Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Yay...a Dental Clinic That IS Taking New Patients!!

I am so happy that it appears I may have found a new dentist.  The tooth that has been giving me such a problem since last week has settled down to tolerable, but tomorrow my new dentist is going to give it a going over and see if it can be crowned or whatever will be needed next.

The joy for me is that this particular clinic comes highly recommended by a trusted friend who is also in the dental "industry" but works elsewhere in town.  She tells me this particular clinic is her recommendation because she believes the group of dentists there to be ethical both morally toward their patients and staff, as well as environmentally.

The economic downturn and subsequent drop in population here is working in my favour because this clinic is taking new patients once again.  Thank you Lord, thank you friend who recommended it to me.

I am hoping and praying this appointment will work into a full time dentist/patient relationship.  My new medical doctor is very good, my eye doctor is quite amazing and now, Lord willing, I will finally have the dentist I couldn't get into a year ago.  

So, finally after 2 years here, everything I need for personal health assistance is in place.   Sigh....wonder how soon we are going to be moving away again?

Seriously, do you blame me for wondering?  It is an automatic response because that is what has happened almost every time in the past that I have finally been able to put things into place for my own care.  hahahaha  Aiii yiiii....

Shovelling went well this morning.  A little ice melt at the bottom of the back steps and there was no dangerous ice anywhere else, other than at the bottom of the eavestrough pipe that drains the water from the eaves to the ground at the front corner of the building.  I avoided stepping on that as I dragged the snow away from along the front and side of the foundation where we have had leaks previously.  

Wow, the temperature truly has dropped since yesterday.   I will have to plug the car in tonight to be sure it will start for driving to my 9am dental appointment tomorrow.

Winter's Last Stand (I hope)!!!

After more than a week of daytime highs between -2C and +2C the temperatures are getting back to normal for this time of year for at least the next ten days. Rats! hahahaha

Last night we had a good five cm. of icy snow and sleet and the daytime high is down to -6C, falling to -18C tonight. Down go the temperatures from there, but at least it shouldn't be much colder than -25C even overnight. My neighbour is out shovelling the pathway he created to his car and the shovel sounds rather raspy. There must be a fair amount of freezing rain under the cover of snow. Blah! Not looking forward quite so much this morning to my own shovelling exercise. Now that I have these weak bones the ice is my enemy if I fall down.

Well, no complaints really. It is only the last day of January after all. Spring is a long way off. February can bring some horrifically cold conditions as well. I am quite delighted by the amount of snowfall after our dry winter last year. If the spring winds don't evaporate it before the ground thaws there should be significant moisture in fields and gardens. Perhaps we can avoid the drought everyone was fearing last year at this time.

In other news, our family member who is fighting cancer has had the first appointment at the local cancer clinic moved up by a week. So, should you have some time to pray this coming Thursday it would be appreciated. I am not giving names but God knows who you mean when you pray. Thank you so much from the whole family.

Monday, January 30, 2017

My Heart Is Content!

"I have been here before,
But when or how I cannot tell:
I know the grass beyond the door,
The sweet keen smell,
The sighing sound, the lights around the shore."

--Sudden Light by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

This past weekend I had the distinct and overwhelming remembrance of having been in ministry with my husband to small groups of people many, many times in our life, up until about 15 years ago when he began seminary, our life circumstances and ministry changed once again and I had to retreat/bow to the changes of his own ministry path that left me seeking God for my own.

While there were some successes that I am so happy to think about, most of the time ministry for me in the form of anything other than intercessory prayer or via long distance methods of communication has been absent from my life. There certainly has been a dearth of opportunities to minister to and with people up close and in person.

This weekend was a joyous return to the past in that sense.  My husband and I shared the teaching times as he taught the theology and I shared the practical stories. We shared in the prayer times with the people who attended the seminar.  As the weekend went on attendance grew and by Sunday afternoon we had responsibility to talk to a group that had grown from 5 to 18 folk.  For those of you unfamiliar with the severe decline of rural Anglican church attendance even at church services, a group of 18 is reaching the category of "massive".  God apparently had something he wanted said and we were delighted at the number of people who seemed to hear it.  

For ourselves, we couldn't have done a less cohesive,  or poorly prepared,  or a less professional delivery of that seminar if we had deliberately tried.  Problems arising here the day we left, the onset of a weekend of health issues for us both before we ever drove out of our own parking lot....a hassle in the suite...you name it....aiii yiiiii.....by the time we got to Saltcoats we were more than a bit distracted.

However, God did intervene as he usually does, saved us from looking like the complete fools we probably were, and allowed us to receive an invitation to do another seminar in the spring, as well as an invite for my husband to come to do the Easter Sunday Saltcoats service if my husband is able to get permission to do so.  God is good, the parishioners we met in Pelly deanery were warm and welcoming to us. They provided rather spectacular meals for us, booked us into a newly renovated hotel where we had a very comfortable sleep on Saturday night, even allowed me to assist with drying dishes after the mealtimes and using that time to fellowship together.  It was lovely.  We felt immediately accepted and that went a long way to helping us pull some kind of useful seminar together from the wreckage of our distracted minds.

I have to confess my heart felt fulfilled for the first time in a very long time.  I love talking about God.  I love times of spontaneous prayer with people who want to know what God wants to do in their lives and don't mind letting people know about that desire.  It was a large stream of water in the middle of a long desert experience for me.  Even if it doesn't happen again for some time, it was good to be reminded that God can still use me and use my husband and I as a team to the good of his church...at least once in awhile.

