Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

November 29. Good morning. It’s another new day. I’m irked, dissatisfied, restless and a bit anxious. I don’t want it to spill onto my nice blank page. Instead, let me begin with my gratitudes.

  • I am grateful that the sun is shining over my right shoulder just now. 
  • I am grateful that I got turkey soup cooking in the Instant Pot. I am taking in its nourishing aroma.
  • I am grateful for my encounter with my mother’s neighbour yesterday while I was there shovelling. We had a nice little conversation about our families. It made me feel that it is possible to have neighbours who are kind and courteous, that we can share a conversation without a shouting match.
  • I am grateful that I have this page to unload my emotions, good and bad upon. It loosens up all the thoughts whirling in my head. I can then empty the toxic ones so that I can move on with my day.

I am not very skill or agile with moving on. I stutter, stumble and repeat my errors like a broken record player playing the same track over and over. I am trying hard to push and hurdle over those stuck places. If I am persistent, try hard and often enough, one day I will succeed and just leap over the obstacles. I am experiencing that phenomenon with practicing scales on the piano. What was so difficult at first became a little easier each time I practice. Then all of a sudden it seems, my fingers knew instinctively where to go. Of course it was not all of a sudden. It took many hours of practice. 


November 30. Good afternoon. It is another day and my page is not so blank. How quickly time and the day gets away on me when I am not centered and without a plan. I am easily distracted with stuff even though I have no need. And more time is wasted on being distressed by my weakness. I have to let it go. I cannot get the time already spent back. I am having trouble pushing through my hurdles. Do I need to lower the bar a bit or leap a little higher? Which way should I go? I’ve been in this race for a long time. I’m not getting any younger. I cannot afford baby steps. I hate that term – baby steps, don’t you? I am not a baby. I need to stop whining and treading water. If I can’t make a giant step forward, I can break it down to bold steady steps onward. Stop the crying and excuses. Let’s go!


November 26. Another good morning. Another new day and blank page. The sun is smiling on me through the windows of my sunroom. I am surrounded by my clutter. That hasn’t changed. Perhaps I should not focus my thoughts on the clutter so much. More focus seem to have resulted in more chaos. It is a perplexing paradox. I shall set it aside for consideration in my spare idle moments.

I am not as gleeful as I want or could be. Perhaps I should do something about it. The sun is out. I should go for a walk and return some books to the library. Fresh air and exercise could resuscitate my drooping spirit.  I am torn though between that and tapping out more words here. But the sun is winning. I shall walk while the sun shines. My words can wait. I might have to work to dig them out later. It is the price I can afford. 


November 27. And so it is another new day. I never came back to the page after my walk yesterday. It was a longer walk than I had anticipated or remembered. It went on and on forever before I got to the library. My books felt heavier with every step. However, it was very worth it, being such a beautiful sunny day. I was mesmerized by the loveliness of trees in winter, their arms bared of summer leaves, twisting and reaching up to the sky. 

I was so happy to discover the library was opened when I finally arrived. Other times they were not opened or did not open till noon on the weekend. They had provisions for returning books through a slot. I was not concerned about that though. I was in need of a sit down and rest before making my way back home. It was wonderful to rest in the sunny sitting room. Finding another John Grisham novel, Sooley was an added bonus.

Today I am not so fortunate. There is no sun but I am lucky that I have my own sitting room, much like the one in the library though smaller. I’m always surrounded by light. Some days are brighter than others and I am grateful for any and all the light I get. I have to count my blessings however small they are some days. Today I am:

  • grateful that my heart is open to receiving.
  • grateful for my sunroom.
  • grateful for being in the centre of 3 city libraries. 


Photo by Keira Burton on

November 24. Good morning/afternoon. It’s another new day, another blank page. The day is not quite so new or clean any more. It is almost noon. I’m having my second cup of tea after my morning exercise class. I’m trying to reset and clear my mind of negative thoughts and feelings that have crept in. I wonder how that happened when nothing has happened at all. I wonder if I can dust and sweep them out. They are not strangers to me. I am not so frighten of them any more. I have accepted and made peace with them. They are all parts of me – the good, bad and ugly. Rumi’s poem, The Guest House says it well.

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Today I am working on Pages in my iCloud on iMac. I had lost it along with Numbers and Keynotes when I did an update of my IOS. It was very upsetting at the time but after much wasted energy and needless stress, I somehow got them on iCloud. Lesson learned – things don’t stay broken. When things break or fall apart, it forces me to change, to search for different/better ways of being/doing. I can look at it as the silver lining of a bad situation.

