I took a couple of days off. Well, its National Nurses Week. I know. I’m retired but days off still works for me.It’s good to get away from it all. I was feeling a little anxious and stressed. I know the signs and feelings. After all these years I’ve finally accepted the way I’m built. It is my chemistry. I feel things deeply. I absorb the vibes around me. So it is up to me to surround myself with positive energy and to remove myself from the bad ones.

I try to stay grounded and not run out of my skin and for the hills. I’m a little smarter now. I’ve learned alot about anxiety and treatments from reading and experience. I remember reading about Temple Grand’s squeeze box. It was a device for calming hypersensitive persons. I believe that’s where thunder shirts for dogs come from. I thought a thunder shirt would help me as well. I didn’t have to search hard or far to find one. Since I feel chilled and shivery during these periods an undershirt might just be the ticket. It was. I used a camisole. I have more than a few. They are stretchy and form fitting. They make me feel warm and secure.

My days off were what the doctor ordered – rest and full of sunshine. One day we made a road trip out to the country for rocks to build the thermal wall in the greenhouse. We stopped at Shiloh Church near Maidstone (our hometown) for lunch. At the end of the day we came home with a truckload of rocks.

Thursday morning and it’s full of sunshine. I’ve missed 3 days of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. That’s how life is. I can’t do it all. I have more seeds sprouting that needs potting up. There’s 4 more raised beds plus the garden and the greenhouse to maintain. It’s all good stuff. One seed, one plant, a day and a blog post at a time. There is time.


I still run away from things. When the tough gets going, I do, too. When it is just too damn hard, I don’t give up. I give in. There’s no use in getting my panties in a knot and my head in a temper. Though I am not hungry, the thought of a nimble or two is quite appealing. I shall not. The guy and I had decided to lose 10 pounds. Despite our ski every day this winter, we find ourselves a little overweight. The bread and the ice cream every night probably had a great deal with it. I was not an ice cream consumer before. My ice cream used to stay in the freezer forever until it got very snowy. Now it feels a bit strange to settle down in front of the TV and no ice cream and no Grey’s Anatomy. Obsessions and addictions must come to an end. The call to change has come.

I’m trying to get into a relaxed steady tap on my keyboard to settle my nerves. It is a meditation of a sort. I sit erect with my head, shoulders, hips and sit in alignment. No clenching of the jaw. I let my fingers and thoughts coordinate themselves. Sometimes I stumble and stutter a little here and there. No stress. Breathe and carry on. It is all alright. The world is still here. No one will notice your hiccough. Even heaven coughs and sneezes. A few minutes of cloud and snow. Now the sun is out. What the heck? The snow flakes are still floating down.

Oh, I feel a little better now. I did make a little dent in sorting and tidying my work spaces. Just talking about it gets my head into a nettle. I will watch a little Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple. The show is remarkably entertaining and relaxing. The stories usually have so many characters that I’m kept busy trying to remember who is who. I have no time to be distracted into thinking about all the things that are troubling me. There is always a murder or two but none of the bloody and shooting violence of American shows.

It works most of the time but it’s not fail proof. Sometimes I just have to have faith in myself that this, too, shall pass. I close my eyes and picture myself in the green and humid warmth of the greenhouse. The warmth feels like God’s arms around me, holding me safe. And I surrender.


Another April morning. I’ve come to the keyboard but I am lost for words. The morning feels grey and wintry though the sun is breaking through. I can’t quite believe that the high today will be 18℃. It is 8:44 am. It’s 6℃ outside and 10.3℃ in the greenhouse. The 10.3 sounds high though it is still quite chilly inside. I’ve made a visit there and out to take the covers off the covered raised beds. The lettuce, celery and daikon are all looking fine. They do like the cold so maybe I can stop fussing and covering under the cover. But I see that it is going down to -6℃ Monday night. How can I stop worrying? It is easy to just throw on another cover.

We are living in unpredictable times. Maybe we always have but never knew it. What a waker upper, eh? Now there is no escape. There are plenty of deniers even though the third wave of Covid is hitting hard for many countries in the world and global climate change threatens our survival. I’m not being pessimistic but facing the facts. I like to deny, too, but denying and hiding from things leads to stress and anxiety. I’ve learned the hard way, from experience.

