The jukebox in my head is playing again. I keep hearing Kris Kristofferson’s Help Me Make It Through the Night all day. Mostly it was just the first two lines. Take the ribbon from your hair. Shake it loose and let it fall. I see it very vividly in my mind’s eye. It’s like when I hear Autumn Leaves. The autumn leaves drift by my window. The autumn leaves of red and gold. I see the leaves gently floating down.

I think they are beautiful lines that I can use as a mantra to let go of intrusive thoughts. Just singing them in my head relaxes me. It stops the obsessive chatter in my head. I can smile hearing the words and melody playing in my jukebox. I can feel the tension leaving my body. My forehead relaxes and unfurls. I can sit up straight in my chair. My thoughts are loosening. I shake my head. I watch as they fall and drift by my eyes. Music is a great healer.


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I had a good sleep last night, thanks to the beer I had in the afternoon. I was so wired from sleeplessness I didn’t feel the beer at all. It must have done something, loosened me from the inside out. At 10 pm I laid down in bed and went to sleep. That was it. No big dramas. Maybe I could make beer my sleeping pill of choice from now on. I remembered a coworker telling me she has a beer in the morning after working a night shift. Then she slept like a lamb.

Sleep deprivation is the worse thing ever. To think that I lived like that for over 30 years. I didn’t know how bad I felt till after I’ve retired and caught up on sleep. I still have those nights of sleeplessness once in awhile as I am telling you. That’s how I know how disfunctional I was in my personal life. I’m still learning from it all.


I kind of tanked out yesterday. It takes awhile to recover. From previous research, I remember that it would take me 7 years to recover from 30+ years of shiftwork sleep deprivation. I’ve been retired for 5 years. Haven’t fully recouped and have added to my deficit by my bouts of sleeplessness.


I’ve been a no show for a few more days. Looks like I can’t easily recoup what sleep I’ve lost. I have to let it go and pick up the threads of daily life from here. It’s a sizzling hot one today. My body does not like what it brings. I felt it screaming even in the coolness of this morning. I took a tylenol to give it some relief. My goals are minimal. No pain or strain. Relax. Just keep cool. If only I can remember that for always. Sometimes I strive and strain too much for too much. I always suffer the consequences.

It is now 34 degrees Celius, 36 on the deck. The blooms on my newly bought Gerbera Daisy plant are suffering and drooping out there on the table. One is bent beyond rescue. It is now in a little vase. It’s quite fetching on its own.

The heat has drained all thoughts from my head. We’ve been out picking raspberries, Sheba and I. She is getting lazy. She used to pick her own on the lower branches. Now she waits for me to feed them to her. It was good picking. They’ll be good with the gelato later on. Now it’s time to sit back with a chilled beer. It’ll cool me from the inside out.

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Egad, another sleepless night! What is to become of me? What a strange and challenging summer. I hope to survive and thrive it. Take that you devils and demons! POW!WHAM! BANG! I had such a good day yesterday, only to be disturbed by some jerk on Instagram in the evening. He caught me by surprise. Generally when someone gives my post a ‘lovely’/positive comment, I would ‘like’ it unless I didn’t see it. That’s being polite, right? So I gave his comment a ‘like’. He comments back immediately, DEMANDING why I didn’t answer his DMs (direct messages). I never answer those from men looking for women. I can tell who they are. To be polite, I commented back, Do you know how many messages I get? He agreed that it’s probably many but insisted that I must get notified about them immediately because he does. Then he demanded my email address.

He really got under my skin coming across that I should/had to answer him. Where does he come from when he had expressed no interest in my art or photographic work at all – except the one of my sexy painted fingernails? I deleted his comment and blocked him. I changed my profile photo to one with the guy. How ironic that I need a guy to ward off guys. But it was too late. The damage was done. I was disturbed. A worm got into my head and I was sleepless in Saskatoon.

It’s not new that a worm wiggle into my head and I can’t get it out. This time I can see how that worm got there despite my sleepless stupor. I am too polite for my own good. I don’t avoid or run away from issues but I don’t handle them effectively either. I hate hurting other people’s feelings but in the end that’s the result anyhow. Most of the time I absorb all the guilt. But really how can all the fault lie with one person? I lose too much energy to other people’s demands because I can’t say no, I can’t do this or that. I lose my energy because I can’t hurt another’s feeling by being direct and blunt when necessary. I try to pretty/butter it up.

I see it for the first time now. I hope I won’t lose any more sleep over something as small or stupid as some yahoo I don’t even know online. But I do thank him for making me see my ways. Maybe he is really my angel in disguise because it was strange how it happened. I’ve never had someone coming at me through comments on my posts. I do get quite a few messages from a wide assortment of men. None has got nasty at me not accepting or answering their messages. I have no idea what these men are after. Do women really fall for their flattery? I have to smile at this one I got, though. How could I not?

