Thursday, December 16, 2010

whaaaaah I'm sick

OK I know I am SICK, but this is a cold!   at least it isn't a COLD...... I am so seldom sick or ill feeling that I don't know how to suck it up and keep going.  All the years of good health benefits and now no REAL schedule enable my whimpering and lounging.  I am getting better because the Jacuzzi just didn't have the restorative draw that the 2 hours did yesterday!!

Four weeks from RIGHT NOW we will be 12 hours from seeing Melissa in Taipei!  We will have seen family in Denver and spent midnight to noon in San Francisco.  I'll blog about THAT.

Waaah, my eyes burn....................

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Grieving ................

I just got word of a friend's passing after a long battle with cancer.   It brings sadness and tears and broken voice and happiness that her suffering is passed.  I think it brings back those little pieces of grief from all those I have lost over the years.  AND an increased understanding of my own grieving process.   God is stronger and our fullest hope is in Heaven and eternity with Him.  All our lives have a limit so we do our best to deal with it when it happens.

It hurts to be involved in people's lives and then lose them!!!  It is also a TREMENDOUS JOY.   I will continue to welcome people into my life because the pain is far less than the joy and happiness it brings.

My life will continue pretty much the same until Friday arrives and we say another farewell.  My heart aches for her young daughter as I have known her best through my youth group work.  Joyelle prayed every day for the several months my sister suffered with cancer before she died and now she is grieving the loss of her mother!  My voice quivers and my eyes weep because she is so much a part of my heart. 

I will be OK.  I have been OK through other loss and heartache so I will endure and persevere.  And after all tears and broken voices are what make us who we are.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday night means not much

I was challenged to 'woo' Colleen this week!  Not by her but by a younger friend of mine.  Why does it have to be so cold this week?  It just gives me one more excuse!

I think we will have to get ourselves reorganized as we prepare for 3 months in Taiwan and when we return.  We have had a pretty laid back, sit back summer and fall...............MOTIVATION

Oh here's a couple photos that may seem random but enjoy them.
I am managing to keep this cleared

If I remember right this is Marilyn, Barry and David with their mother Beulah
and Milford with his mother Hazel
This reminds me that this week Elizabeth showed me a 1922-23 Free Methodist Annual Report and a 1921 Treasurer's book for Saskatoon.  Neat to see the local history and the contributions from long ago

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Some things DON'T get photographed

We had a 22 hour sleepover with Alex & Gaby!   playing, eating, puzzles, games, eating, stories, attempting early bedtime, waffles breakfast, cheesy noodles lunch, veggie snacks, Puke, PUKE, PUKE, clean, clean, clean, games, I'm hungry, snacks, puzzles, games.

REMEMBER  do not let a little girl with a sensitive gag reflex have stringy celery sticks!  Cough, cough and at least we were at the counter!  then wouldn't you know it big brother can't hold it back either.  AND ABOUT NOW SOME OF YOU MIGHT NOT end of the counter getting covered and as the  flat Tupperware bowl gets half full......Gaby says wipe off my Grandpa's hand!  WIPE GRANDPA'S HAND!   How do you comfort one child while the other is spewing?   and then the next takes a turn?   And Grandma is trying to catch, clean and comfort!!!!!  All I can do is try to keep it all on the counter until we get a bigger bowl!    If your still reading it OK to laugh..............

A VERY MEMORABLE TIME  not all pleasant but still very memorable!

Their Dad and Auntie used to play this same board (Yogi & Boo Boo)


Who says the train needs a track!

Friday, November 19, 2010

We are booked

Flights to and from Taiwan, accommodations at IFH and I AM EXCITED.  It's a curious and almost strange feeling.   It will be 3 months of feeling at home and being away from home!  AND we get a 12 hour layover in San Francisco......midnight to noon will cut down on the activity list though.

This early retirement life has been SURREAL at times and very real as we adjust to climate and financial changes.  It was great to have July and August to be able to care for Alex & Gaby almost full time.  We are working toward developing business with Immunotec, nutritional supplements, so we have fully mobile business activity.

