Sunday, October 22, 2017

Happy For My Husband

Synod is now over.  My husband came home this afternoon, flying pretty high at how well things went, so grateful that the main stresses and trials were only his own and rejoicing at how God worked out all those things so the last minute like always! hahaha

He had no time today to eat lunch so off we went just after 3pm to the Knotted Thistle for a VERY early dinner!!  I barely got my minimum 4 hours in between meals before chowing down once again. say the least!!!!  hahahaha Say, if you are ever in the mood for a huge helping of cactus cut fries topped with cheese, red onions, jalapenos and red and yellow pepper chunks, head to the Knotted Thistle and order the Irish Nachos...I MAY have eaten just a few more than I should have....oops, my bad....

Now he is watching one of the newer Star Trek series episodes on tv and relaxing.  We will be up and going early in the morning for a tire change, 'flu' shots and a trip to the post office for quick express mail to our son.  Gonna be a busy day tomorrow, yup, yup, yup. Hopefully the next day will be one of complete rest for my dear husband.  The poor Bishop has no time to rest as he is off to House of Bishops for a week and leaves first thing in the morning tomorrow.  CRAZY!!!

Our Son Has Reached Ludicrous Speed

So, tonight a sad email: the poor man now has stress eczema around his eyes, making him feel and look like a freak, right in the middle of trying to secure employment.  Also his phone quit working today as far as sending and receiving calls. Fortuately he can still text...for now at least.  The reception was never very good with his carrier anyway and we often lost contact in the middle of our calls together.  

At this point we are all laughing to some degree because when this many things go dark all at the same time we can be fairly certain God is allowing all this crapola to go on for a good reason, some kind of spiritual lesson in trust.  That has certainly been the case in all our past experiences anyway.  My husband and I are re-living our own younger lives as we watch our son going through the same sorts of "dangers, toils and snares" we also experienced at his age.  We pray he will learn the same lessons as well about trusting God when life looks bleakest.  Actually, considering what he went through a couple of years ago right here in Canada, this is almost a day at the beach in comparison.  We pray too that all those who have convenanted to pray for him will also see the good fruits of their prayers of compassion for a brother in the Lord who is rather stressed out as he tries to be patient and wait on God for the some point, no matter how hard a person is trying to solve the problems, there has to be some time taken to rest from the labours and wait.  Our son did that today, but tonight is revamping his CV cover letter to improve it as he applies for more jobs this coming week.

I have packaged up some moisturizing cream that works for my own eczema and will mail it to him in the morning.  Please pray it arrives.  Thank you so much.

To God be the glory.........Amen!

And Another Thing I So Appreciate about Jesus

There is quite a push in our culture these days to try to "even out" past abuses by turning victims into victimizers....the abused of the past become the abusers of the present because, well, "it is understandable, in a way it is only just."


The thing is that my Jesus was one of the victims in this world during his earthly lifetime.  He was verbally abused. He was lied about.  He was physically abused.  He was tortured and murdered.  

And yet....he did not spend his last hours before the cross-carrying walk to Calvary in angry defense of himself. He did not fire back at his accusers and abusers.  He said things like, "Forgive them Father. They do not know what they are doing." He said this in the midst of experiencing a torturous death.

That's my Jesus....the victim who became a victor.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

If You Are Tempted To Be PO'd By Recent Hospital Visits Here on the Prairies....

....I would urge you to watch the PBS documentary, Motherland.  It is part of their POV programming.

Sometimes I get so busy complaining about how things here in hospitals have changed for the worse over the past couple of decades, I forget just how terrible people in other part of the world have it, even for things as normal, usual and necessary as giving birth.

Motherland is a documentary film about the largest maternity hospital in the world in Manila, Philippines, Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital.  I felt ill watching what those women go through in that baby birth factory, 2 to a single bed in the delivery room, in conditions so unhygienic it makes you wonder how any of the mothers or babies stay alive. The staff are obviously doing their best, but there are so many deliveries and space is so lacking despite the size of the building, no one can keep up. The whole ward is filled with women and babies that run the gamut of human suffering.  The cost of staying in the hospital for as many days as is required for the moms to recover and to be taught how to nurse, swaddle and bathe their infants is prohibitive for what seems to be the majority of the families. Other than a kangaroo wrap, new moms are expected to bring their own baby blankets and other supplies with them to the hospital. A lot of sharing goes on among the new moms. The babies often leave the hospital to be brought up in large families cursed with abject poverty. The hospital staff is doing all it can to promote family planning but often their advice falls on deaf ears and fearful hearts.  

I can honestly say this is one of the most depressing documentaries I have ever watched and yet, I couldn't take my eyes off the screen. Director Ramona S. Diaz has captured so well the suffering, the resignation to loss of hope, the fears of these women, their often under employed hubands and families. It is worth a look if the subject of human productive rights is one that interests you.

Wretched, Seasonal Weather

Wow, what a shock a day like today is after the wonderful warmth of this past week.

When I drove my husband to the Cathedral early this morning for his Synod meetings the temperature was +6C.  Now it is nearly 3pm and the temperature is +7C, the wind is howling and there is a very cold rain falling sporadically.  Brrrrrrrr!!!!!

I am sitting here in my Mark's Comfy Robe fighting the urge to take a nap....mostly because I know how horrible I always feel after I wake up from a day time snooze.  

What a yucky taste of the real autumn weather we should have all ready been experiencing a month ago, that will hit us more often in the coming weeks leading up to that first crisp, white snowfall.   

I feel SO lazy this afternoon...maybe a video game would be in order.  Today a walk out of doors is most definitely NOT part of my game plan!!

So....Choir Practise....

It went unbelievably well today.  My voice held up just fine until the last ten minutes of the 2 hour session. What a relief!

After I got home I located some good vocal exercises online to help me strengthen my voice.  Hopefully they will. They are supposedly for people with soft, weak voices and that is certainly me at this stage of life.  

My doctor warned me last time I saw her to preserve my voice by not over practising at home between rehearsals and I think she is right.  The only rehearsing I did after the last rehearsal was yesterday afternoon and then a wee bit this morning.  It seemed to leave me strong enough to cope this morning as I joined in with the rest of the group.

I think after our Christmas concert I am going to book a session with our director and do some voice testing to see if she thinks I will be able to return in January for the next term.

If the rest of our pre-Christmas practises go as well for me as this one did I will be fine. Moderation in how often I practise, I think, is part of the key.

I Am Not a Synod Delegate, I Have Nothing To Do With Synod, and Yet.......

....I am sitting here at my computer at 5am, after not getting to sleep until after 11:30pm, listening to my husband on his computer as he tweaks his PowerPoint for his major presentation of the day at HIS Synod.  hahaha  He put in a 14 hour day yesterday and is now looking at as much as a 17 hour day today since he woke up so early to work on the presentation.

You know how it is when you have put months and months into planning an event, are responsible for how most of it "goes down", even though the agenda was struck by a committee, because if anything goes wrong you are the one who is ultimately responsible for fixing it.  The sheer number of delegates in attendance, the huge number of business issues that must be dealt with in such a limited time period, the myriad small details....once the Synod begins there is a new kind of "overwhelming" for the planners.  No wonder my husband is so wired he can't sleep and is up re-tweaking the presentation for the umpteenth time.

Yes, I know this is a very important set of meetings for our Diocese and how we move forward will be greatly effected by the votes yay or nay for each issue, but o my....I will be SO grateful for ME as well as for my husband when it is all over tomorrow afternoon.  We are both exhausted from the stress, the lack of proper sleep, the excitement, the hope of change in the Diocese....oh, so many things that get a person's mind whirling around when it should be calming itself down for a night's sleep.  

