Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day - to my Dad

Harold OrrWhen I think about my Dad, I think about generosity.  He is so very generous with his time and expertise, in addition to his finances.  My parents have spent the better part of two weeks down here in Regina, because my nephew needed help with some renovations.  He's done several mission trips to India, but has helped out so much more here - close to home.  When Mission 6:10 first started, he provided the "expert advice" for the renovation and retrofit of the first house they worked on.  It would be impossible to list the people that he's helped with their homes; new building, renovations or retrofits.  I think every one of his eight children have had him come and help him numerous times on whichever home we're living in, or thinking of buying, or renovating.  Dad built the front hall closet in my house for me as a Christmas present.   Dad lives out his faith in concrete ways, helping others.


Although he has retired from consulting, he is still one of the foremost experts in low energy construction and building techniques.  My daughter told me this winter that he was mentioned in one of her classes, and she said, "I always thought of him as Grandpa, but he's really somebody too!"  Yes he is.  This winter he received two awards and he's still written about, both in the press and in scholarly documents.  Here's a selection of links, talking about him and his accomplishments: News storylifetime achievement awardSuperinsulated RetrofitsA Bio from Ecohome.

My Dad also models for me what I want to be like when I age - or how to age gracefully.  My Dad's 30 years older than I am... which makes him 83 this year.  I can tell when he gets tired now, because his one foot drags a little, and his walk becomes unsteady.  Mom has restricted him from climbing on ladders, and he is to get cataract surgery in August.  However, my parents still mall walk for an hour most mornings, when they're in Saskatoon.  He is still very active and involved; although Mom encourages him to have a nap in the afternoon.  They've got their name down on a waiting list for a senior's residence in Saskatoon - they're still planning for the future.

It's impossible to talk about my Dad without talking about Mom as well.  Since he has retired, they do most things together.  Mom's the one who enables Dad to do what he can.  She's the one who ensures he has a nap or a break, or doesn't climb ladders, or grabs the broom and cleans up the construction debris so he doesn't have to slow down to do that.

Happy Father's Day to my Dad, Harold Orr.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Transitions


Bram got his driver's license yesterday.  A big transition.  He also mentioned that for his last coop placement, the only job he was offered was in Camrose.  Now, technically he's not living at home anymore anyway. Hasn't been since December.  January through April he lived in Saskatoon with Robb and Di.  Then when he moved back, he wasn't able to find anyone to commute to Moose Jaw with so rented a place in Moose Jaw and commutes home weekends.  But all the same... this time it feels like he's really leaving home.  Out of province.  Talking about buying a car.  Arranging things by himself.  I guess this is one of the more major transitions.

I'm starting a new job on Monday.  Another transition.  I always thought that once I found a job I liked, I'd stick at it for awhile.  Never done that.  In Yellowknife I subbed for 8+ years, while my kids were young.  That's almost like a different job everyday.  Then when I got on at Aurora College, I had 3 years at one position and one at another.  Not very stable there.  Then I moved to Regina for a permanent position, only to discover after 4 years that it wasn't anymore.  Things happen.  I've now been working for a year for Ruth, and while I've enjoyed it, I've really missed teaching.  I was offered a teaching position, and accepted it.

I need to finish this blog posting.  Ruth and I spend Saturday mornings going to estate sales- trying to only buy things we absolutely need. The company that runs them is named Transitions. I'm a sucker for really nice linens though, and Ruth's a sucker for art.  Last week I bought myself some new dishes.  I've packed up the old ones to give away and I smile whenever I look in my cupboard now.  Ruth bought a print - a very nice print..

Three different kinds of transitions. On to new things!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I'm baaack

It's time.  I have promised myself to start blogging again.  I've really missed it.  I've also promised myself to get to it and to stop procrastinating and get my taxes done.  Now some people may think... that's funny - I thought taxes were supposed to be done by April 30?  Well, actually Revenue Canada gave us an extension this year - to May 5 or something.  It may just possibly be past May 5 - but - I'm getting it done!

