Friday, November 18, 2022

Skywatch Friday Vancouver

 Hello friends and fellow bloggers,

Happy Friday to you all. I hope you are all doing well.

Thursday was a beautiful, sunny day here in Vancouver. I had an appointment downtown and walked back to the main transit station to return home. Along the way I took these photos to share with you.

Vancouver Art Gallery (with red banners) and the Vancouver Hotel just to the left in the photo.

Robson Square in the heart of downtown, UBC downtown campus

View looking south from Robson Square, Vancouver courthouse just beyond the trees in middle

Part of the Sheraton Wall Centre Hotel

Adjacent buildings reflected in one of the Wall Centre towers

The Vancouver Courthouse

Nelson Street going east

I'm linking up with Skywatch Friday this week. 

Thank you for stopping by!

Sunday, November 13, 2022

The Weekend & Some Heavy Thoughts

Hi friends and fellow bloggers,

How are things going with you?

I'm doing okay. I've had a fairly bad cold all week but I'm feeling a bit better now. I've gone out here and there to pick up a parcel at the post office and to do a bit of food shopping. I also tried valiantly but unsuccessfully to reach the car insurance place. Basically I'm returning their call about physiotherapy treatments. I'll have to try again next week.

On Friday night DH and I went off to see the new Black Panther movie, Wakanda Forever. It was quite touching in parts and beautifully done. However I still think the first Black Panther movie a few years ago was a tighter story line and I enjoyed it so much.  Don't get me wrong though. The new movie is worth watching; especially if you've seen the first installment. There are some new characters who add a lot of depth. The movie is very long at 2.5 hours and I'm glad we went to a showing that was in early evening. The movie ends in such a way as to anticipate more movies in future.


Other than errands, shopping and a movie, I spent the weekend trying to get some rest and worked on a financial project I've had in mind for months. I've been saving all my food receipts for the last 6 months and wanted to input them all into a spreadsheet.  I finally did it and it was a real eye opener it was as to exactly how much money was spent on groceries.  It's astronomical  It's also interesting to see how the spending progressed every month due to the rampant inflation and whether shopping at different stores made a difference in stretching the dollars. I also started waiting a few extra days to a week to buy something we ran out of and stopped buying things altogether if they were too expensive. Food costs were extremely high in June and July.  Shopping around and delayed purchases made a big difference in September ($200 + savings) and an even bigger difference in October ($350 savings).

I'll be keeping track of all expenses, not just food expenses, for the rest of the year and possibly beyond.  But hopefully I won't procrastinate about inputting receipt information in future.  You can  imagine that it took some time to organize all the receipts and put them in order before I started inputting the data. Tracking the household income and spending will help DH and I with planning our budgets an setting our short-term and long-term financial goals.

Besides daily routines, I watched a very limited amount of television this weekend. Instead I spent some time talking to a relative and a long time friend who is going through a dark time. His life has completely changed over the past year because he developed some kind of spinal problem and can no longer stand up or walk.  Physiotherapy hasn't helped and he no longer wants to live so he's been exploring Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID). He's always been a person who experiences a lot of emotional upheaval and various problems and over time his life has become harder and harder mainly due to physical challenges and health issues. 

It's hard to be a friend to someone who wants to die and talks often about dying.  I really don't believe he wants to die but I do know he hates living in a wheelchair. I know that whatever I say will not change his mind and I no longer offer advice or try to talk him out of what he says he wants to do. I don't believe in taking one's own life with medical assistance except in the very rarest of circumstances.  But sadly it's become quite common in Canada and especially in my province for people to end their lives with the help of medical professionals. Recently this option was expanded to include those with mental health problems. I remember hearing about euthanasia as a child. At my tender years I wondered how a society could legalize dying yet here we are now in my country doing the same thing. How did we ever get to this point as a society?

I do understand when some people no longer want to live but the numbers just seem far too high in Canada.  These days there are so many people falling through the cracks of society and the disabled and mentally ill are particularly vulnerable. If they only had adequate supports (housing, food, therapy) I think a lot of them would not consider dying early as an option though there will still be some that want to choose their time and place. Medical assistance in dying (MAID) has gotten so popular as an option despite being an option for a short time in Canada. MAID was enacted in June 2016.

Data shows that 10,064 people died in 2021 with medical aid, an increase of 32 per cent over 2020. The report says that 3.3 per cent of all deaths in Canada in 2021 were assisted deaths. On a provincial level, the rate was higher in provinces such as Quebec, at 4.7 per cent, and British Columbia, at 4.8 per cent.

