Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Birthday to my nieces

It may be Hallowe'en - but no one's come to my door yet. I lived in an apartment for the past two years, so wasn't too surprised at no one coming when I lived there, but am kinda hoping for some little guests tonight.

It's also Robin and Joyce (or Joyce and Robin)'s birthday today. I remember when they were born because I was in PNG and didn't get the letter announcing their birth until nearly Christmas - so they were just about a month old before I got to find out if they were male or female. They were nearly two before I saw them for the first time.

We had planned to drive to Moose Jaw today and do a tunnel tour, but Rose forgot and allowed herself to be scheduled for work; so we'll try to do it another weekend instead. Rose has midterms starting tomorrow.

My parents were up for Friday and Saturday and my dad plugged the 4"x10" hole where the mice were getting in. I'm very grateful. Now I need to pull everything out of my cupboards and wipe it all down with bleach water. (However that can wait for a day or two).

Rose brought a mask to church with her this morning, and so was able to stay for the entire service despite the perfumes. I'm delighted. She doesn't like looking "different" but it does work. I noticed that she brought the mask to work as well, so we'll see. I had bought the masks so that I could clean out the cupboards where the mice have been; so it's good to see that they can have more than one use.

Rose and Bram went to the Hallowe'en party last night at the Student Centre. Rose had showered and was in pj's and a robe; so she made herself a cup of tea, borrowed my slippers and went as a "not a morning person" - was very believable too. They apparently had a fire alarm in the middle of it; set off by the smoke machines, so they all had to go outside for a bit. She went barefoot outside because I told her she couldn't wear my slippers outside. She had locked her shoes in Bram's locker, and then walked barefoot home again because Bram had already left.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thursday morning

Last night I had the family over. Made homemade buns, borscht and pigs in blankets. There were about 17 over; all the Pradzynski's, the Friesens and the Steiners as well as Tate, my kids and Betty. The food must have been ok because everything went. I saved behind two pigs in blankets for Betty to take for lunch today because she had helped make them.

Because of the snow yesterday, I had a big drift in my front driveway, which Ruth got stuck in. I suggested to several of my guests that it would be really nice to have the driveway shovelled - and eventually it happened. In a way I'm grateful that Ruth got stuck there or it might not have. Everyone seemed to think that someone else could do it better.

After supper I took Rose and Bram out to get winter outerwear. Got Bram outfitted. Rose is planning to wait until Bram flies back to YK in two weeks and get him to bring her stuff down from there. Until then, she can borrow from mom. So I bought myself some new boots so she can borrow my old ones. I also looked for a different snow shovel but everyone's sold out.

It was -15 when I woke up this morning but has warmed up to -11 the last I heard on the radio. Rose has caught the bus to work (wearing my ski jacket and boots). I need to leave for work myself, and Betty is probably just waking up. I've just finished cleaning up from last night - what's impossible for me to do in the evening becomes very simple in the morning. Luckily I didn't have piano lessons this morning because I don't have an extension cord to plug in my van yet. The one I had last year seems to have disappeared with the move.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Welcome winter

Winter arrived today. It was lovely weather this past weekend; but it started snowing this morning. The snow was really heavy this afternoon. I shovelled the driveway after I arrived home from work but you would never know it. Rose came home from her night class 20 minutes after I got in from The Party and she couldn't see my footprints. She was 10 minutes late for her night class, even though she took the early bus, because the busses were going only about 5 mph. She said the bus hit the centre boulevard several times; it was just floating on the snow.

It's a heavy wet snow, with lots of wind. Rose just pointed out that there's a tree across our back deck; felled from the snow I assume. It's not a really big tree, but it doesn't really belong there. It can wait, however, for daylight. I can hear the wind whistling outside the skylight in the dining room.

Betty is really amazed by the snow. She says where she's from in China they may get snow twice a winter - in January, about 5 cm worth. We have a little more snow than that.

We had a feast evening at The Party tonight. We had about 27 kids; several extra adults (parents, aunties, etc.) and lots of helpers. We're really grateful that so many people were able to come out despite the weather.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lazy Sunday afternoon

It's a quiet afternoon. Bram has just gone back to the dorm, after playing on the Wii for awhile; Rose is working, and Betty is in her room. I should be practicing piano or doing some lesson planning, but I'm not - yet.

It was a short week this past week; Teacher's Convention was Thursday and Friday in Calgary. The keynote speaker was Josh McDowell - who was excellent. The workshops I went to were very good as well. The van ride to and from Calgary was a little long, but I got some good visiting in with my coworkers.

This morning Rose, Bram and I went to Glen Elm church instead of our home congregation at NorthWeest. This is primarily because Rose gets a migraine headache every time we go to Northwest because of the perfumes people wear. She ends up sitting in the hallway until after communion, and then walking home. I want my kids to be part of a church family - and I don't feel sitting in the hallway and enduring service allows her to do that. She still had a headache at Glen Elm, but it was much better. Bram didn't like the music as much (they've gone instrumental), but I feel that that's a cultural difference. God didn't ask us to attend the church that made us feel most comfortable. So, I'll have to discuss it more with my kids - I'm willing to change churches if it means that Rose is able to attend without being ill. It would be a wrench; I've attended Northwest since I moved down here over two years ago - but I can adapt.

After service Glen Elm had a soup and sandwich lunch as a fundraiser for a Zambia mission. We fed Rose there, dropped her off at work, and then Bram and I went and picked up Betty and went to Ruth's for lunch. Both lunches looked very good.

