Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Why O Why Are Farewells Sooo Difficult?

Our son called us a few minutes ago...here at his auntie's house. It was nearly 11pm, so I do admit to being tired out after a busy day, but the second I heard his voice over the speaker phone I came frighteningly close to bursting into tears as I realized this may be the last time we hear his voice before he flies south on Saturday.  Sigh...once a mom, always a mom, no matter his age. I am going to miss him desperately. Usually all I feel is the excitement associated with his new adventures, but tonight, not so much.....

The rest of our day was a great deal of fun.

Sleeping in was a joy, since the heat of the day previously carried on until after midnight, at which time a cooling wind storm blew into the city. We were fine here in the south west, but power was knocked out to the downtown area and the areas farther north sustained a fair amount of damage. Today was chilly and windy with periods of intense sunshine between short bursts of rain.

After a couple of hours of visiting we headed out for a short shopping trip to Costco to get the bags of dried fruit my husband needs for the August canoe trip, followed by an expensive but delicious lunch at a Vietnamese pho restaurant.

In the later afternoon we went for a long walk on the trails along the White Mud Creek. Edmonton is a particularly beautiful Alberta city because of all the big trees and bush the city has retained along its waterways. I grew up in Calgary, much more of a prairie city that never did have the natural treed parklands Edmonton has managed to preserve. The squirrels along the trails kept us highly amused and it was lovely for my husband to see muskrats swimming in the creek. The whole area revived good memories of his north central Alberta childhood.

This evening we went shopping for Indian teas in one of the exclusively Indian strip malls in the south end. Then we met up with two other family members at the Little India restaurant on 34th. The buffet was the best I have been to in awhile, with more hotly spiced dishes than I am usually blessed with at such places. What a huge selection of dishes. It was really delicious!

We came home after dinner to watch a documentary about Jewish comedians "now and then". There were many interviews with Jewish comedians of the past few eras and some of the jokes they told were hilarious! We enjoyed hearing the comments of some of the old "greats" like Shelley Berman, Rodney Dangerfield, Norm Crosby, Jack Carter and Henny Youngman. Newer comics like HowienMandel were also interviewed. All of them shared what they felt the differences are in Jewish humour since the turn of the last century. It was quite interesting.

Tomorrow there is some more canoe trip shopping in the morning before an Italian lunch out at "Tony's",  leftovers  for dinner and an evening at a live theatre production.

Then, suddenly it will be time to leave. On Thursday morning we are heading to Dayton Valley for an early breakfast with dear, dear old friends before starting a meandering path home. We may make it home by Thursday evening....or perhaps not until Friday evening...who knows? Wandering aimlessly about the prairies for a day or two before my husband has to return to work is a good idea!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Reconnected!

Nice to be back in a larger city with WiFi connections everywhere....yay Edmonton!

What a glorious, hot, wind free summer day. I am so used to the constant winds in southern Saskatchewan that for awhile after our arrival here this afternoon I couldn't figure out why I was enjoying being outside in our relative's back yard so very much. Then I realized it was because the air was still. What a calming scenario: outside in the warm sun with nary the slightest breeze to contend with...a true delight.

We had a great weekend visiting friends. The first couple has just returned from gorgeous, green, historic Croatia, as well as a small boat cruise through the Greek islands. They put together an amazing collection of digital photos and video clips that have us quite determined to travel to Croatia before many more western tourists discover the beauty of the place.

Next we attended a 50th wedding anniversary...at a Smitty's restaurant....yes...a Smitty's...hahaha! Although our group had a separate room in which to hold the party, we all had to get in line with the other patrons of the place to access the buffet. It was hysterically funny watching the other customers eyeing the buffet table with ill concealed concern as our group of 50 swarmed the food warming trays, loading our plates, and looking as if our small army was going to strip them bare and leave everyone else to starve. hahaha Yes, the food was terrible, but I have to say that the group of old friends we were with fit into the place so well and enjoyed the meal so much we didn't care about the food quality. We had a ton of fun reacquainting ourselves with people we had not seen in nearly 20 years.

After the banquet we drove a half hour into the countryside to spend the rest of the weekend with members of my husband's second family. We feasted together, we enjoyed a church service together, we talked and talked about all manner of topics, three of their kids and other extended family members arrived Sunday evening to spend time with us and it was a most special time together.

We took our time travelling on to Edmonton this morning, stopping in Leduc for the best fish tacos and spicy chicken/Italian sausage pasta we have had in a very long time. Thank you Kosovo's restaurant for fabulous food and exceptional service.

The rest of the day was spent feasting and visiting with my husband's sister and her husband. My diet went right out the window as I sated myself with German potato salad, greens with white balsamic vinegar and uzu, fresh Hutterite grown, beer can bbq'd chicken stuffed with fresh garlic and ginger and well rubbed with cumin and paprika, cucumber and beet pickles, with a ricotta and raspberry mousse for dessert! We had all ready indulged in rice/bean chips and pecan rice crackers dipped in freshly prepared hummus, as well as far too many huge black olives! What a feast! My husband's sister could have been a professional chef in another life!

Now it is nearly 11pm and tornado force winds are forcing us to close and "batten down" windows and doors in order to be prepared for a possible severe storm. The severe storm watch has upgraded to a warning, so I think I will go now and spend some time in prayer for the safety of the city of Edmonton and the surrounding area. So much for our windless day! Talk about an abrupt end to the stillness!

Holidays...never a dull moment! Yippee!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Just Quickly

Not much reliable internet access for a few more days, but so far all is well.  We are having good visits with friends in the Olds and Didsbury and Carstairs areas and in the morning we are heading to Edmonton for a few days to see my husband's sister and her husband.  The weather has been fabulous and we have had lots of opportunities to feast with our friends here there and everywhere.  I forgot what great cooks they all are! hahaha
More in a few days when we can get a more stable connection.  We are out in the country this past 2 days and internet is sporadic at best, so should close for now.  Thank you for praying for our safe travel.  We appreciate it.
Blessings everyone!

Friday, June 23, 2017

A Quiet Day With the Parental Unit

After an uneventful drive into Calgary on a warmer, sunnier, drier, but no less windy day, we spent the rest of the day with my parents. Is it possible both of them are even more frail than when we left them two weeks ago? Sigh.... But the are happy and positive in outlook and managing fairly well, so that is about the best we can hope for at this point. Glad we stopped here again so soon.

We took them to Plato's for lunch. Oh my, they did enjoy their steak sandwich with fries and chicken rice soup. They were so happy to be out at a restaurant they even complimented the wait staff on how the tea was presented. Sooooo cute! They were both tired by the time we ran an errand with them and brought them home. We enjoyed dinner in their suite and they retired for the evening at 8pm. Two weeks ago they were still able to stay active until 9pm. It is giving my husband and I the evening to ourselves.

It became very warm by mid afternoon but a brief rain shower cooled everything down. There is no air conditioner in this guest unit, but I think it has cooled sufficiently that we will sleep tonight.

Off to Olds tomorrow. Don't know when I will have internet connection again, but hopefully I will have at least one more chance for blog blither before we get to Edmonton.

Ain't We Got Fun?

Yes, we do!

At 7pm yesterday we looked out our hotel room window and realized there is a theatre complex across the road. There weren't any movies playing that appealed to us, but we decided to see the latest instalment in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, "Dead Men Tell No Tales". It started at 7:30pm, so by the time we got ready to go we only had to sit through about five minutes of advertisements and useless blithering on screen, pre-movie. Yay for that. This movie, amidst the usual silliness, had a plot this time that actually was a plot...sort of....so that was a good thing. Lots of silly jokes made it fun as well.

While standing in line for tickets we met another couple also staying at our hotel. Fascinating! They are not much younger than ourselves and are cycling enthusiasts. They are pedalling their way across Canada. They began in Vancouver and are cycling all the way back to their home in Prince Edward Island. We didn't have time for a long chat, but it was fun meeting them. Yesterday's teeming rain drove them out of their campground and into the comfort of a hotel. She loves that, he wasn't that thrilled. haha. She claims to be a wimp....as compared to who I wonder! Cycling across Canada in her 50's?  Not wimpy in my opinion! He is making one concession to her perceived state of wimpy by taking a short dip across the border south so they do not have to tackle an apparently wicked ride across the north shore of Lake Ontario. We wish them well.

Came back to the great news that our son not only may have a gallery position for September, but now has temporary work for the entire summer with the same artist he apprenticed with on his last stay in the States. Cheney Thomson and his also artist wife, Eileen Quinlan, have been most supportive of Eli. He is blessed to know them.

