Thursday, August 31, 2017

Canoe Widow Day 5b: O Dear Lord, I Ate Every Last One of Them!! URP!!!

So, I am going to be up rather late this evening, perhaps even into the wee hours of the morning, due to the extremely large dinner I gorged on at 5:30pm.  Sigh.....

After I got home from the book store, I read for an hour, then decided I didn't want to spend the rest of the day being sedentary, so I thought it might be good to vacuum the downstairs.  Well, that didn't take very long, so I vacuumed the stairwell.  That took even less time, so of course I ended up vacuuming the upstairs as well.  Housework completed for this week...the week I wasn't going to bother and give myself a break from doing housework.  hahaha I suppose cleanliness IS next to godliness when there is so little else constructive a person can be doing, right? haha

I opened up the refrigerator when it was time to make dinner and saw the same old foods staring up at me from the three shelves.  I opened the freezer and all I could see was a lot of extra work required to thaw something properly and not give myself food poisoning in the process.  I got thinking I haven't had Indian food for a few weeks (a few days at least) and hopped in the car to head over to Da' Pizza and Curry House for a bowl of sambar.  I knew it wouldn't be quite enough but with the number of lentil carbs in the large serving there I didn't want to order naan as well.  I decided to try something new and ordered the fish fries.  My idea was to eat all the hot 'n' spicy, chili packed sambar, then top it off with 3 or 4 of the fish fries and take the rest of them home for another time. didn't quite work out that way, sigh......and I am paying for it now, but O IT WAS FANTASTIC TO JUST THROW ALL CAUTION TO THE WIND!

The strips of fish are one of my favourite dishes at Indian buffets and these were even better:  beside being lightly dredged in lentil flour, they were also shaken in a mix of tandoori  herbs and spices before frying.  O my, o my, o my....SO GOOD!!  I maybe could have eaten the entire plate of them without the sambar and come home feeling uncomfortable, (and a little bit guilty about the meal's effect on my cholesterol count), but still able to cope.  WITH the sambar I knew as soon as my plate arrived that I would absolutely have to take most of them home with me.

Buuuuuut: they were served with a small container of tartar sauce...not my favourite and more fat to add into the fat from the fried fish, but cooling to the palate in small dribs and drabs AND then there was a container of my favourite cilantro chutney AND then there was a healthy pile of thinly sliced fresh red onion rounds and a wedge of lemon AND once the fish has been "lemon'd" it doesn't save well for the next day's eating AND there was just enough cilantro chutney for all those fish fries SO if I just went ahead and ate them all I wouldn't have to worry about how to get the cilantro chutney home in the take away carton AND once my taste buds were seared by the hot chilis in the sambar they REALLY REALLY REALLY enjoyed the flavour of those fresh red onion rounds WITH the cilantro chutney in every soft and tasty bite of that tandoori fish AND I had to consider that once a fresh red onion is sliced the rounds tend to dry out and go limp overnight in the refrigerator AND with no one else at home onion breath would not be an issue SO before I knew it I had eaten the entire plateful of food....every last possible bite!  

I literally waddled like a penguin back to my car after dinner, but managed to keep my body folded over appropriately in the middle to drive home before standing up to go into the house and realizing I was so full of food I actually wanted to just lie down and never get up again.  Ooooowwwwwie!!  My poor overloaded tummy!   In the past 4 years I can only remember one other time I over ate to this point of painful repentence.  Talk about sinning in haste and repenting at leisure!  Whoever came up with that old saw must have been able to see into the future to my food stuffing festival of this evening.....burp! (actually it was first written as "marry in haste and repent at leisure" in William Congreve's 1693 comedy of manners, "The Old Batchelour"...but I digress...)  The only way I could cope with the sated disaster of my poor stomach was to put on the tv and alternately march up and down on the spot and walk in circles around my couch for an hour and 45 minutes until the feeling passed!  Now it is 10:30pm and I am still getting over my dinner....I am not certain though about the depth of my repentence because I enjoyed all that fat and those carbs and the stinky onions way too much to be as sorry as I should be for eating the entire kit and kaboodle!

Whilst marching around the living room I watched the movie "Lion".  A fast past action thriller it isn't, but instead is a wonderful, if slowly presented, movie about a fellow who got lost as a young boy in India, was eventually adopted by an Australian couple and at the age of about 30 years managed to find his birth mother back in India and introduce her to his Australian family.  It is based on a true story and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Perhaps the fact that my own son is so far away and that as the movie was playing he and I were emailing back and forth brought such a poignancy to the film, but it was a great way to spend the evening and a fabulous way to take my mind off my bloated mid section!

After the movie I washed up some dishes and talked to my parents on the phone. They listed off a whole slew of activities they have signed up to participate in with their fellow seniors' residence dwellers during the month of September.  WOW!  I am so excited for them. They are trying to get out of that place as often as possible before the winter snows return and are not kidding around about it. They have literally signed up for every single thing being offered!  YAY!  I am very happy for them.  I don't remember the last time I heard either one of them so happy and relaxed....well, yes I was nearly 6 years ago now, just before Dad went into hospital with his back fracture that started the whole morphine induced downhill disaster their lives became until just a few months ago when his back was sufficiently healed to go through withdrawal.  Thank you Lord for this ray of light for them as the enter their 90's.  (I am trying to figure out a way to get to Calgary the middle of November for my mom's 90th birthday. There is no way she is going to be slighted after the fuss and palaver that accompanied my dad's celebration.  My son can't make it back here for a party, but surely my husband and I can manage to fly one hour to the city, rent a car and make my mother happy! Surely we can at least do that for her!)

If I can get a ride to Moose Jaw on September 16 I am going to take advantage of a one day teaching conference our diocesan Qu'Appelle School of Mission and Ministry is putting on.  It is a day long teaching on the book of Galatians presented by the amazing Professor John Barclay, professor extraordinaire from Durham.  It is ridiculously inexpensive to attend and anyone is welcome.  It seems like so long since I last got to audit my husband's seminary courses and I am desperate for some deeper teaching again.  Praying I can get there.  My husband has a pre-Synod meeting that day and has to take our car to travel in the opposite direction to the conference centre in Moose Jaw.

Nice to maybe have something so enjoyable to look forward to.  As far as good theological teaching, my mind has been stagnating for the past few years.  Textbooks are great, but there is nothing like learning from a real person standing right in front of me while I take notes as if my life depends on them.  When it comes to information retention I am a very auditory learner.

Well, better get to bed. Tomorrow I have to send a proposal for a design and appropriate colour palette to my son. I have commissioned a huge cotton scarf from him. He loves designing and painting them and sold a fair number of them while he was still in Canada.

I hope and pray that smoke from the horrific northern Manitoba wild fire doesn't drive the canoe buddies out of the river sooner than planned. They have little enough time up there as it is since one of the guys decided he needs to be back Saturday night. Originally they had planned to stay until the long weekend Monday so left feeling all ready disappointed enough.  Today was the first day since all the western Canadian fires began burning that Regina has had a smoky sky for the entire kept the intense heat down and didn't have a lot of odor to it, for which I am grateful.

Okay, it is time to hoist my waistline out of this chair and finally treat it to a prone position!  'Nighty night!

Canoe Widow Day 5a: Ya' Gotta Be Kiddin' Me!! of an hour or so ago I am now the recipient of no less than three dinner invitations.....ALL for tomorrow night.  hahahahahahahaha

First come, first served is how I look at it.  I am very much looking forward to my dinner with a good friend from out of town who is coming to do some family errands and then going out for dinner with me.

The second invitation I am only mildly disappointed to miss because, although I always enjoy a chance to eat and fellowship with the other staff from my husband's office, their guest of honour for the dinner is the same British bishop and his wife that my husband and I are taking to church and out for lunch afterward on Sunday.  I wouldn't want them to see me too often....too much 0f a good thing for them, ya' know.  teehee.......

