Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Winter? Spring? ????

The weather can't decide if it is returning to winter mode or fast forwarding toward spring.  It has definitely cooled off the past couple of days and we have had a little bit of snow...again the large, dry, shiny flakes that look like soap flake snow from a movie set and that are wickedly slippery when laying atop patches of ice.  I am so grateful I could shovel a bit of sand from the rental company's pile for the parking lots and cover the worst of the frozen lake that covers the lawn part way to where our car is parked.  Last night we had an over night low of -18C and the car gave a bit of a growl this morning when I started it after not plugging it in overnight.  Both the last couple of days have been windy and grey until about 4pm, when the sun has finally started shining out through the clouds and the temperature has taken a late afternoon rise.  Fortunately the general trend starting tomorrow is toward more warmth...although that will also result in more snowfall.

Had a sluggish day today for some reason.  I felt just fine, but had no motivation to do anything important or particularly necessary. I suspect it was due to my blood pressure being a bit low this morning.  When I tested it mid morning it was only 83/64, although that is not particularly low for me. My husband phoned me just after he left for work after breakfast to let me know there is a water main break at the entrance to the parking lot just across the street from our own.  I hurried to shower, didn't bother to wash my hair, just in case the city came to fix it right away and shut off the water to the area for the day.  I needn't have bothered as it turned out.  All that happened is that our own maintenance staff evacuated the other parking lot and parked one of their tractors across the entrance to keep the cars out.  The water has continued to gush out of the ground and run down the street the entire day. By the time the city arrives tomorrow it will have been well over 24 hours since the break occurred. I am trying not to imagine how much thick ice there is going to be on that street tomorrow.  I do want to go out after lunch, so hopefully the city machinery will not end up cutting off the exit to our lot as well as the one closer to the break.

My morning was busy running all the errands I had originally planned for this afternoon, just in case there was a problem getting in and out of here, so that was just fine, but then I felt so unmotivated. spent 90 minutes rehearsing choir music, had a long nap this afternoon and generally wasted the rest of the day.  I managed to haul myself upright long enough to cook a decent salmon dinner, then sat around on the sofa with my exhausted husband watching tv all evening. Suddenly the day is over and it is time for bed.

Tomorrow I want to attend the Ash Wednesday service after lunch at our church. It is such a wonderful way to usher in the church season of Lent.  I want to spend another hour or so rehearsing the choir music.  If I can't get out after all to go to church I want, at the very least, to do some laundry.  An actual nap day is just fine...a couple of times a year....but I don't want to waste another day like I wasted today.  It makes me feel blah and agitated and miserable.

It wasn't a bad day, just not as motivated and active as I had hoped, although I was able to do a good 40 minutes of exercise after lunch before my nap and another 40 minutes after dinner tonight. That is worth something at least.

Here's to a more motivated and accomplished day tomorrow!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Watching The Oscars

Every year I am drawn to the Academy Awards television broadcast like the proverbial moth to a flame.

I don't know why.

I have rarely seen so much as one of the nominated movies, at this point in time don't even know who 3/4 of the "celebrities" are, and don't give a flying fig about the fashions that seem to grow more ghastly as the years go by.  (This year the women seemed to be evenly split on dressing as pencils or as giant, multicoloured pumpkins and one of the red carpet interviewers was wearing an otherwise lovely dress that was so tight on her it showed off her every dimple, pouch and sag...but I suppose for those who like big butts and they cannot lie, it was a hit.)

The range of acceptance speeches ran the gamut from completely inane to overly emoted, political to confusing to generous....the usual motley crew of oration.

Jimmy Kimmel did a fine job of hosting and was most amusing with his humour.

The stage decoration was quite splendid, one of my favourites ever with the elegant scrolling set design, orchestra pit under the stage and the lovely Oscar statue shaped strands of lighted beading behind the presenters.


I enjoyed seeing Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty and Shirley MacLean, partly because they were three of not more than a dozen and a half celebrities I actually recognized and partly because it is nice, in a nasty sort of way I suppose, to see that even the most talented among the stars tend to eventually show their age like the rest of us peons.

BUT my favourite part of the programme was the bizarre mixup at the end of the evening with the announcement of Best Picture winner that turned out to be incorrect!  What a confusion, what scrambling about, what embarrassment, what disaster for the biggest movie award show in North America.  It was a combination of hilarious and extremely uncomfortable for the at home viewer.  

We will probably never know what really happened, why the fiasco of an incorrect announcement occurred, but for at least two full news days there will be stories in the major headline spot for all media that is NOT about the United States president! 

BONUS!!!

That's Le Macaron, Not La Macarena!

I have now enjoyed a special dessert twice in the past 3 days!!  

Saturday evening we went for a nice dinner at Earl's restaurant and after our rather light fare our hosts decided we should have dessert as well.  There weren't any that I could safely eat and the portions are much bigger than anyone else wanted, so our friends suggested that we drive out to the east side to Le Macaron for specialty desserts.

My husband and I had never been there before, assuming that since it was a dessert cafe there would be nothing either of us could eat there.  What a wonderful surprise to find out that there are a number of items we can each enjoy on occasion.  Everything is baked onsite, so my husband and I can both check out what the ingredients are of the desserts that most appeal to us and make some intelligent choices that will not make either of us ill afterward.

There is a wide selection of tortes, puff pastry items, cookies, tarts, flans, all looking like they just arrived from a Portugese bakery, although I believe the owners and bakers here are ethnically from the Philippines.  O my goodness...so many choices, so little time! hahaha  I selected a layered lemon curd macha torte with a lemon glaze on top.  It was a long looking slice, but, cut in half and setting the 2 halves side by side it fit pretty well into the amount of sweet cake-like dessert I am allowed to have at one sitting.  Having next to zero carbs in my Earl's salad, I decided to risk it and am so glad I did.  It was fantastic....did not taste icky-gooey sweet, had a lovely light texture and the macha flavour was authentically Japanese.  O how I did enjoy it. My husband enjoyed enthusiastically his strawberry and whipped cream filled long john style puffed pastry.

They have several excellent coffees there according to our coffee drinker friends and my husband was pleased with the relatively extensive tea menu.  Hot chocolate and other hot drinks are also available.

When we decided we would return there some day I had no idea that the "some day" would be today all ready!! hahaha  My friend from Moose Jaw came into town for the day and took me out for delicious bassa fish for lunch.  We looked at the restaurant dessert menu, a smorgasbord of chocolate and caramel sauces slopped over iced and whipped cream for a ridiculously high price, and decided to pass.  My friend was disappointed, but I can't assist her by sharing in such a sweet dessert, so I decided to take her to Le Macaron, only a few blocks away.  She was delighted too with the selection of goodies.  She had a large and delicious chocolate tart that could have benefitted with a slight warm up just to restore the fresh baked flavour and aroma, but she said it was still fantastic and is eager to return on her next visit.