I’m reminded of Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times. We are deep in those difficult times now. It should not be a surprise that I have some anxiety and other bad feelings. I have the book. I should read it. It does me no good sitting on the shelf. And on this note, I shall close up with my gratitude list.

  • I am grateful I have the love of words and books.
  • I am grateful I have rediscovered my love of music and spending time each day to listen to my library.
  • I am grateful to have found Jodie Picoult’s Sing You Home in the library. It’s about music therapy, hence leading me to my music collection.


November 24. Good morning! It’s another new day and another blank page. I thought I would talk about writing since I am reading Stephen King’s On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft. It’s a very good read. He is a very successful writer. I would heed his advice. That’s the biggest light bulb moment for me just now – to listen to those humble successful people. I’ve wasted so much energy and time on little pesky critical thinking-they-know-it-alls. Come to think of it now, I’m guilty of being a know-it-all myself. Eeek! Writing can be illuminating, spotlighting my own flaws. It’s like dust motes in sunlight. Now that I know, I will do better. No more unsolicited advice.

Stephen King’s advice to be successful at writing is that you have to read and write alot. I have been reading since I can read, first in Chinese and then in English. I have long since lost my Chinese. I had only a grade 2 when we came to Canada, but I could read my mother’s Chinese books. Being 8 or 9 years old, my mother didn’t want me to read her adult fiction books. Shed encouraged me to read newspapers and to learn English. You can imagine what happened with that advice. 

I HAD to learn English. It came easily with the help of Dick, Jane, Sally, Spot, Puff and my teacher, Miss Woodall. I can’t remember the exact moment that I held up my hand to ask permission when I felt nature calling. Before that I just got up and left the classroom and went to the basement where the batheooms were. I am surprised I remember all that and their names after all these years! I’m at an age where my memory is deteriorating. Writing is good for brain health. It would be so much better if I can make it a regular daily morning habit. My mutterings could serve as my memory and mood board. It could serve as my brain health chart.

Books were and still are good friends. Libraries are happy places for me. We didn’t have a library in our little town then. A library on wheels came to town maybe once a month. I think you can get more books more often by ordering through the mail. I can’t remember how that worked but the postage was free. I read many of the Little House on the Prairies , Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys books through that system. Then there were Little Women, Little Men, the Bobbsey Twins and…

Enough now for today. Keeping it simple, let me finish with my 3 daily gratitudes.

  • I am grateful for this morning’s ski in the North and South Park. The track was not great today but still ski-able. I got fresh air and exercise.
  • I am grateful for today’s mobility class. We ran through a range of exercises for various joints. I always come out feeling better than before.
  • I am grateful my mood is improving. I am feelings bits of sparkling joy.


November 23. Another new day, another blank page. I’m starting today with my gratitude list.

  • I’m grateful I had a good night’s sleep.
  • I’m grateful for another day.
  • I’m grateful I have a plan

My plan going into 2023 is keeping things simple and practicing good housekeeping in everything. I will borrow some of Marie Kondo’s ideas. Not that I know a lot about her method, but I do love this part of her philosophy. 

The KonMari Method is a simple but effective tidying method, ensuring you will never again relapse to clutter. It uses a unique selection criterion – choosing what sparks joy! You are not choosing what to discard but rather choosing to keep only the items that speak to your heart. Through tidying, you can reset your life and spend the rest of your life surrounded by the people and things that you love the most. 

I love the idea of sparkling joy. Who wouldn’t? It takes work and thought. It doesn’t just happen. I had it for a long spell, then lost it. That’s how life is. Now I’m working on how to get it back. It will be better now that I am conscious of what I’ve lost. In this moment of not so many sparkles, I remember going to bed looking forward to the morning. I like working on stuff. Working on myself is loving and pampering myself.

I will be a detective, examining and assessing everything to see if they will help or deter, build or wreck. In that light, I will not update this MacBook just now. i’m keeping things simple. Everything is working good enough. Pages is working pretty slick with a word count. It is bringing me joy. Keeping it simple, this is enough for today. Onward with life. 


Day 27 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I am grateful that I have this platform to work from. It’s proving to be a valuable tool for me to get my thoughts organized and to get things done. I like to start off with my gratitude list.

  1. I am grateful for another sunny October day. Today I rode in the truck with the guy to this workshop and walked home. I had my exercise and 20 minutes with myself.
  2. I am grateful that I finally can finally play the C Major scale with both hands individually and together fairly smoothly.
  3. I am grateful I received my Rider Tarot deck today.

