Sunday, January 21, 2018

A Nice Start To the Service

This morning we enjoyed the service at St. Mary the Virgin Anglican Church.

Printed in the bulletin was the following “Prayer on Entering the Church:
I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in fear I will worship before thy holy temple. Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before me, that with a clear mind I may glorify thee forever, One Divine Power worshipped in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

The sermon was encouraging. The priest talked about how a timeless God, Christ who is the same “yesterday, today and forever “, destroys our modern concept of time being past, present and future. God pulls our past and our future into our life in the present, changing nostalgia or regret from the past into gratitude, and our unrealistic fantasy or dread about the future into hope for God’s continued presence and help. Thank you Father Schroeder!

Lunch is over and I am watching an international skiing event broadcast from the beautiful Italian Alps. Soon my husband will call for a ride home from a meeting.

The sun is shining, the air temperature is a pleasant -3C and all is well.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

A "Sunshine in My Soul" Kind of Day

Thus far today has been sunny outside and in for me!  

We had plans to get going early this morning to run some errands my husband had to help with, but he slept in until nearly 10am (after 3 wretched nights' sleeps in a row) and I wasn't about to wake him up.  No worries that it put our day 2 hours behind schedule.  We completed all the errands and then my husband decided he wanted to go to India Palace for lunch.  SO glad I agreed and we had such an unexpected and delicious treat.  One of the employees there, who has not been on duty the last few times we ate there, came up to Dell and greeted him like an old friend.  My husband was delighted.  hahaha  The food was so tasty; my goodness their buffet has improved over the past few months!  They are doing a fantastic business since switching over from being a European bistro.  We are sad about it still, because it was wonderful to get something gourmet and different in this city that sports Indian restaurants every few blocks, BUT their buffet is very good so we still enjoy going there.

By the time my husband got to work it was 1:30pm!  So, I began the last of the "library" cleaning project.  1158 books later, they have all been dusted, sorted and re-shelved!  Everything in there has lost that dusty, depressed sort of look and I will not be as loathe to go in there now. haha  I will take a couple of days off now to spend with my husband and then do the final two rooms.  What a great feeling to actually be getting this project done!!!  I am inspired now that when it comes time to tackle our disgracefully untidy basement, I will have the energy to seriously assist my husband!

The warmth of the past 4 days has certainly slushed up and pushed up the ice cover into a bumpier, more easily travelled surface in most places.  The ice melt I put at the bottom of our back steps this morning actually worked to melt off what was left of the most dangerous patch of ice there and the the rest of the ice out to the car lot was crunchy and easily walked on.  The sand the maintenance crew so kindly spread around our car just after the ice storm has had a chance now to bite into the ice and make it far less slippery for accessing the car doors.  I am beyond grateful.  My husband is still kind of freaked out by it all, so he refused to let go of my arm for as much as a second when I was outside the vehicle, hahaha. Bless him!

We had such a huge lunch today...I overfilled my plate and had to give some of my food to my husband.  My attempts to get my appetite back under control since the Christmas/New Year dietary debacles must be working because I was able to feel it when I had eaten a sufficient amount and had no desire to consume so much as another mouthful at that point.  Thank you Lord!! 

Tomorrow we are going to attend a church we don't get to go to very often and afterward my husband will stay for their vestry meeting in an official capacity, while I find myself some lunch somewhere until he is ready to be picked up and taken home. I think I will ask a couple of the wives whose husbands will be at the meeting if they would like to go for a quick lunch out with me. Since it will be a spontaneous invitation I won't be surprised if no one is able to do that, but it is worth a try. I will see how I am feeling myself tomorrow rather than try to set something up ahead of time tonight. I am rather tired.

After the meeting my husband should be free to take the rest of his "day off", off!!  Same on Monday, hopefully.  He has set up his study leave for a week in February, so we are both looking forward to that.  We will stay in the guest suite at my parents' facility in Calgary and he can be studying and writing at the library while I visit them during the daytimes.  We decided we are going to risk driving after all as the cost of flights has become too much to handle for such a short distance.  We are going to have a bit of a holiday at both ends of the trip, staying overnight in Medicine Hat on the way and maybe on the way home too.  We always have fun when we stay there.  We are starting to pray NOW about the weather and driving conditions and hoping for the best.  We tried to book a flight...as these people at the other end of the trip ARE my parents and I don't want to chintz out when it comes to our rare visits to see them, but we couldn't bring ourselves to pay that much money, plus car rental.  The airline fares make us feel like we are being gouged even though we know their costs are also going way up these days. My parents are very excited that we are coming, but we have not told them we are driving. They will freak out with worry, so why worry them until we have to, right?  When we show up in our own car then they will know and that will be soon enough.