What a nice little place...actually not that little as there is a long seating room along side the main area that is a great spill over room when the main restaurant is full.  There is a nice blend of couch/coffee table and chair/table seating and the double sided fire place in the main room is convenient to cozy up to on a chilly day.  Since they are open evenings it is a good place for a bit of specialty dessert after dinner in one of the nearby restaurants.

Nice to know there is a place where I can at least get a cookie on occasion....it may be an expensive cookie, but it will be one of the best I have ever had, pretty much guaranteed if my first 2 desserts there are any indication.  What a gem of a place!

Le Macaron is located in the strip mall behind Applebee's restaurant on Quantz.

 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

My Favourite One Liner!

Yesterday I heard someone on tv deliver my most favourite one liner:

"Copernicus just phoned....and...actually....you are NOT the centre of the universe!"

hahahaha

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Snow, Snow, Go Away!

Unrealistically, I have been hoping we would not get any more snow....yeah....as if.....right? 

Big fluffy flakes of the white stuff started coming down late yesterday morning and continued off and on throughout the day. It didn't amount to more than two or three centimetres total. In other words it is just enough to cover up the icy patches that were easy to avoid before. 

I watched my husband slippin' 'n' slidin' across the parking lot last evening on his way home from work and felt ticked off that I am once again going to have to tread carefully when I go outside. I cannot fall to the ground again this year, I cannot, I cannot. It has been 18 months since my last fall and broken bones. Mobility is something I am happily getting used to again! 

This morning I have choir rehearsal. We are rehearsing in the building where we will hold our spring concert. It will be good to be able to assess the space for how best to set up the eating area for our guests. They are fed well at every Amici concert, that is for sure! 

I am happy for the switch from Sunday afternoon this week. It means we are free to have our Egyptian friends over in the afternoon for tea. These friends love to see us at least every two weeks and have adopted us. They so miss their extended families in Egypt. Since my husband is working out of town the next two weekends we decided we had better arrange something! 

Tonight we are meeting other friends for dinner at Earls. They are set for a coupon frenzy to use up some Christmas gifts. We have not seen them since last summer, so it will be wonderful to get reacquainted. Busyness at work, health and family issues in both our families have created too much distance and it is time to rectify that! 

My husband is off work tomorrow, so maybe he can come to church with me. 

All in all it is looking like a good weekend social forecast despite snow and chillier weather.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Post-Surgery Update

We received a most encouraging report from our relative who had cancer surgery earlier this week.  Being at home and resting there instead of trying to rest in the bee hive that is a hospital ward is turning out to be a good thing.  There is lots of resting, there are short walks around the house, reading books and sending out wonderful emails to the family.  Since both the housemates are retired, there is lots of immediate assistance available and once the soreness from the incision settles down the recovery should speed along quite well.  Now there is a 3 week wait for the biopsy results from the tissue that was removed.  The "hurry up and wait" mode that accompanies this disease is such a mentally draining situation. Racing for a diagnosis, then waiting to get the results, racing to get on a surgical wait list, then waiting for the actual date, racing to hospital for the operation, then waiting for recovery and biopsy results, racing to the treatment plan then waiting for the actual procedures to start....it never ends.  Coveting your prayers over the next three weeks while the next steps to recovery get sorted out. We are encouraged by what we have been told thus far.

Well...I Won't Do THAT Again!!

Sometimes I am so stupid I surprise even myself!  

I am paying the price for ingesting too much sodium over the past week and have no one but myself to blame.  

It started last Friday night when we went to the home of friends for the most delicious ham dinner I have eaten in years.  I tend to stay away from ham and bacon due to the sodium content, but it has been quite awhile since I had such a delicious meal of ham, so I wasn't very careful about how much I ate.  Oh, and of course I just HAD to have a handful of the cracklings....fried, straight fat!!  I paid the price that night with a very restless sleep, but did I listen to my body and do a proper week of cleansing?  O no, of course not. I am way too stupid these days to do such a wise thing.

The next day I had a sandwich from the leftover ham our friends sent home for us.  The next 2 days after that I had a strip of bacon at lunchtimes because there they were in my refrigerator and they  needed to be used up before they went bad and would have to be wasted by throwing them out.  My husband was intelligent enough to know he shouldn't eat them and he doesn't have nearly the problems with sodium that I do. Sigh....

So that covers Sunday and Monday. Tuesday I ate lunch at the Afghani buffet....fantastic food, total sodium festival.  I felt kind of itchy a couple of hours later, 3 hours after the meal I had a huge anger melt down over nothing, truly nothing worth even a touch of crabbiness, but did my body's clear message mean anything to me? O no, of course not.

Wednesday I was grocery shopping and found some premade salad mix that I love but haven't eaten in many years. So why haven't I been buying it and eating it for such a long time?  There is ground bacon and salty paremsan cheese in the mix, that is why.  Did that stop me from buying it and eating it not only Wednesday night at dinner but also finishing it up on Thursday at noon?  O no, of course not!!

So, my kidneys finally got their message through to me at 3am today when I woke up with itchies from the tops of my knees all the way to my ankles. When I got up at 7am my lips felt kind of funny and sure enough, as I should have guessed would happen had I been using my brain this past week instead of only my tastebuds, the skin on my lips is so sodium burnt that the skin is peeling off them.

Way to go idiot!!!  Honestly...I DO know better than to treat my body this way.  What is wrong with me??? I haven't been feeling rebellious about my dietary restrictions.

I definitely deserve this reaction of physical symptoms, elevated blood pressure and the crabbies.  

I have been drinking water all morning and my lips have stopped peeling, the redness is fading, the itchy legs are not bothering me any more.  I will be drinking plain water all day and all day tomorrow.

Wow....lesson learned...hopefully at least.  I am like my son in that I only get the message when the extreme reaction occurs.  I always wondered when he was a kid why so much drama had to accompany every life lesson...obviously it is a trait he inherited from his mother. 

Well....duh....knowing I have confessed my stupidity and carelessness on a public blog will go a long way to reminding me not to embarrass or hurt myself so badly again with the wrong food intake....well....for awhile anyway..........I am not the brightest candle on the cake.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Wonderful News From the Son!

We are very happy for our son today.  He just got word that he may have a job lined up in NYC when he is done teaching this term.  Hopefully that will work out well.  He would be working with some of his American college friends and they are an awesome group of people.  If this job doesn't work out in the end, at least his name is out there now and people there know he is looking for a position.

The other good news is that Vancouver Art Gallery has just purchased one of his paintings to add to their permanent collection, so he is thrilled to have some "seed money" for his trip south this spring.  A few thousand dollars will certainly assist him in getting set up there.

The story of financial provision from the Lord for our family seems to be continuing through our son.  I am not convinced God's intervention took the form of getting a gallery to purchase a painting so much as I see his intervention in the timing of the transaction. It speaks to me so strongly of God's involvement, his encouragement, his leading and his merciful love.