Not running away and facing the enemy is scary, very scary. I suffer from anxiety attacks. I have ran away and hid. That only led to prolonged anxiety, the waiting for the other shoe to drop and my heart in my mouth. It’s been a long journey and I’ve gotten acquainted with my fears and triggers. I am much better now. I’ve learned to stand my ground and face my enemy. Sometimes I have to bite the bullet, feeling the rush of adrenalin through my body. I always come out the other side, safe and whole. This gives me confidence. Each time I gain a little more.

I think I’ve become a better person for all my anxieties. For one thing, I am more empathetic to other sufferers. An ear to listen is a valuable thing. It took me a long time to realize that I don’t have to fix everyone’s problems. I just have to sit and listen without judgement or offerings. Another thing is I’ve gotten to know myself very well. I’m well acquainted with my emotions and my physiological response to different stimuli. I’m learning how to deescalate my emotions so that they don’t cause me harm. I feel things very deeply. I am what you call a HSP, a highly sensitive person(self diagnosis).

It is now 10℃ out. The sun is a little brighter, but the sky looks cold dirty dishwater. It is what it is. I will carry on as best as I can. Meanwhile the bulbs I planted the autumn before last are blooming – more and bigger than last spring.


Happy Easter Sunday. I have to love these sunny days of April. Last night was the first night I felt comfortable leaving the beds uncovered in the greenhouse. It’s been above 0 temperatures in there for the last few days. It was 8.4℃ at 6:30. Now it is up to 11.7℃ at 9:40. It was so hot in there yesterday afternoon, I had to open the door as well as the vents. Spring is a sure thing now, isn’t it? I’m happy with our progress. I’m sure we will lettuce and Asian greens by end of April and tomatoes by end of June. I still have one of the Long Keepers I planted on March 9th. I planted 2 Scarlet Runner Beans in the spot vacated by a chilled tomato. They’re ready to climb already.

I had my first dose of Pfizer vaccine yesterday. Though I haven’t been fretting about it alot, it is a relief to cross this bridge. My appointment was at 2:10 pm. I was out at 2:30 pm. Everything was very organized. It went very smoothly. I never felt a thing. l told my nurse she was very good. My arm did start to ache in the evening and got a little worse and stiff towards night. But my shingles vaccine was much worse. It’s still achy and stiff this morning but if I keep my arm active, it’s better. I’ve done well. I’ve given to anxiety after my retirement from work. I never had the time or was just too tired to notice when I was working. I sure felt it after. I’m better now but still working through some issues. I know that the mind is very powerful. It can create great havoc. I know that the stress of listening to the news and stories people tell about the vaccines was much greater than the actual getting vaccinated. It’s another confidence builder for me. Breathe and relax. Everything is going to be all right.


I’m listening to the pitter patter of raindrops on the deck roof. It’s rhythmic and soothing. Just what I need. Today, I feel rattled and aggitated, waiting for something bad to happen, more drama from next door. The sight of her ‘across the street friend’ crossing over with tools can do that to me. I feel a bit of a coward. But I’ve heard about men with tools. They can be mean.

Maybe it is just the clouds that brought on the nerves though it was sunny this morning. Despite and maybe inspite of my nerves, I went for a bike ride to our community garden. You know what they say about sunshine and fresh air. And it did help some. I got out and moving. Sometimes my anxiety holds me housebound and helpless, my mind like white noise or snow on TV screen. It’s in these times that having a plan and making a list would help me.

There’s no time like the present to put that in action. So I entered the numbers in for the police, police liason officer and my other neighbour’s on my phone. It’s easier and quicker to get help in a hurray when I’m alone. I don’t want to hit 911 too many times if I can help it. I’ve been caught off guard, like a deer in headlights too often lately. Doing this single thing helps clear the snow. My mind is quieter. I must give lists and plans more thought. A wing and a prayer are not enough.


I’m suffering somewhat with this locked/shut down. Sometimes I feel as if I’m suffocating and can’t catch my breath. These times come with some tiny memories that drift in uninvited and unannouced of times before, of people lost and forever gone. They’re like mini panic attacks. I know now what it is meant by grasping at straws. Those times and people are gone and irretrievable. I feel such a loss, a hollow which cannot be filled. How callous I have been!

So here I have sat for the last while. I don’t know how many days. Immobilized, devoid of ambition, desires. I have not hula hooped, done my qigong, sew or painted. I cannot use being busy and no time for an excuse.  If not for Sheba, I would not have gone for any walks. My shame and guilt have been overpowered by lethargy. I’ve been caught up reading murder mysteries to quell my anxieties of uncertainty. After a long while, I’m nauseated and disappointed in myself enough to make a change.

