February 10. 9:19 am. It’s 5℃ outside and 1.2℃ in the greenhouse. It is grey, wet and slippery as hell on the sidewalks. We watch people walking cautiously, some on the street and some in the snow of lawns. Then there are the brave teenagers marching and sliding along. I have decided that I will not be stepping outside today. I am going to hunker down and mind my own business. I have many things to do – at my speed which is not fast.

It’s ill winds that are blowing. We’ve had rain, we’ve had snow….I feel like breaking into James Taylor’s Fire and Rain. When I listen to the lyrics, it’s exactly how I feel. We have rain and snow. I could use a little fire in me.

February 11. 9:47 am. It is -19℃ outside, -6℃ in the greenhouse. Tepid sunshine. What a difference a day makes. Yesterday afternoon it was 5℃ outside and 15.9℃ in the greenhouse. You think that was something to cheer about. It was not. Yesterday was very hard, hard for me. I felt like soggy spaghetti noodles with brain fog. Moving and getting things done were very difficult. I started out making curried beef in the Instant Pot about 11 am. It was soon clear I couldn’t quite get it together. Good thing for frozen pizzas on hand. I did get everything into the Instant Pot for the curry beef by 3 pm. It felt like a huge accomplishment by the time I got the cleaning done.

I’m feeling a little more together today. Lunch is ready. I just have to take the pot of beef and stick it into the Instant part and plug it in. My plans for the day? None except to mope along as best I can. No skiing in the park today either. It’s probably icy and treacherous as hell. Navigating the streets and sidewalks are hard enough. We might go out to the nearby golf course tomorrow afternoon. They, hopefully, will have groomed trails.

Beef and butternut curry

The curry was quite delicious. I followed this recipe for the spices and used what ingredients I had on hand – ground beef, onions, garlic, butternut squash, Swedish brown beans, frozen tomatoes and frozen greens. I browned the hamburger, then threw in the rest with a jar of pork broth into the Instant Pot. Used stew and meat button for one hour.

February 12. 9:32 am. -14℃ outside. -5.5℃ in the greenhouse. Sunny. I have to say that I’ve been more affected by the freedom convoy affair than the pandemic. I’m wondering what ‘freedom’ they’re fighting for. I’m a Chinese immigrant whose grandfather escaped death by a hair and whose grandmother was jailed in his place in the Mao regime. I remember hearing gunfire of firing squads killing dissidents who dared saying anything remotely against the government. So I am wondering what is the freedom that these freedom fighters are fighting for? Freedom here is just another word for chaos – to do as we please, irregardless of others. We might as well do away with need for driver’s license, a business license, a professional (doctor, engineer, pilot, nurse, teacher…..) license, visas, passports of any kind, rules of the road, airway….Let’s get foolish. Let’s go backwards….

Ok, I’ve had my rant to clear all my chakras for the day. Meanwhile…my seeds of early Red Alert tomatoes, eggplants and peppers have germinated. I haven’t done by daily draw yet but I am quite pleased with the ones I have done. Yesterday I started to add watercolour to my duck drawing. Though not perfect, I am quite happy with it. Colours clear, no mud created. No mud, no lotus. In this case, it is what I want.


February 8, 8:38 am. 2℃ outside and -1.1℃ in the greenhouse. Crazy temperatures! Past Februaries had been our coldest month. I’m trying not to think of climate change, Covid-19 and the freedom convoy. I am, of course, thinking of them all just the same. Let me acknowledge it. But I still started my day with 20 minutes of sitting and being in the moment with Mark Williams. My mind wanders as it is apt to do. I bring it back again and again. I do my best. It is still restful no matter what, being grounded in my sitting posture.

I’m at my optimum mentally, emotionally and spiritually in the morning. I’ve had no time to accumulate any debris to cloud my chakras. It is my best time to learn and build myself up if I need uplifting. It’s the best time for a class in YouTube University. Today I was motivated by this video:

You can also read about this project on this website. It reminded me of my first 100 Day Project on Instagram in 2016. I made a piece of art every day. It was my first step towards making art after a life time just talking about it.

February 9. 5:57pm. A grey day. I am feeling grey as well. It is 1℃ outside and 2.2℃ in the greenhouse. I feel totally limp with no energy. You can probably guess that I didn’t go ski in the park today. I thought it was a wise decision. The tracks are probably icy as hell. I compensated by doing a mindful yoga on YouTube. It’s a very good video I found a few years ago and haven’t done for awhile. It’s good to change up my exercise program now and then. It’s good to work different sets of muscles. I followed up by doing a few minutes of hula hooping and arm exercises with light weights.

I’m feeling a bit crappy but I haven’t idle the day away. I did my daily draw and grocery shopping in the morning. I had my 2 hour class on the Goddesses of India after lunch. Now I am finishing this post. Not a great write but I am charting my days. It’s a recording I can look back on to see my progress or lack of what I’m trying to accomplish.