Thank you son for the great news!

AND thank you as well for the painting you are sending to us!  WOW!!

BUT....LADY....I Don't WANT To Get Old!!!

Oh, I see....well, I do understand.  I can't say that getting old was ever a cherished goal in my own life, but at this time in history there is not yet a way to prevent it, so I have decided to not only accept, but also embrace it.  If nothing else can be said in the positive about aging, the very least is that getting old is the best revenge!  You've heard that before but only now is it starting to mean something....right?

Not wanting to admit our actual ages, even to ourselves...or maybe especially not even to ourselves....is why we do things like continue into our elder years to wear pencil pants and revealing necklines, listen to the latest in pop music no matter how dreadful it is, and streak our all ready dyed hair with colours like blue and purple even when our sagging facial skin, knobby knuckles, unsteady gait and the slowing of our mental faculties give us dead away to all onlookers.

I guess one of the things I have wondered all my life is, WHO DO WE THINK WE ARE FOOLING???  And WHY DO WE CARE WHAT THOSE FOLK THINK ANYWAY???

Yes, hair dyes, botox injections, dressing young and plastic surgery can fool some of the people some of the time, maybe even for quite some time, but eventually cracks appear in the most carefully crafted of veneers. It is inevitable.  There is always some physical or mental clue as to our true age and the very people, often the younger people, we are attempting to fool are the first to clue in to that.  Do any of us who have used one technique or another in our attempts to remain youthful in appearance realize how often we are found out?   How often we are disrespected behind our backs?  How often we are pitied by the younger set instead of sincerely congratulated?  

There is nothing wrong with any of the methods we use to try to retain our youthfulness, within reason, but we older ones need to keep a sharp eye on our outward selves and an even sharper eye on our mental states so that we can discern when the time is right to quit all those things and get on with the realities of aging. 

We need to be able to understand at what point we are no longer fooling anyone BUT ourselves and start to explore the amazing freedoms that come with age and life experience.  There are many and they are worth discovering. I am beginning to learn that.  

Want to join me?

C'mon!  I double dog dare ya'!!

Officially Elderly

I've had a bit of an interesting time applying for early payout of Canada Pension benefits, but this morning, after 10 days of the application website telling me it was experiencing technical difficulties, the discovery that the paperwork I filed back in 1977 after my marriage was not recorded and so my Social Insurance file would have to be updated before I could apply for pension, etc. etc. etc., I marched myself down to the nearest Service Canada office and did the deed!!

Armed with the necessary paperwork, I arrived at the office ready to plead my case, argue, shout, stomp, even cry if necessary in order to convince someone there that I absolutely need to get this application process underway.  Since I haven't been employed for years the amount I would receive by waiting until the age of 65 is so negligible there is no point in waiting any longer.  As it is, the monthly payout will barely cover a week's groceries, but I want to have a chance to collect something from the years I paid into the plan before something happens to bankrupt it.

As it turned out there was no need to plead any sort of case, no need to argue, shout, stomp or cry.  I arrived just ahead of the morning rush and was in an office with a Service Canada staffer less than 5 minutes after I checked in.  Within 15 minutes my SIN file had been updated, my pension application filled out and sent away to the "powers that be", and I was on my way back to the bus to return home.  Easy peasey!!  Just like that!!  

So, assuming my application is accepted, I can now announce that I am officially old!

I have never been the sort of person who is afraid of other people knowing my age.  I have a somewhat younger friend who freaks out anytime she is with me in restaurants or other places where seniors are given discounts since she usually gets tagged as being one because of being with me.  I am sorry she gets so upset by it.

My idea is that there should be some sort of perk for people who survive the stresses of life long enough to reach the retirement years, so if someone wants to give me a 10% or more discount on a meal, groceries, pharmaceuticals, hotel rooms, retail clothing or anything else, I am taking it!!  With gratitude!  With joy even!  Having a clerk at a cash register announce to everyone within hearing distance that I am eligible for a discount is like a badge of honor to me:  "See everyone within hearing distance?  See?  I am OLD.  I have survived sufficiently in tact to get FREE STUFF!!!  YIPPEE!!!!  Nope, sorry dearie, you are not yet old enough to qualify for the freebies and discounts, so you will just have to wait your turn! What?  You have another six years to wait?  Oooh, that is too bad. I am so sorry....NOT!! Nyaa haa haa.........."  

In approximately one month's time that first miniscule amount of cash will arrive in my bank account.  First one is my own to spend on something I want for myself, before the rest go into a savings account where, by the time I am 65, there should be almost enough accrued to pay for a month's rent at a discount seniors' facility!  Now, how exciting is that, right? WOW!!!!  

Hey, you have to look at life with as much humour as you can muster, right?  Otherwise you have far less chance of living long enough to receive all the discounts and FREE STUFF!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

One Cute Thing I Forgot To Mention

I neglected to mention the very cute thing our vivacious and caring Korean "nanny" server did the other night at dinner. 

When our sizzling hot plate of beef and cabbage arrived at our table, before she dished the food onto our plates for us, she took first my husband's forefinger and then mine, touched them quickly to the edge of the hot plate, then blew on them and said, "Is hot!"

Isn't that cute? 

I suppose our western sensibilities could have been insulted. Although we are approaching senior citizen age and could choose to interpret her words and actions throughout the evening as her treating us as if we are senile, we chose to bask in the spoiling and in being treated as if we are honoured oriental grandparents. 

Remember, taking offence is a choice, right? 

We are plotting our return there! hahahaha We highly doubt we will receive the same level of service, but who cares? The food would be delicious even if we were shunned by the wait staff!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Surgery report

The surgery went well, but was extra long due to it being a laparoscopic surgery that took a lot of tissue. Hopefully home tomorrow for the three weeks of recovery, biopsy results on the tissue should be in at about that time. So grateful our beloved relative apparently came through the surgery well. No masses, no tumours were found, so that much is very positive.

Thanks so much for praying!

Korean Yummies!

We received a gift certificate at Christmas for a Korean BBQ restaurant here in the city and have been saving it for a night out at a time when we really needed a happy distraction. Last night was that time.

What a delightful evening at Life is Good Korean BBQ on Victoria Avenue! 

The menu is quite extensive but I was wondering how many things I could order that would not include vast amounts of rice, one of my worst offenders for a carb that raises my blood sugar.  I was concerned about MSG for both my husband and myself because restaurant cooked beef generally contains terrifyingly high amounts of added sodium and it was the beef we were more interested in than the chicken dishes.  

We needn't have worried about our menu questions.  The lady who is most involved in ownership of the place came out of the back to serve us specifically for some reason. We assume it was because of our advanced old age in comparison to the rest of the patrons and, I tell you, after the service she gave us I am not insulted if that was the reason!  We have only once before in our lives been as pampered and spoiled in a restaurant!  It was glorious and I loved every second of it.

