I’m sitting here with my second cup of tea. I’m staring at my paper pile, readying, steeling myself to delve into them. My resolve not to let everything get into a clutter AGAIN had melted and I’m fallen into the same rabbit hole again. Having resolves, choosing a word for the year, making lists, self help books – all these tools have not work for me. So I ask myself: why keep using them? Clearly it’s an indication for change. And here’s that word again – CHANGE. How many times have I written about change? Have I changed? Clearly not! I’m in a pickle.
I shouldn’t beat myself up so. I HAVE made little bits of change here and there. I like to think that I’ve stopped working on relationships that doesn’t work. I’ve stopped blaming myself that it’s all my fault, that I’m not kind enough, generous enough, blah, blah, blah. Sometimes it is good to reread your journals, even though you’re not suppose to. They advise you not to look/read back, to burn them. I could’t quite do them all in and have read back. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve whined and whined about the same things/people/situations for decades. I think that’s call being stuck.
I’m slowly learning – not to blame myself. I’m thinking of watching a bee stuck in a spider’s web the other day. It struggled and struggled and finally broke free and flew off. So it’s taking me a little longer to break free. It’s better later than never. Some people are stuck forever in the webs they wove around themselves. I’m grateful that I can test out my new wings even just a little bit. Freedom is not just another word for nothing left to lose.
Freedom is ridding my piles of paper clutter, dust and outdated and expired thoughts, feelings and what-have-yous. It will take some doing but if I have courage and tenacity, I can chip away at them one day at a time. After all, they were accumulated over years and decades. I was hoping against hope that I could hit the DELETE button and they would be gone. Nothing is ever that easy even though we can send men into space and we can FaceTime with someone on the other side of the globe.
I’ve been working on this post for awhile, over a week. I’m in a bit of a dither this morning. I’m sure we had frost overnight. Even though I was organized in taking all the tomatoes off the vine and covering all my tenders, I see that the cover had blown off my precious Sunburst squash. It has many little squashes still trying to grow up. Oh, well, I can’t save everything. And though it is still early morning, the phone lines to everywhere are experiencing higher than normal volume of calls. One has to dial 911 nowadays to get a real person. I must calm down and not to get my panties in a knot. So I had to leave a message with a message for them to leave a message if I can’t come to the phone when they call. And I will call back with a message to confirm.
I’m feeling super cranky. I will go outside and to the greenhouse to get a dose of natural serotonin. The sun is out and I mustn’t stay grumpy. The clock is ticking.
It is the 11th day of August and the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I’ve missed a day again. Time is elusive, hard to grasp. It’s like holding onto water. It slips slides away faster, the harder you try to hold onto it. Before it does today, I’m sitting down, my fingers are on the keyboard, to have this conversation. I’ve come back from grocery shopping with my parents. I’ve unloaded and carried theirs into their house. Mine are sitting on the kitchen floor. No perishables. They will be alright.
Sometimes you just have to drop everything just to have some time/things for yourself. You can run yourself ragged if you don’t. I have that habit of doing, of being productive, of doing/giving for others, trying not to being selfish. Sometimes I end up feeling neglected, resentful with mean thoughts. It’s no one’s fault except mine own. I recognize my flaw, my incorrect thinking. Now I try not to fall into that hole as much. Now I try not to share all of me and what I have. It is nice to keep some thoughts/things just for myself.
It was difficult not to give this bitter melon to my mother but I fought the urge. I told myself I had given her one already and there are 2 more little ones growing on the vine. And she has been complaining she got too much fresh vegetables. Everyone is giving her so much. So I kept this pretty one and cooked it just for myself. It was quite delicious, not that bitter at all. Pretty good for my first adventure growing and cooking a bitter melon. I hope I will get a few more than 2 though it is getting late in the season.
I know I inherited/learned this trait from my mother. She’s always giving/sharing all of her stuff. It’s hard to refuse. I’m trying to learn to be gracious about it. After all, they’re gifts and she is almost 90. It probably makes her feel good she can still give. Like mother and daughter, we find it hard to take. She is learning, too, to take as well as give.
I’m enjoying puttering around the house on this cold day in Saskatchewan. We had a -1℃ last night. We have a few more ahead before it’s over. But our passive solar greenhouse is doing fabulously. It was 19.5℃ while only 2℃ outside a couple of hours ago. Now it has dropped to 17.3℃. It has been cloudy all day. I am learning to ground myself in household duties instead of crying the woes.
It was soothing to sew my quilt block this morning by the fireplace. I feel the warm of the fire. There is comfort in touching the fabric. I see the different colours and patterns. I hear the whir of my Bernina as it stitch the seam. I look up and I see my daffodils and tulips out the window. The cat is beseeching me to put in a geranium in its pot. Soon, kitty, soon.
