Saturday, September 24, 2016

Busy Saturday Morning Despite the Rain!

It is 8:30am on this chilly day with the rain still pouring down. It is a most gloomy day.

However, I decided to be cheery and get a few things done: I have driven out to the east side to the Superstore to purchase the delicious Tong Garden peanuts only they seem to carry, to the bank, to the post office and lastly to the drive through oil change establishment for fresh oil and filters for the car. (perhaps THIS week's trip to Calgary will be the last one for the poor old vehicle??? How many times  in the last four or five months have I made that assumption??? Sigh......)

Now it is time for a shower. My hair needs a thorough washing and some styling before we leave tomorrow.  Guess some packing up of clothes and breakfast foods is in order as well.

I admit the long, monotonous drive tomorrow, to be repeated on Wednesday's return trip, is something we both have been dreading, but as the time approaches we are realizing how badly we need this time together to catch up on conversation about what we have each been up to this past two weeks. There has been zero time to talk together. Yuck! It will be easier for my husband to separate himself from work if we are far away. As it is he has several work related calls that have to be made from Calgary on Monday. This is the job that never ends, it just goes on and on my friend.....

How many thousands, millions, of people world wide are in the same position of overwork for insufficient return? Technology has not made our lives easier! It has crowded out the very leisure time it was supposed to increase. It has made us too accessible to bosses, friends, family and complete strangers. It has raised the level of expectancy as to our availability to everyone else. For us personally the benefits are being outweighed right now by the pitfalls.

Even our bishop, on his badly needed holiday in the U. K. is answering a certain number of work related emails and text messages each day.....ridiculous!

I am praying my husband will get some time away from his job expectations during this otherwise hectic, very short, family visit. They are going to amp up again when we return.

New topic: it amazes me how I can go to bed stuffed full of steak and wake up at 6:30am all ready for breakfast! Aiiii yiiiii......

Friday, September 23, 2016

Aaaaargh!! I'm Too Full!

Tonight marks the end of our participation in the local annual Anglican Church fall dinners! I have watched my food intake quite well and made certain to get my evening exercise regime done....until this evening.

It started off well. I knew dinner would be served too late for me, so I dutifully had a small snack of  4 whole wheat crackers and a slice of low fat cheese at 4pm. By the time I was served my dinner it was well a after 7pm and I was ready to chow down.

Again, it started off so well. I avoided taking a bun, just had a small spoon of both the Caesar salad and home made baked bean medley, found the teensiest baked potato in the bowl and had less than a tablespoon in total of sour cream and crumbled bacon on my potato. I had a small glass of red wine to allow for a couple of forks-full of brownie dessert. Yup, I did all the right things, took all the correct amounts of food......until it came to the  BBQ'd steak! All the steaks were 10 ounces. Since I am allowed three ounces per meal, I knew I needed to cut off two thirds of that steak, wrap it and take it home for another day.

Did I do that? No....I did not.

My steak was a perfect medium rare. It had very little fat. It was so tender it was nearly melting in my mouth. I did not cut two thirds off the steak to take home for later. I just ate it.  I ate it all. I ate every last mouthful.

Ooooooo, it was delicious.

Ooooooo, I am now suffering despite the (somewhat shortened and diluted) post prandial exercise.

My stomach wants to split open from to top to bottom. It wants to burst out of the constraint of  my clothes and lie like the lumpy son the the Goodyear Blimp on my lap.

I am tempted so shed a few tears from the discomfort.

Oooooooo.....never more ten ounce steaks at one sitting.....discomfort, thy name is gluttony........

Again With the Travels for Work

My husband is now making plans to attend the next national Executive Archdeacons Conference....this November it is in Newfoundland!  He is terribly excited as he has not been to Newfoundland since 1973 when he worked on building housing for Metis and non-status Indians for the Toronto based group, Operation Beaver.  

I am happy for him.  Originally I had hoped to pay my own way to go along for the trip, but it is really too expensive with the recent and upcoming trips to see my parents.  Initially I was disappointed, but then it hit me: November!  Brrrrrrr!!!!!!  I think I can do without the long, blood sugar upsetting, plane flight only to arrive in a new place in miserable weather and having to find my way around on my own while my husband spends his days and most evenings in meetings.

I can be miserable in November right here in the comfort and relative "inexpensiveness" of my own home!!

November in Canada....blecch, pooey!!!

A Perfect Autumn Day Followed By a Stellar Celtic Concert

Yesterday was the most perfect autumn day and I am so happy to have been able to enjoy it before the rains set in overnight from a big system coming up from the USA that is in the process of dumping about 75mm of rain on us over the next 2 days.

I started off the day with a beautiful, relaxing walk through piles of downed yellow leaves between our suite and the neighbourhood grocery.  The sky was overcast but the temperature was warm and the breeze was mild: long sleeve shirt weather, but no jacket required.