So, since I am up this early I may need to make special plans for my breakfast and lunch times.  There is no way I can last another nearly 2 hours to eat breakfast. However, if I don't I will HAVE to eat lunch in the middle of my morning choir practise. The timing of meals as a diabetic is far more hassle for me than being restricted in what foods I can still eat.  Argh!!  Irritating, irritating, irritating!! 

I am glad I was out of the suite so much yesterday afternoon.  All that walking removes any real stress I take on over situations out of my control.  By the time the Roughriders/Stampeders football game came on last night I was quite ready to sit on the couch and watch it without feeling antsy, wondering how things were going for my husband at Synod. (By the way, GO ROUGHRIDERS!!  YAY!! You slaughtered one of the best teams in the league last night!)

My famous denial ability is being seriously challenged as I truly listened to my own voice while practising for choir yesterday here at home.  Whoo is shot, completely done, finished, warbling all around the centre of the notes but not hitting them dead on, breath control not helping the sound one bit.  The doctor agrees it may be the one side effect of my meds, as that is known to happen to some patients.  Sigh.....  So, do I drop out now before we get any closer to the Christmas concert, or do I trust I can pull it off at the actual rehearsals enough times between now and then to cover up my own loss of ability, like I did last Sunday afternoon?  I was shocked at how well I did last week at practise, but what if that doesn't happen again?  Giving up my one, me only, personal committment is not appealing, but if I can't fulfill the committment it isn't fair to everyone else in the choir.  Writing it down makes it sound like some kind of huge deal, but it is really a simple decision: do I stay or do I go?  What is best for the group?  I will decide after today's rehearsal.   

Well, I am going to go and read a book for awhile and try to ignore my tummy, which has started to rumble as it realizes I am awake and moving around.  At this point it is after 6:30am....I took a long break from writing this post to make my husband his breakfast....and if I can just last another half hour before I eat then my mealtimes will not be screwed up.  I am not hungry enough to want to take a bite out of my desk...not yet anyway, hahahaha.

Friday, October 20, 2017

So NOW, Our Dear Son..... word today that his temporary job is ending sooner than scheduled because he was so experienced and completed the work so far ahead of what was expected. No money and now no work!

We are all kind of chuckling because we are fascinated to see what God is going to do next.

As our son said, at the end of the long litany of disasters he recited to me this afternoon, "God is good!"

Amen to that!

Yippee Yiiii Yippee Yay!!

Just got the email notice that the Bishop has decided to close the office for two days following Synod. That gives my husband two days off in a row!!  I am so happy for him...and for me too!!  It gives him a day to come to Moose Jaw with me for our winter tire changeover and to get our 'flu' shots, then a day to sleep in and rest, or work on tweaking his seminar presentation for the following weekend! O, thank you Lord and thank you Bishop. This is good news for everyone in the office!!!  Amen!

Attempt Number Three To Get Hit In a Crosswalk Here! is amazingly difficult to get through to some of the drivers in this city that pedestrians have the right of way at unmarked crosswalks!  I got another fright today. As I was walking home from downtown after paying my phone bill I stopped at a corner to be sure the two cars coming at me, down the one way street on my right hand side, were going to stop at their stop sign so I could safely cross.  The vehicle nearest to me did stop as did the second one a few seconds later. By the time the second one stopped I was 1/3 of the way across the street. Suddenly the driver took off through the intersection. Fortunately I noticed and stopped abruptly so she could pass me without knocking me down.  She looked out her side window at me and frowned....SHE FROWNED???  I was doing more than frowning, I tell you.  I was waving my arms around and yelling "HEY!!" at the top of my lungs.  She didn't slow down, just kept staring out her side window as she forged ahead.  She continued turning her head around backwards, watching me as I progressed through the crosswalk.  I wonder who she almost hit at the next corner since she was so intent on looking behind her, instead of at the road ahead of her.  This was not some old granny behind the wheel, someone even older than myself, struggling with macular degeneration or distraction. It as not a young teenaged driver being careless or too much in a rush.  It was a woman who appeared to be in her 40's or early 50's and has probably been driving for awhile. I was not dawdling so she couldn't have been upset that I was slowing her down by crossing the street. Aiiii yiiiii.....Regina and Moose Jaw are the two most unsafe cities I have ever walked or driven in.  It is unreal here.  Totally scary!!

I am grateful, once again, to be alive!!!!  One pedestrian/car accident in my life resulting in me being injured is enough, thank you very much!! 

Thank you God for keeping me safe and I do pray it was a wake up call to the lady who was driving.  The driver of the other car was very kind and as I reached the other side of the road he slowed and rolled down his window to ask if I was okay. Thank you sir.  I appreciate it.  Oh how I pray I don't end up terrifying any pedestrians or other drivers when I myself am behind the wheel of my car!! I don't want to be guilty of the same driving offences.

Company's Coming

After no word from him for the past year, my former physiotherapist has contacted us and is coming to visit for a couple of days in November.  We are so looking forward to the visit.  

He is the easiest company in the world to have: in the past he has arrived with a thin bedroll and is happy to wrap up in it and cram himself between the bookcases in the little library my husband has squeezed into the tiny third bedroom.  He doesn't stir all night, so the horribly squeaky floors are no problem.  He eats like a sparrow and always has a meal plan in mind for us all.  He has strict parameters for himself and us on how long he is going to stay and what is going to happen while he is here. I often wonder if OCD is a factor or if it is just his cultural upbringing.  Either way it keeps things easy as we have almost no decisions to make about anything when he comes to visit. hahaha

He will arrive on a Thursday at 4pm. (although usually that means he will be here by 1:30 or 2pm, hahaha) He will bring a bottle of wine so that the 3 of us can have a bit of a Happy Hour and then we are going out for dinner so we don't have to waste visiting time to do cooking. (although I suspect it is because he is such a persnickety eater and hasn't actually enjoyed any meal I have made for him to date)  I am sure he will know exactly what sort of food he wants and I suspect we will be at one of the nicer pubs so he and my husband can enjoy a bottle of beer, (not a can nor a tap run), and then we will all be in bed before 9pm so we can all wake up early the next morning, him at 4am so he can quietly do morning prayers, us at 6:30am so we can join him for breakfast....well, for him that usually only means coffee, so I will have to find some of that to husband will then head for work, taking the fellow with him for a tour of the office building and from there either our friend will head for home or have other plans for us all once my husband is done work at noon that day. hahaha See, easy peasey!  No plans for us to make, no work to go to to accommodate him.  

He is, quite literally, the only person I can handle having overnight here in this small space with its one tiny bathroom and floors so squeaky I suspect I have a subconscious fear of them caving in one day and finding ourselves buried under the pile of books, beds, desks and other rubble spread all over the living room floor, or maybe even the basement, where couches, chairs, china, tv's, cabinets and the kitchen island would be added to the disastrous mess!!

I am glad he is such an easy guest because I have other stresses of my own that weekend.  There is a choir practise that wasn't originally on the schedule and I am not sure I can make it. If I can't it will be the third rehearsal in a row I will be missing.  Not good since we only have 6 practises or so before the Christmas concert. Missing half of them is not a good thing.  I am not only also learning hymns to play for church that Sunday, I am also accompanying a young trumpet player who is going to join us for some of those hymns.  I haven't had to play for church in over a year now, haven't had to play for anything and have quite enjoyed NOT doing that.  So, even though it is a small undertaking, I am a bit stessed by it.

In my old age I seem to have developed an intense longing for freedom from committments of all kinds....playing the piano, sticking to a choir rehearsal schedule, travel plans for myself, even though I still enjoy most of those things.  I don't feel like planning anything in advance if I don't have to.  For some reason I am kind of enjoying the sort of daily lollygagging around, last minute decisions of how to spend my day, I have been doing over the past few months. I didn't enjoy it at first, but as time has passed I have now developed quite an enjoyment of it.  Go figure..........