It feels good to be in the moment, not to be scattered and distracted every which way. I’m learning to ground myself in the present moment, sewing in silence. I’m not listening to the radio, to the voices of happenings over which I have no control. I did listen to a couple of short video clips from Therapy in a Nutshell on grounding and other mental health tips. I’m a self-help addict and I’m always opened to learning how to make things better and easier for myself.
Today is a good day, despite the cold and the grey sky. I almost lost this post just now. I better quit while I’m still ahead for this 20th day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.
It’s almost 4 in the afternoon. I’ve just sat down with my instant coffee. What I would like to do is have a little snack and watch an episode of Miss Marple. The trouble is I’ve signed up for the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I have a blog post to write. This is only day 3. Too early to skip out. I can keep it simple though. AND this is the start of the 3rd week of cutting back on food. A little snack here and there adds up. I like to make a serious effort for a month and make an assessment of how to proceed.
I didn’t forget my online class this morning like I did last week. It was the last one on the rise and fall of Mussolini. History is very interesting and Mussolini is a fascinating man. I am sure that there is so much more to learn than what can be covered in 8 2-hour classes. I’m learning about another fascinating though not as widely known man in history. He is Fr. Walter Cisek. He was an American Jesuit priest who spent 23 years in the Soviet Union. 18 of those years were as a prisoner and 15 of those years in the labour camps of Siberia.
I’m not quite halfway through his book, With God in Russia. It was a recommendation from Caroline Myss. She talks about it on many of her lectures. I knew it was a must read for me. I had reserved it from our library. It took almost a year for me to finally get it. And I would say that it came at a most apporpriate time. Talk about faith, challenges and strength. I think it would be a good read for those anti-maskers and covid deniers. I like to hear them talk about how the government is trying to take away their freedom after they have read the book.
Now I have to have a little snack. I feel a sugar low coming. I would not fare well in a labour camp. Who knows though until I find myself in that situation. Fr. Cisek himself admitted that he was a hoodlum and a bully when he was young. Then he got the call and he answered it and never wavered, not even for a second. Not even as a prisoner in Russia. I have heard a similar call a few years back. I answered, too and have kept faith in my own way. But I do have a lot to learn from Fr. Cisek.
March 17th, Wednesday morning. It’s almost 9 am. The sun is weak like tepid tea. I am, too. No get up and go. I sit, sip and tap. There’s no need to rush off to anything. I used to like to sew my quilt blocks in the early morning. It was still in the winter dark. I would turn on my feel good bright lamp, the radio and the fireplace. It was cosy and comforting, stitching up, cutting and ironing. All the while I’m listening to what is happening in Saskatchewan.
Now that the sun is rising earlier I rather sit and bask in its bright or not so bright light. I’ve had my fill of listening to the radio, especially the news. It’s all about the Covid, the vaccines and side effects. Have you noticed that all conversations are about that? It is all so very heavy and fatiguing. And yet we can’t seem to talk about anything else. Our National news is the same. The whole hour mostly focused on that, night after night for a whole year now. Oh, Donald Trump and the U. S. election did break through. But what about the rest of the world, the rest of life?
I am getting rather comfortable in my little bubble. I am happy with sewing my quilt squares, starting seedlings and messing and checking up in the greenhouse. I am reluctant to venture out. A trip to Costco was a major deal in my head. I had to take the guy with me. When we got there, it was no big deal. He was handy in pushing the cart and unloading things into the car. I feel I always struggled with bulky and weighty packages. Even visits with my parents feels big and problematic. I would have to do some head and mind clearing first. What a sad sack I am, heh?
My first vaccine shot is about 2 weeks away. I think I will head back to the gym and pool a couple of weeks after that. I miss the challenge of physical activity. It is the best medicine for my physical and mental health. It’s a-get-out-of-the-house prod. Being dour by nature, I have to work very hard to be in a good mental space. It’s a good thing. I have something to do all the time. I could not very well stay in a puddle or down the rabbit hole. I’m a very slow learner. I’m slow at everything but like the tortoise I can win some races.
Here’s my autobiography by Portia Nelson:
Autobiography in Five Short Chapters I. I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost. I am helpless. It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find a way out. II. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I still don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I am in the same place. It isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out. III. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it there, I still fall in. It’s habit. It’s my fault. I know where I am. I get out immediately. IV. I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it. V. I walk down a different street.
It’s 10 am Sunday. 5℃ outside, 9℃ in the greenhouse. It was 4.3℃ at 7:30 this morning. I can leave things uncovered at night. But it would be just my luck that the temperature would plunge if I did that. I will be patient and careful till April. It will be good exercise walking back and forth to the greenhouse now that my ski season is over. I will keep up with the routines to keep my head and heart healthy.
