A sleepy February afternoon. I shall try not to let it slip mindlessly away. Though I don’t have anything particular on my agenda, I can always put in some efforts on tidying, sowing some pepper, eggplant and tomato seeds. February being a short month March can be here in a whisper. I don’t want to be caught saying, Oh, why didn’t I do this or that? I’ve been watching Serina and Ian of You Can’t Eat the Grass on Youtube again. They are a young couple trying to make a go of farming. They share everything – their dreams, hard work, how much money they are making or not making. They’re very inspiring. So when I feel discouraged about anything in life, I think of them. So I will get some seeds potted up today.
I had a dream last night. It was about work. I’ve been retired 9 years now. The dreams that I remember on waking up are work related. Like most dreams, they don’t make sense. Why would there be a rack of bras on a hospital ward? But there was one and I took a pair of scissors and tampered with one. It was a no-no so I was trying to hide and get rid of the scissors. I hid it under my clothes and was trying to get out of the hospital to dump it. And here’s a funny recurring thing in all my hospital dreams. The staircase and the way out are all the same in all my dreams. They are long and confusing and I can never get back to the ward by the same route.
I’m looking towards making changes for success so I’ve trotted downstairs and prepped some soil for potting up some seeds. I’ve found the pepper, eggplant and tomato seeds. It took some digging around to find them. That’s what happens when you are a clutterbug and let things fall where you drop. I am changing my ways. I am taking time to find homes for everything. To keep on track and on top of things for my drawing class, I’ve gathered my reference photos for my homework. This hoody selfie will be used in the gridwork exercise. First I will have to make a grid on tracing paper and put it over the photograph. Next, I will have to make a distortion grid to make my drawing. Sounds hard and complicated, doesn’t it?
Our drawing instructor is away for 2 weeks. We do have enough homework to keep us busy. Since I have been talking about my time in Ghana, I thought I would do a series of drawings/paintings from photographs of that time. Here are some of my reference photos.
I think this is enough for today. I’ve already written a post today but when words and thoughts flow, they are a gift not to be wasted.
I’ve finally arrived at the end of January and the UBC. Have I accomplished all that I set out to do? Well, mostly. I’ve shown up almost every day, missing maybe a handful. Did I have fun? Yes! I made that a prerequisite.
February 1. The Ultimate Blog Challenge.
I didn’t have enough in me yesterday to finish. I had a block. There was no flow, no words or thoughts. There was no fun. Rather than struggle and trying to push through it all, I let it go. I’m back to close up January and the Challenge. It’s been fast. It’s been slow. It’s long and then it’s gone like a flash. That’s how it is. That’s how life is. It’s a good reminder – to make the moments count. When the struggle is great, let go a little if possible and appropriate. In my art class, we’re instructed to do all work as potential Quality or Selected Artworks. Experiement, explore, revisit, reconstruct and refine. I like that approach in my writing also.
It’s been a good month and a good challenge with a diversified group. Lots of interaction and learning from each other. This is the end of the January Ultimate Blog Challenge. I look forward to the next one in a few months. Meanwhile, I shall babble on in my space. I’m a retired nurse. Perhaps I shall mumble about my experience. I had a dream last night – about nursing. It went as all dreams do. It didn’t make much sense. In waking life, I don’t think of myself as a nurse any more. But they make up most of my dreams. Is that telling? Maybe they need to be told, so I can let go of that role in my dreams, to be truly free. Till next time.
Sometimes the best laid plans can go asunder. That’s what happened to mine. I was already prepped for the gym – class booked, dressed and bag packed. I had 30 minutes to spare. My intention was to make some marks on this page as a springboard for an awesome post when I get back from exercise. As it was I got called by the guy to choose a free gift from this survey he was doing for ‘Costco’. I did not want any of the gifts and left it up to him. The gift was ‘worth’ $90 but he had to pay for shipment. I thought it was a bit odd. Then his credit card was rejected. I said use mine. It was moments after that we thought, hey, this is a scam. He doesn’t do shopping at Costco. I do. And he gets the email for the survey?
