April 20th. Another new dawn. Another new day. The sun is gracing us with its presence. We are joyous. I’ve been in the greenhouse, raised the shade and removed the cardboards from the windows. The nights are still cool, dipping into the minus. Every little bit of heat I can help retain is worth the effort. I harvested some brokali greens for a stir fry for lunch and did a little weeding. They don’t need much sun or heat to thrive. If I don’t take care, they will take over. That’s what happened with my garden within. I haven’t paid attention and the weeds have invaded my head space. Now comes the painful but needed task of weeding within.

The important thing is to create a clean canvass each morning. Put up boundaries so overwhelm cannot come in. In this case, I’m fencing out intrusive and negative thoughts, trashy tidbits from the world wide web and any distractions clamoring for my attention. It is important that I think of only the thing I’m doing/working on at the moment. When I’m writing, I should be thinking only of what I am writing. It is a hard task since I’ve set my brain on autopilot for so long. Now I have to work to take back control. It can be done. First, I need to have a plan. I need to know where the trouble plots are in the garden of my mind. I need to know what weeds are growing in each plot and then to find the right solution.

It’s late afternoon. I’ve come back to this plot to work on the weeds. I have just a little more to do and then I will call it quits for today. I must not bite off too much all at once. Working in small squares add up. I’m staying on track with set goals and intentions. I have not over indulged on my cuppas, having one Orange Pekoe in the morning and a decaf in the afternoon. I noticed that I really would like another after the decaf. I think it’s the sugar and cream calling me. The pumpkin chocolate chip muffin added its voice. I resisted their calls. A good ending for this 22nd day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I am pleased.


Photo by imustbedead on Pexels.com

Here’s that time again to write something for the Ultimate Blog Challenge and myself. It’s not so easy this time around. I struggle with it every day. Yesterday I started to down size my cup of tea, making it a literal cup – one in the morning and one in the afternoon. So far so good but I am feeling some difficulties. Before when I feel stuck about anything, I would make myself a cup of tea. I guess it’s really a procrastinating tactic. I’m putting off, buying some time. Now I can’t do that. I have to stay stuck with those feelings. It doesn’t feel great.

Since it is only day 2, I can’t give up yet. I have to stay with these stuck feelings. Besides, my heart still skips, though less. It’s worth it. I tell myself to stay. The treat will be a healthy steady heart. I tell myself to breathe, sit tall and breathe out slowly. Stay the course. I am realizing how little tolerance I have with feelings of discomfort, be it uncertainty, boredom, anxiety…. I want distraction, cover ups, any escape route that is possible. Of course, I know in my heart there is no escape. We have to face/deal with whatever it is eventually.

So here I am at the end of the day. I have survived. I have had just one cup of Orange Pekoe tea and one cup of decaf. Not really truly missing or suffering the decrease. What is bothersome is that now there is not the ritual of making a cuppa to delay whatever I’m dreading or reluctant to do. Now I have to do something else in its place. Today I got the bathroom and kitchen floors washed. I walked to the bank and fixed a problem. They are not hard things to do but these days, they are in with many other things I don’t like to do. I think technology and all our gadgets have made me lazy and changed my brain somehow. I’m much more comfortable just living in my thoughts. And I know that’s not really living and it is not healthy. I have to move and do.

Well, this is the end. Not a great post. It’s really me problem solving by putting out/down my thoughts. It’s hard to hold them inside. They go round and round in my head with no resolution. They had to come out.


It’s a hard task to keep my mind weeded and clear of debris. Thoughts and information, useful and useless crowded in as soon as I wake and open my eyes. I have to admit I got distracted more than usual this morning. I’m having a time to clear my head/mind to that blank canvass. Until then it is hard to focus and work. I do have an intention formed from yesterday. And that is I want to down size everything, starting with my mug. I do love my tea but more isn’t always better. The sizes of things, including cups/mugs seems to have increased expotentially without my conscious awareness.

When I have a cup of tea, I’m actually having 2 cups of tea. So in a day, I drink 4 literal cups of Orange Pekoe tea and 4 literal cups of decaffineinated coffee. All in all, I’m not sure how much caffeine I’m consuming. My heart seems to be protesting lately by skipping a beat. I’ve had these episodes before so am not too worried. I will cut back caffeine by using a smaller cup. It’s come to my attention that the more I have of something, the more I want it. Even though I don’t enjoy the taste any more, I still crave it. That’s the case with my Orange Pekoe tea. I wonder if it’s the repetitive habit of having a cup of tea when I’m not sure of anything, in doubt or un-ease, created the addiction. While routines and habits can be helpful, I have to be watchful and change them up so they do not get addictive and cause harm.

Mug on left holds 2 cups. Mug on right holds 1 cup.

It’s afternoon. We’ve just come back from lunch. The sun is trying to shine. It’s starting to snow again. We do need the moisture. I’m all out of words. It’s a good time to start sorting my papers for my Tax Return. So ends this post for the 20th day of the Ultimate Challenge.


