November 2, the second day of a new month. I’m still motivated and since it is NaNoWriMo I could come to this space and write a post a day. I don’t have it in me to write a novel of 50,000 words in 30 days. I have tried to a couple of times and failed. I’m a woman of few words. I believe what I have to say is more important than the number of words. It could be that I am just comforting myself with that idea. It works. Comfort is what is needed in November.

I am still pleased with myself on how I am staying on course with my missions began in October. Some days are better than others. No matter how they are, I keep plodding along. If I do fall and I have, I pick up where I had left off. I do not think I am behind. It’s a phrase I picked up from The FlyLady. I’ve been on this self-help, self-improvement gig a long time. Even though I am no longer a FlyLady follower, some things stick, coming back to help me along this road. I never give up. I pick myself up,dust myself off and continue on. The road of life is very interesting. There are many things to see and learn.

It just happens that I am reading novels about the times of the Depression and the Dust Bowl. The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah and Whose Names Are Unknown by Senora Babb are excellent reads. The Four Winds was published in 2021. Whose Names Are Unknown was written in the 1930s, not published till 2006. These stories of those difficult finanical times and ecological disasters are revelant to what is happening in today’s pandemic and climate change world. They also remind me of our early years in Canada as immigrants. They were lean though we had a roof over our heads, warm clothing and we never went hungry. Our little rented 2-room house was between the cafe and the town outhouse. Often it was mistaken for the outhouse. It had a pot-belly stove and peeling floors. We lived in the community but we were not of the community. It was no one’s fault. I’ve never felt despair. Difficult times prepared me for living.

November 3. I woke to see snow on the ground. I felt it before I saw it. It was not enough to light up the world. It was still pitch black at 6 am and -5℃. It got colder to -7℃ but the sun is shining on me at 9:22 am. The greenhouse is sitting at 6℃. I hope the sun will linger though the forecast calls for clouds. Traffic is moving slow on this first day of snow. It is backed up from Taylor to 8th Street as we are on the only street out of StoneBridge. I wonder what could happen if there was a huge emergency. How will vehicles get in and out? Best not to think about such things so early in the morning. Bad things might not happen if we don’t think on it. Somehow, I don’t think things work that way. Just look at history. Wish we could/would learn from it. Wish we could do better. If horses were wishes.

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 is a new day, a new month and a new beginning. Beginnings hold many promises and challenges. I am joining the Ultimate Blog Challenge again. It’s a good opportunity to reconnect with old members of the community and to meet new ones. It’s a good opportunity to learn from each other. November is national novel writing month. I’ve always wanted to write a novel, a memoir. Who hasn’t? Though I’ve tried NaNoWriMo a few times, I’ve failed miserably. It’s hard to come up with 50,000 words in 30 days. It would mean writing 1,666.6 words daily. When I set up this blog, I had intended writing 1000 words daily. Hence, the name onethousandandtwo.

I had high hopes and reaching high in my first days. I have learned that I have troubled getting 500 words at a time. I am a Hallmark type of a gal in writing. Too bad they are not hiring. I could write smart and snapping postcard greetings. Not to be discouraged and fail totally, I have always pushed forward with my keyboard and be satisfied with what my tapping brings forth. I have no business to promote. It is difficult to come up with a theme or a goal. Mostly it is mutterings of my daily grind. It’s no wonder I don’t have a huge following. That has never been my purpose so I am not hugely disappointed.

What I hope for this month of November is to show up every day. This could be my 2021 NaNoWriMo effort. I could strive to live up to the name of onethousandandtwo. I wonder how do-able that is. Would I have enough content? Could I be that long winded and keep the readers’ interest once they get here? Good questions for me to consider. It would be worthwhile for me to pursue these lines. It would push me out of my comfort zone. I would have to plan a little. I’ve been living too long on auto pilot. I’ve talked/tapped alot about challenges and making changes. I haven’t accomplished much because aside from talking about it, I haven’t wroked on reaching those goals.

I won’t have an easy time of it. Already I am stuck and I haven’t reached even 400 words. It is a good place to stop. Rome wasn’t built in a day. I have to build my way to 1000 words. I am starting November off on a good foot. It’s a beautiful sunny day. I had another early morning walk and the first UBC post.


November is the hardest month, especially without snow to light up the grey. Yesterday it rained. Then snow came and melted. It was not an easy day. It was a day of pushing and prodding myself to show up and make my own sunshine. The less I show up, the less I want to. The less I talk, the less I have to say. Is there a message here? Is this a season of silence? Is it a time for me to rest and hibernate, to restore and refill my body and spirit?

