I’m trying to make counting my blessings a daily habit. It’s been a nice day. I had friends over for brunch this morning. So that’s gratitude number 1), that I do have friends, not many but they are very good friends. Gratitude 2) That we can always have a good time together. We don’t worry much about the state of our house or whether what we serve is good enough. Gratitude 3) Even though I don’t worry too much about what I offer, I am still grateful my very first quiche turned out well and my left over Jamie Oliver pumpkin, chickpea and coconut curry from Thanksgiving was delicious as a soup. It wasn’t supposed to be soup but you know how these things can happen. I love the golden orange colour of these 2 dishes. So nourishing and warming on a cool October morning.

I do believe that we can decide how we feel and therefore direct the course of our daily life. First we have to know what it is that we want and how we want to feel. Then we have to figure out the steps to achieve it. Having done that, we must do the action. Sometimes I can do the first two and then fail on the action. It is easy to stumble and get discouraged. It is easy to hesitate, procrastinate and not start at all. I’ve been there and have done all that. It is not easy to see and understand that it is the first and last steps are the hardest. I see and understand that now. It’s a good reason for me to put in a good effort and push towards the finish line of this Ultimate Blog Challenge. I like to finish what I have started.


I am having some difficulty letting go of my neighbour encounter. I still have that bitter and sour taste of the worst kind. I’m bitter because of my own stupidity of engaging with a mentally sick person and letting her get under my skin. It’s hard because she is not the kind mentally ill that gets lock up but the kind that gets special considerations. Life is not fair, never is and never will be. I better just suck it up and be more conscious and wary. I am of the vulnerable sort that gets taken in by sad stories and tears. They know I am a sucker bearing gifts of sympathy, help and sometimes money. I once gifted a friend under a guise of a loan of a couple of thousand dollars. She had asked me to cosign a huge loan for her. I couldn’t do it. I felt guilty refusing so the loan/gift. She rewarded me by asking some time later, How much was it that I had given her? She could not remember. The things that sour a relationship.

They say to be truly generous you give without expectations and no strings attached. Obviously I haven’t reached the truly level. I would like some gratitude and remembrance. I hate being the lone caretaker of a relationship. But then, I brought it on myself. I have no one else to blame. Another time, another friend, and another incident. This friend wanted to pay me back for my kindness to her. She often hung out at my place because all she had was just one room while she was getting her computer science degree. She wanted to pay my train fare to visit her in Toronto where she got a new job. I declined the free rain fare but took up the visit. The first thing she said to me when I stepped off the train was: You’re going to cost me a fortune just in toilet paper to keep you.

Not a very auspicious beginning. It had no good beginning. I ended up flying home in not too many days. And yet I still try to maintain the friendship for a few more years before I packed it in. I truly have a hanging on problem. I brought it all upon myself. Now that I have spilled all the bitterness and sourness onto the page, I hope I can start a new page. I am a good person. I need to value myself, time and energy better. I do feel so much better having unload some of the shit. And though I felt the least inclined to exercising today, I went. The mobility class at the YWCA was excellent. Working on hip movements chased all those ugly feelings emanating from that wretched neighbour woman. It helps to surround oneself with positive and kind people. I was doing something good for my body and soul. The negative stuff are now just water under the bridge.


Dang, it is that time in the evening again. Time flies. I guess I shouldn’t complain. It seems I’m busy with things to do and places to go to. Tomorrow is Chinese New Year. I wouldn’t have known that if an email friend haven’t sent a greeting. I thought it would be in February. It’s good to have friends who keep you in the know.

I don’t really have a lot of friends. I can count them on one hand. What a thing to admit to, eh? It’s not a bad thing though I DO feel deficient at different times. I can’t handle too many people in my life. I  I’m an introvert, and highly sensitive. I have all the signs. So it is a good thing that I don’t have a whole bunch of people in my life. I would be so stressed and I would piss off many of them. There’s a silver lining under every cloud.

Don’t get me wrong. I am social. I love and need my friends. I just don’t need as/so many as other people. I could have more than I realize. I was surprised hearing that loneliness is such a problem in the UK that they have a minister of loneliness. This man in the UK had spent the last 20 years alone. After the story broke, people responded with a tree, gifts, visits and calls. Christmas is just one day. What about the rest of the year? How do we fix that?

I shouldn’t really be surprised about the loneliness problem. We live such insular lives. Most of us here drive everywhere in our private vehicles. Often we are the only one in the car. I didn’t realize how cut off that made me feel from other people until I had to take the bus because of parking problems. Now I take it once a week to my class on campus. I feel richer for the people contact. I’m in the midst of the young and not so young.

Add to that, I’ve restarted taking Sheba to the off-leash dog parks. We frequented them during our younger years. We’ve been doing mostly just the neighbourhood beat the last 6 or 7 years. We had a group of ‘friends’ at the parks. It was nice to walk and talk together. Some we know, some we knew just first names and some we just knew by faces. Still we felt sort of like family – at the dog park. That group have disappeared but we are now getting to know a different group by going at the same time each day.

Though I have only a very few close friends, all the people that touch my day and life enrich me and help give me a sense of meaning and purpose. I have little groups of ‘family’ and ‘friends’ in different corners – the YWCA, ex-workplace colleagues, Facebook, Instagram, blogoshpere, my email group….It’s good to have friends.

It’s late. I have to say good night. I have to swim in the morning. Here’s a video about an afternoon with my friends to take us out of this 24 day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.



I feel as heavy and sodden as all the snow that fell the last few days. All the more weighty as I’ve just polished off 3 slices of leftover pizza from lunch with my ex-coworkers. It’s good to be a little social, breaking free from my hermit self. But I do require a lot of alone time. Too much social fluttering exhausts me. It’s the way I’m built.