The third invitation was able to be revamped into a Saturday afternoon park festival activity, so I am not missing out on any company there.  At least one of the other canoe wives will be meeting me there and she is bringing along a Japanese girl, a high school exchange student who only arrived last evening.  The poor kid is likely all ready immersed in culture shock, so hopefully, despite our age difference, I can bridge some small gap in the cultures for her this weekend.  Fortunately she begins school next week and will be able to make friends her own age in a hurry.  The school has exchange programmes every year and the students there are used to being welcoming of people from around the world.  I pray her year goes well and that she is able to make good friends. I also pray for her host family that she has not been sent here by her own family because she is viewed as/actually is a troublemaker at home.  It wouldn't be the first time that has happened and with sad consequences all around.    

So, while this week has been more of a time of introspection and healing, the weekend appears to be shaping up as a more interesting time.  After exploring so deeply what has been swirling around inside my head for the past more than a decade, I have come to the conclusion that inside my head is not that compelling a location!!

In between dinner invitations and a long phone call from a fabulous friend in Alberta, dusting the furniture and doing the month end banking, I made it to the first day of The Big Book Sale.  I concentrated on purchasing hard covers today.  At $2 each and being only able to carry 8 of them at once, it wasn't an expensive venture.  Tomorrow I will return and see what is left in the paperback section.  I am happy that they have separated out the romance novels into a completely different section of the room so I don't have to waste time filtering those out while I look for something I actually want to read.  That bag of hard cover books seemed to grow heavier with every step on the short walk home! haha  I really am getting old..... I want to start on tomorrow's vacuuming project all ready this afternoon or do I want to start reading one of the new books?  Hmmmm...decisions, decisions.........

What a Difference a Day Makes

It is 6:30am on the day after my little melt down and I feel great again! God and I had some pretty serious time together yesterday and I got rid of much of the angst that has built up over the past thirteen years. While I find crying to be maudlin and self-indulgent, apparently it helped me yesterday. The positive aspects of prairie living are once again in the forefront of my mind, joy that I have made any SK friends at all with my inability to be a native prairie dweller has returned, I have new assurance I can cope with the cultural differences....yup, happiness has returned. I think I got a good start yesterday on dealing with why I have struggled so much in this province so will keep working on my social skills that do work here and not worry about the rest. I realize just how very much I do value my "born and raised in SK" friends because they have reached out and allowed me into their very busy lives. May God bless them for putting up with me!

I am grateful for this week of reflection and stress. As usual, good things are resulting from it. Amen!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Canoe Widow Day 4

Today went from low to much higher...thankfully!

This morning I woke up feeling very depressed and not only from reading "The Handmaid's Tale"!  haha  I had my breakfast and then attempted to analyze why, out of all the times I have spent living alone, for various reasons in the past 40 years, this time I have been so conscious of it, so paralyzed by it and so claustrophobic about it.  I struggled for most of the past 2 days to leave the house "just in case" someone not originally on the social calendar for this week called me to get together or I thought of someone new to call.  SO NOT LIKE ME!!!

So, I prayed for a long time after my meal and so many thoughts came to mind:  the years of being bullied at school, followed by the most amazing time of my life when I got involved in my first church and met so many wonderful new friends, followed by getting married and experiencing small town living for nearly 25 years with my husband working out of town so much, raising our son nearly single handedly and battling to make friends in both the small towns we resided in during that time...BUT succeeding well, followed by several years of seminary where most friendships were temporary because they were with people from all over the world, most of who returned home after they graduated...except for ourselves who had no more home to return to, the culture shock upon entering this province that is so very different from the others I have lived in and how a very small handful of people in Moose Jaw salvaged what could have been a complete disaster there as I tried to adjust to prairie non-campus living...God bless those people, most of who are still wonderful friends, two more SK towns that were the biggest social and spiritual trial of my life, and now Regina, land of more opportunity, but my being of an age now where connecting is even more difficult in a 3rd and 4th generation prairie culture.  

I think the difference in the years I have lived in SK vs AB and other places is that I was younger in those places and therefore it was automatically just a bit easier to find new people.  A new person in town was someone to be interested in, to jockey for a close position to on the friendship chain, to want to learn about in as many areas as they cared to share.  Curiosity about others in SK who are "from away" is not that usual. There is little interest in people who haven't spent their lives here...almost none in fact, so it is difficult to connect when I also have little interest in spending hours listening to monologues about every generation of the locals' families and how they have lived in SK since the Ark, yet who never once ask anything about where I came from or what is of interest to me.  Granted, they don't really need to because they are insulated by several generations of family ties that fill their thoughts and their days. Even in Moose Jaw, of all the friends I have there only 4 of them were born and raised in SK and have spent their lives here.  I don't feel personally slighted by the lack of interest because it is just a cultural difference that effects almost all newcomers to the prairies.  It is a source of frustration for me, but not emotional pain.  I don't fit in here, I won't fit in here and today I realized how much I don't want to fit in here....eek, heresy....hahaha.  I spent several years attempting to fit into the prairie culture but the closer I came to success the more I realized I was compromising my own personality and that lying about who I am is not fair to the other people involved.  When glimpses of the real me would sneak up occasionally they would be shocked and dismayed, so I had to give up on the idea of fitting in.

So, I spent the morning coming to terms with why this few days alone (again) has been so upsetting after being alone so much of my adult life in far worse circumstances and geographical locations than here in Regina.  I am not a crier and tears of any kind from anybody frustrate me to death, but this morning I sat and sobbed for hours.

I cried because I finally figured out why I have been so unhappy this week:  in my heart I am seeking out geographical roots that also satisfy that need for belonging socially and in spiritual community, but the conscious realization came that finding such a thing at this stage of life is unlikely.  We have been too mobile.  The longest we ever lived in Alberta as adults is a place where we made many, many friends and had deep spiritual roots despite the most trying outward circumstances of our lives.  So, why not return upon my husband's retirement and re-root there?  Well, because all but a very few of those friends have themselves moved away for any number of reasons. They are scattered thither and yon. The spritual community we enjoyed has been decimated since those days. There is nothing to return to.  My parents are both 90 and live in a city we cannot afford to live in even now.  We never were all that close anyway, so there is no point trying to make a move back there. Once they have died there are no friends left for us there now as it has been too long and old friends have left the area.  We would like to live closer to my husband's sister and her husband, but again it isn't a city we can afford to live in.  Our son has moved to the United States and it is possible he will not return to Canada for a long time, if ever.  Even if he does, the chances we will be living anywhere near each other are rather slim.  So, I feel cut off from family and old friends.  Right now it is really REALLY bothering me. No, I don't know why.

So, that is how I spent the earlier hours of my morning: crying and feeling sorry for myself.  

After a couple of hours of that I was quite sick of it.  While I was glad to finally figure out what has been bothering me lately, I lost patience with the tears and in spending time upsetting myself with things that have no answers at the moment, so I decided to get on with my day.  

I packed up some books to send to a friend, then I washed all the blinds on all the windows.  Nothing like some form of physical exercise to scare away the blues.  By the time I was finished it was well past my lunchtime but I didn't realize that and headed out to mail the books, then tour myself around the new HomeSense and Winners outlet in Harbour Landing.  What a bunch of junk, BUT what fun to spend time peering about "window shopping" with no time pressures and no money to spend on some dumb thing or item of clothing I don't need.  I did buy a second vegetable peeler because the one my husband had to take on his canoe trip is so old and horrible and I am not sure it is working for him.  He can have the one I am using now for his camp supplies and I will use the new one. Driving away from the store I realized how far past my lunch time it actually was so I headed to the nearest restaurant to have a salad....unfortunately it was an Applebee's but at least I got food in a hurry and felt much better very quickly, not so light headed and crabby.  

