FAILED FENCES – POST MORTEM

Yesterday, I talked about how difficult if not impossible it is to mend old fences. Today I’m thinking about how to build new ones. I have to understand first why my fences failed. I don’t want to repeat the same mistakes. They do a post mortem of failed Code Blues to find the cause. I should do the same for my failed fences.

I have been living here in peace with my neighbours for many years. The house on one side used to be a rental. There were a variety over the years. There were attractive girls who liked to sunbathe in skimpy bikinis. I remember seeing the kids from the daycare next door peeking over the fence. They were cute and quiet. There was no angry commotion. Then there was a family with 2 cute puppies. They liked to wiggle under the fence into my yard. The only thing was they always left presents behind. I had a talk with their owners. They were very pleasant and apologetic and the puppies went back to their farm.

Then there was an end to the renters. The owner of the house moved in. He had been living in a small town with his wife. She had passed away. Peter was in his 80’s and had 2 white poodles. They were barkers like Sheba. I didn’t have a dog back then. They would bark and bark at the sight of me. It didn’t matter if I tried to be friends with them. I didn’t mind them as I knew they were Peter’s companions. We got along. We greeted each other. Peter helped shovel part of my snow in winter.

I had peace with the neighbours over the same time period on the other side of me. They sprayed my trees one summer when the worms were really bad. When I told one that I couldn’t open my basement window because of the snow from his driveway was piled against it, he apologized, explaining his father comes over and does the shovelling for him. There was no animosity or paid backs for my complaints.

It’s strange how things changed at about the same time on both sides. They changed with different sets of neighbours. It really isn’t the fences that is the problem. It’s the people who lives behind them. I’m sad to say that we’ve discovered that the ‘fence’ that I erected to cover a small open space in the yard was tampered with. Part of it was bent over so that it was possible for Sheba to escape easily onto our busy heavy traffic. Lucky that we’ve spotted it before that happened. I felt the maliciousness of that intent.

I’m not sure if I have a conclusion or solutions to this investigation. I have not done well at all in the past. I let myself be bullied. I always acquiesced, not wanting to cause trouble. Pershaps that’s my problem. When there’s a fence involved, there’s always 2 sides. No one side decides. Everything needs to be put on the table to be clearly examined, discussed, negotiated and agreed upon. It is easier said than done, especially when one voice is louder than the other. It always command more force. It sounds more right. I’ve never been strong in my stance. I mostly back down, give up and say I don’t care. I’ve never demanded for anything. If I had, I never got. I need more work to make recommendations.

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GETTING ALONG IS HARD TO DO

Thanksgiving Monday. Cold and grey. So different from yesterday but at least there’s no snow. I asked Sheba if she wanted to go for her walk. She ran to the door. I said Oh, Damn! I seriously didn’t mean it though. We go for walk, rain or shine. It helps keep us trim and the yard clean. She does her big business on her walks – mostly.

My brother and sister-in-law were complaining about their neighbour’s yard at our Thanksgiving supper last evening. These neighbours have 2 large dogs. They don’t go for walks and do their business in the yard. They don’t pick up. Sometimes the prevailing wind is not kind and the air is like when the University of Saskatchewan cleans its research dairy barn. Whew! Once when my brother was working on the fence, he dropped a tool onto their side. His wife had to tiptoe through alot of doggy poo to retrieve it.

I said why don’t you let them know about it. They want to get along and didn’t want to start anything unpleasant. I feel they have a right to clean air. It’s not an unreasonable request but I can understand their reluctance. I’ve had my share of troubles with neighbours.  I’ve had my share of hard to get along relationships. It seems you can’t let people know when they are causing you trouble even if you tell them nicely. Why shouldn’t I be able to tell my neighbour that the snow she is shovelling onto my yard to causing a drainage problem for me? Why can’t she understand that I don’t like her ‘weeding’ in my yard or that I don’t want my yard sprayed with pesticide? And why can’t I ask for more help or cooperation without people disliking or ‘unfriending’ me?

I’m not a difficult person. I have had lots of difficulty getting along. I feel like we live in a society that is intolerant of criticism. I don’t like being criticised either. Who wants to be wrong or be told that they are less than perfect? But I try to think twice before reacting/responding. I have been so surprised/shocked/disappointed by people’s behaviour sometimes that I do react impulsively. Then I am sorry because fences are hard if not impossible to mend. I think I’ve gotten over all that, the shock and disappointment. I try to look at it all as great learning experiences. I used to spend so much time and energy feeling guilty. I was always working on mending old fences and relationships. I try not to do that any more. I want to build new ones instead.