So, off to breakfast and on to Calgary for lunch.  Why do holidays make me feel so hungry all the time? Yum!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Terrific First Day Out

Despite the consistently strong wind gusts and several hours of pouring rain along our route today, we have had fun! I did all the driving, allowing my husband to doze, philosophize and meditate for the entire trip. He needed that.

We stopped for lunch with the priest in Maple Creek, enjoying the excellent conversation and a meal of "better than" old fashioned small town Chinese restaurant food. Every meal in the place includes a choice of soup or juice and three or four choices in flavours of iced cream or banana custard for dessert.  How cute is that, right? There was too much salt in my meal, but several glasses of water took care of that....hopefully. There are better restaurants there, but the staff at this one were so friendly and attentive it made up for any deficiencies in the food. The veggies were perfectly cooked, slightly el dente, just the way we like them and my husband's Cantonese chow mein was loaded with meat. The barley soup starter was piping hot and delicious.

As we drove west from Maple Creek the rain reduced itself to a trickle. By the time we arrived at our hotel in Medicine Hat the sun was peeping out from behind the clouds and the streets were drying. After we checked into our hotel we went for a LONG walk, picking up a few books in a Value Village and some supper "fixin's" for a relaxed meal time in our room. Now we are just visiting, checking emails and phone messages and preparing for tomorrow's drive. I am so hoping I can go for tea with my mom, just the two of us, for an hour tomorrow afternoon while Dad is napping. Hopefully he will be able to come out for lunch with us first. He has his shower in the morning and that still tires him a bit.

So far this little trip seems to be coming together just fine!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Happy For the Turnaround

We are both so happy with the change in mood since we worked through our work related stress and depression last week.  Guess we just needed that down time to get over it all and get ready to move on.  YIPPEE!!  Movin' on...that seems to be a major theme in our lives.  

My husband spent 10 hours at the office yesterday.  It was a necessity and I was wondering how he would cope with having to return to work in the middle of his supposed month off.  He coped very well.  Whew!!  It would appear the place really can't manage longer term without him and I think his fragile ego needed that little boost, haha.  Seriously, he accomplished what needed to be accomplished before the end of this month and he came home very happy indeed.  He found people able and willing to deal with some other issues that don't absolutely need his hands on touch for the next couple of weeks so he was most grateful for that.  We spent the evening giggling at a comedy show on television and figuring out what we need to pack up for food items for Leg Two of our holiday journeys. 

It feels great to be over the whining and complaining that we weren't going to go anywhere more exotic or "big city" on our holidays this year.  It is irritating to be whining, that is for sure.  My husband's sister has reserved some live theatre tickets for a play I think we will very much enjoy when we are in Edmonton, there are some excellent restaurants near her home so no one needs to do any cooking during our short stay there, I am going to try to meet up with my former roommate from "the good old days", we are having lunch with a colleague of my husband's along the route on our first day out, my parents are thrilled we are coming again so soon, we are going to see some old friends in Olds, many many old friends from there at an anniversary party, we are visiting members of my husband's second family before going to Edmonton to see his real family and will be seeing other old friends at a church service on Sunday morning.  This afternoon we are supposed to be having coffee with seminary friends from Australia we haven't seen more than once in the past ten years. How exciting they are visiting our city this week and want to see us.  Hope it works out as they are so much fun. 

I think one of the things that was depressing me was that I thought there wouldn't be too many visits with friends this second half of the holiday, but the original scant few visits have morphed into plans to see people every single day of the trip. YAY!  NOW I feel better.

Our son completed his final day at his job yesterday and began the long process last evening of preparing his little suite for his subletter.  I cannot believe he will be leaving for NYC the day after we return from our own trip.  It could be 2 years or more before we see him again. I have such peace about it though.  Of course I am sad that he will be so far away, but it is certainly the right move to try to make at this time.  We talked about his chance to use this move as an opportunity to reinvent himself personally, not just in terms of his career.  He has some pretty big baggage to get rid of and heal from, so what a wonderful opportunity for him to do that.  In terms of distance from Vancouver, well, he will be about as "far as the east is from the west" if he is staying in North America.  I am most excited for him.

Off for breakfast and a nice visit with my husband over a cup of orange Tazo tea. Then the serious packing up of the rest of our stuff begins. As far as weather, it is one beautiful day in the neighbourhood and it appears we should be a day or two ahead of the forecast rains along the way!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

A Little Excited Perhaps?

We are not leaving for our next road trip for a couple of days.....and yet.....my suitcases are completely packed apart from my toothbrush and makeup bag. Sigh....guess I am overly happy to be leaving home once again. Teehee....ya' think?

Confession: I am so ready to leave again I have even arranged with two different friends we are visiting to use their irons during our brief afternoon visits at their homes to prepare my clothes for
other events later the same day! Blush.....

What can I say? I love going on trips, no matter how short the time away.

It's just the way I am......

Go! Go! Go!

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Return to Joy!

It seems whatever was bothering us over the past few days has completely dissipated and life is good once again.  Just left over pre-holiday exhaustion and stress getting to us, I am sure.

This morning we had fun running errands.  The computer clinic was able to get my husband's computer running again and fix him up with some replacement parts it needed so that was good.  Since a pharmacy is only a block away from that store, I ambled over there to pick up some needed items and had fun gawking at some of the newer cosmetic products just for fun.

My husband has a wonderful ability to turn such mundane tasks into a quasi-date, a super gift to have, so we decided on a whim to try out a rather dumpy looking restaurant in the north end called Classic Buffet.  The name and the outside look of the place made me think of other such buffets we have tried in olden times; somewhat scruffy decor, truly dreadful food, iffy clientele and table servers who think "youse" is an actual word.  Today we had a pleasant surprise. The food was simple, basic, as expected, but it was amazingly tasty.  There was the usual plethora of fried foods that we stayed mostly away from, except for a taste of the liver and onions that was one delish dish, but the other fried foods were easy to avoid because there was an ample salad bar selection, mashed potatoes as well as fries, beautifully roasted hip of beef that was tender and not overcooked, pizza and lasagna and chili that had some kick in the herbal blends used in their cooking...most unusual for the Saskatchewan basic "home style" menu....the desserts were pretty mundane: iced cream and cones, brownies, assorted gooey cakes and starchy looking puddings, but since we aren't eating desserts much right now we didn't care.  There were not quite enough cooked veggies, typical for here we have discovered, but with the good salad choices and the amount of cooked celery, onions, mushrooms, carrots, corn niblets and tomatoes in the pasta sauces and chili, we couldn't complain that much! hahaha  All in all it was a pleasant surprise.  We didn't try the veggie rice mix or the spaghetti and we stayed away from the fried gyozas and  potato wedges, the gravy and creamy sauces, but what we did eat was filling and delicious.  Definitely we will return there next time we are of a mind to "eat hearty" and enjoy some prairie style foods.  The restaurant itself was very clean, brightly lit without the huge overhead panel lights that seem to haunt many large buffets and the wait staff was efficient and extremely polite.  Yeah....a good meal for $12.25 a person plus drinks and taxes.  We ate a huge lunch for under $30!  My kind of cost!! hahaha We ran into a couple there who are parishioners of our denomination in another town where we presented a Spiritual Fitness seminar this winter.  They said the parish is hoping we will return soon to do another one and are just waiting for my husband's holidays to be over so they can contact him to set up a date.  That is happy news for us. 

We had a relaxing afternoon napping and getting a hotel booked in Medicine Hat for our first night away on the next leg of our holiday jaunt.  My husband is hoping to stop into Swift Current for lunch along the way and enjoy the company of one of his colleagues.  I don't care what we do, I am so relieved we don't have to push through all the way to Calgary in one day.  There is no point starting off completely weary by the end of the very first day!

Tomorrow my husband is going to work for the day.  It has to be done to handle an unexpected situation that arose and that needs immediate attention by himself.  That is okay. He will relax if he can get some work cleared up before we go again. I will start getting packed up to go.  It will be nice to have a few days to do that so I can make choices of what to take, change my mind a half dozen times and end up tossing everything into my suitcase willy nilly anyway at the last second, regardless of having had all that extra time! hahaha

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Travel....YEAH! Good Movies...Double YEAH!

In a few days we will be hitting the road once again for the next set of travels.  Just knowing we get to see more friends and my husband's sister and her husband is adding to our restored sense of cheer.  We have decided we are just not very good at staying home when we are on a holiday break.  Twice now we have tried "stay-cations", the first time was about three years ago, and both have been absolute disasters for one reason and another.

