The Finish Line

At long last the end of the road. This is it for the Ultimate Blog Challenge in October. I’ve done a good job. I did what I said I was going to do – my best. I had a beginning, middle and an end. I had goals. They gave me directions each day. They led me to the finish line.

There were days when I faltered, when I didn’t feel like it, when I was tired, when I was…blah, blah, blah. Sometimes I am just full of excuses, but I pushed through them this month. I have many unfinished projects. I have this bad habit of incompleteness, unable to follow through even on simple things. That’s why I am such a clutter bug. I don’t put things away. I don’t throw things away. I don’t…You get the drift. This writing challenge has helped me to see this part of myself. I can now move on to do some corrections.

A fellow challenger had a post on the benefits of making lists. It resonated with me. I kept the post up on my tab for many a days. I would read it again and again. It appealed to me. I saw the value of what was said. Though I never did make lists literally, I made them in my head. I would decide a few things that I would do for that particular day. I was not religious about it. I didn’t do it every day but I did it enough that it came back again and again.

That’s the thing. If we do healthy actions regularly, they would become habits. When they do, we wouldn’t have to struggle so much in doing the right thing. Life would be easier. We would be healthier and happier. That’s the end products I’m aiming for. These days of writing regularly made me more aware of my thoughts and feelings. I pay more attention to what I say and do. I ask myself more questions. Do I want to say/do this? Do I need to say/do that? What difference would it make? I think questioning has made me wiser and choose better ways of being. It made me see that I had been doing the same thing over and over. Yet I was expecting a different outcome. Dummkopf!

I am in the honeymoon phase of enlightenment. It’s like being in the throes of first love. I hope I won’t crash. I know it is possible. I have had that feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop. Even if I do, I know the landing will be softer this time. For now, I will enjoy my euphoria. I saw the big fat moon last night. I saw it again this morning. I even saw the stars. We are stardust. We are golden. Song of Joni Mitchell.


The Single Step

I’m having a second cup of tea on this grey misty morning. Trying to get my creative juices and blood flowing. I’m not a very exciting person, not the kind of woman who dances on table tops or jumps out of cakes. Are you? I’m having one of those mornings. My batteries are down to their last dregs. I feel like I’m grinding to a halt. BUT, I’ll just poke along, one step at a time. A journey of a thousand miles starts with the single step. That’s what my ancestors, Confucius and Lao Tzu taught among many other things. This is not a bad time to study their lives. Having lived in times before Christ, their teachings still stand the test of time today.

I made some progress during the morning. I did not just sit and stare. I dared to open up some kitchen drawers. What chaos! I almost closed them up again. It wouldn’t have helped because I knew what a mess they were. I can see them in my mind’s eye. I dug in and pulled everything out. Got out the hand vacuum and sucked up all those the loose tea leaves, sugar and what have yous. Then I sorted as best as I could, putting into appropriate baskets/containers, etc. And voilà! The drawers after the cleanup.

Now I’m waiting for supper. We’re late as usual. We’re busy retired people but I got my walk in. Late afternoon, early evening makes for a nice stroll around the neighbourhood. It is quiet, the world slowing down and the sky closing up for the day. It is a beautiful time of day.

I am not a fan of Halloween and trick and treatings but I do enjoy the effort people put into decorating their yards. We don’t have to do Halloween or any other occasion the same all the time when it’s not appropriate. Change is good. It exercises our brain and soul. Experiment and see what happens. Take the step.


Almost There

It is raining. I’m glad I got my walk in before it started. I’m here but I don’t know how to get started. You would think the rain would be a good conversation starter. It isn’t. Maybe if I get up and pace a bit. Trying too hard can be counter productive so I might as well just tap my usual drivel. Two more days left to the Ultimate Blog Challenge after today. I’m almost there.

I’m not terribly rested and chirpy having had a day to do as I please. I feel cranky as can be. Maybe I shouldn’t think about days off. I should just keep trucking along life’s highway. I was happy on my walk through the park near the school. It was good to see so many kids out playing and laughing, wearing their masks. I never saw so many children playing outside before Covid.

There are some good side effects from this pandemic time. It’s not all gloom and doom. Maybe we could work our way back to engage and live life instead of watching reality shows on TV. Maybe we can use this time in ‘lock down’ to find solutions to reverse climate change and have a greener planet. There are so many maybes but it’s good to throw them out there. It’s better than crying over what we have lost. Those are the things that we probably didn’t value before. If we did, we would have taken better care, wouldn’t we?

I am cranky and irky but I am not unhappy, depressed or despairing. I like challenges. These times are challenging but when is it not? We should just get over ourvelves and get to work. Our greenhouse is almost finished. I am looking forward to seeding and growing greens. The temperature in it was 30 degrees Celsius the other day with the sun shining. I’m excited. I think I can grow greens even in winter. I found a gardener on YouTube who could in -31 C without heat. I’m pumped.


Some Days Are Heavier Than Others

Another day in the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I’m later than usual. I almost forgot but I’m here now. Been a busy week, trying to keep up with everything. I had to forgo my walk yesterday and today. That’s the thing. I have to be flexible and just do my best. Sometimes that best is less. But I do exercise everyday. Yesterday it was swimming. Today it was my aerobics class with weights. Tomorrow I will walk.

