Monday, April 23, 2018

Not So Golden Oldies

While doing dishes recently I caught myself singing the lyrics to some VERY old songs...songs my grandparents used to sing around the piano when I was a kid visiting their home.  These songs are from the 1920's, 1930's and even earlier.

Here is an example of the kinds of songs filling my head lately. I bet none of you have ever even heard of this one:

I'm forever blowing bubbles, pretty bubbles in the air.
They float so high, they touch the sky.
Then like my dreams they fade and die.
Fortune's always hiding.
I've searched everywhere.
I'm forever blowing bubbles, pretty bubbles in the air.

Why am I suddenly remembering this stuff??? hahahaha 

Do you ever find yourself remembering such crazy things? I wonder what triggers such memories unbidden.

By George, I Think She's Got It!

I had a phone call today from an out of town friend who has known me for several decades....longer I think than all but one of my other close friends.

She phoned to let me know she is concerned about how negative and fearful about life I have been over this past winter.  It is not the me she knows and loves!  The worst part is that she is right! My blog posts, phone conversations, letters and cards have expressed more negativity over this winter than they have in years.  I think somewhere inside I knew that, but didn't want to admit it.

We are facing possible changes in our lives in a few months.  While I am aware that I am trusting God for the outcomes and that I am not afraid of the future, I do feel extremely inconvenienced that life may be changing once again.  I feel too tired to face it.  I don't have the energy to think about it. I am supremely ticked off with God that these possibilities have even come up!  I just feel to old to cope.

I think this winter has severely depressed me for some reason.  I was only a bit conscious of it, so I am grateful to my friend for pointing it out to me today.  She is a wellspring of encouragement to me and I so appreciate what she had to say on the phone.

So, after we chatted I reiterated to myself my decisions to focus on what is positive each day, on seeking and finding the hand of God in the various daily events of life, to remember how God has led us through some very deep waters in times past so I can live in expectation of what he is going to do with us and for us in the future.

Today I still felt kind of vacant and miserable for the morning, but I watched some boxing on tv and that perked me up sufficiently to get dressed and get some banking done.  By dinnertime this evening I started to truly feel better.  Today I lived on turkey and potato-pepper bread sandwiches. They settled well in my tummy.  Other than being a bit water logged from all the drinks I had today, tonight I am finally feeling like myself again.  AND I think it is a peppier more positive self than I have been for awhile.

I did some general tidying up around the suite this afternoon while my husband spent some time tidying up in the basement in preparation for another good cleaning down there.   He returns to work tomorrow so I made a special lunch for him as a nice surprise at noon break.  He is so good when I am ill, so supportive and helpful.

We did not make it to CAA today after all to book our June trip, but that is okay. The Lord knows why we didn't have the energy.  Now we pray for another time to open up. Next Monday off we are taking the car to Moose Jaw for its spring tune up and to have the summer tires put on, so that will take all day.  My husband also has to create time to go for a doctor's appointment he was supposed to have at least 1 or 2 weeks ago.  Aaaargh....this working business is interfering with our lives! hahahaha 

Tomorrow morning I MUST go grocery shopping!  Wednesday is hair cut day. Thursday is pay day so it is back to the banks...and then it is Friday/the weekend and time to clean house and do laundry again.  Where does the time go???  Wow!  This week seems to be coming to an end before it even gets started!  hahaha

Happy Happy Joy Joy  Everyone!!!


Feelin’ Somewhat Better

Thanks to an excellent sleep last night I seem to be over my illness, apart from lingering weakness and a vacant sort of feeling. As the morning progresses I am getting better, so am following the usual pattern of food allergy/sensitivity reaction. Whew! Unexpected dizziness and nausea can be symptoms of problems so much worse than a food issue, so I am grateful that seems to be all it was.

The day outside is becoming comfortably warm. Forecast daytime temperatures this week are for the mid to high teens, with overnight lows of 0 to -4C. The back lawn is drying up, so getting to the car will be quite easy until the next big rain, should it happen before the ground thaws. I am determined not to focus my attention on the mud, blowing dust and general debris still laying in gutters and on lawns, I am focusing my attention on the warmth and on enjoying going outside in shoes and sweaters instead of parkas and heavy, wool lined boots. I am blessing the geese instead of cursing them when they arrive screeching and squawking at 5am and calling it good training toward our upcoming visit to “the city that never sleeps”.