Simply getting out and about for a decent walk, some church worship, followed by an enjoyable IMAX production, ("Dreaming Big"...all about present day structural engineering,fascinating to watch), we were then content to come home for dinner.  A nice glass of red wine accompanied our cannelloni and turkey breast leftovers and I made a rather terrific salad, if I do say so myself. teehee

The other cheery event was watching the movie, "The Grand Budapest Hotel".  HILARIOUS and filled with the most amazing cinematography!  O how we enjoyed it.  It is complete nonsense, but so well acted and scripted. The sets are amazing. It stars Ralph Fiennes and features cameos by practically every actor there is! It is definitely a movie for adults, not children!  Wes Anderson is a spectacular director of dead pan comedies. We can see why this one won so many international film awards in 2015.  What a fun way to wrap up the day!   

What a relief to be feeling better emotionally..have no idea why we have been feeling so blue over the past few days, but very glad whatever it was seems to have passed.

There! That's MUUUUUCH Better!!!

As my husband just said to me, quoting from the old Zero Mostel musical
"It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World", "We've had enough 'appalling', now it's time for 'something appealing'....or at least mediocre!" hahaha


So, this afternoon we decided to visit a different church body, the local branch of Via Apostolica that meets in our own denomination's St. Matthew's church building.  It was just what we needed today. While it was tempting to feel completely out of place with a congregation composed entirely of young families, we received at least some kind of welcome from those of them who have been socialized to the point of not being afraid to talk to the more elderly who appear unexpectedly among them. The minister and his wife were certainly welcoming and we had a most uplifting time of worship, then receiving the Eucharist and teaching ministry. 

I enjoyed pastor Nico's sermon very much.  The church calendar year has just entered the season of Ordinary Time. Basically Ordinary Time is the second half of the church year which begins in Advent and continues on through the Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter and Pentecost seasons that tell the story of the life and ministry of Christ.  Now, in Ordinary Season it is time for believers to explore where their lives fit into Christ's life and ministry.

The sermon was a good reminder that God meets us in our ordinary lives...in fact being ordinary, wounded, sinful and scarred, is actually kind of a prerequisite for being able to see and experience God's forgiveness and experiencing his meeting us in those very places we feel the most useless and least special.  The recognition that we are indeed not sufficient in ourselves to accomplish the mission of God is the exact spot where God is able to step in and work his Kingdom through us to the rest of the world.  

Since I have been feeling useless and blaaaaah for some time now it was a most needed and excellent reminder that God isn't asking me to strive on my own to be less "ordinary", but to take those very areas of my presently boring life and let him meet me there to make the kind of transformation necessary to get me going once again in my somewhat stagnant spiritual life.  What a blessing to hear that idea once again today. I certainly did need a BIG reminder of that.

So, my husband and I are both feeling a lot better for having obeyed that "still small voice" that told us we should attend that service today after sleeping in too late to attend our own denominational services earlier this morning.

Despite the struggle with the music it was still fun to learn some new songs...the struggle coming from my problem with worship band music that is more preferable for a meditative band presentation than congregational singalong, but that is okay I think for the younger generations who are used to it and do not have much background in church music history.  It would also have been more conducive to worship...in my opinion and only my opinion...if the two beautiful and sincere gal singers had been less harsh in their vocal presentation.  I find it difficult to worship unhindered when I want to stuff cotton in my ears to protect my hearing! hahahaha YES, I know my age is showing, hahahahaha.  However, it was still fun to sing along.  The choruses are all so similar it is easy to pick them up immediately so that is a plus fer shur! 

After we arrived home to a nice Fathers' Day email from our son, my husband went online and discovered a film on over at the IMAX he wants to see. So, in less than an hour we will have a movie date, followed perhaps by dinner out.  It is wonderful to see my husband also feeling better physically and mentally today.  He has certainly picked up since he took his Vitamin B injection last night and will likely be even more perky by tomorrow. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly that injection works for him. Thank you Lord!  

Whatever doom and gloom seems to have been hanging over our heads has disbanded since this morning.  We had a long time of prayer together this morning and the weight started to lift.  We are not sure what caused our feelings of woe....well, we do understand the combination of irritating circumstances, but we don't understand why the depression seemed to be so deep and heartfelt in such a short time for so many days.  Wierd!

Onward and outward....to the IMAX we go!!!!! Hopefully we can walk over there, just like we had a great walk to and from the church this afternoon, but the rain is theatening once again.

Please shoot up a prayer for our son.  He has a terrible cold right at the busiest time of getting ready for his move.  Getting a cold seems to be his body's way of telling him he is not getting enough rest in the midst of stressful busyness. Thanks! 

I am going to try to remember the summer theme of the Via Apostolica congregation:  Ordinary People with an Extra Ordinary God in Ordinary Times!

Blaaaaaaahhhhh!!!!!!

I am chuckling this morning. This has to tie for us as one of the two worst vacations we have ever had.  To be sure, there have been some bright spots and there are a couple more scheduled for next week, but generally this is one crappy holiday.  At this point things have rotated between boring and downright miserable, so laughter is the only thing left as we sit here contemplating this month's time off. What a bust!!

We knew the first few days would be stressful caring for the elderly rels and saying goodbye to our son before he departs for a possibly extended time Stateside.  We were delighted by our time in southern Alberta with friends....a definite highlight.  Then we came home to one small disaster after another, none on their own all that difficult to deal with or fix, but with a steady stream continuing to build there has been no time for day trips, no energy to do much other than run around trying to fix broken computers and sewing machines and mopping up water in the basement instead of cleaning it out, killing mice, fighting the the tax department, trying to locate lost mail....oh dear Lord, I don't even want to ask "what next?" in case there is something!  This is not a holiday. This is a stressful, depressing misery in too many ways.  I suppose that is what we get for building up our time off in our minds before it even happened.  We realize now we should have just bitten the financial bullet and gone to Vancouver as usual so that we could get away from all the depressing events of daily life, away from aging ill parents after our time with them so that we could de-stress; we should have hired someone to look after the mail and mop up the basement in our absence...what were we thinking???  Or more accurately....why weren't we thinking??? hahaha  Guess we are old and tired and my husband's job stress was getting to both of us before this break.  Aiiiii yiiiiii...glad we have a few more travels coming up later this week.  There should be some bright spots during that time.  Glad we have that to look forward to at least.  hahahaha  

My goodness, aren't I feeling sorry for myself today?? hahahaha  Good thing I become quickly bored with depressing thoughts!
Hey, the sun is out again today and we are going to walk up to a little apostolic church after lunch to visit a service and have a complete change of pace in worship...mostly much younger people and that is always energizing for us. See...all ready something new to look forward to today!  Hallelujah!!

 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Elderly and the Restless

Feelin' great today!  What an improvement over yesterday's exhaustion! Praise the Lord for energy!!! My husband is also much improved.  He realized this morning it has been over a month since his last Vitamin B injection so he will rectify that at bedtime tonight. By Monday he should be brimming with energy once again.  When we were away he simply forgot to take his treatment.  What a life saver Vitamin B injections have been for coping with the stress of his present job and when CFS symptoms threaten to recur.

The only downside of the return of my energy is that it is Saturday, a bad day to go shopping or exploring due to crowds in the stores and it has been pouring rain all day, making outdoor walking unpleasant to say the least.

However, having restored energy also means I have been feeling antsy and wanting to "get a wiggle on", as my mother used to say when I was a little girl.  

So, early this morning I decided it was worth braving the grocery store crowds for the sake of getting out and moving around.  A friend of my husband's came over so they could discuss plans for the annual canoe trip in August, pore over maps of the area and generally have a wonderful time of guy camping talk!  What a perfect time for me to go out!!

The rain kept a lot of shoppers at home this morning apparently, so I had a nice time ambling about our little neighbourhood grocery, looking for some new products to try for meals.  Not a lot of success on that front, but did get most of the things I needed.  One thing I could not get was any PC Black Label pasta sauce.  All that was left was a jar or two of marinara sauce and it is far too full of saturated fats for us to enjoy.  

It was good to get out.  After lunch the rain continued to teem and I was content to put in a load of laundry for a short activity, but my contentment didn't last for long.  Off I went to the new Real Canadian Superstore on Albert Street.  I expected the parking lot and the store to be packed with cars and shoppers, but once again the rain may have kept the crowd thinned out.  It was most pleasant.  To wear off some pent up energy I marched up and down every aisle in the store....also in hopes I would spot some of the PC Black Label pasta sauce, but this store didn't have any either. I settled for some of that brand's cherry wine jelly and basil infused olive oil.  I also found some spinach and ricotta "stuffed", (not exactly, but there is at least some spinach and ricotta visible inside the pasta), PC Cannelloni to add into our dinner tonight.  I thawed a carton of my home made veggie pasta sauce and have a couple of flayed chicken breasts, so I think with a salad that will be a nice dinner combination with minimal work and cooking time.  For some reason I totally resent cooking and meal planning when we are on holidays.  I don't mind doing dishes or cleaning house or doing laundry, but the food prep, not so much. 

