Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Answered Prayers

We try not to worry when someone we know and love has to have some kind of medical intervention - no matter how big or small the matter is.  However, it's still much better to look back at it from the other side and to be able to thank God for answered prayers.

I had two answered prayers this morning.  I babysat Emmet while Rachel took Jane to the hospital.  She's had a blocked tear duct her entire life, which has given her a gummy eye most mornings when she wakes up and a weepy eye most of the time.  They fixed it this morning and she's just fine.  She was a little upset when her mom didn't feed her because she found the crackers in the backpack, but that was the main difficulty.

Also this morning I heard that one of my former high school teachers, Dr. C., had his heart cath this morning.  They said things were good and he can have his valve repair in early January.  Very good news, and again, an answer to prayer.

It's good to be reminded to pray, that our prayers are answered, and that God does care for each of us.  Thank you Lord.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


In quilting parlance a UFO is an Unfinished Object.  Because I've been an avid quilter for several decades, it's possible that I may have a UFO or two hidden in various closets and cupboards.  Last year, when Rose spent a couple of weeks with me after finishing school in Ottawa and before going back to Yellowknife, she went through my closets and cupboards and found several of them.  She also hinted that it might be a good idea to finish them.

I really haven't done much quilting since I've moved to Regina.  I've lived here four years and have only done two quilts I think.  Compare that to the year Rose was born, when I did somewhere between 18 and 24.  There are several reasons for that.  One reason is that I didn't have a studio set up like I did in Yellowknife.  The second reason is that I haven't found someone in Regina that I trust to service my sewing machines.  This has meant that as one machine has needed servicing, I've switched to another.  I'm running out of machines (I only have five).  I think I'm going to have to take some down to Saskatoon as there is someone I trust to service them there.  I miss having my favourite machine in prime working order.

However, since I've been unemployed for the past two weeks, I pulled down a couple of those UFO's and have them nearly finished.  I have started another quilt as well - I'm recycling jeans.  Some of these are Christmas presents,I've always felt that homemade is better than something purchased.  It feels good to be creative again.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


It's weird, not getting up and going to work each day.  I used to do this regularly when my kids were small and I subbed pretty much full-time.  Back then I had a routine for the days I worked and another routine for the days that I stayed home.  But right now I don't have a routine set up yet, for while I'm not working.

I miss it. Having a routine.  I still get things done - I had 9 or 10 or so for supper last night, and I'm finishing up a quilt right now, but it's just so much easier when I know what's to do next.  I need to set aside one day just for running errands, so that I'm not doing them every day.  I need to have a daily to do list (check the job listings, tidy house, etc.).  However it seems to me that I got all of that done when I was working full-time as well; how do I relearn how to keep constructively busy while I'm not working?  It may take me awhile.

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Day Off

Friday I took the day off - totally.  Well, I still had to drive Bram to catch his car pool; leaving the house at 7:05 and getting back by 7:50 or so, but then I went back to bed and slept until 10:30!  In the afternoon I went to Chapters and just browsed for a bit.  I don't know when I've done that - not for ages, anyway.

Then I ignored everything else on my To Do list for the entire day.  It felt really good.  I was thinking about it, and I can't remember when I last had a day totally off since maybe Easter break.  I finished work the end of June, then I was really busy getting ready for the VBS and Mission 6:10; and I had house guests for most of July.  I started work August 1 and worked for the library until Sept. 15 (a Saturday), then started working for SIAST Sept. 17.  Not much down time there.  This past week I worked at catching up on everything that needed to be done, and Friday I had pretty much caught up.  I believe that's called a holiday (at least in Canada it is).  Friday I took a holiday day.  Very nice.  I wouldn't mind doing that again. (Now Walt and Ruth and my parents are off on a real holiday - somewhere like the photo below, but I'll be grateful for what I've got.)

Friday night I had house guests again (Leslie and Loopie are remodelling and I hosted their two boarders for two days,  and Loopie and Bailey for one night, but that was fine).  I had the day off anyway.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Thursday - the To Do list

I've made great headway into the To Do list.  I had Rachel and children and Kristen and girls over this afternoon.  We did a bit of an in-service of ideas for teaching language arts and math for homeschooling.  I did a bit of a demonstration lesson, gave a few ideas of other strategies to try, and had some activities for the children to do.  I think it went pretty well.  Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves anyway.  That was something that I have really been wanting to do for some time, so am happy that I was able to get it done.

I've also been working on another prayer walk.  Each summer, as a part of Mission 6:10, I've made up a prayer walk for the participants.  It usually has about six locations on it - all carefully chosen to be within walking distance of each other.  For each location I give a picture (usually taken from Google Maps), a short explanation about the location, and some suggestions for prayers.  However Kevin V. has been organizing a Hope for North Central prayer walk for December 8 and 9, with the plan to walk the perimeter, surrounding North Central with prayer.  He asked me to make up a booklet for it.  Well, this is sort of what I've done in the summer, only much more - it ended up having over 30 different locations on it - put on a sheet of paper in landscape format, four per page, it works out to eight pages, or four double-sided pages for the booklet.  It was a lot of work.  I've worked on it for parts of three days now, and it feels good to be finished.

I've put the link for the booklet here; so if you're not able to come but still want to participate in prayer you can.  I've put the cover for the booklet below.  In case you want to know, I live just off the corner of 4th and Lewvan - Lewvan is the street that forms the western border of North Central.

Anyway, if you're interested in coming out for the prayer walk; it's going to be in several legs:
Sat Dec 8
  •  11:00 am – meet at McDonald’s at Albert & Dewdney, walk west
  •  1:00 pm – meet at Pasqua Hospital, Robin’s donuts in the entry, walk north.  Finish approximately 2:30 at Wascana School.
  Sun Dec 9
  • 1:30 pm – meet at Margaret Akachuk’s, 1071 King St, apt 2, walk east
  • 3:30 pm – meet at Tim Hortons, 4th & Albert, walk south
  • 5:00 pm – meet at McDonalds at Albert & Dewdney, finish 

North Central – bordered by Lewvan on the West, Albert on the East, McKinley on the north, and the railroad tracks to the southRegina’s largest inner-city area, it has very small lots (25’ wide), approximately 10,500 people live here – 6% of Regina’s population but 18% of Regina’s crime.  30% of the population are of aboriginal descent.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


It's Wednesday and I had a job interview today.  I think it went well - but I saw how thick the folder is of people to interview for this position (at least 6) - and I really don't think I'm qualified for the job; so I'll leave it in the Lord's hands.  I think I'm doing better at interviewing.  While I was out for the interview I also paid bills and did a bunch of errands, so that felt good.