I have resolved to seek God’s hand in all things instead of continuing to allow myself to be sidetracked into fears about the future. As things begin to look unexpectedly uncertain in our lives again, it is important to recall the amazing ways God has undertaken to care for us throughout our lives and remember that he is the same, yesterday, today and forever. I confess the shock of the unexpected uncertainty about our future threw me into a tailspin for a couple of weeks, but now I am getting my trust in God back on track. It feels good. Lying around ill for so many hours yesterday gave me that much time to think and remember and pray, so something good came out of that bit of misery.

Well, we have quite a few small things we need to accomplish today, so I will go now and help my husband.

Thank you for your prayers and expressions of concern. It is a bonus to be cared about by friends and family. Hugs everyone!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Food Allergy? Stress? ‘Flu’?

Today started off well, but at 2:30pm I was watching a boxing match on tv with my husband when I started feeling dizzy. I stumbled upstairs to lie down and then the intense nausea began...and lasted for seven hours! YECCH!!!!

Eight hours later I am able to sit upright and blog, as all the symptoms have passed, but wow, I am exhausted. Seven hours of trying to lose my lunch in a bucket, with no success. Talk about misery! Finally my husband went out and got me some carbonated water that I forced down and that released the gas in my tummy. I should have done that several hours earlier, but I was so sure I was going to be able to vomit 🤢 that I didn’t think of carbonated water to relieve things. Also, I was so incredibly nauseated I was certain I had influenza of some kind. Lying around fretting over every stress in our lives right now seemed to be unavoidable and the worries intensified along with the nausea. (the chicken or the egg syndrome?)

My subsequent reactions post carbonated water are confirming this has been a food reaction. I am mentally dissecting my salad from lunch and suspecting either the new lime vinaigrette, the pear slices, or the raw red onion slices I allowed myself as a rare treat I haven’t allowed myself in several years because they give me wretched breath for days after ingestion. My husband reacts this way to pears, so I haven’t purchased and eaten those for a few years either. Was the lime vinaigrette too strong? Guess that will be my last attempt at more creative salads for awhile. It is also possible that I am simply reacting to too much lettuce in too short a time frame. My body tends to prefer cooked vegetables and I have been eating a LOT of salads over the past week.

Well, now it is 10pm and hopefully I am going to have a good sleep. Two stoned wheat thin crackers have settled nicely in my unhappy tummy.

The worst part is that I was too ill to participate in our Sunday evening Skype session with our son, but my husband turned up his computer’s volume so I could hear their conversation. Our son received an unhappy surprise this weekend when he completed his American income taxes...that much I heard....sigh. Fortunately he is working like a mad fool at three different projects right now that will help cover his tax bill. He is also extremely happy we are coming to see him, so we will finish booking our trip over the next week.

Looking forward to a happier, healthier day tomorrow!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Spring’s Subtle Arrival

Over the past few days spring has started sneaking up on us!

Although the west winds continue to bring the chilly air on its way east from the still snow covered Rocky Mountains and the heavier, lightly perfumed odor of spring is not yet in the air, the piles of snow are rapidly disappearing as the daytime highs are reaching the mid teens. Some of the shallower puddles are drying up, leaving the lawns soggy, but able to be walked on without winter boots. The dreaded ice has melted off the sidewalks and streets. For me it is not yet sandal wearing weather, but I did walk to the grocery store this afternoon wearing a spring coat instead of my winter parka. Gloves are now unnecessary for wearing outside. I put my winter boots away in the closet to await next winter....or our annual “surprise” May/June blizzard, whichever comes first.

At last, spring is sprung!!!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Happy to be Home? Meh......

So...we're home again.  The trip back from Kindersley early this morning went well and the canoe stayed firmly in place on top of the car despite terrible winds most of the way to Regina.

While it is good to be safely home again and my husband only has to work tomorrow before starting next week with his usual 2 days off, there are so many stresses and decisions lying here in wait for us, there is a certain amount of tension about being home once again.

While we were travelling the world seemed a huge place where anything good or hopeful is possible, but the closer we got to home, the more things seemed to close in on us once again, stressful situations returned to the forefront of our minds, looming decisions seemed less like something we want to have to think about...hard to describe exactly but we both had to work very hard at not feeling and acting crabby and miserable.  The feelings didn't last long though and we were very happy to get unpacked and have a relaxing evening, but I hope we feel more positive again tomorrow.

