years, so they decided that was close enough. Dad asked for his razor to be brought. That is a good sign.  Dad will be lonely if he is conscious at all, but I am glad he isn't allowed non-family visitors.  He desperately needs rest.  This afternoon he is having another brain scan and some other tests.

Mom's good news is that she has had no gastrointestinal symptoms for over 24 hours now. If she has no symptoms between now and tomorrow afternoon she will be able to get out of the suite and rewash the laundry she had to rinse out by hand, then get into a taxi and go to see Dad.  She sounded so much healthier today, it was almost like talking to a different person.  Yesterday she sounded like she could happily keel over and die any second. I encouraged her to rest all afternoon and get caught up before she goes charging off and risks a relapse.

So, for the moment things are going as well as they can.  I hope and pray the anti-seizure meds work for Dad and that he can go home again at some point in the next week or so.  We are taking things one day at a time now....a huge improvement from the one hour at a time stance we had to take over the past two days.

Staying Home This Morning

Although Mom has not yet called this morning, I felt confident that I needed to stay home from church today, just in case.  I was mentally prepared to go, am interested in seeing how this congregation conducts their annual meetings...happening after service this morning...but then I realized how many dear people would be asking me if I am over my illness from last week, how many concerned parishioners would want to know the details about my parents and their medical conditions.  They are a wonderful praying bunch and will certainly do their part to bring God's comfort upon me and my family, but I couldn't face all the conversation today.  That need for space, probably because I get to have lots of company and fun over the next couple of days with my other family, asserted itself as soon as I started making breakfast and thinking about the possible stresses coming over the next week.

So, I did my physio thoroughly, got the breakfasts made and cleaned up afterward, got my husband out the door with a packed lunch to take to the office where he will work this afternoon for a few hours, I set the dining room table for tonight's dinner, figured out exactly what I am going to prepare for a meal and cleaned the bathroom.  It was a good, productive morning right here at home, with no need for any discussion.

In a few minutes I will call Mom and get an update on her situation.  She had no plans to call Dad today as there is little going on there on Sundays and if anything changes the hospital staff will call her.  I want to get the phone number for his unit so I can call and leave a message. He needs to know his family is thinking of him and he probably doesn't know yet that his grandson has been concerned as well. That will cheer Dad up considerably.  I hope he had a good night last night and is resting today, electrolytes restored and no more racing to the bathroom.

An elderly friend passed away a few days ago and her funeral is in Moose Jaw next Monday.  If I do not have to rush to Calgary we are going to the funeral.  My husband adored this feisty, opinionated, eyes twinkling with humour, old gal who fought him every step of the way on the renovation of her beloved church a few years ago.  I sang in choir with her and it will be, all being well, my privilege to sing in the choir at her funeral.  O how we are missing her!!  We were able to give her some rides to and from church the last year we lived in Moose Jaw and had the best conversations with her, laughter, issues, was great!

So, to update you on the prayer requests I wrote about: Peggy has gone on to be with Jesus, but Oliver is starting to recover from his stroke.  How much recovery he will have is very up in the air, as he wasn't expected to recover at all, but he is doing some talking with his family. He is difficult to understand, but even this is more than was expected.  I pray his recovery can be sufficient to give him a decent quality of life. Thanks for your prayers!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

God Bless You Son

I am grateful to you son for making time in your crazy schedule to talk to me today, to call your grandma and be concerned about your Umpa.  Your serenity is so like your dad's and your care giver giftings are coming out in spades toward us all.
Thank you.......

My dad is now on an anti-seizure medication that will hopefully assist him.  Tomorrow he is having more scans, MRI, etc. etc. etc.  He has been removed from Emergency and taken to a ward for the next week or so.  Mom is a basket case, partly from the worry and stress over Dad, partly because she too has the 'flu' and partly because her kidney failure symptoms are much worse suddenly but she can't get to the doctor until her 'flu' is gone, of course.

My husband's sister called tonight to say that if we need to modify our plans for their visit the next few days they would understand.  That is so kind, but I need them to come here. I need something else to think about. I need to laugh and eat out for a day or two.  If anything happens to Dad over the next couple of days I can't get there until Wednesday anyway, when Mom can be out of isolation...assuming she gets over her illness by sometime tomorrow.  The poor woman is completely overwhelmed.

Once she is better we can seriously discuss my going out there for a couple of days to help her out while Dad is still in hospital, or to help them both if he comes home.  Right now she doesn't need the stress of knowing I am sitting alone in a hotel waiting for her to be better.  My mom is like me: coping with stress means getting a few days alone to realign myself before I have people around.  My mom has had so little time alone in her adult life to do that.  I understand it completely.  Even when I was a very little girl, when I had an illness or a hurt, I didn't want anyone bugging me while I got over it. My parents learned quickly to drop the bowl of chicken broth on a tray and leave me laying in bed for a few uninterrupted hours, instead of fussing over me.  If I needed assistance I would call or ring a small dinner bell.  Mom and I really understand that about each other.  We appreciate that mutal need for healing space.