Well bedtime so more another time.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Some photos from the last few months

This last Saturday brought creative cookie making................
 Cooperative yard work and a Fantastic Grandma moment
 And some citified off roading!

OCTOBER brought a surprise from Baba Brenda.........sharing her treasure until Gemma and Guiness return
 And snack times......we sure could see their personalities develop as we spent more days together

SEPTEMBER also had our first trip to the Haugen Clan Cabin at Nemeiben Lake, I call it Wendell's even though that would be wwwrrrrong.  I contributed a bubble machine.  It will be there in the Spring.
 I enjoyed helping with the seasonal closing.  Oh for a winch........and warmth.

AUGUST was Melissa's visit, Jerrod & Shefalee's Wedding
Daily time with Alex & Gaby...the one parade day was rainy but we had a great time anyway.  Colleen DIDN'T get run over by the parade......

And Melissa's last day we got a quick photo!   We are still cautiously working on rebuilding the connection.

November 11, 2010

Remembrance Day, Veteran's Day, Colleen's Birthday  It is interesting how each passing year the balance of these three labels changes. 

Even though this is Colleen's 60th this is probably the least celebrated year for quite some time.  I can remember the 'younger' years when we would have so many people we might have TWO Angel food birthday cakes and about 20 cone cakes!  Today Colleen has received several phone calls.  THANKS TO EACH OF YOU.

My awareness of the meaning behind today; remembering our lost soldiers and honouring those still with us increases with each year.  Maybe THAT has to with being over 50 or 55..........and the perspective that comes with it.  Maybe it is also with recent and visible wars that remind us that it is our VERY young men and women that are standing up for us and our freedoms.  And I think the media is doing a better job of reminding us as well (of course they are also selling air time).  I think we are now past the less public and hushed Korean and Vietnam wars even though there is still controversy.  Bravery and service in the face of destruction and evil or peace deserves our homage. 

I know I'll miss some but THANK YOU...Dad, Gene, Bill, Fred, Eddie, Dean, Larry H, and Larry N, David M, David W, Darcy and Kristina .

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Wow it's Labour Day weekend!!!

Facebook friends will know we have survived the August hosting and wedding and regular life....................AND we had Melissa visit for 10 days!!!!  I know I make this sound like work but it wasn't and isn't.......sure we had tired days but FILLED with love!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  

Our days have been filled with activity, busy isn't quite the right word but spending the day with 5 and 2 year old treasures is,well, a focused effort.  We love Alex & Gaby so much and treasure each moment.  Gaby is a Grandpa's girl but last week when her brother pinched her finger (innocently) in the door latch she walked right past me to Colleen for comfort.  There are lots of ordinary and SPECIAL moments in each day.

One reason Melissa came home was for Jerrod and Shefalee's wedding, Colleen's youngest sister's son.  One of my Indian friends, oh this was a full blown Indian wedding with a Hindu marriage ceremony, said "Big Fat Geek Wedding " has nothing on Indians.   "We make it so much effort they NEVER want to get married again!"  There was something every day for a week.

All the activity has meant not much contemplation time..................we are usually up by 7 am and drop the kids off by 5 or so with many days involving close to 2 hours driving time.........we get to identify almost every Dodge, Chev, Ford, Chevrolet, Pontiac, Chevy, Mitsubishi, Ford Mustang, Dodge Ram, GMC and the occasional Audi, BMW, Saturn, Acura on the trips. Oh and bobcats, graders, steamrollers, dump trucks, semitrailers!

We are working on our Taiwan winter plans, days in Saskatoon activity and plans,  keeping in good contact with Colleen's mom here in Saskatoon as we continue through our RETIREMENT adjustments.  I finished that the University just over 2 years ago and we are beginning to appreciate how early that was!  We wouldn't trade a minute!  Life is real.  Life is good.  Life is ___________!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Where did July go?

