Friday, April 21, 2017

Time To Cut the Ties That Bind

Do you ever find yourself involved in some kind of group or activity or social scene that you know you have to let go of because it isn't fulfilling, or isn't good for you, or that you are hanging onto in desperation because you can't see anything else to do with your time?  

Have you reached the point where it is clear you have to let go of that particular activity, group or scene even though you don't know what you will replace it with?

While it can be scary to let go of things or people you have spent a fair amount of time with and invested time and effort into, I have learned over the years that once you have cut yourself free, it isn't usually long before a more fulfilling, safer, more exciting activity or group appears.  Sometimes there is a bit of lag time, but because you are free of something you have been hanging onto for the wrong reasons, you are then more open and able to see the newer, better opportunities as they come along.

I have learned over the years that clinging onto something or someone because you can't imagine a replacement that is any better is a good way to hamper yourself from growing, from being fulfilled, from being less stressed all the time, from being where God wants you to be for his own reasons.

Tonight I had an answer to a prayer of my own about what to do about a  situation I have been involved in for the past couple of years.  I knew the answer would definitely arrive this evening and it did, but it certainly was not the answer I was expecting.  Once I got over the shock and started to think about it, I realized I have been set free.  When you have committed the answer to a prayer to the Lord, knowing how trustworthy his answers are, then even if the answer is not what you were hoping for or expecting, there will be a good reason for it and you can get over the surprise fairly quickly and get on the path toward finding a better direction for your energies.  The answer for me was not manufactured by myself to achieve a certain outcome....the situation that provided the answer was completely out of my hands, a decision that was made by other people and I believe that God in his wisdom gave them the discernment they needed to give me the answer I received.

It was interesting to me how, after clinging on and clinging on in desperation and hoping for a good outcome I likely would never get, the Lord gave such immediate grace to allow me to let go so thoroughly and quickly...to the point where I have all ready figured out a new pursuit to try. It may not turn out to be the right thing either, but I am excited to see what happens in the coming weeks. 

Instead of feeling anxious and stressed over the old situation like I have been for quite some time, I feel as light as a feather.  Moving on can be a good thing...a right thing...even if there is nothing obviously wrong or bad about a current situation, but you know in your heart it is not really the place for you to be.

So Lord, what next?  Some excellent and uplifting possibilities exist.

Now THIS Is What I Call A Perfect Spring Day!

It is 1:30pm.  I left the house at 10:50am and am just home.  I walked uptown to Cornwall Centre to pay some bills, stopped at Zam Zam Wraps for my tasty chicken shawarma salad, (nope, it is not my hopeful imagination that made me think that meal is just as tasty or more so sans the feta cheese and tzatziki sauce, it really is great "naked"), did some window shopping and wandered back home.  In all the time I have been gone I only sat down for the 20 minutes required to enjoy my lunch.  YAY!!!!  I feel like I have my life back after a long winter of being forced by ice and freezing winds to either drive everywhere or just stay home.

The temperature is perfect at about +13C at the moment, there is barely a breeze, the sun is shining but not overly warm and the streets are bare of snow, ice and even some of the dust and mud has been cleared away from in front of the retail stores and apartment buildings.  

While I was in the Bay at Cornwall Centre I noticed the most beautiful mint green mens' knit summer shirt.  Oooh, my dad loves that colour and it suits him.  I could hardly believe there was one in a size small slim fit!!  PERFECT FOR MY DAD!  That size is a rare find and the price was so good I just couldn't pass it up....did I write "window shopping" a paragraph or two above?  Well, this one shirt I purchased was not for me so that still counts as window shopping, right?  haha  I decided dad deserves a reward for kicking the morphine addiction, so I stopped at the post office on the way home and got it envelope'd and sent to him.  He is going to love it and it is actually going to fit him properly! Happy return to Planet Earth Dad!  Congratulations!!

My husband's plan for today was to spend an hour or two in the office, then come home and do some paperwork at the dining room table for the afternoon and evening.  So far, it is afternoon and there is no sign of him. I suspect I will not see him back here until dinner tonight.  No surprise, haha.  There are always people lurking around waiting to see him about all manner of unexpected issues if the Bishop himself is unavailable.  I know HE is working from home today to get some peace and quiet and uninterrupted time so my husband will be fielding a lot of extras today.  Next week on his study leave I am going to insist he leave his work phone at the office so he isn't pestered.  I can't get over the way some people though feel quite free to call him at home if they can't reach him at work...any time of the week, day, night.....it doesn't seem to occur to some folk that if he isn't available on his work phone and doesn't return work related text messages and emails right away that he is not actually working at that time.  Interesting...I can't even imagine how often the Bishop has to deal with that sort of thing and I know that, like my husband, he is a softy toffee who answers too many requests on his few days off.  These guys....you can't take the pastor's heart out of either of them no matter how exhausted they may be.


Teehee, I just talked to my husband on the phone and I am so right that it will be at least dinner time before he makes it home tonight. hahaha  Ooooh, do I know how things go in that office or what?  Teehee.....

I talked to Mom and Dad last night. They are doing so much better at the moment. Both of them sound cheerier. They have been getting out together to grocery shop, they went to the nearby Casino on the bus with other people from their facility the other day to enjoy the huge buffet there...Dad had 4 desserts and Mom said she lost count of how many she ate. hahahahaha  They even went for a walk outside the other day. Dad made it a full block and back!  That would have been unheard of since over a year ago now.  His goal is to make it the 2 or 3 blocks over to the neighbourhood college cafeteria sometime in the next few weeks so he and Mom can enjoy a sit-down lunch over there, then mosey on home again.  It is a great goal to have. The first foray over there will completely exhaust him so he promised me that whenever he tries it, he will take his taxi pass along in case he can't make it home again.  Apparently there is a new parttime chef working in their own facility's kitchen and the meals are starting to improve considerably.  They had a fantastic meatloaf last Saturday...not normally a favourite of Dad's...they had a delicious rolled pork chop another day and on Easter Sunday they ate properly prepared fresh baked ham.  I am delighted for them.

Well, I have had a good rest now, so it is time to think about how I want to prepare the chicken breasts I purchased at Shoppers DrugMart on the way home from uptown. What a bargain!  Yesterday I refused to buy 2 chicken breasts at the grocery store because the price was about $30 a kilo I refused to pay over $15 for 2 small chicken breasts. Shoppers was selling their chicken off at a huge discount. So, I came home today with 4 chicken breasts for a total cost of $9.99!  I get a lot of good meat deals at Shoppers.  It is worth the trip to get the meat and provides a short round trip walk of only 10 blocks.

It is a good day today...productive and healthy...and mostly out of doors!!
 

Thanks Again PC Points

With seven more days until pay day rolls around again I was not impressed yesterday to find out how many grocery items we would need over the coming week. PC points to the rescue! I was able to get my nearly sixty dollars worth of groceries and pay only eight dollars in cash! My accumulated points covered the rest and I still have enough points left to get another thirty dollars worth of groceries next  shopping trip!
Yay!

Only Child Syndrome

I have been chatting lately with a number of people who, like myself, are "only children".  It is interesting what sorts of things we share in our life experience.

The feeling of total responsibility for aging parents is something that weighs heavily on us all.  When there are issues with the parental unit there is no one else to share the burden.  Some of the people I have been talking to have similar "distance between them and me" hassles to solve and some of them live very close to their parents and find their lives are being overrun with demands they feel they are never quite successful in meeting.  For some there is no problem between them and their parents, but they still feel a large burden just because they are on their own to deal with the inevitable needs of older folk.