So, off to bed.  I am tired enough to sleep I think.  However, I am likely going to skip church in the morning as there is an annual meeting afterward and I want to be home before noon in case Mom calls again, or to check up on her mid morning if she doesn't.

You all realize I find this constant ranting on about every stressful detail cathartic for myself and you don't need to read all this stuff and be bored to tears.  I understand that...I release you from any obligation to read these many posts about dying parents....seriously, I do....

So Grateful For This Blogging Page

I am feeling the geographical distance between myself and my family today. Mom just called again. The doctor called from the hospital to say Dad had another TIA while the doctor was with him. This does not bode well, particularly with Dad's family medical history. Mom herself now has this bug, but not to the extent Dad has far anyway. With the stress she is under it is no wonder she is ill.

Since my parents' building is quarantined and Dad is in isolation for another 48 hours at the hospital there is no point in me flying out there. I can't help, or even see them. Mom would be allowed to see Dad as his spouse, but she can't leave her suite now until Tuesday at the earliest. In the past few days her kidney failure symptoms have worsened but she can't go to the doctor until her gastrointestinal problems end.

I feel vaguely nauseous myself, but it comes from the feeling of being so helpless. I guess life for us all is going to be tough for awhile....not unusual for any aging family.

From My Daily Prayer Book

"Lord, sometimes I feel like my emotions need a makeover.  Renovate me--transform me so I can be balanced and healthy emotionally......" that....

My Dear Parents

Mom just called me again after her lunch of dry toast and a LOT of water and hot tea.  She seems to be experiencing a mini-version of what Dad has been going through.  My prayer is that she will not get any worse. At this point she is still able to eat dry toast, drink lots of fluids, something she has become very good at anyway since the kidney problems started, is sleeping well and her gastrointestinal distress has been minimal.  Now that she has had to report her symptoms to the front desk, she too will be in isolation in her suite until 48 hours after her last manifestion of symptoms.  She is so upset to be missing out on the special banana split treat tomorrow at lunchtime in the dining room and on the special Chinese meal being served on Monday, the special music  being provided that afternoon, bingo, etc.  How quickly my parents have moved from thinking they were happy recluses to incredible disappointment at missing any of the social activities in the complex.  The happy changes in least when they are not fighting this dratted illness....are wonderful.

Dad's doctor reported to Mom that Dad did have a very minor TIA last night, but that all the brain and head scans show zero damage and his recovery from it is complete.  The doctor's biggest surprise is that, with Dad's heart issues and his own mother's history of stroke (the first at age 32 and the second one that took her life at age 62) he has not had TIA's or other more serious strokes in the past.  Good heavens, even I had a minor TIA at the age of 30 that left me with a bit of facial damage and that is showing up now at age 61 in the form of some forgetfulness of details.  So glad Dad has avoided such things happening when he was younger.

I am incredibly grateful Dad's TIA was not worse than it was and that Mom found him and woke him when she did. I am glad she insisted he be taken to hospital as well.  The woman knows what to do for him, that is for sure.

I am also extremely grateful Dad will be kept in hospital for several days to restore his electrolytes, confirm there is no damage from the TIA and give him a chance to recover from all the stress and dehydration.  I am grateful that Mom has this chance while in isolation at home to also get her rest with no interruptions by a needy spouse.  Once they are both healthy enough to be back together in their suite and out of isolation, hopefully they will get some down time between crises to enjoy life again for awhile.

So my husband and I have returned to living between the medical crises of parents for some time to come.  We went through it for awhile during his parents' old age and declining health and now it is time for round two.  

As much as Dad and I do not have much of a relationship, I do not wish him any ill, NONE in fact and I hope that when his time comes to leave the planet he will pass peacefully and quietly with no long term, bed ridden suffering.  Over the past year I have done a lot of meditating and soul searching over my relationship with Dad, over the kind of people we both are, I have had a ton of counselling and have come to more peace about the realities of life in a family that has so many secrets and lies.  For a long time I battled with pure hatred for the man, but the Lord has released me from that.  I still lose patience with him sometimes, and he with me, but as he ages and I age there seems to be more grace coming from each to the other. We are both grateful for that I think.

Losing Dad is something I needed a long time to prepare for and I have had that time now.  For a long time I thought that if we both just lived long enough then eventually things would be sorted out, forgiveness would flow and the transformation of the relationship into what we both always hoped for would happen.  It hasn't been that long since I realized that is not likely, not probable.  I cannot be who he wants me to be and he cannot be who I want him to be.  It never was possible at any stage of our lives and now I get it and accept it.  I don't know if Dad does, if he has ever forgiven me for living a life he didn't want me to live, but it doesn't matter any more...finally....I don't have to spend my time fruitlessly trying to please him after the fact.  He doesn't have to be anyone to me other than who he is either.  For me, counselling was a wonderful, freeing experience.

So, now I just hope and pray Mom will be okay and that over the coming week she and Dad can get their lives back to normal for awhile.

