What strange times we are living in. It is almost straight out of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. It is the best of times, it is the worse of times. I hope the outcome is that it is also the age of wisdom. We have no one person or country to blame. We are all in this together, whether it is by duplicity or complacency. We are in an upheaval. This is our French Revolution. It is unprecedented times.

It is a bit frightening. It does not make me want to take note. I still don’t like to take my head out of the sand. But I’ve finally all grown up. I come out and take a look around. I am learning to see how things as they are and not how I would like them to be. It’s a steep learning curve to take my personal emotions out of the equation. But I am getting it. You can teach an old dog new tricks. Enlightenment does not always bring gratification. Sometimes it brings regret – of wasted time and energy. Gratification comes much later.

I have been showing up less here on the page. I feel a reluctance to put down the words. I am also feeling an upheaval within, a change, a revolution. They are hard to articulate. I am sitting, feeling and savouring them for awhile. I am giving them and myself time to evolve and develop. I don’t want to sabotage the outcome as I have many times in the past. Meanwhile I’m trying to live each day, be my own person as best as I can.

I am still working on Stephanie Bennett Vogt’s A Year to Clear. I have faltered a little here and there but always try to get back on track. It is easy to do one little thing a day on hard days. When things flow I do more. I guess that’s what going with the flow means. There’s no point wasting energy fighting myself. I’ve learned to put that energy to better use. I have given up growing lettuce in these winter months in the greenhouse and the sunroom for the same reason. There is not enough sunlight. It is a season to rest from the planting, growing and harvest of the preceding months. It is the time to get ready for spring and start the cycles again.

We are still in the midst of Covid-19. It will not be over soon. We are locked in, psychological if not physically. I’m beginning to feel much like Dickens’ characters, Charles Darnay or Dr. Mannette locked in jail. I worry about my mental and emotional well being. It is good to have projects and challenges to work on. This is a gift of time. I shall put it to good use. The days are slowly getting longer. In a few weeks I can think about starting a few bedding plants. This is the best of time to do different, to do better, to reinvent our lives and our world.


I’m in my irked and frustration mode this morning. I am comforted by Stephanie Vogt’s (of A Year to Clear) confession that she is a pack rat. In other times, I would have dismiss her ability to help people to clear and declutter their lives. Now I know that personal experience not only looks good on a resume. It actually works. You have to be there to truly know the whys and wherefores. I love the sentence: Yes, clearing even a single paper clip or hairball has the potential to change our lives. It certainly does! It reminds me of the one red paperclip story of Kyle MacDonald. He started with one paperclip and traded up to a house in one year’s time.

I’ve tapped away some of my ill feelings. It’s a good way of starting the day. Sometimes I’m held hostage by my emotions. I have nobody to blame but myself. I can choose/change – an action, emotion. It’s up to me. I’m holding myself accountable. It’s not always easy but I can build up my resilience, one paperclip at a time. I’m working on slowing down my brain by reading Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. I remember having read it during one lonely hot summer when I was in high school. We didn’t have a library in town. I bought it in the town drugstore. You can guess there was a dearth of selection. Why a drugstore carried Charles Dickens was hard to fathom.

It was a difficult read. I’m not sure I grasped the story at all but one cannot forget the opening and closing lines. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,” ‘It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done, it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known. ‘ Then there’s Madame Defarge. I only remember her name. I don’t know what peaked my memory and interest at this time. Where do thoughts and memories come from? At any rate, I am surprised to find I am enjoying the read. It has much more substance and the English is far, far better than my usual thrillers. It is also calming for my brain. I hope it is growing new dendrites.

I think my brain has reached its maximum work capacity for today. We put in time downstairs, clearing a few paperclips on my sewing table. It was hard work. I didn’t know where to start. I had to be the coach and the athlete. Start here! Do one thing. Then another. Believe you me, I had a thundering headache after but also a sense of accomplishment. Tomorrow will be easier. And maybe this summer we can drive out to Kipling and see the famous red paperclip and the house that is now a cafe.