That is not to denigrate the other intercessary prayer times and other longer distance contacts I have been grateful to maintain over the past 15 years, it just means that there is a particularly strong sense of fulfillment that comes when my husband and I get to work together on a specific ministry.  That kind of instant acceptance by a rural prairie congregation has not been my experience in a very long time and I admit it felt very good.  It was like a bit of a balm in the midst of a sea of confusion I have been swirling around in for several years.

So, if this turns out to be a one time event, that is okay.  At least I know God is capable of using me for other things again if he wants to at some point in the future. I know my husband and I can still work together occasionally when asked.  

The weekend has left me with a sense of inner peace I have not had for so long.  It has also left both of us with the idea that preparing a set of seminars for proper presentation in the future, particularly as retirement suddenly looms, is an actual goal to work toward.  God was able to use my husband's seminary education AND my lack thereof to minister to a broad range of people on the weekend.  It was a special time that has us thinking ahead again and feeling more hope for the future than we have had in awhile.  Maybe the people who attended this weekend were able to grasp some new ideas and make use of them to bring more satisfaction into their own spiritual lives as they learn more about trusting God in all things.

More hope for the future.....

Thank you Lord.  

For sunny warm days, clear skies and dry roads for travel, I thank you Lord. 

Friday, January 27, 2017

Saving Energy

I am certainly not saving any electrical energy since Christmas, when I began using a dishwasher for the first time in 10 years.  However, my personal mental and physical energies and motivation have returned big time!

I am finding that rather than being on my feet for far less time after meals than when I was doing all my dishes by hand, once the dishwasher is loaded with what is safe to put into it and the hand washing of the rest completed, I have far more energy than I had before to stay on my feet to either exercise, or look over recipes and start preparing ahead of time for the next meal.   My cooking efforts have become more creative, even successfully so, and my exercise has picked up once again with more successful outcomes.  My husband is certainly appreciating the improvement in my cooking skills! hahaha  I feel better about myself because of being motivated to put more attention into making our fairly simple meals more tasty and interesting.

Guess I will be using the dishwasher more often after all and thanking God as well for the small increase in salary my husband received this year that will make me feel less concerned about paying the power bill.

Things are going well for the moment.  My mind has cleared of the constant fuzz that it was filled with when I was so ill with all those viral infections, the weight is coming back off from last winter's gain and I am enjoying my life....a LOT!  Making new friends is going well now.  Church is really edifying and helpful with our new priest.  I am discovering more things to do here in the city like live theater and music performances.  I am getting more chances for ministry to individuals and now groups as well, along with my husband.

We are heading out to Yorkton and Saltcoats tomorrow to present some teaching and stories about trust, transformation, forgiveness and reconciliation.  I am slightly nervous as it has been so long since anyone in the church was interested in anything I have to say, but I trust all will go well.  Hopefully someone will hear something from one or both of us that eventually leads to a bit more transformation in their own ability to trust God and to forgive offenses. 

What Are You Giving Up For Lent This Year?

This year I decided very quickly what Lenten sacrifice I was going to make.  

This year for Lent I am giving up Lent!! 

I can't fast any more because of diabetes.  I can't eat any of the foods that would be a sacrifice for me to give up because I haven't been able to eat any of them for the past 3 years anyway. Each time I have tried to cheat I have paid a hefty health price.

I can't give up much in the way of say, tv shows, because there are so few I watch and none that would be a sacrifice to stop watching during the Lenten season.  As far as reading materials, it is all ready more of a sacrifice to force myself to read some of the drivel I have come across in recent months than to give them up.

I all ready gave up eating in restaurants more than about twice a month because the cost was becoming prohibitive, so nothing new to sacrifice there.

I can't give up alcohol because I rarely consume it, so no sacrifice to say "no" to the occasional glass of wine or gin and tonic.

I can't give up communicating with friends and family because there has been far too much of that as a natural course of events during some of our more recent moves around the country.

I suppose giving up church attendance, or prayer times, or Bible reading is not quite the point of Lent either is it?  Those are the most consistent participatory events in my life at present.

I can't give up choir practise just because for me it would definitely be a huge sacrifice, probably the most meaningful sacrifice,  because that is not fair to the other members or the director.

The point of Lent is sacrifice, confession, atonement, and renewed acceptance of Jesus' sacrifice for us, leading us into deeper transformation of our characters and lives by him.

I suspect I can manage the last 3 items on that list whether or not I sacrifice anything material as an object lesson.....at least for this year.....my physical energy, mental motivation and general feelings of well being and trust in the Lord have returned in great leaps and bounds over the past year or so.  

Is it possible to make a carry over transfer of the things I had to sacrifice, often against my will, in previous years and locations and bring at least one of them forward into this year???  

Lent: a portion of the church year that I have never completely understood the point of in terms of the personal practise of deprivation in my particular denomination.  Hopefully I will gain a better grasp on the whole thing as the years go by.  I'm trying guys, I'm trying.....You won me over to the practises of Advent....perhaps Lent is next.

Oh Noah, Noah......What The H-E-Double Hockey Sticks Were You Thinking?????

