It was a struggle, but the lunch dishes are done. The stovetop is wiped off. There’s nothing that aggravates my unease more than dirty dishes and greasy stovetop. Today is not what I call a great day though I am trying in my usual way. I’m not quite as efficient or productive. I’m feeling the malaise caused by the flare up of my Lichen planus. I’m chilling but maybe it’s too much. I need to move just a little more.

I cuddled up too long this morning with Sue Grafton’s D is for Deadbeat. But I did tear myself away and worked at organizing a work station for tranplanting my seedlings. It’s easier if I have everything close at hand. Then I don’t have to trip over things and rummage around to find all the necessary stuff. I’m trying to understand why I couldn’t take the time to do this before. I’m concentrating hard on untangling all my mess. Maybe in the process I will find the answers. It would be good if I didn’t have to struggle so much with everything.

It’s come to me as I’m tapping here that my struggles could be a result of avoiding and dreading unpleasant things. Avoidance tend to cause alot of pile ups. It’s never a solution for anything but I did it.  Maybe avoidance eroded my immune system and caused the lichen planus. I’m swearing off it now. I’ve been sweating facing up to everything but I’m standing up to it all – one issue at a time. Now I have to face up to taking Sheba out for her walk. I don’t feel like it, but I’ll do it anyways.

It’s sunny out but it’s dang unpleasant. It’s cold with a nasty biting wind. We’re glad the walk is over and we’re home, warm and snug. I’m brewing some dandelion tea. I hope it will give me a pick up. Meanwhile I’m thinking of starting a mood blanket. I got the idea from Instagram. There was a bunch of creative people knitting and crocheting temperature blankets. Curious, I asked. The blankets are made of colours according to the temperature of each day. Each colour represents a range of temperature. I thought it would be interesting to assign moods to colours. A Granny square a day would not be too much. It would keep my mind on creating instead of my discomfort. What colour would you give to tire?



It’s so easy to sink into the doldrums once it gets its hook into me. I can still feel the residue of yesterday’s surliness. I’m in a bad mood already. I don’t want to stay there. I remember Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments on writing, #5 specifically.

  1. Work on one thing at a time until finished.
  2. Start no more new books, add no more new material to ‘Black Spring.’
  3. Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
  4. Work according to Program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!
  5. When you can’t create you can work.
  6. Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.
  7. Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.
  8. Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.
  9. Discard the Program when youfeel like it—but go back to it next day.
  10.  Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.Forget the books you want to write.
  11. Think only of the book you are writing.

I can apply all the commandments to everyday living. Some days things don’t go easily or smoothly. These days I will have to work at it till the flow comes back. Now that my acute hip and back pain are gone, I’m not quite as eager to do the stretches. I do them anyways. Those little twinges remind me but I still have to push myself. I try to find pleasure in my efforts. Sheba comes to the rescue, licking my face and crowding close, trying to find room on my mat.

I can’t say that I feel a whole lot better having done the stretches. I’m looking at #4 – Work according to program and not to mood. I keep the stretching short and sweet. There’s less chance of my abandoning my efforts that way. I’m building on my successes on a small scale. I like this quote from Lisa Wimberger:

“You fill a bucket drop by drop. You clear your mind thought by thought. You heal yourself moment by moment. Today I make one drop, clear one thought, and get present to one moment. And then I do it again.”

There’s so much wisdom in that. Every drop (of effort/success) counts. They eventually fill the bucket. I know. It takes time and maybe a very long time. But what are you going to do in the meantime – nothing? In my meantime, I have painted my picture for 365Somethings 2018, stretched, transplanted some seedlings, taken Sheba to the dog park, picked up my prescription and flowers, vaccum, visited my parents, write this post. Sounds like I’ve done alot! I haven’t done the lunch dishes yet. It’s next.

S is for SURLY

Spring is not always what it’s cracked up to be – full of sunshine, joy and green things pushing up from the ground. Today was tough, the temperature in the minus double digits. My back trouble nagged me through the night into the morning and well into the afternoon. I was feeling surly and well nigh miserable. I hate to complain but why shouldn’t I? Why can’t I ventilate and ease some of my miseries? That’s what ‘they’ tell you to do. Let it out. But when you do, ‘they’ label you a complainer. So I let off steam here. It’s coming out both ears.