Another thing we all seem to share is a feeling of always being on the outside of a group of friends or colleagues or social group.  The similarities we share there are kind of eerie because every one of us is fighting with those feelings so much of the time.  I feel it at choir rehearsal and for really no reason, I just do.  People are nice to me there. They don't ignore me. They are kind to me.  I have a couple of people there I feel a bond with and that I see away from rehearsals.  And yet.....there is always that feeling of not quite connecting the way others in the group seem to connect with each other.  It is the same at church.  It was always that way in my various jobs with co-workers.  Not fitting in, not making friends, not relating in conversation with others in a group have not been problems at all, BUT it always FEELS like they are to one degree or another.  

Another common theme has been the fear of loneliness as we age.  Most of us have spouses, but not all of us do.  If those spouses die before we do, then what happens?  If we have not had a partner in our lives and we are facing old age without even the "security" of having senior parents to care for, then what?  There is no one with a shared family history to turn to when the day comes we ourselves are aging and facing the loss of various abilities.

On the one hand it is kind of a relief to know these feelings are common among the other "only children" I have been talking to; on the other hand I am sorry there are so many other people who feel that way! No doubt there are people with siblings who also feel this way for other reasons, but they seem like universal experiences for "onlys".

I wonder if there are any support groups for "onlys".  Perhaps that will be something to explore after the summer.  Maybe I need to start something like that if there isn't one all ready here in the city.......hmmmmm.....a thought to consider......

The positive feelings all of us share have to do with our relationships with Jesus.  Knowing him takes the sting out of the times of feeling alone, because we realize we truly are not alone....not really.  No matter how old or how alone we are in terms of earthly family, we are still part of God's family.  He is there for us to talk to, to lean on and to trust to take care of the big picture of our lives.  Sometimes the relief of his presence sneaks up on us because we haven't been spending sufficient time considering his constancy in our lives.  How quickly we forget...sometimes when I am in a group and feeling I am not really a part of it, the reality of Jesus' presence..... when it hits me...... as it usually does...... eventually..... duh......the feeling of relief I have is so intense I nearly break out in giggles.  Remembering such a small and real fact of my life saves me from feeling abandoned, or not cared for, or that I have been left alone in a big world.  Father God....it feels good to know he is there always!

I know I blogged about this topic awhile ago all ready, but it was interesting to me to discover how many other "onlys" struggle with similar feelings...there are a lot of us out there apparently.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Oh There's Sunshine, Blessed Sunshine.......

O happy day!  The day started off as a foggy, soggy mess, but morphed into a lovely, late afternoon and early evening.  This afternoon I had to wear a somewhat heavy jacket to walk over to the grocery store, but at the moment it is sunny and warm.  Aaaaah....a taste of spring at least!  

I had a bit of a rest this morning, catchup time at last, but then this afternoon I was happy to take my short walk and then spend a half hour lifting weights and jogging on the spot.  I find now that if I miss an exercise time I am starting to crave the activity again...at last!  It seems I have finally gotten over the physical inactivity and mental sluggishness after the broken hip all those months ago.  It feels good.  Sunday night I was up lifting weights and jogging at 10pm after spending almost the entire day sitting...sitting in the car to travel, sitting through church, sitting through lunch, sitting through dinner and an evening's visiting....I felt like a lump until I got on my feet and got moving at last.

I am so very proud of another diabetic friend here in town.  She was further along the diabetic scale than I ever was, but has taken up marathon running along with monitoring her diet more closely.  Like me, she has dropped her blood sugar down and out of the Type 2 diabetes zone.  Yay her!!!  SO PROUD OF HER! I still find it nearly unbelievable how much effect exercise or lack thereof has on blood sugar levels.  I am still so grateful mine was discovered at a point where I was able to regain at least some measure of control for awhile on what is going on with my blood sugar.  

NOW to lower the cholesterol...since I quit eating oats a few months ago, but didn't change my fats intake accordingly I am sure paying the price, but hopefully I am being successful at lowering it again.  There are so many wonderful foods to eat that are low in fat.  At this point I vastly prefer eating cooked veggies with no butter or margarine on them and a hamburger with extra mustard on the bun instead of butter is just as tasty.  I can hardly tolerate salad dressings at this point and prefer just a sploosh of lavender vinegar or a squeeze of fresh lemon on them.  Butter and dressings mask the true flavours of the food and I hadn't realized just how much!

Well, speaking of exercise etc., it is time for my evening session. My husband has to go back to work in a few minutes to help out some renovation volunteers, so I will be able to work out even more than usual.  I don't like to spend as much time after dinner most evenings, exercising as I would like to because when he is home it is our short chance to visit about the day. 

Okay....off and running!!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Just That Kind O' Day! Bleeeech!!

This is the perfect sort of day for those of you given a bent toward doom and gloom: raining, grey skies, heavy atmosphere, black clouds, brown lawns, bare tree branches swaying gently in a light and bitter breeze and a rather chilly air temperature.

Today reminds me of what my son has been experiencing all winter in Vancouver...wet, blah, overcast, blah, cold, blah......blah, blah and more blah!

It is the perfect sort of day for working on the most dreaded of household chores or going in for medical tests at the hospital that end up taking longer and being more painful and energy draining than expected. It is the perfect day for spotting that last wrinkle in a pair of pants as you are hanging them in the closet that you were certain you had managed to completely press out before putting the iron and board away again.  It is the perfect day to feel lonely and abandoned and frightened about those hospital test results that won't arrive for at least a month or more.  

It is just the sort of day when looking at the longer term forecast and seeing snow predicted for the beginning of next week is no surprise, just brings on a feeling of weary resignation that of course the REAL spring weather is going to be delayed yet again.

Yup, a typical early spring day on the prairies....just a super duper joy fest!


HAHAHAHA....GOTCHA!  


I COULD feel super duper gloomy and doomy, but I don't.  I hope you don't either.  Spring really is on the way and whatever boring or scary activities YOU have had to face today, I hope and pray you can get a handle on the joy of living, no matter how remote it seems at this moment for you, in the midst of the early spring grey, in the midst of medical procedures, in the midst of the worst household tasks you can't let wait any longer.

As my dear mother used to quote when I was a kid:
"Spring is sprung, the grass is riz.
I wonder where the birdies is!"

I know where our birdies is: totally frightened off by the family of crows building a nest in the eaves outside my bedroom window!  

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Is 2016 FINALLY Over?? Here's Hoping......

Yup...we finally completed our income tax returns today!  What a great feeling to get it all done at last.

The best part is that just as my husband was doing final calculations for his clergy housing allowance, I checked the mail box for today's delivery and here in the box was a letter from the federal government letting him know there was a change (for the worse OF COURSE, haha) in the allowable amount.  He had to change some figures and retotal some columns, but how cool that the letter arrived the very day he was doing his tax forms and cussing himself for having waited this long to get started!  Great timing Lord, great timing as always!


My tax forms are mostly one column of big fat zeros after another, but I did have a few dollars earned for musical accompanyment at a funeral, so it felt kinda' good to have something at all to declare, haha.  

Next year is going to be a whole new nightmare of tax changes for us since we both started collecting government pensions this month.  Aiii yiii....first you get old, then you find out the money you paid into pension plans all your life is not going to be sufficient to keep a roof over your head after retirement and then you have to learn a whole lot of new government tax form calculations despite your advancing old age. What is wrong with this picture, right??


So, I need to prepare myself better for next tax year's new mental gymnastics.  Perhaps a math course for seniors would be in order!  Not sure I am up to it....just counting socks after yesterday's laundry was taxing enough to be quite honest!!  Grocery shopping this morning was plenty taxing trying to add prices in my head before going to the cashier!!  Updating my bank book without a calculator after that shopping trip took far longer and involved more brain power than it ever has before!

New tax forms next year....sheesh.......  Well, to stay on the positive side of things, it would appear we are now done with 2016 and starting to catch up on this new year...and only 4 months late!

Relatives update:  
- No news from the son in regard to his plans for the move south...how much does a new lady in his life have to do with that I wonder???

