I feel like I’m always mired in my stuff. Once upon a time I had an excuse of working and shiftwork at that. That excuse is wearing thin now that I am retired. AND I have more stuff. Not that I am a shopaholic. Quite the contrary, but I did purchased a new sewing machine just before Christmas. It is quite big with an embroidery module and accessories. I haven’t bought fabric either. I don’t need to since I’ve been stashing them away over the years from – sales, projects, closing out sales, etc. I have the equivalent of 3 big totes. Overwhelming – yes!

Now I am in the process of organizing and making space. It’s difficult to see what I have or don’t have. Everything crammed together. No space to walk, never mind spread the stuff out. This morning I bit the dust (literally) and finished tackling my sewing stuff. At least now there’s room to move – and to create. I can see why sorting and clearing is such a difficult task. Memories are evoked from handling some of the items. Cleaning and sorting the contents of my sewing basket, I remembered my mom gave it to me when I bought my Kenmore. She stocked it with scissors and a few more items.

She taught me how to sew and knit. She must have been a good teacher because usually I’m not good at learning from verbal instructions. I have to read the directions. I have been sewing since high school. I designed and made my graduation gown. I never thought much of it then. It looks pretty good to me now. It gives me pleasure seeing it. I wonder if my mother still has it. I made my sister’s high school grad dress, too. I took special care finishing all the raw seams. I remembered she was recovering from a concussion that spring. She was struck by a car at a pedestrian crosswalk.

These are all good memories. They make me nostalgic, yearning for those bygone days. I didn’t know then how sweet everything was, even the tough times. I feel a tad sad with some regrets. It comes with being human. Who doesn’t have regrets, wanting things that aren’t and can’t be in retrospect? It’s really not a bad thing. It can inspire me towards reaching outward, upward and all around me to make dreams come true. Now for a spot of tea. Sheba and I have made a run to the dog park. We stopped at Sarcan and dropped off some old phones, bottles and cans. We made $8.00. We made space. We are proud.

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Here I am, a little earlier than usual. When I am stuck, I shuffle my deck of cards and try to come up with something else. Staying stuck frustrates and discourages me. Then I start feeling sorry for myself. No point in crying a bucket of tears or get shaky with anxiety. I come back to my rule of the index card/quilting square. They’re small and manageable. It’s easier to touch the edges. I will not get lost. And in this space here,  I tap, one letter at a time. I get a sentence, then two. Soon a thought, then an idea forms. My body relaxes, I unfurl my brow. I tap on.

My hip pain is mostly gone, though the memory is still in my muscle. It reminds me every time I get up. It’s only a faint whisper but enough so that I carry on with my stretches 3 times a day. I’m not quite as eager to do them now that the acute pain is gone. But I’m listening to Benjamin Franklin’s voice. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” I’m obeying, being a good adult.

I wish that Ben had been talking to me way before now. I would be in a better place if I knew it is easier to prevent bad habits than to break them. No matter.  I am now learning how to break them. I have read 46% of Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself.  Understanding the mechanics of how I got here makes it easier to dismantle the old bad habits. Don’t ask me to explain just right now. I’m into the wine. My head is a little bit fuzzy. I’ve been downstairs working at organizing all my sewing paraphernalia. It’s a chore – so many years of gathered STUFF.

I had to come up for air after an hour or so. BUT all the threads are sorted, the buttons in their container, the zippers, seam bindings, elastics, lace, and velcro gathered and in their places.The fabrics are in their bins with lids closed. I found all the seam rippers. Now I have 4. If only I could find my quilt rotary cutter! It will show when it’s ready, I guess. I am happy to have made this much progress. Tomorrow is another day. The dust and other stuff can wait. It would do me well to study and work on Ben Franklin’s 13 virtues a little each day.

1. TEMPERANCE. Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.
2. SILENCE. Speak not but what may benefit others or yourself; avoid trifling conversation.
3. ORDER. Let all your things have their places; let each part of your business have its time.
4. RESOLUTION. Resolve to perform what you ought; perform without fail what you resolve.
5. FRUGALITY. Make no expense but to do good to others or yourself; i.e., waste nothing.
6. INDUSTRY. Lose no time; be always employ’d in something useful; cut off all unnecessary actions.
7. SINCERITY. Use no hurtful deceit; think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.
8. JUSTICE. Wrong none by doing injuries, or omitting the benefits that are your duty.
9. MODERATION. Avoid extreams; forbear resenting injuries so much as you think they deserve.
10. CLEANLINESS. Tolerate no uncleanliness in body, cloaths, or habitation.
11. TRANQUILLITY. Be not disturbed at trifles, or at accidents common or unavoidable.
12. CHASTITY. Rarely use venery but for health or offspring, never to dulness, weakness, or the injury of your own or another’s peace or reputation.
13. HUMILITY. Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

