Sunday, June 23, 2019

An Update

Hi friends,

 I haven't posted in awhile and there are a few updates and a short announcement.

Today was overcast and it rained a bit late in the day. It is supposed to rain a bit for several days this week. Not much rain but I hope it all adds up to enough to give the garden a good watering.

Sunday late evenings after dinner seem to be baking days for me, at least when it isn't hot outside.

I made date squares for the very first time as I had a small package of dates I've been wanting to use. I never used to like date squares but these days I don't mind them. I also made a batch of bannock bread to use up some milk which had passed it best by date.  I should have warmed the milk a bit first because it made the dough very cold. In the end though it tasted quite fine and took the edge off the hunger I was feeling despite having eaten dinner (marinated chicken, steamed rice and green salad).

The photo of the date squares isn't very good but oh my the square I had was very delicious. It must be all that sugar and butter. I know I won't be making these on a regular basis due to these two ingredients.  I'll be wrapping some up in wrapping paper and tin foil to take to a friend for her family. If I have another one or two that will be plenty and I will have saved myself from spending so much money on buying date squares. 

I calculated that this small pan of squares would have cost at least $18 Canadian if purchased in the supermarket here which usually sells 3-4 squares to a package. If purchased in individual squares at the cafe, the 12 squares would have cost 2 or 3x that.

I didn't calculate the cost of making the squares since I didn't go out and purchase anything to bake them  so I'm guesstimating the approximate cost of ingredients (only the amounts used and not the amount for the package of each item):  flour ($1),  sugar (25 cents), butter (60 cents), dates ($3), oatmeal (75 cents and shredded coconut (40 cents) for a grand total of $6.00 (Canadian). I used a recipe called Newfoundland Date Squares which you can find here.

I also made bannock bread.  Once it is baked and cooled, I  pack it away otherwise it gets dried out.  Bannock bread like this must be eaten within a day or two. It's best with butter, jam or cheese (Cheese Whiz is good too). I don't really follow a recipe. I make it often so it is by "feel" but here is a recipe to something similar. I make it in the slab but once I put the slab on a baking sheet I cut  the dough into squares with a sharp knife and prick it.  When it comes out of the oven it is already portioned out. I remember some ladies used to make a huge slab every day for their families rather than baked loaves. They didn't bother to cut it before baking. Everyone just tore pieces off at the dining room table or they would slice it into squares after baked and cooled.

Bannock bread

The root canal on one tooth was finished and I completed the antibiotics. It seemed like the tooth was quite badly infected and I know when they cleaned out the temporary cotton before finalizing the root canal there was still a lot of pain. They gave me extra freezing and they put some liquid antibacterial medicine which went down my throat and was burning. Right now there doesn't seem to be any real pain which is a relief as there had been slight pain for several days. I guess the tooth and gums needed time to heal. Anyway long story short is that I had to pay out of pocket due to the work needing to be done on emergency basis. Now I am hoping the insurance will reimburse me for most of the work. In the meantime I'm waiting for pre-approval for another major bit of tooth work. Even if they approve it I already know they won't cover much of it because my annual limit is almost exceeded with a bit of cleaning and the root canal.

Believe it or not I know some ladies that want to get dentures just to avoid pain and problems and future expense but I'm not at that point. My late mom had so many problems with partial dentures and if that were to happen to me it really isn't avoiding any future issues at all.

In Kenya, Ernest is slowly recovering at home. He will be in recovery mode for quite some time yet. I am still trying to raise the last $60 Canadian dollars or so to clear the hospital bill. I thank anyone reading this who has prayed for this need to be met, shared it on social media or given directly. You are all much appreciated and you know who you are. May God bless you also in your time of need.

Another friend is still in hospital about 3 hours from her home. She has been there for going on 3 months. I honestly don't know if she will improve as she has been in and out of ICU a few times but we continue to pray for her and I continue to try and meet the medical costs and to encourage her family as best I can.

I am letting one of my sponsored boys go. He is my most recently sponsored boy who lives in Uganda. His name is Kevin and I'm delighted to learn that his community will be graduating. I sponsor him through Food for the Hungry and the organization works intensively with communities for a10 year period during which time the community learns to be self sufficient. It will be an awesome time of celebration soon not just for Kevin and his family but also for the rest of the community they live in.

