Sunday, July 23, 2017

Glad To Have My Husband Home Again

My husband arrived home at 7pm yesterday.  Despite a breakdown of the Bishop's bicycle that required a lot of effort, time, stress and phone calls in order to get his other bike brought out from Regina so he could continue his journey, my husband came home in a jolly mood.  Having such a fun work assignment out of the office really perked him up.  He got to be out of doors a good deal over the 3 days and came home with a deep tan.  

Unexpectedly, at all their overnight stops, parishioners had arranged billets, 3 "squares" a day and all manner of invitations to other people in the towns to come to the evening jamborees.  My husband didn't get to camp out, or even to lay his sleeping bag out on a church hall floor to have some quiet time alone.  He had to be "on" the entire 3 days.  hahaha  He absolutely loved it! hahaha  Working as many hours as he does has blinded him to the fact that he is often lonely when is away from work. He doesn't have the energy left to pursue some of his fledgling friendships here.  We talked about it last night and he is going to follow my lead in picking up the papers and going online to see what is happening in this city and picking some things to do.  He knows enough other fellows he could invite to go with him to various events if he just picks up the phone and gives them an invitation.  We are both guilty of moldering around in this place on times off and then feeling like we haven't done anything interesting.  It seems our energies for people and activities are being restored.  YES!

Unfortunately the Regina Philharmonic concert outdoors at Motherwell Homestead is happening on the very August Saturday my husband will be unpacking from youth camp and getting ready to leave on the canoe trip the next day.  We were hoping to invite our Egyptian friends to attend that with us as they love classical music and their boys would have such fun racing around on the grounds prior to the concert.  Well, maybe next year..........

It appears we all ready have a billet for the baptismal service in August at a former parish and the whole weekend looks like it is going to go well.  There are many things coming up my husband is looking forward to and that will carry him through the workload for the next year.  It is so nice to see him so cheery and encouraged these days.  He has finally started to relax into his job and is enjoying it more than any job he has ever had despite the pressures and the seeming impossibility of ever accomplishing all that needs to be done  in order to get caught up in areas that have been overlooked for the past 30 years.  He relishes the excitement that comes when a problem is solved, when paperwork is caught up and when he gets chances to teach and to travel.  Looks like another trip to Africa MAY be in the offing so am looking forward to getting more details on that.  The annual national Executive ArchDeacons conference is in Vancouver this fall I think.  That will be nice for him. Even though our son no longer lives there I am considering going along to do some touring on my own while my husband is in meetings.  I do love Vancouver and it would be a nice break away. Something to think about anyway.

I woke up just after 6am as seems to now be my usual time for a slow wake up and then breakfast by 7am.  My poor body was quite out of meal sync on holidays and I feel like it has finally recovered.  Guess that means I am awake in time to attend church this morning. The Lutheran congregation will be in charge today so it will be interesting to participate in their worship for a change of pace.  Last week was the United Church and next week it will be our Anglicans' turn again. 

Another hot day is on the way, but then the temperature is supposed to drop to the high and middle +20'sC.  Another week with no rain forecast.......the crops are in big trouble and larger garderns have wilting plants.  We are into quite a drought here, although that has not been made official yet.  If we don't get rain in the next two weeks it will be. Well, for me one advantage is that my basement is dry, no leaking, no flooding, no "seepage" as our lease calls it, hahaha. "Seepage"??? If only! hahaha

Saturday, July 22, 2017

A Serendipitous Day...At Both Events!! YAY!!

Today is speeding past in a blur of fun!  Although I slept in, I was able to get to the Farmers' Market while there were still lots of items available.  I did learn though that if I want to purchase any of the diabetic baking items I need to be there as soon as the market opens up!  One fellow who specializes in such things is new to the market this week and was sold out in less than an hour! He was shocked! So, NEXT Saturday I will be there as soon as the canvas rolls up on his booth and one other that also sells good treats for diabetics!

I purchased some lovely yellow beans...WHY AREN'T THEY SOLD IN STORES ANY MORE OTHER THAN THE SOGGY, TASTELESS ONES IN CANS??  I purchased lovely fresh dill, arugula and spinach, snap peas, fresh saskatoons and a giant, hugely expensive treat for myself: a bottle of gin from Saskatoon's Black Fox distillery. This particular gin won the award for best cask gin at the 2017 gin competion in London, England.  I decided if my husband can go canoeing with his friends for an entire week while I am here in town, I can have a treat too! teehee  Really looking forward to trying it.

Since the market is close to Cornwall Centre and I had some time to waste before the Carifest Parade, I waltzed into the Bay to look around again and found the most amazing, wonderful bargain: a beautiful Halston, deep peach, cotton knit summer dress that I have seen in the Bay several times over the past few months. So lovely...too expensive...not really a necessity...but I confess I tried it on once and then wished I hadn't because the temptation to purchase nearly overwhelmed me.  So, there it was, the last one left hanging alone, looking abandoned on a bar rack in the middle of an aisle. I couldn't resist looking at it again...the last one...and in my size....why o why did it have to be in my size, right??  BUT THEN I LOOKED AT THE PRICE TAG and GUESS WHAT????  It was marked down to $23!  Only TWENTY-THREE DOLLARS!!! I sit here at my computer all freshly showered, three guesses what I am wearing, first two don't count!  Oooh, I feel so elegant.  It is ankle length with a slightly shorter scoop hem in the front and is so soft and comfy and pretty.  I wish everything I wear could be so simple and elegant and soft.  Thank you Lord for the special presents to myself today!  Take that canoe trip! Take that!! hahahaha

I found a friend from our community choir helping her mom run a booth and so we had a great chat in between her serving customers. That was a nice treat. While we were talking another choir friend came by.  It is so wonderful to finally have lived here long enough to meet people I know at public events.

The weather today was perfect for outdoor shopping: our high today is only +24C and there is a nice breeze to keep the heat of the sun at bay.  Perfect day for wandering about the outdoor market.

I took time to drive home to put the produce away before heading out to the Carifest Parade.  I decided to park about 8 blocks away beside the home of a friend. She lives on a quiet crescent and I knew there would be few people seeking parking that far from the parade.  She was out in her yard when I drove up so we chatted over the fence. It turned out she had an appointment farther along the same street I was going to be walking to for the parade so we walked up together and had a nice visit.  That was an unexpected bit of fun.  Then after I picked my viewing spot, another friend, one from the Caribbean, came past me with a visiting friend of hers and the three of us had a great chat that ended up in us making dinner plans for later this month.  

These little chance meetings are what made the whole parade venture worth the drive and the long walk. hahaha  O my...either the Caribbean community here is extremely small or else a lot of them were not involved in the parade today.  The little parade took less than 45 seconds to go past me and consisted of one small anti-racism float, 2 groups of lackadaisical teens who were wandering willy-nilly around the street in their costumes instead of dancing with their instructor, so there was a lot of hollering from her as she tried to corral them and convince them to get with the programme, a truck pulling a trailer bed with a DJ system blaring out the tunes, two cars with sun rooves that featured a few kids' heads with elaborate headdresses sticking out of them, 2 cars with Caribbean flags on their license plates, (one with a tiny screaming, sobbing girl pummelling her dad as he drove along looking resigned to his fate), and 3 3/4 ton trucks bearing the flag of Uganda....Uganda?? At the Carifest parade?  Must try to find out more about that tie in...obviously something there I am ignorant of.

So, that was it. Put a police car escort in front of and behind this group of cars and stragglers and that was the parade.  It left me a bit speechless at the time.  Those of us standing on the same corner watching waited a good 5 minutes before we realized that had been the entire parade.  Hopefully the rest of the Caribbean community volunteers are over at the park by the Legislative buildings where there is supposed to be a selection of Caribbean foods, music, dances and other cultural activities going on until 9pm.  I hope there is a good turnout of people there to support it. Attendance at the parade was a bit spotty, but there were still 4 times as many watchers as there were actual participants. hahaha  Very cute...very Saskatchewan....hahahaha.

It has been a great way to spend my day as I wait for my husband to get home from his pace car driving!