I also found the black mustard seeds my husband has been asking for so he can make some of his delicious cabbage salad Indian style, plus a plethora of water flavour drops on sale.  On the sale rack in the kitchen appliances section of the store I found some large china dinner plates for $3.49 each.  I have slowly been replacing my grandma's old, REALLY old, china dinner plates over the past month as the finish is nearly worn off them and they are getting pretty ugly to look at after 4 or 5 years of constant use after sitting in a missionary barrel in Nigeria for nearly 40 years. hahaha Not sure why my grandparents thought my career missionary auntie was going to have use for 8 place settings of bone china dinnerwear, but there you have it.  Sitting in a stack, unused all those years and being hauled back and forth across the ocean wreaked havoc on the glaze, so despite them being nearly new when we got them, they weren't in the best condition.  It has been fun using them, but the time has come to let them go.  So, now we have 2 blue psychadelic coloured plates and 2 brown/red psychadelic plates and 2 blue and black Japanese plates I found in the thrift store a couple of days ago for a total price of $2.99.  I have a lovely set of pottery dinner plates that actually match each other for when we have company, but my husband and I decided we would enjoy having some fun with the every day dishes only we ourselves use. So, nothing has to match....it is the Japanese way.  haha

While we were in Lethbridge last weekend we stopped in at Ten Thousand Villages and I purchased a very pretty leather ring. I've been wearing it today. It is blue and green and fits on my thumb.  I quite like it sitting there.  It is flat and unobtrusive and feels like it was made for a thumb to wear! My short stubby fingers, with their short stubby nails, are not made to wear beautiful rings, so I have a nice collection of thumb rings, toe rings that look great on my fingers instead and some narrow teaspoon rings.  I have fun with rings since I don't wear earrings very often any more and I don't have many necklaces or broaches.  I don't wear my scarves as often as I did now that I have lost enough weight not to need a neck covering every time I leave the house, so the necklaces are getting more wear.  I never wore any jewellery most of my life and have no cause to wear anything expensive, so why not have some fun with costume jewellery for awhile, before I get too old and senile to care?  

My husband has now attached the little white towel bar he bought at the Kindersley WalMart to the end of my kitchen island closest to the sink and what a great help. The towel hooks that were all ready on the unit were at the other end of it, leaving them pushed up against the wall and due to the location of the built in drawers I haven't been able to swing the unit around the other way. The island is also painted white so the rack looks like it was part of the original package.  Perfect!!

We heard mice again a couple of nights ago in the attic space above the bedrooms, so yesterday we picked up some "death pellets" and put them on a plate up there.  My husband also set 2 traps.  I suspect it will be a couple of days, maybe more, before they are up there again as they weren't there consistently before we left on holidays, just once a week or so.  Glad to have the pellets, as well as a good ladder so my husband can easily access the attic.  He is hoping to trap it or them before a colony gets established up there and then leave pellets in place the rest of the time we live here to get any newcomers.  Mice.....eek!  I am SUCH an inner city type of "kid".  We did not have mice anywhere I lived growing up.  If there were any around our neighbourhoods, either the neighbours' cats found them or else they knew how to stay out of sight of people.  The first time I lived anywhere I had to set traps was right after we were married.  Freaked me right out, yes it did!  To be honest I am more concerned here that it could be a rat up there in the attic.  There seem to be quite a few here since I have seen more here than I have ever seen in my life!!  Apparently when we lived in Kindersley there were a fair number of rats, but I only ever saw one and it was running down the highway quite far out of town.  Gleep...RATS!!  Blah! Mice scare me, rats terrify me!!!!!!

Talked to my mom yesterday. She got some test results back from the doctor and for the most part they are excellent, nearly unbelievably so for a woman about to turn 90 years old.  Her kidney function has even improved in recent months. Wow!  Like dad, she also has some evidence of asbestos in one lung, but it isn't bothering either of them at this time.  The only big surprise is that she has bad osteoporosis. She had a bone densitometry about six years ago and was fine, so the loss of bone density in that short period of time is quite a shock.  Her wonderful new doctor is going to apply for coverage for an annual injection similar to the one I am taking to try to get it under control. She has decided if the government medical department will not allow her to be subsidized she isn't going to bother, but I think that is a mistake.  I am going to see her at the end of next week and see if I can convince her to get it anyway.  I can help her financially.  I just don't think she realizes the trauma that comes with a broken bone like a hip or ankle or rib.  At her age she could easily break a hip in a fall and end up getting pneumonia while in hospital recovering.  In that case it could be game over very quickly for her. Just this week that very thing happened to one of her friends. The funeral is next week.  Please pray she will listen to reason when I talk to her. I know dad will back me up as he has all ready had so many broken bones and spinal fractures.  He has suffered even more than I have from this horrible disease and I can't bear the thought of mom starting down the same path at her age.

Well, I think I am going to spend some time playing a computer game before it is time to make dinner.  I have been having better success with the Jewel Quest games of late, so better enjoy it until I reach the next levels that are too difficult for me to complete easily. A gamer I will never be! teehe!!

Happy weekend everyone!

Friday, June 16, 2017

If I Was Any More Laid Back Myself Today, I'd Be Dead!!!!

After a good day of errands, shopping, laundry and what-have-you yesterday, today has been a complete washout!! Guess I tired myself out somehow.  While I am grateful to God for such a do nothing sort of day today on the one hand, on the other, I pray this is not going to continue tomorrow!!  

Here is what my day consisted of:
-waking up at 8:30am ( I DO NOT SLEEP IN...EVER!! So, why today??)
-moseying downstairs to put breakfast together at 9am 
-a complete and total blank from 9:30am to 11am. I remember nothing about this time period.  I am fully dressed so it must have happened at that point in the day.
-computer part shopping with my husband from 11am until 12:30pm. I was not actually doing the shopping or even the browsing.  I was sitting in our vehicle outside in the parking lot reading a book!  I DO NOT READ BOOKS DURING THE DAY AND ESPECIALLY NOT WHILE WAITING WHILE MY HUSBAND DIPSY DOODLES AROUND IN COMPUTER STORES!!) We only went to one store and the reason it took so long is because of all the street closures for road repair and construction.  hahaha  We drove around and around and around, going miles out of our way to reach the store...CRAZY!
-heating up and eating lunch from 12:45pm until 1:30pm.  My husband made 2 huge batches of soup yesterday, one very thick with chicken and more like a stew and one Indian spiced veggie curry soup that is equally delicious. Way to go husband!
-getting some mail prepared for sending, doing dishes and washing the kitchen floor, dusting the most obvious fluffy bunnies off the darkest of the furnture pieces and the computers from 1:30pm until 2:30pm.
-napping on the living room sofa from 2:30pm until 3:30pm and waking up feeling like I wanted to die from fuzzy head and nausea tummy, just like always when I stupidly think I can have a nap during the day and wake up feeling refreshed.  What on earth made me think a daytime nap would result in feeling anything but lousy today???
-climbing back into the car, book in hand once again, to accompany my husband on a drive to another computer store so he could purchase a couple of more parts to get one of his older models working again...no, I most certainly do not know why.......from 3:45pm until 4:30pm.  Once again I was not in the store with him, just sitting in the car reading the same book...maybe the same chapter for all my  memory is working today.  Sigh........

Now I am blithering on about nothing important here on this blog while my husband sits in his office tinkering with his old computer in a desperate and now expensive attempt to get the dumb thing to work again. I am trying to keep my eyelids from fluttering shut.  NO MORE DAYTIME NAPPING!!  What is wrong with me today?  My husband is just as bad. He looks exhausted, feels sleepy and wretched and I don't think the barometric pressure today is assisting either of us to feel well or motivated or generally alive at all!!

Actually, I think the fact that we are on holidays with no committments to anyone or anything for the next 7 days is starting to hit us.  My husband's job is brutally stressful and that stress of course comes home with him each day and slops over onto me.  I have some stresses of my own right now that are effecting both of us subconsciously.  Our bodies and minds are letting go of months of accummulated stress...as of today....yawn....... 

