Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Praying For Dad To Have a Clear Mind

Had a very serious and excellent talk with dad tonight. We really got into it and it was good. The short version is that dad has now compiled a list of questions to ask the haematologist as soon as he can get in touch with him before the bone biopsy is scheduled. He will call the haematologist's office in the morning. Here's hoping dad will be able to avoid the excruciatingly painful test, but if he decides to have it, I am praying there will turn out to be a good reason for that suffering. Poor dad...the mental anguish over this decision is as hard on him as the disease. Sigh...o Lord give him wisdom! Amen!

Me, Slowly Improving...Dad Slowly Declining

Taking a few weeks off for self-enforced rest is paying off. Over the past few days my energy has been returning in spades and I have been pacing myself to accomplish as much as possible each day without regressing. Since last Thursday I have been able to increase my daily physio exercise reps from 30 each to 70 each. 100 here I come! My hip feels a bit less uncomfortable each day that I exercise. All the laundry is done for today, I survived my transit ride downtown and back for a haircut and shawarma salad lunch, spent my birthday money from my folks and now I am relaxing until it is time to fold the towels.

Dad's appointment with the haematologist was not what I or my mom was hoping for. Instead of talking about a prognosis the fellow told dad he could have a spinal biopsy so he could be 100% sure about having or not having one or the other of the treatment options dad had already decided he was not going to torture himself with. Sigh.... Dad has been virtually disabled for the last two weeks just from having to lie on a flat table for 20 minutes to have his skeletal survey. I remember the incredible pain and ensuing discomfort from his last spinal bone biopsy many years ago when his spine was in far better condition than it is now. Why on earth did the man even mention it? Dad is turning 90 and needs to begin accepting the inevitable instead of torturing himself further for no good reason. He eats and sleeps and drags himself around to a few social things. He is a morphine addict. Mom's life is a living hell trying to care for him. As much as they are enjoying their new home and the great staff and new friends there, underneath is a lot of health related tension all the time. It is a most difficult time for both of them. Dad is going to call me tonight. How I hope and pray we can have an honest conversation without him blowing up at me. He is going to ask me what I think and I am going to tell him.

So, the good plus the not so good = life.

Hilarious!

Last night I was watching a dance competition for kids aged 8-13 on tv. After her successful audition, one little gal no older than 10, ran over to the judges to give her favourite judge a big hug. No sooner had they let go of each other than the little girl abruptly turned her head and threw up the entire contents of her tummy all over everything. When asked by an interviewer afterward what had caused her upset her response was, accompanied by shining eyes and a giant smile, "All that happiness just came out!"  hahahaha Too cute!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Eeeeeuuuuwwww...Creepy Crawlies!!!

A few minutes ago I was chatting on the phone with my parents and happened to look over at the bed. There racing along the side of the mattress was a large, icky, tent caterpillar!!  YICCKKK!!  When and how did that ugly, squishy thing get into the house and how long has it been here before it got into the bedroom????  If I hadn't spotted it when I did, where would I have eventually found it?  Would I have found it before it got under the covers of the bed?  Would I have had it crawling on me in the night?  WAS it crawling on me last night when I was asleep????  Aaargh!
How many more of them are there in here and outside under the eaves in newly opening cocoons? How many are all ready attacking the trees outside our front door? How many of them will drop on my head when I head out to the bus stop tomorrow?  Eeeeeeeyuckkkkooooo!!!

These are the useless questions that plague me when I find bugs inside the house.

I hate bugs! Brrrrr.......shimmy shake.......goosebumps.....

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Boy

I just talked to my son on the phone, firming up some plans for our visit.  Hearing his voice, listening to the chatter of his friends in the background as they cleaned up after a dinner grill evening outside his studio, slowly it is dawning on me that we start our holidays in ten days and we will be going to see him....and some of those friends. I am missing him these days. I wish we lived closer together, but at least he is still living in Canada...for now...
Thank you Jesus for holidays with our only child, now an adult on his way to middle age.  He never ceases to amaze me with his creativity and his good heart.

A Most Satisfying Day All Around

Church was so enjoyable this morning and the sermon by our guest priest was most inspiring. It reminded me to remember the miracles I have experienced in prayer and healing and financial provision, among other things.  I think I am well on the path to recoving my cheery self that has been missing in action far too often over the past couple of months.  Thank you dear friend, colleague of my husband's who helped me so much this morning.  The whole congregation enjoys your direct and excellent teaching.

After a quick lunch of a hot home made salmon sandwich, I went with my choir friends to the home of the new director and we had a wonderful time looking at possible song choices for the fall.  What a nice group of gals.  I had a good time!

After a bit of a rest at home I then headed out to Dawat India for what is, for me, the best Indian buffet in the city.  Tonight there were some new dishes I had not seen or tried anywhere before...all delicious.  My dinner companion was the same lady who preached at our church this morning. She is so much fun, full of laughs and also incredible wisdom gained through a life long walk with the Lord.  

Now I am going to watch my favourite cooking show on tv and relax a bit before bed.  Tomorrow afternoon I hope to go to visit a parishioner who has hundreds of dollars of bedding out plants on display in her yard.  O how she loves flowers.  It sounds like a spectacular display.  Visiting her will be a lot of fun as well.

Unless something else comes up I think that is my only social plan for tomorrow, so I will do some laundry or house cleaning.  I have plans for a parishioner couple to come for dinner early next week, the night before we leave on holidays. They are a calm and solid pair and I think a refreshing visit with them will be just what we need before we begin our annual holiday tradition of frantic last minute packing, haha.

Tuesday is hair appointment day and lunch at Zam Zam Wraps day.  Maybe somewhere in this next couple of days I can get the suite cleaned, but if something fun comes up to do instead, I am going for it!! There is always the end of the week when my husband is back at work to get those chores done, right?  Of course right!!  haha

I received word this afternoon that my husband and his friend arrived safely in Canmore about noon today, so I am glad they had the rest of today to relax and plan the ascent of their chosen mountain peak tomorrow. The weather appears to be good for them and that is a relief.

Where Did the Past Week Disappear To??

The past week is a blur in my mind.  Not sure if it was because it was so busy or if it was not busy enough, but suddenly it is Sunday and we are beginning a new week.

Lots of pleasant things have happened in the past couple of days.  Friday I was able to do what is hopefully the last larger load of grocery shopping before we leave for holidays.  I tried one of the big Superstores I rarely bother driving out to and it was a lot of fun since I had the time to explore and enjoy it.  I was able to locate and purchase as well all the groceries my husband needed to take on his mountain expedition, saving him a trip and the stress of wondering how he was going to have time to fit shopping into his busy schedule.

Friday evening we were able to attend the delicious lobster dinner at our church.  The meal was spectacular actually, far exceeded our expectations.  We laughed that the fellow cooking the lobster for our group of 150 folk does not eat seafood, yet he steamed the lobsters just right! There was a platter of giant sized breaded chicken breasts one of our ladies prepared that were equally delicious. My husband and I shared one of each.  The accoustics in the church hall are atrocious but we still were more or less able to hear the people seated immediately beside us, so had some decent visiting as well.

When we arrived home our neighbours came flying out of their suite to tell us that just moments before a fellow who had passed out on our front step for a couple of hours had finally awakened and gone on his way.  Apparently he was quite relaxed in his alcoholic stupor, shirt open, one shoe off, the remains of his open bottle of alcohol seeping into our lawn, arms crossed comfortably across his chest while his head rested on the concrete drain for our downspout, haha.  They had called the police to come and remove him, but before they arrived he wandered off on his own. The police did a sweep of the neighbourhood to find him and make sure he and the other residents were all okay.  It caused quite a sensation in our little complex.  We had to chuckle to ourselves because we have lived in many a city downtown area and are used to such things.  Unfortunately in this day and age it is neither safe any more to approach such folk and assist them if they need it, nor to help convince them it is time to move on.

Saturday began early for my husband, who was somewhat excited, to say the least, to complete the packing of his food for his mountain trip.  He was up before 6am fussing about, preparing for the hiking.  After a day long committee meeting I picked him up at work and away we went for a drive several towns away.  We met up with one of his hiking buddies there and made the transfer of "stuff" from our car to his.  The two guys headed west to see how far they could get before it got too late at night to set up camp along the way to the mountains.  We drove to the rendezvous point in a driving rain and I suspect the guys didn't see a lot of improvement in weather as they drove west.  It will be interesting to hear later on if they were able to camp along the route or if they ended up in some elderly, cheap hotel for the night.  They should arrive in the mountains just after noon today, just as last night's campers are leaving the sites to return to the city.  The weather report isn't fabulous, but it should clear sufficiently by Tuesday for them to tackle the main mountain ascent before they leave for home on Wednesday.  His rendezvous buddy and his wife are leaving for Australia the next day so hopefully the man sleeps well on airplanes as he is going to be exhausted, I am sure.  My husband will be in a daze at work in the office, I am equally sure. haha  A 22 hour round trip of driving with mountain climbing in between runs is not the way to catch up on a person's sleep!  I hope and pray they have a wonderful time!!  

