Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Cool Personal Kind of Prayer From the Small Book of Dailies

I lived for many years in a small Alberta town that was populated with many a nasty, ignorant sort of person who verbally, openly, persecuted anyone who was not like him or herself.  There were two groups of folk in particular that targeted me for years and years.  Out of that experience, on top of all the other horrendous stresses that were going on in my life at the time, I learned how to maintain a thick shell to protect my emotions.  Nearly thirty years of it definitely made me stronger and more confident even though the basis of it was a complete mystery to me at the time and there were times when gossip and abuse did cause a few problems. Occasionally there was an actual basis to some of the comments and when I stopped to think about what was being said, it brought me up short and helped me to change some changeable areas of my life.

I found this prayer particularly fitting for situations such as that one.  If you are feeling picked on or are experiencing nasty comments at the hands of others, try this little prayer on for size:

"Lord, I don't like being criticized.  Give me a calm spirit when others make cutting remarks.  Please give me insight to know if what is said is true--and if I need to make changes in my life.  If not, please heal my heart from these verbal barbs."
AMEN!!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Have a Safe Flight Son

In three hours time my son will be jetting off to New York City on the "red eye" from Vancouver.  It is a wonderful direct flight, 5 hours and 10 minutes long, perfect for someone like my son who has no trouble sleeping on the plane.  For me it would be an absolute nightmare because I have never dozed off for even a few seconds while flying.  Being awake for 13 straight hours between Vancouver and Tokyo a few years ago was a waking nightmare of exhaustion!!

He is off to visit some of the folk who are writing reference letters for his US visa application.  It will be a busy 4 days of seeing them and working in visits to some amazing art shows at various galleries and museums.  Then he will join his boss from the gallery where he works and the two of them will organize and run a booth at an art book fair for 5 days.  It is another leg of the same fair that they worked at in Miami last year.  I don't think it is all that exciting for either of the guys, but they are faithful to flog the art books and sell as many as they can, as well as advertise their gallery.

Have a safe and happy time son.  Enjoy every minute of your time away.  Sell yourself and sell the gallery and sell the books.  Schmooze, schmooze, schmooze!!  

Please come home happy, healthy, safe and refreshed.

SUCCESS!! YAY!!

Nyaaa haa haa!!!  Mom and Dad just called and the clothes I purchased for them yesterday all fit well and they love the styles and colours!  YIPPEE!!!

Is there any better feeling than gifting someone with something they truly like and will enjoy using/wearing over and over again??!

So glad it worked out.

Canada Post certainly did a great job getting that parcel to Calgary and delivered to my parents' door in less than 24 hours.

A good day....AGAIN....!

Why, THANK YOU Sweetie!!!!

My husband had me in stitches last night. I laughed and laughed.

After nearly 40 years of marriage, it dawned on him yesterday how much he appreciates opening his clothes closet and dresser drawers each day and discovering stacks of freshly laundered and ironed items to wear.  It seemed quite a revelation to him that he has me to thank for that.  hahaha  He was quite in awe of the fact that he never has to think about his wardrobe and if there will be clean clergy shirts and pants ready to put on each day for officewear, never has to worry if his albs are glistening white for church services and never opens his underwear drawer to discover it empty of clean socks and shorts. 

Yup, that's muh job dearie....you earn the pay cheque now and I look after everything on the home front.  It was so hilarious to hear his praises and his self deprecation over what a terrible job he would do if the laundry was supposed to be his bailiwick.  

Nice to know that after all these years my husband is still capable of noticing my work on occasion.  hahaha  He was just so in awe yesterday....hahaha  Hysterical!!

This morning was a good time of grocery shopping in a large store I only get to on rare occasions.  What fun discovering some new products and some sales.  I have always enjoyed getting out early in the morning, shortly after store opening times and getting everything accomplished well before lunch.  The weather is beautiful, warming up each day by a few more degrees over the day before.  Today, although there is still a chilly wind and the smell of spring is not yet in the air, it felt more like winter is at an end around here.  I hope the annual spring storm does not hit on Sunday while my husband and some of his colleagues are on the road to Moosomin for the induction of their new priest!!  There will be a storm, it is just a matter of when and how badly it hits.  It is an annual event.  Now that our studded tires are off the car I do hope we don't get stuck somewhere out of town when it arrives.  hahaha  That too is an annual event! hahaha

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Retail Therapy For the Sake of Others

I had an awesome time today!  I drove to the Northgate shopping mall, almost as far north of my home as it is possible to go and still in inside the city.  The Alia and TanJay store there was going to be the stopping off spot to purchase the clothes items my mother tried to find and failed to get in Calgary.  However, it was not meant to be.  Apparently the new lines for older women in that store are an attempt either to force them to dress younger than they want to look or else they are seeking a completely new clientele.  Not sure what is going on, but I found only 1 pair of pants there in the old style my mother wears and it wasn't even her size so.....  It was fun looking around the rest of the mall, but there was nothing remotely suitable for my mother in any of the other ladies' retail outlets.

On the way home I began to wonder if I should end my boycott of Sears at least temporarily on the off chance they would have some old Alia styles still in stock.  The store is downtown and trying to park, even in the parkades provided, can be more trouble than it is worth as they are often full by midmorning.  I decided not to risk that, drove myself home, located my bus fare jar and just made it to the bus stop in front of my house in time to ride up to the store.

Off I trudged to Sears, lunch at Zam Zam Wraps dangling in front of me like a dead rabbit on a stick at a greyhound race track, my reward for at least attempting to locate suitable clothing for my mom.

It took some searching through racks and racks of mixed up clothing bargains, but good old Regina Sears saved the day!!  I found 2 of the 3 colours of slacks Mom has been wanting, in her old fashioned style and material, in her size.  I found a nice top that would match both pair and a lovely sweater as well to go with for mixing and matching.  YAY!!  With the renovation of their customer service area I was able to pay for my purchases within a reasonable amount of wait time, first time that has happened since I moved here.  Every item was at least 40% off, plus I had a discount coupon for a purchase over $75.  For less than $100 I was able to get almost everything Mom has been looking for.

I was feeling faint from hunger by the time I got the clothes, so headed up to Zam's for my chicken shwarama salad.  Oooh, it tasted so good even though their new employee was a bit stingy on the salad ingredients. He made up for it with the amount of shwarama though.  YES!

After filling my face with good salad I headed back to Sears with the intention of locating at least one shirt for Dad as well.  Dad is so tiny now that he has an awful time trying to find a shirt small enough that is still long enough in the sleeves.  Due to his skin cancer he can't wear boys' short sleeved shirts any more in summer and has to wear mens' long sleeved cotton casuals.  I not only found two shirts in his size that are quite lovely in colour and patterns, they were on clearance.  What a find!  Two absolutely excellent quality shirts for $30.  

I am very grateful to Sears this visit.  They had what my elderly parents want for clothing items and they had a quick and efficient cashier experience for me!! Whatever it is they are doing to try to improve the store, so far it is working well apparently. There were more customers in there than I have seen in a very long time.

On the way out of the mall I stopped at the postal outlet and purchased a proper cardboard mailing box, then came home and put the clothes into it for mailing.  A drive to the nearest postal outlet ensued and they are Express posted for arrival tomorrow.  

The icing on the cake was a lovely email from one far away friend and a phone call from another, almost as far away in the opposite direction across the country!

My husband got caught up on his rest last night and went into the office this morning primed and ready to tackle the day's stresses and hard work.  He awoke this morning minus the dread he was experiencing yesterday about the end of study leave and the beginning of another week of local work.

Tomorrow The Son leaves for NYC for a few days of talking to the people writing letters of recommendation for his visa and then to work at the art book fair with his boss.  I am glad he gets this break from the same old same old of his work life.  Any trip away seems to inspire him to enjoy his gallery job more and to work even harder on his art works.

Bonuses: a sunny, warmer than it has been, day!! and tonight's upcoming episode of The Blacklist!!

Good Sleep, Good Weather

Dad's painful episode yesterday has reminded me once again of the brevity of our earthly lives and of the relief coming when we eventually find ourselves in the Kingdom.

So, I continue with my resolve to live every day in the "Fullness of Joy", aka Jesus Christ himself!

The older I get the easier it is to fall into a sort of mindless depression over issues of aging, chronic health issues that were much easier to dismiss only a few years ago, a looming retirement we can't afford, the upcoming probable loss of my parents, fears for our son's financial and personal future, the impossibilities surrounding my husband's work, and the gradual eroding of our own abilities with each passing year.