This morning as I wandered across our parking lot to the office to deliver our February rent cheque I noticed a furtive swishing movement coming from under the big garbage bin near the office door.  Upon closer examination it turned out to be a very large, thick, rat tail!!!  Ooooooh YUCKKO!!!  I didn't stick around long enough to see the body of the rat because I didn't want to know if it happened to come out from under the bin and head anywhere near me!! I tossed my rent cheque in the appropriate recepticle on the office door and skeddadled back home as quickly as possible!!  I HATE RATS!!!!  What on earth was this one doing outside in the middle of winter?? Aren't these danged dangerous rodents supposed to disappear until spring? Of course the snow has covered all the rodent catchers each suite has under its basement windows, but not mine, not any more.  It has been dug out as of a half hour ago and is sitting out so that perfect access to it is now available for my fat tailed friend and its ilk!  EEK!!!!  And other appropriate expressions of fear and distaste!

Thankfully we have the old Irish Rovers folk song about the Unicorn to let us in on why exactly there are no unicorns in existence since the great flood of Noah's era!  Those dumb unicorns were so busy playing around when Noah was in the process of rounding everyone up for departure, they literally missed the boat. (okay, okay, missed the ARK!) The dumb rats made it, but not the silly unicorns!

Now my own opinion is this:  the rat infestations around the world are all Noah's fault!  He could have waited one more day to locate the unicorns and get their attention, couldn't he?  I mean, how much water could fall in one day?  Even if he was in water up to his ankles...or even his knees...could he not have taken just a bit more time to make certain the unicorns would manage to get their silly selves on board? Surely he could have calmed them down with a relaxing massage to the nape of their horns and led them from playland into the ark.  Surely he could have fit one pair of unicorns into a tight space and dropped the ugly rats overboard to fend for themselves...surely...surely......  He could have taken the opportunity to give much more serious clout to the expression, "looking like a drowned rat"!!  He could have gained many more fans among even those who don't believe in Bible stories if he had simply made the choice to keep the unicorns and eliminate the rats.

How hard a decision could that have been?  I mean, really.....how hard?

So I blame Noah for his oversight and I am not actually certain I appreciate the Irish Rovers for letting me know things could have been improved post-flood by the addition of a few unicorns. If nothing else maybe they could have skewered those rats inside the ark with their horns and used them for food....right?

O Noah, Noah...you blew it with the rats vs unicorns in my humble opinion........sigh.........

Thursday, January 26, 2017

40 Years of Wedded.........................................????????

Admit it, you thought I was going to use the word "bliss" to complete the subject line, didn't you?  C'mon now, admit it!  teehee

Even though we are celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary on this date in March, I cannot use that word.  My husband can't either.  There has not been much bliss. There wasn't during our "dating" period (and even the word "dating" has to be used loosely), there wasn't during our wedding ceremony, there wasn't during our honeymoon and there certainly hasn't been much bliss during the past 4 decades of marriage.....AND that is absolutely OKAY with us!  Yes, it is!!  We may not have had a lot of bliss, but we have NEVER been bored!

We have experienced joys and sorrows like any married couple, adventure of all types, fear, paranoia, spiritual growth and spiritual disasters, a variety of churches and cults to keep our interest in spiritual life alive even if not always well, charging toward new ideas, clinging to the old ideas, move upon move upon move for job upon job upon job, financial feast and famine, kids and their friends, kids and their school days, kids and their screwups, kids and their ability to instill pride in their parents, extended family assistance and interference, gains and losses, an ongoing carousel of vehicles old and older, fights and making up, memories kept and forgotten, health issues from one extreme to the other, mutual and individual friendships.......yeah, it has been a pretty good ride all told, both because of and in spite of.

We have not made any plans for our big 40th anniversary.  In terms of the time of year and my husband's busyness at work we couldn't have picked a more difficult time of year to be wanting to celebrate.....no free time!  There hasn't even been time lately to sit down together and discuss our anniversary.  I haven't even looked to see what day of the week it is and if we have anything scheduled for church or specific work events that cannot be skipped out on to so much as go out for dinner.  Well, I suppose mystery can be a good thing........or not.........

40 years.......and they said it wouldn't last......sigh........  Who said this you ask?  Weeeeellll, pretty much every member of our families and peer group!  haha  Our minister and his wife were the only ones who saw "us" and truly believed we had a good chance of staying together for the long haul.  Thank you John and Reta....you had the discernment no one else had, not even ourselves.

40 years.........wow........

One Ringy Dingy.......

While I personally question the veracity of the following, if it isn't true it probably should be! hahaha  Turn up the sound and have a good laugh.

Wait for the phone to ring for the voice mail.  This one is priceless especially the message at the end!   This is the actual answering-machine message for the Maroochydore High School
in Queensland, Australia.
 

Click here to hear the message

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Finally a Fairly Decent Japanese Restaurant in Regina

We took our tired selves out for dinner tonight to Wann Izakaya on Broad Street.  We have been extremely disgruntled by the attempts at Japanese food here in Regina, although we do understand the near impossibility of being able to get any fresh foods in the Canadian prairies that resemble at all the ingredients in Japanese food.

Wann Izakaya comes the closest so far to anything we have tried.  The restaurant owners and chefs are actually Japanese, which goes a long way to having the best available Japanese style ingredients in the meals.  We were able to practise our fading Japanese language "skills" on our lovely waitress and that was an added element of fun to accompany  a most delicious meal.