After I dropped my husband and all his gear off with the buddy, I drove into Moose Jaw on the way home.  We were supposed to go to the birthday party of a dear friend weeks ago and didn't make it, so have been storing his gift in our den in hopes our paths would cross before long. The embarrassing part is that we have seen him twice since then and forgot to bring his gift with us both times...sigh....(note the Old Age label at the end of this posting).  We shared a strongly brewed, highly aromatic cup of Earl Grey tea and had a short visit while the rain continued to teem outside. When it cleared at last I decided to get back home before the next round of water poured from the sky!

I realized how hungry I was for dinner about this time so I stopped at a restaurant on the way out of town.  Boston Pizza doesn't have  a lot on the menu that I enjoy or can safely eat, but I LOVE their Santa Fe salad. I splurged on the addition of some chicken and it was a delicious meal.  I ended up giving the tip to the hostess instead of the waitress because she was the one who was friendly, kept an eye on how I was doing and brought me my bill. The waitress asked me if I was alone, blanched visibly when I said I was, likely because she knew the tip she would have received had I been in a group of 4 that my booth was set up for would have been quite a bit larger, took my order and I literally had no more contact with her.  I saw her here and there and everywhere around the restaurant, but she didn't come near me again.  Someone else tossed my salad in front of me and I wasn't approached by anyone again until the hostess saw me sitting with my coat on and my wallet in my hand.  She asked me if I was waiting for my bill and when I said yes she went immediately and got it.  I should have waved her down for the refill on my soda I had been hoping for. The last few mouthfuls of my salad would have benefitted from a bit more liquid ingestion!  haha  Anyway, I felt much better and the next rainstorm had passed by.

The drive home was pleasant, far less traffic heading into Regina than out of it, so there were lots of spaces to slow down in order to avoid hydro planing without fear someone else would go whipping past, angry at me for driving too slowly on a main highway.  I quite enjoyed the drive home. The setting sun was behind me, shrouded in dark cloud, so I could see properly instead of having to duck my head or push my rear view mirror up to avoid being blinded by the light. There was no stress to get home before sunset because of the time of year.  My husband was on his way, there was no lingering job stress to go home to....just lovely.

Well, it is time to get showered and head off to church.  I love having church at 9:30am.  Even with staying for coffee after the service, the whole day stretches out ahead of me to be filled with other good things.  Today I have been invited to join the members of the executive committee for the choir I was in last fall to join them at the home of the new director and participate in choosing music for the next term.  Hopefully that does not mean I have been voted onto the committee behind my back, haha.  I know they are desperate for more folk to join this year but they don't have to coerce me into a "position" in order to entice me to return.  The Lord has given me plenty of indication that he wants me back there, so I will go, I will go!

The sun is out at the moment, 6am, the streets are beginning to dry off again after all the much needed moisture.  We are to get more rain over the next couple of days, so will enjoy the sun while it is here. There is NO wind at all. Makes me want to go outside and enjoy the calmness of the atmosphere...perhaps I will drag a chair outside on the back deck to eat my breakfast...all the spiders can share it with me!  Or I will just sit in the dining room and enjoy the new seat cushions I found on sale at London Drugs yesterday.  The ones I really wanted, well of course there were only 3 of them when I need 4; second choice, only 2 cushions left, but the 3rd choice of colour and style had exactly the 4 I require.  Four sale cushions are vastly less expensive than purchasing new chairs!!  I want to wait another year before spending any more money on furniture, but those poor chairs are suffering from the flattening of the padding under the upholstery and are not all that comfortable any more. They still look great as we are easy on furniture...only our butts tell us otherwise if we sit too long after dinner. haha

Have a fabulous Sunday!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

First It Was Geese and Now It Is........

.....a gopher who has industriously dug him or her self a HUGE gaping opening to an underground tunnel right beside our front step. There is a giant mound of gravel and shredded plastic sheeting that used to cover the former flower bed beside the door step.  Twice I have caught the creature coming out of there this week, plus have scared him or her out from under our deck upon opening the back door and stepping outside.  The tubby little butterball generally runs right past me across the bottom step and disappears under the deck of the couple next door.  Sigh.........

As much as I hated to do it, I contacted the exterminator from our maintenance crew.  Hopefully now that the rain has stopped he will be here soon before this problem becomes any worse.  Where there is one gopher successfully tunnelling in under the buildings there will soon be more.  O the joys of living right across the road from a giant parkland area.  

As far as the geese, our owl statues are no longer having any effect on the three, 3, THREE couples and one single male who spend their childless days traipsing across our lawn, often bedding down for a few hours right in front of the statues, still posturing and honking, but finally understanding no grief is going to come from those other "birds". Sigh...BIG sigh....double sigh sigh........  The amount of poo I have picked up in the past few days is dreadful.  Now there are several piles between the deck and our car, but with two days of steady rain the poo piles are too squooshy to be picked up. I will have to wait now until they dry out to remove them.  Aiii yiiii.... And no, goose poo does not break down in the rain or any other conditions to become any sort of useable fertilizer!!!

It would appear that the couples with goslings have put the run on these three pair of childless geese and their male buddy and what better place to hang out for fresh grass, bugs and parking lot puddles than right here behind our suite?!!??  Occasionally I still summon the energy to go out with the corn broom and wiggle it behind the owls, but I noticed today that even then those blasted geese are not getting a move on nearly as quickly and they are not staying away nearly as long.  

The dumb geese are too smart now for my owl statues...and yes that "Berra-like 'ism'" is intentional!! My husband tried taking out his bear horn yesterday and gave it a blast at all 7 of the birds but they completely ignored him. Only the neighbours were upset....I mean seriously, have you heard a bear horn blast?  It could deafen another human being!  I had a fit when he used that.  However, in a way I am thankful it didn't work because if it had he would be outsie using it constantly, alienating our wonderful neighbours with all that ghastly noise.

Well, I guess our goose is cooked, pardon the pun.  It is back to picking up poo on a nearly daily basis once again. AND it is only the end of May!  How many birds are we going to have to contend with by the time they are preparing for the autumn migration???  If it is as bad as last  year we are going to have to seriously consider a move out of here, away from the lake and the park.  I have never seen such a mess and no effort is being made on the part of the management here to gain any sort of control over the situation. I know it would be a lot of work to start with, but surely there is something that could be tried so that the little kids who play outside here are protected from the diseases contained in bird poo and the adults could protect their shoes from all that crap on the grass.
Surely, surely....SIGH SIGH SIGH......

Floggin' the Old Bod!

Had a long talk with my physiotherapist yesterday. The result is a return to three exercises I can do without stressing my knee again....each exercise is to be done once a day...100 reps each...up from 12! Apparently he is as frustrated by my lack of progress as I am, so now out come the big guns! I started today. After breakfast I will be doing 100 full bridges, after lunch I move on to 100 hip abductions, after dinner I will be aiming for 100 "clam legs" with the theraband for extra resistance. Okay, I admit I was only able to do 50 each of my morning and afternoon exercises. But to move from 12 to 50 reps is a pretty good start I think. Tomorrow I will try to add 10 more reps each.
Apparently I have weak butt muscles....muscles? You mean there is something back there besides fat and sagging skin? Wow!

So I have rested more than anything else over the past two weeks and my knee is nearly healed again. However, I feel fat and indolent. Tomorrow morning I am doing the last big load of grocery shopping before holidays. While my husband is away mountain climbing I will give the suite a good cleaning. I may take a little trip to Moose Jaw...maybe two trips...or none at all. It will be my call. Yay!

We have almost conquered the leaky basement here. After two days of rain this week we have only the teensiest bit of water still coming in at the usual corner. One more coat of sealant should end the water leak entirely. Yay! Now we just have to live here for at least two more years to absorb the cost and energy expended to make this crazy suite liveable! haha

Tomorrow evening is the annual lobster dinner fundraiser at our church. It sold out in a week as it is so popular. I am really looking forward to the food, friendly visiting and incredible noise level in the basement fellowship hall that so needs some sound tiles put into the ceiling...ooooh, the cost....

Saturday I will deliver my husband to his first rendezvous point to hook up with camping buddy number one. And I will be gloriously free WITH the car for a few days.

The sun is presently struggling to break through the clouds and it is time to decide what to prepare for dinner........

Monday, May 23, 2016

Fa La La La La Etcetera!