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It’s the end of March. It’s messy and melting outside. Nothing pretty about it – icy muddles and dirty snow. Seems like there’s always stuff for me to bitch about every month. I can hear someone asking, Are you ever happy? Probably not! Want to make something out of it? I demanded back in my head. That’s what I like about having my own space for conversations. I get to say what I want without interruptions and corrections. It is very difficult in the real world. Have you noticed that? I’m guilty of it myself. I try very hard to stay quiet and let the other person speak for himself, how he sees, how he feels. I can just listen. I don’t have to offer answers, solutions or opinions.

I’ve had a few difficult days with hip pain. It sure woke me up on how much we take things for granted – like getting in and out of bed/the car, getting up from the chair, turning over in bed. The list goes on and on. I discovered that everything was painful and tiring even just sitting. I should have listened to my body even when the signal was soft and quiet. But no, I only heard when the pain screamed at me. It got my whole attention then. I went on an internet search for answers and solutions.

I am lucky. I found some. I incorporated some of the stretches in the above video with some strengthening exercises. I do them in the morning, afternoon and before I go to bed. I still have some discomfort but I can roll on both sides in bed. This afternoon I am able to climb up the basement stairs using both legs. Hurray!

I’m in a better mood now. Things are improving. I am getting better and wiser. I rid my week’s activities of everything except absolutely necessaries. That alone took a lot of pressure off my hips and allow me to heal faster. Now to apply that philosophy to other areas of my life. Indexcard art and quilt squares remind me to keep things small and slow. Life in bite sizes. There is no rush. Savour everything.

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It’s not quite 2 in the afternoon. I’m doing very well for not having slept hardly last night. It’s no surprise then that I didn’t dream. I felt like screaming though. My hip was giving me grief. It was hard getting in and out of bed. Forget about rolling onto my left side. The pain was too much. And when you can’t, you want it all the more. After an hour of sleeplessness, flat on my back alternating with rolling onto the right side, I got up with great difficulty. I made myself a cup of tea, took a Tyleno 3 and read for awhile.

Even though I was feeling a little groggy after an hour or so, I could not get to sleep. I was aggravating my hip getting in and out of bed. Next, I navagated to the couch with a block of frozen wonton wrappers to ice my hip. It would decrease inflammation if it was bursitis. It couldn’t make it worse. It might numb the pain. The couch was a better option for getting in and out. I didn’t have so far to swing my legs. The leather was soft and curvy. I could nestle against the back for support. I managed to sleep for an hour or two.

The thing worse than pain is sleeplessness. When you got both, it’s a double whammy. I’ve learned from experience not to fret about it. Fretting only adds to the distress. I counted my blessings instead. I don’t have to go to work anymore. In other words, I don’t have to perform. I wiped my coming week’s calendar clean except for absolute have to’s. I will reschedule Sheba’s checkup and vaccinations for the following week. No exercise classes. No swimming. Nothing. Nada. I will add things back as I am able. No pressure, no stress, no straining. More relaxing, stretching and letting go.

Pain can be all consuming if you let it. Same goes for sleeplessness. It is very easy to fall into a dark pit. It would be a long way to climb back out. I’ve learned to stop and be still in these moments and assess the situation. Ask some questions. How can I improve my situation? Do I need help? And go from there.

I’ve done some stretching and stengthening exercises through the day. I’ve taken Sheba around the block slowly. I try not to sit too long. I stand up from sitting regularly. I do my qi gong routine. I will ice my hip when I’m watching the news tonight. Surprisingly, I can keep up with life just poking along steadily. Not all is lost.


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Bummer! My left hip has been giving me some grief lately. It takes the pleasure out of going to the park with Sheba and everything else. Though I’ve cut our outings shorter and walking slower and with more care, I’m still suffering. I’m sure the weather is aggravating my arthritic bones. I can also feel my nasal and jaw bones aching. It’s all on my left side where I feel most of the tension. So a tylenol and some yoga later, I’m attending to business.