After lunch I took a long walk around and around the Southland Mall to wear off my lunch. That was fun. I did some "window shopping" again, looking at a ton of clothing. I can tell there is nothing I need to buy because not one thing appealed to me...not even a hint of a temptation to purchase anything.  I stayed out of Chapters though because I knew temptation would completely overwhelm me and I need to reserve my book budget spending for the Life Long Learning Big Book Sale that starts on Friday at a venue close to my home.  

After I got home I cleaned the kitchen and bathroom.  As much as I was going to take a break from housework this week, obviously I have more than enough time to fill and why not fill it with something that gives me a clean and tidy space in which to live?  I need some sort of daily regimen to keep my mind from wandering any more down the sorts of paths it wandered down this morning.  All that analyzing and crying was fine for one morning, but I don't want it to happen again for a very long time.  Solutions to the problem will present themselves in time, so other than prayer I am letting it go for the present.

I enjoyed a late dinner here at home, watched a bit of tv and took a good look at the spectacular sunset we had tonight...the sun was a brilliant red ball from all the forest fire smoke in the atmosphere. Once it set I stepped out onto the back deck for awhile to enjoy the warmth and slight breeze under cover of darkness. It was lovely standing out there...calming, serene....a beautiful way to end the day. Tomorrow is supposed to be beastly hot again.

I didn't make it to any art galleries after all today, but I think I will aim for tomorrow afternoon. Two of the larger ones are in air conditioned buildings, yay! It is pay day tomorrow so I am going to go early to the banks to take care of some financial "chores", then I will come home and spend the rest of the morning dusting.  After lunch will be a good time to go to the galleries as it is the afternoons that tend to drag for me.

Friday will be my vacuuming morning and then I will see where the rest of the day takes me. If I am still alone on Saturday I will get up early and go to the Farmers' Market for some veggies.  I am hoping there will still be some yellow beans available this late in the season and could use a few more carrots, maybe some fresh herbs if any are available this week.

Somehow my husband is supposed to be up for taking a visiting bishop and his wife to a church service and out for lunch on Sunday,even though he himself will not be home from the canoe trip sometime between 11pm Saturday and 1am Sunday.  That will be interesting....or something.....hahahaha.

Okay off to find a less depressing book to read before bed!  

Day Four accomplished...over and out!

Best Live News Interview Ever!

Yesterday I saw a live interview between a CNN reporter and a newly rescued Texas mother and her children.  This mom and her kids had just arrived at a rescue centre. They were cold, soaking wet, hungry, frantic, frightened and in shock.  They were barely through the door of the centre when the reporter pounced on them, eagerly asking question after question about their ordeal.  The mom was relatively calm at the beginning of the interview, but obviously wanted to get her children taken care of, get some food and dry clothes and figure out what in the heck was going to happen to them next, but the reporter wouldn't let up. She continued asking inane questions with obvious answers until finally the mom interrupted her and gave her a well deserved tongue lashing about how when someone has just been rescued, along with her children, from raging flood waters after waiting for hours for help and thinking they were going to drown, the last thing that person needs is to be standing with a reporter answering a bunch of questions "with a microphone in my face", when there are immediate needs to be remedied.  Oooh, it was grand!  Way to go lady, whoever you are and may you and your little ones be well looked after in the midst of this weather induced tragedy.

I am all for freedom of the press and I resent and fear those in authority who attempt to muzzle news reporters, however misguided or even manipulative some of the media outlets may be, but there was no common sense at all behind the steady stream of questions being relayed to the frantic mom.  When someone is in shock, standing around with several soaking, terrified, hungry, tired kids needing help, go ahead and ask a couple of questions then leave it alone. Find someone who has all ready been dried off and fed to ply with questions about that person's rescue ordeal. 

Way to go angry mom!!  I can only imagine how you felt with that mic stuck in your face and being expected to answer questions from an overly bouncy cheerleader type of well fed, well rested reporter who has not at all experienced the horrible situation you and your family have only just been saved from....and saved for how long, no one knows.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Canoe Widow Day 3

It's the little things that keep me going when I am home for a week alone.

Today's small joys that added up to it being a pretty good day included a hopscotch drive around the city picking up some necessary items that are not on the weekly shopping list: things like plastic sleeves for the hard copies of my husband's weekly sermons, lens cleaner for my glasses, fresh R/O water in 3 big jugs so we don't have to drink the local tap water and a new bathmat to replace the one I have been using even after it got split and moldy.  I received a short phone call from a friend far away.  I played 6 levels of a computer game all in a row without timing out even once.  I got within a half hour of completing "The Handmaid's Tale" this afternoon and will be able to do so tonight before bed so I can move on to another book that hopefully will be far less depressing.  My son sent me an email to tell me about his first day of work at Miguel Abreu Gallery and it is going to be most interesting. 

Of such things are my happy days composed.  

I am feeling rather alone though.  Apparently the other social plans I was hoping for this week have mostly fallen apart.  I know what it is like to have plans with someone and then have to cancel them for some very unexpected reason that arises, so I empathize with the "cancelees" but I am running out of other people to contact here in town.  I am praying I won't have to spend the next 4 days in a row quite this alone.  It just brings back too many memories of a place we lived once long ago where, in all the years we were there, neither of us made so much as one friend the whole time and we left the place as unnoticed as we arrived.  It was hell and it still doesn't take much to be reminded of how horrible it was.  Just writing about it I am revisiting the churning stomach and the feeling of being trapped and unable to breathe.  There are still a couple of people from elsewhere who said they would be arranging a visit with me this week, so I still have hope for the next few days.   I am wishing now I had just bitten the bullet and credit carded a trip to see my cousin and aunt.  Well, if the snow holds off for my husband's next business trip maybe I will go then.

Other than being lonely, things are going well.  After yesterday's +35C high temperature, today's +29C with a breeze felt almost chilly! haha  The next day of heat will be Thursday apparently and then we should drop below +30C and stay a bit cooler for September. Often a hot, dry summer like this means there will be a lot of snow come winter.  It will be interesting to see if that is what happens this time around. 

Well, I will see what tomorrow brings.........

The time is actually flying past.  I can't believe my husband has been gone for 3 days all ready!!!  I hope he is having the time of his life.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Canoe Widow Day 2

Thus endeth day two as a canoe trip widow!

I took today as my day of rest.  As I looked at my list of things to do this week I decided to make today my movie watching day.  Talk about relaxing!  About the most strenuous things I did all day were cooking two small chicken breasts, removing a carton of chickpea curry from the freezer and doing 70 minutes of walking exercise after lunch while talking on the phone to my parents!  

Over the past few weeks I deliberately recorded several movies I hadn't heard of before and knew nothing about.  I am very conservative about choosing movies as a rule:  I have to have heard of them and read reviews that were positive before I watch them, I need to know who the stars are as there are certain movies that may sound interesting but who have stars who automatically brand those movies in my mind as likely being full of types of humour, violence and general foulness that I don't enjoy and they have to be about subject matters that are meaningful to me personally.

This time I just picked 4 movies at random and I watched three of them today....THREE!  I haven't watched that many movies in one day for a very long time, so that is a testament to how well I stuck to my determination to relax for the entire day!

I watched "Keeping up with the Joneses", which was pure nonsense and cutely funny with a bit of unbelievable spy action thrown in.  I watched "Blue Jasmine" which had one of those movie endings that resolved the lives of all the characters except for the main one and didn't do much to encourage people with mental illnses issues, but was nonetheless interesting in its way.  I watched "Collateral Beauty" which was completely unbelievable and rather odd actually, but most enjoyable anyway.  I can neither recommend nor pan any of the three because I was watching them to zone out and relax, so whether or not they were actually any good was secondary to having a calming effect on my mind.  All three certainly did that.  There were no huge, suspenseful climaxes, no nail biting worries about how each movie would end. All of them contained just the right amount of predictability for me in the mood I was in today.

