Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy, Happy, Happy New Year to All of You!

Our hope and prayer for all our family and friends is for 2018 to be a year of answered prayer, peace of mind, excellent health and the deepening, or even restoration, of family relationships!  God bless!!  😇

We enjoyed our New Years Eve day very much indeed.  We both slept in for the second day in a row and spent the morning be bopping around the house doing some little home chores and watching tv and reading.  By lunchtime we were sick to death of being indoors...again...due to cold weather.  

As we were preparing to go and visit our friends after lunch, we got a call from them.  It would not be a good day to come for tea and dessert after all as she had a terrible fall at a skating rink a couple of days ago and has a somewhat serious concussion!  O dear.....  So, we got geared up and made a big batch of baked spaghetti to take over to their house.  It turned out very well.  Rather than just accepting our gift at the door, our friends insisted we come in for a very short visit with fresh picked mint for tea and freshly ground coffee for lattes.  Our injured friend got out of bed and seemed to enjoy sitting in the living room for a half hour chatting.  My husband was able to find the bible stories about Jesus' birth, in the books of Matthew and Luke, written in Arabic so he printed them up and took them along with the spaghetti meal.  The men had a good time chatting over the bible stories, grandma enjoyed giving us all her special teas and coffees, (She can now ask, "Drink?" in English and wish people a Happy New Year, so she is trying harder to learn our language better...at the age of 82 that is a pretty darned fantastic attitude to have in a new country!), and my friend and I talked about what had happened to her at the skating rink and at her subsequent hospital visit.  We stayed for just short of a half hour so we wouldn't tire her out and then my husband decided we needed to drive across the city to Chapters and scope out a few sale items.  A friend of mine received a pair of their Reading Socks for a Christmas gift and I loved them so much that I purchased a pair today for myself with some of my Christmas money, as well as a new pair of winter woolly mittens.  I have been carrying my money gift around for the better part of a month without spending any of it, so today was a good day to get started.  After that we wandered through Canadian Tire, where I found a tasty Hickory Farms taster kit for my dad's birthday, plus a wander through Mark's where I found 2 more pair of what are now Dad's favourite winter socks and some socks for myself.  

Before we knew it we were done with our short shopping spree, during which my husband found not one thing he wanted, sigh, and it was time to go home and make dinner.  My husband asked me rather plaintively, "Do we HAVE to go home to eat?  Couldn't we go out for one more little party together in honour of New Years Eve?  PLEEEEEEEASE???"  So, off to Original Joe's we went. hahaha  It has taken him the entire holiday to start to relax enough to enjoy life again and now he has to return to work.  The poor man....BUT this holiday with his family and our subsequent times together have finally convinced him, I think,that he needs a life outside of work and ministry.  2018 could be a very good year indeed!!  We enjoyed our meal tonight.  I had my usual chicken caesar salad and my husband had their plate of specially prepared brussel sprouts.  They were a bit too salty, but other than that he certainly enjoyed them.  We shared an appetizer of parmesan potato crisps, so I got my share of carbs, fats and sodium, but what the heck....it is New Years Eve and we NEVER do anything special to ring in the new year.  Tonight was by far the best time we have had on New Years Eve for many a year...although we were all done by 5:30pm. hahaha Guess we will not be seeing in the new year this time around. hahaha  Zzzzzzzzzz..........

As we decided not to go into the office today, we will go first thing in the morning.  I am going to take along the fixings for pizza pitas for our lunch there and since we have no other committments tomorrow we can stay as long as we want to and get all the filing properly done!  While my husband technically has Tuesday off work in lieu of his regular Monday off being a statutory holiday, he and 2 other colleagues are going to meet and have a day of prayer for the diocese and clergy.  He is looking forward to that.

The temperatures will begin a slow rise tomorrow, at last!!  We will still need to plug the car in overnight for the next couple of weeks at least, but during the daytime it won't be necessary after tomorrow.  YAY!! 

New Year’s Eve Day

So....it is currently -32C with a windchill of -41C. It is the coldest day thus far, but temperatures are to start moderating tomorrow when our daytime high should reach -22C. Spring-like is how that will feel. I am all ready praying for all the inebriated New Year’s Eve revellers who may find themselves staggering about in the frigid night air, post midnight. Praying for rural drivers who may suffer auto breakdowns out in “the middle of nowhere”. People ending up outside and freezing to death is a huge worry in this weather, particularly with the addition of alcohol to their systems. Hopefully people here in the city will be able to make wise use of the free transit rides going on all night.

We had a delightful time taking our bishop and his wife for dinner last evening. How we all wish we had time to go out together more often. Our meal at The Chimney was the most expensive rip off I have been conned into at a restaurant in a long time and I will never go there again, but the fellowship was wonderful and more than made up for the dreadful, pricey “food”.  Yes, in the case of my and my husband’s meals at least, I was tempted to send both his fatty steak and my water chilled chicken, as well as our nearly raw vegetables back to the kitchen. Dreadful!! Our guests seemed to fare somewhat better, thank goodness. When we made our choice of restaurant we were not told at the time of making the reservation that we would be restricted in our choices to a special New Year Weekend menu that was extremely limited and that the items listed, all available on the regular menu, would have their prices raised by nearly ten dollars per plate. Nasty! It was quite a shock and most unappreciated. We have eaten some delicious meals at The Chimney in times past but we will not risk  it ever again.

We were relieved to get a text message late yesterday afternoon from my husband’s sister to let us know she and her husband had survived the freezing temperatures and arrived home safely. Whew! Their visit is what made our Christmas merry!

Our son spent the day visiting the Leonard Cohen exhibit at MAC where his friendship with the curator of the exhibition netted him free entrance....bonus! Like ourselves, the lack of a family turkey dinner hit the emotions hard this year, but he is ever so grateful for the chance to spend 12 days exploring Montreal with his friends. He has been in touch every day of his holiday, which we find rather hilarious. He has been calling his grandparents as well, so they are tickled by that. How I wish he could find himself a very special lady to create his own family unit with and overcome his chronic state of being alone. O well, once Christmas is over and life returns to normal we will all feel better.

I admit that since I detest the entire Christmas season, I am super glad that life will return to its usual state on January 2nd! YES! Only two days to go until it is all over, thank you Lord! If the folderol could begin and end with the Christmas Eve church service I would love Christmas. That is what is important to me personally and I could live quite happily without the ten days of stress and dashed hopes and emotional jerking around that I associate with this particular holiday season. Bah! Humbug!

My husband has been wanting to go into the office with me this morning to file all the papers presently sitting in stacks around his office. I want to help him and not only because he has lost a substantial mileage reimbursement  cheque somewhere in those stacks! Sigh..... Last night he talked as though he may renege on his commitment and laze around again today before we go to visit friends in the afternoon. Looking at the temperature outside I am also wondering if we would be wiser to wait until tomorrow. It seems to me if will be rather hard on the car, warming and starting it for a three minute drive to work, only to leave it sitting again getting cold for a couple of hours.

Looking forward to seeing our friends today. We haven’t seen them since Thanksgiving. It will be a joyous reunion. It is a solid friendship that we very much appreciate. It is fascinating learning about Egyptian culture! They love telling us about what their lives there were like, but how grateful they are to have been able to immigrate to Canada.

So, happy New Year everyone. However you celebrate tonight, stay warm and safe.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

A Wisdom Year

We received an email from a recent guest and in that email our friend sent us the wish that 2018 would be a "wisdom year" for us.

A wisdom year:  I wonder what that means exactly.  We certainly do need wisdom about any number of things right now.  We need God's wisdom to help us research and start planning for retirement just in case it sneaks up on us earlier than we are currently planning.  We need wisdom to know how to deal with some health issues.  We need wisdom to know how to best take care of family who are all so very far away from us and how best to be in contact with them over the coming year.  We need wisdom about holiday travels.  We need wisdom about monthly finances.  We need wisdom to know how best to start planning a life apart from the more than full time job my husband has right now.  We need wisdom to know how to best pursue a more fulfilling and static church life and community.  We need wisdom to know how to improve and deepen our current friendships locally. We need wisdom to plan annual study leaves and work travels. We need wisdom to know how best to hear and obey God about these and other things we don't even yet know we are going to need wisdom for.

