Saturday Journal

Saturday Journal

Early this morning I was busing through the east side of Montreal. Trouble is, I needed to get to the northwest corner of the city which meant I needed to change buses and I had no clue. I asked a few drivers which bus I needed to take to get across the city and one said, “Follow me and I’ll take you to the right bus.” I was following along behind him when, for some reason, I stopped to talk to someone — and a moment later when I looked around the driver was nowhere in sight. I scurried around in a panic, but never found him again, nor the right bus.

However, by this point my conscious mind kicked in enough to tell me, “You’re being silly. No matter where you want to go, just take the bus to the nearest Metro, then the right subway line to the main thoroughfare closest to your destination, then get off at that stop and take the metro bus to where you want to go. Simple.” (One of the chief joys of living in Montreal was the efficient transportation system.)

And then I woke all the way up. With a headache. Have you ever noticed how a pain that starts in your sleep — be it a headache or tummy ache or a cramp, will often give you a weird dream? I’ve experienced this many times over the years.

I’m hoping for a nice walk after supper. Today started out as our second day of rain but the clouds seem to be traveling on now and the sun’s peeking through on the western edge. Hopefully there will be some good days ahead when I feel good enough to tackle cleaning the windows. Apart from meals and dishes, so far today I gave Panda a special grooming, washed & put away the laundry and changed our sheets on the bed.

We went into the city yesterday. We left here at 9:15 am and I said to Bob about ten minutes later, “My 9:30 alarm will soon be going off. I wonder if it shuts itself off after so long?” When we got home just before 3pm it was faithfully tinkling its little tune. Bob said, “There’s your answer. Pity the poor cats listening to that all day.”

Memo to self: If you’re going away before 9:30 am, SHUT OFF the computer.

On the way home from Saskatoon we saw our first bunch of snow geese browsing in a field. So we can’t deny that our autumn season is moving right along. The sandhill cranes seem to have gone.

Each day gets a little better for me, though I’m surprised at how long this sick feeling after eating is lingering. Now it’s more a problem when I eat certain (especially oily or greasy) foods. I had peanut butter & honey on my toast a couple of days ago and I won’t do that again for awhile! The Yucky taste/feeling hits me about ten minutes later, but it’s been easily enough controlled by antacids. I consume a LOT of Rolaids.🙂

Pam, my very good friend and former Robin’s Donuts co-worker, called this afternoon just to chat. Knowing she was thinking of me really made my day. :)  She moved to Calgary fifteen years ago but we were such good friend when we worked together and have kept in touch all this time. One of those “Just pick up and carry on from where you left off last time,” friendships. The very best kind, right?

Have a nice “day of rest” tomorrow.

Daily prompt word: Panic

Exotic Beach—Economy Package


She: The brochure for this “Exotic Beach Scenes” Travel Package didn’t show anything like this. How long do they plan to leave us here?

He: The package included, if I recall, “Three hours of romantic solitude on the beautiful Isle of Santo Innundo. Together you and your sweetheart can explore jungle trails, check out the local cantinas, or just laze on the sunny beach.” So this must be it and here we are. Let’s enjoy.

She: Still, I wish we could have asked that launch driver a few questions before we let him drop us off right here. I’d like to know for certain the cruise ship will be back in a few hours. When he gets back I’m going to jump on that launch so fast.

He: Wish that fellow could speak English or Spanish. I think he’s from one of those Eastern republics like Uzbekistan. He just kept grunting “No comprendo.” Probably his total non-Russian vocabulary.

She: Didn’t inspire a lot of confidence. And then seeing the ship sail away…

He: Cheer up. This is all in the plan. Except the hurricane aftermath — and that they couldn’t help. The cruise ship has just sailed on to drop other couples along the beach in their own “exclusive romantic spot.” They’ll be back.

She: Hmph. So we have to spend three hours in this soup.

He: I’m sure it would have been lovely last week. How could they possibly predict the island would get hit by a hurricane five days ago? You can expect things to be a little damp and muddy after something like that.

She: They could have had a Plan B.

He: Maybe they don’t do a Plan B with the Economy Package? Oh, well. The sea is warm. Come on; let’s enjoy ourselves. This is supposed to be romantic, remember.