SO now I am rested up.  I can't possibly spend another day this inactive without going crazy, so I am going to do my bit of shopping in the morning tomorrow and hope against hope I can find someone available to go out for tea or dinner or something in the afternoon and/or evening, since I have had no confirmations yet of any of the social plans I thought were going to happen this week.  Patience, patience...yes, I know.........blecch, I hate having to be patient!

If all else fails for tomorrow after shopping, I have a list of art galleries as long as my arm I can start visiting.  The news reports on the terrible flooding in Texas are almost enough to keep my attention riveted for hours on end.  Those poor, poor people...Lord, please rescue them!


Hey There 5-6am Joggers and Power Walkers

Did you know that as you and your exercise partners pass by various residences along your route the residents in those residences, although sleeping before you pass their bedroom windows while chattering like jay birds, can often be startled into a state of what is known as "rude awakening" as you pass their bedroom windows while chattering like jay birds?

Usually this happens approximately thirty to forty minutes prior to the ringing of the alarms set the night before by the aforementioned residents; set in fact for the time of morning they actually WANT/NEED to begin their day; just sufficiently prior to the ringing of their alarms that once you have awakened them it is then too late for them to go back to sleep until the required time of awakening. I myself have both observed and experienced this nasty process of the "rude awakening" on a regular basis.


Just sayin'........

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Punctured Balloon Syndrome!

My husband left about an hour ago with his buddies. I spent this first hour alone cleaning up the mess left behind: putting away unused food and cartons, washing dishes, sweeping, taking loads of garbage and cardboard food wrappers to the bins outside, collecting odds and ends of personal items dropped here and there to take up to his room to await his return.

Now I am sprawled across the couch blogging, the tv running in the background because I haven't got the energy to sit up and grab the remote control from the coffee table and shut the tv off.

I. Am. Exhausted. And. I. Am. Not. Even. Going. On. The. Canoe. Trip. Sigh.

It is all worth it to see my husband so happy, so excited and so thrilled to be canoeing again this summer with his friends.

And. Now. To. Bed!

Really Looking Forward to Choir This Term

I so enjoyed our first choir practise of the season this afternoon.  I have been involved now long enough to be able to greet everyone and have decent discussions before and afterward about how everyones' summers have been etc.  

Our director has set up several more performances for this coming year.  She has figured out that our little group learns much more quickly and works that much harder if we are preparing for more than the two main performances we have been in the habit of doing in the past.  So, our first gig will be to sing two of the songs we did last spring at a Canada 150 performance where we will be singing alongside some more professional musicians. THAT should smarten us up! haha

I am very excited about some of the new people who came today to try out our group to see if they could be a good fit.  A goodly number of them are altos and would so nicely pad out our struggling little section.  The new people in all 4 parts seemed friendly, eager to chat and meet everyone and it certainly gave a lovely feeling to our first rehearsal.  How I hope and pray they will return to stay.

The music our director has picked is fun, varied, ranging in difficulty from very simple to medium range, so I think our group can handle that.    The new people that checked us out today seem to be all ready strong singers, better than most of us in the original group and so I hope we are not too "bad" for them to decide to stay on.  One gal I spent a lot of time talking to shares a church background with the one I had growing up and we certainly enjoyed discussing that connection today.  

It felt good to be exercising my voice again and I think resting it over the summer helped quite a bit.  I have all the music here with me so will have time this week to get a good overview of the alto parts and the tenor parts as the tenors may need some assistance this year.  One of our favourite and best tenors is not returning after all.

This year is the most settled I have felt in the choir.  I think the removal of other long term stresses recently has helped me be more at peace.  Thank you Lord for that!   

My husband is busily packing up the last bits of camp food that needs to remain cool until tomorrow's dinner at Campsite #1.   In about a half hour he will be on his way to another canoeing adventure.  How I hope it is just the most wonderful time for all the guys.

Okay, so it wasn't REALLY a TRUE boxing match....

....and the resulting win for Mayweather was rather predictable since he is a true regulation boxer and his opponent is not, but I still enjoyed watching Mayweather come out of retirement long enough to secure his 50th winning match. Now that he will be out of the ring I will turn my attention to my other fave, Gennady Golovkin, aka Triple G! Go, go go Gennady!

Trying To Avoid the Cyclone Here At Home

I am truly "dragging my tail feathers" today!  Yaaaaawwwnnn.........

However, there is not much rest to be found around here today despite a bit of a sleep in and a leisurely breakfast with my husband.  As soon as breakfast ended the whirlwind of activity began around here.  Rest?  Relax? Are you kidding me??? hahahaha  Good thing I have 6 days of that starting after dinner tonight!

Being a typical sufferer of CFS in many ways, including an inability to live in the reality that is CFS exhaustion, my husband decided at 8pm yesterday to make a massive batch of granola cereal.  No, I do not know why.  HE does not know why.  Although it is not needed for camp food, he will not be at home to eat it for a week and I can't eat it for any reason, there he was measuring and mixing grains and coconut and honey and what-have-you while I dutifully grabbed a big knife and chopped up the dates and mango, raisins and cranberries to add in after cooking. Also in typical CFS fashion, after he assured me he was watching it cooking in the oven, he wandered away and left it while he watched a movie on tv and it wasn't until I smelled burning granola upstairs in my office and raced down to shut off the oven that he realized he had forgotten all about it.  Does CFS mean his sense of smell is gone???  hahahaha Anyway, he salvaged all but about a half cup in one very burnt corner of one of the three pans.  He ate some of the granola for his bed time snack and some more for his breakfast. I decided he IS taking some along for the canoe buddies when I found in the cupboard a perfectly shaped container that fits into the curve of the canoe barrel and holds 10 cups of granola mix!!  The rest I put into 2 containers for here at home after his trip, one labelled "over cooked" and one labelled "perfectly cooked".   This process didn't end until nearly midnight when I just had to pack it in and get some sleep.  After breakfast today I washed all the knives and pans and the now empty grain and dried fruit containers.  

Once I had that done, along with the non-dishwasher dishes I didn't have the energy to do last night, I ran up and down two flights of stairs numerous times transferring emergency contact information for us canoe wives from the basement computer to the computer in my office and getting copies printed for some and emailed to others. Then I ferried down to the basement packing area all the food my husband left around the rest of the kitchen with no memory of having done so....he is more than a little excited about this trip, so between that and the CFS, very distracted and subsequently more forgetful.  O my......  In the midst of this our son emailed to say he was having a relaxing time of prayer and meditation in a park near his home and could we please call him for a long chat.  RIGHT AWAY!! Sigh........I will be so grateful when he gets his phone plan for calling out of country starting next month!  Anyway, there was no way we were going to miss out on a phone call with the son, so that took up another half hour.  hahaha  

All this has been going on and it is only 11am!  Now I am REALLY tired!  AND it just now hit me I have our first community choir rehearsal this afternoon! could I have forgotten that all ready?  I was just talking about it to my husband yesterday afternoon!  HE is the one with CFS and I am the one forgetting my committments! hahahaha

At least is a beeaaauuuutiful sunny day with only a very slight breeze and again no rain in the forecast.  I think I will take advantage of the fact that my husband is knee deep in his own personal packing up and it is another hour before his friend arrives to assist in packing up the food, and have a little rest.  I am reading Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale" and it is so incredibly depressing I want to get finished with it and on to something more uplifting!  I just finished reading Elspeth Huxley's old gem, "The Flame Trees of Tikka" and want to find copies of her subsequent books about her life growing up mostly in Africa. A friend from Alberta who gives me many of her previously read books sent me home from our holidays in June with several very good books and I would like to get into one of those by tomorrow.