She explained every item on the menu that we had questions about and pointed out similar dishes we might enjoy even more.  She told us which items were gluten free, which came on a bed of rice as compared to the ones with rice in a bowl on the side as compared to which had no rice at all.  She explained, before we could even share our concern regarding MSG that only one dish in the entire restaurant has it, in the sauce for that dish.  She was a walking food encyclopaedia when it comes to the Korean dishes offered there.  She guided us into which 2 items we might enjoy most for sharing and asked us if we would like to try the kimchee on the side.  She brought our dishes to the table and proceeded to ladle out the food to our plates and bowls, she brought us water and drinks before we had a chance to ask for them.  O my...it was WONDERFUL!  If getting old always meant this kind of pampering I would haul out my senior ID every time we ate out.  No one else was getting the service we were getting...yay us!!

The food itself was most delicious.  We think it is one of the best oriental meals we have enjoyed in Regina.  The beef was cooked perfectly and was not floating in or saturated with sauces.  The cabbage on our hot plate was just nicely touched by the heat without completely losing the last bit of crunch.  The carrots were grated and liberally sprinkled throughout both the beef hot plate and the beef stew.  In the stew there were also sliced fresh mushrooms, diced bits of zucchini, (and yes my husband was able to remove them from his own dish so he had no negative reactions after the meal), plus some yam noodles...a favourite of mine.  The rice came in a bowl on the side for both dishes,so I was able to portion out the correct amount for myself and my husband was happy to finish the rest.  Actually there was not a great amount of rice between the 2 dishes, so it was perfect for us. The flavours were exquisite. The kimchee had a nice bite to it that certainly perked up the white sticky rice.  We munched it all down like a couple of wee pigs!

The decor of the restaurant is quite lovely with white and black chairs and tables, white and stone walls and 2 large ceiling fixtures that look like the bottoms of bamboo steaming baskets.  The floor was clean and the lighting very good...we were able to see our food without having bright lights glaring in our faces. The outside of the building doesn't look very up and coming, but the interior has been renovated into a most lovely space.

So the whole experience was a great lot of fun.  Many thanks Shelley for our wonderful evening out!  We are deciding now when we can make our earliest return for another wonderful meal.

Prayer Day For Our Family

Our relative is having cancer surgery today, hopefully this morning even as I am writing this.  Some prayer by those of you who are so inclined would be greatly appreciated by the patient.  Will give an update when we get one.  Thank you all so very much.  We are trying not to be terrified and not succeeding very well this morning. 

Itsy Bitsy Teensy Weensy Musical Rant

Our choir is singing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" this term.  

I admit it...I am among what is likely a very small crowd of folk who simply do not like this piece of music.  It actually hurts my heart to consider that out of the giant body of most excellent poetry and song this Canadian musical giant wrote and composed he will probably be best remembered by a present generation, who do not allow themselves to think about much beyond the present moment, for this repetitive, lyrically inane little ditty.

To me it sounds like either he was being pressured by his agents and producers to get the thing finished up, published and recorded, or else it was his own little joke against those same people and his listening public...I don't know what he was thinking and never will.  Someone was savvy enough to know the melody would be a popular hit because of the very reptition I don't care for, but ooooo, those lyrics...blaaaah!!  Cohen himself was reticent to define his meaning, which to me speaks of the possibility that he didn't know what he was writing about either and simply allowed the song to go out as written for whatever reason.  

Nope, sorry, I just don't care for this song.  I don't care who else likes it and don't hold it against anyone who likes things I don't, but I have a right to my opinion as well.  And in this case it is that I will be glad when our concert is over in May and I never have to sing it again.

There....l "said" it....in public.......

Aaaaah....exhale....that feels better!

 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Comfort from Author N.T. Wright via Editor Dargan Thompson

N.T. Wright: When It Appears God Isn't at Work
What God's work in our lives actually looks like.
August 18, 2015
Dargan is a former RELEVANT editor turned freelancer. Find her online at darganthompson.com or follow her extremely random train of thought on Twitter @darganthompson.

The Bible is full of stories of God directly interacting with humans—He speaks to Moses from a burning bush, He sends fire down on Elijah's offering, He comes to earth as a man.
Today, it seems like we don't see God directly intervening as much. Sometimes, it can even seem like He's not involved at all.
We talked to theologian, author and professor N.T. Wright about why it might seem that way, what we can learn when it feels like God isn't answering prayers and how we should pray when a situation seems hopeless.
It seems like we don’t see God moving today as clearly as we see in the Bible. Why do you think that is?
I think part of our problem here is that when we read the Bible, we read it with long hindsight. We look and we say, “Oh yeah, there’s God rescuing His people from Egypt.” Well, yes, that is dramatic and that happened, but then, in the Psalms, the poets are saying, “Has God forgotten us? Has He forgotten to be gracious? Has He abandoned us? It’s been a long time now.”
The great book of Isaiah, promised a great new moment when God would come in person and would become king. And yet, it was 500 years before Jesus came. During those 500 years, many wise Jews pondered and prayed and struggled. Other people said, “Oh, it’s just a load of old mythology. It’s never going to happen.” But they kept on praying and waiting and finally, this explosive thing happened, which we call Jesus.
It seems to me that’s often the way for us, too. We wait and pray and it looks as though nothing’s going on, and then to our surprise, something suddenly happens and we think, “Oh my goodness! That is what I was praying for, but I didn’t know it was going to look like this!” That is the characteristic experience, both in the Jewish world we see in the Psalms and the prophets, and in the Christian world.
"If God has kept you in the dark at the moment, it may be because you have to go through a winter season in order that the spring, when it comes, will find those new plants well rooted and well bedded in."
In my pastoral experience, working with many people in many different contexts, the idea of “Well, that happened then, but it doesn’t seem to be working for us,” that is a characteristic sense. Then quite suddenly, out of the blue, so it seems, God will do a new thing, and people say “Oh my goodness, that’s extraordinary. How did that happen?” The answer is: that’s what we’ve been waiting for and praying for, only we didn’t know it was going to look like that.
So what do you say to people who are in a rough period and they’re waiting for something to happen and it just isn’t coming?
In that period of waiting, it’s like when you sow a seed in the ground in the fall, in the autumn, and you want to be impatient. You want to say, “I planted the seed, I want something to grow straight away, please.” But you have to wait through the winter.
During the winter, it isn’t that nothing is happening, it’s that the seed is germinating out of sight underground. It needs to be there. In the spring, when the new shoots happen, it looks sudden to us, because we haven’t seen anything going on until then, but actually, stuff has been going on underground.
Again and again, God works underground in our lives, in our imaginations, in our personal circumstances and in the wider world, and then suddenly something new happens, a new project, a new moment in our lives, and we’re astonished at it. T.S. Elliot had that wonderful poem that’s part of his four quartets where he says, “Wait without thought, for you are not yet ready for thought.” In other words, don’t even try to figure out what’s going on. If God has kept you in the dark at the moment, it may be because you have to go through a winter season in order that the spring, when it comes, will find those new plants well rooted and well bedded in.
That’s very difficult, because the darkness looks just dark. But that’s where we cling onto the teaching and promise of Jesus. Jesus taught those parables about seeds growing secretly and so on precisely in order that people could latch onto the promise that even when it looks dark, looks as though nothing is happening, God is at work and the seeds will indeed produce fruit at the right time.
What do you think about praying for healing? Some people pray directly for healing while others just pray for God’s will to be done. Is there a best way to pray in those situations?