Mediocre Update on Dad

The phone rang very late last night. It was the night staffer from my parents' facility calling to let me know an ambulance had arrived to transport Dad to hospital due to severe dehydration. No surprise. Mom went to check on him just before 10pm and he was breathing oddly and in such a deep sleep he would not wake up. When she did manage to rouse him and spoke to him, his mouth started moving but he couldn't get any words out at first.  She thought he'd had a stroke, but he passed all the tests with the paramedics with flying colours, so likely not. Thank goodness! By the time they arrived he was sitting up and talking. They ran more tests, told him dehydration was the problem and told him he did not require a trip to the hospital if he would agree to drink the rest of the concoction from the pharmacist. Mom asked Dad if he would be afraid to fall asleep again if he stayed home and he said he would, so she had the paramedics load him up and take him to hospital for an IV drip overnight. He refused to allow her to come along. She was hurt until I reminded her he would be stressed worrying about how she would get home in the middle the night, would feel obligated to put on an act that he felt better than he actually did...why he thinks he has to do that we do not know and mom hates it, but that is what he does, always has. I also suspect some other symptom that he did not share with her frightened him badly and he didn't want her to know about it. Our family has a complex system of secrets and lies that I have never much secrecy over things that are not important enough to be kept private, or for other bizarre reasons. The idea of lying for the sake of supposedly not upsetting someone who is going to find out anyway and then also be hurt or angry for being kept out of the loop makes no sense to me, but that is how Dad does things. So be it. It is never worth the explosion if Mom and I try to do things more openly and honestly. Maybe my paternal grandma and her family were the same way, I don't know where else he would have picked up that behaviour.

So, now I am waiting to hear from Mom after she talks to the hospital this morning. Hopefully Dad is getting better and will be home soon. Poor Mom, because of the quarantine conditions, has not been able to take all the soiled sheets, towels and pajamas to the laundry, so has washed everything in the suite with her arthritic fingers. She has things hanging to dry everywhere. No wonder she is as exhausted as Dad is. I pray she will remain healthy!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Positive Update on Dad. Yay!

I called Dad a few minutes ago and we had a better chat than this afternoon.  He took my advice and called his pharmacist who has a shop only a couple of blocks from dad's housing complex.  The pharmacist was able to reassure him that his symptoms were typical of the "bug" that seems to have hit two of the seniors' facilities in the area and he told Dad he has been sending assistance to several others in Dad's building this week.  That alone made Dad feel better.  When the delivery fellow from the pharmacy delivered some help to the front desk at the complex less than half an hour after Dad had spoken to the pharmacist, it cheered him considerably.  Mom called a friend about some needed household supplies and small grocery items she is running short of and he went out to purchase them for her and delivered everything to the front desk as well to be brought up to the suite by the staff.  So, they both relaxed considerably.

Dad was sitting up watching the news when I called. He had finally forced himself to drink a fair amount of water and he drank nearly a full cup of beef broth for dinner.  He is calming down, his trips to the washroom are becoming far less frequent, so if he can get a good sleep tonight and take it very easy for a couple of days he SHOULD be okay.  

I have been thinking a lot about the changes in Dad's ability to cope with illness and see a major transformation for the worse since he has been on daily morphine over the past 3 years, ever since his spine fractured and will not heal.  I should have realized it sooner just how very much a part of his problems emotionally the addiction is responsible for.  It really has changed him in many ways into someone I don't always recognize and I need to be more prepared to accept where he is at these days.  Mom is struggling so hard with it and I think that makes it harder for me to be sympathetic to Dad.  

I am just grateful he is apparently on the mend after two miserable days.  I hope and pray Mom can avoid coming down with the same thing. The longer the illness hangs on the longer they are going to be isolated in their suite, unable to do laundry and necessary shopping.  Apparently the maintenance folk at the complex have shut down the laundry rooms for the weekend so they can flush sanitizers and disinfectants through the machines so this illness doesn't become an epidemic for the residents.

Again, my gratitude that they have been able to make this move is overwhelming.

O Dad, Poor Dad, YOU'VE Got the "Flu" So We're ALL Feelin' Bad!

Dad just called.  His thin, wispy little voice instantly alerted me to the fact that all is not well for him right now.  Sure enough, about 36 hours ago he got walloped with some kind of intestinal and stomach distress, a severe case that has made him deathly ill this entire time.  Mom so far is just fine, but they have been put into isolation in their suite until 48 hours passes from his final journey to the bathroom, whenever that may be. Mom said that when he hasn't been in the washroom he has been asleep. She is trying to pour water into him but he isn't making much of an effort to prevent dehydration.  I know what it is like not feeling like ingesting anything, knowing you will only lose it again relatively soon from one end or the other of your body. Sigh....