I've got a lot of things done on my To Do list, so why is my house such a mess?  I think I need to be the evil mother and have Bram clean up the living room.  It's Wednesday so I'll be having the family over for supper tonight and I want to have it neater than it's looking right now.  I also don't want to do it all by myself.

One thing that I haven't manage to do from my list is do something specifically just for me, unless you count the nap I had yesterday morning after I dropped Bram off.  I think I want to get a sewing project started.  Mind you, to do that would require tidying up the clutter around my sewing table.  I think what I need to do for me today though is take a couple of painkillers and have an afternoon nap.  I've got a real headache.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Today's the second day I have "off" so to speak.  And I have good news to report - I have a job interview for tomorrow.  Unfortunately, it's for a job that I really feel totally unqualified for, but, hey - I'll let them decide that.  And an interview is a good thing.

I ended up making over 10 dozen buns yesterday.  I needed six dozen for The Party, and what with fresh buns for supper, it meant that we'd have nothing left for the house, after I packed everything up.  So I made up another 3.5 dozen.  We had 38 children at the The Party and around 20 at the older group.  That's less than there was last week, but I'm fine with that - we had fewer helpers also.  I split up the chili - the two large slow cookers for the older group and the three small slow cookers for The Party.  We had no leftovers whatsoever from The Party, but ended up with an entire slow cooker full of chili left over from the older group.  They also sent back two dozen of my buns. (I think they also had hot dogs, though - so it wasn't that they were short of food.)  So I now have four dozen buns in my freezer as well as an ice cream pail full of chili (such a hardship)!  I think we'll have Sloppy Joes for Wednesday supper instead of what I had originally planned.  Then I may send homemade buns home with people so that I can have some freezer space.

One of the blessings from The Party that I hadn't anticipated, is that I really am getting to know the kids a little better.  I'm able to call them by name (usually the right name), and touch base with this one, or give that one a hug.  I have always struggled to know people's names, and that's part of the reason that I try to do the attendance as the children come in, so that I can practice their names.  I guess it's working.

Well, I didn't get through everything on my list from yesterday. That's ok - there's still today.  Today I drove Bram to where he meets his car pool then came home and went back to bed.  (It was on my To Do list, so that's ok.)  It felt really good, too.  Mind you, before that I still managed to do up the dishes (two large slow cookers that had been full of chili, and left to dry overnight, plus all the serving utensils, etc.), get the garbage taken out (thanks Bram), tidy the kitchen, etc.

Now it's time to work through that list.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Yeah, it's been awhile

I just finished a term position at SIAST in Moose Jaw; commuting two hours a day.  However, I really enjoyed the job and am sorry that it's ended.  I'm now unemployed.  So... why is my To Do list so incredibly long?  So far this morning I have: driven Bram to where he meets his car pool, done my banking, filled the car with gas, done all the dishes, started laundry, started five slow cookers of chili (snack for 75 for The Party tonight), started 7 dozen buns, talked to my lawyer, watered the plants, played my latest bunch of scrabble games (my reward for doing some of the other chores), taken out the garbage, unloaded the dishwasher, put away laundry.  Still to do for today: my bookkeeping, tidy living room and kitchen, three more loads of laundry (at least), bake the buns, make lunch and supper, start a quilting project (another reward).  It'd be nice to work out too.  That's a long list!  I have a lot of other things that I'd like to get done - but that's another day's list.  The important thing is to keep the list a manageable length.

So.. here's the recipe for Chili for 75

5 lbs (more or less) of hamburger - fried
5 (or more) large onions, diced and fried with the hamburger meat
1 really large can (100 oz) of diced tomatoes (I made a mistake and bought crushed tomatoes this time instead, so that's what I used, but I prefer the diced tomatoes).
12 - 19 oz cans (540 mL) of kidney beans (I could have bought the two 100 oz cans, but the smaller ones were cheaper.  For that matter, I could have soaked the kidney beans and done it from scratch, but the cans worked out to the same price and much less work.)
Chili powder to taste (about 1/2 cup I think).

Now it's possible to add lots more ingredients (I like mushrooms, for example, but not everyone does), but that's the basic chili recipe.  Because I don't have a pot big enough to combine all this, I used all of my slow cookers; the three small pots and my two big pots - and have them plugged in throughout the house because if I plug them all in the kitchen I'll blow a breaker.  I cooked the hamburger in batches in my largest frying pan with the diced onion and divided it among the slow cookers.  I layered things in the slow cookers; a couple cups of tomato stuff in the bottom, then the hamburger meat with the onions, then the chili powder, then the cans of beans (smaller slow cookers got 2 cans, larger ones got 3), then more tomato stuff, stir well.

I'm quite pleased with myself.  This weekend I was doing the planning for making the chili and was thinking that it was a real pain that my largest frying pan didn't have a lid that fit it.  So I measured it - it's 12" in diameter - and when I was a Great Canadian Wholesale (which is where I bought the ingredients for the chili), I looked in their commercial cooking section and bought a pot lid the right diameter.  It fits just right and I'm happy!  (I need to mention that the meat was all donated.)

Now it's time to punch down buns. My goal is to have fresh buns ready for lunch and it's already 11 am so I need to get cracking.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Count your blessings

When things don't go exactly the way I want them to, it's time to count my blessings and realize that (thankfully), I'm not in control - God is.  I blogged on Nov. 4 how my sink wasn't draining properly.  At that time I put several gallons of boiling water down it and thought we had the problem solved. Not so.

However, I can count my blessings that:

  • I have a dad that can go down into the crawl space and figure out what the actual problem is. (The actual problem is that the main drain is plugged, not just the kitchen sink drain, so until we get a plumber in we can't use any of the drains.  No showers.  No dishes. No flushing.)
  • I have several ice cream pails so that we can put one in each sink so that we can brush our teeth and do other essential things requiring water until we can get the plumber in tomorrow.

  • My parents are here and can call the plumber and be home for when he comes so that I don't have to take a day off work to deal with this.
  • I can afford to have the plumber come in and deal with this.
  • I don't have to try to deal with it myself.
  • I can very likely have it dealt with tomorrow - so that by the time I get home from work, I may have everything good to go again.
  • We didn't discover what the problem was until after the dishes were done, so I have clean dishes for tomorrow.
Now, it's never my idea of a fun time to have the drains plugged.  But I still have lots to be thankful for.  (I'm reminded of a time in Yellowknife when a friend told us the story of how their house had shifted over the winter.  As a result of the shifting, the sewer pipe got disconnected from the toilet and they didn't know until spring when things melted and the odor arose.  It was at least six months worth of sewage under their trailer! I can continue to count my blessings for my much, much smaller problem.)