So, again I thank God for giving us this day of let down, but I sure do hope we are getting over the worst of the blah's today and that tomorrow we can get motivated to get something accomplished around here once again.  When a few hours of making soup, laundry and ironing and running a few errands one day makes us this incompetent and miserable the next day...good grief, is that old age thing creeping up on us again????  YIKES!!!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

We're Laid Back Here in Saskatchewan, Yup, Yup, Yup!

Today I was reminded that even employees in the most professional of public services can forget their professional manners and give me no end of laughter by some of the things they say out loud in the work place.  hahahahaha

Getting my new drivers license photo this afternoon is a prime example of the general social culture here.  hahahahaha

After the agent took my photograph she took some time to look at it to ensure it had turned out according to specified standard, then she compared it with my present license photo.  Instead of keeping her thoughts to herself...in other words instead of being polite/tactful/socially adept....she said, "O my!  You look a lot better in this new picture!!  You look younger even.  O my! The one you have now is really bad isn't it?"  Sigh....yup, there is a totally professional comment from a licensing agent who is trained to work each and every day with the general public...speaking of "O my"!! hahahaha

My response was, "Yes, in the old photo I look rather like an escaped convict.", to which she answered, "O my, you certainly do!!!"  Sigh......it was a truly dreadful picture, but did I really need my nose rubbed in it?  Did I really?  O my....I guess I did!  hahahahaha 

I was chuckling as I walked out of the license bureau, but I was also thinking that in Alberta, B.C., Quebec or Ontario, there is a good chance that agent would be facing some kind of defamatory lawsuit had she said such a thing to a client there. 

Today is one of the few times I found the laid back social attitude of a prairie person more amusing than upsetting, so good on me, but it did get me thinking about the difference in culture between here and everywhere else I have lived.  Kudos to Saskatchewanians for still being free to be so open and honest, but I wonder how long it will be before that has to change to protect themselves from the onslaught of people who feel it is their right and privilege to take offense at every word coming out of someone else's mouth.  For once I am quite glad that Saskatchewan tends to be a more realistic area where people do not have to live in as much fear of what comes out of their own mouths as they do elsewhere in this country that once not only espoused but actually practised freedom of speech.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Back To Normal!

Well, it has been a good day. The tax situation appears to be sorted out, the mouse problem seems to have resolved itself with minimal loss of life AND this morning what should appear on our front step but another new, dry, copy of this year's phone book!
Yeah......

Tomorrow  we get back to our lives: a hair appointment right before I have a new driver's license photo taken, a drive over to Fresh Air Experience to help my husband decide what to get with his birthday gift certificate......yeah.....normal, happy stuff of every day life.
Yeah.......

I got a call tonight from a former roommate of mine back in the Calgary years. I haven't seen her since I was matron of honour at her wedding ten years ago. In the past ten years I think we have chatted on the phone three or four times. We had a great chat this evening. She lives in the same city as my husband's sister so I hope I can see my friend on our next visit there.

It surely has been a fun week of reconnecting with old friends this past week.

Whew....I Think.......

My husband received a tremendous amount of help from employees of Revenue Canada today and is busy writing letters, photocopying tax forms and collecting other papers for me to ExpressPost everything to Winnipeg this afternoon. Looks like my husband put an amount on the wrong line on his tax form and we likely do not owe hundreds of dollars after all. So, whew, I think.....as stated above.
Hopefully.......
Off to the post!

But Before We Came Home to the Messes.....

....we had a fabulous Sunday and a Monday morning in Lethbridge!!

We arranged to meet up with our minister friends Sunday morning at their church and enjoyed a particularly glorious service with them.  The Winston Churchill high school Womens' Choir was performing several classical pieces and an old spiritual. They were fantastic, as was a small group our friends perform in.  It was a very special musical service and I am so glad we were able to reap the many benefits of listening to beautifully composed and lyricized music that was performed by well trained musicians and singers.  What a treat!

However, the best treat was yet to come.  After the service a family approached us, huge grins on their faces, welcoming us to their church congregation.  It was a family of former parishioners of ours who have been transferred to Lethbridge!  WOW!  What fun to see and visit with them again during the coffee hour fellowship after church. My husband had the privilege several years ago of baptizing the son, when he was a young teen, in the South Saskatchewan River at a beautiful outdoor service led by our former Bishop and an onshore guitar and conga drum group.  Now the young man is in his first year of university, studying economics!  We chatted and laughed, shared memories of our former parish life together and had a great time of fellowship.  Delightful!!

After a delicious lunch at the home of our minister friends we all retired for an afternoon nap, followed by a relaxing walk around the lake near the Japanese Gardens.  They brought their little terrier and watching him enjoy himself in the park, racing between sunny sidewalks and shady treed areas, was a lot of fun.  Along the way we met some of their present parishioners and had a long visit in the warm sunshine.  

Then the four of us went to dinner at Coulee Brewery Taps Grill.  Our own experience there the evening before was very positive, our friends had never been before, plus they had several meal coupons to put toward the cost.  We were able to sit outside on the patio, away from the blaring tv's in the bar that were broadcasting what turned out to be the winning game of the Stanley Cup series, the breeze was strong enough to blow the mosquitoes right on past us and we sat out there for a couple of hours or more enjoying the food, drink and visiting.  By the end of the meal we concluded we absolutely have to find ways to get together more often.  We left the pub with great plans to visit Fort Whoop-up and do some hiking in the hills the following day.

When we woke up on Monday morning, one look at my husband's grey, exhausted face let me know there would be no Fort Whoop-up and no hill hiking going on.  Fortunately our friends were very gracious and understanding about it, so we settled on another deep conversation as we sat out in their back yard drinking tea.  By noon we realized we needed to wend our way home and took our leave amid many hugs, tears, prayers and promises not to wait so long between visits next time.

It was a long and silent drive back to Regina.  My husband slept most of the way to Medicine Hat where we spent a good deal of time searching for a restaurant there we have eaten at before and enjoyed.  After a rather long hunt, we did find it and it was worth the time invested.  It is a dark pub, relaxing, almost deserted at 2pm.  I believe it is called Mauro's.  The food is less than gourmet, but it is tasty and filling and the atmosphere was perfect for a couple of worn out old goofs like ourselves.

My husband took a turn at the wheel and made it as far as Dunmore, a whole ten kilometres, where he decided it was time for me to drive some more so he could sleep some more. hahaha  I took my turn to doze out while he drove again from Thompson to Parkbeg, (he simply cannot refuse a stop at the ice cream shop along the highway at Thompson), then I took us home the rest of the way.  My goodness that 6 hour trip somehow turned into nearly 8 hours with breaks for food, checking tire pressure, getting gasoline and trading drivers back and forth.  It felt like a very long day indeed, particularly after having to stop at the neighbourhood grocery near our home to pick up some food for the next day or two.

Yesterday was a day of complete rest for my husband while I bustled around (My, that makes me sound more energetic than I actually was!!!) doing all the laundry and getting some business done in preparation to our possible second journey next week.  

Today my husband is working on that little tax fiasco, I am ironing and picking up a few more groceries...at least I WILL be ironing and getting groceries....soon....I think.....  The pouring rain outside is doing nothing to motivate me to get going out there, hahaha. This rain is to continue for several days, but at least it keeps the heat from becoming too intense.

In Other News:
Our relative with cancer has just completed the fourth and final chemo treatment.  This time the after effects hit pretty hard, the worst thus far, so we are all extremely grateful the doctor cancelled the other two possible chemotherapies.  To continue would likely mean permanent neuropathy in hands and feet...there are times when quality of life has to trump precautionary extra chemo treatments.  In July there should be seven days of radiation treatment and that should be the end of it. Then it will be time for recovery from the rest of the chemo side effects and that could take a few weeks to several months.  Your prayers are SO appreciated.  The attitude of our relative has been amazingly positive, cheery even, at times when there could have been complete despair brought about by the exhaustion and emotional upheaval.

So, onward and outward...to the post office....to the grocery store....maybe.....yawn.......

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

To Add Insult To Injury.....

....we discovered the newest city phone book sitting outside our door this morning.  How long it has been there we do not know, but it is a victim of the complex sprinkler system.  The poor thing was soaked completely through at some point while we were away as it sat on our deck minding its own business.  What a scraggly, wavy paged mess!

With the finding of that ruined book our return home has reached "ludicrous speed" and we are laughing pretty hard about everything that has happened in the past 14 hours.  There comes a point when laughter truly is the best medicine.  

