Sunday, January 31, 2016

Post Church

There....thaaaaaat's better!
Good sermon, good fellowship, deep prayers.
Life is back on an even keel.
Thank you Lord!

Sunday....

I am so happy to be going to church today and regaining some spiritual perspective. I got myself in a tizzy upon awakening this morning, seized with frantic worry about my husband's lab results. He doesn't go to the doctor until Friday afternoon, so I need to get a grip! What will be will be and no amount of worry on my part is going to change anything.

Really need my church family this morning, that's for sure! I am tired of being so ridiculous!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Saturday Sunshine

What a beautiful, sunny, warm day we are having today.  I don't have the car so I can't really get out and enjoy it, but I can stand on the back deck and drink in the sunshine.  So lovely....on JANUARY 30th!!!!  Unreal!  Love it! There are a few too many ice patches yet to risk going for a walk alone, but by this time tomorrow some more of them will have melted away.

The prairie landscape right now, around our city, is one of ugly, deep brown mud and sopping tan coloured weeds and grasses, so I keep my eyes focused on the gorgeous blue sky.  The blue is a bit deeper than I am used to seeing in mid-winter so that in itself is wondrous to me.  Usually at this time of year on the prairies the blue is pale, insipid, uninspiring.  Today, it is motivating to get outside even if standing on the deck is all I can do to enjoy  it.

I got the vacuuming done this morning, the floors washed, had a good discussion with my husband about his sermon tomorrow.  He has gone to the office for awhile before heading off for a bowling event with the city-wide Anglican youth group, a bible lesson game and supper with them, before heading off to Beer, Bacon and Bands over at Conexus Centre for the evening, along with the husband of a parishioner and his friend.  What a crazy, busy day he is having but he is feeling pretty well and so is enjoying it all.  The two days off each week together after his busy Sundays seem to be just what he needs to regroup and work very hard the following five days.

Of course, three weeks into the new days off routine, there is an adjustment to be made this week. hahaha  Of course we knew that would happen from time to time.  He and another fellow who have been working on one of the outstanding aboriginal land deals the diocese is getting sorted out, have to head out to  Lumsden to meet with some of the band elders and get working on it. That is the only time all of them are available to meet together.  This week though it is okay.  He has to take Friday afternoon off to go to his doctor's follow up appointment and if the news is not good he will be just as happy to come right home afterward, rather than have to go back to the office...originally his appointment was Friday morning but the clinic had to change it.  I think that is better for him, bad news or good news, as he can just come home afterward and process whatever the doctor has to say.  I will have my own processing to do, that is for sure.  

Well, I am going to go and practise my choir songs now, then get the rest of my dinner preparations done.  Since my husband is away for the evening drinking beer, eating bacon creations and surviving the local band scene with his new friends, I have invited our dear, hilarious, warm hearted Bishop's wife over for dinner.  She is a great soul and such fun to get together with.  There is not a snooty bone in her body.  I love her to pieces.

My broken hip happened just as we were starting to secure some new friendships and the time out to heal has interferred with making new friends here. So, it is time to get back to calling folks up and inviting them over for dinner or out for coffee and reminding them we are still here and still ready to enjoy deepening those relationships.  I am more mobile now, far less pain and discomfort each day and I am mentally ready to get back into life here in Regina.  YAY!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Dad's Cute Response

My husband and I slept better last night after hearing mom's news.  In fact, I actually relaxed enough after her phone call to lie down and have a nap.  I slept so long that my husband woke me up when he arrived home late from work and discovered there was no dinner prepared, necessitating a restaurant meal....awwwww, a restaurant meal....darn it all.....teehee....

Dad's response to mom's news was very cute: he was so excited he just HAD to do something for her, so he went to the tuck shop in their complex and bought her a lovely black and white blouse covered in little sparkles. hahaha  Mom said that when she put it on she felt like a prom queen from the waist up! haha My mother's only clothing need right now is a pair of brown slacks and she really has nowhere any more to wear a sparkling blouse, (my mom was never the sparkly blouse type anyway, teehee), BUT there is a special brunch at the complex Sunday morning and she will wear it to that to please him. She is grateful for the thought and even more grateful the tuck shop does not sell small appliances, dad's usual idea of a deeply "personal" gift, haha. I have a lifetime of memories of dad's romantic vacuums, electric mixers and electric kettles duly unwrapped and dutifully ooooh'd and ahhh'd over by my disappointed mom come Christmas mornings and birthdays. As far as dad and presents go he truly outdid himself this time. Where was this man hiding throughout the past 60 years? haha

So, another decent day today...maybe a bit of snow or rain showers later on before a nice weekend and then a bit of a deep freeze again starting Monday. I am elated in an exhausted sort of way, so have not made plans. I have the car.  I should think of something to do that is more fun than cleaning house!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Temporary Good News From My Mom

My mom just contacted me.

As I suspected, she waited until she had seen the doctors and gotten all her ducks in a row before calling me.

All her tests results are in: ultrasound, blood labs, urine specimens, etc. etc. etc.  In a nutshell the news at present is there is only minor deterioration, some fluid draining measures are in place for now and if anything, there has been a slight improvement in some of her symptoms.

So, unless she notices more changes in the meantime, all her tests will be redone in 3 months' time and, if there is even the slightest change for the worse she will be at a kidney specialist of her GP's choosing within a matter of days and the possibility of dialysis will be raised at that time. 

Her GP and other lab consultants were expecting far worse results right now than they found and were trying to prepare her for and she is certainly supposed to be keeping a sharp eye on her symptoms over the coming weeks, but the doctor told her it seems her body has bought itself another 3 months without the spectre of imminent dialysis after all.  He was very surprised at the tiny amount of deterioration detected in the kidney, but it could change at any time.  My shy mom bravely told him how many people have been praying for her and he told her it was probably part of the reason for her having more positive results than anyone expected.

I am not a person who has any great expectation of miraculous healing from the Lord...don't get me wrong, I believe in miracles and have seen at least two in my lifetime, but I do believe we sometimes get some tinier answers to prayers about health.  The Lord decides to give us more time with our families for whatever reason of his own and I believe this may be one of those times.

Whatever all is involved in that invisible connection between body and spirit, it seems Mom has received some kind of assistance through prayer.  Perhaps she will not make it the 3 months until the next set of tests; she has been warned about that possibility, BUT she is so much more positive, so relieved to have any number of extra days of being able to enjoy her life to the fullest and enjoy her new residence along with Dad.

I am positively giddy!!  The stress has been unbelieveable, as it always is when a parent is dying.  If my husband can now get results from his own tests that indicate a fixable problem my stress level will drop even farther.  His too..........

So, thank you for your prayers, praying friends and family.  We are all feeling more of a sense of hope we had lost as we tried to prepare ourselves for the worst to happen more or less immediately.

Amazing grace.........

My Karma Ran Over My Dogma

That's all....just that.
That is how life has felt recently.
Two good nights of long sleeps have helped tremendously.
Hearing happy tales of life from the son last night lifted the mood in this house.
If I have the car today I am going to go out.
I may even buy lunch for myself in a restaurant I ate at once and vowed to return to.
I am going to enjoy this feeling of cheeriness that is my norm.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Huzzah!! I Did It Myself!!

I confess to putting off switching out my elderly cell phone for the new PC phone my husband bought me for Christmas...I put it off for a long time because I am so confused by technology of any kind.  My track record for getting computers, phones and other technology repaired, upgraded and changed by phoning the appropriate techies is a dismal one.  They ask me for serial numbers I can't locate anywhere on the item, they ask me questions with technical terms in them I can't remotely figure out...oh it is always a disaster and I come away feeling more stupid than a flea.  No doubt every one of those technical experts would agree with that assessment of my abilities.  Sad....

HOWEVER, yesterday, even though my husband was home with me, I am the one who got my new phone up and working!!  He encouraged me to make the required phone call and work it through on my own this time.  So, after batting back a few tears of frustration from assuming I would never be able to do it, I took a deep breath, grabbed the phone and began the task.

Guess what?  The Flea here managed to accomplish it!!  