Wisdom, discernment, listening, obedience...they are all tied up together.  I suspect 2018 may turn into a year of decision making for us about some things in our lives.  To do that we need wisdom.  We need to know how best to discern wise courses of action in our temporal and spiritual lives.  We need to discern how best to listen to God's direction, how to be certain it is him we are hearing and the best ways to obey what we are being told by him.

Our friend certainly has us thinking, that is for sure, as we prepare to usher in a brand new year!  Someone asked me today what my goals are for the new year and I think learning what is wisdom will be a huge goal!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Getting Life Back to "Usual"

We started our day with a lovely final visit with the family before they left for home.  Seeing the family gave some warmth to the most bitterly cold day thus far.  We pray they will have a safe drive for the many hours it will take them to return home and that their vehicle will not break down along the way.

After the goodbyes were said, my husband and I headed off to some bank appointments and then headed over to Canadian Tire to look for a new toaster oven.  We found a nice Hamilton Beach for a reasonable price and after using it twice all ready today we decided it runs rings around our old machine.  My husband also found the exact type of brush he wants for taking big mounds of fresh snow off the car. It has the telescoping handle and a very soft brush that won't scrape the paint or the windshield glass.  I think we will get a lot of use from it this winter.  He was able to return our old car battery today and get the twenty dollar rebate, so that made him feel better about what he paid for the new car battery the other day. hahaha


I found a nice box of Scottish shortbread to send to my dad for his upcoming 91st birthday but wanted to send something else as well.  Tonight I had a long telephone chat with him and found out he is wearing the pair of socks I got him for Christmas at Mark's almost every day and to bed each night. Bingo....birthday present!  So, I will head over there on Monday to see if they have any more. They are thick and warm and have copper in them to retain heat.  He LOVES them!!  He even wore his new toque today....the first time in his life he has ever worn a toque.  I think the lovely blue colours are what convinced him to give it a try. He really liked wearing something so soft and warm on his head, so that was a surprise success in the Christmas gift package. 

Mom is almost completely well again. The terrible weakness that comes with bad 'flu' has nearly left her so she has been doing washing, baking and essentially setting herself up for a major relapse. Sigh.....she cannot rest when there is any work that could be done.  She changed the bedding on their huge bed today.  That job exhausts her and usually the housekeeper does it, but Mom didn't want to wait an extra day for help.  I think she was quite proud to be able to tell me tonight that she succeeded at changing the bed and wasn't completely wiped out...at least not until she did a huge load of laundry afterward!

Our son is staying with a vegan for Christmas week.  After he talked to us on the phone Christmas Day, he apparently called his grandparents and admitted to them that talking to us made him homesick for the annual family turkey dinner.  He has never let on to us any such thought, but it has given me the idea that if we get to NYC to see him this spring I am going to find a turkey and cook it for him, with all the trimmings too.  Should be fun!

Finally watched the recent David Lemieux vs Billy Joe Saunders debacle.  O dear.  Saunders made Lemieux look like a toddler in the sandbox, totally embarrassing. Lemieux couldn't seem to figure out what to do with Saunders and kept lining himself up to receive the same head shot time and time again.  What a disappointment!  And seeing that RIGHT after we watched the USA WJC team take the Canada-US hockey game  by a shootout point was kind of depressing!  What a wretched week or two for some Canadian athletes!

My husband needed to go in to work for the afternoon so I went with him.  While he worked on answering emails I ran some other work related errands for him, then returned to the office and read a magazine for a couple of hours until he was ready to leave.  We will spend most of Sunday finally getting the filing completed that there has been no time to do since he switched offices back in October.  If he can start the new year at work with that big project completed he will feel less depressed about his work space. 

My husband couldn't face eating at home tonight so we went for a reasonable meal at the 4 Seasons. hahahaha My husband's meal was good and so was mine, but, just like the first time we went there, our order got mixed up.  I ordered a chicken quesadilla and when it arrived it was stuffed with chunks of beef.  There was no salsa on the quesadilla and none in a side dish, just a huge dish of sour cream. hahaha I mean, if there is not hot salsa there is no need for cooling sour cream is there?  We laughed and laughed.  My husband said next time we go there he will tell them we aren't going to bother looking at the menu and they can serve us whatever the heck they want. hahahaha  Fortunately our meals were both tasty even though there was another mix up in the order. At least my beef was carved chunks of real beef roast and not hamburger!  The beef was ALMOST as good as the beef on my taco salad last night when we took the family to Bushwakkers!  (My husband ordered their ground lamb shepherds' pie and said it was the best dinner he has ever eaten there.  His sister ordered the schnitzel special and the giant piece of meat she received was worth the price all on its own!) 

Tomorrow most of the day will see temperatures in the -33C range with windchills of -40C to -50C.  I do hope it warms sufficiently for us to keep our dinner date with the Bishop and his wife.  We have been so looking forward to it as the four of us get very little time to spend together socially due to the mens' travel and intense work schedules. Here's hoping we don't have to cancel our reservation!  The cold snap is supposed to start easing on Sunday afternoon. By the middle of next week the day time highs will be heading into the low double digits....practically balmy!!  What a great way to welcome in the new year!

 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Breakin' It Down

Another chilly but sunny day.  The temperature today has risen to a manageable -26C, manageable because there is no wind today.....AMAZING!  I am loving the bright sunshine.

Last night was a night of "breaking it down": as in, our toaster oven broke down and packed it in permanently, my bedside lamp refused to work, (my husband was able to fix it today, it was only the switch needing a bit of work), and our printer refused to come on, (but I discovered a loose plug and got it going again).  hahaha What an evening we had. Tomorrow afternoon my husband and I will head over to Canadian Tire to see if we can find a toaster oven...an unexpected Merry Christmas present to ourselves. hahaha

We got underway a bit earlier today.  Our visiting family took us to Costco as we are not members and they are.  haha  My husband and I found not one thing in stock or otherwise available that we went to purchase, but eventually my husband found a bag of hazelnuts at a most reasonable price, a huge bag of slivered almonds, as well as a nice bottle of maple syrup at the same price I pay for it elsewhere, and our relatives found some BBQ equipment not available right now at their own home store.  So, it was worth the long wait in a long lineup for the cashiers to ring through our few purchases....kind of.  There is little to recommend a membership at Costco for my husband and I.  There are so few things there that we eat or drink and we are no longer in the market for "big ticket" items. Had the lamb chops not been dated as best before this coming Saturday I would have purchased a package.  Our relatives swear by them, but we are not going to be home for dinner the next few evenings and I don't want to ruin the freshness of the meat by freezing them.   So, although our hopes for buying a few things were rather dashed, it was a great deal of fun scoping out the store and finally spending enough time in there to get a good idea of whether or not a membership would be worth getting for ourselves. 

We ate lunch at Breakfast Bistro.  The caesar salads there really are the best in town, the most creative, the tastiest and lightest and freshest.  Regina has many decent, delicious restaurant caesar salads available but this one is the most amazing to my sister in law and myself.

The guys spent some time last night ripping apart the latest Star Wars movie and have made the decision, I think, not to bother seeing any more upcoming sequels.  They had a few good comments, but for the most part were very disappointed...again....in the storyline, the quality of the script and the blah acting of most of the principal actors.   They are tired of being disappointed and the rest of us are tired of hearing how disappointed they always are. hahaha  I am just relieved I didn't have to go! haha

Now our relatives are watching a repeat of a very good tv special, "The Devil's Horn", a history of and tribute to the saxophone and many fine sax musicians.  So glad it is available On Demand.  My husband and I all ready saw it some months ago and quite enjoyed it. 

We are full of salad and home made mince pie so not sure if we will go out for dinner or skip it pretty much all together!  haha  Possibly this will be the night for Chinese food...and then in the morning our company will be heading home again.  I cannot believe how quickly this 3 days has flown by.  It has been a very good time!!  The visit certainly made our Christmas merry!