The food is tasty, the sauces at least somewhat authentic, the gyoza is properly cooked with sufficient garlic, the sushi is fresh, the ginger has not been dyed bright pink...my first alert that a sushi restaurant may actually be run by Koreans or Chinese....the portion sizes match the prices, so it certainly is not a huge stretch for the wallet.  I can eat 2 or 3 appetizers in order to get the equivalent of a full sized meal for a cost of $12 to $18 in total!  Finally, a local Japanese restaurant where I can get the typically smaller portion sizes but with an untypically lower price per dish!  My only complaint was that the small panko'd potato patties (that you don't find in Japan anyway) have no curry spicing in them.  Other than that my meal was very tasty.  I had a small plate of 3 slices of vegetables in panko with a delicious dipping sauce that had fresh sesame seeds in it. The veggies were large cuts and the panko was crisy, rather than undercooked and oily as it often is here.  There was a goodly amount of hot black pepper in the panko and that was a nice touch.  For once I opted to avoid my favourite chicken karaage but will try it next time we go there.  My husband had a marvellously large portion of sushi and nigiri sushi that was just filling enough with the addition of good salty miso soup.  There are a goodly number of items I can actually eat there without sending my blood sugar soaring from all the carbs, all because of the portion sizes and because of a good variety of salads I am going to dig into next time along with my karaage!  haha

Nice to find a lovely, remodelled clean space with an excellent chef and accommodating staff along with the tasty Japanese-style meals and excellent prices, with good menu selection.  My only hope is that this relatively new restaurant will survive the economic downturn and be able to remain open long term without having to compromise their standards.  Parking is a bit of a problem depending on the time of day, but it is worth parking a couple of blocks away if necessary and crawling over the icy sidewalks to give this place a try.

Fun at the Globe

Last evening I had a lot of fun!  Four of the diocesan staff and myself went out for a delicious dinner at Beer Brothers (check out the apricot mustard soup...delish!!), then headed upstairs to the Globe Theater to enjoy their production of "Salt Baby".  

The play is written by aboriginal playwright Falen Johnson and tracks the struggles of a First Nations young woman who does not look aboriginal enough and takes quite a bit of hassle from her reserve.  So she moves to the city and tries to make it there instead.  It is quite a good play. The acting is decent and the sets are minimal but very effective. It represents both sides of the prejudice issue quite well.  One of the resolves of the character's struggle at the end of the play is that it doesn't matter who you are by blood type, it is who you "know" yourself to be inside.  Sigh.......it is a message that has some truth to it, but as a Christian it isn't satisfying for me.  I never have believed that our inner feelings are our only, or even our best, means of defining ourselves, but that is a topic for an academic theology paper rather than a simple blog post.

I had never been to the Globe Theater before. I like it.  Theater in the round always appeals to me and the Globe is also much smaller than I had envisioned, so there are no seats too far away from the actors.  It is kind of an intimate space, quite enticing and friendly as "spaces" filled with strangers go.  I am looking forward to the next play our group attends in March.

When we came outside afterward there were about 3cm of snow coating the streets and vehicles.  (About another 2cm came down overnight, so there was some sweeping and shovelling to attend to here at home after my husband went to work this morning.)  This is my favourite kind of snow:  broad, flat, shiny, light as a feather flakes. They look like the old Maple Leaf pure laundry detergent soap flakes, like the snow on a movie set.  It was fun sliding our feet along the sidewalk as we headed over to the car and watching the flakes glisten under the street lights.

Before going to bed last night I started reading Canadian author Ann-Marie MacDonald's "Fall On  Your Knees". (Vintage Canada, 1997)  I am only 60 pages into it but am so enjoying it.  I am probably the last person in the country to be reading this #1 national bestseller, but glad I finally came across it.  In that first 60 pages I have learned more about the mines and miners of Cape Breton at the turn of the last century than I knew before.  The story is interesting and it is also a bit of a history lesson for me.  The Company Stores run by the mine administrators that turned miners and their families into the equivalent of indentured servants are explained well.  In school when we studied too briefly the history of the settlements of the Maritimes, we didn't get much into the social and employment issues of those times.  

PS: so far it is also a novel gloriously free of the "F" word appearing several times per page.  It is too well written to need it!

Well, I ate a very early breakfast this morning as our neighbour was out scraping his shovel along the sidewalk about 6am, followed immediately by the arrival of the maintenance bobcat operators who had to back up all the cats from the storage yard with much "backup beeping" occuring over about a 10 minute period. Sleeping past 6am around here on a weekday is virtually impossible! So, I am going to peruse the contents of the refrigerator and see what I can come up with for an equally early lunchtime.  Either that or I will have a giant glass of water and try to stave off the hunger pangs for another hour so that I don't need an afternoon snack before dinner tonight.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Watching "Rev"....yeah, okay...........

We spent last evening with colleague friends of my husband's and had a tasty dinner out, followed by tea and dessert at their home.  It was a nice, calm evening of conversation and laughter.

We relaxed in their tv room sipping tea, eating small squares of fabulous ginger brownie and watching a couple of episodes of the British tv series "Rev",  actor Tom Hollander's depiction of a harried, beleaguered inner city Church of England priest.

It is hilarious, well acted, well scripted (remember it is a British series so the language warning is well warranted) and does point out some true foibles of priestly ministry and parish life.  It isn't the same kind of ridiculous satire as "The Vicar of Dibley" and it is a somewhat more honest depiction of what priests have to deal with and what they personally can struggle with.