Thank goodness for Sue Grafton’s alphabet series. A good thriller takes my mind off my various discomforts. I’ve read A is for Alibi in one day. It’s that good. Now I’m feeling at a loss but at least my back is better. It’s not spasming and making me scream out anymore. I feel less grumpy and hostile. But I’m not feeling nice. I still feel somewhat like hell. I have another Sue Grafton on hand – D is for Deadbeat. That describes me at the moment. I better save that for tomorrow in case I have a repeat of today. Besides, it is almost supper time.

You and I know that some days are better than others. Today is definitely not a better day. But it is what it is. I have to deal with it as best as I can and not to make it worse. Obviously my body is telling me to rest. I should accept it as a gift. I can lull around, mope, drink tea, read, get grumpy, eat chocolate…without feeling guilty. It is okay not to feel on top of the world. I don’t have to smile. I can scowl if I feel like it. So there! Take that any way you like. Tomorrow is another day.




I forget how taxing appointments are. I am pooped after spending the morning at the Vet College with Sheba. Her checkup was very thorough, first by the student. Then it was followed by the clinician. Both were very pleasant, informative, respectful and not pushy. She got a clean bill of health though she had a few worn teeth and stiff joints. We said no to bloodwork and a dental consult. I’m sure at almost 12, she would have a few iffy findings. The trouble would be what would I do about them? Best to leave good enough alone until there is trouble.

We had met the student before when Sheba had a nutrition consult at the insistence of a different clinician. The student had fallen in love with Sheba at that meeting. She asked to have Sheba today. So the lucky dog got lots of TLC today.  The clinician from 2 years ago was quite hyper and pushy. She felt Sheba was grossly overweight and needed to be on special diet. We did go along but it was a total failure. Sheba got very constipated and gassy on the special high fiber diet and refused to eat. She did lose weight from that so can I say it was a failure?

Anyhow, in the end we returned the refundable special diet. We cut back her treats and slowly introduced her to Orijen for senior dogs. That clinician did not approve of it because it was too rich, too many calories. I had read so many good reviews about it. I wanted to give it a try. I would give her less volume but equal calories to her old dog food. It was a slow process of switching over but it was a success. She is healthy and vibrant. Her coat is shiny and her weight has come down. Two years later, she’s a svelte 27.9 kg. BUT googling now on how to spell Orijen, I came across articles on a lawsuit against Champion Pet Food, maker of Orijen and Acana. What to think? I guess I shouldn’t think too much or believe everything I read. There is a lawsuit but no recall. Sheba is healthy. No need to worry yet.

I have to get up and stretch now. My lower back feels stiffer today. Funny how a little wrong move can cause so much trouble. It wears on my energy, too. The sun has clouded over. Snow is drifting outside the window. I am glad we went to the park after our appointment. I can just relax, not having to think about going out again. Sheba is tired by her excitement this morning, too. She’s fallen asleep and forgotten about her supper. Or have I fed her but forgotten?



I’m trying to get my ass in gear but it’s feeling mighty heavy today. It doesn’t help that I pulled or twisted something in my lower back this morning. I was simply moving my sewing table into a better spot. The table had wheels so it wasn’t even heavy nor the move strenuous. But my back went an oh-oh. It passed fairly quickly but remains a dull ache. Life is never pain free. Now, I have to google for stretches for the lower back.

It’s snowing again, just when our solar panels are cleared and making electricity. This late March snow is wearing on my one nerve that is left. Sheba and I have just come back from our walk. Yesterday’s slush have frozen into hard crusty bumpy ice. I did not enjoy an inch of the walk. And we did inched along, my footsteps heavy as lead. Nothing fun about nature today. Am I complaining? You bettcha. Having a bad mood day but I’m not throwing it around. I’m keeping it here on the page.

I had time this morning to watch a small segment of Caroline Myss’ video on Self Esteem and the Power of Your Choices. I agree with her that words are magic carpets. They are transformative. That is why I return here, to my space, to tap out the words, to dig out the magic/solutions. It’s one way for me to be in the present moment, to sit here with my mind focused to this moment. It creates space for silence and rest for my busy wandering mind. I let go of the daily chatter. I hear the tap, tap of the keys. It is soothing. I feel my shoulders relaxing and dropping. The ache in my lower back is easing. My forehead unfurls. I am emptied of my striving and fussing.