Okay...resting and reading it is! Be a few hours the cyclone and his friends and packing mess will be gone for the week and I can turn into a blob for a full 6 days if I want to!

Eli's art

For those of you who were asking, Eli has just wrapped up a teeny tiny exhibition in a New York apartment gallery. I finally got the website addie:

The show consists mostly of small wall hanging sculptures and painted fabrics and is tiny like the space but beautifully curated.


Saturday, August 26, 2017

All Things Working Together For Good

Well, this morning I "did the deed" and let the team know I will be unable to stay on as their fellow member.  On the one hand I felt complete peace that I was doing the right thing, particularly after an email and chat yesterday with a BC friend who exuded spiritual wisdom in every written and spoken sentence, on the other hand I felt sick about having to let down some very caring, dedicated team mates who are, by the grace of God, going to be able to help our faltering congregation find a more secure footing for their future ministries. 

With great fear and trepidation I sent my email to the team.  The response I received from our priest was so gentle, so compassionate and so understanding that I felt the burden lifting immediately and have had no stress or confusion or doubt as a result of the decision I had to make.  Thank you Lord.

The thing that was hardest to admit, even to myself, is how much a recurrence of an old heart issue has contributed to my decision.  It is easy to be able to "blame" only the changes in my husband's schedule that would be leaving me in a bind trying to do my work for the team, but to have to admit that illness AGAIN has arisen and is an even bigger contributing factor....well, that just bothers me more than I can say because it has been a lifelong theme for me and I am darned tired of it.

Yes...."darned tired" also applies to how the worsening of my heart murmur etc. has left me feeling lately.  My thinking has been so muddled in recent weeks that it has certainly effected my ability to chair the team, to even remember what my notes from the meetings were all about.  Once I found out what is going on I could see the situation has been bothering me for longer than I realized.  I think my husband clued in a few weeks before I did.

So, since avoiding heart attacks and serious heart disease is something I am also passionate about, I am starting to take on only what I can handle in a day and some days it won't be that much.  I have been working on lowering my intake of fats and cholesterol and have been exercising again a LOT, but very simple exercise, just more of it. I have been through this before and am actually very surprised that it has taken 20 years for this condition to worsen again.  Writing it all down makes it sound so much more serious than it is, because there are good steps I can take to quell the hassle long before meds or surgeries or other drastic measures are required.  I have a good doctor who also believes in starting off whenever possible with finding ways for the body to heal and rest without benefit of meds, at least until they are proven to be necessary. 

This morning we received a call from our Education Canon asking us if we would be available to squire about the city a 30 year old English gal who arrived here last night to take on a 10 month assistant position in the Diocese Office.  The Canon had another committment and didn't want to abandon the girl on her first morning in Canada.  The easy and outwardly more sensible answer would have been NO!  I needed more rest this morning and my husband needed to complete his final grocery shopping for the canoe trip, BUT we felt for this gal and didn't want her introduction to her new country to be one of abandonment, so we picked her up at 11am and took her to the provincial museum.  She seemed to really enjoy learning about the Saskatchewan history, landscape and particularly in the history of our indigenous people. She is quite a delightful young lady. We had a great time.  We took her out for lunch afterward before dropping her back at her new home.  It was fun!  As it turned out my husband didn't need as many more food items as he thought he did, so we completed the shopping and were home in lots of time for tonight's dinner.  A surprise invitation to hospitality worked out very well for all of us.  Right now my husband has all his gear and food items laid out and has time to relax with a bit of televsion before he goes to bed.  Our son wants to chat with us tomorrow morning before one of my husband's canoe buddies comes over at noon to help him pack up all the food in the waterproof barrels and by mid afternoon they will be on their way to meet up with the other men for the annual adventure on the river.

I am exhausted tonight, probably from the stress of decision making, relaying the decision and then having to integrate our new English friend into our day, followed by a couple of hours on my feet in grocery stores.  BUT mentally and emotionally I feel GREAT!!  There is a peace that comes once a situation has been sorted out and the answer becomes apparent so it can be executed. Tomorrow morning we get to sleep in before the packing up gets started.  That is a one person job  until food time when it is a two person job and not one of the aforementioned persons is me!!  YIPPEE!  Once the men are gone I can relax knowing that whatever goes on with my husband, whether his CFS is a bother or not, whether any important food item or camping gear requirement has been missed, becomes someone else's responsibility for the better part of a week.  The timing for me could not be better in terms of needing a rest with no deadline committments.  I have some loose plans in place for myself with friends and a list of art galleries and other events I can attend if I have the energy and desire.  Perhaps all of these things will happen. Perhaps none of them will happen and I will spend the week laying around reading books and watching movies and exercising.  To know it doesn't matter is the most relaxing thing of all.

Friday, August 25, 2017

One Whacky Football Game!!!

Did you happen to see the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Edmonton Eskimos playing football tonight in Edmonton?  WHAT A CRAZY GAME!! hahahaha  The game was four full quarters of blocked punts, interceptions, incredibly long runs into the end zones, bizarre flying tackles and the most hilariously unbelievable play that saw several members of each team fumbling the ball in succession before one of the Eskimos was able to finally grab it in the end zone to give his team a touchdown.  It was the weirdest football game I have ever seen in my life!  Happily the Roughriders won the game....their first win on an away game in the Western Conference since September of 2014!!!  They played well tonight. Keep it up guys!  With a final score of 54-31 it just proves you can do it.  Edmonton did not play badly, so it wasn't like it was a dead giveaway to win.  Taking the early lead seemed to give the Riders a lot of confidence.  I hope in their next game they can display the confidence and ability they utilized tonight. What a nutsy game....thoroughly weird and just as thoroughly enjoyable.

I am not sure what to think about tomorrow night's fight between boxer Floyd Mayweather and UFC star Conor McGregor.  Supposedly this match up between a veteran boxer with a record of 49 and 0 against a top UFC fighter limited in this fight to only the rules of boxing is going to be a big deal.  Well, it will be a huge money maker if nothing else.  It may or may not give Mayweather his 50th consecutive win, but since it would be against a UFC fighter rather than another boxer specifically, how meaningful a win is it really?  I am certainly not going to bother paying nearly one hundred dollars to Pay Per View to see the fight.  In a couple or three weeks it will show up on HBO or similar sports channel and by then I will of course all ready know who won and how he did it.  I hope to see it at some point of course, but I wonder what I will actually see.  What I hope for, if the decision has to go to the judges' cards, is a true and fair decision, not some obviously rigged scoring that takes the fun out of the sport.  Guess we will know by this time tomorrow night how the fight turns out and why. 

Happy Morning

It has been a lovely day thus far.  The sky is threatening with dark rain clouds, but so far there has been no moisture falling at all.  It is warm and breezy without being a wind storm outside.  

My husband and I were up at 6:30am and out the door rather quickly, bearing a couple of frying pans, fresh bagels, Swiss cheese, bacon slices and eggs.  Off we went to the Synod office to prepare breakfast for the staff and our visiting former bishop and his family.  What a fun time we had!  Our former bishop is a lively fellow, lots of fun to talk with and his wife and family are never at a loss for words no matter how long it has been since we last saw each other.  What a nice treat, a great way to start the day.

Afterward I did the clean up of the dishes and gave the small kitchen there a good wiping down.  It was fun doing it for someone else for a change instead of just here at home.  People are always so appreciative of having someone else do that sort of thing so they themselves can get back to work.  The breakfast put a big dent into the work day of the other staff members, so it was the least I could do.  I had a good time.  So glad my own work here is all caught up and I didn't have to rush home.

