How Sweet/Sweat It Is

This morning I was folding laundry and noticed the Calvin Klein label on the guy’s undershirt. It reminds me of Christmas shopping my sister and I did with my mother years ago. How sweet the memory of when things were more carefree and my mother was younger and stronger. In those days, I still believe in some of the Christmas story. I believed in the warmth, kindness, giving and generosity of the season, if not the birth in the manger. I still believe in those sentiments but I’ve lost the warmth that came with it all. Humbug! is what I feel.

I am not really happy with the way I am. I feel hard and brittle like peanut brittle instead of marshmallows. Illusions once lost are gone forever. They are not what I really want. The God up in the sky no longer works. So why should Christmas still be the same. I didn’t start out in life with the Christ story. It was adopted when we immigrated to Canada. I have never been quite comfortable with it. Now is a logical time to give up all my pretense and come out of the closet. There, I’ve done it! I’ve said it. And what I really want for Christmas is good physical and mental health. They can come as they are. No need for a ribbon or bow.

Gifts don’t come free. I’ve been working on both. I’m still frequenting the gym using good hygience and social distancing practices. Our classes are small. I trust the staff and other members. I figure the exercise and socializing in small groups beneficial to my mental health. It feels exhilarating to work up a sweat. It carries me through part of the day. I hope the Covid numbers will come down. Otherwise, the gyms might get closed down. In that event, I still have my daily walks. Having walked daily, rain, snow or shine for 14 years with Sheba, it stays with me. Sheba would be proud of me. She’s probably walking with me in spirit.

It is almost the end of another day. I’ve kept up with doing at least one difficult thing a day. It helps lift my mood and gives me more energy. It’s cloudy all day today. No sun at all. The highest temperature in the greenhouse was 0 Celsius. While I’m waiting for the sun and spring, I’ve been researching on how to grow ginger and tumeric. It’s pretty interesting and exciting. There’s numerous videos on YouTube on how to grow both using roots from grocery stores. I might pot some up as soon as I get some ginger and tumeric. Why wait for spring? I can do it now.


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?



The phone rings. It is Annie following up on how my mother is doing. She works for A Home for Mom. In March I had been looking at Preston Park assisted living as options for my parents. My mom’s health had taken a sharp turn. It was time to think of new realities. Preston Park seemed to be perfect. It was in their and our neighbourhood. I’m sure I did 3 tours of both Preston Park 1 and 2. They both have excellent social programs, attractive physical space, and friendly staff and environment. It was pricey but I felt it was affordable and worth it.

The trouble was I was the only one in the family who was interested. But it was helpful going through the process. I can rest easier knowing that I tried, thought of options and investigated. Still I welcomed Annie’s follow-up call. Someone else cares and is showing interest in helping even though it is part of her job. I know it is our human nature to run away from knowing that our parents are declining. It is the other unspeakable besides dying. I would run, too if I could but I am the oldest. I am retired. I don’t have children. Those things seem to qualify me for many things exempt to those married, with children and jobs.

Annie is glad to hear my mother is doing better, stronger and steadier on her feet. She and my father are still able to stay in their own home. I have arranged for snow shovelling service for them through The Crocus Co-op and lawn mowing through Saskatoon Services for Seniors. So far, so good. Saskatoon Senior Services offers homemaking and housekeeping services, too. My mother feels she can still do those and enjoy doing them. My father can still drive so they can get out to their neighbourhood mall, shop for their groceries and see friends.

I know that December with Christmas is at the doorstep. I will be very happy to have a quiet boring holiday season and winter. Peace and contentment are the gifts I cherish the most. Health and creativity are my on going goals. The snow may fall and the wind may blow. If I have a roof over my head and the furnace to keep me warm, I shall be happy. There’s bread to be baked, soup to be made, all that yarn to knit, quilts to sew and a whole slew of art classes to watch and do.


I’m not a naturally enthusiastic or happy person. I don’t wake up with a song in my heart and dance on my feet. It’s more of a grumble in my throat and a stumble out of bed. Enthusiasm and joy comes slowly as the day unfolds. I didn’t relish heading out in the dark of this morning to swim. It was the memory of past great swims that got me going. Then the rest was easy. The warmth of the water, my weightlessness, the movement of my limbs – the flow. From experience I know that if I do not make the effort to rise above my nature, I would have less of everything – joy, health, etc.