Dad is 89 and Mom and I should be feeling very sorry for him and feeling very supportive, but dad himself makes it so difficult to feel that way.  No one can feel sorrier for him than he can himself.  He has always been the centre of his own world but as he has aged he has become completely fixated on his own state of affairs and expects the rest of us to do likewise.  Today I heard the exhaustion and discouragement in my mom's voice as she has had it up to her ears with this attitude of his.  I suspect the hydromorph he has had to take daily for the past 3 years is not helping him emotionally either, on top of his all ready over the top self-fixation.  I wish Mom could just feel less guilty that she alone cannot provide all the attention he seeks at times like this.

I THINK what he was after when he called was my insistence that he phone for an ambulance immediately so that he could be rushed to hospital for medical attention.  I asked him and Mom a lot of questions about what his symptoms have been doing over the past 36 hours and it appears he is actually on the mend at the moment.  If he can wait one more night he will probably discover he sleeps better tonight with far less frequent trips to the bathroom and, other than feeling weak for a few days, be just fine.  On the other hand, at his age is it actually possible to be too careful? I didn't completely discourage him from going to the hospital either.

All I could tell him was that if he was afraid to be in their suite then he should call the ambulance and go to the long as he realizes that even coming in an ambulance will not get him the immediate attention he gets when he goes in with heart related problems.  That got his attention.  He is craving the pampering and sympathy of the kind he has received in the heart wards of all the city hospitals where he lives.  Mom on her own, despite her best attempts that leave her almost ill from the strain of it, cannot possibly give him the amount of attention he craves from the world at large when he is ill.  He doesn't understand what emergency rooms are like in this day and age and that an elderly man with the 'flu' who could prevent dehydration by staying home and forcing himself to drink fluids is no longer a priority for the overworked and understaffed medical emergency departments.

I genuinely hope he is going to be all right and that if he needs to go to the hospital that he gets there and gets help, but my mom is no dummy. If she thought he needed an ambulance she would be the first person on the phone to 9-1-1.  I have seen her in action many a time doing just that.  I am probably even more worried about her than I am about him.  The man has milked her sympathies dry over the decades and she is truly struggling this time to put up with his self-absorption.  I understand her frustration when Dad acts as if no one on the earth has ever had such a terrible case of whatever he has wrong with him at any given time.  With Mom and I he has "cried wolf" a few too many times.  

So, I hope I am not making too light of what is wrong with him, but there is little I can do from 9 hours away. There would be little I could do right now even if I lived in the same city due to my parents being quarantined for the next 3 days at least. If Mom comes down with this they will be isolated even longer.  I am so grateful for the facility's quarantine policy.  It prevents a lot of spreading of viruses and bacteria among the residents. My parents' meals are being delivered from the kitchen until this illness passes....not only the dinner meals they pay for, but also breakfasts and lunches that are not included in the cost of living there. There has been a steady stream of chicken broth and electrolyte drinks from the kitchen and I am incredibly grateful for that. The director has called several times to check on them both since Dad got hit with this.  It is a genuinely good place for them to be living.

Well, all I can do is pray and hope for the best for them both.  It may not sound like it, but I am truly sorry Dad is/has been so ill for the past couple of days.  I only hope he is able to beat this thing with no relapses.  My fear is that if he goes to the hospital he will be exposed to even worse illnesses and relapse either from catching cold, or from the strain of waiting in emergency for hours and hours.  That is all Mom will need as well to also come down with something like this.  I just pray Dad will not wear Mom right down with his emotional needs this weekend.  I hope he can be satisfied with whatever she can do for him and be less emotionally needy.

O, it is hell getting old! I feel badly for them both.

No Choir For Me

Made my decision: dropping out of choir because my husband really got my attention as we discussed why it has been such a "much ado about nothing" situation for me. I am at peace. Now to return the music to a couple of gals who were kind enough to get me involved in the first place and who will be very upset about losing a member. But, I need to do this.

So you lucky more wingeing blogposts about this  subject. You will be as excited as I am to be done with it! hahahaha

Another Wonderful Indian Restaurant

Last night after work my husband and I returned to the licensing bureau and hopefully, finally, straightened out his change of address on his driver's license. Then we headed east to the Best Buy store to return some redundant office supplies, also successful.

By then it was 6pm and I needed to eat. My husband announced we were going out for dinner. Where to go at the peak of the family dinner hour that would not require a half hour wait for a table? We tried a couple of places, but the lineups were long. About the time we decided to go home for scrambled eggs and toast, my husband noticed a small neon sign in a strip mall on the other side of the major thoroughfares from where we were.

The sign was for Dawat Indian restaurant. We looked for it on my husband's last day off work, but never did locate it. We didn't notice too many vehicles in its parking lot, so we threaded our way through the last of the rush hour traffic to give the place a try. It came highly recommended to us by an Indian friend so we planned to eat there at some point.

