January 7. Day 7 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I think I have to stop counting the days. It makes everything feel more difficult than they actually are. And I have to stop thinking of this as a challenge. I write for the pleasure of it. It is not a job. I am not selling or promoting anything. I am not good at explaining how anything works. There’s much written or am being written about how things work and what is good for us. There is no need for me to do the same. I shall take a big deep breath, relax and just let the words flow. No need to worry if it is a good topic or if anybody will read it. If the words won’t cooperate, I might have to work and coax them out.

My partner like to build things. He built our passive solar greenhouse. Then a shed with a living roof. Right now he’s building a boat. He’s built two before. I like to build, too. Building is a man thing but it is also a woman thing. We use different tools. Oh, some of us use hammers and saws, too, but I like to use my keyboard and Bernini. I build with words that turn into sentences, paragraphs and hopefully into a post and a story. I haven’t aim toward a book – yet. It’s not an impossibility but I like things short and snappy. It’s like my quilt squares or little paintings. Each can stand on its own or I can put them together to form a quilt, an album and if I have enough posts, I could build a book.

It’s a pretty good idea, no? Right now I’m very disorganized and helter skelter but not so much that I can’t make a start on it. It is never too late and there is no perfect time to start. Starting is the operative word. I’ve written 3 posts on my travel to Ghana in 2011. I could use my photos to jog my memory to write more this month. It would be useful to have a theme for each month’s posts. The trick is getting started. Once started, I am often surprised how easy it is. One thing leads to another and I find myself on something different than I had intended. But I take it. I like the pleasure of being surprised by myself. I like the pleasure of starting. It gives me a sense of direction, a sense of purpose.


IMG_1262I’m back from the woods again. I can feel the vibrations of busyness as I enter the city limits – the hum of electricity and traffic. I can smell the aroma of fast food and concrete along Idylwyld Drive. The quiet and coolness of the woods are left far behind – along with the sweet scent of spruce pine needles.

Still, I am happy to be amid all of this.  It is good to feel the life force that drives the city. It ables me to appreciate the serenity of the country.  In its quietness, Sheba’s excited bark cuts and reverberates through the air as she chases squirrels up the trees. There is no sweeter sound than the quiet.

I can be happy in or out of the woods.  Too much of either makes me sing the blues. Life can get equally crazy and unbalanced out in the ‘wilderness’ as well as in the city. The big ‘cabins’ with their satellite dishes, green lawns, boats moored at the ends of long docks, etc. give testimony that the simple life is not so simple.  They are extensions. It is hard impossible to get away from all the stuff – the wants gnawing inside ourselves.

IMG_6846Am I any different?  I like to think so.  Maybe I am naive, unwilling to admit to my own cravings.  I am just human after all.  I am not immune.  It is good to ‘get away’, back home to familiarity, to sit and let things be, to be grounded, to tend to my inner as well as my outer garden – to care for my ‘self’. I am loving and honouring myself as Sandra Ingerman advises in her September Transmutation Newsletter. 

IMG_1178I am happy and content to be here in this moment.  Happiness is portable.  It travels with me – in and out of the woods.  I am cleaning and weeding my inner and outer world.  It is so exciting.  I tap, tap like a woodpecker on my keyboard.  The empty screen fills with my words, thoughts and pictures.  Amazing! I see the building of my life story before my eyes. My hands are my tools.

Life is good in or out of the woods.  Where are you now?






IMG_6262My live-in has a passion for building new things out of old and has given a whole new meaning to recycle.  He feels he has a mission to rescue discarded bikes out of landfills, back alleys and wherever else they might be.  It explains why our backyard looks like this at times.

Some he revitalizes, retunes and re-tweaks.  Others becomes parts and they end up looking like this:

We had fun for a couple of years with the Sunshine Cruiser and made use of the Cargo shopping for groceries.  They have found new homes since.  We are happy that they and their young children are enjoying the bikes.  There are still many parts for more building!