All seems to be well still with our son. He has yet another temporary job that will take up most of the next few weeks and now he has found some other full time positions to apply for.  Being a Canadian on a shorter term visa is not helping him secure full time work, but at least he is landing interviews and discovering that is the biggest hindrance to being hired.  It is not because he is messing up at the interviews, so he is relieved about that.

I suppose I should get moving again, now that I have had a short rest time post cleaning, and get thinking of something light and tasty for us to have for dinner.  It is on the way to 6pm and I just realized my husband will likely stay at the office and work through the dinner hour since he was so late going in today.  Hmmm...what would I like to have for myself???  Oh, I know...I have some curried chick peas in carrots and onions that my husband made last week. They can thaw in a hurry and be eaten with some olive bread. Yes...I think that is going to be good. My husband will enjoy that too when he finally gets home.  There....all settled!

Friday, January 19, 2018

So Glad I Didn’t Have To Go Out Today

Although the sun has been brightly shining all day, and boosting our high temperature to +4C instead of the predicted +1C, I am happy that I got to walk outside yesterday when the overcast sky prevented a film of water from forming on top of the worst of the ice. Today that film is there, making the remaining icy surfaces extremely treacherous to walk on. I definitely could not have remained upright had these conditions existed yesterday! Yay!!!

Instead I spent a second day cleaning in the library...five and a half hours worth of emptying the closet, wiping out the writing desk and pulling the next set of books off the shelves for dusting. So far I have dusted 21 note binders, 27 magazines and 817 books. Only just over 200 books and their respective shelves to go....tomorrow’s job if I don’t have to go to my husband’s office to do the next lot of filing. Next week I will clean the last two rooms and then it will be time to go back downstairs and start the regular weekly cleaning once again. haha It never ends, this cleaning business, does it?

I feel great knowing I still have the energy to do this sort of thing. YES!!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Yup...Blessed is What I am!! Indeed!!

I made it.  I got out of here.  And it gets better!!

No problems catching the bus at 12:30pm.  The temperature came up very quickly just after my last post and the ice melted on our complex sidewalks in just the right spots for me to get to the bus safely.  I didn't take my cane and it turned out to be just as well.

Accomplished my errands in good time, found each little item I needed to purchase and had a good lunch in the food court at Cornwall Centre. I felt so excited to be away from home for awhile. I found a nice little handmixer in Hudsons Bay to replace my old cheapie that finally fell apart the other day after about three decades of service. After lunch I window shopped just for the fun of it all around the mall and as a result had a serendipitous meeting with a lady I occasionally get to pray with.  I haven't seen her in a long time and we had the best visit just standing in the mall chattering away like magpies.  Another HUGE blessing in my day!!!  Although she is a prayer warrior she is very down to earth, given to somewhat salty language on occasion and I just love her to death.  What a special treat as she was in no hurry so we had lots of time to chatter.

As a result of the prolonged conversation I just missed my bus home...as seems to be my wont these days. hahaha  So, I decided to waste a bit of time looking in some stores I don't normally bother going into when I am downtown.  I found a magazine shop that, while it doesn't carry the New York Times Crossword Puzzle magazines I was hoping it carried, it DID have a cooler stocked with my husband's favourite Canadian version of Japanese green iced tea: the unsweetened, no other flavourings added variety!  It is next to impossible to find at any of the other places I shop. The grocery stores carry every other Pure Leaf iced tea, but not the unsweetened green.  I loaded as many of the bottles into my Hudsons Bay bag and purse as I could reasonably manage to carry and stepped back outside with the intention of catching my bus home right away.