What if I could just do one hard thing a day? It would be a start to rise up and out of this self-induced coma. There’s a whole slew of things that I need/could do.

  • Filing my income tax. It’s due June 1 this year because of the Covid-19.
  • Cleaning and putting away winter boots and clothes.
  • Cleaning and putting away the humidifier.
  • Showing up here again as a daily practice. It was keeping me sane and functional. I must keep what works for me.

This is enough to wake me up a bit and get me on my feet. I must not let this opportunity go for naught. I came across Mary Oliver’s Invitation yesterday. Her simple words have stirred me to thought and hopefully action.

Oh do you have time
to linger
for just a little while
out of your busy

and very important day
for the goldfinches
that have gathered
in a field of thistles

for a musical battle,
to see who can sing
the highest note,
or the lowest,

or the most expressive of mirth,
or the most tender?
Their strong, blunt beaks
drink the air

as they strive
not for your sake
and not for mine

and not for the sake of winning
but for sheer delight and gratitude –
believe us, they say,
it is a serious thing

just to be alive
on this fresh morning
in the broken world.
I beg of you,

do not walk by
without pausing
to attend to this
rather ridiculous performance.

It could mean something.
It could mean everything.
It could be what Rilke meant, when he wrote:
You must change your life.



I have many things that I could/need to do but fatigue and lethargy are winning the battle. This one sentence have sat here for days, waiting for me to get my shit together. I’m overcome by lassitude. I’m here but I can’t count on my words. It seems they and this space have failed me. They once gave me voice and ease. Can they rescue and resuscitate me? I guess this is a depression of some sort. The time is right for it. I wonder if this is our new reality or am I in this dream by myself?

I watched a video by Laurie Wagner of Writing Wildly last night. She read from her writing of ‘when the virus came’ – what she was doing. Those 4 words stirred a mixed of emotions and memories within me. They were all blended and whipped into I know not what. I did have a sense that I’ve felt the virus long before it showed up as the coronavirus pandemic. What am I suppose to do with all that now?

It is Saturday morning. Usually it’s my swim morning but there’s no more usually. I can’t remember the last time I swam. It is April 18th. The temperature is finally above 0. It is the coolest and wettest April in a long while. The snow is still melting. Puddles everywhere. Behind our garage in the back alley, it is a lake. Everything is a mess. I hear the wind howling through the spruce trees.

When the virus came, I was in the midst of dealing with my mother’s shingles virus. I remembered it started on a Saturday morning, February 8th. She phoned. It is not a good sign when my mother phones in the morning. Could I take her to the mediclinic. Her head hurts so much. It was also the beginning of the coronavirus but not here yet.  No quarantine or social distancing. But we were asked if we had travelled to China recently or had visitors from China. We were such innocents then. We got a diagnosis. We got a prescription.

Things did not progress smoothly. The province declared a state of emergency. Everything shut down. My father became a blob in my mother’s left eye. A telephone doctor’s appointment followed by an office visit, followed by a visit to the eye center at the hospital. Stress and anxiety became a new way of living. Necessity moved me, step by step. It was like the domino effect. We did pull through, suffering the pain and side effects of everything, breathing through our N95 masks. My father’s face had features and trees had branches again in my mother’s eye.

I’m grateful that necesssity has passed. The stress and anxiety have lessened. We have flattened the curve. I am also somewhat flat, unable to rally my oomph. The clutters sits and the dust gathers. My body gives half hearted attempts at moving. If not for Sheba, I would not go for walks. Dang everything! Gravity is heavy. Uncertainty is weighty. Anxiety still lives. My body remembers, shivers with it. I will make myself another cup of tea.



April 3/20 for the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

I’m feeling a bit challenged now. Once you’ve known anxiety, it comes back to visit now and again. It shivers through my body. I sit with it, offering acceptance and friendship. We are well acquainted. There’s no need to be afraid. We can sip tea and chat together. We have the time. There is no frenzy, no hustle and bustle. No mad rushing off to anywhere. We are hunkered down here in this space and time. Perhaps we can learn how to retrieve our souls.

It is another bright sunny April day. Snow is still on the ground. Sheba and I walk around the neighbourhood and to the nearby park. There’s a couple of kids  in the back alley. They’re loading a toboggan in the back of a car. A young mother and her little boy walks by. We keep our distance. We come to the playground. Yellow ribbons hang from the swings. Signs posted it’s closed till further notice. All is quiet and sad under the April sun.