I came home to a cheery couple of emails and a phone call, all from friends far away.   I was able to pick up 24 very freshly baked bagels from the grocery bakery for my husband's canoe trip....I can hardly believe it is finally time for him to start packing up and preparing for this time of fellowship, rest, ministry, exercise and the wonderful "gourmet" camp food this group manages to pull off each year.  

I don't have any plans for next week nailed down yet, but am hoping to get the other canoe wives together for a dinner or luncheon out one day.  This time during my husband's absence I have actually put together a list of possible activities I can enjoy: an afternoon movie matinee, a trip to the Mackenzie Art Gallery and a couple of smaller galleries, a day of checking out some of the big box stores in far north end of the city that I have never visited.  There is nothing I need to purchase, but I would like to have a better idea of what is out that way in case my usual stores don't have something I want some day in the future. Perhaps it would be possible to make a trip to Moose Jaw to see a friend there for part of a day, attend a viewing of whatever is on at the IMAX here at home,  plus find a new restaurant my  husband would enjoy eating at with me.  I have decided the best thing to do is plan an away time every day of the week and work it in around whatever housework also needs to be done.  I have plenty of groceries to make myself some meals that only I can eat and that are difficult to do when my husband is home and needs a different set of foods for his meal.  I also want to read a book from start to finish and not limit my reading time to just before bed each night.  It is taking me forever to finish reading anything at that rate.  I don't think I will be bored anyway!

Off to answer an email from a good friend in Ontario.  Then it will all ready be time for lunch!!  The day is speeding along it seems.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Our Son Thanks You For Your Prayers

Received a wonderfully encouraging email from Eli this morning. After his wonderful Hamptons holiday he is feeling more relaxed than he has in many years. I can "hear" the change in the tone of his email. He arrived home to the news that his American bank account is now open and fully functioning. What a huge relief. He asked me to share his gratitude for your prayers for him. In a week's time he moves into his new accommodation which is much better than his current rental. His new job begins the following week. We are so grateful to God for a chance for Eli to have this chance to leave many of the old circumstances behind and work toward new life direction. He certainly has inherited his parents' need to move on and experience new adventures every few years. Hope it serves him as well as it has served us, and then some!

Part of the Rumour Confirmed

Turns out I am not completely a  mere rumour monger: PC financial services has indeed been purchased by CIBC, so I can now stop kicking myself for not taking advantage of a recent offer to leave my present bank to join PC financial services since the bank I use for my daily transactions is all ready CIBC.  

The other thing I did learn today from a PC cashier who was telling every customer in line, is that the Superstores will soon no longer be providing plastic bags to carry out groceries.  It will be necessary to come to the store with your own cloth bags or boxes.  Since I don't think paying 5 cents per bag is a great idea anyway, on top of all the environmental issues involving plastic bags, I really don't mind.  The only time it will be bad will be the first couple of times I arrive to shop, forgetting that bags are no longer provided! hahaha  I will also be paying more money more consistently to purchase the more environmentally friendly non-plastic garbage bags. Right now if I can't afford them or just forget to replenish my stock I can cheat with the plastic bags, but that isn't my preference, so now I will have no excuse whatsoever to resort to such laziness in garbage disposal.  The chain is doing my environment a favour! haha  

The rumour jury is still out on the continuation of the points programme.  At one store I am being told it is all ending, at the store I went to this morning I was told it is not.  So, who knows........we will all find out eventually.  To quote my dear old Irish grandfather, a master of practical thinking, "Weeeeell, it will end or it won't." Pop, you were so right!!  hahaha

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

It's the Little Surprise Changes of Plan I Enjoy Most....Well, Mostly Anyway

After a quiet day at home doing laundry I was feeling kind of antsy by late afternoon and not looking forward to cooking dinner. My blood pressure was far too low this morning; low enough that I felt rather light headed and completely lacking in energy, so I indulged in a can of diet soda that is very high in sodium content.  Felt much better shortly after drinking it and my kidneys didn't seem to be at all bothered by it, so I am glad I drank the whole can.

After regaining my energy to some extent it was a good feeling to be able to get a few loads of laundry washed and half the ironing done, but then I felt kind of bored.  About that time my husband phoned to say he was done work for the day and was wondering if I would be interested in driving over to pick him up and go along with him to Fresh Air Experience to pick up a couple of items he still needed for the canoe trip.  Oooh, a chance to get out and go somewhere....on a beautiful late summer's day....with my husband....YES  YES AND YES! haha

We had fun looking at all the cool new camping gear we aren't that familiar with yet.  My husband found what he needed and I was disappointed as we left the store to come back home....only we didn't go home right away.  Right across the street from the outdoor gear shop is my favourite Pho Milu!   My husband thought it would be a grand idea to have a short date as there will no other time to do so before he leaves on his trip.  Since they have the most delicious and least expensive salads in the entire city at that restaurant of course I immediately agreed!  We had a lot of fun chatting and enjoying our meal.  Unfortunately the hot summer has brought out the dreadful odor of mold in the old building that houses the restaurant, but we decided to just ignore it and enjoy the freshly shredded veggies and thinly sliced meat.  We decided we don't want to know the condition of the kitchen there!  It is a favourite spot, mold and all.  Actually the odor is reminiscent of all the old buildings in Tokyo, so we felt right at home!!

When we arrived home my husband launched into making a big batch of granola once again. We ate the first batch so quickly it is kind of embarrassing!  All he has to do now is find the time to bake it in the oven and add in the fruit afterward.  I can't wait!!!  I would offer to bake it for him, but he is rather persnickety about how things are cooked and I know he would rather just do it himself.  I can wait....the anticipation will make it taste all the more delicious once it is finished. 

Errands to run tomorrow morning and then it will be time to wash my husband's clothes so he is all ready to pack up on Saturday.

The other fun surprise that is yet to come is that on Friday morning our former bishop and his family will be at the Synod office and my husband has been asked to cook breakfast for them and for the rest of the office staff.  I am invited as well, so it will be a lot of fun to help him out in the little kitchen there and have a good visit with these old friends. 

My husband had another surprise for me as it pertains to his upcoming autumn travel schedule AND expected schedule for entertaining visiting bishops and others from around the world, the surprise for ME being that I am to accompany him and look after the wives while they are here.  Hmmmm...thank you Bishop....I guess......  I am going to have to renege on some committments I made to other people in order to fulfill what I need to do to assist in these unexpected duties. Saturday morning I am going to have to let these people know I am dropping out of the plans we spent a lot of time making and I am going to be embarrassed and look like an irresponsible twit.  O well...........there is nothing I can do about it at this point.  Another surprise, this one not quite as happy.  Sigh.....

Other than than fulfilling that dreaded duty everything is A-OK tonight around here.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Rumour Has It....Please Say It Isn't So!

I'm not usually one to pass along unsubstantiated rumours, but the latest one around this town, if it turns out to be true, has me feeling rather disappointed!

The latest rumour here is that Loblaws has sold its PC financial services to one of the major banks (CIBC is the rumoured buyer) and that soon there will be no more PC points programme.  

I am mentioning it here because my queries to the website have gone unanswered...most unusual as their people are generally very prompt to respond to questions and problems.  Has anyone else out there heard this rumour?  

Just in case there is some truth to it (the onsite gasoline stations have all ready been sold to another oil company) I decided to use all my accummulated points today.  Who knows what will happen if and when the points card system is cancelled in terms of all ready accummulated points, but I don't want to be caught out losing points I "coulda', shoulda', woulda' used". That happened all ready to me some time ago with some air miles plans and with a couple of frequent guest hotel points plans.  I don't care about those. I do care about how much higher my annual grocery bill is going to be if PC points plan no longer exists. In the past two years I have saved approximately one thousand dollars on grocery costs using PC Plus.

