Monday, July 31, 2017

Is There Anything More Healing Than An Evening With True Friends?

Life has been a tad tough recently for a number of reasons, but last night seemed to make up for many hassles and upsets of late.  What a blessing and relief and joy to spend a late evening with close friends who understand and relate to the joys and struggles in our lives so totally. We laughed, we cried, we prayed, we shared a wonderful feast, we enjoyed another couple who dropped in unexpectedly to join in the dessert and conversation.  We ate too much. We drank too much. We overdosed on fresh saskatoons, cherries and cake bars. We huddled together in the cool of the basement rooms, while the nearly +40C temperature blanketed the outdoors, watching a recent video of our hosts' daughter's wedding, sharing our thoughts on that day and enjoying watching two young people so much in love and so filled with idealism for the future, as two young people in love should be filled.  We encouraged and edified one another, we did NOT talk about philosophies or theologies or idealisms: we spent our visiting time securely rooted on this planet, discussing our families, our friendship, relationships, careers, holidays, future plans, retirement goals...some "other" conversation apart from the heady realm of academics.  I love those conversations as well, don't get me wrong, only I have a lot on my plate in that department these days that is stressful and it was incredibly relaxing to set it aside for an evening.  Even my academic husband enjoyed the conversation!  It was a wonderful, wonderful time!

Today we are being rewarded for surviving the past few days of intense heat: it is only about +22C at the moment with a forecast high of +29C.  For the next 14 days the forecast and extended forecast have us experiencing daytime highs of only +24C to +27C or so. will be able to be lived once again.  I can return to my daily walks without worrying about heat stroke.  It was so hot yesterday I felt nauseous.  Our friends' big fuzzy rangoon cat WAS nauseous and very unhappy. The heat drove the mosquitos elsewhere so, on the plus side, we were able to open all the doors and windows of the house while we ate dinner and had no buzzing, blood sucking invaders to worry about. Even the wasps spent the early evening hours tucked underneath the grape vine leaves that grow along our friends' fence, staying out of the direct sun and heat.  I am so relieved that the worst of the heat wave for this summer may be over, but there is still no rain in the forecast.  We had a little bit of rain here later last night apparently but it was over before we arrived home at midnight.  There was a small puddle in the parking lot but the lawn had all ready dried and was crispy underfoot as we walked from the car to the back deck.  I have a lot of walking to do tomorrow, so am relieved I will be able to do it comfortably.

Thank you Lord for an evening we both certainly seemed to need! AND for cooler temperatures on the way!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Interesting Little Answers to Prayer

My husband is assisting the Bishop at a service out at Gordon First Nation this morning.  I hope he is coping with the heat as I doubt that poor little old church is air conditioned.  Speaking of "coping", at least my husband doesn't have to wear his cope this morning, probably only his alb and stole. It will be the Bishop wearing all the extra garments of service today.  We have both been praying the two of them could get some time together alone in the same place long enough to compare their plans and schedules for the next month and the long drive to Gordon and back will accomplish that.  One little, very much appreciated answer!

I drove to my own church building today and enjoyed very much the service leadership provided by the Lutheran congregation.  I was pleased we had a decent turn out of Anglicans.  People there seemed friendlier than usual today, perhaps in part because the sermon was from the Gospel of John and about unity once again. What a completely different approach than last week's harangue from the other group's leader.  I actually felt our Anglican people truly were more welcome this morning and so many took the exhortation from the preacher to heart afterward: to find someone at coffee hour you didn't know and strike up a conversation. There certainly was at least some of that going on rather than the usual racing off, each to our own coffee rooms and kitchens with only our own congregants.  Another little answer to prayer that has left me feeling better about things and newly encouraged to continue in personal relationship with some of the folks that made me feel so unsafe last week.   I feel much more at peace and less inclined to just give up and disappear.  Thank you Lord for that.  I am not usually one to run from any sort of theological conflict, but feeling so old and tired and worn out and HOT has taken its toll this summer.  (It is +36C today with a humidex reading making it feel like +40C, so thank you Lord I got the right combo of open and shut blinds and curtains this morning so the suite is bearable.)

My husband is Commissary while the Bishop and Dean of the Cathedral are both on vacation over the next few weeks....not that he needs the extra stress of having to deal with any unexpected crises during the time as he is also frantically trying to pull people along to complete their duties for the upcoming provincial synod, clergy days etc.  This is one crazy summer, but I am realizing there is no NOT crazy time of year in this job. hahahaha  Yesterday he spent his work time in the office getting last minute instructions from the CFO so that the last of the budgeting for next year can be finalized and sent to the appropriate people now that the CFO is on his month of holidays.  