February 7, 9:15 am. Cloudy with sun. -6℃ outside, -7.4℃ in the greenhouse. I got my 8 hours of sleep last night. We were in bed by 10 pm. I have to admit I was feeling out-of-sorts watching the National about the freedom convoy situation in Ottawa. I wonder how they can call their mission freedom when they holding and subjecting a city and their citizens to their rude and unlawful behaviour. It is hard not to fall into the pits of depression when your country seems to be following in the footsteps of our southern neighbour. It is indeed hard and depressing when you hear the American Republicans applauding the convoy. But then I read this opinion piece in MacLean’s and my spirit rose a little.

It is after 3 pm. Very sunny. 3℃ outside and 8.6℃ in the greenhouse. This week promises warm weather. If the sun comes out every day, there’s hope that the greenhouse beds may be workable to sow some spinach seeds. So far I see only cloudy days ahead. We had our ski this morning. The sky was a work of art. You will have to take my word for it as I forgot to take my iPhone with me. No photos taken except those with my naked eyes. It was good that I got to enjoy the scenes before me without interruption. It’s part of my problem. I always want to capture those moments. I need to relax and just enjoy the view.

I am struggling a bit here. The cursor likes to jump around the screen. I’ve wasted time and energy finding a fix but I’ve succeeded – I think. It’s a reminder that things don’t always go smoothly or the way we want. Sometimes life sucks. It’s ok to feel badly. It’s not a time to feel glad. I don’t have to pretend. I can let it all hang out. No one can see me. It’s healthy to acknowledge our feelings. I didn’t let those feelings go to waste. They pushed me into tackling those hard to do chores – those hard to get at corners and closets. How the dust like to hide in and among all the clutter.

Nothing gets done by themselves, no matter how hard I’ve been wishing upon a star. It has to be hands on, getting down and dirty. It’s good at ridding of those nasty thoughts and feelings in my head and soul. I’ve worked up a sweat and a sugar low. I didn’t feel guilty at all having a big snack so close to supper time. I feel replenished.


February 5. Another Saturday morning watercolour class. It’s cloudy and warmer than yesterday though I don’t know what the temperature was in the morning. I do know that I am not feeling as spunky. I left for class a little earlier so I didn’t have to rush to get there on time. The streets were icy. I hit mostly green lights. We’re at the halfway mark at lesson 4. I was happy to hear that we were going to get a 2 week rest. The instructor was going on vacation – that is if things work out for her. I’m looking forward to a bit of a rest.

My painting of the little monk had a better reception from the instructor than me. She quite liked and praised it with none of the criticism of it that I did. We are indeed our own harsher critic. It does make me happy. It’s good to start the class of show and tell from each of us 5 students. We get to see each others’ efforts, the good and not so good. Our class today was on texture, how to make those marks – tree trunks, leaves, feathers, hair, etc. We had a practice on painting rocks and how the light hit them. Surprising how much pleasure I can get from a small exercise. I can’t say the same for mixing paint though. I heaved many a sigh over it but the exercise is invaluable.

It is now 5 pm. The temperature is-17℃ outside and -8.4℃ in the greenhouse. How fast the day goes. I did not ski today. It is good to have a day of rest, to let my body unwind.

February 6, 9:45 am – sunny, -14℃ outside, -11.5℃ in the greenhouse. It’s our sourdough pancake Sunday. Unfortunately or fortunately, we’re all out of bacon depending on how you look at it. At one time we were foolish enough to have bacon with our breakfast every morning for a whole year. I am sure we paid for it in one way or another – financially and health wise. Now we indulge only on Sundays until our supply from Farm 140 runs out. It ran out today. We got our pork in the fall. We are heading out there this afternoon for our beef supply. It will be a nice drive.

I had a hard time falling asleep last night but once I did, I got up only once. It works not to have my evening cuppa after 8 pm. Perhaps I should not take my calcium/magnesium till I’m going to bed. I kept falling asleep last night while watching the movie Munich, The Edge of War on Netflix. I enjoy movies on WW11. It’s a way of learning history. The movies show the worst and best of humans in those times.

It’s 3 pm. The sun’s disappeared pretty darn quick this morning. We’ve been out to Farm 140. We’ve had our ski. I can’t say it was pleasurable. It was work. We got to enjoy the set tracks in the park for only 3-4 days. Then it’s been snowing every few days. Today was one of those days. We had to reset the tracks ourselves. Not an easy task to dig them out under the blown snow. We hope to get the city groomer to come again soon. Meanwhile – we smile the while and ski the best we can.

City groomer setting ski tracks – January 28th.