There are so many things I rather not do, so many places where I don’t want to show up. It’s childish talk. I like to lay down, kick my legs up and down and have a tantrum. I don’t wanna! I don’t wanna! But who would pay attention and listen? I just have to suck it up and do those I rather nots. Life does go on, with or without me. Remember that rhetoric? It’s a truism. I don’t want to be left behind, not when I’m still breathing. I will go along for the ride. I might as well put in a good effort or else it will be a wasted trip.

I will have to pull up my socks again, stand tall and square my shoulders to face the world. It’s not so bad or hard once I’ve made the decision and begin. The words are coming back. They are marching across my screen, forming sentences and thoughts. Ideas are popping into my head and fingers as they tap on the keyboard. I feel the light and energy coming back into my body. Hope is not out of reach as fatigue and the humdrum of the everyday recedes. The ordinary is coming alive again for me. Perhaps seeing Picasso’s linocut collection on still life at the Remai Modern yesterday stirred some excitement in me. It made me think and look at things in different ways. Perhaps that’s the function of art.






November is not a good month to make changes, adopt new habits or to set the world on fire. It’s cold. It’s dark. My hibernation response is already triggered. I dream of eating and sleeping. I dream of snuggling up next to a fire with a hot chocolate.

Still, I am planning to do some changes, some renovations to the body and soul. But aren’t I always? This time around I plan to put my plans into action. I have already done a couple. I’ve upgraded my iCloud storage to 50G. Only cost $1.20/month. I hope I won’t have to keep deleting photos to make more space for awhile. Then I got brave and is installing the latest macOS – High Sierra on my iMac. I hope it will improve like they say and not create havoc.

I can’t say for sure if these 2 items will improve my life. They just might add to my wasting time habit, the thing I’m trying to eliminate. Life is full of ironies. I need to be on my toes. Focus. Be in the present moment. That is what I must do. The High Sierra is installed. It’s messing around with Photos. I hope I will like it. The Apple people are so smart. They have ways of making money every which way. In order to store all my photos in iCloud I will have to do another upgrade. I won’t bite on their hook.

Well, now I’ve identified some my biggest problem – lack of focus and addiction to gadgets. My mind is splintered in many directions. I have trouble listening to people, especially when they are giving directions. I feel as my ears are weak, sagging. Then they shut down. Or is it my mind? And how does one strengthen either? I wonder if YouTube would have an answer. That would mean messing around some more on the Internet. More wasting time. Egad!

I will chew and digest this for awhile. I can handle only small bites at one sitting. I will be back tomorrow- I hope.


IMG_3420October over, November beginning – a death and a birth.  I am a little disjointed, somewhat off course.  How to feel?  What to do with this new month?  I am not as blue as I can be, but bluish nonetheless on this grey wet day of November.

I was buoyed by the colours of October, held up by the Mindness Summit.  I had something to look forward to each morning – having tea with Melli O’Brien and her guest. What wisdom would they bring me that day? What a month it had been!  What a wonderful array of speakers.  And what a heart warming ending with Jon Kabat-Zinn.

IMG_2969October and the summit are over.  Now it is time for me to walk the path on my own.  It is not enough to have the knowledge. I have to live it – moment by moment, just as it is. It is much like the advice that Anne Lamott has on writing:  Write down as much as you can see through a one-inch picture frame. Then move to another one-inch frame.  I will have to read her book, Bird by Bird again.  It has many wise instructions on writing and life.

This first day of November is a pause, to rest into the quiet, to ready for a new month of challenges.  What will come up?  Time will tell.  I can only see in today’s picture frame. It is enough.





IMG_1914November mornings are good times to cuddle up to a cup of hot sweet Chai.  It warms up the innards and spices up the brain.  It makes you radiate sunshine even when it is dark as night out.  I’m glowing like Sheba’s ball.

I have discovered November is not the time to read serious, thought provoking short stories or books, no matter how much I admire the authors.  I’m putting away Alice Walker, Alice Munro and Carol Joyce Oates for more appropriate times.  They take me down dark rabbit holes.  Sunshine is what I crave.

IMG_1934Joy Fielding’s The First Time is what I am reading.  It is not a happy story.  It is a story of a woman in an unhappy marriage.  In the middle of all this, she discovers she has ALS. There is nothing happy about any of this and yet it does not take me to the dark place.  The book has been sitting on my book shelf for a long time – waiting for me, for the right time. There are treasures among my clutter.

