Tuesday, August 18, 2009

THe Productive and the Unproductive of holidays...

We'll start with the productive. When we arrived 2.5 weeks ago I learned that I got to help dig holes. There were 2 signs to put up at the church (holes to be 3 ft deep--actually ended up being 2'6") and this arbor to create. THese holes were 4' into solid clay. The original plan was to dig all the holes by hand (the sign post holes were dug by hand) but at less than 2' down on the first of these ones and several hours of work the foreman decided to rent a power auger (nevermind that the hand auger would only have gone 3'4" before the handle hit the ground). Then things went much faster. It is almost finished now, just some work on the downspout (which was a bit of a "water feature" when tested last night).

ANd then there is this. On Saturday night I was tucking the girls in when my kneecap decided it didn't feel like staying in place. This has happened before, but not for many years, so I popped it back in and dealt with the pain for the rest of the evening. Sunday things still didn't feel right so I gave in and went to the hospital in the afternoon. The Dr. took x-rays, said all looked good and prescribed a brace to allow the soft tissues to heal and strengthen. By brace Beloved and I figured he meant something mid-thigh to mid shin that would allow leg movement and usage. Instead it wasthis "knee immobilizer". So I wear it for a while each day. (just for the record, 15 years ago when a similar thing happened and the knee swelled so much I couldn't walk the treatment was a simple tensor bandage -- that seemed to be more appropriate and equally effective) THe knee is doing much better however....

Friday, August 14, 2009

A "Wild" Friday Five

Over at the RGBP site we are asked to talk about encounters with wild animals.

1. I really only know this story by having heard it, not by memory. WHen my sister and I were very young (she was still being carried in a backpack) we went on a hike on a circle trail. A little way in my parents saw a bear up ahead. SO we turned around and walked the trail the other way. About 3/4 of the way around however (by which time I was also being carried) my parents realized the problem in their logic. What if the bear was still there???? Happily it wasn't and therefore we did not have to turn around again.

2. another bear story. This time I was about 11. We were camping in North-Central Saskatchewan with good friends and my grandparents. Just as we finished eating supper a couple walked up from the other side of the circle and asked if we knew that the park staff had just tranquilized a bear a few campsites over (of course we didn't otherwise frying meat and cooking supper may well have waited a bit). So we walked around and actually got to touch the bear before it was loaded up for relocation.

3. About 4 years ago we had a groundhog living in our backyard. He would come out into the yard and sit in the sun every once in a while. ANd this year he was back, to the great amusement of the girls. Unfortunately it was also feasting on the neighbour's garden so I suspect it has been removed by now (the plan was live trap and relocate).

4. While on our honeymoon cruise 7 years ago we stopped in Aruba. Beloved and I took a walk around the port area of Orangeville and on almost every rock of any size was a lizard sunning itself. Some of them were a very great size.

5. Growing up 5 hours from the mountains meant that we very often took trips to the mountain parks. And often while driving through the parks there would be Bighorn Sheep beside or on the roadside. So we would often have to stop and wait for them to pass.

BONUS: (another bear story) last year we had a very large black bear (biggest I have ever seen) come for a visit. First in the middle of a hot afternoon with lots of people moving about. Then later that evening it came back. As he had been around several times and showed a distinct lack of worry about human contact he had to be destroyed. Interestingly, he was so habituated to human contact and/or unhealthy that he simply sat while the wildlife control officer walked to within 15 feet of him to get a good shot.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

As Promised! CLothing Pics...

Last week I went and spent as much on clothes as the rest of the trip will cost....

Here is the more formal look, with tie

Here is the same jacket with the other pants and shirt combo and no tie -- although the tie goes nicely with this pairing as well.

Fun at GC40

Who says United Church Folk don't know how to have fun!!!!

Here is a video of a presentation by the children at council:

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I just finished this book to day. At 165 pages (plus notes) it is a relatively short read But it is a very worthwhile read for anyone who has doubts about the so-callled economic recovery plans currently being peddled by our governments.

Rubin questions if we can really expect to return to "life as usual" given the state of oil supply and demand. ANd he outlines a very believable picture of why we can't and what that means.

IT is a book with some uncomfortable "truths". But many of us know and understand that the uncomfortable truths are often the most important ones in the end.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Honesty and Vision

As part of following GC40 from a distance (note that had I known how the balls that I had in the air would land in terms of my time availability I would have accepted a nomination to attend this meeting as a commissioner. Ah well there is always 2012) I have been reading this blog.