IMG_9646_2His latest project is Lemon and Grapes with a custom paint job.



IMG_5160Hurray, it is 6:30 am and the sun is up and so am I.  The house is suffused with the quiet and soft light of early morning.

I love this time of the day when the city is still asleep.  Traffic is sparse and slow.  It is quiet and peaceful.  I can think.  I can feel.  This is my favourite vantage point, in my sun room, looking through the dining room into  the living room.  The lines and spaces are very pleasing to the eye.  I feel pride in myself for having created it all by myself.

We must acknowledge and feel pride at our accomplishments.  They fuel our passions….to live and to build.  Passions need not always be fiery and grand.  Sometimes they show up in our quiet moments.  Our creative flair can appear in the soups, bread, pastries and snow forts we build on a whim.

IMG_5152 IMG_5168 IMG_5169 IMG_5179


27097_321356195886_8251743_nMornings are hard in the middle of December.  The sun does not show its face till 9 or later.  So lucky that we have Sheba to be our alarm clock.  She is quite persistent.  If licks on the face, runs at the bed doesn’t work, she will resort to loud barking to get us out of bed.  I am hungry!  I am hungry!  Get up!  Get up!  What is the matter with you people?

So another day begins.  It is 7:25 and we have slept in!  I think about hopping on the exercise bike with my book and mug of tea for a few minutes but thought was all I did.  Oh tomorrow is another day.  I will have to remember that for tomorrow and not let myself down and slide on the slippery slope of will power.  I am an adult after all.

So, this is another morning.  Wake up call 7.  I get up, remembering my promise to get on the exercise bike.  I am feeling low and tired.  It is not visions of sugar plums dancing I see in my head, but the shooting at the school in Connecticut.  It is the cares of the world I am feeling along with my own uncertainties and heaviness.  But time has been my best teacher.  All the thinking and feeling and trying to understand and figure things out has not helped me in the past.

And so I sigh, get out of bed, make my tea and head downstairs to the bike.  I turn on my SAD light and set my timer for 16 minutes.  Those minutes are long and short at the same time.  My thighs ache and I stop to rest and sip my tea.  Hurry, hurry, get going!  Only 16 minutes.  You want to get going to get some good.  Only 16 minutes to read this book.  Pedal!  Pedal!

The 16 minutes are over and so is breakfast.  Those feelings of despair for the world come and go.  When they come, I remember that it does me no good to think and feel them.  I get up and move.  I put the breakfast dishes in the washer.  I wipe the counter.  I put away the towels someone has folded for me.  I sucked up Sheba’s hair off the floor in the kitchen, dining room and sun room with the electric Swifter.

The sun is out and I am sitting here, tap, tapping out my words.  What I am thinking now is about the irony of our world, our lives.  This is the time when we do have the world at our fingertips.  With a touch of a button, we can send a message across the world.  We can talk via Skype to someone on the other side of the globe.  We are more connected than ever.  Yet at the same time, we are more isolated than ever.  I am missing those times when we were more brave, daring…to be vulnerable and talk to each other, face to face, on the phone.  I miss those times when we were not afraid to be friends and say, I like you, I miss you.  I need you.

I count myself lucky that I can feel all these feelings.  Sometimes they are a BIG nuisance.  You have a life to live, you know, and you have to flog through all the heaviness of feeling, just to get out of bed.  But the rewards of trying and doing are very much worth it.  Cultivating good habits help.  I love Regina Brett’s:  Get up, dress up, show up.  Every time I can do that, I know that I am a success.

sunroomI find that I can accomplish great things if I show up.  Sometimes our worst of times can be our best of times.  My sun room is the best testimony to that.  Because of my ‘condition’ of Seasonal Affective Disorder, I look for solutions and possibilities.  And this is the end result.

We are all builders.  So let us build good things.  Let us build a better world.  We can start with just a single block.