"The Gospel is really all about learning patience and humility in the presence of God."
One of the things the New Testament talks about in terms of the work of the Holy Spirit is the gift of discernment, of knowing what to pray for. Because sometimes, if somebody is dying and is clearly sick, sometimes it’s actually cruel to say, “I believe God is going to heal this person right now.” Because actually, this may be their time to go.
Sometimes, then, you pray for a good death, rather than to be saved this minute from death. We are all going to die, and it would be silly if we all tried to imagine that even when somebody is a good old age, etc, that God still wants to bring them back from death one more time.
However, at the same time, there are many occasions when somebody has been given up by the medical profession—the doctors just say “There is no hope, this person will be dead within two or three days”—and sometimes through prayer, that situation can be radically turned around.

We have a case in my own family: a niece of mine, my sister’s daughter, who, when she was 6 years old, was given up for dead with double kidney failure. They reckoned she would be dead within a day or two. That girl is now in her mid 30s, she has been a missionary teacher in India, she’s a lovely Christian girl, because there were people around the world praying for her. Astonishingly, the doctors to this day don’t know how her kidneys got better, but they did.
If you’re in ministry, you will constantly meet people who have stories like that to tell. Equally, I know plenty of people for whom similar prayers have been made and who haven’t been healed. That remains a mystery. We do not have a clue to that mystery. That’s why, in Romans 8, one of the crucial, most important chapters in the Bible, St. Paul says we don’t know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit groans within us with inarticulate groanings, and God listens to what the Spirit is saying.
In other words, when we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, then somehow, God is praying within us for the pain around us. Even though we don’t know what we should pray for, if we are waiting upon God and being patient and learning to pray, then somehow, that prayer will bring about new creation even if it isn’t in the form we instantly want.
It’s important that we wrestle with that question, rather than just pushing it one way and saying, “We must always pray and God will always do what we want.” Or saying, “Well, it’s probably not going to happen, so let’s just pray ‘Thy will be done.’” We can collapse into one of those two directions, and it seems to me that the path of wisdom is to hold on in the middle even though that’s uncomfortable. It teaches us patience and humility—and the Gospel is really all about learning patience and humility in the presence of God.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

A Happy Surprise of a Movie!

The movie, "A Hologram For the King", has been playing on HBO so tonight I got around to watching it.  To be honest the description didn't make the movie sound particularly interesting and certainly not like something I would enjoy. I only watched it because it stars actor Tom Hanks, one of my favourites.

Well, this movie was a most pleasant surprise for me, much like another unexpected favourite, "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen".  It is filled with mild humour around differences between American and Saudi culture but without being over played or over the top hilarious.  It portrays life far more normally than some of the present pop culture movies and is lacking in the crassness, vulgarity and brutality that many recent box office "hits" depend on to entice an audience.

I don't want to say any more and risk giving away the plot line, but if you have a chance DO take a look at this film.  Throughout the movie there are many situations that could have morphed into high drama or ridiculous slapstick, but, much like in real life, the situations diffuse more or less calmly, leaving the other possibilities of how things could have played out restricted to our over stimulated imaginations.

What a lovely surprise to chance upon a particularly good movie when I least expected it.  Tom Hanks plays his character, as usual, in understated fashion.  That is what makes so many of his characters seem like real folk who could be living right next door.

A Happy Baptism Morning

Church was such fun this morning.  Two of one of our parishioner's three grandchildren were baptized.  Our deacon led the service and wow, she is wonderful with kids!  The older boy was baptized some years ago so the deacon invited him to come and help her pour water over the heads of his younger brother and baby sister, getting him to also make the sign of the cross on their foreheads, as she had just done.  What a kind hearted little fellow he was, helping to keep rein on his younger brother throughout the long rite of passage where the family had to stand for so long at the front of the church.  The little guy being baptized is about 3 years old and was wearing a lovely silver striped suit jacket with his brand new blue jeans.  He was particularly proud of the large cloth covered buttons on the cuff and was happy to show them off to anyone who was interested.  The baby gurgled happily when she had the water poured on her head, making splashing motions with her hands.  Mom has obviously been raising these children to know how to behave in public.  They barely made a peep during the entire church service, played happily with the provided toys and crayons and colouring books and were thrilled to be able to accompany everyone downstairs to the social room for snacks afterward.  The oldest boy pushed his grandmother in her wheelchair and was incredibly helpful at the  age of only 7 years.  What a joy to add these little folk into our Christian family.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

A Sad Farewell

My son lost a dear friend and fellow artist from Ontario recently. Abstract artist and author Robert Linsley was killed recently in a collision between his bicycle and a car in Ontario and it shook my son up pretty badly.  He was in the middle of composing an email to Mr. Linsley when he got the news of the man's death.  

My son followed Mr. Linsley's work closely and admired his abstract art very much.  He learned a great deal about the subject from this man.  On February 25th he is giving a tribute lecture at Vancouver Art Gallery and hopes he can do justice to such a talented artist.

Rest in peace Mr. Linsley.  My son is just one of many younger artists greatly influenced by your amazing works of abstraction.  Thank you for encouraging him and being his good friend.

New Drink Treats

We had a marvellous evening with friends last night. During the course of the evening I discovered two new alcoholic taste treats that will bear more experiments in future.

I all ready very much enjoy Williams Chase gin on occasion. Last night I was able to taste test Chase's marmalade vodka and it is glorious! I never did enjoy vodka, even back in the days when I drank far more than I do now. This vodka though is delicious! I sipped away at half an ounce and thoroughly enjoyed it. I cannot imagine wanting to mix it with anything as it is delightful on its own. I could handle such a wee nip once every couple of months quite handily!

I also have now tried Ungava gin, distilled beside our own northern Ungava Bay. I have noticed it in the neighbourhood liquor store but the yellow tinge to it rather put me off. Turns out the colour is from the rose hips used in the distilling process. I don't think the Ungava will replace the Williams Chase for me, but with just a dash of grapefruit added, Ungava has its very own brand of delicious!

Chubby British Magistrates

That is what the owl statues on our back deck looked like during our last snowfall. haha. The few centimetres of pure white snow draped over their heads, sloping down their necks and across the top of their folded wings, looked like the rolled white wigs of British justice system attire. So cute! I doubt their presence will have any effect whatsoever on keeping the all ready returning geese off the back lawn, but I think we will keep them up anyway just for the cuteness factor.

