Skywatch Friday - End of October

The week's weather in photos. As you can see there was an awful lot of rain but I didn't take photos of the rainiest days. Too wet! 
 
The beautiful sky in the first photo was on Monday when I had an appointment at one of the local hospitals.


The next two harbour front photos were taken on another day that ended up being quite nice.



 
The  next two photos show the weather and the sky on Thursday.  It rained very heavily overnight and all day Thursday.  I stayed indoors and was able to accomplish a lot on my list of things 'to do'.



 It's supposed to clear up this week for a few days so that will be a nice change.
 
I've been super busy for a while now and not posting nearly as often or visiting as many blogs. I've decided I need to try and pace myself so this might continue for awhile but I miss participating in different memes and reading the blogs I follow.

Joining up with Skywatch Friday.

Thank you for visiting.

Personal Update and Urgent Appeal

Hi friends and fellow bloggers,

It's been a busy time since my last blog post. Much has been happening and mostly of a positive nature.

I was able at long last to have an appointment at the hospital with the plastic surgeon to discuss the outlook of the accident on my face. I suffered a fracture but the good news is that it is expected to heal without surgery. I have to return in early 2022 to assess things as they stand then. If you missed the story on what happened to me you can read more here.

My brother who lives quite far out of town came to the city as part of a multi-city tour with his wife. They were just taking a few days break since they attended a wedding about half way between where he lives and where I live. His wife also used the opportunity to do some Christmas shopping at some of the many malls along the way. They invited baby brother and I to dinner and we drove out to meet them in the suburbs at one of the branches of the Old Spaghetti Factory. The food was delicious but the best part was our visit. We haven't seen one another since we laid mom to rest 4 and half years ago.  They don't usually come to Vancouver at the best of times and I travel to where they live even less frequently. I didn't realize until after they left just how much I missed them even though we talk and share news from time to time by phone and by chat. My nephew who lives in the city also managed to spend time with them separately before they made the long drive home.

I have some news from Kenya about a very desperate situation and want to update all of you on an urgent basis in case any of you can find it in your heart to help.  The number of people who respond to these kinds of posts and requests is very low.  But make no mistake, we appreciate you so much.  Those of you who have given have made more of a positive impact than you can ever truly know and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We also believe that if people don't know about the needs of other people, there is no way they can do anything to help.  So here goes.

This woman named Janet and her husband are separated. They married when she was only about 16 years of age.  Since the recent separation, she has been living with her 4 daughters on family (ancestral lands) trying to eke out a living doing casual labour.  In a sad state of affairs, her biological brother was not happy to have them on the family land.  Usually the brothers inherit family land and the women go to their husband's land. The problem is that laws in Kenya do not protect women when their marriages break down and they have no where to go. Then you are left at the mercy of your biological family and often they themselves are in a difficult economic position.  As more time goes by, I see and read about more such stories of families in the news. Families that have been ripped apart over land issues.

Janet's brother removed the roof from her home in a bid to force her and her daughter's out of the home.  He also threatened Janet's life if she did not leave the property. 

 


Needless to say, Janet and her daughter's are traumatized and living in terror and don't know what to expect. They have no home, no food, no source of income, no security, no hope. The only hope they have is in the good of others.

 

Janet is wearing a pink toque and purple hoodie.

A local good Samaritan stepped in to give Janet and her daughter's temporary shelter and called on Pastor Jonah to attend so they could try to figure out a plan of action. They called the Chief/Elders and also went to the police. I haven't heard what, if anything, the Chief/Elders think and would recommend.  But I do know that police do not involve themselves in domestic disputes unless and until it is too late. I do not know whether criminal charges can be brought against Janet's brother for uttering threats to her personal safety. Whatever the case, the situation of Janet and her daughter's is desperate. Who would want to go and try and live in the home where she escaped knowing full well your own brother intends to harm you! 

After putting heads together with Pastor Jonah and investigating options and costs, we decided that Janet and her daughters need shelter and a way to provide for themselves first and foremost. We have put together some funds for Janet to rent a humble abode which is attached to a simple shop that can also be used to sell goods that are needed daily by villagers.  Alternatively the space can be used to run a simple eatery. The place we can afford is very humble so it has no electricity or amenities. It's just basically one room for them to sleep and eat in. The good Samaritan and his family of 8 are living near the edge of security themselves so cannot do more than provide a temporary place to sleep. It's amazing that he stepped up to help out and his action tells me he has a compassionate heart. 