Thursday, October 19, 2017

So Lovely, Such Great Memories, But I Don't Want to Go Back to Tokyo

An aquaintance is experiencing her first trip to Japan.  She has spent the last few weeks travelling all over Honshu Island and blogging about her adventures.  She is also an avid photographer and every post takes us forever to read because we have to visually dissect every shot she posts of places we are familiar with. hahaha

One thing though we have realized as we have been reading her blog: our memories of Japan are still strong and precious to us, but we are not going back again.  Going back would spoil the memories for us.  The reason they are so precious is that our life there happened at a time when we were in the most dire straits of our lives  here in Canada.  Money-wise, career-wise, health-wise and every other "wise" it was the end of the road for us.  At the most desperate time we had ever experienced, the doors to Japan opened wide for us and we fled through them at light speed.

Our time there was as close to perfection as either of us had ever experienced and so preserving the memories of that time is important to us.  For some reason it seems crucial not to spoil them by returning under different circumstances all these years later.  

We have discussed the possibility, but decided our time there was special and a one of a kind experience.

In fact, at the moment neither of us has any interest in leaving Canada to go anywhere at all.  This same blogger recently took a trip to New York City and we read her posts from there with great interest as well, seeing as our son is living there now. She had a great time there, but every post we read turned us off the idea of visiting that city. The assumption by everyone around us is, of course, since our son can't really return here for the next couple of years while living under the restrictions of his visa, that of course we will go there for a visit.

Unless we can put our dream trip together, by some miracle, and go to our god-daughter's confirmation in Florida next spring and then hit NYC on the way back, we have both had to confess we don't want to go at all.  As dismal as it can feel knowing it would mean we would not see our son for more than 2 years, there is just something holding us back from getting excited about heading there.  

Maybe it is simply that we are turning into old people who are losing their confidence when it comes to adventures.  Travelling seems to take so much effort any more.  The costs are insane.  The accommodations are either cheap and horrible or expensive and still inadequate.  The airports are a nightmare to navigate. Flights that leave after 9am are almost always delayed for hours and sometimes are cancelled all together....particularly the late night cheapie flights.  Hauling luggage about has lost its appeal. The stress of the whole venture seems to be completely beyond us any more.  

A friend in Ontario suggested we drive out that way and then take the train to Buffalo and head into NYC from there for a few days.  I suppose that would be a possibility for next year's holiday.  We could see our friends in Ontario on the way through and that would be a lot of fun.  

Still....we really have our travel hearts set on the Florida to NYC event....I am guessing that is because it is so highly unlikely, so completely unaffordable, so totally improbable, so time consuming to plan, that we don't really expect it to happen so take no stress over big talk and "pretend" planning.  hahahahaha

What on earth is happening to us?  Where did our sense of adventure go??  Has living on the prairies stripped us of all ability to plan anything without it feeling like it is "too much trouble"?????  Is it really that we are just becoming incompetent old codgers???  O dear.......

The Legalities Begin

After meeting with Tenancy Advocate yesterday, my son and his fellow tenants had a group meeting this evening so he could report to the rest of them the information he received from TA.  Tomorrow they will meet as a group with TA again and a representative from TA will attempt to find them a lawyer who is willing to work pro bono.  

And so the rather desperate and likely fruitless attempt to recoup their lost rents and damage deposits begins.  At twenty-four hundred dollars my son has actually lost the least amount of money.  He has only been in the building just over a month.  However, if he doesn't recoup it, particularly since he did not get the job that was more or less promised to him at his interview 2 weeks ago, it is going to be quite a problem for him.

So, he is trusting God to help him.  His financial life certainly has mirrored that of his parents over the years. hahahaha  Thus, he does know how to pray and how to trust and how to get over the fear and depression that inevitably attacks people when they find themselves in these sorts of situations.

The process of "pavement pounding" to find full time work begins in earnest this weekend.  After his smooth landing down south things have "GONE south" rather quickly, so his committment to the direction he felt led to take is certainly being it usually is for most of us when God calls us to new places and circumstances.

He has asked me to give a special, heartfelt thank you to those of you who contacted me after my first post about his problem, and told me you would be praying for him.  Knowing what big problems of your own some of you are facing in your own lives, your desire to pray for him means the world to him. (and to his dad and I)  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Another Wonderful Day

I am feeling badly for a few folk here who lost their not quite built new houses in a new subdivision due to the wind storm the other night.  The two houses in question are reduced to little bits and pieces, as if a bomb landed  right on top of them.  Other than some heavy tree limbs that came down and need moving, those two half built houses seem to be the worst of the damage here.

At the moment it is +24C, cloudy and with a warm breeze.  Beautiful!

I put my jacket on this morning when I went out to do errands and that only lasted until I reached my first destination.  At that point the jacket had to come off.  I was too hot wearing it....imagine....having to remove a light jacket on the 19th of October at 9am because it made me feel too hot!!  FANTASTIC!!  I parked as far away as reasonably possible from each building I had to go to and enjoyed thoroughly my walking about. A few minutes ago I packed up a few items of used clothing to walk down to the collection bin and I walked there in a short sleeved tee shirt and summer jeans.  AWESOME!! Tomorrow we are supposed to have sun and a high of +22C.  If that turns out to be correct I am going to walk downtown again to pay the phone bill that arrived today.  My husband will have the car for work tomorrow so there will be no temptation to wimp out and nick the car from his office lot long enough to drive to a different branch of our bank. 

This morning I read some of the articles detailing the stories of personal loss due to the grass fires in AB and SK.  So very fellow who had very little damage to his rural property discovered a badly injured dog on his driveway. He loaded it into his truck to take into town to the local veterinarian and along the way noticed his neighbour shuffling down the road. He stopped to check on the neighbour and that man was in deep shock. Less than a half hour, earlier that day, after spotting the encroaching fire from some distance away, it leapt a barrier and landed on his house. The place was burned to the ground in less than 20 minutes.  He lost his other dogs in the fire and was in such a state of shock he did not recognize the injured dog in the truck as his own remaining pet. 

A young AB volunteer firefighter was killed when the water tanker truck he was driving hit another vehicle along a smoky road and crashed.  The man was in his 30's and leaves a wife and 4 children.

Two young firefighters from another town were badly injured in another wreck.

One of the thoroughbred horses raised to be ridden annually for the aboriginal village at the Calgary Stampede was killed by the fire near a ranch in southern AB. Fortunately all the other thoroughbreds were located after their barn burned down and they were fine, but what a terrible loss. 

Several houses were lost in both provinces.  The fierceness of the fires and the rapidity with which they destroyed everything in their path surprised some of even the most experienced firefighters.

The prairies, like many other parts of the continent, are in desperate need of moisture.  Relatives who just returned from the usually lush and green city of Victoria BC told us that Beacon Hill Park, usually so covered in deep greens and thick overgrowth, has been reduced to tinder dry stick like grasses and brown looking trees.  They said it looks like the prairies out there right now due to that and the cracked dry ground.

I feel so badly for everyone so badly effected by these weather related disasters.  Northern California continues to burn.  The Canadian prairie fires going on right now are the worst seen in those areas for many, many years.  The winds blew large numbers of train cars right off the tracks in two different locations the other evening.  Semi rigs blew over on their sides.  Many people have been treated for smoke inhalation.  

And here I sit....on a gorgeous day in my own city, preparing for another glorious walk tomorrow outdoors in the warmth.  I am grateful...........

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

No Damage At Our Place

It was rather difficult to sleep soundly last night with the howling, building-rocking winds, but we did not too badly.  My husband got up just before midnight to locate a pair of earplugs so he could block out some of the noise and I was only kept awake after that for another half hour by a bad case of the giggles.  When my husband is up stumbling around in the night he also runs off at the mouth and if he could maintain that state of semi-consciousness during the day he could earn a wonderful living as a stand up comedian!!  