Okay, it wasn't difficult.  It took me 3 tries at calling the main switchboard of the installation company to figure out which option I needed to connect with  for the service I needed, but no harm done.  Even my husband was confused by the machine voice's offered options.  However, I succeeded at last in locating the right department and was even able to immediately locate the two serial numbers on the packaging the tech needed to change my phone plan and minutes over to the new phone and transfer my cell phone number to the new machine.  He did neglect to let me know that it could take up to 24 hours for the actual number to transfer to the new phone, so I ended up calling him back. He apparently didn't know about the delay either, so he forwarded me on to the PC trouble shooter....except he accidentally connected me to their Bell Communications trouble shooter, but we sorted that out and I finally got connected to the right department once again.  That tech informed me of the 24 hour delay in opening the port for my old number to connect with my new phone and all was well. This morning my husband called my cell from his cell and I was able to receive the call.  

YAY!!!  A simple tech task was actually accomplished by ME! I feel like celebrating.  Unfortunately we did our restaurant celebrating yesterday morning at breakfast and I have to prepare a pork loin roast for dinner tonight, but maybe I can celebrate by refusing to eat the turnip I am cooking!  

Nyaaaa, nyaaaaa, take THAT tasteless turnip.  I am celebrating so I am not going to eat you this time!!

This Is Saskatchewan, NOT Alberta, RIGHT??

Our weather today is similar to an Alberta chinook! I think they call it an Alberta Clipper here. Overnight the temperature came up above zero and the rain began.  We were up to +2C by 9am, now we are topping out for the rest of the day at +1C! That is PLUS one. On January 27th. In Saskatchewan!

Well, we are certainly grateful we had a free coupon for our nearly $12 car wash yesterday because by the time my husband returns from his work day at dinner time tonight, the car will be as filthy as it was before the wash. The snow and ice melt on the streets has created a brown, dirty slush that every passing car is now covered with. Yecch!!! Pooey!!

Loving the blue, cloudless sky today.  Dreading the freeze up that is coming, along with more rain showers, at the end of this week.  Even at that the temperatures will still only be in the minus mid teens, but unless we get gale force winds before and after the next predicted rainfall on Friday, it is going to be a skating rink outside for the rest of the winter. How fortunate we have been to have avoided the usual 5 months of ice underfoot.  If we get a few weeks' worth, well that is life on the prairies in winter.  It has to happen at some point.

Finally had a visit from one of my next door neighbours yesterday.  As we suspected, sadly the little family is splitting up and mom and baby can no longer afford to live in this complex.  O how we will miss them all.  It is an amicable split....to me a sort of oxymoron...but we wish them all well. If we can get new neighbours anywhere near as perfect as they have been we will be blessed indeed.

Had a good sleep last night that has me feeling more positive about life today.  A friend emailed me this morning, listing all the stresses in my life over the past few months, in order, reminding me of all that has been going on...and those are only the stresses everyone knows about...and also reminding me that I am actually a pretty tough cookie.  Thanks my friend, I needed that! I AM a tough cookie. God has transformed me over the past 5 decades to ensure that I AM able to cope with life and all its trials.  Yay God!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Feelin' Calmer

My husband's sister phoned today. Talking to her helped me regain some peace and perspective. She has dealt for many years with health hell....her own and her family's. She knows exactly what it is to be middle aged and facing all the health issues that accompany this time of life...our own, our parents' and our also aging friends'.

One thing she said really struck me as being the truth at this point in time: she said that at this stage you begin to wonder if life will ever be calm and uneventful ever again. There always seems to be some stressful issue hanging overhead.

Oh, it is always so good and relaxing to talk to someone who knows the rest of the family and so completely understands why I am over-reacting over a simple callback to the clinic for my husband.

Very grateful for that phone call and for her.

McMuffin Power!

 The following National Post article is somewhere between completely serious and somewhat McTongue in cheek!  Enjoy:
* (you'll probably have to cut and paste it into your browser)*

http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/colby-cosh-in-praise-of-the-lowly-mcmuffin

NOW What's Wrong????

The day started off so well...my husband went to the lab early this morning for his annual tests and then we went out together for breakfast, a delicious meal at Unique Bistro, (now it danger of closing due to lack of customers. There have been too many visits by the clientele from the previous restaurant that was in that space and they DON'T want the new and wonderful food, but demand the crappy old diner food from the place's previous management.), we got the car washed, the sun came out and continues to shine merrily in the lovely blue sky...and then, a few moments ago, the phone rang.  Sigh....

It was my husband's medical clinic calling to make an appointment for him with his doctor at the end of next week.  His test results came in FOUR HOURS after his lab work!!!????!!  FOUR HOURS???  And he needs a follow up all ready?

I can tell my stress level is far too high since I got my mom's news last week.  I nearly burst into tears when we got this call for my husband.  Obviously  something is not right in his test results.  I have to stay calm and remember it could be something very simple such as high cholesterol, it isn't necessarily anything dire like bad prostate results.  It could be his half thyroid is not functioning as well as it should be. It could be his blood sugar...oh Lord, it could be anything at all.  It doesn't have to be anything horrifying so why is my mind going there instantly?  

I need to calm down.  My husband is far more rational about his own possibilities than I am, that is for sure. Please pray for him.  We have had some rough times with his health in the past 30 years but we always were able to get ahead of the problem eventually. Obviously this is not his CFS, but some new problem.

Pray for me too dear friends and family. I have over a week to have to try to sleep properly at night before my husband sees his doctor and I have to tell myself that if it is really bad news, surely the doctor could have squeezed in an appointment sooner than 11 days from now, right?  Just pat me on the head and say, "Of course right!", and I will be fine. I don't want to be so upset before the appointment that I get my husband even more worried than he needs to be.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Bye Bye Fantastic Neighbours

I feel sad. Our lovely young family of neighbours on the other side of the wall are moving out apparently. They disappeared just before Christmas, without a word and we assumed they were visiting family for holidays. A number of different folk have come and gone, checking the place a few times a week. The young mom herself has also been here for a few hours every so often but has not said a word to us....very unusual. An hour ago she returned, followed by a large moving truck. Furniture and boxes are being moved into the truck by two burly fellows.

Our once chatty, friendly neighbours have not said a word to us all this time and that also makes me sad. I pray they are moving out for happy reasons, but I suspect if that were the case they would have mentioned this move to us. Sometimes I get a strong sense of something being wrong and I have that now. However, I am not butting in. I believe if the neighbours wanted us to know they were moving they would have told us.

We will miss them very much. They are sweet people.

Now the stress begins: who will soon be living on the other side of the wall and will we be forced to move as well if the new neighbours are noisy, or have a massive barking dog, or are smokers? We have been so blessed to have none of that with the young family.

Change: sometimes the magic works and sometimes it doesn't. I can only wish our now former neighbours all the best and hope for the near miracle of equally fantastic new folk moving in.

Yay Warm Days of Fun!

It has been warm enough the past couple of days to get the snow and ice close to melting.  We have a couple of days later this week with above zero highs forecast.  That will be great during the day time hours, but wicked when it all refreezes overnight. For now I am just enjoying having so many days in January that are warmer than -40C, -20C, even -10C!!  A little sunshine would be welcomed, but hey, I am NOT complaining this winter.

Sunday was a fun day. Church went well.  Then in the afternoon I enjoyed returning to choir while my husband worked together with his United Church cousin on the final service for a Week of Christian Unity at Living Spirit Centre.  He enjoyed working together and the service went well.  

I am stoked about our choir songs for this term.  We are doing some light jazz mostly and a couple of '70's pop songs that I loved then and still love now.  Unfortunately we have lost a handful of members who are not prepared to deal any longer with our director...one or two of them have a right to what they are feeling and I understand their actions, the rest need to grow up and act their age, in my opinion which may not be worth a lot.  We do have a new member in our alto section and she is an excellent singer as well as being a very nice person.  Now that I am more involved I am not impressed with the level of immaturity that seems to characterize our group and hope we can rise beyond it eventually.  Since the director seems to have chosen me to pick on this term I am praying I can model maturity and forgiveness and a general, "no worries, he is who he is" attitude.  We need that, apparently.