Yesterday Bram and I stopped by the nursing home and visited his Grandmother Thiessen.  It really didn't take long, and it was so good to do it - it makes me wonder why we don't find the time more often.  She was so glad to see us.  Here I am working in Moose Jaw and Bram's going to school there and we can't seem to find the time to stop by?  Something's wrong with our priorities I think.
Tonight was the typical Wednesday night, have everyone over.  We set the table for 12, and I think every plate ended up being used.  It was good to visit with everyone and share a meal together.

Usually for the Wednesday night thing, I plan well in advance and have everything ready when I get home from work.  Not so tonight.  I arrived home, knowing that I had nothing planned; picked up mom, went to the grocery store and picked up the makings.  We had lasagna,  mixed vegetables and Caesar salad.  I made a cobbler for dessert.  It was all very good, and we have leftover lasagna for tomorrow.  In fact, the fridge is full.  This is a nice problem to have.  I thought we had leftover dessert too, but left it out on the counter and it seemed to "settle down" a bit til there's nothing left.  That also works, because as I said, the fridge is full

I'm so thankful that I'm able to have guests over regularly.  I feel very fortunate.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Reading Aloud

As a teacher - and a teacher who majored in teaching reading when at university - I believe very strongly in reading aloud.  As a family we started reading aloud before we even had kids.  When Lloyd and I were first married, we shared our favourite books with each other by reading them aloud, and while we didn't do it constantly, we continued the habit infrequently throughout our marriage.

When the kids came along, it seemed only natural that we'd continue reading aloud.  I recall several children's books that I could recite because I've read them aloud so many times to Rose and Bram.  We read aloud on long car trips as well.  Living in Yellowknife has meant that there's always been lots of long car trips.

Ryan and Rachel's daughter Jane has also discovered the delights of being read aloud to.  She has a couple of board books that are her particular favourites that she is quite happy to have read to her 10 or 15 times or more at one sitting.

Lately Bram and I have been reading aloud some of Sharon Lee and Steve Miller's books; part of the Liaden series.  It's much, much nicer reading aloud to adults though.  We read until we get tired or until we come up to a really long chapter, and then feel free to state, "I'm tired; why don't you read the next chapter by yourself?"  We've just finished the Agent of Change series: Agent of Change, Conflict of Honors, Carpe Diem, Plan B and I Dare. We've also read Local Custom and Balance of Trade as well as several of the short stories but haven't done any of the Theo Waitley series, or Scout's Progress, Local Custom or Crystal Soldier or Crystal Dragon.  I just finished the latest one, Necessity's Child, myself but I don't know what Bram and I will choose to read next together.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Grandpa Lidbury

Remembrance Day has always been inextricably tied to memories of my Grandpa Lidbury for me.  He served in the British Army in World War I, was taken prisoner and spent much of the war in a prison of war camp.  Remembrance Day was the day before his birthday; and it was also Grandma's birthday.  Grandpa never spoke much about the war when we were children; he felt, very strongly, that children shouldn't know much about war.  He told us his prisoner number was 22, and a few small things like that.   He would tell of his friends who helped save his life.  There was a fellow prisoner from Belgium that he especially felt thankful for. When he felt that we were misbehaving he'd tell us one of the songs they sang in the army, "We know our manners, we spend our tanners, we are the Somerset boys."  He'd always explain that a tanner was a sixpence. However, as he aged and developed dementia, grandpa spent most of his last years reliving his time in prison camp.  (Grandpa is on the far right)

However, Grandpa was so much more than just an elderly man reliving his time in prison camp.  He grew up in England and didn't emigrate to Canada until 1922, well after the war was over.  He said that he'd been bossed around enough during the war and wanted to work where he could be his own boss.  He came to the  Bengough area (he had a sister who lived near there) and worked as a hired man for several years.  He became a Christian because the family where he worked read the Bible every morning at the breakfast table and were careful to read passages that awakened in him the need to know more.  He was baptized by my Grandfather Orr, in the winter, in a dugout.  They had cut a hole through the ice, and Granddad Orr had gone down with him and started to preach and apparently Grandpa Lidbury had turned to him and said, "Wilfred, just do it."

My two grandfathers were friends, and worked on threshing crews together.  They memorized scripture while working on the crews; driving the racks of sheaves to the threshing machine, waiting in line, etc.  Grandpa Lidbury was always very proud of the scripture that he had memorized.  He said that when he became a Christian all he knew was the names of the books "Matthew, Mark, Luke and John", but there really weren't many passages in the New Testament that if you quoted a verse or two he couldn't complete the quotation.  Grandpa was a faithful Christian his entire life.

He didn't marry until he was in his 30's - and Grandma had grown up in Tennessee and had been living in Texas when they married.  It could have been a real recipe for disaster - two very, very different cultures, and they were married just in time for the start of the great depression.  For much of their early married life, Grandpa's mother lived with them, and, to put it kindly, she was a difficult woman to live with.  However, they loved each other dearly.  Grandpa would stay home from farming on Mondays because it was wash day and he felt that it was too much work for his wife to do on her own.  It involved hauling the water and heating it, as well as using the wash board, etc.  When Grandma died, it was like Grandpa had lost the light in his life, and he was truly inconsolable until he had a vision of her comforting him.  He told of that vision repeatedly after that.

Grandpa and Grandma farmed at Harptree and later at Stony Beach.  When they retired, they moved first to Moose Jaw and then later to Saskatoon.  I don't remember them living at Stony Beach but I do recall riding on the back of the grain truck with my siblings and cousins when Grandpa took one of the last loads to the elevator.  He told the elevator agent, "Just weigh it now, and then we'll lift the kids down."  I didn't know at the time why everyone thought that was so funny.

My grandpa lived his last years with my parents until his death.  I stayed with him for part of the last year that he lived alone before he moved in with them.  He loved the grandchildren in his later years and always seemed a little more coherent when they were around. He died nearly 19 years ago now, but writing these memories bring him back so clearly to my mind.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Granddad Orr

My dad's dad was an amazing man.  He had a very gentle spirit.  He had come to Canada as a small child from England and settled near Oungre, right by the US border.  His parents homesteaded and his mother ran a store while his father was a carpenter.  In fact, my grandfather came from a long line of carpenters.  When he was in his early teens, H.A. Rogers came by and held a gospel meeting and he was baptized, as were his parents.  Brother Rogers operated a market garden and he worked for him for a time, and was mentored by him.  He travelled with him for a time, and then would preach and lead singing. He loved singing and could sing through the hymn book. (Grandpa's sister, Nellie, married H.A. Rogers' son, Alonzo.)