Some days it isn't quite as easy as it should be to hang onto joy.

However, I had a great sleep last night after a long time of prayer before bed. I am learning that giving up my concerns and downright fears to God at that time of the evening is a wise thing to do. Most nights now I am sleeping more soundly as a result of that honest time with the creator of the universe.

Adding to my happiness today is a forecast of warmer weather here! Today we should finally reach a high of +16C and by next week we may be up in the +28C range. Yay!! It means our trees will finally bud out and produce beautiful green leaves, my favourite.

It IS going to be another good day today, regardless of what happens on the outward front! The Fullness of Joy himself is always with me!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Finally....NEWS!

Mom has just phoned me in high dudgeon that I have not returned several calls from Dad over the past 2 days, including the one late this afternoon to announce he was home from hospital!  

And why did I not respond to his calls?  Because he was calling my cell phone, the one I only use when travelling, instead of our home phone.  Sigh.....  He has the numbers all confused in his directory and Mom is going to have to straighten him out.  The poor man is only going to be more befuddled after the day he has had.

It turns out that his back and his hip are just fine....according to the scans and x-rays he had today there has been no further bone deterioration in the past year since his last tests. Great news indeed!

The pain has been from multiple muscle spasms brought on when he leaned backward and twisted sideways in order to open the blinds in the living room.  He knows he is not to ever move that way, but he just wasn't thinking and there you go!!  Instant agonizing pain that would not go away.

He was in hospital for 7  hours today getting tested and getting pain meds that he is right now sleeping off in the comfort of his own bed.  Praying he will be over this in a very few days so he can be mobile again....although he managed to use his own walker to leave the hospital this afternoon when the taxi arrived to take him and mom home.  Mom had all ready made one round trip by taxi earlier in the day to get his clothes and walker for home coming and was ticked off that, although my phone number showed up on her call display, I had not left a message.  Well, I couldn't because in the process of the EMT's moving Dad out of bed onto the stretcher, they accidentally pulled the cord for the answering machine out of the wall.  

Talk about a comedy of errors with the phones....hahaha!!  

Anyway, it was a good day around here other than the stress of worrying about what was going on with Dad.  So relieved that he is not worse off than  he is and that the bones in his back and hip are holding steady for the time being.  Now, Lord, please relieve him of this pain.
Thank you Father God. Thank you friends and family for praying for him and mom.

Still No News About Dad

It has been eight hours since I got the call about Dad being taken to hospital. I cannot reach Mom and she is not yet home. Knowing the weaknesses of the emergency department at that hospital I realize there is every possibility that dad has had no real diagnosis or treatment even yet. I don't know if he is alive or dead. I don't know anything else at all. I am beyond frustrated. I will wait until dinner and if I still have no news all I can do is call the hospital switchboard to see if he has been admitted to a ward. If he hasn't, then what do I do? Do I call every other hospital in his city looking for him or do I just wait to hear from mom? Attempting to be proactive in this kind of situation is most difficult. Knowing my parents, I will not hear from mom until she is home again with all her facts straight. Sigh.....my parents tend to close ranks in times of emergency in their lives.

I want to be a good daughter, but in this situation what does that look like?

Okay, So Today Could Be Better!

Just got a call from my parents' residence. Mom and Dad are in an ambulance on the way to hospital. Dad somehow twisted his back and thinks it is broken. The EMT's suspect he dislocated his hip. Sigh..... Here we go again.  Poor dad.... Poor mom....  If this had to happen I wish it could have been last week when we were there!

Mom will call when she knows something more and makes arrangements to get herself home. I tried to leave a message on the answering machine for her, but it seems to have been switched off.

Well, on with my day. I will have to keep the phone line free here now until I hear from her. Along with the loss of our long distance special ringer for reasons SaskTel cannot seem to figure out nor fix, our call waiting feature has become sporadic as well. I can't trust it to alert me any more that someone    else is trying to reach me in the midst of another call.

Crisis to crisis....elderly parents.....sigh....

It Is Difficult To Feel Lonely Living In This Area!

Yesterday was quite lovely!  I got the grocery shopping done in the morning and collected a substantial number of PC points in the process.  Next week I will be able to cash them in for a fairly  large load for almost no further outlay of cash!  YES!!

After a simple lunch here we went to Caronport library for my husband to do some more research and take out some books.  Since it is fairly comprehensive for his subject matter it will be very nice being able to drive back and forth in a less than 2 hour round trip to continue his project.  

As soon as we walked into the building he spotted an aquaintance of ours who has spent the last 2 school terms at a denominational seminary in Ontario and has just returned for the summer.  We had such a great visit together.  She is looking well, serene, confident in her doctrinal studies.  Her family has adjusted to her absence and in another few months she will have completed the schooling part of her education so will be home again to work on her dissertation.  It was truly a pleasure to talk to her once again.  The book I brought with me to read while my husband was in the library never did get opened.  When it was time for my friend to return to her studies I did get up to the library before my husband was finished his work, but the librarian is an old friend I don't get to visit with a lot and she wanted to have a chat.  YAY!  The whole afternoon turned out so well there for both of us.

Then it was back as far as Moose Jaw for a tire change on the car.  I enjoyed a teensy hot chocolate treat while my husband powerwalked up the hill above the Tim Hortons to a dollar store for some inexpensive wires and plugs.  As soon as the tires were done we drove around the block to Original Joe's for an early dinner.  We tossed our diets to the wind and had their delicious potato salad as one of the sides, pretending that the green salads with no dressing on them were going to make up for the slathering of fat filled mayo on the potato salad...denial is a wonderful thing. I was good with my burger though: no bun for my grilled chicken, just the meat, no extra salt added while grilling.  I so wanted a beef burger but consistently in restaurants there is even more salt added to the all ready fatty meat than there is to the chicken, so I chose the chicken instead.  I know, I know....justify, justify, justify! hahahaha

When we returned home we headed straight to the Synod office for the monthly meeting of the Bishop's prayer group.  It was a pretty intense time of praise and prayer.  We stormed the gates of heaven about a few issues and it will be interesting to see how our prayers are answered in the coming months.

Today is laundry day for me.  My husband returns to work.  He has developed a possibly pre-ulcerous stomach in recent months, as his new food sensitivities can attest.  He received good advice from the Bishop last night about handling his stress over the job and if he takes it I think he will improve substantially.  The poor man is just too much of a perfectionist but I believe he is being given a great chance by the Lord while in this job to realize that sometimes the impossible doesn't just take a little longer, but is truly impossible, so why worry about it!!?! The Lord knows and if He wants something done there will be time and energy. If not, well, obviously He has other priorities so chill!! His priorities don't need to make sense to us all the time.

Well, off to start the day once again.  Hopefully another good day in the making!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Another Appropriate Prayer.....

.......from my book of "dailies" that is particularly applicable to my father these days. One of the reasons he lives in denial about his own age, mom's kidney failure, etc., is that it is his way of coping with realities he cannot bring himself to face head on.  The daily narcotics for pain are not helping his mental state, but he is still doing better than he was a year ago and for that I am grateful.

Here is the prayer:
" Lord, I ask in the name of Jesus that You would deliver Dad from fear.  Abba, Father, rescue him from terror, dread, and the fearful anticipation of things that scare him. He cannot do this on his own. Deliver him, Lord, to Your freedom and peace."
Amen!!!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Happy Yawns!

The last week is kind of a blur at this point...so much to do crammed into a few short days for both my husband and myself, but overall it was a fulfilling experience of study and helping my parents.

On Saturday my husband and I were able to get out on our own for a few hours to enjoy the shops in Inglewood, in particular Tea Traders and The Silk Road spice shop.  Our wallets were lightened a good deal after purchasing both types of products in large amounts to bring home with us.  We had a wonderful lunch at Fine Dining Inglewood: they prepare their own burgers out of freshly ground brisket and I was able to have mine served medium rare....SO good!!!

Saturday we had our evening meal with my parents in the dining room of their facility.  It was a fried chicken dinner with roasted potatoes, cauliflower and boiled leeks, with a giant starter salad.  No wonder they have gained a few pounds.  It was quite delicious. The pineappple upside down cake was dreadful...a dry cakemix with some chopped up tinned pineapple that should have been turned over when cut out of the pan, but wasn't, so it looked pretty funny. Also there was no sauce whatsoever.  Dessert aside, the meal was far better than I was expecting and I am feeling pretty good about what they are being fed.