Today I read this particular post and was greatly impressed by the wisdom contained within it. To quote:
Before any significant decision is made at this General Council, commissioners heard from Don Hunter, the chair of the Permanent Committee on Finance...Don was clear in his message that the General Council sets the priorities of the church, and so is free to approve anything before it. He pointed out, however, that with every approval, commissioners should be prepared to identify what they want to eliminate in order to fund the new initiative...He then offered some visionary ideas as to where the United Church might be in 10 years which really started the discussion. Every urban church located in a mall? Sell half our current church properties to fund ongoing ministry? Cut General Council committees to 10 (from present 70+)?

If this is a sample of the wisdom that is present at GC I am comforted. Hopefully the words are heard and not ignored as "inconvenient" or "un-hopeful" or "unpleasant". NOw if we could just get all other courts of the church to hear and put into practice the same wisdom (Presbytery and Conference folk I am looking at you!)

Saturday, August 08, 2009

THe Things Kids Say.....

Last night we were returning to my parental abode from that of my sister. Princess has her window wide open staring out into the wind (sort of like dogs do when they stick their head out the window to be totally honest).

Dad: Do you want the window closed?
Princess: Nope.
D: It's not too windy?
P: No, I like the wind (a couple of beats) It's like the spirit

Obviously she is a PK.

Mind you after our communion ervice at camp, while the campers were working on their banners, I turned around and gathered around the table finishing off the bread with great gusto are Princess, Scalliwag and a third PK. Sort of like they knew this is what you did with left over communion bread....

Prayer for GC

The 40th meeting of the General Council of the United Church of Canada starts tomorrow. You can find out more about the meeeting, including how to follow the proceedings) here.

Holding the commissioners, guests and staff who are gathering in Kelowna as I type in prayer I re-post this prayer I wrote 3 years ago as GC39 was approaching:

Creator God, who calls us to live, and work, and be together in community,
we confess that sometimes we find it hard to do that.
Sometimes we find it hard to admit that other members of the community
might have a different vision of who we are.
Sometimes we find it hard to listen and so we attack.
Sometimes we find it hard to hear and so we stop trying.
Creator God, who calls us to grow and mature as people of faith,
we pray that we would be able to listen and hear and hope.
At this time we pray particularly for the Commissioners to the 40th General Council.
As they gather together from the depth and breadth of this thing we call the United Church of Canada,
which is in turn merely a part of your much larger body,
may they come with hearts, minds, and souls ready to listen.
May they be ready to listen to those with whom they agree and to those with whom they disagree.
And may they be ready to listen for your voice.
God who calls us to be the church,
grant that these men and women, young and old alike,
will hear your voice and hear what and who you are calling the United Church to be.
Help them to translate that vision into action with wisdom, compassion, and excitement.
These things we pray in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, the one we call Christ,
the one in whom we are all united despite our differences,
our Teacher, our Redeemer, our Friend.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Vacation Update

Well vacation is now a week old. And I still seem to be waiting for the "extra sleep so I can catch up" part to kick in......

Anyway, what has been happening? Well a trip to the local Farmer's Market on Saturday. And church at "ye olde home kirk" -- imagine, I got to spend the whole service with my daughters for a change!

Yesterday we bowed to the altar of consumerism and went to the monstrosity of a mall in the big city just south of us. And only spent almost $1000 on clothes for one of us (the one family member with a Y in the chromosomal mix). But then again when one only buys good dress clothes once every 8 years or so it makes the dollar amount sound a little bit better. (A jacket, 2 pairs of pants, 2 shirts and a tie -- maybe pictures will appear after the alterations are complete)

One of the things we promised the girls was that we we take a ride on the commuter train in Big City to the South. So today we drove to the end of the line (which used to almost be the end of town--not so much now) and rode in to the University. This gave us a mixture of above and below ground stations to ride through. I guess I must be jaded, having ridden this train many many times since the system opened in 1978. But the grin on the girl's faces when the train started moving was ear to ear and absolutely priceless (but no I didn't have the camera out for it). Then we wandered around the University for a bit before heading "home".

Still up for grabs? Beloved and I are going to a dinner theatre next week. And my sister (and family) just returned from holidays so something with them. And possibly a trip out to the lake for a day. And a trip to the museum is a possibility. And............

In Other News: Last night on the news I heard that the White House is claiming no involvement in Bill Clinton's trip to North Korea that seems to have prompted the release of 2 US journalists convicted of entering the country illegally. Really? They expect us to believe that a very popular former President whose wife is the current Secretary of State makes a high profile visit (because what other kind could he possibly make given his stature) to an "Axis of Evil" state with whom the US has no diplomatic relations without the White House being involved? That seems a little hard to swallow.