Back to physio exercises this morning after a good weekend break to heal up the stressed muscles.  It felt great and I can see real improvement today once again.  After physio I did some grocery shopping and risked crossing the bumpy, snowy lawn between the car and the house without my cane, while I carried in the bags.  It felt GREAT!!!!  I can't do it once the temperatures drop and the lawn regains its icy coating, but for today it was a fabulous, freeing experience. Moving slowly is the key, placing each foot down flat before adding body weight...if I discipline myself to not race too quickly I will be fine.  Racing is how I got myself into this fix and the last one, so hopefully I have finally learned my lesson.

My husband is engrossed in a long and deep theological discussion with a friend in Ontario and this afternoon is meeting one of his colleagues to discuss the message of yesterday afternoon's speaker at the Week of Christian Unity service....the good and not so good points from the perspective of Anglican theology.  

I want to get my new cell phone "hooked up" today. It has been 2 weeks since we purchased it, so best get to it.  I am not good at these things, easily confused by what the installers on the phone are asking me to do, but all the cell phones other than my husband's work phone are registered to me, so....

At some point in the next couple of days we are going to go out for a meal.  It seems that getting out of the house is the only way we can get uninterrupted time to talk.  Now that so many people have become aware of my husband having regular days off, it seems they have decided these are the days to call him for long talks, or meet with him over work related projects they have opinions about....sigh.....  I am going to have to take a stand if this keeps up, for both our sakes.  I would like to spend some time with my own husband OCCASIONALLY on his days off, just occasionally!! haha

Hope all is well where you live and work today.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

East Coast Storms!

I am feeling very badly for the millions of east coast Americans experiencing the huge snow storm, winds and flooding that are occuring there this weekend.  Watching the snowfall coverage on tv reminds me how fortunate we are here, since we experience that kind of snowstorm and worse more than a few times each winter, to have the amazing studded snow tires, huge ploughs and shovels, salting techniques and technology all in place to handle it on an annual basis.  When this kind of weather hits places where needing that sort of assistance is not the norm, it becomes very dangerous.  The power outages and flooding are the worst.  Seeing the couple of feet of water flowing through downtown Atlantic City, New Jersey is depressing even for me, safely ensconced in my own  living room.  The travel bans in New York and Maryland are a good move as people there have no clue how to drive safely in this kind of unusual storm and don't have the snow tires on their vehicles required for safe navigation. I feel so badly for the hundreds of people stranded on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. At this time there are 14 weather related deaths...how terribly sad.
All my prayers, my American neighbours, all my prayers.

Well, my laundry will be done at 9:30pm, about a half hour from now. Yup, it took me until 2pm to even get started on it. Nice to be able to accomplish my wee goal for the day, that is for sure. All the dishes are done, the day's meals cooked and eaten and tidied up after.  It was a quiet day around here and I needed that. My knees are acting up from over 4 months of stressful walking.  

A friend was in touch with me a few minutes ago to report on a funeral she attended today. The son of a mutual aquaintance was killed in a hunting accident earlier this week...so tragic as it was his own sister who accidentally shot him.  He was a younger fellow with a young family of his own. It was one of those unbelievable events that can leave a family broken and distraught.  Apparently the funeral was incredibly edifying, God given all the glory for his peace that has surpassed all understanding among the family members.  The father and two sons of the deceased hand-crafted the casket and had those in attendance at the funeral write their favourite scriptures onto the casket before the burial.  That was a wonderful healing touch for the folk who were there to say goodbye to this amazing young man. My friend was impressed by the lack of bitterness on the part of the family and I am as well.  

The report I received certainly has jacked up my attitude about the possible upcoming loss of my mother.  She is 88 years old, has had only 1 kidney for over 32 years, has lived a good life and is spiritually ready to leave.  By that age we can all expect to be meeting our maker before too much longer no matter how great our health is.  Mom is not a mid twenties year old with an equally young spouse and two little kids. She has not been accidentally gunned down by her own sister.  It is time for me to stop moping and weeping over my own sense of loss and sense of unfairness that mom has had so little time to enjoy her new life in the seniors' facility.  I have been carrying on like a banshee around here all week.  For shame!  The reality check I have been needing came to me through my friend's report on the funeral.  Mom is spiritually ready and, I see since our phone call last night, emotionally ready to go, so is it any wonder at her age that her body is getting into line for the next phase of living and dying?

Off to church in the morning and then choir resumes in the afternoon. I am looking forward to our new songs, whatever they may turn out to be.  I miss seeing the others in the group too and am looking forward to visiting them once again.
Have a great night everybody.  

Being More Social: the Results

I feel like a deflated balloon today, one that took more than a few blasts around the room after being exploded by the prick of a very sharp pin! It has been so many months since I have created a truly decent meal for company that I perhaps got a little carried away. However, it was worth it in terms of my happiness quotient.

Unfortunately my morning of doing laundry has slid past a morning start,  even past an early afternoon start and I am now looking at a possible start time of 2pm....maybe...

Last night's dishes have made it out of the sink, been re-rinsed and are stacked beside said sink, awaiting the addition of the lunch dishes about to be dirtied and added to the soggy, dripping heap of pottery. I have lovely dishes....lovely and not remotely dishwasher safe. If they were it is possible I could be persuaded to use the dishwasher in this unit for the first time. That is how joyfully exhausted I feel today.

The more I get back into entertaining the easier it will become once again. I will also have to refrain from tiring my injured leg by walking too far prior to meal preparation. The mall crawl yesterday morning was fun, but too much work for my thigh muscles when followed by a cooking extravaganza.

Pooped out but happy.....glad to be re-entering my social scene, but now I better understand my limits with this blasted injury.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Gotta Get More Social Again!!!

We had the best visit with Dell's cousin and his husband over dinner this evening.  They are so involved in their church, as we are.  They love ethnic food, as we do.  We have the commonality of family members; even the husband and I, though not related, have similar Irish/United Empire Loyalist ancestry.  The Moroccan food turned out incredibly well, thank you Lord, and the lamb was truly spring lamb, not mutton parading as same.  The flavour was mild and blended beautifully with the cumin and cinnamon as it is supposed to.  I am a new fan of cucumber salad with mint and fragrant orange water. YUM!  Even the tabouli salad, which seems so easy to make and yet often ends up a gooey mess when I attempt it, turned out perfectly! Whew!!

It was such fun tonight. My husband and I realize we are desperate for social contact again after a bit of a hiatus due to his busyness at work and my most recent bout with broken bones keeping us off our usual social circuit.

So we are all ready putting a list together of who to see next over the coming weeks.  It won't be easy to get schedules aligned as some of the folk we want to see are fellow clergy, but it won't be impossible either.  

We actually spent time writing up that list instead of doing the massive amount of dishwashing that will now be waiting for me in the morning.  At least the dishes are stacked and rinsed well and soaking in the sinks.  The food is all put away, stacked neatly in cartons in the refrigerator and the freezer has a HUGE carton of home made iced cream in it, thanks to our guests.  They made chocolate iced cream that is full of white chocolate chips, pecans, walnuts, chocolate covered almonds and pieces of dark chocolate.  Oooh, talk about a diabetic's worst nightmare of forbidden delight!!  I enjoyed my quarter cup portion, took my time, consumed itsy bitsy bites and dragged out the entire experience as long as possible before the iced cream melted into a puddle in my bowl.

My husband and his cousin kept the mutual ministry talk down to a minimum and we all had fun discussing other things in life. That was very much appreciated by me because ministry is one of those all consuming jobs like farming, or advertising or "doctoring".

Yup, gotta get more social again.  If I can walk the entire length of the huge mall I walked through this morning, twice, then I can have company over for a simple meal again.  I can stand in the kitchen steadily for a couple of hours to cook. My hip is that much better than it was! 

Life is going to become interesting and less focused on pain levels and mobility issues once again. YES!!!!

Mom is Still Waiting For Test Results.....

.......so when I called her last night we didn't even talk much about her health. We talked instead about all the fun they are having in their new facility. They are busy with bingo, shopping, bible study, birthday parties, entertainment, book club, social discussion group, visiting new friends, playing cribbage...the list goes on and on. It is fantastic for them. I am feeling more relaxed about dad. If mom is soon to leave us, he is going to be more or less okay I think.

Hanging on to the laughter we shared over the phone last night. It was good to hear mom sounding happy.