We prepaid our room, fortunately, as when we left the next morning there was no one around anywhere to receive our funds and write us up a receipt.  It is because we left just after 5am.  My husband managed to set his watch incorrectly the night before and when he woke up at 4am, he thought it was 5am, but by the time he figured out the mistake we were half packed up to go home. haha

We drove away from the facility at 5:10am and, even with several stops for gas, drinks, meals and change of drivers, we arrived home at 2pm.  What a great feeling to be back so early in the day and to have time to get unpacked and refreshed.  It was also wonderful to get that very long, boring, monotonous drive across the prairies over with.  Once we got east of Maple Creek, there was barely a blade of green grass to be seen anywhere.  It was a return to the blah browns and murky blacks and greys of the early spring prairie landscape.  One delight however was discovering a tiny patch of brilliant neon yellow "buffalo beans" growing along the roadside near Tompkins.  I have not seen any of those in years.  They are just so interesting to look at.  Didn't see any crocuses but the buffalo beans were a thrilling contrast to the ugliness surrounding them.

I have learned a few things about long drives that help me deal mentally with being in the car for over 8 hours in a day: 
-I get showered up and hair washed the night before or first thing that morning if there is time before leaving
-I eat a decent breakfast in the hotel room with groceries purchased in a store, rather than eating greasy eggs and bacon in a restaurant before getting on the road
-I save one completely clean, fresh outfit to put on for the trip home so I don't feel grubby all day in the car 

Both of us are tired today, but still got some chores in this morning after a good night's sleep.  This afternoon I have been working around home and my husband went for a brisk 45 minute power walk around Wascana "Lake".  I am going to go and do my physio now before supper and probably go to bed early again this evening.

How nice to be home in my own comfy bed once again.  The facility bed was a nice new one, but the mattress has that darned memory foam on top, so once I had made a "nest" on the spot where I spent the longest number of hours sleeping on my back each night, trying to roll over was literally an uphill climb.  Between that and the softness of the foam, I was not very comfortable all week.

Tomorrow will be a fun day of grocery shopping early in the morning, followed by a trip out to Caronport to their library in the early afternoon and a rush to get the car into Moose Jaw well before 3pm to have the studs replaced with summer tires.  In the evening it is possible there is a prayer meeting at the office we probably should attend, although I can't help hoping the suggested alternative day and time will be chosen instead.  Not sure we will be able to stay awake long enough to participate, haha.

Hope you all had a good week while we were away having a good break from the same old same old around here.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Is It Time To Go Home Yet?

I am utterly exhausted. No one on the earth can outshop my elderly parents, I am sure!!!

My back aches, my feet hurt, my brain is fried, my hip...well....and I still have to get through tomorrow's shopping spree with my husband while my now only slightly tired parents take a day off from their shopping circuit. haha What a fun week. My parents are delighted with all that was accomplished and I am delighted to have been able at long last to get out here and make it happen for them.

My husband got his research done and has his ideas firming up for writing his papers over the coming weeks...finally a week where he wasn't so overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work that he couldn't feel productive!

I had lunch today with my friend from Nova Scotia and her two adult children. Greek at the Broken Plate was as delicious as always. Her kids are great, she is great...how have I ever managed to meet and retain such a fabulous friend?

Tonight an old family friend is stopping by for tea with us and my parents. That will be fun as well.

The week has flown past.  Seriously, I am actually shocked that 48 hours from now we will be back in our own home. The weather has been perfect. It has been good to be driving in city rush hour traffic again to keep that skill up. We brought sufficient changes of clothing to avoid doing any laundry...the luxury of travelling by car. All in all a happy week for us all.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Crackers and Cheese For Dinner

Another day of shopping with my parents, this time for a comfy, over stuffed recliner for the living room.

We spent an unexpected hour then at a Value Village to look for the necessary accoutrements for my husband to put together a few home communion kits for our church. I thought my parents would be less than appreciative about standing around in a thrift store, but they shocked me by getting into the spirit if the place. We left the store with six communion suitable chalices for my husband, two dress shirts for dad and seven summer tops for mom! I still can't believe it. I am not sure either if my parents have so much as entered a thrift store in their lives. haha

Dad wanted to lunch at Cheesecakes, where he and mom ate a gigantic lunch, plus dessert, while my husband and I were rather more restrained, haha.

Mom and I will be eating two restaurant meals tomorrow, so tonight I am having a slice of whole wheat bread with peanut butter, four crackers with a slice of low fat cheese, three prunes and a bottle of water for dinner.

Urp!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Thank You Jesus For a Better Sleep Last Night!!

BECAUSE today I toted two 89 year old seniors, along with their walkers, canes, jackets and Obusform pillows to ten (make that TEN) places around the city! Two banks, a restaurant, the scissor sharpening store, gas station, two pharmacies, a postal outlet, a hardware store and a grocery. Added to those trips I also made two trips to the university and back ferrying my husband to his studies, and one to different grocery store before I even picked up my parents, plus a trip to another restaurant for dinner. My parents are newly energized, bubbling over with excitement about all they accomplished today, while I feel like I've been "dragged through a knothole backwards"! (an old saw my mother still uses, but that until this week I have been happily able to forget).

At the moment it is 8:50pm. I just completed my daily physiotherapy. I am going to bed. I am not going to read first.

Straight to bed. That is where I am going.

Tomorrow I am taking them around the city again, shopping for a chair or love seat for their living room. After lunch we will be shopping for new lampshades for their bedroom lamps.

Thursday I will take my mother clothes shopping at a mall that couldn't be any further from her residence and still be within the city limits.

I forget where all I am taking them on Friday. Right now I don't care. I am going to bed.

Goodnight all....zzzzzzzzz......

PS did I mention that the daytime high for today was +28C? Mumble...mumble....zzzzz

Monday, April 18, 2016

Survived the Drive...Barely....

The wifi connection here is pretty iffy, so will not be blogging a lot this week, but for now suffice to say we survived the 8 hour drive to Calgary after church yesterday. We can't handle it like we used to, that is for sure! Yaaaaaawwwwn! So tired, but no exercise all day, so virtually no sleep last night. Did read an interesting novel instead...yes, the entire novel during 7 of the 8 hours I had to fill between 11pm and 7am.  A drive to Red Deer and back with mom this morning in intense heat, visiting with dad in the afternoon, running my husband back and forth to and from the university, another drive around the city to find a decent dinner, attending a fascinating performance tonight by members of Calgary's East Indian Classical Music Society....yeah...I SHOULD sleep tonight! If not, I do have another book to read. Tomorrow in between trips to the university I have errands to run in the morning, then an afternoon of grocery and other shopping for and with my parents. Wednesday I take them furniture shopping, Thursday  I take mom clothes shopping, the same for Dad on Friday, Saturday is tea shopping with my husband and Sunday we reverse the direction of our long and monotonous drive and head for home.

My week in a nutshell!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

More Amazing Friends...How Blessed We Are!

After the diocesan council meeting ended today, we went out for dinner with some priests from another town who were at the meeting with my husband.  We went to Bushwakkers because it was on their list of NEED TO TRY  restaurants and it was the perfect Saturday evening there.

The main restaurant kitchen was closing down only 15 minutes after our arrival due to a special brewers' dinner being held in the main dining room.  However, we had the option to order immediately and sit in a small side room generally used only in times of overflow or for private rentals.  It couldn't have been more perfect.  For the first half of our fellowship we were the only people in there.  We could talk about everything and anything and we certainly did that until another handful of people arrived. Even at that the spacing of the tables gave us a lot more privacy than we ever would have had in the main dining area on a Saturday at dinnertime.  It was quieter in our little room as well since the canned music barely intruded.

The meal was delicious as always and the company was so sweet.  Life for priests has the problem, universally, of being properly God centered but then having all the energy and teaching experiences, discipleship, even visiting, focused OUTward...giving, giving, giving, with too often very little edification, new ideas, non-church related folk and fun going INward to restore and revive the priests and other key leaders in the church.  At the end of our time together the four of us decided that the visit we shared was definitely an IN experience!!  It was fun to just be together and discuss our ideas with no pressure to be ministering to each other or to take on any excess, inappropriate amount of spiritual responsibility for each other.  We could just be ourselves with no other stresses.  