It’s snowing again. An expected 2-4cm today. Winter is never far away. It’s a challenge to start the day with a blank canvass and no overwhelm. I have to grab another cup of tea to warm and fortify me. I’m staying with it all, no distractions, no running away. I never believed that there’s an escape route anyways. We take our loads with us, wherever we go. It’s a good day to stay home by the hearth, huddle and sort a few things out.

I have my cup of tea. I wonder what it is about tea that’s so comforting. Is it the warmth and wetness of it, the sweetness of the honey, the cream or is it the act of getting up and tending to myself? It is probably any one and every one of them. I’m cupping the warmth in my hands, savouring the sweet wetness of the Orange Pekoe. I’m thinking to myself, when drinking tea, think only tea. Let the rest of the world fade away. Rest my mind, rest my heart.

I think that’s the ticket to clearing my poor tired clutter mind. When I am doing one thing, think only of that thing. Whenever it wanders, bring it back to it again and again. It’s call mindfulness, what I practice when I meditate. Now I have to practice it in action and not just in thoughts. How slow I am in learning practical applications. Still it is better to be late to the game than never getting to it.

I’ve cleared my mind for the day. Day 19 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.


Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

It’s a brand new morning, a brand new day. Rain is in the forecast. I hope the rain will fall. I can’t remember when we’ve had a full day of rain like in the good old days. Where have all the rain gone, long time gone? I’m feeling nostalgic and melancholic for the seemingly good and steadifastness of the past. I wonder if I am deluded. I wonder if it’s my advancing age. Nothing seems safe, steady or predictable any more. I’m feeling a bit weird, unhinged and anxious about our present world. Life has a strange overcast. I feel the disconnect, that sound of one hand clapping.

Instead of just talking about it and drowning myself in a sea of useless words and thoughts, I could sit down and do some real work. I’m going to find some antidotes for those thoughts and feelings. I think our mothers and grandmothers were smarter than us. They believe in the house beautiful and cleanliness is next to holiness. At least my mother did and I’m sure she learned it from her mother. I believe that, too, but somehow I hadn’t acquired their ability and skill. I’m up for the challenge of learning though. It would give me a sense of purpose. It would engage my mind and brain so that they will have less time to wander willy nilly.

There’s no time like the present time to start. I see the way forward each day is to clear my mind, empty it of overwhelm, be a blank canvass. It’s difficult to make a start when it is jam full of stuff. I will have to do it any way that I can – meditating, solving a wordle puzzle, do my daily drawing…and work from there. This morning I’m working on putting things away after I’ve used them. Having done my drawing, I’ve put my pencils and erasers back in their case instead of leaving them lying around on the table. If I do this habit enough times, it will become automatic in time.


April 17th. The month is more than half over. I have yet to think of tackling my tax return. I’m a procrastinator but I will tend to it when I hit the deadline. It is the best motivator so I shall not waste time feeling bad/guilty/whatever about how I am. Life feels so busy and I have no plans at all, let alone best laid ones. I think it could be one reason why I feels so lost and in a puddle. I really should get my shit together, pull up my socks, get organized and make a plan. Who am I kidding though? How long have I talked about this? And has it happened yet?

I could get depressed about this. I think I am a little. I am thinking, instead of feeling down in my boots, I should make a list of things to tend to in these funky blue moods. I could just choose one little item, do it and cross it off. I’m sure it would give my morale/mood a boost. I don’t have a list yet, but I do push myself to do something – even when I feel least like it. For instance, I did finish transplanting my leggy snapdragons this morning. This afternoon, I put in 20 minutes transplanting the purple petunias. Little bits here and there add up. Even if I wasn’t feeling better, I felt no worse.

I went for a walk after lunch. It’s been a long while since my daily walks with Sheba. It’ll be 3 years middle of May. Funny how hard it is to walk without a dog. Sometimes I feel a little lost without Sheba. I need a reason and a destination. Exercise is a very good reason. I walked to the Dollar Store for oven mitts and pot holders. Then it was to the quilt shop to buy some bobbins for my Bernina sewing machine. I’m sure Sheba was tagging along. I could feel her at my heels.


April 15th. The month is half gone. It felt like it’s just started. I’m showing up in this writing space for the Ultimate Blog Challenge even though I’m feeling melancholic. I hope it is not catchy. I don’t want to pass it on. I can blame it on the time of day. It’s 6:31pm. They say that after 3 pm our energy and mood goes south. It’s true for me. I’m a morning person now after years of being a night owl. The sun has set for me though the weather app says sunset is at 8 pm. Try to tell that to my body and mind.

I’m not ecstatic that I’m such a somber person. I would really like to have a different temperament. I envy those bouncy, bubbly life-of-the-party gals. But I just can’t make myself into one, or make myself like parties. I guess the next best thing is to accept myself as is and learn to like it/me. I’ve been drawing my life in the 100 day project challenge. I’m getting to know the lines and curves of mine and my family’s faces. I feel the stories of our lives through the drawings. Sometimes it makes me happy. Sometimes it makes me sad. It depends on the story.