The other boys I sponsor in Kenya and Ethiopia are doing well.  John will turn 16 years old this month and is getting very close to graduating from the program.  He will be finished in 2 years and then he will be out of the program and I will be unable to communicate with him further but  I pray for and have hope and trust in his future. The other two boys, Ian from Kenya and Wondimu from Ethiopia are still several years away from finishing the program. I sponsor these three boys through Compassion International's Canadian office and have very much enjoyed working through this organization to help them.

We have started a short spell of rain this week. I hope it rains a lot for the gardens

Levi, one of the young university graduates I helped a bit during his last two yeara of university will be going to India next month. He is on a full scholarship to complete his Masters degree in Engineering over the next 2 years. While this is very exciting he first has to raise transitional funds and if he is successful he will leave for India in approximately 2 weeks.  

Alvin is another young graduate I have been helping. He graduated a year and a half ago and was hoping to do another year at his alma mater. It all fell through even though he was registered and paid the tuition.  We are now hoping he can continue studies in Canada but we need to get a scholarship for him. In the meantime he is keeping busy singing in the internationally renowned Kenyan Boys Choir.  After many months in the recording studio the choir has recently completed their latest album.  Soon they will be marketing it for sale. He also keeps very busy with church and helping his family in addition to looking for employment.  If he is able to come to Canada  to study it would greatly help him with future job prospects.

Last, but not least, is Carolly. He has been studying to become a medical doctor. Just yesterday he learned he has passed his examinations. He now has one 3 week internship in Ear, Nose and Throat department and after that he awaits graduation in November. I think Carolly will be snapped up by one of the Kenyan hospitals since the country is in need of doctors. That would be wonderful for him and his extended family.

I'm currently completing my 28th book of the year and will soon be reading Stern Men by Elizabeth Gilbert and The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain. I had a modest goal of 25 books which I've now surpassed. From now until the end of 2019,  I will only be reading for sheer pleasure and not only to achieve a goal. 
I may just not read anything for a few months and spend time in other pursuits.

So many things take up time besides housekeeping and other tasks. I've been participating in various free on line webinars, spending time in prayerful study, keeping up with a few friends and family members, making future plans and going to appointments which at times seem never ending.  I asked the doctor about possible knee surgery but apparently I  go to a program first where they teach about pain management and other relevant things. I believe they also assess whether and when I need surgery. 
I don't mind going because we have a waiting list for various kinds of surgeries here and I want to be in the queue. One thing that has been bothering me is the idea that I might wait too long and then end up being a long time on a waiting list if I don't do something to get myself on a list somewhere.  I'm not 100% sure if it really helps but at least I feel like I'm doing something positive.  In the meantime I also help myself by taking my supplements, walking and a bit of other exercise.

  At the end of summer I will have a family visitor and so I'm thinking about what we will do over the week, the menu and so on.  I was also expecting a cousin to make her annual visit soon.  I spoke with her last week and she won't be coming this year.  Her daughter decided to move to the city where she lives.  They are now living together until her daughter gets settled and so she has been busy showing her around the city and getting her familiar with everything.

I'm thinking of taking time away from blogging to relax and enjoy a slower pace over the summer.

 It has been a long time since I took a real blogging break and I've never taken a summer break from blogging. 
Summer always passes by so quickly and so I want to try and enjoy it this year.
  I'm not sure exactly when I'll start the break.  I was hoping to finalize my travel posts (Paris and Nairobi) first but not sure I will get to it.
Just in case you don't see me for awhile you will know that I've decided to go on break.
 🏖️  ☀️  🍹  🏝️

Until then enjoy your summer or your winter wherever you are in the world.

Friday, June 14, 2019

After the Pain

Hello everyone,

Since my last post I have suffered a lot of pain. After taking so many painkillers I decided to call the dental office and let them know I needed to get in sooner than my scheduled appointment. I had been on wait list but had not received a call. A few people commented on my last post that their dental offices have space for emergencies. I guess I didn't consider my situation an emergency because I didn't realize that the tooth giving me a problem still had roots.

Long story short, I did go in a few days earlier to the dentist and it was discovered that I had an abscess which needed to be cleaned out right away. Since then I only had a bit of pain after the freezing came out. I've now got antibiotics and pain killers to use as needed. I return Monday for the work to be completed. I'm not sure yet about other work as there is another major piece of work that needs doing under a bridge which now needs to come out and hopefully redone. When I saw the dentist a few months ago he thought he could work around it so I'm not sure why he says something different now. Maybe the x-rays tell the story but the affected tooth has no roots. So I'll wait and see. The main priority was getting rid of the tooth pain and is more or less gone. Thank goodness!