I am grateful for the short lived rain showers late this afternoon after a rather chilly day.  At least the wind has not been howling since it was so bad on Saturday.  The geese who hang out at our complex are standing around a large puddle in the parking lot drinking their fill of grubby water.  There are 2 pair and a single male who seems to have finally wormed his way into the group after spending the past month being chased away by the males in the other 2 pair.  Now it isn't unusual to see the 5 of them waltzing past early in the morning and around dinnertime each evening.  We have an old whisk broom that we can wave up  behind the tallest owl statue on our deck railing if the geese stop moving in front of our area of the lawn.  Once that boom starts waving, like flappy owl wings, they move on as quickly as their little webbed feet and waggly behinds will carry them.  It is hilarious to watch.  I have only had to go outside twice this weekend to pick up a few droppings from the grass, yay!!

My husband spent the entire day packing and preparing for his big climbing trip that has been postponed to next weekend.  All he has left to do is purchase the last few food items and pack them properly just before he leaves home.  Hopefully his buddy from down the road can also find a replacement for his own Sunday preaching gig and then they can depart late Saturday afternoon after my husband's committee meeting.  Praying like ten bears it will all work out this time, no snow, not raining every day they are in the mountains, a decent campsite for a few nights....from my mouth to God's ear!

I get to play the game of old age together with my husband later this week.  He has rescheduled some medical lab work so that he and I can go in together one morning and get our tests done and over with for another few months.  He was supposed to go tomorrow but forgot how many hours he has to fast for this test, so was mentally unprepared for it all. haha  He has to go to the clinic as soon as it opens in the morning anyway to get his stitches out and I think with all the other things he has to do tomorrow it won't hurt him to change those lab tests.  Since we have to head to Swift Current in the late afternoon for an evening meeting that will not have us home until close to midnight, any other committment he can take out of the day prior to leaving is a good idea.

With all the resting I have been doing over the past 2 weeks my knee is finally becoming much less painful.  The lack of exercise has put my blood sugar up a good half point at all times, but I had to balance that against the injury to my knee and the knee won out!  I don't mind the chronic pain in my hip now, but to have the opposite knee giving me what for all the time was getting to be too much to handle!  Sure feels good to see the swelling gone and to have only the smallest remnants of discomfort left under my kneecap.  About 3 more days of relative inactivity should fix it up the rest of the way and then I have to be very careful for another few weeks.  How this is going to effect my time in Vancouver I am trying not to think about! haha

My parents are doing okay right now so that is a relief. Dad's back has been bugging him ever since he had his skeletal survey 2 weeks ago.  He had to lie on a completely flat, hard table for the test and coming so soon after the severe back spasm it was too much. He has taken a lot of extra morphine since then, but it is slowly getting better.  Tomorrow he has his final blood work and then meets with the haematologist on May 31st to get a more complete prognosis on his leukemia.  I have to remember he is nearly 90 years old and so things happen at that age.  Poor Dad: the osteoporosis has him addicted to morphine, he has had at least a half dozen heart attacks and has a heart murmur, he has had a non-life threatening skin cancer for several years, his macular degeneration is worsening and childhood exposure to asbestos has effected his lungs and his breathing.  He hasn't been able to admit his hearing is not as crisp as it has been but we really noticed it during our last visit. What does the man have to look forward to?  As he said recently, "I feel like I am just putting in time until I can die."  Completely understandable, isn't it?  He isn't particularly depressed about life, just resigned to the inevitable.  I am proud of him for being less depressed than I think he has a right to be.  Mom continues to do amazingly well. She will turn 90 in just over a year now and I can only pray that failing kidney keeps going for her for awhile longer.  Other than that she is in amazing physical condition and mentally there hasn't been much loss of ability to date.

Son is doing very well, has a painting featured with others from a group of artists whose paintings are also being featured in a well known photographer's next showing at VAG.  I am excited for him.  It is more exposure for his work and the photographer is excellent, has had shows all over the world.  So looking forward to seeing our son's studio and his latest works when we get out to see him next month.  The closer he gets to completing his US visa the better his home city is looking to him it seems, haha.  He has kind of been dragging his feet with the application lately, but is determined to get it done and to hope it is accepted by the powers that be.  He is not particularly enamoured of NYC as a long term place to stay, but he knows it is a necessary move for a few years for the sake of his career.  I hope and pray it all works out for him. Last week he found out that if he can get his application taken care of by the end of the summer, he has work for a few months in NYC staring sometime this fall.  Here's hoping....

Part of my daily prayer from the wee book goes like this:
"....Help me provide a healthy environment in my home with less dirt and dust and fewer germs."
I sort of laughed when I read that as it seemed an odd thing to be praying about for some reason. However, as I look around this dusty old place with the dirt on the windowsills beside the open windows...dirt that blew in during that wind storm on Saturday...the never ending food and drink droppings that I am constantly removing from the kitchen floor and the carpet fibre lint that covers the furniture constantly as the old broadloom disintegrates, it does seem very fitting for me to be praying that way.

Well, time for a blood test. Wonder how high it is going to be this time??  I kept a move on pretty steadily for nearly 90 consecutive minutes after dinner tonight, so hope it helped.  I can't seem to remember that when I have so little exercise going on for the sake of my knee, I must also reduce my carb intake by one unit at lunch and dinner. Duh...how hard can it be to remember such a small thing???  Guess my denial that it is going to make such a big difference is in full bloom! hahaha  Anyway, here's hoping it isn't too terrible  tonight!

Better go to bed at an earlier time than usual tonight as tomorrow is going to be a very busy day, lots of long distance driving and a lot of time for me to waste sitting around Swift Current while my husband has his meeting.

A Long Weekend Treat

I am so grateful my reaction to the mold ingestion was pretty much over by early evening! Some friends called to invite us over for a walk along the creek side near their house. What a lovely place to walk....far prettier to me than the main paths around Wascana "Lake"!

I will be driving myself to their neighbourhood next time I want to take a walk "just because" with no destination goal in mind. Finally I have found the sort of pretty place here that is peaceful and beautiful....and gloriously free of goose poop!

On one side of the path is a grassy strip that drops down to the creek. On the other side there are wide wooden staircases every so often leading down through big old elm and poplar trees and into an old and rather exclusive neighbourhood. It is just gorgeous and, like the rest of the city, still mosquito-free!

I was limping pretty badly by the time we completed our somewhat abbreviated walk...stupid hip and knee...but I felt exhilarated by my first longer walk on uneven terrain and deteriorating city sidewalks without so much as a stumble. Whew! A little confidence is returning. I just have to remember not to rush.

For my reward I was handed a glass of a favourite wine along with a bowl of fresh fruit and cream. Yum! So happy I ate an early dinner that permitted me a delicious evening snack! We had a peaceful and relaxing visit together.

It was a nice day really, the little sag midday offset by the excellent church service in the morning and our visit with friends in the evening. Now it is after midnight. I am hoping the walk in the warm spring air tired me out sufficiently for a good night's sleep!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

An OK Restaurant I Can't Eat At....Sigh....

I have to admit I rarely enjoy restaurant buffets, but I was happy to accompany my husband to the lunch buffet at Brewster's after church. We heard good things about it and he has been wanting to go there for some time.

Well, it was good enough, better than others I have been to in Regina, with a wonderful variety. My husband enjoyed it, even if it was less than special, but I got into trouble on the second mouthful and it ruined the rest of my lunch. The lightly floured and herbed white fish was the culprit. After enjoying a forkful of Caesar salad that was quite a bit tastier and better prepared than the Greko fiasco salad, I took a huge bite of the delicious looking fish. It was perfectly cooked, nicely herbed....but something wasn't quite right. I chewed and swallowed, chewed and swallowed, trying to figure out what the odd under taste was. Suddenly it hit me: mold!

Understand, I have a sensitivity to molds that gives me the ability to taste it in micro amounts. There probably wasn't enough mold in that coating to hurt anyone, but for me it left an after taste and gave me a fuzzy brain and a bad case of the crabbies that lasted for several hours afterward. It made me hyper sensitive to the other itsy bitsy annoyances that plague many buffets: annoyances like room temperature scrambled eggs and chilly veggie mix that came with the slices of medium rare roast beef that unfortunately was carved with the grain instead of against the grain, resulting in perfectly tasty bites of toughness that could have been avoided had the roast simply been carved properly. The beef and pepper kabobs were good, but again, not hot enough. The lasagna and penne appeared to be fine, the other salads were okay and the smoked salmon was excellent. The bacon and sausages were all stuck together in clumps in their respective trays, so I gave up trying to separate one slice of bacon from its buddies when I realized it was rather undercooked for my personal preference. For my husband it was cooked just right, so he kept at the task of separation until he secured one lone piece. haha There were teeny squares of cheese bread that were delicious and I was able to limit myself to one, despite the temptation to return for another. The desserts looked pretty good but I can't eat them, so no idea how they tasted. My husband reported that the potato crisps were actually rather soggy and underdone, but I noticed he ate a fair number of them, haha. The shrimp were lovely and clean and there were at least three different sauces for them. I should have tried a couple, but the man ahead of me in line filled his entire plate with them, leaving none for the rest of us. The man likes mini-shrimp I guess, haha. What I should have done was gone directly to the fresh omelette station, filled the thing up with as many fresh veggies as it could hold, topped my plate with a few spoons of Greek salad and just called it a day. Live and learn. I could also have avoided having the worry that one of the fast fingered kids littering the place had touched any of the food on my plate while it was still in the trays, eeeeeyukkkko!!!