The wind tore down our fake hornet's nest we had hanging by the back door, but it wasn't damaged at all. It was still hanging down the side of the suite by a string, so  I put it back into the basement this morning in hopes that the lack of hornets around our back door of late is a good sign that they won't return and start building a nest under the loose siding there.  I was quite startled on my walk yesterday to discover how many there still are seeking winter shelter under the huge piles of rotting leaves on the residential boulevards.  Unless some environmental condition between now and next spring destroys many of them, we are in for a real innundation again next year.

The big headlines in the local papers are all about the grass fires burning out of control north and west of Swift Current.  The winds tossed those flames right across a couple of secondary highways near Burstall and Leader and both towns have been evacuated.  We have good friends in ministry in Leader so we are very worried about them.  There is another grass fire somewhat out of control north of Airdrie Alberta and threatening the northern end of the town. We have many friends in that area as well so we will try to stay up to date on the latest news of that fire too.

Today we are still experiencing wind gusts, but nothing like the 110km winds we had overnight.  I am assuming our city sustained some damage somewhere but no reports have shown up online yet.

Last night when I stepped out on the front porch at 11pm to ensure our mailbox lid was securely shut, the air temperature was as beautiful as any mid-summer evening.  The strong winds were just getting started and I stood under the small overhang outside the door, protected from the wind, enjoying the warm air.  SO very lovely and quite impressive for the middle of October.

Today the cold front that blew through is leaving us with a predicted high of only +8C but by tomorrow we should be warming up once again.  O how I love this protracted lovely autumn weather. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Waiting For the Winds

It is just after 10pm.  Ever since late yesterday afternoon our city has been poised and waiting for a serious windstorm to arrive.  It has been blasting through southern Alberta, picking up speed as it hits the Cypress Hills and heads overnight tonight through to Manitoba.  Over the past half hour the winds have begun to gust and if the gales do reach the predicted 90-110km per hour, they will not blow themselves out until sometime tomorrow morning apparently.  The cause is a low pressure system that blew in over the Rockies from B.C a couple of days ago.  Once it passes we are supposed to enjoy a few more pleasant days before the seasonal temperatures return.

Today we reached a high of +21C.  It was GLORIOUS!!  I struck out for downtown just after 11am, opting to remain on the main thoroughfare on the way up and then take the scenic, heavily treed residential route on the way home.  It felt good to get the utility bills all paid, and even better that both bills were an actual instead of estimated reading, so the expected rise in cost now that our furnace has been running more often did not happen. I actually paid less for each bill than I did last month.  Bingo!!!

To have a sit d0wn rest after the first half of my walk, I picked up a chicken shawarma salad at Zam Zam Wraps.  It was fantastic as always, but their prices have taken a huge jump.  My lunch came to nearly four dollars more than previously. Hmmmm....I am going to have to reconsider eating there I guess.  However, when I consider what I paid for a fantastic salad, absolutely loaded with shwarama and compare that to what I paid for a plate of lettuce and rubbery chicken at the Capitol a few weeks ago...well, Zam's prices are still not that bad in comparison!  I think that I will broaden my horizons however, assuming I get a few more walks in to downtown before the snow flies. There is a Thai buffet I would like to try and a couple of full menu coffee houses.  We'll see what happens when the phone bill arrives, hahahaha.

I broke one of my "kitchen fun plates" yesterday when unloading it from the dishwasher.  As I was taking it out I lost my grip on it and dropped it on top of a pan with a sharp edge. Fortunately it didn't shatter and leave ceramic bits all over the bottom of the dishwasher.  A couple of shards broke off neatly. It was disappointing as it was a favourite that I won't find again, since I picked it up at a clearance sale just before Sears closed, but I looked around on the discount tables in The Bay kitchenwares department and found a nice blue plate at a good price. It is a bit better quality, so hopefully should last a bit longer than the one I broke. 

My idea of returning home via the scenic route ended a half block into it.  Although the wind had not started blowing like it is starting to blow right now, there was a sufficient increase in the breeze to blow up little "dust devils" at each driveway and intersecting alleyway.  The first alleyway I crossed left me with dust up my nose, a swirl of wasps around my ankles and several dried up leaves stuck behind my glasses, over my eyes.  It was horrible and left me gasping for breath. A woman who was walking almost beside me also got swept up in it and swore rather soundly at the dirt on her face.  So, I hoofed it back over to the main street where there are only business buildings, no trees or dried leaves and no wasps!  It was a bit disappointing, but other than that brief windblown hassle, it was a great, warm walk home. I had to take my coat off and carry it over my arm, that is how warm it was outside. Just beautiful!! 

Time to shut the computer down.  The wind has finally begun to howl and the lights are flickering. Maybe we are going to have a power outage.  The dead leaves hitting the side of our building sound like a powerful rain storm.

Blessings everyone and hope you all stay safe in the wind should it come your way.

Trusting...the Lesson Must Be Taught Over and Over It Seems

Fretting and praying over my husband's lost hat for the past nearly 8 weeks has been a good set up for praying over our son's lost money in the rental scam.  

After all we have been through with loss in many forms in this family you would think we could have relaxed more over something as simple as a lost hat, despite all the reasons it was a very special hat to my husband, but for some reason we (I in particular) had to go through the lesson once again.  

I admit I was not praying about the hat's return with any "feeling" of faith that we would actually see it again.  I was praying with a sense of hopelessness, anger at us both for forgetting it in a restaurant, a feeling of betrayal that it had subsequently been taken and wishing that if the darned hat was gone for good, the wait staff at the restaurant would quit calling and getting our hopes up for no reason, that I could let it go, forget about it and stop fretting over it.  I was not praying in faith that God could bring something good from it.  I couldn't seem to let the whole thing go and that added to my upset.  The worst part was I know it wasn't only the OCD that was responsible for my not being able to emotionally drop the issue...I really was mad about what seemed to be some game going on among the staff at the restaurant in regard to the hat.  Feeling "betrayed" or "lied to" or "left out of the REAL situation" bothered me far worse than losing the hat.  

So, God had to get my attention by returning the hat as soon as I FINALLY gave it all up to him and let the upset go completely.  He had to get my attention so that I could pray  for my son,  actually believing that good will come out of his present upset instead of fretting and driving myself crazy over this loss that is far greater than a simple black fedora.  I cannot take on my son's hurt, I have to let him deal with this issue as best he can without making myself crazy.  He is a grown man with his own faith. He is quite capable of praying in faith for help and I have to support him in that instead of taking on anger, fear, feelings of betrayal on his behalf.  I need to resurrect my trust in God to know what is best even in the midst of messes. It isn't like I haven't had 40 years of experience with financial messes, and watching God fix them, to draw on. 

With the return of the hat that seemed forever lost firmly in mind, I was able to release my son's situation to God,  fall asleep last night and have 5 solid hours before waking up...hungry...I forgot to eat my bedtime snack.  hahaha 

Now it is time to fall asleep again for the rest of the night.  I know I will fall asleep because of the peace I have about my son's eventual outcome of his situation.  He is turning it over to God and so I must do that too.  The thing he and I both know is that God can turn this to good even if the process and whatever lessons are to be learned all start off painfully.

Thank you Lord for my son...please protect himself and the other tenants from the fellow who scammed them all.  Please turn the heart of the scammer toward truth and repentence and please let all these tenants forgive him for what he did to them.  Please help them all financially during this process that will likely involve the courts and even more likely no return of their money if the fellow responsible has spent it all.  Please use this incident to remind my son, as I had to be reminded with my husband's lost hat, that  learning to trust you is more important than the return of any "thing" that has been taken from him.

Monday, October 16, 2017

And the Hat Came Back the Very Next Day......