- Our relative with cancer got very brave this week and shaved all the hair off rather than have it coming out in dribs and drabs all over the place.  We can't wait to see the new wig and other beautiful headwear we have been told about.  Some good days and some bad days, how a person feels seems to change every couple of hours when having chemotherapy, but one treatment down and 3 to go before the radiation. 

- Mom and Dad are doing much better than they have in the past year or more. Dad's energy levels have surged ahead and his muscle strength is returning slowly but surely.  He is walking the halls every day and is hoping the weather warms up enough to get outside soon.  

- My husband is still quite tired, probably due to having to spend a great deal of the day doing the taxes, but has decided to go to work tomorrow after all, since he is taking his first study leave this year next week....yeah, kind of short notice, but that is what you have to do around here as long term plans rarely work out and this small window of opportunity arose, so.........at least he can do his work locally and use the U of R library rather than travelling to Ambrose University library in Calgary like he usually does.

- As for me, I am rejoicing that it is more than 18 months since I have fallen, or otherwise broken any bones...long may that last!  I am rejoicing that I have been so energized by our busy weekend of Easter socializing and have been racing madly about doing housework, shopping etc. each day.  Hopefully the energy will carry me through all the ironing I have to do tomorrow, haha.

 

Monday, April 17, 2017

No Wonder I Don't Get Things Done Around Here When I Say I Am Going To!

After my husband's friend left earlier today, I thought I better get a big move on and get the laundry finished up in decent time.  Yeah.....not so much!

I only had the next load started when the phone rang and it was a friend who was on her way into the city to do some shopping. Would I like to come along with her?  Well...shucks...YES!!!  OF COURSE I WOULD!!!  30 minutes later I abandoned my laundry project and also my husband to his do nothing day and my friend and I took a wonderfully fun tour of the city, singing our heads off in her brand new car, stopping at all manner of wierd and wonderful establishments in her quest for all things DINOSAUR for a party she is throwing later this week.  See why I love going shopping with this particular friend?  We are never searching for anything plebian such as clothes or groceries or other "normal" stuff.  O no, not ever.  We are looking for dinosaurs in this case and on previous trips we have been searching for rubber duckies, plastic sheep, pirate treasure, lady bugs....just think of some kind of theme party, any theme at all, and my friend and I have likely also looked for the appropriate party items and can tell you exactly where to find them!

At one point we were in a mall, passing a Dairy Queen outlet.  My friend jerked to a stop and enquired if I had eaten lunch yet.  I had of course, but a lady behind us stopped as well and said, "Do I hear Blizzard?? I am sure I hear Blizzard!"  hahaha  We both felt kind of badly that we weren't actually stopping at DQ because we could have asked her to join us, but at that point we were on our way out of the mall so my friend could head for home.  Shoot....a possible missed opportunity for a new contact, a new friend....or at least a chance to have a fun conversation with a complete stranger for half an hour, hahaha.

So now it is nearly time to eat dinner and I am not going to have to be too creative as we still have some leftover okra mixture and pasta in bechamel sauce, as well as a spicy chicken breast to finish up from our Friday evening leftovers.  We completely finished the rest of the lentil soup at lunch time.  Wow....everyone should have Egyptian friends with a nana who can cook such amazing meals to share!!  hahaha

Then I probably SHOULD go to choir sectional rehearsal....SHOULD go....hmmmmm.......the jury is still out on that and I have 2 more hours to make a decision about what to do.  Lord.....do I need to ask for more clarity or should I just stop flipping back and forth and just go to the darned rehearsal?  Maybe my husband would enjoy some more time to himself at home to watch his CD university courses on various religions, or some time to fiddle around on his computer project.  When I got home a little while ago I asked him what he had done while I was out and his response was a happy, relieved, "Nothing!" hahaha He could use another day of this uselessness but unfortunately we have to run some errands early tomorrow morning and then come home and spend the rest of the day completing our income tax.  We are SO slow and so late getting to them this year....bad, bad us!!

Well, at least I got the next load of laundry in the washer as soon as I got home...only 2 more loads to wash and 3 to dry!

A Nice Sunny Day Buuuuuttt.....

...for me the happiness of a more spring-like day is being somewhat marred by news of another friend battling cancer.  Sigh.......that wretched disease.......Lord, please help my friend.  Thank you.......

My husband is counselling a colleague downstairs in our living room while I am attempting to do 8 loads of laundry in the basement, while hiding out in my own space upstairs with my computer and ironing board, between loads.  It is only partially successful.  At a couple of points I have had to go from up to down and back carting loads of laundry and the fellows have had to stop their chatter long enough for me to pass through without hearing the confidential things they are sharing.  hahahaha  This is not how this day was planned out for either of us, that is for sure, hahaha.  Ministry....it never ends, does it?  Not even on so-called days off. hahaha  Also along that line, since my husband has a study week set up now for next week and will not be in the office at all, he is giving up his Wednesday off this week to go in and spend as much time with the office manager getting everything up to date before she leaves on her month of holidays in May.  hahaha  Stop the world....I want to get off!!!! hahaha  

Tonight I am supposed to be going to a womens' sectional practise for choir.  Hoping my night vision is up for the drive home in the dark.  I was going to skip it as my husband will be home with me tonight, but apparently the suggestion that I take over leading an originally unscheduled rehearsal this coming Sunday afternoon has become more than a suggestion and I don't feel I can miss tonight's rehearsal and have any clue what I should do next Sunday with these songs.  I don't really have to DO anything next Sunday except stand in front of the choir waving my arms so everyone has a focal point, since our real director has to be absent, but I do want to be able to lead in the sections who have trouble still with their entries in some of the more syncopated arrangements.  Guess I will be studying all the songs a bit more closely this week.  I am so rusty with directing as it is and the idea of taking over someone else's choir for a rehearsal is a bit daunting, despite low expectations of what I should do.  haha

The murmur of voices is dying out downstairs in the dining room.  Perhaps my husband's friend is leaving now?  Perhaps it is safe to venture back to the basement and rescue my non-dryer items from the washing machine so I can get them hung up on hangers before they are too wrinkled....perhaps.....  Think I will risk it.......

Sunday, April 16, 2017

What a Wonderful Time of Easter For Us!

The past 2 days have flown past in a happy blur of fun, fellowship, food and friends!  Starting on Good Friday evening, every day has morphed into some kind of party and we are exhausted but o so happy!

Saturday my husband worked hard on his sermon prep for this morning's service.  I did a few errands in the morning, then ended up with an unexpected lunch invite from my dear friend who was in town for the day.  We ate and laughed and visited.  I so enjoyed it...why does an all ready tasty salad taste ever so much better when there is a close friend sitting right across the table sharing in the fun of a restaurant meal?

I came home for a bit of a rest before prepping a large salad to take to other friends' for dinner. They live near Craven and it was a nice afternoon for a drive...windy, but sunny and not too chilly.  They have a new baby, child number three.  She is adorable.  Welcome to the world little Esmae of the perfect skin and perfectly shaped head covered in white blonde hair!  Her older brother and sister adore her.  We enjoyed good food in the form of freshly butchered spring lamb with lemon roasted potatoes, plus we had good fellowship together.  Before we left we met their new cat, had a gawk at their chickens and watched the pregnant ewes in their pen waiting impatiently for the birth of their lambs.  It was most relaxing.  We were home early and got to bed early as well to be ready for today's drive.

We woke up this morning at 6am to freezing temperatures and a skiff of snow on the ground.  There was a bit of ice on the highway on the east side of Regina but it didn't last more than a kilometre or two.  In our 180 minute drive to Esterhazy we drove through every imaginable type of spring weather: sunny with dry roads, sleet with wet roads, snow showers, high winds, ice, fog, full scale blizzarding....the constant changes in the weather kept us awake and engaged in what would otherwise have been the most monotonous trip in some time.  Other than the bit of scenic interest provided through the rolling hills of the little Qu'Appelle Valley, we had over 2 hours of brown mud, brown fields, brown everything under a grey, cloudy sky.  Blaaaaah!!!

