Saturday, November 23, 2019

Wildlife of Kenya

Horned wildlife in Kenya.

Impala bucks
Water Buffalo of Kenya. In the background are pink flamingos and pelicans.

These photos were taken some years back on a trip to the Lake Nakuru National Park.

I'm signing off with a very heartwarming video about unlikely friendships between animals.
I hope you enjoy it.
Watching it I was reminded of how the animals one lived lived together in peace with all other animals and with early humans in the Garden of Eden.
I believe that one day the animals will be able to live like that again.

Joining up with Eileen
Saturday's Critters

Have an awesome week ahead.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Misty Mountains

Happy Friday everyone,

I wish you all the very best that the weekend has to offer.

North Shore Ski Hill and lights, Catholic Church steeple in foreground.
(click photo to enlarge)

Joining in with

Thank you for stopping by!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Hello blogging friends,

We just finished observing Remembrance Day here in Canada as many of you did in other countries. The various holidays of the year have flown by and we just have Christmas to celebrate before the end of the year.  Usually on Remembrance Day it is raining heavily in my city and I always feel badly for the veterans when that have to stand or sit in the rain or shiver in the cold (when it doesn't rain it is usually quite frigid). I was grateful that this year there was no rain for Remembrance Day and in fact the sun came out. It seemed warmer than usual.

However, we are expecting more rain this week after a few weeks of wonderful sunshine. Apparently we broke a record for 14 consecutive days of sunshine.  I had to laugh when I heard that and wondered what must go through people's minds when they live elsewhere in the world and hear that.

I do live in the rain forest area and we get a lot of rain. It's what gives us fantastic forests and lush green grass most of the year.  But this year we had such a deluge of rain in September and October which is a few months earlier than usual.  I don't like to complain but when Fall is your favourite season and you can't really enjoy the colours due to the clouds and rain, it isn't my happy time. But next year is another year and I hope I will be able to enjoy the foliage then.  I can always hope.

I've done a bit of reading and completed the book on Jackie Kennedy Onassis, her mother and sister which I enjoyed though it may not be everyone's cup of tea. I have now finished 48 books this year and expect to finish 50 books before 2020 arrives.  I am about to begin the Book of Philippians in the New Testament (NT) as well. I've already read 1 John and Revelations so there isn't much more to read before I've completed my reading of the NT.

Right now I'm enjoying watching Dancing with the Stars on television. It amazes me what amateurs can do when they are paired up with professionals though the younger ones have an advantage in terms of flexibility and ability to bounce back from injuries. It's fun to watch them all and see who will be voted off and who will remain until the final show.

Earlier today I did a bit of baking.  When the weather turns cooler, I always crave something home baked to have with hot tea while I read or watch television.  These muffins are my current favourites because I'm trying to use up some corn meal a friend gifted me.

Corn meal muffins on left and with added cranberries on right

Banana bread
If you'd like to try the muffins you can find the recipe here.  I also had a few frozen bananas I wanted to use up.  I've tried many different banana bread recipes over time and they are never quite to my liking so I keep trying.This one looks like it might be better than others I've used but I'll know after I try eating it. If you'd like to check out the recipe you can find it here.

Tomorrow I go to the hospital for assessment of my knees. I can tell by the questionnaire they sent me that I likely won't be considered a high priority candidate for surgery because I am still very independent. I do hope though that somehow getting this process underway will stand me in good stead for when I do need to have surgery.  I'll know more in due course.

Christmas shopping is almost done. It seems there are always things and gifts I think about at the last minute. It usually means I start enlarging the circle of friends I want to gift as Christmas draws closer. It is always a heart warming thing to consider a special gift for those you love.

I'm also reflecting on the accomplishments of the past year and looking ahead to 2020 which I expect will be a very different kind of year.  The year 2019 was a year of cleaning up and clearing out. It was also a year of dealing with lots of unfinished business in preparation for the future. I am still in the process of dealing with old business but have made significant progress.