My husband unfortunately ate a spinach salad for dinner and on top of the other leafy green vegetable experiences he had this week and some giant stresses involved in today's meeting, he is suffering the same ill effects he suffered all ready this week.  However, it isn't nearly as bad tonight as it has been.  He can always to go bed really early and get up earlier than usual to finish packing for his trip and print off his sermon for church.

Here is to safe driving, good weather and roads and excellent health for us and my parents over the coming week. Thank you Lord!

Gets Me Thinking

I am excited for some friends who have been going through a rough time in their ministry over the past year. They are fixing up their house in preparation for a sale, then a move to another city in a different province. They have no ministry positions or other jobs secured yet for when they arrive, no idea how they will manage to live when they get there, but they know that they know that they know God has called them to this place. They just sent an email with some photos of the reno.

Looking at the photos, reading the email and remembering a recent phone conversation we shared, makes me remember the times my husband and I have done similar things and the joy and fun that have come out of making God directed moves that seemed completely hare brained at the time, even to us!

Following God's leading: Tokyo, Canada, India, Tanzania, Dubai, United States, England....

O the places you'll go and the things that you'll do!

NO!!! Not the Broccoli!!!???!

My husband has developed a new food sensitivity...sigh....after several experiments to discover what he has been ingesting over the past while that has made him so ill and miserable, we have discovered broccoli and its family members to be the culprits.  Sigh....do you realize how many vegetables that now elminates from his diet??  No broccoli, no cauliflower, no cabbage and once a reaction has begun from one of those he cannot eat cucumber either.

So, on top of the kolrabi he started reacting to a couple of years ago we now have quite a list of other new sensitivities to be avoided at all costs.

He hasn't been able to eat any corn or corn products for several decades, about six years ago we had to add beets and beet greens to the list, now all these delicious veggies also have to go.

In the midst of our wonderful visit with my cousin and his wife at noon yesterday, my husband had to excuse himself and lie down until the aching stomach and the dizziness passed.  Then I drove him to work for a mid afternoon meeting while I scurried around paying bills before returning to his office to pick him up after the meeting and bring him home again.  He had a good rest and then did some work from home last evening before an early bed time.

This morning he was up at 6:30am as usual, managed to eat his simple breakfast without any reaction...at least not before he left home...and was at the office by 7:30am to complete preparation for a day long meeting with the diocesan committee.  I sent him a very plain lunch to eat in case he is unable to eat what is going to be provided by the ladies at the church where they are meeting today.  Last night he had a soft boiled egg and a slice of lightly buttered toast for dinner and even that didn't sit totally well for him.  He was fine before bedtime but that poor man....what next is he not going to be able to eat???  Our son has the same reactions to that same broccoli/cauliflower food group but he has had it since he was a small child, so has managed to build his life around the elimination of all of them from his diet.  I think it is even more difficult and upsetting for such changes to have to occur in middle to older age.  My husband all ready has to avoid every trace of corn product and oats, as well as coffee....really difficult to do on the prairies...and now on top of having to cut out so many other foods to lower his skyrocketing cholesterol, he loses some of his favourite veggies. 

O my.....don't know how we will do in the city this coming week as circumstances dictate way too many restauarant and deli food meals....aiiii yiiiii....what a boring food pair we are becoming.  All the fun is going out of eating it seems, that is for sure.


Old age and infirmity.....blecch!!!

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Waiting Game

I am sitting on the sofa awaiting lunch guests. It is that antsy limbo time between having as much prepared as possible before they arrive and racing about tossing together the final presentation once they are here and we sit down to eat.

Sometime in the next half hour my cousin and his wife will be here to grace us with their illustrious missionary presence. Although they have been retired from the Japan field for several years, they have made several trips back and forth since retiring to the family home in rural Saskatchewan.

This is the cousin responsible for us tossing our miserable lives down the toilet fifteen years ago to move to Tokyo and begin our lives anew. Are we still as grateful to him now as we were then? You bet we are!

Life has had its ups and downs since returning to Canada for all of us, but the general trajectory has been onward and upward. We owe my cousin a lot more than the measly Mediterranean chicken salad and butter buns they will eat with us today!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Yawwwwwwnnnn........

'Tis a beautiful warm and sunny day today.  I have been for my morning walk, shredded old documents for an hour, eaten my meals and done the cleaning up afterward, have a load of laundry in the washer and now, at mid afternoon, I am ready for a nap!!  

Last night I didn't get sufficient sleep due to the late night noise of street sweepers, low flying aircraft and a higher than usual number of stereo thumping cars passing by my bedroom window.  On top of that I was newly energized by my successful shopping excursion downtown yesterday and had trouble settling down for an earlier than usual bedtime due to my husband having to get up earlier than usual this morning.  Fortunately he is going out for lunch with a baptismal candidate because after a rough night I was so groggy at 6:30am who knows what I would have sent in his lunch kit today??

I am going to continue with the other 2 loads of laundry rather than lie down and sleep in the middle of the day.  If I had a nap I know how wretched I would feel upon waking.  I am not one of those folks who can lay down for a brief period of time on a warm afternoon and awaken refreshed; instead I feel nauseated and dizzy, foggy headed and generally miserable. Sleeping is to occur between the hours of midight and 7am in my world!

I vaccumed and dusted a bit downstairs as well since my cousin and his wife are dropping by tomorrow for lunch. That will be fun. I have not seen them in nearly 3 years!!  The last time I saw them was the day before the major symptoms of that medication allergy began!  It will be so nice to see them again when I am actually feeling well!!

On Saturday I have to haul out a vaccuum from the suite to clean the inside of our car.  The windows need to be washed off and polished inside and the entire outside needs a trip to the carwash. Since we are going to have to get a new car soon after we return from study leave I am dreading putting all this work into our current old heap, but I will be hauling my parents around in it for the better part of a week.  They shouldn't have to dodge around bits of grass and old gravel pellets and other dirt that comes in on the bottom of our shoes and then sits for weeks at a time between cleanings.  I don't think the car got an interior cleaning the entire winter....yuck!!  Guess I am going to be busy on Saturday. Good thing I started the laundry today. Tomorrow afternoon I will iron up my clothes and wash my husband's laundry.  I started packing my suitcase all ready to save time on the weekend.

Oh dear Calgary...here we come!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Well No Wonder!!!!

I just read a newspaper article about the City of Regina deciding NOT to bring in a policy to license rental properties.  Again, with the stress and busyness of the move here, we did not take time to do proper research before seeking living accommodation. Again, we made an assumption that rental properties would of course have to be licensed.  NOT SO!!

O it explains so much about the myriad disaster properties we viewed.  Smoke detectors that did not appear to be in working order, if they were even present in some of the suites and houses; holes in the walls; filth and mouse droppings in basements; rat traps that had not been emptied in months; shorts in light switches; broken appliances....the list goes on.  The City has decided that instead of implementing the expensive procedures necessary for licensing, they will simply attempt to do a more complete job of inspecting ALL properties for compliance to health and safety standards.  "Good luck stormin' the castle(s)boys!"** is all I have to say about that.  There obviously aren't enough personnel in the city offices to do that now, how on earth are they going to improve the service to include so many rental properties that probably haven't been inspected by the City in years, if ever at all??

I do hope the City of Regina is able to find the manpower to do these more complete inspections.  We viewed far too many dangerous suites and houses last year before we moved into this place.  While it conducts more safety checks and performs asked for repairs more regularly, thoroughly and quickly than many of the other places we viewed, if this place is among the best...well....there is a definite problem with rentals in this city.   

** thank you script writers from The Princess Bride.

The Big Change Is Finally Happening For My Hip!

I was aware of a different feeling in my thigh muscles as soon as I got out of bed this morning, after a longer, more comfortable sleep than usual.  That constant ache had eased up considerably.  I knew today that at last the change in pain levels and muscle strength I have been waiting for was beginning! YAY!

I felt very confident about leaving my cane at home when I ventured out on the bus this morning to do my downtown chores and shopping. I used the back exit door of the bus today, bridging the longer distance between step and sidewalk very well, instead of making use of the lower front door step. Walking at a good pace was finally possible with only the slightest limp by the time I arrived home after lunch.  I spent the better part of 2 hours walking, standing and making sure I was distributing my weight evenly on both legs the entire time.  

THE change that you wait for when doing prolonged physiotherapy finally has begun.  The pain on the underside of my butt where the pin head sticks out has also been far less all day today.  Amazing!!

O God please bless my physiotherapist friend who continues to help me so much and keep me mobile and able to continue working on ridding my body of muscle pain and aching.