 I’m wired but still not sleepy. Trying not to sweat it. Resting, doing nothing only makes me feel worse. I’m tending to my life at a slow even pace – like a tortoise.

When I have days like this, it would help to have ready made meals on hand. But I don’t. I made scrambled eggs and boiled some perogies. A sliced cucumber was my vegetable. Then I made a batch of yogurt. It was not complicated, requiring no brain power. The Roomba cleaned the floors. I just moved it from room to room. I found some frozen sticky rice my mother gave me. It’s steamed and ready for me. The guy is supposed to be home in time to make supper. I might have a beer on the deck later if it cools off a bit. That should unwire me, don’t you think?

I don’t think I can do any art today. But maybe after my sticky rice and beer……

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If I was able to come up with a one-fit-all post/formula for happiness, I bet I would get a lot of traffic and maybe money. Alas! This dummy does not have that ability. I’m just barely scratching the surface of it for myself – like a frustrated old hen.

How does one define happiness anyways? Is it just the absence of sadness, a full belly, clothes on the back and a roof over the head? I have it all except maybe I’m a tad sad now and then. I have bouts of dissatisfaction, anger, disappointment, pain, mental anguish….I am not sure if there is an end to my list. Does this disqualify me from the happy crowd? Then there’s my childlessness and, of course, grandchildrenless. And lack of a husband most of my life. Not that I have one now. I have what is called a ‘companion.’ Somehow I feel I lack the legitimacy and respect of being a mother or wife.

There are so many things that could exclude me from the happiness club. But I feel oddly at ease and peace with myself today doing the mundane business of living amid the chaos of clutter, dog hair and a dog padding behind me wherever I went. I feel almost like I was happy. I AM happy, come to think of it. I enjoy the simpleness and slowness of my life. I have no one to answer to or impress –  except myself now that I am an adult, a senior citizen on a pension. Once upon a time, that alone commands respect.

  1. I guess the number one in my Happiness Manual would be to respect myself.
  2. Be responsible for myself. It’s not possible for someone else to make me feel ‘happy’ or unhappy. They could give me some help but I would only accept the help that lift me up. I would turn down the others.
  3. My favourite is from Regina Brett’s God Never Blinks. No matter how I feel, get up, dress up and show up.
  4. I have a Sheba/pet/plant/something living. I take good loving care of them.
  5. Bake bread, make soup, and maybe learn how to cook like Jamie Oliver. I haven’t got that kind of patience – yet.
  6. Make art, music, sew, knit, crochet…I continue to learn something new creatively.
  7. I joined an aerobics/exercise class. I do yoga and qigong sometimes.
  8. I learnt how to swim and ride a bicyle. I did both when I was well passed adulthood. I started in the Absolute Terrified swim class. Took me a whole summer to learn how to float. I was in a bad depression, too. The other morning I swam 10 lengths in 15 minutes and then went to my step aerobics class. I can ride a bike but I still need more practice to feel comfortable.
  9. Read crime thrillers and scary books. They calm me and take me out of myself into a different world.
  10. I could go on and on. There are so many ways for us dummies to be happy if we give it some thought. Above all else, we can always love ourselves more. We don’t have to go shopping or a spa to do it. I just hug myself and the fur baby.
  11. Oh, one more. I try always to speak in the first person singular. It’s all about me.

How does your manual read?


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It is Tuesday morning, a day off. Funny how I still think of days off when I’m retired. Those words have been a part of my vocabulary for so many years. You get two nurses together, the conversation mostly sounds like this: Are you on days off? Did you sleep? Of course that was in my days. I’m not sure about the young nurses talk nowadays.

So, I’m on a day off. I don’t have to head off to aerobics or swimming. I have no MUSTS to do, except….I have been saying for days I MUST get my shit together, tidy up, dust up and file up. Now that the day is here that I could do all these things, I just want to sit here, in my beautiful room and languish. Both big windows are opened. The sun is streaming in. It’s early enough for a cool breeze. A bird is chirping. I wonder if it’s the one nesting in the grape vines.

It’s been awhile since I’ve just sat in peace, not wanting to do. I relax the furrows between my eyes. How wonderful to feel the release of tension. I do not mind the clutter and bit of dust on my desk. I sip my tumeric tea as I gaze at the sun dancing on the magnolia and amaryllis. They need some water soon. Out the window, I can see Sheba laying in her hollowed out dirt bed beside the potted avocado. She is happy and cool, watching and listening to the birds in the yard. I will finish my tea and head out to weed a little. I’m getting back to the rhythm of ‘doing little blocks’. They add up like drops filling a bucket.