Which brings me to my next answer to prayer, although for my husband it is not the answer he was hoping for:  things are likely going to be too busy in the office for him to accompany the youth campers to the mountains later in August.  I have had a very bad feeling about his participation in this venture.  All I could see was how much farther behind his office duties were going to get, how completely exhausted he would be before ever getting to the clergy canoe trip, which is far more what he personally needs to experience this year than dragging a bunch of inexperienced teens with insufficient gear along hiking trails.  Although he will be very disappointed if he has to withdraw as trip chaplain and path finder, the couple who are leading the camp are well equipped and sufficiently experienced with both teens and mountain hiking to do it without him.  I feel badly he will miss a trip to the mountains if he has to cancel out, but on the other hand I know how frustrating it would be for him to be there under those circumstances, rather than as part of a group of experienced adults who don't need a "keeper" in order to stay safe out there.  So, I am torn about how I feel about this answer to prayer about how to fit everything into next month that needs to fit.  I am relieved, yet sorry for my husband as he loves the mountains so.

Hoping my husband gets home in time for  a bit of a rest this afternoon before we drive to friends' in Moose Jaw for dinner.  I will drive our nicely air conditioned car so he can concentrate on telling me about his adventures from this morning.  We are looking forward to a sweet time of fellowship with these friends. Their availability this weekend in the midst of their own busy lives is also a little prayer answer, as there has been so little chance to get together over the past few months.  

This next week is looking happily busy and at a FEW degrees cooler outside than it has been over the past 5 days.  I am looking forward to spending tomorrow with my husband, doing some "car" errands and chattering away at each other.  He only gets the one day off this week so we intend to make the most of it.  I doubt he will get his 3 day weekend next week either, again likely only 1 day of the 3 if he is fortunate enough to not have any emergencies to deal with on that one precious day.  I am happy to be scheduled for a hair appointment, dinner out with a friend and a transition team meeting, so some fun things to pack in around the housework I have been letting lapse because of the heat.  

The first week of August is nearly upon us.  It seems the summer is flying past at breakneck speed now.  Well, I think I will go into another room and sweat in there for awhile as I wait for lunch time to roll around!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Nyahaaaaa...My Little Plan Worked!

I picked my husband up at 3pm and before 4pm we were at the open house....we only got lost once! hahaha  

The place was about what we thought it would be.  All places look wonderful when they are brand new, but they are SO cheaply constructed and finished it won't be long before they look like the older surrounding rental properties, also owned by our management company.  We loved the layouts of the suites. The bedrooms are bigger than the ones here, there are glorious large balconies, there is underground parking, there are huge islands in kitchens of all three layouts.  Water and electric power are included in the rent.  On the surface it looks as though it could be a good deal.

However, apart from the cheap building materials there are some other down sides.  There are no storage units in the underground parking area and only one of the layouts includes a small storage room that is so small one person would barely have room to stand inside, let alone store the massive amount of "stuff" we have in our basement.  My husband could fit one trunk, two or three packsacks and his sleeping bag in there and that would be it.   The underground parking is not included in the rent, it is another $75 a month.  To have a parking space outside like we have here is also not included, it is an extra $30 a month.  Talk about highway robbery on top of the high rents.  Transferring our lease would cost us $250, although our damage deposit from here would carry over.  My husband would be looking at a nearly half hour drive to work and then home again on a weekend when the traffic volume is low.  I would be blocks and blocks from a bus route to anywhere.  It is a couple of km's to the nearly shopping complex. From what we could gather talking to other folk who live in the older complexes surrounding this new one, they face almost a full hour commute to and from work on weekdays.    

What put the kaybosh on any little flicker of an idea we may have had about the possibility of moving to that area is the fact that not only are pets allowed, but so is smoking. No, no, no!!  The only other apartment my husband and I ever lived in together was a smoking building.  Even though none of our immediate neighbours were smokers, the smoke filtered out from under the other suite doors and filled the hallways with the filth and stink. Health-wise we both barely survived our year in Calgary under those conditions. 

We happily left with our free bottles of water and our free ice cream, but as we drove out we noticed the condition of the older places there.  On the outside the condition of those places isn't any better than the condition of the places we live in noweven though they are several decades newer.  Some of them look even worse.  Yuck!!  We know the maintenance crews for this company have little clue what they are doing and so the new apt. building would become just as run down in fairly short order.  