These sky photos were taken around 5 a.m. from my patio

Sunrise June 9, 2019

Sunrise June 9, 2019

Sunrise June 9, 2019

These plants are all from my patio garden

Geranium in a pot.

Catmint (not cat nip)
Remember the pansies were almost dead before I potted them but they are doing very well now.

Pink petunias


I've been taking a 1 mile walk each day in my neighbourhood (running errands, going to appointments and to the community garden plot), I spend 10 minutes a day, sometimes 20 minutes on the whole body vibration (WBV) machine, I take supplements for arthritis and try to eat more greens.  The knee pain has greatly reduced but is still there in the background if you will. I will continue with my regimes and next time I see the doctor I will ask for a referral to the arthritis specialist to discuss what my options are.  There can be quite a long wait for knee replacements where I live but they assess each person to see whether you should go on a priority list.

On my last post Yoko commented that I must strengthen the thigh muscles to help the knee pain. I remember when I was getting physiotherapy for the knee I was given some exercises to strengthen the muscles around the knee so I will start doing those again. The WBV machine also increases muscle mass in my legs so that helps.   The knee pain returns when I haven't been using WBV. There have actually been studies showing that WBV is good for arthritis sufferers (if you get the right kind of WBV machine) and I did experience great relief for several years after first being afflicted by arthritis many years ago.  My situation was much worse back then and I was eventually able to walk pain free after a lot of rehabilitation (as described above) and supplements.

I continue to keep very busy with the missions in Kenya. Right now I'm trying to help Eunice and her family who are dealing with life and death issues and the heavy financial burden.  Some of you may remember that Eunice  suffers from a blood issue. Either the blood is clotting and causing sudden hospitalization or she needs a lot of blood transfusions. I fear that she cannot go on much longer as she has already been through so much but God only knows for sure.

The main source of need is to pay for blood at a cost of 3000 Kenyan shillings per pint ($40 Canadian/$30 American) and she needs blood every other day. It gets expensive.  Her family has been getting relatives to travel in from several hours away to donate blood to try and reduce the costs but even this is a hardship because most of them are very poverty stricken and its hardship to spend on the transport and try and eat a bit on the journey to hospital and back. Kindly keep this woman and her family in prayer as the hospital she has been in for some time is several hours away from her home. The specialized kind of care she needs isn't available where she lives.

Ernest Ruto has gone home from hospital but there is still an outstanding balance of about $180 Canadian owing to the Kericho District Hospital. It's important to clear the bill not only because the money is owed but because it is the least expensive hospital option in Kericho Town and if the bill is not paid Ernest will have a hard time to get future medical assistance. I thank God for those who helped get this man home to recover. He is far happier to be recovering at home. Another benefit is that the hospital bill is not increasing since Ernest is no longer occupying a bed.

About a month or so ago I finished the last crochet blanket I was working on. I let it sit around for weeks as I just couldn't seem to get to tieing off the ends and taking a photo.

Finally I put all the loose threads to the back so I could take a photo of the blanket. I spread it out on the grass at the park because it is too large to get a good photo at home.  It is a twin size blanket so I also can't get a good photo of it on the sofa or on a larger bed.  Since I took the photo I have finally woven in and tied up all the loose ends at the back. I just need to prepare the blanket for mailing to my aunt so she can take it to my uncle.  I do hope it won't go missing at the care home where he lives as I've learned that things often get stolen in care homes.  That reminds me that I need to put a name label on the blanket before I mail it. It might help a bit.

I had the service man from the telecommunications company here to upgrade the modem and digital and PVR boxes. The equipment I had was first generation stuff from about 10 years ago and it really needed to be upgraded. What a difference it has made too. I no longer have such long delays and pauses when I use the remote controls. I also now only have to use one remote control rather than 2 and the speed of everything is much better even though I'm still on relatively low internet speed.  I've been waiting for years to get the fastest internet speed and it has been available now for awhile. But sadly the strata council and the telecommunications representative had an issue which led to a stand off and the end result is we cannot get the high speed internet right now.   So the upgrades are a God send and really correct the main issues I've been having. The service man will return in a few weeks to do one more thing which will allow me to have more streaming capability in the apartment. When you have guests or roommates it is much better to have more than 2 streams at a time to use for HD television (2 for watching in different rooms and one for recording). I am probably not explaining things properly but some of you may know what I'm trying to say, lol.