The thing that struck me though, despite being able to truly relate to too many of the situations that arose in both episodes, is that the series is still an outsider's take on church and church life and ministry.  Some of the skewers through church life are fairly accurate, but there is nothing to suggest that God is a being capable of transforming either the problems or, more importantly, the characters of any of the parishioners.  Faith is portrayed as a completely personal rather than a community lifestyle.  So, in that sense it isn't at the end that much different than other series written and produced for the purpose of showing up all the things that can and often do go wrong in the world wide family of Christian believers.

I enjoyed watching it and had many a laugh and many a "yup, that is absolutely the way it is" moment, but I would really like sometime to see an equally pointed comedy about the church that is actually written and produced by insiders to the faith.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Good Life

Sometimes life seems to be unfolding as it should.  The past few days have been like that for me.

The completion of deep cleaning housework chores and other away from home tasks, the excellent visits with friends 3 days in a row, a stellar choir practise, a fun restaurant meal, today's excellent church service with our new priest who is so happy to welcome my husband, the former priest, as one of her parishioners instead of feeling threatened by his presence, tomorrow's planned grocery shopping time for me and a time for my husband spent doing woodworking with a colleague at a new friend's woodworking shop followed by lunch for them together, then us both getting together with friends for a dinner at Bushwaakers so we can use up our gift certificates from the summer........these present days are like a reward for surviving all the other days leading up to them and no doubt to give us good memories and hope for coming days that at some point in time will cross over to the not so wonderful once again.

I have a deep sense of peace from being reminded that sometimes there are bright spots in the midst of the dull or even disastrous.  Small things that seem to be less than significant, certainly mundane, most of the time to most people signal times of peace and a feeling of normality that is often missing from my husband's and my lives.

We have this week to relax a bit on top of preparing for our teaching seminar next weekend in another town.  We will be able to complete the preparations in the midst of more peace and better health than we have had in awhile it seems. There is a nice trip out of town to look forward to and we are praying for good roads and weather to accompany us and all the other folk travelling along the highways during those 2 days.

The present peace and sense of well being will be able to carry us through whatever trauma next presents itself.  That is the way life seems to work for us.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Fruit Loaf That Cannot Be Destroyed!! (Even By Me!)

After a most encouraging choir practise this morning, followed by a fun lunch out with a friend who was celebrating her birthday today, I came home buoyed by elation and started to make the fruit loaf I want to serve tomorrow to our afternoon guests.

It started off positively enough.  I had sufficient ingredients for the loaf without having to slip'n'slide on the icy sidewalks over to the grocery store.  The fruit I thawed out overnight in the refrigerator was all plump and juicy and fresh looking.  All was well.  I got the batter mixed up, stirred in the fruit and spatula'd it into the loaf pan.  

As I was putting in the last bit of batter, I bumped the bowl against the edge of the loaf pan, which then flew across the counter like a wet beer glass sliding down to the end of the bar in a nightclub and flopped itself completely upside down, thunk, on the kitchen floor!!!!  It fell off the counter so quickly and so perfectly upside down that every last atom of batter stayed in that pan!!!  Plop!  No splats, no splooshes, just a complete and utter plop!  Upside down on the floor!!!!  O no!!!  I slid my huge, flat, round pancake spatula under the pan, once I recovered from the shock and horror of what I managed to do, and flipped it over in one swift motion that kept the batter locked in place.  There was a perfect rectangle of batter left on the floor, but I had been able to get the spatula in closely enough to the upside down top of the pan to create a separation between the first 1/8 of an inch of batter stuck to the floor and the remainder still in the pan.

So, obviously, despite my careful lifting of the batter and pan off the floor, I would not be serving it to guests, but what to do with all those ingredients, particularly the expensive fruit. Only the patchiest layer of batter was actually on the floor, after all.  I tried, truly I did try, to convince myself to just scoop the entire mass of remaining batter from the pan into the garbage.  I got as far as opening the cupboard door and pulling out the garbage bin in preparation to dispose of it all, but I couldn't bring myself to do it.  Oooh, I tried SO hard to convince myself that what was left was not fit for human consumption, but I failed.  I decided to cook it anyway for my husband and I to eat if there were no obvious bits of lint on the top of the batter (and there weren't), used the 5 second rule despite the fact that it only refers to dried foods that have fallen on the floor, not sloppy batter, and popped the whole works into the oven.

I congratulated myself on having made a decision and set the timer for an hour to bake the possibly now fatally diseased fruit loaf and exhaled in relief.  The relief lasted until 20 minutes later when the electrical power for our apartment (and as I discovered later the entire southern half of our city) went out and stayed out for over 2 hours!!!  Sigh...........  

I left the loaf in the oven, assuming there was no point in scraping barely warm batter into the garbage when leaving it in the 350F degree oven would at least cook some of the batter to a more solid form and make it easier to dispose of later.  I spent a good deal of the 2 hour outage on my hands and knees under my husband's desk with my trusty wee flashlight trying to disconnect the wires and plugs of his 4 computers from the battery power surge protection unit so it would stop beeping every 30 seconds, cussing him out for all the computers and their wires and cords and plugs and the sheer amount of old electronic parts, boxes and other computer related "junk" I had to pull out from under his desk to get at the blasted wires and cords and plugs to disconnect them!!  (OOOOOOH, I will be so glad when he is done with his present computer project in the coming days and we can get rid of all that STUFF!)