Friday, February 17, 2017

What Am Amazing Day!!

It is only the middle of February and today is like the start of the first days of spring!  How disappointing to know it certainly is not spring, the temperatures will be dropping off again after the weekend and there will be plenty more snow to come before winter is actually over.  Drat!!  

For now I am going to continue to enjoy every ray of warm sunshine, every sloppy puddle on the streets that is turning all our vehicles a hideous mud brown from roof to wheel well, the huge puddle I have to try to walk around to get to the car outside that is going to freeze solid and become dangerous for walking on again before long, the sound of geese flying over head all ready!!!

Just now I was outside with a scoop shovel tossing some of the deep water onto the higher piles of snow around my path to the car, but not because it is going to solve the continuing build up of water from those melting piles.  It was to scoop up as many goose turds as I could find along that path, left over from last autumn....o my, there were a LOT of them sitting just under the water, just waiting to adhere to the soles of our boots!  I have to admit that my view of spring's arrival has been sullied somewhat by the remembrance of those damned geese!!!  

My hope is that the surveyor who was here a week or so ago, added onto a somewhat cryptic comment the maintenance man made yesterday, is going to mean that the sagging landscaping between us and the building next to us, the giant dip in the ground where the water builds up in spring and summer and funnels itself into our basement, is going to be replaced with properly built up soil that will channel the water out to the street where it is supposed to be going to get it into the drains along the curb.  If there are landscapers around for most of the spring it will inspire the geese to go elsewhere than right around our building.  Two birds with one stone....or in this case 200 birds with one landscaping project!

I suspect this is a matter of "Dream On Girlie!", for 2 reasons.  Firstly, it will be a shock if any landscaping here is replaced. The fact that every tree in front of our suite is now dead, every last spruce and fir tree dead as a duck, should tell them that the underground sprinkler system is leaking badly and killing the trees. But......I have my doubts. Secondly, it will be an even greater shock if any new landscaping is done properly and achieves the ends for which it is supposed to be designed.  I have lived here long enough now to stop myself from getting too excited about repairs, landscaping and what have you. hahaha

Anyway, it surely did feel wonderful to be outside with a scoop shovel, flailing away at those puddles filled with goose poops and wearing only a shirt and suit jacket to keep warm.  Not a glove, hat, scarf or parka did I have to don to get out and do my poop scooping thing!

It is a glorious day!

Interesting Article from the Vancouver Sun

 This is an issue that is current and is creating fissures in many a social and religious group.  Here is a former teen counsellor's opinion on the current rush to diagnose gender dysphoria in children.  Draw your own conclusions: (you will probably have to cut and paste the link into your browser)


http://vancouversun.com/news/staff-blogs/dont-confuse-teen-sex-confusion-with-gender-dysphoria-teachercounsellor

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Fun Fun Fun!!

Great friends from Moose Jaw just called us to invite us to their home for dinner tomorrow evening.  YAY!  Their married daughter is in town for a few days and we haven't had much chance to see her since she and her husband moved to the west coast some months ago.  We are going to have baked ham and excellent wine and wonderful fellowship.  Can't wait!!

It is funny how spending time with friends trumps everything else for us. As soon as the invitation came both my husband and I completely forgot about the fancy date night we had set up for ourselves tomorrow night.  It wasn't until we hung up the phone that we remembered we had plans for a lovely dinner, just the two of us, followed by a viewing of a rootin' tootin' Japanese film our son recommended to us.  

We have so few date nights per se that it seems kind of ludicrous the plans vacated our brains the minute there was a chance to see friends instead. hahaha  Typical us....we LOVE our friends and nothing is more special to us than spending time with them.

My husband has worked three 12 hour days in a row this week.  He isn't going into work until 10am tomorrow and he has to leave at 4pm to get to our friends' house.  He can go in later on Saturday too now that a clericus event has been cancelled.  He does have to complete his sermon for a Sunday service he had agreed to long before the change to Sundays off happened, but Monday is our province's Family Day holiday, so as far as I am concerned he takes Tuesday off in lieu!  Hope I am right about that. The entire office staff desperately needs that day off before the next push of a week making changes in job descriptions for the present staff, getting some new volunteers trained to take off more of the huge load.  Between now and the audit at the end of April, the installation of a new computer system in the office, re-evaluating staff positions, preparing changes to the canons etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. all on top of the regular duties, everyone is starting to burn out just a bit.  I don't know when my husband has looked forward more to our annual holidays in June as he is this year.  Moi aussi!

 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I read something today that was so ridiculous it was beyond all belief to me, but to the millenial generation and the half generation before them, it is an idea that is becoming unfortunately foundational in the way they live their lives.  Sigh........  A well known celebrity is getting a divorce saying that monogamy couldn't be natural because it is hard work.  Yes, that is what I read!!  Assuming it was not a mis-quote, that kind of thinking makes me very sad and very worried about what is going to happen to upcoming generations of young people who all ready seem to have lost any concepts related to reality in a haze of denial and self-delusion.

So, if monogamy is not natural because it is hard work, then that must mean that anything at all requiring hard work is not to be considered, to be avoided at all costs, to be ignored and run from as quickly as possible because it is unnatural.  This person who is being divorced has a young child. What will happen if the nanny quits her position and the celebrity has to participate more in the raising of that child? What happens when that child has a temper tantrum or some kind of adolescent rebellion in a few years that the celebrity parent has to deal with?  Will that child be abandoned because obviously having a child and having to rear it is hard work, ergo not natural?  

Will working at all in order to earn a living be such hard work that it will no longer be considered natural and therefore be shunned?  It seems to me the seeds of that mentality are all ready sprouting and growing at an alarming rate in our country.

If the logic is carried out to its conclusion then what constitutes hard work becomes rather arbitrary, even more so than it is all ready and the answer to hard work as defined by each person is avoidance.  How far is the logic of this new generation going to have to go before they realize the long term consequences of this line of thinking?? 

Sigh.........my generation and the half generation prior have certainly made a  muck up of teaching values to our children.  Sad, sad, sad........

Repairs.....hahahahaha.......

Well, I have been to the store, the drain in the bathroom sink is gurgling away as the chemicals try to clear a wider path through the muck.

The kindly, chattery maintenance man came shortly after lunch to put brand new closers and hinges on the kitchen cabinet door and put a different doorknob and latch on the basement door. He apologized that it was not a new unit, but one that had been removed when a tenant recently vacated another suite. Not new is putting it mildly, hahaha! It must be 30 years old judging by the patina on the finish, haha. But at least we don't have to worry about the latch sliding into the notch and locking us either in or out of the basement. There is so much old paint on it that you really have to work at getting it to slide out of the housing and into the notch in the door frame at all!