Grandpa worked as a carpenter, as his father had, and supported himself but also travelled throughout southern Saskatchewan, serving the church.  He married my grandmother on July 14, 1930. My dad was born in Minton in 1931, but they also lived in Horse Creek, Radville, Perryville area, Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, Biggar, Wawota and Vancouver.  I'm sure I missed some communities.  He helped organize the first Bible schools held in rural Saskatchewan - the first one was held in Minton and also served on the first board of directors for Radville Christian College.  He built most of the homes that they lived in; my cousin and his family still live in the home he built in Saskatoon.

All of this was while he was still a young man.  When I knew my grandfather he was much older.  He suffered at least two strokes and a heart attack, and eventually died from a reoccurence of the cancer that he had some years earlier. He was always very quiet, and had a dry sense of humour.  He would say something that was really quite funny, but if you didn't catch it, he'd never let on.  He was really, really good at crokinole - he had practiced for hours after his strokes so that he could get his fine motor control back.  He also was ambidextrous.  He likely started out being left-handed but had that whipped out of him at school when he was forced to switch to his right hand.  However I do know that he would hammer with one hand and if it got tired or if it was more convenient, he'd switch to the other hand without even really noticing.

He was a bit of a picky eater.  He didn't eat any sort of poultry.  I think that was as a result of being a travelling preacher during the depression, when you could always kill a chicken to feed a guest.  As well, having esophageal cancer meant that he had difficulty swallowing and for many years lived off the really healthy milkshakes that Grandma made for him.  However, he also had a nervous stomach, and would be sick to his stomach before every time he preached.  It's really amazing then to think that he preached all the time from his early teens to his death; many times preaching 3 or 4 times on a Sunday. He was also very shy - it was very difficult for him to preach; but he really felt that he was called to do so.  For many years he also preached on the radio - he converted many people not only through the gospel meetings that he held but also through his radio preaching.

Grandpa really knew his Bible. I remember one time at Heritage Camp when we were all memorizing James 1.  It was my job to copy out the chapter so that it could be posted on a tree, so that as we were doing our chores or whatever, we could learn the next verse.  I copied it out and took it to Grandpa to show him.  He didn't have a Bible in hand, but he read down it, and pointed out that I had missed a verse - and then quoted the missing verse to me! Grandpa and Grandma read the Bible together at the breakfast table every morning, and he spent many hours in the word - reading it, and studying it.

Grandpa loved and was loved by many, many people.  When I first started teaching, I met many older people who told me how they had been converted by my grandfather and felt that they owed a great deal to him.  He was really good at maturing people in Christ.  He had a great deal of wisdom.  Although he was limited by his poor health for much of his later years, he didn't let it slow him down.

Sunday morning

It's Sunday morning.  Got up this morning to the news that we had freezing rain last night and that the roads are like skating rinks.  Started to put my kitchen back into order from our cooking marathon yesterday.  One good thing about having my sink plugged is that I got the area underneath my sink put into order.  How often does that happen?
I got lunch started for today - everything in the slow cooker on high.  And I didn't get the living room tidied up.  Bram's a little annoyed at me because he made breakfast and wanted me to help a bit but I'm finishing up my blog entries.  Sorry, Bram.  He also informed me that he saw a mouse running across the counter last night.  Yuck!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Plugged Sinks

Walter came by with a snake and tried to snake out my kitchen lines.  He had to go down into the crawl space (with Bram to help).  He says I don't have much slope on the kitchen lines and that could be part of the problem.  I pointed out that I've lived here 2.5 years and this is the first time I've had any problem.  However, he also discovered that a 25 foot snake is about 2 feet too short.

He now says that we should maybe cut the line and put in a clean out about six feet along - then a standard 25 foot snake would work.  Either I pay to get that done or I pay to have a plumber come in.  All I know is that I can't use my sink right now.

Here's the recipe for the lentil soup.

Nicky's Lentil Soup

2 cups lentils
1 chopped white onion
1 chopped carrot
2 chopped celery sticks
2 TLB chopped garlic
3 bay leaves
1 TLB sea salt
1 TLB fresh dill
2 cups diced tomatoes
2 cups tomato juice
9 cups stock
2-3 oz olive oil
2 TLB parsley
3 oz tomato paste
5 TLB pepper

Saute vegetables until almost tender.  Add diced tomatoes, tomato juice, herbs and spices, lentils and the stock.  Bring to a boil stirring occasionally until lentils are soft.  Reduce heat and simmer.

Now - we didn't have tomato juice but my can of tomato paste was a 5 1/2 oz can, so we just added another two cups of water.

It was really, really good.  We saved the leftovers in ziplock freezer bags and put it in the freezer.  We'll eat it this coming week for lunch.

It's Saturday - we must be cooking

Ruth and I cooked for much of the day today.  We started a little later than usual; had to get groceries first, and then cooked on and off all day.  What did we make?

  • Four salads - sweet potato black bean; coleslaw forever, quinoa current and Greek salad.
  • One soup - a lentil soup; we also ate it for lunch and it was very good.
  • an Asian-themed supper, with ginger fried tofu, egg foo yeung, rice and soy sauce gravy.
  • Two pumpkin pies (with fresh pumpkin) - which also means that we made freshly baked pumpkin seeds, and baked pumpkin.

Unfortunately, when we started cleaning everything up, my kitchen sink decided to stop draining; so I think I may have to wash whatever doesn't fit into the dishwasher in my bathtub.  I still have a small bit to clean up - plus the mess from under the sink that got pulled out so that we could try to unclog the sink.  I may also have to pay for a plumber to come by next week.

Tomorrow we've invited a crowd for lunch.  We're planning to have roast pork, sweet potato fries, salads, mixed winter vegetables, scalloped potatoes and pie for dessert.  Note that all of that except for the salads, which we made today, can be cooked in the oven at one time.  That's so we can put it in before we go to church and take it out once we get home again and have everything ready.

It's Ruth and my turn to make the snack for The Party tomorrow night.  We were planning to do tacos in a bag - and just purchase a box of the snack sized Dorito chips because it's right after Hallowe'en, but we couldn't find any; so I think we'll have taco salad instead.  Same idea.

