I came upon a video on YouTube yesterday called 21 Tiny Habits to Improve Your Life in 2021 Effortlessly. Being a self improvement junkie, it really caught my eye. The effortlessly part didn’t hurt. Here are the 21 tiny habits in a nutshell:

  1. List 3 things you are grateful for.
  2. Say no once a week.
  3. Exercise for 1 minute upon waking.
  4. Invest in experiences.
  5. Organize your home.
  6. Throw things away.
  7. Manage your money.
  8. Stand up every hour. 
  9. Follow tis simple proverb. “Quand on a pas de tete, on a des jambes”. When we don’t have head, we have legs. Accept what is done is done.
  10. Ask open-ended questions. This keeps the conversation going.
  11. Turn off notifications. 
  12. Prepare your clothes.
  13. Watch the news less.
  14. Drink more water.
  15. Discover one thing a month.
  16. Make your bed.
  17. Spend one minute a day with yourself.
  18. Ask yourself whether what you’re doing is worth it.
  19. If a task takes 2 minutes, do it right away.
  20. Take care of your posture. 
  21. Read for 15 minutes a day.

These look very do-able and sustainable. I have been doing some of them already. Number 8 is supposed to be the hardest. It shouldn’t be a surprise since we are such couch potatoes. It’s a good one for me since one of my goals is to be in motion more. Let me stand up now. I did my one minute exercise of stretching first thing this morning. I do make my bed every morning. I only watch small news in the evening. I think I drink enough liquids. I’m in the bathroom quite often. I’ve started asking myself whether what I’m doing is worth it. I meditate every morning sitting in perfect alignment for #20. I do read enough to make it 15 minutes a day.

Habits are worth looking into. They can improve our lives a bit at a time. I’ve experienced their big impact already in this month. I feel more at ease and have more time for myself. #18 and #9 have spoken the most to me.


We’re having a good day of rain. It started in the night and it is still continuing on. Hooray, what a long wait it has been! I’m feeling very sleepy. It would be much easier to have a nap than write a post. However, this is the 24th day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I have fallen behind on this and on the100daychallenge. I must push past my sleepiness. This post is the last item on my to-do list.

I’ve been having difficulty with my sleep this past week. I wonder how the weather has affected it. We’ve had almost 4 seasons in the past week. I hope my sleep will return tonight. I’m sure I woke up every one to two hours last night. I was lucky that I could get back to sleep each time. Still – interrupted sleep is not a good sleep. I am too sensitive to weather changes. I wonder if I could somehow desensitize myself. The more I know, the better I can help myself.

Reading from the article, I see that I am already doing what I can. Even though I know that I have no control over the weather, acceptance can be a hard thing. I know, too, that stepping out onto the deck can make me feel better. I’ve been out in the yard, collecting buckets and buckets of water for dry days and catching some daylight for myself. I’m moving my body as well as waking myself up a little.


1. Accept that the weather is out of your control

Simply by accepting that sleep is likely to be difficult due to the weather can work wonders for improving your rest. This takes the pressure off and allows you to relax.

2. Expose yourself to daylight

Even if the sky is overcast, getting out in natural light can help your body to produce the right hormones at the right time, keeping your circadian rhythm in tune.

3. Stay active

A little activity can go a long way in helping you to sleep at night. This will help to get rid of the drowsiness, which in turn will make it easier to sleep at night.


I am so happy that the dishes are done and I’m finally sitting down. Happy, too, that the weather is warming up and the sun is out. It is almost 4 pm and I am pooped on this 22nd day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I realize now that I’ve just gave out a very noisy sigh. Somehow that always makes me feel better. I’m alone at the moment. Sometimes I forget and do it in public. I would get a few chuckles. So no problem, eh?

Now that I have an opening, how shall I proceed? I always thought I was an active person. People seem to think I do alot because I garden and have lots of other hobbies. I also used to go to an aerobic class 3 times a week and swim every Saturday morning before Covid. That only took an hour or two counting travelling time. Then there’s the rest of the day in which I’m sedentary. Now I don’t even have that hour Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. I’m trying to rectify it by keeping in motion and not being such a couch potato.

