The Sky Over Me in November

Yesterday's sky was quite dramatic and the rain came down in buckets for much of the day. I moved my patio table against the wall and put on the new table cover I purchased last week.  It's a cover that covers the table and chairs but it is extra big and I don't like the look.  I'm going to box it up, return it and buy a smaller cover for the table. I already have a cover for the chairs which I will stack as it takes up less space.

 

Believe or not, the geraniums are still producing new blooms but not as prolifically and everything in the garden has pretty much seen better days. My main hope is to get the patio furniture put away properly before throwing out the container plants. I did manage to wash the patio chair cushions, buy the patio table and chair cover and try it on. Next I'll have to buy the new patio table cover and then everything can be put away properly.  I'll have to wash the table again as it got wet in the meantime and wipe down the chairs so they don't rust with water pooling on the arm rests. Those of you who have garages can just store everything in your garage but here in the city many of us do not have a separate garage or even extra storage spaces.

This next two photos were taken on Sunday, November 15, 2020. I barely remember what I do from day to day because the routine is pretty much home based.  It's a good thing we take photos, lol and can find the dates on the photo files. 


The last sky image is a colour by number painting I did on an app. I haven't done any of these paintings for several months but on Wednesday night I spent hours painting.  It's so easy to while away the time on the app and before I know it hours have passed by.  I'm not sure why I find it so appealing. I think I just like seeing what colours take shape and how quickly I can complete a picture since some of them are rather complicated. Wednesday night I completed them in record time as most of them were quite simple.  This particular scene speaks to me of northern Canada and Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) though I don't think there are mountains like that in the very far north.


I've been running back and forth to the post office to mail cards and letters and also to pick up packages that never arrived. I've already had to cancel one order coming from California because the company is going out of business due to Covid and I needed to get my refund before then.  The package had tracking but the information was confusing and the parcel never did arrive after 2 months.  I also ordered parcels from a Canadian company.  They are not using Canada Post as their delivery service and they are several days past the estimated arrival.  Supposedly they have now arrived so I'll check tomorrow at the post office.  Last but not least, I also ordered a parcel from an Etsy Store based in Montreal, Canada. I ordered several weeks ago and the package has not yet arrived.  The package came with free shipping and I didn't know until after I ordered that there is no tracking number provided. So I do hope it eventually arrives.  Since Covid 19 pandemic was announced, the parcel service is very hit or miss. For quite some time the post office was operating at half capacity at their main distribution center.  I think they are now staffing up for the annual Christmas rush. I've noticed that the small postal outlet where I go, they have been inundated with parcels, mail and in store customers. It has always been a busy postal outlet but nowadays it's just crazy busy.

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I've been busy cooking as usual. I suppose most people are these days and with more restrictive Covid measures in place things are not likely to change soon.

Saturday I made a ground beef soup with lots of veggies (potatoes, carrots, onions, mushrooms, celery) and macaroni in a tomato broth. Mom used to make a variation of this with home made biscuits and it is really nice to have on a chilly night. I wasn't up to making any bread so we had sourdough store bought sliced bread.

 

 

Sunday was roasted ham with mashed potatoes and green peas. We had leftovers on Monday and snacked on it here and there since then. I also cut up some pieces and froze them along with the bones to make ham and pea soup on another day. The ham looks much bigger than it is because I took a close up photo.

On Tuesday I made Sweet and Spicy Korean Ground Beef with rice and slaw. It's the second time I've made it and it is quite good so I see it becoming a new staple whenever I have ground beef and don't feel like having the usual.



Wednesday we had spaghettini and meat sauce as well as garlic bread with enough for leftovers on Thursday. It looks a bit strange in my bowl because I put spaghettini on the bottom covered with sauce and Parmesan cheese, then I decided to add more on top of that.


I've been feeling hungrier with the advent of the cold weather so have been back to having more protein smoothies and snacking on dark chocolate covered cranberries and cashew nuts or mixed nuts. 


I'm not doing too much reading right now as I'm trying to catch up on my very long list of 'to do's. I had good success this week with making 2 personal phone calls that I've been wanting to make. I also did a follow up call with a credit card company that is very remiss in handling disputes. I told them today that if they have not received the form they requested (and which I've sent 3 times with the first time being in July), that I want them to know I intend to lodge a formal complaint about their handling of this matter. I was dismayed to discover that though I faxed the latest copy of the form to them on November 13th, they cannot even tell me that they received it because it takes 10 -14 days to 'reach' the system. I asked if they can receive documents by email and they said 'no due to security reasons'. So ridiculous and I am not impressed. I told them I will call back on November 27th.