  • Travelled to Paris (a long awaited dream) and to Kenya (a long delayed trip)
  • Completed x-rays on knees & scheduled assessment and evaluation for surgery
  • Dealt with major dental needs, including all communications with insurance cos (and will finish these before end of year)
  • Completed legal paperwork for a relative to oversee her personal and medical care
  • Changed financial advisors
  • Cancelled financial products
  • Drafted a new Last Will & Testament
  • Read many books and more than met my reading goal for 2019
  • Visited with family members near and far (made one long journey for visit)
  • Implemented a schedule for consistent Bible study and prayer/praise
  • Slowed down the hectic pace of activities
  • Studied numerous topics of interest through webinars in preparation for future plans
  • Decluttered clothing, knick knacks, books and papers - work is ongoing
  • Reconnected with various friends from afar
  • Assisted numerous needy in Africa: 4 sponsored boys in Africa, 3 graduates of Kenyan universities & 4 adults requiring significant help with medical needs, food and shelter. This work is ongoing.

In terms of the Kenyan missions and outreach I'm working on a number of things as we close out the year. The needs are always more than I can handle on my own.  But I am always willing to see what I can do and to see if there are others who might join with me here and there or even longer term.  I understand if you can't or don't want to help, there is certainly no pressure to do so. My feeling is that God speaks to certain people to prompt them to help and it is between them and God whether they obey. Then too there are people who are not Christian who may also have a heart to help and that is good too. 

Going forward these are the needs:
  • Assist Eunice monthly with her medicines ($250 US/$335 Canadian) and special food ($180 US/$240 Canadian) to treat acute anemia. She has improved and when she has a set back she bounces back more quickly. 
  • Send Charles to an alcohol rehabilitation centre for 3 months ($1500 US/$2000). Charles is a chronic alcoholic with a wife and several children. He has not worked for quite some time and needs professional intervention to get beyond his addiction.
  • Monitor Ernest's recovery from leg injuries and his nutritional and monetary needs (any amount is helpful).
  • Help Ernest with a small business venture  ($270 US/$360 Canadian bare bones budget) to start a barbering business).  He has experience in barbering and the start up costs are minimal.  If he can get back to work he he could at least provide for his own food needs in the longer term. 
  • Repair the leaking roof and walls in Ernest's house. The tin roof needs replacing and the walls need replastering (approximate cost is $200 US or $270 Canadian). Right now he is bunking at his mother's home but this won't work longer term. 
There are other needs but these ones are the priority needs. If any of you would like to help with one or more of these needs please let me know or send donations to the Pay Pal link located in the side bar to the right of this blog.
In other news, Alvin, the Engineering graduate, has passed his English as a Second Language test with flying colours. He is now working on finding a thesis supervisor at a university here in Vancouver. Kindly keep him in your prayers so that he can find a supervisor, get admitted and obtain a scholarship to further his studies.

Levi is the other Engineering graduate I was helping but he has now gone off to India to do a Masters degree.  Fortunately he received a scholarship to study abroad.

Last but not least, Carolly graduated with a medical degree and fulfilled his licensing requirements. His graduation was last Friday.  Carolly comes from very humble beginnings and has worked very hard to get this far. Currently he is working as an ambulance attendant.  Now that he has his medical license he can look forward to working as a doctor. Physicians are best placed to find work in Kenya it seems, otherwise unemployment levels in Kenya are extremely high.

That's it for now blogging friends. 
I hope to see you in Blog Land soon. 

Sunday, November 10, 2019

In Remembrance

We shall remember the sacrifices made for our freedom.
November 11, 2019 @ 11 a.m.

Tomb of  the Unknown Soldier

Friday, November 8, 2019

A Different View

Joining Skywatch Friday today

This week I'm sharing night photos of the sky.  Not day time photos. I was out and about doing errands and just had my phone with me. The phone camera doesn't have great clarity especially at night but it will do in a pinch.  I couldn't go out without trying to capture the beautiful colour and mood in the sky.

I took this photo because I like how the windows in the building reflect the colours of the sunset.
This photo is taken towards the south. Can you see the crescent moon peeking through the branches?