Things livened up in Esterhazy.  The congregation there is vibrant, a lot of fun, completely engaged in the worship and the providers of some of the best after church snacks and lunches in the diocese!  We were completely delighted by the organist.  She is one of those rare people in whom there truly is no guile.  She is not in the least self-conscious and she is honest and she truly loves Jesus.  When she plays the organ she has only one tempo: break neck speed. BUT we have to say that our most unfavourite Easter morning hymn, "Were You There When They Crucified My Lord", was for once in our experience not sung like a funeral dirge!  She sang along with the congregation, not always at the same pitch, but with all her heart.  During the pre-service music she raced through more songs than I realized our hymn book contained, vocally accompanying herself for some of them and singing the lyrics in a mix of English, Spanish and Czech!!  I can't say I have ever listened to anything quite like it at any point in any church service, ever in my life....and I loved every second of it.  Her heart is so sold out to the Lord and she is so real and so lacking in ego and arrogance that we just loved every crazy thing she did sitting at the keyboard.  After church we had a lot of fun visiting with everyone over poppyseed loaf, candied fruit buns, cheese and assorted fresh fruit.

The weather had improved significantly for the drive home, other than the temperature. The closer we got to Regina, the colder it got!  When we stopped for gasoline at the station near our home, we felt like the wind was blowing ice right through us as we stood at the pump wishing the gasoline tank had been less empty so we could have gotten back into the vehicle sooner! BRRRRRR!!!!  

Back at home we both changed into warmer clothes before grabbing two plates of dessert from our kitchen counter and heading out once again to yet another Easter dinner and party.  Tonight we really, really, really enjoyed a ham dinner with scalloped potatoes, peas, carrots and a green salad.   The mixture of squares and cookies and baklava I took for dessert went over well.  This was a most hilarious bunch of people so the time passed awfully quickly and then it was time to come home and stay home! hahaha

We arrived home to a lovely phone message from our son.  We called him back for a short chat.  He was just on his way to visit some Jewish friends and they were having a Seder celebration....a few days late, but at least everyone they wanted to be with them could come this evening.  They are not actually observant Jews, but they do enjoy the Seder and whatever it means to them now in their own lives.  My son loves going to their remembrance celebration each year.

My husband's sermon was good this morning.  He really drove home the idea that the whole point of the resurrection of Jesus has a place and purpose in our lives right now, rather than just pointing to the hope of future resurrection for his disciples.  He asked how the resurrection should be transforming us into people who have the ability to draw on the vast power and resources of God to change the lives of our friends and families and to improve our communities as  a whole.  He titled it, "Holy Week Coffee Shop Chatter: So...how 'bout that Resurrection, eh?"  hahaha  He also asked what life would be like in a community where there was no one living who had access to that kind of power for transformation.  That certainly got a few folks' attention, haha.

My diet has been off for the past 3 days. My exercise has been nearly non-existent.  Now the holiday fun is over and it is time to get back on the programme and get/keep myself healthy!  This morning sitting in church I was feeling kind of hungry and realized my blood sugar had dropped to the point where my lips were getting numb.  I whipped 2 stoned wheat thin crackers out of my purse and chowed down in the middle of my husband's sermon, haha.  That fixed everything up just fine.  

So, back to real life tomorrow.  What a great weekend: the recognition of Jesus' death and the celebration of his resurrection, the resurrection of our social life in this city..........two things to celebrate this weekend, that is for sure.

Thank you Lord for Jesus and the suffering you endured because of your love for us, for friends, for food, for family, for fun....for life on this planet, the good times and the bad.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

"But God Doesn't Want Us To Suffer!" REALLY??? I Beg To Differ.

 I really appreciated the Anglican Community webpost by Martha Tatarnic on this ever growing issue within the Christian church.  She shines a good light on the subject and it is worth a read.  Click on or cut and paste the link below and look for her post entitled "Does God Require Suffering?"

http://thecommunity.anglican.ca/

(For whatever reason, my blog is not automatically converting links, so cutting and pasting into your browser has become standard operating procedure. Sorry about that.  I don't know why it changed all of a sudden a few months ago. I am too ignorant and my husband is too busy to figure out how to "fix"  it. Again I apologize for the extra step required now to view links on my postings.)

Friday, April 14, 2017

Slurp, Burp, Urp...the Next Installment

It is after 10pm and I am still feeling sated after our amazing feast at our friends' house.

We ate Egyptian style okra, chicken legs, potatoes stuffed with beef, lamb filled lasagna in white cream sauce, baked chicken slices, cilantro rice with tomatoes and green beans and the best lentil soup on the planet. We topped it all off with huge green olives and tiny pickled eggplants stuffed with garlic cloves. There was sage tea, hibiscus tea, Turkish coffee, diet grapefruit soda....we spent the better part of three hours eating and drinking.....wow.....laughing, talking, watching hilarious videos from Egypt and Saudi on Mohammed's phone, relaxing in the new gazebo as the wind billowed out the gazebo curtains and the heater kept us all toasty warm in there.

And to think we are going out again tomorrow evening and the evening after that....ooooh, my aching, overstuffed tummy!

Bonus: the Easter baskets were a huge hit, so that made me feel happy. Thank you Lord for helping me to decide what to put in the baskets.

Who Would Have Thought I Would Ever Appreciate Crows??

It would appear that, for now at least, the influx of crows into our neighbourhood has driven the geese all over to the lake without spending much time feeding on our greening grass, or setting up hidden nests on the property where we are living.  The crows are laying eggs and chasing away the squirrels who could upset their nests.  There are A LOT of crows...more than I have seen here before. As much as the constant cawing and squawking early in the morning is annoying, it is no more so than the geese honking at that same time of day, PLUS the crows do not cover our lawns with piles of poop.  Yay crows...keep up the great work!!

Perfectly Appropriate Good Friday Weather!

The soggy, grey, chilliness outside this morning is certainly appropriate for a grieving day like Good Friday...the day we remember Jesus' crucifixion.  There is not one thing about the weather outside that hints at the Sunday resurrection celebration to come.  Although we have not yet had the snow our neighbours to the west have had, it is still one miserable day out there.  It certainly focused my thoughts on Christ's sufferings the second I arose from my warm, comfy bed and looked out the window....brrrrr, blaaaah.....

I started this Holy Week up to my ears in Anglican symbolism...something I have never related to that well, but as I get older and more reflective it is starting to resonate more with my soul.  (Eeeep, did I just use the word "resonate"????  How very AD 2000 - 2015 of me!!!)

Anyway, last night the Maundy Thursday service was so well done at our church and I ended up participating more than planned.  Our priest gave a short and very meaningful homily that concentrated on the fact that the Jesus whose memory of that horrendous betrayal by his own disciple we recall each Easter, is the same Jesus who loves us no matter who we are or what we have done and wants to save us from our own human flaws and restore us to harmony with our creator.  It was a combined service with the other congregation who share this same priest and one person was chosen from each congregation to do participate in a symbolic foot washing.  I was chosen as the person from our church. not because I am particularly spiritual or deserving, but because I was wearing sandals that are super easy to slip off and back onto slightly damp feet. (Well, I gotta be honest, right?)  I haven't participated in a foot washing for several years and before we left for church last night, me not knowing I would be participating, I was grousing at my husband that I felt ripped off that the foot washing would not be offered to every person there, grouse, grouse grouse, complain, complain, complain, whine fuss, whine fuss, whine fuss.....

As usual the Lord quashed my disappointment and grousing! The second we walked into the church the priest approached me to be the one to do it.  Oooooh, I HATE when God calls me out on my own self-righteous complaints....HATE!  IT!  Sigh.....  Okay Lord, I got the hint. Stop complaining about things unless I am prepared to do something about them, OR to have YOU do something about them to shut me up with the ungodly grousing. Sigh...I never learn do I?  