February 3. It is another cold day but quite sunny. It’s been around -25℃ most of the day. The greenhouse got up to 4.7℃ today. It is -3.3℃ now at 5:37. I should start thinking about preparing the beds for seeding some spinach soon. Last spring it was almost too warm for them by late March. I’ve started some pepper and eggplant seeds in wet paper towel. They’re starting to germinate. I can’t remember if it’s a week or more ago that I started them. I have to remember to write these things down.

I was feeling tired and listless but after tapping a paragraph, I’m feeling better. I think I am working too hard on my watercolour class this week. I’m a bit sick of working on the little monk. It’s mostly finished and overworked. I’ve packed it away. I hope I can leave it packed. Sometimes I get obsessed and can’t leave things alone. I shall see what Alison have to say about it on Saturday. I tried to relax by watching Inspector Wexford. I couldn’t find a new episode so it’s not a rest for me. It’s better if I just mutter here. The tapping is unwinding me and helps me problem solve.

Everything looks better in the morning and in summer.

The two cucumber plants I’ve started in the fall are still alive. They are not exactly thriving. I should trot my butt downstairs and transplant them and give them a bit of fertilizer. Who knows. They might thrive and I can plant them in the greenhouse in March. Last year I had cucumbers and tomatoes planted March 9th. Most of them survived without supplement heat but with lots of covers. Last fall we’ve added a little electric heater for those frosty nights. Things should work out much better with less manual labour. The Black Krim tomato I started from a cutting last fall is doing well. It could use a transplant and a feed, too.

February 4. Another cold day at 31℃ this morning. It is almost 9. The greenhouse is sitting at -18.3℃. I don’t expect it to get above 0 as no sun in the forecast. I am feeling fine. My bum ankle and leg are better after I started taking a calcium/magnesium supplement. It could be coincidental or a placebo effect. Whatever the reason, I’m glad for it. Everything does look better in the morning. Sleeping through most of the night also helps . I’ve curbed my fluid intake after supper. Getting up every couple of hours was disturbing my sleep. Last night I only got up once at 5 am. Six hours of uninterrupted zzz is wonderful, even though I couldn’t get more. Sometimes you have to take what you can get.

Nothing cooking in the greenhouse yet.

I did get my cucumbers and tomato repotted yesterday. Now I wait for them to thrive. I will have to start some early tomatoes for the greenhouse. We finished all our longkeeper tomatoes in mid January. It was pretty fantastic to have fresh fried tomatoes with our eggs every morning till then. The goal now is to get some early spring tomatoes. Is May/June too ambitious? We will have to wait and see. Meanwhile I have to dig out my saved Red Alert tomato seeds and get them going. They’re supposed to take 50-55 days to mature from transplanting.



February 1. Chinese New Year and it’s day one post the Ultimate Blog Challenge. What have I learn? I am an old retired nurse. It goes to reason that old medical terminology would pop up in my mind. I’ve never worked in ICU, so never been on the Code team. I do know that they do a post mortem after each Code Blue whether it was successful or not. They analyze the chain of events, what happened, what went right, what went wrong, what they could have tried but didn’t, etc. It all adds to their experience and knowledge and hopeful better outcomes in future Codes.

I thought that it would be a good idea to do that periodically in our lives. It would be most helpful in or after a project, a class, a challenge. What a better time than today, a new year opening in front of me. My observation that I couldn’t write a post every day for the UBC was I didn’t have a plan for those hard days when I didn’t have time or energy. I will work out a plan for the next time. My plan today was to pay bills on the first of each month. That way I will not be late for any of them and be penalized. It’s a good plan. It’s do-able and I’ve done it.

Now on to the post mortem for last Saturday’s watercolour art class. I was totally bummed out, discouraged and fed up with myself. Yes, I am rather harsh with myself. I am impatient as well. I want to be a master painter in one class. And I am not after 3 classes. Damn! I’ve had 3 days to think and analyze things and I am pretty ok with making a mess of things. I wouldn’t have learned a bunch of important things if I hadn’t. What did I learn?

  • how to get a grid on my reference photos
  • edit the photo for composition and optimum light and shadow before printing
  • draw my composition completely before painting
  • brush boldly, not afraid of making mistakes. It’s how I can earn.

February 2. It seems forever since yesterday. Chinese New Year has come and gone. Someone asked me how I was going to celebrate. To tell the truth, I am not a fan of celebrating any occasion. I guess it comes with getting on in years and cynicism. It’s what is called a bad attitude. In my mind with what is going on in our country with the freedom fighter convoy and our premier stating that Covid-19 vaccines are not reducing the risk or the spread of Omicron, it is difficult to be in a celebratory mood. Perhaps it is just an excuse for me. I do have a bad attitude. I am too tired now to do a post mortem on that. I am going to fake it (good attitude) till I make it. I will order some Chinese take-out tomorrow to celebrate.