Sunday, May 21, 2017

Day Three....Nearly Over....YIPPEE!!!!

My husband just phoned to say he will be home soon...only a couple of more hours to wait!  YAY!!  Wow, I really missed him this weekend!  He will likely be completely exhausted when he arrives and be more or less useless tomorrow, but that is okay.  At least he will be here!!!  (BIG SMILEY FACE!!)

Based on the experiences of the past 3 days, it seems that being alone was God's goal for me for some reason.  That was certainly brought home to me this morning:  after dithering about all morning about whether or not to attend the nearest Anglican church, simply because I can walk there easily in 20 minutes, I realized if I went I could also take a bag of books I finished reading this week and deposit them in the community library box near the church.  How's THAT for a super spiritual hero giant reason to attend church...I know...right???? hahaha

O my.....crazy....the sermon was being given by a guest preacher, a woman I know, a colleague of my husband's that I have spent a fair amount of time with in the past year or two.  She gave her usual amazing sermon, but here is the weird part that makes me wonder what on earth God has been up to this weekend with all the isolation:  the woman did not recognize me!!  DID NOT RECOGNIZE ME EVEN THOUGH I JUST HAD ANOTHER GOOD VISIT WITH HER 3 WEEKS AGO!!!  I wasn't concerned about it when she was rushing about before the service getting set up while I smiled at her from the front pew.  It wasn't until she was finished and sitting silently across the aisle from me that it started to dawn on me that she truly did not know who I was.  While she was preaching she looked my way several times and I could see the gears turning in her head as she tried to remember where she might have seen me before, but eventually she gave up trying to figure it out.  During the passing of the peace I gave her a hearty handshake and blessing, which she returned, but still didn't know me.  Talk about bizarre!!!! A year ago we were travelling around the province together several weekends in a row.  We are not just aquaintances.  She is not the kind of person to hold something against someone and subsequently ignore them in other words, she is an adult!  Her lack of recognition was totally sincere. WEIRD!

The priest did recognize me and after the service invited me to join everyone for lunch downstairs in the hall.  She pointed me in the direction of the stairs and down I went.  No one else was down there yet so I used the opportunity for a washroom break, then re-entered the hall and sat down at a table in the middle of the room, thinking it would be difficult to be left sitting alone that way.  Method in my madness...right?  Well....I sat...and sat....and sat. 15 minutes later no one else had  yet entered the hall.  I could see the table of food set out near the kitchen pass through window, so I knew I was in the right place.  I waited 5 more minutes and finally a couple of women came down and headed straight past me and into the kitchen to get the coffee urn put out.  Then they sat down in the kitchen and started to chat.  Everyone else in the congregation was still upstairs in the narthex visiting.  I wandered over to the kitchen to introduce myself to the two women who had passed me when they came downstairs, but didn't seem to see me wave at them or hear my greeting.  As I arrived at the window I opened my mouth to say hello and one of them stood up, waved her arm dismissively at me and said,"You can't start eating yet. The priest has not come downstairs yet to offer the blessing over the food."  She sat down again and I stood there gaping like a fish for a second before turning around and returning upstairs to see what was so fascinating up there.  Everyone was just standing around chatting, so I stood in the main traffic area smiling, but not one person made eye contact with me.  I stood there ginning like an idiot for just over 5 minutes, then bolted for the doors and headed home.  BIZARRE!!!!!  

Unfortunately this sort of situation happens weekly in too many established congregations of all denominations. We get into our little cliques and visiting ruts, don't pay any attention to new folk and do nothing to ensure they feel welcome...or in today's case nothing to prevent new person me from feeling like anything more than some kind of piglet trying to sneak food ahead of the crowd....which of course I wasn't trying to do at all.

I laughed all the way home.  My lack of impact on people I know is legendary, but for the preacher not to be able to place me is nothing short of shocking.  I will be seeing her at a staff get together in a couple of weeks and it will be interesting to see what she has to say when I tell her how much I enjoyed her sermon at today's service.  hahahaha  She will be as shocked then about my presence at church as I was today about her not knowing who I was.  She is very quick to deal with offenses, so that is how I know I as not being deliberately snubbed...on top of the fact that she is, as I wrote earlier, an adult.   

The beautiful day outside when I was walking made up for the odd morning at the church and I spent a happy afternoon doing my laundry, lifting weights and resting.  Now dinner is over, dishes done and I am waiting for the season finale of "Shades of Blue" to begin.  My husband will be happy to be home, happy I recorded some boxing for us to watch tomorrow and happy that the clean up weekend at the camp went fabulously, with many volunteer helpers!

So my weekend alone is soon to come to an end....YAY!!  Thank you Lord that, while I have no idea what I was supposed to get out of this down time on my own, there obviously was a reason for it and if you ever want to let me in on that, well...I wouldn't object!!  All in all though, I kept busy and things went well...strangely but well.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Day Two...All Through...Wahoo!!

I spent the better part of the day completing all the housecleaning after a bit of a sleep in this morning.  I finished up at about 4:30pm, ate an early dinner and did the minimum 40 minutes of exercise afterward.  After being on my feet all day cleaning I figured that was more than enough.  I did a lot of "extras" in today's cleaning and by dinner time I was rather tired.

Over dinner I watched the season finale of "The Blacklist" and thoroughly enjoyed it!  I will get to watch it again on Monday with my dear husband. Apparently History Channel is bringing back another season of our favourite "Alone" reality series starting June 8 or thereabout.  That is how I most enjoy outdoor survival experiences: vicariously through video recordings of other people actually doing it!  I also love "So You Think You Can Dance" as a fun summer show so I hope it is also on its way back to the screen.

After dinner and dishes clean up I decided finally to rent "La La Land" as so many people have told me I MUST see it. I have.  I have to say I am most grateful to have only paid $6.95 for a rental as it did indeed send me to la la land.  Snore...doze....snooze.....  Maybe I simply wasn't in the mood but it didn't exactly grab my attention.  There were some pleasantly forgettable tunes and a few bits of excellent jazz, but the dance sequences seemed rather aborted throughout the film, perhaps because the principle actors are not dancers?  They waltzed together rather nicely, but didn't do a lot else. There were amazing sets and costumes for the larger cast of dancers but they too didn't get to perform much. There was only one short complete routine during the opening sequence and that was about it. be honest I spent part of the time paging through a new biography I am about to start reading after writing this post.  To me the film was pretty much a "should have, could have, would have been" kind of film.  It was obvious what the writers and producers were trying to achieve, but in my opinion they didn't quite get close, but no cigar.  Whatever....I am happy so many other people got so much out of it and that it did so well.  At least there was no potty humour and not much in the way of profanity, no nudity....all pluses, but it was also rather insipid.  O well....

As far as being alone this weekend, thus far it has been a blast from the past:  I received a lovely phone call from friends in Vancouver Island and from Ontario and some delightful emails from my son and from other friends far was just like living in our last contact with "the faithfuls", yet nothing face to face for the entire last 2 days.  

I decided after I completed my housework to call my friend who was taking her driver's test this past week and if she passed, invite her over for a cup of tea.  I believe Ramadan starts next week and she won't be indulging in our usual cuppa' for the next few weeks until Ramadan ends.  In the process of trying to call her I accelerated to ludicrous speed on the whole experience of being alone all weekend: her cell phone number is no longer in service! hahahaha  I have no other way to reach her as I have no car of my own to drive all the way to her house to check in.

Okay Lord, for whatever reason this is not my weekend to socialize!  Okay, I get it, I get it all ready!   I will be interested to see if anything comes up in the morning to prevent me from getting to the nearest church service.  hahaha  That will be the next thing this weekend...........hahaha.

My husband called me again from the camp as he was getting ready for a very early bed time.  He and the volunteers all worked so hard today and he was exhausted.  Apparently he was going to tackle a large caulking project an hour before he called, but he remembered my warning to him to remember he isn't 20 any more and he is in bad shape physically as he hasn't started training yet for the late summer canoe trip, so he changed his mind about the caulking and will leave it until tomorrow. Good man!!