We both loved the layouts of all 3 plans.  If the pets, smokers and extra parking charges could be eliminated and the building picked up and moved to our current location, yes, we would consider a move! hahahaha

My husband and I completed our tour just in time for my husband to be ravenous for dinner!  teehee  Yes....I planned that pretty well.  We went to Luiggi's for sicilian cannelloni and pizza.  It was extremely tasty.  My cannelloni was not lacking with my request for no added melted cheese. There was so much beef, so many veggies and thick hot sauce no cheese was needed.  The pasta was perfectly el dente.  My husband had a sicilian pizza that came on a crust so thin and crispy it was all he could do to refrain from eating the whole 10 inch plate of yumminess and bring a few slices home for tomorrow.

Now we are lazing about in the heat in our suite waiting for the fresh air and fan to cool things down for the rest of the evening.  Tomorrow is to be at least +34C, but I am happy we are not in Kelowna with their forecast high of +39C.  I have been in Kelowna at that temperature before and it is mind numbingly hot and muggy.  The prospect of another week or two of the heat here is enough to make me feel trapped without adding another 5 degrees into our forecast highs.  Poor Kelowna!! This will not assist the BC forest fire fighters to get things under control. 

Yawn....I really need to go and find something more active to do for the next couple of hours!

Happy LIttle Serendipities

I am sitting here, mid afternoon, waiting for my husband to call me to come pick him up from work so we can go to an open house way up on the extreme northwest side of the city.  The property management company that owns our current rental units has issued special invites to all of us here to come view their new apt. block with the enticement that everything is brand new, never before lived in and that our leases are completely transferrable.

As lovely an idea as that is, the opportunity to leave all the pet hair and cigarette smoke residue of past tenants, the chance to leave behind this spider infested old place and its leaking basement, the joy of moving to one of the lowest crime rate areas of the city, I doubt very much we will make the switch and lose all that is good about life right here.  We looked at the photos of the cheap building materials used in the new place, the lack of storage, the probability of having neighbours on all 4 sides of us, the two hundred dollar a month rent increase and the distance from there to all we have easy access to now,  and decided against a move pretty quickly.  However, going for the viewing, if my husband gets off work in time today, is a fun thing to do on another very hot day.  Our vehicle has wonderful air conditioning!  haha  It would also be easy for me to segue from the open house to the idea that since we are out and about anyway, dinner at a nice air conditioned restaurant would be a wonderful time as well! Tee bad......teehee

I had some errands to run this morning and as I drove past the Community Market on the way home I decided to stop in, even though I found nothing of interest the last time I was there.  This time I purchased two inexpensive "fun" necklaces, one ceramic star fish and one metal owl, from a group who trains some of our mentally challenged teens to make jewellery of all kinds.  It was fun to support them and have a nice chat with one of the gals who was putting together some new pieces right there at the market.

On the way out I wandered into the Value Village next door looking for leather coats as that is where I often find the best deals on loss leader leathers. There wasn't anything like that today but I did find a brand new CUTE CUTE CUTE summer dress for less than thirteen dollars.  It is a good quality cotton/nylon blend and a very 1960's A-line style, red with some silver button adornments, short rolled, cuffed sleeves and a collared v-neck.  The fabric is gathered slightly under the bodice and it is so 60's retro I can hardly believe it.  I love it!!  It is too short for someone my age to wear, but it fits beautifully over my black capris and white capris.  A friend gave me a necklace when we were on our holidays and it goes perfectly with this little sun dress.  Yes, I needed another something to wear like I need another hole in the head, but it is so perfect, from price to colour to style....with more hot days ahead, how could I say no.  I can wear it without the capris here in the house and then just throw them on when I go out.  I think I am going to wear it with the whites tomorrow for church.

In another hour, if I am still here, I can start opening up the windows again. Yay! Over the next hour the heat in the suite will reach its peak, before the sun moves sufficiently to the south west to leave our east facing windows in the cooler shade of the afternoon.  Then I can open them and get some cross air and draft going between the bedrooms upstairs and the kitchen downstairs.  There is still no rain forecast over the next 2 weeks and temperatures are not going to come down all that much either. is HOT!  Prayer meeting in the diocese office last night was not only a spiritual treat, but a lovely break in the air conditioned rooms as well.  My husband and I finished cooking up his granola over there in the beautifully chilly kitchen area then walked it home afterward in a big back pack my husband carried while I carried the cookie sheets back to our place.  The breeze outside had finally come up again by then and the walk before bedtime was most pleasant and enjoyable.

My husband just called, so I am on my way to the viewing. hahahaha  If it was just myself to think about I would probably be half packed to move up there all ready, but letting common sense take over, it wouldn't be that great for either of us.

Happy Saturday everyone!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Knock, Knock....Sorry, Nobody Home.....