Yes, you read that correctly. We have the fedora back in our possession. Unbelievable!

My husband got the call just before he left work. He told me just as he finished eating his dinner, so I pushed back from the dining room table, left the rest of my own dinner uneaten and away we went to the restaurant to retrieve my husband's beloved hat. It looks none the worse for wear.

We are both very grateful to the wait staff at Leopold's on Albert Street. One of the managers was not on board about wanting the staff to work that hard to get the hat back, but the girls decided it was not that particular fellow's decision to make....bless their hearts. We are very grateful to the person who returned it as well. Please pray a blessing on that person and on the staff at the restaurant.

Just this morning I removed the fedora from my pile of prayer request papers and tore it up. I told God I was tired of worrying about a hat, even such an expensive hat and I would just accept the fact it was gone forever: the old "death of a vision" we learned about back in the 1970's at the Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts. The basic idea is that often, when we have suffered a loss, God restores that ministry, job, item, what have you, sometimes in a different form, after you have TRULY given it back to him.

This return of the hat, nearly 8 weeks after losing it, is giving me courage and hope in my prayers for our son as he faces a big financial loss. Thank you for all your prayers about both situations. Being part of the Christian community is a huge comfort.

Prayers For My Son

The rubber has hit the road for our son with his New York life. I feel badly for him and his five roommates who have been scammed in a sublet con. Short version: they are meeting tomorrow with a tenants' rights advocate, but since they are actually living as illegal tenants it is unlikely they will get back the twenty-four hundred dollars each in rents and damage deposits they stand to lose. It is also likely they will all be evicted at the end of this month. As stressed as our son is, he is taking on the role of being the calm voice in the midst of the upset, has set up the advocacy meetings and arranged a tenants' meeting after that. The actual landlord of the building has been mostly absentee, arriving at the building very unexpectedly and unannounced at the building on the weekend and discovered the scam her one paying tenant was perpetrating. I have been through similar upheavals in my own life so hope I was able to encourage my son when he called me today. God is good. He will get our son through this rough patch, as he has gotten him through so many others. If you have a heart for it, thank you for your prayers about this situation.

Kinda Nice To Be Home Again

I can tell I am getting more used to living here of late.  Every time I get a chance to get away, like this past weekend, I leap at it, enjoy the time away immensely, but then am very happy to return home again.  It has been a long time since I last felt that way.  

I enjoyed my sleep in yesterday in my own maple bug free bed, hahaha.  I enjoyed lingering over breakfast with no stress to have to run off anywhere....just what the doctor has ordered.....I enjoyed getting ready for choir rehearsal and the rehearsal itself, both the singing and the bit of visiting.  I enjoyed making a DIY dinner last night, my husband and I each picking away at some leftovers of our choice, finishing off the Philippine dinner rolls, trying a new jar of low sugar jam, a few slices of PC low fat Swiss cheese, a bit of chicken curry and lamb kabab.  It was a crazy dinner and such fun to have all those bits and pieces of "stuff" to eat.  Today is a cooking day and so I will enjoy that after a 3 day break.  My body is craving more home made food like I had for the two dinners at friends' houses when I was out of town.

Up and going this morning right at 7am, a nice breakfast together with my husband and then driving him to work. I don't think the rest of the office staff are losing their days off today if the complete lack of cars in the office parking lot is any indication.  I suspect my husband is kind of hoping that is the case so he can work without any interruptions today, completing the last minute details for this coming weekend's Diocesan Synod.  I just pray he can push into this very long week with no days off again and not collapse as soon as Synod ends.  At least he knows he has next Monday off as Synod ends sometime on Sunday.  I will be so relieved to have it over with, but I also pray it is an excellent time of making changes to the Canons, getting some financial issues dealt with and all the other business decisions that must be made by Synod delegates for our diocese.  I am amazed and comforted by the grace of God evidenced in my husband's health to date with all the stress he has been under and the very few days off in the past 2 months.

Decided to go and purchase one of my rare large loads of groceries after I dropped my husband at work.  For the first time I shopped at the newer Superstore on Albert street instead of at my beloved Mike's YIG.  Lately I have been comparing prices more and more and discovering that a recent rise in Mike's prices are going to limit my buying there now.  I will support that neighbourhood grocery for items I need in a hurry because it is a nice walk there and back and it is close if I only need a few items in a hurry, but this week I was able to compare the flyers and the sales as well for both stores and o my....I NEED to switch to the Superstore that is much farther away for bigger loads.  It is disappointing. I truly believe in supporting a neighbourhood independent grocer, BUT I have to be realistic about the financial side of things just now.  Yikes, what a difference in some of the prices between stores.  That was not the case until fairly recently. I am actually shocked at how things have changed so much. 

After lunch my exercise will consist of a big load of ironing!  I am so embarrassed by the amount of food I slopped on myself last week while not only cooking, but also when eating the results of my efforts!  hahaha  Two days in a row I had to change clothes after lunch!!  Now that is very sad! hahaha  Oops, slop, bring the mop!!

Tonight we have some boxing matches to watch after dinner.  My husband has graduated from burying his head in his home PC to watching tv with me. hahaha He is pacing himself by coming home at reasonable times this week, maybe going in a bit late in the mornings to compensate for the tiredness.  He has become very good at pacing himself over this year and I am proud of him for finally figuring out how best to do that.  We are getting too old to go full out every day of every week.

The saga of my husband's missing fedora continues.  2 weeks ago we had a call that the waitress we had at the restaurant where he lost it had located the customer who took it and that customer was prepared to return it.  Yesterday my husband went for a walk over to the restaurant to see what was happening.  Yes, the same waitress said, she was confident the person would be in that very evening, so my husband left his phone number....again....heard nothing by evening, so drove over before closing time, just in case.  Again, no hat, but at least his phone number was taped to the cash register.  We are getting quite a kick out of this whole thing now.  Slowly we are building relationship with all the young folk on staff.  They likely think we are two old kooks, continuing to try to get "only" a hat back for the past 2 months, but they are cheerful and welcoming and seem to get quite a kick out of us.  Whatever is REALLY going on with the hat and its probable new owner, good things are coming out of this silly event and it seems God's hand is in it...crazy as that sounds I am sure to some of you readers.

We also SKYPE'd with our son last night. It was so good to see him live on the computer screen instead of only hearing his somewhat disembodied voice over the scratchy telephone connection.  He is doing well and we are very happy for him.

It is not such a bad day today!  The sun is shining. It may go as high as +17C today and tomorrow.  It is not freezing overnight lately. Only twice have we had to scrape the car windshield this fall.

Yup, a very nice day my own in my own stores...sleeping in my own bed....yup....I like it!  This afternoon the maintenance fellows are coming to do the fall smoke alarm check and change the furnace filter. They are always so friendly and talkative...and CHEERY!  I think them knowing how much I like their native Philippine food contributes to their willingness to chat. They can't understand why I like their cultural foods so much. hahaha  They certainly do not like Canadian food, so why I would like their foods is beyond their comprehension.  We have had lots of chatter about that.  hahaha

Sunday, October 15, 2017

From an Email Forward, haha!

Dearest Dad,
I am coming home to get married soon, so get your cheque book out. I'm in love with a boy who is far away from me.

As you know, I am in Australia... and he lives in Scotland. We met on a dating website, became friends on Facebook, had long chats on Whatsapp.  He proposed to me on Skype, and now we've had two months of a relationship through Viber.

My beloved and favorite Dad, I need your blessing, good wishes, and a really big wedding.

Lots of love and thanks.

Your favorite daughter,


My Dear Lily,

Like Wow!! Really? Cool!!

Whatever... I suggest you two get married on Twitter, have fun on Tango, buy your kids on Amazon, and pay for it all through PayPal.

And when you get fed up with this new husband, sell him on eBay. 