I used to hate having going downstairs so I would try to line up jobs so that I would go down just once or twice. Now I think of it as an opportunity to move and work off some fat. Change my thoughts, change my life. Wayne Dyer would be so proud of me. I have the book on my bookshelf but I haven’t read it. It’s been there for a number of years. I have so many bad habits but I’m working on changing them. It’s not easy but I’m not sweating it. I’ll work on one small thing a day.

Today I worked on being in motion more. I did my 20 minute sitting meditation with my morning tea. Then I got up and put away last night’s supper dishes drying on the rack. I fed Oscar, my sourdough starter. The guy likes to linger over his morning coffee before breakfast, so I did my qigong routine. After breakfast, I tended to the garden beds, taking some of the covers over the plants. Then they would have to be folded and put away. In my other life, I would just drop them somewhere, wherever. I’m trying to correct my sloppiness also.

All this correcting takes more time, of course. I try not to feel resentful about it. It is actually helping me in having more time in the long run. You see, I’m thinking differently. It didn’t happen overnight. It’s taken me a long, long time to get here. And I’m really, really tired. I did some harvesting of my veggies this morning, cleaned and chopped, stir fried, made soup and did the dishes. I think I’ve earned the couch now. No, wait! I better do my hula hoop and other exercises. It’s a short routine. Doing something different can get rid of fatigue.


I’m enjoying puttering around the house on this cold day in Saskatchewan. We had a -1℃ last night. We have a few more ahead before it’s over. But our passive solar greenhouse is doing fabulously. It was 19.5℃ while only 2℃ outside a couple of hours ago. Now it has dropped to 17.3℃. It has been cloudy all day. I am learning to ground myself in household duties instead of crying the woes.

It was soothing to sew my quilt block this morning by the fireplace. I feel the warm of the fire. There is comfort in touching the fabric. I see the different colours and patterns. I hear the whir of my Bernina as it stitch the seam. I look up and I see my daffodils and tulips out the window. The cat is beseeching me to put in a geranium in its pot. Soon, kitty, soon.

It feels good to be in the moment, not to be scattered and distracted every which way. I’m learning to ground myself in the present moment, sewing in silence. I’m not listening to the radio, to the voices of happenings over which I have no control. I did listen to a couple of short video clips from Therapy in a Nutshell on grounding and other mental health tips. I’m a self-help addict and I’m always opened to learning how to make things better and easier for myself.

Today is a good day, despite the cold and the grey sky. I almost lost this post just now. I better quit while I’m still ahead for this 20th day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.


Just like that our heat wave of 2 days is over. We are sitting at a cool 6℃ at 9 am. The greenhouse is registering 14.6℃. Snow is in the forecast for Friday. Talk about getting jerked around! It was so hot by this time Monday and Tuesday that it was uncomfortable on the deck. Not so today. It is even cool inside. I had to close all the windows I opened last night. If the plants are stressed by all this back and forth, hot days and cold nights, what is it doing to us?

That thought crept into my mind last night. It lingers still. I think of the ways I do to baby the plants along to strengthen them.

  • Greenhouse to extend season in spring and fall
  • Heater for greenhouse on cold nights
  • Kosy Coats for the tomatoes
  • Row covers
  • Raised beds with covers
  • Opening vents and door to the greenhouse on hot,hot days
  • Bamboo poles and strings for climbing plants
  • Watering

I know I am susceptible to changes in the weather. Do I baby myself to build resilience or do I mostly bemoan the fact? Hmmm, let me see.

  • I do tend to bash myself alot for my shortcomings but I am learning to turn that around. I try to accept how I’m physically, neurological and emotionally made up and to think of ways of how I can make things easier for myself.
  • I try not to run hot and cold like the weather. I try to be a steady Eddy. That’s where developing healthy routines and habits come in. 
  • This blog is my worksheet where I try to identify problems and find workable solutions. It is also my breathing space where I tap to comfort and ease myself.
  • I’ve lost my aerobics class and swimming due to Covid but I’m finding other alternatives. Physical activity builds physical and mental resilience. This past winter, I took up cross country skiing. That has gone with the snow. Walking is not as inviting and sustainable without my Sheba. So now I’m doing hula hooping, weights, qigong and yoga. 
  • I meditate for 20 minutes every morning, learning to sit and stay with everything.
  • I’m a super serious person. I’m going to try to lighten myself up. I don’t know how yet. One way may be letting go of being obsessive about everything – including goals. It might be ok to just laugh some days.