She (looking around): I need to find a toilet. Wonder where those cantinas are — or IF they are? I’d have thought they’d would be right near the shore but all I see is empty beach for miles and a solid jungle in front of us. Are we supposed to make our way through that to find these places? If the beach looks like this, how sopping will the jungle trails be?

He: The brochure used the word adventurous, so we can expect some element of discomfort. I do see an opening over there. Someone’s hacked a trail to the tourist spots, no doubt.

Right at that moment a flock of exotic birds rose up in panic from the jungle nearby and flew away screeching in terror.

She: Is it safe to go in there without a guide? I’m not so sure about this. I’m a city girl, Dearest. I wouldn’t know how to cope if we met up with poisonous snakes. Or what would we do if a wildcat would suddenly jump down from some tree in front of us?

He (striking a macho pose and flexing his muscles): Fear not. I, your brave hero, will protect us.

She: If you say so. Be more believable if you had a machete in one hand. Your little pocket knife won’t do much good. Speaking of which, we better grab our totes. We’ll definitely need our towels in a place like this.

He (looking around and frowning): Where did that launch driver leave our tote bags? He jumped off and on that boat so fast. I thought he set them down by that rock but I don’t see anything there now.

She (arching her eyebrows meaningfully): Are you sure you read all the fine print in the contract?

Daily Prompt word: Jump

Photo from Pixabay
With apologies to the photographer who posted this as a “wedding picture” but it suggested a quite different story to me.🙂



It’s My Color, Man!

A Sense of Style

I stood in the security line at the airport, watching the gentleman ahead of me pull out a bin and dump his things in. I’d had my eye on him for a few minutes already — not that I suspected him of plotting subversive activities. No, I was admiring his sense of style.

About fifty, on the slim side, neatly dressed but nothing particularly fashionable about his attire. Faded blue jeans on the lighter side and a blue/beige plaid shirt, much like a thousand other men you might see around town that day. But his clothes were so nicely color-coordinated I couldn’t help but take note.

Every now and then I see some particular man or woman whose outfit is well chosen and nicely coordinated and I can’t help but take special note. Their clothes may not be in fashion, they may be casual and comfortable, they may even be old and faded; the colors may not grab your eye as you pass. Yet these folks do stand out.

To my mind, this is what a sense of style is all about. Knowing what goes together, then putting it together and wearing it well.

I’ve never owned a solid black dress — and I pretty much hate gray. I need color. And I like order: co-operation of all the color tones involved. Though I don’t always live up to my own standards, I appreciate neat. If things must hang out, there must be some rhyme or reason for it. A person can choose clothing that matches, but if it’s bunched up in wrinkles, hanging out sloppily, or falling down listlessly, “stylish” goes south.

I realize we can’t all look great all the time. That’s life. And there are folks who can be dealing with various drawbacks and still look good in their clothes. Let’s give them a cheer. Overall I think if a person starts with a simple plan and builds on it, the end result works out most of the time.

Black Is My Color, Man!

In a different vein now, here’s a bit of humor from when I joined my friend Sheila on an outing one afternoon. This took place when I was about 45 and Sheila two years younger. She didn’t live in Saskatoon but drove into town to see her son Mike, who was going to the University here. She’d arranged to spend the afternoon with him and his girlfriend; a friend of his came along for the ride. Then she’d called me and asked me along on their outing so she could spend some time visiting with me as well.

We picked up the trio on the University grounds and I soon learned that Mike and his friend, a skinny young man with long stringy blond hair, were part of some local rock band. As is fitting, they were both dressed in black.

After awhile I took note of the very obscene words written on the back of the blond guy’s t-shirt. I guess since he was so painfully shy himself, he decided to let his t-shirt slogan make an impression for him. I’m sure eyebrows went up when folks beheld our motley crew wandering down the mall together, two older ladies and two rockers. (Mike’s girlfriend, mid-twenties, looked and dressed fairly normal.)

Anyway, at one point we found ourselves walking outside and dripping sweat under a blazing sun. And Mike said, “Man am I hot!”

His girlfriend said, “You’re wearing black and that’s always hot. You should have worn something else on a day like this.”

His sense of rocker style kicked in. “Black is my color, man!”

Her common sense kicked back. “Then it’s your heat, man.”


Word Press Daily prompt word Stylish

Of Allergies & Environment

Slowly, Slowly…

Our landscape was in a fog this morning, but the sun has dealt with most of that. Patchy cloud cover, otherwise there’s potential for a fine day. We were told there’d be a risk of frost last night, but when I peeked out at 7am I didn’t see any evidence of it.