As I started toward the bus stop I thought better of it and decided it was too lovely a day to be riding on a dirty old bus full of cell phone aficionados. All the streets downtown were wet and somewhat slushy, no real ice to speak of, (until tonight when it freezes again), so I decided to stick to the main street home and risk the walk.  There was only one section that was dangerous: a 2 block section that is the slickest, slipperiest ice I have walked on for many a year.  I held my breath and did my best old person, slow shuffle until I reached the end of that particular strip, crossed a street and realized I was going to be in the same circumstance for another block.  I started to panic until I realized there was a strip of grass beside the icy sidewalk that had sufficient greenery, soggy dead leaves and broken ice pellets on it to be safer to walk on than the sidewalk so I eased myself onto it and eased myself along with a bit more confidence.  By the time I got to the sidewalks at our complex there was very little ice left and where the ice was still clinging to the walk, a lot of sand had been thrown down after the temperature warmed up, so it was pretty safe.  I got home just fine, enjoyed the fresh, warmer air and felt pretty thrilled to have conquered some ice walking fears. Thank you Lord! With no deadlines for the late afternoon it didn't matter than my usual 30 minute walk took just over 60 minutes. Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle...actor/comedian Tim Conway's "little old man" character would have been so proud of me....are any of you old enough to remember him?

Today was like a holiday after being stuck inside for a whole week!  I know it was not good sense to walk on 3 or more blocks of such dangerous ice, but I live on the prairies and at some point I can't hide in the house every day of the winter if there is any chance I can get at least a bit of outdoor exposure and exercise. I won't walk on there again this winter, but it was still a good emotionally growing experience to give it one successful try.  It will make me less frightened the next time I HAVE to go somewhere with ice on the ground.  

So yeah...I am blessed and today it was certainly evident. I am very, very grateful things turned out so very well and I will not tempt "fate" by taking any more unnecessary forays out over the ice.  Tomorrow I will be back into the cleaning groove, I can feel it!  haha The rest of the library will get finished, I am sure, even though there is lots left to do. I can clean this little office of mine on Saturday, giving my husband a couple of days to get some of his "stuff" put away properly in the final room to be cleaned early next week...and then it will be time to start with the regular weekly cleaning downstairs once again.  Really happy I began this major project and the end is in sight!

Blessings everyone and thanks to those of you who prayed I would stay safe outside and who sent me best wishes for getting out of here more often this winter.

Meditation Time

This morning I have abandoned the housework to catch up on a few more interesting things, like reading another chapter in a novel I am enjoying right now. (Labyrinth, by Kate Mosse)  It makes great bedtime and "it is the middle of the night and I can't sleep" reading, but I read from 4am to nearly 7am this morning and wanted to read just one more chapter after my husband left for work.  I am thinking about what life in France MAY have actually been like during the 1200AD's about the time the Crusaders were heading into the area where the novel takes place.

While doing housework I have been thinking about why it may be that each move we have made in the past decade has been accompanied by a fall and broken bones, surgery and long term recovery time within a year of those moves.  Each time the disaster has occurred just at the most crucial time for discovering and building on new friendship possibilities and has pretty much destroyed many of those relationships before they had a chance to take root.  Making new friends at this age is a tricky proposition and takes a lot of time and energy on the part of the "newby" in town.  I have been somewhat thwarted during the times of peak interest by my other aged 60'ish aquaintances. The interest peaks, then I fall down and am out of commission for a year or more, so the interest eventually flickers and dies because I can't get out and see them or do anything fun with them. That is understandable.  This past week of being stuck inside I have realized how few friends I have of my own age and circumstance here in the city where I actually live.  Hmmmmm.....I do have good friends here...younger, fully employed friends with children still at home, or with tiny granchildren to spend most of their off work time with.  It has been kind of a lonely week and I am even more thankful now than I was at the time for the fun lunch hour we shared with out of town friends last Friday...has it really only been a week since that event????  Wow, despite all the wonderful phone calls and emails this past week I certainly am feeling cut off from the rest of the world. Doesn't seem to take long! hahaha

