December 27. I’m having one of those early morning awakenings when I can’t fall back to sleep. It was better for me to get up rather than lay in the dark with dark and unpleasant thought and feelings. It is 7:00 am an -12℃ outside. I’m on my second cup of tea, have scrolled through social media and played today’s Wordle. It would be better if I could skip the scrolling but it’s become part of my morning routine for waking up. 

Surprisingly, my bad thoughts and feelings dissipated with my rising, turning on the lights, brushing my teeth and having my cups of tea. I am surprised only because I have been/am paying attention to when these moods come and go. They had been more frequent in the past. I like to think that I now have a better handle on them. Even though I know better and that I am not alone, I feel alone. I know I am not a failure but feel so in these times.

So this is the nature of my beast. I have accepted and befriended it. I am becoming a scientist in its investigation. I wonder how I can use it for my betterment instead of detriment. For one thing, it has made me realize that I can control it. I am not at its mercy. It has driven me to seek not only the why of its existence but also ways to work with it so that life can be as easeful, pleasant and meaningful as possible. I’m seeking ways of being kinder to myself with less self blame.

It is not the best time to be a think tank when I am being squeezed by my beast. My brain is in a thick fog. It would’t be able to figure out how to get out of a wet paper bag. The best activities for me would be to clean anything – like wash the dishes, floors, windows. I can still draw pretty good in these moods. Tapping out the words and moods is soothing and comforting. Cross country skiing is my newest, most fun and effective tool. My mind and senses are fully occupied. There’s no room for dark and ugly thoughts.

This is it, all that I’m able to write today. I had fallen off my writing wagon for a week. A week ago, I was bright eye and bushy tailed. A week ago it was sunny and bitterly cold, in the -30s ℃. But I felt oh so well. I feel better now just remembering how good I felt. I will hang on to the memory. My spirit dipped on December 24 when it got cloudy and up to -16℃ overnight from -34℃. We’re in for a stretch of clouds and snow ahead. I’m geared to make my own sunshine.


Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

December 6. Good evening. It is almost time to say good night. It’s still early enough. I have time to tap a few thoughts. Getting started is a bit tricky. We’ve just finished watching Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin in It’s Complicated, a romantic comedy. It’s very funny, entertaining and worth watching. An added bonus is Steve Martin. The night before, we watched him and John Candy in Planes, Trains and Automobiles – another comedy! That’s a record for me, 2 comedies back to back. They’re good for my mental health. I think that’s what I must do for this darkest month of the year.

Taking these 2 days off from my usual grind of exercise class, walks and skis have been good for me. It’s extremely cold today. The low was -37℃, the high -22℃. It’s a good day to stay home and huddle. I think I will take this whole week off. It can be a vacation, a retreat and a home spa. Who says you need to physically travel distances for it to be exciting and rewarding?

When it gets this cold, it is usually sunny. And so it was. The sunroom was so warm and beautiful in the morning, I couldn’t leave it. I just lounged and read. At times I felt I was wasting time. I endured it. The feeling passed and I started to feel like I was ‘getting back to normal’, that sense of normal when I wasn’t caught up in all the technology, of pushing ENTER and getting an immediate result. I felt I had time. I had time to think, observe and really feel all the things happening around me. I don’t want to push a button to get an immediate result. I want to do the work, one step at a time. It was a good feeling, not feeling squished, pushed for time.

December 8. It’s almost the supper hour, if the roast would cook faster. In the space of 2 days, our temperature has risen to -12℃ from -37℃. I wonder how our bodies process the rapid rise and fall of temperatures and barometric pressures. I know I am not a happy camper with the ups and downs. With the climate change we’re experiencing, I guess I can look forward to lots of ups and downs with my physical and mental well being this winter. My radar is on red alert. I am taking care and taking it easy on myself. No need to beat myself up. The weather is doing that for me. I don’t sleep as well some nights. I can feel my bones and joints hurting more. Then there’s my mood. It can turn on a dime. There’s nothing I can do about the weather but I can change myself. Now that I am so well acquainted with myself and the weather I am in control. Here’s what I do to stay sane and alive.

  • 20 minute sitting meditation with Mark Williams on YouTube in the morning.
  • do stretches morning and bedtime.
  • weaning myself off electronics.
  • take a mini vacation from my usual routines.
  • get fresh air and sunshine out of doors most days -walks/ski.
  • read.
  • write.
  • play the piano.
  • listen to music.
  • cook and bake.
  • do whatever makes me feel good.