My husband made the courageous decision this morning to leave his tax problems over to this afternoon sometime and is prepared to spend all day tomorrow attempting to locate someone from Revenue Canada who can help him sort this mess out.  My dad was eventually successful when he had to contact them a couple of weeks ago over what would have been a real financial disaster for him if the error one of their people made had not been challenged and reversed, so we know it is possible to get help.  Since we only have about ten days before this unexpected payment is due, if my husband does actually owe the money for some reason, he wants it all dealt with by the end of this week.  For now though he is taking a well deserved rest, complete with sleeping in and a nice breakfast and some computer games. Good on him!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Welcome Home? Not Exactly!!

I will write more soon about our actual trip, but for now we are exhausted, a little bit upset and wondering why nothing is ever simple during what is supposed to be a relaxing holiday time.  Sigh...

We unloaded our vehicle quickly once we arrived home tonight after a quick stop at the grocery store for some basics, we dropped everything in the kitchen, pulled open a small drawer beside the dishwasher and discovered mouse droppings inside. We found more under the sink and a couple on the kitchen floor. Aaaaaarrrrgh! Although nothing in the drawer or under the sink had been chewed or shredded, to be on the safe side we threw all the items from both places into the garbage...no big loss really. The more important drawers and cupboards showed no evidence of mice. The mouse evidence we discovered seemed limited to one of the creatures, so I suppose that is a blessing, right?

In the process of disinfecting cupboards and drawers, repairing the broken backboard under the sink, stuffing massive amounts of steel wool into all possible entry holes and packing steel wool around the dishwasher and setting the mouse traps that I spent more than an hour driving around the city trying to find at a time when most of the stores that might sell traps were closing for the night, we forgot to eat dinner. Imagine my blood sugar numbers after waiting nearly nine hours between lunch and dinner! Eek!

We finally got dinner onto some plates and sat down to open our week's worth of mail. The first two letters we opened were our tax assessments and discovered my husband's assessment from Revenue Canada for nearly seven hundred dollars....that HE owes THEM!!!! Whaaaaaaa??????? Are you kidding me? Obviously something is very wrong and tomorrow he has to get in touch with the tax department and get it straightened out.....on his first day at home this holiday....the first day with no commitment to anyone or anything, the first day that was to be completely stress free! Aaaaaargh!

So, tomorrow will be an interesting day to say the least. For now we are rolling our exhausted selves into bed, praying we can accomplish what unexpectedly needs to be accomplished tomorrow!
Lord, give us patience and strength to face these little life challenges. Amen!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Powerful Reduced to the Insipid

In my own life one of the most powerful phrases ever spoken into it was the phrase, "God loves you."

In the days of the Jesus People, the days when I realized I had spiritual needs that could only be fully met by getting to know God and his son Jesus, "God loves you." pretty much replaced, "Hi! How are you?" as the standard social greeting.

Unfortunately, over the subsequent decades the power behind those words has been diluted through over use, or by losing opportunities to take the meaning behind that phrase to a deeper level of conversation. For people suffering from depression the response to that phrase is likely to be along the lines of, "So what?", or "Whoopee for him.", or "Tell someone who cares."

My husband and I are attempting to get more deeply into what the fact of God's love is supposed to mean in the lives of the people we often meet who are suffering from clinical depression and whose responses would be similar to the ones above. Often depression can be caused, or at least exacerbated by, a loss of a sense of life's purpose. If life is meaningless to someone, the fact that God loves them doesn't necessarily matter much any more.

We have dropped that particular phrase more often than not from our own opening greetings with people who specifically want to talk to us about their depression issues. When talking about God gets going, we are now more likely to talk about God having a purpose for their lives because he loves them and so, what are THEY going to do about that? Yes, God loves them, but their life in God doesn't begin and end with what God has done to reach out to them. Christianity is an interactive faith. God's love provides a basis for action, for discovering life purposes that call for his followers to share that love by helping others....actions that take some focus off our own despair and start us down a path to joyfully helping people in even greater need than ourselves.

The outworkings of  the discovery that God's love gives us purpose and life direction that can help us deal more effectively with our own problems in the process can be complicated, they can take time to break through our depression and sense of meaninglessness, but they are worth exploring. Life can and does have meaning and purpose when it is centered around the kingdom of our loving Heavenly Father.

Sad News....Sigh

Last evening we received terrible news from a former parishioner. Apparently last Sunday morning, while his grandmother was attending the parish council meeting my husband was chairing and I was enjoying lunch and fellowship with the rest of the congregation, a young man who lived a block away from the church, right next door to his grandmother in fact, tried to commit suicide. Unfortunately he was successful in his attempt. He was only 24 years old.

When the young man's father realized his son's locked bedroom door and lack of verbal response to his queries could indicate a problem, he ran next door to get grandpa and together they kicked open the locked door. The young man still had a pulse at that time, but paramedics were unable to save him. He died enroute to hospital.

We are reeling over the death of this very popular and successful fellow. He had just received a promotion at work. He seemed to have everything to live for. He was his grandfather's best buddy. They camped and hunted and fished together. We are concerned for his much younger sister.

This family has all ready experienced many other personal tragedies. This is the latest in a long list. Please pray for the family of CD. His young sister has all ready survived more trauma in her young life than I have in mine. His mother and grandparents have all ready been to hell and back.

Some of the loveliest people seem to have to carry some of the heaviest burdens. They have exhibited amazing grace and ongoing concern and kindness to those around them when they could be very bitter. Please pray this dear family can continue to hang onto the faith in God that has previously sustained them. Thank you for your prayers for them.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Speaking of Confessions.......

.....my husband just this minute confessed to me in an embarrassed whisper that "I kind of like living in hotels" ......blush........

My rugged, outdoors, he-man, bivouacing, mountaineering husband is happily conceding in his old age that the comforts of hotel living are a little bit of the okay! Apparently he could see us living in some kind of elderly long term stay hotel ala Fawlty Towers after he retires. This is news to me and I think it is hilarious!

Snicker......

A Swing and a Hit: McDonald's Asian Salad Bowl! Who'd A-Thunk It?

I have just finished eating a take out salad from, of all places, McDonald's. it was quite delicious.

Gourmet? No.
Tasty and fresh? Absolutely!

There was enough salad in the bowl for two people.

Ingredients: kale, lettuce, edamame, shredded carrot, purple onion rings, red pepper strips, and on the side a small packet of roasted cashews and one containing a soy based dressing. I used less than half a pack of dressing and it was more than enough, plus I gave the cashews to my husband to reduce my fats.

I admit I only bought my lunch there because my husband purchased a bento box of freshly made sushi rolls and enarisushi from Nakagama's wonderful Japanese store for his own lunch and since I can't eat sushi much any more, I chose the closest take out fast food restaurant in the area...and grudgingly at that.....so we could get back to the hotel in time for my proscribed lunchtime. Okay, I wasn't just grudging....I felt ripped off having to eat anything from a burger "joint" instead of being able to eat such delicious sushi prepared by Mrs. Nakagama herself. I was so teed off I slammed the car door on my way into the outlet. (Remember, confession is supposed to be a good thing, right? hohoho....)

We spent a LOT of money in Nakagama's tiny but incredibly well stocked store. Various teas, senbei crackers, yuzu extract, shoyu sauces, matcha cookies, soba noodles and other delicious foods seemed to leap of their own accord into our shopping basket. I also purchased a most wonderful large carry bag that has a zipper to close it at the top. The reason I don't use most of the cloth and plasticized tote style bags presently in our home is because they are wide open at the top and things inside fall out so easily. This bag is also slightly insulated to keep foods warm or cold. Love it!

My husband tried one of his new teas at lunch here at our hotel. It is so good we are actually returning to Nakagama's this afternoon for another package. hahahaha The insulated bags are inexpensive and would make good gifts so I may pick up another one or two. I love the teensy matcha cookies. Each one is the width of the nail on my index finger. They are packaged in a tube and the packaging is as cute as the cookies! I suspect another tube of those may be required!

Time to exercise my lunch off while my husband does some writing, then back to the Japanese store!

Finally: a WiFi Connection!

We discovered the internet connection problem we experienced during our time  in Calgary is due to the fact that my parents' facility disconnected from WiFi several months ago. Yup, that would explain it all right.....hahaha.

Yesterday we drove to our hotel in Lethbridge that has the expected connection. What a relief! While taking a break from blogging and emails for a few days is a good thing, it was also frustrating. I received several ecards for my birthday I wasn't able to open until late last evening. Arranging a visit with a former pastor of ours who now lives in a nursing home was incredibly difficult because we had to make the arrangements through email contact with his daughter. With no WiFi available and only sporadic connection using a cell phone as a hot spot, we nearly missed our chance for that great and encouraging visit. It was crazy, but eventually it all worked out.