Well, better go and get those yellow beans ready for cooking for dinner tonight.  I want to rebag the herbs as well so they don't get soft and droopy. The absence of freshly grown herbs out here is the bane of my cooking existence.  It is understandable of course that such things are rarely available in our climate, but I can't believe there aren't more green houses growing and selling them. Too much work for too little return I am guessing. But today I am not focusing on that, I am focusing on how delicious our meals are going to be for the next few days...I am all ready drooling over the lemon and dill oven roasted potatoes I am going to add into our dinner tonight!

Decisions, Decisions.........

Tomorrow morning I have a decision to make: do I hike off to the downtown Farmer's Market for 9:30am or trek off in a different direction to take in the Carifest parade through the Cathedral district at 11am? OR do I do both?  

There is certainly time for both things.  I can easily get to the Market for a gawp around at the wares there and then head farther west for the parade of beautiful Caribbean costumes and wonderful music and make it home in time for lunch if I eat a late breakfast.  

Hmmmm...wonder what I will end up doing.....

Why do I suspect I will end up sleeping in and/or putzing around here until it is too late to attend either event?  Sigh.... I know myself too well.........

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Non-Liquidation Priced Liquidation Sale

I had a great walk today up to Cornwall Centre, doing errands along the way and enjoying the cooler, more overcast day.  I enjoyed my salad very much for lunch, so reasonably priced, so delicious, the chicken is always cooked perfectly at Zam's, not too salty...yeah....I love it!

I wandered the mall afterward, enjoying the Bay in particular as there were so few customers despite the excellent sales there this week.  I guess everyone was jammed into Sears trying to find amazing bargains, of which there are very few just yet.  The prices have not changed as everything was all ready 20-50% off before liquidation was even announced.  All that has changed is the amount of signage announcing the lower pricing.  I did stumble though into a wonderful buy for myself: underwear in my very odd size on clearance.  It is nearly impossible to find that exact size and even on the clearance table there wasn't a lot of product, so I just grabbed all of it. ALL. OF. IT!  If I die in 10 years or less it is quite likely I will be able to be buried in brand new, never before worn, undies!  hahahaha  What a serendipity pour moi!  By the time the actual liquidation prices take effect in the Cornwall Sears there will probably be little left of interest to anyone.

It was quite a bit warmer on the way home this afternoon so I took my sweet time, ambling along gazing at the traffic and into the stores along the route, cutting across lawns and boulevards throughout our complex, avoiding getting sprayed en route to the front door of my own suite. 

So, all morning on the phone with long distance calls before I left and another long distance call just as I got home. And now it is time for a rest! 

Not Quite Drenched This Time, Definitely Not As Mad!!

I have figured out the problem of getting from my car back across the lawn, through the maze of the underground sprinkler system to my back door when my arms are loaded with heavy things: I simply can't run quickly enough!  Hard as I tried this morning, the case of carbonated water tins I was carrying slowed me down just enough to catch the first spew of water as the hose head swung over in my direction just at the back steps.  hahaha BUT at least this time I only got a bit of water full in the face and only one arm got wet.  HUGE improvement over yesterday's soaking! 

The other difference today is that I am feeling well after a grand night of deep sleep and a slow awakening to a cooler morning.  So today I am giggling over getting hit with the hose water instead of freaking out.  Another happy addition to my morning is that my husband and I had a long phone chat as he sat in the pace vehicle along the road near Glidden waiting for the Bishop and his bicycle posse to catch up from Kindersley.  AND I had such a great visit with my out of town friend here yesterday, enjoying a cool drink and conversation in my own living room.  The little suite seems to brighten up considerably when we have company!

I am disappointed to discover that my days of eating any sort of prawns or katsuobushi (smoked bonita tuna flakes), at least as prepared and served in Japanese restaurants, seems to be over.  As much as I enjoyed the okonomiyaki at Sakura Sushi the other night, it turns out the fish in it gave me the same reaction as I had twice at Wann's and once at another Japanese restaurant here that shall remain nameless because the food is SO incredibly bad.  In every case I slept badly that night and awoke the next morning just in time to lose most of the previous evening's dinner. Yet another thing I can't eat any more.  Of course I shouldn't have prawns anyway for the sake of my cholesterol, but katsuobushi is such a staple of so many Japanese dishes that I am going to have to search long and hard to find Japanese foods I can eat now.  Curries are out because of the unbelievably high sodium content, dark miso has started to bother me, more than a quarter cup of rice or udon noodles is too much for the blood sugar, teriyaki and other sauces have too much sugar, the tempura dishes are too greasy in most places and I don't trust the processing and handling of some of the sashimi here partly because the wasabi is mixed with less heat, for the prairie palate I suppose, and isn't strong enough to kill parasites.  For the sake of my husband I am still going to go to Japanese restaurants with him at times, but will content myself with half a California roll and a sunomono salad (minus the handful of wee shrimp that usually adorn the rice noodles), or regular North American green salad.  I thrived on Japanese diet prior to developing all these crazy health issues so it is most difficult to have to give up 3/4 of it.

Today it is overcast and a bit cooler with a high forecast for only +28C.  The phone bill arrived yesterday so I am going to walk downtown to pay it, mail a parcel, treat myself to a chicken shawarma salad at Zam's and check out the first day of Sear's liquidation sale.  Doubt there will be anything left worth buying as they have been moving out and consolidating stock since the closure was announced a couple of weeks ago, but it will be fun to have a gawk about the place before I walk home again. Maybe tomorrow morning I will walk back that direction and take in the Farmer's Market for a change of pace.  My husband has to work next Tuesday so that will give me the whole day to clean here before my transition team meets here on the Wednesday evening.  Yay, no serious cleaning needs to be done tomorrow after all! YAYAYAYAY!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Happy For My Parents

Had the most encouraging chat with my parents today! Yesterday they were both well enough to ride the facility bus along with 25 other residents for a drive northwest of the city for shopping, lunch and a scenic view out at Pasu Sheep Farm. Unfortunately the view of the Rockies along the way was completely obscured by forest fire smoke, but no matter. They had a fantastic time! I can hardly believe my dad not only survived a more than two hour round trip drive and two hours at Pasu, but sounded perky and happy today, instead of miserably exhausted after yesterday's effort. Even a few months ago he wouldn't have been physically capable of it. Mom had the time of her life! She found a beautiful blouse in the gift shop. She was thrilled with the homemade lunch and became rather animated describing the ham and veggie filled baguette...."REAL ham, not that pressed garbage!" My mother hates deli pressed sandwich meat more than anyone I know. haha Dad was nearly in tears when it came time to go home. He feels so trapped in their facility since he had to stop driving. I think they are encouraged now to sign up for subsequent trips. I really hope so.

So Simple and So True!

"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are."
--Mary Jean Irion

Drenched and Mad as a Wet Hen!

Now that I am dried off I am less frustrated and angry than I was a few minutes ago when I arrived home from grocery shopping to discover it was impossible to enter my suite by either door without getting soaked to the skin by the hoses spewing water willy nilly everywhere.  There wasn't anyone around in the maintenance shop to ask if I could get the underground system shut off long enough to at least get my groceries into the suite through one door or another, so off I raced, water spraying all over me, to the back door as it was closest to the car park and meant I would only be sprayed by one hose instead of the three drenching my front door.  Sigh........

I admit my emotions are a tad close to the surface these days.  We have unexpectedly entered a period of incredible stress and confusion in a number of areas in our lives and once again even our immediate future may be somewhat uncertain.  I confess once I got my soaked self and my wet groceries, damp leather purse and sandals and dripping hair inside the suite I lost it completely and had a great screaming explosion at the absent maintenance staff, God, life in general and, I suppose, any neighbours within earshot. embarrassing!

Less than 3 hours of sleep didn't help the situation seem at all amusing either I am afraid.  Sigh.....

My level of frustration has reached a dangerous point.  At this moment I can honestly say I feel very tempted to hate on this place, on Regina, on Saskatchewan and its people, on my church denomination's state of affairs, on the weather and on life itself.  Grrrrrr!!! Blaaaaahhhhh!  Bleccccchhh!!! Poooooey!!! Pfffffffttttt!!!!  Aaaaargh!!