Can't fully recall......... Tuesday and Wednesdays were blessed with Alex and Gaby and the reminder of 7 am mornings!  Fridays we also went out and picked them up for a day of fun adventure learning and whatever came our way. 

It has been wonderful for Colleen to be able to take her grandchildren to the weekly Family Tea.  Alex is starting to get to know his cousins.  Gaby too but in a different way.

We made our annual pilgrimage to Crosby ND to celebrate birthdays with Louise Aalund and see Bill, my sister's husband.   It's curious how I've never lived there but there is sense of going home.............a lot like the going home to Liberal KS or Tyrone OK.  I at least lived near Liberal my first 2 years.  Some days I feel like a nomad even though I have lived in Saskatoon almost 40 years.

Melissa will be home for a visit in 10 days and then return to her home  in Kaohsiung Taiwan.  She has a new job teaching at a kindergarten and LOVES it.

Oh I get my first Canada Pension Plan cheque this  month.  So after all these years paying in I NOW start drawing it out.   How far will $649 go?

Oh and we host Alex and Gaby each weekday this month except the day we go to Regina for one part of Jerrod and Shefalee's wedding.   Then we are back in Saskatoon for their 3 days of wedding events.


Monday, June 28, 2010 has happened!!

Back in Canada
Back in Saskatoon
Back in regular life
Back in regular contact with Jay & Julie
Back into the exciting life of a grandparent
Back into the tired life of a grandparent
Back into the satisfied life of a grandparent

Today's lunch wisdom:  we were sitting at the kitchen island eating and Colleen was standing.  Alex:  Grandma, you could use the brown chair to sit on.  Grandma:   But I'm too lazy to go get it.  Alex:  Grandpa!!

Got to love a grandson looking after his Grandma............................

Friday, May 14, 2010

hmm, what to say................

I was going to a foot massage and got sidetracked by a university display at Kaohsiung Arena........LOTS of universities from southern Taiwan with various health and lifestyle things.  a couple kinds of drink, biodegradeable recylcleable material was made into a flowerbox but golf tees is one use, plastiwood(recycled wood and plastic), a couple soap things, a 3 wheeled scooter/bike thing, I got a hat and pen for trying it,  some graphic art things and a NEAT water conservation soil mix for living wall applications that doesn't erode with water flow.  sorry no photos on my camera but I will be in one from each booth....the eager foreigner!   wa ai Taiwan!

We went to Cijin Island yesterday.  AND got a bit too hot......................
You can see my interests are a bit different than Colleen and Melissa's
And maybe even the focus of the first fish and the grin of the following fish has a similarity to my lookin' and grinnin' way, here!   And the first fish is FOCUSSED not unhappy..............................I JUST NOTICED COLLEEN AND MELISSA IN THE BACKGROUND and I am taking a picture that some would think childish........hmmmmmm

Oh it was also another windy day even though it was hot which got me to reflecting on sounds and smells again.   I discovered that the heat and associated sweating results in those gas releases leaving sound tracks.......Usually the evidence is only audible!  MY MID TRAVELS MANY A STRANGE PATH

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Close to the last week, VERY CLOSE

We fly our Monday May 17th so we are on our second last and last of many things.  As I wrote on one FB comment it brings a sad tear to my eye but God replaces it with HAPPY MEMORIES. 

We had a great youth evening and a good service today.  Then Melissa took Colleen to our favourite Brunch restaurant CasaLingua PASTA DELI, I tagged along.  Eggs Benny, mmmmmmm!  

We've been inside relaxing while Melissa is at  the dinner theater rehearsal, unfortunately they have had to move it down 2 weeks so we will miss it.  inside cause it's a sunny humid 31 degrees.  we are gonna freeze the first few days back!

OH I GOT TO MEET WITH GLENN TEAL WHEN HE WAS IN KAOHSIUNG THIS WEEK.  great to catch up in person instead of email and FB.  I think the last time I saw him was at Arlington Beach the summer he and Lee Barbour canoed part of the Missouri River system.  He, Nancy, Angela and her husband Jared will be at Arlington this summer for the 50th Anniversary.