I am however feeling very good today because at least I did make progress on another matter which has been occupying my mental space and managed to make a few phone calls and emails to move the matter forward. I still have more 'to dos' requiring phone calls and various other follow up but bit by bit they will get done. Thank goodness I have the time during Covid 19 as ordinarily I would find it difficult to find the time to get these things done. I know some people are bored and finding they are not happy with having to stay home and limit their lives but there are others of us who maybe also don't like having to stay home and be cut off but nonetheless we are finding it a blessing to have 'found' time to get things done. Hopefully we can all look forward to 2021 with more optimism and joy. For many of us, it's all in the perspective.


 

 Keep well and keep safe.

Joining in with Skywatch Friday.





Friday is Here!

Hello everyone,

The week has gone by so fast I forgot it was Friday!

I'm sharing some beautiful sky shots from November 7, 2020. We had such a beautiful, sunny few days and I was very grateful for them. At this time of year they are few and far between.





On Tuesday I mailed some parcels to my niece and nephew for Advent. I still have to prepare their Christmas presents. It has been raining all week and this past Wednesday we had a holiday when we pause in our day to day activities and remember those men and women who have served us in the various wars. In addition to remembrance, I used some time in the day to prepare snail mail to send to a friend.

Despite my desire to get the garden cleared up and patio furniture put away by the end of October,  I still haven't done it. Today is Thursday and it rained more heavily than usual. But tonight I went out and purchased a patio table cover to help in the task. My plan is to wash the patio chair covers and the patio table and cover them all up for the winter.

 

I've been busy this week dealing with a few small items I've been procrastinating about for one reason or another. I didn't do any decluttering.  But one floor fan went to the recycling center. Even though it works, it is on it's last legs. As always there was lots of paper and containers that needed to go to recycling too. Those ones I just take to the recycling room.

A few days ago, our top doctor in the province brought in new restrictions due to ever climbing Covid 19 numbers and the country's top doctor recommended wearing 3 ply masks. I went out and bought another box of masks in addition to what I already have on hand. I also bought toilet paper and hope to buy some more this weekend. I don't go crazy and stock pile but want to make sure I have a reasonable amount of paper on hand this time in case more measures are brought in in two weeks.

We have at least been eating well during this rainy, cold season and I've probably spent more energy thinking of a variety of meals each week and more time cooking them than I normally do. It keeps me occupied during these difficult times and also makes me think of ways to use a variety of fruits and vegetables and other foods that I find in the weekly sales.

This first dish is roast beef covered in bacon before the final roasting. In the pot are onions, cauliflower and red peppers. On the side I made brown rice and green peas.


Another day we had spaghettini topped with a stir fry of big prawns, broccoli, cauliflower, onions and red peppers in a garlic-soy sauce. Wednesday night I made ham and pea soup but didn't take a photo.

Did any of you watch the Country Music Association Awards (CMAs) on Wednesday night?  I did and I watched it again on Thursday night on my PVR to enjoy the performances a 2nd time. Especially wonderful was seeing the great Charley Pride who received the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award. I remember listening to Charley Pride as a young teenager while I babysat the neighbourhood children for my pocket money. He was really inspiring to me then and he continues to be with his fabulous career and his deeply humble nature. I always wondered how he handled being a "cowboy" as a black man since he would definitely be in the minority.  The CMAA show was great and I enjoyed all the performances by the various bands and performers some of whom I'd never heard of before. I also enjoyed the co-hosting and singing done by Reba McIntyre and Darius Rucker, two great talents. Those of you who are not country music fans may know of Darius Rucker from his days fronting the band, "Hootie and the Blowfish". The band still exists but they took a long hiatus of 10 years while Darius pursued a solo career in country music.

Thursday night I made roast pork with onions, celery, carrots and mushrooms. Side dishes were mashed potatoes and green peas along with some gravy. It was very chilly outside and I got a bit wet running to stores in the rain so the dish really hit the spot tonight.

Apples seem to be a big feature in the stores right now. I bought a bag of Pink Lady and I'm snacking on those. I also bought a bag of Gala apples which I will likely use to make apple pie or apple crisp, perhaps both. I always think of this beautiful scripture when I see a beautiful apple.