What a wonderful meal we enjoyed there! The dinner buffet looked delicious and it absolutely was. The diced green salad was cool and refreshing when scooped up on pieces of papad with dabs of cilantro/mint sauce. The tandoori chicken had an extra addition of a salty rub and was well cooked. I often find the tandoori under cooked, but this was perfect. The black dal perfectly complemented both the white rice and the mildly spiced biryani. The butter chicken had cubes of "real" chicken, rather than the rubbery wee chunks that are common here and there were plenty of them in the delicious, spicy sauce. The goat curry was absolutely marvellous. I am not a great gran of goat as a rule, but I certainly liked this curried dish. There was a pan of noodles with onion and tomato, cabbage with peas, teensy mashed potato patties, nicely cooked pakoras and samosas, curried peas and potatoes, saag paneer, gulab jamin and the best Indian rice pudding I have had in a long time: it was full of actual dessert rice, not just a few grains floating in the milky sauce, yummy!

Dawat advertises its menu as South India, North Indian and Indo-Chinese. What fun we will have in the future returning and checking out the entire menu. If the regular evening buffet is any indication we are going to have yet another favourite restaurant in this little city.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Do You Mind Adding Just One More Person To Your Prayers?

This afternoon I got word that friend Shel's bone cancer has spread throughout her spine and other places. She has done very well after her chemo treatments a few years ago, but this week she got the sad news of it spreading at last.  She does not want to return to chemo and I am praying the doctors will give her some kind of time line, but it is looking very bad.  Please pray for her to be able to cope with whatever is going to happen over the following weeks.

You never know how many people you are aquainted with until tragedy strikes them or their families.  I had no idea I would be asking for prayer for this many dear ones in such a short time, but I am so grateful for your responses to these requests.  Prayer is never wasted, no matter who it is for or what the situation is that requires it.  Thank you.....

Timely Little Prayer

In light of the excellent timing of all events surrounding our set up for accommodation for the next year, I thought the wee prayer from my daily prayer book was entirely apropos:

"Lord, thank You for my home. Show me opportunities to open this home to others.  However my home compares with others', I thank You for what I have.  I am grateful that Your Spirit is present here. Give me a generous, open heart, and use my home for Your purposes."

My husband's sister and her husband are arriving here this coming Sunday afternoon.  Although they are staying in a hotel, we will be here at the suite a lot, visiting and having a good time together.  I am looking forward to it and pray I will indeed be moved to be extremely generous to this sister who has been incredibly generous to us over the years.

Interesting Weather For a Prairie Winter

I just returned from a quick trip to the pharmacy. It is like a chilly winter day on the west coast! It is overcast, just above freezing and a thick, damp mist is hanging in the air. I love it! While I would not object to a temperature one or two degrees higher, I certainly enjoyed walking across the pharmacy parking lot with my coat unbuttoned and watching the ends of my newly washed, dried and flat ironed hair beginning to frizz out again. What an awesome mid-February day!

The remaining ice on the back lawn is melting, making an even greater obstacle course on the way from my back door to the car park. Along with hidden, water covered ice patches in the long grass, there is the remainder of last autumn's goose poop to contend with. My hope that our new next door neighbour will find the poop as loathesomely unhygienic as I do and convince his bosses here to find a way to deal with it, well, they will likely be dashed. My husband and I seem to be the only tenants that grasp the health hazards involved with steaming mounds of goose feces all over where people must walk. O well....

This has been the best prairie winter I have ever experienced. We may have some huge storms in March and/or April, but snow rarely lasts long at that time of year.

I hate to even mention it, but could you add Munros to your ever lengthening prayer list? They are old acquaintances of ours whose young adult son and his friend were killed the other day...waiting for more details about what happened. I feel ill again just from the burdens others are carrying that are so much greater than my own. It reflects in my low blood pressure counts over the past two days.

Off to do laundry......

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

I'm Sure Glad So Many of You Are Called To Pray.....

....'cause I have 2 more requests:  one for a well beloved and feisty senior lady I used to be in a choir with a few years ago.  She is dying, may be gone all ready as I write, after a long life.  Please pray for her daughter and family as they watch her pass from this life.  Losing her at her age is not a big surprise but it is never easy to lose a mom of any age.

Also for the husband of another member of the same choir: he had a stroke a couple of days ago and seemed to be recovering but today he had another, massive, stroke and it appears he will not survive it.  Please pray for his wife and family as well. Coping with the shock is so difficult on top of the pain of loss.

Thank you SO much for praying on their behalf.  They are appreciative of the care and concern from complete strangers who care because of Jesus, our common thread.

O For Pity's Sake!!

Two weeks ago my husband made his third attempt since we moved here to get the address changed on his driver's license. SGI gave him a temporary license to use until the new one comes in the mail, for the third time he paid the ten dollar fee. Today his new license arrived in the mail--with his old address still on it!!
Guess he will have to go into work a bit late tomorrow. He will have to return in the morning to SGI, AGAIN, to try to straighten it out. I guarantee he will not be giving them another ten dollars!
There is a lot to be said, often, for the more laid back attitude people in this province tend to have in comparison with some other provinces, but today I am finding it tremendously irritating!

Timing is Everything!

