NOVEMBER – A New Month of Challenges

November 1, end of October and a new beginning. Though the October Ultimate Blog Challenge is over, challenges are not over for me. I’m the type of person who finds everything hard. At one point in my life I vowed not to let that word enter my vocabulary. It’s hard, too hard. I know I’m weak with vows. Now I am using the word with abandon. Life is just too flipping hard and if using the word makes me feel better, why not, eh?

I’m not like most women. I hate shopping. I have to gear up to go to Costco. Thinking about it fills me with yuck but it’s time and it’s hard. I need stuff and they have it all there and at a good price. I know having intentions doesn’t mean anything unless I follow through. So I made my list, got into the car and drove. Funny it wasn’t hard after that. I went up and down the aisles with my cart and list. An hour later I was through the checkout with $500 less in my bank account. The next challenge was to load everything in the car and get home.

I have to file the memory that it wasn’t hard after I get into the car. The trick was not to pay attention to my feelings but the need to do. That was my focus, too, on getting everything into the house. I was grateful for my workouts at the gym, that I have the strength and the know how. I thought on posture – hip hinge and squat, no bending over. I did pretty well though I worked up a sweat. Most things are put away though a few are still looking for a home. They might as well hang out until I reorganize and clean out some cupboard space. No point in stuffing them in wherever and then having to pull everything out again.

I am pretty pleased with myself for accomplishing this shopping trip today. I did not skip out on my afternoon walk even though the weather was grey and breezy. I brought out my toque and away I went. The fresh air and steps will help me get a good night’s sleep. Now it is almost 6 pm and it is quite dark already and raining a little. I have long complained about the darkness beginning at this time of the year. But I am noticing that it no longer bothers me as much or in the same way. I am learning to embrace, celebrate and use this time to rest and rejuvenate so that I am ready for the spring and the growing season.


It’s June the 2nd. I’ve been missing in action for most of the 2nd half of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. Life gets busy. I want time to rest. I can’t do/have it all. I gave some thought as to what matters the most in what I am doing. Taking some time off to breathe, rest and regenerate is top of the list for me. Not that I have that much time to sit idle for long. There’s always something calling me. When you have a greenhouse, a garden, 6 raised garden beds, community garden plot and a city allotment, it keeps us quite busy. It is a very worthwhile busy though, growing our own food. I just have to work smarter and plan better.

It’s beastly hot out today. Heat is not my best friend but the weather is not something I can control. I have to suck it up and deal with it, like it or not. It’s also involves planning and working smarter. It’s probably not the best day to do any transplanting but my red leaf amaranth is getting to a decent size in the greenhouse. I had seeded them for my mother. It’s now or never. I gave them a good watering and scooped them out onto a plastic tray. They’re all planted now in my mother’s garden bed. I hope they take and do well.

The thinking about doing something is more difficult than the task. I’m home now, sweaty but happy I could do something for my mother. I enjoyed the planting and visit with her. I’m learning that it is never a good time to do anything but it is the best time to do something. I just have to work past the thinking into doing.


Do you have days when everything is hard? I seem to have more than my share of them and often. I’m sounding rather childish and petulant but it just doesn’t seem fair, does it? There’s no one to cry to about it. Everyone has their troubles. The only thing to do is to ‘buckle up, Buttercup!’ My plan lately is not to complain out loud about it, be calm and agreeable. It’s a good time to be quiet and go about life and business slowly and steadily. Brain surgery and complicated procedures are out of the question.

Sewing my log cabin quilt square is a good activity. I’ve pieced and sewn over 50 of them now. It’s familiar and soothing. It’s never boring. I always try for precision – exact 1/4 inch seams and colours that go well together. Even so, I’m a little behind with my squares these last few days. Fatigue and heaviness are weighing me down. I’m practicing not stressing, letting it slide off me. All schedules are my own creation. I’m never behind. Everything will get done in due time.

When I get feeling down too much, I remember Caroline Myss’ advice to get up and move. And so I do. I go for our daily walks. A change of posture, a change of scenery and a change in thoughts and mood. The day is sunny and warm. I open some windows in the house to get some fresh air. I have such a difficult time putting things away and in order. I work not in understanding but in doing it. So I take the laundry off the line, fold them and now they’re all put away. It really wasn’t hard once I started. I’m learning to tackle each seemingly difficult task, thus – step by step.

I’m always surprised that when I get up and start moving, I feel better. Even stepping outside on a cloudy day gives me a rush of relief. So doing even a very small thing is better than not doing anything. A small accomplishment leads to another accomplishment and so on and so forth.