Paperwork out and sorted, check.
Numbers entered into the program, check.
Searched for additional numbers and amounts to enter, check.
Receipts found and entered, check.
Am I done?  Nope - but I'm close.  I just needed a break before going back at it again.
My goal is to be done tonight.  I may not be able to achieve that goal because I need Rose's tuition amounts that she transfers to me; and she hasn't done her taxes yet either.  (I may need to do her taxes before I can finish my taxes - she may need to find her T4's for me to do her taxes.)

Ah well, I'm getting close though.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Grandmother Lidbury

I've been remembering my Grandmother Lidbury lately; I think it's because when I look in the mirror, I may not see her face, but I've definitely inherited her body.  Grandma was stocky; barrel-shaped - so am I.  When I work out at the gym and I see all of those ectomorphs around me, I just tell myself, "I have my Grandmother's build."  I think all of us sisters do.


Grandma liked to do handwork.  She tatted, and crocheted, and knitted, and made hairpin lace, and...  During the last part of her life when she had difficulty walking, her hands were always busy.  She taught me to tat, although I don't know if I remember how now.  She tried to teach me how to crochet - I remember making a chain that stretched from one end of the house in Moose Jaw to the other.  Every furniture surface in Grandma's house was covered with doilies that she had made; most of them were crocheted in the pineapple pattern.  It was my job to go next door to their house once a week (on Saturdays) and to dust everything.  Grandma would hide pennies under the doilies, and you couldn't see them unless you picked up the doilies and dusted it properly.  I always understood the parable of the lost coin, because if I finished dusting and had only 24 pennies, when a roll of pennies contained 25, I would start over again, looking for the missing one.

Grandma loved to have visitors; she was very hospitable.  Because I was fortunate having my grandparents live next door to me when I was growing up, there were many times I would be over there and someone would stop by.  Grandma would introduce me, and if I was lucky, I would be invited to stay for lunch.  Although she was born in Tennessee and lived in Texas before she was married and all of her siblings and family lived a long ways away from where she lived in Canada, she stayed in touch with them all through letters.  She wrote regularly, and would keep in touch with everyone.  She tried to visit as often as possible too.  She was the oldest of a large family and she was the one who kept everyone connected.

Grandma had a strong sense of humour.  She liked to tell us funny stories, and when she got to laughing, it was really contagious.  When she laughed, she would be helpless with laughter.  When we heard the sound of her laughing uncontrollably, we knew she was in trouble, but you couldn't help laughing with her.  I remember one time when our family and the Boatwrights were driving together up to Yellowknife to visit David and Shirley and family up there.  (I actually wasn't on the trip, but this has become a family story to be shared many times.)  The Boatwrights had a pickup with a camper on the back, and the kids would go back and forth between the cab and the camper through the sliding window in the back of the cab.  Grandma had to be boosted up into the back of the camper up the steps though, because she had difficulty walking and the step up was so high.  So she decided that if the kids could go through the sliding window, she could too.  She got about half-way and got stuck.  We knew she was in trouble when we heard her laughing.  We all laughed so much, but it took a bit of effort to get her unstuck.

Another time she was in the bathtub and couldn't get out.  Grandpa heard her laughing and asked what the problem was.  She explained that she couldn't get out of the tub.  (After this incident, we installed grab bars in the tub.)  He wanted to pick the lock and come in to help her, but she wouldn't let him see her without any clothes on.  He had to phone next door to have mom come to rescue her.

Grandma died in 1983.  She was down visiting family in Texas and was buried down in Allen, Texas.  Grandpa was never the same after she died.  He had lost the light of his life.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Who am I

For the first time in over 20 years, I have not started out the school year with the usual teacher anxiety; what classes will I have; how can I reach this particular student, have I planned enough, etc.  I also have not had the usual teacher nightmares, where I am supposed to be teaching a particular class but can't find the room; or I left all of my materials at home; or it's a subject I know nothing about.


The reason for this is simple:  for the first time in over 20 years I'm not teaching this fall.  I'm still working - being able to afford retirement is a long ways away, but I made a decision last fall that I wouldn't substitute teach (I did nearly 10 years of that when my children were small) and that I wouldn't go back into the public school system.  Instead, I hoped to get a position in adult education, where I had worked before moving south to Regina.  Unfortunately, although I had many, many interviews, I didn't get any of the positions I interviewed for, and so I am working, but not teaching.