Oooh, my....there, that feels a LOT better!! What I love about blogging is that I can get my yaya' s out, confess my sin of unwarranted anger, get over it and keep moving on.  Just writing it down takes the edge off and I know that within the next hour as my clothes dry out sufficiently to put back on, I will be laughing about the entirely minor incident. I am starting to relax again and the temptation to be so over the top angry is receding almost as quickly as it appeared.  The depth of my anger rather startled me.  It is just water after all and my leather sandals and purse were dried off before even wiping and shelving the groceries.  

I suspect the fact that finding out earlier this week thatmy husband's job is not as stable and secure over the next four years as I thought it was really threw me off.  It left me worried, angry, fighting bitterness and not allowing my first thoughts to be ones of trusting God, excitement about a possible new adventure and a quick move toward prayer for both of those reactions.  O how quickly I forget the past and even the assistance of this present time from God. Just yesterday he did something amazing for us, yet today I lost it because I got water on me unexpectedly.  Silly human.........

Aaaah, that is just what I needed to do: remind myself where my faith and trust for life really the Lord and not in the things of this world.

Peace and calm are being restored.  Thank you family and friends for letting me vent, confess my uncalled for depth of anger when feeling a tad miffed would have been sufficient, and begin receiving back the serenity that generally follows me about in life.  

------10 minutes later------- 

I am just thinking what an hilarious sight the neighbours got to see when all that water hit me full force before I even got up on the back steps, hahahaha.  I can see it myself and it is pretty funny all right!  hahahaha  Yup, one little old lady getting hit full in the face with a giant arc of water that knocked her grocery bag right out of her hand and left her scrabbling about, unable to see through water covered glasses, finding the grocery bag just in time to be hit full force a second time.  hahahaha  So now I just wish I had a video of it.  It would have to be worth something on one of those blooper video shows, right? hahahahahahaha  O bless you blog and blog readers.  I am very much over it now. hahahahaha  Confession...yup, that is the key for me to get over unnecessary reactions to small discomforts!

Why Is It So Hard To Sleep When You Know You Have To Get Up Earlier Than Usual?

So, here it is, 2:15am and I am wide awake...WIDE AWAKE....sitting here posting another inane blog entry because there is nothing else to do at this time of the morning when I am trying to be quiet enough not to wake my husband and reading doesn't appeal to me.

I am awake because in the back of my mind I can't shake off that niggling bit of stress that accompanies the knowledge I have to wake up a half hour earlier than I usually wake up.  Only a half biggie...5:45am instead of 6:15am, so I can drive my husband to the office for 6:20am.  I, who rarely ever has to bother setting an alarm for morning wakeup as the joy of diabetes is having my body wake me up at about the same time every single day so it can be fed like an animal in the zoo, cannot sleep even with the alarm set to ring on time just because I know if we accidentally manage to sleep in and miss the time deadline my husband will be making a muck of today for his Bishop, not just for himself.  The fact that the chance of doing any such thing is slim to none is not helping me relax enough to sleep.  hahaha Why o why does this happen so consistently when we have to get up a wee bit earlier than usual to meet important deadlines?  

I have to help my husband load up his overnight gear and snacks and get him to the office early so he and the Bishop can leave for a 3 day jaunt away.  My husband is going to be driving the pace car for the first 3 days of the Bishop's cycling journey across the northern half of our diocese.  Last summer he cycled across the southern portion and since the diocese runs border to border across Saskatchewan, Alberta to Manitoba, and extends rather far to the north central portion of the province he wasn't able to do it all last summer.  The Bishop visits each parish along the route and performs Eucharist for the congregations, shares a meal and a visit and then goes on his way to the next place.  This summer's jaunt begins in Rosetown and over the next 3 days will also include Kerrobert, Kindersley, Eston, and Beechy. The idea is to encourage each parish, allow some of the local cyclists to join him for as much of the trip as they would like and promote a spirit of unity among the parishes and the diocese head office.  The guys are taking their camping gear for the overnights so the Bishop can test out his new tent and sleeping bag during this 10 day excursion in preparation for a cross Canada ride he is doing next summer.  My husband will drive the pace car for the first 3 days, then another member of the office staff will take over driving and my husband will come home Saturday evening.  He is very excited about this because he will be out of the office, camping, and away physically from many of the job stresses that are building in the planning and execution of this fall's provincial synod.  He will have time to sit in the car with his lap top and answer emails at various points along the route so will not feel behind on his office duties.  I am glad for him.

I am also happy for myself that a friend from out of town is coming to visit me this afternoon.  That sets a good precedent for the rest of my time alone here.  I have an errand to run this morning, tomorrow I will do some housework and Saturday I am going to go to the farmers' market downtown just for the fun of it.  I am going to treat myself to lunch out one of those days and I have come up with 2 other people to call to see if they are available to come over for tea.  

I am wondering if I am brave enough these days to take myself on a bit of a road trip later in August when my husband has back to back diocesan camping events.  I have a cousin and an auntie who live only about 5 hours from here and who I rarely get to see.  Possibly I will get brave enough to seriously consider going to visit if they are around at that time.  Saskatoon is half way to my destination. I could drive there for lunch and then go on to their place from there.  Maybe I will call my cousin today or tomorrow and see if something can be arranged around her schedule.  I feel a rather desperate need to get away somewhere that does not include a visit with my parents for once.  Usually when my husband is away for more than a few days at a time I end up stuck at home, often with few people around to visit as everyone seems to go away at the same time around here, but this time I would so much like to go somewhere too.  It is developing into a personal need this year. I should be able to handle 5 or so hours on the road with a break half way without falling asleep behind the wheel, as is my wont on road trips.  Yes, as I am talking it over with myself here I am getting more jazzed about the possibility.  Yes.....maybe this could work.....

Had an email conversation with our son last night.  He has discovered the joy of the New York City die for apparently. hahaha  His boss and kids took him to dinner last night, then they played some of the new video games that incorporate technologies never used in the games my son grew up with.  He is fascinated by them and had a lot of fun.  He is going to miss working for this fellow when the project ends later this summer.  Now, if his social security number will just be sent to him soon so he can start getting paid, that would be just swell!

Last evening we had a bit of a date.  We were both SO tired and grumpy by the time my husband got home from work that we couldn't face the same old same old around here.  We went to Sakura Sushi, on Scarth where the old Michi Sushi used to be.  It was a delicious little meal starting with delicious salads, plain for me and a sashimi tuna/avocado arrangement for my husband.  Then he had an entree of beef udon and I had a very tasty okonomiyaki...a Japanese fish pancake that looks like a dog's breakfast but tastes absolutely fantastic.  I haven't had one since the last one I ate in Nagoya as I haven't been to any Japanese restaurants in Canada that have them on the menu.  What a treat!  We shared a slice of yuzu flavoured cheesecake for dessert and that was a treat as well.  It really did taste like those tiny aromatic oranges.  Yum!  We deliberately parked the car far from the venue so we would have a bit of a walk after dinner. By the time we got home we were both feeling better and ready to get gear and snacks put together for my husband's pace car trek.

Well, finally, an hour later, I am getting sleepy enough to try lying down again.  YES! Here's to another couple of hours of sleep! It has been cooler the past two days, so the night times have been most pleasant for resting.  However we have another two days of +30C now.  Still no rain forecast over the next couple of weeks.  We are having a drought at this point and the crops are not thriving. Grasses in the city are turning brown and the tree leaves are turning yellow from the stress of no water.  

Okay woman, go back to bed....go, go, go.....sleep while you can!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

From the Blog of Pastor Randall Friesen

O God, gather me now.

O God, gather me now
to be with you
as you are with me.
Soothe my tiredness;
quiet my fretfulness;
curb my aimlessness;
relieve my compulsiveness;
let me be easy for a moment.

O Lord, release me
from the fears and guilts
which grip me so tightly;
from the expectations and opinions
which I so tightly grip,
that I may be open
to receiving what you give,
to risking something genuinely new,
to learning something refreshingly different.