Diversity is Not What Makes Us

I noticed a group of people downtown last week, all wearing brightly coloured tee shirts with a slogan printed on the front. The slogan was "Diversity is what makes us!"  

I thought about that for awhile.  I don't think it is diversity that "makes us".  There can be great disagreement and warring factions among the "diverse".  

What "makes us" in my opinion is "harmony".  Harmony implies diversity.  Harmony instantly points to the diverse getting along, being able to work together in spite of difference.  

Yes....I believe it is more accurate to say that "Harmony is what makes us". 

Just my own little thought for the day.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

So, I and Several Dozen Maple Bugs Had a Great Sleep Last Night

Yup, and that was the several dozen left in my room this morning after I killed at least 30 of them in my hotel foom before I went to bed last night. Good thing Maple Bugs do not upset me. Spiders upset me. Mosquitoes upset me. Ants upset me. Hornets upset me. Maple Bugs do not upset me.

Honestly, I find them kind of cute. They stand on a set of tiny legs that are bent like the legs of stick man drawings by pre-schoolers. Their antennae wave about constantly and to me they appear to be like the quirky cartoon figures my son used to draw,

They don't bite. They don't destroy things. They don't sting. They don't stink unless you squash them. They just sit and crawl around on their short bent legs, looking for the warmest place to hunker down.

Last night that place was, apparently, in my bed with the sparkling white sheets! I woke up this morning, after an excellent night's sleep to chuckle at the bug facing me on the pillow and aftergiving it a cheerful "Good mornin' darlin'!" I crawled out of bed, went into the bathroom, flipped on the light, looked in the mirror and wished the one I discovered marching happily across my forehead a happy day. What else can you do, right? The whole southern half of this province is infested with them. They are impossible to get rid of until they cycle off naturally to other places. Closing the hotel for two weeks to fumigate would be a wasted effort and expense. So, since I had seen them all over town all day, I decided to just grin and bear it.  I am delighted to discover that the older I get, the less queazy I am about such things....unless it is spiders.....or mosquitoes.....or ants.....or hornets.....or........lizards....did I mention that lizards on hotel walls also upset me?

All thoughts of Maple bugs were completely forgotten 5 minutes into the wonderful presentation by Dr. Wes Hill that I attended today on Chastity and Christian Friendship in the 21st Century.  I am still mulling over my day's worth of notes and would do a great disservice to Dr. Hill by attempting to express his thoughts here on this blog tonight.  SO, if you are interested in Dr. Hill and the way he expresses the amazing grace of God to all believers no matter their area of brokenness, look for him and his talks on  YouTube.  I came away feeling newly refreshed, newly prepared to share my faith for the first time in a long time and with a far better concept of how to talk to my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in Christ.  There is a level playing field at the foot of the Cross and no one is any better or any worse than anyone else who comes to follow him.  We are all broken, we are all covered and redeemed in Christ and all are welcomed into the Kingdom as we learn how to live our faith in the midst of our brokenness, whatever it may be.  Just a fantastic day of teaching!

During the lunch break my friends and I headed over to the Royal Spices Indian Cuisine restaurant on Main Street for a wonderful feast of aloo gobi, lamb kababs, rice, naan and curried chicken.  O was good!  We had great talks and lots of laughter flowed as we consumed our delicious meal. Eating out in Moose Jaw is a happy occasion more often than not with the new restaurants that have opened there over the past two years.  How long any of them will be able to stay open when so many other businesses are closing out is anyone's guess, but might as well enjoy them while they are in existence, right? Of course right!

My husband was able to come out for the last session this afternoon after his own meetings so we enjoyed sharing the last couple of hours of teaching together before heading to the home of dear, dear friends for the tastiest shepherds' pie dinner we have ever had....those people can COOK!  They dug the last carrots from their garden to add into the meal and there is, as most of you know, no flavour more enjoyable than freshly dug garden comparison to the pithy, tasteless orange sticks sold in the grocery stores here the rest of the year.  We had the addition as well of a large turnip and that really added to the flavours of the pie.  Oooooh, my......2 of the tastiest home cooked meals I have had in ages these last two evenings.  YUM!  Being with such good friends for both meals certainly added to the enjoyment!

I was able to visit Cees while I was in town.  Please, please, please continue to pray for him.  He is skin and bone, he is plagued with cold chills, nausea, headaches and pain everywhere in his body.  I wanted to cry when I saw him.  I don't know how his wife is holding up from the stress...oh, wait a minute, yes I do: it is her incredible and inspirational faith in God.  His next appointment with the medical establishment is toward the end of this month so I am praying like ten bears he can get help this time.  Thank you for adding in your prayers.

So, now we are home again, successful meetings for us both this weekend.  I am hoping I wake up in time to go to church tomorrow, but if I don't, o well.  I am VERY tired and feeling every step of the nearly 4 straight hours of walking I did yesterday afternoon...after 2 hours of walking in the morning.  Perhaps I have reached the limit of what my ankle and hip can take, but it felt SO GOOD!!!  It was chilly, but sunny, hardly any wind.  I went to the Moose Jaw art gallery, the museum, the Yvette Moore Gallery where I spent a full 30 minutes gazing at all the wonderful pottery in the gift shop, BUT I bought none of it!  Are you proud of me?  I tried on all kinds of clothes just for the sake of having fun and wasting time until I could check into my hotel in the late afternoon, but again I bought nothing because there is nothing I need.  It was great fun.  I had a super duper visit with one of the transit drivers that used to be part of my bus ministry 7 years ago and who I have hardly seen since.  We talked and talked.  It was so good to see him again.  I am saddened by the number of mentally challenged and physically disabled former bus passengers that I met back then who have died.  Bus driver Bob filled me in on the latest losses and I wanted to cry.  What good times we all had together simply riding the bus and talking about Jesus and about their lives.

Well, it is nearly 10pm.  I should go to bed.  Maybe I should go outside, capture some Maple bugs from the troop hanging around our back door tonight and release them in the bedroom...perhaps their company would help me sleep as well as I did last night....EIGHT (8) HOURS!!!  If it had been spiders in that room I would not have slept one fact I think I would have sneaked (see my special friend, I remembered there is no such word as "snuck". Are you proud of me?? teehee) my bedding outside and into my vehicle to spend the night!!

It is difficult to gear down after such a lot of fun over the past two days away.  A hot shower...that will relax me and send me right to sleep! Thanks for your prayers for me/us over the past few weeks.  They are appreciated and we are seeing the good effects.

Friday, October 13, 2017

May I Never Be Desperate Enough For Sugar Free Foods..... have to ever, ever, ever eat a sugar free Orange Marmalade ever, ever again.

Today I had a marvellous day window shopping and eating meals with friends....I had a homemade turkey stew that was to die for. I found a bag of fresh Philippine dinner rolls at the local Sari-Sari store that made a delicious bedtime snack a few minutes ago.

However, I also purchased an expensive jar of sugar free orange marmalade. I have been looking everywhere for a sugar free jelly or jam....or, I suppose I was actually thinking of a "no sugar added" condiment that still contains at least some actual fruit. Nutter's is the first place I found such a product, so I took the risk and bought a jar this afternoon. I am sure there are many people with health issues that would require a non-food "substitute " if they want to eat some kind of jelly-like spread on a slice of toast or a bun. I am happy this particular company has a product filling that niche. Unfortunately it is not for me.

There is no actual food in this product as far as I can tell, hence its no sugar, no fat, no calories labelling. It looks and tastes like jelled orange Koolaid. Now, as you know I do like a bit of Koolaid occasionally, but not as a jelly flavour! Marmalade is a sad mislabelling. I ate about two tablespoons this evening, on part of one of the dinner rolls, then had to admit I made a terrible mistake in purchasing it. I ate the rest of the roll with a slice of low fat Swiss cheese to get the taste of the jelly out of my mouth....blaaaaaaahhhhh....