I finished a large housecleaning project back at home and then spent the rest of the day making a large batch of stew, some cartons of which will go to Calgary with us to resettle in my parents' refrigerator.  It should provide them with several lunches.  My husband and I had a good feed of stew for dinner last night with some hot, toasted whole wheat bread and a bit of a cheat on the amount of butter we slathered them with! 

The sky became more overcast as the day wore on, I had to put the furnace on for awhile as the winds became stronger and chillier.  However, when my friend picked me up later in the evening to go to the Celtic concert, I was still able to get away with wearing only a suit jacket over my blouse without feeling chilly.

The concert was amazing!!!  It ran on until after 11pm, so we had to slip out during the encore so my friend could get enough sleep to be in good shape for work today.  I didn't care.  I received more than my $25 ticket price from the entertainment in the first half of the show.  

If you love Celitic music and ever have the chance to see the touring group "Echoes of Erin", make sure you take advantage of it and attend their show.  They are world class performers: musicians, singers, dancers and story tellers.  It isn't a large group, but each member has many musical talents and abilities.  O my goodness, Regina is blessed so often with touring groups that are magnificently talented.  Given the chance I would go and see the exact same show again tonight!!  This particular tour was subtitled, "Echoes of 1916" and featured music that led up to the 1916 Easter Uprising in Ireland's struggle for political independence.  Some of the songs and stories would break your heart. 

From the brochure we received at the concert:
"It traces the quest for Irish cultural and political independence, beginning with the 1798 rebellion, moving on to Young Ireland in the 1840's, Fenianism in the 1860's and the Gaelic Revival of 1880's onwards. Echoes of 1916 culminates in the Easter rising which consolidated republicanism as a central part of Irish nationalism."

I am most grateful my friend told me about this concert and invited me to come to it.  What a great way to end a nearly perfect day celebrating the onset of the autumn season. Never have I been prouder of my Irish ancestry!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Welcome Back Son....Have A Good Trip Son.....

Just got off the phone after a long phone call with our son.  He told us about his adventures in Tokyo and what incredible serenity he feels when he is in Japan.  He experienced a similar thing during his first visit a number of years ago.

The fun he had sounds so typically Tokyo-like to us.  He spent part of a day in Shibuya area at a farmers' market, then spent some time in a small cafe run by a taciturn elderly Japanese fellow who has lined the narrow walls with thousands of old vinyl jazz recordings.  Our son sat and sipped at his green tea while enjoying a multitude of excellent older jazz pieces.  He also met up with an old friend of his from Canada that he hasn't seen in years. They were in a rock band together in younger days.  Now the friend teaches English in Japan and has lived there for several years.  He took our son to another teensy cafe where there is no talking among the patrons.  Instead of chatting, the customers order one of the only five drinks on the menu, then sit at small tables and listen to wonderful classical music playing over the excellent sound system.   Our son had a marvellous time at the Suntory Art Museum looking at paintings by old Japanese masters.  Now he is keen to return to Japan at the first opportunity to learn ancient Japanese painting techniques!  He purchased an ink brush made of feathers so is doing research to find out how to use it properly.  The book fair itself introduced him to many interesting new people.  I suspect he needed this trip as much to give him a new persective on life as to sell art books.

He knows how to deal with jet lag, so he is feeling quite prepared to head for Williamsburg in the morning.  He will be gone most of a week.  I admit I am grateful he will be in that area this time around rather than Manhattan or midtown Brooklyn.  It is an area less likely to be hit with a terrorist attack due to the demographic it least that is our hope....sigh.....

It is fun to travel vicariously through my son's trips across North America and abroad.  He is so his parents, he has experienced the ways that God sometimes provides incredible adventures even for the financially challenged.

Hi and Goodbye to you next week.

If There Is A Method To Making An Easy Task Difficult, I Will Find It Every Time

My husband left for Clergy Conference at about 11am on Monday.  A few minutes later I began what has turned into its now third day task of locating a commercial quality clothes rack/garment organizer (so now there is a more updated and correct and pretentious term for this too?!!??) for my clothes.  The one I have was not created to hold more than 22 pounds of weight and since all my clothes but the coats have to go onto it, the poor thing cratered last Sunday evening after 18 months of overuse.  By Monday morning all my clothes were laying in a heap on the floor and the rack was in pieces scattered across the bedroom carpet.

I thought it would be relatively easy to locate a more commercial grade rack, get it set up and rehang my now wrinkled clothing items. HAH!!  HAH AGAIN!!!  The short version is that I have spent the last 2.5 days searching, purchasing, unpacking, assembling, hanging up clothes, watching the racks buckle and dump my clothes back on the floor, disassembling, reassembling to correct any possible mistakes, rehanging, watching the racks buckle and once again deposit my clothes on the floor, disassembling, repacking, returning, getting my money back and trying again with another rack from another store.

I have been to Canadian Tire x2, Rona, Peavey Mart, Princess Auto, Staples, Home  Outfitters, Home Depot, Home Sense, Home Hardware, Office Supply(ers) x4,, WalMart, Sears, The Bay, and finally to Bed Bath and Beyond, the point of my apparently successful and therefore final purchase!  Aiiii yiiiiii....who knew such a small task would be this time consuming, exhausting, frustrating and depressing???  WHO KNEW??? 