No harm done. We phoned our credit card companies and cancelled our cards and will be issued new ones. I will get billed for $13.00 at the most. Money is not the only cost here. It cost us peace of mind and all that energy we spent cancelling our cards. By the time I got off the phone to my credit card company, it was too late for my class. I was left with a bunch of bad jittery energy in me. I had to lose them so I headed out to the ski tracks.
It was no surprise that the parking lot was empty, being Monday morning and cold. But it was sunny and no wind. It was a peaceful winterland for me. Being the only traveller on the road, I did as I pleased, stopping in the track to take a photo, to blow my icy nostrils and to have a rest. No one had to side step around me. After making a round, I was able to let go of some if not all of my angst and carry on with what I had planned for the day.
The scammers weren’t finished with us. They don’t give up easily – calling us, too, on the guy’s cell and the house phone. They left a message – ‘this is not telemarketing, press 1 to continue. The good news is I’ve just checked my credit card account online. No transaction posted today and no further phone calls. I guess this is a good wakeup call to pay attention to those faint and funny warnings from within. If it is too good to be true, then it is. Nothing is free. Curb that desire for ‘free’.
Now it is almost 6 pm, that supper hour. I had hoped to have this written in early afternoon. I had hoped to have cleared and tidied up more. But I am grateful to get this waker upper, to be mindful and be in the moment, to pay attention to my life and to rid useless time wasting, energy depleting things that does nothing to enhance my life.
I had a lovely sleep last night and woke to a typical cold, -27℃ sunny January morning. Not too many of these left – the typical or the January. I’m feeling a bit of nostalgia for the old and familiar. Yesterday, Sheba’s photo popped up on Facebook from memories of 5 years ago. It was enough for my eyes to mist and my heart ache with missing her. It is not a bad thing, remembering love of my precious puppy. No matter how old she was, she’s always my puppy girl. I feel lucky that I have known such love.
Then in the evening, we watched Hanover Street with Harrison Ford, Christopher Plummer and Lesley-Anne Down. It was a movie made in 1979, a movie starting with the credits and ending with THE END. Surprising to see Harrison Ford and Christopher Plummer looking so young and lithesome. The romance was romantic with no raw eroticism. They left something for our imagination. The heroes were heroes to the end. It was so refreshing to escape from our present madness for just awhile.
Now I’m back to my real world. I hope I can get real enough to tend to my housekeeping chores after I’m finished here. I’ve been procrastinating and evading. I’m ending up with more boxes of ‘stuff’ because I don’t know what else to do with them. Every night I plan to deal with them in the morning. Every morning I feel overwhelmed looking at the mess of them. There is no good time and no good way to do it. No use checking out ‘how tos’ or Marie Kondo. I just have to DO it. Wish me luck. I cleaned out one storage unit of art supplies yesterday. Yay!
It’s a bit disconcerting to wake up to above 0 temperature in January.
January 27. The Ultimate Blog Challenge.
As you can see, I was too challenged to write much of anything yesterday. It is a different day altogether today. For one thing the weather has turned colder. The highs will be in the minus double digits for the next week. That is if things go along as predicted. I am focused on the weather for a good reason. I am sensitive to its changes. I find it helpful to write about it. I, then, will have a written record of how and when it casts its spell over me. It will aid me in adjusting and making changes to live a more easeful life.
I had difficulty sleeping the night before probably due to the change of above warm temperature turning cold overnight. I probably had about 4-5 hours of sleep. I was tired, feeling unwell and unfocused all day. I could do most activities of daily living but thinking and writing – forget that. It was impossible. I felt other worldly, detached and not myself. It could be that I am making excuses for my shortcomings. But it is illuminating how much lack of sleep can affect me. And to think that I was sleep deprived during most of my working life as a nurse. Scary thought, though. I hope I was a good nurse making sharp correct observations and decisions.
January 28. The Ultimate Blog Challenge.