Should go and finish off a couple of New Year's letters for some friends who didn't receive Christmas cards this year.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A Difficult Decision Made Easier

I've been on tenterhooks the past few days awaiting my husband's travel schedule for the next few months.  Looks like we are going to be away too often for me to attend sufficient choir rehearsals this term.  So, I have just sent off the emails to the choir director and board to let them know I will not be returning.  Leaving a committment like that is never easy for me.  But, now it is done.  No waffling and wondering any more.  

It is -30C this morning with a windchill factor closer to -43C.  My husband and his brother in law got a wretched morning to change over the battery in our car.  Hopefully the procedure will be simple and go smoothly!!  Why are there no garages at rental units here?

Woke up this morning thinking of a relative who is battling Alzheimers or some such condition.  What is very difficult is that we can see it so clearly and it is becoming more obvious to other onlookers, but is our relative aware of what is happening?  Is the spouse aware?  There is a hereditary factor there apparently.  We are feeling most worried today about it and praying together for help for our dear one. 

We are laughing at our son this week.  Our adult son who has only once or twice in his life not come home for Christmas, seems to be battling with the idea that we are not upset that he is not with us this year.  He has texted or phoned us or both, every day since December 23rd.  hahahaha  We are too tired to have any energy left to worry about not seeing him this Christmas.  We have plans to try to see him during our spring holidays, so that is only a few months away.  He is feeling more responsibility for our Christmas season happiness than he needs to.  The roles are starting to reverse and we are getting quite a kick out of it.  His grandparents have also been the objects of his over-attention this Christmas.  Hilarious!

The men of the household are going to Star Wars this afternoon after we all go out for lunch together.  It is so cold out I suspect my husband's sister and I will simply remain indoors while they are gone.  It is too unpleasant to go wandering about the city in search of excitement.  On days like this the excitement is making it through until bedtime without freezing hands and feet and noses. haha  Brrrrrrrrr!!!!!!! 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Well....That Was a Good Success!

The cousins' reunion went very well!  The majority of us are pretty much strangers to each other, but the family tie overcame any awkwardness that could have resulted and it was a lot of fun learning more about each other, seeing some old family photos, playing billiards, visiting and EATING and EATING SOME MORE!!!!  There was a fair amount of baking but our small group ate an awful lot today.  I came home with only a few squares of almond cake and less than half of the banana loaf. The remaining honey/cinnamon cookies went home with one of the cousins with the instructions to send him the recipe right away. hahaha  My husband helped us break the ice by having each person share a Christmas memory and while most were reluctant at first to do any such thing, one or two were brave enough to start us out and it went very well from there.  Everyone in the room had a tale to share, some of them absolutely hilarious and some very heart warming.

The prelude to the reunion went not so well.  I went outside promptly at 1:15pm to warm up the car and discovered the battery dead as a duck under the hood.  We were not going anywhere at all!!  AAAAARGH!! Why today!!???? Sigh........  Fortunately we were able to reach our travelling family before they got to the city and they came by to give us enough of a boost to get us to the reunion.  As soon as we arrived and unpacked our food contributions my husband took the car over to Canadian Tire and purchased a new battery.  There was a line up at the service bay, so he paid big bucks to get a super duper party pooper variety and brought it home in the boot.  He and his brother in law will install it tomorrow prior to their Star Wars movie committment.  Brother in law has one of those wonderful rigs that has an independent charger on it, so it can be hooked on without having to put our cars nose to nose to make battery cables reach....impossible with the parking situation here anyway. No second car necessary at all to use this wonderful invention.  Had it not been such a long wait for the AMA battery booster truck we could have done that as well, but we would have missed the reunion completely.  So glad to have relatives who understand that these things happen and who had no problem coming all the way to our place and then to the party, which was happening back closer to where they first entered the city.  Thank you family!!  

The car started up just fine to bring us home again after the party. Whew!  For all the good plugging it in will probably do, it is plugged in once again in our parking spot for the night.  Our family has gone to check into their hotel and then will come back over to visit and to decide if anyone beside me needs to eat supper after such a full afternoon of snacking on those sweets, cheese, crackers, sausage, fudge, and caesar salad with the most amazing home made dressing!!  

Other than the temporary upset over the battery, it has been a marvellous, if cold, Boxing Day 2017.

Baking....Again

This morning, as I cut and plated yesterday's baking for the cousins' reunion it didn't look like quite enough, so I quickly found a receipe for honey/cinnamon cookies in my excellent hadassah bazaar cookbook, circa 1976.  SO simple and quick.  Made and baked in just over 20 minutes.  Perfect!

Now I have 3 plates of baking...baking that actually turned out well!!!!  It's a near miracle as I bake so rarely.  The 3 plates are wrapped in plastic wrap and then knotted up in colourful Japanese scarves for carrying to the car.  My husband has a couple of types of tea, we have the teapots and strainers, creamer, sugar and non-sugar sweeteners all set and ready to go right after lunch.  

My husband got a text from his sister last evening to say she and her husband were safely in Saskatoon and would meet us at the reunion.  It is always more relaxing when you know the relatives are having safe travels.  Looking forward to having for dinner tonight either some of the stew I made yesterday or the tourtiere my sister in law is bringing.  Either way I don't have to cook any more today!  YES!

Must run and do my baking dishes now that my husband has his new batch of granola all mixed and ready for baking in the oven.  It's going to be a good one with dried pineapple and ginger and apricot bits in it. 

As is often the case on days this bitterly cold, the sun is shining brightly and enticing us out to prepare the car for our afternoon visiting.

Monday, December 25, 2017

A Very Merry Christmas Indeed!

It is a cold but very happy day at our house.  We have talked to my parents and our son and they are all having a marvellous day of celebration with special dinners coming up for them all this evening.  Just knowing everyone is happy and healthy and enjoying the day makes up a lot for not being with any of them this year.

I was up at 7am and found my husband sitting down in the living room with the Christmas tree lights on and reading from his favourite portions of Dickens' Christmas Carol.   I watched my favourite Alistair Sim movie version last night...the proper black and white version, not one of the colourized debacles.  It was the perfect way to end Christmas Eve.

This morning I got the banana loaf and the almond cake made for tomorrow's reunion celebration, then made a giant pot of beef stew.  It is still cooking away in the oven and will remain there for most of the rest of the day.  The pile of dishes waiting by the sink until my husband completes the preparing and baking of his own sponge cake for trifle is about a mile high it seems, but that will be a wonderful bit of exercise later in the afternoon for me.  I am so glad I made an extra trip to the grocery store before church to pick up some small turnips.  What wonderful flavour they add to the stew.  A pinch of lemon thyme is giving it a lovely aroma and most of the lemon flavour will have baked off by the time the stew comes out of the oven.  I am so grateful for the energy to complete those tasks today.

In between baking and cooking I sat down on the couch beside my husband and took in a few of our favourite scenes from the movies Big and The Princess Bride. That was fun.  AND as we were flipping through the tv guide we discovered the last David Lemieux boxing match that Canadian HBO didn't broadcast live like the American HBO did, is going to be telecast this Thursday morning at 7am.  I guess it was on once all ready yesterday, but we missed it.  So thankful it will be on a second time!!  YAY!


My husband is relaxing, cracking jokes, baking with joy and has definitely switched onto holiday mode.  I am VERY glad his family is coming tomorrow for three days because it guarantees he will remain mentally away from his job for a total of 4 days in a row!  YES!!!

Saturday evening we are taking our bishop and his wife out for dinner.  It is so difficult to get them available both at the same time, so it is quite a coup! hahaha  They are a ton of fun, so that is going to be a splendid evening.  Must remember to make reservations.  Our goal in the new year is to take each of the office staff out for a meal and a good visit about things other than work.  In fact our New Year's resolution is to set aside the stresses and be extremely deliberate in having more company in for tea and dinners.  A life apart from work MUST happen this year and it is up to us to do it!  We are excited about this hopeful return to life being more the way it used to be before it got so crazy.