We have purchased a simple solar system that can light up the rooms and can also be used to keep her as yet unopened shop/eatery open late at night since it gets dark at around 6 pm at the equator. It might even generate a few shillings by allowing others in the village to charge their mobile phones. This may or may not be an option because usually the villages already have places where the locals can charge their phones. We've also provided a small bit of funds for food needs. It would be nice if we could also provide a jiko stove to cut down on fuel usage and the smoke generated when cooking. We are trying to provide rent and food for at least 5-6 months until Janet can get on her feet again. Hopefully she will be able to generate enough income for all her needs with this breathing room. The tuition for her daughters will be the most challenging part.

The girls all go to school with the exception of the eldest one who recently graduated. School has already started but there are no funds to send the girls back to classes. See the cost breakdown in the photo below for the 3 school going girls (Approx $530 for each girl which amounts to $430 US, $575 Australian, 49,000 Japanese Yen, 370 Euros).  We've discussed sending the eldest daughter to hair dressing school. The tuition and related costs will be at least the same as the annual tuition for the girls. The hairdressing course would be in Kericho Town or Nakuru City and last about 9 months. After that she would be able to gain employment and provide for herself.


If you can assist with any of these needs please let me know. There is a Pay Pal button to the right on the side bar. From time to time, people say it doesn't work. It should be working now but if you have any issues kindly let me know.

If you've read this far, I appreciate it.  I also appreciate your prayers and any help you might be able to provide. God bless you as you consider whether you can help.



On My Walk Today

 Hi friends,


I've had a busy few days despite the rainy and stormy weather we've been having.  I had to run out and do errands on Friday and Saturday. I also did some browsing at the thrift store, shopping at the dollar store, made 2 different library runs and picked up a doctor's prescription. I got my walks in on both days and I've also been tired.  So please forgive the late entry to Skywatch Friday.

I absolutely love autumn colours and this year it seems most of my photos were taken on rainy days. These are not the best photos but they bring me joy nonetheless. I hope you enjoy them too.












On my reading pile this week are: 




I've only just started the first one and haven't yet started #2 and #3. Mrs. March is a book of psychological suspense. The Night Hawks is a murder mystery and City of Girls is a love story set in the theatre world of 1940s New York City.  I've got a very busy week or so ahead of me so these books will keep me entertained in between appointments, visitors and 'to dos'.  

Enjoy your week ahead and thank you for dropping by!

Joining in with Skywatch Friday.



Update - Mostly Health and Decor

 Hi again,

 It seems so very long since I've written here about what is going on so here goes.  I meant to post on Thursday for Skywatch Friday and post some autumn photos but time slipped away on me.



I'm still recovering.  My face still looks like quite a fright but the swelling has gone down a lot.  Now I watch the colourful bruises change from day to day.  I have a big bump under my right eye. When I touch it is is very hard.  This is where I have a fractured bone. After a lot of telephone tag, I finally have an appointment to see the plastic surgeon in just over a week. 

I've been working very hard for over a month to try and manage my blood sugar levels better. I had been eating well, exercising and watching snacks but the sugar levels just keep going up. I have been researching all about the causes of insulin resistance and the effects of low carbohydrate diet on insulin and blood glucose. I am now on one meal a day (OMAD) and Intermittent Fasting. I'm glad to say the blood sugar level has come down a lot. I compared my current reading to the last few years and I see that I haven't had such a good reading in 4 years.  So I 'm very excited and will keep doing what I'm doing. Hopefully in 3 months the blood sugar will be even better.  Since I've been trying this new way of eating I am not posting photos of my cooked meals.  It just isn't that interesting but if I should somehow become more creative about the meals, I will post about it.

I haven't been able to get back to household routines while I've been recovering. I'm too sore and tired and I still have a lot of neck and shoulder tension.  But I am moving forward every day to complete a number of 'to dos' and errands that I've been wanting to get to for long. That is how I happened to be out to get some photos some of which I'm sharing today.

The Sea bus to the North Shore leaves regularly from downtown.

During Covid it has been much harder to do the shopping for anything other than groceries and medicines.  Over the summer things opened up more and  now I'm running around trying to get what I need.  I'm also worried that things might become more restrictive again so the more I can do now, the better.

Most of my 'to dos' have been focussed on trying to fill the gaps and needs in my home.  I'm doing everything on a very tight budget so it takes a lot of looking around, consideration of the overall theme and colour scheme, seeing about the size of pieces and how to get them home. Truth is, I've been looking for some of these items for a few years already but wanted to get rid of other things first. I'm not much of a decorator. I usually see something I like and then I try to make it work. But now I have to be far more mindful if I want to avoid collecting a bunch of things that just sit unused.

I took this photo from the downtown Simon Fraser Uni. campus

I have needed dining chairs for a very long time.  Whenever I'd have people for dinner it would usually be a crowd so we didn't sit at the table anyway. We would gather on sofa, ottoman and side chairs.  Before I got different chairs I wanted to get rid of my old ones.  I did that just over a year ago. I've been searching for quite awhile for just the right chairs: sturdy, right colour, appropriate style and good price.  I finally bought some thrifted dining room chairs and they are absolutely nothing like I originally planned to buy. In the end I got tired of looking and considering and these chairs will do just fine. As it turns out my late sis owned a set of these oak dining chairs an an oak table to go with them.