A happy thing happened when my husband took the canoe over to his friend's place to store it.  His friend and another minister were about to have a time of prayer together and asked my husband to join them, which he gladly did.  He also was able to stop in at Canadian Tire before he came home for dinner and take advantage of their clearance on last year's models of canoe paddles and life jackets. So, now he has some inexpensive equipment on hand for when he tries out the canoe on the lake across the street when it eventually warms up suffiently for canoes to get out there on the water.

So, mixed feelings about being home, but it is more because of future uncertainties coming our way and knowing we cannot run from them like we could this past week! hahaha 

When we pulled into our parking place tonight we were most encouraged to see that all the snow on the lawns has melted down and now we just have a few puddles to maneuver between our car and our back door.  I got to use my new rubber boots for the first time so I could ferry our luggage and food coolers into the house. Spring is ALMOST here at last!! No meh about THAT!!

Wednesday's Meals in The City...the Ridiculous to the Sublime

(Back on my PC until my iPad is fixed!)

Wednesday's meals in Calgary were interesting to say the least!

My mother and I made our first attempt at lunch that day while we were shopping downtown.  It was a fiasco of the first order!!  We had been told that the culinary students from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology ran a small restaurant in the complex just west of the Bay and so that is where we headed to eat.  From the way the space was configured, we were left with a distinct impression that there was a good sized space to sit and enjoy our meal, so we took in the lay out of the cafeteria style meal service and got into our respective lines to place our orders: mom went to the somewhat long sandwich line and I jostled for space in the hot food line up for masaman curry and vegetables.

I received my food quite some time before she did, found a can of carbonated water in the cooler and headed to the cash register.  As soon as I paid for my meal I began scoping out the area for a table to sit at while mom continued to wait in line to order a sandwich.  As I headed over to that area I suddenly realized the tables and chairs we saw as we were entering the cafeteria actually belong to another restaurant all together.  O well, where was the seating area for the SAIT cafeteria?  I wandered about the entire place and to my horror, discovered there is no seating space in the place for any of the customers.  It is strictly for take out!  By the time I figured that out, my mom was in a very long line up to pay for her meal.  Noon hour downtown is a nightmare of people and the SAIT cafeteria had exactly one cashier on duty.  While mom continued to wait in line I looked for somewhere to sit down to eat.  The tables and chairs at the complex food court were two floors above us and at least a block away.  I knew mom wouldn't be able to make it all the way there without having to sit down for awhile so I took a look at some sets black chairs closer to the cafeteria that had a small table between each set.  By the time I got to them, there were only two chairs left and there was wet, soggy food spilled all over one of them.  Sigh...not going to work.  My own hot meal was in danger of getting cold, I could see mom at the cash register at last, so in desperation I forced my way onto an all ready crowded, backless, wooden bench located along the outside wall of the cafeteria, right out in the main foot traffic area of the shopping centre and managed to get the rest of those seated to move down sufficiently to also accommodate my mother.  At least the wall behind us gave us a bit of a back to rest on, but I wasn't sure how either of us was going to manage to balance our lunches on our laps to eat.

Mom eventually found me and sat down, knowing how upset I was about not finding her a proper table within easy distance, but she was a good sport about it.  I peeled back the lid of my masaman curry, white rice, sauteed brussell sprouts and shredded squash stuffed zucchini.  The rice looked and tasted as if it had been made the day before and left under a heat lamp until I found it.  The brussell sprouts were hard and dry. The squash was dry to the point of being crispy and the zucchini slices were mush.  The masaman curry seemed to have missed out completely on the curry and I was left with a thick, floury gravy with some bits and pieces of beef (?) floating in it.  As I tried to hide my disappointment, I glanced at mom sitting beside me with her pulled pork sandwich.  She had managed to unwrap it finally and was about to take her first bite when she noticed that there was some kind of pickled cabbage on it.  She pulled out a small piece of the pickle, popped it into her mouth, pulled her mouth to one side, gagged and then spit out the cabbage into her napkin.  The pickle she had been so excited to have on her sandwich was actually a type of kim chee and was so hot she wasn't going to be able to eat it. She tried to balance a napkin on her knee while she pulled out more of the pickle to hide in the napkin.  Then she dropped a huge handful of that pickled cabbage onto her new, clean slacks.  "Oh NOOO!", she cried.  I told her I could use some of my sparkling water on my own napkin to clean off the pickle juice before it stained her pants, popped open the can of water and discovered it was completely flat.  What?  I checked the "best before" date and noticed it was for February 20, nearly 2 months earlier.  Sigh....  Well, it still did a good job of cleaning off mom's slacks.  I stared at my now cold, as well as tasteless, meal while mom attempted her first bite of what was left of the filling in her pulled pork sandwich.  She bit into the bun and nearly pulled her teeth out. The bun had the texture of a latex glove. She couldn't rip it apart, she couldn't chew it, and I refused to let her swallow what bit of it she got into her mouth.  The meal was a complete bomb.  I felt terrible because I was the one who insisted we go there based on the recommendation I received. I felt even worse when I realized how far we had backtracked during our morning of shopping just to go to this place and that we would have been better off to have gone up to the food court instead. It was much closer to the last store we had been in.  Aaaaargh!!!