It’s a Saturday morning coming down, waking up to -25℃. Holy cow! Two mornings ago, it was above 0. It’s no wonder I had a troubled sleep. Here I go again with the weather, eh. I went to bed sleepy but as soon as I hit the mattress, sleep escaped me. I became restless and tense. My throat dried up, my sinus dripped and I started coughing. It was no way to be. I got up, used my Nasonex, took a tylenol and willed myself to relax and hopeful to sleep. Eventually I did – for a short period until nature called. It took another long period before I got back to sleep.
I do not feel too bad this morning for lack of sleep. Instead of tired, I’m a bit wired. It’s not good energy to write anything profound but it’s good just to record things as they are. I’m annoyed that I have to go through these phases. So much time is wasted. Maybe it is what I need – this time to process, recalculate and reset. Sometimes I have to come to a standstill and look at things from a different perspective. It is only in the quiet and stillness that my body and soul can find their way back to ease. It is just there near that dip in the road and over the horizon. I am so close.
So we are in the last week of January. I have lost alot of wind in my sails. Now I have to work on finishing. I hope I got enough gas in my tank. I think of my blogger friend, Minna Packer over at Suddenly Mad, now and again. She hasn’t written anything since May 22, 2021. I miss her but I do not know what it is that I wish for her. She has early-onset alzheimer. She was at a stage where her gait and speech were affected. She was teaching art at a New York university. She had to give that up. Life was getting harder and harder. But she could still write and draw. Her posts were getting less and less frequent. Then her husband got lung cancer. She was still writing and drawing through it – long awesome posts and beautiful drawings. Then nothing after May 2021.
What I wish is that she is in a good place, that she is at peace, not struggling and not suffering. She is not forgotten to me. I visit her words now and again. She is still a teacher, teaching me about life, strength, resilience and art. I am encouraged and inspired by her to work a little harder in finding my words and finish what I had started. I had not met her but have exchanged a few words a few times. I know her only through her stories. They are powerful. That is what I wish for myself, that ability to stir another with my stories and art. I hope my words are meaningful. I hope my stories can entertain and help someone. My words and art give me comfort and sometimes I can tap and paint a little hope when I am feeling dark. What tools do you have?
I’ve taken 3 days off from the challenge. It was time for a break/rest. Now let me see if I can hop back on again. We’ve had a long, long stretch of grey and foggy weather. Though it had created some beautiful photographic opportunties, it was wearing on me. Then on Friday the sun returned in all its glory. It was welcomed but it was rather abrupt and bright. My physical body did not like it at all but we limped through it. I felt better the next day and got to enjoy sunny morning ski.
The sun disappeared again after the two days. I think that’s how things will be in our new normal – change, fluctuation and uncertainty. I’m being more mindful so that I can live my best possibel life. It helps if I can identify what makes me feel bad and what makes me feel good. I used to take many things for granted. I never planned much. I never thought much about what I want and didn’t want. I allow things to just happen. Life seemed more stable and secure back then. It was always an illusion. It was comforting.
Now, I can no longer believe in the illusion. Nor do I want to. It would make me more vulnerable and unable to handle life’s little and big problems. I want to develop strength and resilience. I want a life that is meaningful even if it is difficult. Perhaps dealing with all the difficulties gives life meaning. Even though the clouds have returned, I’m finding the silver lining. My mantra borrowed from Regina Brett – No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up – still works for me.
And so that is what I do. No matter how I feel, I get up, dress up and show up and do the best I can. Today I got up, dress up and went to my exercise class even though I did not feel like it. I left the class feeling more energetic and alive than when I arrived. I felt content this afternoon cooking up my pumpkins to make puree. Their orange-ness made me feel good. I was totally engaged reading John Grisham’s The Client. My whole being was in the book. I took no notice of the greyness outside. I think I can make my own endorphins.
I think it is what I need to do to stay well and happy. There’s always something that I can do to make things a little better. When I was feeling tough on Friday, I was still able to go to my drawing class. I was able to forget how I was feeling for two hours. I even had fun. It was like playing and I felt well. Play is a valuable tool and it comes in many forms. It’s up to me to discover what they are and have fun at it.