It’s a restful read for a person who is restless and doesn’t know how to rest.  It takes me out of myself, out of my thoughts into the life of Mattie.  How does she cope with all her problems?  How does she cope with her diagnosis?  How does she cope with dying?  I am able to sit, read and live her days.  I can drop my nagging needling thoughts.  I’m learning to rest, to let go and be. My compulsions to control and for perfection are relaxed for awhile.

IMG_1908November is the time to cast aside my doubts, live and write freely and with heart.  I focus my attention to that one inch picture frame of Anne Lamott’s.  For this moment, I need only to pay attention to what I can see through that.  It’s a beautiful way to look at life – one picture frame at a time.  It’s living in the moment.  That’s all we can do.  Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is yet to come.  To live in regret for yesterday and yearning for the future is foolish and wasteful. WASTE NOT, WANT NOT is what I need to remind myself often.

November is the time to do all the things that make me feel good –  warm baths, hot soups, baguettes, hot chocolate, cookies, champagne.  It is a good time to romance my body and soul.







IMG_1628One should not abandon a good habit or routine.  I’m here once again with my morning Chai. My fingers are limbered and eager to tap out their words.  I’m hard pressed to say where they come from.  I never know what will come out. They just do.  They have a mind of their own.

It’s almost 8 am.  It’s still dark, dark out.  I am too watchful of the days and time.  That’s what you do when you are retired.  In other times, I would stumble out of bed at the crack of dawn.  I would dress and hustle out with Sheba for our walk before going to work.  The darkness would be just on the periphery of my consciousness.  In other times I had gone to work sick as I have been lately.  I felt I had to unless I needed life support.  Funny what we can do when there was no other choice.

So have I been whining a lot lately?  Have I turned soft and complaining too much about my lot in life?  I hope not.  I have not meant to.  I am just ventilating, breathing out the toxins.  Don’t pay attention to my negativity.  I am balancing my chi, doing a re-alignment of my chakras.  I am not an expert in chakras or chi.  I rely on my innate compass but here’s a short course in chakras from MindBodyGreen:

The 7 Chakras are the energy centers in our body in which energy flows through.
Blocked energy in our 7 Chakras can often lead to illness so it’s important to understand what each Chakra represents and what we can do to keep this energy flowing freely. Here’s our quick summary:

1. Root Chakra – Represents our foundation and feeling of being grounded.

  • Location: Base of spine in tailbone area.
  • Emotional issues: Survival issues such as financial independence, money, and food.
  • More on Root Chakra healing

2.Sacral Chakra – Our connection and ability to accept others and new experiences.

  • Location: Lower abdomen, about 2 inches below the navel and 2 inches in.
  • Emotional issues: Sense of abundance, well-being, pleasure, sexuality.
  • More on Sacral Chakra healing

3.Solar Plexus Chakra – Our ability to be confident and in-control of our lives.

  • Location: Upper abdomen in the stomach area.
  • Emotional issues: Self-worth, self-confidence, self-esteem.
  • More on Solar Plexus Chakra healing

4.Heart Chakra – Our ability to love.

  • Location: Center of chest just above heart.
  • Emotional issues: Love, joy, inner peace.
  • More on Heart Chakra healing

5.Throat Chakra – Our ability to communicate.

  • Location: Throat.
  • Emotional issues: Communication, self-expression of feelings, the truth.
  • More on Throat Chakra healing

6. Third Eye Chakra – Our ability to focus on and see the big picture.

  • Location: Forehead between the eyes. (Also called the Brow Chakra)
  • Emotional issues: Intuition, imagination, wisdom, ability to think and make decisions.
  • More on Third Eye Chakra healing

7. Crown Chakra – The highest Chakra represents our ability to be fully connected spiritually.

  • Location: The very top of the head.
  • Emotional issues: Inner and outer beauty, our connection to spirituality, pure bliss.
  • More on Crown Chakra healing

I am shaking up my chakras a little.  It is how I get myself out of the doldrums sometimes. I’m shaking them up to the music of Johnny Kidd & The Pirates.  I’ve got the quivers down the back bone, I got the shivers down the thigh bone… I feel my chakras sliding into place, in perfect alignment.

Do what you must to have a good day.  I have to stop complaining about November.  It is a wonderful month to:

  • re-align my chakras
  • simmer soup
  • make baguettes to eat with the soup
  • roast root vegetables
  • learn French
  • Zentangle and doodle
  • work on my short stories
  • work on my Jesus (cross stitch)
  • lane swim
  • plan on spring garden

I think Jesus heard me and sent out the sun.  It is beaming and smiling over my right shoulder.IMG_0769




IMG_1925I broke routine this morning and put aside my keyboard.  I spent time reading Alice Walker’s Now is the Time to Open Your Heart.