"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver."  Proverbs 25:11

This verse reminds me how important it is that we have the right words to say at the right time. I am often in the position of having to know just what to say as it seems people I know do like to talk to me whenever they are going through difficult times. This week a friend of mine is going through marital distress. I try to say the right things that would not only be scriptural but also comforting. I sure hope that things work out for the good of everyone in this situation.


 Last, but not least, I enjoyed a few pomegranates this week.

 “Your shoots are an orchard of pomegranates
With choice fruits, henna with nard plants," Song of Songs 4:13
 


Pomegranates are so delicious. I love the juicy seeds and I'd like to get more.  But soon we'll be fully in the season of mandarin oranges and I buy a lot of oranges in the lead up to Christmas.

I remember a funny story from when I was very young, in Grade 4. A boy in my classroom used to come to school every day with his lunch which consisted of 1 package of deli meats, 1 entire loaf of white bread and 1 pomegranate. He ate it all every day. I remember being amazed by that and also being intrigued by the pomegranate which no one else I knew ate. In fact, I only knew the name of the fruit from the Bible but no one ate it that I knew of except for this one boy. It's funny the memories that remain with us through our lifetimes. I often think of that boy when I eat a pomegranate and wonder what happened to him. I don't recall his name.

With that I wish you all a wonderful weekend and a safe weekend ahead.

Linking up with Skywatch Friday.


Lest We Forget

This post is in remembrance of the many veterans (and those who supported them) who fought so valiantly that we might enjoy the fragile freedoms we have today.


I hope the younger people will try to continue to remember. I read in the news on November 10, 2020, that fewer Canadians bought a poppy this year than in 2019 and many don't know what the poppy represents. Here is a link that will explain the Poppy Campaign and the importance of it.


On Wednesday, November 11 at 11 a.m. I will remember the mighty and the fallen.

God bless them all. ♥♥♥


October Wrap Up

Hello everyone, 

I trust you all had a good week. I've had a very busy and productive week. Much of it has been spent catching up on a lot of little things that needed to be done and it feels good to get some of it out of the way.

I also was able to get a flu shot out of the way. It's a good thing too because most of the pharmacies here seem to have run out of the vaccine and they don't know when they will get more.

I went out on Hallowe'en evening to get my flu shot at one pharmacy. When I got there I learned they were all out. I took these night photos of the autumn leaves as I made my way to the pharmacy. I thought the autumn leaves looked so pretty with the night lights shining on them.

The big structure you see in the distance is a heritage building that is undergoing repair. The workers fully enclosed the building and are now wrapping it in plastic so that the work will be protected from the wet and rain over the winter months.



I took a photo of the moon but it is only a speck in my phone camera.

Since it was Hallowe'en a number of people on the streets were in costume.While I was in the pharmacy there was a man wearing a Little Red Riding Hood cape. Can you see him at the end of the aisle in the photo below? I'm sorry I wasn't able to get a full view of him for you.


 

Thankfully the night in my neighbourhood was very quiet other than the fireworks that went on until the wee hours of the morning, I heard that wasn't the case in the downtown area where the number of people gathered to drink and party; all while standing too closely together and not wearing face masks.

On Tuesday,  I took a trip to the library to return several books and pick up one more.  Since Covid I've been reading mostly digital books.  But not every book is available as an ebook.

The most recent book I read, A Recipe for a  Perfect Wife, was a very satisfying read though I found the ending unexpected and a little bit unfinished. It did not take away from my enjoyment. Basically this book is a dual story: one of the homemaker/would be writer who purchased a home in rural New York along with her husband.  The other story is about the previous home maker who lived in the house during the 50s. Basically the new home maker finds the old letters and recipes of the former occupant and begins cooking and dressing like a housewife of the 50s. The basic premise is that the life you see a person living, is not necessarily the life you think it is. In both stories, the women are trying to find a balance and an independence in their lives that neither of them actually have.

The next book I hope to read is called Elizabeth and Her German Garden written by Australian-born writer Elizabeth von Arnim.  It was first published in 1898.  It's a year long dairy of the author's experiences in learning to garden and about her social life. The book is very popular and has gone through numerous reprints over the many years since it was first published.