Our Greek dinner and the fun/frustration we had with our waitress that first night in Calgary rather set the tone for our time in that city. hahahaha The dear girl arrived with our drinks nearly ten minutes after we ordered them, then went M.I.A. for another fifteen minutes before returning to take our orders, at which time we barely verbalized our requests before she cheerfully snatched the menus from our hands and loped off in the general direction of the kitchen without asking us which side orders we wanted. We wondered if both of us had misread the menus. Perhaps we were mixed up as to which entrees included sides. Another ten minutes passed. Then our waitress came back to ask us if we wanted fries, mashed or stuffed potatoes, or perhaps rice. We told her we would have rice. About five minutes later she returned to see if we preferred soup or salad. My husband ordered soup and I said I would have salad. She vanished immediately and I had not yet specified which type of salad I wanted. A few minutes later she was back to let me know the chef was demanding to know my salad selection and how was she to know when I hadn't told her. Sigh....you would have been so proud of me: I bit my tongue until it bled, but I managed to choke out my desire for a horitaki salad and even slipped in a request for a refill on my drink before she skipped off once again. Fortunately  the meal turned out to be worth the 45 minute wait AND we were never bored in the interim because we took bets against each other as to when the girl would next appear and what questions she would have for us. It was hilarious!

The visits and parental chores went as well as could be expected with two ninety year olds in various stages of declining health. Dad is much perkier mentally after suffering through the morphine withdrawal, but has now developed a problem with his sleeping pill, so was antsy the entire visit due to lack of sleep. Mom is still trapped by her own inability to stand up to his bullying and so is missing chances to go out and keep herself sane. Unfortunately with the increase in mental alertness, Dad has also regained the strength to give himself anger when Mom wants or needs to go out without him. I had zero time alone with her in five days. Just like old times....There is nothing I can do about it, but it infuriates me. Now that we are no longer there, I can let it go and concentrate on finally TRULY being on holidays!

Having our son there was spectacular. He is patience personified when dealing with his grandparents. I expected I would be as teary and upset about his move south as my parents are, but I have total peace that he is attempting exactly the right move. We dropped him off at the airport yesterday feeling almost as excited about it all as he is himself. Gotta be a "God thang"!!!

During our final evening there a frightening and amazing wind and rain storm blew into the area. We had a wonderful view of it from my parents' living room window. It was a huge system. Here in Lethbridge the same system caused a great deal of damage. In the aftermath of that storm the winds are even stronger than usual. We fought to keep the car on the road most of the way here, but still enjoyed the sunshine and clear skies.

After checking into our hotel, we had a delicious Caesar Chavez salad at Coulee Brewing, then drove on to Taber to see old friends we had not seen in over seven years. It was such fun catching up! This seems to be a time of reconnecting with Alberta friends. I don't remember the last time I was this happy!  It is a completely different culture here. It is MY culture. I understand the people and they understand me. I needed this reconnection desperately. More old friends to visit over the next three days. YES!! Let's hear it for holidays! YAY!


Monday, June 5, 2017

A Swing and a Miss

We left Kindersley at 9am and headed for Calgary.

We left Kindersley at 10am and headed for Calgary.

Huh???

Yes, both statements are true.

How could that be? You well may ask. It "be" because at 9:30am, when we were nearly as far west as Flaxcomb, my husband discovered his reading glasses were not in his vest pocket, they were not in his briefcase, they were not in his suitcase, they were not in his pants pocket, they were not in the glove compartment. They were not anywhere on his person nor in our vehicle.

And where were they? You well may ask. They were back in Kindersley sitting on the overhead bath rack back in our hotel room. Big fricking sigh......

At 9:35am we were on our way back east to Kindersley to pick up his glasses and at 10am we drove out of the motel parking lot for our second attempt at a drive to Calgary.

Mystery (s) solved!

The next two hours of driving through teeming rain and car twisting wind gusts were otherwise uneventful. They were also educational: we learned how much extra gasoline our vehicle can burn when batting the aforementioned conditions!

We stopped in Drumheller for lunch at what is now no longer our favourite Irish pub! Thirty-five minutes and several gag inducing mouthfuls of stale, soggy, tasteless, dressing drenched Caesar salad and rubbery water chilled chicken bits later, we were once again on our way to Calgary, but in much better weather!

We eventually got all the "survival gear" moved from car to guest room and had a short visit with my visibly failing parents, sigh, then went to the area Lebanese grocery while my parents ate their dinner in the dining room as usual. It is becoming too difficult for them to go out for dinner at this point in time.

Next we stopped at a small Greek restaurant we used to eat at decades ago. The present owners have spruced the place up, but ordering and receiving our meal was a challenge we were not expecting!

More on that after a night's sleep......

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Summer Heat

Today was a happy day! We had a great sleep last night in our cute old hotel, so woke up ready for anything.

Church with our former parishioners was a lot of fun! We felt missed and loved. It was quite lovely. The temperature soared to almost +34C, but the church, stores, motel room and restaurant where a dear couple of friends took us for dinner tonight all had air conditioning so we were comfy all day long.

I am chuckling at my dear husband who flatly refuses to shop at WalMart ever!!!, and who today wandered over there with me, in the absence of any other open retail venues, and bought what seemed to be half the stock in the store! It was hilarious! Crammed into the all ready overcrowded storage in our car are: a towel bar, the style of which he looked for all over Regina for several days last month and could not find, (he should have looked in our local WalMart, right? teehee), the exact two pound weight our own Canadian Tire store has had out of stock for the past six weeks and is not carried by any of our local WalMarts, (I know because I looked!), bags of potato chips, Merci chocolates, snicker doodles, plastic cereal bowls to replace the ones he forgot at home this trip, (twice as many in fact than we will ever need to use on any trip!), computer cables and cords, and bags of men's underwear! I am killing myself laughing as I am writing this. My idealist anti-WalMart husband finally entered one in desperation for some entertainment and went buying spree crazy!! hahahaha hahahaha!!!!!!! Love. It.

The rain which will decorate the remainder of our journey is about to begin....rainy season on the prairies.....true to form. Glad we checked the long term forecasts so rigorously before leaving home, relieving our suitcases of our shorts and tee shirts and repacking them with light, full length jeans and proper, sturdy cotton shirts. Our outerwear rain gear is packed in the back seat of the car all ready for wearing as soon as we need it.

My husband's holiday begins officially in the morning....waiting to actually start after he sends in a report to the Bishop before the Bishop flies out the following day to a conference in Africa....oh, and some insurance info that needs to be emailed right away for a priest on medical leave....oh, and one more work related email that MUST be sent out immediately as well.   Sigh.... My plan to get to Calgary by noon tomorrow has completely collapsed! News to those of you who know us well....right??? hahahaha

So, onward and westward after hopefully a second good night's sleep. Or not...... There are NO dogs permitted on the premises here and the fine for any guest found harbouring one of the yapping, slobbering creatures is astronomical! I suspect that is because the manager, who lives onsite just down the hall from our room, has the yappiest, slobberingest, nastiest little dog on the planet harboured in his very own suite and wants to avoid the possibility of dog wars erupting around here. As long as said yappy slobberer doesn't make a similar ruckus overnight tonight as it made ALL afternoon today, preventing my shopping exhausted husband from getting his nap, all will be well overnight!

Cute Little Old Motel

I am currently ensconced in my ancient motel in Kindersley SK. The mattress is a bit too soft, but that is my only disappointment in the Arbor Ridge. Yes, it is old, a two storey stacker with a very narrow inside hallway connecting all the rooms to a swimming pool that is not in use this weekend as we are the only guests booked in, but the whole place has recently been remodelled. The paint is fresh, the bedding new and crisp, the carpet plush with pile still standing high. None of the local hotels include a complementary continental breakfast and we bring our own anyway.

I remember this place from when we lived here and drove past it nearly daily on outings. At the time it was painted an old fashioned white and turquoise and the upper balcony and step railings were so covered in hanging pots of flowers all I could wonder was how many guests were rushed to hospital with bee stings each summer. It looked like a remnant from the 1950's, the sort of place I would have stayed in with my parents as a small child. Now the exterior was been redone in earthy tones of brown, silver and black, quite modern.