I’m still here, wrapped in another day of grey. I’m taking my own advice, not fighting it and just going along with the ride. I haven’t been actively seeking ‘fun’. Didn’t do any stretches. Didn’t ski so I guess stretching wasn’t necessary. I thought I would just relax and wallow in what is just me. I think it is good to stay put. There’s always chores, you know, those shitty boring stuff that everyone hates, puts off and runaway from. But they are necessary for our well being and happiness. Good examples are brushing our teeth, cleaning our body, preparing food, doing dishes, doing the laundry. Pretty tedious stuff, eh?
You could say that I was disturbed into ease and silence by the band Disturbed and their rendition of Paul Simon’s The Sound of Silence. It was a bit different from Simon and Garfunkel’s version. I thought the guy was a bit off at first. I fell in love with it when he started growling. Here he is, live on Conan. The video is 6 years old. I wonder where I have been. I’ve just discovered him accidently as the soundtrack on a skate competition.
Grey days are not all bad. There’s always a silver lining. The weather app said there was a bit of sun today. I must have blinked and missed it. Let’s see what tomorrow and the weekend brings. There’s snow forecast for Sunday. I will have a break in my routine tomorrow. I start an in person drawing class in the afternoon. I am ready. My bad is packed with my supplies. I have a couple of samples to show the teacher.
Another day enclosed in the grey. I tried dipping my toes into my fun list this afternoon. I didn’t have any nail polish on hand. Otherwise, I might have had some fun. I used to have a couple of bottles laying around forever and a day. I could have used them today. So I had throwaway regrets. Next, I tried origami. I have a kit I bought when I was in Japan a million years ago. The instructions were diagrams without words. It was a bit complicated. Maybe I should have started on page 4 instead of 22. As a result, my tulip is a little too top heavy.
Next, I played a little piano. I was not engaging so I gave up after 20 minutes. It’s really no fun when I’m feeling so blasè. I had been reading Babel and it was interesting but in my mood, a dark fantasy about colonalism would make my mood darker. I thought about resorting to John Grisham’s The Client, but I got onto YouTube and found this. I was engaged, caught up in the music and movement of this couple ice skating.
It wasn’t really what you would call fun but I was at least distracted from my grey feelings for a few minutes. Perhaps I should not try so hard running away from these feelings/days. Just accept and ride/ease them through without a fight/struggle. Perhaps there’s a purpose for them.
Another morning. Another grey day. Another blank page. How shall I fill it? I’m off to a good start. Made that appointment with SaskEnergy for Thursday. It wasn’t hard. I wonder why I procrastinate, why it feels hard. I’ve been thinking about that word again all day yesterday. I thought about it driving to my exercise class. The traffic was a steady stream and all those piles of snow and the grey sky pressing down on us. I wonder how I managed all that stress driving the same route to work for over 30 years.
I feel grateful that I no longer had to get up at the crack of dawn. I am grateful that I’m not driving down College Drive in the cold and dark to spend 12 hours saving lives and emptying bedpans. I think I’ve earned my dues. I have to retire that hard word again. Put it out of mind and drive in the slow and easy lane. I don’t need any more challenges. I need more ease and more fun. I need to get my kicks on route nice and easy.
How to do it? I think I have to change my mindset. I have to dip my toes into the fun pool slowly, one at a time. It might take me awhile to get comfortable with fun. I’m a serious person. What other people consider ‘fun’ sometimes evoke pain in me. I have to give it some thought on what brings me just simple joy. I went online and google fun things to do. Here’s some possibilities:
Play an instrument
Write a short story
Do a crossword puzzle
Try a board game
Put together a puzzle
Build a snow fort
Write a letter
Become a YouTube star
Unplug my devices
Paint my nails
I think this is a fair list to start on. I think I will shop for a puzzle and some nail polish. I have to remember this is to have fun and not to make it into some kind of challenge. To be sure, I know I will fall off my fun wheel and have to get back on it again time after time.