There! I think that’s a pretty good list. I hope I am making sense. I find life extremely hard. I get a little wonky and down in the mouth sometimes. Depression is just a very small part of who I am. I am also made of anxiety, worry, joy, contentment, excitement….I am a kaleidscope of emotions. We all are. It’s all a matter of how to handle each and every one – and to accept them all and have no shame.


February 23 and day 23 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. It is -6℃ outside and -2.1℃ in the greenhouse. It is 9:22 am. The sun is out but it is weak, like tepid tea. I am not feeling my best but hope it gets better than yesterday. That was a tough one – physically. I can’t be clear and coherent on exactly what was the matter. I really hate to blame the weather but it is the culprit. I’m like a barometer, feeling all the changes. I should stop feeling like I’m using that as an excuse. There is evidence that some people are more susceptible to weather changes.

I usually warn people when I’m feeling this way. When I was still working, I tell people when I’m grumpy and that it has nothing to do with them. Seemed like I was like that alot, especially in the mornings. That’s when I have more pain. Yesterday, I told the guy I was not feeling great, that I felt like screaming so he better be careful. I could not assist him in his Swedish bread making, not even in giving advice. Really, how could I when I haven’t made any. Bread is not bread at that moment. But I did give his dough a poke and thought it was fine.

I’ve just come back from my mother’s to drop off the items she had requested and some of Rod’s Swedish thin bread. She likes them and is more complimentary about them than my bread. My mother is pretty easy. She gives me a list of things to get ahead of time, at my convenience. She always says that she doesn’t need them right away. She doesn’t implore “When are you coming to see me?” It doesn’t bother her being ‘locked down’. She stands out on the steps or opens the windows to get some fresh air. I think my father is bothered but is getting used to it. They are both compromised by their age and health. But being almost 90 they are still pretty darned good. We are grateful.

I am moving through the morning. My tomato seedlings are doing splendidly. I’ved seeded a few heirloom cucumbers this morning. The sunroom is getting too much sun and heat, if that is possible. I had to close the blinds a little. It was aggravating my everywhere pain. Cutting down the spruce trees made a big difference. They were just babies when I planted them. I took no notice as they slowly grew and how much shade they provided over the years until they’re gone. Then wow! There is such as too much of a good thing. It’s good that I have built in blinds in the windows. I can see that I will be using them more in the summer. There is good and not so good with change.


These last days of 2020 seem the hardest. It’s a good reason to return to the keyboard – to put words onto the page instead of getting lost in my emotions. Be here. Be now. I try not to give myself a hard time. It is cloudy and oppressive. I stand up, pick up and straighten a few things. I look out and see the children playing outside at the daycare, one house over. It is good to see and feel their energy. I put the kettle on. I damp mop the livingroom and kitchen in the meantime. I make a cup of black instant decaf. I welcome the change of taste.

There, I’ve gotten a hold of myself! I didn’t let myself drift off into the wave of what should I call it – lassitude, boredom, listlessness, anxiety, hopelessness, depression? A medley, a stirfry of negative energy/emotions. I think I’m just being human. Who can honestly say that they haven’t been feeling any of these? Perhaps it is an overworked phrase but we are in hard times. We’re in the muck of Covid-19. It is not the first in the history of the planet. It’s only one of many but it could be the beginning of the end of us. So let us learn from it, shall we?

There’s no use crying over spilt milk or locking the barn door after the horse is gone. We must work together to make our world healthier and safer. How will you contribute? The first step forward is not to deny we have a problem. I have done that. The next step for me is not to feel hopeless and defeated by my and our world’s problems. There are good days, not so good ones and then there will be bad days. No two days are equal. But I can choose to do my best for the day I’m in. I can trade up with one paperclip at a time.

It is afternoon. The day is still cloudy as can be. I have managed to stirfry something for lunch, do the dishes and make a list for my errands. I could not find my car or house keys. My head is as heavy as lead. No point in a desperate search. I used the guy’s keys. At Freshco I picked up my prescription and a few things for my mother and myself. It was a long wait at the cashier line. Someone was having a coupon issue. I waited with patient forbearance. I was silent behind my mask, breathing in and out. I was through in due time. I did a little meandering through the mall in search of something. Strange to see a coffeeshop with tables removed and bottles of sanitizer on an empty table. Strange to see people having coffee in such surroundings.

It is now late afternoon. My mother was happy with my delivery – super fresh daikon, pasta, bananas, grapes, pasta and 2 Hawaiian pizzas. I took her some of my baked pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and cookies, too. She was delighted with the steamed Chinese buns I gave her over Christmas. She said that if I added a bit of sugar to the dough, it would be just perfect. There was a time when it was my mother who gave me home cooked stuff. And I couldn’t say no. Now the shoe is on the other foot.