MAID Requests and Outcomes (CANADA), 2019 to 2021

I've been thinking of the MAID issue because the subject was featured on television recently due to the expansion of the laws.  Obviously too, with my friend having applied for MAID (I don't know if he heard anything about his application yet) I paid attention to the broadcast. I was alarmed at the high numbers and the fact that Canada's euthanasia numbers have soared so quickly in comparison to the Netherlands, the first country to legalize euthanasia. However, I did a quick google search and found that the numbers of applications and deaths in the Netherlands has also dramatically risen over the past several years. and doubled from 2002 to 2009. It's a sad state to think so many want to end their lives.

Obviously there are many people who are greatly struggling and governments are under pressure to respond to public demands. In Canada, the MAID issue came about due to some very sick people advocating all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada for their right to die and others who lobbied politically. Now that the government has responded and met their demands, it seems like they are getting a bit carried away by expanding the laws to make it easier for the mentally ill to get MAID.  I'm greatly concerned about the future. We've already had a veteran  being asked by a Veteran's Affairs employee if they considered MAID when what they needed was mental health support. Part of the problem it seems, and some doctors who review MAID applications have said, that is it harder to get appropriate treatments and supports that it is to get MAID. A very sad and concerning state of affairs.

Sorry for the heavy thoughts but this is what is on my mind tonight. When I'm faced with such difficult thoughts, I'm grateful I have my faith and my hope in God. I'm also glad that I can pray for others. It's been my experience that many who are not Christian and don't pray, feel comforted by prayer and will even ask for prayer when they are going through challenging times.

Keep well friends. Stay safe and if you are going through hardships, please reach out to someone near you or call a helpline.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Skywatch & Remembrance Day 2022

Hello friends and fellow bloggers,

Earlier in the week we had our first snowfalls and some of it stayed for a few days on my patio but melted on the streets and sidewalks in my neighbourhood. It's been cold here and autumn is well and truly over in a flash.  We've had a lot of gray skies and rain just before the snow came.  We are now moving into our winter months and the sun will be in short supply unlike further north where they get a lot of snow and a lot of winter sunshine. For most of this week we've had bright blue skies and sunshine so that has been nice.

Today is not only Skywatch Friday but it is Remembrance Day here in Canada.  Lest we Forget the sacrifices of the many who fought in war that we might have some kind of freedom. God bless them every one of them and their families.

I'm joining in with Skywatch Friday this week. 

Thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful weekend. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

First Snow that "Stuck" & Health Care Worker Needs

 Hi friends and fellow bloggers,

Here are a few photos of what the scene looked like off my balcony on Tuesday morning. It snowed all night Monday and this time it stuck around a bit longer. I took these photos just after 6 a.m.  Yesterday when I went out to do some grocery shopping, I noticed that most of the snow had melted but some still remains on my patio in areas where the sun doesn't reach. Snowing so early in the season is highly unusual. I guess the last time that happened was in 1991.

Almost all of Canada is suffering a great shortage of staff in many sectors. Canada's Immigration Minister and the Government of Canada has released it's figures for immigrant or newcomer admission targets for 2023, 2024 and 2025. Altogether newcomers will total  almost 1.5 million people.  Skilled labour in the health care and construction fields have been identified as priorities. 

On the news the other day this graphic was shared about the projected needs for health care workers over the next 10 years.  These projections are just for the province where I live.  The needs for the rest of the provinces and territories in the country are just as great. If the government plans to attract more foreign workers something needs to be done quickly to address the very real housing shortage and it's related issue of affordability.

In pleasurable pursuits I said earlier that my reading goals this year would be modest and they were. I decided I'd aim for 1 book a month knowing I might read more some months and nothing in other months. As it turned out I did reduce my reading as planned but I still read far more than I intended. To date I've read 43 books and almost 16,000 pages. I'm sure I won't make 20,000 pages before the end of the year. Even though I've got another 7-8 books in my reading pile I may not be able to complete all of them. 

I had hoped to cut down on reading and spend more time on crafting and sewing this year. That didn't happen because of decluttering and small household projects that took more time than I thought they would. But I did manage to complete several alterations on various trousers for DH.

In the photos I'm showing preparations involved in lengthening the pockets on a pair of DHs trousers.  When I compared pocket length in various of his  trousers these ones were shorter by about 4 inches. That's a lot. 

I didn't have the right fabric in my stash so I 'made do' with some light cotton fabric. After cutting the shape and sewing the seams, I attached the new piece to the bottom of the original pockets. Those of you who are sewists know this isn't as quick as it sounds. The challenge I have is none of my machines are as able as mom's old Singer treadle machine to sew through several layers of fabric as in the side seams of trousers and jeans.  But I did the job and I'm happy it's done.  The other project was tapering the legs on a new pair of jeans and hemming them. DH has worn the jeans a lot since then. Next up, I have several pair of pants of my own to hem and I'd like to shorten a linen tablecloth I bought a few months ago.   I still have a lot of household stuff to deal with and I think I'd be more able to focus on sewing once these other things are out of the way.