OK, here's the recipes for what we cooked today:
Ginger Fried Tofu (this recipe was in Friday's Leader Post - but we adapted it.  Nicole really, really liked it and took pictures to send home to China to show her parents.  I was going to take pictures as well for my blog, but my phone's dead so you'll have to imagine how nice it looked.)

1 package medium tofu (drained)
Oil for frying
2/3 cup grated carrots (about 2 medium carrots)
2-3 green onions finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh ginger, finely chopped (I purchase my finely chopped ginger already ready in a jar - the same way I purchase my garlic)
2 TLB minced garlic
3 TLB soya sauce
2 TLB apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1 TLB sesame oil
1/4 to 1/2 tsp. red chili flakes

Cut the tofu into small cubes and deep fry in the oil until brown (about 10 min.).  Drain on paper towel.
While the tofu is deep frying, stir fry the carrot, green onion, ginger and garlic until the carrot is soft (about 5 min.)  Stir together everything else and add to the carrot mixture and continue cooking for another 5 min.  Add the fried tofu, and stir to coat it with the sauce.  Serve hot over rice.

Zucchini Egg Foo Yeung
3 small zucchini - grated
1 medium carrot - grated
6 mushrooms - sliced
1/2 onion - diced
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
oil for frying

Mix together all the vegetables.  In a small bowl, crack two eggs at a time, beat them and add a large handful of the vegetable mixture.  Stir until it's all covered with the eggs.  Heat the oil in the frying pan, and add the vegetable egg mixture, forming it into two pancakes.  When brown on one side, carefully turn it over.  

I found that I was able to make 7 pancakes with the vegetable mixture above; which meant that I used 7 eggs, doing two at a time.  

Serve with soya sauce gravy.

Soya Sauce Gravy
1/4 cup soya sauce
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 cups water
Mix the soya sauce and cornstarch together.  Add water and whisk to get rid of any lumps.  Cook in the microwave until the consistency of gravy - about 3-5 minutes.  

Monday, October 29, 2012

The joy of allergies

Allergies are a lot more common now than they were when I was a child.  And... they run in the family.  I am very thankful that I'm not allergic to very much - although I do carry an epipen, I've never had to use it.  (It's part of my life goals to never have to use it either.)  Most of my allergies are food allergies.  Unfortunately, I seem to have shared the tendency to allergies with my children.  They both share my sensitivity to oats, and although they may not need an epipen for it, they can definitely tell when they've eaten something containing oats.

Most of Rose's allergies seem to be environmental allergies.  They're way harder to control than food allergies.  Bram also has allergies; likely environmental ones as well.  Both of them are very, very sensitive to scents.  Rose is also sensitive to many chemicals.

This past month Bram's been fighting a sore throat and persistent cough.  I think it's got to be allergies, as a cold would have cleared up long ago.  He seems to be better if he sleeps in the living room instead of his bedroom.  I'd like to know what's causing it, so that I could eliminate it.  I think we're going to rip out the carpet in his room and replace it with laminate and see if that makes a difference.  It can't be any worse than it is now and hopefully it may help.   We can also vacuum out the heating vents.  I don't know what else we can try though. Any other suggestions?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

To sleep, perchance to dream

Most of my life, my bed has been a refuge.  It's been a blessing to retreat to bed and to fall nearly immediately to sleep.  However, four years ago, when I separated from L, I had about six months when sleep tended to elude me, or if I fell to sleep, I would wake up in the wee small hours after a nightmare, or even with nothing prodding me to wake up.  Then I would have trouble falling back asleep, and my bed ceased to become the refuge it always was.  The main problem was I would get trapped in my thoughts, "Maybe if I had done this.... or had said that..."  My thoughts would go around and around and I would be unable to find any rest or release from them.

At that time, I went through counseling, which really helped.  However, there were months when I was unable to go easily to sleep, or to remain asleep as long as I'd like.

Now, as I'm going through the divorce process, and have to deal with the anger and negativity thrown my way through various documents, I'm finding that sleep is again eluding me on occasion.  It's much better this time though; I am usually able to fall asleep,but I still find 3 am to be an unpleasant time to be awake.

Last night I woke up around 3 am after a nightmare.  I turned once more to the remedy that seems to work the best for me.  I turned the radio on.  It's set at low volume, to CBC, of course. I've heard rumours that there are other radio stations, but I wouldn't know.  Listening to the radio talk away interrupts my own thoughts, and allows me to drift back to sleep.  Sometimes I don't even remember waking up in the night, but I will wake again in the morning to the radio still on, and realize that I must have woken in the night.  In case you don't know, CBC plays Radio Australia in the wee small hours.  I get to hear what's happening on the other side of the world.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


I've been putting off doing things all week - important things, things that must be done - this week.  Things like paying bills, putting gas in the car, writing my lawyer, etc.  I read my cousin Janelle's blog about procrastinating and I appreciate her take on it.  And I will get those very important things done this evening, tonight - I will!

Meanwhile - because I've been busy procrastinating, I've got lots and lots of other things done this week.  Ruth and I did our regular cooking this morning.  We made three salads - Coleslaw Forever - for potluck after church tomorrow, Nutty Wild and Brown Rice, and Bean Salad; one soup - turkey soup, using the frozen carcass that I had saved from baking turkey a week ago; two casseroles - chili and layered turkey casserole.  We also got groceries, checked out what Zellers has on sale as it's closing down, and planned the week's menu.  We heated up the leftover lasagne for lunch (it was one of my better lasagne's I think).  I also did all my laundry, folded it and put it away.  Did all the dishes from all that cooking (several times).

This evening, Bram, Nicole and I made homemade pizza for supper.  It's in the oven now, and is almost ready.  There's something burned on the bottom of my oven, and it's making things a little smoky so we have the fan on in the hopes that the smoke detector won't come on.  Then we introduced Nicole to Canadian board games, and played Sorry.

I think I need to quit now so that I can go pay some bills and do other important things.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

It's all in the journey

It's been just a month since I started commuting to work in Moose Jaw. I will be commuting for just over one more month - then, Lord willing, I will have another job somewhere.

I've never really commuted before - not unless you count a 10-15 minute journey commuting.  For the past four years, the furthest I've lived from work has been less than 100 yards.  Before that, when I lived in Yellowknife, I was usually within walking distance to work as well - although it was generally more like a 30 minute walk.

How do I like the journey?  I'm surprised how much I enjoy it.  It actually hasn't taken any more out of my day than I was working when I worked at the library because at Moose Jaw my work day is finished at 3 pm, and even though it's an hour's drive home - when I worked at the public library, my work day finished at 5 pm.  In addition, I get two hours of visiting in with my son.  I really appreciate that.  I'm getting to know him better all the time.