I'm sorry but I am just not a buffet kinda gal. Other peoples' fingers, dander, drool, dust, sweat and loose hairs in my food is not appealing, to put it politely.

The excellent waiter gave us a fifteen per cent seniors' discount, even though we don't quite qualify yet, so that took the edge off the disappointment of my own experience. There were several delicious items, but once the mold hits my system the reaction is instant and spoils everything else I eat.

My husband isn't keen to return either and we were trying to figure out why, since he enjoyed his meal much more than I did. We decided it is because we have been so blessed in recent months with truly excellent fare, we are no longer willing to settle for average. Some of the newer chain restaurants even have some delicious items to choose from.

I guess we should just be relieved that after a long absence from anything resembling quality restaurant fare, our palates can still discern the difference between decent meals and those that are questionable at best!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

If I Couldn't See That It Is Dry Outside....

.....I would swear we have been in the middle of a day long blizzard! The wind has been howling non-stop for the past 18 hours, and I do mean howling!!  Sitting still for even a half hour of reading gives me a concept of early settlers actually losing their minds from listening to the seemingly never ending prairie gales. I had to put the television on tonight to block the noise.

Other than the wind it has been a super day! My husband woke me out of a sound sleep at 7am so that I could time my meals properly around our brunch plans. Although the restaurant we planned to go to was too packed out to get a table, we ended up elsewhere enjoying taco salads and scrambled eggs with salsa. What fun!

We got ourselves to the water distribution centre before it closed, so we have decent drinking water for the next two weeks, plus my husband found a knife shop in Victoria Square mall that did a fast and fantastic sharpening job on his machetes and hunting knives. Thank you "Cutting Edge" for good work at a reasonable price.

While my husband was knife shopping, I was window shopping at all the ladies' wear stores. What fun! I need nothing, I purchased nothing, I tried on lots of things to fill time and enjoyed it.

We had a short visit with two sets of neighbours when we arrived home. We laughed at all the neighbourhood kids playing in the piles of dirt and sand and gravel the management here trucked in yesterday and dumped into our parking lot. They were digging big holes, riding bikes up and over the piles, they climbed into the large garbage disposal unit and emerged with short planks and pieces of drywall to drag over to the piles for more creative possibilities for play. When the grounds crew returns on Tuesday morning they will discover their materials for planting new lawns here are filled with chopped up pieces of drywall, assorted bits of wood, kids' shoes and socks, bicycle mirrors and other assorted and unexpected "treasures". They had no idea they were actually installing playground equipment! haha There are landscaping materials littered all over the parking lot. hahahaha The kids had a riot out there today.

We recently watched a documentary about how children who experience more unsupervised play, ie NOT organized sports, dance lessons etc., every day of the week, develop far more creativity and better social skills. Watching the kids of all ages playing together and finding scrap materials to make castles and such in the dirt piles, we have no trouble believing that.

We now regularly have three pair of "childless" geese here several times day. They still squawk at the owls  as they pass by, but are lingering a bit longer and doing their business more often along our path to the car. My husband regularly puts the run on them, but they seem to view him as a pesty nuisance to ignore more often than not, haha. Today one of the kids abandoned a soccer ball between our deck and the parking lot. That threw them for a loop. They stood back gawking at it and honking, inching slowly toward it, but unsure if it was going to hurt them or not. My husband could not resist going outside and rolling the ball toward them. When the ball started moving they all had a fit and ran the other direction as quickly as they were able to waddle. It looked hilarious! They didn't come back at all for the remainder of the evening! I took a pair of old rubber gloves, some towelling and a plastic bag outside and picked up the few mounds of poop the geese left behind. I can hardly believe that now, under my kitchen sink, there is a sealed plastic bag containing those gloves and a label that says, "For Picking Up Goose Poop"! Aiiiii yiiiii....

Tonight we watched a couple of back episodes of "The Blind Spot". We will finish watching this season, but if it is renewed I doubt we will continue. The two lead actors act every scene with their teeth clenched in their attempts to portray the intensity of their roles. It is just silly! It is the "poor man's version of "The Blacklist" I am afraid. The side stories are kind of interesting but the weekly plots are predictable.

Off to church in the morning. It is Trinity Sunday and my husband says he has a very practical sermon. I will be interested to find out how he comes up with a practical life application from this special day in the church calendar year!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Something I Appreciate About FaceBook!

I don't have a FaceBook account but I do have a very appreciative attitude toward it for the number of silly "forwards" that no longer appear in my email inbox.  Most of my friends and family just post those things to their FaceBook pages and I no longer have to wade through so many of them to find personal emails.  Years ago it was crazy how many forwards appeared on my screen.  Some are great fun, but most of them I could live without.  So, thank you FaceBook!  I don't mind forwards on occasion, but have had very few I bothered to read in their entirety, or got much out of.  The inanities of life have mostly been transplanted to FaceBook and I have this blog page on which to post my own, so it is all good!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Why I So Enjoy Blogging!

As a person with OCD I love this little blog.  I can get my rantings and ravings about the unfair events of the universe out on this page, have the ability to "see" my feelings and then get some measure of control of them.  Rather than phoning half a dozen people and reiterating my shock at all things unfair, particularly as they pertain to me, haha, I can write it all down here and others can read my rantings or not as they choose. Once it is written down and I have read the post, I can forget about how upset I was feeling when I wrote the thing and get on with life.  My feelings have been expressed somewhere, somehow, to someone(s) and so I feel I have been "heard". That is all it takes to get me back on track. Yay little blog!

It is also a great place to record happy memories of my days. Today for example, between banking and laundry, I was able to slip over to my husband's office to have a drink of sparkling saskatoon juice with the former diocesan financial officer who is visiting from her new home in Ontario.  It was fantastic to reconnect with her and her husband.  What a crazy and compassionate pair!

This blog also gives me a chance to brag up my own husband and all the knowledge he has about so many things.  Tonight his trades skills saved me from probably burning down the building as the dryer hose was so plugged with lint that hadn't been cleaned out of there for years apparently, the dryer was starting to smell hot this evening on the last load of clothes.  It scared me, so I called my husband to see what the problem was.  No wonder there was a problem brewing. The entire hose from the back end of the dryer to the ventilation hole leading outside was plugged solid with lint. My husband figures there had to be 5 years' worth in there.  He was shocked it had not been cleaned out before we moved in....why, I don't know when I think of all the other things that should have been done but weren't! haha

The hose was so plugged from one end to the other it wasn't worth attempting to clean it out.  We pitched it into a huge garbage bag and my husband connected an aluminum hose instead....one of those things he keeps around from old job sites, things that I am constantly after him to throw out and that he insists on hanging on to.  Tonight I am glad he kept this hose.  It was exactly the right length to reach from the back of the dryer to the outside vent, just a perfect fit.  Those hoses split easily so he put a fair amount of duct tape at each end of the installation to try to make it last for awhile.

I finished drying the final load of clothes after he installed the new hose and it dried in just over half the time I was expecting it to...what a huge difference.  The motor is not under load now, the lint has somewhere to go again...thank you Lord for my helpful husband!!

A good day...some helpful ranting and raving about unfair disappointments, some fun times, some good work accomplished, memories made, even a bit of colouring accomplished, haha.  Yes, I bought another book with better quality paper and more variety in the mandala patterns.  It is incredibly relaxing to colour in between chores.  I was operating on 3 hours and 11 minutes sleep from last night, so I am very proud I got anything at all done today.

So, off to bed to try for a better sleep tonight. Now that the ghastly caesar salad from last night is finally out of my system, I am ready for some serious dozing time.

A Pox On You SaveOn Foods Regina!

Just kidding....about the pox part of course....but I am rather disappointed in the bakery personnel.

The first 2 weeks of collecting my Monday standing order of pretzel buns went smoothly.  I walked in, my order was ready, I paid for the buns, purchased a few other odds and sods of items and I came home again.