Yesterday morning my husband and I had a final discussion about whether or not we would do a final sign off of our new one year lease and get it handed in. We decided neither of us had the motivation, sense of impending change, time free to seek new accommodation, or even the 'oomph" mentally or physically to face packing up again. So, mid morning I took the lease and a cheque for next month's rent to the office and turned them in. We had decided to just trust God that we would be able to handle whatever new neighbours arrived on the other side of the wall, whenever they arrived.

Two hours later we had the new neighbour and so far as we can tell there are no big red flags that we made a mistake in signing on for another year. Good confirmation for us that we made the correct decision.

Four hours after that our phone rang. One of our parishioners was calling to see if we would be interested in moving into a house his daughter from another city owns. She rents the house out and very unexpectedly has lost her tenants as of the end of March. The house is not that far from where we live now. It would be possible to move without losing too much location convenience. When I told the man we had just that morning signed a new lease, he groaned and said he should have called us the night before when his daughter first told him she needed new renters. The rental market here is in a bad slump and she may have trouble renting the space.

I admit to being relieved the man did not call the previous evening. That call would have thrown us into an emotional turmoil. My husband in particular would have wanted to see the house, weigh every little pro and con, meditate and pray for a week, (none of these being out of line for any responsible person to do of course), while I, who make decisions nearly instantaneously about such major issues and only drive myself crazy over niggling little problems like what choir to be in, would have had myself tied up in knots waiting for my husband to make up his mind. Then once a decision had been made, the second guessing of it would begin.

Due to the timing of everything, any further considerations about moving had been taken care of just hours before the new tenants arrived next door and new offers of accommodation came along.

For me it is a big relief. With Lent and Easter upon us we have no time to be preparing for yet another move....never a good time for a priest to have to take on other life stresses. Whew, double whew and "thank you Jesus" is all I can say about the situation.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Our New Neighbour

This afternoon, while we were out shopping, two large moving trucks crossed the remaining snow and ice on the back lawn and delivered our new neighbour and his belongings. We had a chance to greet Steven and welcome him to the neighbourhood. He seems a nice young man. Don't know if he is part of a duo, rooms with friends or is on his own, but wow, it is good to have the stress over as to who will be on the other side of the wall.

I THINK it will work out all right because Steven works for our property management company. He is the person who shows all the suites and apartments for the many properties this company owns. I don't think he or the company would be excited if the neighbours had to report him for noise. Now we pray he is not a smoker, the only remaining concern for us, as there seem to be no dogs in his suite.

Time will tell, but for now we are relaxing a bit. Slowly the stresses in life are lifting. My husband went over to the office right after dinner to put an hour into finishing up his seminar for the office staff tomorrow, as he shows them how to make all the phones and computers work together between offices.

Food For Thought From Allan Bloom

The following is from Allan Bloom's book, "The Closing of the American Mind"; Simon and Shuster, New York, 1987.

"The very expression dignity of man, even when Pico della Mirandola coined it in the fifteenth century, had a blasphemous ring to it. Man as man had not been understood to be particularly dignified. God had dignity, and whatever dignity man had was because he was made in God's image (as well as from dust) or because he was the rational animal whose reason could grasp the whole of nature and hence was akin to that whole. But now the dignity of man has neither of those supports; and the phrase means that man is the highest of the beings, an assertion emphatically denied by both Aristotle and the Bible. Man is elevated and alone. If this is to be plausible, man must be free--not in the sense of ancient philosophy, according to which a free man is one who participates in a regime where he rules as well as is ruled; nor in the sense of Hobbes and Locke, according to whom a free man is one who can follow his reason without having to obey God or man--but free in a much grander sense, that of legistlating to himself and to nature, hence without guidance from nature.  
     The complement to and explanation of this view of freedom is creativity. We have become so accustomed to this word that it has no more effect on us than the most banal Fourth of July oratory. As a matter of fact it has become our Fourth of July oratory.  But when it was first used for man, it had the odor of blasphemy and paradox. God alone had been called a creator; and this was the miracle of miracles, beyond causality, a denial of the premise of all reason, ex nihilo nihil fit. What defines man is no longer his reason, which is but a tool for his preservation, but his art, for in art man can be said to be creative.  There he brings order to chaos.  The greatest men are not the knowers but the artists, the Homers, Dantes, Raphaels and Beethovens. Art is not imitation of nature but liberation from nature. A man who can generate visions of a cosmos and ideals by which to live is a genius, a mysterious, demonic being. Such a man's greatest work of art is himself.  He who can take his person, a chaos of impressions and desire, a thing whose very unity is doubtful, and give it order and unity, is a personality. All this results from the free activity of his spirit and his will. He contains in himself the elements of the legislator and the prophet, and has a deeper grasp of the true character of things than the contemplatives, philosophers, and scientists, who take the given order as permanent and fail to understand man. Such is the restoration of the ancient greatness of man against scientific egalitarianism, but how different he now looks!  All this new language is a measure of the difference; and reflection on how the Greeks would translate and articulate the phenomena it describes is the task of a lifetime, which would pay rich rewards in self-understanding...........