Sundays are for bacon, eggs and sourdough pancakes. For a moment I had thought today was Saturday but then I remembered our breakfast. Where would we be without these time reminders? And Saturdays used to be swim mornings and breakfast at A&W after once or twice a month. Saturdays used to be dusting chores when I was a child. I had to do some laundry, too. That was before we had a washing machine. I learned to use a washboard and to rub the cloth between my hands. My mother was preparing me for when she had to go to the hospital to have my little brother. Even though my grandmother came to stay during that time, I was expected to do the chores.
My mother prepped me well for life. I know how to keep house, mend and sew, pay bills and not live beyond my means. I never had to cook though. I guess I learned from observation and trial and error when out on my own. Her passion for us was education. She made sure we had time for homework and studies. She only had the opportunity of Grade 3 in China but she never stopped learning. I guess I got the bug from her. If something catches my interest, I’m off investigating and experimenting. That’s how I got into the sourdough. It was a year or two before the Covid-19. It started with just a bit of water and flour. Thank goodness for Google and the generosity of people who want to share their knowledge. The little bits of water and flour grew and tranformed into loaves and pancakes. It’s somewhat magical. You can learn anything if you have a mind to.
It’s no wonder I failed NaNoWriMo both times I tried. Writing can be strenuous and I am seldom an Energy Bunny. I have my bright moments but I burn out quickly. My plate is rather small. I can handle only small portions. I try to do them daily. I will not crank out an amazing novel this month. I won’t be able to total up to 50,000 words by month end. That would entail writing 1,700 words daily, an impossible task for me. I tend to be a Hallmark card writer – short and sweet.
Short and sweet works on a busy day. It doesn’t have to be creative or poetic. Just get to the point. Put down the facts. I can analyze and deduce at a later date. Yesterday was such. I was very tired but I pushed through to post here. It’s a recording of seeding the vegetable greens. It showed what kind of greens, the temperature in the greenhouse and the date.
My mental list for today was a 7 am swim. I cancelled it at bedtime knowing how tired I was. I don’t have to do everything. It will give someone else a spot to swim instead of me just not showing up. I’m learning to be more thoughtful and methodical in this Covid time. It was a good move because getting up during the night caused me considerable back pain. Was it the shovelling of dirt and lugging it to the greenhouse? Did I worked out too hard in my morning exercise class? I obviously didn’t do either right. Not hip hinging but bending over incorrectly.
It occurred to me the water might have been beneficial. But I can’t second guess myself. The quiet time of nothing to do in the morning was heaven, the best rest and pain reliever. The tylenol didn’t hurt. Time out also allowed me opportunity to view some videos on greenhouses and growing vegetables in cold climates. Not all videos are equal though. Some are boring because the presenter was long winded. Some took forever to get to the jist even though there were interesting and useful information. My favourite guy is the OYR Frugal & Sustainable Gardening. It helps that he is a musician and has a cat. Have a look for yourself.
I now know that I already made mistakes seeding in planters instead of right in the ground. Things freeze easier in planters. Our raised beds in the greenhouse are not yet made. I was in a hurry. I felt the march of time towards winter. But no worries. Making mistakes is probably the best teacher. Besides, we have no idea what will happen in the greenhouse this winter. We don’t know what this winter will be like. Having both, seedings in planters and the raised beds will give us simultaneous comparisons. All is not loss. There’s much to be gained from mistakes.
I’ve taken some temperature readings in the greenhouse over the course of the day. Keep in mind, we do not have a door yet, just a sheet for the covering. It will make for a quicker loss of heat once the sun goes down.
1C no sun
14C no sun
That’s it for my day. No heroic deeds but a few steps around the neighbourhood. It’s a nice habit to get back to. How strange our weather. It was a balmy 14 degrees Celsius. I sat in the sun and meditated with my little monk when I got back. Then I harvested basil from my desktop garden, chopped them up and infused with olive oil in an ice cube tray to freeze for future use. A nice, aromatic end.
I’m mad as hell. I’m going to take it but I’m not wasting it. All that pent up energy going to waste. No sir! It’s fuel. I’m putting it use. I’m not letting it turn into methane gas. We have too much of it already.
So I had my rant, stomped my and screamed a bit. Then I donned my warm jacket and my YWCA Take Back the Light toque from last year and headed out the door. -2 Celsius was nothing when I’m all fumed up. It was beautiful and sunny. The neighbourhood was lit up by autumn colours. I walked by Carol’s (Sheba’s sitter) old house. I see the chair lift in the front. I am reminded of how minor my problems are. A few houses down Dracula was sleeping in his coffin. That was until I walked by. Then the coffin creaked open and he slowly rose. How Sheba used to always barked and balked at this.