Finally the power returned and I pulled the fruit loaf out of the oven, it looking none the worse for wear despite its many adventures.  As the oven had cooled down it still managed to bake the blasted thing all around the edges, top and bottom and only the very center of the loaf was still mushy batter.  I decided to just go ahead and put the oven back on to finish baking it and see what kind of experiment results I would get, just for the heck of it. 20 minutes later I pulled it out and cut a big slice off the end to see what had happened to it.  

I couldn't believe it. Other than being a bit overcooked along the bottom, the loaf didn't look  or taste (yes, I tasted it...rather a large slice of it actually) any different than if it had neither fallen on the floor nor been left largely uncooked in an oven with dying heat.  I sliced it in half crosswise to make sure the centre was cooked and it was and it had the right texture, just  like the end piece.  Wow!!

So, there it sits, covered with cling wrap and tinfoil.  In the morning I will cut it up and wrap it and freeze it for lunch desserts or evening snacks.  It has been 5 hours since I ate my hunk (yeah, it was definitely heftier than a "slice") of loaf and no dire consequences have been experienced.  Perhaps the heat in the oven managed to kill off any unhealthy "things" that it picked up from its previously fallen state.  My husband is not averse to helping me eat the rest of it. Mind you he is kind of like that character from the old cereal commercials on tv: "Give it to Mikey!  He'll eat anything!!"  haha

My company will have to put up with some other kind of secondary snack tomorrow to go along with the vanilla/almond cake. I will thaw some more fruit to spoon over it and call it good enough!  Maybe I have enough packs of airplane pretzels left in the cupboard from our travels a couple of weeks ago to put into a small bowl without looking too chintzy?

In other news, my husband is safely home from a good meeting in Maple Creek and a lot of fun with his friend last evening.  It is good to see him. I missed him despite having such a grand time myself while he was away.  Hopefully he will feel rested enough to come to church with me in the morning.  If I sleep even half as well as I did last night, I will be all set and ready to go to church with no worries about being late getting ready to go.  For once.........

Friday, January 20, 2017

Socializing

It has been a good day for both my husband and I to see friends!  Week day visits are particularly sweet as they are rare we are finding here in the city.

This afternoon one of my dearest friends dropped in after having had several errands go awry along her way. As the afternoon dragged on I assumed she wouldn't make it after all, but she did come eventually and we had the best time drinking tea and chattering away about all manner of things theological and trivial, our families and the world at large, sharing our concerns after watching President Trump's inaugural speech this morning. I ended up being very happy all her errands had been done unexpectedly prior to her visit with me because she didn't have to rush off to do them afterward and we had a very relaxed time together.

My husband was able to arrange to stay with a colleague friend in Maple Creek tonight so that he wouldn't have to leave at 6am tomorrow in order to get to his meeting on time there.  He just called raving about the chicken curry they had for dinner and all excited about some silly movie they are going to watch together.  hahaha  It is good for him to just get together with a buddy and share a meal and lots of laughs.  He has too little time for those sorts of things.

I got my cake baked this afternoon and popped it into the freezer until Sunday morning so I won't be tempted to indulge myself, as it is one of my former favourites.  I have another baking job tomorrow afternoon.  I think I will make a banana loaf recipe, but instead of bananas I am putting an assortment of cooked fruits into it. I will have to mix the batter well so the bits of fruit don't sink to the bottom of the loaf pan while being baked and end up sticking on the bottom.  Coating them with fresh flour right before adding them to the soft batter should help.

I may do some window shopping after choir rehearsal tomorrow. Choir ends at noon so I may just have to find a yummy salad somewhere downtown to munch on for lunch first.  Why do salads, even the plainest ones, taste so much better when someone else prepares them?  I can easily make my own salads here at home and usually I do, but lately I haven't felt like it.  I need to get back at it to increase my intake of fresh veggies once again, but I can cop out for one more day, can't I?  Salad for one is not a lot of fun to make, too much prep for only one small bowl's worth and my husband will be away at noon, so...........

O my, it is 10:30pm and I was going to go to bed super early tonight after my sleep debacle last night.....didn't quite make it, o well........maybe I will be exhausted enough now to have a decent amount of uninterrupted sleep. Here goes.......

I think tomorrow will be another good day!

Another Shot In The Arm

Yesterday  morning I went to the doctor for my osteoporosis injection.  I forget in between each one just how painful the administration of subcutaneous injections is....ooooowwwww! But only for a few seconds.  This time I had no swelling or pain afterward in my armThe one constant is the lack of sleep the night after the shot.  I lay awake until 4:50am this morning...aiii yiiii.....I am SO tired today, but maybe I can have a wee nap this afternoon. Doubtful, as I am not a day time napper unless I am extremely ill and even then I fight it.  However, my housecleaning tasks are all ready completed this morning and I can relax about that between now and when our Sunday afternoon company arrives.  How I love the bleachy odor of freshly cleaned bathroom fixtures and linoleum floors. All I have to do now for our guests is bake an almond/vanilla cake and thaw some frozen fruit Sunday morning to spoon over it.  Since my husband is working out of town between now and then the suite should stay fairly clean in the meantime.

My poor husband worked a 13 hour day yesterday due to an evening committee meeting that met for a good 2 hours longer than they usually meet.  He got to work a bit late this morning, but will be working in Maple Creek by dinner tonight and all day tomorrow.  He will more than make up the almost hour he was late going in this morning.  

I utilized my time alone last evening rather well.  I ended up completing most of the housework I orginally planned to do this morning.  That left me with very little that had to be done after breakfast today. What a great feeling of happy surprise for myself! 