The Eucharist was so simple and meaningful and it was particuarly poignant with our two congregations being together.  To see us acting in unison as the church of God in Christ instead of each being isolated to our own Sunday morning groups brought back wonderful memories to me of other combined church services I have enjoyed in years past.  To celebrate the central event of our Christian faith as one group made me think of what it was like when Jesus first began gathering followers who were not yet split into sects and denominations, but were such a small band that they simply followed the Master himself.

At the end of the service our little impromptu trio chanted the psalm. (Ps 22:1-17) I had only the mournful refrain to sing at the end of each of 8 verses: "My God....my God...why have you forsaken me?"  As we began the third verse, those seated in the congregation began to voluntarily strip the altar of all its elements to leave it bare in remembrance of Jesus having nothing left on this earth as he was given up to the Romans for trumped up charges and subsequent death.  His very disciples fled in fear of Roman persecution and deserted him.  As the people got the altar stripped down they slowly wended their way out of the sanctuary and out of the building. By the time we got to the last verse there were only two people left in the sanctuary to hear it. Standing there in almost darkness chanting and seeing the people walking out on us...well....it was a perfect way to enact the abandonment of Christ at the end of his earthly life.  It struck my heart in a new way.  Usually at Maundy Thursday services I am one of the ones wandering off in the dark after helping strip the altar.  This time it was me being left behind and that gave me a whole new way of thinking about Jesus being so alone for his death walk after having the apparently loyalty of his followers for those few years.

So, today there is a Walk of the Cross leaving from the church building where our sister congregation meets.  They will do a walk between 2 other churches and eventually end up at the Roman Catholic Cathedral.  In the pouring rain the long, long walk will be even more torturous for the participants.  The walk starts in 20 minutes and we should be there but my husband is so exhausted from work that he is still sleeping.  I am risking his upset for not waking him up to attend, but he won't be in any trouble with his job for missing it and I see how close to the edge of a CFS episode he is teetering.  This is the time of year, spring is the annual episode return, that I need to step in and shut down every little extra he is involved in with not only his job, but even some of his more mentally and physically strenuous hobbies, even some of our strictly social gatherings.  It makes me look like a mean, interfering b*%#h to people unaware of his little health issue, but it has to be done or he will be over the edge and missing far more than a Walk of the Cross very soon. That's life.........

We have to decide tomorrow morning if we are going to be here for the Easter Vigil tomorrow evening at the Cathedral.  It is a 3 hour service that starts at 9pm.  Since we have to be in Esterhazy Sunday morning and may be facing snow and icy highways as the aftermath of a lot of precipitation, dropping temperatures and below freezing in the overnight hours, we may have to get closer to that town by Saturday evening and take a room in the nearest motel to ensure we are there to do the Easter morning resurrection service.  No doubt the answer to the question will become clear over the next 24 hours.

So, another Holy Week is underway...how the time flies around here. I still remember last year's services, maybe because it was my husband officiating at all of them.  It is impossible to believe it was a full church year ago!  

Onward and upward to a hopefully relaxed day for both of us.  I am excited to be going to the BBQ tonight with our friends and taking them their Easter baskets.  Welcome to Canadian secular Easter traditions, hahaha.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

What Some Families Have To Suffer......

I received a bit of a shock just now....long story short, I saw an obituary a few minutes ago in The Calgary Herald for the son of friends we used to be close to years ago but have fallen out of touch with. The fellow was only 35. Doing some other online searching I also discovered his only slightly older sister died unexpectedly less than three years ago. Their father also passed away in the interim between the deaths of his two children and so did all four of their grandparents. That leaves their mother, younger than ourselves by several years, all alone. Her siblings passed away years ago, also at relatively young ages. Sigh......I feel so very sad for her. I can't even imagine how she must be feeling today as she plans the funeral of her remaining child. Wow, I am going to be praying a lot over the coming days for her.

We received an invitation in the mail today to a 50th anniversary event for other old friends we haven't seen in awhile. It is happening during our summer holiday time so we may attend....or not. Their family is highly dysfunctional and we received the invite from one of their kids who has not communicated with us quite deliberately for nearly a decade. If we go will we end up refereeing their family members once again, or will we have to witness the various family members pretending they don't even know each other? It wouldn't be the first time. Sigh..... I am sure we will go to support these old friends, but it is so sad that such a joyous occasion could result in a ton of stress for everyone there. Sigh......

I almost feel guilty for the degree of functionality in my own family.  Yes, we have our issues, but we are managing them fairly well. Other families experience so much pain. Time to go pray for my hurting friends......

Where Is This Week Flying By To??????

This week is going by so quickly I can't seem to mentally catch up with it!

Yesterday morning I had a "ton of fun" project that I will finish today: putting together Easter baskets for our Egyptian friends. I will take them over Friday evening when we go for a BBQ at their house. What a hoot finding little edibles and candies and toys to put in the plastic "grass" filled colourful baskets.  A few jelly beans scattered through the "grass" for the boys makes it appear there is far more candy in those baskets than there actually is.  I have enough leftovers all ready to make up 2 more small baskets for the wee kiddies that live next door, again with not much candy, but lots of other things to play with.  Cartoon character toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste are always included in my baskets, hahaha.

In the afternoon I attended the Grade 8 class play at Jack Mackenzie school.  The son of a friend of mine was one of the chief hyena characters in their production of "The Lion King.  My friend's son was rather spectacular in his part.  He wasn't out of character for a second, said his lines clearly and intentionally and stood out as one of the best actors in the play. It was a great way to spend an afternoon and it seems my friend's son has discovered one of several life callings up there on that stage.  He bravely battles autism and I am praying along with his parents that government funding cuts will not mess up the programmes he is supposed to be entering next year at his new high school that would continue to give him the kind of wonderful staff support he has had at Jack Mac!

Last night was tv night with the spousal unit after a very simple supper of chicken sandwiches, green beans and salad.  We are taking cholesterol reduction quite seriously and I think my husband is all ready doing better as I force him to eat what I am eating so he can't cheat and think he is getting away with it the way I was doing over the past 6 months!  

Well, time to get ready to go and complete my shopping for a couple of specialty items I want for those Easter baskets.  There is always banking and dibs and dabs of grocery shopping to do as well for the Easter weekend.  I am responsible to bring dessert to Easter dinner at friends' on Sunday evening. That is something I can prepare on Saturday before we head over to Esterhazy for Sunday service. We are having ham with our friends so I have a small turkey to prepare here the following day so my husband doesn't miss out on his beloved turkey dinner.  I would invite someone to join us if I thought he was going to be feeling up to it, but right now he just needs a darned good rest for his couple of days off after Easter Sunday.  Maybe if he is up to it after all we can find someone with no other plans who is free to come over to share in the dinner.

We had some rain yesterday and the wind was chilly.  Although the high temperature today is supposed to be about +17C, the sky is overcast and it looks like we may get some rain after all, or maybe even a bit of snow.......poor south western and south central Alberta got quite a dump of the white stuff yesterday.

Off to the big box stores.....Easter baskets, YAY!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Movie Night

Tonight I went with a friend to see the movie, "Hidden Figures".  We missed the first run here, but a week ago it arrived for a second run at the "discount theater", so off we went.  I could hardly believe the admittance price:  $2 (TWO DOLLARS!!)! It must be the last theater in the western world to give a deal like that on a recently released movie...or any other movie. Unbelieveable!!  If the movie had been lousy, I would have still felt like I got a deal!

BUT the movie was fantastic.  I noticed a lot of the people sitting around us were expressing shock at the segregation portrayed in the film...1960's USA.  Most of them are considerably younger than my friend and I, so had no idea what the outworking of racial segregation was in those days. Sad, sad, sad....  The movie was enlightening in more ways than one.  If you haven't seen this movie, take time to view it. The acting and script and (mostly) true story are all excellent.