I think this is adequate for now, on this 19th day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.


It is the 17th day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. It is a good time for another review. I’ve been missing and skipping more days here lately. And it’s likely that I will not be able to finish this post tonight. Well, my purpose for this month is to carve more time for myself. There’s much to do in this merry month of May. I don’t have as much energy and focus as my younger self. Some things have to go.

It’s a blistering hot day today, up to 32℃. It was almost too hot to sit on the deck by 9 this morning. I did it anyways. At least the deck is covered, out of the sun. I opened both doors to get a breeze. I did not sit in idleness. I was transplanting little tiny seedlings into little paper pots I made. It was almost like performing neurosurgery. I think I will think twice before doing this again. I only have 4 more batches of seedlings to go.

It’s almost 8 pm. Sweat is running down my face as I sit here tapping. I hope we will get some rain after this. I won’t hold my breath though. The earth feels like it’s burning up. I can’t remember when we had some normal spring rain. And what is normal any more?

It is another day/afternoon. Not as hot as yesterday but too warm to sit on the deck. I’m chased back into the relative cool of the house. I’m trying to finish this post/review of how I am doing/progressing. Overall I think I’m making a passing grade. I don’t sweat over the small stuff as much. I don’t let my anxiety put me in the hole. It is just feelings, right? My motto of regardless of how I feel, I get up, dress up and show up still works. As inane as it sounds, life goes on. It’s a healthy treadmill to step on and keep up as best as I can. That’s all that is asked of me.

It is important how I speak to myself in the morning. Good morning, self! is a good opening. The day is then started. I get up, dressed up, wash my face, brush my teeth and show up. How I plan and face the day is important, too. There are must-do things like getting dress, brushing your teeth and showing up for a good breakfast. The next-to-dos are working on projects of sewing my quilt squares, writing this blog, my 6 minute of hula hooping, 6 minutes of marching/walking,squatting exercises. It worked well for me this morning. I even had chili cooking in the Instant Pot for lunch. I even had a trip to Early’s Garden Center for more supplies. Lunch was ready when we got home.

Tomorrow it might not go so well. A little planning and trying the best sets me up for success. I will have to remember that. Oh, I must not forget the conclusion. I am carving out more rest time. I have learn to stop and not push so hard on each and every thing. It is ok to fall behind when I am tired or short of time. There’s no must or die. Some things are not that crucial.


There’s no point in lamenting over the state of our planet/world. We are as dry as can be. What has happened to our April/May showers? I should rejoice at the warm temperatures but 32℃ and 30℃ forecast for the beginning of next week. Then it’s back down to 17℃ a few days later. I hope the forecast of rain pans out but somehow they have the habit of dissipating. Meanwhile our and U.S. news toots much hope of Covid under control and we can resume life as normal. But listening to news from other parts of the world, I think it is false hope. We are all connected. What affects one, affects all.

Let me not dwell on these things that I cannot control. I have to give myself a shake and ask, What can I do. How can I find hope? This morning I read an article of hope and resilience in the Guardian on the growth of American food forests. It’s what we are attempting to do. Our passion and goal is to grow as much of our own food as we can organically – in our own space and in the community garden.

It does take alot of time, energy and work but it is very rewarding for the soul. I see results for my effort. Yesterday, I spent a couple of hours visiting my parents and planting mom’s front flower bed. It’s one of the things I can do for her. I’ve stopped with the gifts for Christmas and other holiday seasons. There’s not much material gifts that my parents need now. So it is Chinese takeout for the holidays and snow shovel in the winter. I start a few flowers and vegetables for them in the spring. My mother still likes to do everything herself. We compromised and split 50/50.

It’s Sunday morning, the 15th day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I’m showing up as best as I can.


I took a couple of days off. Well, its National Nurses Week. I know. I’m retired but days off still works for me.It’s good to get away from it all. I was feeling a little anxious and stressed. I know the signs and feelings. After all these years I’ve finally accepted the way I’m built. It is my chemistry. I feel things deeply. I absorb the vibes around me. So it is up to me to surround myself with positive energy and to remove myself from the bad ones.