Despite the cold air the sun is shining merrily out there and the sky is a most beautiful winter blue.  There isn't much of a wind, so it is almost bearable to be outside for a few mintues! haha  Mind you, I haven't made my way over to the garbage bin and back quite so quickly in a long time....wow, it really is cold out there! hahaha

Hope you all are having a happy day today!

Windchill of -40C To -45C For the Next Six Days!

We would really appreciate prayers for our travelling family. An arctic cold front has arrived and it is simply miserable outside. Our visit together may not include as many trips away from home as we had hoped. My husband has been able to secure tickets for the IMAX presentation of the new Star Wars movie and we are working up our courage to ask my husband’s sister to take us to Costco, haha.
Perhaps dinners out will have to become lunches out instead, when the weather creeps up into the -30’s midday.  Eek!

Asking for safe driving and no mechanical problems with their vehicle as they drive. They planned to come last year but my husband and I were both too ill so the Christmas celebration had to be cancelled. We truly do not want the weather to be responsible for another cancellation! Thank you for your prayers.

The church service was lovely tonight. My husband did an awesome job. My spiritual Christmas cravings were deeply satisfied. Then it was off to a Christmas party with friends. Oh how we enjoyed that. Unexpected gifts, laughter, sharing snacks and fellowship....we are content.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Time For My Favourite Winter Poem of All Time:



WINTER
-by Gail MacDonald

S#%t, it's cold.

The End 

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Yup, we have real winter again, at last.  Just came back from a "quick" trip to the grocery store three blocks away.  In summer it is a 10 minute journey from start to finish in order to purchase the few dollars worth of items I purchased today.  Today, by the time I got my boots and parka on, located warmer gloves, shovelled my way out to the car, warmed the car up and brushed the snow and ice off of it, found a place to park in the crowded store lot, picked up my items, paid for them, (in a store surprisingly not very crowded), restarted and rewarmed the car, got home to my parking spot, plugged in the car so I can use it for church tonight and slogged with my purchases back along the path that in that short time was completely blown over with snow again, it took me a full hour.

A FULL HOUR!!!  To the minute.  

It took me a full hour to purchase $40.14 worth of groceries at a store 3 blocks away.  
(And thank you PC points plan for the $30 in savings that brought my cash outlay to $10.41)

Yup, winter is back!!  
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Had a couple of texts from the son today.  He and his friend went for a long walk yesterday in a raging blizzard in Montreal and had the time of their lives.  Since the temperature was only -7C, walking in the snow was great fun.  He has completed painting the linen scarf he made for me and has left it in NYC to dry.  Sometime in early January he will have it sent here.  I am delighted it will not be here until January.  I find it to be the most miserably boring and cold and unattractive month of the year...the unattractive portion running only slightly ahead of the also unattractive month of March....so am super happy to have such a gift coming to look forward to.  His friend has a Roman Catholic background, although she is not a big adherent these days, so they are going to midnight mass to bring in the Christmas season.  Midnight Christmas mass will be right up my son's alley!  He loves the glow of the candles, the amazing choir voices, the pomp and ceremony of it, the liturgy; yes he will be very happy attending mass.  The little Anglican congregation my husband is leading tonight will not be quite as reverent and quiet, quite as into the tradition as many of the people there will be visitors who have not grown up in our tradition, but it will be fun and noisy with the kids helping out at the last minute with the nativity story, carrying in the various characters (all knit from soft wool) from the biblical narrative and placing them around the manger where our knit, tubular and rather rotund baby Jesus will be lying.  After the service it is off to a house party.  Christmas Eve service and whatever visiting happens afterward IS my Christmas celebration....although my husband and I decided to go out for Chinese food last night at at Lang's and split the bill as a way of buying each other a gift, hahaha.  It was a bit too much bok choy and broccoli for my harrassed tummy, but it was worth a bit of upset as it tasted fantastic, was filling and the rice and rice noodles were hot and just clumpy enough to eat comfortably with chopsticks.  We laughed a lot through dinner.

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So, tomorrow is Christmas Day.  In the morning I have to bake a couple of things for the cousins' reunion on Boxing Day.  I am also going to make a decent beef stew for our own Christmas Day dinner and then put the rest aside to eat if we need some lunch fixings or a dinner at home while the family is here this week.  Shucks....just remembered that I should have picked up a turnip for it....o well, we can stop and get one on our way to church.  Yes, that will work.  

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Have a fun and happy holiday season everyone. 
Merry Christmas and Happy new Year!  

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Good Old Humour

Yesterday I took time to watch an old fashioned comedy movie circa 1954. “The Belles of St. Trinian’s” was released the year I was born and stars one of my favourite British actors, Alistair Sim and excellent character actor Sidney James. They were both wonderful examples of British comedy actors of that time.

The movie is completely ridiculous but a great lot of fun, once again proving to me that foul language and overt, blatantly sexual content is not the stuff of the best comedy. Something as simple as Mr. Sim playing a dual role as the headmistress of St. Trinian’s School, and her bookie younger brother has me more than just mildly amused. He could simper with the best of them.

The foibles of movie production methods of that time just add to the fun for me. At one point in the movie one of the characters sees a shadow of a horse as she looks at a sunlit reflection on the wall of her room. The reflection is obviously a cardboard cutout. Hilarious!

Tuesday at midnight I am going to record the original movie version of “The King and I”. Yes, it is as hokey as the day is long, but I love it. Yul Brynner’s interpretation of the King of Siam, spoiled and willful even as a grown man, has never been matched for me and I still remember the lyrics to all the songs. I’ll watch it one day when I am home alone and can warble along with them.

One of the joys for me of Christmas tv programming is getting a chance to watch golden oldie movies once again.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Descent To Old Age: the Next Rung On the Ladder

What seems like only a few years ago now, I began to look somewhat askance at some of the getups my mother was wearing to bed, particularly in the winter. Just this evening I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, dolled up in my own winter sleeping regalia and scared myself witless when I found myself staring at my own mother!

Bizarre winter nightwear for us older gals kind of creeps up on us slowly. It only takes that first winter of unexpected middle of the night shivers, come December, to find yourself making a change from a lifetime of sleeping in either a skimpy cotton tee shirt, or even total nudity, to some sort of structured, lightweight pajama set or fussy cotton nightgown.

Thus begins the descent on the ladder of old age.

Step 2 doesn’t usually happen for a few years afterward, but at some point you realize you have swapped out the light, smooth cottons for heavier, combed flannel.

Step three sees the addition of nighttime panties beneath all that flannel.

Step 4 tends to take place not too many months after step 3: waking up one morning to discover you are still wearing yesterday’s ankle socks and that you slept far more soundly with warm feet. (Step 4a happens when you start deliberately shopping for slightly oversized socks specifically for bedtime wear.)

I have now reached Step 5 of the descending ladder: the wearing of an oversized cardigan sweater overtop of the flannel pajamas or nightgown.  Perhaps I will be able to take a one rung of the ladder step back if we ever again get to live in a house that has actual insulation left in the walls. Buuuut.....perhaps not. For now I am no end of grateful that I accidentally kept a lightweight, size 2X cardigan from the former days of chunky. It fits loosely over and does not tend to adhere to the flannel sleeves of my nightgown! YES! Of such insignificant joys is old age made.

Mom, I apologize to you my scathing comments about your odd looking bedtime outfits.

Now I too am old and I get it..... I really get it.

Old ‘n’ cold....that’s me,

Back In the Country

If everything has gone as planned, our son arrived in Montreal a couple of hours ago.  He texted us as he was on his way to the train early this morning.  Even in that short text his excitement was palpable. haha  We are so happy he can spend his Christmas in Montreal and avoid the freeze up here that he has had to face almost every year since he left for the west coast nearly 15 years ago now. I wish WE were in Montreal...or Vancouver....or Tahiti....or anywhere else that doesn't have prairie winter weather to contend with.  Blecch!! Pooey!