A friend from out of town MAY be coming for tea this afternoon, so that would be lovely, but if she doesn't show up I can do the baking.

Tomorrow morning is our weekly choir practise and I am looking forward to seeing if we have a few more men turn out this week, our second practise of the term.  I am concerned this set of songs is a bit too difficult for our little group and if we don't get the basses and tenors padded out with new fellows we aren't going to sound nearly as well as we did last term.  I all ready have to miss next week's practise to be in Salt Coats for a seminar presentation on forgiveness and not taking offense that I am assisting my husband with.  So, I will be no help at all to the choir myself next week.  

God has certainly raked me over the coals over the past 2 weeks to affirm my trust in his provision.  I am rather certain he refused to jog the memory of the person who owes us money so that I could once again experience his ability to provide in different wild and wonderful ways this month.  I am so very human it is pathetic, but when I saw the person the day he was to pay us and he said he hadn't remembered to bring a cheque with him, I was instantly, INSTANTLY, transported back to our stressful disasters of the last years of self-employment when that statement was the norm rather than the exception.  The bad memories/feelings didn't last long, but long enough for God to want to let me know I didn't need to get back into the old pattern of worrying that lasted for the first 2 or 3 years of our former distress.  Apparently it wasn't enough for me to just tell God honestly I do trust him to help us over the rest of this month even without that cheque, he had to show me what he could do all over again, just like the old days; kind of a godly sort of "nyaa, nyaa, look what I can still do, would ya'?"   Okay, okay, I get it.   This month AND retirement will be looked after just like the rest of our financial life has been.  Okay, okay, okay..........  I put that fear to rest all ready last week, but God still had to prove himself to remind me I am not trusting in my own vain imaginings, but in a living, loving, heavenly father.  And I admit I am rather grateful for that righteous but caring, "nyaa, nyaa..........".

Well, off to search the baking cupboards to be sure I have the ingredients I need for that almond/vanilla cake! 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

I Can't Believe I CHOSE To Eat at Swiss Chalet!!

Seriously, today I deliberately ate lunch at the Swiss Chalet beside Southland Mall here in Regina. (Those of you who know me well know I would rather gnaw on a strip of rawhide as a rule, than go to a Swiss Chalet type of chain for a meal.)

Why then, you ask, did I go there today? 

Well, because they serve a grilled chicken caesar salad that is perfect for my diet!  The lettuce has always been fresh, no brown spots or edges and today was no exception.  There is only the slightest amount of fatty dressing and the least sprinkling of grated cheese on the salad, perfect for my lower fat and sodium diet.  Plus, there is a massive grilled chicken breast on top, the largest amount of chicken I ever get on any restaurant salad.  The chicken tastes as if it has received the minimum possible dose of added salt when cooking, again perfect for me.  I ask them to leave the croutons off because they are usually stale, with tooth breaking possibilities, but I do order a side of garlic toast.  The "toast" is actually a soft, elongated bun...there is surely a special name for a bun that shape, but I can't think of what it would be just at the moment.  It beats the heck out of the garlic toast I generally get in this city: thin, stale, blackened and completely tasteless except for a smattering of garlic butter generally right in the centre of the board-like slices. My salad today looked terribly plain and uninspiring, as always, but for me it is perfecto!

I have had the same salad at other Swiss Chalets, since my parents often like to go there in Calgary when we visit them, but the same salads there have been soggy, tasteless affairs that I can barely manage to choke down.  For some reason this particular outlet knows exactly how to make caesar salads the way I enjoy them. 

It was nice to have a treat out today in the midst of all my errands.  My husband will have the car for the next 2 days for work so I will be here at home, stranded....waaaaaah....hahaha. Nope, not stranded. There is a bus and I have a ride to choir on Saturday.  Also, I am going to start a major house cleaning project in a few minutes and it will take me most of tomorrow as well to complete.  If the car is gone I will have no temptation to renege on my housewifely duties by going out somewhere unnecessarily.  

Good timing on having and not having the car this week!

Does This Sound Familiar To Any of You? It Does To Me!

"My hobbies include eating and complaining that I'm getting fat."

BINGO!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Weighing In

Weeeeeeeellll....after wussing out for the past over 6 weeks from weighing myself, I finally got incredibly brave this evening and hauled myself onto the bathroom scale.  Wonder of wonders I have, in that nearly 7 week time frame, managed to lose 9 of the 11 pounds I gained last winter!  Thank you Lord, thank you hip for letting me get back to daily exercise in a big way once again.  I am so relieved I am sitting here on the verge of tears.  I have been just terrified that my diabetes control and my feeling so much better since that diagnosis were going to be marred by a return to uncontrolled weight gain that would mean either the diabetes was getting worse despite my best efforts or it WOULD get worse because of my loss of ability to control the weight.  How do you spell "relief"?  In this case it is spelled w-e-i-g-h-t-l-o-s-s!!  Whew!!!  Looking at my tummy in the mirror the other night I was hopeful that I was not imagining a bit of a loss of fat, but was afraid to believe it in case I was just fooling myself.  