Just like that, yesterday’s sun left us. I woke to grey misty skies. The air is heavy and humid, smelling much like a wet Sheba. I had decided last night I would give up my exercise class for this week. I was feeling the fatigue of the heat. I am getting enough exercise running after Sheba and tending the garden. There’s no point in over stressing myself. Our aging bodies are not as efficient at regulating body temperature as when we were younger.

The thunder and lightning storm was no surprise. It was a lot of noise and show but it was short lived. Sheba and I still did a short walk with our umbrella. The rain cooled the streets and sidewalks. The smell of wet cement and asphalt was not pleasant. It made me wonder when did we get to be a concrete jungle. Oh, life in the city. I hear Joni Mitchell singing, Big Yellow Taxi. She wrote that in 1970 when she was 27. She certainly saw things clearly. Wish I was that observant.

They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

That was this morning. Now it is after 4 pm. Just as quickly the sun, heat and humidity is back. I was enjoying my lunch in the cool of the deck at noon. I was even thinking of a sweater or blanket then. Now I’m driven indoors by the heat. I’m feeling a tad blue despite the brilliant sunshine. That, of course, makes it worse. I know that it’s due to the fluctuating weather and temperature. Still it leaves me with a feeling of failure, inadequacy and whatnot. The air is heavy, still with a faint wet dog odour.

It is not Sheba, either, though it would be easy to blame her. She’s freshly laundered 2 days ago. She’s still sweet smelling and shedding her now fluffy fur. We’ve had 2 days of brushing now. First one side one day, then the other the next. She’s looking almost sleek now. I am glad that I’ve done that before my mood dip and my energy with it. I’ll see if I can talk myself out of it.

Talking to myself is not always effective or good when I’m feeling low. I end up ruminating on the wrong things, things that probably have no validity. I opted to get up and do something, like making supper. I wandered out to harvest some veggies from the raised beds. The raspberries needed picking, too. Then why don’t I trim the grass. It’s getting long. It didn’t take long. I thought maybe I should fill the beds with water. It’s been awhile since the last time and the top soil felt dry. I amazed myself at how much I got done once started.

No sooner had I got inside, the sun disappeared and thunder started rumbling in the air. The house was encased in gloom. Ah! I am really sensitive to the weather. I’m not using it as an excuse for my moods at all. The wind blew and the rain came pouring down. No climate change, eh? My supper was later than I planned. Then I discovered my fridge didn’t feel cool at all. Investigation, tossing, cleaning and defrosting the little freezer on top all ensued. I hope it solved the problem till a new one could be bought.

No surprise that it is late again. The dishes and stuff in the sink can wait. Sheba never got her afternoon walk. She’s ok. I’m ok. We’re getting wiser and more flexible as we age. Both of us.




I am one who seldom jumps out of bed with glee and is ready for the day. I roll slowly up and step cautiously onto the floor. I am aware of the stiffness of the hips and ache of my hands. I can’t say I have joy in my heart. I give a big slow sigh and head towards the bathroom. I come out feeling somewhat better seeing the morning sun. I stand before the living room window and watch a rabbit run across the neighbour’s yard across the street. Rabbits are now a common sight. It seems the city is now their home having been forced out of theirs. They are now our new immigrants.

I do my 4-7-8 breathing while I wait for the kettle to boil. I make my tea. I have been doing it for a month now. I have not felt huge changes but I have been sleeping well since. I have been able to go back to sleep easily after bathroom trips in the night. I use this technique for relaxation throughout the day. I’m one who habitually tenses and clenches my body with excitement and stress. It’s proving to be effective.

No two mornings are alike. The words would not come at the first bidding. How could they when my body was stiff and closed? I gave up the struggle and coaxed myself into my qigong routine instead. Sometimes I am most resistant to the thing I most need. Now my body is feeling more open and fluid. My fingers are flying across the keyboard. They are warm, pliant and ache-free. I have to remember this moment for future reference, for the next time obstacles arise.

It is now afternoon again. The sky is cloudy and the winds are blowing. I have the shivers, as if someone is walking across my grave. It is not foreign to me. I give it no importance. I do a cycle of 4-7-8 breathing, quelling fear and goose bumps. It’s hard to feel anything when you are breathing, holding it, breathing out and counting at the same time. It’s a good tool to have, especially when the weather changes constantly through the day. I might as be accepting of this changing patterns. It’s our new norm.

Now that I’ve caught my breath, I try not to let the afternoon blahs overwhelm me. I gather myself, doing the lunch dishes from noon, putting away the car keys in their dish,  and filing my papers from the bank. Doing and moving is soothing. The books I bought from McNally’s are still on the dining room table. The lettuce is picked, washed and spun into salads with hemp seeds and avocado. They await the rest of supper to be made. It’s time to call it a day. I’m sipping my chrysanthemum tea, a Chinese gal’s remedy for all ailments. So ends the 2nd day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.