Another thought has been how my husband and I have managed with sharing one vehicle for the past 16 years!  I realize, as I have been thinking about it, how many lost opportunities have happened for me because of not being able to go where I need/want to go, particularly when we have lived in smaller towns with no, or very unreliable, public transporation.  Since moving to Regina I have had the car more regularly than at any other time in the past 16 years, but I can't count on it being available at the same times of every day of every week.  As much as I enjoyed being in choir, after we changed rehearsal locations every rehearsal was stressful because I never knew until often the last minute whether or not I had the car to use.  I am disappointed that we will not be here at the right times for me to audition/rehearse for the musical production of South Pacific and I was so  looking forward to it, BUT as it turns out what I thought was the wonderful time of Thursday night for most of the rehearsals after I get back from my husband's study leave week elsewhere, now coincides with late night meetings for my husband at places other than his office, so he has to take the car for most of those rehearsal nights. On the one hand it isn't that big a deal, but on the other hand this car nonsense is not making my ability to make and deepen friendships any easier.  Doing things together...away from home mostly....seems to be the way people socialize here so if I can't get away to "do" things I am rather hampered in my attempts at friendship.  I am not particularly lonely, just wondering what else I can do to fix this and not coming up with any creative ideas at the moment.  Maybe it isn't supposed to be fixed.  As my husband and I enter a time of prayerful discernment about our future, perhaps it is just as wise not to put a lot more time and energy into creating any more local relationships. (????) I don't know....just musing......  Am I just so demoralized by failed past attempts that I am loathe to do any more reaching out, so it is really my own fault if I don't make a lot of friends here?  Kinda thinkin' that is the case......

I am supposed to be catching the bus in less than an hour's time but the sky is as grey as grey, there is no sunshine today to assist the rise in temperature nor the melting of the ice. It is still below zero outside.  So do I continue to wait and see if the predicted warmth arrives later today, or do I just give up going outside as a lost cause again, put my cleaning clothes on and get back to work?  

A friend is having cancer surgery right at this very moment.  She had a lumpectomy last fall but the tissue surrounding the removal of the tumor is now showing signs of possible cancer spread. So today she is having lymph nodes removed to see where and how far it has spread since the first surgery.  Sigh.... Cancer is such a wicked disease.  The emotional toll it takes on survivors seems almost as debilitating in some ways as the physical toll of surgeries and treatments.  How does a person let it go from the back of her thoughts once the damned disease has reared its ugly head the first time? There are many accursed diseases lurking out there waiting to attack, but that is one of the more devastating ones in my opinion.  My own osteoporosis and type 2 diabetes can also bring on debilitating conditions, BUT they don't come and go the way cancers do. They simply are there all the time, presenting whatever symptoms they present.  With those diseases you pretty much know what is going on from day to day, year to year, very few surprises. They will stay the same, improve a bit, or worsen, but they don't usually jump on you with some sort of surprise attack.  Every time I move I have the possibility of breaking a bone, but it is a simple fact of my life that never changes, so I don't think about it apart from icy weeks like this one.  Type 2 diabetes eventually worsens, but there are medications to help control the symptoms and I know it is there in my body every day of my life. Again, few surprises coming out of nowhere. Both my diseases have a certain trajectory that varies from person to person, but basically are daily facts of life.  Cancer isn't in the same way.   There are hopes to be raised and dashed and raised and dashed with cancer.  It is a disease that is completely unpredictable.  My admiration for friends and family who have battled it, some of them more than once or even twice, grows and grows because they have to cope with the ongoing concerns about a disease that disappears often after treatments but may or may not return some day in the same or different form.

I am thinking about how I have been blessed so much of my life.  There have been so many trials, as there are for most people, but I am so conscious that God is there with me.  My husband and I experienced the first of many career, financial and health crises back in our late 20's and early 30's.  We have had all these years to see the hand of God at work in the midst and we have learned a lot about trust that we can fall back as we see life possibly about to toughen up once again.  Other friends in their late 40's, 50's and 60's are experiencing any or all of those things for the first time in their lives. They are understandably terrified.  They too are having to learn now first hand what trusting God really means when the bottom falls out of life as it has been known and enjoyed. The older you get the more difficul it is to start that intensely spiritual kind of journey!  As we watch their terror and confusion we wish we could just drop some of the trust in God we have been learning about into their lives. Unfortunately we can only learn to trust God when we see him at work for ourselves. Other peoples' stories can encourage to a point, but they are not "us" and are not living "our" lives of upset.  So many friends now to pray for that I never thought would need our meagre prayers about their life circumstances.  How I pray they will see how God is going to care for them and relax into it despite the outward changes in circumstance. 