Well that's about it for now.   Dinner in an hour, hmmmmmmm

Sunday, May 02, 2010

BCC Women's Retreat 2010 Kenting

There were sun, wind, water, beaches, baptisms, fun, food and relaxation!

Herbal elixer, YUMMY

Chinese Name: "Chang" Modified Loquat Ointment
Performance: Antitussive, expectorant.
Indications: Cough, sore throat hoarse.

Fritillaria 26.6000 mg
Loquat 120.1000 mg
Citrus 26.6000 mg
Radix 26.6000 mg
Poria 26.6000 mg
Trichosanthes Seed 26.6000 mg
Polygalaceae 26.6000 mg
Lotus 26.6000 mg
Coltsfoot Flower 26.6000 mg
Campanulaceae 26.6000 mg
Pinellia 26.6000 mg
Ginger 13.3000 mg
Menthol 0.0800 mg
Bitter almond oil 1.0000 mg
Orange peel oil 0.0300 mg
Strawberry flavor 0.3300 mg
Pineapple flavor 0.1600 mg
Maltose 200.0000 mg
Sucrose 330.0000 mg
Honey 66.0000 mg
Distilled water added to 1000.0000 mg

Friday, April 30, 2010

Another week, oops 10 days.........

hmm managed to break my cellphone display which prompted Melissa to go ahead and get her Blackberry and now I'm using her old phone... I AM ADDICTED TO COMMUNICATION CAPABILITY. I don't use it all the time but GOTTA HAVE THE CAPABILITY!

I'm gonna check Computer Street tomorrow while Colleen and Melissa are at Women's retreat maybe I can get a good deal on a phone (BB), maybe not. I DO need to exchange a computer cable. Living in 2 different cellphone worlds, 3 if you count USA, has its implications and costs. ADDICTIONS ...................... Necessities ................. desires! Hmm, maybe my Electrical work simply funds my toys .................. and travels!

In three weeks we are home and looking at the Victoria Day long weekend, wait every weekend is a long weekend for us! So I guess we use some of the rest of the world's language even if we don't need it. Like the Tomb Sweeping holiday a few weeks ago that we obviously did not participate in. AND neither did a lot of other people judging by some of the crowds!

Well some plans are starting to take shape Gaby's 2nd BD yesterday, Crosby ND around July 18, Jerrod & Shefalee's wedding Aug 21, Alex's 5th BD Sept 27th, oops Melissa's in there, oh and mine too!

Well, that's enough excitement for now...................later

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

hmm, catching up

Wow this year compared to last year. Lingering on Facebook and making comments leaves non FBers uninformed. It has also changed the depth of my postings.

I haven't had the same angst in my thoughts but the contemplation times have certainly presented themselves. I have seen God in every aspect and dimension of our time here this year. Our new normal begins to take shape. University work is now almost 2 years history, expectation of developing our relationship with Jay & Julie replaces last year's uncertainty. The anticipation of Alex and Gaby's smiles and times together create such a joyful feeling. My extended time working with the youth group here will create a sadness that will be offset by rejoining Lakeview's youth program. We start to think about the return time for next year, maybe mid December to mid April which starts us on an alternating Christmas/Easter pattern. Did you know Easter 2012 is April 8th? 2011 is April 24th, I think.

Sliding back into our Canadian normal is only a month away! Family, friends, lawns, food they way we have always had it, being able to read ALL the signs, well most of them. We are TOTALLY comfortable here but there is the language effort that we feel at times. The natural comfort of home language and environment will bring a different type of relaxation even IF I have to get back to my Contracting work.

Oh here are some photos from the last week or so.

On our way to Sun Moon Lake. The typhoon damage also means we had a paved detour into the river bed below. Quite amazing.

View from our place near CingJing Farm, a lot with a Bavarian style...... Boy talk about switchbacks and quick turnarounds "oops that was our turn!"

Yes, on a mountain just an 8 minute walk from our hotel.

