ON BLOCKS AND BEING STUCK

It’s Monday, sunny and bright for most of the day. I should have taken advantage of the energy boost it gave me. But I didn’t exactly bust my ass. I had good intentions. They don’t mean squat if I didn’t follow through. I should not trash myself too badly because I did show up for the aerobics class this morning. Now I’m showing up here.

It’s almost the supper hour. The sun has set. There is a bit of wind but it was relatively pleasant walking Sheba. I was bundled up – too much. I was in a sweat when we got home. The back gate is locked for the evening. The recycle bin at the front curb. I’ve collected my summer sandals off the deck. They’re in a box. Haven’t figured out where to put the box yet. So I guess the sandals are still on the deck.

Pretty boring mutterings, eh? That’s how I’m feeling these days – blasé about life in general. Have you ever been in that condition? I have, many times. I guess it comes from having a short attention span and easily bored.  That’s my theory. I do get over them though this one is hanging on. There’s nothing to do but hang on, keep getting up, dressing up and showing  up. I know one morning I will wake up feeling ‘yippee!’

I get help wherever I can. Daisy Yellow (Tammy Garcia) provides lots of inspiration. She founded the annual Index-Card-a-Day Challenge of which I participates. Her post about dealing with creative blocks works for my life blocks. After all, life is a creative process and a work of art. I try to paint a little index card, cut/sew a quilt square or two, write in that one-inch picture frame that Anne Lamott talks about in her Bird by Bird. Now, I have a whole swack of index card art. Some awesome, some good and some just so so. I’m on my way to building a quilt. It’s slow going but I have a start. I try to come to this space daily. Sometimes I don’t make it. Sometimes I do. My self -talks help to unlock blocks. To date I have 1,004 blog posts.

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BEING MY OWN INSPIRING PERSON AND HERO

Sunny Sunday morning. It’s a welcome sight. I don’t mind that it’s -7 Celsius. I’m always surprised every year how dark October can be. Seems like summer just drops off a cliff and the sunrise at 6 am with it. I’m left grappling for my clothes in the dark of the morning. Seeing the sun bright and shiny before 9 is a balm to my spirit. As always, Sheba is near my feet, crowding my space.

I’ve been on a reading jag, not a bad thing on cloudy October days. It keeps my mind from wandering and dwelling in dark places. I’ve just finished The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah. It’s about post Vietnam War, PTSD, survival in Alaska and a love story. I found it hard to put down. It made me cry. I didn’t get much else done. It was a very appropriate and maybe helpful read. It tweaked something in my brain about winter, darkness and how to survive.

It was wet and oh so dreary yesterday. It felt a bit like being in Alaska. It was not an inviting day to be out and about. Waking up in the night for bathroom duties, my brain was working on excuses why I shouldn’t go swimming in the morning. I wondered how I made it to work for all those morning shifts at 7:30. I remembered those ‘phone in sick’ messages playing in my head. Though rarely, I did succumbed some mornings. Now that I’m retired, I don’t have to fear those checkup and sometimes threatening phone calls.

Despite my moans and groans and loud bitching, I get up, dress up and show up most mornings. So upon rising yesterday, I packed my gym bag with my swimming paraphenalia. I was good to go after breakfast at 7:45. I love that time of morning once out the door. The city is still quiet. Light traffic even on my busy street. I was the first one at the pool. It was beautiful to see the four empty lanes. The water was blue and ever so still. No worries about being too slow and people grabbing my toes from behind. That’s the feeling that pushed me to keep my Saturday morning date. I am capable of inspiring myself and being Wonder Woman. We all can do that for ourselves.

To keep up the momentum, we went art gallery hopping after lunch. Our first stop was at Boheme Gallery and Denyse Klette Art Studio for her Gnomes in the Neighbourhood Book Launch. Her colourful and whimsical art is just what I need on a wet cloudy day. And by luck we came across the Artists’ Workshop Exhibition Reception at Hues Gallery. It opened my eyes further about our very own local talents and small galleries. And the events were free with refreshments. I sorely miss the Mendal Art Gallery on Spadina Crescent. It was perfectly located by the river with good parking. It was easily accessible with ample free parking. Admission was also free to all. It was replaced by Remai Modern. I guess I’m not a fan. It is much bigger in the heart of downtown amid other businesses and paid parking and paid admission. I’m happy to discover other alternatives.

 

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ANOTHER WALK, ANOTHER DAY

It’s a very dreary, dreary day. I’m not looking forward to taking Sheba out for her walk but I will. If I give in to my rathers, I am sure I will come apart like a house of cards. I was thinking how difficult everything is this morning on the way to my appointment with my gynecologist. Getting out the door to anywhere feels stressful. Having to be on time. Having to find parking. I circle and circle. Then I’m in the examining room. I’m staring up at the bright lights in the ceiling, trying not to fall off the slanting chair. Then I see all those glistening metal instruments sitting on the cart next to me. Hmmm.