A little harmless Halloween scare is good for the soul. It’s better than being pissed with steam coming out of my ears. I try not to be my old self but I don’t always win. So now I’m trying to let it go, look for the gold and enjoy life. My sleep has been disturbed these last while by my neighbour’s light on her garage. It casts a giant panarama bright enough for a movie set, I am sure. It’s on all night and looks like will be 24/7. Yes, I’ve approached her with various solutions. We even invited her in for a glass of wine. She was opened in changing to a different less glaring lightbulb. But it is of same wattage. It is better but it still casts light through my venetians and reflect on the wall. She already has another light on 24/7 on the side of the garage and a motion sensor light above her back door which she does not turn on at night.
So after a night of sleeping pill aid, I let her know that the light was still a problem. From her answer and our past history, I know that she is not opened at all. It is up to us to make the changes. And we will. We don’t want responsibility for her falling or robbed and attacked because of poor lighting. It’s good to remember the onus rests on yourself. You will never go wrong there. I will get the guy to install some nice curtain rods. I will create and design some nice embroidered ones. My mind is easing and creating already. I am a creator, not a fumer. Lesson learned.
It’s Saturday, the day my fur baby left for doggy heaven. We miss her but life goes on as the saying goes. It is true. It does. For everything that happens, the world still spins on its axis as it rotates around the sun. And we are all going along with it. Saturday is still my favourite day even though she is no longer here with me physically. My memories of her are warm and sweet.
I will have none of the bitter sweet stuff. I am careful of my thoughts and what I feed my brain. Loss and the end of things can be/are painful but it is the natural order of things. There is a beginning, middle and an ending to all living things. The challenge lies within our finiteness. We don’t have forever. Time is precious like water. I don’t want it to drain/waste away. This is one of those AHA moments I’ve encountered in this Ultimate Blog Challenge.
I’m learning when to turn off the tap. There’s no point in bashing my head against the wall on things I can’t change. I’ve only hurt myself. It is insanity to keep doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome. Things are not complicated but we make it so. I am having fun and learning as well in this round of the Challenge. Sometimes it is challenging, trying finding the time to write every day and read others and comment as well. But I also find it motivating. I just do the best I can. We are all different. I admire those who does it so well. I try to return visits when I can.
As you can see, I AM finding my way around this new WordPress thing. In the end it turns out the same. I was stuck on the classic version. I hung on with tooth and nail – till they took it away. I was forced into changing. The change is good for my brain’s neuroplasticity. I was hanging onto Sheba hard, too. I couldn’t hang on forever. I have my sweet memories without the bitter part. She was the most pretty and happy girl. I love her.
So here it is, the 2nd day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I’m eager to start my day. I’m ready to put the pedal to the metal and wham! I’m faced with an obstacle, a huge stumbling block. WordPress has changed – with no instructions. Egad! Life is like that. This is art imitating life. I best just get on with it and tap. I’m here. Let me enjoy the experience of trial and error. It’s what I’m good at – tapping without instructions.
I’m a little disconcerted at the moment. It might take me a little to get this post together. I’m faced with a big blank page without all those gizzmo. There are no sidebars. It’s like swimming in the ocean. No edge of the pool to hang on to in case of drowning. But I’ve uploaded a cover photo. I like it. I can write on it. I can move it to left, right or middle. So far I haven’t figured out how to resize it. No matter. It looks good. I can go like this for the whole month. And sometimes the things you need just pop out at you in the moment. I’ve just found where the word count is clicking on the i with a circle around it. Life can be fun and informative if you show up.
I have this motto: No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up. I borrowed it from Regina Brett. It’s a pretty good one and she is a pretty neat lady. Wow, I found how to add a link on this new WordPress thing-a-ma-jig! Now if I can figure out how to add tags, everything else would be a bonus. But carrying on, showing up is a big thing. Many times I’ve been present in body but not mind. I’m sure I’ve missed many moments but I’m not going to cry over spilt milk. Let me start from this moment, to be in the moment and appreciate what I have.
I love my early morning moments when the rest of the world is still asleep. I see my world through a clearer lens. The other morning I saw and felt the pleasure of my surroundings. I saw the sunlight playing on the wall and floor. I could see from my place in the sunroom – the dining room and all the way to the livingroom. I was fully present in the moment. It felt magical.
I think I have had enough fun for now. It is very cool, this new WordPress. I’ve discovered how to resize photos and where to add tags. I better quit while I’m ahead. I’ll be back for more fun tomorrow.