With the cooler weather in the fall, I have mice that think my house is a much warmer location than the great outdoors. They come into one of my kitchen cabinets. So I purchased steel wool to put around the pipes and hopefully block them from coming in from the crawl space. However, when I was in the cupboard, I found that there's a huge hole - about 10" x 4" around one of the pipes. I can't block that with steel wool - so I'll have to get someone to come over and nail a board over it. Bram's very good about setting and emptying the mouse traps for me. We generally catch about one every three or four days. (We caught one this afternoon). I have to keep reminding myself that mice are much better to have than rats. (I'd rather not have either though).

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sunday evening

Yesterday was a really busy day. It was the annual food drive for the food bank and I had agreed to drive students and help with that. That took from around 9:30 to 3:30. I was mostly driving, but also helped carry bags, etc. Then I had a rest, because I was tired. Around 7:30 in the evening, I was thinking, "I really should practice piano", when the doorbell rang. It was Kirk H, with the teen group - they were doing a progressive games night. I knew about it, didn't I? Well, actually I didn't, but I invited them all in - I'm glad my living room was tidy, and we played some family feud. I kicked them out just before 10 pm because I had to go pick up Rose from work.

Rose has been working a lot more hours. We both have mixed feelings about that. More hours is good, financially, but it's harder to stay on top of her classes. In addition, they have a big display of laundry soaps and bounce, right by the checkouts, and it gives her a really bad headache. She's written a formal request for them to station her at a till as far as possible from it, but it really hasn't helped. She's going to phone the store manager tomorrow and see if that will make a difference.

Bram made supper Saturday night. He's taking a food studies class in French by correspondence - and this was one of his assignments. I was happy for him to make supper, but it wasn't really like I sat back and did nothing. In some ways it's more work to help him than to make it myself, but I'm glad he's learning how. He made a shepherd's pie casserole, with mashed sweet potatoes on top instead of regular mashed potatoes. It was quite good.

Report card marks were due in Friday morning, so I was at work bright and early - 6:30 am so that I could finish calculating them and get them entered. However the program wasn't working properly, so they never did get entered. Hopefully the program will have been fixed (whatever's wrong with it) by tomorrow so I can enter them before school starts. Every six weeks I vow that I'll stay on top of the marking, and I never do. However, maybe next six weeks will be different.

The weather continues to be wonderful and warm. My yard, front and back, is covered with leaves. This may be because there are 18 trees in my back yard, and three or four in the front. We've raked several times, and have bagged lots of bags, and I don't know that you can tell. I supposed I should go back at it again, but the idea doesn't exactly thrill. Maybe we'll go for the natural look.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Giving Thanks

Lectureship weekend at Western has just ended. We had a smaller crowd than usual because there were so many farmers still getting their crops in. However, the Lectureship itself was excellent. The theme was "Reclaiming Social Justice" and the guest speaker was Dr. Ken Greene from Texas. It took me awhile to be able to understand him clearly because of the accent (I had to listen with both ears), but he had a series of powerful messages. I really appreciated the class sessions, however. There were three different class times, and each time we had a choice of three classes - and they all sounded so interesting, it was hard to decide where to go. However, they were all thought provoking, and hopefully, action demanding as well.

One of the highlights of Lectureship, for me anyway, was Thanksgiving dinner. I hosted it and invited all and sundry to come. (Go to the highways and byways and compell them to come in). I'm not sure just how many we actually ended up with here, but I'm pretty sure it was between 45 and 50 people. We had a really joyful time, eating and sharing together. Towards the end of the crowd we had run out of potatoes, turnips and veggies, but I pulled out a pan of lasagne from the fridge and we continued on.

Daryl had those of us in the living room (about 35+) share, if we were comfortable, with an example of a powerful answer to prayer. And the sharing was wonderful. We sang a little bit together, and prayed together and ate together, and the whole thing was great.

I have to say that doing a turkey dinner is one of the easiest ways to host a large crowd that I can think of. I started the turkey the night before and roasted it from frozen (Ruth taught me to do that, and I have to say, it certainly makes it very easy). When I got up in the morning I peeled potatoes (I did my dutch oven full, and I maybe should have done two pots full), pulled out a bag of frozen veg's to dump into a pot, and put two boxes of stuffing with water, etc, into the slow cooker. That was it for meal preparation. When I got home after service, (and I did skip out on the last 15 minutes or so), I started the potatoes and vegetables, and Rose and I finished tidying up. Rose had come home after communion (she was having trouble with the fresh paint fumes in the building), and had done a large part of the cleaning up already.

If I was doing this again, I'd splurge for a proper roasting pan. I used the large square open roasting pan that came with the oven, and while the turkey fit in it, all the juices didn't and they ran out of the oven and down the cupboard and over the floor. I ended up washing the kitchen floor three times before everyone arrived.

I am so thankful to have a house that I'm able to host such a large gathering in. We had over 30 people sitting and eating in the living room, and there was room for all. The kids sat around the table to eat and after they ate they played with the Wii and other toys in the family room. I think I need to tap shoulders to get some more toys for when I have large gatherings, but we all managed. I am also very thankful to my nephew, David, who did a large part of the inviting of people. That's one area where being an introvert like I am isn't helpful - and I'm so thankful that he was able to invite so many people to come. I'm also very thankful to Rose, who even though she worked all afternoon and all day the day before, came home from church and worked straight through cleaning up and tidying up. I am so blessed to have my kids here this year.