It’s only logical that I don’t have many friends. I can handle only x number of people in my life. I used to feel so inadequate/lacking and ashamed. I was not a success. I felt like a wallflower, an accompaniment and not the main meal deal. Now at this end of life, my friend list is even shorter with retirement. I still feel like an accompaniment sometimes but I am content. I have a live-in and Sheba. We don’t always see eye to eye. Some days not at all. Sheba can be a brat and sheds hair everywhere. We are healthy and hearty. What more can I ask for?

I don’t ask for happiness. I work towards healthy body and mind. I feel I can do alot if I have that. I feel ever so tire still today. I always blame the weather. It’s another way I’m built but I manage very well. I got to my exercise class, socialize with ex-coworkers, took Sheba to the park, painted, read some more of Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself. I’m getting it. If I want change, I have to change my conversation, how I see myself, how I interpret my environment. Change is exciting.

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.


partyAfter the party is over, after all the drinks are gone, after all the speeches have been spoken, after everyone has gone home… We can relax and let our smiles fall. We can take our shoes off and drop our clothes on the floor.  We can sigh, breathe and let our shoulders drop. We can wash the weariness off our faces, smile again, remembering the moments, faces, toasts and stories, feeling grateful that we have friends and family to invite and share.

After the party is over, after we can take no more, after we have come home, we can let our faces fall.  We undress, hang up our clothes and stumble to the bathroom.  Under the warm shower, we breathe and sigh with relief and contentment.  We smile at the memories, stories and happy faces, feeling grateful to be invited.

mountainjpgAfter the journey is over and the dog collected, after the bags are unloaded, after a cup of tea and a glass of wine, after a meal cooked and ate, after a good night’s sleep…..After the bags are unpacked, the clothes laundered and hung, I am able to sit here, feet up, tap, tapping on the keyboard, feeling grateful for the journey, the hills and valleys, the laughter, the tears and the people who travelled with me.


IMG_6949It’s the 4th day of 2015 and it is bitterly cold.  I am depleted of energy, ambition and creativity.  The cold has sapped me of all, though Sheba and I went around the neighbourhood in – 36 degrees C.  Perhaps I overdid it yesterday with the swimming and then a long trek in the dog park.  It wasn’t as cold then, but my phone and camera both died simultaneously.

I’m trying to find some oomph.  I thought I could bake myself out of this slump.  I bought out my baking sheets.  Then I put them back.  I’m sitting here at the keyboard.  My fingers are stiff and achy with the weather.  I’m pushing myself.  Just begin!  I scold myself.  Type one word, any word and the rest will come.  Does that sound familiar to you?  It does work, once you start and make a commitment.  Funny how that works.

I went to Nova Scotia once to meet a group of email friends I met on the internet.  We were from various locations in Canada and the United States.  It started out as a whim, just wishful thinking.  I was not am not adventuresome nor brave especially in the travel alone department.  But somehow I went alone to meet these people.  I had a car rented.  I don’t drive well direction-wise either.  With a car rented, I couldn’t just sit at the airport for a week, could I?  I had to begin.

charlottetwonI did get lost once or twice.  Most likely it was more often.  But I managed to meet up with my friends and spent a few days of good times in Halifax and thereabouts.  Then I went on solo to Prince Edward Island, the home of Anne of Green Gables.  I was so thrilled driving over the Confederation Bridge, all alone, by myself – the woman who still gets lost in her home city of Saskatoon!  And there I was – in Charlottetown.  I had someone snap this picture just to prove to myself that I was there.

Had I not made a start back in 2002, had I just dismissed the idea that I couldn’t – act on a whim, I would not have met all the wonderful people who are still my friends today.  We have lost two of these friends.  I would not have all these warm memories and pictures to rouse me out of my malaise to begin anything on this cold winter day.


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.


I recently received a subscribed email from a writer to make a list of ten things I’ve learned lately.  It seemed to be a good exercise so I am rising to the challenge.

1.  Nothing is as it seems so I will not take anything for granted.

2.  My dog, Sheba, is a human being. 🙂

3.  This, too, shall pass.

4.  Things are difficult because we choose to make them so.

5.  I am bigger than I think.  I am not invisible.

6.  Life is a circle so do not burn any bridges behind you.  What goes around, comes around.

7.  Friends and connectedness are the aroma of coffee in the morning.

8.  I do love work, but work is not me.

9.  Every question does not need or have any answer.

10.  I need not fix everything that is broken.  Some things fix themselves.


I think of myself as work in progress, like dough rising to the occasion as time progresses.  Some days I rise higher and faster and other times I’m a little slower, but I always show up and make my best effort.  Today I am making bread.  The dough is rising in the heat.  I am wilting a little.  Win some and lose some.  That is how life is.

Today is the second day of my being FaceBook-less.  I have deactivated.  I am friendless.  It is exhilarating the first day.  It is so freeing not to have connections.  Well 158 is not that many to most FaceBookers but it is alot to me.  A woman is rich indeed if she has that many true friends.  I am lucky that I do have a few good friends but I am no social butterfly.  I am actually surprised that I have 158 people to add!  Day two sans FaceBook is not so carefree.  I have no notifications, no gossip, no photos, no news, no uppers or downers.  I have no emails.

I have no friends and no emails.  But….I do have a life.  And so today to quiet my unease of this new situation, I restarted my quigong exercises, I sewed, I baked and I wrote.  I am working on a life of quality, not quantity.  Tomorrow I will do something new, something to break my pattern of being always in my comfort zone.  I will dig for my passions.  I will get to know myself.  I will be my own best friend.  I am a work in progress.