O God, gather me
To be with you
as you are with me.

Ted Loder

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Jest a'Day Dreamin'.....

Today has been a day of receiving rather sad news from several different friends and their families: deaths and illnesses and job losses and what have you.  By noon I had heard so many tales of woe I took myself out for a 2 hour walk downtown to pay bills, pick up a few groceries and window shop.  Unfortunately, great as that walk was, the bad news continued to flow in between 6pm and 10pm.  So many hurting people to pray for.  I feel so blessed that a sore back from too much walking of late and a slight run in with one of my weights the other night are the only immediate "problems" in my little world.

My husband had a long work day today, 13 hours by the time all his meetings ended at 9pm.  He too had some unpleasant tasks to perform so I am glad I was around for him to download his troubles.  As we sat and visited afterward we started "pipe dreaming" about our holidays next year.  Apart from a near miracle of God, none of this will ever happen, but it is always fun to dream big, right?

Our goddaughter in Florida, who we have never met, is taking her first Communion next May.  It is such a big deal for her and her adoptive family.  She and her 4 other adopted siblings have overcome so much after being born to severely drug addicted birth moms.  Our dream is to be able to fly to Florida to attend the Communion and finally meet her, her siblings and her parents who we know strictly through years of being email pals.  Then we would fly to NYC to see our son for a few days, take the train tour up to the campus where he did his MFA a few years ago because it is gorgeous country, from there back to Ontario on the train and then fly home from Toronto.  An even bigger dream  has us driving the entire route, sightseeing, staying in great hotels, eating marvellous foods, seeing all the tourist attractions as well as the many hidden treasures in most cities that the tourists never find.

Our daydreams involve a lot of actual research for hotels, restaurants and amazing sights to see, pretend budgeting, pretend arrangements of all sorts along our pretend route, like bungee jumping and hang gliding and river cruises, canyon hikes and other fun things!  We haven't done this sort of pretend vacation planning for many years and I had forgotten how much fun it is.

On our pretend adventures, getting time off work is never a problem, there are infinite financial resources available to allow us to do everything we plan to do, few hotels are too expensive, few restaurants too hoity-toity to cater to our every gourmet meal pleasure AND I do not need expensive health insurance because I am so healthy for these pretend ventures. 

Why play video games about building pretend civilizations when you can do this sort of pretend planning in the real world and learn an awful lot of useful information in the process? Right? 

It has been a nice escape for us this evening after absorbing so much sad news from so many friends today.  Now it is time to go back into our "prayer closets" and pray once again for help and guidance and healing for those who are hurting.

Competing Theologies

I had a lively discussion recently with a close minister friend from another denomination, about some of the differences in our religious and philosophical philosophies.  My friend is part of a group that is seeking to eradicate all the substitutionary atonement language from its teachings, actually experiencing a visceral reaction to the very idea of any kind of blood sacrifice, who find the idea of a god who actually gets angry with his/her people for any reason an anathema and generally seem to have completely left the Christian faith for all intents and purposes, apart from a marvellous involvement in many issues of social justice I can certainly learn a lot from! Our friend is determined that Jesus died not for our sins, but because of them....the crucifixion being one of only political expediency that for some reason God Himself seemed powerless to stop.  I confess I am somewhat unclear as to why the idea of Jesus dying to shed blood to cover our sins to a Holy God is so difficult for my friend to grasp, but the equally fantastic idea of physical resurrection is not.  I want to talk more about it next time we get together.  The emphasis my friend and his group put on discovering the god within ourselves seems far more like Hinduism 101 to me, than any form of Christianity, progressive, emergent or otherwise.  Our friend seems determined to distance himself and his followers from any contact with an Old Testament God who had the gall to become angry when beings of his own creation disobeyed him to their peril and the peril of the world around them; to distance themselves at all costs from"rabid evangelicals who are more committed to intellectual points of doctrine than to acts of love."

My husband suggested I blog a bit of my own written response to our friend's ideas.  So, here it is, in part:

I guess I have never viewed God, even in the Old Testament, as being a particularly angry being, or at least I have only seen him (and I am using the universal "him" here as using him/her gets unwieldy) being angry with justification. As a heavenly parent it doesn't offend me as his child if he eventually has to resort to anger to regain my attention, or the attention of my church community or nation, to try to save us from further sad consequences of our own decisions to refuse to choose what is good and loving. When my son used to try to play in the traffic in front of our house and refused to listen to reason, my anger as expressed in yelling and withdrawal of privileges was a way  to try to  impress upon him the seriousness of possible dire consequences to himself and others. My punishment was an expression of love, even though at the time he didn't understand it and thought I was a terrible person. I guess I never before considered that Christians as created beings would think their creator never had right or reason to be angry. To me, if he didn't do everything possible to try to let us know we are in danger or creating danger for others, then I would see him as indifferent rather than loving.

A major factor in my decision to become a Christian was reading the Book of Job. I was tired of my own poor choices and their results. I was freaked out by the possibility of the Hindu notion of the god within because if what is within human beings is all there is to a god's expression of possibilities then I saw no point in living. I was looking for someone bigger and greater than humans, someone ultimately with the ultimate good of the universe in mind, and I found him in the God that confronted Job in the midst of Job's own apparently God-ordained sufferings and decided that, whether or not Job was an actual person or the book was simply an analogy regarding the characteristics of our creator, that was the gutsy, calling a spade a spade kind of God I could relate to. hahahaha 
It was the same when I read the stories about Jesus. The idea that he would willingly be the ultimate substitutionary atonement for an imperfect creation to be restored to harmony with a perfect creator (as defined by the creator's concept of perfect rather than my own) filled me and still does fill me with awe. The way he lived out the love of the father, yes, even in expressing anger at those leaders in the temple who were leading their followers astray, for their own good as well as for their followers, struck me very deeply.
I do not understand all the reasoning behind God's requirement of blood sacrifice. I find it repulsive to be honest. However, because I see God as being so vast and bringing ultimate justice, then if he thought these blood sacrifices were necessary for us to recognize the seriousness of his role as creator, then I accept it even though I cringe at the very idea. I am quite certain Jesus could have escaped his punishment at the hands of government authorities, or at least made a good attempt with the help of his followers. That he didn't even try, that he believed his life sacrifice was necessary for the sake of all his followers who were to come, still brings me to a place of awe.  I have accepted God's definition of love that is more than simply fuzzy good feelings and also contains elements that my human emotions are capable of taking great offense to, such as the idea that sometimes suffering results in a greater good.

So that is the gist of what we talked about.  This is a rather hackneyed account of the conversation and subsequent emails, but the discussion we had has certainly inspired me to at least try to discover more effective ways to talk to the people in some of our oldest, mainline churches that are starting to redirect their interpretations of the Bible and other Christian literature. It can be a discouragement or a challenge and I think I am getting more fired up to prepare myself to enjoy the challenge rather than run from the discouragment!
Obviously I need your prayers!  Bless you!!

Monday, July 17, 2017

With the Dulcet Tones of Leaking Hoses Lulling Me Into Oblivion.....

....I am heading off to bed after a very good day indeed!

The grounds crew here left work at 5pm with all the sprinklers in front of our building still running.  Water is pooling in the grass now that the hoses have been spewing it everywhere for the past 14 straight hours.  There is water flowing down the street in both directions, so every passing car is getting a drenching.  Hopefully as it pools it will NOT pool directly in front of some of the main cracks in our basement!  

The odor of the forest fire smoke dissipated about mid morning, returned briefly just after dinner and is now not the least bit noticeable. So, my asthma settled down quickly after that first exposure when I woke up this morning.  I was able to cruise around the city running errands and posting parcels before lunch with nary a gasp nor croak. What a huge blessing.