Week 3 there were no buns ready for me...apparently the person in charge of putting the bakery items on the shelves was told I had this standing order but insisted the other staff put all the pretzel buns out anyway. Fortunately for me there were 2 bags left on the shelf, I reaffirmed my order for the following Monday and away I went. The gal I dealt with promised to remind the baker and others in charge of the shelving that 2 bags were to be set aside for me on Sunday afternoon for Monday pick up.  I checked again to be sure they had my order, name and phone number on file for the following week.

This past Monday I went back to SaveOn for my order and once again there was nothing for me.  The gal I dealt with was upset and apologetic about being ordered, once again, to put all the bags of pretzel buns on the shelves. When I arrived to pick up my own bags of buns, not only were they not there for me, the shelves were completely empty of any more of them.

I felt very sorry for the gal I was talking to. She was angry with her boss, worried about what my reaction might be and she was near tears.  I told her it was not her fault that my order had not been filled but that I wanted to talk to the person who had made the decision about my order.  That person was not there apparently, and I believe this gal was telling the truth. So, I tried to speak to someone in management and once again apparently no one was available.  O well, I thought, I will leave a message for the person in charge of the bakery to give me a call.  I assumed I could find out what is going on and see if I could start a standing order again or not. Part of the message I left was that if I didn't hear from someone in the next day or two I would not be returning to SaveOn as a customer, but that I hoped we could just straighten out the problem.

That was 4 days ago. I have not heard from the bakery personnel nor anyone else associated with SaveOn Foods Regina.   It is nice to know where I stand. I can be relieved now about my decision to not shop there again because apparently my  business hasn't been important to them.  Whew!  Good to know!

I hope the store does well in their new Regina location because, to be honest, this city needs the competition, but I will not be one of their supporters in terms of being a customer.  After the incredibly competent service I have had from SaveOn Foods in BC and Alberta over the past years I am honestly very disappointed in the SK employees that I have had to deal with personally.  Sad, sad, sad.........

So, I have confessed my disappointment so I feel better.  If you have a great SaveOn Foods where you live, I encourage you to enjoy the store and shop 'til you drop there. It seems my local store is the one big blip in the SaveOn chain.

One Bad Meal!

Oooh my aching tummy!!  It is 2am and I am feeling the effects of a poorly prepared dinner salad at a restaurant we had not tried before and will never return to.  It shall remain nameless here!

I had such a busy day and we have not gone out for dinner in awhile, so decided to try an older, established Greek restaurant on Albert Street, (notice I did not name it), although good friends who went there recently were not impressed.  We like Greek food, have not tried any since we moved here over a year ago and decided to find out for ourselves what it is like.

Aiii yiii....we should have listened to our friends!  My husband's meal was pretty average with an over inflated price and mine was ghastly with an even more over inflated price.

He had a boiled chicken breast that was herbed and cooked nicely, a fairly decently cooked veggie mix of broccoli, which I ate because he can't, a bit of cauliflower and a few rounds of carrots.  The amount of vegetables he could have stuck in his eye and seen no less, but they were tasty enough.  His so called roasted Greek potatoes had been parboiled before roasting and were little blobs of mush.  These 3 items were tossed casually onto a white plate...no awards for plating....after he had consumed the accompanying caesar salad, slathered in thick, old fashioned, tasteless but for the garlic, dressing and soggy croutons.  The slices of garlic toast we both received were barely toasted, thin, white and so light that eating them was like running against the wind with your mouth open.  For my dinner, in deference to my wallet, as I looked at the high prices,  I opted for the larger version of the horrendous caesar salad....probably the most high priced salad I have ever eaten in my life.  The grilled chicken breast was tasty enough and cooked well, but that salad....whoever made it needs to either be brought forward in a time capsule from the 1970's into the present day or else shot at dawn.  It was so soggy, obviously prepared hours earlier, the croutons so mushy, the lettuce so wilted and the dressing so gooey that I couldn't force more than half of it down my throat.  We decided after our meal that since we were already going to be risking a lifetime of debt to pay for this debacle of a meal, at least we could share a small dessert to make up for the main course....again a big and expensive mistake!  We ordered one tiramisu to share.  The menu said only "tiramisu" and we stupidly thought that is what we would get. Nope....the bakery cake version is what arrived at our table, complete with a still frozen top layer of cream.  Yeeeeeeuck!!!!  An hours old sloppy salad followed by a still partially frozen "conveyer belt" slice of cake that shouldn't have been a slice of actual cake in the first place.  Tiramisu is NOT sponge cake with a thin layer of cream filling on top and then half a can of cocoa powder dowsing the top of it in an attempt to make up for all that is wrong with the blasted thing.  It was so incredibly horrible that we both started to laugh.  The waiter came by to ask us how the food was and fortunately  my mouth was too full of that food to answer him. My dear, forgiving husband said very politely that it was "fine, thank you".

We were obviously the only customers in the place that are not regulars. The wait staff were able to chat up every other couple in the restaurant with great knowledge of their lives and circumstances.  Apparently there are a fair number of folk here who are still stuck in the '70's when it comes to restaurant meals.  Back then I would have eaten that salad and my husband would have downed his parboiled potatoes with nary a complaint, paid the staggeringly high bill without batting an eye and congratulated ourselves on a rare treat of an evening out. However we, unlike the restaurant owners and their regulars, have moved on into the year 2016 and brought our restaurant quality expectations with us!

We arrived home afterward feeling kind of "potty" and overstuffed with fat and sodium, that lingering after taste of what could have been an excellent meal, but wasn't, making us feel somewhat nauseous.  Instead of doing our evening exercise we sat around like two blobs and watched television for a couple of hours, then dragged ourselves off to bed.

I finally fell asleep at 11:30pm, woke up at 11:37pm, fell asleep at 1:45am and woke up at 1:54am, this time with my tummy swirling inside, burping and gasping and not knowing whether to continue lying down or to get up and walk around or to sit quietly holding my head and moaning.  I opted for sitting up and blogging to take my mind off how I am feeling until the worst could pass.  So far it hasn't.  20 minutes later I still feel miserable and apparently I am not going to get any real sleep tonight.

Well, live and learn: if I ever order a meal or a salad that arrives at my table looking and tasting like the slop I got tonight, I WILL send it back and flee the premises!!  I don't mind the occasional visit to a stinker of a restaurant, but when I end up ill, my blood sugar way too high for the time of night, "making memories" is not what I call the experience in an attempt to get a laugh out of a mistake in choosing a restaurant.

In other news: my husband and his friends have had to cancel their long weekend mountain climbing extravaganza.  Sigh....a huge storm system is moving into the Banff and Canmore areas, leaving them with rain and showers and possibly even a few snow flurries predicted for every single day they had planned to be out.  I feel so badly for them, BUT fortunately they have found a time when it is equally convenient for them to get together and do the trip about ten days from now.  The long term forecast for that week is also for rain, but it is far enough away that the forecast could turn out to be totally incorrect...at least I hope and pray that is the case for them.  Since it will not be a long weekend there may be a better chance to snag a decent campsite in the non-reserved areas and it gives my too busy husband a few more days to get his gear and food ready and his freshly incised scalp a chance to get over the pain of healing that he has been experiencing since having a small growth removed Monday afternoon.  Rather than being disappointed, he is rather glad of the change of dates....as long as they can actually go at the new time.  Here's hoping for better weather!

Time to make another attempt at laying down. Hopefully I am not going to have to sit upright the entire night waiting for this attack on my stomach to pass!! Blecch, pooey!!! 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Busy Days! YAY!!

As my knee has slowly been healing it has been nice to be able to be busy again each day!

Yesterday was a great day, despite the sad start of a funeral first thing in the morning.  It is the first time I have accompanied any music since we moved here and I can't say it went particularly well, but I managed to plough past the many, many mistakes I made on the piano and get through it sufficiently well to fool the non-musicians in the crowd.  I took it on because it was an emergency.  None of our other pianists from the church were able to play.  For the same reason I have agreed to play for a church baptism on June 3 as well.  Now I am praying that there will be no more emergencies for a LONG time in the piano accompaniment department here!!

Did a few chores in the afternoon and had a wonderful visit with my husband after he returned from the interment at the cemetery.  Every so often it is good to stop moving long enough to make sure we are still on the same page about life in general.

Then I attended the Amici Choir concert in the evening.  The concert went fairly well, although the majority of the soloists were extremely nervous and it showed, BUT I was thrilled to see that all the solos were given to our own choir members and not to people from the director's other choirs!!  YES!!!  (and I say "our own" because I truly believe now that I am to return to their midst in September) There were no guest soloists, no paid soloists.  There was a marvellous addition of a very professional drummer and bassist who knew how to refrain from overpowering the choir voices.  Sitting at a table with some parisioners and others from Living Spirit Centre made the evening that much more fun.

Today I am tired. The accompanying took more of an emotional toll than a physical one, but still it exhausted me from the stress involved.  I am glad I could make that small contribution to the memorial for a dear man who lived an amazing live of service to his church and community, but I hope I can make some other, less mentally strenuous contribution at our church's next such service.