I took the sandwich out of mom's now shaking hands, bundled it up with my meal and my can of flat water and dumped the whole mess into the garbage can right beside us.  The whole experience was a disaster with a capital "D"!!!! 

As we looked around (by this time it was 10 minutes past noon and the store employees on noon break, along with the shoppers, had taken over all the visible seats, tables and chairs on every floor around us.  However, by this time we were both ravenous and needed to eat, so I dragged mom back all the way to the food court and grabbed the only available table we could find that still had both chairs around it.  I handed mom a wad of cash and told her to find whatever food interested her and I would wait at the table for her to return.  I suspect she chose the sugary, gooey, sauce laden dishes of Manchu Wok because it was the closest vendor with food she recognized.  By the time she returned the lineups at all the vendors were horribly long, but I noticed a Subway station just around the corner from the main aisle of vendors where only one gentleman was placing an order.  No, I certainly did not want another Subway sandwich on this trip, but it had no lineup.  I sprinted over there and got my veggie sub and another drink, then headed back to our table, located right beside the top of the escalator that was pouring people almost right on top of us as we sat and ate in total silence.  Wow...could I have screwed things up any worse than I did for mom?  She is a very forgiving woman, but although we sat for a long time after we finished eating, she then had the worst attack of stress related acid reflux she has had in two years within five minutes of standing up and walking to another store.  As posted previously, we did eventually make it back home, but she was worn completely out and feeling very upset that our crappy  lunch cost me an extra $21 for the food we had to throw away from the SAIT downtown cafeteria.  I really couldn't have cared less.  As long as we got some lunch...eventually...that was on the verge of edible at least...I was content.  She never did tell dad what had happened and I hope she never does.  It would upset him too much and she would have to relive the experience every time he wanted her to tell someone else what happened.

From there, the food of the day took a huge, vast, gigantic, improvement!!!

We met my husband's sister and her husband, who were visiting the city that day, for a MARVELLOUS dinner at the Silver Dragon in Chinatown.  The restaurant has been there since the 1960's and has won every culinary award possible in the city.  It also contains a TON of great memories from bygone decades when both my sister in law and myself went there regularly with friends when we both lived and worked in Calgary.  The food is, if possible, even more spectacular than it was in those days.  The large chunks of chopped garlic on the huge, meaty ribs, was fresh and delicious.  The chicken with mixed vegetables was tasty and not as bland as it is in most restaurants. The beef in black bean sauce was very tender, the sauce not overpoweringly strong as it sometimes is.  The chowmein was filled with vegatables and seafood and the sizzling rice was cooked perfectly with some crunchy bits left and very little broth slopping around in the bottom of the bowls.  For dessert I ordered my favourite sponge cake with custard.  O came in its own steamer, done very rare any more...and there were THREE huge pieces!  (Yes, I ate all three of them and enjoyed every mouthful!)  The rest of the crew shared a huge order of deep fried bananas with that wonderfully chewy sugar coating.  The coated bananas were brought steaming hot to the table and the server placed them in a huge bowl of iced water so we could watch the sauce turn to taffy, then she put them back on the plate. (And yes, I scored a tiny piece of banana in taffy as well...blood sugar? WHAT blood sugar???) 

A day that began so dismally, gastronomically speaking, turned into an evening of the most wonderful food imaginable.  

So, I have learned a good place to avoid next time I am in Calgary looking for lunch in the Bay/Holt Renfrew complex, but also I learned that the Silver Dragon is still open for business and feeding people the best in western Canadian Chinese food.   

The day ended happily for my mom as well: for dinner that night the complex chef cooked steaks that had not been on the menu originally and mom's was prepared just the way she likes a steak to be prepared.  Thank goodness!!!  By the time dinner was over we both felt a lot better about food and life in general!!!