My day was busier than I planned but it was all good. I had wanted to make Ackee and salted fish rice this morning but upon reviewing the steps on the YouTube video, I rescheduled it for another day.


October 28th, Day 28 of the Ultimate Blog Challlenge. I didn’t finish yesterday’s post. It got too late and I was tired. So I am doing an add-on. It’s what I am trying to do each day, adding on more good habits till I feel it’s ENOUGH! already. What have I been adding on? Ok. First it’s writing every day. Then adding on daily piano practice. Add on 3 things I’m grateful for. Add on 3 other things from my 21 tiny habits list. Add on a daily walk. Yesterday I added on clearing and cleaning one section of my linen closet and 2 sections of my own closet. That was plenty. Funny how dust gets in closed doors. I took all the towels and put them through the air cycle on the dryer to get them dusted. I did the same for my clothes. It took a few cycles and going up and down the stairs to and from the dryer.

I’ve reached my limit! No add-ons for today. I suppose I could count going to the library as an add-on. I surely didn’t feel like it after my walk. But it was on my to-do list. I wanted the books waiting there for me. That was enough to push me forward but this is it. I am done. Tomorrow I am going to make the Ackee and salted fish rice. It made me think of Harry Belafonte singing Jamaica Farewell. It’s a good way to end. He can sing and move.


Day 26 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. 6 more posts to write. I hope for no writer’s block or stumbling and falling off my keyboard till after they’re all written. Let me start by offering my 3 gratitude for the day.

  1. I’m grateful for another beautiful sunny day. The greenhouse got up to a high of 21.4℃ in the afternoon. There’s hope of the baby bitter melons maturing. I harvested 4 small ones to give my mother. It’s enough for a meal for her and my father.
  2. I’m grateful Zoom was working for my online class from our university. We had 2 very interesting speakers on the post pandemic world. One spoke on the politics before, during and now. The other speaker was a nursing faculty. He spoke on nursing education, nursing and the pandemic. I am a retired nurse so it was of special interest. I was in it for over 30 years and retired 9 years ago. I loved my job but I never defined myself as a nurse. Curious. One day I will give it some thought.
  3. I am grateful for my walk this afternoon to the guy’s boat workshop. I haven’t gone for many walks since we’ve lost our dog, Sheba. It was a 20 minute walk along the same route Sheba and I walked many times. I caught a ride home. I think it would be another good daily habit. I greatly enjoyed the exercise, fresh air and scenery along the way.

I’m looking through my list of 21 tiny habits. I think it’s a good habit to do it daily if I can.

  • I did exercise upon waking. I go through my c.a.r.s daily. I feel, move and sleep the better for it. It takes just minutes in the morning while I wait for the kettle to boil. I like to do a longer version in the evening while watching television.
  • Discover one thing a month. I discovered Tarot cards from another blogger in the UBC. I’m surprised it’s so interesting. I am reading The New Tarot Handbook by Rachel Pollack now and hope to get my cards soon, like tonight or tomorrow.
  • I have and tried to throw out one or 2 no longer needed things. I’ve trashed some obsolete photos from my desktop.

I think I’m doing pretty hunky dory for old gal. I’m still plunking away on the piano, making small progress. It is very small progress with the scales in my Brown Scale Book. I’m still working on the first 2 sets of C Major. But I’ve added Lavender’s Blue to my repertoire. It’s helping me make videos and it does help my playing hearing myself. My timing isn’t terrible but I’m too slow and I hesitate.


I saw September come in through a blanket of fog. Not a pleasant nor cheery sight first thing in the morning. However, looks can be deceiving. As soon as I step outside the ambience changed. The grey receded. The vibrant colours of the garden rushed out to greet me. The world seems to be holding its arms out to me. There’s spaciousness where there was none before.

I have learned over the years not to be disheartened and fooled by first impressions. They can be wrong. What started out as a gloomy day has turned out to be a beautiful sunny afternoon. The sky did get darker and darker after the fog. Then we had a splash of rain. That’s how it is this year with the weather and everything else – unpredictable. It is what is here and we have to show up no matter what. Despite it all, as corny as the cliche sounds, life does go on.

September 1. School has started. My street is busy as all get out with traffic. I live near 2 high schools and I just can’t believe how many teenagers have or have access to cars and driving themselves to and from school. I was dumb enough to get caught up going to the library just when school was out. What’s wrong with walking, biking or taking the bus? I never owned a car until I was in my late 20s. I guess you can argue that it is safer to drive in your own car than taking public transportation these days. But this has been the trend way before Covid-19.