Tomorrow morning I am going shopping for Easter basket fixings!  I am going to make up 3 baskets: one for our Egyptian friends and one each for their two sons.  Although we cannot share the Christian symbols of the season, we can give them their first secular Canadian Easter, with bunny cards, brightly coloured plastic straw filled baskets.  I will purchase Easter eggs, some candy, "cool" toothbrushes and paste, plus art supplies for the boys, as well as some gift certificates and specialty food items for the mom and dad and grandma.  It will be as much fun for me to make up the baskets as it will be for them to receive them...maybe even more so! hahaha  We are getting together for a late evening BBQ on Good Friday.  Should be a fun time.

In the afternoon I am attending the Grade 8 spring play, "The Lion King" that the son of a friend of mine is acting in. He is playing a hyena!  Should be a hoot!

Well, it is after 11pm and I should get to bed, but it is hard to wind down after getting a fantastic cleaning job completed here in the suite today, having a movie evening with a friend, followed by a relaxing glass of red wine and a visit with her and then an excellent chat with my husband when I got home.

It has been a very good day!  Nighty night.....

Monday, April 10, 2017

Pushing It As Far as Spring Weather.....It's BRRRRR Time Once Again Despite the Summer Clothes Now Hanging in My Closet!

Yesterday, after Palm Sunday service and a salad lunch, we phoned our Egyptian friends and invited ourselves over for a visit.  With my husband away so many weekends in a row and them only being available to visit on weekends, it has been awhile since we have had time to get together.  

It was fun, but FREEZING all afternoon.  The first thing we did was all head over to Home Depot where we helped them pick out a gazebo and patio furniture. Then they rented the delivery van, we all shuffled personal vehicles around so we could get the purchases delivered to their home while my husband and I headed home for work clothes and tools and then picked them up back at Home Depot after they unloaded back at the house.  My husband and Mohammed got about half the structure erected on their back deck in between pizza and turkish coffee breaks before the cold air and wind defeated their ability to complete the project.  It was a lot of fun, but I have a scratchy throat today, so hoping I didn't get a chill that left me open for another series of respiratory ailments.  My husband ended his day there by missing the step off the deck on his way into the house and rolling butt over teakettle across the back lawn.  He didn't hurt himself, just sustained a small scrape to the knee, but he was pretty filthy from rolling through the dirt in the flower bed. hahaha Mohammed insisted he stay and have a shower before we left for home and proceeded to gift him with a set of beautiful Egyptian cotton underwear and teeshirt his mom just brought with her from Cairo.  Wow....what a treat.  While the guys were wrestling with the gazebo construction, Nirmene and I attached washers to the various bolts they needed, ran herd on their 2 curious young boys, enjoyed watching grandma playing video games on her cell phone and cleaning up the remains of the pizza and chicken wing feast while sipping on fresh hibiscus tea.  It was a great day, a nice day for me because it got me away from home for the entire day for a change, just a bit frustrating for my husband that the project wasn't completed before we left.  He was hoping to sneak back over there this afternoon to finish it and surprise Mohammed, but he was too exhausted and it was far too cold today to be outside for long.

I did some grocery shopping this morning while my husband worked on some writing he is doing for his seminars.  We watched a couple of boxing matches I recorded a few days ago and that was fun.  We stuck to our low cholesterol diets as absolutely as possible as penance for eating 2 slices of extra cheesy pizza yesterday.  Sigh.....

Tonight we had plain boiled brown rice with grilled turkey and green beans with no butter...we supplemented that with a small slice each of delicious bread I picked up today and we allowed ourselves a teaspoon each of non-hydrogenated, salt free margarine on it.  Aaaaaah, the joys of old age diets, hahaha.

My salad yesterday was rather delicious considering I didn't add any dressing, other than a drizzle of freshly squeezed lemon juice.  It was simple mixed greens and 10 teeny cherry tomatoes topped with shredded carrot and cucumber, plus a grilled, unsalted chicken breast.  It looked great and tasted far more interesting than this description would make you think it tasted.

I think it will be easier for my husband to stick to a lower cholesterol diet now that I have to do that as well.  Since I will be eating the same "tasteless" fare he is supposed to be eating we can commiserate and HE will want to show ME how it can be done by being a good example.  In this case the male ego is working in a positive way for us both! haha

After dinner this evening I took the car over to the gasoline station and filled it up for my husband's next out of town work adventure tomorrow.  He is heading to Moosomin and Rocanville.  Sunday it will be Esterhazy to do the Easter service there.  Well, at least he will get a hefty gasoline reimbursement at the end of this month.

Tomorrow I need to actually DO the housework I was supposed to do at the end of last week before unexpected dental and medical appointments and a choir rehearsal got in the way.  The suite is SO dusty and linty it is going to look super duper sparkly by the time I am done.  My reward will be going to see a movie with a friend tomorrow evening.  We are finally going to get the chance to see "Hidden Figures". It has been a long wait.

Doesn't look like we have more than a couple of days of decent spring weather this week. In fact snow and rain showers are expected on....Good Friday I believe. Glad my husband is not travelling that day.  This year we are expected at a Maundy Thursday foot washing service, a Good Friday Walk of the Cross that covers a good deal of territory as we walk between a couple of Anglican Churches and eventually end up at a Roman Catholic church, then Saturday evening is Easter Vigil, followed by the service on Easter Sunday in Esterhazy.  I am so glad my husband gets Easter Monday through Wednesday off from work....at least that is the way it is SUPPOSED to happen...I will believe it when and if it does!

 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Feelin' Better After Watching the Telecast

Well....I loved hearing Hymne de la Beaute du Monde and the "entertainment" portion of the Vimy Ridge anniversary was more tasteful than the crazy news reporter led me to believe, for the most part at least. My own opinion is that a lot of it was unnecessary, but my opinion is no more valid than anyone else's so I hope the thousands in attendance at the ceremonies found it to be wonderful. I suspect I would have had more of an emotional attachment if I had been there in person rather than having to rely on tv coverage.

I hope reporters with more journalistic experience will take their younger colleague aside and help him understand that a memorial remembrance does not need added entertainment to actually be memorable to the descendants of murdered soldiers.

As our world moves closer to the brink of another world war, I can only pray for the miracle of peace, knowing it is the right prayer, but also realizing the answer may very well be "no". As humans given the power of choice by our creator, including the choice of believing or not in the existence of a creator who would have his creation always seek forgiveness and reconciliation over war, we too often choose grudges instead of forgiveness and power over humility.

Vim Ridge 100th Commemoration...Thus Far, Seven Degrees of Ludicrous.....

This morning I have been watching the "countdown" to the Vimy Ridge battle 100th anniversary on one of the national news channels.  I was so disgusted by what I was seeing and hearing I actually had to turn it off for awhile.

The programme seemed dedicated to listening to reporters talking about themselves talking about themselves.  Absolutely bizarre!  The crowning glory of the pre-service reporting was a comment by a young reporter that this year's ceremony will be much different than previous years:  there will of course be the usual speeches by dignitaries (ho hum, blah) but THIS year there will also be singing and dancing to make it into a REAL EVENT!!  (yay, yippee, excitement far beyond a bunch of boring old commemorative speeches)

Singing and dancing at the site of a field of slaughter?  What are the songs and dances commemorating?  Unless the songs are funeral dirges and songs of protest about the disaster that is war and the dances are modern dance depictions of death, torture and suffering, I can't imagine anything more inappropriate.  The words of the reporter were that this year there will be an actual EVENT!  An event for the sake of having an event....at a war memorial!  I felt sick to my stomach.