Perhaps November is not the time for such readings – of a woman on a spiritual journey, on an adventure quest, on a search for self.  It is a little disconcerting, for I am such a woman.  I have been on this long and rocky road for many a day, searching for my own lost self.

Our HouseI left my motherland many years ago, not of my own accord.  I followed my mother as she left her house and home.  We left our village.  We left our country and countrymen.  We left the aunties and grandmothers.  We left the cousins.  We crossed oceans and continents to Gold Mountain to join my father and others like him in search of THE DREAM.

Here I am many years later, still in Gold Mountain, still searching for THE DREAM.  I am tap, tapping on the keyboard.  I wonder if anyone can hear my taps.  Is it like Morse Code to them?  Can they decipher my words?

IMG_1886 November is a harsh month.  The cold grey of the sky sends shivers through my marrow. I am not fooled by its watery cool sunlight.  I am wary, on guard against all possibles.  I am warmed by the aromas of soup simmering on the stove.  That is what you do on grey November days.  You bring the warmth of summer and autumn into your house and heart however you can.  All the colours of the garden- the gold of squash, the red of tomatoes and beets, the green of kale – are simmering in the pot.  



IMG_1911November is coming in like a lion.  The yard is speckled with snow as I let Sheba out this morning. It is wet, grey and dreary.  I am reminded of another autumn, the time after I came back from a holiday in China.

It was the fall of 2001.  I had not expected that it would be so dreary and so cold.  I had expected that there would be some sunny and warm days yet to come. There would be time for me to put the yard and garden stuff away.  After all, it was still September.  But there was none.  I had to use my hairdryer to thaw out the garden hose from the outside tap.  Greyness permeated my days and being.  I had difficulties with sleep and jet lag.  It was a difficult autumn and year to follow.

Remembering that, I am watchful of myself that I don’t fall into that deep abyss again. Experience is a great teacher.  Routines and healthy habits are great aids.  I pay attention to my inner voice.  I breathe and give myself time.  A nano second can make a difference in how I see and feel.  Sometimes I fake it till I make it.  This is the time for all those would’s  and should’s.  I ask myself, how would/should a reasonable person behave?  In that nano second I ask again, Is that true?

And so, I am living my life best as I can.  I am trying again and again, struggling with all of life, struggling with my outer and inner moral compasses.  I am choosing my well-being and happiness over everything, over being right.  I’m deciding on what is best for me in the long run.  It is a difficult tug of war for my puritanical mind.  It is hard to compromise.  I’m trying hard to be kind to myself and others as well.  It is not easy but practice does make for better.

I AM making for better.  I am getting up, dressing up and showing up every day.  I am tap, tapping out the words.  They are showing me the way, lighting up this grey dreary morning.  There is no novel in me yet.  Perhaps I am afraid of letting it out.  But I am working hard.  I am still working towards my goal of 1000 words a day.  I’ve accomplished the 500/day for the month of October.  I can stretch and reach a little further this month. It’s a good way to chase the blues away.  And I’ve found help from Henry Miller via Brain Pickings this morning.


  1. Work on one thing at a time until finished.
  2. Start no more new books, add no more new material to ‘Black Spring.’
  3. Don’t be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.
  4. Work according to Program and not according to mood. Stop at the appointed time!
  5. When you can’t create you can work.
  6. Cement a little every day, rather than add new fertilizers.
  7. Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it.
  8. Don’t be a draught-horse! Work with pleasure only.

  9. Discard the Program when you feel like it—but go back to it next day. Concentrate. Narrow down. Exclude.
  10. Forget the books you want to write. Think only of the book you are writing.
  11. Write first and always. Painting, music, friends, cinema, all these come afterwards. ”

Perhaps I can write my own manifesto in this dreary month of November.  I can adopt Miller’s motto:  “When you can’t create you can work.”

I am so grateful and appreciative for the support of friends through the Internet.  Likes and comments mean a lot – most especially during this time of coughs, sniffles and I feel sorry for me.  I try to r reciprocate in kind.  There are great communities out there.  It is wonderful that we can reach out and ‘touch’ each other, no matter how far away we are.

IMG_1896There is light in these grey days of November.  I can shine despite the darkness. So let me share a little glow here. I zentangled this little chameleon from a template of Ben Kwok’s that he so generously shares on Ornation Creation. What a great group it is, too, sharing and showing their work and giving encouragement to others.


How is November treating you?