Well, time to go and read myself to sleep.  If I do miss church in the morning I have lots of laundry to do to keep myself busy for the day!

Not Mice After All!!

Several times over the past two weeks, right around the time we both head upstairs in the middle evening hours to get ready for bed and do some reading and emailing, we heard noises above our heads that we assumed immediately were due to a mouse or rat in the attic.  One of my dreads this weekend has been that the blasted thing would eat its way through the asbestos and through the ceilng drywall and fall into the suite, or that it would fall between the joists into the wall and eat its way in that way.  I HATE MICE!!  Also, I have no idea where my husband stored the traps when we moved in here with the mistaken idea that mice would not be a problem!  Duh!!

The one thing that puzzled both of us was that the noise and scrabbling about were not consistent.  They happened for about 10 minutes maxiumum every few evenings, with a few days in between, and never once during the day.

Well, last night it happened again, but I stopped long enough to listen more carefully to the sounds.  They were the same sounds as before, but didn't seem to be inside the attic...more on top of the I tossed on a housecoat and walked outside onto the front lawn to see if I could see anything unusual up there...maybe something that had been blown or tossed up there at some point, got stuck on a heat vent and made noise on the shingles depending on the wind direction. 

O my....there WAS something up there all right:  It was a big fat GOOSE!!!!!  I have never seen a goose scrambling around trying to keep its balance on any of the rooves of our complex buildings ever before.  This one's wide, flat, webbed feet were having quite a time getting a grip on the old shingles, what with the roof having quite a steep pitch to it, but the big fat bird was trying hard to keep its balance and stand up!!  O for heaven's sake!  

I laughed and laughed as it finally managed to get sufficient traction for a rather awkward take off back into the sky.

Dumb goose........ hahahahahaha

Friday, May 19, 2017

And the Icing On the Cake: the phone call I just received from my husband!  He had a great drive out to camp, met up with the park director and the other camp clean up volunteers and all ready they have fixed some severe plumbing issues before they start on their list of planned tasks tomorrow.  So far it is all good!  Some of the other volunteers are parishioners from our former parish and he is delighted to see them and spend time with them once again.  The hotel restaurant is open so he doesn't have to depend solely on the food I sent along. Maybe he can have a treat for one of his meals as the food there is rather good!

I will sleep even better tonight knowing he is safe and all is well at the camp.

Day One...Over and Done!

If the rest of the weekend goes as well as today did I will indeed be one happy camper!  YAY!!

I hung around  home this morning until the mailman arrived with NO mail for me, not even the phone bill, so scrapped the idea of including a side trip to the bank on my long walk today, got myself dressed and ready and headed out for Cathedral district.  The great news to me is that my thigh muscles are finally healed sufficiently to  up my walking pace considerably over last summer and I made the trip in just under 40 minutes!  YIPPEE!!  The weather was perfect for walking: only about +15C when I left home, with just the hint of a chilly breeze.  I wore no coat, no sweater, just a short sleeved tee shirt and comfy cotton pants!  Decided to wear my proper walking shoes rather than my newish sandals.  I would prefer to keep them fresh and clean as long as possible while waiting for the hot summer weather when I will need them on to keep my feet cool.

The wind got up about a half dozen blocks from my destination lunch venue of choice, just enough wind to coat my bare arms with dust and whatever in that dust covers me with teensy red hives, but they disappeared after my first 10 minutes in Mercury Diner.  I decided to give the place a second chance after being extremely disappointed the first time I ate there a few months ago.  Well.......this time was no different.  The price was scandalous for the plain, not so terrific meal I ordered.  The grilled chicken burger was served on a rather stale white bun and the chicken breast was the skinniest piece of meat I have ever laid eyes on.  Sigh....  The good part was that the only condiments on the burger were a slice of tomato, two good sized slices of dill pickle, and barely enough mayo to be bothered with.  The bun wasn't even the butter and mayo count were perfect for my cholesterol count!  I ordered a side salad with it and no dressing.  The lettuce was rather wilted in my little dish of salad and there was only 1 tomato wedge on top, but at least there were some good sized bits of grated carrot and purple cabbage so it was tasty enough.  A bottle of diet Coke was all I could find to have with the meal as I cannot tolerate the tap water rather meagre fare with tax still came to nearly twenty dollars...higway robbery in my opinion.  I can pay the same amount for a fresher, LARGE, salad at Zam's, filled with as many veggies as I want to order and it is loaded with chicken shwarama to the point where I don't need any bread or buns at all to be completely sated after eating it. On the way home after lunch I noticed a little place I missed seeing on the way into the neighbourhood: Bobbi-Jo's.  The small sandwich board outside was advertising falfal and feta wraps, so that tells me there may be something more satisfying for me to eat there than at Mercury Diner.  There really isn't anything wrong with the food at Mercury Diner, it just is less interesting than what my little heart desires!

After lunch I hoofed it across the street to the Bernard Callebaut chocolate shop and purchased some wildly expensive chocolate items to take to friends and family next month on our holiday travels.  It was so much fun picking out things I know they all will like.  I picked out a few individual chocolates for my husband and myself for a treat.  When he gets home he will have a nut cluster, a honey-anise and a white raisin-wine chocolate to try.  For myself I purchased an orange oil infused leaf of dark chocolate to eat as my dessert today, then over the next few days I will be having a mango-peppercorn chocolate, a  nutmeg orange chocolate and an apricot jelly-lavender chocolate.  How exciting!  They are pretty light on the sugar, these wee candies, so one a day for 3 days will not be a problem.  Since I am alone all weekend, I am treating myself! haha

I tried to purchase a new clergy shirt for my husband at Burns-Hanley, also located in the area, but they had only black, white and bishop's purple in stock in my husband's size. The pretty colours he wants were only in stock in smaller neck sizes.  Very disappointing, but he can go in and order what he wants there next week.

Across the street to Iannone's I went to check out the sandal selection once again. SCORE!  Their spring order finally arrived in its entirety and I had a decent selection of SAS brand to choose from.  I found a lovely antique brown pair, not at all the style I usually wear from SAS, but just as comfy and with a bit of gold iridescence.  YAY!  So, my summer footwear is complete!

It was a most satisfying walk home!  The wind really came up though and as I walked past the many huge old trees along the route I could feel that crazy hive rash starting up again.  As soon as I got home I lathered up my arms in warm water and soap and it was gone within ten minutes.  O my....what a nuisance.  At least it doesn't itch!  Never had such a thing until we moved to Saskatchewan...there is something in the dust here, some kind of pollen or farming chemical or something that drives me crazy all spring and summer as soon as I am around vegetation and the wind is blowing! is just so danged UGLY! and so NOTICEABLE!!

I had a nice rest once I got home.  I discovered an old colouring book and bag of felt pens I "played with" in desperation the winter I was stuck inside with the broken hip.  So, I coloured a picture instead of sleeping as I feel so wretchedly ill if I nap during the day.  That was a hoot!  I can't believe I used that as a time consumer when I was incapacitated, but at least it was a break from reading and emailing.

After dinner tonight I had another surge of energy so dusted all the venetian blinds, and around the inside of the window frames, then dusted and vacuumed my bedroom and the upstairs hallway and stair landing and dusted all the paintings and Japanese knicknacks upstairs. I cleaned all of our computers and the light fixtures in the ceilings, vacuummed the bathroom mat and the furnace vents.  So, at least some of the work is all ready done before I launch into the rest of it tomorrow.  I will feel like I really got away with something when I wake up in the morning and resume cleaning!  

So now it is nearly 10:30pm and I need to crawl into bed and do some reading.  If I go for a walk again tomorrow after cleaning I may do another long walk to the second hand bookstore as I am nearly out of reading material again.  Buuut, the store here is such a disorganized and filthy mess inside.  I would prefer going to Post Horizons in Moose Jaw, but have no way to get there. The used books there are expensive, but they are in great condition and the selection is more what I want. I don't have to sort through massive piles of dusty bodice rippers, desperately seeking something worth reading. Post Horizons is clean and well organized, so I am happy to pay the prices.  I can usually find what I want there in a very short time. 