Oh my...look at the time! It is time to get dressed and get out to do some last minute errands so I can have a relaxed afternoon getting the rest of the dinner ready for tonight's guests....oh, and doing physio of course. I admit I am looking forward to the weekend off to rest those muscles. Oh, and choir starts again on Sunday afternoon. Aiiii yiii! Good thing I remembered. I have been terribly distracted by mom's situation.

Our Sweet Refugee Family

Our diocese is putting together some better cultural training and psychological assistance for our recently sponsored refugee family, who are suffering extreme PTSD. They are terrified to leave their house. If they happen to venture out into what is extreme cold for them, the second they see any of their Muslim neighbours passing by, they retreat indoors in utter terror. They are not learning any English due to fear and inability to comprehend what is happening around them. The first family we sponsored is trying hard to help them, but it isn't their sole responsibility of course. Before we sponsor any more families we are going to get a better programme in place than the one we have been using.

I suspect things would have been somewhat less difficult for them had they not witnessed their village being overrun by Muslim extremists who beheaded adults and children before their eyes, only a day or two before they escaped to leave for Canada. I cannot imagine what they have been through, none of us here can and that is a large part of the problem in getting them settled.

So, we keep trying to upgrade our measures of assistance. I am not certain we will have the programme repaired in time to help this lovely family immediately, but we are trying. In the meantime we will continue to do what we can.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Antsy!

Today I feel jittery. While I have many items and people to pray for today as a result of last evening's diocesan prayer meeting, today could be the day for my mom to get her test results...or it could be tomorrow....or next Monday....will she wait to call me after she has had her conference with the doctor? Once he has the results, when will that take place? I am the only member of my family who has succumbed to the "relay the news step by step" method of communicating about medical issues. The others let no one in until not only the diagnosis, but the entire plan of treatment and prognosis have been settled. Good grief...it could be another week before I hear from her! Calling her before she has news will only add to her own upset, so here I sit, still waiting. I cannot imagine what she and dad are going through and they will never share it with me. I can only pray that somehow they are managing to deal with the emotional upheaval.

So, off to do my physio, to make Moroccan stew, bake an almond date cake and prepare the bulgar for tabouli salad for tomorrow night's dinner. I am delighted that my husband has a bottle of fragrant orange water in his food stash, so now I don't have to drive all over the city tomorrow to buy some.

It is another warm and slippery day outside. How happy we are to be able to leave the car unplugged overnight for so many nights in the month of January! It will certainly be reflected in the next power bill.

Excuse me while I jitterbug out to the living room to exercise, then shake, rattle and roll myself through the rest of my very busy day.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Beautiful Winter Day

It is my favourite kind of winter late afternoon: the sun, low in the southwestern sky, is a glowing glare of white as it attempts to pierce the fog, the snowflakes are huge and fluffy and are teeming out of the sky, the frost is so thick on the tree limbs that the weight of it is pulling the branches down toward the ground...aaah, one of the few joys of winter. Soooo beautiful!

Had a wonderful visit with a dear friend over lunch of sambar, fragrant rice, prunes, raspberries, yogurt and chocolate pudding. The visit was even sweeter than the pudding.

It has been a lovely, relaxed day; a good day of restful activities before all the cooking I have to do tomorrow. Should be a fun day in the kitchen. If I can just find some orange water at the Indian grocery in the morning, all will be well for my Moroccan salad.

Tee Hee Dear Husband!

My husband had his own small adventures yesterday, haha...

A couple of days ago he thoughtfully shovelled a path through the snow from our back deck, across the lawn to the car. He levelled it. He smoothed the top of the snow along the path....oh so even and easy for me to walk on, ever so careful not to expose the grass underneath. However, it is also serving another purpose...for the local jackrabbit. What a perfect place to poop! What nicer than a level, smooth bit of ground where his itsy bitsy bunny butt doesn't have to bury itself in a cold snow bank to do its business! hahaha You wouldn't believe the amount of bunny poo all along the path this morning. There isn't so much as a dollop anywhere else along the broad expanse of snow covered lawn along the parking lot. Goose poop and bunny poo....what a great service our property is providing to bird and mammal...sigh.

My husband did well driving home last night through thick fog, on some very icy stretches of highway. He made good time despite road conditions, but had a bit of an accident just before arriving home. Leaving the highway on our exit ramp his passenger tires caught in a deep ridge of snow left behind by the plough earlier in the evening. The impact propelled the car right off the road and threw it over into the opposite ditch. Fortunately the speed of the spin pushed the car right through the ditch and back up onto the highway where, also fortunately, there was a break in the traffic so my husband avoided smashing into other vehicles. Whew! I knew when he got home something interesting had happened because before he came inside he was hauling huge chunks of packed snow out of the wheel wells. Very relieved he and the car are just fine!

Hopefully today will just be calm...boring even; no exploding roasters, no cars skidding through ditches, no poop to scoop. Physio, blood testing, company for lunch and getting medical forms prepared and faxed will be sufficient unto the day for me!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

KABOOM!!!!!!

I had several chores to accomplish early this morning and more work to do in the afternoon.  Good stuff, felt fulfilled and on top of my game around here.

By  mid afternoon my planned work was essentially done, my husband was getting ready to leave for a meeting several hours away and the evening was going to be stretching out before me without any great plans to occupy the time.  Other than "The Little Couple", not much on tv tonight of interest to me. I can't read after dinner without falling deeply asleep. A friend suggested I do the laundry this evening and so that was my new plan.  I ate dinner very early and went upstairs to start getting the laundry baskets ready to drag down to the basement laundry area while a roaster of chicken bones and juices were boiling on the stove in preparation for making a delicious broth.  Aahhh, a productive evening was going to take place.

I barely got started on the laundry basket sorting when from the kitchen downstairs there was a rather loud, "kaboooom!", followed by smoke and hissing noises.  WHAAAAAAA???

I raced down the stairs faster, I think, than I ever did before I broke my hip and saw smoke pouring out of the kitchen into the rest of the suite.  The roaster, supposedly dishwasher, oven and stove top safe, had exploded...seriously it actually exploded, sending shards of itself, bits of chicken and bones and water and juice absolutely everywhere!

Like a total idiot I stood there in complete shock instead of racing for the stove to shut off the heat while chicken bits charred themselves onto the burner and the liquid filled the burner basket and ran down underneath the stove top, down the front of the oven and all over the floor...at least what was left of the liquid that had not been blasted across the walls, floor, cupboards and island. (Praising God for my husband's foresight to buy me a mop recently with a handle long enough to reach the kitchen ceiling!)  Thankfully I managed to cross the kitchen without slipping and falling on the soupy floor, got the heat shut off, the fan on and both front and back doors open before the smoke detector had a chance to pick up the smoke, now also emanating from a pair of oven mitts, one of which I managed to set on fire when it came into contact with the burner while I was shutting off the high heat.  Since the door was all ready open I was able to heave it out into the snow before I got burnt.

Well, no more questions about how I will spend the rest of this long and getting longer evening!!  

I managed to locate an old towel to soak up the liquid under the stove top burners, wiped down the cupboards and counters and island, washed and dried the floor around and under the stove, washed out the under oven drawer and the bakeware stored in there and picked up and vaccumed the shards of the roaster.  

Now I am taking a short blogging break to give my back and hip a rest before tackling the washing of the burner baskets and heating coils....oooh, the one with the burned chicken stuck all over it is going to be a bear!  At least I now know how the rest of the evening will be spent.  No doubt about that!!

The laundry is going to have to wait until Saturday.  We have enough clothes I think to last until then.  My husband is at work all day now on Saturdays so I can shift some of my chores to the Saturdays he needs the car.

I am incredibly grateful that only an oven mitt caught fire.  I am grateful I was able to hoodwink that squawking smoke detector and not have that awful screeching going on along with the rest of the disaster, I am grateful I was not in the kitchen when the flying shards of the roaster flew around the room, I am grateful that only the roaster was broken and that the rest of the mess is so easily cleaned up.  

Wow....I need never worry about how to occupy my time apparently!!  Ask and it shall be given unto me!!  In spades!!  hahahahaha

Back to work on cleaning those burner coils of burnt chicken!