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GRATITUDE AND BUCKETS

I was clearly ranting yesterday. I was not raining on anyone’s parade except my own. I like to say I’m uncranked but not yet. It lingers yet. I could be coming or is down with something. Maybe it IS who I am. I don’t have to act it out. I can just grumble (quietly and politely) here. It’s a nice sunny day and it is Thanksgiving Sunday. I am full of gratitude for my life and what I have – a roof over my head and food on the table. I am also thankful that someone else is cooking the turkey. I am providing the salad. It is a contribution albeit a small one.

Although I am grateful, I am not a fan of gratitude or bucket lists. I hope no one feels offended and throws rotten tomatoes at me. It is just my own feelings. I am sure not many approve of my daily rantings and mumblings of thoughts publicly here either. But it is my space and it works for me. It’s a stress relieving, problem solving platform for me. Being not private, it helps to keep me more thoughtful and objective. I’m apt to be more mannerly and kind. It helps me see from the other side. It keeps me from laying blame.

My crank is a little more relaxed with the tapping of the keyboard. The rhythm eases the tension in my head. Today I’m remembering to use Anne Lamott’s one inch picture frame advice for writing. It’s very good and works for everything. I work in that one inch frame at a time. That way there’s less frustration and crankiness. Can you imagine how frustrating it is when you keep making the same mistakes more than once? I redid the gent’s hair but got carried away. Too many lines again! His head got puckered. I took some out. Then I had to leave it for now. Grrr!

Working in one inch squares saves me from those grr! moments. I can get quite a bit done in those short little spurts. They add up like drops in a bucket. Gee whiz! I am a bucket person after all. I also write in one inch squares. There’s no point in being stuck in no thoughts or angry, frustrated ones. Changing venues and scenery diverts sticky thoughts and feelings.

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LIFE IS NOT FLIPPING EASY

Do you know what? I find life flipping hard. I know. I try not to bring the negative here. I always try to be positive and motivating. But enough is enough. Let me just be myself. I’m a crank pot. I’ve been accused of voicing things most people would only think. But isn’t that a kettle calling the pot black? I really puzzled over that one. It makes me cranky. Then there’s this person who calls me weird. And I say to her: I’m weird? But you’re the one who has piercings on your tongue. It doesn’t get me alot of love.

I guess you can tell that I’m irritable and cranky. Every day I look at the clutter of my desk and say, I’m going to tidy up. Every day I feel too flipping tired. Today is another such day but at least I made it to swimming this morning. Oh, poor me! I’ve been feeling so tired and achy all this week. I feel like such a whine baby. Different times when I woke in the night, I’m talking to myself. I can’t possibly go swimming in the morning. I feel so bad. I sound so pathetic even to myself. I made myself go just to stop that dialogue.

I think I’m at a crossroad. Which direction should I go? How to be? What should I do? I feel at a stalmate. I am not happy with myself. I should stop trying to do the right thing all the time. It ends up being not the right thing. I should stop trying to be nice. I should be just my cranky old self. I should stop worrying about saying the wrong things. I should say the things that should be said. Never mind other people who would think them but not brave enough to give them voice.

 

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NOTHING IS EASY

Here I am. It’s tough to get going some days. The best tactic is not to sit too long. Get up and get going. It’s just what I did this morning. I got up and started stitching though I was still in my pjs. Absorbed in my task and listening to Waylon Jennings and the Platters took my mind off my physical aches and pains. ‘Resting’ offers no relief. I’ve learned to be useful at a slower pace. At the end of it, I have made something beautiful.

Creating is not always an enjoyable process. It involves taking things apart if I mess up. The hair was not right. The stitches too tight, pulling and puckering his head. His nose was too big and too long. It was in my face. Undoing his hair was murder. There were a lot of tight stitches. The nose was much easier. I can reconstruct it all again. It’s all in a day’s work. It’s teaching me about patience and not settling for good enough.

Writing this post is not easy. I’m constructing one painful sentence and paragraph at a time. Walking Sheba was another difficult thing. This grey weather is not conducive to have a passion for anything. But when I walk out the door, I was surprised to find it was not all that cold. I was surprised to see the broccoli in the garden is still green. I was surprised to find I do feel more expansive out of doors. Still…it was a trial to step along with Sheba.