This is a long awaited day indeed!

You Never Know Who You'll Meet

Our taxes took a little re-working before they could be sent because when he is tired my husband's numbers dyslexia kicks in. In the end he is getting a somewhat smaller rebate than he at first thought, haha. However, everything is now in the mail and completed as best as we could manage.

At dinner time afterward I looked at  the pack of translucent, blobby chicken breasts I planned to cook and felt my stomach turn over....blecch! I looked at the crisper of salad fixings and had the same reaction. I certainly had the energy to cook dinner but knew I wasn't going to be able to face eating it. So, my husband decided it was time for a long awaited return to Creekside pub for beef dip and a bison burger. Oh......OKAY!

Creekside has average pub grub. It isn't spectacular or remotely gourmet, but it is well prepared and hearty with good Caesar salads.....and it is dirt cheap! Dinner for two for twenty-two dollars! Yay!

The man sitting at the table next to us was a trucker from Winnipeg, Ken. He told us about his amazing wife, kids and grandkids, their one and only vacation in Thailand, a place he would recommend to all. He had a bit of a rant about the thousands of Christians being murdered by terrorists and others in the Middle East and how frustrated he is by the lack of media attention that specific demographic is receiving. Considering he made no claims of being any sort of believer himself, I found his sense of fairness toward the Christian martyrs most touching. After his little rant my husband told Ken what he does for a living, haha. He is a very interesting fellow with no qualms about explaining himself to complete strangers. He said that although he should be long retired by now, he loves his work and loves making the extra cash for the grandkids to spend, haha. He is a dear person and we wish him well, safe travels in his rig.

We came away feeling refreshed for having met someone new who liked to chat.

We arrived home to find emailed photos from our son of the gorgeous deep blue and black Siamese fighting fish he was given for his birthday by a good friend, complete with a good sized aquarium, sand, a tall swaying water plant...what an amazing present! Son has spent part of this week researching the species and learning how to care for him. He said it is the first time in his life he has been completely in charge of caring for an alien life form, other than a couple of his ex girlfriends! I would have to agree with that!! Sad but true! I know how nasty his comment sounds, but he has finally developed some sense of humour about the past so I am glad of that. If ya'll only knew.....

Looks like it might rain today. I am going to tidy up around here then bus up to Cornwall Centre for a few necessary items. I guess today I will have to cook that chicken I left in the refrigerator last night. Today I can face it. The meat looks far more appealing than it did last night!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Phone Calls 'n' Weather

Yesterday was spent almost entirely on the phone. Friends we rarely get to chat with all picked yesterday to call. An old hiking buddy of my husband's kept him busy for well over an hour, as an Ontario buddy of mine did for me as well....nearly 90 minutes! Friends called from Edmonton, Calgary and the Maritimes.

It was a lot of fun, but the end result is that all our tax forms are still awaiting our attention and our plans for today scuttled completely for the sake of satisfying our annual date with Revenue Canada.

I thought I could still race out today at 8am for the few groceries I had planned to get yesterday, but a layer of freezing rain from overnight is still coating the ground and the car. Thankfully the temperature is on the verge of being above zero, so maybe later, post taxes, I can slip in that small chore. Warmer temps this week apparently on the way.

So, off to get showered and begin the dreaded annual tax task...and no, we will NOT be answering the phone today! hahahaha We are both SO easily distracted from doing things we don't enjoy...sigh....

Monday, April 11, 2016

Pop Goes the Weather!

Woke up to brilliant sunshine this morning, no wind, all traces of yesterday's flurries gone and a temperature of -11C, brrrrrrrr!

Spring weather is definitely on the way within a few days. At least three days this week have forecast highs in the plus double digits and by tomorrow the overnight temperatures will no longer be below zero.

Three or four weeks from now we should be experiencing the same budding out of the trees and tulips that my parents in Calgary are seeing presently.

I can't wait for green leaves and budding flowers. Spring is Saskatchewan's most appealing season for me. Usually June is my favourite month for local scenery....the one month of the year generally devoid of the muddy, dull browns and blacks and greys that characterize the local landscape the rest of the year.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

All Things Sure Did Work Together for Good Today!

What an awesome morning at church today!  The happenings there have more than made up for the huge disappointment of not being able to get to Eston, even though we still wish we could be with our friends there right now.

The service of baptism and confirmation went very well.  It was a lot of fun and we had some good old fashioned foot stomping and hand clapping songs.  My husband's sermon about God working in the worst times of our lives and through people we don't always appreciate in order to bring his will into line was very good.

It was  a long service and what a joy to be met with good cheer by the United church worship band who had been held up in setting up their instruments because of us going overtime in our shared worship space. They were so good about being kept waiting.

One of the things our Bishop did this morning, a most UN-Anglican approach to baptism, was to give what was essentially an old fashioned altar call.  He said that if anyone had been moved recently, even today, to consider Jesus and being baptized and confirmed to come see him or my husband about it.  He truly believes in the power of invitation and today his belief was certainly justified!  We were barely out of the service when a young man we haven't seen at church very often approached the bishop and wanted to talk.  His father is also a priest and a few weeks ago he heard his father give a sermon about baptism. Today the sermon once again touched his heart, as well as the story of Paul, persecutor of Christians, who had such an unexpected encounter with the resurrected Jesus and ended up becoming the writer of many of our New Testament books after a huge spiritual transformation.  The  young man, long story short, spent quite awhile with our bishop and church leaders and my husband will meet with him later this week to start preparing him for baptism next month.  

The last we saw of his parents this morning was as they were hugging their son, all of them crying and loving on each other.  I know what it is like to pray for many years for adult children and the overwhelming joy experienced when they begin to change their life decisions for the better.  

Had we left for Eston right after the service my husband would have missed this chance to connect with the young man and begin a relationship with him.

Then there was another important meeting after that and before we knew it any time remaining that could have meant us getting up to Eston in time to celebrate with our friends was long past.

Now we understand at least part of the reason we weren't led to follow our own desire to head out of town.  The bad weather was the "icing on the cake" of our sense that going away wasn't the best plan for the day.  Despite the disappointment we had an underlying sense of peace about staying here.  What a delight to have encountered the young man needing to be baptized and confirmed.  His service will be on the May long weekend and the bishop will preside and preach.  I am looking forward to it all ready.

My husband was exhausted by the time we finally left the church building so we had a light lunch and relax time visiting together and now he is having a nap.  We will phone our Eston friends again closer to dinner time and give out birthday wishes and arrange to have a celebration with them later on.  We are so fortunate that these particular friends know exactly what kind of ministry things can occur to change plans last minute and will be forgiving.

Another interesting Sunday!!

Brrrr...Chatter Chatter Brrrrr......

This morning we have light snow and howling winds.  Various highways around us and to the north, where we were supposed to be driving this afternoon to get to a birthday party 4 hours away, are beginning to report ice and snow cover.  Sigh....it is the final nail in the coffin for our attendance at the Eston party.  My husband also has a previously unannounced meeting with the bishop and wardens after the baptism and confirmation service this morning that would make us late getting away anyway.

It is just one of "those" days. The excitement of the baptism and the disappointment of missing out on a social event we have been looking forward to with great anticipation.

Life happens........we do have great peace though about staying off the roads when they are not in great condition, the weather is unpredictable and my husband is all ready very tired.  

Life happens....with all its pros and cons.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Attention Team Casey...More Good News!!

After his testing today a problem has been found and is being corrected!  

From Casey's parents: 

All is well!
Casey did well in the OR and they found out what the problem was.

He had a 75 percent blockage of his airway just below his vocal chords, the technical term is SubGlottic stenosis. 
They believe this was caused from being intubated and were quite surprised at how significant the blockage was considering how well Casey was managing his oxygen. He is a fighter, to be sure!

They used a balloon to stretch his airway out and the hope is that the tissue will not swell again enough to be a problem. We have to keep a close eye on him and in a month they will do the same scope to see how it has settled. If he declines in a week they will repeat the same procedure.

We are back at our old stomping grounds, the ICU, for the night and then back to the other ward until Monday earliest. Once again, the staff here are so incredible. We cannot say enough how thankful we are for children's hospital.

Thank you for the beautiful messages and the ongoing prayer and support. We love and appreciate you all so much. We have learned a lot in this process, but the greatest lesson has been the power of prayer and a gracious God who listens and answers.