Today I am having a typical post-injection reaction to my twice yearly osteoporisis injection:  a very bad sleep last night, followed by a complete lack of energy, motivation, activity and general brain function all day today. The heat isn't helping of course.  Blaaaahhhh.....

One more night of poor sleep and another so-so day tomorrow likely, then I will be back to normal.  I am so blessed that of all the reactions, allergies and other side effects I could be experiencing from this drug, all I seem to be bothered with is a couple of days of insomnia induced fuzzy brain and a slightly sore arm for two days before life returns to normal.   Thank you Jesus!!  Hallelujah!!

Soon it will be time to make dinner and I don't know where today has disappeared to.  Tonight is Diocesan Prayer meeting for the office staff and me.  I have had to miss several in a row, so glad I can make it this evening.  Hopefully the temperature outside will be dropping at least slightly by then so my husband and I can walk over to the meeting.  Other than to open the front door and remove the mail from the box, I haven't set foot out of here today.  All the blinds and curtains are shut tight against the sun and heat, but just a few moments ago I opened the kitchen window downstairs and a bedroom window on the same side of the building upstairs, the put on the floor fan to start a bit of air flow between the two.  It really helps.  The shade is hitting that side of the building now, so even though there is not much breeze outside, at least with the fan it is sucking in some of the barely cooler air on that side of things.  The breeze from the fan is hitting me as I sit here at the computer and it feels WONDERFUL!!  

Tomorrow morning we will be up and out of here rather early.  The Bishop's Bicycle Tour group arrives at our church at 8am for a quick breakfast, photos, plus collecting a few local riders who want to ride through the city for the rest of the morning to each of the Anglican churches in the city along with the Bishop to greet parishioners from each one.  My husband is going to ride along that part of the route on his own new bicycle, so he is very much looking forward to that.  After breakfast I will take our empty water jugs and go get them filled while my husband is cycling.  At 1pm we will all meet back at our church to have a quick prayer time with the Bishop and whatever entourage he will have for the next and final leg of his journey to the north east of here, heading to the remaining parishes in the northern half of the diocese.  He has collected a fair amount of money to go toward world poverty relief, to our famine relief efforts in the South Sudan and Burundi and for the diocesan discretionary fund that helps local people who have unexpected needs.  I need to remember to write my own cheque for the cause and take it along to the prayer meeting tonight to be added into the total.

It is going to be so hot again tomorrow that I think I am going to lobby for dinner out.  Over the past few days we have used up a lot of leftovers from the refrigerator and freezer and it is soon going to be time to cook again.  TOO HOT!!  If I work things out properly, with a restaurant meal Saturday evening, I can feed us tonight's dinner, tomorrow's lunch and Sunday's lunch and, since we are going out to friends' for dinner Sunday night I won't have to cook anything until Monday morning!  I can get up early and prepare a few days' worth of meals to carry us through the worst of the heat at the start of the week. 

I must be starting to feel better as my head is starting to kick into gear about what I need to plan for over the next few days.  YIPPEE!  

When and if we ever get rain again I think I will go outside and just stand in it until I am completely soaking wet.  It is going to feel like sheer luxury! As much as I love the summer sun, I am certainly ready for some dark clouds and moisture to roll in.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

O Dear Lord Above, It Is HOT!!!

Oh my goodness, it is heating up outside for the next week to ten days. Right now it is nearly +34C and I am wilting despite being quick to get my windows and blinds organized properly to keep the worst of the heat out of our suite.  I am tempted on days like this to be upset that we didn't take advantage of the offer of a full A/C unit to be installed in our suite, but then I remember the annual cost to have it and suddenly I can cope so much better with the heat! haha

The forecast temperatures over the next 5 days include mostly highs of +34C with the night time temperatures only dropping to +16C at the lowest.  When the heat goes on for days without that blessed cooling off at night I tend to get heat stroke.  Sure am hoping for mercy on that one!  Even when it "cools" toward the end of next week the forecast highs are still in the high +20C's.  Droop........

I am so grateful my husband works in an A/C's building all day!  He couldn't take this otherwise and would be very ill indeed.  He has a bed set up on blocks in the basement and has been sleeping down there.  If it wasn't for the spiders I would sleep down there as well, but I can't handle it and would be awake every time I felt anything remotely resembling the feeling tiny spidey feet wandering across my bedding or face.  Eek!!

Tonight we are eating a picnic dinner on the front lawn of some friends' house.  I wonder if they have A/C inside the house.  I suspect not. This is an older "second home away from home" for them as their primary residence is in another town all together, but I surely wish we could arrive to find out we had the option of eating in a cooler space.  I don't know when I have felt less like eating anything at all.......hey, maybe the bonus of this heat wave will be weight loss??

