Friday, September 30, 2011

Not yet...

The weather has turned cool, and I must admit I wasn't ready for that - just yet. I'm under no illusions about it being warm in Canada, but we skipped fall. The leaves have yet to change, and we moved directly to cold and windy. They're predicting a low in the 30s this weekend...

I've switched my wardrobe. Although I pulled out the boots and Cuddl-Duds (no 'e'), I can't seem to put my sandals away - just yet. The flannel sheets are on the bed. My lap blanket, lovingly and hand-made by sister, Ronna, is out and being used. Neighbors are leaving the island to head south for the winter. Yesterday, I made Harvest Muffins, with grated apples and carrots, for the ferry crew. Summer is gone.

What I love about fall is that it is the time that God designs for things to begin to rest. Those of us with Operation Christmas Child are geared up for Collection Week and have no intention of resting - just yet. This is what we work for all year. This is our harvest - His harvest - of shoebox gifts that will travel around the world so that children who have no hope know that someone, some stranger, somewhere, wants them to know they are loved. "The power of a simple gift" isn't just a saying to us; it's real. We feel the urgency to reach just one more child. We're not ready to be finished - just yet.

I'll leave you with 2 things -  a picture and Garth Brooks words...

One hand
Reaches out
And pulls a lost soul from harm
While a thousand more go unspoken for
They say what good have you done
By saving just this one
It's like whispering a prayer
In the fury of a storm

And I hear them saying you'll never change things
And no matter what you do it's still the same thing
But it's not the world that I am changing
I do this so this world will know
That it will not change me 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Things I like about Canada so far

It's been almost 4 months since we moved to Canada. I thought it was about time to make a new list, so here are some of the things I really like about Canada.

1)  The people! Amazingly warm and friendly. Plus, if you're not talking about taxes, Canadians are really happy people. (C'mon, none of us is happy talking about taxes.)

2)  The calmness! Okay, using an exclamation point there is inappropriate. The pace, and the people, here are not easily excited (except about hockey) or agitated. It's so refreshing. Canadians take everything in stride, and I find myself enjoying the day - even the ones with lists - a lot more.

3) French! Thankfully, it's a lot like Spanish, so I'm not completely lost. I have, thus far, resisited taking French, because I still haven't mastered Spanish. First things first... Here's a good example:

In Spanish, chicken is pollo, and, well, we have to give them credit, because bouillon is a French word we already know. Some packages have English on one side and French on the other. I panicked before I realized that I simply needed to flip things over.

4) Packaging! Threw you on this one, didn't I? Stick with me... I was one of those homeschooling parents who loved "How Things Work", and these little differences are fun & challenging. Let's look back at the broth, from a different angle:

If you can get past my slightly blurry photo (still learning how to shoot macro), can you see the little tab inside the opening? No tiny foil tabs to shred! Just open, press, pour, seal. Yes, I said 'seal'... the top actually snaps closed, and I shook it to test it. (Snow waited patiently in hopes spillage would come her way, but, alas, the product closed tightly - as it should have.)

Now, on to the 'scrip I swore I wouldn't take. I gave in after looking at how horribly red the spot on my ear is... That saga will continue at Henry Ford Health this afternoon, but I digress. Segue (ooooh - another French word!) back to containers...


   Ingenious! The tab fits through the opening. Dare I say I laughed watching Michael trying to open it. His engineering mind was waaaaay over-thinking this! You press the tab with one hand, and lift the loop over it. Simple. Two-handed? I'm guessing that makes you concentrate on what you're doing and keeps you from spilling pills all over the floor. Not that any of us have ever done that, mind you...

5) Alter the name to make it Canadian! Why not, right? Visitors tend to notice what's not just like the U.S. version, but why should it be? I'm in Canada, the product is in Canada, shouldn't it show it's pride?  Check this one out:

Yes, Chipits! Hershey - yes, new name - yes! Same product - different name. C'mon... you have to love this one... They come in more flavors here, too!

And this one is a two-fer:

"Biscuits graham wafers"! You know the product... How many of you love that they show a S'more on the front? Admit it... Then you'd also love that the packaging (here's the two-fer part) has the wafers squared. Yep - cut & ready for chocolate and a marshmallow. No rectangles to challenge the Monk-like character in those of us who want everything straight. Open - eat. Ta-da!

You all asked me to blog about the Canadian experience, and this is all part of it!

(PS - Fine. I admit it. I shot all these pics on my ironing board. It's a constant in my life. I love to iron, as if you didn't know...)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Big Pharma is alive and well...

I had my first experience with the medical system here in Canada today. Sunday night, I had a cough, and now I have laryngitis and a fever. Michael's company offers us Cigna International health insurance, but it is not accepted in Canada. Finding a GP who takes new patients was my first challenge, and I was fortunate to get an appt. this afternoon. I did not have to wait the allotted time for a new patient appointment since I was paying cash. Interesting...

The physician was dressed in a suit & tie and walked me to the exam room. He was nice enough but never got up from his chair once the "exam" started. He did lean over to check my ears and ask me to say "Ahhh." He never checked my glands or breathing. That was it. 3 prescriptions later and a bill, and I was out the door. Interestingly, none of the 'scrips are for what I went in for. My illness, he says, is viral, so I should wait it out. For 'scrips, he decided I needed a cream for an old keloid (the subject came up when I talked about skin cancer), and antibiotic for a red spot on my outer ear, and something to guard my stomach against the antibiotic he said would "tear up (my) stomach". Oh yea.

The Walmart pharmacist was wonderful. She'd never seen Cig-Intern'l before but worked with them by phone for 10 minutes. She alone has enabled all of us, here on the Fluor project, to fill 'scrips when we need them. She made my day.

For what's it worth, I haven't taken an antibiotic in 20+ years. I believe they are overused, in all countries, and destroy our immune systems. Under the right circumstances, they can be highly effective, but because of overuse there are now only 2 that still work for children. What does that tell us? Okay - off my soap box.

If you're interested, I called the Henry Ford Health System, registered with them and have an appointment on Thursday. I'm really curious to see what my diagnosis is there. I've decided to hold off on taking the meds, so I'll keep you posted.