The drawings evoke the loneliness of an immigrant family living in a small community. I’m speaking only from my own viewpoint. I’m feeling it more as a very matured adult. I don’t think I felt it when I was growing up and going to school. I remember vividly my first inkling. It was after the summer of Grade 12. Our family had moved to New York to be with my mother’s family. I decided to come back by myself to attend university in Saskatoon. My father was still in our town to sell our house. I went to some town celebrations at the fair grounds with a friend. It was there that I felt my first experience of not belonging, of not being noticed. That feeling comes and goes. I like to think that I was wrong but I’m not. Many years later, in the fair recent present, I have been back to my home town a few times. The people that I knew, except for a few classmates, do not know me or who my father was.

Every once in awhile a memory would arise and evoke a feeling. It is not lethal. It is good to remember my place and who I was/am in this world. I remember and I feel strong and happy to be the person I’ve been and the person I’ve become. It’s been and is a very good life.


Yesterday I turned on my Bernina sewing maching with trepidation. It’s been a long while since the last time. Would I still remember how to use it? It’s not a simple sewing machine. It has almost all the bells and whistles and a memory. Would my memory be up for the task? Lately, I’ve been troubled trying to come up with names for faces that pop up in my mind. I know those faces, but what are the names? I get into a breathless panic when I can’t come up with the answers. I wonder if this is the beginning of that big A.

My Bernina 790 is complicated. I get a headache just looking at it. It was a great relief just to find the power button and exhilarating to remember how to use the self threader. That was the hardest part when I first got it in December 2017. It was a Christmas present to myself. I had to watch the instructions on YouTube over and over. Now that the re-acquainted, getting to know each other is over, I have to make a habit of using it regularly. For some things that saying, If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it applies. Lucky for me, I didn’t need to dig out the manual as I only needed the basics to do some mending. The next step is for me to clean and lubricate it. I still have my log cabin quilt to finish. I have no time for moods and restlessness. I need to buckle down, pull up my socks and put my mind to it.

I still got it. I’m still in the game. I’m up for what challenges that comes up. I don’t have to do/win big. I’m happy with small. So another short post/chat for the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

APRIL LOVES – patience and Fortitude

It’s still April and I’m still in the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I’ve missed a few days but have shown up most of the time as best as I could. It has been a hard month and spring, not knowing whether it’s winter or spring from day to day. But there’s always those moments and days when you least expect it, you feel that life is still so beautiful and so worth to put in your full effort. That’s where I’m at right now. Much of my loves have lost their zest, their appeal. They’re not working as well. The words, the photos and the art aren’t quite the same. But I still tap, click and push the pens, pencils and paint around on the page. Though these things have lost their glow, they still soothe and smooth me. I’m always surprised at the end of each process that they still please if not thrill me.

The morning is not a warm one. The sky is cloudy, steely grey. I feel the chill looking at it. But at last the sun is pushing through. The birds are still chirping. It is 1℃ and 11.8℃ in the greenhouse. I’ve already made my morning walk to the greenhouse with some more seedlings. They’re getting leggy in the house. Our little 10×10 greenhouse is getting rather full. Hoping for steady warm weather ahead to heat up the raised beds to take up some of the burden. Gardening will certainly be a challenge given the temperamental weather, me and life. Hoping for patience and fortitude – being steady like the mountains in rain or shine.

I am rather pleased at how my morning has gone. I got my draw/paint and photo challenge done for today. I’m putting the finishing touches on this post. Not spectacular accomplishments but they’re my best for today.


I suppose everyone has heard Patsy Cline singing, Have you ever been lonely, have you ever been blue. What I’ve been feeling lately is restlessness and things shifting. I don’t like it. Nothing is the same and I’m out of sync. It’s nothing new. I’ve been here before. What is new is that I’m trying to stay the course and not freak out, looking for an out. I don’t think there are any escape hatches. I might as well buckle down and see how I can benefit from these periods from hell.

I think the universe is always listening and offers answers. It threw me a podcast on the very subject. I was paying attention this time and heard. I offer you this transcript on The Gift of Restlessness by Casey Tygrett, a spiritual director. I have to read it again for myself to digest it. Restlessness surely is uncomfortable. It is hard for me to define though it is an often enough visitor. Do you get these feelings? And if yes, how do you deal with it? I like to get rid of it as soon as possible. Sometimes I try to distract myself by calling someone but often no one is home. That tells me that it is a problem for me to solve and not run away from. But a fast escape is my natural instinct.

Now I do try to sit with it all, feeling all the unpleasantness, fear. I’m letting them all rip through me. Nothing happens. They’re not lethal. I’m still here, tap, tapping, watching the words and sentences march across the screen. There’s a relief that comes from saying/writing it out loud. I’m out of the closet. I’m a mess inside out. I’m cleaning and tidying inside and outside. It might take me a long while. There’s pleasure in finding out. There’s pleasure in fixing/mending one small thing at a time. That’s what I need to do the next time these feelings come a-knocking. Mothers and grandmothers always knew the value of good housecleaning inside out.