On our way home, we pass a few people walking, all observing social distancing. There is little conversation or greeting. There is little signs of joy.We see our neighbour unloading  groceries from her car as we neared our back alley. We waved and greeted each other. We had a loud conversation at a distance. Sheba had to join in, making it harder. My neighbour looked tired. I am sure she is. I am sure we all are. We need some soul work.

We are still in a state of emergency. We have this time and experience to rethink of what is essential, what is not and what adds quality to our lives. I’m doing the exercise of taking notes daily of how everything is affecting me during this time of the pandemic. What makes me feel good? What makes me feel bad, sad or frighten? Right now, I’m feeling a little nervous, a little sad. It’s the end of the day. I’m allowed. Maybe I will have a glass of wine.


Ah, a sunny summer morning! I have to treasure them. They don’t come guaranteed. We’ve had long stretches of cloudy mornings this summer. Things are not what they used to be. There’s volatility in the air. Anything can happen within a given day. Perhaps things have always been thus. I’m just waking up to reality of the impermanence and the shifting ground beneath my feet.

I’ve committed myself to this month of waking up, getting up and showing up. 16 days in, I’m becoming more conscious of each present moment. Waking up this morning, I took care to unfurl my curled up limbs, wiggle my toes and shake out my fisted hands. Blood flow eased the tension and aches. I realigned my body, head stacked atop of squared shoulders, hips beneath, etc. all the way down to my toes. Next, I did a cleansing out breath, followed by the 4-7-8 breathing exercise. Last, I adjust my attitude before getting out of bed to start the day.

16 days into this Ultimate Blog Challenge, I’ve lived up to my commitment. I’ve written every day, though I have posted 2 days in one post. Some days life calls and I have to answer. It’s all about priority and balance. I have stuck to my one egg only for breakfast except once a week when I swim in the morning. I would have breakfast after at 10 am. I would treat myself to toast and eggs.

Speaking of volatility and impermanence, the sunny day had turned cloudy. I became like Sheba, sensing the change in the atmospheric energy. I became anxious, my head cloudy and heavy. I would not be able to work myself out of a wet paper bag. I had to give up my effort at finishing this post and sorting my paper clutter. It would be wasting time and reinforcing the idea that I’m useless and hopeless.

Instead, I thought of things I could do. My mother was expecting me for her “medicinal soup” at lunch time. It was a bit early but my car is running low on gas. Why don’t I gas up first on the way? I need a few things I could get at London Drugs which is on the way. I could drop off some old used batteries for recycling there, too. Oh yes, I have a letter to mail. Maybe there’s a mailbox nearby.

I’m happy to say missions completed. Even though it was cloudy, I still felt better getting out the door. I felt somewhat apprehensive and shaky. I took care driving. It took 2 tries at the gas pump to get my correct password for my credit card. Sometimes that happens on my good days, too. I did all my stuff at London Drugs and found a mailbox outside Staples next door. My mom’s soup was delicious and nourishing. We had a good visit. She gave me some ginger candy. I came home and had an apple. Sheba got some rice and my apple peels. My auto insurance company left a voice message with the info to complete a form I didn’t know how to fill.

All is well with a light shower. The earth needs another drink.



Some days are harder to show up than others. I meant to come yesterday. When that didn’t happen I was trying for this morning but somehow I lost my way here. Distractions, thoughts, feelings, putting off and avoidance all contribute. It is always so much easier to go with the flow, not commit and not show up. But I am finally here in the after glow of supper and wine.

I have to admit that I’m feeling the boogeyman again.He shows up now and again. I’m awashed with the heebie jeebies. I’m ok though. I’m not off and running away to anywhere. I tell myself to stay. It’s just sensations.  I’ve been practicing and applying mindfulness. It’s such synchronicity that I am reading Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart at this time, too. She tells us that fear and anxiety are all part of being human along with all the other emotions. They all serve a purpose. I am learning to see my feelings in a different way, trying not to label them as good or bad and not trying to rid them.  I am the guest house as in Rumi’s poem.

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
As an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

I could say that I have been falling apart for quite awhile now. I do not consider it a bad thing. There was great pain with the shattering of what I was that no longer worked. Pain is a great teacher. It is also very cleansing. It sweeps out all the debris. After the pain subsides, I feel such sweetness and I can see so much clearer. It is a time for reconstructing, putting back the parts of myself that I like and the parts that works. This is not to say that I will live happily ever after or that the boogeyman is vanquished forever. I am sure there will be more falling apart. The next time the boogeyman comes, I will think of him as Mr. Sandman. He is less edgy and much more friendly.