Humbled and grateful,
Whitney & David

Home Delivery

Early yesterday morning I headed out to the nearest Mark's store to look for a pair of women's Ramblers pigskin suede shoes, black.  I have a pair of purple, yes purple, ones that I purchased last fall for the grand total of $29.95 from their clearance table.  The colour is why they were on that table, I am sure, but I have a fair number of purple clothing items and they looked so incredibly comfortable...which they are.  They are the best fitting, most comfortable walking shoes I have had in years.  No breaking in period like I had with the Naots was necessary.

I decided I needed another pair in a less violent violet colour.  Unfortunately, despite a lot of stock in store of those very shoes in my preferred colour, they had every size available except my own.  Drat!  I didn't feel like driving to the opposite two extreme ends of the city to suss out their stock.  Turns out I didn't have to waste my time.  The clerk offered to order them for me immediately and have them delivered to my home.  YAY! If I hadn't been wanting to get home to get ready for my company in the afternoon I would have enjoyed the fun of driving about seeking my shoes, but with a time deadline the idea of ordering was most appealing.

So, sometime in the next 2 to 7 days, depending on how far afield Marks order desk has to search to find my shoes, I should receive a nice home delivery!

Yay Marks!  I am liking this home delivery thing very much!!  

Oh, and the 25% off the product plus free delivery was pretty appealing as well!

I Don't Mind Staying Home Today Doing Laundry Because Yesterday Was So Fulfilling!

I was so happy to see my friend from Moose Jaw yesterday.  She is the kind of person who always has interesting things to discuss.  We seem to understand each other well, particularly in the area of the spiritual.  It was such a good visit that we were paying no attention to the time.  Before we knew it over two and a half hours had flown by...amazing!!  

She gave me some good ideas to think about today while I do some laundry and ironing.  Every time we visit she challenges me, not usually on purpose, with new things to consider about my walk with the Lord.  We talk about many other things of importance to us both, but those spiritual challenges are a special something I always look forward to.  It is a completely two way conversation, obviously something I have been craving lately around here, hahaha.

Like me, she doesn't get to spend much time driving back and forth between our two towns, so it is extra special when one of us is able to make that effort to be able to talk in person.

Thank you my friend and I am also grateful for the good weather and roads that permitted our visit.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

News About Casey

Casey has been doing quite well in the couple of weeks since he was released from hospital, but his lungs are still having to work far too hard as he breathes. So, he is returning to hospital for some tests to see if the long time on the ventilator did some damage, or if he perhaps has a blockage somewhere in his airways. He will be put through every possible test until the source if the ongoing difficulty is discovered, including a somewhat invasive surgery if the other tests show no problems. His family continues to trust God for the life of this teeny weeny boy and are asking for a few more prayers while  this last hurdle is dealt with and overcome.  They may move themselves into the Ronald McDonald House beside the hospital for awhile to be near him and to allow Casey some release time between tests to be with his family.
Yay Team Casey! Bless you all for praying, Casey remains cheerful and sweet despite all he has endured.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Prairie Spring is a Facinating Time

The old Alberta adage that "if you don't like the weather, just wait a half hour." is certainly equally true here in Regina today!!

This morning I caught the bus to Cornwall Centre and it was freezing bloody cold with a howling wind.  I got my hair cut, had lunch and did a light shopping trip, then came home in much warmer temperatures, wind still howling but I didn't need gloves on or my coat hood up.

A half hour after I arrived home a cloud burst sent rain teeming down for about ten minutes.  Then the sun came out. Less than an hour later a huge black cloud arrived from the east and dropped a centimetre deep cover of teensy hail stones all over the ground.  The assault from the cloud lasted less than five minutes, then the sun came out, the wind speed dropped at least somewhat and the rest of the late afternoon has been quite lovely.  I find it all very fascinating!

So glad to get my hair done again.  It will be just the right length when we head out to Calgary for my husband's study leave a week and a half from now.

I did break down and take my cane with me today. As I contemplated the distance I would have to cover before I got home again, I decided better to be safe than sorry.  My husband is having too busy a day to be able to leap into the car and come rescue me if my leg gave out and left me unable to get home.  HOWEVER, I am proud as anything to be able to honestly say I didn't really use the thing.  I waved it around in my hand, but it rarely touched the ground and I certainly didn't put any weight on it.  It was a royal nuisance, but the mental relaxation it gave me simply by being with me made me glad I brought it along.  Next time I will be more mentally prepared to "go it alone" on the bus and around a shopping centre.

The mall is losing tenants again.  Losing the Smitty's was quite a blow to the regular patrons apparently but the food kiosk area is certainly humming these days.  Danier Leathers is of course closed due to the company bankruptcy, but La Vie en Rose is gone and that is very surprising.  I loved their lingerie.  I thought Body Shoppe had also closed out but it turns out it is undergoing a major renovation and will reopen eventually.  The presence of very busy tradesmen on site gave me hope that will actually happen!!  There is another newly closed out space but for the life of me I can't remember what was in there....guess it closed out due to folk like myself??? haha

I was able to get in on a good sale at Cleo's for some fun summer replacement clothes as I had to get rid of a few more "oldies" the other day when I unpacked the spring clothing tubs.  All I spent was the amount of my quarterly GST/PST rebate so my husband is not out any of his earnings.  He all ready told me he wants to buy me a new pair of WindRiver walking shoes if I can find the style I find so comfortable still on the shelves.  I will go and look for them in the morning after I drop the old clothes off at the thrift store. They are in great shape but they just don't fit.

Tomorrow afternoon a fabulous friend is coming from Moose Jaw to have a long, chatty visit!  I can't wait!!!!  The two of us together can "talk the hind leg off a goat"; an expression I loathe, but it seems so very appropriate in this case, teehee.

Hard to believe it is all ready time to get some dinner prepared.  I want to make something really good tonight. I have some of the teeny multicoloured potatoes my husband enjoys so much and I think I will also make a decent salad and cook a spaghetti squash to go with those and some beef.  I thawed out some spaghetti sauce today for my husband's next 2 days of work lunches and the spaghetti squash is better for his diet with that sauce than actual pasta is.  I will add some minced turkey to the veggie sauce for some protein and I think he will be quite happy.  His backpack is still loaded up from yesterday's fledgling attempt at going up and down the stairs carrying it, trying to get in shape for the May long weekend trip, so I will be cheerleading like crazy after dinner to encourage him to do it again today....and every day between now and then.

The dark clouds are moving in once again, right across the sky, rays of brilliant sunshine scattering out around the edges.  The temperature is still being effected by the chilly wind, but it is nice to see that sun, even just peering out from among the clouds. Slowly the sun is developing its spring warmth.  I just hope that if Sunday's cooling off goes on as forecast that it doesn't signal a spring snowstorm to ruin our trip to visit in Eston.

And now....ten minutes after I posted the above, we have nickel sized hail coming down as well as experiencing our first brief lightning and thunder storm of the year!! hahaha  This is crazy!!

The Provincial Election is Over...and Other Reasons to be Happy

What a blessed relief to have survived the campaigning by the candidates clamouring for votes in this past Monday's election.

I lost track, particularly during the final week prior to voting day, of the number of "at the door, in my face" visits from candidates and their campaign managers and some of their volunteers, the number of requests to place party signs in my windows, the paper advertising packs left at both front and back doors and, most annoying of all, the daily, multiple, recorded and live phone messages from not only the local campaign headquarters, but from the provincial party leaders' offices as well. One day we received the same recorded message from the NDP THREE times! The Saskatchewan party even called after the Election Day polls had closed! Talk about overkill!

The whole process was particularly frustrating once the five days of advance polls began. My husband and I had to participate at an advance poll, but of course that did not stop the campaigning at our home and on our phone line because how would the candidates know we had all ready cast our votes, right?

I liked the Green Party candidate best. Their leader, Victor Lau was our riding's candidate. He came once to the door, gave me one paper pack to read, answered my questions, accepted readily my refusal to post a sign and not once did I receive an automated phone call from his party. Thank you Mr. Lau! I prefer succinct, short and sweet, to the point campaigning. You won me over. I voted for you. Yes, I admit it. The other parties also had pros and cons as to how their policies would effect this province and my life, but the NDP can't seem ever to implement even their best ideas in any sort of sustainable manner; despite all the good things our newly re-elected Saskatchewan Party have achieved, their Ralph Klein-like attitude toward health care terrifies me because I went through the Klein disaster once all ready in Alberta; I have no use for the spendthrift Liberals and I couldn't have voted for the Conservatives even if I wanted to, which I didn't, because they had no candidate in our riding.