The last two weeks have seen some odd offers/lack of offers popping up on my account with PC Plus over the last two weeks and I have been wondering all ready if something is changing.

Please oh please, let it be that I am simply a  low class rumour monger after all and that PC Plus will continue to give myself and so many others the cost breaks we have come to count on shopping at the Loblaws chain of grocery stores!!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Now THAT'S a Good Day Off!

My husband and I truly enjoyed our day together. Wisely, he shut off his phone and so we managed to have a whole day uninterrupted by demands from work. Yay!!!!!!!!

We had a decent sleep in this morning and a leisurely breakfast. Then we spent nearly six hours driving around the city purchasing groceries and last minute "bits" of canoe trip gear. We had a blast! It was a successful day of purchasing, but also one of laughter. UNINTERRUPTED purchasing and laughter! Yay!!!!!!

When we finally wore ourselves completely out, we came home for a light dinner and a couple of hours of watching a favourite tv programme and some newscasts.

Such simple amusements that we have had too few of together! It was a great day! Yay!!!!!!

We came home to some photos our son emailed us from the vineyard in the Hamptons where he has spent the past several days. It is beautiful with green lawns and huge trees surrounding the rows of grape vines. He got to go fishing in a kayak with his boss, first time ever to fish, and caught quite a few porgys that they were cooking up for tonight's dinner. Yes, we received photos of those as well, haha. Yup, always exciting to look at a plate of dead fish! And yes son, we are proud of your efforts, haha! Hope they tasted a LOT better than they look on that plate. hahahaha

The end of our happy day was marred somewhat by what we recognize is one of the causes of our recent "disturbance in the force".  We received the results of our relative's recent CT scan, post cancer treatments. We had some questions about the scan because we were fairly certain it was not an effective tool for seeking out this type of cancer. Sure enough, it turned out the scan was actually used to check the status of some spots on the lungs that were detected last January. Our relative was not told about the existence of these spots until this scan was scheduled in July, so you can imagine the shock. What these spots are exactly is unknown, but not obviously some other form of cancer, so that is great news. Since the follow up appointment with the specialist is not until the end of November we take that as a good sign as well. If the spots on my parents' lungs are any indication of other possibilities for our relative, the spots could be, like my dad's, a result of asbestos exposure earlier in life. Or, as in my mother's case, they could be small calcium deposits. Both conditions require regular monitoring, but are not life threatening. We are praying for our relative that these spots are insignificant and can be diagnosed as such! Thank you so much for your continued prayers.

I have to get up early in the morning to go to the dentist for my permanent crown. So grateful I had no problems with the temporary crown and have been able to chew properly. Yay!!!!!!

And so, to bed!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

And Just Like That It Is Ending

Over the last two days the revelation is hitting me: summer is on the way to being over once again.  

As I went for my long walk on Saturday morning I was very surprised to see how many leaves, all ready yellow and brown due to the lack of moisture this summer, had fallen from the trees and landed in the gutters along the streets. The strong winds were blowing them up around my ankles as I walked or I might not have been as aware of them.

The wasps are ravenous, furious, acting completely crazy.  That is how wasps act when the end of the summer season is soon to be upon us. In another couple of weeks as the temperatures cool down to autumn seasonals they will become sluggish and dopey.  For wasps and I inhabiting the same space, that happy (for me at least) time of year is nearly here.

The wind and general air temperature have lost that "hot smothering" feeling that happens starting in about mid-June each year.  The temperatures are still in the mid to upper +20C's but there has been a change in the scent and texture of the air around the city.  

This morning I wore a suit jacket over my sleeveless blouse...I wore it all day!  That is the first time since the end of May that I have been able to wear something with sleeves without feeling like I was going to pass out from heat.

This afternoon some black clouds filled the sky to the northwest and, although the air temperature didn't drop much and there was no rain whatsoever, I found myself feeling chilly for the first time in a very long time....even with my suit jacket on.

Tonight as I climbed the stairs from the living room up to the bedrooms, I realized I should have put the light on in the stairwell.  It was pitch black upstairs even though there were blinds open still in the bedrooms....and the time was only 8:30pm! Sure enough, as I peered out the windows the sun was nearly completely set.  The long, luxurious evenings that make me feel like every day will never have to end, are all over for another summer season.

Despite some extremely hot days that I thought would "do me in", this has been the best summer I have had on the prairies over the last 14 years.  The lack of rain gave me a few months off from having to staunch the flow of rain water into our basement.  The constantly sunny skies were a wonderful treat.  Even the heat was endurable because I detest winter so much as to prefer a few days of +33C to an outdoor carpet of ice and dead, brown lawns covered with mounds of snow.

Thank you summer for being so special this year.  I doubt there will be another summer in this area of the world that will be able to top it.

There's a Disturbance In The Force Around Here

Late last evening my husband and I had a long talk. We both admitted to feeling a strong "disturbance" in our inner selves of late. We have felt this way before over the years. Occasionally there has been no apparent reason for it beyond having to handle a few more of life's stresses than we have been prepared for, other times it has signalled an oncoming change of job or location, other times it has been a time of preparation before hearing difficult news, this time we aren't certain of the reason for it...not yet anyway. I suspect this time it is tied to several areas of ongoing uncertainty in our lives, wondering how some issues we face are going to play out. We never enjoy this feeling but there has always been a reason for it. It has always had its roots in an upcoming "new reality" that has sometimes been shocking or disappointing, but equally often has ended up propelling us into new and unexpected adventures.

As we pray through this we are hoping the reasons will soon be made clear.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

O the Things That You'll See......(thank you Dr. Seuss)

What a wonderful walk downtown to the Farmers' Market!  The howling gales of wind kept the wasps at a minimum and I so enjoyed getting out in the fresh, comfortably warm air!

I saw a few very interesting sights along my journey today. hahahaha  The first two were at the Farmers' Market itself.  There among the many vegetable stands and Middle Eastern baking booths was a large display of wool winter hats, scarves and mittens.  Standing amid the display making the sales was a friend of mine from choir.  Her mother is the artisan who crafts these beautiful, wearable and infinitely practical winter items.  Lovely as they are it was rather jarring to see this reminder of the season yet to come sitting out in the middle of the sunshine and heat, on dry pavement and being sold by my friend who was wearing sunglasses, a gorgeous pink sun dress and a matching wide brimmed hat!  The middle of August just struck me as an incongruous time to be selling winter woolies! I managed to stifle my giggles and not embarrass myself in front of my friend.  I got a great deal on a new winter wool hat for myself.  I suspect our friendship had a lot to do with the price actually.  100% Canadian wool, black and white and fits me perfectly.  I have not had a decent winter hat in several years because they cost the earth and I have been managing okay without one...well, more or less okay.  Thank you my friend....I know what you did for me.  The change I received when I paid for my hat was given to a particular street person with whom I have struck up a bit of a friendship over the past few months.  It was nice to have a visit with him once again.  He is looking extremely ill, much worse than a few weeks ago when I last saw him and I suspect he may not be long for this world.  

The only other thing I purchased was a bag of zaatar pitas.  The women who bake them remembered me from my last purchases and also gave me a deal. WOW!  My husband is going to love these. Usually I have purchased them on weekends he has been working out of town and since they are fresh baked the morning of the Market, I generally have them eaten before he gets home.

The other interesting sight at the Farmers' Market was a baking table that featured "diabetic cookies".  The cookies are baked with Splenda instead of refined sugar, but what struck me as absolutely hilarious is that the cookies are stuffed full of standard made sugary chocolate chips! hahahaha  There are so many sugar chips in each cookie as to nearly eliminate the rest of the flour and Splenda mixture all together.  They are pretty  much thick bunches of 
"non-friendly to diabetics" chocolate chips loosely held together with a minimal amount of cookie dough. Thanks for thinking of us diabetics lady, or trying to at least.....BUT I passed on a purchase there, hahaha. 