I know some people are already putting up their Christmas trees. I don't plan on setting up mine until some time in December, usually about half way through the month. However I've been buying a few gifts here and there whenever I see something I like.  I can spread the Christmas spending over a longer period of time that way. Earlier this week I was able to wrap gifts for 2 people on my list. The task was made easier by buying some Christmas fabric bags from the Dollar Tree. They are quite cute and made the job a lot quicker. I think I need to get a few more of the bags for the other Christmas gifts I want to give. 

What about you dear reader?  Are you experiencing health care worker shortages where you live? What is your government doing about it if anything? Have you read any good books lately? Are you working on anything creative or have plans to sew anything for Christmas gifts?

Sunday, November 6, 2022

The First Week of November

Happy Sunday from Vancouver where we have just come through some very heavy rainfall, stormy winds and wet snow.  It stopped now.  The sky is still gray but yesterday it was blue with fluffy white clouds.

The first week of November has been about adjustments as the city transitions to the colder weather. I've had to turn the heat on in the bedroom and front room every day. I never quite feel organized at this time of year and the constant cold keeps me busy trying to stay warm.  It's especially hard to keep my legs warm enough, a symptom of diabetes.  I'm alternately going for long walks to keep the circulation going, or sitting down with a hot drink, raised legs and a heated throw.

I've also been busy with errands almost every day this week. Part of it is an excuse to get out and get some exercise. In addition, I've been playing the MacDonald's Monopoly game and needed frequent trips there to pick up a coffee and some stickers to play. The game ends soon (November 7th). So far I didn't win anything.

Latest novel

This week has mostly been about food cooking, food shopping, online shopping for cold weather clothing (Jonah needs everything related to cold weather and I need a few things), cooking, household cleaning and routines, a bit of clothing alteration for DH, a bit of reading and watching television. I'm far behind on the reading bit but catch a few minutes here and there to indulge.  I had a physiotherapy session and enjoyed a body massage and manicure as well. I connected by phone with a cousin of mine who lives far away in Edmonton, Alberta. We usually catch up when she makes an annual visit to Vancouver but she didn't make it this summer.

Jeans were taken in and hemmed

A small decluttering and organizing job was accomplished while watching television one night.  The contents of the white and blue container were separated.  Everything on the left of the first photo was trashed. I kept the stuff on the right of the first photo and put away those things that didn't belong (like seam rippers) in their proper place. Now the pens and markers are all organized (mostly) in one place by colour and a few emery boards stored there for easy reach.

I was out and about late last night. I didn't get home until almost bedtime. Having said that I stayed up very late and before bed I realized I hadn't set the clocks back. The time on the cell phone alerted me. I manually set the clocks on the stove, microwave and the battery operated clocks.  Then I worried that DH might have forgotten about the time difference so I stayed awake until it was time for him to rise for work. He awoke an hour earlier than usual because he had gone to sleep at the usual time. He's lucky he can sleep so easily. He can also rise easily as long as he has slept long enough. He has a very long day of work today.  In the meantime I'm keeping busy at home.  I might make a small run to the grocers later for things like laundry soap.

It's linen changing day at my home so everything on the bed has been stripped, washed and now in the dryer.  I've also given the pillows a steam refresh. I keep the pillows covered with pillow protectors and refresh them each week but only wash them every month or every other month.  A small load of towels and clothing will also be washed. 

I'm not doing any major cleaning today because I've been doing the big chores like vacuuming, sweeping, washing floors and so on since Thursday - doing a little here and there. Today I'm focussing on little tasks that once done add up to a smoother, daily flow:

* coloured my hair and rinsed out the bottle 

* refilled hand soap in bathroom

* scoured the tub and toilet (I do spot clean these daily but still they need a good scrub)

* looked for a screw to attach a plate to the side of the tub. The other was loose and fell down the drain.

* refilled the spray cleaner containers in kitchen and bathroom with some cleanser I bought on Friday.

* recycled toilet paper rolls 

* gathered the trash from master bathroom, laundry room and kitchen

* updated the calendar with DH's work schedule and my upcoming appointments.

My major task today besides changing out the bed linens will be trying to make progress on an excel spreadsheet to  track grocery spending over the past several months. I want to know exactly what I've spent. each month. I may add other bills like hydro (electricity), internet/television/phone. I've saved all receipts for the grocery spending and receipts for bills are on line. I've been procrastinating about this project for so long but I really want to do it for future budgeting purposes.I know once I start it really won't take that long.

Last but not least, it snowed today! It's hard to tell by my photo but you can see the white lines to the top right of the photo.  The snow didn't last because it's wet.

Thank you for stopping by. It would be great to hear from you in the comments.

If you are interested in the Kenyan missions, I will be publishing a short series but no set schedule. 

The first post is here.

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...