Family Rocks!

My son called again today, just to check and see how I am faring emotionally over the possible loss of Mom. For most families this sort of regular phone contact across the miles is probably the norm, but for our family it isn't so much. Our son has suffered years of emotional hell that has distanced him from us in many ways, but in the past few months he has gotten free of the past and has been not only more welcoming of frequent contact, but seems now to enjoy it. He is a naturally loving person and we are thrilled to see that side of his personality being restored. I am hopeful as well that Mom's present struggles can eventually bring about a better relationship between me and Dad. My husband's sister and I have forged a relationship I am deeply appreciative of and her husband is a great guy.  The cousins of my husband's here in Regina that he so recently discovered are gems. At the present time I am feeling more a part of a family than I ever have before, so losing Mom would leave quite a gap, but having other family close now will certainly make life easier than if this had happened sooner after Mom originally donated her other kidney. It has taken 32 years for her remaining kidney to fail...what a blessing those years have been.

Reflecting on good family relationships seems to be part of my processing the upcoming life changes. It is a good and positive thing. I am grateful to spend some time on such reflections.


Monday, January 18, 2016

A Good Day For Me!

I am feeling pink today...I wore a pink teeshirt and a pink scarf and a pink pinkie ring to my appointment with the surgeon today to keep me feeling cheery.  It was an excellent appointment.  A couple of weeks ago  my pain levels were still a lot higher than they should be and we wondered what the problem was.  Short version, because of the physiotherapy I have been doing "under the radar", the problem has sorted itself out and my x-rays and other tests today show no problem whatsoever!!  All I have to do now is fax the permission slips to my physiotherapist from when I broke my ankle so that he can access my files. Then he will phone and set up a schedule for my next round of therapy.  The surgeon was so happy I am not "waddling", as he was expecting me to be. Well of course I am not waddling sir, my good friend and physiotherapist has made certain of that.  According to the surgeon and local therapists there is no need to be doing any of the exercises I have been doing...although not one of them knows I am doing them...because really, "at my age" (again with the ageism) all I need to do apparently is some treadmill work once in awhile and some cross country skiing moves at home.  Yeah...right...sigh...what is wrong with you people??? Please don't make me regret moving to this city!! 

My wonderful husband got up at 7am on this, his day off, to drive me to the appointment and come with me to hear what the surgeon had to say.  The x-rays are looking great!  The bone has healed well and there is good blood flow to the ball joint.  My husband tried to photograph the x-ray but the camera feature on his phone wouldn't work...until we got home and it was too late, hahaha.  Personally I don't require a copy of my x-rays on the phone!! The muscles and nail heads are finally creating a certain detente that is reducing the pain for me; blisters under the scar have broken at last and that has taken away much of the pain at the lower end of the plate.  (I am a blisterer with most surgeries...outside on my skin near the site of the surgery, inside under the incision. No one knows why, but they all weep out at some point and that is the end of them.)

Today the electric and natural gas bills arrived and I braced myself for another big slew of money going out of our account.  The natural gas bill was almost double again from last month, but I am not surprised because it has been so cold and the furnace has been running a lot.  It is always an "actual" reading as opposed to the electric bill's "estimated" reading that happens 8 months out of 12 each year.  This month's electric bill was an actual reading and, as I suspected after the giant estimation that put our bill way up last month, not only is the actual useage far less than estimated and ensuring I don't have a payment to make this month, I also received a $28 dollar credit toward next month's bill!  YES!!!!!  If we were living in our own home rather than a rental unit we could go on an annual plan to pay the same amount of each of those utilities for 11 months of every year and then the 12th month would either result in a refund or one larger payment depending on actual use.  Another joy of renting is the suprise of each month's utility bills, haha.  Last month it was Surprise Bad and this month it is Surprise Good!  I personally believe we should take what we saved this month on electricity and go out for dinner, but since it is still close to -30C outside and my husband is running around doing errands and having his own doctor's appointment this afternoon, I am pretty sure we will be eating at home tonight! 

Mom had her ultrasound today so I am hoping the results will be available to her by the end of the week.  I think I am coming to peace about what is likely going to happen.  Mom, after spending most of her adult life unable to make most of her own life's decisions other than choosing to work for over 50 years, will now have the chance to make the biggest decision of all...whether to continue to try to live through treatments or accept the inevitable and allow herself to pass away.  There is no bigger decision for anyone than that.  I know the results are not in yet, but after what she told me yesterday it seems that there is no other possibility than dialysis for treatment.  So we are all trying to prepare ourselves.  This is the first day in the past 4 that I haven't been weepy and upset and crabby, so maybe some of mom's stoicism is wearing off on me.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Etcetera...Good and Bad

It took me a good two hours, but all the bottles and cans that have graced our basement over the past ten months have been sorted, bagged and boxed for recycling. Whew! Done for another few months! My husband will be no end of delighted when he gets home from the office. With a wind chill down around -40C his new parka will get a workout for testing its value in the warmth department. Considering what we paid for it, plus the distance my husband is walking to and from work this afternoon, it had better receive a passing grade!! He amazes me with his aversion to starting a car on such days being SO strong he would prefer to walk both ways in this temperature! Brrrrr.....not me. I vastly prefer spending a couple of minutes outside scraping windshields while the car warms than walking fifteen or twenty minutes twice in a day! My husband is a tough cookie! This is the Good Etcetera paragraph.

This Bad Etcetera paragraph concerns my mom. Sigh.... I called her a few minutes ago to see how she is faring. The answer is: not well.  Dad was downstairs doing laundry so she didn't have him eavesdropping on the other phone for a change. Dad is a secret keeper about health issues. Mom is not. She told me exactly how dire the doctor believes her situation to be. Bottom line, unless the ultrasound tomorrow shows an unexpected blockage that is "fixable", my mom's decision to refuse dialysis means we may lose her very soon indeed. Her kidney is not cleaning her blood. Her ankles are retaining four pounds of water between them on a daily basis. I am so grateful she told me. Between dad and I, ONE of us has to not be in denial and I am pretty sure it will have to be me.

Rats.......I think my mom is gonna die.

Prayer is the only way I can handle any of this. Thank you Jesus for standing with my mom and giving her the amazing peace she has about leaving this earth if that is what is coming. I started crying during a song at church this morning, before I had even talked to mom. Wouldn't you know that crazy polka band would start playing that old tear jerker from the past: "I'll Fly Away"?!!? I always detested it when I was a kid, have tolerated as an adult, have been so grateful it is not an old hymn we sing in the Anglican Church, yet this morning there it was, right in my sobbing face. Sitting here writing about it and I am crying again.

Rats.......I am not the stoic my mother is....I don't mind telling Jesus how scared I am for mom and how much I am tempted to resent losing her first.  I know it hasn't happened yet, I know it isn't a certainty as we don't have all the test results in, but in her heart my mother  "knows". She has dad doing the laundry on his own, has arranged for the staff at their facility to ensure dad gets his meds and eye drops every day, she has him baking his favourite muffins in the toaster oven. This woman is prepared as she can be....it is unbelieveable. She amazes me.

So enough emotional indulgence for today. I will ask God to gird me with my mother's stoicism, while I wipe the tears off my cheeks and go prepare dinner!

Thank you for being there for my mom in prayer. Dad...I can't even think what fresh family hell we will all go through if he is left alone.....wow, Jesus we are going to need your assistance...

So Sweet!

This morning one of our teens read the scriptures. The poor kid had it sprung on her at the last possible second and had no time to look the passages over ahead of time. As a result, the word "utterance" became "ooterance", "discernment " became "diskrepnant" and so on. It was adorable. She was so nervous, but really tried her best.
Our other fun today was with a Roman Catholic polka band, (yup, I DO mean polka band), who brought their brand of music to our worship songs and sung responses. Okay, not really my style, BUT, the response from our congregation was so positive that our worship team at last caught the vision my husband has been attempting to put before them for a bit livelier and more modern music. Thank you extremely odd but talented polka band! My mind is still spinning over having a polka band at an Anglican service, but I will get over it. They are lovely people with a real heart for Jesus so the rest doesn't matter. It was not a boring service, that is for sure!
Bitterly cold today, but the car started with no problems before and after service. It sat unplugged for an extra long time while we ate a delicious lunch provided by the Women's Guild.
My husband is mending his moccasins and repairing the zipper on my winter coat. Not quite the rest I hoped for him after church before he heads over to the office to sort files, but useful projects.
Well, off I go to the basement to start sorting hundreds of cans and bottles for recycling some time in the next week, whenever the depot is prepared to take a load of this size. My husband keeps planning to do the sorting but he is very busy. I enjoy mundane tasks. It will be a good use of my afternoon!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Thank You Son

Our son called last night for a good long chat. With all the stress and anxiety about my mom, it was therapeutic to be able to talk about it as a family unit while we wait over the next week for her test results.