Melissa LOVES Starbucks as long as they have soymilk.....................
We also stopped in a small city Jiji that has a train history. Note the windmill, it reminds me of Kenmare ND

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Wow, changes here!

The youth pastor and his family are returning to the United States in June so that will make next year different. 2 of Melissa's friends may take over leadership while having a baby in July and going to Seminary full time in September, Oh to be 30 again......... But here, I'm still having a great time helping with youth; there were 30 kids last night! I'll bring a couple new games back.

Melissa is the production manager for a dinner theatre so I am a volunteer set builder. It should be fun finding some new material sources YEAY. And building the sets and props too.

Wow it looks like 4 1/2 weeks to departure. Next weekend has Sun Moon Lake and CingJing Farm on the agenda. Ladies retreat April 30 and May 1. I may go snorkeling with friends while M&C retreat. Dinner Theater May 15th.

Ah,Life in the retired lane..........................

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Happy Easter

Well one week earlier than last year and half a world away. We had 3 baptisms at church this Easter Sunday.

Saturday we went to Dream Mall with our 3 Australian guests and after dinner at TGIFriday's we went up on the roof and rode the ferris wheel. Melissa hasn't been on the Ferris Wheel yet!!

and my characteristic self photo that makes it look like I am in PAIN.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Facebook is my excuse

I was just thinking how this year in Kaohsiung compared to last year.

I have taught 4 days compared to 8 weeks. I haven't actually missed the schedule or the beetle nut stands!

We haven't had the some of the angst of 2009 but there are still concerns with the various dimensions of our Canadian lives.

We have stayed on island instead of 2 major trips which I think Colleen REALLY misses. We don't have FULL University salary this year like last so we aren't spending money quite as cavalierly. We certainly can more easily count our Taiwan expenses this year

Colleen had done a lot of reading, maybe similar to last year but I've been around to observe while I've played computer games or did small tasks here at Melissa's place.

I have become a bit restless with the amount of leisure time I have so hopefully I can translate that into time doing contracting work once we get back to Saskatoon. Maybe Jay and I will do some together, we'll see.

Curiously I think we have had as many friends or friends parent pass away this year as last........I guess it comes with the age................

OH NEXT YEAR WILL BE OUR 40TH ANNIVERSARY AND WE ARE TALKING ABOUT GETTING A TAIWANESE WEDDING BOOK so we will need to assemble a few historical photos to go with the GLAMOUR shots they do here. Sorry I am NOT funding your travel to our celebration tea!

Well that does it for today. Love to all. Enjoy your Spring weather in North America. Enjoy your time with loved ones wherever you are.

Monday, March 15, 2010

10 days since the last blog post

we lived more life!

Jay's 33 on Tuesday! Wow!

We went to an outdoor Symphony presentation of the BBC Blue Planet. The Fine Arts Museum has a hillside that provides near perfect seating for such an event. And it only rained enough to cause them to pass out free raincoats (flimsy but effective), not to get soaked.......

A friend Ken Elder passed more farewell gathering missed while in Taiwan.

We drove, well Melissa did, we rode, to Taichung to support a fundraiser and visit some friends that teach at Morrison Academy who Melissa went to Russia with in 1994. Yep THAT long ago!

About 2/3 of the way there Melissa's car overheated. We stopped at a rest stop. Store, gas station and restrooms. (90 urinals)! Once we added 2 liters of water and the engine cooled some off we went. WELL about 20 minutes later we pulled over and (short version) rode in the car on the back of a flat bed tow truck into the next city to get a new thermostat and radiator. Sunday morning no less! AND back on the road in 2 hours!

We had dinner at Ponderosa, there are 2 in Taichung, with the Robarts then went back to their apartment for a short visit before driving home. It sure was nice to NOT have the extra servicing stops! This time the rest stop only had about 60 urinals..........

It was like driving to Regina and back for the day. WE'D NEVER DO THAT! Well ALMOST, never!! Dogs and Monday morning hair appointments pressed the return decision.