Perhaps I am being too hasty.  Perhaps I am misunderstanding the young fellow's excitement about the differences between this year's EVENT and past rites of recognition of Canada's WWI involvement in France.  Perhaps I should not comment before seeing the actual ceremony and all of the upcoming EVENT, but so far I am less than impressed by the quality of the reporting, if nothing else.  

If the actual remembrance ceremony is more tasteful and respectful of that war's history at Vimy than the reporters have made it sound, then I stand corrected. But please, people, you are acting like this commemoration is some sort of combination of county fair and Superbowl half time performance.  This is a field of death and disaster.  This is a place of "turning point" in a world war that was so heinous many of the descendents of those soldiers are still suffering the effects a hundred years later.  Singing and dancing couldn't sound like more inappropriate ways to honour the dead.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Tell Me It Isn't So!!!

This morning I took the bus to choir rehearsal.  There was time before it started to dash into Cornwall Centre and pick up a couple of Easter cards at my favourite card shoppe, Pandora.

Except today it wouldn't have mattered how much time I had....there is no more Pandora card shoppe in Cornwall Centre...another closure, another vacant, locked up store that I loved and have supported rather regularly.  There was not so much as a forwarding address taped to the window.  Sigh.....  How disappointing.  I can only imagine how disappointing it must have been for the owners and staff as well to have to close that location for whatever reason.  There has been another death knell sounded for our all ready nearly dead downtown.  It is very sad.  A couple of new stores will be opening in that complex in the coming months, a wellness centre is one of them, but I am not sure if it is a naturopathic clinic or an actual retail venue for health food products.  Tim Horton's is taking over the location formerly filled by Second Cup.

In the midst of all the construction, blocked and closed venues, little Zam Zam Wraps continues to flourish despite being completely hidden from view by a large construction project immediately beside it.  After choir I ate my lunch there AND I feel very good about being able to stick to the lower cholesterol intake.  I had my chicken shawarma salad sans feta cheese and sans tzatziki sauce!  With the addition of a few extra banana peppers it was just as tasty without all those extra fats, salts and carbs!  YIPPEE!!  I can do this!!  Yes, I can!

As of today I can feel my determination to eat properly returning to the level it was at when I was first diagnosed with diabetes, fatty liver, failing kidneys and other glorious health problems over three years ago.  It is wonderful to feel back in control of my diet.  Not sure what happened. Guess it was a combination of being so ill last fall for so long, all the dental work, a mixture of family stresses and worrying about my husband's job stresses and health.  I fell off the proper food wagon and now I am crawling back on.  YES!!!  Thank you God for discipline and being able to return to it with your help.

After lunch I took an hour to explore what is left of Cornwall Centre and then walked home, stopping half way to pick up 4 litres of milk so I could have some weight bearing exercise along the way.  Juggling it with my choir music took some doing, but made it home without dropping anything in the dusty gutters along the sidewalks.

Choir was fun as always,  although it seems we are not doing as well this term.  Too many of us have missed too many rehearsals and most of our music is more difficult than our Christmas music.  Sigh....Hopefully it will come together by our concert in mid May. There is always hope.  Unfortunately we have just lost two of our older but vocally stronger members due to sudden, severe health issues and that is really sad for them and hard on the choir.  Aging....blaaaaaah!!

So now it is mid afternoon and I am tired.  I should be ironing the laundry I washed yesterday, but think I will go watch the tv news for a bit first...maybe even doze out on the couch for a few minutes? Perhaps a quick nod out at the keyboard here while I play a game or two?

Our son turns 37 years old today....I cannot believe it.  I still remember so very clearly the morning he was born...all 4lbs., 15oz. of him.  He was such a good baby and has grown from a completely crazy teenager into a very creative, caring adult.  I am proud of him.  Happy Birthday Son! Dad and I will call you when he gets home from his work travels this evening.

Friday, April 7, 2017

And Finally.....

...I know it must be spring because it is now too hot to wear my Mark's Comfy Robe in the evenings.......bummer.........

I and going to love my African and Indian "lounging around the house" dresses now that the weather has warmed up sufficiently to wear them instead, but o how I am going to miss the "cozy nestled up snug" feeling of my Mark's Comfy Robe.

See ya' next winter buddy.........

And Now It Is Raining.....

....and the wind is howling.

Wind, rain and spiders....yup, a typical start to a prairie spring.

Yup, Spring is Officially Here!

Know how I know that fer sure?

I know that because I have spent a fair amount of time this evening eliminating spiders from the premises!  They are arriving by the bucket load in the basement and finding their way upstairs.

GROSS!!!!

Right now I feel crawly all over......brrrrrrr.....shiver......

First high cholesterol and now a suite full of spiders....what a day....sure grateful the weather is so great! It is the upside of spider season, hahaha.

Dang It....Caught Out By My Own Body!! Traitor!!!

So....just back from a glorious sunshiny walk to and from the doctor's office and time for public confession of my own shameful dietary actions!  Sigh...

CAUGHT red handed....or fat blooded, as the case may be.

As I suspected, the culprit leading to a call from the doctor is my cholesterol level.  My level of HDL's (happy damned lipids) is well within acceptable range...low if anything, but my LDL's (lousy damned lipids) have taken a gross hike over the past 6 months since my last test.  Sigh.....the worst part is that I have no one to blame but myself....sigh, sigh, sigh.......SIGH!!!!!

In my attempt to keep my blood sugar within non-diabetic range, which I have amply succeeded at, hallelujah, I have to admit I have been cheating far too often on my intake of higher fat cheeses, even lower fat cheeses, hummus, fried and deep fried foods...knowingly even...not even in denial about what it could be doing to my body and yet flagrantly, defiantly, breaking all those particular rules I know I have to keep with my diet as a whole.  Dang, it, dang it, dang it!!  I have allowed my taste buds and their cravings for more interesting flavours to override my common sense for several months in a row and now I am paying the price.

I was too embarrassed to tell my doctor I all ready have the pamphlet she gave me today on what the best foods are for lowering cholesterol and what foods to avoid.  In fact I have had it for over 3 years now, ever since my diabetes diagnosis.  For well over 2 years I have stuck to the plan, but a few months ago I started going hog wild with fatty foods.  Duh......dumb and dumber.....

I do appreciate my doctor though.  She told me she is giving me 3 months to lower it once again and if I am unsuccessful we are going straight to medications, the very ones I want so desperately to avoid.  She read me the riot act about my family history of cardio-vascular disease and why my chances of getting it are double even for a person who has normal cholesterol counts. She went on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on while I hung my head in shame.  Deep sigh......... Her smiling assurance that I could get myself under control again did not mitigate the feelings of disappointment I have in myself.

My doctor takes good care of me. I do not want to disrespect her by ignoring my dietary sins any longer.  I do not want to take cholesterol reducing medications unless my own attempts to be stricter about my diet do not lower the count sufficiently.  I am all ready exercising more than required every day, so now I must pay attemtion to my food intake once again.

Bad Suzie, bad, bad, bad, bad.......waaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!!

Be alerted all you green salads with no dressing and cooked green and orange veggies with no margarine, not even the non-hydrogenated oil containing kind.......I'm baaaaaaack!!!

Blessed With Good Weather At The Moment!

Oh my goodness, it is one lovely day out there today!  It is all ready +11C outside at 9:30am, the wind that yesterday was blowing dirt and finely grained sand and other dusts into my face and ears has died right down to a slight breeze, the sun is shining, the forecast for the coming week is most encouraging....how could a person not feel blessed and happy on such a fine morning?  (and I would be happier still if I hadn't received that call the other day to come to the doctor this afternoon for not so great blood work results, haha)

A friend who lives in Southern Ontario sent me photos this morning of the huge dump of snow they are contending with today....YUCKKKK!!  Poor things..I empathize. They must feel like the are living on the prairies once again.

Last night I took a Motrin to reduce the pain of my sore gums after the dental appointment, so slept well and woke up pain free this morning.  While the gums are still tender to touch and the tooth is a bit sensitive, as expected, I am very pleased with how I am feeling today.