My husband accomplished a lot with his job today and in between those tasks took part of his day off to relax and watch boxing with me.  We went out for a most delicious dinner with some friends over at Wild Sage.  My 6oz. steak was perfectly medium rare and there wasn't any tough gristle anywhere on it.  O my, I wish I could cook a steak that well.  Our friends are a lot of fun to visit with and we spent a lot of time amusing each other with tales of crazy things our sons have done in their lives. haha

Since I had some dessert tonight, we decided to walk home from the restaurant.  With the temperature and wind conditions being perfect for me to go walking, we were home in less than half an hour.  I was able to pick up the pace this evening without worrying about heat exhaustion.  It was good for both of us.  My husband is supposed to be training for his canoe trip later in August but has been so involved with work he is far behind on the process.  

Yup, it has been a good day.  The office work my husband has done on both his days off this week are translating into another day off owed to him to add into the days he has all ready accumulated.  O how I am looking forward to those consecutive, if he can just be careful to remember when those days are going to be and get them marked on his calendar before that time gets filled up with work committments, we will both be very happy!

My husband is schedule to do a baptism in one of our former parishes in mid-August.  That is going to be a  LOT of fun!  I am looking forward to seeing those folk again and the little gal being baptized is such a sweetie.  She has been born into one wonderful family, that is for sure.  This is the kind of good news I love getting from church.

The Start of a New Day

This morning I woke up to much cooler temperatures, gasping for breath because the smoke from the BC forest fires blew into our city overnight, BUT I also woke up to this lovely prayer my friend sent to me.  I felt good after reading it, then praying it.  Hope you enjoy it as well:
Morning Blessing: May God Himself overwhelm you with His goodness and His grace. May He open doors NO man can close! May your steps be so ordered by the Lord that you’re always in the right place at the right time. May the power of the Holy Spirit compel you to live by faith, to take great risks, and to believe for GREAT things. May that same Holy Spirit constrain you to trust God’s timing, to obey Him when it doesn’t suit you, and to refuse to take matters into your own hands. He's a wonderful Father and you can trust Him. Shared from Susie Larson.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

'Bye 'Bye Horsies!

So tonight marked the end of the Calgary Rangeland Derby for another year.  As usual the Dash For Cash final heat was plagued by penalties and judging controversies, but it was still a fine race to watch.  I thoroughly enjoyed watching it on television, but every year I remember the "good old days" of knowing some of the cowboys through old family connections and being able to watch the races live from the infield instead of from the crowded public bleachers....good times, good memories......... My husband and I found it interesting that as we sat and looked at the night sky over Calgary we both felt like we were looking at "home", as if we had never left there all those years ago.

And now I eagerly await some cooler temperatures to arrive for the night.  Hopefully the forecast for +12C will hold true, but it is taking its sweet time coming down that direction!  It is nearly 10:30pm and we are still over +20C.  There is no way I will be falling asleep any time soon.  I have all the upstairs windows open wide and have taped the pulls for the blinds to the walls so they don't slap against the window frame during the night and wake me up.  Once I actually fall asleep I intend to remain in that state until the alarm wakes me up at 7:30am.

Today was a lot of fun.  We were greeters at the door this morning at church, along with some others from the other congregations that enjoyed our blended service.  It is always interesting to hear the differences in belief between the three groups as to who God and Christ and the Church really are.  As Anglicans, my husband and I are not really supposed to receive the elements of the Eucharist the way they were presented today, but our Bishop had a great idea: go ahead and receive it based on what it means to the presiding leadership, not based on what our own denomination believes it to represent.  That freed me up to take it with minimal spiritual reservations. My husband was so appalled at some of the things that were said in the service today that, although he went forward, instead of actually taking and consuming the elements, he simply made the sign of the cross and returned to his seat.  To each according to his or her own conscience. I had great peace about returning to my church family and received a warm welcome.  Whatever is going on there I sense that God is definitely working on something that I get to be a part of. Time will tell and in the meantime I am just going to get out of my own analytical head and enjoy the ride.

After church we joined a few members of the United Church congregation and their minister for lunch out at a nice restaurant.  It was a lot of fun getting to know some of them better. Since their minister is my husband's cousin and we have all been too busy to get together socially of late, it was fun to get caught up on personal and family news.  We dawdled over our meal, chatting and laughing, thoroughly enjoying ourselves.  It was an unexpected outing and that made it all the more fun.  I will definitely eat another garden side salad with an added chicken breast at Cravings Restaurant.  It is a pretty run of the mill sort of place, but the salad was fresh and clean and crisp. The chicken breast was huge and served on a separate plate which made it easier than trying to get it organized in the small salad bowl.  Although it was water chilled chicken, the chef knew how to prepare it properly so it actually retained the basic texture of chicken meat and didn't look, act or taste like pencil top erasers! YAY!

We enjoyed a quiet afternoon at home doing home chores, watching the Calgary Stampede final rodeo action and getting some emails written. I played a video game for a little while. Supper was a light meal of a few leftovers.  It was too hot to even consider cooking anything, even on the stove top.  One good thing about the heatwave is that our appetites are generally down.  The toaster oven and microwave have been getting a tremendous amount of use over the past couple of overly warm weeks.  

I was hoping for an email tonight from a friend in BC who was to become a grandmother today....hopefully there won't be too much longer to wait and all will go well for mamma and baby...and anxious grandma and grandpa! Such an exciting time for them all!

We spoke to our son on the phone again today.  It gives us such joy to hear the lilt in his voice as he describes his adventures in New York with such joy.  Some of the issues of settling into a new country could be much more upsetting to him than they are.  It seems he is finally turning a corner in getting past some of the horrible things that have happened to him in the past 4 or 5 years. He has so many friends where he is now, almost as many as he has in Vancouver, and it seems those friends are knocking themselves out helping him look for permanent work for September, keeping their eyes peeled for an even better place to live, helping him get the subway system figured out even better than he had in previous visits.  He has a great relationship with the local Hasidic butcher and is getting great deals on meat and now he has located a Chinese owned pet shop that has gotten him all kind of new plants for the aquarium plus some ideas of how to better assist 1-2-3 adjust to the afternoon heat that raises the temperature of his water a bit too high these days. The pet shop owners also own a tea shop a couple of doors away from the pet shop, so now he has a good source and selection of imported Asian teas to choose from.  

We have to set the alarm for my husband's day off tomorrow, since he has to work part of the morning and I am guessing it will translate into all of the morning.  He has to be in line at Service Canada when they open at 8:30am to get some information that is needed immediately regarding a sick leave/EI conflict for an employee.  He spent part of this afternoon with the Chancellor dealing with some legal issues and part of this evening helping the CFO with some problems.  It is all okay because this extra work time of late is translating into him penciling another 4 days off in a row very soon.  He is away an awful lot over the next 6 weeks so I am kind of at loose ends as making plans for myself has proven to be more difficult than anticipated.  O well.....

Well, I guess I will sit on top of my bed and read until the air temperature cools sufficiently for me to fall asleep.  Today made up for yesterday's confusion about what to do all day.  I DID get every last itsy bitsy piece of dried fruit out of the granola took me TWO HOURS!  There was a lot of fruit and much of it was cut into extremely tiny pieces.  Glad to have a task on a day that was too hot for going out anywhere meaningful.  Tomorrow evening is dinner out with friends at Wild Sage.  Really looking forward to our time together. 

Aaaahhhh, here comes the cooling evening wind!  It is flapping the blinds and drapes and blowing wonderful chilly air on me! Maybe I will get some sleep soon after all! YAY!! 


+35C At 4pm....

....I'm feelin' a tad warm......looking forward to a slightly cooler week to come!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Betwixt 'n' Between...Ugh!

I am having one of those very rare days when I am not sure what to do with myself, how to spend the next 12 hours of awake time.  It is a rare and most unwelcome occurrence!

It is 11:15am, another  hour and 45 minutes until I can eat lunch.  I have all ready had my morning walk to the grocery for a new phone card and some cereal, as well as to the post office to mail my parents an anniversary card.  I have driven up to the new Public Market in the former Sears Outlet space and found it a rather disappointing display of mostly jewellery, home knit dish cloths and towels, hair care products and cleaning solutions, with a side of local spice mixes and baking thrown in.  Nothing there to interest me.  One section specialized in antiques, but there wasn't anything there I need and I certainly do not need any of the old Playboy Magazines and related photos and drawings, some of which were beyond foul...blecch! I purchased a couple of tattered and very overpriced used books from the most crowded and filthy second hand book store you can ever imagine, but since it is one of only 2 used book venues in the city, well......