This afternoon I was out walking and noticed one clinic 'UROLOGY AND DERMATOLOGY' A curious combination in my limited experience! My mind wondered........I'll let you do yours and keep mine to myself, thank you very much.........

Well that's about it!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Another Day more adventure

We went to the harbour to watch the Lantern Festival fireworks again! We were on the opposite side ot the river from last week and much closer so the video is different than my Facebook video. WE could feel the impact of the exploding!!!! and the kaboom was much more immediate.

On the way home I remarked how the variety of noises and odours make it pretty easy to FART walking along the sidewalk. Colleen said " I know" hmmmmm. enjoy the laugh!

Tomorrow we are going to the Fine Arts Musem to see the Pixar exhibit........confirming the bus connections for going to an outdoor concert of Blue Planet on Tuesday evening.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Wiggly Jiggly Waking

Hey the bed's shaking, REALLY SHAIKING Earthquake, get outta bed, near the wall, door frame. MELISSA are you up? Yeah, that's the biggest one I've had while here!!! Wow this is long............///////////:;;;""""""""""""!!!~~~~~~~~.

No real damage here, although the dog's water slopped out of the bowl! Heart rates are settling. Most on Facebook already know, but 6.4 about 40 km from here. The biggest in Kaohsiung County on 100 years! LUCKY US!!!!

More later Melissa back from teaching off to Carrefour.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Why am I writing at 4 AM?

mind wandering, mind processing, feet twitching, hey where'd that mosquito come from! thinking of family, contrasting this year and last year. WHY UNTIL 4 AM

Two days ago Melissa and I attended the memorial service for one of the high school kids here who lost his battle with cancer. But he has his eternal home! Prayer for his healing appears to be unanswered to the human mind. Ian's mother died when he was 4, his father when he was 7 was , four years in an orphanage and 11 years with his new family. During the recessional the adoptive father brought Ian's house mother over to help escort his ashes out. BIG EMOTION, BIG RECOGNITION. God's ways are so far beyond ours that it leaves me in awe. maybe a little puzzled............

Life continues for us at an easy pace. Plenty warm, plenty of food, good friends here and THERE!

Ah, I guess I needed to get my words about Ian down. sleeping........................

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Yep it's Winter

shorts mid morning to late afternoon and then back to jeans and a sweatshirt!

I know cry you a river..........................

We had a good Lunar New Year trip last week to the east coast area around Taitung and Yuli. It took 14 hours to get there and about 3 to get home. Why? well just try moving a few million people along a 4 lane highway! Chinese New Year vacation is 3 days for most and of course we drove on one of them! The SAME direction everybody wanted to go! One stretch took 3 hours to go 14 km! once we got past the intersection in a small town with the cross traffic to the hot springs the pace picked right up again. GLADLY, WHEW!!

While in Taitung and Yuli it rained enough to out a real damper on things especially when our friends have 3 small children (under 4)! This was one of the clear hours we had!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

It must have been a quiet week

It's Thursday evening in Ktown and the breathing's easy. Or was that feelings? Oh well I never said I was a singer.

We've had some more nice easy days which might be why the last 2 nights I haven't been able to go to sleep until 3 am.

We made another trip to the neighbourhood market this afternoon. It's like Saskatoon Farmer's Market TIMES 5 adding fresh fish, chicken, stinky tofu, soup vendors and an occasional smell that resembles an open sewer. Oh and clothes and games too.

Saturday afternoon we are going to the Amway cruise ship that is visiting Kaohsiung.

Keep having fun everybody.

Oh this week we learned of the passing of a long time friend Jack Walrath and the arrival of a new baby Graisyn Ross.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Learning from Kids

This week was pretty easy, fun, warm but not too warm, I got to do a couple small creative projects and help with the Junior High and Senior High Saturday night.