I'm also reading The Little Common Sense Book of Investing. In this book the author, John C. Bogle is basically trying to teach the reader to invest in index funds rather than waste time and money on investment managers and timing the markets.

Besides reading, I continued with deep cleaning and a little decluttering here and there.  Recently I ordered a few items on line which didn't fit (rain shoes and a long sleeved top) and so along with the time spent to look for just the right thing to order, I've had to spend time preparing the returns by mail.  In addition to on line shopping I made a trip to a brick and mortar store where I purchased a carpet cleaner. I haven't owned a good carpet cleaner for many, many years and have only been using a lightweight steam carpet cleaner.  It does keep things looking better but really doesn't give a good cleaning.

Lately, the carpets have been bothering me a lot. I thought maybe it is time to replace them but I do not have the funds for that, nor do I want the upheaval that would bring right now.  After reading the reviews on the carpet cleaner I took a chance and purchased the one in the photo below.  I was so eager to find out if it worked well and I didn't even take the time to pre-treat stains.  I have to say I am very pleased with the results.  In the photo you can see the reservoir of dirty water after cleaning the high traffic areas in the front room.  I intend to do another more thorough cleaning before I decorate for Christmas.


Update on Kenyan Missions

Eunice continues to be in private hospital in Nakuru.  She hasn't improved much in the almost two years she has been there though we continue to hope and pray for more improvement.  I guess one would say she is more or less stable though from time to time she has a downturn and needs blood and other medical interventions and medicines.  We still hope to move her to her hometown.  However it is yet to be determined when and how, or even if, it will be  physically possible once we find a spot for her in Kericho town.

Some of you might remember Ernest who got run down by a motor vehicle last Spring. He recovered with the help of a donor who reads this blog though his recovery was very slow.  A few short months after his full recovery he suffered a bad slip in the mud.  He fell and fractured his leg. Due to him trying to break his fall, he also suffered a dislocated joint. He was attended to at the local hospital and was recovering at home. On the day he was to have his plaster removed it was discovered that his leg was very inflamed and that he had a blood clot. They tried to help him at the local hospital but in the end transported him to the missions hospital near Bomet. The doctors there were able to help him though it was touch and go for awhile. He is now back and home and will be getting daily physiotherapy with the help of his brother.

Pastor Jonah also did not go unscathed. He had a terrible cold and some kind of infection. At first we were afraid it might be Covid,but thankfully the tests were returned negative. Instead he had some kind of bacterial infection which cleared up after a week of medicines.  I think this is the same bug I had when I last travelled to Kenya though Jonah also had a very bad cough.  Sadly, a cousin to Jonah also lost her husband to cancer this past week so it has been a very sad week for the family.

I've heard from my sponsored boys in Kenya and Ethiopia. Sadly, John who is the eldest, lost his mother to a brain tumour. She had been sick for a few years but I didn't know that she had a brain tumour. The boy's family is now preparing to lay the mom to rest. Thankfully the children and their father are not sick.  

Ian, the other boy I sponsor lives in Solai near Nakuru.  He too is doing okay. 

Wondimu, the third boy is from Ethiopia and he and his family are also fine. 

I give thanks that all the boys hey are safe during these challenging times. My heart aches for John and his little brother. They are so young and now have to go without the love of their mother. At least they have a father who seems active in their care. I think the father has had to take a bigger role than usual in the care of the children due to the mother's long term illness.  I know the father himself has been going through a tough time emotionally. No doubt the stresses and concerns of his late wife's illness over many years has caused him both emotional and financial stress.

Last but not least, the young Engineering graduate I was hoping would come to Canada to study was accepted for admittance into the Engineering Board of Kenya. He had to pay an application fee and wait for 4-6 weeks after submitting documentation. Then the Board wrote to him to let him know he was accepted and to provide registration instructions.  In a few weeks he should be fully recognized as an engineer in Kenya.

With this post and updates, I say a final goodbye to October.  It's been a good month for me despite the challenges we all face, the delays involved in dealing with my personal business and the issues faced by those I care about. I pray that November will be an even better month, not just for me but for those in Kenya, my family members and loved ones near and far and all of you dear readers. Stay safe.

 Thank you to those of you who pray for and support the missions in Kenya. May God richly bless you and enlarge your territories.

Update

 Hello friends, This is a quick update on my friend Ernest in Kenya. In my last post I shared that he had to be admitted to hospital due to ...