See, there is a good side to everything.....even if I have to look REALLY hard sometimes to find it, hahaha. 

After I vacuumed off the basement stairs this afternoon I decided to keep going.  Although my husband wasn't here to move all the boxes and shelving units down there so I could vacuum the entire area, I got a lot of it done.  I used the crevice tool to go all around the boxes that were too heavy to move and used the powerhead to get all the larger areas in the centre of the floor.  It is a start at least.  It felt particularly good to get the spaces around the washer and dryer and laundry sorting table cleaned up as much as I did.  AND, I was blessed to only find about a half dozen spiders in the course of my disrupting their routine.  I thought Vancouver Island had the most spiders of anywhere in this country, but I was wrong. The prairies are riddled with them, they just tend to be a bit smaller.  Blecch! 

So, better go and start getting the salad veggies ready!

Talk About Improvements

I just spoke to my parents on the phone.  It was a short conversation because they had just called a taxi to take them shopping at the nearest London Drugs, which happens to be near a favourite restaurant where Mom can get an all day breakfast and Dad can get his pancakes. Happy lunch out, Mom and Dad!  Listening to them chatter about what they have been up to this week reminds me so much of God's graces that often come in the midst of less than wonderful circumstances.

My father, who spent over a year sleeping at least 18 out of 24 hours every day of the week, has been so much improved since going through the hell of morphine withdrawal that he is having a much more wonderful life, subsequently so is my mother.  Yesterday they went with some of the other seniors and the activities coordinator over to the park on the far side of their building.  There is a nice covered place to sit there, out of the sun and wind.  The coordinator brought a big carton of drinks so that they could slake their thirst out there in the park as they all played a seniors' version of bocce ball.  BOCCE BALL!  MY 90 YEAR OLD PARENTS WERE PLAYING BOCCE BALL!!  They had a blast.  Mom won 3 games and Dad won 2 games.  hahahaha Isn't that delightful???!!??  I am very happy.  Yesterday afternoon they both went to bingo and made a tidy profit! Dad is finally winning his battle with depression, Mom feels a new lease on life, this is thrilling to say the least. A better day is dawning, at least for the present time. Thank you Lord!  These are the mercies that keep the lid on my own fears about growing older and more incapacitated.  

I have had a productive morning.  I dropped my husband off at work since he was running late this morning, then I headed to the pharmacy, picked up my osteoporosis injection and went next door to the walk-in clinic to have one of the doctors administer it. There...good for another 6 months!  There were no hassles this time with direct billing at the pharmacy. There was no line up or long wait to see the doctor on call.  After that I made it to 3 different banks to make some financial arrangements for the coming month, then got the car filled with gasoline and did a large grocery shopping excursion.  I walked back into the suite at 10:25am, where I got the groceries put away and am now preparing to make my lunch.  All I have to do later this afternoon is prepare a salad for tonight's picnic and other than that I can just relax a bit if I can't think of anything else to do.  In the past hour I swept the last few days' worth of cobwebs off the back decking and around the windows, delivered a bag of used clothing to the Diabetes Association bin and had a good phone chat with an out of province friend.  Other than cooking up some lunch I am officially out of things that must be done today.....although, it is time to clean the basement stairs again...that is what I will do this afternoon.  It is nice and cool in the basement and the heat is starting to build upstairs despite my best efforts earlier this morning with windows and blinds.  Every day that I can be this busy I thank God for having a period of time where I am not recovering from broken bones, or respiratory problems and my heart murmur is not bothering me. These are golden times that I cherish for however long they last!

O happy day!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

10pm....the Work Day is Done!

I didn't take time to check but I suspect our daytime high was actually closer to +30somethingC than the predicted high of +27C.  Perhaps the complete absence of our usual prairie winds and breezes made it feel hotter outside than it actually was.  I don't know, but when I took out the garbage and recycling to their respective bins in the parking lot, mid-afternoon, I was very happy to retreat inside the suite once again.  It didn't cool down much last night and perhaps that same problem will occur tonight as well.  I have the windows open, the big floor fan running and at least I may get some decent sleep tonight after a day of laundry and ironing that just wrapped up a few minutes ago.  

