November 7. November is the hardest month. It seems like we had so many warm golden days in October. I had just gotten used to walking daily again and enjoying it immensely. All of a sudden we are plunged into the cold darkness of November. The snow came and is presently coming down big time. At least it lit up the darkness. I have taken up shoveling now instead of my walk. I have the work cut up for me. I am tired from the day.
Seeing the low temperatures in the forecast, I could not deny that winter is here. November is not remembered for sunny days. It was time to put the greenhouse to sleep till March. We harvested all the tomatoes and bitter melons before we went to bed the night before. We didn’t want to risk losing them. In the morning, the greenhouse temperature read at 1 point something Celsius with the little heater set to keep it about 6℃. After harvesting what was missed and rescuing the potted plants into the house, I unplugged the heater. The trays of plants remained on the basement floor till I can deal with them. I have spread out the tomatoes on trays so they can ripen. The bitter melons, cucumbers, peppers and slipper gourds are bagged and in the fridge.
My next chore was shrink wrapping the windows in the sunroom. It seemed like it was just yesterday that I added the sunroom. It’s been 30 years. The windows are still very good but not as weather proofed as they once were, especially the ones that can open. Shrink wrapping them seemed deceivingly simple to do in my head. They proofed otherwise. It took me all afternoon to do 3 windows – the 2 screened ones and another. Not perfect but good enough. It was an exhausting job. Good thing I’m still nimble enough to climb onto my desk. It was difficult to access one window. I’m thinking of doing 4 more now that I got the hang of it. It will keep the room warmer and save on the energy bill.
November 8. I’m none the worse this morning. I did take a Tylenol before I went to bed last night and had a good sleep. I took another one just now to help me with the day and more shoveling. I missed the lunar eclipse, not knowing there was going to be one. There won’t be another one for a long time. That’s ok. I can look at other people’s experiences and photos. I got boiled milk cooling to make yogurt. Then onward and outward to deal with the snow. I’m finishing my tumeric tea before my morning exercise to loosen and lubricate my joints. Have to keep moving. That’s the plan, adding it onto my already 22 tiny habits. It is the 23rd. I have curried pumpkin chickpea soup defrosting. It will be lunch along with garlic ribs and rice.
January 31, day 31 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I don’t know what the fig happened. I was awol (absent without official leave) for a few days – January 28, 29 and 30. I didn’t mean to. Really, I didn’t but my days got shorter. I ran out of time. I ran out of energy and I never had a plan for those kinds of days. But I am showing up to wrap up the month and the challenge. I will have a beginning, a middle and an ending to the month and challenge.
Did I fulfill my goals for this month and the challenge? The answer is yes and no. I did not show up every single day. I did not worked through the whole Unravel Your Year workbook. I looked back on most of 2021 but not ahead to 2022. I am not much of a planner. It shows up in different areas of my life. Maybe it’s something I should work on, eh? If I had a plan B, maybe I could have shown up here every single day. No use crying over spilt milk. I didn’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
I’ve come back over and over. I have done the best I could. Life is about flexibility. It’s a little of this and a bit of that. It’s a potpourri of successes, failures, boredom, elation, stumbles, falls and everything that is possible and imaginable. I am very happy that we have the UBC platform wherein I can do my mumbling, stuttering and sharing. It’s a great place to meet others from different parts of the world and in different walks and stages of life.
I’ve taken on more than I can bite for this January. Besides the UBC, I have a weekly online adult learning course from our university. The subject is on the goddesses of India. There are no examines but the subject is very new to me. I have also signed up for an in-person watercolour class. It seemed like a good idea at the time. It still is but it’s 2½ hours every Saturday for 8 weeks. Learning something new is very exhausting – for me. After the class, I’m no good for anything cerebral. I ski to unwind. Then I am done for the rest of the day. I have 3 classes under my belt now. I’m starting to have a feel for that sweet spot. It is also very easy to fall down and into making mud again. I try not to feel too elated or too downcast. This life is a journey of ups, downs and monotony. They all contribute to the texture of my days.
Today I say farewell to January and the UBC. Much thanks to Paul Taubman our maestro and to all the members of this community. I appreciate all the visits, reads and thoughtful comments. It’s been a fun and rewarding month.
It is the 17th day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. It is a good time for another review. I’ve been missing and skipping more days here lately. And it’s likely that I will not be able to finish this post tonight. Well, my purpose for this month is to carve more time for myself. There’s much to do in this merry month of May. I don’t have as much energy and focus as my younger self. Some things have to go.
It’s a blistering hot day today, up to 32℃. It was almost too hot to sit on the deck by 9 this morning. I did it anyways. At least the deck is covered, out of the sun. I opened both doors to get a breeze. I did not sit in idleness. I was transplanting little tiny seedlings into little paper pots I made. It was almost like performing neurosurgery. I think I will think twice before doing this again. I only have 4 more batches of seedlings to go.
It’s almost 8 pm. Sweat is running down my face as I sit here tapping. I hope we will get some rain after this. I won’t hold my breath though. The earth feels like it’s burning up. I can’t remember when we had some normal spring rain. And what is normal any more?