...........So the effects of Rousseau and his followers are everywhere around us, in the bloodstream of public opinion. Of course the use of words like "creativity" and "personality" does not mean that those who use them understand the thought that made their use necessary, let alone agree with it. The language has been trivialized. Words that were meant to describe and encourage Beethoven and Goethe are now applied to every school-child.  It is in the nature of democracy to deny no one access to good things. If those things are really not accessible to all, then the tendency is to deny the fact--simply to proclaim, for example, that what is not art is art.  There is in American society a mad rush to distinguish oneself, and, as soon as something has been accepted as distinguishing, to package it in such a way that everyone can feel included. Creativity and personality were intended to be terms of distinction. They were, as a matter of fact, intended to be the distinctions appropriate to egalitarian society, in which all distinction is theatened. The leveling of these distinctions through familiarity merely encourages self-satisfaction. Now that they belong to everyone, they can be said to mean nothing, both in common parlance and in the social science disciplines that use them as "concepts".  They have no specific content, are a kind of opiate of the masses.......".

(Part Two. Nihilism American Style; Creativity, pages 180-184)

And so we have spawned an entire generation of people who become contestants in tv singing contests, for example, who neither understand, nor accept, the reality that they have no musical talent no matter how much they choose to believe they do, who genuinely believe they have the right to be treated the same way as those who have true creative ability......we have an entire generation of people who define "equal rights" as the elimination of all distinctions, not understanding that to do so removes the meaning and celebration of their own particular distinctions and takes away their freedom to be who they truly are.  I'm just sayin'..... 

Monday, February 15, 2016


Feelin' tons better today but not dressed or rushing about, just relaxing and being certain I am over whatever hit me yesterday and made me feel so incredibly lousy.

Well, I finally got my new cell phone set up the way I want it. That, despite the manual specifically written, supposedly, for my phone...the phone that contains none of the actual buttons and icons I am supposed to use to set up contacts, do editing etc. according to the manual.  Through an hour of trial and error I finally figured out what to do with only minimal help from my husband...bless him for letting me do my own cussing at the blasted phone and stupid manual while I sorted it all out.  

I feel great!  Success in this small way with my new phone is a good feeling.  I am such a putz with new technologies and am terrified to try pushing buttons in case I screw something up so totally I have to get actual tech assistance to get things going properly.

I even figured out on my own how to  put the ring tone back on after it not being activated for the past week!!!  YAY!!!

Thank you Lord for answering my prayers and for turning the other way when I cursed at my Christmas gift!! We're good now, right?

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Another Dear Friend in Need of Prayer

I am sorry to bother all those of you who pray with me so often with yet another request, and again for someone very few of you would even know, but your prayer support is vital to those in grief.

One of our chief musicians from our former parish just lost her adult daughter to a massive brain aneurysm and heart attack.  It was a few days ago, the funeral took place this weekend.  I just found out from her mother, our pianist.  Please pray for the family of Janna who are stunned and heart broken.  She and her mother were the best of friends and her mother's heart is broken.  Bless her, she has decided to get on with life, ministering as usual to other seniors in the local nursing homes and lodges with her music.  I cannot imagine my son dying ahead of me, but it happens to so many parents.  Your prayers for Kay would be most appreciated.  Thank you...AGAIN!

Thanks For Praying For Me

Thanks ever so much!  It is just after 3pm, I ate a decent lunch just after 1pm and did our lunch dishes before I had to sit down again.  The dizziness has retreated substantially.  I feel weak but not so disoriented.  Bless you all for your spiritual help with this.

It is time for my annual ECG and I will get that scheduled when I go for my quarterly lab tests the end of this month.  I need to be sure none of the dizziness is heart related.  20 years between sessions like this can indicate something like Right Bundle Branch Blockage, so even though today's and the last episode are more likely viral, my severe heart murmur and family history of heart issues suggests I need to keep my ECG appointments.

As far as the other prayer requests for the parents of the young suicide victim: the same relatives that conveyed the request to me are on their way across Canada on Tuesday to be with those parents and offer their support.  Please pray for them as they travel.  Thanks.

No matter what else is going on today, just being able to look out the windows at the brightly shining sun and the melting of the bit of snow that fell overnight can't help but make me feel better!!

Looking back at my last couple of days of rambling blogs tells me I haven't been feeling that well for the past few days. Sorry for all the rambling on about nothing, but getting how I feel out there for myself to look at often is a great coping mechanism for me and often a reality check.  Bless you for your patience my dear family and friends.

Prayer Request From a Friend

Received a request last night from a friend. One of the family nephews just committed suicide at the age of 14. What a tragedy for his family. I have no other information, but please pray for the parents.