Another cup of tea and some toast and jam and I will feel replenished and ready for moving and doing again.



It’s another day and I will have a few less items clogging up the basement. I have hauled them up and by the door, ready to load in the car for disposal tomorrow. They are heavy – both for the body and psyche. I am pooped but feeling lighter already. It was a chore going through the computer and deleting and clearing as best as I could. I stopped reading the emails after the first few. Otherwise it would take forever, which it already has – since 2005.

There’s another PC waiting in the wings but I will hang on to it just a little bit longer. It has alot more data than the first one. It is really an arduous task for me just thinking about getting rid of the stuff that I no longer use. I understand why I have left it for so long. The mental part is as difficult the physical. But it MUST be done. The rubble in the basement and in the head do not go away by themselves. I must have reached the maximum tolerance and now I AM ready to do the hard work. I am done in by today’s small progress but I am satisfied. I am calling it a day.

Tomorrow is another day. It is an ongoing process. Maintenance work – a little dab daily will do it.


I feel very tired and cross after my second day of excavating the rubble in the basement. I am making progress but it is always a bigger job than I envision. It always is. And I would abandon the project time and time again. I should have been listening to Benjamin Franklin when he said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” I haven’t done any maintenance work in the basement for two years. I take things down but nothing comes up – not even dust. Now I’m paying the price. I’ll probably be a few pounds heavier after I’m done. It’s hard and stressful. I’m snacking.

I’m trying to be more efficient and tough with the stuff – recycle or throw out. No saving in case of it might come in handy later. Some things are difficult to recycle because frankly people rather get new stuff. I hate cluttering up the landfill with my stuff, so for now the rowing machine, exercise bike, mini stepper and slant board are in the garage. Maybe in summer I will bring them out as free grabs. Then what do you do with all those cutesy baskets and containers? I blame them for my accumulation of stuff. Then there’s my very old computer. How do you get all the data off the hard drive – smash it? And how do you get the hard drive out of the tower? I suppose I should ask at a computer store.

I’m feeling better, not so cross or tired. I just ate a bowl of chips. They help rid the dust in my throat. Yes, it is a little dusty down there with a few cobwebs. I should be ashamed of myself but what good would that do? I’m feeling bogged down as it is. Shame would add to the load. So no thanks to shame or blame. Life happens as they say. Tomorrow I will do a little more and a little better.


Chicken strips again! It’s easy and it’s good. Pop them in the oven and voila! 20 minutes later you have food. It does get tiresome after awhile, never mind the electric bill escalating with daily use. But what do you do when you have those gift cards from M&M? After this week is dealt with, I will have to rethink lunches and EVERYTHING else.

It’s mostly with how I deal/not deal with stuff. I often catch myself wondering why I avoid/dread doing things that’s not difficult. Why can’t I bend over and pick up that book or whatever that fell on the floor? Why can’t I wipe the dust when I’m looking at it? Why do I dread appointments of every kind? Clearly I need to change my feelings toward tasks. If I delete the words dread and procrastinate from my vocabulary, would I delete those feelings from my psyche and body. It’s worth a try. They deplete too much energy from me.

It’s a miserable windy and snowy day. See, I’m paying attention. I’m changing the way I talk. I’m deleting negative feeling words from my speech. I’m enjoying my cup of tea. Sheba’s next to me on her bed. She’s not at all objecting on missing her afternoon walk. Sometimes we just have to give ourselves a break. It’s good to take a load off our feet. I’m tapping out the kinks in my head, neck and shoulders. It’s helpful to unload onto the page. Less wear and tear on me.

I did good this morning, doing all the hard, yucky, don’t-want-to-do stuff. Ooops! I slipped, letting the negatives in again. Clearly it is the way I talk that contributes to my malfunctions. I enjoy all my hobbies – gardening, sewing, baking, painting…They all involve steps. Some steps are more enjoyable than others but they are all necessary. I have to accept the whole package. I have to re-think and re-think them in a pleasant way.



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.


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.