Slowly I’m putting the yucky tastes behind me; food flavors are pretty much back to normal. I foolishly slathered my toast with peanut butter and honey this morning and now have the yucky stomach again, so I still need to avoid anything that oily. Otherwise, last week with its various woes has “come to pass” and I’m feeling my energy return — which brings with it more enthusiasm.

It’s Wednesday morning and that means Ladies’ Coffee Hour at the Villa. This is an informal friendly time; whichever ladies in the congregation wish to come should just show up. Being it’s Fall and gardens need taking care of, the attendance has been sparse, though last week we were eight.

Health Woes: Bad, Worse, Worst

I’ve been thinking… Leukemia may seem like such a frightening disease when you first hear the word, but I’m realizing I’ve gotten off pretty easy compared to some. The ladies at the Villa last week got around to the subject of food allergies, minor and serious, and we learned that quite a few were dealing with something.

One wife mentioned that her husband gets an upset stomach from eating sour cream added raw to some food like a salad. However, if a dish containing sour cream is cooked or baked, like enchiladas, the sour cream doesn’t bother him at all. That’s easy enough to understand: all the bacteria is killed by the cooking.

One woman, we heard, was so allergic to nightshade plants that walking past a bin of potatoes or tomatoes in the Produce section is an absolute NO-NO. Likewise sitting at a dinner table with a bowl of potatoes or a plate of tomatoes in front of her. Tobacco being is in the nightshade family as well, I suppose she’d have to be very careful about anything that may have lingering traces of smoke. And that could be anywhere, though not so much nowadays.

Which reminds me of one day long ago when I got on a city bus, dug out my Hershey’s Peanut Butter Cups candy bar and opened it. The lady sitting right behind me shot up like a spring and went to sit at the back of the bus. I didn’t take it personally — at least I hope it wasn’t just the sight of me eating! But I’d never given a thought to someone with a peanut allergy being anywhere around.

I myself am allergic to ginger. Not seriously—more of an annoyance. Just let me eat a couple of fresh ginger cookies and my gums and the roof of my mouth swell with water blisters. But allergies like that are much easier to deal with than effects that hit you deep inside, like severe stomach pains or headaches.

There are also food-related diseases like Celiac disease. One lady was mentioning how she had to be very careful eating out, or when invited to dinner, not to take anything that might contain gluten. I hardly know how I’d cope with something like that, which affects practically every bite of food you take every day.

Environment or Hereditary Weakness?

I think everyone wonders where this multiplicity of allergies and new diseases comes from. Have we North Americans brought this on ourselves by our super clean lifestyle? By our consumption of so many exotic foods? Or by our exposure to so many environmental irritants like perfumes and dyes? One allergist I visited one time, a native of South America, talked about all our scents. “You people here in North America need to have everything stinking!”

Did the weaker people just die in years past, leaving only the strongest to carry on the human race? Or are we an especially weak strain of humans now, having been so often preserved by our many antibiotics? Medical science has done wonders to prolong life — and I, for one, am all for that. So what can you say?

Last night my husband was reading a book review about a new book on the market, titled, LET THEM EAT DIRT: Saving Our Children From An Oversanitized World. The writers take the approach that we’re killing ourselves with clean. Not a new thought, but these are researchers who’ve done a fair bit of study on the subject. They say that in killing off all germs we’re killing off the beneficial bacteria that would have given us immunity to a lot of health woes. If you’re interested in what they have to say, you can check it out here.

Meanwhile other scientists are concerned about the long-term effect of adding all this anti-bacterial stuff — containing low levels of pesticides — into the water supply. So with environmental issues and all, I can see the day coming when anti-bacterial products containing pesticides will be banned. (If they haven’t been already. I’m not always up with the latest.)

At any rate, our world is as it is. But my sympathy goes out to people who struggle every day with allergies and diseases that severely limit their enjoyment of life. For myself, I’m looking forward to getting better now and enjoying life as much as possible.

My alarm just played its musical tinkle. It’s 9:30 am; time to quit writing. Time to take my pill. Time to get ready for my Coffee Hour outing. Oh, I like this alarm!