Now I am out of reasonable options. The housework and laundry are all caught up to date.  It is too hot outside to cook much of anything in the oven, plus I have lots of leftovers for lunch and dinner today.  

My husband suggested I spend some time just sitting still and reading a book, but I can't face that option.  Reading is what I do at bedtime when all other options for activity are pretty much exhausted for the day. I detest sitting around all day when I have energy and feel so well.  

There is certainly nothing on tv worth watching, although I did record a movie last week that I could watch while lifting a few weights after lunch.  Yes....I will do that.   AND....I just thought of something husband started making a big batch of granola the other day and after he was finished putting the mix together he realized he had unthinkingly put in the bits of fruit all ready, prior to cooking it in the oven.  It has been far too hot to be cooking batches of granola this past week, so it is all still sitting in its huge covered bowl.  I know what I will go and do right now: start separating the granola grains from the fruit bits. My husband will be delighted. It is just the tedious sort of task that matches up well with a hot, muggy day that precludes any more strenuous activities! PERFECT!

There...a plan for the next few hours of  the day. YES!!  I can stand up to sort granola instead of sitting down, I can lift weights while watching the movie.  That should take me happily and easily up until mid afternoon.  YES!!  Thank you blog for being available for me to sort out my thoughts and get ready for action!  Physical activity of any kind is what keeps my blood sugar in line and makes me feel motivated and happy.

Good News For Another Year!

My husband and his colleagues at the office are in the process of completing next year's budget and the good news is that there will be sufficient funding to keep him on next year!  YAY!!  Every summer, come budget negotiations, I hold my breath, but now it is safe to exhale once again.  I can relax now until next June when budgeting for 2019 begins.  Thank you Lord my husband can stay on at the office for another year!

You would think that after everything we have gone through with various forms of (un)employment over the past 40 years that we would be used to the uncertainties, but every year I feel somewhat uncomfortable at budget planning time, just wondering if this will be the year of mad scrambling about, seeking once again a new source of wage earnings for my (now retirement aged) husband. 

I do trust God to provide for us if the worst was to happen.  He always has.  The part I dread when a job ends, even when the end is expected, is how much hassle and stress may be involved until the next job appears.  We have never been left stranded financially, not ever, not even once, even when things looked as bleak as bleak can be. So, being able to manage if this position falls through before forced retirement 4 years from now, is not the concern.  The concern is always in the details such as having to find and move into a less expensive place, or considering a change of town and city once again.  Handling even temporary unemployment can be a time and energy consuming event!

We are seriously worried about friends who worked for Sears most of their lives, have been retired for some years and are now facing the possibility of losing the pensions they paid into all their working lives.  There is no way there will be a return to any kind of employment. Their ages and health issues preclude any such possibility.  Lord, can you please take care of them? They too have a strong faith in you, but they have not been through the kind of financial turmoil we have experienced for so much of our lives.  They don't have the kind of experiences of "supernatural" provision we have had.  The fear is as intense for them as it was for us when we started on this journey with you and they are facing this lesson in trust at a much MUCH older age than we were in the beginning. Lord, is there any way they can keep those pensions?  If there isn't, is there any way you can do something truly spectacular for them so they don't have to add constant fear of losing their homes and everything they have worked so hard for over the past decades?  This is my prayer for our friends. Help them to have a sense of trust, of peace, in knowing the mighty I AM has not forgotten them.  Thank you Lord, AMEN!

Thank You Teensy "Helicopters"!

The plethora of dragon flies here this summer has resulted in a wonderful control of the mosquito population!  To date I have only received three or four mosquito bites despite being outside walking so much of the time.  Going for a walk means being accompanied along most of any route by two or three dragon flies of various sizes.  It is like having body guards hovering about everywhere I go.  

When I was a kid we only ever saw real dragon flies, of the most giant variety, on trips into the mountains.  We never saw them in the city and I was properly terrified of them, to the point of tears, every time Dad got the idea to take Mom and I on short mountain hikes in around Revelstoke and Golden BC on our annual summer holidays. O how I dreaded being followed by huge insects that, to a frightened 5 year old, did indeed seem giant sized and helicopter-like. 

Now I have all manner of appreciation for them and the mosquito diets! Dragon flies, you are my friends!!

Friday, July 14, 2017

O Lord, What Kind of World Do We Live In?

I just read a newspaper article about how breast implants can save lives. I started to read it, expecting  some sort of medical breakthrough had been discovered, that implants contain some sort of material that somehow works with the human body to prevent cancer and other diseases, or that implants extend a woman's life into the twilight zone or magically prevent nuclear war....something worthy of an entire, headline article about the life saving quality of said implants.

However, I was in for a surprise! Guess how breast implants can save a woman's life. Go ahead and guess, I dare you!

A breast implant can save a woman's life because if she gets stabbed or shot in the chest, the cushion of the implant will slow the speed and penetration of the impact by as much as 8 cm, will actually change the trajectory of a bullet away from direct penetration at the point of entry.

The excitement of the writer of the article was intense. How bloody marvellous all this information is. Women now have a far greater chance of living through chest stabbings and bullet penetrations if they have implants.

While this is indeed good news on one level, on another level I admit the article left me gaping like a fish. I suppose this article has exposed my naivety about the number of North American women to who being stabbed and/or shot in the chest (or in any other part of their anatomy) is an expected possibility.

Wow.....guess I have learned more than what the article was telling me.  The writer's excitement over this information, the pure joy women with breast implants are expected to feel upon discovery of this well researched news, tells me this continent is even more unsafe for women than I all ready thought it was. Silly, silly me!!!

Since I live currently in a city with a high crime rate, perhaps an appointment with my own surgeon is in order? Aiiii yiiiii....

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Daily Whirlwind of Joy and Confusion and Sorrow

On the joyful side:  have so enjoyed tearing the suite apart and giving it a good cleaning.  Seeing something so lint and dust covered become clean and shiny again truly gives me joy. Bills are paid, including the final vacation tab...yay..., groceries fill the fridge and freezer and cupboards so we will be eating well for the rest of this month, my quarterly sales tax rebate arrived in the bank, my husband is enjoying being back in the thick of things at work and in ministry, our son started working in New York this week, my parents are feeling pretty well despite the heat in their city, our relative who had cancer has completed treatments and is now recovering from the exhaustion, I attended the first transition team meeting for my church and find myself the be chair of a committee of folk who seem to understand and respect each other, we have social plans made with several friends during the rest of this month and into the next.

On the confusing side:  my poor husband discovered yesterday that the course he has been designing to teach this fall in our diocesan school is going to have to be completely revamped for the sake of the present group of students.  They are keeners all, but it became obvious by their questions and comments that he is going to have to radically simplify his approach to the subject matter.  He is a tad frustated.  However, despite this not being a class that will be filled with more ore less academic peers, he is still looking forward to the challenge of making the information more platable for this group, a group who truly want to learn but don't have the background he thought they had in academics.  So glad he gave this pre-course "teaser" as they found out a few things, and so did he! haha

I find myself now well entrenched on a church committee and am wondering how it happened!!  It is a long and convoluted story of how I ended up here, some of which I have blogged about previously, but not the entire story.  I am grateful the Lord led me out of that church for a few months to regroup, detach my emotions from the situation so that I can handle being on this committee better and be more effective, hopefully, but it is going to feel a tad odd to suddenly show up again after a long absence and be in a type of leadership role.  Interesting....I am going to have to work hard to establish my credibility again with the congregation if I am going to have any sort of effective ministry to either the congregation or the priest.  Yeah.....interesting is the word. Lord, what on earth are you doing NOW? hahaha

On the sorrowful side:  my husband's dearest and most favourite uncle passed away last evening at a relatively young age, the result of a quick onset, brutal form of Parkinsons's disease.  While there is joy in knowing he is no longer suffering and that his prayer to be released has at last been answered, there is great sorrow for his wife and for my husband and sister-in-law.  Uncle Jim was known to them as "our Jimmy".  He always had time for them when they were little kids, he had a wicked sense of humour and he led a most interesting life. 