I had a dream again last night. I am sure I do it every night. Only most of the time I don’t remember. I couldn’t remember much this morning either but I knew I had dreamt. I was opened to let it come back to me. It did. It did not involve an intruder. It was rather mundane so no screaming. Talking about dreaming and screaming, I realize now that I do scream out loud. When I dreamt about ghosts sitting and paralyzing me, I felt I couldn’t get my screams out. In reality I must have screamed and screamed. That was scared the cat off the bed and NOT the ghost. I was living alone then. I had no idea.

Now that I’ve had supper and a glass of wine, my hip feels a bit better. I try not to favour it too much and get totally out of alignment. Already I’m walking like Charlie Chaplin without a cane. Some days are better than others but today was not a total loss. I did not get any transplanting seedlings done. Nor did I make it to swimming. But I did get to a class on quilting software at The Sewing Machine Store this morning. I coloured another cloth with Inktense blocks and heat setted the colours with a dry iron. It seemed to work. No colour run-offs when I washed the block under the tap. Little blocks of success – that’s all I ask for. They do add up to make the big picture. Time to say good night.


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My favourite speech is Martin Luther King’s famous I Have a Dream. I’ve been having more dreams lately and remembering them after. They’re not anything like King’s. I’m usually screaming in them. Last night I dreamt I was in the upstairs shower. Even though I had double latched the door, a man intruded. I was puzzled. How did the door get opened? The latches were the the hook and eye type like the ones on our side gate. He was looking for someone. I didn’t scream this time. I told him to go back downstairs. There was a party going on.

It just occur to me that all my dreams are related to an intruder. In the previous dream someone stepping through the basement window. I could see the leg and the sheer curtains fluttering. That’s when I tried to scream. It felt as if I couldn’t get it out but apparently I did. I woke up the dog and the guy. In my dreams, I never see faces. The leg and the window was the most vivid picture I could recall from all my dreams. Mostly I remember screaming and calling for help. I wonder why. In my younger years, I dreamt of ghosts sitting on and paralyzing me.

The day has sped away on me. I haven’t made any progress on my intentions of transplant-ing more seedlings or starting more seeds. My work tables and desk are as cluttered as ever. They’re nightmarish. I have no excuse really except for my usuals of being tired and full of aches and pains. I’m getting sick and tired of my own thoughts and whines. I will descend and attack those areas in a short while. Famous last words, right?

But in spite of my snail’s pace, I haven’t fallen behind. I just haven’t progressed. I did skip my exercise class this morning. Why aggravate my physical pain? I will swim on the weekend. It will be easier on my joints. The lunch dishes got done and put away. Sheba and I managed to get to the park after lunch. It was easier than walking on treacherous icy sidewalk. There was lots of happy energetic dogs and their humans. It  gave me an extra boost on this cloudy day. Now, I’ve shown up here, tapping out my words.

Okay now, I’m ready to tend to my work spaces. The guy has made a table for my new sewing machine. It’s like a dream come true. I’ve never had one – a special table or dream come true. It has sections that fold out or in. I will have space when I get past my 6 inch squares and into a big quilt. It will fold onto itself when I’m not sewing and fit in a small corner. It should help me organize my ‘stuff’. It might take me a long time but I can start.

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Funny how the weather can affect my body. My mind is delighted with the bright sunshine. My physical body is voicing its displeasure. The whole of me hurts as if I’m being fried alive. It doesn’t feel any better ‘resting’ so I try to move and do my stuff as best I can. Prepping a cloth square for free motion sewing takes my mind off the pain.  No point sitting and suffering. I might as well spot clean messy areas that bug me – the bathroom and the backdoor mats.

I’m reaping the reward of ‘keeping up’. On days like this, I can afford to ‘slack off’/take it a bit easier. I’m getting the hang of living life block by block, being Steady Eddy. No more burning the candle at both ends, then die sputtering thereafter. The wind has whipped up. It is chilling. I’m not hankering on taking Sheba out for her walk. But I will – after I’ve sit a spell and tapped another sentence or two.

I have done well. I feel somewhat better after taking my parents to the library, then coffee. My mother still likes to read and learn about everything. My father likes the outing. It was an easy thing for me to do for them. It didn’t feel that way before I went. But once I start, I had to keep going. The outing broke up my fatigue and discomforts. Now, to bundle up against the wind and take the dog out. The exercise will do us good.

We’re back. The wind was not bad with my hood up. The walk eased the ache in my back and hips. It’s like getting a lube job. It’s true what they say. If you don’t use it, you’re going to lose it. I’m feeling delicious now, sipping a cuppa and eating a sweet Chinese pastry. One doesn’t feel quite enough, but I will refrain. Tomorrow is another day. Stretching out the goodness.

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