My husband and I had some fun back at his office tonight after dinner.  Part of his new regime is to leave the office each afternoon between 4pm and 4:30pm like the rest of the staff instead of staying on until after 6pm.  I am going to really like this if he is able to keep it up.  We were finished dinner by 5:30pm and still had an actual evening to enjoy!  We drove back to the office after we ate and spent some time sorting through pictures we had on his computer from Dad's 90th birthday celebration last week.  After selecting the best of them, we printed them on some decent photo paper on the big copier so I can send them to my parents.  They will be delighted.  We were able to make them big enough that Dad will be able to see them clearly despite the serious loss of vision in his one eye...stupid macular degeneration!!!  Mom looks particularly smiley in her photos. Usually she doesn't smile much but she is so happy to see her grandson that her delight is spilling over onto her face. hahahaha  Great to see her NOT wearing her perpetual and habitual frown!  

So, I am showered up for my prolia injection appointment in the morning.  Hopefully I will remember to take the drug out of my refrigerator by 6:30am when we get up so that it won't be freezing cold when it is injected into my arm. Have you ever received an injection of a medication that is still chilly???  OOOOWWWWWW!!  Trust me, you do not ever want to!

I am happy to report that after the time we spent in the office, me having my shower and washing my hair and my husband watching a "guy flick", it is still only 8:30pm!  We have time for a visit tonight.  YIPPEE!!  We have so much fun just sitting and talking about anything and everything!

I am giggling about how the Lord provides....again....still.....hahaha.  I was so delighted that we received over $50 from our bottle and can recycling this morning and that it is only half of what we have collected in the basement. The rest will go next week.  Tonight my husband was handed a small cheque from a parishioner who attended the Christmas Eve service. She wanted to give him a little gift for Christmas.  How sweet is she????  So, a few more dollars to get through until pay day next week.  I truly suspect the Lord is doing this on purpose to keep me on the straight and narrow as far as continuing to not be worrying about our financial future as we look to retirement days.  These little dribs and drabs of unexpected or downright unusual provision is exactly how he kept us going during the horror years of the past.  God does not change...his ways and means to look after us may change but ultimately he is Jehovah Jireh...our provider.  What a relief! I constantly receive evidence that my trust is not misplaced.  Hallelujah!

The Day is Starting Off Well At Least

It is 9:30am and so far I have had a remarkably productive day!  YAY!  It is good to be virus free at last, feeling well and able to get back to my life.  It may be a boring life in many respects at the moment, but it is MY life and I enjoy it most of the time...yeah...most!

We were up and at 'em in good time this morning so that my husband could get to the monthly staff meeting with time to spare.  I felt so good this morning that I was dressed and out the door shortly before 8am to go and pay bills at the bank machine, mail some letters and take the first 4 bags of bottles and cans we have accrued since the autumn to the recycling depot.  That time of morning is definitely the time to go to SARCAN!!!  They opened at 8:30am, I was there by 8:40am and out the door again with over $50 in less than 10 minutes.  Next week I will take in about the same amount of items, plus my husband will take THREE, yes 3, tres, trois, trey, THREEEEEEE old computers out of our suite and over to recycling!!  I am some impressed with him getting rid of all those old electronics he has finally replaced with one good machine that will take his Windows 7, Linux, Ubuntu etc. etc. etc. all at once.  YES!  Less to move when the time comes......ooooh, hey...did I really write that? Did the magic word "move" just fly from my fingertips to the keyboard???  Aiiii yiiiii....we just signed another 1 year lease here...please can we stay at least that much longer, Lord???? 

Pullleeeeease?? We are old and tired. Have pity.....!!???!!

I also spent about twenty minutes shovelling the large heaps of snow away from the foundation of our unit.  I can see where the water gets in through the cracks in the foundation so it was good to be able to be out in the 0 degree weather (going to +3C today) and lift away the snow that softened during our warmer day yesterday.

Some more changes are happening to my husband's schedule, at least temporarily while he assists the CFO in preparing for the annual audit at the end of April.  Today he and the bishop will decide if his days off are going to change from Monday and Tuesday to Sunday and Monday.  The bishop is also preparing to change his own days off to accommodate better time for himself on his wife's days off and better time to be with my husband to coordinate their schedules.  

This particular change would mean my husband would give up his preaching and teaching in churches on Sundays, leave him free to come to church with me, grab the occasional extra day to sleep in if he needs to and give us a chance to do some socializing with non-clergy friends who only have weekends to visit and "play".  At first we felt a bit negative about him losing out on some of the things he loves most about this job, the teaching and Sunday afternoon seminars, in order to do more administration, BUT, then we started to think it could actually be a big blessing.  Instead of being limited to Sunday sermons, having Sundays off could accommodate my husband's hope of having a block of time each week that is free to start writing and drafting up longer seminars with more  theological and academic depth that could be presented over longer periods of time...full weekend or full week seminars that he could teach anywhere that wanted to have the benefit of them.  A temporary break of a few months or even a couple of years as he looks at retirement work and ministry options could be a true gift of time for preparating teachings about the things that are seriously on his heart.  He has been frustrated about not being able to have time to prepare properly the teachings he believes God is giving him for the Church in our area.

So, something for us to pray about.  I am gone most Sunday afternoons in the fall and winter for choir practise.  He could have more than 2 hours every Sunday afternoon to block out for study and writing.  He wouldn't have the distractions either of having to prepare a short, but time consuming to write, sermon for Sundays.  He could pour all his research energies into the longer seminars he has been hoping to present sometime in the near future.

If the decision comes down today for him to take Sundays and Mondays off I think we can get good things out of it for ourselves and for the diocese as well.  Hmmmmm....this could be a very good change indeed!!

Well, off to watch a tv show I recorded last night and then it will be time to tackle a fair amount of ironing I have managed to ignore for the past 3 days.