The ironing and dishes are done now for this morning and I am going to race to the bus in a few minutes to go downtown and mail some parcels, do some banking and have a late lunch at Zam Zam's!  It is warming up again outside and that is a bonus to the day!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Proud of My Folks

Had such a good conversation with my parents late last night. They are both very much at peace about their medical conditions and about the fact that life on this earth is definitely drawing to a close. Dad's leukaemia may not progress very swiftly, Mom's kidney is still managing adequately to clean her blood even though the function is low. I have never heard them less stressed about the future. As Dad says, being dead is not what unnerves him, it is the possible process that makes him jumpy. They are both much more relaxed since their move. They feel less isolated and alone, are appreciating having staff in the building at all times. I just pray a way will open for me to be with them at times in the near future when help is needed.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Great Escape

We spent a good part of our day shirking our responsibilities and escaping the city, the work needing doing here at home and the daily stresses and concerns. It has been a glorious day all around!

Church went so very well, highlighted by an excellent Pentecost sermon by our beloved deacon and a younger visiting couple who joined us for coffee afterward and were thoroughly delightful.

After service my husband announced he was taking me out for lunch despite having a refrigerator filled with leftovers from last night's dinner. What a treat to gorge myself on a grilled chicken salad at Original Joe's. Yum!

After lunch we returned home to discover the bathroom sink was completely plugged, pension paper work for my husband that should have been filled out nearly two months ago was discovered in a pile of papers in his briefcase and needed to be prepared by tomorrow morning for mailing, I needed to choose prelude hymns for a funeral I am playing for on Tuesday, plus magic fairies had NOT invaded the kitchen in our absence to wash and dry the remaining dishes I wasn't able to complete last evening.  Poop! So much for a relaxing Sunday afternoon!

We sat down for a minute to discuss the order of priority for these jobs, but before we completed that the phone rang. It was a call from friends from a fair distance out of the city wanting us to join them and some other friends, immediately if not sooner, for a spur of the moment bar-b-que...an event just far enough away to preclude our accomplishing any of the aforementioned tasks before tomorrow by the time we would make it home again. There was no discussion whatsoever as to whether or not we could afford the time to go. Four minutes later we were in our car driving out of the parking lot.

What a fabulous afternoon and evening. Bar-b-que'd venison with fresh locally grown and processed back bacon with chopped chives fresh from our friends' garden made a wonderful appetizer. It was followed by a main course of venison steak, courtesy of a mutual hunter friend, local turkey sausage, spinach salad, fried Japanese mushrooms, wild rice and chick pea salad and my contribution of leftover potato salad. We took the biblical admonition to drink a bit of wine to forget our troubles quite seriously as well! Dessert was a cool and refreshing strawberry torte with a crust of crushed pecans and sesame seeds. The food and the visiting were tied for first place in the "Favourite Part of the Event" category!

Upon returning home, now completely exhausted but much happier and less stressed, the jobs awaiting didn't seem so overwhelming. My knee was giving me excruciating pain, but thanks to the combination of Spanish, Argentinian and French wines I didn't care! I toddled off to bed to write emails and blog and my husband fixed the sink problem. There will be lots of time tomorrow to sleep in and still complete the work we ran away from today.

A Great Escape all our very own! Thank you Lord!

Ooooh, we needed that!


Saturday, May 14, 2016

Poooooooped, But Happy

It is nearly 10pm. Our dinner companions have only recently departed. We had a blast sharing a meal and a visit. As one of them commented: "Usually we only stay an hour and a half at these things. Tonight we stayed more than three hours!" High prairie praise indeed!

Getting to know our parishioners outside of church meetings is important to us. Tonight my husband deliberately posed some questions to our guests designed to draw them out and into a bit more personal reflection. They responded so honestly and openly. It was heartwarming.

Earlier in the afternoon I enjoyed the concert presented by the Regina Womens Chorus. It is nice to know that ten years from now there will be a very good seniors choir I can join. Visiting with other parishioners who attended was a bonus.

Tomorrow I will finish the post dinner clean up. For now I am off to bed to read and relax. Putting my feet up seems an incredible luxury and I am off to enjoy it.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Soooo Tired, Soooo Happy!

I have to take a break now before tackling at least forty minutes worth of dishes to wash and dry and put away. All my goals for food prep for tomorrow are DONE and it is only 8pm. Dinner got made and eaten, I took an hour to rest partway through the afternoon and only my throbbing knee lets me know how many hours I have been on my feet.

Yay! The pork loin is cooked in yummy Greek herbs and is slathered in mayonnaise to keep it moist when I reheat it tomorrow evening. Jammed into the refrigerator with the pork is a giant potato salad awaiting the addition of mustard and mayonnaise right before we eat it. The potato salad is filled with chopped hard boiled egg, radishes, green olives, minced carrot, celery and green onions. All the lettuce, cherry tomatoes, avocado, mushrooms and orange peppers have been washed and stand ready  to be chopped and tossed into a fancy pottery bowl and drenched in olive oil and lavender vinegar and fresh ground black pepper. The chocolate almond cake is baked and cooling and the banana sheet cake is nearly ready to come out of the oven, the frozen raspberries thawing for spooning over the top. The pickled cukes are a beautiful, shiny green, the pretzel buns freshly baked....it is hopefully going to be a delicious picnic style feast.

So glad I did all this today. All I have to do before the afternoon concert tomorrow is to set the table and put the serving bowls out at the ready. By Sunday I will be barely functional, but it will be worth it for the fun of participating in this church dinner event!

The Good With the Bad!

Had my appointment this morning to get my bone density results. Since I have lost an inch in height over the past three years I was not surprised to learn my spinal density has dropped significantly. I am on the waiting list to hear from the local endocrinologist for an appointment to discuss whatever treatment options I may have with my severe allergies. I may be able to take the twice a year injection option, hopefully. It could take 8 months to get into the specialist but I will continue to take my present medication until then, because it IS helping my hips! There has been no reduction in density there. That is amazing and wonderful! So, happily not all the news is bad! Cool!

Didn't sleep well the first part of last night because I was so busy thinking about what my parents are facing over the coming weeks and months. However, I checked my email at about 2am and found a nice report from my busy son. It calmed me down and I slept well for several hours!

Now it is time to prepare the food for tomorrow evening's picnic style dinner. Should be a really fun afternoon, busy and productive!

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Ooooooh, My Poor Parents

Just talked to my parents and the news is not great. Dad had a long meeting with one of his many doctors this afternoon and it appears he either has leukaemia or is on the edge of developing it. He has one more set of blood tests on May 24, then meets with the haematologist on May 31 for final results, possible treatment options, etc.

Dad has pretty much decided he will not take chemotherapy. Do not know what he will decide if he does have this form of cancer, but I suspect Dad is more ready to stop living this life than Mom is ready to let him make the transition to the next. I can only pray she is able to honour whatever decision he ends up making.

Mom got her latest kidney test results yesterday. Although her function is low, it is not yet dire enough to see the specialist. More tests in three months.

I feel so badly for both my parents facing this next dire old age related medical stress. It is difficult to be helpful beyond being available to listen and to be prepared to head out there if /when they want and need me there.

A New Friend

Today I was finally able to have a real visit with my lovely Muslim neighbour. She is a wonderful lady and we had so much fun talking over mugs of coffee. My bladder feels like it is attempting to float itself right out of my body because coffee and I are not particularly compatible, but I made several attempts to return home that resulted in more coffee and more chatter. Her husband assisted me in unloading some heavy groceries prior to my visit with his wife and it opened the door at last for a connection socially.  You know how sometimes you just feel drawn to a person? That is how I feel about this middle aged mom. Her kids are quite young still and she is struggling to keep up. I was a fairly young mom when my own son was the age of her youngest and I still struggled, so we had fun swapping stories about our overly creative sons! 

So, as usual my time frame for the many shopping and house chores of the day has had little relationship to what God has planned for my day. It just assures me that he will also ensure sufficient time for me to still complete the tasks that are actually necessary as I attempt to spread out my preparations for the Guess Who's Coming to Dinner event on Saturday. 

Very happy I had to get to the grocery stores by 8am in order to have the car back here in time for my husband to take it to work. Had I gone later I may have missed the chance to see my neighbours and make a new friend. 

Another good day....I am tracking daily good things on purpose so that the constant physical pain does not overwhelm my mind and emotions. It really is working well. Yay!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Dear Lord, It's Supposed To Be Spring!

So why did we have a daytime high of  only +7C?? And why is our overnight low for the next three nights to be -4C? Why did I have to restart the furnace in the merry merry month of May??

