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.