Well...we shall see what Day Two of this long weekend brings!

Okay...So It's The Victoria Day Weekend...So.....Now What Happens?

My husband just left for his weekend of diocesan camp clean up down in Cypress Hills Park.  He and our vehicle are both gone for a few days and here I sit....hmmmm.....what kind of weekend is it going to turn out to be I wonder?

Later this morning I am going to wander over to Iannone's Shoes in the Cathedral district. Depending on whether or not the phone bill arrives today I may take an extra long walk to the bank near Cornwall Center to pay that as well.  Either way I am going to try to time it so I can take myself out for lunch!  Facing a rather long weekend alone I am going to treat myself whenever possible all weekend!  Other than that long walk I have not had any success in making any plans to see anyone this weekend, so if nothing else this townhouse is going to receive the best cleaning of its entire existence!  I did have a plan to return to our former parish for a Saturday funeral of a former parishioner but the plans fell through last night.

Earlier this week I made a list of all the people I know around here and did some research to find out what they were doing this long weekend so that I would at least have a few folk to call if I was home alone.  I ended up with a big fat zero as far as friends who are NOT away or otherwise occupied this weekend!  haha  One friend is in Victoria, one is in Vancouver, one is in Italy, one is in Trinidad, one is in Toronto, one is in Saskatoon, one is in Red Deer, three are away at various lakeside cabins preparing them for summer use, one is babysitting the grandkids, two are working, two live out of town and they are not able to get here any more than I am able to get there, a couple of more are home but have family/garden planting committments and on it goes!!  hahahaha  UNREAL!  I may wander over to St. Matthews church on Sunday morning because I can easily get there on foot, so that would get me out for half a day for worship.....with a group of folk I don't know at all.  hahaha's to whatever wonderful things are going to happen, whatever they turn out to be.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Why I Love Teens!

I have always found teenagers to be the most fascinating people and I love them dearly!  One of the things I most enjoy about that age group is their certainty that they are the first to discover so many things and have no clue that most of what they are learning is old news to the rest of us.  hahaha

One of the most hilarious conversations I ever had was with two teenaged girls I used to know, now grown women with husbands and children.  They were 15 years old at the time. I overheard the two of them talking one day when they had no idea anyone could be listening in on their conversation.  They were discussing a particular sexual practise among young people that was making a lot of news in those days and each of them was discussing it as if they knew exactly what it was all about and possibly hinting to each other that each of them had given it a try.  I knew from the complete lack of factual information they had that they had no idea about any of it. 

So, since I knew them and their families so well, I stepped around the corner and invited myself into their discussion. It went kind of like this:

Me: Hey ladies, whatcha'  talkin' about?

Them (sagely and condescendingly): O, Mrs. B., YOU don't want to know about such things! (snicker, snicker)

Me: Well, actually I overheard a bit of what you were discussing and I think that you both need to know that in order to do that sort of thing you need to do thus and so.  Then of course there is a danger that if you participate in this you could experience this, that or the other thing and even put your lives in danger...but of course you all ready know these things..........don't you? 

Them (shocked!): Eeeewewww!!  MRS. B.!!!  We are so embarrasseed! How do YOU know about these things?  You are OLD!!!  

Me: Yes, I am very old indeed...older than dirt....therefore my brain contains the knowledge and wisdom of the ages.  If you need to know anything else about this particular subject don't be afraid to ask me because you really need to get your facts straight about all the things old people invented long before you were born, particularly practises that could harm you.

Them (rather subdued):  Oooooooooohhhh..........

I contacted both girls' parents that same day and told them about our little discussion. After they stopped laughing uproariously they all decided it was certainly time to have another talk with their daughters that went deeper than the basic "birds and bees". 

Teens.  So darned cute.  So sure they know it all.  Positive that every idea they come up with on their own is a totally new invention.  

Love. Them. To. Pieces!!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Split Infinitives....teehee

I was searching for something in an old blog post this morning and it required reading several old posts.  O, how I do love using split infinitives! hahahaha

That is one reason I enjoy blogging...I can do that and it doesn't matter.  I am not writing a treatise or a university paper.  I am simply jotting down thoughts as they come to me.  How relaxing for me!

So, if poor grammar, the occasional whopping blooper of a spelling mistake, or other poor use of the English language drives you crazy, well then....I am sorry....I "am really, truly, sorry"....teehee teehee!!!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Passing Through.....

"We're all brothers and we're only passin' through....".
(Thank you Leonard Cohen!)

I was reminded of that song this week with the loss now of not only  one, but two friends.  Now an elderly parishioner from our last parish has passed on...a woman who dearly loved us, spent a lot of time with us and who cried when we had to tell her we were moving away.  She was 98 at the time of her death.  We will certainly miss her love and care of us.

Holiday plans kicked into higher gear today.  We have the guest suite booked at my parents' facility for the first week of our holiday and are just waiting to hear from friends in Lethbridge as to whether or not we can head there next for a couple of days.  If not, they may be able to meet us for an evening in Calgary instead while we are there.  My parents are very cute: so thrilled that I will be spending my birthday with them and are all ready planning bookings for fancy restaurant meals for the day. hahaha  Mom has a list of things she "needs" to buy that is several pages in length so I suspect we are going to spend every day driving around the city shopping. Hopefully I can get her alone for a few hours without Dad so we can talk about what is really going on with him and how she is feeling medically and about their lives in general.  My husband is great at taking care of Dad when Mom and I need an escape for a few hours. 

If all works out as planned we should have a week to 10 days at home before heading to Edmonton and area for the last week of holidays, so we can visit my husband's sister and her husband.  

I am amazed at the peace of mind we both have about not going to visit our son in Vancouver this time.  Usually that is the given and everyone and everything else has to wait until another time, but not this year.  Since our son has plans to stop to see us and his grandparents on his way to the States later in the summer, we feel free to admit we simply don't want to spend the money to return to the old haunts yet again, as much as we love going there.  It just feels right to take a year off. Perhaps it is because the 10 days we spent there last June were so absolutely perfect.  After all the times we have visited over the past 15 years, last year was the most fantastic time ever and perhaps that is a good way to end the holiday times on the west coast, at least for awhile.

Got my haircut today, followed by some window shopping to fill in the time afterward until it was noon and I could eat lunch at Zam Zam's.  O how I am enjoying those shawarma salads without the sauces and feta cheese.  PRAYING so hard that my cholesterol will come down sufficiently by July to be able to stay off the statins.  Of course my next tests are the week immediately following our holidays, a time when I have less control over my meals as a rule.  I guess this year I am just going to have to maintain a strict discipline and stick to salads and plates of hot cooked veggies with some protein and leave it at that.  At least I am enjoying eating good breads that don't have more than 2% saturated fats and no cholesterol and eating them without any butter or margarine.  

Tonight for dinner I was feeling uncreative and not much like preparing much of a meal, so I ate a big plate of hot veggies with a half a plain, boiled chicken breast and a tablespoon of picante sauce over the top.  Talk about simple....and simply delicious as well.

I have been curious as to how my sodium intake is doing as I have been suspcious that my ingestion has crept up in recent months, but once again today my BP at mid morning was 78/33, very average for me as when I am healthy it tends to be very low.  I think back to 3 years ago when it was up around 151/94 and can hardly believe it is back under control.  This afternoon it was in its usual mid day range of 116/74.  

I walked the 35 minutes downtown this morning, then sat for 40 minutes for a hair cut, then window shopped for 40 minutes, then sat for 20 minutes to eat lunch, then walked the 35 minutes home.  After dinner I talked to my parents for 45 minutes and was walking around and around the house the entire time.  Getting back to that kind of constant moving about now that my hip is better and my ankle is strong again, well, it is how I most enjoy life and it makes me feel great almost all the time.  The temperature for walking outside today was perfect: between +19C and +22C!  There was a bit of a breeze but for now the gale force winds are bothering someone else for a change!  The sun was shining in and around a bit of cloud cover so it wasn't too hot on my skin...what a perfect day!