I can continue to live without jelly or jam on my bread. I am not desperate enough to ingest this "stuff".  The remainder is all ready in the garbage. I am sad my experiment failed. Live and learn, right? Sometimes you score on new food products and sometimes you don't.

Everything else that happened today was fantastic! A couple of tablespoons of yucky jelly substitute hasn't ruined that!

Coming Together Even Better

And now I have a dinner invitation for this evening as well.....NIIIIIICE!!  Thank you Lord and thank you friends!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

So the Plans Are Coming Together....Kinda......

My husband is so busy with meetings this weekend that I decided I am going to treat myself to some time away, starting tomorrow.  

I am going to my favourite former town of residence to spend the day and overnight.  I have some shopping I need to do there earlier in the morning and am then meeting a friend for lunch.  Hopefully it is going to turn into a very long lunch because I have not one plan for the rest of the afternoon.  I do know a fair number of folk there, but with it being a weekday most of them are working, or have other committments that I all ready know about, and my original plans for the afternoon fell completely

If nothing else I can bop around the downtown.  There is a museum and art gallery that will both be open and that I haven't been to in forever. There is an art gallery and pottery/gift shop I also have not visited in a long time.  The more I think about it, the more I realize there are quite a few ways to fill 2 or 3 hours on my own before checking into my hotel.  There are some clothing stores downtown that are highly overpriced, but always fun to look through.  Since I need neither more pottery, gifts nor clothing our budget is safe! hahaha

The next day I will be at a seminar and there will be quite a few folk there that I know and am looking forward to seeing.  After the seminar my husband will also be in town so we are going to have dinner with special friends, the other part of the plan that came together....bookend mealtimes over the 2 days away.....then we will head for home, since he has to work on Sunday and one night for me in a hotel is a sufficient splurge for this month.  

I packed warm clothes for this little venture.  It is to be as cold for the next 2 days as it was today.  Since I didn't have a car today I decided to walk downtown to pay a bill that was due.  Brrrrr....any denial I may have been fighting about summer being over disappeared completely today!  

I started walking and only went about a half a block before turning around, returning home and putting on a sweater under my coat.  Off I went for round two, only to turn around once again at about the same spot when I realized I had no gloves in my coat pockets and returned home once again for a warm pair.  By round three I was bundled up sufficiently to walk all the way to the bank, then a warming tour around Cornwall Centre before returning home along a route more protected from the wind than the main street tour I took on the way to the bank.  WOW...what a shock to feel that cold, cold wind blowing.  Yuck!!  Fortunately we are to get some slightly warmer temperatures next week.  

Plans are coming along quickly and well for a family get together on Boxing Day.  Various cousins of my husband's are available that day and we are planning a tea party in the social room at one of their condo facilities.  My husband's sister and her husband will arrive about a half hour previous to the start of the party, so they won't have much time to relax after their morning drive before we are off and running.  We are so looking forward to it.  I will take some snacks and we will arrange for tea and coffee, keeping it simple but having lots of time for visiting. Some of the cousins have not yet met each other, so that will make it even more fun. THAT is a plan that is REALLY coming together!!  YAY!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

I'm Drinkin' the Koolaid

Today I walked to the post office after lunch, passing the grocery store along the way.  To have an excuse to extend my walking time on this fairly warm, relatively windless day, (likely the last day I will be able to go out walking in a long sleeved shirt with no jacket until next spring), I stopped in at the grocery store and wandered up and down the aisles.

There were a few products I had not seen before, so I took some time to check them out. As it happens not one of them is a product that is safe for either myself or my husband to eat, but it was fun looking at them: reading the nutritional value labels and ingredients lists, inspecting the packaging, deciding whether or not I liked the fonts the packaging designers came up with...silly fun, but fun none the less and it kept me on my feet a lot longer!  My doctor would be most pleased about that part of it, hahaha.

I did find some fresh free range chicken for 30% off, so grabbed a small pack, then I wandered down the juice aisle and noticed that Koolaid has some liquid drink flavourings.  I stopped to have a closer look at the brightly coloured labels I remember from my childhood.  haha  Although the drawing of the jug on the label has changed shape and even its protrayed "personality" seems to have been updated, I was overwhelmed by a flood of memories of drinking Koolaid as a kid.  It was a rare treat because of all the sugar mom had to add to the powder and water, but at least twice every summer she would make up a full package of the tasty drink for myself and my friend from across the street to consume between us throughout the day of playing in the back yard.  How two wee girls managed to drink the equivalent of 2 full litres of the stuff in one afternoon, I will never know, but drink it we did, smacking our lips as we chugged it back, thinking we were the most favoured children in the neighbourhood.  None of the other moms could afford to use up a whole cup of sugar to make drinks for the kids.  Water is all most of us ever got mid-afternoons in the summer time, so my friend and I were careful to keep our little secret on the days my mom made Koolaid!  We were not about to share such a delightful and rare treat!  We would hide the plastic jug of drink in my father's music studio in the back of the property, sneaking in every few minutes to fill our glasses once again.  O my goodness, I have not thought about those days in a very long time.  

Of course I had to buy a couple of the flavouring bottles to bring home today: an orange and a grape. Those were my two childhood favourites, followed closely by the fruit punch when it first came out, it being also the summer my mother seemed most amenable to making pitchers of the stuff for us.  

So, I am sitting here with two small glasses of flavoured water in front of me on the desk: one flavoured with orange and one with grape.  No sugar, no carbs, no sodium, just flavours that take me back to the best days of my childhood summers.  What fun!

I LOVE Surprising My Husband With Unexpected Gifts!

I am SO happy that yesterday I struck gold when I took an after lunch walk around the nearest mall.  I wandered into Marks after doing my laps around the mall and there was the most wonderful sale on mens' sweaters!  It was a BOGO 50% off deal and my quarterly sales tax rebate had just been deposited into my account, so I decided to spend it on him.  Usually I share it with our son, but this time I wanted to get my husband a treat to thank him for all the hard work he does but gets paid so little for.

It took awhile of searching through the gorgeous winter sweaters to find the 100% cotton ones in his size, but eventually settled on a medium blue and a grey/black, both pull ons with a zippered neckline.  Over the years I have finally figured out his major likes and dislikes when it comes to his wardrobe and feel much more confident than I used to about purchasing such an item for him.

Wow, he was SO excited when he found them folded up on top of the bed when he went to change his clothes after work.  He immediately put on the blue sweater and wore it all evening. This morning he had it on over his clergy shirt and has carefully hung the grey/black one on a wide wooden hangar, ready to wear it tomorrow.  

She shoots, she scores!  It has taken a few decades to finally figure out when buying him a gift is a good idea and what that gift should be.  I also found a beautiful sweater for my mother's birthday at the Alia store.  It is a lovely pullover sweater top, black with broad stripes of red, taupe and grey.  She will be able to wear it with nearly every pair of winter pants she owns.  YAY!!  That and some lovely table napkins I know she will love, along with a tube of her favourite lotion, should fit very well in my suitcase when we go to see her in a few weeks.  Speaking of which, I should try to book the guest room where she and dad live and make sure the time we have available will not stifle too many of their other fun activities that week. hahahaha  How wonderful to have that worry again for the first time in over 5 years!

Today is a lazy day for me.  I have spent so much time planning my activities next week around my husband's busy schedule at work that I forgot completely to finish planning anything for today and tomorrow! hahaha  I think I will luxuriate in the free time to read some online newspapers and finish an historical novel about Lucrezia Borgia and her family. This afternoon it is to be relatively warm once again so a long walk may be in order. There is so little wasp activity now that I finally feel safe wandering through the park. The geese are nearly gone so the grounds are cleaner and easier to enjoy.  It is overcast but not very chilly even this morning. By afternoon it will be perfect for wandering around outside. Each walk I am able to cram into the days before the snow comes makes me feel like I am really getting away with something! hahaha

Monday, October 9, 2017

Our Egyptian Thanksgiving Feast


That is the only word to describe how we felt last evening as we dragged our food stuffed bodies outside our friends' home and into our vehicle for the drive home after a gigantic Thanksgiving feast.  Urp!!!