Other that that I've finally got things handled with the new financial advisor and I've made a few financial decision which I had put off for some time while I deliberated about finding a new advisor. I'm pleased with the progress I've made and will be doing more analysis and tweaking over the coming months.  I asked my new advisor if there were any incentives available for making the switch and I was given a choice of gift cards in the amount of $100. It was a bit disappointing since they give $300 for new bank accounts but I am still happy to have something. If I didn't ask I wouldn't get.  I chose a gift card for movies as that is one thing I like to attend throughout the year but I don't like paying today's prices.

Weather here has been very hot. It is usually me complaining about the heat but as I walk down the street my neighbours and some times complete strangers complain to me about the heat. Usually people just love hot weather but it seems this year those that don't are a bit more vocal. I am sure we are off to another dry summer and I just hope we get a few good rainfalls here and there. In May we only had 30.5 mm of rain which is just barely over 1 inch and well below the norm.

Every day or every other day I water my small balcony garden and go to the community plot to water that too. The community plot I have has a mish mash of plants because there are things coming up that were planted by the previous tenant.  I don't want to pull anything out until I can see what is growing. My lettuce, sunflowers and beans seem to be doing well. I didn't have poles for the beans when I planted so now need to get some up pronto so I purchased some 5 foot high bamboo poles. I didn't have time to go searching for alternatives and just bought these in a package of 25 at a store in my neighbourhood.  In future I hope to have some good enough photos to share of the little plot.

Thanks for reading. I hope you will come again.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Status Update

Hello everyone,

I hope you are enjoying the beginning of June so far.

I have been kept busy with the usual: gardening, doctor appointments, family, changing financial advisors, dealing with estate matters and other legal issues, catching up with friends and reading.

It has been a bit hot this week but not for overly long.  Thank goodness. Tomorrow we are supposed to have a bit of rain. I hope we get a good amount to help the gardens along.

Right now I'm suffering from a lot of inflammation. I have both a tooth infection, resulting in headaches and knee pain. The pain is almost constant and for the first time ever I've had to take Tylenol for pain. I've also started to seriously contemplate knee surgery or least speaking to the doctor about it.  To try and help myself  I've been back on the whole body vibration machine,  taking daily walks and various supplements.  In the last 2 days the knee pain has eased a lot.

I scheduled a dental appointment but due to some issues with the front desk staff at the office there have been delays in getting insurance approvals for the dental work.  My appointment is almost 2 weeks away and I've asked to be on the wait list. In the meantime I'm trying to do pain management. I don't expect to be on line much due to it being hard to concentrate with toothaches and headaches.

On a brighter note, I was able to volunteer to raise awareness of Compassion Canada. There were about 140 of us who went to the Pacific Coliseum where Hillsong United of Australia was playing to a sold out crowd. Our volunteer efforts consisted of handing out child information package and collecting completed applications.  Afterwards many of us stayed to listen to the concert.  Of course we were not allowed into the areas where people paid for their tickets and we had to be respectful of security staff who were very sensitive about it all. Each volunteer received a free Hillsong CD and a Compassion T-shirt which was nice. Many of the songs sung in the concert are from the new CD.  I really enjoyed the worship experience and many of those in attendance said the sinner's prayer at the invitation by the band leader.  I pray that these dear ones would be able to grow in their faith as the days and weeks go on.

Update: I received an update from Compassion staff on June 5th. The total volunteer count was 187 people. Two hundred ninety three children received new sponsors.  There is potential for an additional 93 sponsors because that is how many child information packages were handed out but have yet to be turned in.  That's so awesome.

Orientation Leader

Band Rehearsal

Volunteers enjoying the Orientation Leader's sense of humour.

Hillsong United concert underway.

In Other News

Ernest in Kenya has gone home to recover from recent leg surgery however he will have a long recovery ahead.
So far we still need $180 Canadian to clear the hospital bill and a bit more to cover transport back and forth (a vehicle needs to be hired) medicines and doctor follow up care and possibly some medical supplies.
For further information kindly click on the top left of this blog.

If you are able to help with a donation  you can make it

To send money you need an email address.
You can click here for it.

Otherwise, please consider sharing this fundraiser within your circles.

Thank you and have a wonderful week or two while I'm off recovering.
I will try to visit your blogs here and there.

Neighbourhood Street Scenes

Hello friends and fellow bloggers, I hope you are well today. These are photos I took on a recent walk in the neighbourhood. You can see the...