They are just solid, oak wood chairs that will blend in with many other furniture items and decor.  These are not very popular chairs where I live.  Most people want modern or post-modern furnishings, not traditional or farmhouse.  However I happened to look at a new issue of Victoria magazine and saw the chairs featured in a restaurant and in some beautiful photos. I also saw them in a music joint in a You Tube video featuring Zydeco music and dancing.  So I'm thinking the chairs are popular with restaurants and bars in rural areas of the USA.  I think if I lived in a rural area in Canada, I could also find a lot of these chairs but not here in the city.  I found some on the Wayfair website (see photo below).  They vary in price from about $250 per chair to $550 per chair. If you find the chair in a brick and mortar store I'm certain they would cost a lot less.  In fact, my late sis used to own the exact same chairs and an oak table to go with them.  They and can be stained or painted a different colour and that was one of the reasons I bought them besides the fact that they are solid.  I had been looking for new chairs in a more traditional style and primarily made of wood or a neutral coloured fabric.  It wasn't easy to find anything in a style and material that I like and that won't need constant tightening of the screws and also fit the budget.  The antique oak and cane dining chairs I gave to my cousin needed regular tightening of the legs and I grew tired of dealing with that.  It seems modern chairs may be no better.  My cousin lives in the country where there are craftspeople who can repair what needs repair. In fact, her father-in-law did the job of fixing up the chairs for her and she absolutely loves them.  I am happy too that I found a good home for them because my late mother bought the chairs for me as a gift.  I picked the chairs against my mother's better judgement. I should have listened to her.

One chair on Wayfair for $450.

When I'm up to it, I'll share a few of my container finds from the thrift store for those of you who like thrift hauls.  I did a bit of research on the pieces I bought before I decided to go ahead and buy them.  I wanted to be sure the prices were not too high and I also wanted to consider whether I would really use them or they would just become clutter.  I hesitated to buy them at all because I'm not yet ready to display and use them.  I  need to get a few shelves to put up  in the kitchen and then I'll be ready to put out the containers.

I  also found new planter pots to repot some the aloe vera plants and other large plants that already out grew the pots I put them in over the summer. I was glad to complete this job before winter arrives.  They should all be good in their new pots for a long time to come. 

I've long had an interest in Chinese porcelain but to be honest, they don't go with my decor. I have such eclectic tastes which lean toward bohemian or classic. However this past 6 months or so, I've been trying to hone in on a style and I'm going for ethnic or tribal bohemian to incorporate different things I've collected over the years. It might seem a bit strange to hone in on a style as I head into my the last third of my life but I see it as one way to harness my purchasing habits so that I don't end up with a lot of needless things as the years go by.

  • Can anyone relate to being indecisive about what style you really like or do you just go all eclectic? 
  • Does anyone relate to ethnic or tribal bohemian decor?  
So the Chinese porcelain doesn't really fit in though perhaps some small items here and there will work. 

A jaunt to Chinatown to check out plants and porcelain

 

The Bamboo Village was my destination. They carry a lot of plants and pots

The thrift store where I bought the dining chairs was selling 2 Chinese porcelain pieces that had not yet been priced. I was a bit interested in them so I went to Chinatown to see if I could price similar items. I also checked on line and then went back to the store. It turns out the larger porcelain piece, which is the one I liked most, had been sold just a few minutes before I arrived.

I found out it was sold for $140. I couldn't believe it because though that is less expensive than what you will pay on the Wayfair website, it is definitely not what I consider thrift store prices. I also think you can buy a similar piece in store for a lot less if you look around.  he thrift store isn't an antique store and of course like all thrift stores the items are donated to them for charitable purposes.  I just don't agree with pricing donated items out of the range of most thrift shoppers. I likely wouldn't have purchased it anyway but I had to go through the process. The store has a second item which hasn't been put out yet because the lady who prices the items told me she is still researching.  When she researched the piece she found it on line for $3000. and on that basis she is going to price it on the expensive but hasn't yet decided on the final amount.  

I had discovered that there is a city in China (and quite likely many cities) where making porcelain reproductions is their chief business. So I asked "how do you know the vase isn't a reproduction?" She didn't have a good answer for me and acknowledged it could be a reproduction and that she hasn't finalized her research.  This is another reason why thrift stores should not try to act like they know about authentic art vs. fakes and reproductions.  If they keep prices on the high side they might end up selling something to some unsuspecting person who pays a lot and the purchaser might end up with a fake!  Anyway, I'm glad I was not interested in purchasing the piece.  It is a vase with butterflies painted on them similar to the photo above.  It wasn't that pretty to my eye.  The one in the photo is nicer. If I ever do purchase a Chinese porcelain pot or two I won't be looking to buy originals so I don't want to pay high prices. I am no collector of fine porcelain. I just want something pretty that catches my eye.