Hearing his stories about teaching his students and his course curriculum was cheering, got our minds off the scary stuff, had us laughing and enjoying ourselves. He is busy at his gallery job right now, as well as being immersed in his visa application and his new body of paintings. Somehow he managed to find five date nights in a row with five different women, so it is good to know he is making a teensy bit of room for a social life, haha....

I felt re-energized after talking to him, completed a project I had been unable to concentrate on and actually had a decent sleep last night! He has a calming influence on both of us.

Speaking of calming influences, it is nearly 10am and my newly calmed husband is still asleep! I better wake him. Saturdays are work days now and he has a string of phone calls to make this morning, a sermon to complete and office work waiting to be done later tonight. Up and at 'em buddy! I need to get some work accomplished too!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Letting Go of the Temporal

When I finally got to my housework earlier today things were going very well indeed.  As my hip has healed my speed has increased and the cleaning of the kitchen and dining room seemed to take no time at all, despite doing a most thorough job getting into all the nooks and crannies that don't get done every week.  I even got out the venetian blind duster and did every slat!

Unfortunately though I got a little carried away by my own good work and faster speed of action: I was dusting items on one of the china cabinets, lost my grip on my husband's ceramic chalice, dropped it directly onto the last antique of my paternal grandmother's, (a lovely carnival glass bowl), and smashed it to smithereens!  There were so many minute shards of glass I spent nearly a half hour just vaccuming the small dining room to make sure I had every bit picked up from the carpet and off the cabinet.

I wasn't heart broken...it is only a bowl after all, a most temporal item, not even good for practical use, only for looking at.  I was disappointed though.  I have so little that belonged to my grandparents and this was one of the few things.

Well, God tells us not to put our security into the things of this world and that is one lesson my husband and I have learned in spades, up the wazoo, ad infinitum, ad nauseum and what have you!  Over twenty years of living below the poverty line taught us a tremendous amount about what we can easily live without when necessary.

At the rate we lost items to breakage through our latest move, adding into the loss the number of things I have managed to break in the past few months right here at home, we won't have nearly as much to move next time if I keep this up!!

See, a silver lining in there somewhere.

Had I lost that bowl a few years ago, just as we were starting to get on our financial feet to the point of at least being able to live pay cheque to pay cheque, it would have devastated me. I would have felt deprived of one of my few truly lovely family heirloom pieces, ripped off by the universe once again, so to speak.  Now, it is easier to just think of how much I enjoyed it while I had it and then let it go.

God has provided our every need for the past more than thirty years, through hardship and abundance and everything in between.  If he thinks I need another antique quality carnival glass bowl just like grandma's, he will find me one somewhere.  

This I know.....

Snow Snow Snow...FINALLY!!

The flatscape surrounding us is at last getting a few centimeters of snow.  We have had almost 5cm since yesterday and it has just started coming down once again.  I have to say that despite the inconveniences presented for walking and driving, I do love the sight of the white snow covering everything.  It looks so much better than the autumn BROWN that seems to be the colour of absolutely every bit of landscape by October each year and for most of March.  Yukko!!

Didn't have a bad sleep last night despite my upset about mom's health issues.  However I am finding it difficult to focus.  I had planned to start dusting and other housework by 9:30am.  Now it is 10:15am and I am still sitting here blogging, emailing and playing a wickedly difficult level on a computer game.

Sigh...GOTTA get some work done today...GOTTA!!!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Prayers Again...sigh...For My Mom This Time

My week is turning into a prayer vigil!

I was so looking forward to travelling to Weyburn with my husband this afternoon for the evening's installation service, but woke up feeling headachy after a rotten, uncomfortable sleep. As the day wore on, despite going out for errands and enjoying the day's pretty snowfall, I wasn't feeling any better, plus as it turned out the Bishop was free to go after all, so was not only planning to take my husband and me with him, but also another colleague. The highway conditions will likely be poor on the way back late at night and I am not a good traveller on snow covered highways in the dark.

All in all it seems my going along was not the best plan. Yup, I am disappointed, BUT, very glad I was here for a call from my mom I would otherwise have missed. Mom only has one kidney because she donated her other kidney to her sister over 30 years ago. Over the last few months her ankles have been swelling from water retention and after tests to ascertain it was not heart related, the next thing to be checked was the remaining kidney. Results were in today. Unfortunately the kidney has become sluggish lately. It could be from a blockage, such as a tumor, or it could simply require the help of a diuretic to get it moving more quickly, or it could be failing and in need of dialysis. Mom will have an ultrasound on Monday and hopefully have her results within a few days.

Mom is like me: get a plan in mind for worst case scenario. For mom that would be dialysis, after seeing her sister suffer through two years of it prior to the transplant that added over 18 years to her life. She has all ready decided that if that is the need, she will try it for awhile and see how she copes. However, I know the real reason she is only going to attempt dialysis, if necessary, for a short time: she wants to discern how my dad would cope on his own in the new residence and if it appears he will be able to manage she will stop the treatment and let herself pass into the next life.

Of course I am hoping and praying a diuretic is all that is needed. I admire mom's ability to face up to other possibilities and choose her own path should any of them turn out to be the truth. Her creatinine  levels are so good...we had no idea any other problems were on the horizon.

Thanks for praying for my mom. I so want her to be able to enjoy her new living quarters and all the new friends she is making.  There is always something health related going on it seems, in our family. However it is so rarely Mom who has long term scary issues. She has always been the steady rock for the rest of us. I continue to pray as I always have that Dad could go first. He wants that and so do we all, but you  never know what is going to happen in life.

Thanks for praying once again. When I hear next week what is going on, I will let you know.

Can Anyone Explain This Little Ditty To Me?

When I was a kid in Sunday School we sang a number of odd little choruses, most of which I have now thankfully forgotten, but there is one I remembered the other day and no matter how hard I try I cannot make any sense of it.  Anyone out there able to help me "get it"??  The words are thus:

Rocka my soul in the bosum of Abraham (x3)
Oooh, rocka my soul.
So high you can't get over it.
So low you can't get under it.
So wide you can't go around it.
You have to go in through the door.

Whaaaaa??  Do any of you have any idea what this is about or what the point of it is?  If you actually know and are not just speculating, I would love to have the background for this ditty that seems like complete nonsense to me.

Ooooh, Shovelling Snow Is So Exhausting!

Actually I am being rather sarcastic.

In our last parish I had the equivalent of one side of a city block to shovel out every time it snowed: lots of walkway, the sidewalk, plus a giant area behind the garage to shovel a pathway for the car to keep it from becoming high centered on its way to the alley. Sometimes I had to shovel out the alleyway as well so we could get the car out to the street. It was a hoot and I had lots of great exercise all winter.

This morning I had to shovel here for the first time this winter. We finally had a good three centimetres of snowfall overnight, too heavy to broom away. Now we have such a teensy area to shovel it is kind of disappointing. It took me longer to haul my coat and boots from the front closet to the back door and put them on than it took me to shovel off the weensy back deck and four stairs to ground level! For good measure I swept after shovelling, mostly as an excuse to remain out of doors.

What a great winter thus far and in a couple of months it will be nearly over! I LOVE El Niño out here on the prairies. Just wish it wasn't wreaking such havoc on our neighbours to the south...

Off to clean house!

First Answer To Our Prayers

Happy to report that our young friend was able to stand strong when she met her baby's dad yesterday. His family came along as well to try to persuade her to travel with them to their town, but she was able to refuse. She allowed them all to play with the baby for awhile before she left, taking the child with her. Hopefully this bodes well for her decision to remain where she is when the father returns to their former home. At this point he is determined they are coming back with him and the situation could become ugly and dangerous once again.