Tracking the Harvest

It’s harvest time on the prairies. Daily the combines are going, chomping up the swaths, spitting out the chaff, and pouring golden grain into waiting trucks.

I enjoy writing haiku verses and will share this one for those of you who also like them:

train whistle pierces
the thick haze of combine dust
tracking the harvest


The SILENCE of the APP

I tried to shut my computer down last night — and found that I couldn’t. The button I’ve clicked on heretofore was there, but it didn’t bring up the usual. In its place popped up some new screen with a number of little boxes, some of them quite puzzling; of course none of these said a simple, “Shut Down” or “Turn off computer.” I did some clicking here and there, but alas, no “OFF” did I find. So I left my computer to blip away in the silence of the midnight and went to bed.

I was awake early this morning and came to check how my computer had fared while I was away. I clicked on the box that brought up this new screen and had a good look. At one point I clicked one spot and got an audio introduction to what is supposedly the 10th Anniversary Windows update “Activity Center, showing two sections. (I’d go back and listen to this again to confirm the name but I can’t remember now which button to click to bring it up again.) I didn’t find the second half of the control panel that the video said should be there, but maybe someday…

Anyway, here I was facing this one half of the “Activity center” and I did actually finally find the button that would shut down my computer. So the thing can get a good night’s sleep from now on.

I wasn’t thrilled with all these icons for computer games. Apart from Lumosity, which is supposed to improve my brain and thinking ability, I don’t play computer games and don’t need all these clutter-some apps. So I poked around and discovered I could delete the icons.

From then on things took a bad turn. I clicked on a little icon that said PS in a square. I thought I’d move it over because my deletions had made holes. Instead of it moving, it somehow “fused” to my computer screen. From then on I had a “PS in a square” staring silently, reprovingly at me from every screen I opened. From the middle of my Desktop wallpaper. From the middle of a WordPerfect document. “Just try figuring out how to get rid of me and I’ll short circuit your brain!”

I clicked on this and that but of course I found no buttons for “Help” or “Tech Support” or “Contact.” I thought to myself, “Oh, dear. Now I need one of those young men with an earring.”

This refers to an older very conservative Mennonite man and a customer service rep he’d dealt with one time. Charles ran a small business in a rural area of northern Brazil, plus he put out a small newsletter sharing community news. Back circa 1980 he found himself in need of a new copier so he contacted one company and they sent out this young rep — a personable young man with an earring in one ear.

Charles frowned. A man with an earring? Not done in his world. This suggested a lack of taking life seriously. More like, “Yeah, yeah. Right on, man. Whatever.” Charles wondered how much this hippy-type fellow would know about his product line, or how much would he care about Charles’ particular business needs?” But as he sat down and listened, the young man clearly explained their product line and in particular which models would best suit which of Charles’ needs the best. Finally Charles had to conclude this young rep really knew his stuff, that in judging the man’s ability by his earring, he’d jumped to a foolish conclusion.

So it goes these days: seniors calling out the tech support may find themselves opening their door to someone with orange spiked hair or a nail through their nose, but the service rep fiddles his or her fingers half a dozen times on the keyboard or remote and voilà! Problem solved. And they are usually quite personable sorts or they wouldn’t be sent as tech support in the first place. The only fault I have with these young folks is they often talk too fast for a slower older brain.

Back to this morning’s computer woe: PS in a square. In the silence of the morning I pondered my dilemma. I did discover the PS stands for Photo Shop, but since I couldn’t find that one in the list of apps, how could I control it? Clicking on the icon did nothing; for some reason the whole activity center screen was paler and sort of fuzzy.

I finally shut my computer off, with a prayer that God — who understand all the inner workings of everything He’s created, either electronic waves or human minds — would come to my rescue and undo whatever I’d messed up. And when I turned it back on, the square with the PS had evaporated. Thanks be!

Since then I’ve taken several more exploratory trips through this activity center and discovered how to log onto Saskatoon weather, and how to operate the alarm. Success! This went off at 9:30 am sharp to remind me to take my pill. And in another small corner I discovered the control for the volume of the computer’s speaker. It’s been annoying not to know how to control that.

Now maybe next time I’m in town, if I see some tech-savvy reps — with or without earrings — at one of the cell phone booths in the mall, I can get them to show me how to set up my phone up to receive my incoming e-mails. So much to learn!

Daily Prompt word: Silence