It is also fascinating to see the daily changes in the landscape.  When I started, the leaves were just changing colour, and we could see the combines out working the fields.  Now the combines are all done, and the leaves are gone.  The fields are fallow for the winter.  The sun is rising a little later each day - but I get to see the most wonderful sunrises in my rear view mirror.  I took this photo while I was filling up with gas one morning.
I have to say, I don't enjoy spending as much upon gas - however, I'm making enough more that it tempers the pain a little.  I'm grateful that I'm able to be thankful regardless of the circumstances I find myself in.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Our family celebrated Thanksgiving on Saturday in Saskatoon.  Now, in order to have a small family gathering, one must first have a small family.  We don't.  However, it was a fairly small gathering - I think there was between 50 and 55 people there.  For the first time in 17 years, all of my siblings were together.  That's something to be very thankful for.

We arranged to use the fellowship room at the church building - and we all sat around, ate too much, and visited and shared together.  Robert had set up his camera and took photos.  After we ate, we sang together as we cleaned up.  It was very nice.

New Bed

I splurged and bought myself a new bed a few weeks ago.  I ordered it from the Sears catalogue and it arrived Friday in five big boxes.  Bram and I finished assembling it last night - Dad had started putting the headboard together for us Friday morning.  It's exciting - I don't know when I've ever had a brand new - I'm the only one to sleep in it - bed before.  (And to be honest - the mattress isn't new, just the rest of the bed).  It's like a grown-up captain's bed - it has four drawers on each of the three sides. I haven't managed to fill up all of the drawers yet, but I know that it will just be a matter of time - things expand to fill the space available for them. I ordered a bookcase headboard to go with it, because you can never have too many bookcases.  I discovered last night that the floor register in my room comes out underneath the headboard and the heat is then sent underneath the bed and comes up through the mattress.  It gives me a heated bed - very nice.

I spent four hours this morning cleaning up my room in honour of the new bed.  I know I've never had my room this tidy before.  I can hear my mom's voice in my head now saying, "If you just put your clothes away when you take them off, it will stay this way."  It's a nice theory anyway.  I filled one humongous garbage bag with garbage, three boxes of books to sell at the used book store, and one box of clothing to drop off at the Sally Ann.  I still have a very small basket of paperwork to sort through - but that's all.  I think I may need to splurge a little more and get closet doors for my closet.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Monday night at The Party

Monday nights I help coordinate The Party - an outreach program of our church for inner-city children.  We  run two programs at the same time; The Party is for children aged 5 through Grade 5 while the teen program is for Grade 6 and up.  This is our fourth year for the program, I think - maybe it's the fifth year?

It started in the Steiner's home on Wednesday nights because they had kids just showing up at their house all the time and they were trying to keep it down to just one night a week.  It quickly outgrew their house and we then moved to the elementary school that's just across the road from my home and changed to Tuesday nights.  By the end of the second year we were up to 25 children and preteens and feeling a little overwhelmed at times. I think we were two years at the elementary school before we got bumped. Last year we moved to the Rainbow Youth Centre, changed to Monday night and split into two groups.  Before that, we tried to run the older group in the same place but we just weren't meeting their needs.

We only run during the school year and we don't have a program whenever there's a holiday.  We have had a VBS for one week in the summer for the past three years though.  There will be no program next Monday night - because it's Thanksgiving.  I think we'll have a training session for helpers instead.  We have to do a "Plan to Protect" each year to ensure that our helpers and our kids are safe and so that we are protected from both abuse and allegations of abuse.

We continue to grow.  This is a challenge - but the Lord continues to bless us with more helpers as we need it.  Last night we had 47 children and about 25 teens.  That's a lot of kids!  As always, we have a pretty wild and crazy time - but it's an organized wild and crazy time.  We had been having only about 33 children each week this year, so to have 47 last night was a big jump.  It also meant that we didn't have enough snack - so Lisa (bless her) ran home and got us some more food to supplement what I had brought.  (We take turns bringing snack.)

What is our program?  We run from 6 pm to 8 pm.  From 6 to 6:35 or 6:40 - we run them ragged.  We play games in the gym - usually games like Sharks Across the River (a sort of group tag), or games involving a lot of running.  Then from 6:40 to 7 pm we have "Circle Time".  I run that.  We review what the rules are (where's the out of bounds areas, throw out your dixie cups after use, sign in with me when you arrive, check out with Bram when you leave - that kind of thing) and we sing songs and have a Bible story (Ruth tells the Bible story).  Then we split into three groups:  one group goes to story - where they retell the story, usually by dressing up in costumes, but we try to vary what happens there.  Sometimes we'll have a Jeopardy night, or sometimes we'll do some other activity.  We try to have prizes (bribes) for the listeners there - things go much better with prizes.  One group goes to games - where they play a smaller group game.  Last night we gave them two options - they could either play a game or they could do a quieter activity (we had play dough and board games and colouring).  That worked really well and I think we'll continue doing it that way.  Our groups are getting just too big otherwise.  The last group goes for snack.  We try to have a healthy snack.  Last night we had pigs in blankets (hot dogs, cut in thirds, baked in dough) and grapes.  However Lisa ran home and brought back a big bowl of macaroni salad and carrot sticks to supplement because we just didn't have enough food otherwise.  We rotate through the groups after about 15 minutes per station.  Then we just sort kids to take them home.  Many of the children are picked up and dropped off, however parents also pick up some kids (thankfully).  We have Bram on the door to let people in and out - so that security is maintained and that we (hopefully) know where kids are at all times.

What can you do?  Pray for us.  Pray for us.  Pray for us.  The parents are continually telling us how much their children enjoy the program; that they really look forward to Monday nights.  We can tell that we're making a difference in lives because we can see the difference in the children that come regularly and the ones that don't.  We can also see a change in the children from year to year, as they mature.  It's a real blessing and a real challenge to work with them and grow with them.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

One more recipe

I didn't post the recipe for the meatloaf yet - and I like to post all of the recipes I use so that I can find them again.  This recipe is adapted from a Company's Coming Cookbook.

Meatless Meatloaf

1 cup creamed cottage cheese
2 eggs
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp dried basil (actually, I purchase my basil in a tube, and squeeze out about the same amount as I would use on my toothbrush)
salt and pepper to taste

Mix together and then add:
1 cup ground nuts (this time we used a mixture of sunflower seeds and almonds)
3/4 cup bread crumbs (if I was going gluten-free I'd probably use either puffed rice or left-over brown rice)
1/2 a large onion, chopped fine

Mix everything together, place in a greased loaf pan and cover with ketchup.  Bake at 350 until done - about 40 minutes.