Our friend and her family thank you for your prayers and are grateful for the spiritual support.
Blessings be yours today.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Yeah....What They Said:

I appreciate what the kids in the link below are trying to communicate:

https://www.facebook.com/EastCatholicHighSchool/videos/1031698306852693/

And the Rich Get Richer

I just read a newspaper article that mentioned a former aquaintance of mine who lives in a town far away.  He is a multimillionaire land dealer and cattle rancher.  He just won nearly twenty-five thousand dollars in a sports lotto.  As I read through the list of other winners I noticed a couple of names of other former aquaintances of mine.  They are in far greater financial need; one of them I know for sure would have had to sacrifice financially to even purchase a ticket on the draw in support for her grandson who is on the sports team sponsoring the contest. She also won...a paltry five hundred dollars....to her it will be an absolute fortune and she will be grateful for it for the rest of her life.  The fellow who won the bigger bucks may deposit his cheque into his bank account and never think about it again as it is such a drop in the bucket of his large fortune. (Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against the man. He has worked hard for decades to amass his fortune.)  The inequity of finances around the world has always fascinated me.  Because I happen to know people who won both larger and smaller amounts in this particular lotto, I am reminded of a certain biblical story about a widow and her two mites....sound familiar?  I am grateful God notices the poor as well as the rich.  In him there is equity at the end of life that isn't always apparent here on earth.

Urgent Prayer Request For a Friend's Safety

Asking for prayer today for a young woman and her small child, for their safety and for God's intervention in the broken relationship with the father of the child, who is an addict and today is on his way to see them after a long absence...well, actually they ran to protect themselves and he has located them and is expecting to see them today, plus take a road trip as a family a couple of hours away to see his parents....it is not a good thing on the surface. The result of the woman agreeing to bring the child to see this man and possibly being weak willed enough from fear and continued denial about his state of mind, to also agree to take this little road trip, could be devastating.  I am worried sick today about them all. Thanks for praying. It may be awhile before I have an update, so don't stop praying if it is a few days before I get any news. Thanks EVER SO MUCH!

A Day Of Fun and a Day Of Work

Yesterday was a fun day and today is laundry day...not that laundry day isn't a ton of fun...seeing all those grubby clothing items return to sparkling cleanliness and all that....yeah.....right.....but a great way to fill in a day that is extremely cold once again and is also a day when I have no car to use.  I will have more fun on the weekend cleaning the suite....yeah....right....but a great way to fill days that are extremely cold once again and also days when I have no car to use.  You get my point.......have car, WILL travel!

Yesterday began with only my second trip to Cornwall Centre since September's little accident.  It was lovely to get out window shopping and getting my hair cut properly.  Well, actually the hair cut did work out, (despite a half hour description by the stylist of her kitten's recent, nearly fatal bladder blockage...eeeewwww) but the window shopping was a bit of a bomb...a dismal failure....a fiasco....yup, I bought two tops that I really don't need.  

In my defense, when Dot's has a clearance sale and has wonderful, beautiful, well made items on a rack for ONE DOLLAR apiece, how could I possibly have said no to making a purchase?  Right?  If I wear the top a few times, wash it a couple of times and it falls apart, well, nothing really lost, and some enjoyment in the meantime, right?!!  Of course right!

The one dollar item assuaged my burning conscience over the sixty dollar item I also purchased....also half price and I know that to be true because I have been eyeing said item for a couple of months in another store where it is retailed at double the price I paid. No, I don't really need the pant jacket, BUT at that price.....right??? Of course right!!  Dot's is a great clearing house for all manner of items, some well made and wonderful, others not so great.  I just enjoy searching through all the crammed in racks looking for the types of bargains I found yesterday. (the purchases also gave me the excuse I seemed to be needing to bag up for the thrift store a couple of other clothing items at home that I have not been wearing or wanting to keep for some time)

My husband was running errands of his own for work but met me at Zam Zam Wraps for an early lunch.  Oh those chicken shwarama salads are fantastic.  I did a bit of a sodium splurge by having several pickled turnips on it...bad me....o well, too late now, urp!!

The other fun thing yesterday was receiving funny cards in the mail and phone calls from so many friends and family all afternoon and into the evening.   Mostly everyone was feeling upbeat and was full of fun: a good health report, a lost job restored, a relationship mediated and healed...it was great to hear so much good news.

So, back to the laundry now....and the morning physio....and some tidying up....perhaps I will get around to getting dressed eventually...just in case I either have to go somewhere unexpectedly, or because someone comes to the door that I am not aware is coming, or just because it would be a good thing to do to stay feeling human today.  There goes the dryer buzzer...time to go to work once again. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Survived the Concert, Yay!

Our choir concert went fairly well last night. My husband enjoyed it more than he thought he would, so that is saying something....something positive! We only made one glaring error as a group, but it was covered up quickly and few in the audience realized what we had done to disgrace ourselves. The chocolate fondue was a wildly popular hit to our sold out audience, but my husband discerned a drop in choir energy after we delivered the food, then sat to listen to one of our members tell a cute story while people were eating. The whole event wrapped up in just over 90 minutes, so no one was bored.

A comment was shared with me just before I went home that so many in the choir are apparently pleased I am there with a peacemaker sort of attitude. It seems there have been some personality clashes and power struggles in the past in the group, so a newcomer is eyed with suspicion until she proves herself willing and able to be a team player. That explains some of the feelings I sensed the first couple of months I was there, feelings of discomfort and not fitting in. Recently it began to change and now I know why. There is also something happening on a spiritual plane in the group and it is slowly becoming clear I am there for ministry more than for my own enjoyment. The comment last night confirmed it and I finally have a peace about continuing my participation. There are a number of lonely folk in our group who need someone to talk to and as usual, that is becoming my role. It is a true privilege. Lots of people to pray for....

Of the nine tickets I sold, four of my guests did not show up. Two of them were called away and gave their tickets to other friends, so it was nice to meet new people I didn't know previously. I suspect the others either forgot about it all together, weren't well, or more likely just didn't feel like it. I only wish they had let me know in that case, so I could have purchased their tickets back and given them to the ticket takers last night. We were completely sold out and had to turn people away at the door. Those unused tickets would have come in handy.

Well, onward we go. No rehearsal next weekend and then we resume for the spring session. I am more than ready for some new music. I am feeling settled at last about my involvement in the choir as it seems now to have a higher purpose than just my own fun.

It's all good!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

My Dad's Birthday

My dad turned 89 years old today....I can hardly believe it.  Mom will join him in age this coming November. Then comes the big 90!!  Wow......  Times like this are when it is difficult to be so far away and unable to fly to Calgary to see my parents. Fortunately a group of young cousins of Dad's are putting on a birthday dinner at their home on Monday.  I tried all morning and into the early afternoon to call Dad on the phone, but his line was busy, busy, busy.  When we finally reached him from the restaurant at dinner time, he was completely exhausted from talking all day on the phone to various well wishers.  Glad for him that so many remembered him.  I am HOPING, HOPING, he will allow me to put something together for his 90th next January. Usually the very idea that I would do something instead of he and Mom planning their own events throws them both into a miserable tizzy, but maybe they are now old enough and just sufficiently incapacitated that I will be allowed to plan a small event for a change. I will start saving money now to fly out there and do something, even if it is just renting the social room at the complex where he and mom live now and inviting their friends in for an open house. So many of their friends live in the same complex as it is, so they wouldn't have to travel far to attend! haha  I can only hope Dad's and Mom's health will permit them a bit of an extra celebration next year and that I will be able to afford to go and have some fun with them. A lot can change in a year and I pray I will not be robbed of my chance to let them know how actually genuinely grateful I am for many things about my rather odd childhood...if they can accept my desire to do something nice for them it could be a lovely time together. God less them!

Dress Rehearsal Today, Yay!