I bagged up the pitas and my new hat and headed to the bank to pay my phone bill. Then it was time to walk back home.

Just leaving the downtown area I came upon a group of young people who appeared to be in their early to mid 20's.  They were wearing what appeared to be home made costumes resembling a cross between super heros and some kind of medieval outfits. They were hooking themselves into safety rigging and, under the watchful eye of some fire rescue workers, were hauling themselves up and down the outside of one of the local "skyscrapers" while their proud family members took photos for some reason.  I have NO idea what they were doing and didn't bother to ask because looking up at such things makes me dizzy, so I just kept walking.

A couple of blocks past downtown was another interesting sight:  I saw a man walking quickly toward me with a thick, coral coloured scarf wrapped around his neck.  It seemed like an awfully hot day to be wearing a scarf!  However, as we got closer to each other and I saw the "scarf" moving around and the "tail" waving about in mid air, I realized it was not a scarf at all, but a beautiful, coral and white coloured snake of some kind!  hahaha  The fellow was wearing a teeshirt that proclaimed him to be a member of a snake handlers' association here in Regina and he was racing to an event.  He couldn't find a closer parking spot to his venue so was forced to don his beautiful snake buddy and try to get it to the event unscathed.  Luckily for him I love snakes and am not a screamer when I happen upon one unexpectedly. hahaha 

As I returned to our complex I decided to stop and have a gander at two of the only half dozen units actually participating in today's multi-family garage sale, not because I need anything but to try to encourage my discouraged neighbours.  I came home three dollars poorer though.  My next door neighbour makes beautiful jewellery, so she relieved me of two dollars for two lovely necklaces that I will get a lot of wear out of.  I don't have a lot of jewellery and rarely buy things just because I like them, but only if they will specifically go with outfits I have.  The other participant relieved me of my last dollar in change.  Buried in a huge and most unattractive pile of "stuff" on her lawn was a small drainboard that would fit perfectly on my dish tray by the kitchen sink.  I have never purchased a new one because most of them are too big for the tiny tray I have and I have managed more or less without one all these years.  This one looked kind of rusted out and I had no intention of purchasing it either, but when the owner's ADORABLE WITH A CAPITAL "A" 2 year old white-blonde haired daughter, in a teensy purple Hawaiian flowered dress, picked it up and said "Here lady, this is for you!", huge smile taking up her entire face, of course I bought it.  Sigh....I am such a sucker for kids!  I brought the wretched thing home feeling very foolish for having allowed myself to be scammed by a 2 year old, but as I washed it I realized the "rust" was not rust at all!  It was simply a buildup of something red'n'yukky that had been spilled on it at some point in the past.  Now that it is clean and bleached it looks brand new!  Okay kid, ya' got me, but it worked out just fine and will get a lot of use here.

Since part of the management sponsored event today includes free burgers and hot dogs, iced cream and drinks, I had a big, fat, juicy burger with mustard on a whole wheat bun for lunch.  Honestly, that cheap, cholesterol packed (and inducing) ground beef tasted absolutely fantastic.  It was all I could do to refrain from trying to cram another one down my throat before coming back to my suite.  The craving for protein has been intense the past few days, so a few minutes ago I got out my food journal and checked back on the past 2 weeks of meals I have ingested. Sure enough....I have been lacking in protein for rather a long time!  It is a good thing I have radically increased my cooked vegetables again, but in the process of filling up on those I have neglected meats of all kinds.  A bit of chicken every couple of days does not a balanced diet make!  So, now the craving and the overindulgence last night at the party make sense.

My neighbour in the building next to me just came over to show me what his 5 year old son purchased this morning from someone at the garage sale.  My neighbour was killing himself laughing about the purchase.  He gave his son some money and allowed him to go shopping by himself for the first time.  He expected the boy to bring home some kind of toy or craft project, but what he actually purchased was a colourful, foot high statue of a Hindu goddess!  hahahaha  It is the last thing his shocked father expected him to come home with. hahahahahaha  Hilarious!  His son is very proud of his purchase and happily showed it to me. He was glowing with the success of his first shopping trip alone! hahahaha

O the things that you'll see............

So, it is on the way to 3pm now.  I think I will watch the news for a few minutes and then have a nap.

The Dreaded Saturday Is Once More Upon Me

My husband went into work a bit later than usual this morning. Turns out he needed to take the vehicle to transport our moving dolly and some other tools for the office move going on this weekend.

Losing the vehicle at least sets my course for the rest of the day. I will be walking downtown to the bank to pay the phone bill and check out what dregs the Farmers' Market has left by the time I get showered and dressed and up there.  Since I couldn't decide what course of scintillating action I should take today, I admit it is kind of pleasant that my choice was made for me by virtue of circumstance. 

Wow....I can't seem to get my act together for Saturday plans.  You would think that after having a job that has taken him to work on Saturdays for over seven years now, I would be used to my husband not being around on the weekends.  Not so........very peculiar.  I just can't seem to get my "poop in  a group" a few days in advance of Saturdays.  The day always dawns with me wondering what to do with myself when I am all ready caught up on housework and laundry and cooking.  Today is no different and after losing sleep during the night for several hours I can't say I have strong motivation to do anything more than wallow in complaining about it.   

Yeah....complaining....ooooh, it feels kind of good!

In other news: the party we attended last evening was a lot of fun.  Most of the other guests were parishioners from the parish of St. Mary, where our host is the priest.  What a friendly bunch of people!  I have not had so many women introduce themselves to me without being prodded by a third party in many a year.  It was fabulous.  Even though they all knew each other all ready and we were the only "outsiders" we were completely included in the conversations and fun.  Their husbands warmly embraced my husband and he genuinely enjoyed himself. For the first time in ever so long we found it disappointing to have to leave so early because of my husband working today.  Usually it is our "good excuse" to flee less than welcoming social situations.  It was a truly lovely time for us. 

The annual canoe trip has, as usual, taken over my husband's every waking moment when he is not thinking about work.  It is so great to see him so enthused about something apart from ministry, something he looks forward to so very much each year at this time.  "Goin' with the guys" is something he has not had enough of in his adult life and I rejoice that he has this chance to be with his closest buddies here for a whole week on the water.  Next weekend will be the weekend our suite looks like a cyclone went through it as all the gear and food is spread about for packing purposes.  It is really a sight to see....I could charge money to passersby to come see how many things can be spread out in a relatively small space in order to be ready to go on this trek.

Our management company is sponsoring a BBQ today here in our court. The entire complex has been invited to set up garage sale tables at each interested suite and make a community  building day of it.  The affair was scheduled to begin a half hour ago. Thus far all I can see is the food court set up in the parking lot with the staff members standing around wondering what to do next. There are no residents there asking for coffee and treats, there is not one single garage sale table set up in any of the three courts I can see from our place.  I am afraid the whole thing may turn out to be a big bust.  I feel badly that I didn't rally the troops in our court by having a table set up.  Seriously, the notice about the garage sale possibility arrived exactly 1 day after I packed up what I could have put out for sale and donated it all to Community Living.   Guess I will take a short tour around the complex after I get showered and dressed and see who, if anyone, has anything for sale.  As I think about it, really it isn't that surprising if the garage sale component doesn't work well here.  I am guessing that at least 2/3 of our tenants are relatively recent immigrants to Canada from various Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries.  Many of them will not yet know what a garage sale is and even more of them will have so few possessions of their own that they will have nothing extra to sell.

Well, better quit lallygagging and get ready to meet this day of who knows what events.