I’ve been having more frequent moments of missing Sheba the last couple of days. It has been acute today. I haven’t gotten around to storing her bowls yet, but I did bag up her Kong bed yesterday. It did make me feel better in moments. Other times it gave me such an acute longing and missing her. Fourteen years is hard to erase and process.

Though both we and Sheba knew that our time together was coming to end it is still very difficult. Towards the last couple of months of her life, Sheba stopped sleeping in the bedroom with us. She retreated to the livingroom or the sunroom. Perhaps she was preparing us. So my tears come. My tears flow this morning as I biked down the alleys we used to walk. I see that the squash grower has planted potatoes this year instead. Memories, images and tears come as I pedal.

I tell myself I have to do something else beside cry. So I practice riding with just one hand on the handlebar, then the other. I’m not good enough yet to use one hand on and to signal with the other. I can manage a quick scratch of my nose. I practice looking behind me for traffic. I want to get enough confidence to ride down busier streets. I still have goals. I’m still interested in improving my skills of living.

I took a little break from my sadness. I worked in the front yard. I put myself in every corner, reclaiming every inch of it. I am not letting the neighbour bully and throw her weight on my property. I wonder what kind of person would plant little trees on a neighbour’s property, right along my raised garden bed. I wonder what kind of person would have the Weedman spray pesticide right along that bed of vegetables. I’m wondering but not expecting any answers. Living next to this person has deepened my sadness in these times.

Now it is almost 8 o’clock in the evening. I love sitting out here and watch the sun playing shadows on the garage wall. In other times, Sheba would be laying here beside my feet. She is ok. I don’t have to worry about her now. I’m ok. We’ve had our time together. I am no longer angry with the neighbour. However, I am a little afraid of her venom and malice. I do not care about the row of little evergreens beside the raised bed. They have nowhere to grow but over her driveway. .



Suffice to say that I am not rolling on the floor with abounding peace and joy. At times my eyes leak with tears of frustration and sadness. It is also true for me to say that I am happy and satisfied with my lot. I am, as they say, going through a phase. This, too, shall pass away.

That was 5 or 6 days ago. I haven’t found the time, heart nor energy to return to this space. It was a very dreary cloudy morning. The house was dark, giving semblance to my inner feelings.  I gave up on tapping out my misery on the keyboard for working in the kitchen. I sorted all the beans in the fridge, washed, blanched and froze them. I can’t remember what else I did but that I felt proud accomplishing so much in the morning. Ah! now I remember. I baked a dozen rhubarb raspberry muffins, made lunch and headed off to my class at the University of Saskatchewan.

It drizzled light rain that whole day. I parked off campus. It was a long walk to the Arts Building, made that much longer by going in the wrong direction. That’s me, forever lost. This time sporting an umbrella and on foot. I almost gave up. I almost headed back to my car. But I remembered Mina, my blogger friend at Suddenly Mad. She’s still venturing out into the world despite her early-onset Alzheimer’s. So I tried a little harder, one foot in front of the other. I got there 1/2 hour late. Someone else was even later after me. We did not miss much. It was very much worth the effort.

It is almost a week later. I am tapping and sipping coffee in the warmth of the afternoon. Sheba is at my feet. We are enjoying summer’s last hurrah on the deck. My mind is somewhat settled but not quite at peace. I find it difficult to tend to my usual life. I do whatever is possible which is mostly digging in the dirt and hauling the concrete urbanite around to create my contemplative garden. Then there’s my daily walk with Sheba and mucking around the kitchen. Muffins are getting to be my specialty. My sourdough venture was a life saver, too.

And now it is late evening. I feel my physical and mental fatigue. Most of all, I feel my anger. I feel anger towards my neighbour and her like. I can still hear her saying to me, ‘Don’t think you can keep me out. I can tear down anything you put up.’ Can you imagine someone saying that to you about your own property? I can’t imagine her daring to say that to me if my skin was white. Though she feels I owe her access to my property, she refuses my access to hers for the fence guys to erect a fence. Yes, I am angry that the city does not get involved with private property line when they have so many bylaws and when I have a surveyor’s certificate.

I have lived most of my life in Canada, my adopted country. All of that life up to now, I have lived unconscious of my skin colour. I have never cried prejudice nor use it as an excuse for mishaps and misfortunes. But today I do very much feel that the skin of my colour invites many unpleasant treatments and comments. Today I’m feeling sorry for myself. I’m feeling defeated by it all. Perhaps I shall feel better in the morning.