Sometimes I sound like a stuck record. I mostly talk about getting things done, about getting the house in order. I’ve been talking about it for years now. I wonder if that’s what you talk about, too. Have we been brainwashed by Martians and aliens from outer space? We certainly have created a niche for many entrepreneurs like Marie Kondo, closet organizers, declutters and minimalists of kinds. Have these people made us into thinking we have too much stuff? Do we really need to streamline, get rid and fold everything into thirds and tuck into tiny little boxes?

Life is such an irony. We have people telling us we need more. More is success. Bigger is better. New and shiny is wonderful so they make things that breaks easily and you can’t fix. And there are no more little repair shops. You have to buy warranties. What you have is more stuff that doesn’t work and less money in the bank. Then the other people come and sell you stuff to organize what you are trying to rid.

I feel like a victim, falling for all the pitches. I’m easily swayed by the ads, free promos and flattering. Here I am today, owner of much stuff and how to do, how to help yourself, how to…books. I’ve waken up though. I’m seeing the extremes of both sides. I’m trying to think for myself. I’m figuring and tapping out my own how to’s. Then I’m going to DO it. I haven’t read a book yet where they tell you have to stop researching and accumulating information. That the want of a Marie Kondo drawer/closet is very addictive. It is but you have to stop, think and DO your own stuff, your own way.

SHOWING UP – day 270 in a year of…

Day 270 – April 24, 2017 @1:40 pm

I’m listening and heeding my own advice. I need to show up and do – even if it’s a little to succeed. I’m counting my blessings that I am still here, standing/sitting, tap, tapping away at the keyboard. It’s grand to feel their rhythmic breathing beneath my fingertips.

I am grateful for the flowers my friend gave me. I light a candle for another. That’s how it is. We take care of each other in whatever way we can. It’s enough. What more can we ask of each other? I take the gift and hold it close to my heart. I say a prayer and send it forth to heal and comfort. It is what I can do – prayers and love.

The day is cool and grey. I turn on my inner light. I turn on my inner power. I walk, jump, shuffle. I line dance. I pump iron. I can do those planks but not quite the pushups. It’s okay. I’m building up my muscles. I’m building up my resolve. I can. I can – show up.

SUCCESS – Day 269 in the year of…

Day 269, April 23, 2017 pm

One way of guaranteeing success is showing up and doing. Here I am. I will dispense with the fancy words and fancy pictures. But if they do pop up, I will use them.What is new for me today? David Whyte’s piece on Rest. It’s what I am trying to attain. He says it so well. So here it is:

I’ve been striving too hard to obtain whatever. Now I want to live into that essance of giving and receiving. It is the breathing in and the breathing out. That is what I have to remember, to come back to over and over when I have wandered into the exhausted, in wanting and striving for it all. I have forgotten about the pause and empty spaces. They are beautiful notes that pull everything together. I am remembering them today.


FullSizeRenderSaturday morning, sunlight streaming through the windows. A morning too beautiful to be distracted by a million useless thoughts.  They are teeming and floating in my brain like the dust motes in sunbeams.  I want to eradicate them, but the more I try, the more agitated I become. There’s nothing to do but to accept every one of them gracefully and move along as best as I can.

IMG_3416What I need to do today is physical work, moving one foot in front of the other. Do one thing and then another.  No deep thoughts or brain surgery today.  If thoughts arise, I can watch them as clouds floating by.  No good in delving into them.  I cannot solve the mysteries of life – especially on days when I feel like this.

Days like this are best spent in quiet solitude.  No point in seeking company or help either.  I bet even my mother is not available.  Best hunker down, take a breath and ease myself.  Words are not coming easily.  Sentences do not form. Thoughts assault my head in tangles.  Get a grip.  Get a move on.  What can you do?


It is evening now.  My thoughts and nettles have settled.  Lunch have been made and ate.  I have doodled and transplanted seedlings of cabbages, kohlrabi and other things of green.  Sheba and I have walked.  Supper is in the making. Now I sit and tap a few words here and there.  Nothing to write home about. Nothing lost either. I am sure there will be more days like today ahead.  The thing is not to despair, not to think too much and not to strive at all.  The thing to do is just that – do.

There is pleasure in doing – the physical satisfaction of something accomplished despite everything going against our grain.  You see, I do strive even though.  I can’t help myself.  There is nothing wrong in being your authentic self.