It all turned out. I’m good till next year. The medical resident working with him asked me, Aren’t you happy? I replied, I’m happy. She laughed because my face doesn’t show it. She’s one of those really bright, cheery and beautiful women you would love to hate. You can’t because she is so darn nice. So I mumbled something about it being morning. There was no need to explain or expand. I couldn’t. It is what it is.

So here I am, trying to tap out a few words, trying to do something. I have to try even if I don’t feel like it. It took me the longest time to get the lunch dishes done. I moaned and groaned. Everything felt twice as bad when it shouldn’t at all. I cannot understand it. I don’t try. I just do. I got the Roomba going while I was doing the dishes. Sheba is dropping clumps of hair and tracking in dirt. They magnify in my mind’s eye when I’m feeling thus.

I’m not complaining, just talking myself into moving and doing. We’ve just come back from our walk in a light drizzle. We did it. We didn’t melt in the rain. Our paws our wiped clean and dry. Another walk. Another day. I wish I have something more profound to say but this is it.

 

 

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THE WHY AND WHEREFORE

It would be bliss if I could stop my thoughts at will. As it is, they go round and round chasing each other in my head. I feel as if I’m regurgitating the same ones over and over. You would think I was a cow chewing my cud. My thoughts of late: Why am I am doing this? What is the point? What is the use?

It’s my bored, SAD, disillusioned, morose, tired voices speaking the last few days. The news last night about the genocide in Myanmar gave me second thoughts. It made me think about the plight of the Rohingya refugees. What gives them purpose I wonder? I felt ashamed of my despondency. Here I was, sitting in front of the TV in the warmth and comfort of my own home. I can have light at a flick of a switch, water by turning on the tap. What right do I have to be despondent? What right do I have to moan about my ‘feelings’? I should be doing something useful instead.

There was a time when I felt that we should eliminate ‘shoulds’ from our vocabulary. It was or still is a popular cry. I am easily influenced. It seemed to make sense at the time. How ridiculous is that? As if eliminating would absolve us from our responsibilities. Because really there are so many things that we should and shouldn’t do. I can’t really give good examples at the moment. I’ve been with wine. One glass with supper can do that to me. So more on that at another time. I shouldn’t drink at all.

So what’s the point of what I’ve been doing? Why do I go on and on with my tap, tapping, my paintings, my sewing and all that? What’s the meaning of it all? As I’ve said, I’ve pondered that endlessly during times like this. I feel the drudergy and the dullness of it all. I bore even myself.  I’ve done them almost every day for quite awhile so I can do it even when I’ve lost my luster. These times do pass and the light comes on again. Then I find meaning and beauty in the things I’m doing and have created. And I feel proud that I still can create and tap out some words while moaning and complaining in my head. Sometimes my thoughts are faulty. I try not to believe them all.

 

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FAILED FENCES – POST MORTEM

Yesterday, I talked about how difficult if not impossible it is to mend old fences. Today I’m thinking about how to build new ones. I have to understand first why my fences failed. I don’t want to repeat the same mistakes. They do a post mortem of failed Code Blues to find the cause. I should do the same for my failed fences.

I have been living here in peace with my neighbours for many years. The house on one side used to be a rental. There were a variety over the years. There were attractive girls who liked to sunbathe in skimpy bikinis. I remember seeing the kids from the daycare next door peeking over the fence. They were cute and quiet. There was no angry commotion. Then there was a family with 2 cute puppies. They liked to wiggle under the fence into my yard. The only thing was they always left presents behind. I had a talk with their owners. They were very pleasant and apologetic and the puppies went back to their farm.

Then there was an end to the renters. The owner of the house moved in. He had been living in a small town with his wife. She had passed away. Peter was in his 80’s and had 2 white poodles. They were barkers like Sheba. I didn’t have a dog back then. They would bark and bark at the sight of me. It didn’t matter if I tried to be friends with them. I didn’t mind them as I knew they were Peter’s companions. We got along. We greeted each other. Peter helped shovel part of my snow in winter.

I had peace with the neighbours over the same time period on the other side of me. They sprayed my trees one summer when the worms were really bad. When I told one that I couldn’t open my basement window because of the snow from his driveway was piled against it, he apologized, explaining his father comes over and does the shovelling for him. There was no animosity or paid backs for my complaints.

