Easter 5

Hello Blog Friends!

     Welcome to the month of May. I do apologise for the length of this post and for it’s tardy publication, but as you will see, this week has included a “series of unfortunate events”(ala Lemony Snicket.) and, sadly, there have not been any new Day Camp applications to brighten the general aura of gloom.

Despite spending so much time reaching out to contacts across Canada and beyond, no communities have yet responded to my invitations. As summer inches closer, the chances of finding 3 more host churches (we currently have seven) to meet our goal of 10 camps this year, dwindle and it is so hard to stay positive in light of this setback. Fortunately we did have our monthly committee meeting Wednesday evening and it always lifts my spirits to talk with other people who share a heart for this ministry. We were happy to welcome Sharon to the committee but sad to say good-bye to Jillian. Of course all of us are delighted that her baby will soon be born and I’m hanging onto her promise that she will be re-joining the committee once things settle down a bit.

     There has also been a fair amount of general office work as I have started to prepare the template for the next issue of our quarterly newsletter as well a keeping on top of daily banking tasks, emails and phone calls 😊. Monday I was pleased to receive a phone call from the coordinator at the church in Delta BC, confirming that they would be filling out an application. This church was already on our list of “hopefuls” and so does not bring us nearer to our goal, but it is very good to change from “hopeful” to “definite” and Wednesday brought the payment for a Backyard Day Camp package being hosted by a church (also already on my list of 7) in the suburbs of Montreal. 

   Work was drastically interrupted on Wednesday as I had recently received a notification from my Internet provider, Bell Canada, informing me that residential customers in this area needed to upgrade their system to “Fibe 5G” and so it was necessary to make an appointment to have a technician come and do the installation. This event was fraught with difficulty since Thomason suffers from severe anxiety especially when strangers come. After setting up the appointment I prayed fervently that whoever came would be a person who liked dogs and would not be frightened by Thomason’s constant barking. Sadly the technician was terrified of Thomason and would not come in. He called his supervisor, whom I spoke to and the supervisor was totally satisfied they should go ahead with the work as Thomason was tied on a short leash. Then the technician needed access to the next-door back garden. This was a big problem since the house is empty and the family moved to Portugal last summer! However, the house on the other side of the neighbours’ shares an adjoining side gate so I was able to ask that neighbour to allow access. 

The outside work was no problem (except that my internet was down) but the technician still wouldn’t work inside and sent for his supervisor. Fortunately he was a LOVELY man who came right in and horsed around with Thomason and was so kind helping me to find somewhere to install the new modem. As this house is 120 years old there are very few power outlets in most rooms. The supervisor finally suggested he drill through the dining room wall and bring the line in that way. He wanted me to place the new modem AND my landline phone either on my tea wagon or the china hatch AGH!!!!! Neither of which appealed to me at all, but we finally compromised and were able to place both devices behind the hatch so they are not visible in the room (there are 2 other cordless landline phones in the house so, no, I do not need to crawl behind the china hatch if someone calls me on my landline! a very rare occurrence as 99% of calls come on my office cell number 😊)

He then proceeded to drill through the very thick brick wall. Thomason was terrified of the loud whining drill and so I was sitting on the hall floor holding him on my lap. All of a sudden there was a load crash. Unbeknownst to me the supervisor had opened the dining room window (I still do not know why) and the vibration had caused it to crash down pinning the tips of 3 fingers of his left hand. AGH! I rushed in and helped him extricate his hand. Thankfully the fingers were not broken and there was very little blood but I’m sure it was very painful. He came in the kitchen and we ran his hand under the cold-water tap and I got him a cup of coffee and asked the technician (who was still hanging around outside) to go and get the first aid box from their truck. He was gone forever while I got a clean towel and the supervisor sat at the kitchen table, obviously in pain but being very stoical. Finally another man turned up who was apparently another technician working in the area and had responded. He got out some large Band-Aids and patched up the poor man’s fingers. That technician then left and the wounded supervisor completed the job with one hand. I have a feeling he was going to have some harsh words with the wimpy technician who still hung around outside and wouldn’t come in.

All in all the saga lasted 4 hours, after which there was a lot of sawdust and wet boot prints (yes it was also raining!!) to clear up. The china hatch had to be moved back into place and all the china replaced, then I had to clear up in my studio, where the phone and old modem used to be. Finally, being me, I got out white house paint, brown wood stain and some tiny brushes and painted the long length of cord that snaked around the dining room from the exterior deck wall, all the way to the socket behind the china hatch. SIGH. it was a very exhausting afternoon, and a very painful one for the poor supervisor.   