I am somewhat ill this morning, but after some prayer I seem to be recovering. I was startled awake this morning, then slammed with instant dizziness....a mild attack of a virus I had over 20 years ago that flattened me completely for about 12 hours before it dissipated. A few minutes ago I was able to down a half dozen whole wheat crackers and a half bottle of water my husband put beside the bed before he left for church. They seem to be settling in my stomach so that is progress! Two hours ago I was clutching a bucket, an now I am sitting upright in bed blogging. So grateful for my praying friends. It is a bit daunting to be alone at home, too dizzy to even turn over in bed. So grateful I am feeling better all ready just at noon.

Will have to miss choir this afternoon, maybe that is a good thing. hahaha Good for you guys at least, since you won't have to read any more about it, haha.

Feeling completely overwhelmed by all the tragedies in the lives of family and friends this week. So many suffering unexpected losses in their seems to get worse every winter here on the frozen north.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Best Day of Rest in a Long Time

I never did get around to practising my music today.  I figured that I would just be frustrated when I go to rehearsal tomorrow and discover the director has once again changed the way we are singing something, or has decided we are NOT singing something I have all ready learned.  Until I get to the bottom of what is going on under the surface of that group that is causing me such odd stress, I am going to play it cool and just sing at rehearsals until he decides what exactly we are doing.  The trouble with discernment gifts is that occasionally the details stay hidden for awhile and in the meantime there is emotional upheaval until the root of the problem is exposed.

Anyway, for the first time in a couple of months I took a true day of rest.  My knee has been bothering me all week.  The stress of walking on it so oddly and the weak damaged muscles all around it from the broken hip fiasco caused it to crater over the course of the last week. The hip is fine but the knee....oooowwweeee!!  

Instead of singing for an hour before lunch I read quite a few more pages in my book. Then I spent the entire afternoon watching movies on tv. I so enjoyed watching Richard Dreyfus and Tatiana Maslany in "Dylan and Cas".  What a sweet movie.  It wasn't quite as hokey as many of the intergenerational road trip movies are. The situations that arose between the characters as they supposedly drove across several Canadian provinces (sorry directors and producers, but Sudbury Ontario does NOT look one whit like Winnipeg) were at least somewhat believeable in comparison to other similar, types of movies I have seen over the years. Enjoyable script and good acting....yup, I did have fun watching it.

The other movie I watched was the updated version, 2015, of "Far From the Madding Crowd". It was okay, but far too "feel good" compared to the book and compared to the first movie,1967, starring Julie Christie, Peter Finch, Alan Bates and Terence Stamp, which was far more true to the original novel and captured well its haunting, despairing overtones.  The new movie starring Carey Mulligan just didn't have the same depth or emotional impact.  The acting was fine, the casting was just okay... but it seemed to lack depth somehow compared to the casting and script of the 1967 film. There is no comparison between Julie and Carey in terms of character interpretation. Julie reigns supreme!  Just my opinion, ya' know....

I pulled together a last minute stir fry for dinner tonight, the rice was a tad "el dente" unfortunately but my husband was too hungry to care, thank goodness.  

My knee is feeling much better after the enforced rest and I should be able to get through tomorrow's duties without too much problem.  

I am on standby for setting the altar in the morning in case neither of the scheduled ladies are there.  Committments today and this evening may keep them out of town overnight. Hopefully I will get it right on my own.  My dear husband had me so confused the first time I did it and I don't want a repeat.  I will figure out what is necessary at this church altar on my own.  haha

Monday is Family Day here in Saskatchewan so a few of the stores and restaurants are actually closing in honour of the day!  YAY!  My husband will be able to stay home and enjoy a day of complete rest like I had today.

Have a VERY HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY EVERYBODY!  And if you don't have another human for a valentine, remember that Jesus loves you more than any human being can anyway.  It's true!! You are NOT alone! Rejoice!!

Lallo Roses

When my husband was a small boy he could not pronounce the word "yellow".  The closest he could come to that word was "lallo".

Tonight my husband presented me with a huge bouquet of "lallo" roses interspersed with stems of baby's breath.  It is gorgeous!  

Since my husband does not, will not, cannot force himself to acknowledge or otherwise celebrate Valentine's Day I was more than a bit surprised by his gift.  The fact that it was given along with a lovely speech about how he appreciates and cherishes the way I have given up most of my own adult dreams to traipse around the countryside with him, going job to job, place to place, one poverty stricken, illness inducing situation after another for decades, was most touching and I came pretty close to shedding those tears I so despise.

Of course, himself being himself he still could not actually say the words "Valentine's Day" out loud, so instead he wished me an early Happy St. Patrick's Day and winked at me. hahahaha

Thankfully I had a special card to give him in honour of tomorrow's special day of expressing love to each other. This is the first year I almost didn't get him one, but I DO celebrate the day and he would have really been shocked if I had joined him in ignoring it.  (shocked but not hurt....he truly despises the fuss made over the whole thing and sometimes my cards embarrass him)

So, we are both thrilled with these because of the heartfelt token of how much he loves and appreciates me and him because he can be cutely proud of himself for doing something so unusual that I obviously am happy about. haha cute!!!  (even at their most frustrating....yup....)