So that is life this week in a "nutshell".  Who knows what will happen next and what category the rest of this week's events will fall into!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Temporary Relief From the Heat!

What a joy today to only reach a high temperature of +22C! I got up at 6:30am and made an oven roasted stew, put on the dishwasher and had all the heat generating appliances turned off again by 10:30am.

I opened all the windows wide to let the chilly breeze cool the suite while I spent the rest of the day tearing the upstairs rooms apart and subjecting them to a desperately needed deep cleaning. Tomorrow morning, the start of another cooler day, I will do the same on the main level. What a good feeling to be cooking and cleaning again after my wonderful holiday break. Going with my husband for the afternoon, listening to him teach, will be a reward for my hard work.

Thank you God for this blessing of two cooler days and the ability to spend them catching up on overdue tasks that would have been tough slugging in warmer conditions. On Thursday we re-enter the heat wave for awhile. I will be taking my walks first thing in the mornings, prior to the afternoon heat, so I get in the habit of maintaining daily exercise. I can become very lazy very quickly if I give in to immobility.

Wow! I may even need to sleep under the sheet tonight to stay warm. Maybe I will even need the quilt. A cool day followed by an even cooler night....perfect!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Aaaaand This Day Has Gotten Better and Better!

The car dealership called at noon to let us know our car would be ready in a half hour but didn't offer us shuttle service until much later in the day, so we opted to walk the 5km back there to pick it up. We managed very well in the +33C temperature due to the strong winds. According to my husband's fitness tracker we averaged 9 minutes per kilometre with a top speed of 5 minutes per kilometre! Having to stop so often for crosswalk lights really slowed us down apparently. Pretty good speed for a couple of old fogeys! We arrived at the dealership less than an hour later, red faced from the bright sun, but otherwise none the worse for wear. The car not only had a new airbag, but a complete checkup which it passed with flying colours and a sparkly wash job! No more left over bug guts on the bumper and headlights from our last road trip! One of the service agents drove it up to the front door for us and we hopped happily into its nicely air conditioned interior.

My husband is certainly feeling well these days. He turned out of the dealership and drove directly to the Vintage British Tearoom to take me out for lunch. Talk about a day of decadence! We shared fabulous scones, egg salad sandwiches, potato/leek soup and sticky toffee cake. The portions are filling but not huge and they went down easily with several cups of Windsor Castle tea. The stew I am making for dinner will be rather plebeian fare after our spectacular breakfast and lunch! hahahaha

I don't think this day could get any better to be honest. We have had great food, intense visits, safety repairs on our vehicle, 10 kilometres of walking....yeah, a wonderful day! And it is not yet 3pm! Wow!!!! Thank you Lord! I have managed thus far to refrain from crying with gratitude, but not sure I can hold it off much longer.

We are both very happy that our family member with cancer should be having the last treatment tomorrow.....the beginning of recovery from a long and painful treatment journey. Speaking of our gratitude to God....

Lovely Morning For a Stroll, 'Eh What?

What a wonderful morning we have had all ready and it isn't even 11am!  Hallelujah!

We were up and at 'em at 7:15am, getting ready to drive our car to the dealership for an airbag recall.  By later this afternoon we should have our vehicle back with a newer, safer airbag! Thank you Honda for letting us know this was needed!

The dealership is about 4km straight north of our place, so after we dropped the car off we declined the offer of a free ride home and opted to walk. Although it is setting up to be another scorcher of a day, this morning there has been a cooling, rather stiff breeze, which made the walk most pleasant.

We stopped just before the half way point at the Double Tree Hotel and so enjoyed a wonderful breakfast buffet at the Wild Sage.  It is getting to be our "go to" place when we can afford it.  O my, it was quite delicious! Freshly made omelets with every imaginable filling, fresh fruit that was ripe and juicy...someone in that kitchen has the smarts to cut the ubiquitous melon slices sufficiently far from the outer peeling as to avoid any toughness, a choice of scrambled eggs that were average, but poached eggs that were properly cooked with the yoke soft and runny over the top of my croissant. There was toast, French toast, baked beans, properly cooked bacon...well done but not brittle, sausages that were not the best but o well, even a steaming plate of hot, mixed fresh veggies that I stuffed myself with.  There were all manner of pastries, breakfast cereals, flavoured yogurts and several varieties of cheese and olives, cottage cheese, plus two types of salsas.  I know I am forgetting some of the items. The price was rather reasonable for all that food!  Our drinks were included, no matter what we ordered.  Our server was a lovely young woman from northern India who was friendly and provided perfect service.  Used dishes were removed immediately, but we were never made to feel rushed.  Drinks were instantly refilled.   It is my husband's sister's wedding anniversary and we felt like it was us doing the celebrating for them.  Now that we know Wild Sage has a decent breakfast buffet it will be a place we can take them next time they come to visit.

After our fabulous repast we walked the other 2 kilmetres home along a shady side street, crossing through a few old parking lots beside former Anglican properties that have been sold to be used for various businesses and personal residences.  It is a lovely old area of the city, the crime rate notwithstanding. 

Now we have the rest of the day free for my husband to work on his presentation for Wednesday.  I have a LOT of work I can start doing around here in preparation for the cleaning spree I will begin tomorrow when he heads off to work.  My own "Holiday from Housework" officially ends at 8am! hahaha  Waaaaaahhhhhh!!  

The Heat Wave of 2017

O my goodness, it is warm here, there and nearly everywhere in Canada! I talked to my parents last night and Dad is so miserably hot he is downright owly! The poor man.

Nothing was right last night. The one laundry room has been closed for four days, "FOUR DAYS I tell you, and so laundry has to be done in the next hallway over, of all the nerve!" (The other laundry room is about 30 steps farther from the one he and mom usually use.) They had to wait a whole hour to wash the towels on Friday, "of all the rotten luck!"  My attempts to convince mom that bath towels can be used more than once has fallen on deaf ears and so they continue to wash towels twice a week, along with one tiny load of whites and one of darks that could wait an extra week as well in order to have loads of a size worth taking on this kind of stress for. Sigh....why do the elderly get so twisted up in knots over these things? It must be that as the world of every day living gets smaller the issues over small details get bigger. I bet I will be the same way not many years hence. Aiii yiii...

Last night's dinner was "green beans, hard like rocks I tell you...I wouldn't eat them...and was horrible and I wouldn't eat it, I tell you...who serves inedible neat loaf for Sunday night dinner??"

After dinner Dad went outside to sit in the cooler air where a slight breeze made life temporarily more bearable. However, did he sit with the other many tenants to visit and feel less alone in his misery? Nope. He dragged his walker out into an open space, around the corner of the building, on a patch of uneven ground, in the direct late afternoon sun. "I didn't want to sit with all those old people, I tell you, all they do is complain!"

Go this time Mom had given up attempting to have a reasonable discussion with him about " this third rate accommodation we find ourselves in!" and taken herself back to their suite.

O Lord, please deliver all these unhappy seniors from the heat!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

CBC Calgary Stampede TV Coverage: Best Coverage Yet!

Every year I grit my teeth and gut my way through the annual attempt by the CBC to do a decent job of covering the Calgary Stampede chuckwagon races.  This year has been a most pleasant and much appreciated surprise! I have been enjoying the 2 hours per evening of my favourite ever chuckwagon races with the daily rodeo highlights thrown in around the heats.  There  has been a huge decline in the amount of unnecessary blithering forced upon the announcers and reporters, far fewer "personal interview segments" and "special reports", certainly very little repetition of those same spots night after night, which is what used to happen in previous years.  We are getting the full chuckwagon race coverage within the 2 hour production instead of having the last race run over into a separate rodeo segment, causing me to lose part of that race in times past if I forgot to set my PVR to record the rodeo as well as the chucks.  