Bus stop in the same general vicinity.

This is a wonderful coffee shop that also has great pastries and sandwiches.

The weather has been dry all week along with blue skies and sunshine. It's a nice treat after so much rain in September and October.  We have now gone for a record setting 13 consecutive days without rain. I hear it may rain this weekend but it is not a guarantee. Next week it should be dry and sunny for most of the week.

The next part of the post is more of a record that I can look back at in years to come when I need or want to reflect back on what I've been doing with my time. Of course it doesn't cover every detail. Only the highlights or the key things taking up time.


In my Bible reading I have now started on 2 Corinthians in the New Testament. In terms of library books I could not get too invested in the book entitled 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Petersen because I didn't have much time for reading over the past 2 weeks.  I was unable to renew the book even once due to the long wait list.  It will have to go into my "read later" list.   In the meantime I enjoyed, Memoirs of a Muhindi:  Fleeing East Africa for the West by Mansoor Ladha. I'm also half way into a book entitled Jackie, Janet & Lee:  The Secret Lives of Janet Auchincloss and Her Daughters, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Lee Radziwill.  Once I'm finished I have 2 books on style and fashion to read for a book club I'm in.


This week I've been very busy getting my calendar organized for November and December. My friend and I have confirmed our tickets for the Christmas concert in mid December.  There are another 2 concerts that I just learned about and they are coming up in a few days.  One is free and one is by donation. I've heard the orchestra before and so I know the concerts will be top notch. If I'm able I'd like to get to at least one of them and am awaiting word about whether a friend can join me.

I've been busy trying to shop the sales on line for some of my clothing gaps for next summer.  Most of the items don't fit well but several of them are perfect. I've also ordered most of the smaller gift items I need to wrap for Christmas.

I have a few medical (colonoscopy and knee assessment for possible surgery) and a dental (bridge replacement) procedures that must be done soon.  In fact, I had a colonoscopy Thursday morning but it wasn't able to properly completed so I must return in 6 months. The doctor found a very small polyp but she didn't snip it right away and when she tried hard to find it later after a full examination of the colon she could not find it again. I really don't look like these procedures (who does?) especially because I thought I was getting the same doctor I had last time (he was very efficient and I felt virtually nothing.  I was disappointed to get a different, albeit nice, doctor today.  In the end  my disappointment was justified because the outcome was a failed procedure.  If anyone (probably many of you) has had this procedure you know it isn't much fun preparing for it or going through it. I am still grateful that we have access to these kinds of detection measures though. We are very blessed in this day and age.

I'm also sorting out an outstanding bill with the dental office.  It should be fairly straightforward but for whatever reason it doesn't seem to be. It involves multiple people at the dental office and one, if not two, insurance companies. The dental staff say my insurer didn't pay all the cleaning costs because some of it is not covered. This is all new stuff for me because my insurance has always fully covered cleaning procedures. This year I even had more cleaning units than every before but now the dental offices want to charge me more.  It makes no sense to me. I figured it was an error but it may turn out to be otherwise.  When I press the patient coordinator, she can only give me a partial explanation which wasn't sufficient.  I told her I want a clear and justified bill before I pay and that I'd like to resolve it before getting the bride work done before the end of this calendar year.  I'm now waiting for a call from the billing department.  It gives me a bit of time to carefully go over the bill they've sent and to prepare my questions.

All this is time consuming.  But I've found when I'm proactive about such matters I end up saving myself money.  For example, for the colonoscopy, when the district hospital staff book an appointment for me they send all the instructions to me including instructing me about the over the counter medicine to purchase to cleanse the colon (Colyte or Peglyte).

In doing some research I discovered that these two medicines appear to be covered by one of my insurers but I wasn't completely sure because of the pharmaceutical name.  When I spoke to the pharmacist I usually deal with, he insisted I needed a prescription. I told him it doesn't make sense to request a prescription for an over the counter medicine but he wouldn't budge so I left things and called the insurer. The staff person was useless. She wasn't the DIN number even though I didn't purchase the product.  I told her what the pharmacist told me. She suggested I just get a prescription. I told her time was of the essence and there was no time to book in with the doctor.  so she wasn't helpful at all. She just suggested the pharmacist is the one who could answer my question by putting in the DIN number to the system. I already knew that wouldn't work with my primary pharmacist because I'd already spoken with him and he knew the answer.