Sigh...because I live on the prairies, where it is literally not safe to put any sort of potted plant life out of doors until after the May long weekend, and even then it isn't a guarantee of safety for the poor flora.

Sigh...prairie life....BIG sigh....

AND the electrician never did show up yesterday....or today....AND I have to leave at 7am tomorrow to complete my grocery shopping for the weekend's dinner guests because my husband needs the car later in the morning for work unexpectedly.....AND....my knee is still sore and swollen....

AND people are starving and dying and being tortured and sold into slavery and being killed in accidents and fleeing fires and losing their jobs and committing suicide and being captured and bombed in wars and getting divorced and being diagnosed with terminal illnesses and becoming estranged from their children and and and....

AND I have a great life...even on the bald prairies!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Soggy Day, Soggy Basement

It has been pouring rain here off and on, mostly on, for the past 15 hours. As we suspected, the one corner of our basement began to leak again at some point overnight, leaving an arc of water across the floor. It is the spot where, last fall, my husband did not quite have time to add the final coat of sealant. Outside at that corner the little trench he sneakily dug last summer, to divert standing water away from the foundation, was plugged with new growth grass, so once this rain stops he will have to sneak out once again under cover of darkness when there are no grounds crew here and dig it out again. Instead of wanting to help the basements here to stop flooding, the crew prefer to ignore it and to become highly irate if one of the tenants makes the merest suggestion as to how to stop the problem. Truly it is the only thing that gripes me living here. Apart from that, Boardwalk has been very accommodating and helpful. The leaking toilet flap was replaced last week, the day after I reported it and this afternoon the electrician is on his way over to repair the shorted out light box in my bedroom.

More good news: my husband is getting over the horrendous reaction to what turned out to be a tainted carbonated drink he imbibed two weeks ago. What a relief after two weeks of headaches, stomach and abdominal pain and general malaise after almost every meal. His reaction has been so severe we started keeping a food journal, convinced he was falling over the edge of chronic fatigue syndrome after doing so well for the last 13 years. Living in a new town, with a new set of doctors, he was looking at months of retesting for Crohn's, IBS, even AIDS, until the food or foods causing the reactions could be identified and eliminated from his diet. In the past 48 hours he has been able to start eating again, has not awakened from deep sleeps with painful symptoms and the sore, thick head is gone, leaving him tired but knowing he is on the mend. He had a good appointment with his doctor  this morning, including excellent results from his annual ECG. I am grateful to say the least! I had visions of returning to the diet nightmare that accompanies his bad CFS episodes and didn't feel able to cope just at this time of trying to control my own pain issues. The rest of the carton of drinks has been disposed of just in case they too are tainted and the store where they were purchased alerted.

It is grand to hear my husband puttering away in the basement this afternoon, getting his camp gear ready for the long weekend hike. Fear he wouldn't be able to go after all has been paralyzingly his packing plans. We are both free to look forward to the time off from the daily same old, same old.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Ludicrous, But So Funny!!

The maintenance department here at our complex went to a fair amount of trouble two weeks ago to carefully paint "NO PARKING" across a strip of our parking lot where sand and gravel are stored in the winter, but where visitors have been free to park previously during the summer months.

The last few days I have noticed a number of visiting vehicles parking in that space in the evenings. There has never been more than the occasional disobedient soul in the no parking zones over the past year here until that recently.

This morning when I went out to my own car to go grocery shopping, I realized why we have had so many rule breakers in that space.

Some landscaping is being done and a few days ago I noticed the bobcat depositing a load of dirt and grass on one end of the newly designated No Parking zone....the load was deposited right on top of the word "NO", so only the word "PARKING" is visible.  hahaha Instead of a direct order to keep out it looks like a friendly invitation! hahaha

So cute these people who work here!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Fun Times at the Symphony

I thoroughly enjoyed my evening at the Regina Symphony farewell to their present conductor, a wonderful fellow, Victor Sawa, who has been with them for the past 20 years.

Two Beethoven Symphonies were performed: the 25 minute delight of #1 and the 65 minute, exciting #9.  The time flew past even with a somewhat long intermission between the two performances.  I would go to the symphony far more often but can't justify one hundred or more dollars a ticket more than about once a year....a shame because it is really worth the price of admission.

My OCD does tend to rear its head however at most public performances, since things like unexpected audience noise and any small glitches in the performances set it off.  However, I feel I had grace from God to control myself admirably last night. I never once indicated outwardly that anyone around me should "shut the #@*# up" nor perform myself any other such nasty outburst!  If you also have OCD or know someone who does then you know how difficult self-control is in such cases! haha

My friend said there was a very different audience there last night than she, a regular subscriber, is used to.  Perhaps it was because a fair number of the participants last evening are not usually performing in a symphonic concert, thus their families and friends are unaware of the public protocols, "manners", required of an audience during a classical music presentation.

Far too many people were unaware of the fact that there is no applause between the movements of a classical work.  I was rather shocked when it happened the first time, but eventually got used to it as the evening went on.  Mr. Sawa was very, very good about the interruptions, obviously aware of the lack of musical education among the audience members.  His patience was fabulous to see.

The choir sitting behind the  musicians awaiting their turn to sing in the 9th Symphony were attempting to model the decorum expected, but no one was apparently paying any attention to their silence between movements. haha  

From two rows behind us, at intervals that seemed specifically timed, at least to a person with OCD, to coincide with the most quiet and preciously beautiful parts of each piece, came the ominous rattle of ice cubes in a cardboard take out cup.  Sigh.....  The young adult fellow sitting three seats down the row from me obviously has some behavioural "difficulties" and the Lord used that to give me patience and strength when he would too often turn to his mother and commence some sort of conversation about whoever he was texting during the performance...the very time his cell phone was supposed to be shut off like everyone else's.  Sigh....  BUT I said nothing!!  Thank you Jesus for some measure of self-control on the rage that was slowly building throughout the evening.  The couple in front of us brought their wine glasses into both halves of the performance with them, the first no-no of their evening, not helped at all by his dropping of his glass between movements 3 and 4 and its shattering all over the floor at his feet.  Sigh..... They also never stopped talking the entire evening..but at least they were not loud, only completely distracting to me with the OCD. hahaha The no cameras or recording devices rule was completely disobeyed by a fellow two rows in front of me, but, again I was pleased with myself, I did not hop out of my seat to inform the volunteer usher of his noncompliance with the rules.  Thank you Jesus and amen!!

So, while there were some annoyances and distractions for me, the general performance was quite wonderful.  The singing by the soloists and choirs was close to magnificent, all done in the German in which the lyrics were written, no English translation occurring in an attempt to make the music more understandable to we unenlightened English,or other language, speaking masses.

At the beginning of the concert, after the introductions were completed we were treated to a wonderful group of older elementary aged children playing Ode to Joy on little old student violins.  The kids are participants in a special inner city school programme to bring music lessons to those who would otherwise not have a chance to learn an instrument. They played so well...a great job and it brought tears to my eyes.

I had such fun. What a marvellous gift to receive.  Bless you Sheila and Diane!!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

The next concert I am going to is on Saturday afternoon and the final performance I get to attend is Amici Choir's spring performance the following week.  Sunday of the long weekend is a chance for a friend and I to sing a little duet at church, a simple hymn that has lovely lyrics, so perfect for a baptism.  That will close out the musical season for me until the Christmas and winter concerts begin in December.  It is quite a treat to be living in a city large enough to support all these quality musical endeavors!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

What I Learned From a Colouring Book: Self Reflection After Several Days of Enforced Rest

Acting on the doctor's suggestion that I stop pushing so hard through times of exhaustion and get some rest instead, coupled with thoroughly inflaming an old knee injury during physio earlier in the week, I obeyed my self-imposed injunction to rest for nearly 3 days this past week:  Wednesday, Thursday and part of Friday.  This morning I got back with the programme and ignored my throbbing knee so I could get the laundry done and put away.

So, since I spent a lot of time colouring in my $2.99 colouring book with $10 worth of felt markers, what did I learn about myself and about resting while filling up blah line drawings with colour?

Weeeeeelllll, I did learn a few things:

1. It is impossible for me to truly be at peace and resting when I feel I am wasting my time on something so completely inane.

 2.  I simply cannot sit and colour without multi-tasking, even when I am at rest. Colouring is possible while watching tv, listening to books on tape, visiting on the phone and mentally planning the next grocery shopping trip. 

3.  I cannot rest at all without multi-tasking!  If I am watching tv I also need to be answering emails or blogging...or colouring.  If I am on the phone I need to be watching news on tv with the sound off or pacing back and forth in the living room or climbing up and down the stairs.  If I am reading a book that doesn't require too much in-depth thought and attention I need to be listening to music or writing notes on my ipad about something or other unrelated to the book.  I learned I can be reading a book with the colouring book beside me and if there is a deep concept in the book that requires more depth of thought, I can colour in a few spaces while I think.  