All my toilet paper and paper towel arrived from Costco yesterday. There was a maple syrup thrown in to make up the cost eligible for free delivery. It was a big load, worth the extra cost for delivery right to the door. Now I’m set for winter. The days will be less weighty not having to run around shopping and lugging bulky items home. It’s good to be focused and have a plan. Even the little outing I had yesterday with my parents to get their flu shots and to pick up a few things tired me out. Sometimes you don’t realize how much extra energy this Covid thing eats up.

I’m glad that tomorrow is a day off. Aside from a walk, I am not committed to doing anything. I have soup made for lunch already. I’ve done enough baking this week. We’ve polished off all the pumpking chocolate chip muffins I made. I made 2 batches of sourdough buns the other day. My best and easiest so far. You can see the bubbles in my dough. And the Jerusalem artichokes are taken care of. They’re pickled. They do not keep long before going soft. You can only eat so many at one time. It’s a good reason they dubbed them fartychokes! Fermenting is suppose to take the fart out. Let’s see it is true. Time will tell.

It is getting late. I best say good night. I hope this is an easy read. I will be back tomorrow for day 29.


Be Inspired

I’m counting the days, 4 more days after today till the end of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I don’t sound very inspiring, do I? It is the time of day. I’m tired. I sound like a lot of my nursing colleagues doing the count down to their retirement. I never did that. I enjoyed working. Now that I’m retired, I don’t miss working at all. I guess it’s my motto. Enjoy whatever you are doing. Enjoy wherever in the world or whatever stage of life you’re in. Change whatever you are not having a good time at. If you don’t, don’t tell me about it.

Somehow I was inspired to go for an early swim this morning. I set my alarm for 6:15 am. I woke on my own at 5:45 and made it to the pool at 6:30. I had contemplated a cuppa tea before hand but talked myself out of it. It’s one of my procrastination ploys. A cuppa could lead me to comfort and nesting. Before I would know it, I would push that cancel button on the app. So I picked up my packed swim bag and headed out in the dark of the morning. I was surprised to see that it was still dark going to my car after my swim.

The parking lot looked so pretty with the spruce trees and street lamps. It looked almost holy and Christmassy. I almost want to break out in song. I felt fist pumping good. I was glad to make the early bird effort. The pool was busy and I met a couple of new ladies. They were inspiring. They were fast, swimming around me. One announced that she got her 30 lengths in shortly after I got there. I went WOW! She swims every day and looked older than me. I was super impressed.

In this Covid time, it is good to keep fit physically and mentally. Everyone has to weigh the risks and benefits of going to the gym or pool. I feel very safe at our YWCA. It has a weight room, gym and a pool. I trust the staff and the clientele. We take care to keep ourselves and each other safe. For those who are not comfortable to attend in person, there’s virtual classes. Then there’s always the great outdoors. Just put your shoes on and go for a walk.


A Walk in the Park

They say a change is as good as a rest. I believe it is true. Nothing is more tiring than the drone of the same day in and day out. There is security but no rest in monotony. Though I hate the thought of venturing out of my cocoon, I do. It’s good to change my posture and get some fresh air.

Since I’ve had Sheba, I’ve been walking daily, and twice daily when I was single with her. I haven’t missed more than a handful of days in 14 years. I thought that I would/could keep up my daily walks even without her. But I haven’t. Now it is 5 1/2 months that she’s gone. In the warmth of summer I had my bike rides to the community garden. It’s been a month or more since I’ve started going back to the gym. It’s still not enough. I miss my walks.

The thought of solo walks was not inviting but I bit the bullet. I started yesterday when the weather was not so nice. Once out, there’s nothing else to do. You walk, taking one step after another until you are home again. It’s that simple. Today was much nicer. 2 degrees Celsius and the sun was bright and shining. It made for lighter steps. I had a moment or two of sadness, missing Sheba. Where there used to be 2 shadows, there’s now one. I walked through our neighbourhood park. Kids on the tire swings, squealing with delight and two little dogs running like mad, chasing each other.

It’s wonderful to be out in nature even though it’s just a city park. There’s the sky, sun and the trees. Not exactly a forest but it will do. And if I close my eyes, I’m out there amid the trees and grass with Sheba.


How Much Toilet Paper Do We Need?

Sunday, a day of rest. It’s what I hope for. But how does a person actually rest? In my younger days, I used to sleep in, sometimes after 10 am. When I’m up, I linger over my toast and tea, listening to CBC radio. In the afternoon, there’s Oprah and soaps. In the evening there’s Law and Order, Criminal Minds, etc. I seem to thrive on crime shows and books. Somehow they relax me and chase away the blues if they’re visiting.

Now if I awake after 7, I consider it late. Lately, not having Sheba as an alarm clock and my blackout curtains, I’ve been sleeping in till 7. It feels late and wasteful. I still linger over my first cup of tea but I do not know how to sit with nothing after breakfast. I was still fussing about the non-existence of toilet paper of any brand at Costco the other day. Are we into scarcity and hoarding again? I was really irked, especially at myself for not thinking and planning ahead.