More fun for me was going to the fabric store and buying muslin and cotton fabric and cotton webbing. I have some tea towels on hand that I want to turn into some bags.  This is just to occupy my time and perhaps give some gifts as it is that time of year again. I have one or two people in mind for the bags. 

We celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada on Monday. I will be making ham for dinner so we don't have turkey for two holidays in a row. I like to have turkey on Christmas Day. If you are a Canadian reader, have a very Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving.

 

One of my brothers who lives far from me will be visiting with his wife a week after Thanksgiving. They are coming to Vancouver on a short vacation and it will be nice to see them again.  Since it's Covid times, their options for travel are limited.  Though we've talked and visited by phone, I haven't seen them since mom's funeral service in April 2017. Time does fly by so fast.

Last but not least, I'm reading a bit. Here are 3 books on my list at this time. I can recommend them all. 

 

The Book of Candlelight is a mystery set in a town called Miracle Springs. The town suffers a flood and mystery unfolds concerning the death of a Cherokee pottery maker. 

Under the Table is chick literature.  The story concerns a woman who separates from her husband, moves to New York City to live with her sister and start a new life through cooking and catering private dinner parties. On one of her jobs she meets a reclusive, nerdy multi-millionaire and with his consent, begins a process of making him over.

1000 White Women is a fictional book based on a historical fact. It's the story of May Dodd who was committed to an insane asylum by her rich family because she married a man they felt was beneath her station in life. In 1875, she decides to volunteer to travel to the American West and marry the chief of the Cherokee Nation. The marriage opportunity is through a secretive government program and she joins up so she can escape the asylum.

Enjoy your weekend and the week ahead.


Short Break

 

Hi friends,


I'm popping in to let you know I have to take a short break.

The other day while on my way to an errand using the city bus, I was in an accident due to heavy braking by the bus driver. Though I was seated, I went flying across the seats in front of me, smashed my face, not once but twice, into a hard plastic casing. I mostly injured my face, lower neck, right thigh and knee. After a trip to the Emergency Room, I am now recovering at home. 

All should be well, but I;ve been referred to the plastic surgeon due to broken bones in the face and an Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist for an issue in the right ear. They said the bones should heal but the follow up is a proactive measure.  While I was in the hospital I was thanking God that I live in a country where all the testing, medicines and so on are covered by the government and not out of my own pocket (unless you count the taxation of the citizenry that raises the funds to pay for all government expenditures). 

At the ER admittance desk there was signage posting the costs of various medical procedures for those that don't have medical insurance which would mostly apply to foreign visitors. I didn't have time to read it but one item dealing with some kind of heart treatment jumped out at me because the cost was almost $8000 (eight thousand dollars).  It gave me pause and made me appreciate that I don't have to pay for anything hospital; not the CT scan, EKG, oximetry test, blood work, ER bed,  nurse and doctor services, painkillers and a small snack.  The bill would have been substantial even though I was only there for about 5 hours.

Over the many years I've been doing missionary outreach with the very needy in Kenya, I've learned not to take anything for granted and to be grateful for my many blessings.  On that note I want to update briefly about the urgent Kenyan prayer needs.

Pastor Jonah is now at home recovering after spending 5 days and 4 nights in hospital due to the severe reaction to his second Covid jab.  His recovery is slow but steady and it is encouraging that his appetite has returned.  

A few weeks ago I wrote about Pastor Parteleu from a small village north of Nakuru City.  He is of very slender build and has been having a very difficult time keeping food down.  A few weeks ago he travelled to Nakuru for various tests and was hosted by Pastor Jonah.  His return visit was for the purpose of scheduled surgery but he was only able to raise a portion of funds. Since he could not raise the funds, he was given the run around, sent here and there, given a different diagnosis and ultimately he returned home without any resolution.  His situation is very sad but not uncommon in Kenya for those that don't have money for medical care.  This is one of the reasons I now focus on medical needs there despite all the other important needs.  But it is difficult to keep up to all the medical needs due to the high cost and I do not currently have the funds to help Pastor Parteleu.

Last but not least is Livingstone.  The doctor recommended he go to physical therapy to help the healing of his leg. We've managed to send him to a few sessions but he will likely need more.

Please keep these men in your prayers. 

I'll be back to regular blogging after I've recovered a bit.


God bless.

🙏🙏🙏

A Clear Day

  December started off just right. We had a clear, blue sky. At least most of it was blue. After several very damaging rain storms, this was...