I went to a 2nd pharmacist. They did what the 1st pharmacist should have done. They processed my ordered under my name with whatever information they have to provide to the system and the claim was processed (meaning the medication was covered).  This is a savings of $33.00 (thirty three dollars Canadian) for 30 minutes of my time in 3 phone calls and discussions.  I won't have to repeat these questions because I have an answer. In 6 months I have to buy this product again and (also into the future) so it is a regular savings of at least $33 dollars each time.  When you add together all these small sums of money it begins to really add up.

I also informed my regular pharmacist that he was in error.  He seemed perplexed  and continued to tell me that their system doesn't put the claim through. I suggested it might be their own computer system that needs tweaking.  He agreed it might be the case but I know that he is a franchise owner so he wouldn't be the one to try and resolve the system. It is much bigger than he is.  To be honest, I have heard that this very large pharmaceutical company always acts like they don't know what you're talking about when it comes to coverage for over the counter medicines. It means that other people like me are experiencing the same issues and getting a run around. I have no idea why a company would turn it's nose at money and not try to get to the root of the issue. Perhaps they are like me. Requiring a lot of time to analyze, assess and ponder before acting to correct things or perhaps it is just such a large company that trying to rejig the computer program is too difficult.  Eventually they may get around to it.

In other financial activity, I've finally cancelled some financial products that I've been wanting to cancel for a few years.  I just never was fully ready to cancel them for one reason or another.  Then unexpectedly my financial advisor switched companies this year.  Rather than follow him as a client, I decided now was a good time to make the switch.  He was disappointed but I haven't even met him once in person in over 10 years so I figure I am not losing by moving on.  In fact, I'm hoping to gain something like a more personalized experience.  Now I am caught up with the investment and financial product decisions I need to make.  I will continue streamlining things where I can and making a few adjustments here and there as needed.


Another thing taking time is my Kenyan outreach.

The man name Ernest who was run down by a motor vehicle has had his cast removed. He still has a follow up visit to see if his leg is straight as it seems maybe it is a bit bent. I'll know more about his condition in a few weeks. One friend generously helped him with money to help him buy nutritious food during these months he has been convalescing and it has really helped him. I am hoping that if I am able I can help Ernest to start a small barber business from home to provide modestly for his own needs. If any of my readers would like to help Ernest with food, a cow for milk needs or his barber business, please let me know.

Eunice, the woman with the issue of blood (chronic anemia likely brought on through long term poor nutrition) has been slowly improving on a special diet and on hormone medicines.  However from time to time she has a set back and lands in ICU.  She was recently in ICU for a few days this past week but is now back in the general ward. Since she has been on the special diet and the hormone treatment her set backs still happen suddenly and dramatically but they appear to be shortening. We continue to believe for a complete restoration of health after a time on the medication.

If anyone would like more information please see the link at the top right side bar.  If you are able to make a donation we would greatly appreciate it.

The two boys in Kenya (John and Ian) who I sponsor through Compassion Canada were writing their examinations this past week and I'm hoping to get a good report from them when the test results are in.  Both boys have a vision for trying to achieve more in school and I encourage them in their goal.

Alvin, one of the young men who graduated from Engineering has done very well on his English as a Second Language Test.  He is currently looking for a thesis supervisor whilst also preparing a graduate studies application to a university in Vancouver, Canada.  Carolly, a medical graduate will, as of today, November 8th, 2019, be a fully licensed doctor in .  This is a huge achievement for him and we are very proud of him.I will add some photos to this post once received.

That's it for now. Thank you for your visit. I hope to see you soon in Blog land.

Tuesday 4 ~ Books

Welcome back to Toni Taddeo's Tuesday 4 . Books are such a big part of many people's lives. Maybe we should talk about that. 1. Do y...