Talking about Covid, our province isn’t doing so well. In the last 30 days, the number of active cases has increased by 400 per cent. And Saskatoon is the hot spot in the province. Not good news to start a new season or school year. And not too much news from the provincial government about what they plan to do. It’s what’s here on this September 1. I guess I could cry me a river but what good would that do? So let me count what I have to be grateful for instead.

  1. I didn’t have the want to sleep till spring fatigue today.
  2. I still have fresh veggies to give to my mother. Today I gave her a cabbage and carrots.
  3. My recent seeding of radishes, spinach, peas and daikon at the community garden have germinated and growing.
  4. I went to the library today and got some awesome reads.
  5. The sun is still shining.
  6. The greenhouse is still doing great.
  7. I wrote this post. Not Pulitzer Prize material but words, nonetheless.


No two days and mornings are the same. I’m not the same any two days. I want to be full of vim and vinegar every day. I want to bounce out of bed every morning with joie de vivre. It’s not that I got out on the wrong side this morning. Not at all. I felt quite alright but then felt stuck after breakfast. I was very annoyed but somehow there was no flow. I felt the stagnancy and meaningless of things. Is it a by product of Covid-19? I’m tired of all the related news of numbers, cases, deaths, vaccines, anti-maskers, conspiracy theories. Round and round in endless circles.

Forgive me. I am just ranting, letting off steam. My brain got into a glitch. It got a little derailed. I was thinking too much. Nothing and everything changes at the same time. I wonder why that is. Enough thinking already. When there is no flow, I have to work to create it. Instead of sinking into despondency, I can make a gratitude list. Instead of thinking of what I don’t have, I can think of what I have. I can make a list of what I have done instead of feeling lazy and useless. I can fill my bucket with happy thoughts and moments. I can change my thoughts, therefore my feelings.

I can make it simple. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s a practice of pushing forward and onward for this 4th day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

Today I am grateful for:

  • a sunny warmer day
  • I had a good night’s sleep
  • that I am healthy
  • I have a nice home
  • I have a greenhouse
  • I have food on the table

This is what I have done today:

  • clean and dusted everything in the bedroom
  • did a load of laundry
  • made lunch and wash the dishes
  • transplanted kohlrabi seedlings into bigger pots
  • seeded a tray of peas
  • Water all the plants in the greenhouse and beds
  • read a few pages in With God in Russia
  • did my exercise routine with hula hoop
  • writing this post


Warmer temperatures does not always guarantee well being and energy for me. After a day’s rest I wasn’t that keen to hit the ski trail again. I did anyways. It’s my exercise regime this winter. I have given up my aerobics class and swimming due to Covid. There’s no Sheba to walk any more. Now it’s 10-15 minutes of walking to and from the park and 20-30 minutes of skiing. It’s hard work moving my arms and legs as fast as I can on sticks. To motivate myself, I time each lap. Though I am no Speedy Gonzales, I am not slipping. My time gets better or stays the same. It’s usually better on the 2nd lap after I’ve warmed up. I’m also a little faster in the opposite direction when it’s a downward slope. Figures, eh? To compare, I did the first lap up slope for a time of 10:36:14 minutes. The second down slope was 9:45.38 minutes. I skipped the third lap. Tomorrow is another day.

My worse/groaner time is after I come back from skiing. I’m tired, hot and sweaty. Then there’s all those lunch dishes staring at me. I hate it when there’s pots included. Making soup is wonderfully easy with an Instant Pot. I threw everything in – the chicken broth I made yesterday, a leftover potato, some mashed potato, a couple sticks of chopped celery, part of a rutabago, and the last of the carrots from the garden. Put the lid on and press soup. Cleaning up was not so easy – all those containers that held the leftovers, the pot, bowls, plates and utensils. Then there’s the fridge. I could close my eyes but I’ve done that for a few days already. It was mostly empty, a good time to wipe off. Now all that is finally done. I’m sitting, sipping my last cup of tea for the day. It’s good to groan and sigh it out. To be repeated tomorrow.

Sometimes I feel that life is dang hard. But really, my life is a piece of cake. Feel good doctors say, Don’t watch the news at bedtime. I say the news last night -the storm in Texas, the Covid outbreak in Newfoundland, the vulnerable people during this pandemic, the crack down of protestors in Myanmar – made me feel so grateful. This morning I listened to Melissa Fung talk about the young girls that were abducted by Boko Haram in Nigeria. I have nothing to complain about, not even the bitter cold and Covid. I have food, warm shelter and safety. When I feel that life is hard, it would be good to remember last night’s news and be grateful for what I have. Even when I feel least like it, I just do it.