"Oh!", said our sweet  maintenance man with a big grin. "There is a lot of paint on there! Hmmmm...o well, at least now you don't have to worry about getting locked in the basement again."

Away he went, after telling me he was a cook for 20 years at The Chimney restaurant, but is so enjoying learning a new trade.  I could only smile and nod, then after he left have a serious giggle about the "new" doorknob unit. O my....so typical of this place.  Is it any wonder we prefer to do so much of our own maintenance?

I love this fellow dearly. He is friendly, kind, sincere....just a dolly! I cannot complain about or to someone so happy about his new line of work that gives him evenings off with his family. I just cannot!

I have been learning very slowly over the past ten years to embrace this prairie culture of less than excellence. We're all in it together and maybe the lack of stress over attention to detail is what keeps the people sweet.


My Dear Friend is Getting Help

I am happy I can stop worrying about upsetting my out of province friend by advising her to see a doctor about a possible health issue.

She has now spoken to a doctor and is getting a referral to a specialist for a diagnosis. So thankful she did go for help. Now my fervent prayer is that the issue is small and quickly treatable!

Please be merciful to her Lord!

Repair Day

Today has been a day in limbo. I do not enjoy feeling so unsettled about what to focus on for a project around here for myself, but the day has turned into a repair day for the suite by the maintenance personnel. It is difficult to focus my own energies while awaiting their assistance.

It began last night when our bathroom sink clogged and refused to drain out all the wash water at bedtime. My husband and I took turns with the plunger and eventually got the water flowing again. It seems there may be a clog just up above the trap. We were able to pull a bit of "guck" out of there with the bent end of a wire coat hanger, but my plan was to head over to the store early this morning for some form of liquid drain de-clogger. I was barely dressed when the furnace maintenance men arrived to change the filter and tidy up whatever else the furnace repair contractor had submitted a request for when he inspected the furnace a month ago. That took awhile as I waited upstairs.

Technically we should be submitting a maintainance request to our board of management to have the bathroom sink drain snaked out, but our last two experiences with the plumber on staff have been less than satisfactory, leaving my husband to re-do the work himself anyway. Sigh.... the idea was that if the drain de-clogging product did not solve the problem we would tear our basement apart searching for the old drain snake we have had for years and snake the pipes ourselves.

So, as soon as the furnace men left I collected my purse to head for the store, but just then the board of management called to ask if the fellows who repair the cabinets and doors could come over to change the broken latch on a kitchen cupboard and also replace the basement door handle with its broken latch. We reported both problems less than 48 hours ago, so I was quite surprised by the speed with which the maintenance department was dealing with the request.

I set my purse and coat aside as it sounded like the repair people would be arriving imminently. That was three hours ago. No sign of anyone yet. I was hoping to have the bathroom sink treated by now and some vacuuming underway. I cannot hear the doorbell when the vacuum is running, so am waiting on that project....three hours later. I could have vacuumed twice by now. hahahaha

The maintenance crew is quite capable of fixing both doors without my supervision, but I do want to explain why we removed the latch from the basement door, so am loathe to go to the store before they arrive. We had to remove it after I came home one evening to find my husband locked in the basement when the latch failed after the door accidentally swung shut behind him when he went to the basement to do some sewing. Good thing I came home early that night! hahahaha Between the two of us twisting, pulling and wringing at the door knob, we finally got the thing to move the latch enough to get the door open. My husband quickly removed the latch to avoid any more inadvertent basement captures.

So, now it is time to make myself a chicken sandwich and a green salad for lunch. I would like to get out to the store this afternoon for the product I need for the bathroom sink, but also to enjoy the gloriously warm and sunny day! Here's hoping the crew arrives right after lunch!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Thank you PC Points Plan

Today I used up some of the points I have accrued on my Presidents Choice customer service plan.  I used $70 worth of points, so I got my order for more than 50% off. I paid $43 for my $120 load of groceries. Thank you Loblaws for this particular customer reward plan that is so useful to me.  Of course living 2 blocks from an Independent PC grocery is also helpful as it means I do most of my grocery shopping at one of your stores.

Today marks 2 years since we began moving our things into this suite and 2 years to the day that I applied to join the PC plan.  To date I have received just over $1000 in free groceries.  Talk about a great rebate.  I could get used to saving $500 a year on food!!

I occasionally fill out one of their surveys that is accessible from my receipts each shopping trip. Lately there have been a number of questions specifically about my opinions regarding the usefulness in general and personally of the PC points plan.  O no...don't tell me there is a move afoot to start changing a perfectly useful plan and rendering it less useful. Please do not do that!  Puleeeeze!!

I am making the best possible use of the point offers each week and it is the rare week that I don't purchase at least 2/3 of the offered items.  Occasionally I do try one of the new products that has points attached and have made some delicious discoveries of foods I likely wouldn't bother to try without that little extra push from the company.  

I like the programme because there is no pressure to use the plan in any way.  Use it or not once you are a member.  There are not daily or even weekly emails demanding you use up points or making threats to terminate your benefits if you don't get busy and use the plan.

So, please Loblaws, don't tamper too much with the plan as it stands.  It is a good reward plan...one of the best for groceries!

One Reason I Don't Enjoy International Travel... BUGS!!!

A friend sent me an email this morning after returning to her home in China after a conference in Thailand.  Included in her correspondence is a photo of a water bug that is as big as her husband's hand!  I know this because he is holding the dead thing IN his hand in the photo! This bug was discovered the other morning in their hotel room.

AAAAARGH!!!

This particular breed of water bug is one of the largest insects in the world, but one of the locals at the conference told them it likely was dead because something even bigger,  still lurking in their rather nice hotel room, likely killed it!  (A rat? A snake? Another even larger bug????) The fellow also told her these bugs can give nasty, painful bites!

EEEEEEEEK!!!

Apparently this type of bug is also very talented at faking its death if it feels threatened. As soon as my friend was told this she sent her husband away from the restaurant breakfast table and back to their room to make sure the thing was still in the garbage where he left it. Fortunately it was, but I don't think she slept all the next night wondering if what killed it was still in their room hiding, just waiting to attack her!

YIIIIIIIIKES!!!

I steeled myself when I lived in Japan to cope with the copious quantities of various spiders and other insects that were new to me over there, but I ended up very ill and physically marked up from a spider bite that I got a month before returning to Canada.  Needless to say this has not made the idea of more international travel any more endearing to me.  

My friend's story made me shiver all the way over here in Canada....

 EEEEEEEP!!!