 4. I learned that resting isn't as wonderful as it is cracked up to be!  Resting is downright boring in fact. I was bored and I wasn't even resting all that successfully.

5.  There is NOT some kind of frustrated artist within me just waiting for that chance to escape and reform my bladdy blah life.  Nope, not at all, not remotely.  My son is the artist, not me.  I have not the patience nor the creative thought process required to actually create something artistic.  I can't even colour within the lines of someone else's attempt at art that graces the pages of the colouring book!!  Worse, as the pages continued to fill up at an ever more rapid pace, I stopped caring what the picture looked like when I was done.  Smudges between colours, slopping colour out of bounds, badly conceived colour palette...not a pang of regret did I experience..nada!!  It will be all I can manage on my next rest day to try to complete the remaining pages of the book so I can toss the whole works into the trash and be done with it, plus find some small child who would enjoy receiving some gently used felt markers.  

6. I have an even shorter attention span than I realized. 

So much for days of resting.  I am not going to do that again, ever!!  If I wrap my paining knee in a tensor bandage I will be able to return to real life and get a move on!  Tonight in fact!  I am going to the symphony tonight!!! It will be resting again though I suppose...with wonderful music in my ears, a friend to talk to during intermission and other friends to try to locate in the philharmonic choir during the performance.  

Rest, schmest.........

Rights and Outcomes

I think the author of the article referred to in my previous post said something very significant when he talked about equal rights not guaranteeing equal outcomes. I suspect that often in our battles for equal rights for one group and another we forget some of the unchangeable realities that begin, hopefully, to break into our thinking when we finally achieve the equal rights status we fought for yet still are not capable for one reason or another of reaching the desired and previously assumed to be possible outcome. Drawing the logic of our well intentioned arguments to its inevitable conclusion seems to be beyond us somehow.

This is the sort of "stuff" I think about at 3am when I am wide awake and whatever book I have been reading to dull my senses, so I can slumber on, is proving to be less than effective. It is good to be able to think isn't it? Thinking about important issues distracts from the daily aches and pains and routines in life we have to cope with.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Heading Into Possible Post-Democracy

The link below is from a recent article in New York Magazine.  It closely reflects my own thinking about the state of politics in North America and the downward slide we have set ourselves up for, from uber democracy to tyranny.  The only thing I would add to the article is that I believe the writer has not sufficiently acknowledged the part previous US presidents with their warring ways have played in paving the way for presidential candidates such as Donald Trump.  In my opinion Mr. Trump would have had no chance of making it this far in a presidential race without the particular predecessors in that office over the past two or three decades. Attempting to eradicate all discernable differences between people in the name of political correctness does not ultimately lead to a marvellous utopia, but to a confused people ripe for a possible violence proposing dictatorial leader.

Read on and see what you think:

Point System Joy!

This morning I realized as I was shopping that once my cash was spent on groceries I would not have sufficient time to get to the bank and replenish my cash on hand before having to get the car back to my husband.

Hurrah for good old PC points! I was able to get $70 worth of points off my $114 grocery order, plus make a cash donation to the Red Cross for the Fort McMurray fire relief fund and still have a few dollars in my wallet for the weekend! Just on today's small load I was also able to accrue $19 toward my next cartful!

This is what I call a positive shopping trip! Point offers arrive in my email inbox promptly on Thursday mornings so I plan my shopping around that information every week. Easy peasy!

Naaaaa, Not So Much....

Today's prayer from the wee book goes like this:
"Lord, I often think about what could be and dream of a better future. Sometimes, though, my thoughts are locked in the past, stuck in disappointment and regret. Please help me to be content with today, to live in this moment, no matter what my current circumstances."

Hmmmm....in my case there isn't much living in the past any more. Occasionally I still have a fleeting childhood memory fly through my conscious mind that triggers some sadness over what might have been and wasn't and now never will be, but apart from that I spend little time on regrets and past disappointments. As far as what was, well, WAS is the operative word, can't change the past so why dwell on it, right? The future always holds the possibility of better times and circumstances, so why not spend thinking time on positive possibilities instead of remaining mired in past disasters?

As far as my own past personal moral failures, I have taken them to Jesus and received God's forgiveness so they don't need to be thought about any more unless a new and similar problem or temptation arises. Then past experiences can be light posts warning me away from the emotional and spiritual pain of a repeat performance, pulling me away from future regrets. When the temptation passes the old thoughts of past regrets can pass away as well.

I like today's little prayer in my daily prayer book. If the temptation to worry about the past, to re-experience those pains and regrets comes upon us, it is a good reminder of the great I Am's intention to set us free from such debilitating thoughts that can leave us depressed and ineffective in our daily lives. I am just grateful that so many life experiences that cannot be changed can be redeemed somehow by the grace and love of my Heavenly Father.


Thursday, May 5, 2016

One Job Down, One to Go!

I am so happy that the maintenance man arrived at 4pm and fixed the toilet and all is working again there! He looked at my light switch and said he would contact the electrician for a fix up. Yay! Should be here by next week, I am hoping!
What a relief to have new innards in the tank!

How Long Will It Take?

Late last night I emailed our management company with a couple of needed repairs here in the suite.  Wonder how long it will take for a new light box/switch to replace the shorted out one in my bedroom and a new valve and/or other inner workings for our leaking toilet tank?  I like being able to email and get a confirmation that the request has been received over having to make phone call after phone call attempting to contact the right department to get a maintenance request submitted. I am hoping for repairs by early next week so that I can use my overhead bedroom light again. Right now I have the switch taped down to keep the overhead light off and to keep it from shorting out again.  The toilet valve has been leaking almost since we moved in over a year ago, but up until a few days ago just jiggling the flush handle has been sufficient to get it to shut off.  We'll see if the interior maintenance can be done as quickly as the last time we asked for help.  

Today is to be the warmest day of the week, if we reach our predicted high of +31C.  Then the trend heads the other direction for a good week or more with highs next week in the mid teens apparently.  Unfortunately, at this point anyway, there is not so much as a drop of moisture in the forecast.

Last night we had our first drift of smoke come in from the Fort McMurray fire.  Ooooh lala....one second I was sitting reading my book and enjoying the slight cool down of the middle evening hours and the next I was racing to close the kitchen window while screeching at my husband to close the upstairs windows before my asthma had a chance to get started.  Apparently we will be getting far more smoke by tonight as the biggest drift has reached The Battlefords all ready and should be hovering over the city of Saskatoon by this afternoon sometime.  We will be next no doubt. I cannot get over the devastation up there...what a tragic disaster for all the folks and business owners who lost their homes and venues.

I took it easy yesterday...ALL day.  I did essentially nothing of value apart from making meals and washing dishes.  Today I am doing about the same amount of useful activity.  I am SO tired.  My knee is hurting from some of the physio I have to do for my hip so I have dropped all exercises that put a strain on it, at least until it heals up.  It has been over strained unfortunately, but I am sure it will recover if I am very careful with it for another week or so.  As far as the hip, yesterday was the completion of my second round of 21 days with the last set of exercises I received.  There are 3 or 4 of them where I know I can still make progress but the other 10 or 11 have achieved maximum benefit so I think after this week's round of physio I will just drop them. The main help now seems to be all the walking I have been doing outside and in the shopping malls over the past three weeks.  Tomorrow I will start doing long walks again.  Going not too quickly keeps my knee from hurting and exercises the hip well.  I suppose I ought to contact my physiotherapist but I am going to have to wait and go over my calendar first to see when I am free to get together with him.  Between his ridiculously busy schedule every week and my own over the next two weeks I am not sure when we will be able to have a session in person.    June is holidays and I am gone most of the month.  Perhaps my husband and I can incorporate a pit stop in my physiotherapist's town at some point during our time off.  Well, that is still to be worked out..........

I am enjoying the silly colouring book and felt marker set. hahaha  The third pattern in the book is nearly completed.  However, I can tell that once I get moving again and busy starting tomorrow I will soon lose interest in the whole project.  My short attention span rises once again! haha

Have been trying to call my parents this morning but the phone has been busy for nearly 2 hours there.  My dad is on a roll I am guessing. He LOVES to talk on the phone, that is for sure, haha.  I will keep trying. Have heard nothing from either of them for nearly a week so that is usually a good sign that they are well and active.

So, two days of enforced rest will soon be over.  Tomorrow it is time for more walking and a load or two of laundry!  Saturday night is the Regina Symphony's Farewell to Victor Sawa, their current director who is leaving after this season.  Halcyon singers and the Philharmonic chorus will be singing.  It is a programme of Beethoven so I know I will enjoy it immensely.

Other than the fire smoke that is on the way, life is good this week.