I try to stay grounded and not run out of my skin and for the hills. I’m a little smarter now. I’ve learned alot about anxiety and treatments from reading and experience. I remember reading about Temple Grand’s squeeze box. It was a device for calming hypersensitive persons. I believe that’s where thunder shirts for dogs come from. I thought a thunder shirt would help me as well. I didn’t have to search hard or far to find one. Since I feel chilled and shivery during these periods an undershirt might just be the ticket. It was. I used a camisole. I have more than a few. They are stretchy and form fitting. They make me feel warm and secure.

My days off were what the doctor ordered – rest and full of sunshine. One day we made a road trip out to the country for rocks to build the thermal wall in the greenhouse. We stopped at Shiloh Church near Maidstone (our hometown) for lunch. At the end of the day we came home with a truckload of rocks.

Thursday morning and it’s full of sunshine. I’ve missed 3 days of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. That’s how life is. I can’t do it all. I have more seeds sprouting that needs potting up. There’s 4 more raised beds plus the garden and the greenhouse to maintain. It’s all good stuff. One seed, one plant, a day and a blog post at a time. There is time.


My mother with her brother and his family in New York Botanical Garden many years ago

It’s day 9 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge and Mother’s Day. I fret alot on each holiday occasion. I suppose many do, too, now that we can’t gather as before to celebrate and share a meal. It’s especially difficult when your parents are elderly. The sharing of companionship and a meal are more meaningful than gifts. I weigh the pros and cons of how to do’s and made a choice. In early April, things were looking hopeful in terms of weather and low cases of Covid-19. I thought it would be good to have my parents over for lunch and have a look at the greenhouse and the raised beds. Things change.

The weather is not as nice – windy and cool. Covid numbers not better. My sister wants to bring them lunch for Mother’s day. My brother taking them Sunday supper. So I delivered Chinese take-out for them yesterday along with some specific groceries my mother wanted. She seemed quite happy with our delivery and that also made me happy. We can have them over later in the season. It will be warmer and the garden in full swing. The yard will be neater then as we are still in the process of building a shed and garden beds around it and the greenhouse.

I AM learning to be more decisive and go with the flow. I’m not stressing myself as much, therefore feeling more at ease. Tension is wearing and takes up time. I am in small ways spending less time doing useless scrolling on the phone. Those ’empty’ times are uncomfortable. My hands have been always engaged in some activity. It will take some practice and awareness NOT to reach for the phone. It robs my concentration ability. I find it hard now to read anything and make sense of what I’m reading. I would have to read a paragraph over again. It’s one of the things I am working on. So I do it for short periods, reading slowly for it to sink in.

I thought I had more thoughts but they seemed to have disappeared. It is enough for one day. I am feeling somewhat spent after repotting 10 house plants. It was much needed and long overdued. It was not a difficult physical job. Rather it was a brain thing. I couldn’t rally myself till today but I finally got the job done. Hooray for me.


I hate making decisions. It is perhaps one of my biggest time wasters. I fret over the smallest things like choosing from the menu. It takes away some of the pleasure of the dining occasion. Then there’s the decision of when and where and phoning people. Is it a good time? Would they like to hear from me? I guess it’s the fear of rejection. Even though I hate all of this deciding, I do reach the end point. I feel the obligation of doing my duty and also my best. Okay, this is what I’ve decided and I will do it. It does cost me alot of time and energy.

It’s a little shameful that I’m still struggling with this but at least I’ve said it out loud and in print. I should have done it sooner but it is the hardest, admitting this to myself. However, not voicing the problem prolongs it. It’s like the elephant in the room. It lurks in my being all the time, robbing me time, energy and ease. It is silly to agonize over every decision, wanting to make the best, perfect choice. I know now that there is no such thing as THE ONE right choice, decision, answer. I feel so much better. I’m not so weighed down with questions of:

  • Have I done the right thing?
  • Did I do enough?
  • Could I have done better?
  • Should I have chosen another restaurant/person/etc?

I am sure I will have days of indecision again but I will remember this working out of things. It will cut short the fretting and worrying and I can move on. I am pleased with my progress on this day 8 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.