It is another day/afternoon. Not as hot as yesterday but too warm to sit on the deck. I’m chased back into the relative cool of the house. I’m trying to finish this post/review of how I am doing/progressing. Overall I think I’m making a passing grade. I don’t sweat over the small stuff as much. I don’t let my anxiety put me in the hole. It is just feelings, right? My motto of regardless of how I feel, I get up, dress up and show up still works. As inane as it sounds, life goes on. It’s a healthy treadmill to step on and keep up as best as I can. That’s all that is asked of me.
It is important how I speak to myself in the morning. Good morning, self! is a good opening. The day is then started. I get up, dressed up, wash my face, brush my teeth and show up. How I plan and face the day is important, too. There are must-do things like getting dress, brushing your teeth and showing up for a good breakfast. The next-to-dos are working on projects of sewing my quilt squares, writing this blog, my 6 minute of hula hooping, 6 minutes of marching/walking,squatting exercises. It worked well for me this morning. I even had chili cooking in the Instant Pot for lunch. I even had a trip to Early’s Garden Center for more supplies. Lunch was ready when we got home.
Tomorrow it might not go so well. A little planning and trying the best sets me up for success. I will have to remember that. Oh, I must not forget the conclusion. I am carving out more rest time. I have learn to stop and not push so hard on each and every thing. It is ok to fall behind when I am tired or short of time. There’s no must or die. Some things are not that crucial.
Here I sit before my keyboard on this second day of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I’m thinking of what useful lesson I have learned to my readers. I have all these thoughts and ideas in my head. What I haven’t learned is how to plan ahead, to make a list of things to talk about. I do almost everything off the cuff on the spur of the moment. I build from the moment that I begin an action. I’m doing just that now. I write a word, as sentence and it builds from there. I haven’t learn another way of doing things.
I did just that with my yard last month. The guy was re-doing our front walk. I watched him breaking up the old cement walk. I saw my perennial beds overgrown with irises and daylilies. I got this itch to dig. It had rained recently and the ground was soft. The call to dig became very strong. Soon, I had all the irises dug up. I started hauling the broken cement around to build new beds. I was successful in this incidence. One thing led to another and I dug up all the daylilies in the other bed. I hauled more broken cement blocks around to create another bed.
Like magic, things fell into order. The irises and lilies were divided. They found new places. I found fruit trees and other perennials on sale. They found homes in the ground before the snow fell on the weekend. I am lucky in this incidence. I couldn’t have done better even if I had planned everything ahead of time. But here on this writing challenge, I am not so fortunate. I am struggling against fatigue, dull thinking and the late hour. This is the lesson I need to learn. To give time in thinking and preparation ahead of time. I believe everything we set out to do is important. If I am going to do something, I should try to do it well.
The hour is late. My eyes are fighting to stay open. Tomorrow, tomorrow is another day. I will try to do better tomorrow.
Life, at times, seems to be made up of many necessary but tedious tasks – like cleaning and tidying up. Here she goes again! I can hear you say but it is so true. It is 2:27 pm and I’ve just sat down after preparing lunch, eating it and then what I detest the most, cleaning up. Now I’m writing about it. Ha! The tedium. I really want to have a nap now.
But I know the value of order and discipline. My nature is that I don’t really have a driving desire to do anything. If I have my druthers, I would probably be singing Freddy Fender’s, wasted days and wasted nights. I’m one of those people who needs inspiration, challenges and goals. I seldom plan. I might be in a neater, if not better place if I did. It is never too late. That’s what they tell me. I’m inspired to go that route now.
My plan is to have a plan for the day. I’ve been operating on it for a few weeks now. I’m doing the obvious, the hardest and most hated stuff. What is difficult for me is cleaning up and putting stuff away in a timely as well as neatly fashion. When I was in Grade 1 in Hong Kong, one of our assignment was to get a note from our parents. The note was to identify what they thought our worse trait was. Well, my mother thought mine was paper clutter. I dropped them wherever. It was like a show and tell. I was reprimanded by my teacher – very severely I felt at the time.
Obviously, it hadn’t helped me. I am still that clutterbug. I’m changing my ways though. I’m working on the dishes. After washing and drying, I’m painstakingly putting them away where they belong or finding a better place for them. You’re wondering, What’s so painful about that? Well, for me it is! It feels like I’m going against the grain or my nature. It’s like torture. I wonder if I have some kind of disorder.
Things are getting a little easier though. You can see some surface on the dining room table and my desk. I’m ridding my junk mail (hard copies and emails) faster. I’ve lived many days feeling as if I have something needed doing but don’t know what. FINALLY that dreaded feeling is gone. I’m feeling more at ease.
Hmm. I’m feeling more alert and focused. It helps to identify my problem areas. It is nice to see progress. That is why I come here each day to tap on the keyboard. Some days I have great thoughts, exciting news and projects. Some days I am sad or angry. Then there are the doldrums. There is a lot of it in life. When they are taken away from you, that is the time when you see what treasures they really are. So I don’t mind them so much. They are restful. Maybe it is what mindfulness is – learning to sit and stay in the mundane and tedious until they are no longer so. Until you see what jewels they are.