I have always worked in business as well - usually part-time; but before I took my degree in education, I took a diploma in business.  It has always stood me in good stead, and it's proving its value once again.  Currently, I'm working two part-time jobs; one position three days a week at the Orr Centre (my brother's my boss there), primarily doing books but also doing "other duties as may be required".  There's a lot of the second part of the job description.  I am also working two days a week for a legal firm (my sister's) as a legal assistant.  So, I'm working for family; I'm working in business; and I'm adapting.

It's also a bit dislocating.  I've always been a teacher.  That's part of my identity.  I'm not sure how to introduce myself when I don't state that I'm teaching here or there. However, there's lots less stress working outside of the educational system; and I don't mind that.  (There's also much less pay, but, the Lord always provides for me, and I am doing fine).  I have decided that regardless whatever I'm working at, I'll be the best I can be.  "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, it is the Lord Christ you are serving."  (Now that's from memory, so it may not match up with the text verbatum.)

I have also decided that part of my job needs to be to ensure that I make my coworkers' jobs easier.  I find that enjoyable - doing my best to look out for my coworkers.  I have to say I am enjoying rediscovering who I am.  Long may the journey continue.

Monday, July 29, 2013

House Guests

I was delighted when the Steiners (senior) showed up Saturday.  Now of course, it meant that there was an instant crowd; they don't travel when it's not a crowd, plus everyone else who came over to see them.  On top of that, the Steiners (junior) were having a garage sale on my front lawn; so there was a fair bit of coming and going with that.

All in all, it meant that a lot of my weekend plans got changed.  Ruth and I still did our Saturday morning cooking together.  We took the Daryl and Kristen's oldest two girls to the farmer's market with us.  The crowd didn't arrive until noon - so we fed them and then started on baking.  Made pies; apple pies, saskatoon pies; pies mixed with rhubarb; gluten-free pies.  Lots of pies.  Put them all in the freezer.

Saturday night we had over 30 for supper.  I moved it all to the backyard; borrowed Ruth's folding tables (they were already over at my house for the garage sale), and we visited outside.  It was very nice.  Sunday was much cooler and promising rain so we ate inside; but still nearly 30 people I think (not all the same people).  Saturday night we had perogy casserole and borscht and chicken and dumplings.  Sunday we had ham and hash brown casserole and three different kinds of salad.  Mid Sunday afternoon everyone took off and we had a quiet(er) household again.   I had an afternoon nap then I needed to go out and get groceries but unfortunately my van was blocked in by someone's car so I stayed home.

It's nice having all the company; it's great that I didn't need to do all the cooking by myself (thanks Loopie and Ruth); and it's very nice having my home back again.  I still need to do a few dishes and a bit more laundry (did three loads this morning and about the same yesterday) - and the liner for my kitchen garbage can seems to have disappeared, but we're almost back to normal now.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Cooking - long distance

So, I didn't end up as cook today.  However, the cook didn't show either.  As Rose has been hired as kitchen help - this meant that Rose was the dishwasher, sous chef, cook, waitress, and any other job that needed to be done in the kitchen.

I had done up the menu for today and tomorrow for her; and ensured that it was (what I thought was) really easy for her.  We had chili as one of the options yesterday so today was a choice of hot dogs or chili dogs; served with either french fries or a green salad.

Apparently what I thought would be really easy, wasn't quite as easy for Rose.  She did very well, but she texted me every step of the way.  Here's a sample of the texts I got throughout the morning:

  • When should I start the hotdogs?
  • And reheat the chili?
  • What else is on the menu?
  • I need to know what prices to charge
  • What do I do to the buns?
  • For the cheese dogs, do you put it on the bun or on the chili?
  • I found the cheddar but a lot of it is dried out
  • A lady ordered just french fries.  What should I charge?
  • Chili dog is bun hotdog chili and cheese, right?
  • Any prep work I need to do for supper?
However, despite her many questions, and how she was feeling totally inadequate, I think she did just fine.  She's gone above and beyond what she was hired to do, and has done a good job of it.  Here's a picture of her first chili dog that she prepared (before she added the fries).