So now it is time to think about whether or not I get ready and try to get out to the bus stop, whether or not my cane will help me or if it will just be a nuisance once I get downtown.  Since my ice pick is not that effective on the kind of curling rink ice we have outside, perhaps it is just as well not to bother with it. Hmmmm.....

Okay...time to stop thinking and get doing!!  One way or the other: go downtown or start cleaning again! 

 

Here’s Hoping....

I ate my breakfast later than usual this morning so that I can delay eating lunch. This means, all being well, I can take the 12:30pm bus downtown to pay bills, buy a couple of small items and have a lunch treat before busing home again. Some of the sidewalk ice melted yesterday afternoon when we got to +3C, but there wasn’t sufficient wind to dry up much of the water. My hope is that by waiting until after noon, as the temperature is rising to +6C, the frozen areas on the sidewalks will be wet again so that it will be safe enough to go outside.

Here’s hoping......

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Lofty Thoughts For a Frustrating Morning

It is on the way to noon and I am just now beginning the huge cleanup in the "library". 

I realized after breakfast that my favourite sweater had a pull out in one of the shoulder seams. It took awhile of going through my husband's collection of spools of thread to find just the right colour and then take time to repair it so it didn't look like it was me that fixed it...sewing not being my "gift" and all......

My husband went in quite late to work this morning because he realized it had been awhile since he last checked the attic for mice. Up on the step ladder he went and disappeared into the ceiling. Yup...there was another mouse dead in one of the traps, so not only did we have to get rid of that and reset new traps, put out more poison, etc., I had to vacuum up all the bits of fiberglass insulation and mousie poops that fell out of the attic onto the hall carpeting.  Wanting to do a VERY good job of that took some time.

This morning I had to put in a request for maintenance, again, because the toilet flush handle broke last night.  My husband was up running around in the middle of the night knotting an empty wooden thread spool onto a bootlace to wrap around the chain in the toilet tank so we could flush. hahaha  Ingenious, that is what my husband is. hahaha  The plumber was just here to replace the handle and he is a chatterer so a five minute job took nearly a half hour out of my morning, but it was fun to visit. He knows I like to hear about his former life in the Philippines so....I am my own worst enemy when it comes to not being able to avoid visiting when I should be doing something more productive. haha

My husband left his work cell phone at home this morning so I spent rather a long time getting hold of him at work to ask him what to do about it. Fortunately, there is a newly installed upgrade on the office phone system, so his calls are automatically forwarded now to the office phone if he doesn't answer his cell within a set number of rings.  So, I don't have to brave the ice to drive his phone to him.  (drat.....)

I have only just begun dusting all the books and bookcases and am all ready distracted by an older book of collected thoughts and wisdom edited by Lillian Eicher Watson and published in 1951 by Simon and Schuster, New York.  It is a wonderful book that is not going back onto the shelves until I have read all the "jots and tittles" by philosphers, theologians, humanitarians and authors of all kinds contained within its pages.

Here are a few interesting lines of wisdom I found at first glance:

Nurture your mind with great thoughts.
--Benjamin Disraeli

Who is a wise man? He who learns of all men.
--the Talmud


Do not grudge your brother his rest. He has at last become free, safe and immortal, and ranges joyous through the boundless heavens, he has left this low-lying region and has soared upwards to that place which receives in its happy bosom the souls set free from the chains of matter.
Your brother has not lost the light of day, but has obtained a more enduring light.  He has not left us, but has gone on before.
--Seneca  

Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened, but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.
--Robert Louis Stevenson

No longer forward nor behind 
    I look in hope or fear;
But grateful, take the good I find,
    The best of now and here.
--John Greenleaf Whittier

Build a little fence of trust
    Around today;
Fill the space with loving works,
   And therein stay;
Look not through the sheltering bars
    Upon tomorrow,
God will help thee bear what comes
    of joy or sorrow.
--Mary Frances Butts

They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword again nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
--Isaiah 2:4

I firmly believe that the future of civilization is absolutely dependent upon finding some way of resolving international differences without resorting to war.
--Dwight D. Eisenhower

Faith is one of the forces by which men live, and the total absence of it means collapse.
William James    

And now it is lunch time and I have only spent 20 minutes cleaning. O well....there is the rest of the afternoon and tomorrow and the next day and the day after that and.......