I used to take pride in how little sleep I need. I thought I did fabulous on 4-5 hours sleep a day/night. I used to be an idiot, a crabby one at that. I was deluding myself on many fronts. Now that I’ve recovered from my sleeplessness mostly, I know I don’t do well when I have a sleepless night. I had one last night for whatever reason. I like to blame the weather for many of my miseries. I am sure it is warranted.

I’m muddling through my day the best I can. I’m happy that the bread and rhubarb crisp got made yesterday. The good habits that I’ve developed are carrying me over. I can probably bake bread in my sleep. After a few years, using the same recipe I know all the measurements of all the ingredients. Mishaps do happen sometimes. It’s not a disaster. I still get bread of a sort. It happened only once. Then the bread became biscuits for Sheba. It made excellent flatbread and probably pizza dough if I had been thus inclined.

I probably had only 2-3 hours of sleep last night. I’m feeling slightly proud that I’ve been up since 5 am. I planted most of my raised beds this morning before it got too hot. Now it’s all clouded over. I can hear the wind and we’ve had a splash of rain. Turbulent weather and me don’t go well together. I probably felt the storm brewing during the night. Well, it’s good for the garden. There’s always a positive side.

I’m not really sleepy. I could take a nap if I was. Instead, I’m just strung out. I have an ache in the furrow between my eyes. My throat is scratchy and sore. I hope I don’t get sick. Perhaps I shall brew a pot of Moringa tea. I’ll see if it’s as good as they say. It’ll probably take more than one cup and more than one day’s drinking. Do I have the patience? Will I like it enough or will I revert back to my Orange Pekoe? I’m like a child not wanting to try new tastes. I will practice savouring. Perhaps I could develop a ceremony with it every afternoon while I am in my tapping mode.

I’ve finished one cup of tea. I’m less edgy. The furl between my eyes more relaxed. Whoa! I better go and get another cup. Oh, the sun has popped out again. O happy day after all.


It’s a friggin’ mystery to me why I waste so much time scrolling when I have so much I want to do. In no time at all, an hour goes by. I could have, would have if only…blah, blah, blah. I feel like I have no mind of my own. It’s been taken over by aliens. Another name for it would be ADDICTION. There’s no point in ruminating about the whys and wherefores. But I’ve finally got my ass in front of the keyboard to peck out a paragraph.

I’ve managed to get the dried washed woolies off the rack in the laundry room. Changing posture, being in a different room changes my perspectives, my energy. I feel a ‘desire’ to do, even if it’s fleeting. I take my clothes upstairs to the bedroom, folded the sweaters and put them in their drawer. The scarfs I hung on their hooks on the back of the door. There! Some stuff back in their own place.

Not everything is that easy. But I am trying to make everything easier. There is no point in making them harder, is there? I am learning to be more – of everything. I can be more receptive by being more quiet. That way I can hear when my angels are talking to me, telling me their wisdom. I can be more observant instead of more showy so that I can see the problems in front of me. I can be more attentive of Sheba. I knew right from the start, she is a gift from God. She shows me how to be. She comforts me and fills the empty spaces. She has schedules that needs to be met. In meeting hers, mine are too.

I am learning to be more out of myself so I can see others in their suffering. I saw this on an article on Oprah this morning: When someone asks for help, always give her something. You don’t have to give her what she asks for, but you can give her a word of encouragement, a helpful idea or a caring glance.  It’s very good advice. You never know how much kind words or a gesture can mean to a person. An acquaintance told me that after I dropped in to see her husband on my way to work.

He was a patient on the onocology ward at the hospital. I worked on the ward next to it. So it really wasn’t out of my way. The article reminded me of her words. “It might not be of anything to you but it meant alot to John,” she said. I have to confess. I’m not a mean person but I don’t always remember to be kind.

I have to remember to be more grateful, too. God has given me some powerful gifts. He has given me tools of expression. I would not be sitting here now tap, tapping out my innards if not for this gift of words. Do you know how powerful words are? I do. I use them to ease my dis-ease, to give me wings to fly, to create stories to encourage and heal what is hurting. I have great respect for them. I use them to speak only for and of myself here.

Then he gave me the pencil and brush to paint my blues away. I believe the blues is his gift, too. How else could the other two show up. One could not do without the other. It’s a tangle dance they do together. I am not sorry for having them. I would be lonely without them after all these years together. Are the blues an addiction? Should I try to rid them. For now, I’ll just try for finding easier ways to live with them. What do you think?