Despite the economic downturn here that has left most of the hotels and motels with so few guests, (when we lived here there were so many road, rail and oilfield crews all rooms had to be booked three to twelve months in advance), prices here remain high. I admit we booked this place because it was the least expensive to save the diocesan travel budget a few dollars, yet it still costs more than a basic room with no hairdryer or iron should cost. The other so called budget hotels do have those amenities but the idea of paying another thirty to fifty dollars a night just to have them is appalling to me. Our current room is huge, with a massive tv screen, two desks, excellent wifi service, green towels instead of the stain showing white ones other hotels use and the owner offered to put us in a room at the back away from the highway traffic before we had a chance to ask. There is a new air conditioner, new windows with sliders and screens. The parking lot has been repaved. Yes, for a truly budget motel, this one is quite acceptable for a two night stay.

On the way into town we discovered the Extra Foods at one end of the aging mall that closed out some time ago has not yet been replaced by the promised No Frills, the Home Hardware seems to be the only large store left there, although I will check that out on Monday morning, and the liquor store will close as soon as the new Sobey's is completed as it will take over the local liquor supply. What a dumb decision on the part of SLGA to close one of the most lucrative rural stores with the widest selection of product. Duh! The manager there, Bonnie, is second to none and they are losing her.

With no big chain grocery left here, there is only the short stocked, teensy WalMart grocery section available for purchasing any groceries on Saturday evenings and Sundays. Not great. I am not certain I even want to drive down Main Street to see how many retailers have closed out there. Poor Kindersley appears at first glance to be dying a slow and painful death. We will see what the congregants at church this morning have to tell us about what has been going on economically since we moved away.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

O Glorious Day!!

The sun is shining, the wind is blowing the mosquitos around, I have shovelled up yesterday afternoon's dump of goose poop along the path to the car, I am almost completely packed up for travelling and now it is time to shower and dress.  Then I will have to get myself to relax while waiting for my husband to get home this afternoon from his meeting and help him cram the seemingly endless amount of gift boxes, suitcases, briefcases and food coolers into the car.  How can two people who are travelling for LESS than 2 weeks possibly require this much "stuff"?????

Since we are not on holidays until Monday and are spending the weekend at a parish in distress, my husband has to drag along his clergy clothing bag stuffed with albs and stoles and what have you. Since we are both on special diets we are taking a large food box and a cooler, packed tightly with breakfast and snack foods.  We are taking our lovely picnic pack of dishes and cutlery so we can eat breakfast in hotel rooms that do not have any dishes provided. We have 2 large stuff bags filled with bedding and camp mattresses to accommodate my husband's need to sleep on the floor and to make sure our son has bedding when he arrives in Calgary to stay with us in my parents' facility guest room.  We discovered the last time he joined us there that there is apparently no extra bedding or pillows or mattresses to be found around the place and my parents have pared down their own linens to the bare necessities. Since we want to keep ourselves from going completely insane during rest times we have a box with laptops, cell phones, ipads and their chargers.  My husband has his duffel bag of clothes. I have my suitcase jammed full of clothes because I can never decide ahead of time what will be comfortable to wear on any given day and I want choices!! I have a large tote purse arrangement for my hygiene items, books and extra footwear.  I have a bag with my raincoat and hiking boots stuffed into it because there appears to be a tremendous amount of rain forecast in Calgary during our visit.  Who knows what else either of us will come up with between now and later today that we absolutely "need" to take with us? Sigh.....

O how well I remember the days when I could simply grab a couple of changes of clothes, deodorant, toothbrush and paste, a hairbrush and a novel to read, toss them all in a small back pack and hit the road for a few weeks.  WHAT CHANGED????  Why do I need all this stuff now????  I guess the older I get the more I need to feel comfortable all the time.  Sigh.......

So soon my husband and I will be doing what we do best:  road tripping!!  The joy of this trip is that it is so broken up.  The day we drive home will be our longest drive and that will only be about six hours. All the other travel days we are driving between 3 and 4 hours a day...how perfect is that??

Well, we may not be going anywhere particularly wonderful this year, but at least we are going somewhere!!  I am feeling more excited this morning than I have been so far. Things are looking up! 

ROAD TRIP!!!  YAY!!!!!!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Surprise in the Skies!

I am sitting here looking out the window to the west and looking at a perfect chinook arch cloud formation.....wha'????  In Saskatchewan???  In the spring????  

It just kind of startled me because I am used to seeing them to the west of Calgary in the winter.  Seeing that formation there means that the winds are about to start howling and the outside temperatures are going to rise about 30 degrees in 30 minutes and the area is getting a huge break from freezing temperatures for 2 or 3 days.  I wonder what that formation means on the prairies in early June?  Perhaps it is some kind of fluky formation that is imitating a chinook arch but means very little to nothing in terms of our weather.  I don't know enough about it, obviously, to say.  Just looking at that arch certainly brings back wonderful memories of a past life.  

Thank you lovely, lovely clouds!

Allergies...90 Minutes of My Morning I Will Not Get Back!

I am over my last night's blues about our vacation travels and had great plans to spend this morning getting the last of my ironing completed and my suitcase packing planned out in my head so I can pack up quickly tomorrow.

Unfortunately I had a bit of a setback time-wise.  I woke up a couple of mornings ago with a teeny patch of contact skin allergy on the wrist that rests on my rather elderly computer mousepad.  I decided to change the pad, stop resting my wrist on it and not bother getting any assistance with the allergy because not letting that wrist rest on a mousepad should clear it up, easy peasy...right?

Nope!

When I woke up this morning it had spread across my wrist and is now tracking up over the palm of my hand.  There was a big open scratch running across the worst of the redness so I knew it must have been itchy overnight.  

Drat!


So, off I dutifully walked to the clinic, arriving in time for the 8am opening.  Blessedly there was only 1 lady there ahead of me so I only had to wait about 20 minutes for the doctor to arrive and diagnose the exact contact allergy I suspected.  It is not my first time at this particular rodeo.

Sigh....

Fortunately my  pharmacy is right next door to the clinic and within seconds my prescription had been faxxed over.  I only had to wait 20 minutes for the cortisone cream to be prepared and bagged and I spent that 20 minutes tracking down a few sales on personal items I want to take along on holidays. 

By the time I walked home again I was a good 90 minutes behind schedule.  So, instead of hauling out my suitcase and getting right to it, I procrastinated by reading several online newspapers that didn't need to be read, giving my allergy rash a good covering of cream, checking emails, now blogging and generally doing nothing useful whatsoever toward getting ready to leave tomorrow.


Aaaargh!

I am too easily distracted.......

As usual, the week prior to holidays is filled with the onset of rarely experienced allergies, assorted aches and pains I never experience any other time, working in lab tests between trips and spending most of my travel days calling home for messages to see if my results are in and if I need to see the doctor as soon as I return.  

Every blessed year..........

Guess it is good to have a few things in life that never seem to change.  Right?

Nooooooo...............not these sorts of things!!
 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Today It Finally Hit Me......

...that we are not going anywhere very interesting this year for our holiday time. 

Sigh........

Yes, it will be wonderful to see all the family and a few friends.  I am so looking forward to that part of the holiday. However, being limited to the "same old, same old" towns and cities in Alberta as our travel destinations is not at all exciting, particularly since we will be sitting around at home and doing home related work projects in between trips.  There will be no ocean view this year, no fern forests, no exceptional ethnic restaurants, no speedboats and ferries, no laid back walks along the beach......

I crave visual scenic splendor the way an addict craves her next fix.  I found it so very diffcult after we left beautiful Japan to be back in rural Alberta. It bothered me for nearly two years after we got home.  We had a few months' break on Vancouver Island not long after we arrived back in Canada and I cried leaving there almost as much as I did when we left Tokyo.  I cry every year on the plane back from Vancouver after our annual holiday there, because we are returning to what is to me, the visual wasteland of Saskatchewan.  

I don't know why I am like this.  I grew up in Calgary, for heaven's sake.  Other than the mountain view in the west, and mountains are not my favourite scenery either, there wasn't a lot to recommend the place visually...more than here, but still there is not the lushness of the flora in a coastal city. 

This year I am not getting my annual ocean "fix" and it is bothering me.  Maybe my husband can eke out a few days off in middle autumn for a quick flight out that way.  I could go by myself well enough as I know the city and know where I would most enjoy visiting and staying, but going with my husband is half the fun because he is so laid back and relaxed when we are there.

Anyway, I know for sure we will have a good time this year in Alberta.  I am just feeling kind of blue tonight because things are different this year, a change has happened what with my son moving and my parents being more needy than they have been, necessitating more time with them.  

I will miss spending time at the coast this month, but I am not going to let that spoil the travels we do have! 

Guess I better shut down this machine and get to bed.  There is a heck of a lightning storm happening so I want to shut down the computer before the weather shuts it down for me!