The youth are quite similar in Kaohsiung as Lakeview although there is a distinct behavioural difference between the kids that are from North American homes, many attend Morrison Academy Kaohsiung, those with mixed heritage and those from Chinese homes. Some of that is language based and some is culture. I LOVE IT. Oh I hope the Sunday morning change for Zou goes well. PLEASE ENCOURAGE MY KIDS......and their LEADERS

We can have fun with games as a distraction but then the reality of these devastating events in young lives SCREAMS BACK TO LIFE. One of the youth has been fighting cancer for a couple years and recently discovered the cancer was misdiagnosed and so he,and his family, has endured treatment for a cancer that is considered untreatable. There is always room for God's miracles but medically he has about 1 year remaining. To see the response and extended prayer initiated by the youth was heartwarming and amazing. It also brought memories surrounding my sister's and others death process. Very sobering and almost brings tears. God meets each of us as we need to be met. Where and how we need Him. Last week I prayed with one youth whose mother and brother are dealing with cancer. This weeks news compounds for him.

Please partner with me to pray for Kevin's strength and encouragement. And for Ian and his family as they deal with this new reality.

Monday, January 25, 2010

IKEA for Arilee

A Taiwanese shot MUST have a scooter in it!


and here's MY preferred shot

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kaohsiung daily life

Hmm, if I was in Saskatoon I wouldn't likely take note but here it seems so much more appropriate.

Up late get out of bed late.............breakfast of eggs, ham, chinese sausage, no not made out of chinese, toast and coffee. Not so unusal but when cooked over a 2 burner gas stove IT IS. It's so different than electric that I dare not ask a question or something is burned!

Then a few tasks before Melissa heads off to teach, 2-6 today, her other 6:30-8 lesson cancelled. Hang a cupboard in her bathroom that we bought at B&Q a few days ago. It didn't take long to assemble but a few days to coordinate hanging it! I WAS NOT GOING TO MOVE HER TOILETRIES....... Reorganizing the second floor common area, changing four lamps to some new lamp shades that ,of course, mount differently and the adapter is just a BIT to small, get out the knife, trim the opening bigger, ALWAYS KEEPING FINGERS, ARMS AND BELLY out of the knife's path. I didn't think it needed that much trimming, so we are meeting Melissa at SHAOU BAE to see about other adapters, a coat tree, and a toilet seat cover (I am NOT telling that story, tee hee) SHAO BAE is a 24 hour cross between Canadian Tire, Walmart and Dollarama!

We contiune to do our part to maintain IKEA profitability. A kitchen cart, 3 new stools for our last year table which will become the IFH kitchen table. IKEA sure engineers their stuff so all you have to do is follow the pictures. And BELIEVE ME it is a lot simpler to follow their flow than to take stuff apart to get the shelves in place!!! They even show a picture of the 2 lengths of screws with a BIG X across the wrong length! I don't want the pointy screw sticking up through my chair!!! or the table top either!

I have a couple IKEA pictures for Arilee that will follow another day.

Well 5 o'clock better grab a nap before meeting Melissa in an hour to get parts for the evening activty!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Alexander is our TV star!!

Jay and Julie took Alex and Gaby to Spectrum at the University and besides having a fantastic time Alex was interviewed by Global TV. It's about 3 seconds of what I'm sure was a 10 minute discussion with Alex... Oh he's the second boy since many of you won't recognize him. He was 4 in September. No camera jitters or brain freeze for that boy!

I'm glad I found this because it also lets me get a different view on Sasakatoon news while we are away. The SP is a bit slanted for my taste.........

On a different note, even though Melissa's visa has been approved but she's still waiting to have the REAL DEAL in her hands! red tape takes time..........

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The pressure releases, VISA APPROVED

It will take a few more days to have documents in hand but Melissa got word midafternoon that her visa renewal has been approved!

The questions and delay have created major stress and strain for her. Now a few days for sighing relief and contemplating plans.

Please continue to pray for smooth processing. AND PRAY FOR OTHERS WE KNOW AT HOME WITH MAJOR ISSUES THAT DRAW ON THEIR ENERGY. Those close know details others can pray in support and caring.