Our relative with cancer is experiencing rather severe neuropathy in the hands and feet.  The doctor has cut the amount of one of the drugs by 25% in hopes that it will not worsen. During treatments and even at home, ice packs will be placed on the hands and feet to impede blood circulation to the nerve endings in the extremities in hopes that it will reduce the amount of poison in the chemo drugs from reaching those nerve endings.  If the neuropathy continues to worsen at the rate it has been happening, the damage could be permanent, so it is imperative to do all that is possible to prevent that. As a result, the extra 2 chemo treatments that were recently added into the schedule have been cancelled in order to preserve a decent quality of life without other permanent physical damage.  This doctor is extremely compassionate and understanding and has been marvellous with our relative.  We truly believe that God knows if the extra two treatments actually would have been  necessary and if not, then what a relief to have them cancelled. As things stand now, there should only be one more treatment after today' about 3 weeks. Praying that can truly be the end of it.

Although it isn't even 10pm yet I think I will go to bed now and read for awhile. All that fresh air and walking made me tired...a comfortable sort of tiredness that comes from good exercise and being out of doors in the spring.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Yummy Salad!!

I was tired yesterday so decided to keep supper very simple for our guests last night.  The chicken/veggie casserole came together quickly and easily, this particular family loves artisan breads smothered in butter, I had a plate each of sliced tomatoes and cucumbers as some members of the family enjoy one and others the other and they don't eat lettuce, so that made a greens salad a bad idea.  I had a dish of orange rind stuffed olives and knew those would disappear quickly, but what to have for another side dish....

I decided beans would be a good idea, so I opened and rinsed and dried a can of red kidney beans and a can of black beans.  I heated some frozen edamame to add in for colour, finely diced half a small white onion and mixed everything together with some freshly ground pepper and a dowsing of white balsamic vinegar. DELICIOUS and so very simple!  I ended up with a huge bowl of beans, but our guests ate the entire bowl's worth!  The casserole went over well too as I had so many chopped veggies in it along with rather a lot of sliced chicken in lemon juice and Greek herb mix. For a base I used a wonderful mix of quinoa and red rice and wild rice that we were introduced to by my husband's sister recently.  The little boys who ate that casserole were persuaded to enjoy the green beans, carrots, celery and peas they don't normally like to eat, because everything was chopped so finely they were barely aware of all the vegetables. hahaha Good trick with these boys, works every time! 

It was a good meal for our friends and other than the time it took to dice and chop the veggies, it was quick to produce.  Easy peasey!!

After supper we walked through the park across the street.  There seem to be fewer geese this year and the goslings have mostly hatched out, so we had a great time watching the little downy birds scattering about the park under the watchful eye of their parents. The lower number of geese made walking on the paths less of a minefield for poop bombs!  YES!!  Don't know if there are straggling late comers still on their way from the south or if somewhere along the line the geese were culled either accidentally by weather or deliberately by fed up town and city parks administrators, but it was a most pleasant first venture into the park last evening for us.  The boys played on the playground equipment while we old codgers sat and watched the fountain in the "lake".  

It was a lovely Mothers Day for me as I had a good conversation with my own Mom, my son called me and our guests brought me flowers and other gifts in honour of the day.  Wow!!  

Today I find myself rather unexpectedly alone and wondering the best way to spend my afternoon. My husband ended up with two surprise "play dates" today...oooh, he hates me to tease him by calling them that, he is off with an immigrant friend to introduce him to the lumber yards and hardware stores here, then off to the home of another friend who is turning his garage into a woodworking shop.  He is likely going out for lunch with his first friend and, unbeknownst to him right now, he is also going out for supper...with me! hahaha  I am happy for my husband to have two friends to spend some guy time with. 

I suppose I could spend some time reading after lunch even though there is always plenty of housework to do...I am like my mom, if I am not working at some specific task every waking hour between morning breakfast and evening dinner I feel lazy and decadent.  I do have Sunday's episode of "Shades of Blue" recorded and I could watch that.  Tomorrow I will be going on a long walk, so should conserve a bit of energy today by doing my exercise here at home. It is kind of nice to make a few last moment plans for myself! to locate something delicious for my lunch. There is a chicken breast left over from yesterday that didn't go into the casserole and I have a nice fresh loaf of rosemary bread and a head of butter butter lettuce in the fridge...yeah, sounds like great fixings for a sandwich! 

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Spring Concert

Last night our choir sang its spring concert, our last of this season's performances.  It was a lot of fun and, according to my husband, had only a couple of small glitches.  What a relief.  He knows what it is like to have to work with volunteer adults and so he has a lot of empathy with our director.  One huge improvement was the performance venue.  Instead of singing in a grungy church basement we were in a large, airy space with lots of room to put up the tables for the intermission cake and fruit break.  While it was a lot of work toting heavy chairs out of the space and replacing them with tables and lighter chairs, reversing the process after the concert, vaccuming what seemed like miles and miles of carpet after the audience left and replacing all the heavy chairs in just the right spots, washing dishes, wiping and folding tablecloths, putting up and taking down decorations, emptying garbage bins etc., it was worth every minute of it.  We had a happy audience and we had the joy of knowing we finally were singing in a place with decent accoustics.  Our director and musicians are such a great help to our ragtag group of singers!

This morning I feel like I have been run over by a truck, so the meal I am going to prepare for our company tonight is becoming simpler by the minute, haha.  Fortunately they are good friends who are easy to please!  YAY!!  What was I thinking setting up a dinner party the night after a choir concert? hahaha  I guess it is partly because I knew it would be our last opportunity before our friends enter the season of Ramadan.  We won't likely get together much during that time since all our get togethers so far have been centered around food! haha

Tomorrow morning we have early appointments at the bank and possibly we will clear the recycling bins out of the basement...we have bottles, cans, old computers and other recycleables up the Wahzoo!  hahaha  Once we get things cleared out we may actually have enough open space to run the vacuum and do some general clean up down there!

My husband needs me to do some typing for him right now.  Yesterday he had a mini-tragedy as, despite his careful attempts at transferring some computer files, he accidentally over wrote the last few days of writing for his study leave final paper. He does have some decent written notes though so I am going to type as he dictates.  I wish he would do that all the time as it is so much faster than him trying to "hunt and peck" his way around the keyboard for hours at a time to accomplish very little in comparison to what we can do together.  His dyslexia is mild, but it certainly shows up when he is keyboarding.

The sun is out, the sky is finally blue again after a chilly, rainy week and I am looking forward to what the coming week will bring us.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Living in a Prairie Wind Tunnel

O my goodness it is windy outside!  The past two days have seen an onslaught of the infamous prairie winds.  I have to admit that while I find it fascinating, I also find it frustrating and annoying, particularly when I want or need to be outside walking here and there.  Like this morning: while I desperately need to wander over to the grocery store for some cereal, I find I am procrastinating...reading online newspapers I rarely read any more, wiping the dust bunnies from our computer screens and desks, blogging......

Our dress rehearsal last evening for our concert tonight was a wonderful time  until it was time to go home.  Walking into the wind to get to my vehicle was quite a balancing act and of course I was parked as far away from the doors of the building as possible! The wind is just as strong today and it kept both my husband and myself awake part of the night as we tried to decide if it was safe to remain upstairs in our creaking, swaying townhouse or if we should be running to the safety of the basement!

My husband had to go to a meeting out of town this morning so I hope it isn't a struggle to keep the car on the road...the one we have now is certainly heavier and easier to steer than our last little car.

Today I am conserving my energy for this evening's performance.  I made a couple of dumb goofs again last mind was too distracted by the death of my old aquaintance and by a letter we received yesterday from one of the Anglican bishops in the South Sudan.  