It is now 3 o’clock in the afternoon. I spent 2 hours in the yard and garden, weeding and harvesting. Perhaps I overdid. Now I am not only languishing but wilting a bit.  It is warm but I’m still getting a breeze through the windows. The birds are still chirping back and forth to each other. Sheba is languishing in the diningroom. She threw up twice today so maybe a light supper.

Can’t say I have climbed any mountains or vanquished any villains today. Haven’t even had time for any crime reading. Nothing much to show except some rhubarb stalks on the kitchen island and fewer weeds in the garden. Oh, yes, I’ve filled the raised beds in the back with rainwater. A good day. Now back to languish with my cup of tea.

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Sometimes All the time I feel self possessed. I’m consumed with me, I and myself. It’s all about me. I wonder if it is a bad thing. Is it a selfish thing? Am I a narcissist? By definition it is “a person who has an excessive interest in or admiration of themselves.” I think I’m disqualified because most of the time, I find myself lacking. I feel relieved. Yet I wonder why I’m not worthy of self admiration. Why do I feel ashamed or embarrassed to express the satisfaction with myself?

These are interesting times for me, entering the last stage of my life. You would think that after all this time, I would be more grown up, more confident, more knowing. But the only more I have lately are stuff, disappointment, anger and dissatisfaction with how I and life are. That’s not good at all, at all. I hate waking up in the morning with this sour taste in my mouth and my body heavy as lead. I plod through my days very efficiently nonetheless, almost with a smile on my face.

My saving grace is that I love a challenge. It is difficult for me to lie down for long and say uncle. I eventually rise, however slowly, like the Phoenix and is born again. I am tenacious, stubborn and obnoxious – but only to myself these days. I have learned a bit of wisdom through my addiction with self-help. DON’T TAKE ANYTHING PERSONALLY. What others think of me is none of my business. I got that now. I do take myself personally though. I have regard for my well being. I am learning to take care of myself first. I have to save myself first before I can help someone else. It’s just like they teach you on the airplane. Put the oxygen mask on yourself first. I MATTER. Darn tooting.

I’m feeling pretty fine today, having turned my thoughts around a bit. I woke up with an unusual spring to my step. I try not to let things get under my skin. I’m trying to grow a thicker layer. I’m trying not to be so serious all the time. But the thing is I like my serious side. I like to ponder on serious stuff. I stopped at the used book store on the way home from my aerobics class. It is my candy store. I bought Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can by Caroline Myss. I am a serious case and a self-help addict. But I am earnestly working on having fun. Really I am – even if it’s just on paper.





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Here it is, 5 pm already. I’m sitting here with my cup of tea and a large serving of rhubarb crisp. I won’t be a slim Jim Jean any time soon. I guess it is not that important to me. I rather stay reasonably calm and sane with food than a starving screaming Barbie Doll. I have been screaming some. But somehow a screaming chubby woman seems more attractive than a screeching skinny Minny. Of course, I’m justifying, trying to make myself feel better.  There’s something to be said for self control and courage. I really admire Lexi Reed of FatGirlFedUp for having lost 300 pounds on her own. She has a very inspiring story.

Things are not as dire as I sound. Today I awoke with no pain in my left hand. I did not have to pry and snap my ring finger straight as I have been the last couple of months. No pain is good. One less thing to rag about. It does not make me an attractive woman at all. Another good thing is the temperature is normal. No extreme heat to fire me up, then wear me down. Life is good as they say. Any yay! No more summer cold or bad cough.

My brain and temperament are cooled to optimum. Going to Mass yesterday gave me peace. Today I am able to put aside everything that is unnecessary and focus on the necessary. My pile of life have been waiting patiently on my desk to be delt with. It’s surprising how much energy it takes to sort, scrutinize, answer, write out the cheques, put them in envelopes and file away the records. Then there are items that needed tending online – downloading and filing into folders, changing my charge card number and notifying the appropriate payees. This part of life is not romantic at all. But at the end of it, I feel a sense of satisfaction. I care enough about myself to tend to the matters. There have been times when I haven’t. I just let things to happen to me. I was lazy.

I’ve turned over a new leaf. I expect I will slip now and again. I won’t promise I won’t ever scream again. I would if I could be guaranteed not to be ever sick or stressed again. I have been sorry too many times already. I want to cut down those numbers. Whoever wrote that “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” must know what he’s talking about. Maybe it only applies in movies, to Ryan O’neal and Ali MacGraw. What do you think about that line? You’re probably too young to know the movie Love Story. It is kind of sappy.

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