We made our first Costco trip today fortunately we had the cash in hand. Costco here only accepts Costco branded credit cards and foreigners CANNOT get a credit card. Hmm I wonder what would have happened if I had a Costco branded American reminds me of the days when Canadian Tire made more profit from their credit card than the retail sales.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Hello from home even though we are far from home.

Think of that place you have been or return to that puts a pleased, satisfied smile in your heart……we are there!

We are still waiting for news about Melissa’s visa renewal and we are NOT pushing red tape, as if a person actually could. Our plans will develop beyond day by day when Melissa gets word.

The smells, odours, fragrances, noises, sounds, sights, traffic and people are strangely familiar and comforting. Not even 3 days yet and we’ve made breakfast, gone out to a few previous places and a few new places. Supper last night was $195! We each had similar meals probably 2 cups of rice with a curry vegetable and meat including a soft drink. It would have been about $6.50 CDN and that was for ALL THREE meals.

This afternoon we went for a hair wash………about a 20 minute shoulder massage and another 20 minutes head wash and massage. Ahhh the life, it was about $7 cdn each! That’s no hair cutting though, just relaxation and pleasure!

Oh right, THE TRIP. Our flight from Saskatoon to Vancouver was delayed long enough that almost all connecting flights would be missed so we were rebooked and arrived in Vancouver 2 hours after our flight left for Taipei!

Westjet was very good though and provided a meal voucher in Saskatoon (not much available after 7 pm except Tim’s). We ended up buying a can of English Toffee Cappuccino to use the voucher value. Melissa’s favourite. We had a nice room in Vancouver at a Sandman about 5 minutes from the airport and $40 meal vouchers.

We went for breakfast at the attached Moxie’s but alas they don’t serve breakfast until noon during the week. Yeah noon’s a bit late BUT HEY, WE GOT IN AT 2AM which was Saskatoon 4 am. We are settled into our new time zone. We had decided to check out of the hotel late but not so late we had extra charges which left us with 4 hours before we could check in for our China Air flight. Then there were STILL 3 hours before departure! That’s when we really appreciated the delayed flight and the night in a bed.

We left YVR on time but I think we had tired seat butts before we got off the runway. The night’s rest was good but just didn’t offset narrow, firm airplane seats. The flight was uneventful, a regular flight. God provided protection, food, lodging and safety for those 2 days of travel. What more could we ask? Oh right, being greeted by Melissa……we were eventually………….it was funny she was delayed but then we got free parking instead of her waiting a long time.

We waited maybe 10 minutes. The familiarity with our surroundings and the comfort in our knowledge of how to get to her place from either Kaohsiung or Taipei are fantastic.

Oops too it’s late for the Jr. and Sr. High program tonight, maybe next week. Tomorrow is church. Melissa sings at both services so we are there for 8:45. We will reacquaint with many friends and have lunch with Larry & Michelle and their 3 children.

It has been great to spend some unscheduled time with Melissa yet a bit frustrating to need to wait on her ARC approval before any of us make substantial plans. We all ask for your prayers over these next few days as the anxiousness and uncertainty continue.

Oh and lest any of you think we aren’t missing you……we are and especially Jay, Julie, Alex and Gaby. There are SO MANY things a Grandpa wants to buy and send back!!!!!!! I’m surrounded by all kinds of candy and noisemakers which will stay in the stores……………. Toys, games, puzzles, paints and coloured pencils abound!

Friday, January 01, 2010

January 2010 Contrasts

Well I am about 40 degrees colder than last January.

We were around about 249,993 fewer people this year that last!

We are expecting a visit from our kids and grand kids tomorrow afternoon. last year we could not see our way to form even an expectation.

In THREE days we return to Kaohsiung where we were last year.

I am connected with MANY cousins and a year ago we hardly KNEW what Facebook was......

This past year I have had at least 2 friends lose BOTH mother and father!

I am going to miss Jay, Julie, Alex and Gabriella the next 4 months................but will rejoice in time with Melissa!

This is a year of renewal: relationships, discipline, adventure, uncertainty, love, family, plans, expectancy not expectations.