I don't remember the last time I was able to complete the washing, drying, folding, putting away and ALL the ironing in a day.  I had over 25 items that could not go into the dryer today, so I hung them all up in the library to dry on that big walking pole I mentioned in an earlier post.  It is so dry in here that 16 of the items were completely dry and ready for ironing in less than three hours, so I got moving and completed the job by dinnertime.  Ironing in the heat is tiring, I have to say.  After supper I looked at the remaining items to be ironed and decided I was too tired and overwarm to do them tonight, but by 8:45pm I realized I couldn't face more ironing on the even hotter day that tomorrow is supposed to be.  So, just before 9am I was at it again.  Now the whole job is finished, completed, finis, at an end, done!!  YES!!  I won't have to face that task for at least another whole week!  YES AGAIN!!  Wow, we go through a lot of clothes in the hot summers!  The idea of wearing anything for 2 days in a row is completely unrealistic at these temperatures.  

My husband spent the evening working in the cool of the basement. He has a set of computers down there that are linked to his upstairs machines, so he can work on every project at either station.  His powerpoint presentation for his next class presentation is nearly completed after tonight's work.  Now if he can just get the actual verbal and written presentations the way he wants them all will be well.

Racing up and down our two flights of stairs today was great exercise.  That is the joy of laundry day.  Standing up for several hours ironing was also really good for me.  To be able to do such things again after years of phyical inability and mental sloth leaves me nearly giddy!

Yesterday after I submitted my prescription at the pharmacy I decided to test my blood pressure since I had more or less power walked my way about 2km from the doctor's office.  I wanted to see how I am doing with the old BP when I have more strenuous exercise.  Sure enough, it was elevated: 140/69. That is very high for me, shouldn't be more than 130, although that top number is not so bad combined with the lower one that was still well under the acceptable 80. I waited for a full two minutes while just sitting in a chair and watching the people shopping in the store.  My next reading was in my more usual range: 107/40.  Yup, more like it should be. I tested it again 2 minutes later before heading for home and it was about the same.  I have always had rather low blood pressure so when I was diagnosed with diabetes and my BP was testing at 150/90 and 153/108 I knew something was very wrong even before I received the diabetic diagnosis.  With my heart murmur there is a lot of danger with those high readings. As I age I will have to watch my BP closely so that it doesn't get any lower than the present averages either.  If I pass out I could land on the ground and break more bones!  Aiiii much to think about when I let myself, but I don't let myself very often!

I was very conscious today during my many times of prayer while folding clothes and ironing, that God was allowing me to feel very wrapped in his love, very protected, very cared for.  My husband was particularly demonstrative of the love of God as well as we talked this evening.  He is a good man.  I am blessed beyond measure to have him in my life.  It is rather emotionally painful to see him aging just like I am, to see him having to curtail some of his favourite activities because he is no longer as capable of doing them, to see him getting tired out after long days at work and concerned about certain things that never used to bother him, to see little traces of forgetfulness about all manner of things, just like me.  He feels the same pain watching me age as well.  We are both so grateful to still be together.  When death comes to one or the other of us, the one left behind is going to have a very tough time accepting it.  That is true for most couples I am sure, but we talked about it tonight and the reality that one of us could be facing such a senario sooner than planned is one we need to be preparing for more effectively than either of us has been thus far.  

My husband and I spend a lot of time simply chatting.  It is comfy and reassuring and fun!

So, another day of good household accomplishments. Tomorrow is pay day, so there will be a lot of racing about doing banking errands and grocery shopping.  I have to remember to pick up what I need for the salad I am supposed to be taking to the picnic at dinnertime.  So glad I don't have to turn on the oven tomorrow to cook anything.  We have enough leftovers in the freezer that we shouldn't have to cook for at least the next couple of days.  YAY!  Sunday evening we are heading to Moose Jaw to the home of some friends so I am going to seek out some kind of special gourmet food treat to take along just for fun.  They are a great pair and we are excited to be able to visit them once again.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Dem Ole Dry Bones O' Mine!

I had a rather quiet day at home for the first part of the day, getting some of my son's mail organized for him.  We are now his Canadian address for mail forwarding, just as my parents were for us when we were in Japan.  It is kind of fun actually to have to make arrangements for a few things for him that he can't take care of from so far away.

Then this afternoon I walked downtown to my annual bone specialist appointment.  O went SO well!  He completely agrees with me that it is better for me to return to Red Deer once again next year for my bone densitometry to check if this new medication is increasing my bone density or not, rather than setting a new baseline here and then having to wait another two years to see if the meds are working.  Although I will not be scheduling the appointment until nearly a year from now, I have the requsition slip in my hot little hands ready to prove this test is the request of my new specialist.  YAY!!  He gave me the new prescription, made certain I had all ready received my government permission for coverage by my husband's insurance company, he gave my spine a good checking out and seemed pleased that the curvature has not worsened in the past year and that I can still easily bend over to touch my toes, is thrilled I have had no fractures for nearly two full years, is happy that I am walking so much and delighted about the light weight lifting.  I came away feeling positive and encouraged!  I have a whole year now to live in what may turn out to be a fool's paradise of expectation that this new drug is actually working to restore bone density.  Well, we are not going to know one way or the other for another year, so I might as well assume the best and carry on with my life. 

