In my defense, we were technically on sabbatical/ holiday for five weeks, and there were a few weeks spent getting ready to be away/on sabbatical/holiday for five weeks.
Then there were several weeks when the Internet was down/resting, and I took it as a heavenly sign that I should likewise be down/resting from Internetal pursuits.
Then there were the weeks getting back up to speed after the sabbatical/holiday...
But really, there's no excuse for avoiding you. No reason I shouldn't have been keeping all y'all up to speed on the goings-on in The Field.
I'm here now.
A really good Spiritual Retreat at Pigeon Lake, 85 pounds of tomatoes off my vines, a whole bunch of jars of pickles and jam/jelly, a good "Family Circuit" trip (from home to Saskatoon, to Winnipeg, to Broadview to home), seeing where Thomas lives, seeing where Hillary lives, getting Micah installed at school, a really good Pastor's and Spouses Retreat in Banff, rearranging the house, a really good Older Folks Retreat (they call it "Alive", but it was called "50 plus"... draw your own conclusions), a fabulous visit to Wisconsin to meet the new granddaughter and reconnect with the daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter.
And then we were home, and had barely turned around once before winter descended.
With a vengeance.
Which brings us to the 23 of November, staring Christmas in the face.
It will be a different Christmas for us this year- My Mom and Dad will be here for actual Christmas as well as half our offspring. All our kids (and Grandkids!) will be home (albeit after Christmas, but home they will be) to celebrate the season. We're looking at a solid three weeks of company, with one night of everybody- overlap.
It will be good, but busy.
And there are only four weeks left to get the planning/preparing done.
I may of may not be here very much during Advent, as there are lists to be made, menus to be thought out, food prep to be done, gifts and program to be considered...
The beds are all made though, so that's one thing done!
My goal is to put in the hours before hand so that when my little Norah gets here I can read stories and play games... "if you want to, Nana"... (which was code for, "I really want you to"...)
In other news, although there is close to two feet of standing snow out back, I have towels hanging on the line to dry. The forecast is for sun, a little breeze and plus 4 degrees C. I am seizing the chance for one more load of fresh-air line-dried wash cloths and towels.
It looks like I've finished the self imposed processing list that I've been working on for the past few weeks.
I've made, alphabetically: apple pie filling, apricot jam, apricot syrup, cherry jelly, cherry sauce/syrup, gingered zucchini marmalade, peach-strawberry jam, plum jam, plum pie filling, raspberry jam, and rhubarb pie filling.
As well as a small batch of bread and butter pickles, and (so far) 20 pints of garlic dill pickles.
I was also able to quick-freeze just about 6 pounds of raspberries, which reside loosely in several large freezer bags, ready for muffins or smoothies.
As I picked the last of the carrots, checked the progress on the SO SLOWLY ripening tomatoes and collected the pickle-able cucumbers that have grown since I last picked two days ago, I realized that the season is starting to wind down.
Unless someone gifts me some crab apples for jelly and applesauce, I am probably done for the year.
Except for the salsa and tomato soup that I'm still planning. I have a feeling that the tomatoes are going to have to ripen in my root cellar, but there are a lot of green tomatoes on the vine.
This is a time of year that I LOVE.
I breathlessly wait for it during the hot, humid days of summer.
I long for the cool, crispness of September as I lay sleepless through sultry July nights.
Just when I think the leaves will be forever green and the mosquitoes forever biting, the weather changes.
Instead of buzzing flies, it's the sound of fleeing Canada geese and swathers in the fields.
Instead of heat and dust, there's a smell of fresh cut grain.
I have been blessed by the unknown person, at an unknown time past who planted Nanking cherries on our yard. Blessed to be in the right place at the right time to catch the apricots when they were in season and reasonably priced. And I have been beyond blessed by friends and neighbours who've given me plums, apples and vegetables, and who've let me pick their raspberries.
I got my annual eye test last week, and my eyes, if you can believe it, have become slightly more middle aged in the five years since my last check-up.
I have been noticing that there is a certain distance that does not work with either my spectacles or the naked eye. I have been mentally processing my options for quite a while now, and it came as no surprise that I need a second, middle distance lens.
I concluded, long before the optometrist, that my lifestyle isn't really conducive to progressive lenses; the only time I get frustrated with my eyes is when I'm trying to play the piano or sing from a music stand during worship. I read, can handle the laptop on the table and do handiwork like knitting and sewing without the glasses. Everything else- driving, television, movies and life in general needs the distance lenses in my regular glasses.
The "2 pair for $169, including lenses" confirmed my convictions, and I got two pair of glasses which were ready to be picked up today.
I tried them both on at the store, and concluded that they'd be fine- the middle distance ones seemed to be about right and although I didn't wear the new long distance pair home, because the lenses are a little stronger than previously and I felt a bit wonky when I put them on, I thought these two pair would be just what the doctor and the middle aged housewife ordered.
And then I discovered the fatal flaw.
The new glasses are too wide. Not across my face, but from top to bottom.
They're too long to look under. I chose my last pair because they had fairly skinny lenses, so I could see under them for reading.
While watching T.V.
I was a little worried about that when I picked the new frames, but I hoped they'd be okay.
Now I'm reconsidering my options, and trying to explain to the husband that if I got progressive lenses I'd need tri-focals with the long and mid distance strengths, and then a blank, plain glass bit at the bottom so I can see close up. For reading.
While watching T.V.
Get the distance glasses remade with a plain bottom bit? Get the mid distance "reading" glasses remade with a distance bit at the top and a plain bottom bit to cover all the angles? Take my old frames in and have them made up with the new distance prescription so I can once again look under the lenses for reading.
Today was as relaxed and chill as a humid summer day in The Field can be. The complete opposite of this day in history, 1985.
For all that our wedding day was busy and exciting, today was quiet and calm. We wisely went into the city yesterday afternoon and had a nice evening out. Nothing terribly exciting; a wander through Ikea then supper at Swiss Chalet and coffee later at the Starbucks in Chapters.
Today we did some ordinary type Saturday things, and at 8:00 pm, the day is starting to look pretty much done.
The high spot of the day was reading with my granddaughter over the Internet.
Our daughter initiated a video chat with her Dad at the office, and he wandered over with his phone and handed it off to me. We had a nice time chatting and watching Little Girl's antics. When antics became old news, she started getting books out of her cupboard. One at a time. "Read this to me, Mummy!", and each time Mummy said, "In a little while. We're talking to Nana right now." When she brought "Are You My Mother", I grabbed my copy off the shelf here and asked if Nana could read it to her. Johanna was right with me, and reminded Little Girl of the book on tape they'd had, where she listened to the story and turned the pages.
So away we went. I read and she held her book and turned the pages.
It was lovely.
And I think it was a fitting tribute to our 28 years of marriage- a joy that we hoped for and thought we might not have. God has been good to us, family wise. Our friendship is still strong. Our love is still sweet. There is joy in our four grown children and abundant joy in the emerging next generation of little people.