Fatigue made me anxious to get the walk over and done with. But guilt kept me going the distance. I started to feel better as I walked. My aches eased and I straightened my spine. I looked over fences to see what’s on the other side. It was ok. We’re home again. I did a little more stitching and painted a little. Supper’s ate and my glass of wine is done. I’m done, too.

 

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POURING OUT MY HEART

I’ve learned from experience to go with my flashbulb moments.  I got that ‘pouring out my heart’ moment yesterday morning. That’s what I did. I poured out my heart on my little index card. It turned out well. I like it even better this morning after all the paints have dried. I love the texture of the layers and the boldness of the colours. This morning I was moved by the leaves of my philodendron. I went with the green leafy feelings and started pouring with the green. It is not quite finished. It is not yet named. I’m not sure if it is to my liking. However, I do love that process of just pouring intuitively. Whatever does that mean? I have no idea. I was just ‘going with the flow’. Maybe I can be clearer about it tomorrow.

One thing I know for sure is: Listening to Donald Trump is poison for the heart. What kind of President of the United States would slam Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony of sexual abuse? I know- the Donald kind. I had to slam the door shut to him and his cheering audience. Best that I concentrate of heart healthy activities that builds bridges to understanding instead of dividing. It is not always easy. Darkness can be persuasive, loudness so commanding. Before I know it, I can be swept over. That’s my weakness. I can be had.

I know I’m easily swayed.  Sometimes I agonized over things that have no right or wrong. I tittered back and forth on things of no consequence. Since I’m having luck with ‘intuitive’ painting, I’ve started applying it to every day living. Yesterday my body told me I should rest and not take a pounding at my step aerobics class. My body said yes. Then my brain started to interfere. I listened to them both and said, we’re staying home. There’s no hint of a leaf in the painting except the green. It is not finished. It could still emerge. I am not yet finished. I am just starting to have fun and pushing the paint and listening to my intuitive self. I am exercising my heart and soul.

 

 

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THE SUMMER OF 2018

OMG it is October! It came fast. It is raining and snowing alternately most of the day. Suffice to say summer is indeed over. I’m not at all sad to see its back side. I can say that the summer of 2018 was the summer from hell. What was so bad about it? For one thing, my left hand pained me the whole time. It still does but the pain has eased and changed these last few days. I know it will disappear soon. (Hope, hope) Secondly, I had a summer cold for a month. I coughed, coughed and coughed some more. I sucked endlessly on Fisherman’s lozenges. I couldn’t sleep laying down. It was a very distressful time.

It is just a memory now and not a very clear one. I hardly remember the summer and what I did except that it was a very bad time for me and it was a volatile season of climatic changes. It was cold. It was hot. And it was HOT – up to 40 degrees Celsius in parts of Saskatchewan. There was no rain. Then there was the smoke from the forest fires on the west coast. My part of the world looked and felt apocalyptic. My heart in my mouth most days.

I welcome the new season and its changes. I welcome the rain and snow. Even the grey did not bother me today. There’s a new energy in me. I feel a bit of joy and hope in me and I’m looking forward to new challenges. The summer was tough but looking back it had many positives also. Given my pain and cold, the garden and all the raised beds got planted. Despite the lack of rain, we had captured enough water in the rainbarrels to keep the raised beds filled and to water the garden. The beans and peas suffered a bit but they still produced. I had enough energy and will to see that my parents’ house insurance came through for the hail damage of last summer. I looked upon my ability to coordinate their house repairs as a sign of my mental health. It was a big confidence boost for me.

I’m giving thoughts to the coming days leading to Christmas and winter. What and how will I fare? It is good to have some plans in place while I’m feeling confident and happy. I want to experiment more with my art and sewing.  It is easy to get stuck and staid even in creativity. I tend to do the same old, same old till I’m really sick and tired of it. For long whiles I did just watercolours. Then it’s acrylics. I have so many mediums. There’s my charcoals, soft pastels, oil pastels, neocolours, Inktense blocks…It’s just occurred to me to let loose and have fun with them all. And why not paint on cloth and then do my free motion embroidery on them? I could join a sewing/quilting club and create amid a crowd.

I’m rambling now. Time to bring this to a close. There’s so much fun to be had. My time on earth is limited. I better not waste it on things I can’t do anything about or things that don’t matter a squat.

 

 

 

 

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