All evening I have been going crazy smelling the absolutely delicious granola my husband was cooking in the oven....o my goodness!!!  When it finally came out of the oven at 10pm I could barely wait for it to cool sufficiently before sneaking a teeny tiny handful from the pan....I can't eat it very often, or much of it when I do, because there are maple syrup and coconut sugar added, plus I have no way of counting the amount of carbohydrate in any size serving. So, I will content myself with 1/4 cup of it once or twice a week for the next month.  That should be okay.  It is filled with so many yummy things: chopped dried fruit of all kinds, slivered almonds, wheat flakes, white sesame seeds, coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds....oh so many tasty bits of this and that.  What a treat for my bedtime snack tonight.

Tomorrow is the last "cooler" day we are going to have for awhile, so I am going to stay home and get all the laundry done. Running up and down 2 flights of stairs quite a few times in the course of the day will have to replace my usual longer walk around the city.  I ran the dishwasher tonight in the cool of the evening, the granola  cooked for several hours, now all the windows are open to let the slight breeze blow through before lights out.  There was such a cold wind blowing last night I had to shut my bedroom window at 3am.  Sure was great to wake up needing a sweater this morning instead of wondering how little clothing I could possible wear down to breakfast without sweltering all ready at 6am. Back to that by Thursday apparently.

Our relative who had cancer is away on the first RV trip of the summer since the diagnosis and treatment.  Praying it is going very well, is fun and relaxing.  After having the broken bones to recover from over the past few years I understand that "crawling the walls" feeling that comes from being confined to home for months at a time. 

We are rejoicing with BC friends who just became grandparents for the first time. The photo they sent of themselves holding the baby for the first time was so beautiful it quite brought me to tears.  I am happy for them as they will be one awesome Nana and Papa!  As I gazed into that puffy little "just born" face it made me just as happy I will not ever have that privilege, because all I could think of was "What will this dear child have to face growing up in our deteriorating culture and world in general?"  I feel relieved that we will not personally have that stress.  I faced enough of it when I was raising my own son! OCD and worry about grandchildren is not a good mix!  I nearly lost my mind with worry the entire time my son lived at home....just ask him sometime about how LESS than jolly that experience was for us all....for 19 years!  Blah!

I am working through my church issues.  If it all falls apart for me locally with my denomination and I stop going to my congregation by this time next year after our transition team completes its task, I will simply stay at home during church times and do a morning prayer service with my beloved BCP or BAS liturgies.  If my husband happens to be home he can do a Eucharist for me and preach one of his sermons to us both.  It will be interesting to see what is going on a year from now, if I feel I can remain in my local church or have to wait for a move to a different diocese where there may be a parish more suitable to my own spiritual needs.  I cannot return to my former denomination(s) as I am Anglican through and through.

It has been a good day and now it is time to crawl into bed and read another chapter in a biography of the fascinating Diana Mosley, by Anne de Courey.  I have been blessed with gifts and loans of several excellent biographies of late. Coming at a time when I am so bored and fed up with trying to find well written novels, the biographies are much appreciated. Real life is always so much more interesting than fiction!

A Full Day Off??? Pipe Dreamin'!

My husband was pretty thrashed today and looking forward to having a full day off with no committments whatsoever so he could recover in time to go into work tomorrow feeling on top of the world.  

Not QUITE meant to be, hahahahaha.  All was well until 9:30am and at least he was awake and fed when the phone rang for him.  It was a caller in need of his immediate services for last rites for an elderly woman who became "ill unto death" most surprsingly and very quickly. So, off my husband went to perform this most sacred of rites before the passing of her soul into glory.  I am so happy he was home to get the call and be able to assist the family.