FINALLY this morning I got the proper rack assembled for a second time to correct a mistake I made putting it together last night, (I have never claimed to have excellent skills in logic, hand/eye coordination or interpretation of assembly drawings), and my clothes have now been hanging up for over an hour with no buckling, no dumping, no shrieks of frustration and disappointment emanating from myself!  YAY!! 

Well, if nothing else I am steadfast once I start a project and see it through to completion no matter how depressing or ridiculous the situation gets. This blasted OCD has to be good for something, right?

In other news: 

- a niece of mom's and her husband are flying around Canada visiting relatives this month. The husband seems to be developing some form of dementia and I suspect this trip is partly inspired by a desire to be sure they all see each other again before his symptoms worsen.  They flew from visiting her brother in Edmonton to Calgary to see my parents...a special trip to see them before heading on to their son's place in Vancouver.  My parents were so touched and delighted by that thoughtfulness and so am I.  It made my parents' whole week.  They visited and went out for lunch together. Dad was having a pretty good day so their timing couldn't have been better as far as his health.  It has put my parents in a wonderful, positive frame of mind that I am hoping will carry over to our own visit with them next week.

- our son is home safely from Tokyo. He flew out just as the typhoon winds and rain were beginning and the tail winds were so great the plane actually arrived in Vancouver EARLY yesterday morning.  He is exhausted, but had the best time.  He was mightily disappointed to have to come home after such a short time there. The fair itself went very well.  He and his boss decided to take turns this time manning their booth.  One would stay for the morning session and the other would go exploring in Tokyo, then for the afternoon session they would switch.  He leaves again for NYC tomorrow, so today is crazy busy doing laundry and errands and work related "stuff" so he will be ready to go on time.  We will wait to hear the details of his adventures in both cities once he is back.  

- my husband will return this afternoon from a very good and busy Clergy Conference.  He will be expecting to find the suite all cleaned and presentable, but he will instead discover that only his own space has been cleaned.  I have been too busy with the garment organizer issue to worry about the filth that is everywhere else around here......sigh....  Well, at least HIS space is clean.  He left it all so tidied up and ready for cleaning I could hardly NOT do it.  

- had a very tasty meal at Cravings last night with a church buddy.  We sat and talked long after the meal was done.  We will get together again for the celtic music concert tomorrow evening.

-tonight is a turkey dinner at one of our churches, following a brief Eucharist together.  Looking forward to it very much.

- if I can get the rest of the suite cleaned properly between tomorrow and Saturday evening I will feel ready for the drive to Calgary after church on Sunday.

Life is busy and good with a ton of  personal ministry happening between all the other events.  It is very comforting to feel useful, at least in the area of spiritual things.

It is cold and windy today, rain is threatening, a proper arrival of the autumn season on today, it's first official day.




Sunday, September 18, 2016

When You Are Prepared To Wait (and waaaaaiiit) Upon the Lord.... is amazing what can happen. Friends of ours are currently experiencing what we and other followers of Jesus have gone through so often. Life falls apart at the seams and it seems an answer is never coming. After a protracted period of limbo, waiting and waiting and waiting for help, for answers, for new direction and new hope, agonizing in prayer and wondering why God seems to have it out specifically for you, wretched sinner that you are, the fog begins to dissipate, answers to prayers begin to pour in like a flood. The shock of feeling abandoned by God at the lowest ebb is replaced by a different sort of shock: the shock over the perfection of the answers to the prayers when they finally become apparent. During the times of fear and extensive waiting, God has been at work planning, preparing, lining up every detail so that you can end up with smooth transitions into the answers to the prayers for help with your less than satisfactory circumstances.

Our friend lost his job nearly 18 months ago and has found not one job in his city. His job loss was painful and made him doubt himself. His wife has continued to work in an unsatisfactory job that has not paid a sufficient wage for them both to live on. They didn't feel they could pack up and move as two of their newly adult children were still living at home on and off, struggling themselves with jobs and relationships. Within the past month everything changed! All the grown up children suddenly found themselves in more stable work and personal relationships, a long term house sit became available in the very province and city our friends have been wanting to move to....and, as we too have experienced, that house is not some quasi slum! It is a mini mansion on a golf course. They will have at least 6 months in that house while looking to find a suitable accommodation of their own, through a series of "coincidental" meetings in that city just last week, they appear to have found a church family! AND SHE has had her first job interview at a wonderful company.   Once the details were lined up, with no real input from our friends, apart from continuing to ask God for help, bing, bang, boom, they will be moved out of their newly sold house and on their way next week to their new lives in the city of their choice.

Thank you Lord! Been through this ourselves so many times: interminable waiting and self inflicted agony about the future suddenly fixed right up and better than we could ever have asked or imagined. 

Thank you Lord for the amazing answers to all the prayers of these dear and faithful friends!