He wanted to let us know that as he was attending a conference last week, there were mass murders occuring at the hands of rebel forces only 15 kilometres away.  All the work he has gone to in attempting to prevent the old tribal schizms from flaring up here in North America seems destined to fail as social media contact between South Sudanese at home and here in Canada is resulting in schizms among the various tribal members here.  While, fortunately, there is no open warfare is devastating to all of us involved in that community on a local level to see the roots of hatred starting up again after so much time and effort has been put into the healing of centuries old tribal war induced wounds.  Blasted social media....sigh.....  There seem to be no answers on the horizon for the South Sudan and the impact here in Canada and the USA among the refugees from among the over 60 tribes who were able to relocate here is going to be devastating if something is not done soon to end the wars in their own country. What a horrible mess....and only one of the horrible messes going on world wide.  I expect our "white person" involvement is not going to be welcome much longer here in the city.  It makes me very sad, but I never stop praying for miracles because I have witnessed a few in my life.

Off to shower and get over to the grocery store for some exercise.  Tonight is the concert.  That will be all until September.  It is going to seem very odd not to see those people again for more than 3 months in a row and just as I was finally starting to make some friends.  Quite a number of them have lakeside cabins and will be gone for weeks at a time all summer.  I will miss them.

Goodbye Friend

My friend who was admitted to hospital some time ago with meningitis has apparently passed away.  She was put onto life support, but her family chose to have it disconnected yesterday.  I think they were wise to do so.  I am very sad for her family as they are understandably devastated.  This dear woman was one of the first to greet me and take time to get to know me at the first Anglican church we attended back in Alberta.  She was an educator extraordinaire who gave me some excellent tips for my classroom music teaching.  She received practically every provincial award for educators that it is possible to get.  Her husband adored her and her film maker son always gave her credit for being his inspiration to achieve excellence.  A huge gap has opened up in the world that she used to fill.  Goodbye Dorothy, and thank you for everything!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Lee Is Back Home

Lee and his family thank you all very much for your prayers for his safe return to Canada.  He and his parents arrived home yesterday after some travel delays along the route. No doubt they are exhausted.

Lee is going to have some medical tests to see what triggered his loss of memory as to what happened to him overseas. He still can't figure it out.

Praise the Lord that someone found him, that he was admitted to a hospital in Thailand and that through the work of Christian missionaries and government officials he was able to get a new passport and return to Canada with his parents.

Blessings to all you prayer warriors! and thanks be to God!!

So Cute, So Incompetent

This afternoon a lovely college aged young lady arrived at my back door to inform me she had been sent by management to paint the back deck railings. Such a sweet very very careful not to slop paint all over the place.

She spent a long time on that set of railings, being so careful and so sweet and so sincere.

Unfortunately she had not been instructed to scrape off the flaking bits of old paint before applying the new. This was not a surprise. This type of building maintenance is typical of what goes on here, as you may remember from my previous building maintenance post about the replacement of our basement doorknob. hahahaha

I went out to have a look at the job after she was done, saw two coats of new paint over top of the old flaking paint on one side of the deck and one coat of new paint over top of the old flaking paint on the other side of the deck. That one coat of paint is so thin and will wear off so quickly that our deck will look like a zebra before the end of the summer once that one thin new coat has peeled off to reveal once again the dirt damaged wood underneath. hahahaha

I phoned my husband at work to warn him not to touch the railings when he comes home from work, he asked me if the old paint had been taken off first, knowing exactly what my answer would be, heard my answer, along with the description of the two toned effect of one coat vs two coats, then started giggling uncontrollably! He could not stop laughing! Wait until he comes home and sees it for himself. He will have hysterics.

I am looking forward to having a total laugh extravaganza with him later this evening, hahahaha!

How we love this nutty rental situation, hahahaha!

Walking With A Purpose

For some reason I find it difficult to enjoy going for a walk if I don't have some kind of specific goal in mind for doing it.  Today is a lovely day and I needed to invent an excuse to go for a decently long walk after lunch.  As I looked at a bag of books I have read over the past few weeks I remembered there is a community library box about 8 blocks away from here, so I used taking the books over there as an excuse to get outside.

The temperature is perfect for walking: +21C.  There is only a mild breeze, rather than our usual gale howling menacingly.  The sky is somewhat overcast so I didn't have any glare from overly bright sun to force me to wear sunglasses...which I love when driving, hate when walking as the difference in colour in front of my eyes sometimes obscures little bumps and rocks I tend to trip over when I don't see them.

Today when I got to the little community box it was completely empty of books.  Looks like I picked a good day to make a delivery.  I often come across second hand books in various places that cost me nothing, or else people give me bags and boxes of their books, again for no money and I love the idea of passing them on to others to read as they choose from the community boxes.

I feel better now about all the used books I have accrued over the past year.  It is nearly time for the annual Seniors' University book sale that will happen at a community centre  near here.  I won't worry about buying a ton of books again this year because now I have somewhere to dispose of them where others will be able to benefit from reading them, for free!  Since I don't pay more than a dollar each for the book sale books, it is easy enough to pass them on.

On the way home I stopped at the grocery store for some items.  Between the grocery store and home I accidentally brushed my arm against a tree branch, so of course now I am sitting here with small red welts covering both arms.  At least my face didn't get rashy this time as it often does when I am in contact with plants.  The rash never itches and it goes away in about 30 minutes once I am indoors.  This crazy allergy reaction showed up about 5 years ago when we lived north west of here and there must be similar greenery in this city as there are certain areas where I walk and come home covered in welts.  Sigh.....if I had a long sleeved shirt on I would have been fine, but the sleeveless tops like I am wearing today are an invitation to end up covered in airborne flora allergens.  O well, such is life.  I accomplished my walk, got rid of 2 bags of books and now I am ready for a big drink of water and a little relax time.

Why Is It So Difficult To Experience God's Love Through His Church Family?

Lately I have had the dreadful behaviour of some church folk thrown in my face as a good reason to not believe in God at all.  On one level even God allows this as a reason to lack faith, but on the other hand I suspect it can also be a good excuse to use to convince our unbelieving selves that if God's people are such a loveless disaster then God must be either non-existent or a complete loser.

I think that we as a church are partly responsible for the disillusionment of each other and of those who do not yet believe, because we have been so great at talking as though to become a Christian automatically gives people access to the most warm, accepting, embracing and inclusive community on the earth.  In God's eyes that is supposed to be least I believe that is his aim for his church....BUT there are some extenuating circumstances that even God understands.

Once wounded, we can also be tempted to tell the world what horrible people our fellow Christians are and drive away those who are seeking God.  We can be responsible as well for not being loving and forgiving toward those brothers and sisters who have hurt us and make no bones to the rest of the world about the awfulness of our own hurts.

The church family is a motley crew!  Each congregation, each group, each set of believers contains the full spectrum of spiritual maturity among its individual members.  There are longer term Christians who have learned to exude grace and mercy and love and acceptance, there are brand new believers who are striving to that ideal with various degress of success, there are seekers who are not sure yet how they are supposed to behave toward others and there are simply church folk who never, even after years in the church, seem to understand God's message of how to truly walk in love toward each other.  We are all in there, mixed up together and sending out messages to the rest of the world that often don't jive in practical outworking with our verbal assurances of love toward each other, or with the scriptural ideals we read about.

So, if God is so great and omniscient and omnipresent, why doesn't he step in and put a stop to all the behaviours that drive possible new believers away from his people and from himself?  Why does he continue, century after century to permit unloving behaviour to emanate from his church toward its own members and toward the rest of the world, too often alienating those who are seeking?

I imagine there are quite a few well thought out, theologically advanced possibilities that could be listed and discussed here, but I am only going to offer two of the most obvious:

1.  God never takes away our free will to think and act.  While his Holy Spirit is always there to teach us how to properly love each other and the rest of the world, he never oversteps and forces us to behave properly, thereby negating his own desire for his creation to be able to choose fully to obey or disobey his commandment to love as he loves.

2.  If God was willing to overstep our free will and create a church that always said and did the right things, how easy would it be for us and for newcomers, for outsiders, for anyone considering following Jesus, to come quickly to a dependence on the righteousness and rightness of the people in the church community instead of having to know and rely on God himself?  If the growth of a Christian was complete upon acceptance of God's gift of salvation then what would be the point of walking by faith, of getting to know God, of spiritual growth?  If becoming a Christian meant instant perfection, there would be no point of continuing to live our earthly life after the point of receiving. 