Once he got home he loaded a carry bag with used books and we wandered over the the Curling Club to drop them off to be sorted for the Lifelong Learning book sale that will happen at the end of August.  Then we took off on a long walk all the way down Broadway Avenue from the curling club to the intersection at Park so we could try out a little diner called "Simply Delicious" for a bite of lunch.  We were the first customers to arrive, just after noon, but we weren't the last. By 12:30pm every table but one was full of hungry customers.  The food was certainly not spectacular, but it was hearty, flavourful and adequate for a very low price.  The young fellow serving the tables was efficient, but didn't hover asking us a dozen times if we needed anything or if we were happy with the food...I get so tired of that now standard line, "So, how are the first bites tasting?"  How do you think they are tasting dearie as they only arrived 30 seconds ago and have barely made it from my fork to my mouth and believe me, if they are not tasting good I will definitely let you know, now go away and let me eat!! The young fellow at Simply Delicious was excellent at noticing when we needed refills on our drinks, remembered to give us tableware and ask us which condiments we wanted for our "breakfasty" meals.  It is a cute little neighbourhood diner and apparently the most filled with customers of any restaurant in Regina on a Monday noon hour!  If we hadn't left when we did another group of people would have had to wait for a table.  Then, tummies bulging, we walked home again. The round trip was 7km so that was a good workout for my husband. I am dragging with me on as many walks as possible to help him shape up for the 2 outdoor trips next month. The temperatures were cooler today and a stiff breeze kept us comfortable for the long walk.

I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening preparing the veggies and herbs I purchased at Saturday's Farmers' Market: some for drying and storing and others for more immediate  use. I just put away a freshly cooled batch of pasta sauce that tastes scrumptious with the fresh Italian parsley, yellow beans and carrots.  We ate a LOT of baby spinach leaves with our dinner this good!

A cousin called me this afternoon and we had a nice chat.  We aren't in touch a lot so that makes any conversation more special.  He is living with permanent Atrial Fibrillation now after many visits to the operating room over the past 20 years to have his heart shocked back into rhythm.  It is always stressful to have that done because the chances are so high of dying on the operating table. For whatever reason he will not be having that done again and says it is far less stressful just living with the condition without the worry of those treatments.  I am praying he can just continue enjoying his life for a LONG time to come!!  A pox on you AFib!!  He is getting older like the rest of us and has inherited many of the family traits, just like I have, struggling with constant worry being one of them.  I am going to be praying for him now even more than I all ready was! on Sunday didn't turn out as we had been led to expect.  The Lutherans had their own service after all so our congregation was in with the United group once again.  I am glad I stayed for the service as I was tempted to just go home, but what I heard in the sermon and in general conversation afterward with the congregation just confirms to me now that I can no longer feel safe there.  I can't go to any more joint services.  I guess I need to talk to our Bishop and tell him what has been going on and confess I feel our own parishioners are not safe there either. They are hearing things that are so far removed from any Anglican belief, no matter how liberal, that I think those who are not particularly discerning about spiritual things may be hurting themselves more than they realize by participating in the joint services.  The sermon was based on Ephesians 2, what I call the great call to unity among believers, but the gist of the sermon was a confused mix of a call to complete inclusivity for all followed by a heavy duty bashing of the more evangelical among us as we are still clinging to our "Warrior God" of the Old Testament.  We were ridiculed, scorned for continuing to follow a God who led his people to fight bloody tribal battles pre-Christ.  There was no research apparently, no attempt to join the rest of us in grappling with the "herem", the ban, the spoils of war just an all out condemnation of those of us who don't have a serious problem with that side of God and who DO wrestle to grasp what we can of the reasoning behind those Old Testament stories and scriptures.  A lengthy passage by an emergent church leader was read and I admit I find that particular fellow a bit of an unnecessary grandstander...the Tony Campolo of the Emergent Church, only not as able to pull it off without revealing his underlying bitterness toward the old evangelical practises. He isn't incorrect in his assessment of problems in the evanglical church, but I don't have a lot of use for people in any religious circles who attempt to climb the Fame Train on a basis of personal hurts and bitternesses.  It makes it more difficult for me to hear what they are trying to say.  Whatever....I will attend church next Sunday because our own priest is leading the service, and that will be it for the rest of the summer.  In September that will be the end of the joint summer services and I will attend my own parish church regularly again.  I am struggling sufficiently with the skewed direction my own denomination is taking without adding in a huge dose of teaching from people even farther down that road than my own people are.  It is so hard these days to enjoy church: I became involved because of the centuries long traditions and liturgies and now they are being destroyed as more and more Anglican churches are walking away from the traditions and the heirarchical authority structure and acting more like free-church Baptists, doing whatever each parish wants to do without much obedience to the authority of their Bishops at all...and too many of the Bishops are responsible for leading the charge. What a mess.....sigh.....  I have been feeling troubled for quite awhile and while I am going to be busy with the transition team committments it will be an interesting year to see what happens by the time our team has completed its assigned tasks next summer.

O is on the way to 1am...again....I need to stop thinking and just go to sleep!

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!!