We enjoyed a wonderful meal together, visited until we were nearly out of words, swapped stories from both Christian and Muslim traditions and scriptures, watched an excellent movie together, The Accountant, enjoyed watching and listening to the five children in attendance as they played, we scratched the kitty cat's tummy, and had a cozy time together.  Today we are completely exhausted, but very happy on this sunny but chilly is noon and still only +5C heading to a high of +11cC this afternoon.

I have to share the fabulous menu with you: 
--2 kinds of garlic bread (their favourite kind and our favourite kind)
--my own mixed bean salad with white balsamic vinegar
--chopped parsley, onion and tomato salad
--rice flavoured with shimp broth
--giant shrimp
--shrimp broth soup
--flounder in tomato sauce
--smoked BBQ salmon in maple glaze
--breaded tilapia with herbs
--fresh mussels in the shell
--home made tahine/tartar sauce
--almond cake dessert (my only other contribution)
--tea with freshly picked mint
--iced hibiscus tea

YES I OVER ATE!!   WHAT high blood sugar?  WHAT high cholesterol??  I mean, when you are invited to participate in such a sumptuous seafood banquet how do you possible follow ALL the dietary rules for those sad conditions, right?  (I suppose I could have followed one or two, but what fun would that have been, right?)

After making the correlation between my skyrocketing cholesterol and the stoppage of the ingestion of oats nearly a year ago, I decided yesterday morning to begin the attempt to reintroduce them to my diet in the hope of deflecting the taking of statins and other meds for awhile longer.  I admit that after last night, I guiltily doubled my breakfast oat intake this morning....not that it is going to help anything physically, it just makes me feel better emotionally about last night's indulgences. Told you, I am a joyous promoter of denial!   (2 days now in a row with the oats and so far no's hoping that will last!!)

Today both my husband and I feel like we have been run over by a truck...too much rich food that equaled a somewhat interrupted sleep overnight.  It was SO worth it, SO worth it, but we have put the leftover fish our hosts sent home with us into the freezer for another time.  Today it is plain chicken breasts for lunch and dinner...maybe with a bit of bread and vinegar to go with them.  Gotta pay our penance for last evening's diet debacle. 

It was heaven on a platter for us!!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

A Little Of Everything

Happy Thanksgiving Saturday everyone!  

I woke up to sunshine this morning and a cool breeze...well, a gale really...not sandal weather, but still by noon it was +13C, so off I went for a half hour walk, still only needing my little black shrug across my shoulders.  While it wasn't as grand as yesterday's venture, it was still wonderful to be able to walk outside.

At 1pm the sun disappeared behind a bank of dark grey clouds and has not been seen since. The wind is howling now and is much chillier than when I took my walk.  I feel sad....there are no day time highs forecast much above +10C for the next couple of weeks, most of them are not even that high.  It makes me even more grateful I was able to slip in a quick walk outdoors this morning.

In 24 hours we will be at our Egyptian friends' having dinner, chatting, laughing, gawking at their gecko and playing "How soon can my allergies take over my life" with their kitten.  I am so looking forward to it, but the list of things I am taking them for the celebration continues to grow....not at their instigation, but at my own.  I just keep finding little items and food products I know they enjoy, so.....

The jury is out on where or even IF we will be at church tomorrow morning to celebrate our grateful thanks for all that is good in our lives.  I am hoping and praying my husband will be up for attending a service. It doesn't have to be at MY church, it can be at any church. I would just like to give thanks together with others in our Christian community before spending the rest of the day with members of the Muslim community.

Today I got all excited when I found some lemon iced tea I hadn't tried before and I have been looking for something new to drink.  Unfortunately I accidentally grabbed the sweetened tea instead of the unsweetened.  REALLY hope my husband likes that kind of iced tea as it will be him drinking it not me. haha

I checked back on my medical records this morning and discovered what appears to be a direct connection between having to stop eating oats and the huge spike in my cholesterol over the next several months afterward. SO, tomorrow I am going to start eating oats again for breakfast and see what happens with my allergy or food sensitivity, or whatever was causing my kidneys to react so negatively.  Of course I am hoping it was actually some other food product that caused the reaction (dreaming and denying being my forte on this occasion).  If I have that reaction again, of course that will be the end of my oat intake forever and ever and it will be back to pysillium (blecch, pooey) and vitamin B12 pills (yuckko to the fiery face reaction) to try to get my cholesterol down while waiting for more thyroid tests etc.  

My sister-in-law's choir in another city is singing glorious sacred music and lyrics for their Christmas such asJohn Rutter's Gloria.  My choir here is singing inane winter based dittys with lyrics like "It's a yummy yummy world made for sweethearts. Take a walk with your favourite 1,2,3....."  Sigh.........  Don't get me wrong. I am very happy I returned to choir and am having fun, but occasionally I would so like to also be able to sing in a choir that sings, say, upper high school music class level sacred classical songs....or any kind of classical songs.  The closest our choir has to that sort of thing this term is based on a Bach Fugue....and the lyrics include, "We just want to sing this lovely fugue for you...but we keep on sneezing and sneezing....and I don't think Bach wrote sneezes in this fugue...achoo!"  Even bigger sigh.....  Next year I have to work harder to find another choir to sing in that is more what I am after...surely with all the choirs in this city there is one I missed that performs the kind of music I am interested in, one that isn't only for classically trained quasi-professional this city....  I need to pad out my other choir activity with something more serious minded and with a higher quality of music.  I can't believe I am singing about sneezing and sinus Christmas....HUGE sigh......

My husband was very much looking forward to his day at work today.  Hopefully no one else is there at the office on Thanksgiving Saturday and he is getting a chance to get caught up on his emails and other projects that can't wait, but have had to wait anyway on even more pressing projects. On and on it goes.  

I realized as I was ironing this afternoon that my idea of an adrenalin rush is seeing that the item I am ironing is the last one in the pile.  Apparently I have no life....

Now I am waiting to hear if my husband wants me to come over to the office to help him put up the last of his university degree diplomas, award certificates and pictures, while he finishes filing the remaining stack of papers that has had to be ignored since the move into his new office.  I suspect the call will not come as he has so much else to do that there will likely be no time or energy left to work on it. Maybe we could slip over to the office on Monday and do it then while everyone else is doing their long weekend Monday thing.

Diocesan Synod happens in 2 weeks' time.  Once it is over there will be a huge push the following week to tie up other loose ends at work, interview for a position or two that need to be filled before the end of the year, work on setting up the canons in a more understandable, easy to use online format etc. etc. etc. etc.  Last night he told me he is taking a week off after that and we are going to either not answer ANY phones for the week, or maybe we will slip away for a couple of days to work on our own relationship.  Whatever we do, some signifcant rest time needs to be built into the time for my husband's sake.  The weekend after Synod weekend we are out of town to do another seminar for some parishes that really seem hungry for good biblical teaching and keep asking us to come back as soon as possible. They have been after us since the last time we were there several months ago and it is so good to have a chance to return.  They are so eager to learn and to share their own stories.  I love these people.

Wow....the clouds outside are looking like they could have some snow buried inside them somewhere. While none is forecast to hit the ground here, you never know at this time of year, plus the temperatures are going to start plunging tomorrow.  I think I will go and do some dinner preparation now while I still have some energy. Dark clouds, high winds and chilly temperatures zap my motivation very easily it seems.