So goes another provincial election. With the downturn in our economy I will be interested to see how our provincial government responds to less than boom time conditions. My vote may seem to have been wasted on a party whose vote totals in our city were in the hundreds rather than the thousands, but every party has to start somewhere and keep trying. In good conscience I had no one else to vote for and I believe we MUST exercise our right to vote or we stand in line for whatever dictator will be eagerly waiting to take over in the face of our apathy.

So that is the end of my blithering on that subject until the next election, I promise!

I am headed for the bus to go downtown for a hair appointment and other errands. Cheap lunch at Zam Zam Wraps will precede an hour of window shopping. The forecast rain adds an element of adventure, along with not taking my cane! I have to get past the mental security of the cane so, since there are lots of places to sit and rest at Cornwall Centre, what better place to have my first "marathon"!??!

Later.........

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Despite the Crappy Weather.....

....my husband is definitely doing his exercise today! We looked at our list of errands and decided every single one of them can wait for a better weather day, so we are not going out, BUT he is currently trudging up and down both flights of steps with a fifty pound back pack so he can not only work on weight loss, but also on his general fitness for his upcoming mountain and canoe trips.  I think he is newly inspired by an email he received this morning from another well seasoned hiker who is a great boon to any climbing group.  The fellow will be joining in at least two of the four planned trips this year. YAY!!

I have a ton of wrinkled spring clothing that needs to be ironed now that it has been taken out of the tubs and the warmest of my winter wear folded and put away in them instead.  What a relief to need only another pair of better walking shoes and an additional pair of summer pants to replace two pair I eliminated from the closet after unpacking everything.  Talk about a cheap spring shopping trip this time around. YAY!  I wouldn't even need the shoes if I could convince myself to get over my paranoia and keep the Naots, but they are in the bottom of a bag of things for the thrift store.  I can't face putting them on again and if that means something is wrong with me, I don't even care. Someone will be thrilled to find a good quality pair of shoes that has barely been worn.

Well, off to attack some of that ironing as apparently nothing else is going to happen today away from the suite.  I can't say I'm all that sorry. Beside the wet and greyness it is also rather chilly outside and the wind is getting up.  It is actually a grand day to just stay put inside.

Not An Inspiring Day!

Woke up this morning to the sound of rain teeming down upon the roof. The vehicles passing by sounded so splooshy, the tires even sounded sodden. By this afternoon the raindrops will be turning to flakes of snow if the forecast holds...not really providing inspiration for my husband to pull his face out of the computer screen to run a few errands.  Sigh! He is struggling so hard to maintain his discipline to exercise and lose weight. What a sad time of it he is having. The doctor will not be impressed at the end of this month when the next appointment occurs. My husband has been more disciplined about his cholesterol, but without a more severe weight loss I am in some doubt he will be able to refrain from taking the meds. When I think of a daily medication schedule for HIM all I can see is a daily new regimen for ME to have to remember FOR him, haha. O how I pray he can force himself to get moving even when he is so tired.

IF I can get him going at some point today, we will go to one of the local hunting/fishing outlets and pick up a vial of wolf urine to spread on the pathway between our back door and car. The owls have done a spectacular job in keeping all the geese away, but for one young mating pair who pick up seeds off the ground the sparrows have dropped from a neighbour's feeder. Slowly they are working their way back over to the end of our path closest to the parking lot, although he still plants himself between her and the owls and makes threatening noises and postures. Totally hilarious to watch, but they are leaving poo again at that end of the path. My husband can't abide that, so hopefully he will be motivated today to come with me to the store.

My physiotherapist called yesterday and agreed I do need another 21 days on most of this current set of exercises. Yay! He did add one more that will be difficult to be comfortable enough to do as it requires laying on top of the pin head. He said I could lay on my bed mattress if all else failed.

So, off to exercise, shower and get about my day's errands, with or without my husband.

PS to my Island friend: it was delightful to hear your voice this morning, even if you did reach me because you pressed the wrong button on your speed dial, hahahaha!

Monday, April 4, 2016

My Friend Cay.....

....could use some prayers for comfort and strength.  In the past week her husband has been fighting pneumonia, her long time neighbour was rushed to hospital with a serious medical condition that means Cay will be called upon more than once to help out, unexpected company descended upon her household and it is causing some problems and she discovered her rental tenant dead in his suite when she went to collect his rent. In the midst of all this stress and angst she is supposed to be planning a major church related event, along with her currently very ill husband; an event for which they are responsible for feeding all the attendees. The event is coming up very soon and to say there has been no time to complete the planning is an understatement.  Cay feels like she is losing her mind.  Prayers for a clear head, time to complete necessary tasks and healing for her husband so he can help her, for emotional healing from finding her tenant deceased, for strength to deal with all the neighbour's issues and to handle the house company with honesty and grace...she really needs the support.
Thank you so much on her behalf for positive thoughts and prayers for her and her husband.

A Marvellous Afternoon with Winsome Kind

All yesterday's personal emotional drama aside, the rest of the day was fantastic!!

It began with some fiery preaching from Canon Catherine at our church service and a chance to bond some more with the ladies in the congregation who sang together in our impromptu choir.  I had a nice visit with one of the wardens who drove me to and from the service.  She is a gracious and positive lady, very professional and so, so kind.

My husband had a successful ministry at another church and was pretty amped up when he got home, despite being so tired.  We made a tasty lunch with some minced turkey and fresh bread and then we headed over to my husband's cousin's home for a house concert with visiting Vancouver duo Winsome Kind.

What a glorious afternoon of adult folk music.  Leora Joy's voice blended so perfectly with the voice of her husband, Scott Perrie, that it was like having 2 laid down pre-recorded tracks playing simultaneously.  The lyrics were moving and sometimes witty, Scott's musicianship on acoustic guitar and harmonica quite fabulous.  Seeing them working together, with Leora Joy so willing to subdue her incredible, classically trained solo voice in order to feature her husband's talents was really a wonderful testament to how a husband and wife can work together without being in competition with one another.  They are an amazing pair of singer/songwriters.  We thoroughly enjoyed both their sets, as well as the visiting with new aquaintances and eating the hosts' home made iced cream, along with a variety of snacks brought in by the other guests.

The intimacy of house concerts cannot be beaten.  Had we been at a concert in another venue such as a hall, theater or even church basement, the quarters would not have been as close and the spontaneity of conversation among people who didn't all know each other would have had less chance of happening.  The addition of Winsome Kind's small baby, who arrived with grandpa during the final song just made us all feel a part of their lives in a very special way.  I have always loved house concerts because you cannot feel completely removed from the entertainers.  You feel very welcomed into their lives, even for such a scant few hours.

Some questions were answered for me about returning to choir in the fall.  After the morning church service, I ran into the woman visiting one of the other congregations who is going to be the new director now that the present director has resigned.  She is quite wonderful and has been a member of the choir for quite a few years, so she knows the personalities of the participants.  A possible change of practise time may make it much easier for me to go regularly to rehearsals.  When we arrived at the house concert, there she was again and her welcome equally warm.  Several other choir members were there and we greeted each other like long lost relatives. The present choir director was also in attendance, the first time I have seen or talked to him since I left the choir. He and I had a postive conversation and I left the concert feeling very much more at peace about the whole experience.  Yes, if the practise times work out for me, I think I do need to return in September.  With the new director there is more of a peace that seems to be descending on the group. She is not as frantically busy with other choirs and has more time to devote to make us a far more cohesive singing group. It was great fun to get caught up with the lives of the other choir members I saw.

So, in the midst of the melt downs and stress, some really good things happened yesterday.  Those are the things to concentrate on now!

To Answer: Yes There Are Other Symptoms

Yes, thanks for asking some of you, I do also experience one of the more commonly discussed OCD symptoms of detailed repetitive tasking.

Where it showed up with me in my younger years was in my prayer life, particularly at bedtime, my most low energy, exhausted time of day. I couldn't crawl into bed and ask God to protect me and my family overnight as we slept. I had to pray he would protect our house...the roof, walls and windows in each and every room, every entrance and exit, the front porch, the front steps, the back porch, the back steps, the front street walkways, the back street walkways, the alleyway, the front street, the garage, each of the garage doors, the garage windows, walls and roof.....ad infinitum....every night of the year for several years! Talk about ridiculous. It was like chanting a mantra every night. Woe betide me if I forgot to mention one if the windows or doors because I would wake up in the earlier morning hours, remember I had not prayed for protection over that space and add it in at that time or else I couldn't go back to sleep.