What I am trying to say is that maybe we ought to stop verbally presenting the church as a perfect place, as place where we can rely on others instead of on a living God.  On the other hand Christians who have themselves struggled to find their place within that church need to stop bashing it to the rest of the world.  We need to stop the polarizing conversations and try to present the church in a more realistic way:  it is simply a place where Christians all along the learning spectrum can come to learn more about Jesus and to learn better ways of sharing in the Christian life together.  It can be a place of refuge and it should be, but we have to be made aware of the fact that Christians are still people with problems they are in the process of working out with God and each other.  It is a place where jealousies over each others' ministries can happen.  It is a place where people can get angry with each other and struggle to work out their differences.  But it is also THE place where bad attitudes and other problems can be worked on, healing between hurting parties can take place in ways that are often more difficult without God as the mediator.

 I find myself currently in an awkward space within the church, but am I freaking out and walking away from its people or from God? No. I have learned that none of us have achieved perfection, but all of us have God inspired tools available through instructions in the bible and through good church leadership.  I know from experience that in time the issues will resolve themselves, people wil heal, people will forgive and forget as they rely on God instead of only on each other.

I love the Church.  It is not the perfect community because it is filled with still imperfect human beings.  Our lack of perfection though as God's children is not an excuse to step away from God.  It is a reminder that we trust fully in him alone.

A Plethora of Hair Products

The older I get the shorter my hairstyles have had to become!  As a result, I also now need to use more hair products than I ever thought possible for one person to use.  I have just washed and styled my hair and the list goes like this:

1. Wash with Pantene Pro V Expert Intense Smooth Shampoo and follow it up with the Intense Smooth Conditioner.  (I used Joico shampoos, conditioners and K-Pak treatments successfully for years, but find the extra cost is no longer guaranteeing the same good result lately.)

2. Towel dry then spray on and comb through a light misting of ogx brand Argan Oil of Morocco.  I like this brand best because it is one of the few I can find that are unscented.  I can't use any of the scented brands of argan oil because I can't get the odor out of my nostrils and eventually I start sneezing my face off.  

3. Allow that to sit in my hair while I get dressed and made up for the day.  Then, spray and comb through a light mist of Pantene smooth Heat Protecting Spray before blowing my hair dry on a medium heat setting, using a giant round horse hair and plastic brush to smooth the ends under.

4. Apply some John Frieda luxurious volume, Forever Full, All Day Hold Hairspray.  It is one of the few sprays I can get that does not turn my hair into a hard helmet, yet holds the shape of it pretty well even in the wind outside. It also is unscented and does not leave that unscented but annoying after spray mist cloying in my sinuses that some sprays do.

Aaaah, how I remember the good old days of very long, wavy, dark hair that I washed, conditioned, brushed out and left to dry on its own.  It had sufficient weight at that length to pull out most of the frizz and as long as my conditioner was ph balanced all was well.  Sigh.....

Such Tragedies

I am feeling overwhelmed this morning by the tragedies other friends are experiencing. So much sadness.....

One dear friend who has not been home long after her annual vacation to see family in Trinidad, is returning there this weekend to attend to funeral arrangement for an elderly cousin. Several days ago the cousin lost her life in a fire that burned her home to the ground.  The cousin lived in a suite above an ice cream shop, where the fire originated. My friend will be helping one other relative make the arrangements and also do anything possible to assist the police in the criminal arson investigation. 

Another old friend has been in hospital for several months. Originally she was admitted with meningitis, but instead of recovering she has gradually worsened. She can no longer talk, she cannot get out of bed, the light hurts her eyes, her brain tissue is badly inflamed and she has started having mini strokes. A biopsy of the lining of her brain is being scheduled. Her husband and son are beside themselves with worry. 

So many people are dealing with not only the circumstances of a particular tragedy, but also with the fear and worries that accompany such situations. 

In the case of my two friends there is strong faith in God to hold onto, but not every person who suffers has that strength to cling to.

I think I will spending a lot of time in prayer today.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Date night

Just before 6pm yesterday I got looking at my calendar and realized that if my husband and I didn't go on a short date night last night, we would not have another opportunity for more than another week.  Hmmm....something had to be done about this, so when my husband arrived home from work a few minutes later I told him we should go out for dinner.  Certainly did not have to twist his rubber arm to get him to agree!

As we were driving out of our parking lot, naming the names of various possibilities for restaurants, he decided we should make our second visit to Life is Good Korean on Victoria Ave.  To be honest I was relieved we were NOT going to Da Pizza and Curry House again. Their food is fine and so inexpensive, but enough is enough all ready!

We were certainly not disappointed in our meal last evening.  My husband ordered a sizzling tofu stew and I ordered the braised chicken stew.  O my....SO DARNED GOOD!!  My husband couldn't finish his completely, there was so much along with the bowl of rice.  There was so much tofu in his boiling hot pot, plus an egg, plus the marvellous stew broth.  

My chicken stew was equally delicious and nourishing.  Sizzling away in the midst of the spicy broth filled with grated cabbage, carrot, zucchini and onion, were 5 small chicken drumsticks and I also had a bowl of sticky rice on the side.  My broth was a bit sweeter than my husband's and I suspect one reason he couldn't quite finish his was because he kept stealing spoonsful of mine to top his rice with. hahaha

These people know how to make proper sticky rice!!  While it is missing the rice vinegar flavour I am used to in Japanese sticky rice, at least this rice is actually properly sticky!  Ordering rice at most of the local Japanese restaurants here in Regina is the best way to discover if the chefs and cooks are actually Japanese, because non-Japanese do not generally capture the process and techniques of making sticky rice properly.   We enjoyed the rice at LIG because it was true sticky rice...perfect for picking up with those rather frustrating, slippery, metal Korean chopsticks!  My skills with non-textured oriental chopsticks must be getting better because I managed the drumsticks with only one small spill down the front of my friend Patty would consider that a near miracle as I don't think we have shared one meal together in the past 10 years where I have not slopped a big daub of SOMETHING all over myself!  (Also, in her absence but also in her honour, there WAS a screaming child somewhere in the place last night, so she must have been present in the back of my, Patty, restaurant, spills on my shirt, screaming child...every time!)

The food took a long time to arrive at our table.  All the entrees are cooked fresh there and so it is not a great place to go for dinner in a hurry if you are eating a full meal, but it is worth the wait.  The service is fairly good between the actual server and the hostess who enjoys hovering over us older folk for some reason.

We were loathe to go home as we were having such a great time together so we decided to order dessert.  We opted for the feather light Korean cheesecake and although I don't think it is made there on the premises, it is still very good.  The menu advertised 2 pieces for $7.50.  Both of us assumed they would be teeny, tiny pieces for that price, but we were wrong.  They were 2 full sized pieces so we had to bring one home after sharing the other.  There are no toppings on the cheesecake, it is very plain and not very sweet....perfect for us.  It is quite different from the heavy cheesecakes neither of us is a big fan of. 

The bill seemed a bit high after the low cost of the food at Da Pizza and Curry House, but the increase in food quality and care of preparation means it was worth it.  The prices at LIG are not that high, it is just that my husband is so enamoured of the cheap prices at the other place. hahahaha   Okay, me too...but I have exhausted their smaller menu of things I can eat.  LIG has a bigger menu, far more choices and there is a good range of prices as well.  Next time I am going to try their chicken salad.

The ambiance and menus take a bit of getting used to at LIG.  The space itself I have described before after our first visit there and it is very nice, but what we love most is the quirky sound track playing as we eat.  Old hits by the Eagles were sandwiched in between Amazing Grace, Korean opera arias, '70's top ten pop and early 90's grunge.  Eclectic does not begin to describe what we were listening to. hahaha  We also discovered that the dessert, alcohol and salad selection are listed in a separate menu.  Not sure why, but it reminded us so much of Japan in that there is likely some sort of reasoning for the Korean proprietors that would be understood only by other Koreans.  Next time we will look more carefully at the smaller, second menu.  We discovered the large salads available after stumbling across the desserts that were deposited between the specialty teas and the cocktail list.  What fun!