Actually today was not that bad.  We had small flakes of snow blowing around in the air most of the day, not much of it accummulating on the ground.  A higher wind this afternoon combined with thicker flakes made for a short lived blizzard that was rather pretty to look at.  I went out a couple of times to run some errands, so got at least a bit of fresh air.  Sunday evening is when the very cold temperatures are set to arrive.  I can still count the number of nights I have had to plug the car in so far this winter on 5 fingers, but all that will change by Christmas Eve. 

I had far more energy today than I've had after the nose bashing and food poisoning incidents, so when I realized my husband was not going to come home until several hours after the office closed for the holidays, I cleaned the upstairs rooms and washed up the bedding and towels our guest used last night.  Housework is a wonderful way to fight off boredom!!  Also it will make life less exhausting tomorrow with only the downstairs to clean.

My husband had quite a collection of Christmas gifts and cards from the other office staff to bring home this evening so he called me for a ride.  After supper we sat around our wee tree and I watched him open his gifts.  I had a private chuckle because for someone so scathing about Christmas gift giving, (mostly because he despises shopping), he was quite delighted to receive his presents from the other staff.  Despite trying to hide his excitement he was glowing over all the gifts so obviously well chosen and well thought out as to be appropriate for him.  He has a difficult time accepting being loved by other people, but I think his co-workers have "got his number" this year.  There were assortments of teas and wines, a lovely new tea pot and tea cozy to replace the one he is currently using in the office...the teapot and lid he has been using are sadly mismatched after an accident destroyed their proper partners.  I suspect that gift came from the Bishop because the look of that mismatched set in the office would drive him crazy! hahaha  There was a book of Scriptures all pertaining to peace of mind, along with a huge tea mug with the word "peace" stencilled on it. There was a deck of playing cards with the Saskatchewan Roughriders logo on it, a tease from a couple of fans because he could care less really about the local obsession with football.  There were a couple of lovely Christmas tree ormanents as well, obviously chosen with his present work difficulties in mind and those made him smile. Merry Christmas dearie!

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We have a seminary friend who went through absolute hell in his first parish right out of grad school.  It was so bad in fact that he has not been in ministry for the past several years after his church ended up in a disaster that he was not able to prevent.  As is often the case, he walked innocently into someone else's battle ground and ended up as the main walking wounded.  Eventually he and his wife moved away to another province all together to be closer to family.  After a long absence from any church attendance at all, certainly an absence from ministry, they have settled into a marvellous church in their community....a most welcoming church with a pastor who understands what our friends have been through.  He is a wise and discerning man who realized rather quickly our friend is a gifted minister, but needs some re-entry time. So a few weeks ago that pastor asked our friend to preach....just preach...just one sermon. For the first time in a couple of years our friend was able to speak the message of Christ to a congregation.  We have been blessed by receiving a copy of that sermon and have listened to it with great joy and excitement.  He is indeed a preacher!  His godly heart and his love of Christ and his desire to share scriptural truths is so evident, just in that one sermon.  Watching the horrible struggles he experienced for so long and seeing how God is gently leading him back into his calling, letting him take his time so his own healing can continue, but making sure he is in a place where it is safe to heal and to take some steps back toward possible ministry, is giving us such hope that if we find ourselves in a sorry state for employment/retirement over the next couple of years, God will not abandon us either but will let us roll with the punches for awhile as he prepares us for whatever will come next.  

Lots of good things to think about!

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My nose has finally stopped bleeding after that whapping by the venetian blind the other day.  So very glad the damage seems limited to that, certainly nothing was broken. The swelling is going down and the pain is reduced to only the initial point of impact. YAY!!

Have a happy weekend everyone as you make your last minute Christmas plans.

 

Squeaky Floors

It was impossible not to be awakened at 4:30am when out guest got up to shower, pack and try to sneak away quietly for his long drive home....ever since our incredibly dry summer weather the wooden floors in this old building have been creaking like rotting trees in a windstorm with every footstep. Bless him....he was, personally, as quiet as a mouse, but the floors gave him away. So, no more sleep for me this morning. Sigh....

We had fun with our friend. The meeting he came here for was a positive, encouraging event for him so he was in cheery spirits during our dinner at Knotted Thistle. We all shared a plate of the delicious but heart attack inducing Irish nachos, then repented with bowls of beef/barley broth (the soup maker apparently forgot all of the beef and most of the barley and vegetables; most disappointing) and Caesar salads with dressing on the side, so we could pretend a teaspoon less dressing would magically reduce the total fat content ingested after the deep fried, cheesy potato nachos. I ordered a chicken breast to go with mine but it never arrived. It must have eloped with the beef that was supposed to be in the soup!

While the meal was not up to the usual high standard last evening, the company was great fun. It was good for my husband to spend an evening thinking about things not related to his job. That is one of our New Year’s resolutions for better coping mechanisms in 2018: to build a better life around non-work related experiences on evenings and days off. Work has been a life focus for too many years and not just during the ministry related positions. It was good to hear my husband laughing and teasing and making jokes.

Today my husband’s office is closing at noon for the holidays. He will likely come home, but go back in tomorrow for the day to close out a couple of outstanding projects. I can do my housework that day so I don’t disturb his last minute final prep on Sunday for the Christmas Eve service he is doing. Christmas Day we can sleep in, call my parents, text or FaceTime our son, talk about a couple of possible plans for the rest of the week’s family visit and treat ourselves to grilled low fat cheese sandwiches and favourite pickles for our Christmas dinner. Yum! So happy the obligatory turkey roasting days are behind me!

We had a skiff of snow overnight and the temperatures continue to drop. Brrrrrr!!!  Finally the real winter weather is upon us, but we will quickly adjust as the deep freeze is normal for this time of year.

I may or may not get a head start on the housework today. I am overtired and unable to sleep so need to try to nap during the day so I don’t get another cold and ruin everyone’s visiting next week.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Cracking the Elusive 145 Pound Mark

After not being able to bring myself to the weigh scale in recent weeks, I finally braved it this morning.  143 pounds!  I have finally reached my 2 year goal of weighing in below 145 pounds.

Sadly it is because of being so ill for the past couple of days, and I will probably go back to 147 pounds by the weekend as I get better and get my appetite back, BUT I am not going to fixate on that.  I am just going to enjoy the weight that I am today!!  I made it...one way or another, I finally made it.  

For today I am seriously rejoicing!!! 210 - 143 = 67 pounds of weight loss since the diabetes diagnosis.  I would love to be able to set my goal to a total loss of 70 pounds and keep it off, but my body has settled in nicely at 145 - 147, so it may not be possible.  

What a lovely, encouraging start to my day!!  Hallelujah!

Good To Be Mobile Again!!

Other than still feeling "weak as a kitten", an expression found in many an old British novel, I am out of bed today, staggering around purposefully, getting ready to shower and wash my hair, even put on clothes today!  YAY!!

I "got rid of" the last effects of the mild food poisoning yesterday afternoon and have been recovering well ever since.  That will teach me to keep better track of how long things have been in the refrigerator!
 
Our application to the government for my husband's 2018 housing allowance is now more than a month late being completed and sent, no fault of ours this year,  but it does complicate the January and possibly February payroll deductions. Sigh....  This morning I collected all the required forms, rental lease, this year's utility bills etc. to be photocopied and sent in with the application forms.  Fortunately all these papers only have to be sent to Saskatoon so they should arrive at the office there before the end of this year.  Last year we were so late getting the employer forms we needed it was late January before everything was sent in.  Hopefully things will be more on time for next year.  

I decided to quit pushing myself for one more day and restrict my cleaning efforts to the bathroom and "den" where our friend will be staying tonight.  The rest can wait until the weekend when I am feeling stronger.  My husband will do nothing but sleep on Christmas Day so it will be a good day to get housework done. 

So, not a big, busy day, but hopefully a satisfactorily busy day in keeping with my low energy.  I am looking forward to having a big bowl of beef-barley soup at the restaurant we are taking our friend to tonight.  Even a small bowl  is packed with beef and veggies and will be a good meal for my sore tummy to work on.  Had my regular breakfast today and it is settling well, so I know I am over, more or less, my upset.  Now if my nose would stop hurting I would be in nearly perfect condtion! hahaha  Darn those old metal venetian blinds.  They really do hurt when they fall at full speed onto a person's face!