My husband left for Maple Creek about a half hour ago, but will only be gone until just after dinner tomorrow.  That is also cause for happiness...he doesn't have to stay for church or any more meetings there on Sunday.  He will get his full Sunday and Monday off work this week!  YAY!!!  He has also arranged to get an extra day off on Easter week since Easter Monday would be his regular day off and Easter Sunday he has to take a service out in Esterhazy.  So, he will get a 3 day weekend like he is supposed to get, just not ON the weekend.  I am delighted by that as well because he is exhausted, is stress eating and gaining back some of the weight he worked so hard to lose before Christmas and that concerns me. He was doing so well until a month or so ago when the busyness at the office got all out of proportion to reality once again.  Once the audit is done by the end of this month he will be able to get a more reasonable day's work done until June holidays.

Well, I had better go and get some filing done.  My husband has opened up a full drawer for me in his large file cabinet so I can retrieve the files and folders currently stashed all through my desk, dresser shelves and other storage areas and consolidate them in one easy to use filing system. Whew!  I have had this mess going on since we moved in 2 years ago...way past time to get my act together.  It is a wonder I have been able to locate anything at all for insurance, bank and health care forms over that time.  Good grief!  If I can get this space reorganized and get my winter clothes tubs back down to the basement I will have enough room to actually start the cleaning project I want go get going on.

Have a wonderful day everybody!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

BUT, I'm TOUGH!

That is what the dentist and hygienist told me after my appointment this morning, hahahaha.

Apparently they have become used to people either requesting freezing before the scraping off of the temporary crown adhesive even begins, or part way through the procedure. My idea is that a little pain isn't going to kill me, plus it isn't constant, it just comes and goes every so often when the metal picks hit a tender spot.

So that makes me tough in their eyes.

So happy I can do something right! haha

Yeah.....tough.....I like that!

Well, We WERE Solvent For This Month......

....until I went to the dentist this morning rather unexpectedly.  My new crown was to go on next Wednesday, but it arrived at the office this morning and I got a call to come in if possible.  Away I went, all happy, survived the removal of the temporary crown and all that glue and the application of the new crown without any freezing, so I was pretty full of myself on my way from the dental chair to the front desk to make my final payment.  

Crash..........

It turns out our dental plan has changed as of this year, although my husband was never notified about it.  What used to be maxiumum annual coverage of 50% of crowns is now the maxiumum annual coverage...period!  Once that amount is spent on anything at all, there is no more coverage for anything.  I was so shocked when I was handed the bill that I must have turned paler than usual.  The receptionist asked me if I was about to pass out from the discomfort of the dental session, but I was too embarrassed to tell her why I actually felt faint. hahahahaha  I paid the bill then came home and contacted my husband's insurance company, who gave me the "good news" about their plan change and an apology that apparently my husband didn't receive the notice of the changes in the mail. The lady will be glad to send me another copy of the notice, no problem.  Sigh.....

Well, I am over the shock now that I understand what is going on.  The bill has been paid.  All will be well.  It just means I had better not break any more teeth or develop any more cavities between now and next January when the plan coverage rolls over again.  

Although it was a terrible shock, at least we do get some help with dental coverage each year.  It isn't much now, not nearly enough despite the massive deductions for it from my husband's monthly earnings, but it is something at least.  I remember how terrible the years were when my husband was so ill, barely surviving being self-employed and there were no dental appointments even when they were necessary.  

Life has changed for the better in recent years.  My surprise about this recent dental bill is tempered by the fact that I could actually pay it.  I didn't have to put it on my credit card and then spend the next few weeks freaking out about how we could ever afford to cover the cost. Thank you Lord for that!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Gotta Get a Move On!!!

I felt blobby all day today...the usual after effects of several hours in the dentist's chair with my mouth hanging open and anaesthetic in my gums.  The sinus pain and general lack of motivation, fuzzy brain and upset stomach all hit me today with a vengeance.  By Friday I will be just fine again and this was not unexpected as it happens consistently after dental work. My patient and understanding husband took one look at me as he was walking in the door after work and told me we were going out for dinner to perk me up.  hahaha  Hmmmm....wonder if I could arrange to look as pathetic as I was feeling today a little more often...????  teehee

I forced myself to get out this morning to run some errands and had a couple of good phone chats, practised my choir music, made myself a decent lunch and kept up with my post-prandial exercise, but mentally I wasn't in the best shape.

I did realize though, through the brain fog, that now that spring is upon me and the driving conditions are good, I HAVE to get moving and motivated to pick up the telephone and contact friends in the area so we can get together more often.  If I am not careful I am going to end up in the same slump I was in at the last place we lived, where I was defeated by being around so many folk I had nothing in common with and was unsure where to find other local friends.  It wasn't good and I could find myself in a similar circumstance if I don't get the phone calls flowing and the plans for socializing going pretty soon.

The sunshine will be a good motivator and once I get over this dental appointment I am sure I will get moving on reconnecting with some friends I haven't been able to see much of during the winter.  At least that is my hope....motivation, mental motivation...so severely lacking since the winter hit last October.  Most of my friends live a good 40 minutes drive away and so we don't get together much once the snow and ice hit the roads.  I was at a birthday dinner with some of those folk last weekend and realized how remiss I have become at keeping in closer touch.

As far as local friends I need to get a LOT more motivated and start asking some of the women I see with some regularity at church and choir if they would like to get together for coffee.  A lot of them are my age and also not working, so they MAY have time on occasion...there must be at least one or two of them that would have some area of commonality with myself...surely....some of them are also from away so I think that could help...surely.....

So....get on with it girl!  'Tis time!!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Sometimes The Magic Works!!

Since my diabetic diagnosis over three years ago the only thing I have ever craved, the only disappointing total elimination from my diet, has been hot cocoa.  Occasionally I have so wanted a hot drink on a chilly evening, but since I can't drink tea or coffee and detest most herbal teas, I have had to settle for cold or even room temperature sodas and water instead. Blaaah!!

Only recently did it occur to me that I could purchase some artificial sweetner other than the dreaded, bitter stevia and give hot cocoa a try.  So, yesterday I purchased a box of Sugar Twin packs and tonight I made myself a mug.  My husband has some delicious and excellent quality Lebanese cocoa that I have been wanting for a long time to taste.

I just finished my hot cocoa and Sugar Twin with just a dash of milk. MMMMM....YUMMMMM....to die for!  This is going to be my go-to comfort treat as needed.  That means it won't be a regular habit, but just occasionally I too will be able to have a hot drink before bed at night.

How do you spell "bliss"??

H-O-T-C-O-C-O-A!!!  YES!

Accomplishment Always Feels Good!

This morning I hauled the iron, board and one giant load of wrinkled spring/summer clothes, (requiring two trips from upstairs), downstairs to the living room, flipped on the tv satellite music channels and went to work. I completed half the items by lunchtime, took a half hour walk after lunch, then returned to finish the ironing. Every piece has been pressed, hung up and put away on clothes racks, ready to be worn. I packed the last of my winter clothes in big blue tubs for storage until October...the end of this season's wardrobe change. I weeded out a few items for the Canadian Diabetes Association clothing bins and dropped them in during my walk. Yay!

I feel GOOD!!!

The Lengths Some Employees Have To Go To In Order To Justify Their Existence

Big banner news racing across my PC screen the past few days: Google is once again changing their sign in page to streamline its use.

Yawn...so, guys, what's new?  If my Google sign in page was any more streamlined than it all ready is it could simply be eliminated all together!  

Someone(s) is hard pressed to find enough work to do to justify a pay cheque obviously.

More tinkering with something technical that is all ready working just fine the way  it is.  Can you people never just leave things alone?  Apparently not........bloody hell!

That IS how I really feel!