I am so grateful to God for fantastic Christian based counselling that set me free almost entirely from those symptoms over a period of several months, with only the rare occasion to be tempted to return to such a problematic approach to my prayer life. I am grateful for God's help, comfort and patience while I worked through diagnosis and treatments.

Yesterday's freak out has not been my usual MO for many years now. I have far more ability to rest in God's peace than I had in those days. I am so grateful for help received. I am so grateful for how many years it has been since living in OCD's most vicious of grips every day. Yesterday's problems are a good warning to get a better handle on my stress levels and get back to a more relaxed mentality.

An OCD Kinda' Day

Although yesterday had some fabulous times that I will blog about in another post, the day was marred by a resurgence of my Obsessive Compulsive Disorder problems to an extent I haven't experienced in a number of years....most disappointing.  

It started early in the morning after church service when our little thrown together choir for next week's baptism went to use a previously booked space in the centre to have our rehearsal and found it full of people.  There were people gathered around the piano and another small group talking in loud voices as we tried to gather together to sing.  

One of my symptoms is an exaggerated sense of "rightful ownership" and I can't relax if I think anyone is intruding on my own or someone else's rights to space, possessions and what have you.  For some reason, perhaps because my husband's work is consumed with "people stresses" lately, I was intensely bugged by these dear people being in OUR appointed space.  

The people had no idea they were in our booked space because there is no communication available outside of the church leaders of the three congregations to let people know when a space they normally use has been booked for a period of time by someone in one of the other groups. The sign up sheet is tucked away in an office that isn't even open on Sunday mornings.  Our little group of choir women was standing around seemingly helpless in the face of the folk in "our" space, wondering how best to handle the problem of trying to rehearse a hymn with all the conversation and other noise going on right around us.  Fear of offense is a big fear I find out here on the prairies.  Fortunately or unfortunately I do not share that fear in the same proportion as the other ladies. That, coupled with the tendency toward OCD gave me the boldness to interrupt the fellow still sitting at the piano after his group's service had ended, to ask him not to close up the piano because we were booked to use it.  It also gave me the boldness to approach the loudly speaking group of people from the other group who had met previously in that space and explain to them we had booked it for our rehearsal.  I was polite.  I was kind.  I was honest.  None of the people I spoke to seemed to mind at all vacating the space so we could rehearse...although, come to think of it the piano guy was maybe a little miffed.  O well.......

Once everyone else was finally gone I could feel myself on the verge of relaxing.  It was okay that I approached the intruders to our rehearsal.  People don't know things if they aren't told. It was good that I wasn't brusque or nasty.  What wasn't good was the depth of how bothered I was by their presence.  It is difficult to explain how incredibly upset I can be if I feel my own territorial rights have been trodden upon.  The best way I can describe it is to suggest you watch an episode of The Big Bang Theory on tv and pay close attention to the character of Sheldon Cooper.  The incredible, over the top OCD angst he experiences is  dead on correct to how I feel when I am having an episode.  The most difficult thing is realizing that my feelings are way out of proportion to the reality of the situation and having zero control over them.  It is a hideous experience. While I appear more or less in control outwardly, inside I am seething like a five year old in full tantrum.  I feel like screaming at the people I perceive as being inconsiderate, I want to smash my head against a wall in frustration, my stomach is churning and my mind is whirling out of control as my anger builds like an out of control grass fire.  During this experience there is another compartment in my mind telling me my feelings are not rational and that I need to set them aside, chill out, but I can't do it. I am powerless as the internal feelings rage and I battle to maintain outward calm.

It has been so long since I experienced this level of anxiety that I had forgotten how bad it is, how humiliating, how completely it overtakes my entire being.  

I felt calm again once choir rehearsal was over with no more interruptions, but an episode of OCD never retreats that quickly.  It reared its ugly head again late in the afternoon, after a wonderful house concert, when my husband decided we should stop on the way home and check out the newly opened Saveon Foods.  It was a crowded mess of cars and people in the parking lot and inside the store there were lineups a mile long it seemed at the check outs at the wind down of the opening weekend.  We picked up three items and got into the faster moving Self Checkout line.  (Kudos to the staff at Saveon and the way they organized the lines ups and kept people moving.  It was great!)

As we unpacked our bag of items back at home, I realized the most expensive item, my yogurt pack, was missing.  I had just gotten my good clothes off and put on a comfy Tanzanian house dress and flip flops, but threw on a coat and went out to the parking lot under the assumption we left the bag with the yogurt pack in the back seat of the car.  It wasn't there.  My husband then told me he brought only one bag from the store.  In the busyness of the checkout and the mad house of people milling about, I had not noticed he wasn't carrying both bags.  The bag with my yogurt pack had been left behind at the check out.

I completely lost my cool at that point.  My rage and upset were not confined to an internal reaction.They spilled out in a loud, furious reaction of complete shock, rage and an overwhelming sense that the very universe had betrayed me.  My fancy, expensive yogurt treat, the most expensive item purchased...left behind....and at a time when I am attempting to cut back on grocery spending.....NOOOOOOO!!!

Try to imagine going in for gall bladder surgery and awakening in the recovery room to the discovery that while you were unconscious the surgeon had amputated  your left leg.  If that had actually been the case I couldn't have been more outraged at life in general than I was over leaving an $8.69 pack of yogurt behind at the store.

I screamed at my husband that since he was still wearing street clothes he had to return immediately to the store and find it.   I started to cry from the frustration that once again something that was "mine" was not accessible to me, things were not happening the way they are supposed to happen.  Groceries are not supposed to be left behind in stores after they have been paid for.  That yogurt pack was MINE!!  No I didn't care that I was standing on the back lawn losing my mind over yogurt for all the neighbours to hear.  I didn't know and didn't care. Those kinds of details completely disappear in the heat of the moment.

My husband is the most wonderful man in the world.  He took one look at my steaming, out of control self, gave me a tired little smile and told me he was too exhausted to try to get himself back to the store that was closing in less than fifteen minutes in an attempt to do the impossible recovery of one grocery item that was likely all ready back on the shelf.  I started to cry because I was so angry, felt so persecuted by the forces of the universe and knew I wasn't handling well the fact that he was 100% correct that eight or nine dollars in loss was not going to bankrupt us.  He offered to pay me ten dollars if that would make me feel better and less like I had lost something important enough to require the overreaction I was giving the loss.

His attitude and calmness did help, but it wasn't until I went online to check the store hours and realized it was closing in 5 minutes, making it impossible for me to get there in time, that I began to calm down.

I managed to get through the rest of the evening without tormenting myself too much over why I had not checked before we left the store to ensure he had both bags, but I woke up at 3am flagellating myself for being so stupid. I know better than anyone else that when my husband is this tired I have to watch every move he makes because he can't track, he can't remember details.  I blamed him, I blamed me, I blamed God...and for what?  A forgotten yogurt pack!

Finally, after tossing and turning in frustration for over 2 hours, I regained sufficient control to try, finally, to pray my way through the whirling mind and churning stomach.  Being so exhausted made talking to God much easier and of course the answer came almost immediately: "WRITE IT DOWN!!"

Of course...that is what calms me, gets me back into the wonderful world of reality...it is why I started this blog. (and why you sometimes see posts that are almost repeats of things I blogged about previously and leave you wondering why I had to write it all down a second, or even a third time)

So now it is 6:30am and I find the "demons" of OCD slowly ebbing away.  Peace is returning to mind and body.  It feels good.  I can think about what happened yesterday without driving myself crazy over the loss of something that is technically MINE, something I paid for.  I can look back with some sense of gratitude that I was able to clear the choir space that was also MINE by talking to the "intruders" with some level of decorum and kindness.

I hope this is the last incident for awhile.  There will be less stress in our home today because my husband has the day off work and his job rarely intrudes on us during that precious time alone.  I will have a chance to think about other things than missing yogurt...although...the store does reopen at 9am and I have plenty of time to eat breakfast, get dressed and arrive as the doors open, receipt in hand, to plead my case.....

 .....JUST KIDDING!!!!  hahaha

I'll simply take my husband's offered ten dollars and return to the store sometime this week to purchase another yogurt pack.

Oooh, I feel so much better now. 

Later on I will blog again about the wonderful things that happened yesterday before losing control on the OCD front.  Apart from that it truly was a special, lovely day.