I am so very grateful to be living in this prairie city...yes, our suite is filled with more spiders than I ever thought possible in one building and they are big and thick legged enough to make me feel faint every time I spot one crawling around in the basement, or even occasionally...horrors....upstairs where I live, BUT they tend to shy away from human beings.  I have found them in my bedroom in the mornings in the spring and fall once in awhile, but they have not attacked me in the process of stringing webs in the corners of the ceiling overnight, nor when I have shaken them out of my bathrobe that hangs on my bedroom door.  They are also handy for eating other bugs that infiltrate that sad, leaky excuse for a basement.  There is a beautiful lady bug currently residing in the living room/dining room area that we have left alone because obviously if there is a lady bug present day after day there has to be a source of food for it that we are not, and do not wish to be made, aware of!

Bugs...the bane of the planet! 

BLEEEECH!!!

Little Arrows....Failing the Prep Test

As you can tell from reading my blog posts over the past few months, I have been a real crab-cake on and off since before Christmas.  I have been prickly, ticked off, miserable, nervous, depressed and downright angry over some pretty small things. Last night I decided to sit down long enough to figure out why.

It started late last autumn just after I came down with the first of that viral series.  Around the end of last October people I barely knew or didn't know at all started asking me very piercing personal questions about my life and then didn't like my answers.  I have been taken aback more than once in the months since by being made to feel like an idiot or a fraud or some old reprobate by people who don't at all know me, my life circumstances, my past and my spiritual realities.  Maybe it was because I was ill for such a long time that I lost patience and perspective, but the general feeling of touchiness has stayed with me.

As I started to wonder why this has been happening and with such regularity, I happened to look over at my wall calendar and noticed how often my husband and I are booked to go out of town to give the Spiritual Fitness seminar, to mostly people we don't know, between now and the summer.  Suddenly it hit me like a lightning bolt:  if I am going to be giving presentations and telling stories about my own spiritual journey, I have to be prepared to be challenged, ignored, not believed and what have you.  I have to be able to defend my position without feeling personally put upon.

God has been trying to prepare me for a change in my spiritual walk and I have been failing the prep test.  You can't go around trying to help people become less offended by each other if you yourself have begun taking offense over the slightest issue!!

Aiiii yiiiii....I am a slow learner!!  I completely missed what has been going on!  Crazy!!  I have been letting the little arrows stick to me and niggle at me, then trying to pull them out in disgust, instead of seeing them for what they really are...a helpful preparation for my presentations...and letting them glance off!  I have not been wearing all of my "spiritual armor". 

Duh!!  I feel kind of stupid.

O well, live and learn, right?  It is never too late to start repenting of silliness and getting on with what God is trying to accomplish.

So, I am officially putting Mrs. Crabby Cakes aside and starting to seek the Lord about what I am supposed to be learning prior to our next presentation.  It has taken me long enough to catch on.    

Duh!!!

 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Feelin' Less Snarky Now

My husband and I had a very successful bank appointment this afternoon to set up some things as we head into the retirement years.  I am very happy with the answers I received to my questions and a big load has been taken off now that I understand what we have to do over the next 5 years.  Whew!!  There will still be a ton of paperwork for awhile yet, but that is okay.  At least I understand what is going on now.

The temperature climbed to +2C this afternoon and the day was accompanied by heavenly sunshine.   The cars all over the city, including ours, are all the same shade of muddy brown from the splash of other vehicles driving past and sloshing the mucky snow melt all over the place.  Oh how I feel for friends in the Maritimes who are suffering through a power outage after receiving more than 80cm of snow in their town all ready this week and are expecting another 15cm tomorrow.  How blessed am I here in the melting morass of snow and ice and sand.

The ironing got done, I took care of some dishes, after dinner tonight while my husband was at a meeting I got going on doing some cooking for tomorrow, got my grocery list put together for the rest of the week.......yeah, a quietly productive day.

Now, off to bed to do some more reading about the precocious Flavia de Luce.  I am about 1/3 of the way through the fourth book...cruising through this series relatively quickly despite my habit of allowing myself to read only at bedtime each day.  Bradley takes some of his titles from other writings. Book four is entitled, "I Am Half-Sick of Shadows", part of a quote taken from Tennyson's "The Lady of Shalott".   It has been some time since a series of novels kept my attention so completely...the Harry Potter series was the last one but it was far more complicated for plot and details of course and each book took more thought and consumed more time to complete.  In between I read a Jefferey Archer series along with my mom and dad that was interesting enough, but there was so much time between publications I started losing interest about half way through.

So, off to the odd little world of Flavia once again........

I'm Pretty Sure I All Ready Blogged About This But.......

......in response to someone's very pointed questions to me a few days ago about why I seem to expect my husband to carry all the financial load for us, I will reiterate my own list of health problems and share my gratitude that I am able to enjoy each day instead of preferring to wallow constantly in never feeling well and being exhausted pretty much every minute of every day. God is good!

At my husband's urging I quit working in 2002 because of extreme exhaustion.  That upset a few folk because my husband was entering one of his worst phases of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome at a time when we thought he was getting over it more than he was, so I got some blame from some people for our financial worries at the time.  I stopped rather quickly defending myself from those folk because when someone pins me to the wall about something that is no one's business but my own/my husband's I get angry and tend to say hurtful things....at least I was that way before I became too exhausted to bother, hahahaha.

So, here is the list and this is the last time I am going to go into it for public reading.  Draw your own conclusions about the reasons for my extremely early retirement.  (If you remember reading about these issues in a previous blog, stop reading now so you will not be bored senseless by the repetition.)

Moderate to severe osteoporosis
Osteo arthritis
Type 2 diabetes
Asthma
Mild OCD
Food and respiratory allergies including all fur wearing pets and smoke producers
Slightly compromised liver and kidney function
Heart murmur
Chronic depression
Lupus blood markers, the symptoms of which have fortunately confined themselves to the connective tissue in one knee for the past 18 years, hallelujah!!

Each of those on their own makes a person tired a lot of the time. Combine them and I have days where I am pushing myself to walk from one room to another.  I push myself to go out and do what needs to be done, I am given to making daily and weekly goals for housework, shopping and other regularly required chores as it gives me purpose and mental motivation each day.  There is a reason I am not working, not actively doing volunteer work to keep myself busy and not involved in church ministry up to my eyeballs.  I don't ever feel well, not ever. Committing to a weekly choir rehearsal and a couple of concerts over an 8 month period each year is pushing the envelope for me.

So, that is the end of the litany of medical issues I deal with all the time.  There are many people in the world in far worse condition every day of their lives than I am.  My personal health issues and how they relate to my ability to be employed is my own business and I share this only because it may make a few people, who enjoy challenging me about how I spend my days, feel more peaceful.  It doesn't bother me that people care enough about us to want to say things they think will be helpful. I enjoy the fact that people care about us both.  I just need them to know sometimes there are reasons for things that we don't care to share in glorious detail with everyone we meet. There are more interesting things to talk about and we prefer to stick to those things.

Now ya' know!

Hope it makes a few people feel much less like they have to step in to advise us, me in particular.

Now I am going to fulfill my morning chore list by doing the ironing. 

Bless you all today and througout this week.