Cooking up a Storm

We really got busy this morning.  My mother, my sister, my niece (Sonia) and I all were cooking at various times, although never more than three of us at a time.  We made a new salad because I had these beautiful carrots bought at the farmer's market, and wanted to do a salad to showcase them. Some are purple on the outside and orange on the inside, others are bright yellow.  I also have the traditional orange carrots.

Three C’s Salad

4 medium carrots, grated (we used some purple carrots, some yellow carrots and some orange ones)
½ cup currents
½ cup chopped celery

½ cup olive oil
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
2 TLB raspberry cordial
1 tsp chopped garlic
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper

Ruth and I are on for bringing the snack for The Party Monday night, so we needed to make something for that.  We also were doing our weekly meal cooking and planning.  So we made:

Meatless Meatloaf - we made two of them and will freeze one.
Meat balls (these contain hamburger meat) - we made 8 dozen
Pigs in blankets (otherwise known as hot dogs wrapped in bun dough and baked.  This was for The Party, so we cut the hot dogs into thirds and ended up making 12 dozen of them.  That should be enough.
Vegetable Pecan Salad
Peas and Corn Salad
Turkey Casserole (two of them)
We're planning on cooking a pork roast for Sunday dinner tomorrow, so I purchased a pork loin roast and it was so large we cut it into three, froze two portions and put the third portion to marinade until tomorrow.

We had to run out to get groceries twice - once before we started and just when we thought we were finished another sister phoned to ask if I could bring them over lunch, so I ran out and purchased luncheon meat and buns and a few more groceries.

Here's the recipe for the pea salad.  We looked and looked for a recipe for a pea salad that had a vinaigrette instead of a mayonnaise dressing.  Here's what we came up with:

Peas and Corn Salad
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas
1/3 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped red pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 TLB chopped parsley
1 TLB chopped mint

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp sugar
salt and pepper to taste

Finally, here's the recipe for the turkey casserole.  It's great because it uses up all of your leftovers after Thanksgiving.  In fact, you may want to keep some of the main course back, just so you'll have enough for this.

Turkey Casserole
4 cups of diced leftover turkey
4 cups diced bread cubes (or 1 box stuffing mix)
1 white onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
2 TSP poultry seasoning
1 cup turkey broth
2 cups leftover turkey gravy

Combine bread cubes, onion, celery and poultry seasoning with the broth to make stuffing.

Layer the turkey, stuffing, and gravy, starting and ending with turkey.  If it looks to be really dry, add either more gravy or broth on the top.  Bake at 350 for 40 minutes.  This recipe freezes well, so if you freeze it, you'll need to bake it longer or thaw it first.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Working Out

I started going to Curves with my sister Ruth back in February.  Really enjoyed it too.  I find that when I work out regularly, I feel better, sleep better, and seem to have much more energy.  All good things.  However, I'm now commuting to Moose Jaw everyday - and while I have lots of time most days (as I'm done work at 3 pm and Bram's done school at 4:20 pm), the time I have is in Moose Jaw, where there is no Curves.  However, there is a fitness centre right here at SIAST, and a year's membership for staff is only $30 - that's less than a month's membership at Curves.  (I've also asked Curves if they'll put my membership on hold for two months.)  So, I signed up.

Took me awhile to get everything done - have to pay for the pass in one location, and pick up the swipe card so you can get in at another location, which is only open over the noon hour.  Have to find the fitness centre (which is not near the gym at all - although that's where the change rooms and showers are).  Have to remember to bring my workout clothes and shoes from home.

However, I managed to get everything done today and so went and worked out for the first time here at SIAST.  This also means that it's been nearly two weeks since I have worked out.  Did my body notice?  Yeah.  Also, the machines are all totally different from the ones at Curves, and I couldn't find a staff member to ask for help - so was reduced to reading the instructions on the side of each machine. 

Anyway.  I walked on the treadmill for half an hour.  That was easy.  Enjoyed it too.  I don't think the pulse monitor part works correctly though, because the highest it had my pulse going up to was 101 - and I'm pretty sure that after a half an hour of brisk walking, I should have a higher pulse rate than that.

Then I went to try the weight machines.  Whew!  That's a workout!  Set the weight for somewhere near the top (they've obviously all been used by some macho guy trying to set a point, because they're all set right near the bottom); read how to use the machine, try a few reps.  Move on to another machine.  I think I only tried five machines - there's way more than that, but that's all I could easily figure out and besides that, I was feeling that I'd really done something by that time.

I had thought I'd work out for an hour.  Managed about 45 min. or so.  Try again another day.  Maybe some day I'll find someone who can actually show me what I should be doing.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Family Supper

I have been hosting a family supper on Wednesday nights for the past few years.  Everyone who lives in Regina or who is visiting Regina on a Wednesday is invited.  I usually have between 10 and 15 but have had up to 30 on occasion.  It ensures that we all get a visit in and touch base with everyone; which isn't always possible otherwise.  Then once a month (or more often) I have everyone over on Sunday.  The most I've ever had on a Sunday is around 65  (after a certain number, it gets really hard to do an accurate count), but we usually have around 20 or so.

Tonight, being Wednesday, we had everyone over.  We had turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy, vegetables, salads, etc. with ice cream for dessert.  A special thank you to my mother because as I was going out the door this morning I hadn't found my roasting pan yet and left the frozen bird sitting on my counter and when she got up, she got it in the oven for me, peeled the potatoes, and got nearly everything ready.  When Bram and I got in this evening, it was just about all done.  That was a special bonus.  This wasn't a Thanksgiving dinner - but turkeys are on sale right now, and I really like turkey.  Unfortunately, I did buy cranberries, but couldn't find them when it was time to put supper on the table, so we will have to have cranberries later.  I can't think we really missed having them.  It also means that we'll have leftover turkey for lunch tomorrow and turkey soup on Friday.  Tonight we set the table with china and silverware - after all, if I've got it, why not use it?  I didn't give any preschoolers china though.  They had to make do with the regular stoneware.

I really like having guests. I also like that I don't have to go out in the evenings, because I'm a home body.  This works well for everyone because I have more room than everyone.  I think it's a win-win situation all around.