Production values seem to have improved considerably.  The coverage looks crisp on my screen, the interviewers and announcers are not having to ramble on filling up air time to the same degree.  We are getting far more information at the beginning and end of each chuckwagon heat and during the rodeo highlights.

I don't know who is responsible for the changes this year, but I am certainly a lot happier, far less frustrated about having my time wasted as I try to piece together the sights and information I am really interested in.  The coverage as a whole is just more cohesive and interesting...more facts, less unnecessary analysis!

Thank you CBC!

Sweet Talkin'

We have just put the phone down after a most happy and encouraging chat with our son.  

How do you spell "relief"?  You spell it: E-l-i-i-s-d-o-i-n-g-w-e-l-l.
Now we are too!!

The best feeling in the world is knowing that your adult child is able to care well for himself, to make decisions that benefit his life, wants to start a new life as a new self, wants to begin the challenge of a deeper spiritual journey, is enjoying learning about his new country of residence and has found himself a decently paying temporary job while seeking something more permanent.  As soon as he receives a social security number he will be able to start being paid and will be able to have a phone plan that allows him to make calls back to Canada.  We have been at peace about his plans for this move and now we feel justified in standing up for his decision to those in the family who have not been quite as supportive...mostly they are just afraid for him because of the current politics and tensions on both sides of the border.

This week he starts a massive project stretching, and preparing for mailing, eighty 6 foot by 9 foot canvases for his temporary employer, artist Cheyney Thompson. The canvases are being sent to a gallery for a new show Mr. Thompson is featured in.  It is a brutal task!  At least he will not be bored sitting around home as he seeks more permanent employment. hahaha  

He has spent lots of time over the past week with former Bard classmates and another long term, also formerly from Vancouver, friend. In between visits he has been getting to know the retail outlets in his neighbourhood and the other tenants in his building.  He has gotten to know better the family that flung racial comments at him his first day in the city and discovered they actually live in their car and only hang out by his building so they can receive food assistance from a small church on the corner each morning. He lived with us in our car once, but only for a few days.  It very sad to imagine having to make that a more or less permanent lifestyle. He has accepted an invitation to The Hamptons for a week in August, a favourite place of his, and also an invitation to a friend's birthday party that will be taking place in Croatia.  Unfortunately he had to turn that second invite down due to the timing and the cost of the excursion.  After seeing our friends' travelogue from their own recent trip to Croatia, we certainly do hope he gets to go sometime.  They have an amazing history of computer art dating back to the middle of the last century when computers were so new and all.  He would really enjoy seeing that after working recently with several math and science students from Simon Fraser who taught him a great deal about generating computer driven algorithms to use as the basis for some of his own upcoming art pieces. 

It has been a good day here.  Last night, after a +33C day it didn't cool down much overnight so even though today's high has only been about +28C, the suite was much hotter by mid morning than usual.  My washing 2 loads of clothes that had to be dried in the dryer and also running the dishwasher didn't help things at all of course, but my husband finally brought our floor fan up from the basement.  If we set it in the hallway upstairs and angle it "just so", we can not only cool the upstairs substantially, but the air flow gets going from downstairs and the whole suite stays cool enough to be bearable even in the hottest part of the afternoon.  How thankful I am for my cooling cotton tent dress.  It looks like a remnant of the 1960's Mod Era, but is worth every penny I paid for it.  What a lifesaver for walking outside in a heat wave.  (Yes, we are "officially" having a heat wave apparently!")

We ran some pharmacy errands this morning. Guess we could have walked the 10 block round trip, but there are no trees to walk under anywhere along the route, so we wimped out and drove.  After we talked to our son I whipped over to the grocery store a couple of blocks away for a few things and so got at least a short walk in today.  I will use my little weights again after dinner tonight and get a bit more exercise that way.  I am trying to do long walks 5 days a week and then give my joints and muscles a rest for a couple of days in a row.  It is best for my hip and ankle to do it that way.

Guess I should go and figure out how to make a couple of small pork chops tasty enough to want to eat dinner tonight.  We have lots of veggies and some baby potatoes, but I find it difficult to get motivated to cook when it is this warm day after day.  For lunch we ate whole grain bread with cheese and olives and cucumbers and hummus and bean/quinoa salad.  Cold meals we are pretty good at preparing these days, but the hot ones...hmmmm....not so much.

Okay, better get with it!  Time to quit stalling on the cooking!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Yee Haw....and a Nice Warm Shower Too!

It has been a lovely day today!  Now it is time for blogging and a rest before dinner.

We left for the saskatoon berry festival at about 7:30am.  Our friends are both morning people and surely kept the conversation going with groggy old us for the hour it took to drive to Mortlach.

I ate my breakfast in the car along the way but for six dollars a person the other three were given huge stacks of buttermilk pancakes and three long, wild meat sausages, a container of saskatoon berries and another container of saskatoon berry syrup.  I was delighted for my husband to have such tasty, low fat, low salt wild meat sausages instead of the usual tiny, greasy, salty, fatty ones from the area discount grocery stores.  MMMMM YUM!  I did have a couple of bites of sausage and a handful of saskatoons.  Both were tasty!

As we ate and visited, one of the worship bands from the Free Methodist church in Moose Jaw performed some country songs and some olde tymie music like "Alexander's Ragtime Band" and others from that era.  We sang along, good sports that we are, and had lots of giggles and hand clapping going on between bites of food.  hahaha

Then we wandered along the main street looking at the plethora of sales booths featuring some rather more unique craft items along with the usual jewellery, clothing and knit dishcloths that a person sees everywhere.  There were some very well done childrens' stories and colouring books by a local author and artist, some beautiful wrought iron works, walking sticks and even a personal garage sale going on by someone with the smarts to pick this Saturday to sell off their leftovers. hahahahaha All the restaurants were open....3 of them in a town the size of my big toe....and a street vendor from Regina selling the most amazing Mexican food.  Had we stayed long enough for lunch we would definitely have eaten there.  We did stop in to one of the restaurants for a glass of saskatoon berry sangria.  I do not care for sangria to be honest, but this was tart and tasty and had enough cut fruit and berries in it to be a mid morning snack for me. The local museum was filled to the brim with the most interesting artifacts from the late 1800's when the town was being settled.  We chuckled at the hand written notes of interest beside many of the displays....the notes on foolscap paper were nearly as antique as the items they were describing.

The parade was so cute: basically it consisted of the police cars and volunteer fire department trucks, some kids riding decorated bikes, the biggest tractor I have ever seen in my life and antique and other cars still shiny and glowing from a recent Show and Shine event in Moose Jaw.  A couple of little girls riding their horses and a trailer being pulled by two giant percheron horses rounded out the parade and in fifteen minutes it was all over.  hahaha  What fun!

Driving home after the parade we all commented that it was good for us to get out on a weekend for a change and check out the events in the smaller towns and rural municipalities so we had more to relate to with our more rural parishioners and aquaintances. 

When we returned to Regina we went over to our friends' house for lunch.  We had quinoa salad with raisins, almonds and orange sections, a delicious bean salad with onions, avocado and cilantro, whole grain bread, chicken and cheese.  There were some thai noodles and strips of beef as well that my husband particularly enjoyed, along with some strong and flavourful tea from Leeds in England.  

After lunch we walked home through Wascana Park.  Despite the heat, we survived the day well due to a thick cloud cover that came and went between bursts of hot sun, the occasional light sprinkling of rain drops and overhanging tree branches thick with green leaves.

I came home and enjoyed a hot shower, some British rose soap and shampoo and a thick 'n' thirsty towel to dry myself off with.  I was all ready grateful the time at the berry festival proved to be much more fun that any of us anticipated, but my sense of gratitude for being in a country where things like hot showers, specialty soaps and thick terry towels are pretty much a given for most employed people, overwhelmed me and I almost added tears into the streams of shower water running down my face.  

Is there a better feeling in the world, than being well fed, well cleaned up and ready for a little nap on a hot day?  AAAND there is a boxing match on tv tonight on HBO!

I am beyond blessed!