That day had also begun quite traumatically as, when we returned from our first long walk of the day; I was unable to unlock my front door. The door lock has been “iffy” for years, despite being a good quality Yale deadbolt mechanism. I often have trouble locking the door but never any problem unlocking it. Not until that morning!!! when I could not budge it. I tried for an agonising 10 minutes and finally decided I would need to get a locksmith. Of course it was only 8am and I knew the locksmith store would not be open until at least 9am. I called a friend who lives nearby but got no answer and so then tried a neighbour. Fortunately he was at home (although he apologised for still being in his pyjamas 😊) and I went over there.

He offered to get dressed and come to my house to see if he could do anything. Meanwhile I reached my other friend’s house and her husband asked if my neighbour had any WD40 spray, which can be used to lubricate locks. My neighbour did have some and so we returned to my house and after much jiggling he managed to open the door. Praise the Lord!!  My friend’s husband also offered to lend me a can of some sort of special lock lubricant so I also went to their house and picked that up and sprayed it in the lock as an added precaution. It still seems to be working now and I fervently hope there will not be another incident. Locksmiths are VERY expensive and I really do not want to have to replace the lock.

Thursday more disaster struck. As I was washing up my lunch dishes I went to turn off the hot water tap and it would not turn off (AGH!!! again) I tried to close the auxiliary tap on the line under the sink but that would not turn either. After a few frantic moments I discovered if I applied weight to the top of the tap I could reduce the flow to a drip so I ran and got the cast iron vice and managed to wedge it is place on the offending tap, adding a garden rock as an extra precaution. I then immediately fired off an email to family friend, Brian, who has bailed me out of many household disasters.

Not receiving a reply I limped along until yesterday morning. When he still had not responded, I messaged his wife to ask if he was away on a business trip. She replied that he was working from home but had, perhaps, not checked his emails. She prodded him into action and he arrived at my door shortly after noon. He was immediately able to close the auxiliary tap and then, with the water turned off, he unscrewed the faucet and went off to the nearest Reno Depot to pick up a new mechanism. Amazingly they gave him the piece free of charge as the brand has a lifetime warranty! He has back in twenty minutes, installed the piece, drank a glass of kombucha and had a slice of my Maple Pound Cake, then packed up his toolbox and headed home. Whew! it was a relief to have running water again at the kitchen sink 😊.   

 Outside of office hours, progress has continued on my autumn pullover and should go very quickly now since the patterned yoke has been completed and the rest of the pullover is in plain stocking stitch. I also finished varnishing the bird brooches that I painted last week, although I need to wait until Jillian brings me the pin backs for them as she kindly offered to get them from a craft store near her home. Thursday afternoon I sewed an apron as a birthday gift for Owen, younger brother of Serena. I gave Serena an apron last month for her birthday and was sent photos of both children wearing it so I checked with their Mum and she agreed that Owen would love to have an apron of his own too 😊.

Today I dragged myself out of bed at 4:30am in order to watch the Coronation of King Charles. The broadcast of the ceremony began at 5:15am EDT and I knew it would be necessary to first take Thomason out for an early walk, as he would not settle down if he had to wait several hours.

We got home at 5:20am and I logged onto the BBC network. The Service was very lovely and I’m glad to have watched it in real time as it made this historic occasion even more special, however I think I may need to take a short nap this afternoon as it has already been a very long day!

  Because of today’s odd schedule, I opted to bake yesterday afternoon but since it is a lovely day today with a high of +21C, I headed into the garden and did some general tidying up and weeding as it has been a wet week without much opportunity for outdoor work.

 Before Thomason and I go for our second long walk of the day , let’s finish off with a recipe. Since I had the oven on yesterday afternoon I decided to bake my dinner and enjoyed: –

Rice Bowl with Baked Tofu

  • 1 block firm tofu, cut into 8 slices
  • 3 Tbsps. Tamari
  • 1 Tbsp. minced ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsps. brown rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 3 Tbsps. olive oil
  • 1 large green pepper, sliced
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup kimchi

Whisk together all the marinade ingredients in a shallow dish. Add the tofu slices, turning to coat, and leave to marinate for at least 15 minutes. Transfer the slices to a parchment lined baking sheet. Toss the pepper slices in the marinade and then place them on the baking sheet with the tofu. Bake for 20 minutes in a preheated 375ºF oven, turning once during baking.  If desired, warm the kimchi for 5 minutes, in a small baking dish. Divide the cooked rice between 4 shallow bowls and top each with an equal amount of tofu, peppers and kimchi. Drizzle with extra marinade. Serves 4.

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