Monday, September 24, 2012

More Salad Experimentation

Well, Ruth and I didn't get to making salads until Sunday evening.  However, we tried two new recipes that I think will be hits.  First of all, we made a

Broccoli, Beets and Bean Salad (The Three B's)

2 heads of broccoli, cut into small pieces
3 small golden beets - cut in half and boiled or steamed until tender, then thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, diced
2 1/2 cups red kidney beans (or a 19 oz can)
1/4 cup feta cheese crumbled or diced
1 cup chopped nuts

1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Either 2 TLB raspberry jam or 2 tsp raspberry syrup
Salt and pepper to taste

This makes a really beautiful salad - the golden beets are much milder than the traditional deep red beets, and together with the red kidney beans, the green broccoli and the red onion (which is really purple) - it's really attractive.  I took photos but will have to load them later.

Then we made a
Cucumber Carrot Salad
Which was basically, thinly slicing
1/2 English cucumber
2 carrots (we used the purple carrots, which are orange in the centre - again, they're really beautiful)
1 tsp grated ginger
1/2 red onion diced

Cover with
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Now I have to admit that the second day, the carrots had stained everything bright purple because they work the same way the beets do - but they're beautiful on the first day, aren't they?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Aunt Rose

Although she was not a blood relation, Aunt Rose was definitely family.  She started boarding with my Granddad and Grandmother Orr when they lived in Moose Jaw, when Aunt Verna was in her early teens and the rest of the family was in their later teens or early 20's.  My Grandmother told me many years later, that it wasn't a convenient time to take a boarder, particularly a boarder who was crippled by arthritis, but she couldn't say no.  She quickly became part of the family, and when the Orrs moved to Saskatoon and Biggar and Wawota - Aunt Rose moved with them.  In fact, by the time they moved to Biggar - they designed the house with her suite set up for her disabilities.  They used essentially the same house plan when they moved to Wawota.

I really don't remember her walking, aside from a step here or there.  I was young enough that in my memories she was in a wheel chair.  However, she did hold a job in Moose Jaw and in Saskatoon, and wasn't restricted to the wheel chair until much later.  When they lived in Biggar, I remember she had a pet turtle, and if we were really good, she'd let us feed it tiny pieces of liver.

One clear memory I have from Biggar was one time when I was left with her (I think I wasn't feeling very well) and everyone else was out.  I wanted to bake a cake - and she said ok, but I had to go next door and borrow some eggs. I was shy, but she made it my responsibility.  After all, if I wanted to cook, I was responsible for borrowing the ingredients.  Cake to Aunt Rose, meant Angel Food - made from scratch.  We mixed the whole thing up, and I recall climbing up on a stool to peer in the oven to see it bake - and jumping off the stool - and the cake fell.  Aunt Rose was more than a little disgusted with me.

Most of my memories are from when they lived in Wawota though.  Aunt Rose was in and out of the hospital in Saskatoon because of recurring problems with ulcers in her legs that wouldn't heal, and in addition my parents served as respite care for my grandparents and she'd stay with us for the month of August most years.  I was Aunt Rose's personal care attendant.  I would help her dress, count out her pills, do her hair, dress her sores, bathe her feet and put ointment on them, etc.  She paid me the princely sum of $5 a week to do this - which was quite a bit of money, as far as I was concerned.  I was in my early teens.  More than that though, we were friends.  I'd push her the three blocks down to the corner store and we'd take turns treating each other to fresh fruit.  I'd tease her and she'd tease me back.  She was kind of ageless to me - although she was a contemporary of my grandparents, I never realized that she had an age - she just was.  I planned that when I grew up, I'd need to have a house with a bedroom on the main floor to provide a home for Aunt Rose because my grandparents couldn't look after her forever.  (I now live in a house with all the bedrooms on the main floor, Aunt Rose).

She was incredibly patient.  She spent hours and hours reading stories to my younger brothers and sister - mostly Dick and Jane books.  We had a set of old readers that had been discarded from a school and Grandma had given to us.  The younger ones loved those stories - especially the ones with food in them - and would get Aunt Rose to read to them for hours and hours at a time.  That's one of my strongest memories - she was restricted to bed rest, in the hopes that the ulcers on her feet and legs would heal up, so she'd have a child or two on each side of her on the bed and she'd be reading to them.

She was tremendously crippled by arthritis, and must have been in constant pain, but I never recall her ever complaining.  She could only stand to move from the bed to her wheel chair or from the wheel chair to the toilet; her hands were so crippled that in order to sign a cheque we had to tape her fingers together and tape the pen to it.  Her feet were tremendously clubbed, and we had to be very careful to put ointment between the toes and keep them scrupulously clean or they'd get infected.  Most of the time she had open ulcers on her feet and legs.  However, she never talked about her disabilities - only about her abilities.  I remember one time she came back from the hospital and showed off her stick, that the occupational therapy department had made for her at her request.  It was about 2 feet long, had a hook at one end, and a really strong magnet at the other.  She used it to open drawers, grab clothing off hangars, etc.  She was quite pleased with it and showed off how if she dropped an article of clothing on the floor, for example, she could retrieve it herself with her stick, instead of asking for help.

She was also incredibly generous.  In addition to giving her time, she also donated regularly to a number of different causes.   She lived on a small fixed income, but she regularly helped to support a children's home in the southern states somewhere, for example. I only knew because I would write out the cheques for her and then tape her fingers together so that she could sign them.  She was quite stern with me that I couldn't tell anyone - that how she chose to give her money was no one else's concern.  She hated having her picture taken and it was quite difficult to find her in any pictures.  The photo above was the only one I could find - and I cropped her out of a group photo.

She hated garlic - and could detect it in very small quantities.  She was of German Mennonite background and could speak high and low German as well as English.  She taught me to count to 10 in German.  She had a difficult childhood and developed arthritis in her early 20's - but she never spoke much about herself.  She was far more interested in you.

She loved us - and we loved her.  Towards the end of her life, when she was in the hospital in Wawota, she shared a room with a senile elderly woman who wailed and cried all day long in a loud voice, "Lord Jesus, come and take me.  I don't want to be here!  Please, take me home!"  It must have been very hard to have such a room mate, but she didn't complain.  I recall one time, Sengpeth and Gina had come up to visit with me (they were preschoolers) and Aunt Rose asked if they would like a candy.  Yes, they would, and she pulled open her drawer to take some out, only to discover the candy box was empty! "Oh, that's ok," she said, "we'll borrow some candies from Granny, she'll never know."  Right at that time, Granny spoke up and said, "Be sure your sins will find you out!" and we all laughed and laughed.

I named my daughter in part after Aunt Rose.  She was an important part of my life and she taught me so much.