I talked to mom and dad again last night. A dear friend braved the snowstorm yesterday to drive to the pharmacy and pick up mom's medications.  I don't know what my parents are going to do once this man ceases his driving days.  O how I wish I was there to pick up the slack.  Mom did sound slightly better and said her sore throat wasn't quite as bad as it had been, but she still sounds dreadful.  She and Dad are under quarantine at their facility and are not allowed to leave their rooms for another 7 to 10 days, depending on how long Mom is ill.  They are freaking out because the laundry is piling up and they are not allowed to go down the hall to the laundry room.  hahaha  I know just how much laundry it will be at this point: a few pair of underwear and one or two shirts and pants and about a half dozen towels.  By the time they are out of quarantine they may have as many as 3 full loads!  I get a kick out of the way getting the laundry done has become such a weekly mission since they moved into their present seniors' facility.  I know I cannot call them on Tuesdays or Fridays until the evenings because they are high alert after Dad's showers on those days, stalking the laundry room machines, waiting for a washer and dryer to become free for their use.  Never has laundry been so stressful for them.  Once all the laundry is washed, dried and back in the apt. they both need a nap for stress relief.  I am looking forward to my husband booking some time off near the end of February for a study leave in Calgary.  That way we will be able to go and visit them. I can drive them around to do errands while my husband is working on his study leave project paper.  I am relieved we will be able to get out there before the spring.

Our son leaves for Montreal tomorrow for 12 days with friends over the Christmas break.  He has more temporary work to come back to in January that will buy him time to apply for more full time work.  Even in New York the economy is very unstable at the moment, making for fewer positions available in galleries as paintings and sculptures are not selling as they were even a year ago.  We never cease to be amazed at how happy our son is since he moved there, despite the rent fraud problem, despite the difficulty in securing full time work in his field, despite a lot of things.  

We are counting the days now until my husband's sister and her husband arrive for a good visit.  Only 5 days more to wait.  The cousins' reunion is all planned and ready to go.  My husband wants to introduce them to the Knotted Thistle pub.  His sister is bringing one of her amazing tourtieres for Boxing Day dinner. There isn't a lot going on in the city for entertainment that will interest them as so many places close for the entire week between Christmas and New Year, but I am sure we can find enough things to do to amuse ourselves.

Now that I am feeling better again things are looking up.  I spent a lot of time yesterday contemplating a few thoughts about God and about how I have been letting my conversations with him slip lately in the midst of so much stress.  As much as I don't enjoy being ill, I think it was good timing.  Being stuck in bed for a whole day, with nothing "busy" to distract me, got me back in touch with what I need to do to cope with the stress better and how God would so like to be involved in that.  Good stuff.

The temperatures outside have become more seasonal over the past two days.  The car has to be plugged in overnight again and by next week it will be at least -25C overnight, with daytime highs averaging +16 - +18C.  Maybe some extended cold weather will kill off some of the flu and cold viruses making the rounds these days.

 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Inauspicious Day #2

Aaaaaaand, now I am recovering from a very mild case of food poisoning or what have you. hahaha

I ate the remains of some cooked chicken yesterday that I now realize had been in the refrigerator a few days longer than I thought at the time. Duh!

As well, I ate cabbage that had not been cooked as long as I usually cook it, resulting in added pain overnight. Duh again! I know better than to eat partially cooked cabbage, so why did I? Double duh!!!

Of course, because of how ill I was at bedtime, I had no evening snack, so by 7am my blood sugar dropped like a stone. I thought I would be able to make my way downstairs to make my husband’s lunch for work and drink some water, eat a bit, but as I put the final item in his lunch bag I was so overwhelmed with dizziness I barely made it back upstairs to bed. I fell down on top of the bed clutching a bottle of cold water, a bag of buns and a carton of prunes. My poor husband, suffering his own brand of exhaustion after being up most of the night with me, called his office to say he would be very late in to work, and fell back asleep, just like me. When we woke up an hour later we both giggled at the sight of me still sprawled across the bed, still clutching my water, buns and prunes in a death grip. Finally I was able to consume enough food and drink to raise my blood sugar back to an acceptable level.

So, here I am at nearly 10am, still in bed, still weak and shaky, but the dizziness is gone and most of the stomach pain has subsided. A bit more sleep now and then a bit more to eat and likely I will be able to get out of bed and lay on the couch for awhile. Friends from B.C. made us marvellous lap quilts so I can wrap up in those for the afternoon.

I am so grateful I am ill  today, but should be over it by tomorrow. Tomorrow a friend from out of town is coming for dinner and a visit, so I want to feel well enough to clean at least the rooms in this place he will be using.

I wonder how many of the past 14 hours of illness are the result of eating stale and improperly prepared foods and how much being ill is the result of “secret stress” relief once we heard my husband’s good test results.  I think subconsciously I was afraid to take more troubles to God  because he has done more than I could ask or imagine all ready in our lives. Why should I be exempt from the stresses of life that we all face? Right?

What a ridiculous thought for a Christian!  As God’s people, all are invited to take every burden, EVERY burden to our Heavenly Father! At the very least we can have an expectation of God to bless us with as much peace of mind as we need to face reality when it frightening. There is no maximum limit to the amount of  peace we can ask for and learn to receive and walk in as we get to know God more intimately.

Even as one who has experienced that level of peace in the midst of dark times before, oh, how very quickly I still forget that it is never wrong to admit to God that I am terrified out of my wits and expect to receive some level of restoration of my peace of mind. God is not put out or overburdened by my little requests. As a created being, I am supposed to have a relationship with my Creator! So, guess I needed to be reminded of that....again....I don’t mind being ill due to ingesting stale food, but not giving over my worries about my husband’s health issues was rather foolish of me.

Well, I have something to contemplate for the rest of the morning, in between naps. It is all good.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Not An Auspicious Start To The Day!!

Shortly after I got up this morning I stubbed my toe on the coffee table.  Aaaargh! I HATE stubbing toes!  They hurt all day after stumbling into something and bashing them about, and today is a bad day for that what with all the running about needing to be done.  

Ooh, but the story gets better (or worse from my perspective):  once I was able to stop hobbling about, get my breakfast, get dressed and see my husband off to work, I wanted to go to a rather large grocery store and get the shopping for this next week done early in the day, as there was a pile of ironing awaiting my attention after lunch so my husband will have clergy shirts for work the rest of the week.

Just before I left for the store I was opening all the window blinds when one of the ones in my bedroom fell right off the wall and smashed itself down onto the bridge of my  nose, knocking my glasses somewhere over onto the other side of the room. OOOOOWWWWWWIIIIIEEEEE!!!!!!!!  The pain was excruciating and I was sure my nose must have broken.  BUT it didn't!  It has a bit of swelling still this afternoon just below where my glasses rest, but there was no broken skin, no bleeding, only a teensy bruise...thus far anyway, and it only hurts if I accidentally touch it.  My glasses didn't get any scratches or dings or bends or broken bits and I am very, very grateful for that!  It took awhile for me to stop cussing and hopping about on the foot that wasn't hampered by a stubbed toe, locate my glasses and put a cold compress on my bruised nose. 

Finally I made it over to the grocery store, only to discover the most wretched produce on the shelves that I think I have ever seen in my life!  What a disaster.  Who in their right mind would buy that stuff...and at full price....just to feed to whatever pigs they might be keeping out in the sheds in their back yards?? Who?? Who??? Who????  It was so disgusting I had to keep glancing over at it, particularly the mushy, brown, limp lettuce leaves that looked like they had been sitting in water for several eons before ever hitting the shelves in the store. The carrots were soft like velvet ribbon and the carrot tops, originally thick, green and lush, were drooping and nearly black, they were so rotten. The celery was so bruised and battered and brown as to be barely recognizeable as celery. I won't bother describing the rest of the ugliness...you get the idea.  The store shall remain nameless....until and unless this happens again.  Yikes...gag! 