It was a wonderful date.  We didn't get our meal until after 7pm, so it was a long wait for me between lunch and dinner, but that was okay.  I ordered a glass of the house red wine, a shiraz that tasted like watery shiraz Koolaid, from a winery I have never heard of before, but with the uber spicy chicken stew it really was just fine.  As a proper wine it is a joke, but finally I have found some kind of "wine" that actually pairs with spicy oriental food very well!  hahaha If it hadn't paired I would have been extremely ticked off at paying $8 for a glass of such tasteless coloured water, but it was so perfect with the stew that I got over the outrage rather quickly.

We will go back to LIG again sometime and try one of their interesting salads.  Hope this place is able to buck the poor economy and remain open because it really is a marvellous restaurant. 

PS Still awaiting an update on Lee and family but will let you know what is going on as soon as I get news.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Muscular Victory Pour Moi!!

Before I broke my hip I most often sat on the sofa with my legs tucked up under me, resting on my left hip.  Since I broke that darned hip 20 months ago now, I have not been able to do anything at all similar to such a pose because of the muscle pain.  They have been so slow to recover and that darned pin head sticking up into them has irritated them from the start.

Well, last night I was tired and cranky and decided it was time to try out that pose to see what would happen.  I felt kind of rebellious and defiant...why I don't have any idea, but I did.  It was like I was daring those muscles to give me the expected terrible shot of pain that can leave me gasping for breath for the next minute or two. Surprisingly, not only was there no pain as I tucked my knees up and rotated onto that hip, the muscles actually moved well in that direction and I found myself assuming the old tv watching position!

Admittedly I was only able to sustain it for less than a minute because of the extreme muscular discomfort, BUT I DID IT!!  There were no shooting pains, there was no cramping up to leave me stuck in that position until my husband came racing down the stairs to answer my panicked shrieking and untuck my knees for me..and yes, he has had to do that on previous occasions, which is why I never try any sort of "new" muscle position post-surgery if I am home alone.  

I have decided to start attempting that position once per day, 5 days a week and at the end of the first week I will regularly start adding another 10 seconds per session per week onto the time I try to hold it.  It will be like a physiotherapy exercise for me to see if I can calm those muscles down once they have the pin head sticking into them with that much weight behind it.  The experiment may not succeed, but I am going to at least try.  It is amazing to me that I could do it at all after accepting last year that I have probably lost a certain amount of joint rotation and muscle tone in that hip area. 

Good, a new physical fitness goal to work on that is more "fun" than the attempts to seriously lower my cholesterol! hahaha 

It is a beautiful sunny day today, not too hot, but the wind is howling.
H-O-W-L-I-N-G!!!  I just took my bin of cardboard outside to the collection bin and some of it blew out, so I got my morning exercise chasing pieces of cardboard across the parking lot and lawns....more encouragement about my level of physical fitness in that I was able to recapture all the pieces by running after them (YES! RUNNING! MOI was RUNNING!!) and was not winded on the way back to the suite!  YIPPEE!! 

I hope the rest of the day is as encouraging as this morning has been so far.  I am waiting this week to see if my doctor contacts me to come into the office for some test results.  If I don't hear from her this week I am not sure when I can stop thinking about it and assume all is well. She should have results when she goes into the office today...assuming she is working this week...o how I detest this limbo land of waiting when it comes to medical tests.  

As I see myself aging and realize that for that reason alone I will likely be spending more time at the doctor than in younger years, I am trying to convince myself not to fret over test results. Either things will be okay or they won't. If there is a problem either I will be able to get help or I won't.  Either it will be a big deal or it won't.  That kind of logic calms me down during the Limbo Land Excursions!

Monday, May 8, 2017

A Warm Visit On a Chilly Day

So, back to the cold and rain for a day here.  That is okay.  The moisture won't hurt much right now, particularly after 3 days of gleaming sun and unseasonably warm temperatures.  Not sure how the farmers around the city are faring in terms of seeding.  I know up where we used to live they are in a bind because the weather wasn't conducive last fall to taking off all the crop and now a lot of it is still standing because there hasn't been sufficient drying out of the land to take it off, cultivate and reseed this year's crop.  Once I again I am in deep gratitude that I am not a farmer and am not married to one!  The stress would do me in every year.

Just returned from a delicious salad lunch at the Fireside Bistro.  I had a caesar salad, easy on the dressing and grated fresh parmesan, with a sliced, grilled chicken breast on top and it was very tasty and very reasonably priced.  I supposedly had the small size, but it was more than big enough for one person.  Fireside is one of the few places still automatically including some garlic bread, or in this case a small garlic ciabatta bun, with the salad.  I quite enjoyed it.  

Even better than the food was the company.  My lunch was a gift from our choir director to thank me for filling in for her that one time this term.  How kind.  It was completely unnecessary, but I appreciated her wanting to do it.  We had so much fun chatting about our lives, our problems, our families, our health, was really great for me to have that opportunity to socialize with someone new.  I hope she enjoyed the visit as much as I did.  Her vocal jazz group, Cadence, is performing the evening of June 6 at Artful Dodger so, since my birthday is the next day that is where my husband and I will go to celebrate.  We don't have to eat the miserable food there, we can just go for a glass of wine after dinner and listen to the group perform.  Jazz and my birthday celebration...a perfect combo!  YES!!  Plus my husband starts his holidays about that time so we can stay up as late as we want listening to the music without worrying about him having to get up early for work.  PERFECT!

The rest of the day is stretching out before me and I am not sure how to spend it exactly.  Although it is my husband's day off he is very tired from the long distance drive yesterday and some new work related stresses that were brought to his attention far too close to bed time last night and again this morning.  He is vegging in front of the tv and then is running to his computer every whipstitch to write down some new idea for the paper he is finishing up from his study leave.  So, he is looked after but I am not sure what to do next.  If it wasn't raining there is a walk of quite a few blocks I would like to take to a small community library box. I have some books I would like to drop off there to contribute to the cause...relatively decent books that would not benefit from being rained upon along the route.

Well, best see what I can come up with for spending a productive afternoon.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Welcome Happy Morning

Years ago I attended a rural German Baptist church.  Every so often we sang a hymn entitled "Welcome Happy Morning". we dragged and slogged our way through it, there was rarely a hymn that sounded less welcoming or happy than that one!  hahaha  I don't know exactly what the original composer may have intended for a quicker tempo that would match the uplifting lyrics, but somewhere along the line our particular musicians and worship leaders must have missed the point. was painful every time we sang it.

My morning today IS very happy indeed!  I saw my husband off on his ministry trip to Rocanville this morning and was delighted to find that the early morning weather was not as hot today as it has been.  The first hour or so of his drive should be very pleasant.  Now it is after 9am, the clouds have moved off, the sun is shining and I can feel some intense heat radiating from the window panes beside my computer.  By the time my husband returns home this evening it will be cooler again. Most of his day will be spent inside cool buildings and halls and restaurants, so he should be okay. I am writing emails, blogging, reading, watching a movie here and there in between other things, rehearsing some music for this afternoon's practise and having a great time doing whatever I want to do whenever I want to do it.

We have a new addition to the townhouse menagerie here.  Beside the hares and geese we have recently aquired a duck couple.  They are very sweet, much more affectionate toward each other than the goose couples.  I assume we will now have whole new piles of poop to scoop, but this year I have decided to just accept it as a fact of I have had to do with so many other things in this province to keep from losing my mind completely.  The geese have taken to swarming the lawns here at about 5am, honking and carrying on like a flock of birdie banshees and my husband cannot sleep through it, nor can he get back to sleep if it stops before his alarm rings.  He is at the stage with his goose coping mechanism of wanting to bang his head against a wall because it will feel so good when he stops!!  hahaha

Yesterday we enjoyed attending the commissioning service of 6 Diocesan Readers.  It is a new title for the old lay reader programme and some good changes in their duties are on the horizon so that they are no longer confused with readers who simply read the Scriptures at worship services. The organist at the Cathedral was wonderful and I so enjoyed the hymns. Tea, cake and visiting afterward with the other attendees filled our time until we had to pick up my husband's young cousin and take her out for dinner.