We’ve had a pretty good summer, Covid and otherwise. We weathered the first part of if well, too. So why are we doing this again? It’s like an avalanche. I can see and understand how it can happen. One or two people starts. Then another and another. Well, I better stock up or there won’t be any left. It’s the stuff of the not-good-kind of herd mentality. And I’ve caught the bug, too. I needed something to do after breakfast. I went to the Costco’s online site. There’s still some toilet paper and paper towels available. It’s good that they set a limit of one per customer. So I ordered one kind of toilet paper for ourselves and a different kind for my parents. To offset the delivery I added paper towels and maple syrup to my order.

I am paying a little more than in person shopping. It’s worth it not having to trudge from one place to another to see who has toilet paper. And it’s delivery right to the door. No need of huffing and puffing, lugging awkward large packages into the car, then out of the car into the house. Now that I got that out of my system, maybe I can figure out how to rest.


Do We Have a Problem Here?

Saturday night. I’m showered and in my pajamas already. Supper is still stewing in the Instant pot while I’m stewing on the keyboard. There are so many things I could get upset about. And I have been upset but one has to get over it. Or it could kill you. Life is full of quirks. I’m lucky enough to live between 2 women who are not easy to get along with. I wasn’t going to talk about neighbours this month. Then someone posted on Facebook about their fun with neighbours. Now, I just can’t help myself.

I’m really over my ire. I’m in that peaceful valley having come to my senses. There’s just no way that I can get them to see eye to eye with me. Really when 2 or more people are in disagreement, it is difficult to come to a consensus. Each one wants to be right and want the other person to agree with them. That was really a hard lesson for me. I thought I could use reason and explanation to solve our problems. Was I ever wrong. One neighbour would not even allow me to talk. She talked above and over me. After 10 years and when she started to throw rocks at me, I called the police liason for help. It took 2 visits over a year by 2 different officers to obtain some peace. Needless to say, she has mental health issues.

My problem with my other neighbour is not so bad now but it had been. We’ll just leave the past in the past. Now it’s just the light on her garage that she leaves on all night. It’s high and reflects through my bedroom blinds. She has changed it to a warmer hue but still…my sleep and I are disturbed. I could tell that she was not really opened to our suggestions on how to fix it. And rather than getting into a disagreeable disagreement, I took responsibility for my problem. I built a blackout curtain. It took some trying but I do have a fancy expensive Bernina sewing machine.

Now it is all hunky dory. With the blinds and curtain, the bedroom is black. I don’t have to lay in bed awake and cranky, thinking up ways of shooting out the light. I don’t have to get mad every time I see her or if that garage light stays on all night.


Life, Writing and Challenges

It’s another day of the October Ultimate Blog Challenge. Only 8 more days after today. Who’s counting, eh? I’m running late again. I’m busy. It’s not a bad thing. It means I’m living a full throttle life, despite the Covid. Today I made another run to Costco. This time I had no trouble finding my car on the way out. I parked in my usual area, near the disabled section. It’s stressful and exhausting shopping at big-box retailers. You have to run from one end of the warehouse to the other. It’s like being at the airport, searching for the right terminal. I’m hooked along with the rest of the people but at least I’m not a frequent flyer.

Now I’m sitting here frantically trying to find thoughts and words for this post. It would be easy to just give in and call it a month. But I won’t. I am stubborn. If I give in now, I could give in to so many other things. It could be a domino effect. An avalanche could occur. I have completed challenges before. I can do it again. My first one was called the 100 Day Challenge. It was the one that led me back to my art. Every day I would draw or paint something. I was surprised and elated at the end to find that I do have some talent. One of my favourite challenge is the Daisy Yellow Index Card a Day Challenge. Here are some of them from July 2019.


By Hook or By Clip

I think for sure I’ve lost my glow on this 22nd day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I felt bright and chirpy enough this morning. I felt as shiny as a new penny. My sourdough had risen to double itself overnight. It looked soft and smooth as a baby’s bottom. I was so pleased. I stretched and folded it 8 times and dusted it all with cornstartch. Then I put it in my largest long casserole, covered it and stuck it in the fridge to chill. 4 hours later, I took it out, cut the dough into sections and baked them on my pizza pan. They turned out superb. We had them with our soup for lunch.

In between making soup and sourdough buns, I worked on my blackout curtains. I took apart 3 seams, made the necessary adjustments and sew them back up again. They look pretty darn good, except…heavy big sigh. They still don’t pulled back easily. They’re of heavy material and do not slide readily, bunching up. At the end of the day when I spent so much time and effort, I really like to bunch them up and toss them. It’s my tired self talking. I’m feeling cranky. I hear more snow is coming. Maybe I can blame it on the change in atmospheric pressure.

It is late again. I want to finish this conversation already, have a shower and watch Grey’s Anatomy. There’s the call of peanut butter chocolate ice cream, too. Oh, I have thought of an easy fix for my curtains. Curtain rod rings with clips. Goodnight. Be back tomorrow. I will finish this challenge by hook or crook.