It’s strange how things changed at about the same time on both sides. They changed with different sets of neighbours. It really isn’t the fences that is the problem. It’s the people who lives behind them. I’m sad to say that we’ve discovered that the ‘fence’ that I erected to cover a small open space in the yard was tampered with. Part of it was bent over so that it was possible for Sheba to escape easily onto our busy heavy traffic. Lucky that we’ve spotted it before that happened. I felt the maliciousness of that intent.

I’m not sure if I have a conclusion or solutions to this investigation. I have not done well at all in the past. I let myself be bullied. I always acquiesced, not wanting to cause trouble. Pershaps that’s my problem. When there’s a fence involved, there’s always 2 sides. No one side decides. Everything needs to be put on the table to be clearly examined, discussed, negotiated and agreed upon. It is easier said than done, especially when one voice is louder than the other. It always command more force. It sounds more right. I’ve never been strong in my stance. I mostly back down, give up and say I don’t care. I’ve never demanded for anything. If I had, I never got. I need more work to make recommendations.

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GETTING ALONG IS HARD TO DO

Thanksgiving Monday. Cold and grey. So different from yesterday but at least there’s no snow. I asked Sheba if she wanted to go for her walk. She ran to the door. I said Oh, Damn! I seriously didn’t mean it though. We go for walk, rain or shine. It helps keep us trim and the yard clean. She does her big business on her walks – mostly.

My brother and sister-in-law were complaining about their neighbour’s yard at our Thanksgiving supper last evening. These neighbours have 2 large dogs. They don’t go for walks and do their business in the yard. They don’t pick up. Sometimes the prevailing wind is not kind and the air is like when the University of Saskatchewan cleans its research dairy barn. Whew! Once when my brother was working on the fence, he dropped a tool onto their side. His wife had to tiptoe through alot of doggy poo to retrieve it.

I said why don’t you let them know about it. They want to get along and didn’t want to start anything unpleasant. I feel they have a right to clean air. It’s not an unreasonable request but I can understand their reluctance. I’ve had my share of troubles with neighbours.  I’ve had my share of hard to get along relationships. It seems you can’t let people know when they are causing you trouble even if you tell them nicely. Why shouldn’t I be able to tell my neighbour that the snow she is shovelling onto my yard to causing a drainage problem for me? Why can’t she understand that I don’t like her ‘weeding’ in my yard or that I don’t want my yard sprayed with pesticide? And why can’t I ask for more help or cooperation without people disliking or ‘unfriending’ me?

I’m not a difficult person. I have had lots of difficulty getting along. I feel like we live in a society that is intolerant of criticism. I don’t like being criticised either. Who wants to be wrong or be told that they are less than perfect? But I try to think twice before reacting/responding. I have been so surprised/shocked/disappointed by people’s behaviour sometimes that I do react impulsively. Then I am sorry because fences are hard if not impossible to mend. I think I’ve gotten over all that, the shock and disappointment. I try to look at it all as great learning experiences. I used to spend so much time and energy feeling guilty. I was always working on mending old fences and relationships. I try not to do that any more. I want to build new ones instead.

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GRATITUDE AND BUCKETS

I was clearly ranting yesterday. I was not raining on anyone’s parade except my own. I like to say I’m uncranked but not yet. It lingers yet. I could be coming or is down with something. Maybe it IS who I am. I don’t have to act it out. I can just grumble (quietly and politely) here. It’s a nice sunny day and it is Thanksgiving Sunday. I am full of gratitude for my life and what I have – a roof over my head and food on the table. I am also thankful that someone else is cooking the turkey. I am providing the salad. It is a contribution albeit a small one.

Although I am grateful, I am not a fan of gratitude or bucket lists. I hope no one feels offended and throws rotten tomatoes at me. It is just my own feelings. I am sure not many approve of my daily rantings and mumblings of thoughts publicly here either. But it is my space and it works for me. It’s a stress relieving, problem solving platform for me. Being not private, it helps to keep me more thoughtful and objective. I’m apt to be more mannerly and kind. It helps me see from the other side. It keeps me from laying blame.

My crank is a little more relaxed with the tapping of the keyboard. The rhythm eases the tension in my head. Today I’m remembering to use Anne Lamott’s one inch picture frame advice for writing. It’s very good and works for everything. I work in that one inch frame at a time. That way there’s less frustration and crankiness. Can you imagine how frustrating it is when you keep making the same mistakes more than once? I redid the gent’s hair but got carried away. Too many lines again! His head got puckered. I took some out. Then I had to leave it for now. Grrr!

Working in one inch squares saves me from those grr! moments. I can get quite a bit done in those short little spurts. They add up like drops in a bucket. Gee whiz! I am a bucket person after all. I also write in one inch squares. There’s no point in being stuck in no thoughts or angry, frustrated ones. Changing venues and scenery diverts sticky thoughts and feelings.

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