I ended up buying most of my fruit and produce at SaveOn Foods and the price there was most reasonable for the quality of their produce, especially when compared to the dreadful mess up the road at the first store I shopped at. SaveOn has a basket full of fresh bananas that are free to any children stuck grocery shopping with their parents. I thought that was a nice touch.

Eventually I completed my shopping and banking and post office-ing and came home for lunch.  As I hauled the remains of my old head of lettuce from the crisper, with the intention of putting it onto my chicken sandwich, I remembered the condition of the nearly fermented lettuce at Store #1 and started gagging.  I put my lettuce back in the crisper for tomorrow. I couldn't face eating lettuce at all.

After lunch and getting the ironing done I realized it has been several days since my parents last phoned me.  In their present state of being well enough to contact me at least three times a week again, just like "old times", it occured to me that something may be wrong. So I picked up the phone and dialed.  As soon as Dad answered I knew my timing was not good!  He sounded vacant, harried and exhausted. Sure enough, the taxi was about to arrive to take him and Mom to the doctor for a bit of an emergency visit for Mom.  Dad had a touch of the 'flu' and then Mom got it....DAYS ago and is still very ill.  I made Dad promise me he would call me back as soon as they arrived home but I wonder if he will be able to remember to do it.  Why Mom is going outside in a taxi if she is still ill I am not certain.  It is possible she and/or Dad have developed fear over how ill she has been and decided to risk the clinic visit, or it is possible Dad called the clinic for help and was told to bring her over. I don't know but I am kind of feeling antsy.  I hope she is okay and that DAD is able to care for HER this time around!  O Lord, it is really difficult sometimes being this far away when they obviously need help. I suspect she is severly dehydrated if she has  influenza.  It seems the older generation, (yes, even older than me!), is not big on water consumption at the best of times, let alone when ill.

I hope the rest of the day inside my suite here turns out as beautifully as today's weather.  It is only -7C, our last warm day before the very cold temperatures hit us once again...those lovely seasonal highs of -20C day after day.  My husband's sister and her husband will be here in the midst of the coldest days if the weather forecast for next week has any accuracy to it.  It has certainly been correct recently!  Every wonderful day like we have had the past couple of weeks is one less day of bitter cold. The sunshine is glorious today and I kind of wish I had somewhere I really need to drive to this afternoon just to get out into it.  

Tomorrow I am going to try to head up to Cornwall Centre to the jewellers' there and get my Christmas gift from my parents. They are buying me a new heavy, antiqued silver chain to wear with a turquoise pendant I "inherited" a couple of years ago. The chain it was on was very old when I got it and about a year ago it came apart as I was putting it on.  I am so glad it didn't break outside of the suite, in a store or walking along the street when I may not have noticed right away and subsequently lost the turquoise pendant.  Whew!  If I can't find anything there I am going to go jeweller to jeweller around the city until I find what I want.  Thursday I have a bit of light housekeeping to do to be ready for an overnight guest, then I will hit the cleaning hard, fast and continuously between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to be ready for our family on Boxing Day.  I have met more than one or two others who are going to also spend Christmas Day cleaning their homes for the arrival of family on Boxing Day. hahahaha THE new Christmas tradition!!  hahahaha

My toe has finally stopped throbbing while I have been writing this. Not walking or standing on it for awhile is obviously what it wants.  The sun has banished nearly all the clouds in the sky at the moment. I am thinking there must be some garbage I could take to the bin, or some grocery item I somehow missed this morning that would necessitate a short trip to the closest store...something, anything to get out of here again for a few minutes. Hmmmm....what could I possibly invent a need for...........?

Monday, December 18, 2017

Pretty Good News All Around

Thanks friends and family who have been praying for my husband's health.  Today he got his ultrasound results and they are good.

The short version is that it seems most of the issues are directly stress related.  The body certainly has its ways of letting a person know it isn't happy with the amount of stress it is trying to absorb.

Now that we know the problem it is not that difficult to return to dietary, exercise, antacid, counselling and regular physician checkup protocols to restore the coping mechanisms.  We have been down this road twice before and certainly know where to start to regain control of this.

My husband's new doctor is great.  Using antidepressants will be the last line of treatment rather than taking the easy way out and starting there.  We are both delighted by that.

We are quite relieved to find out what is going on...we certainly knew that stress was part of the issue, but to find out what fantastically good health my husband is actually in, apart from needing to lower his triglycerides, (and he knows exactly how to do that, just hasn't bothered until confronted with the recent lab results).  

What a joy to have such a thorough round of testing and to have results that give strong evidence of the actual problem.  We have both relaxed since getting the news.  We went out for lunch after the appointment and running some errands, we relaxed, we chatted and my husband has realized in trying to protect me from his stresses...which, news flash, I all ready was aware of....he has bottled up too much inside himself. He knows he is his own worst enemy for worrying about work and now he has to face it that he has done it to himself again.  He will accept help from me, the doctor and counsellor, now that he knows he needs it.  

Whew!!  We are both relieved to find out the problem because we know what to do to change things and see improvement over the next few months.  Thank you Lord!! Thank you praying folk!!  Thank you concerned friends. Thank you amazing doctor who is so on top of this situation and is so caring.

So As Usual...

.....I drove us to our friends’  home for dinner and attended the church event and had a wonderful time, felt a tad disappointed when the evening ended. I am going to start journaling these feelings of dread at leaving the house in winter. So many factors are in play, including the paranoia about falling on the ice again and breaking more bones.

Other than detesting winter I feel happy and  am keeping busy. I see God’s hand in so many of the day to day experiences and am grateful.

Maybe if my husband gets ultrasound results this morning that are not too scary I will develop sufficient euphoria to ditch the dread of winter for a few weeks.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Is It My Age, the Weather....Or What???

I have realized recently that I am losing my ability to just relax and have fun each day.  Blaaaah....when and how did this happen??  

I am wondering if I need to look into purchasing one of the special lamps that are supposed to be so help to those suffering from Seasonal Anxiety Disorder.  

This has been, I now see as I look back, creeping up on me for the past few years during the winter months.   Once that first snow and blast of cold weather arrives I find I don't want to do ANYTHING away from home.  I don't want to go to church, I don't want to go to choir practise, I don't want to take the bus downtown for a hair appointment, I don't want to drive to the banks or the grocery stores to run needed errands, I don't want to have to bother making medical and dental appointments and then driving to across the city to get to them. I don't want to go out for dinner.

I do go out and do all those things, force myself if need be and once I have gotten into the car and headed out I feel just fine. I feel happy and even find myself, after completing whatever needed to be done, looking for reasons not to go home yet.  

Perhaps I would have figured all this out a number of years ago, but for three of the past six years I have spent the winters recovering from broken bones and serious illnesses, circumstances that reduced my ability to get outside in the winter to almost nil, or at least to the fewest number of hours required.

Hmmmm.....I don't like this. I don't like this at all.  I am not lying around the house lethargic; I am keeping up quite happily with my housework and with daily exercise after meals indoors on the days it is unsafe to walk outside.  I am not lazy.  I don't even have afternoon naps...ever!  I have to be completely bedridden with 'flu' to spend any time lying down during the daylight hours. I feel cheery.  I enjoy seeing and talking to friends and family.

So, I am wondering if in my old age I have simply developed a total aversion to winter, or if I need some help in dealing with this loss of motivation to leave home.  Last night when I had to pick up a church friend to take to the concert with me, a friend whose house couldn't be much closer to me, or any easier to reach, I was in a panic about having to do that. Ridiculous!  I found myself earlier in the week trying to invent some sort of actual reason why I couldn't go to the concert myself, but knew that was just silly and made myself pick up my friend and go.  It was a wonderful evening and it was fun having a friend to visit with on the drive. I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

I am going to talk to my doctor when I see her the beginning of January.  This kind of depression-like thinking has never once bothered me once the snow and ice melt off in the spring, but I am becoming more conscious of these winter woes. 