His cousin is an occupational therapist, living for the first time in rural Saskatchewan. She is having the kind of small town living experience that everyone assumes is stereotyical, but these days is rather rare. She has been completely welcomed in by the community. She loves her little town, has made a couple of very good friends all ready in her first 6 months of employment, found a sweet apartment to rent, has a great boss and basically has the world by the tail in her first OT position. We are delighted for her. She took training in the Maritimes and has been doing some travelling across this big country of ours.  It was so much fun reconnecting after 7 years, seeing the changes in her life and how grown up and mature she has become as an adult.  Looking forward to our next visit, that is for sure.

I ordered the cannelloni stuffed with black olives, ground chorizo sausage and smothered in a tomato pepper sauce.  Bless the chef at Luiggi's who agreed to leave all the cheese off in order to appease my cholesterol levels.  I am sure I got more than enough of it from the sausage and the olive oil in the sauce anyway.  I ordered it extra spicy. O was perfect!  There was enough on my plate for 2 complete meals and I ate the entire thing!!  As I waddled out of the restaurant afterward my only regret was that there hadn't been even more on my plate, hahaha.  I can't remember the last time I left a restaurant without a takeout box holding half my entree.  I threw all caution to the wind and thoroughly enjoyed myself.  Fortunately the cannelloni were only 3 small ones, thinly rolled, there was mostly chunky sauce, so my carb count in total was only up a bit from whatever sugars may have been in the sauce itself.  All I know is that I felt wonderful afterward, my whole body was glowing with the heat from the herbs in the hot sauce...o it was SO delicious!  And today I eat only the required minimum intake of all foods for the entire day!  I can't eat like that again for a long time, but wow, I certainly did enjoy the deviance from my usual disciplined portions. hahaha

Hoping to be in touch with my son this evening. He called yesterday just after we left for the service and we got home too late to chat last night.  He sounds well, so his life and plans must be perking along okay.

Our relative with cancer is surviving the treatments and we are all so grateful for the anti-nausea drugs. Malaise and bad muscle pains are so far the worst symptoms...which doesn't sound so bad unless you have experienced it first hand. The more detailed the descriptions the worse it sounds to us. The committment to working through the symptoms is amazing, disciplined, successful to a large degree.  We are the proud relatives!

Soon it will be time for Lee and family to board the plane in Thailand to come home to Canada.  I am hoping for a report on that in the next 2 or 3 days. In the meantime I am praying along with you all for safety and for no ongoing repercussions from this sad incident in Lee's life.

 I had to send out an email the other day requesting a ride to choir this afternoon.  I am located rather off the beaten path for most of our choir members, but I have had 4 offers of rides so far and have been able to accept one from the person who has to go the least out of her way to accommodate me.  How kind everyone has been about this request of mine.

Speaking of choir I guess I should wander off to the piano and try to get my voice on track to sing the notes that I am supposed to sing and not find some weak, croaking off key note sneaking out of my mouth...stupid meds and old age are combining to rob me of my singing voice, so I have been releasing myself from other singing committments.  I am wondering if I will be able to return to this choir in September, but have all summer to see if this side effect from my osteo meds is going to be permanent or a temporary glitch.

Have a most blessed Sunday everyone!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Yeah....What She Said!

"Better by far you should forget and smile than that you should remember and be sad."

--Christina Rossetti, "A Birthday"

Quick Prayer Reminder for Lee

Lee and his parents are supposed to be returning to Canada tomorrow. Hopefully his new passport has been issued. Thailand is, I believe, 13 hours ahead of us for time.
Thanks again for praying for their safety.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Quirky Documemtary: "Elstree: 1976"

My husband and I had a lot of fun last evening over at the main branch of the Regina Public Library.  We decided to go and see the above documentary film in their lovely little theatre.

Personally, I had no interest in seeing any sort of documentary having to do with the filming of the original "Star Wars" movie, but my husband was keen on having us do something new and different together and I wasn't about to turn that down!  Sometimes I feel that I know the back of his head better than any other part of him, because I spend so much time looking at it as he studies text books, writes notes and works on his computer.  

Plus, I figured it must be meant to be because earlier in the day I purchased stamps at the post office and the clerk gave me a book of 10 stamps touting the series, "Star Trek". "Star Wars", "Star Trek"...yeah, okay, whatever...either, or...

We were both pleasantly surprised by this odd little film.  It traces the history of some of the bit players from the original "Star Wars" movie series.  I found David, the fellow who actually played the Darth Vader character, the most interesting.  We were shown a few short clips of his original scenes prior to the Darth Vader voice being dubbed in by James Earl Jones, and it is a good thing that happened! haha  The low budget gave David a Darth Vader mask that muffled his voice so badly he could hardly be understood!  The few sentences we were able to make out in his own voice were about as far from the deep resonance of Jones as it is possible to get. hahaha  We learned about the way some of the costumes and special effects were creatively invented and spliced together, all in low budget manner, since of course the kinds of digital special effects we are now used to were not available 40 years ago.  

All the actors interviewed are still making a few dollars for the Star Wars franchise and for themselves by attending hours long photograph and autograph sessions at various fan expos, but most of them never rose much out of the obscurity of being extras and walk ons in other movies.  Some of them left acting not long after that first "Star Wars" adventure and went on to other careers, but those who stayed in the acting business are still enjoying the benefit of that film or else are rueing the fact they didn't recognize what a blockbuster it was going to be, so didn't really set themselves up for better gigs afterward. 

The fellows who played Boba Fett, the bar monsters and some of the paratroopers who were able to take off their masks in group scenes and have a line or two, so are more recognized, or who even have plastic action figures based on their characters, were most interesting to listen to as they described how they were hired for those roles and what their relationships with George Lucas turned out to be on set.  One of the most in demand fan expo actors is a fellow who played Han Solo's friend in an opening scene that was evenually axed completely from the final production but has become more well known since the advent of YouTube, where bits and pieces of that scene have shown up. 

Last night was the first showing of several this weekend and I do hope the computer file this documentary was being shown to us on is able to be replaced.  We had to miss the last 10 minutes of the movie because it became apparent the file is somehow corrupted.  We saw about 5 minutes of the movie toward the end three times over as the tech tried and tried to fix the problem, but it didn't work out.  Since my husband and I and one other fellow were the only attendees for that first showing, there was little upset expressed by the audience, but I thought it might have been nice if the 3 of us had been issued some sort of special pass to return tonight or tomorrow to see the last bit.  I felt sorry for the tech: as we were leaving the theater we heard him cry out, "O no, it's TOAST!!"  I am guessing today will be a mad scramble to get in touch with the company they received the file from in their attempts to get another copy downloaded or otherwise sent to them. 

There are a few more films coming over the next few months that look interesting to me.  Next week's film is about feral cats in Turkey that looks fascinating.  A friend in Alberta sent me a link to a movie she likes about the life of folk artist Maud Lewis.  Last night it was mentioned in the upcoming movies for the Regina Public Library Theatre, so I think I will try to see that one.  Unfortnately the cats movie is playing next weekend when I have the choir dress rehearsal and concert and friends coming over on the Sunday.

It is past time for my husband and I to get with the programme and start enjoying a few more of the cultural entertainments this city has to offer.  As we discovered last evening, it IS possible to go to an event on a week night that is fun and is over early in the evening so that my husband can get to work the next day without being exhausted.

Speaking of my husband, he is suffering a chemical reaction to the carpet glue under the new flooring that was installed in the office yesterday.  He was pretty out of it by the time he got home for dinner last evening and had a long nap before we went to the film.  Today he has important meetings and conference calls in the morning, but if opening all the windows in the building are insufficient to stave off more reactions to the chemicals he will be working from home this afternoon.

O my...I just realized that means I had best stop blithering here and get at least the upstairs of this suite cleaned properly just in case he arrives home to work later on.  I can't be running our noisy vaccum while he is working and trying to dust around him is quite impossible.