I am grateful for how well our dress rehearsal went at choir this afternoon.  After last weekend's debacle rehearsal it was such a treat to see how we pulled ourselves together for the return of our director.  Sorry that we are still so dependent on him after all these months, but perhaps we were all recovering from too much holidaying over the Christmas break.  Anyway, today was pretty darned good so I hope we can carry that over into tomorrow evening's concert.  We are 8 tickets short of a complete sellout so I hope and pray we can deliver to our audience! Perhaps I will feel free to get excited now.  I am bored to tears with the songs and so ready to move on to the new ones for our spring session.  Me and my short attention span....aiii yiiiii....

My dear husband picked me up after the rehearsal and told me he was ravenous even though it was just after 4pm. I was as well because I had not counted my carbs properly at lunch, shorting myself at least one unit and then standing to sing on risers for over 2 hours.  Off we went to Unique Bistro again.  We are becoming creatures of habit.  But it was so delicious....again....  We tried to go to a different restaurant closer to home that has been on our list for awhile, but we waited to long it seems. The place is closed down and large For Lease signs are decorating the windows.  Guess it wasn't that great?  Perhaps we were saved from a disappointing meal?  It is nice to be home just as the sky is going dark, safely back in our little home for a relaxing evening.

My husband did some hospital visiting while I was at choir and also met up with visiting musicians over at our church. They will be with us a week from tomorrow for worship leading at the request of our Womens' Guild.  The are extremely liturgical, from Roman Catholic backgrounds AND....drum roll please....they are a POLKA BAND!!!!  I nearly fell over when I heard that one.  My husband was terribly skeptical, perhaps even a tad upset (?), until he met with them today to look over the set up of our sanctuary.  He is feeling far more at ease now that he has met with them!  A polka band leading our Anglican worship on January 17th....I am very curious to see how that works.  We are never bored at out church, that is for sure!

My husband actually made an appointment for a meet and greet with a doctor at the clinic where I have my medical appointments.  He goes in a week's time.  Something I said got him thinking more seriously about his health once again and he realizes he had better get a proper check up and be more regular in taking care of himself.  YIPPEE!!  I am delighted.  He has this coming Monday and Tuesday off as planned, so I am going to get him to drive me to a hair appointment on Tuesday morning....o wow, my hair is so long it is completely unruly!  When I try to use the curling iron to curl it under, one side insists on defiantly curling the opposite direction once I brush it out.  It has been YEARS since I last had that problem!  Well, my hair dresser went to Mexico the week it should have last been cut, and then there was Christmas break and then and then....aiii yiiii...she is going to have a fit when she sees me. I look like a shaggy dog! Next set of appointments to make will be dental now that I have a couple of names of dentists to try.

We are surviving our first brush with very cold weather and have hope from the forecast that by mid week we will be above normal again for temperatures.  Sure hope that is true, as we were incredibly spoiled by El Nino until yesterday. 

The first weekend of April we are invited to a house concert.  It should be a wonderful event. The pianist daughter of our choir director and her guitar playing husband are performing in the home of my husband's cousin.  Both musicians also sing.  It should be a ton of fun.  How nice to have a spring event all ready to look forward to.

Off to rest my leg up on the sofa for awhile.  All the standing today was hard on it and I have to stand up like that again tomorrow evening. I am grateful for the chair I will be able to sit on in the kitchen at our intermission time.  My partner and I will be opening bags of melted chocolate and putting them into fondue pots for our audience to enjoy. After the fondue we will close with a story and 4 short songs.  It is going to be a fun evening but the amount of work has been hideous, particularly for the 2 or 3 folk who put this whole idea together every year and get the rest of us organized.  My hip got me out of most of the extra work so I will have to make up for that at the spring concert, whatever extras we do at that time.  

So, a good day all around.  Now I am tired and full of warm food, (half a chicken stuffed with feta and a garlic aioli drizzle, with a ton of veggies), and ready for a rest.  Time to get going on a new novel I think!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Happy Epiphany to Me! Thanks Lovey!

My husband made it home safely from Swift Current last evening.  As it happened the only truly bad highway conditions were between here and Moose Jaw, so he did well  for a winter trip.

This morning we decided to utilize his day off to pick up some of the heavier grocery items I am still having trouble wrestling around from shelf to cart to cashier to cart to car to home kitchen.  My husband insisted we go to the farthest northern reaches of the city to a big grocery that is always a mad house, but rarely more so than on a start to the weekend morning.  I was kind of ticked off because our own little store 2 blocks away would have all that I needed to purchase, but I didn't argue. Usually there is a good reason for my husband insisting that we go somewhere inconveniently out of the way.

O there was a good reason all right!  He was up early this morning researching where he could get me a new cell phone, a more up to date phone than the wee sprout I have been managing with for the past 9 years!  I don't need more capacity than phone calls, emergency assistance numbers and texting and I love the PC "pay as you go" plan.  The store he took us to had exactly what he wanted to get me, so while I was filling the cart with groceries, the heavy ones he was supposedly going to help me load into the cart and..., he disappeared to check out the phones with customer service.  I was really ticked off because I didn't have any idea where he had gone or what he was doing.

What a lovely surprise to have him finally arrive back and announce, just before I got in line to pay for the load, that a new cell phone was being added to our purchases, my wonderfully unexpected Epiphany gift!  WOW! Thank you my dear husband!!  I now have a screen large enough to take an entire text message~no more receiving one message as 3 or 4 that have to be downloaded all out of order and then sense made somehow of the total message. hahaha I can't believe I have been doing that all these years....tells you how rarely I have actually used my phone, BUT now I will use it more often.  I have accrued over two hundred dollars in minutes I should start using up.

So, on this freezing cold day, (-18C is our daytime high after getting used to the unusual warmth of  -6C days), sliding about on icy city streets and feeling put out about having to drive so far away for a few groceries, I got a wonderful surprise.  

The phone is wonderful. Being thought of and surprised by joy even better. 

Now I am about to do my afternoon physio (only tonight's round before a 2 day break, yay!) while my husband prepares an English trifle dessert for tonight's party.  Then we will activate my new phone.  YIPPEE!!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

How Do I Know Winter Is Finally Here For Real?

Weeeellll...it could be because the temperature is in the process of dropping to normal range after weeks of El Niño warmth.
It could be because we had a true snowfall today of a good couple of centimetres.
It could be because I had to twice brush the snow off all the car windows this morning while running errands around the city.
It could be because the streets were very slippery, causing skidding at most of the major intersections.
It could even be because I pulled my annual start of winter stunt: driving away from our parking lot before unplugging the car from the plug in post.
BUT the real reason I know winter is at last truly upon us is that my husband and the Bishop are out skating along the highway on their way home from the day's meetings many miles away!
Yup, my husband out driving on terrifying highways that should be closed due to ice and drifting snow is a dead giveaway!
Yup!

Shaking With Relief

O glorious day! It seems the possible, likely cancerous, tumor we asked for prayer about is a benign cyst after all. Considering the medical history of the person involved it is no wonder we were so worried and are now so incredibly relieved. Over the next few weeks more tests will be done to confirm the diagnosis, but so far the news is wonderful! Thanks to those of you who prayed along with us. Whew!

My husband and I both slept wonderfully well last night.

Today he and the Bishop are headed out of town to meet with a priest. They can share the driving, have a chance to discuss strategic planning, deal with work email and pray together.

I am deciding between either running some out of the house errands before the outside temperature takes a plunge tomorrow or getting a good start on cleaning house. I am thinking maybe the errands will win out because my husband will be home tomorrow preparing an English trifle for the Bishop's Epiphany party tomorrow night. In other words there will be cake and custard everywhere, dirty dishes will abound and the doormats will refill with sand from his trips to and from the grocery store. That is so annoying to have to re-vacuum the mats ans re-wash the kitchen floors the day after doing them the first time. Yes, errands it is!

Better get a move on in that case. It is blood testing day, I need a shower and a thorough hair treatment, physio and breakfast dishes await.

O how I am dreading the return to more normal January temperatures. The weekend sounds like it will be brutal. I am disappointed to have the change happen the weekend of running about on both days for choir rehearsals, set up for the concert, the concert....I hate to admit I will just be happy when the concert is over. The concert itself is fine, but the hoopla, extra work and cost and time consumption of the rest of the extravaganza is not what I realized I was signing up for.

Well, at least I know exactly how my next few days will be spent now that I have picked errands for today's fun and games.