Although it is quite lovely outside and the highways out of town are clean and clear, I have started struggling all ready, over 3 hours prior to departure, to talk myself into making the drive.  If I do the driving myself on the way there I know I will enjoy it.  My husband will happily do the drive home in the darkness as his night vision is much better than mine.  If it snows or ices up I will not be on my own trying to get home again later this evening. I know I will have a ton of fun with our friends.  I truly want to see them and spend this pre-Christmas visiting time together,  but in the back of my mind I know it is going to be a bit of a struggle to get myself excited enough to stop thinking of reasons to excuse myself from going. 

Am I that frightened of having a bit of fun?  Am I that paranoid about the unexpected weather changes that can happen this time of year?  I am thinking NO to the first question and POSSIBLY to the second question, but I shouldn't have to even keep asking the questions every time I need to go somewhere!

Interesting.....I am glad I can now see what is going on so I can continue to combat the problem.  Winter weather based depression?  Seasonal Anxiety Disorder?  Hmmmmm....could be....

Saturday, December 16, 2017

A Very Nice Weekend

What a super weekend this is turning into!

My husband took part in an excellent strategic planning meeting all day at work and after it ended he and his bishop had time to spend an hour together getting caught up on each other’s schedules after not having sufficient time together of late. He came home greatly encouraged.

While he was at work I accomplished some household chores, folding the laundry while watching an odd movie titled Table 19. Strange show, not sure what the point of it is, but it was good company while getting the chores here caught up.

My husband returned from work in time to eat dinner with me before I went to the Amici concert. Yay!  I picked up a friend from church and we had a nice visit going to and from the concert venue, then were joined there by three more friends. We all enjoyed ourselves very much. The choir performance was really good. There were struggles this term, but everything came together well tonight. I thoroughly enjoyed myself....and allowing myself some of the melted chocolate during the intermission fondue was also a treat! I cannot remember the last time I ate chocolate.

Another church friend handed me music to two songs just as I sat down at the concert. They are for the church service tomorrow morning. Her singing partner is too ill to sing, so I am going to give it a try. I discovered they are fairly simple when I rehearsed them at my keyboard when I got home tonight, so hopefully I won’t screw it up in the morning!

My husband and I watched a couple of boxing matches after I got home tonight...always fun.

Tomorrow afternoon we will be driving to another town for dinner with special friends. Then we will go to their church service together. The forecast for snow has apparently changed, so the drive should not be too challenging. Whew!

I am grateful we are keeping so busy this weekend. It is keeping my husband’s mind off his ultrasound results. We are both grateful he will be getting them on Monday morning...so few days to worry.

It is on the way to midnight. Guess I should get some sleep if I am going to try to sing first thing in the morning...my first attempt since the bleeder in my throat finally dried up. Hope I don’t open it up again.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Quick Action

I can't believe that 3 days after I had my temporary crown put on, today I was back to the dentist all ready to have the permanent one applied.  The lab they use is SO quick to deliver.  Had to have a bit of freezing as my gums had no time to heal from the first appointment, but it is nearly out now and I am very happy with the look and feel of this new crown.

My husband had his ultrasound this morning.  He said he is quite certain that there is not one square inch above his waist that has not been scanned and rescanned.  Talk about thorough. He was most impressed.  His doctor's receptionist told him the results should be there by Monday morning and so she scheduled him an appointment for mid morning that day!!  What fast action!  It pays to be one of the first patients in a new doctor's client base!  Having the labs and machinery on site makes a huge difference to the speed with which tests can be done and doctors can get the results to their patients.  Whatever the results of the ultrasound, we are impressed with the fact that my husband has gone from a meet and greet appointment, to lab work and results, to an ultrasound and results appointment in only 8 days....that has not been our experience in many a year.  This reminds me of the "good old days" of Alberta Health Care back in the 1970's. WOW!

My husband admits he is kind of frightened about what might be found by the ultrasound.  He has not been feeling well for a long time, ever since these gall bladder types of attacks began many a month ago and his job stresses add to his weariness. Added in on top of his CFS I cannot believe he is still able to work, let alone do as good a job as he is doing.  Whatever the problem is, he has a doctor who is keen to help him and I believe will do his very best to assist my husband in getting well. 

God knows and that helps me cope with the more dire possibilities that can't help crossing our minds.

The weather is wonderful again. Although it has been overcast all day and the wind is rather chilly, the temperature rose to +3C this afternoon.  It is going to change in a few day's time though so I am enjoying every second of this blessing.  We are supposed to be going out of town on Sunday afternoon for dinner with friends and then a church service, so hope the predicted snow is not heavy enough to stop us, or to make the drive miserable.  We are so looking forward to spending time with these dear folk.  So, we are praying for mercy in our Sunday travels.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Lots of Good News From the Test Results

My husband and his doctor were generally pleased with the test results they discussed today.  The triglycerides are too high, so some more work to be done there over the next 3 months, but the cholesterol has dropped to just within accepted range, the kidneys are working well, blood sugar is about perfect, even the thyroid is producing properly. There is no evidence at all of a bacteria associated ulcer.

So, the next step is an ultrasound to start zeroing in on the gall bladder.  My husband certainly feels divinely led to this doctor and clinic.  There is a lab, x-ray, ultrasound all right there and so instead of having to book weeks in advance for his ultrasound he is going in tomorrow morning!  The doctor will have the results very quickly.  WOW!!  The clinic where my doctor works has only an ECG machine.  I would be waiting a long time for a non-emergency ultrasound!  How cool my husband doesn't have that concern.

Step one completed, step two all set to go! I am hoping and praying that a diseased gall bladder requiring removal is going to be the worst case scenario........

Gettin' 'er Done!

My husband is going to the doctor for his test results after lunch today.  Quick action...we like that!!  He will find out if he is showing the enzymes in his system indicative of an ulcer, or if we need to chase down the gall bladder next, or also, as well as who knows what else.  He ate melted cheese on toast for breakfast this morning, just in case his cholesterol is still way too high, in which case that melted cheese will be his last for a very long time, haha.

I just received a call from the dental office to let me know my new crown has all ready arrived and my dentist has time tomorrow afternoon to put it into place. Rather than wait until next Tuesday I have taken tomorrow's appointment.  The gum around that tooth is pretty chewed up, so might as well do all the damage at once and then let the whole thing heal properly without any more invasive work.  Yippee...another new tooth.

In a little while I am going out for lunch with my husband's cousin. We are going to finish planning the cousins' reunion for Boxing Day.  Looking forward to nailing down the details.

It is very overcast today.  There are snow showers possible sometime in the next couple of hours and then the temperatures will begin a slow slide into a rather cold Christmas week.  How blessed we have been with warm weather so far this month.  Even Christmas week may have day time highs no lower than -16C.  Chilly  yes, but certainly not unbearable to navigate with our company during the holidays.

I am reflecting on the fact that December 24th, Christmas Eve, is this year the final Sunday of Advent and not the first Sunday of Christmas.  Wonder how many of our even most staunch Anglicans will remember that and refrain from wishing each other a Merry Christmas at the church services.  Not to nitpick of course, but if we are Anglicans we may as well act like we are!

Our son has another 3 days of casual work this week.  He is so grateful.  The gallery where he started off his life in NYC with a 3 month temporary position continues to call him back for a few days here and there. An artist friend does the same.  As he says, God does indeed provide his needs, but like the rest of us he is learning how to cope with that provision coming at the very, very last second.  It is building his faith, that is for sure.  He may get a chance next school term to do a classroom presentation one day at Cooper  Union college, so is hoping that comes about.  Doing two, two hour presentations when he lived in Vancouver got him a couple of terms of teaching at Simon Fraser, so who knows.  As he says and as his dad and I have experienced many a time, when you are in waiting mode for full time work, rather than being discouraged at how long it is taking to find such a job, be excited about the endless possibilities.

Aaaaah, here comes the sun peeping out from behind a big black cloud.  What a lovely thing to see on a December day!